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Title: Pencil Sketches - or, Outlines of Character and Manners
Author: Leslie, Eliza, 1787-1858
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 "Pencil Sketches - or, Outlines of Character and Manners" ***

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                             PENCIL SKETCHES:


                    OUTLINES OF CHARACTER AND MANNERS.

                             BY MISS LESLIE.

    INCLUDING "MRS. WASHINGTON POTTS," AND "MR. SMITH," WITH OTHER STORIES.


                "So runs the world away."--SHAKSPEARE.


    PHILADELPHIA:
    A. HART, LATE CAREY & HART,
    126 CHESTNUT STREET.
    1852.

    Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by
    A. HART, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United
    States, in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

    E. B. M
    EARS, STEREOTYPER. T. K. & P. G. COLLINS, PRINTERS.



ADVERTISEMENT.


The work from which the following is a selection, has been long out of
print; and many inquiries have been made concerning it. Since its first
appearance, a new generation of young people has grown up; and they may,
perhaps, find amusement and improvement in pictures of domestic life,
that were recognised as such by their mothers.

The present volume will probably be succeeded by another, containing the
remainder of the original Pencil Sketches, with additional stories.


    ELIZA LESLIE.

    UNITED STATES HOTEL,
    Philadelphia, March 25th, 1852.



CONTENTS.



MRS. WASHINGTON POTTS                                        13

MR. SMITH                                                    50

UNCLE PHILIP                                                 82

THE ALBUM                                                   131

THE SET OF CHINA                                            147

LAURA LOVEL                                                 157

JOHN W. ROBERTSON; A TALE OF A CENT                         197

THE LADIES' BALL                                            217

THE RED BOX; OR, SCENES AT THE GENERAL WAYNE                240

THE OFFICERS; A STORY OF THE LAST WAR WITH ENGLAND          266

PETER JONES; A SKETCH FROM LIFE                             297

THE OLD FARM-HOUSE                                          314

THAT GENTLEMAN; OR, PENCILLINGS ON SHIP-BOARD               333

THE SERENADES                                               358

SOCIABLE VISITING                                           376

COUNTRY LODGINGS                                            402

CONSTANCE ALLERTON; OR, THE MOURNING SUITS                  415



MRS. WASHINGTON POTTS.

     "The course of _parties_ never does run smooth."--SHAKSPEARE.


Bromley Cheston, an officer in the United States navy, had just returned
from a three years' cruise in the Mediterranean. His ship came into New
York; and after he had spent a week with a sister that was married in
Boston, he could not resist his inclination to pay a visit to his
maternal aunt, who had resided since her widowhood at one of the small
towns on the banks of the Delaware.

The husband of Mrs. Marsden had not lived long enough to make his
fortune, and it was his last injunction that she should retire with her
daughter to the country, or at least to a country town. He feared that
if she remained in Philadelphia she would have too many temptations to
exercise her taste for unnecessary expense: and that, in consequence,
the very moderate income, which was all he was able to leave her, would
soon be found insufficient to supply her with comforts.

We will not venture to say that duty to his aunt Marsden was the young
lieutenant's only incentive to this visit: as she had a beautiful
daughter about eighteen, for whom, since her earliest childhood, Bromley
Cheston had felt something a little more vivid than the usual degree of
regard that boys think sufficient for their cousins. His family had
formerly lived in Philadelphia, and till he went into the navy Bromley
and Albina were in habits of daily intercourse. Afterwards, on returning
from sea, he always, as soon as he set his foot on American ground,
began to devise means of seeing his pretty cousin, however short the
time and however great the distance. And it was in meditation on
Albina's beauty and sprightliness that he had often "while sailing on
the midnight deep," beguiled the long hours of the watch, and thus
rendered more tolerable that dreariest part of a seaman's duty.

On arriving at the village, Lieutenant Cheston immediately established
his quarters at the hotel, fearing that to become an inmate of his
aunt's house might cause her some inconvenience. Though he had performed
the whole journey in a steamboat, he could not refrain from changing his
waistcoat, brushing his coat sleeves, brushing his hat, brushing his
hair, and altering the tie of his cravat. Though he had "never told his
love," it cannot be said that concealment had "preyed on his damask
cheek;" the only change in that damask having been effected by the sun
and wind of the ocean.

Mrs. Marsden lived in a small modest-looking white house, with a green
door and green venetian shutters. In early summer the porch was canopied
and perfumed with honeysuckle, and the windows with roses. In front was
a flower-garden, redolent of sweetness and beauty; behind was a
well-stored _potager_, and a flourishing little orchard. The windows
were amply shaded by the light and graceful foliage of some beautiful
locust trees.

"What a lovely spot!" exclaimed Cheston--and
innocence--modesty--candour--contentment--peace--simple
pleasures--intellectual enjoyments--and various other delightful ideas
chased each other rapidly through his mind.

When he knocked at the door, it was opened by a black girl named Drusa,
who had been brought up in the family, and whose delight on seeing him
was so great that she could scarcely find it in her heart to tell him
that "the ladies were both out, or at least partly out." Cheston,
however, more than suspected that they were wholly at home, for he saw
his aunt peeping over the bannisters, and had a glimpse of his cousin
flitting into the back parlour; and besides, the whole domicile was
evidently in some great commotion, strongly resembling that horror of
all men, a house-cleaning. The carpets had been removed, and the hall
was filled with the parlour-chairs: half of them being turned bottom
upwards on the others, with looking-glasses and pictures leaning against
them; and he knew that, on such occasions, the ladies of a family in
middle life are never among the missing.

"Go and give Lieutenant Cheston's compliments to your ladies," said he,
"and let them know that he is waiting to see them."

Mrs. Marsden now ran down stairs in a wrapper and morning cap, and gave
her nephew a very cordial reception. "Our house is just now in such
confusion," said she, "that I have no place to invite you to sit down
in, except the back porch."--And there they accordingly took their
seats.

"Do not suppose," continued Mrs. Marsden, "that we are cleaning house:
but we are going to have a party to-night, and therefore you are most
fortunate in your arrival, for I think I can promise you a very pleasant
evening. We have sent invitations to all the most genteel families
within seven miles, and I can assure you there was a great deal of
trouble in getting the notes conveyed. We have also asked a number of
strangers from the city, who happen to be boarding in the village; we
called on them for that purpose. If all that are invited were to come,
we should have a complete squeeze; but unluckily we have received an
unusual number of regrets, and some have as yet returned no answers at
all. However, we are sure of Mrs. Washington Potts."

"I see," said Cheston, "you are having your parlours papered."--"Yes,"
replied Mrs. Marsden, "we could not possibly have a party with that
old-fashioned paper on the walls, and we sent to the city a week ago for
a man to come and bring with him some of the newest patterns, but he
never made his appearance till last night after we had entirely given
him up, and after we had had the rooms put in complete order in other
respects. But he says, as the parlours are very small, he can easily put
on the new paper before evening, so we thought it better to take up the
carpets, and take down the curtains, and undo all that we did yesterday,
rather than the walls should look old-fashioned. I _did_ intend having
them painted, which would of course be much better, only that there was
no time to get _that_ done before the party; so we must defer the
painting now for three or four years, till this new paper has grown
old."

"But where is Albina?" asked Cheston.

"The truth is," answered Mrs. Marsden, "she is very busy making cakes;
as in this place we can buy none that are fit for a party. Luckily
Albina is very clever at all such things, having been a pupil of Mrs.
Goodfellow. But there is certainly a great deal of trouble in getting up
a party in the country."

Just then the black girl, Drusa, made her appearance, and said to Mrs.
Marsden, "I've been for that there bean you call wanilla, and Mr. Brown
says he never heard of such a thing."

"A man that keeps so large a store has no right to be so ignorant,"
remarked Mrs. Marsden. "Then, Drusa, we must flavour the ice-cream with
lemon."

"There a'n't no more lemons to be had," said the girl, "and we've just
barely enough for the lemonade."

"Then some of the lemons must be taken for the ice-cream," replied Mrs.
Marsden, "and we must make out the lemonade with cream of tartar."

"I forgot to tell you," said Drusa, "that Mrs. Jones says she can't
spare no more cream, upon no account."

"How vexatious!" exclaimed Mrs. Marsden. "I wish we had two cows of our
own--one is not sufficient when we are about giving a party. Drusa, we
must make out the ice-cream by thickening some milk with eggs."

"Eggs are scace," replied the girl, "Miss Albinar uses up so many for
the cakes."

"She must spare some eggs from the cakes," said Mrs. Marsden, "and make
out the cakes by adding a little pearl-ash. Go directly and tell her
so."

Cheston, though by no means _au fait_ to the mysteries of confectionary,
could not help smiling at all this making out--"Really," said his aunt,
"these things are very annoying. And as this party is given to Mrs.
Washington Potts, it is extremely desirable that nothing should fail.
There is no such thing now as having company, unless we can receive and
entertain them in a certain style."

"I perfectly remember," said Cheston, "the last party at which I was
present in your house. I was then a midshipman, and it was just before I
sailed on my first cruise in the Pacific. I spent a delightful evening."

"Yes, I recollect that night," replied Mrs. Marsden. "In those days it
was not necessary for us to support a certain style, and parties were
then very simple things, except among people of the first rank. It was
thought sufficient to have two or three baskets of substantial cakes at
tea, some almonds, raisins, apples, and oranges, handed round
afterwards, with wine and cordial, and then a large-sized pound-cake at
the last. The company assembled at seven o'clock, and generally walked;
for the ladies' dresses were only plain white muslin. We invited but as
many as could be accommodated with seats. The young people played at
forfeits, and sung English and Scotch songs, and at the close of the
evening danced to the piano. How Mrs. Washington Potts would be shocked
if she was to find herself at one of those obsolete parties!"

"The calf-jelly won't be clear," said the black girl, again making her
appearance. "Aunt Katy has strained it five times over through the
flannen-bag."

"Go then and tell her to strain it five-and-twenty times," said Mrs.
Marsden angrily--"It must and shall be clear. Nothing is more vulgar
than clouded jelly; Mrs. Washington Potts will not touch it unless it is
transparent as amber."

"What, Nong tong paw again!" said Cheston. "Now do tell me who is Mrs.
Washington Potts?"

"Is it possible you have not heard of her?" exclaimed Mrs. Marsden.

"Indeed I have not," replied Cheston. "You forget that for several years
I have been cruising on classic ground, and I can assure you that the
name of Mrs. Washington Potts has not yet reached the shores of the
Mediterranean."

"She is wife to a gentleman that has made a fortune in New Orleans,"
pursued Mrs. Marsden. "They came last winter to live in Philadelphia,
having first visited London and Paris. During the warm weather they took
lodgings in this village, and we have become quite intimate. So we have
concluded to give them a party, previous to their return to
Philadelphia, which is to take place immediately. She is a charming
woman, though she certainly makes strange mistakes in talking. You have
no idea how sociable she is, at least since she returned our call;
which, to be sure, was not till the end of a week; and Albina and I had
sat up in full dress to receive her for no less than five days: that is,
from twelve o'clock till three. At last she came, and it would have
surprised you to see how affably she behaved to us."

"Not at all," said Cheston, "I should not have expected that she would
have treated you rudely."

"She really," continued Mrs. Marsden, "grew quite intimate before her
visit was over, and took our hands at parting. And as she went out
through the garden, she stopped to admire Albina's moss-roses: so we
could do no less than give her all that were blown. From that day she
has always sent to us when she wants flowers."

"No doubt of it," said Cheston.

"You cannot imagine," pursued Mrs. Marsden, "on what a familiar footing
we are. She has a high opinion of Albina's taste, and often gets her to
make up caps and do other little things for her. When any of her
children are sick, she never sends anywhere else for currant jelly or
preserves. Albina makes gingerbread for them every Saturday. During the
holidays she frequently sent her three boys to spend the day with us.
There is the very place in the railing where Randolph broke out a stick
to whip Jefferson with, because Jefferson had thrown in his face a hot
baked apple which the mischievous little rogue had stolen out of Katy's
oven."

In the mean time Albina had taken off the brown holland bib apron which
she had worn all day in the kitchen, and telling the cook to watch
carefully the plum-cake that was baking, she hastened to her room by a
back staircase, and proceeded to take the pins out of her hair; for
where is the young lady that on any emergency whatever, would appear
before a young gentleman with her hair pinned up? Though, just now, the
opening out of her curls was a considerable inconvenience to Albina, as
she had bestowed much time and pains on putting them up for the evening.

Finally she came down in "prime array;" and Cheston, who had left her a
school-girl, found her now grown to womanhood, and more beautiful than
ever. Still he could not forbear reproving her for treating him so much
as a stranger, and not coming to him at once in her morning-dress.

"Mrs. Washington Potts," said Albina, "is of opinion that a young lady
should never be seen in dishabille by a gentleman."

Cheston now found it very difficult to hear the name of Mrs. Potts with
patience.--"Albina," thought he, "is bewitched as well as her mother."

He spoke of his cruise in the Mediterranean; and Albina told him that
she had seen a beautiful view of the bay of Naples in a souvenir
belonging to Mrs. Washington Potts.

"I have brought with me some sketches of Mediterranean scenery," pursued
Cheston. "You know I draw a little. I promise myself great pleasure in
showing and explaining them to you."

"Oh! do send them this afternoon," exclaimed Albina. "They will be the
very things for the centre-table. I dare say the Montagues will
recognise some of the places they have seen in Italy, for they have
travelled all over the south of Europe."

"And who are the Montagues?" inquired Cheston.

"They are a very elegant English family," answered Mrs. Marsden,
"cousins in some way to several noblemen."

"Perhaps so," said Cheston.

"Albina met with them at the lodgings of Mrs. Washington Potts," pursued
Mrs. Marsden, "where they have been staying a week for the benefit of
country air; and so she enclosed her card, and sent them invitations to
her party. They have as yet returned no answer; but that is no proof
they will not come, for perhaps it may be the newest fashion in England
not to answer notes."

"You know the English are a very peculiar people," remarked Albina.

"And what other lions have you provided?" said Cheston.

"Oh! no others except a poet," replied Albina. "Have you never heard of
Bewley Garvin Gandy?"

"Never!" answered Cheston. "Is that all one man?"

"Nonsense," replied Albina; "you know that poets generally have three
names. B. G, G. was formerly Mr. Gandy's signature when he wrote only
for the newspapers, but now since he has come out in the magazines, and
annuals, and published his great poem of the World of Sorrow, he gives
his name at full length. He has tried law, physic, and divinity, and has
resigned all for the Muses. He is a great favourite of Mrs. Washington
Potts."

"And now, Albina," said Cheston, "as I know you can have but little
leisure to-day, I will only detain you while you indulge me with 'Auld
lang syne'--I see the piano has been moved out into the porch."

"Yes," said Mrs. Marsden, "on account of the parlour papering."

"Oh! Bromley Cheston," exclaimed Albina, "do not ask me to play any of
those antediluvian Scotch songs. Mrs. Washington Potts cannot tolerate
anything but Italian."

Cheston, who had no taste for Italian, immediately took his hat, and
apologizing for the length of his stay, was going away with the thought
that Albina had much deteriorated in growing up.

"We shall see you this evening without the ceremony of a further
invitation?" said Albina.

"Of course," replied Cheston.

"I quite long to introduce you to Mrs. Washington Potts," said Mrs.
Marsden.

"What simpletons these women are!" thought Cheston, as he hastily turned
to depart.

"The big plum-cake's burnt to a coal," said Drusa, putting her head out
of the kitchen door.

Both the ladies were off in an instant to the scene of disaster. And
Cheston returned to his hotel, thinking of Mrs. Potts (whom he had made
up his mind to dislike), of the old adage that "evil communication
corrupts good manners," and of the almost irresistible contagion of
folly and vanity. "I am disappointed in Albina," said he; "in future I
will regard her only as my mother's niece, and more than a cousin she
shall never be to me."

Albina having assisted Mrs. Marsden in lamenting over the burnt cake,
took off her silk frock, again pinned up her hair, and joined
assiduously in preparing another plum-cake to replace the first one. A
fatality seemed to attend nearly all the confections, as is often the
case when particular importance is attached to their success. The jelly
obstinately refused to clarify, and the blanc-mange was equally
unwilling to congeal. The maccaroons having run in baking, had neither
shape nor feature, the kisses declined rising, and the sponge-cake
contradicted its name. Some of the things succeeded, but most were
complete failures: probably because (as old Katy insisted) "there was a
spell upon them." In a city these disasters could easily have been
remedied (even at the eleventh hour) by sending to a confectioner's
shop, but in the country there is no alternative. Some of these
mischances might perhaps have been attributed to the volunteered
assistance of a mantua-maker that had been sent for from the city to
make new dresses for the occasion, and who on this busy day, being "one
of the best creatures in the world," had declared her willingness to
turn her hand to anything.

It was late in the afternoon before the papering was over, and then
great indeed was the bustle in clearing away the litter, cleaning the
floors, putting down the carpets, and replacing the furniture. In the
midst of the confusion, and while the ladies were earnestly engaged in
fixing the ornaments, Drusa came in to say that Dixon, the waiter that
had been hired for the evening, had just arrived, and falling to work
immediately he had poured all the blanc-mange down the sink, mistaking
it for bonnyclabber.[1] This intelligence was almost too much to bear,
and Mrs. Marsden could scarcely speak for vexation.

[Footnote 1: Thick sour milk.]

"Drusa," said Albina, "you are a raven that has done nothing all day but
croak of disaster. Away, and show your face no more, let what will
happen."

Drusa departed, but in a few minutes she again put in her head at the
parlour door and said, "Ma'am, may I jist speak one time more?"

"What now?" exclaimed Mrs. Marsden.

"Oh! there's nothing else spiled or flung down the sink, jist now," said
Drusa, "but something's at hand a heap worse than all. Missus's old Aunt
Quimby has jist landed from the boat, and is coming up the road with
baggage enough to last all summer."

"Aunt Quimby!" exclaimed Albina; "this indeed caps the climax!"

"Was there ever anything more provoking!" said Mrs. Marsden. "When I
lived in town she annoyed me sufficiently by coming every week to spend
a day with me, and now she does not spend days but _weeks_. I would go
to Alabama to get rid of her."

"And then," said Albina, "she would come and spend _months_ with us.
However, to do her justice, she is a very respectable woman."

"All bores are respectable people," replied Mrs. Marsden; "if they were
otherwise, it would not be in their power to bore us, for we could cut
them and cast them off at once. How very unlucky! What will Mrs.
Washington Potts think of her--and the Montagues too, if they _should_
come? Still we must not affront her, as you know she is rich."

"What can her riches signify to us?" said Albina; "she has a married
daughter."

"True," replied Mrs. Marsden, "but you know riches should always command
a certain degree of respect, and there are such things as legacies."

"After all, according to the common saying, 'tis an ill wind that blows
no good;' the parlours having been freshly papered, we can easily
persuade Aunt Quimby that they are too damp for her to sit in, and so we
can make her stay up stairs all the evening."

At this moment the old lady's voice was heard at the door, discharging
the porter who had brought her baggage on his wheelbarrow; and the next
minute she was in the front parlour. Mrs. Marsden and Albina were
properly astonished, and, properly delighted at seeing her; but each,
after a pause of recollection, suddenly seized the old lady by the arms
and conveyed her into the entry, exclaiming, "Oh! Aunt Quimby! Aunt
Quimby! this is no place for you."

"What's the meaning of all this?" cried Mrs. Quimby; "why won't you let
me stay in the parlour?"

"You'll get your death," answered Mrs. Marsden, "you'll get the
rheumatism. Both parlours have been newly papered to-day, and the walls
are quite wet."

"That's a bad thing," said Mrs. Quimby, "a very bad thing. I wish you
had put off your papering till next spring. Who'd have thought of your
doing it this day of all days?"

"Oh! Aunt Quimby," said Albina, "why did you not let us know that you
were coming?"

"Why, I wanted to give you an agreeable surprise," replied the old lady.
"But tell me why the rooms are so decked out, with flowers hanging about
the looking-glasses and lamps, and why the candles are dressed with cut
paper, or something that looks like it?"

"We are going to have a party to-night," said Albina.

"A party! I'm glad of it. Then I'm come just in the nick of time."

"I thought you had long since given up parties," said Mrs. Marsden,
turning pale.

"No, indeed--why should I--I always go when I am asked--to be sure I
can't make much figure at parties now, being in my seventy-fifth year.
But Mrs. Howks and Mrs. Himes, and several others of my old friends,
always invite me to their daughters' parties, along with Mary; and I
like to sit there and look about me, and see people's new ways. Mary had
a party herself last winter, and it went off very well, only that both
the children came out that night with the measles; and one of the lamps
leaked, and the oil ran all over the side-board and streamed down on the
carpet; and, it being the first time we ever had ice-cream in the house,
Peter, the stupid black boy, not only brought saucers to eat it in, but
cups and saucers both."

The old lady was now hurried up stairs, and she showed much
dissatisfaction on being told that as the damp parlours would certainly
give her her death, there was no alternative but for her to remain all
the evening in the chamber allotted to her. This chamber (the best
furnished in the house) was also to be 'the ladies' room,' and Albina
somewhat consoled Mrs. Quimby by telling her that as the ladies would
come up there to take off their hoods and arrange their hair, she would
have an opportunity of seeing them all before they went down stairs. And
Mrs. Marsden promised to give orders that a portion of all the
refreshments should be carried up to her, and that Miss Matson, the
mantua-maker, should sit with her a great part of the evening.

It was now time for Albina and her mother to commence dressing, but Mrs.
Marsden went down stairs again with 'more last words' to the servants,
and Albina to make some change in the arrangement of the centre-table.

She was in a loose gown, her curls were pinned up, and to keep them
close and safe, she had tied over her head an old gauze handkerchief.
While bending over the centre-table, and marking with rose-leaves some
of the most beautiful of Mrs. Hemans' poems, and opening two or three
souvenirs at their finest plates, a knock was suddenly heard at the
door, which proved to be the baker with the second plum-cake, it having
been consigned to _his_ oven. Albina desired him to bring it to her, and
putting it on the silver waiter, she determined to divide it herself
into slices, being afraid to trust that business to any one else, lest
it should be awkwardly cut, or broken to pieces; it being quite warm.

The baker went out, leaving the front door open, and Albina, intent on
her task of cutting the cake, did not look up till she heard the sound
of footsteps in the parlour; and then what was her dismay on perceiving
Mr. and Mrs. Montague and their daughter.

Albina's first impulse was to run away, but she saw that it was now too
late; and, pale with confusion and vexation, she tried to summon
sufficient self-command to enable her to pass off this _contre-tems_
with something like address.

It was not yet dusk, the sun being scarcely down, and of all the persons
invited to the party, it was natural to suppose that the English family
would have come the latest.

Mr. Montague was a long-bodied short-legged man, with round gray eyes,
that looked as if they had been put on the outside of his face, the
sockets having no apparent concavity: a sort of eye that is rarely seen
in an American. He had a long nose and a large heavy mouth with
projecting under-teeth, and altogether an unusual quantity of face;
which face was bordered round with whiskers, that began at his eyes and
met under his chin, and resembled in texture the coarse wiry fur of a
black bear. He kept his hat under his arm, and his whole dress seemed as
if modelled from one of the caricature prints of a London dandy.

Mrs. Montague (evidently some years older than her husband) was a
gigantic woman, with features that looked as if seen through a
magnifying glass. She wore heavy piles of yellowish curls, and a crimson
velvet tocque. Her daughter was a tall hard-faced girl of seventeen,
meant for a child by her parents, but not meaning herself as such. She
was dressed in a white muslin frock and trowsers, and had a mass of
black hair curling on her neck and shoulders.

They all fixed their large eyes directly upon Albina, and it was no
wonder that she quailed beneath their glance, or rather their stare,
particularly when Mrs. Montague surveyed her through her eye-glass. Mr.
Montague spoke first. "Your note did not specify the hour--Miss--Miss
Martin," said he, "and as you Americans are early people, we thought we
were complying with the simplicity of republican manners by coming
before dark. We suppose that in general you adhere to the primitive
maxim of 'early to bed and early to rise.' I forget the remainder of the
rhyme, but _you_ know it undoubtedly."

Albina at that moment wished for the presence of Bromley Cheston. She
saw from the significant looks that passed between the Montagues, that
the unseasonable earliness of this visit did not arise from their
ignorance of the customs of American society, but from premeditated
impertinence. And she regretted still more having invited them, when Mr.
Montague with impudent familiarity walked up to the cake (which she had
nicely cut into slices without altering its form) and took one of them
out.--"Miss Martin," said he, "your cake looks so inviting that I cannot
refrain from helping myself to a piece. Mrs. Montague, give me leave to
present one to you. Miss Montague, will you try a slice?"

They sat down on the sofa, each with a piece of cake, and Albina saw
that they could scarcely refrain from laughing openly, not only at her
dishabille, but at her disconcerted countenance.

Just at this moment, Drusa appeared at the door, and called out, "Miss
Albinar, the presarved squinches are all working. Missus found 'em so
when she opened the jar." Albina could bear no more, but hastily
darting out of the room, she ran up stairs almost crying with vexation.

Old Mrs. Quimby was loud in her invectives against Mr. Montague for
spoiling the symmetry of the cake, and helping himself and his family so
unceremoniously. "You may rely upon it," said she, "a man that will do
such a thing in a strange house is no gentleman."

"On the contrary," observed Mrs. Marsden, "I have no doubt that in
England these free and easy proceedings are high ton. Albina, have not
you read some such things in Vivian Grey?"

"I do not believe," said Mrs. Quimby, "that if this Englishman was in
his own country, he would dare to go and take other people's cake
without leave or license. But he thinks any sort of behaviour good
enough for the Yankees, as they call us."

"I care not for the cake," said Albina, "although the pieces must now be
put into baskets; I only think of the Montagues walking in without
knocking, and catching me in complete dishabille: after I had kept poor
Bromley Cheston waiting half an hour this morning rather than he should
see me in my pink gingham gown and with my hair in pins."

"As sure as sixpence," remarked Mrs. Quimby, "this last shame has come
upon you as a punishment for your pride to your own cousin."

Mrs. Marsden having gone into the adjoining room to dress, Albina
remained in this, and placed herself before the glass for the same
purpose. "Heigho!" said she, "how pale and jaded I look! What a
fatiguing day I have had! I have been on my feet since five o'clock this
morning, and I feel now more fit to go to bed than to add to my
weariness by the task of dressing, and then playing the agreeable for
four or five hours. I begin to think that parties (at least such parties
as are now in vogue) should only be given by persons who have large
houses, large purses, conveniences of every description, and servants
enough to do all that is necessary."

"Albina is talking quite sensibly," said Aunt Quimby to Mrs. Marsden,
who came in to see if her daughter required her assistance in dressing.

"Pho!" said Mrs. Marsden, "think of the eclat of giving a party to Mrs.
Washington Potts, and of having the Montagues among the guests! We shall
find the advantage of it when we visit the city again."

"Albina," said Aunt Quimby, "now we are about dressing, just quit for a
few moments and help me on with my long stays and my new black silk
gown, and let me have the glass awhile; I am going to wear my lace cap
with the white satin riband. This dark calico gown and plain muslin cap
won't do at all to sit here in, before all the ladies that are coming
up."

"Oh! no matter," replied Albina, who was unwilling to relinquish the
glass or to occupy any of her time by assisting her aunt in dressing
(which was always a troublesome and tedious business with the old lady);
and her mother had now gone down to be ready for the reception of the
company, and to pay her compliments to the Montagues. "Oh! no matter,"
said Albina, "your present dress looks perfectly well; and the ladies
will be too much engaged with themselves and their own dresses, to
remark anything else. No one will observe whether your gown is calico or
silk, and whether your cap is muslin or lace. Elderly ladies are always
privileged to wear what is most convenient to them."

Albina put on the new dress that the mantua-maker had made for her. When
she tried it on the preceding evening Miss Matson declared that "it
fitted like wax." She now found that it was scarcely possible to get it
on at all, and that one side of the forebody was larger than the other.
Miss Matson was called up, and by dint of the pulling, stretching, and
smoothing well known to mantua-makers, and still more by means of her
pertinacious assurances that the dress had no fault whatever, Albina was
obliged to acknowledge that she _could_ wear it, and the redundancy of
the large side was pinned down and pinned over. In sticking in her comb
she broke it in half, and it was long before she could arrange her hair
to her satisfaction without it. Before she had completed her toilette,
several of the ladies arrived and came into the room; and Albina was
obliged to snatch up her paraphernalia, and make her escape into the
next apartment.

At last she was dressed--she went down stairs. The company arrived fast,
and the party began.

Bromley Cheston had come early to assist in doing the honours, and as he
led Albina to a seat, he saw that, in spite of her smiles, she looked
weary and out of spirits; and he pitied her. "After all," thought he,
"there is much that is interesting about Albina Marsden."

The party was _very_ select, consisting of the élite of the village and
its neighbourhood; but still, as is often the case, those whose presence
was most desirable had sent excuses, and those who were not wanted had
taken care to come. And Miss Boreham (a young lady who, having nothing
else to recommend her, had been invited solely on account of the usual
elegance of her attire, and whose dress was expected to add prodigiously
to the effect of the rooms), came most unaccountably in an old faded
frock of last year's fashion, with her hair quite plain, and tucked
behind her ears with two side-combs. Could she have had a suspicion of
the reason for which she was generally invited, and have therefore
perversely determined on a reaction?

The Montagues sat together in a corner, putting up their eye-glasses at
every one that entered the room, and criticising the company in loud
whispers to each other; poor Mrs. Marsden endeavouring to catch
opportunities of paying her court to them.

About nine o'clock, appeared an immense cap of blond lace, gauze riband,
and flowers; and under the cap was Mrs. Washington Potts, a little,
thin, trifling-looking woman with a whitish freckled face, small sharp
features, and flaxen hair. She leaned on the arm of Mr. Washington
Potts, who was nothing in company or anywhere else; and she led by the
hand a little boy in a suit of scarlet, braided and frogged with blue: a
pale rat-looking child, whose name she pronounced Laughy-yet, meaning La
Fayette; and who being the youngest scion of the house of Potts, always
went to parties with his mother, because he would not stay at home.

Bromley Cheston, on being introduced to Mrs. Washington Potts, was
surprised at the insignificance of her figure and face. He had imagined
her tall in stature, large in feature, loud in voice, and in short the
very counterpart to Mrs. Montague. He found her, however, as he had
supposed, replete with vanity, pride, ignorance, and folly: to which she
added a sickening affectation of sweetness and amiability, and a flimsy
pretension to extraordinary powers of conversation, founded on a
confused assemblage of incorrect and superficial ideas, which she
mistook for a general knowledge of everything in the world.

Mrs. Potts was delighted with the handsome face and figure, and the very
genteel appearance of the young lieutenant, and she bestowed upon him a
large portion of her talk.

"I hear, sir," said she, "you have been in the Mediterranean Sea. A
sweet pretty place, is it not?"

"Its shores," replied Cheston, "are certainly very beautiful."

"Yes, I should admire its chalky cliffs vastly," resumed Mrs. Potts;
"they are quite poetical, you know. Pray, sir, which do you prefer,
Byron or Bonaparte? I dote upon Byron; and considering what sweet verses
he wrote, 'tis a pity he was a corsair, and a vampyre pirate, and all
such horrid things. As for Bonaparte, I never could endure him after I
found that he had cut off poor old King George's head. Now, when we talk
of great men, my husband is altogether for Washington. I laugh, and tell
Mr. Potts it's because he and Washington are namesakes. How do you like
La Fayette?"--(pronouncing the name à la canaille).

"The man, or the name?" inquired Cheston.

"Oh! both to be sure. You see we have called our youngest blossom after
him. Come here, La Fayette, stand forward, my dear; hold up your head,
and make a bow to the gentleman."

"I won't," screamed La Fayette. "I'll never make a bow when you tell
me."

"Something of the spirit of his ancestors," said Mrs. Potts, affectedly
smiling to Cheston, and patting the urchin on the head.

"His ancestors!" thought Cheston. "Who could they possibly have been?"

"Perhaps the dear fellow may be a little, a very little spoiled,"
pursued Mrs. Potts. "But to make a comparison in the marine line (quite
in your way, you know), it is as natural for a mother's heart to turn to
her youngest darling, as it is for the needle to point out the
longitude. Now we talk of longitude, have you read Cooper's last novel,
by the author of the Spy? It's a sweet book--Cooper is one of my pets. I
saw him in dear, delightful Paris. Are you musical, Mr. Cheston?--But of
course you are. Our whole aristocracy is musical now. How do you like
Paganini? You must have heard him in Europe. It's a very expensive thing
to hear Paganini.--Poor man! he is quite ghastly with his own playing.
Well, as you have been in the Mediterranean, which do you prefer, the
Greeks or the Poles?"

"The Poles, decidedly," answered Cheston, "from what I have heard of
_them_, and seen of the Greeks."

"Well, for my part," resumed Mrs. Potts, "I confess I like the Greeks,
as I have always been rather classical. They are so Grecian. Think of
their beautiful statues and paintings by Rubens and Reynolds. Are you
fond of paintings? At my house in the city, I can show you some very
fine ones."

"By what artists?" asked Cheston.

"Oh! by my daughter Harriet. She did them at drawing-school with
theorems. They are beautiful flower-pieces, all framed and hung up; they
are almost worthy of Sir Benjamin West."[2]

[Footnote 2: The author takes this occasion to remark, that the
illustrious artist to whom so many of his countrymen erroneously give
the title of Sir Benjamin West, never in reality had the compliment of
knighthood conferred on him. He lived and died _Mr._ West, as is well
known to all who have any acquaintance with pictures and painters.]

In this manner Mrs. Potts ran on till the entrance of tea, and Cheston
took that opportunity of escaping from her; while she imagined him
deeply imbued with admiration of her fluency, vivacity, and variety of
information. But in reality, he was thinking of the strange depravity of
taste that is sometimes found even in intelligent minds; for in no other
way could he account for Albina's predilection for Mrs. Washington
Potts. "And yet," thought he, "is a young and inexperienced girl more
blameable for her blindness in friendship (or what she imagines to be
friendship), than an acute, sensible, talented man for his blindness in
love? The master-spirits of the earth have almost proverbially married
women of weak intellect, and almost as proverbially the children of such
marriages resemble the mother rather than the father. A just punishment
for choosing so absurdly. Albina, I must know you better."

The party went on, much as parties generally do where there are four or
five guests that are supposed to rank all the others. The patricians
evidently despised the plebeians, and the plebeians were offended at
being despised; for in no American assemblage is any real inferiority of
rank ever felt or acknowledged. There was a general dullness, and a
general restraint. Little was done, and little was said. La Fayette
wandered about in everybody's way; having been kept wide awake all the
evening by two cups of strong coffee, which his mother allowed him to
take because he would have them.

There was always a group round the centre-table, listlessly turning
over the souvenirs, albums, &c., and picking at the flowers; and La
Fayette ate plum-cake over Cheston's beautiful drawings.

Albina played an Italian song extremely well, but the Montagues
exchanged glances at her music; and Mrs. Potts, to follow suit, hid her
face behind her fan and simpered; though in truth she did not in reality
know Italian from French, or a semibreve from a semiquaver. All this was
a great annoyance to Cheston. At Albina's request, he led Miss Montague
to the piano. She ran her fingers over the instrument as if to try it;
gave a shudder, and declared it most shockingly out of tune, and then
rose in horror from the music stool. This much surprised Mrs. Marsden,
as a musician had been brought from the city only the day before for the
express purpose of tuning this very instrument.

"No," whispered Miss Montague, as she resumed her seat beside her
mother, "I will not condescend to play before people who are incapable
of understanding my style."

At this juncture (to the great consternation of Mrs. Marsden and her
daughter) who should make her appearance but Aunt Quimby in the calico
gown which Albina now regretted having persuaded her to keep on. The old
lady was wrapped in a small shawl and two large ones, and her head was
secured from cold by a black silk handkerchief tied over her cap and
under her chin. She smiled and nodded all round to the company, and
said--"How do you do, good people; I hope you are all enjoying
yourselves. I thought I _must_ come down and have a peep at you. For
after I had seen all the ladies take off their hoods, and had my tea, I
found it pretty dull work sitting up stairs with the mantua-maker, who
had no more manners than to fall asleep while I was talking."

Mrs. Marsden, much discomfited, led Aunt Quimby to a chair between two
matrons who were among "the unavoidably invited," and whose pretensions
to refinement were not very palpable. But the old lady had no idea of
remaining stationary all the evening between Mrs. Johnson and Mrs.
Jackson. She wisely thought "she could see more of the party," if she
frequently changed her place, and being of what is called a sociable
disposition, she never hesitated to talk to any one that was near her,
however high or however low.

"Dear mother," said Albina in an under-voice, "what can be the reason
that every one, in tasting the ice-cream, immediately sets it aside as
if it was not fit to eat? I am sure there is everything in it that ought
to be."

"And something more than ought to be," replied Mrs. Marsden, after
trying a spoonful--"the salt that was laid round the freezer has got
into the cream (I suppose by Dixon's carelessness), and it is _not_ fit
to eat."

"And now," said Albina, starting, "I will show you a far worse
mortification than the failure of the ice-cream. Only look--there sits
Aunt Quimby between Mr. Montague and Mrs. Washington Potts."

"How in the world did she get there?" exclaimed Mrs. Marsden. "I dare
say she walked up, and asked them to make room for her between them.
There is nothing now to be done but to pass her off as well as we can,
and to make the best of her. I will manage to get as near as possible,
that I may hear what she is talking about, and take an opportunity of
persuading her away."

As Mrs. Marsden approached within hearing distance, Mr. Montague was
leaning across Aunt Quimby, and giving Mrs. Potts an account of
something that had been said or done during a splendid entertainment at
Devonshire House.--"Just at that moment," said he, "I was lounging into
the room with Lady Augusta Fitzhenry on my arm (unquestionably the
finest woman in England), and Mrs. Montague was a few steps in advance,
leaning on my friend the Marquis of Elvington."

"Pray, sir," said Mrs. Quimby, "as you are from England, do you know
anything of Betsey Dempsey's husband?"

"I have not the honour of being acquainted with that person," replied
Mr. Montague, after a withering stare.

"Well, that's strange," pursued Aunt Quimby, "considering that he has
been living in London at least eighteen years--or perhaps it is only
seventeen. And yet I think it must be near eighteen, if not quite. Maybe
seventeen and a half. Well it's best to be on the safe side, so I'll say
seventeen. Betsey Dempsey's mother was an old school-mate of mine. Her
father kept the Black Horse tavern. She was the only acquaintance I ever
had that married an Englishman. He was a grocer, and in very good
business; but he never liked America, and was always finding fault with
it, and so he went home, and was to send for Betsey. But he never sent
for her at all; and for a very good reason; which was that he had
another wife in England, as most of them have--no disparagement to you,
sir."

Mrs. Marsden now came up, and informed Mrs. Potts in a whisper, that the
good old lady beside her, was a distant relation or rather connexion of
_Mr._ Marsden's, and that, though a little primitive in appearance and
manner, she had considerable property in bank-stock. To Mrs. Marsden's
proposal that she should exchange her seat for a very pleasant one in
the other room next to her old friend, Mrs. Willis, Aunt Quimby replied
nothing but "Thank you, I'm doing very well here."

Mrs. and Miss Montague, apparently heeding no one else, had talked
nearly the whole evening to each other, but loudly enough to be heard by
all around them. The young lady, though dressed as a child, talked like
a woman, and she and her mother were now engaged in an argument whether
the flirtation of the Duke of Risingham with Lady Georgiana Melbury
would end seriously or not.

"To my certain knowledge," said Miss Montague, "his Grace has never yet
declared himself to Lady Georgiana, or to any one else."

"I'll lay you two to one," said Mrs. Montague, "that he is married to
her before we return to England."

"No," replied the daughter, "like all others of his sex he delights in
keeping the ladies in suspense."

"What you say, miss, is very true," said Aunt Quimby, leaning in her
turn across Mr. Montague, "and, considering how young you are, you talk
very sensibly. Men certainly have a way of keeping women in suspense,
and an unwillingness to answer questions, even when we ask them. There's
my son-in-law, Billy Fairfowl, that I live with. He married my daughter
Mary, eleven years ago the 23d of last April. He's as good a man as ever
breathed, and an excellent provider too. He always goes to market
himself; and sometimes I can't help blaming him a little for his
extravagance. But his greatest fault is his being so unsatisfactory. As
far back as last March, as I was sitting at my knitting in the little
front parlour with the door open (for it was quite warm weather for the
time of the year), Billy Fairfowl came home, carrying in his hand a good
sized shad; and I called out to him to ask what he gave for it, for it
was the very beginning of the shad season; but he made not a word of
answer; he just passed on, and left the shad in the kitchen, and then
went to his store. At dinner we had the fish, and a very nice one it
was; and I asked him again how much he gave for it, but he still
avoided answering, and began to talk of something else; so I thought I'd
let it rest awhile. A week or two after, I again asked him; so then he
actually said he had forgotten all about it. And to this day I don't
know the price of that shad."

The Montagues looked at each other--almost laughed aloud, and drew back
their chairs as far from Aunt Quimby as possible. So also did Mrs.
Potts. Mrs. Marsden came up in an agony of vexation, and reminded her
aunt in a low voice of the risk of renewing her rheumatism by staying so
long between the damp, newly-papered walls. The old lady answered
aloud--"Oh! you need not fear, I am well wrapped up on purpose. And
indeed, considering that the parlours were only papered to-day, I think
the walls have dried wonderfully (putting her hand on the paper)--I am
sure nobody could find out the damp if they were not told."

"What!" exclaimed the Montagues; "only papered to-day--(starting up and
testifying all that prudent fear of taking cold, so characteristic of
the English). How barbarous to inveigle us into such a place!"

"I thought I felt strangely chilly all the evening," said Mrs. Potts,
whose fan had scarcely been at rest five minutes.

The Montagues proposed going away immediately, and Mrs. Potts declared
she was _most_ apprehensive for poor little La Fayette. Mrs. Marsden,
who could not endure the idea of their departing till all the
refreshments had been handed round (the best being yet to come), took
great pains to persuade them that there was no real cause of alarm, as
she had had large fires all the afternoon. They held a whispered
consultation, in which they agreed to stay for the oysters and chicken
salad, and Mrs. Marsden went out to send them their shawls, with one for
La Fayette.

By this time the secret of the newly-papered walls had spread round both
rooms; the conversation now turned entirely on colds and rheumatisms;
there was much shivering and considerable coughing, and the demand for
shawls increased. However, nobody actually went home in consequence.

"Papa," said Miss Montague, "let us all take French leave as soon as the
oysters and chicken salad have gone round."

Albina now came up to Aunt Quimby (gladly perceiving that the old lady
looked tired), and proposed that she should return to her chamber,
assuring her that the waiters should be punctually sent up to her--"I do
not feel quite ready to go yet," replied Mrs. Quimby. "I am very well
here. But you need not mind _me_. Go back to your company, and talk a
little to those three poor girls in the yellow frocks that nobody has
spoken to yet, except Bromley Cheston. When I am ready to go I shall
take French leave, as these English people call it."

But Aunt Quimby's idea of French leave was very different from the usual
acceptation of the term; for having always heard that the French were a
very polite people, she concluded that their manner of taking leave must
be particularly respectful and ceremonious. Therefore, having paid her
parting compliments to Mrs. Potts and the Montagues, she walked all
round the room, curtsying to every body and shaking hands, and telling
them she had come to take French leave. To put an end to this ridiculous
scene, Bromley Cheston (who had been on assiduous duty all the evening)
now came forward, and, taking the old lady's arm in his, offered to
escort her up stairs. Aunt Quimby was much flattered by this unexpected
civility from the finest-looking young man in the room, and she
smilingly departed with him, complimenting him on his politeness, and
assuring him that he was a real gentleman; trying also to make out the
degree of relationship that existed between them.

"So much for Buckingham!" said Cheston, as he ran down stairs after
depositing the old lady at the door of her room. "Fools of all ranks and
of all ages are to me equally intolerable. I never can marry into such a
family."

The party went on.

"In the name of heaven, Mrs. Potts," said Mrs. Montague, "what induces
you to patronize these people?"

"Why they are the only tolerable persons in the neighbourhood," answered
Mrs. Potts, "and very kind and obliging in their way. I really think
Albina a very sweet girl, very sweet indeed: and Mrs. Marsden is rather
amiable too, quite amiable. And they are so grateful for any little
notice I take of them, that it is really quite affecting. Poor things!
how much trouble they have given themselves in getting up this party.
They look as if they had had a hard day's work; and I have no doubt they
will be obliged, in consequence, to pinch them for months to come; for I
can assure you their means are very small--very small indeed. As to this
intolerable old aunt, I never saw her before; and as there is something
rather genteel about Mrs. Marsden and her daughter--rather so at least
about Albina--I did not suppose they had any such relations belonging to
them. I think, in future I must confine myself entirely to the
aristocracy."

"We deliberated to the last moment," said Mrs. Montague, "whether we
should come. But as Mr. Montague is going to write his tour when we
return to England, he thinks it expedient to make some sacrifices, for
the sake of seeing the varieties of American society."

"Oh! these people are not in society!" exclaimed Mrs. Potts eagerly. "I
can assure you these Marsdens have not the slightest pretensions to
society. Oh! no--I beg you not to suppose that Mrs. Marsden and her
daughter are at all in society!"

This conversation was overheard by Bromley Cheston, and it gave him more
pain than he was willing to acknowledge, even to himself.

At length all the refreshments had gone their rounds, and the Montagues
had taken real French leave; but Mrs. Washington Potts preferred a
conspicuous departure, and therefore made her adieux with a view of
producing great effect. This was the signal for the company to break up,
and Mrs. Marsden gladly smiled them out; while Albina could have said
with Gray's Prophetess--

    "Now my weary lips I close,
    Leave me, leave me to repose."

But, according to Mrs. Marsden, the worst of all was the poet, the
professedly eccentric Bewley Garvin Gandy, author of the World of
Sorrow, Elegy on a Broken Heart, Lines on a Suppressed Sigh, Sonnet to a
Hidden Tear, Stanzas to Faded Hopes, &c. &c., and who was just now
engaged in a tale called "The Bewildered," and an Ode to the Waning
Moon, which set him to wandering about the country, and "kept him out
o'nights." The poet, not being a man of this world, did not make his
appearance at the party till the moment of the bustle occasioned by the
exit of Mrs. Washington Potts. He then darted suddenly into the room,
and looked wild.

We will not insinuate that he bore any resemblance to Sandy Clark. He
certainly wore no chapeau, and his coat was not in the least à la
militaire, for it was a dusky brown frock. His collar was open, in the
fashion attributed to Byron, and much affected by scribblers who are
incapable of imitating the noble bard in anything but his follies. His
hair looked as if he had just been tearing it, and his eyes seemed "in
a fine frenzy rolling." He was on his return from one of his moonlight
rambles on the banks of the river, and his pantaloons and coat-skirt
showed evident marks of having been deep among the cat-tails and
splatter-docks that grew in the mud on its margin.

Being a man that took no note of time, he wandered into Mrs. Marsden's
house between eleven and twelve o'clock, and remained an hour after the
company had gone; reclining at full length on a sofa, and discussing
Barry Cornwall and Percy Bysshe Shelley, L. E. L. and Mrs. Cornwall
Baron Wilson. After which he gradually became classical, and poured into
the sleepy ears of Mrs. Marsden and Albina a parallel between Tibullus
and Propertius, a dissertation on Alcæus, and another on Menander.

Bromley Cheston, who had been escorting home two sets of young ladies
that lived "far as the poles asunder," passed Mrs. Marsden's house on
returning to his hotel, and seeing the lights still gleaming, he went in
to see what was the matter, and kindly relieved his aunt and cousin by
reminding the poet of the lateness of the hour, and "fairly carrying him
off."

Aunt Quimby had long since been asleep. But before Mrs. Marsden and
Albina could forget themselves in "tired nature's sweet restorer," they
lay awake for an hour, discussing the fatigues and vexations of the day,
and the mortifications of the evening. "After all," said Albina, "this
party has cost us five times as much as it is worth, both in trouble and
expense, and I really cannot tell what pleasure we have derived from
it."

"No one expects pleasure at their own party," replied Mrs. Marsden. "But
you may depend on it, this little compliment to Mrs. Washington Potts
will prove highly advantageous to us hereafter. And then it is
_something_ to be the only family in the neighbourhood that could
presume to do such a thing."

Next morning, Bromley Cheston received a letter which required his
immediate presence in New York on business of importance. When he went
to take leave of his aunt and cousin, he found them busily engaged in
clearing away and putting in order; a task which is nearly equal to that
of making the preparations for a party. They looked pale and
spiritless, and Mrs. Washington Potts had just sent her three boys to
spend the day with them.

When Cheston took Albina's hand at parting, he felt it tremble, and her
eyes looked as if they were filling with tears. "After all," thought he,
"she is a charming girl, and has both sense and sensibility."

"I am very nervous to-day," said Albina, "the party has been too much
for me; and I have in prospect for to-morrow the pain of taking leave of
Mrs. Washington Potts, who returns with all her family to Philadelphia."

"Strange infatuation!" thought Cheston, as he dropped Albina's hand, and
made his parting bow. "I must see more of this girl, before I can
resolve to trust my happiness to her keeping; I cannot share her heart
with Mrs. Washington Potts. When I return from New York, I will talk to
her seriously about that ridiculous woman, and I will also remonstrate
with her mother on the folly of straining every nerve in the pursuit of
what she calls a certain style."

In the afternoon, Mrs. Potts did Albina the honour to send for her to
assist in the preparations for to-morrow's removal to town; and in the
evening, the three boys were all taken home sick, in consequence of
having laid violent hands on the fragments of the feast: which fragments
they had continued during the day to devour almost without intermission.
Also Randolph had thrown Jefferson down stairs, and raised two green
bumps on his forehead, and Jefferson had pinched La Fayette's fingers in
the door till the blood came; not to mention various minor squabbles and
hurts.

At parting, Mrs. Potts went so far as to kiss Albina, and made her
promise to let her know immediately, whenever she or her mother came to
the city.

In about two weeks, Aunt Quimby finished her visitation: and the day
after her departure, Mrs. Marsden and Albina went to town to make their
purchases for the season, and also with a view towards a party, which
they knew Mrs. Potts had in contemplation. This time they did not, as
usual, stay with their relations, but they took lodgings at a
fashionable boarding-house, where they could receive their "great
woman," _comme il faut_.

On the morning after their arrival, Mrs. Marsden and her daughter, in
their most costly dresses, went to visit Mrs. Potts, that she might be
apprised of their arrival; and they found her in a spacious house,
expensively and ostentatiously furnished.

After they had waited till even _their_ patience was nearly exhausted,
Mrs. Potts came down stairs to them, but there was evidently a great
abatement in her affability. She seemed uneasy, looked frequently
towards the door, got up several times and went to the window, and
appeared fidgety when the bell rung. At last there came in two very
flaunting ladies, whom Mrs. Potts received as if she considered them
people of consequence. They were not introduced to the Marsdens, who,
after the entrance of these new visitors, sat awhile in the pitiable
situation of ciphers, and then took their leave. "Strange," said Mrs.
Marsden, "that she did not say a word of her party."

Three days after their visit, Mrs. Washington Potts left cards for Mrs.
and Miss Marsden, without inquiring if they were at home. And they heard
from report that her party was fixed for the week after next, and that
it was expected to be very splendid, as it was to introduce her
daughter, who had just quitted boarding-school. The Marsdens had seen
this young lady, who had spent the August holidays with her parents. She
was as silly as her mother, and as dull as her father, in the eyes of
all who were not blindly determined to think her otherwise, or who did
not consider it particularly expedient to uphold every one of the name
of Potts.

At length they heard that the invitations were going out for Mrs.
Potts's party, and that though very large, it was not to be general;
which meant that only one or two of the members were to be selected from
each family with whom Mrs. Potts thought proper to acknowledge an
acquaintance. From this moment Mrs. Marsden, who at the best of times
had never really been treated with much respect by Mrs. Potts, gave up
all hope of an invitation for herself; but she counted certainly on one
for Albina, and every ring at the door was expected to bring it. There
were many rings, but no invitation; and poor Albina and her mother took
turns in watching at the window.

At last Bogle[3] was seen to come up the steps with a handful of notes;
and Albina, regardless of all rule, ran to the front-door herself. They
were cards for a party, but not Mrs. Potts's, and were intended for two
other ladies that lodged in the house.

[Footnote 3: A celebrated coloured waiter in Philadelphia.]

Every time that Albina went out and came home, she inquired anxiously
of all the servants if no note had been left for her. Still there was
none. And her mother still insisted that the note _must_ have come, but
had been mislaid afterwards, or that Bogle had lost it in the street.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday passed over, and still no
invitation. Mrs. Marsden talked much of the carelessness of servants,
and had no doubt of the habitual negligence of Messrs. Bogle, Shepherd,
and other "fashionable party-men." Albina was almost sick with "hope
deferred." At last, when she came home on Monday morning from Second
street, her mother met her at the door with a delighted face, and showed
her the long-desired note, which had just been brought by Mrs. Potts's
own man. The party was to take place in two days: and so great was now
Albina's happiness, that she scarcely felt the fatigue of searching the
shops for articles of attire that were very elegant, and yet not _too_
expensive; and shopping with a limited purse is certainly no trifling
exercise both of mind and body; so also is the task of going round among
fashionable mantua-makers, in the hope of coaxing one of them to
undertake a dress at a short notice.

Next morning, Mrs. Potts sent for Albina immediately after breakfast,
and told her that as she knew her to be very clever at all sorts of
things, she wanted her to stay that day and assist in the preparations
for the next. Mrs. Potts, like many other people who live in showy
houses and dress extravagantly, was very economical in servants. She
gave such low wages, that none would come to her who could get places
anywhere else, and she kept them on such limited allowance that none
would stay with her who were worth having.

Fools are seldom consistent in their expenditure. They generally (to use
a homely expression) strain at gnats and swallow camels.

About noon, Albina having occasion to consult Mrs. Potts concerning
something that was to be done, found her in the front parlour with Mrs.
and Miss Montague. After Albina had left the room, Mrs. Montague said to
Mrs. Potts--"Is not that the girl who lives with her mother at the place
on the river, I forget what you call it--I mean the niece of the aunt?"

"That is Albina Marsden," replied Mrs. Potts.

"Yes," pursued Mrs. Montague, "the people that made so great an exertion
to give you a sort of party, and honoured Mr. and Miss Montague and
myself with invitations."

"She's not to be here to-morrow night, I hope!" exclaimed Miss Montague.

"Really," replied Mrs. Potts, "I could do no less than ask her. The poor
thing did her very best to be civil to us all last summer."

"Oh!" said Mrs. Montague, "in the country one is willing sometimes to
take up with such company as we should be very sorry to acknowledge in
town. You assured me that your party to-morrow night would be extremely
_recherché_. And as it is so early in the season you know that it is
necessary to be more particular now than at the close of the campaign,
when every one is tired of parties, and unwilling to get new evening
dresses lest they should be out of fashion before they are wanted again.
Excuse me, I speak only from what I have heard of American customs."

"I am always particular about my parties," said Mrs. Potts.

"A word in your ear," continued Mrs. Montague. "Is it not impolitic, or
rather are you not afraid to bring forward so beautiful a girl as this
Miss Martin on the very night of your own daughter's _debut_?"

Mrs. Potts looked alarmed for a moment, and then recovering herself
said--"I have no fear of Miss Harriet Angelina Potts being thrown in the
shade by a little country girl like this. Albina Marsden is pretty
enough, to be sure--at least, rather pretty--but then there is a certain
style--a certain air which she of course--in short, a certain style--"

"As to what you call a certain style," said Mrs. Montague, "I do not
know exactly what you mean. If it signifies the air and manner of a
lady, this Miss Martin has as much of it as any other American girl. To
me they are all nearly alike. I cannot distinguish those minute shades
of difference that you all make such a point of. In my unpractised eyes
the daughters of your mechanics and shopkeepers look as well and behave
as well as the daughters of your lawyers and doctors, for I find your
nobility is chiefly made up of these two professions, with the addition
of a few merchants; and you call every one a merchant that does not sell
his commodities by the single yard or the single quart."

"Mamma," whispered Miss Montague, "if that girl is to be here, I don't
wish to come. I can't endure her."

"Take my advice," continued Mrs. Montague to Mrs. Potts, "and put off
this Miss Martin. If she was not so strikingly handsome, she might pass
unnoticed in the crowd. But her beauty will attract general
observation, and you will be obliged to tell exactly who she is, where
you picked her up, and to give or to hear an account of her family and
all her connexions; and from the specimen we have had in the old aunt, I
doubt if they will bear a very minute scrutiny. So if she _is_ invited,
endeavour to uninvite her."

"I am sure I would willingly do that," replied Mrs. Potts, "but I can
really think of no excuse."

"Oh! send her a note to-morrow," answered Mrs. Montague, carelessly, and
rising to depart, "anything or nothing, so that you only signify to her
that she is not to come."

All day Mrs. Potts was revolving in her mind the most feasible means of
preventing Albina from appearing at her party; and her conscience smote
her when she saw the unsuspecting girl so indefatigable in assisting
with the preparations. Before Albina went home, Mrs. Potts had come to
the conclusion to follow Mrs. Montague's advice, but she shrunk from the
task of telling her so in person. She determined to send her next
morning a concise note, politely requesting her not to come; and she
intended afterwards to call on her and apologize, on the plea of her
party being by no means general, but still so large that every inch of
room was an object of importance; also that the selection consisted
entirely of persons well known to each other and accustomed to meet in
company, and that there was every reason to fear that her gentle and
modest friend Albina would have been unable to enjoy herself among so
many strangers, &c., &c. Those excuses, she knew, were very flimsy, but
she trusted to Albina's good nature, and she thought she could smooth
off all by inviting both her and her mother to a sociable tea.

Next morning, Mrs. Potts, who was on no occasion very ready with her
pen, considering that she professed to be _au fait_ to everything,
employed near an hour in manufacturing the following note to Albina.

"Mrs. Washington Potts' compliments to Miss Marsden, and she regrets
being under the necessity of dispensing with Miss M.'s company, to join
the social circle at her mansion-house this evening. Mrs. W. P. will
explain hereafter, hoping Mrs. and Miss M. are both well. Mr. W. P.
requests his respects to both ladies, as well as Miss Potts, and their
favourite little La Fayette desires his best love."

This billet arrived while Albina had gone to her mantua-maker, to have
her new dress fitted on for the last time. Her mother opened the note
and read it; a liberty which no parent should take with the
correspondence of a grown-up daughter. Mrs. Marsden was shocked at its
contents, and at a loss to guess the motive of so strange an
interdiction. At first her only emotion was resentment against Mrs.
Potts. Then she thought of the disappointment and mortification of poor
Albina, whom she pictured to herself passing a forlorn evening at home,
perhaps crying in her own room. Next, she recollected the elegant new
dress in which Albina would have looked so beautifully, and which would
now be useless.

"Oh!" soliloquized Mrs. Marsden, "what a pity this unaccountable note
was not dropped and lost in the street. But then, of course some one
would have found and read it, and that would have been worse than all.
How could Mrs. Potts be guilty of such abominable rudeness, as to desire
poor Albina not to come, after she had been invited? But great people
think they may do anything. I wish the note had fallen into the fire
before it came to my hands; then Albina would have known nothing of it;
she would have gone to the party, looking more charmingly than ever she
did in her life; and she would be seen there, and admired, and make new
acquaintances, and Mrs. Potts could do no otherwise than behave to her
politely in her own house. Nobody would know of this vile billet (which
perhaps after all is only a joke), and Mrs. Potts would suppose, that of
course Albina had not received it; besides, I have no doubt that Mrs.
Potts will send for her to-morrow, and make a satisfactory explanation.
But then, to-night; if Albina could but get there to-night. What harm
can possible arrive from my not showing her the note till to-morrow? Why
should the dear girl be deprived of all the pleasure she anticipated
this evening? And even if she expected no enjoyment whatever, still how
great will be the advantage of having her seen at Mrs. Washington
Potts's select party; it will at once get her on in the world. Of course
Mrs. Potts will conclude that the note had miscarried, and will treat
her as if it had never been sent. I am really most strongly tempted to
suppress it, and let Albina go."

The more Mrs. Marsden thought of this project, the less objectionable it
appeared to her. When she saw Albina come home, delighted with her new
dress, which fitted her exactly, and when she heard her impatiently
wishing that evening was come, this weak and ill-judging mother could
not resolve (as she afterwards said) to dash all her pleasant
anticipations to the ground, and demolish her castles in the air. "My
daughter shall be happy to-night," thought she, "whatever may be the
event of to-morrow." She hastily concealed the note, and kept her
resolution of not mentioning it to Albina.

Evening came, and Albina's beautiful hair was arranged and decorated by
a fashionable French barber. She was dressed, and she looked charmingly.

Albina knew that Mrs. Potts had sent an invitation to the United States
Hotel for Lieutenant Cheston, who was daily expected, but had not yet
returned from New York, and she regretted much that she could not go to
the party under his escort. She knew no one else of the company, and she
had no alternative but to send for a carriage, and proceeded thither by
herself, after her mother had despatched repeated messages to the hotel
to know if Mr. Cheston had yet arrived, for he was certainly expected
back that evening.

As Albina drove to the house, she felt all the terrors of diffidence
coming upon her, and already repented that she had ventured on this
enterprise alone. On arriving, she did not go into the ladies' room, but
gave her hood and cloak at once to a servant, and tremulously requested
another attendant to inform Mr. Potts that a lady wished to see him. Mr.
Potts accordingly came out into the hall, and looked surprised at
finding Albina there, for he had heard his wife and daughter talking of
the note of interdiction. But concluding, as he often did, that it was
in vain for him to try to comprehend the proceedings of women, he
thought it best to say nothing.

On Albina requesting him to accompany her on her entrance, he gave her
his arm in silence, and with a very perplexed face escorted her into the
principal room. As he led her up to his wife, his countenance gradually
changed from perplexity to something like fright. Albina paid her
compliments to Mrs. Potts, who received her with evident amazement, and
without replying. Mrs. Montague, who sat next to the lady of the
mansion, opened still wider her immense eyes, and then, "to make
assurance doubly sure," applied her opera-glass. Miss Montague first
stared and then laughed.

Albina, much disconcerted, turned to look for a seat, Mr. Potts having
withdrawn his arm. As she retired to the only vacant chair, she heard a
half whisper running along the line of ladies, and though she could not
distinguish the words so as to make any connected sense of them, she
felt that they alluded to her.

"Can I believe my eyes?" said Mrs. Potts.

"The assurance of American girls is astonishing," said Mrs. Montague.

"She was forbidden to come," said Miss Montague to a young lady beside
her. "Mrs. Potts herself forbade her to come."

"She was actually prohibited," resumed Mrs. Montague, leaning over to
Mrs. Jones.

"I sent her myself a note of prohibition," said Mrs. Potts, leaning over
to Mrs. Smith. "I had serious objections to having her here."

"I never saw such downright impudence," pursued Mrs. Montague. "This I
suppose is one of the consequences of the liberty, and freedom and
independence that you Americans are always talking about. I must tell
Mr. Montague, for really this is too good to lose."

And beckoning her husband to come to her--"My dear," said she, "put down
in your memorandum-book, that when American married ladies invite young
ladies to parties, they on second thoughts forbid them to come, and that
the said American young ladies boldly persist in coming in spite of the
forbiddance."

And she then related to him the whole affair, at full length, and with
numerous embellishments, looking all the time at poor Albina.

The story was soon circulated round the room in whispers and murmurs,
and no one had candour or kindness to suggest the possibility of Miss
Marsden's having never received the note.

Albina soon perceived herself to be an object of remark and
animadversion, and she was sadly at a loss to divine the cause. The two
ladies that were nearest to her, rose up and left their seats, while two
others edged their chairs farther off. She knew no one, she was
introduced to no one, but she saw that every one was looking at her as
she sat by herself, alone, conspicuous, and abashed. Tea was waiting for
a lady that came always last, and the whole company seemed to have
leisure to gaze on poor Albina, and to whisper about her.

Her situation now became intolerable. She felt that there was nothing
left for her but to go home. Unluckily she had ordered the carriage at
eleven o'clock. At last she resolved on making a great effort, and on
plea of a violent headache (a plea which by this time was literally
true) to ask Mrs. Potts if she would allow a servant to bring a coach
for her.

After several attempts, she rose for this purpose; but she saw at the
same moment that all eyes were turned upon her. She tremblingly, and
with downcast looks, advanced till she got into the middle of the room,
and then all her courage deserted her at once, when she heard some one
say, "I wonder what she is going to do next."

She stopped suddenly, and stood motionless, and she saw Miss Potts
giggle, and heard her say to a school-girl near her, "I suppose she is
going to speak a speech." She turned very pale, and felt as if she could
gladly sink into the floor, when suddenly some one took her hand, and
the voice of Bromley Cheston said to her, "Albina--Miss Marsden--I will
conduct you wherever you wish to go"--and then, lowering his tone, he
asked her, "Why this agitation--what has happened to distress you?"

Cheston had just arrived from New York, having been detained on the way
by an accident that happened to one of the boats, and finding that Mrs.
Marsden was in town, and had that day sent several messages for him, he
repaired immediately to her lodgings. He had intended declining the
invitation of Mrs. Potts, but when he found that Albina had gone
thither, he hastily changed his dress and went to the party. When he
entered, what was his amazement to see her standing alone in the centre
of the room, and the company whispering and gazing at her.

Albina, on hearing the voice of a friend, the voice of Bromley Cheston,
was completely overcome, and she covered her face and burst into tears.
"Albina," said Cheston, "I will not now ask an explanation; I see that,
whatever may have happened, you had best go home."

"Oh! most gladly, most thankfully," she exclaimed, in a voice almost
inarticulate with sobs.

Cheston drew her arm within his, and bowing to Mrs. Potts, he led Albina
out of the apartment, and conducted her to the staircase, whence she
went to the ladies' room to compose herself a little, and prepare for
her departure.

Cheston then sent one servant for a carriage, and another to tell Mr.
Potts that he desired to speak with him in the hall. Potts came out with
a pale, frightened face, and said--"Indeed, sir--indeed, I had nothing
to do with it; ask the women. It was all them entirely. It was the
women that laughed at Miss Albina, and whispered about her."

"For what?" demanded the lieutenant. "I insist on knowing for what
cause."

"Why, sir," replied Potts, "she came here to my wife's party, after Mrs.
Potts had sent a note desiring her to stay away; which was certainly an
odd thing for a young lady to do."

"There is some mistake," exclaimed Cheston; "I'll stake my life that she
never saw the note. And now, for what reason did Mrs. Potts write such a
note? How did she dare--"

"Oh!" replied Potts, stammering and hesitating, "women will have their
notions; men are not half so particular about their company. Somehow,
after Mrs. Potts had invited Miss Albina, she thought, on farther
consideration, that poor Miss Albina was not quite genteel enough for
her party. You know all the women now make a great point of being
genteel. But, indeed, sir (observing the storm that was gathering on
Cheston's brow), indeed, sir--_I_ was not in the least to blame. It was
altogether the fault of my wife."

The indignation of the lieutenant was so highly excited, that nothing
could have checked it but the recollection that Potts was in his own
house. At this moment, Albina came down stairs, and Cheston took her
hand and said to her: "Albina, did you receive a note from Mrs. Potts
interdicting your presence at the party?"--"Oh! no, indeed!" exclaimed
Albina, amazed at the question. "Surely she did not send me such a
note."--"Yes she did, though," said Potts, quickly.--"Is it, then,
necessary for me to say," said Albina, indignantly, "that, under those
circumstances, nothing could have induced me to enter this house, now or
ever! I saw or heard nothing of this note. And is this the reason that I
have been treated so rudely--so cruelly--"

Upon this, Mr. Potts made his escape, and Cheston, having put Albina
into the carriage, desired the coachman to wait a few moments. He then
returned to the drawing-room and approached Mrs. Potts, who was standing
with half the company collected round her, and explaining with great
volubility the whole history of Albina Marsden. On the appearance of
Cheston, she stopped short, and all her auditors looked foolish.

The young officer advanced into the centre of the circle, and, first
addressing Mrs. Potts, he said to her--"In justice to Miss Marsden, I
have returned, madam, to inform you that your note of interdiction, with
which you have so kindly made all the company acquainted, was till this
moment unknown to that young lady. But, even had she come wilfully, and
in the full knowledge of your prohibition, no circumstances whatever
could justify the rudeness with which I find she has been treated. I
have now only to say that, if any gentleman presumes, either here or
hereafter, to cast a reflection on the conduct of Miss Albina Marsden,
in this or in any other instance, he must answer to me for the
consequences. And if I find that any lady has invidiously misrepresented
this occurrence, I shall insist on an atonement from her husband, her
brother, or her admirer."

He then bowed and departed, and the company looked still more foolish.

"This lesson," thought Cheston, "will have the salutary effect of curing
Albina of her predominant follies. She is a lovely girl, after all, and
when withdrawn from the influence of her mother, will make a charming
woman and an excellent wife."

Before the carriage stopped at the residence of Mrs. Marsden, Cheston
had made Albina an offer of his heart and hand, and the offer was not
refused.

Mrs. Marsden was scarcely surprised at the earliness of Albina's return
from the party, for she had a secret misgiving that all was not right,
that the suppression of the note would not eventuate well, and she
bitterly regretted having done it. When her daughter related to her the
story of the evening, Mrs. Marsden was overwhelmed with compunction;
and, though Cheston was present, she could not refrain from
acknowledging at once her culpability, for it certainly deserved no
softer name. Cheston and Albina were shocked at this disclosure; but, in
compassion to Mrs. Marsden, they forbore to add to her distress by a
single comment. Cheston shortly after took his leave, saying to Albina
as he departed, "I hope you are done for ever with Mrs. Washington
Potts."

Next morning, Cheston seriously but kindly expostulated with Albina and
her mother on the folly and absurdity of sacrificing their comfort,
their time, their money, and, indeed, their self-respect, to the paltry
distinction of being capriciously noticed by a few vain, silly,
heartless people, inferior to themselves in everything but in wealth and
in a slight tincture of soi-disant fashion; and who, after all, only
took them on or threw them off as it suited their own convenience.

"What you say is very true, Bromley," replied Mrs. Marsden. "I begin to
view these things in their proper light, and as Albina remarks, we ought
to profit by this last lesson. To tell the exact truth, I have heard
since I came to town that Mrs. Washington Potts is, after all, by no
means in the first circle, and it is whispered that she and her husband
are both of very low origin."

"No matter for her circle or her origin," said Cheston, "in our country
the only acknowledged distinction should be that which is denoted by
superiority of mind and manners."

Next day Lieutenant Cheston escorted Mrs. Marsden and Albina back to
their own home--and a week afterwards he was sent unexpectedly on a
cruise in the West Indies.

He returned in the spring, and found Mrs. Marsden more rational than he
had ever known her, and Albina highly improved by a judicious course of
reading which he had marked out for her, and still more by her intimacy
with a truly genteel, highly talented, and very amiable family from the
eastward, who had recently bought a house in the village, and in whose
society she often wondered at the infatuation which had led her to fancy
such a woman as Mrs. Washington Potts, with whom, of course, she never
had any farther communication.

A recent and very large bequest to Bromley Cheston from a distant
relation, made it no longer necessary that the young lieutenant should
wait for promotion before he married Albina; and accordingly their union
took place immediately on his return.

Before the Montagues left Philadelphia to prosecute their journey to the
south, there arrived an acquaintance of theirs from England, who
injudiciously "told the secrets of his prison-house," and made known in
whispers "not loud but deep," that Mr. Dudley Montague, of Normancourt
Park, Hants, (alias Mr. John Wilkins, of Lamb's Conduit Street,
Clerkenwell), had long been well-known in London as a reporter for a
newspaper; that he had recently married a widow, the ci-devant governess
of a Somers Town Boarding-school, who had drawn her ideas of fashionable
life from the columns of the Morning Post, and who famished her pupils
so much to her own profit that she had been able to retire on a sort of
fortune. With the assistance of this fund, she and her daughter (the
young lady was in reality the offspring of her mother's first marriage)
had accompanied Mr. Wilkins across the Atlantic: all three assuming the
lordly name of Montague, as one well calculated to strike the
republicans with proper awe. The truth was, that for a suitable
consideration proffered by a tory publisher, the _soi-disant_ Mr.
Montague had undertaken to add another octavo to the numerous volumes of
gross misrepresentation and real ignorance that profess to contain an
impartial account of the United States of America.



MR. SMITH.


Those of my readers who recollect the story of Mrs. Washington Potts,
may not be sorry to learn that in less than two years after the marriage
of Bromley Cheston and Albina, Mrs. Marsden was united to a southern
planter of great wealth and respectability, with whom she had become
acquainted during a summer excursion to Newport. Mrs. Selbourne (that
being her new name) was now, as her letters denoted, completely in her
element, presiding over a large establishment, mistress of twelve
house-servants, and almost continually engaged in doing the honours of a
spacious mansion to a round of company, or in complying with similar
invitations from the leading people of a populous neighbourhood, or in
reciprocating visits with the most fashionable inhabitants of the
nearest city. Her only regret was that Mrs. Washington Potts could not
"be there to see." But then as a set-off, Mrs. Selbourne rejoiced in the
happy reflection, that a distance of several hundred miles placed a
great gulf between herself and Aunt Quimby, from whose Vandal incursions
she now felt a delightful sense of security. She was not, however, like
most of her compatriots, a warm advocate for the universal diffusion of
railroads; neither did she assent very cordially to the common remarks
about this great invention, annihilating both time and space, and
bringing "the north and the south, and the east and the west" into the
same neighbourhood.

Bromley Cheston, having succeeded to a handsome inheritance by the
demise of an opulent relative, in addition to his house in Philadelphia,
purchased as a summer residence that of his mother-in-law on the banks
of the Delaware, greatly enlarging and improving it, and adding to its
little domain some meadow and woodland; also a beautiful piece of
ground which he converted into a green lawn sloping down towards the
river, and bounded on one side by a shady road that led to a convenient
landing-place.

The happiness of Albina and her husband (who in the regular course of
promotion became Captain Cheston) was much increased by the society of
Bromley's sister Myrtilla, a beautiful, sprightly, and intelligent girl,
whom they invited to live with them after the death of her maternal
grandmother, an eastern lady, with whom she had resided since the loss
of her parents, and who had left her a little fortune of thirty thousand
dollars.

Their winters were passed in Philadelphia, where Albina found herself
quite at home in a circle far superior to that of Mrs. Washington Potts,
who was one of the first to visit Mrs. Cheston on her marriage. This
visit was of course received with civility, but returned by merely
leaving a card at the door. No notice whatever was taken of Mrs. Potts's
second call; neither was she ever invited to the house.

When Cheston was not at sea, little was wanting to complete the perfect
felicity of the family. It is true they were not entirely exempt from
the occasional annoyances and petty vexations, inseparable from even the
happiest state of human life; but these were only transient shadows,
that, on passing away, generally served as topics of amusement, and
caused them to wonder how trifles, diverting in the recollection, could
have really so troubled them at the time of occurrence. Such, for
instance, were the frequent visitations of Mrs. Quimby, who told them
(after they had enlarged their villa, and bought a carriage and a
tilbury), "Really, good people, now that things are all so genteel, and
pleasant, and full-handed, I think I shall be apt to favour you with my
company the greatest part of every summer. There's no danger of Billy
Fairfowl and Mary being jealous. They always let me go and come just as
I please; and if I was to stay away ten years, I do not believe they'd
be the least affronted."

As the old lady had intimated, her visits, instead of being "few and far
between," were many and close together. It is said you may get used to
anything, and therefore the Chestons _did not_ sell off their property
and fly the country on account of Aunt Quimby. Luckily she never brought
with her any of the Fairfowl family, her son-in-law having sufficient
tact to avoid on principle all visiting intercourse with people who
were beyond his sphere: for, though certain of being kindly treated by
the Chestons themselves, he apprehended that he and his would probably
be looked down upon by persons whom they might chance to meet there.
Mrs. Quimby, for her part, was totally obtuse to all sense of these
distinctions.

One Monday evening, on his return from town, Captain Cheston brought his
wife and sister invitations to a projected picnic party, among the
managers of which were two of his intimate friends. The company was to
consist chiefly of ladies and gentlemen from the city. Their design was
to assemble on the following Thursday, at some pleasant retreat on the
banks of the Delaware, and to recreate themselves with an unceremonious
_fête champêtre_. "I invited them," continued the captain, "to make use
of my grounds for the purpose. We can find an excellent place for them
in the woods by the river side. Delham and Lonsgrave will be here
to-morrow, to reconnoitre the capabilities of the place."

The ladies were delighted with the prospect of the picnic party; more
especially on finding that most of the company were known to them.

"It will be charming," said Albina, "to have them near us, and to be
able to supply them with many conveniences from our own house. You may
be assured, dear Bromley, that I shall liberally do my part towards
contributing to the picnickery. You know that our culinary preparations
never go wrong now that I have more experience, good servants, and above
all plenty to do with."

"How fortunate," said Myrtilla Cheston, "that Mrs. Quimby left us this
morning. This last visit has been so long that I think she will scarcely
favour us with another in less than two or three weeks. I hope she will
not hear that the picnic is to be on our place."

"There is no danger," replied Cheston; "Aunt Quimby cannot possibly know
any of the persons concerned in it. And besides, I met her to-day in the
street, and she told me that she was going to set out on Wednesday for
Baltimore, to visit Billy Fairfowl's sister, Mrs. Bagnell: 'Also,' said
she, 'it will take me from this time to that to pack my things, as I
never before went so far from home, and I dare say, I shall stay in
Baltimore all the rest of the fall; I don't believe when the Bagnells
once have me with them, they'll let me come away much this side of
winter.'"

"I sincerely hope they will not!" exclaimed Albina; "I am so glad that
Nancy Fairfowl has married a Baltimorean. I trust they will make their
house so pleasant to Aunt Quimby, that she will transfer her favour from
us to them. You know she often tells us that Nancy and herself are as
like as two peas, both in looks and ways; and from her account, Johnny
Bagnell must be a third pea, exactly resembling both of them."

"And yet," observed Cheston, "people whose minds are of the same
calibre, do not always assimilate as well as might be supposed. When
_too_ nearly alike, and too close to each other, they frequently rub
together so as to grate exceedingly."

We will pass over the intervening days by saying, that the preparations
for the picnic party were duly and successfully made: the arrangement of
the ground being undertaken by Captain Cheston, and Lieutenants Delham
and Lonsgrave, and completed with the taste, neatness, and judicious
arrangement, which always distinguishes such things when done by
officers, whether of army or navy.

The appointed Thursday arrived. It was a lovely day, early in September:
the air being of that delightful and exhilarating temperature, that
converts the mere sense of existence into pleasure. The heats of summer
were over, and the sky had assumed its mildest tint of blue. All was
calm and cool, and lovely, and the country seemed sleeping in luxurious
repose. The grass, refreshed by the August rains, looked green as that
of the "emerald isle;" and the forest trees had not yet begun to wear
the brilliant colours of autumn, excepting here and there a maple whose
foliage was already crimsoned. The orchards were loaded with fruit,
glowing in ripeness; and the buckwheat fields, white with blossoms,
perfumed the air with their honeyed fragrance. The rich flowers of the
season were in full bloom. Birds of beautiful plumage still lingered in
the woods, and were warbling their farewell notes previous to their
return to a more southern latitude. The morning sunbeams danced and
glittered on the blue waters of the broad and brimming Delaware, as the
mirrored surface reflected its green and fertile banks with their
flowery meadows, embowering groves, and modestly elegant villas.

The ground allotted to the party was an open space in the woodlands,
which ran along an elevated ridge, looking directly down on the noble
river that from its far-off source in the Catskill mountains, first
dividing Pennsylvania from New York and then from New Jersey, carries
its tributary stream the distance of three hundred miles, till it widens
into the dim and lonely bay whose last waves are blended with the
dark-rolling Atlantic. Old trees of irregular and fantastic forms,
leaning far over the water, grew on the extreme edge of this bank; and
from its steep and crumbling side protruded their wildly twisted roots,
fringed with long fibres that had been washed bare by the tide which
daily overflowed the broad strip of gray sand, that margined the river.
Part of an old fence, that had been broken down and carried away by the
incursions of a spring freshet, still remained, at intervals, along the
verge of the bank; and his ladies had prevailed on Captain Cheston not
to repair it, as in its ruinous state it looked far more picturesque
than if new and in good order. In clearing this part of the forest many
of the largest and finest trees had been left standing, and beneath
their shade seats were now dispersed for the company. In another part of
the opening, a long table had been set under a sort of marquée,
constructed of colours brought from the Navy Yard, and gracefully
suspended to the wide-spreading branches of some noble oaks: the stars
and stripes of the most brilliant flag in the world, blending in
picturesque elegance with the green and clustering foliage. At a little
distance, under a group of trees, whose original forms were hidden
beneath impervious masses of the forest grape-vine, was placed a
side-table for the reception of the provisions, as they were unpacked
from the baskets; and a clear shady brook which wandered near, rippling
over a bed of pebbles on its way down to the river, afforded an
unlimited supply of "water clear as diamond spark," and made an
excellent refrigerator for the wine bottles.

Most of the company were to go up in the early boat: purposing to return
in the evening by the railroad. Others, who preferred making their own
time, were to come in carriages. As soon as the bell of the steamboat
gave notice of her approach, Captain Cheston, with his wife and sister,
accompanied by Lieutenants Delham and Lonsgrave, went down to the
landing-place to receive the first division of the picnic party, which
was chiefly of young people, all with smiling countenances, and looking
as if they anticipated a very pleasant little fête. The Chestons were
prepared to say with Seged of Ethiopia, "This day shall be a day of
happiness"--but as the last of the gay procession stepped from the
landing-board, Aunt Quimby brought up the rear.

"Oh! Bromley," said Mrs. Cheston, in a low voice, to her husband, "there
is our most _mal-à-propos_ of aunts--I thought she was a hundred miles
off. This is really too bad--what shall we do with her? On this day,
too, of all days--"

"We can do nothing, but endeavour, as usual, to make the best of her,"
replied the captain; "but where did she pick up that common-looking man,
whom she seems to be hauling along with her?"

Mrs. Quimby now came up, and after the first greeting, Albina and
Myrtilla endeavoured to withdraw from her the attention of the rest of
the company, whom they conducted for the present to the house; but she
seized upon the captain, to whom she introduced her companion by the
appellation of Mr. Smith. The stranger looked embarrassed, and seemed as
if he could scarcely presume to take the offered hand of Captain
Cheston, and muttered something about trespassing on hospitality, but
Aunt Quimby interrupted him with--"Oh! nonsense, now, Mr. Smith--where's
the use of being so shame-faced, and making apologies for what can't be
helped? I dare say my nephew and niece wonder quite as much at seeing
_me_ here, supposing that I'm safe and sound at Nancy Bagnell's, in
Baltimore. But are you sure my baggage is all on the barrow? Just step
back, and see if the big blue bandbox is safe, and the little yellow
one; I should not wonder if the porter tosses them off, or crushes in
the lids. All men seem to have a spite at bandboxes."

Mr. Smith meekly obeyed: and Aunt Quimby, taking the arm of Cheston,
walked with him towards the house.

"Tell me who this gentleman is," said Captain Cheston. "He cannot belong
to any of the Smiths of 'Market, Arch, Race, and Vine, Chestnut, Walnut,
Spruce, and Pine.'"

"No," replied Mrs. Quimby, "nor to the Smiths of the cross-streets
neither--nor to those up in the Northern Liberties, nor them down in
Southwark. If you mean that he is not a Philadelphia man, you've hit the
nail on the head--but that's no reason there shouldn't be Smiths enough
all over the world. However, the short and the long of it is this--I was
to have started for Baltimore yesterday morning, bright and early, with
Mr. and Mrs. Neverwait--but the shoemaker had not sent home my
over-shoes, and the dyer had not finished my gray Canton crape shawl,
that he was doing a cinnamon brown, and the milliner disappointed me in
new-lining my bonnet; so I could not possibly go, you know, and the
Neverwaits went without me. Well, the things _were_ brought home last
night, which was like coming a day after the fair. But as I was all
packed up, I was bent upon going, somehow or other, this morning. So I
made Billy Fairfowl take me down to the wharf, bag and baggage, to see
if he could find anybody he knew to take charge of me to Baltimore. And
there, as good luck would have it, we met with Mr. Smith, who has been
several times in Billy's store, and bought domestics of him, and got
acquainted with him; so that Billy, finding this poor Mr. Smith was a
stranger, and a man that took no airs, and that did not set up for great
things, got very sociable with him, and even invited him to tea. Now,
when we met him on the wharf, Mr. Smith was quite a windfall for us, and
he agreed to escort me to Baltimore, as of course he must, when he was
asked. So, then, Billy being in a hurry to go to market for breakfast
(before all the pick of the butter was gone), just bade me good-bye, and
left me on the wharf, seeing what good hands I was in. Now, poor Mr.
Smith being a stranger, and, of course, not so well used to steamboats
as our own people, took me into the wrong one; for the New York and
Baltimore boats were laying side by side, and seemed both mixed
together, so that it was hard telling which was which, the crowd hiding
everything from us. And after we got on board, I was so busy talking,
and he a listening, and looking at the people, that we never found out
our mistake till we were half-way up the river, instead of being
half-way down it. And then I heard the ladies all round talking of a nic
or a pic (or both I believe they called it), that they said was to be
held on Captain Cheston's grounds. So, then, I pricked up my ears, and
found that it was even so; and I told them that Captain Cheston was a
near relation of mine, for his wife was own daughter to Mrs. Marsden
that was, whose first husband was my sister Nelly's own son; and all
about your marrying Albina, and what a handsome place you have, and how
Mr. Smith and I had got into the wrong boat, and were getting carried
off, being taken up the river instead of down."

"And what did the company say to all this?" inquired Cheston.

"Why, I don't exactly remember, but they must have said something; for I
know those that were nearest stopped their own talk when I began. And,
after awhile, I went across to the other side of the boat, where Mr.
Smith was leaning over the railing, and looking at the foam flying from
the wheels, (as if it was something new), and I pulled his sleeve, and
told him we were quite in luck to-day, for we should be at a party
without intending it. And he made a sort of humming and hawing about
intruding himself (as he called it) without an invitation. But I told
him to leave all that to me--I'd engage to pass him through. And he
talked something of betaking himself to the nearest hotel after we
landed, and waiting for the next boat down the river. However, I would
not listen to that; and I made him understand that any how there could
be no Baltimore to-day, as it was quite too late to get there now by any
contrivance at all; and that we could go down with the other company
this evening by the railroad, and take a fresh start to-morrow morning.
Still he seemed to hold back; and I told him that as to our going to the
party, all things had turned up as if it _was_ to be, and I should think
it a sin to fling such good luck aside, when it was just ready to drop
into our mouths, and that he might never have another chance of being in
such genteel company as long as he lived. This last hint seemed to do
the business, for he gave a sort of a pleased smile, and made no more
objection. And then I put him in mind that the people that owned the
ground were my own niece and nephew, who were always crazy to see me,
and have me with them; and I could answer for it they'd be just as glad
to see any of my acquaintance--and as to the eatables, I was sure _his_
being there would not make a cent's worth of difference, for I was
certain there'd be plenty, and oceans of plenty, and I told him only to
go and look at the baskets of victuals that were going up in the boat;
besides all that, I knew the Chestons would provide well, for they were
never backward with anything."

She now stopped to take breath, and Cheston inquired if her son-in-law
knew nothing more of Mr. Smith than from merely seeing him in his store.

"Oh! yes; did not I tell you we had him to tea? You need not mention it
to anybody--but (if the truth must be told) Mr. Smith is an Englishman.
The poor man can't help that, you know: and I'm sure I should never have
guessed it, for he neither looks English nor talks English. He is not a
bit like that impudent Mr. Montague, who took slices out of Albina's big
plum-cake hours before the company came, at that great party she gave
for Mrs. Washington Potts."

"Pshaw!" said Cheston.

"Yes, you may well pshaw at it. But after all, for my own part, I must
say I enjoyed myself very much that evening. I had a great deal of
pleasant talk. I was sorry, afterwards, that I did not stay down stairs
to the last, to see if all the company took French leave like me. If
they did, it must have been quite a pretty sight to see them go. By the
bye (now I talk of French leave) did you hear that the Washington
Pottses have broke all to pieces and gone off to France to live upon the
money that he made over to his wife to keep it from his creditors?"

"But, Mr. Smith--" resumed Cheston.

"Why, Bromley, what makes you so fidgety? Billy Fairfowl (though I say
it that shouldn't say it) is not the man to ask people to tea unless he
is sure they are pretty decent sort of folks. So he went first to the
British Consul, and inquired about Mr. Smith, and described his look and
dress just as he would a runaway 'prentice. And the Consul knew exactly
who he meant, and told him he would answer for Mr. Smith's being a man
of good character, and perfectly honest and respectable. And that, you
know, is quite as much as need be said of anybody. So, then, we had him
to tea, quite in a plain way; but he seemed very easily satisfied, and
though there were huckleberries, and cucumbers, and dough-nuts, he did
not eat a thing but bread and butter, and not much of that, and took no
sugar in his tea, and only drank two cups. And Billy talked to him the
whole evening about our factories, and our coal and iron: and he
listened quite attentively, and seemed to understand very well, though
he did not say much; and he kept awake all the time, which was very
clever of him, and more than Billy is used to. He seems like a
good-hearted man, for he saved little Jane from pulling the tea-waiter
down upon her head, as she was coming out from under the table; and he
ran and picked up Johnny, when he fell over the rockers of the big
chair, and wiped the blood off his nose with his own clean handkerchief.
I dare say he's a good soul; but he is very humble-minded, and seems so
afraid of saying wrong that he hardly says anything. Here he comes,
trudging along beside the porter; and I see he has got all the baggage
safe, even the brown paper parcel and the calico bag. That's his own
trunk, under all the rest."

Mr. Smith now came up, and inquired of Captain Cheston for the nearest
inn, that he might remain there till a boat passed down for
Philadelphia. "Why, Mr. Smith," interrupted Aunt Quimby, "where's the
sense of being so backward? We ought to be thankful for our good luck
in getting here on the very day of the picnic, even though we _did_ come
by mistake. And now you _are_ here, it's all nonsense for you to run
away, and go and mope by yourself at a country tavern. I suppose you are
afraid you're not welcome; but I'll answer for you as well as myself."

Civility to the stranger required that Captain Cheston should second
Mrs. Quimby; and he did so in terms so polite that Mr. Smith was
induced, with much diffidence, to remain.

"Poor man!" said Aunt Quimby, in a low voice, to the captain, "between
ourselves, it's plain enough that he is not much used to being among
great people, and he's afraid of feeling like a fish out of water. He
must have a very poor opinion of himself, for even at Billy Fairfowl's
he did not seem quite at home; though we all tried to encourage him, and
I told him myself, as soon as we sat down to the tea-table, to make just
as free as if he was in his own house."

Arrived at the mansion of the Chestons, Mrs. Quimby at first objected to
changing her dress, which was a very rusty black silk, with a bonnet to
match; declaring that she was sure nothing was expected of people who
were on their travels, and that she saw no use in taking the trouble to
unpack her baggage. She was, however, overruled by the representations
of Albina, who offered to both unpack and re-pack for her. Accordingly
she equipped herself in what she called her second-best suit. The gown
was a thick rustling silk, of a very reddish brown, with a new inside
kerchief of blue-tinted book muslin that had never been washed. Over her
shoulders she pinned her Canton-crape shawl, whose brown tinge was
entirely at variance with the shade of her gown. On her head was a stiff
hard cap, trimmed with satin ribbon, of a still different brown colour,
the ends of the bows sticking out horizontally, and scolloped into
numerous points. She would not wear her best bonnet, lest it should be
injured; and fortunately her worst was so small that she found, if she
put it on, it would crush her second-best cap. She carried in one hand a
stiff-starched handkerchief of imitation-cambric, which she considered
too good to unfold; and with the other she held over her head a faded
green parasol.

Thus equipped, the old lady set out with Captain and Mrs. Cheston for
the scene of the picnic; the rest of the party being a little in advance
of them. They saw Mr. Smith strolling about the lawn, and Mrs. Quimby
called to him to come and give his arm to her niece, saying, "There,
Albina, take him under your wing, and try to make him sociable, while I
walk on with your husband. Bromley, how well you look in your
navy-regimentals. I declare I'm more and more in luck. It is not
everybody that can have an officer always ready and willing to 'squire
them"--And the old lady (like many young ladies) unconsciously put on a
different face and a different walk, while escorted by a gentleman in
uniform.

"Bromley," continued Aunt Quimby, "I heard some of the picnic ladies in
the boat saying that those which are to ride up are to bring a lion with
them. This made me open my eyes, and put me all in quiver; so I could
not help speaking out, and saying--I should make a real right down
objection to his being let loose among the company, even if he was ever
so tame. Then they laughed, and one of them said that a lion meant a
great man; and asked me if I had never heard the term before. I answered
that may be I had, but it must have slipped my memory; and that I
thought it a great shame to speak of Christian people as if they were
wild beasts."

"And who is this great man?" inquired Cheston.

"Oh! he's a foreigner from beyond sea, and he is coming with some of the
ladies in their own carriage--Baron Somebody"--

"Baron Von Klingenberg," said Cheston, "I have heard of him."

"That's the very name. It seems he is just come from Germany, and has
taken rooms at one of the tip-top hotels, where he has a table all to
himself. I wonder how any man can bear to eat his victuals sitting up
all alone, with not a soul to speak a word with. I think I should die if
I had no body to talk to. Well--they said that this Baron is a person of
very high _tone_, which I suppose means that he has a very loud
voice--and from what I could gather, it's fashionable for the young
ladies to fall in love with him, and they think it an honour to get a
bow from him in Chesnut street, and they take him all about with them.
And they say he has in his own country a castle that stands on banks of
rind, which seems a strange foundation. Dear me--now we've got to the
picnic place--how gay and pretty everything looks, and what heaps of
victuals there must be in all those baskets, and oceans of drinkables in
all those bottles and demijohns. Mercy on me--I pity the
dish-washers--when will they get through all the dirty plates! And I
declare! how beautiful the flags look! fixed up over the table just
like bed-curtains--I am glad you have plenty of chairs here, besides the
benches.--And only see!--if here a'n't cakes and lemonade coming round."

The old lady took her seat under one of the large trees, and entered
unhesitatingly into whatever conversation was within her hearing;
frequently calling away the Chestons to ask them questions or address to
them remarks. The company generally divided into groups; some sat, some
walked, some talked; and some, retreating farther into the woods, amused
themselves and each other with singing, or playing forfeits. There was,
as is usual in Philadelphia assemblages, a very large proportion of
handsome young ladies; and all were dressed in that consistent,
tasteful, and decorous manner which distinguishes the fair damsels of
the city of Penn.

In a short time Mrs. Quimby missed her protegée, and looking round for
him she exclaimed--"Oh! if there is not Mr. Smith a sitting on a rail,
just back of me, all the time. Do come down off the fence, Mr. Smith.
You'll find a much pleasanter seat on this low stump behind me, than to
stay perched up there. Myrtilla Cheston, my dear, come here--I want to
speak to you."

Miss Cheston had the amiability to approach promptly and cheerfully:
though called away from an animated conversation with two officers of
the navy, two of the army, and three young lawyers, who had all formed a
semicircle round four of the most attractive belles: herself being the
cynosure.

"Myrtilla," said Aunt Quimby, in rather a low voice, "do take some
account of this poor forlorn man that's sitting behind me. He's so very
backward, and thinks himself such a mere nobody, that I dare say he
feels bad enough at being here without an invitation, and all among
strangers too--though I've told him over and over that he need not have
the least fear of being welcome. There now--there's a good girl--go and
spirit him up a little. You know you are at home here on your brother's
own ground."

"I scarcely know how to talk to an Englishman," replied Myrtilla, in a
very low voice.

"Why, can't you ask him, if he ever in his life saw so wide a river, and
if he ever in his life saw such big trees, and if he don't think our sun
a great deal brighter than his, and if he ever smelt buckwheat before?"

Myrtilla turned towards Mr. Smith (and perceiving from his
ill-suppressed smile that he had heard Mrs. Quimby's instructions) like
Olivia in the play, she humoured the jest by literally following them,
making a curtsy to the gentleman, and saying, "Mr. Smith, did you ever
in your life see so wide a river? did you ever in your life see such big
trees? don't you think our sun a great deal brighter than yours? and did
you ever smell buckwheat before?"

"I have not had that happiness," replied Mr. Smith with a simpering
laugh, as he rose from the old stump, and, forgetting that it was not a
chair, tried to hand it to Myrtilla. She bowed in acknowledgment, placed
herself on the seat--and for awhile endeavoured to entertain Mr. Smith,
as he stood leaning (not picturesquely) against a portion of the broken
fence.

In the mean time Mrs. Quimby continued to call on the attention of those
around her. To some the old lady was a source of amusement, to others of
disgust and annoyance. By this time they all understood who she was, and
how she happened to be there. Fixing her eyes on a very dignified and
fashionable looking young lady, whom she had heard addressed as Miss
Lybrand, and (who with several others) was sitting nearly opposite,
"Pray, Miss," said Aunt Quimby, "was your grandfather's name Moses?"

"It was," replied the young lady.

"Oh! then you must be a granddaughter of old Moses Lybrand, who kept a
livery stable up in Race street; and his son Aaron always used to drive
the best carriage, after the old man was past doing it himself. Is your
father's name Aaron?"

"No, madam," said Miss Lybrand--looking very red--"My father's name is
Richard."

"Richard--he must have been one of the second wife's children. Oh! I
remember seeing him about when he was a little boy. He had a curly head,
and on week days generally wore a gray jacket and corduroy trowsers; but
he had a nice bottle-green suit for Sunday. Yes, yes--they went to our
church, and sat up in the gallery. And he was your father, was he? Then
Aaron must have been your own uncle. He was a very careful driver for a
young man. He learnt of his father. I remember just after we were first
married, Mr. Quimby hiring Moses Lybrand's best carriage to take me and
my bridesmaids and groomsmen on a trip to Germantown. It was a yellow
coachee with red curtains, and held us all very well with close packing.
In those days people like us took their wedding rides to Germantown and
Frankford and Darby, and ordered a dinner at a tavern with custards and
whips, and came home in the evening. And the high-flyers, when _they_
got married, went as far as Chester or Dunks's Ferry. They did not then
start off from the church door and scour the roads all the way to
Niagara just because they were brides and grooms; as if that was any
reason for flying their homes directly. But pray what has become of your
uncle Aaron?"

"I do not know," said the young lady, looking much displeased; "I never
heard of him."

"But did not you tell me your grandfather's name was Moses?"

"There may have been other Moses Lybrands."

"Was not he a short pockmarked man, that walked a little lame, with
something of a cast in his right eye: or, I won't be positive, may be it
was in the left?"

"I am very sure papa's father was no such looking person," replied Miss
Lybrand, "but I never saw him--he died before I was born--"

"Poor old man," resumed Mrs. Quimby, "if I remember right, Moses became
childish many years before his death."

Miss Lybrand then rose hastily, and proposed to her immediate companions
a walk farther into the woods; and Myrtilla, leaving the vicinity of Mr.
Smith, came forward and joined them: her friends making a private signal
to her not to invite the aforesaid gentleman to accompany them.

Aunt Quimby saw them depart, and looking round said--"Why, Mr.
Smith--have the girls given you the slip? But to be sure, they meant you
to follow them!"

Mr. Smith signified that he had not courage to do so without an
invitation, and that he feared he had already been tiring Miss Cheston.

"Pho, pho," said Mrs. Quimby, "you are quite too humble. Pluck up a
little spirit, and run after the girls."

"I believe," replied he, "I cannot take such a liberty."

"Then I'll call Captain Cheston to introduce you to some more gentlemen.
Here--Bromley--"

"No--no," said Mr. Smith, stopping her apprehensively; "I would rather
not intrude any farther upon his kindness."

"I declare you are the shame-facedest man I ever saw in my life. Well,
then, you can walk about, and look at the trees and bushes. There's a
fine large buttonwood, and there's a sassafras; or you can go to the
edge of the bank and look at the river and watch how the tide goes down
and leaves the splatter-docks standing in the mud. See how thick they
are at low water--I wonder if you couldn't count them. And may be
you'll see a wood-shallop pass along, or may be a coal-barge. And who
knows but a sturgeon may jump out of the water, and turn head over heels
and back again--it's quite a handsome sight!"

Good Mr. Smith did as he was bidden, and walked about and looked at
things, and probably counted the splatter-docks, and perhaps saw a fish
jump.

"It's all bashfulness--nothing in the world but bashfulness," pursued
Mrs. Quimby; "that's the only reason Mr. Smith don't talk."

"For my part," said a very elegant looking girl, "I am perfectly willing
to impute the taciturnity of Mr. Smith (and that of all other silent
people) to modesty. But yet I must say, that as far as I have had
opportunities of observing, most men above the age of twenty have
sufficient courage to talk, if they know what to say. When the head is
well furnished with ideas, the tongue cannot habitually refrain from
giving them utterance."

"That's a very good observation," said Mrs. Quimby, "and suits _me_
exactly. But as to Mr. Smith, I do believe it's all bashfulness with
him. Between ourselves (though the British consul warrants him
respectable) I doubt whether he was ever in such genteel society before;
and may be he thinks it his duty to listen and not to talk, poor man.
But then he ought to know, that in our country he need not be afraid of
nobody: and that here all people are equal, and one is as good as
another."

"Not exactly," said the young lady, "we have in America, as in Europe,
numerous gradations of mind, manners, and character. Politically we are
equal, as far as regards the rights of citizens and the protection of
the laws; and also we have no privileged orders. But individually it is
difficult for the refined and the vulgar, the learned and the ignorant,
the virtuous and the vicious to associate familiarly and
indiscriminately, even in a republic."

The old lady looked mystified for a few moments, and then proceeded--"As
you say, people's different. We can't be hail fellow well met, with Tom,
Dick, and Harry--but for my part I think myself as good as anybody!"

No one contradicted this opinion, and just then a gentleman came up and
said to the young lady--"Miss Atwood, allow me to present you with a
sprig of the last wild roses of the season. I found a few still
lingering on a bush in a shady lane just above."

    "'I bid their blossoms in my bonnet wave,'"

said Miss Atwood--inserting them amid one of the riband bows.

"Atwood--Atwood," said Aunt Quimby, "I know the name very well. Is not
your father Charles Atwood, who used to keep a large wholesale store in
Front street?"

"I have the happiness of being that gentleman's daughter," replied the
young lady.

"And you live up Chestnut now, don't you--among the fashionables?"

"My father's house _is_ up Chestnut street."

"Your mother was a Ross, wasn't she?"

"Her maiden name _was_ Ross."

"I thought so," proceeded Mrs. Quimby; "I remember your father very
well. He was the son of Tommy Atwood, who kept an ironmonger's shop down
Second street by the New Market. Your grandfather was a very obliging
man, rather fat. I have often been in his store, when we lived down that
way. I remember once of buying a waffle-iron of him, and when I tried it
and found it did not make a pretty pattern on the waffles, I took it
back to him to change it: but having no other pattern, he returned me
the money as soon as I asked him. And another time, he had the kitchen
tongs mended for me without charging a cent, when I put him in mind that
I had bought them there; which was certainly very genteel of him. And no
wonder he made a fortune; as all people do that are obliging to their
customers, and properly thankful to them. Your grandfather had a
brother, Jemmy Atwood, who kept a china shop up Third street. He was
your great-uncle, and he married Sally Dickison, whose father, old Adam
Dickison, was in the shoemaking line, and died rich. I have heard Mr.
Quimby tell all about them. He knew all the family quite well, and he
once had a sort of notion of Sally Dickison himself, before he got
acquainted with me. Old Adam Dickison was a very good man, but he and
his wife were rather too fond of family names. He called one of his
daughters Sarah, after his mother, and another Sarah, after his wife;
for he said 'there couldn't be too many Sally Dickisons.' But they found
afterwards they could not get along without tacking Ann to one of the
Sarahs, and Jane to the other. Then they had a little girl whom they
called Debby, after some aunt Deborah. But little Debby died, and next
they had a boy; yet rather than the name should be lost, they christened
him Debbius. I wish I could remember whether Debbius was called after
the little Debby or the big one. Sometimes I think it was one and
sometimes t'other--I dare say Miss Atwood, you can tell, as you belong
to the family?"

"I am glad that I can set this question at rest," replied Miss Atwood,
smiling heroically; "I have heard the circumstance mentioned when my
father has spoken of his great-uncle Jemmy, the chinaman, and of the
shoemaker's family into which uncle Jemmy married, and in which were the
two Sallys. Debbius was called equally after his sister and his aunt."

Then turning to the very handsome and _distingué_-looking young
gentleman who had brought her the flowers, and who had seemed much
amused at the foregoing dialogue, Miss Atwood took his hand, and said to
Aunt Quimby: "Let me present to you a grandson of that very Debbius, Mr.
Edward Symmington, my sort of cousin; and son of Mr. Symmington, the
lawyer, who chanced to marry Debbius's daughter."

Young Symmington laughed, and, after telling Miss Atwood that she did
everything with a good grace, he proposed that they should join some of
their friends who were amusing themselves further up in the woods. Miss
Atwood took his arm, and, bowing to Mrs. Quimby, they departed.

"That's a very pleasant young lady," said she; "I am glad I've got
acquainted with her. She's very much like her grandfather, the
ironmonger; her nose is the very image of old Benny's."

Fearing that _their_ turn might come next, all the young people now
dispersed from the vicinity of Aunt Quimby, who, accosting a housewifely
lady that had volunteered to superintend the arrangements of the table,
proposed going with her to see the baskets unpacked.

The remainder of the morning passed pleasantly away; and about noon,
Myrtilla Cheston and her companions, returning from their ramble, gave
notice that the carriages from town were approaching. Shortly after,
there appeared at the entrance of the wood, several vehicles filled with
ladies and gentlemen, who had preferred this mode of conveyance to
coming up in the early boat. Most of the company went to meet them,
being curious to see exactly who alighted.

When the last carriage drew up, there was a buzz all round: "There is
the Baron! there is the Baron Von Klingenberg; as usual, with Mrs. Blake
Bentley and her daughters!"

After the new arrivals had been conducted by the Chestons to the house,
and adjusted their dresses, they were shown into what was considered the
drawing-room part of the woods, and accommodated with seats. But it was
very evident that Mrs. Blake Bentley's party were desirous of keeping
chiefly to themselves, talking very loudly to each other, and seemingly
resolved to attract the attention of every one round.

"Bromley," said Mrs. Quimby, having called Captain Cheston to her, "is
that a baron?"

"That is the Baron Von Klingenberg."

"Well, between ourselves, he's about as ugly a man as ever I laid my
eyes on. At least, he looks so at that distance; a clumsy fellow, with
high shoulders and a round back, and his face all over hair, and as
bandy as he can be, besides; and he's not a bit young, neither."

"Barons never seem to me young," said Miss Turretville, a young lady of
the romantic school, "but Counts always do."

"I declare even Mr. Smith is better looking," pursued Aunt Quimby,
fixing her eyes on the baron; "don't you think so, Miss?"

"I think nothing about him," replied the fair Turretville.

"Mr. Smith," said Myrtilla, "perhaps is not actually ugly, and, if
properly dressed, might look tolerably; but he is too meek and too weak.
I wasted much time in trying to entertain him, as I sat under the tree;
but he only looked down and simpered, and scarcely ventured a word in
reply. One thing is certain, I shall take no further account of him."

"Now, Myrtilla, it's a shame, to set your face against the poor man in
this way. I dare say he is very good."

"That is always said of stupid people."

"No doubt it would brighten him wonderfully, if you were to dance with
him when the ball begins."

"Dance!" said Myrtilla, "dance with _him_. Do you suppose he knows
either a step or a figure? No, no! I shall take care never to exhibit
myself as Mr. Smith's partner, and I beg of you, Aunt Quimby, on no
account to hint such a thing to him. Besides, I am already engaged three
sets deep," and she ran away, on seeing that Mr. Smith was approaching.

"Well, Mr. Smith," said the old lady, "have you been looking at the
shows of the place? And now the greatest show of all has arrived--the
Baron of Clinkanbeg. Have you seen him?"

"I believe I have," replied Mr. Smith.

"You wander about like a lost sheep, Mr. Smith," said Aunt Quimby,
protectingly, "and look as if you had not a word to throw at a dog; so
sit down and talk to _me_. There's a dead log for you. And now you
shan't stir another step till dinner-time." Mr. Smith seated himself on
the dead log, and Mrs. Quimby proceeded: "I wish, though, we could find
places a little nearer to the baron and his ladies, and hear them talk.
Till to-day, I never heard a nobleman speak in my life, having had no
chance. But, after all, I dare say they have voices much like other
people. Did you ever happen to hear any of them talk, when you lived in
England?"

"Once or twice, I believe," said Mr. Smith.

"Of course--excuse me, Mr. Smith--but, of course, they didn't speak to
_you_?"

"If I recollect rightly, they chanced to have occasion to do so."

"On business, I suppose. Do noblemen go to shops themselves and buy
their own things? Mr. Smith, just please to tell me what line you are
in."

Mr. Smith looked very red, and cast down his eyes. "I am in the tin
line," said he, after a pause.

"The tin line! Well, never mind; though, to be sure, I did not expect
you were a tinner. Perhaps you do a little also in the japan way?"

"No," replied Mr. Smith, magnanimously, "I deal in nothing but tin,
plain tin!"

"Well, if you think of opening a shop in Philadelphia, I am pretty sure
Billy Fairfowl will give you his custom; and I'll try to get Mrs.
Pattypan and Mrs. Kettleworth to buy all their tins of you."

Mr. Smith bowed his head in thankfulness.

"One thing I'm sure of," continued Aunt Quimby, "you'll never be the
least above your business. And, I dare say, after you get used to our
American ways, and a little more acquainted with our people, you'll be
able to take courage and hold up your head, and look about quite pert."

Poor Mr. Smith covered his face with his hands and shook his head, as if
repelling the possibility of his ever looking pert.

The Baron Von Klingenberg and his party were all on chairs, and formed
an impervious group. Mrs. Blake Bentley sat on one side of him, her
eldest daughter on the other, the second and third Miss Bentleys
directly in front, and the fourth, a young lady of eighteen, who
affected infantine simplicity and passed for a child, seated herself
innocently on the grass at the baron's feet. Mrs. Bentley was what some
call a fine-looking woman, being rather on a large scale, with fierce
black eyes, a somewhat acquiline nose, a set of very white teeth (from
the last new dentist), very red cheeks, and a profusion of dark
ringlets. Her dress, and that of her daughters, was always of the most
costly description, their whole costume being made and arranged in an
ultra fashionable manner. Around the Bentley party was a circle of
listeners, and admirers, and enviers; and behind that circle was another
and another. Into the outworks of the last, Aunt Quimby pushed her way,
leading, or rather pulling, the helpless Mr. Smith along with her.

The Baron Von Klingenberg (to do him justice) spoke our language with
great facility, his foreign accent being so slight that many thought
they could not perceive it at all. Looking over the heads of the ladies
immediately around him, he levelled his opera-glass at all who were
within his view, occasionally inquiring about them of Mrs. Blake
Bentley, who also could not see without her glass. She told him the
names of those whom she considered the most fashionable, adding,
confidentially, a disparaging remark upon each. Of a large proportion of
the company, she affected, however, to know nothing, replying to the
baron's questions with: "Oh! I really cannot tell you. They are people
whom one does not know--very respectable, no doubt; but not the sort of
persons one meets in society. You must be aware that on these occasions
the company is always more or less mixed, for which reason I generally
bring my own party along with me."

"This assemblage," said the baron, "somewhat reminds me of the annual
_fêtes_ I give to my serfs in the park that surrounds my castle, at the
cataract of the Rhine."

Miss Turretville had just come up, leaning on the arm of Myrtilla
Cheston. "Let us try to get nearer to the baron," said she; "he is
talking about castles. Oh! I am so glad that I have been introduced to
him. I met him the other evening at Mrs. De Mingle's select party, and
he took my fan out of my hand and fanned himself with it. There is
certainly an elegant ease about European gentlemen that our Americans
can never acquire."

"Where is the ease and elegance of Mr. Smith?" thought Myrtilla, as she
looked over at that forlorn individual shrinking behind Aunt Quimby.

"As I was saying," pursued the baron, lolling back in his chair and
applying to his nose Mrs. Bentley's magnificent essence-bottle, "when I
give these _fêtes_ to my serfs, I regale them with Westphalia hams from
my own hunting-grounds, and with hock from my own vineyards."

"Dear me! ham and hock!" ejaculated Mrs. Quimby.

"Baron," said Miss Turretville, "I suppose you have visited the Hartz
mountains?"

"My castle stands on one of them."

"Charming! Then you have seen the Brocken?"

"It is directly in front of my ramparts."

"How delightful! Do you never imagine that on a stormy night you hear
the witches riding through the air, to hold their revels on the Brocken?
Are there still brigands in the Black Forest?"

"Troops of them. The Black Forest is just back of my own woods. The
robbers were once so audacious as to attack my castle, and we had a
bloody fight. But we at length succeeded in taking all that were left
alive."

"What a pity! Was their captain anything like Charles de Moor?"

"Just such a man."

"Baron," observed Myrtilla, a little mischievously, "the situation of
your castle must be _unique_; in the midst of the Hartz mountains, at
the falls of the Rhine, with the Brocken in front, and the Black Forest
behind."

"You doat on the place, don't you?" asked Miss Turretville. "Do you live
there always?"

"No; only in the hunting season. I am equally at home in all the
capitals of the continent. I might, perhaps, be chiefly at my native
place, Vienna, only my friend, the emperor, is never happy but when I am
with him; and his devotion to me is rather overwhelming. The truth is,
one gets surfeited with courts, and kings, and princes; so I thought it
would be quite refreshing to take a trip to America, having great
curiosity to see what sort of a place it is. I recollect, at the last
court ball, the emperor was teazing me to waltz with his cousin, the
Archduchess of Hesse Hoblingen, who, he feared, would be offended if I
neglected her. But her serene highness dances as if she had a
cannon-ball chained to each foot, and so I got off by flatly telling my
friend the emperor that if women chose to go to balls in velvet and
ermine, and with coronets on their heads, they might get princes or some
such people to dance with them; as for my part, it was rather
excruciating to whirl about with persons in heavy royal robes!"

"Is it possible!" exclaimed Miss Turretville, "did you venture to talk
so to an emperor? Of course before next day you were loaded with chains
and immured in a dungeon; from which I suppose you escaped by a
subterranean passage."

"Not at all; my old crony the emperor knows his man; so he only laughed
and slapped me on the shoulder, and I took his arm, and we sauntered off
together to the other end of the grand saloon. I think I was in my
hussar uniform; I recollect that evening I broke my quizzing glass, and
had to borrow the Princess of Saxe Blinkenberg's."

"Was it very elegant--set round with diamonds?" asked Miss Matilda
Bentley, putting up to her face a hand on which glittered a valuable
brilliant.

"Quite likely it was, but I never look at diamonds; one gets so tired of
them. I have not worn any of mine these seven years; I often joke with
my friend Prince Esterhazy about his diamond coat, that he _will_
persist in wearing on great occasions. Its glitter really incommodes my
eyes when he happens to be near me, as he generally is. Whenever he
moves you may track him by the gems that drop from it, and you may hear
him far off by their continual tinkling as they fall."

"Only listen to that, Mr. Smith," said Aunt Quimby aside to her
protegée, "I do not believe there is such a man in the world as that
Hester Hazy with his diamond coat, that he's telling all this rigmarole
about. It sounds like one of Mother Bunch's tales."

"I rather think there is such a man," said Mr. Smith.

"Nonsense, Mr. Smith, why you're a greater goose than I supposed!"

Mr. Smith assented by a meek bow.

Dinner was now announced. The gentlemen conducted the ladies, and Aunt
Quimby led Mr. Smith; but she could not prevail on him to take a seat
beside her, near the head of the table, and directly opposite to the
Baron and his party. He humbly insisted on finding a place for himself
very low down, and seemed glad to get into the neighbourhood of Captain
Cheston, who presided at the foot.

The Blake Bentley party all levelled their glasses at Aunt Quimby; but
the old lady stood fire amazingly well, being busily engaged in
preparing her silk gown against the chance of injury from any possible
accident, tucking a napkin into her belt, pinning a pocket handkerchief
across the body of her dress, turning up her cuffs, and tying back the
strings of her cap to save the ribbon from grease-spots.

The dinner was profuse, excellent, and handsomely arranged: and for a
while most of the company were too earnestly occupied in satisfying
their appetites to engage much in conversation. Aunt Quimby sent a
waiter to Captain Cheston to desire him to take care of poor Mr. Smith:
which message the waiter thought it unnecessary to deliver.

Mrs. Blake Bentley and her daughter Matilda sat one on each side of the
Baron, and showed rather more assiduity in helping him than is customary
from ladies to gentlemen. Also their solicitude in anticipating his
wants was a work of super-erogation, for the Baron could evidently take
excellent care of himself, and was unremitting in his applications to
every one round him for everything within their reach, and loud and
incessant in his calls to the waiters for clean plates and clean
glasses.

When the dessert was set on, and the flow of soul was succeeding to the
feast which, whether of reason or not, had been duly honoured, Mrs.
Quimby found leisure to look round, and resume her colloquy.

"I believe, madam, your name is Bentley," said she to the lofty looking
personage directly opposite.

"I am Mrs. Blake Bentley," was the reply, with an imperious stare that
was intended to frown down all further attempts at conversation. But
Aunt Quimby did not comprehend repulsion, and had never been silenced in
her life--so she proceeded--

"I remember your husband very well. He was a son of old Benny Bentley up
Second street, that used to keep the sign of the Adam and Eve, but
afterwards changed it to the Liberty Tree. His wife was a Blake--that
was the way your husband came by his name. Her father was an
upholsterer, and she worked at the trade before she was married. She
made two bolsters and three pillows for me at different times; though
I'm not quite sure it was not two pillows and three bolsters. He had a
brother, Billy Blake, that was a painter: so he must have been your
husband's uncle."

"Excuse me," said Mrs. Blake Bentley, "I don't understand what you are
talking about. But I'm very sure there were never any artist people in
the family."

"Oh! Billy Blake was a painter and glazier both," resumed Mrs. Quimby;
"I remember him as well as if he was my own brother. We always sent for
him to mend our broken windows. I can see him now--coming with his glass
box and his putty. Poor fellow, he was employed to put a new coat of
paint on Christ Church steeple, which we thought would be a good job for
him: but the scaffold gave way and he fell down and broke his leg. We
lived right opposite, and saw him tumble. It's a mercy he wasn't killed
right out. He was carried home on a hand-barrow. I remember the
afternoon as well as if it were yesterday. We had a pot-pie for dinner
that day; and I happened to have on a new calico gown, a green ground
with a yellow sprig in it. I have some of the pieces now in patch-work."

Mrs. Blake Bentley gave Mrs. Quimby a look of unqualified disdain, and
then turning to the baron, whispered him to say something that might
stop the mouth of that abominable old woman. And by way of beginning she
observed aloud, "Baron, what very fine plums these are!"

"Yes," said the baron, helping himself to them profusely, "and apropos
to plums--one day when I happened to be dining with the king of Prussia,
there were some very fine peaches at table (we were sitting, you know,
trifling, over the dessert), and the king said to me, 'Klingenberg, my
dear fellow, let's try which of us can first break that large
looking-glass by shooting a peach-stone at it.'"

"Dear me! what a king!" interrupted Mrs. Quimby, "and now I look at you
again, sir (there, just now, with your head turned to the light),
there's something in your face that puts me in mind of Jacob Stimbel,
our Dutch young man that used to live with us and help to do the work.
Mr. Quimby bought him at the wharf out of a redemptioner ship. He was to
serve us three years: but before his time was up be ran away (as they
often do) and went to Lancaster, and set up his old trade of a
carpenter, and married a bricklayer's daughter, and got rich and built
houses, and had three or four sons--I think I heard that one of them
turned out a pretty bad fellow. I can see Jake Stimbel now, carrying the
market-basket after me, or scrubbing the pavement. Whenever I look at
you I think of him; may be he was some relation of yours, as you both
came from Germany?"

"A relation of mine, madam!" said the Baron.

"There now--there's Jake Stimbel to the life. He had just that way of
stretching up his eyes and drawing down his mouth when he did not know
what to say, which was usually the case after he stayed on errands."

The baron contracted his brows, and bit in his lips.

"Fix your face as you will," continued Mrs. Quimby, "you are as like him
as you can look. I am sure I ought to remember Jacob Stimbel, for I had
all the trouble of teaching him to do his work, besides learning him to
talk American; and as soon as he had learnt, he cleared himself off, as
I told you, and ran away from us."

The baron now turned to Matilda Bentley, and endeavoured to engage her
attention by an earnest conversation in an under tone; and Mrs. Bentley
looked daggers at Aunt Quimby, who said in a low voice to a lady that
sat next to her, "What a pity Mrs. Bentley has such a violent way with
her eyes. She'd be a handsome woman if it was not for that."

Then resuming her former tone, the impenetrable old lady continued,
"Some of these Dutch people that came over German redemptioners, and
were sold out of ships, have made great fortunes." And then turning to a
lady who sat on the other side, she proceeded to enumerate various
wealthy and respectable German families whose grandfathers and
grandmothers had been sold out of ships. Bromley Cheston, perceiving
that several of the company were wincing under this infliction, proposed
a song from one of the young officers whom he knew to be an accomplished
vocalist. This song was succeeded by several others, and during the
singing the Blake Bentley party gradually slipped away from the table.

After dinner the company withdrew and dispersed themselves among the
trees, while the servants, &c., were dining. Mrs. Cheston vainly did her
utmost to prevail on Aunt Quimby to go to the house and take a _siesta_.
"What for?" said Mrs. Quimby, "why should I go to sleep when I ain't a
bit sleepy. I never was wider awake in my life. No, no--these parties
don't come every day; and I'll make the most of this now I have had the
good luck to be at it. But, bless me! now I think of it, I have not laid
eyes on Mr. Smith these two hours--I hope he is not lost. When did he
leave the table? Who saw him go? He's not used to being in the woods,
poor man!"

The sound of the tambourine now denoted the approach of the musicians,
and the company adjourned to the dancing ground, which was a wide
opening in the woods shaded all round with fine trees, under which
benches had been placed. For the orchestra a little wooden gallery had
been erected about eight feet from the ground, running round the trunk
and amid the spreading boughs of an immense hickory.

The dancers had just taken their places for the first set, when they
were startled by the shrieks of a woman, which seemed to ascend from the
river-beach below. The gentlemen and many of the ladies ran to the edge
of the bank to ascertain the cause, and Aunt Quimby, looking down among
the first, exclaimed, "Oh! mercy! if there isn't Mr. Smith a collaring
the baron, and Miss Matilda a screaming for dear life!"

"The baron collaring Mr. Smith, you mean," said Myrtilla, approaching
the bank.

"No, no--I mean as I say. Why who'd think it was in Mr. Smith to do such
a thing! Oh! see, only look how he shakes him. And now he gives him a
kick, only think of doing all that to a baron! but I dare say he
deserves it. He looks more like Jake Stimbel than ever."

Captain Cheston sprung down the bank (most of the other gentlemen
running after him), and immediately reaching the scene of action rescued
the foreigner, who seemed too frightened to oppose any effectual
resistance to his assailant.

"Mr. Smith," said Captain Cheston, "what is the meaning of this
outrage,--and in the presence of a lady, too!"

"The lady must excuse me," replied Mr. Smith, "for it is in her behalf I
have thus forgotten myself so far as to chastise on the spot a
contemptible villain. Let us convey Miss Bentley up the bank, for she
seems greatly agitated, and I will then explain to the gentlemen the
extraordinary scene they have just witnessed."

"Only hear Mr. Smith, how he's talking out!" exclaimed Aunt Quimby. "And
there's the baron-fellow putting up his coat collar and sneaking off
round the corner of the bank. I'm so glad he's turned out a scamp!"

Having reached the top of the bank, Matilda Bentley, who had nearly
fainted, was laid on a bench and consigned to the care of her mother and
sisters. A flood of tears came to her relief, and while she was
indulging in them, Mrs. Bentley joined the group who were assembled
round Mr. Smith and listening to his narrative.

Mr. Smith explained that he knew this _soi-disant_ Baron Von Klingenberg
to be an impostor and a swindler. That he had, some years since, under
another name, made his appearance in Paris, as an American gentleman of
German origin, and large fortune; but soon gambled away all his money.
That he afterwards, under different appellations, visited the principal
cities of the continent, but always left behind the reputation of a
swindler. That he had seen him last in London, in the capacity of valet
to the real Baron Von Klingenberg, who, intending a visit to the United
States, had hired him as being a native of America, and familiar with
the country and its customs. But an unforeseen circumstance having
induced that gentleman to relinquish this transatlantic voyage, his
American valet robbed him of a large sum of money and some valuable
jewels, stole also the letters of introduction which had been obtained
by the real Baron, and with them had evidently been enabled to pass
himself for his master. To this explanation, Mr. Smith added that while
wandering among the trees on the edge of the bank, he had seen the
impostor on the beach below, endeavouring to persuade Miss Bentley to an
elopement with him; proposing that they should repair immediately to a
place in the neighbourhood, where the railroad cars stopped on their way
to New York, and from thence proceed to that city, adding,--"You know
there is no overtaking a railroad car, so all pursuit of us will be in
vain; besides, when once married all will be safe, as you are of age and
mistress of your own fortune." "Finding," continued Mr. Smith, "that he
was likely to succeed in persuading Miss Bentley to accompany him, I
could no longer restrain my indignation, which prompted me to rush down
the bank and adopt summary measures in rescuing the young lady from the
hands of so infamous a scoundrel, whom nothing but my unwillingness to
disturb the company prevented me from exposing as soon as I saw him."

"Don't believe him," screamed Mrs. Blake Bentley; "Mr. Smith indeed! Who
is to take _his_ word? Who knows what Mr. Smith is?"

"I do," said a voice from the crowd; and there stepped forward a
gentlemen, who had arrived in a chaise with a friend about half an hour
before. "I had the pleasure of knowing him intimately in England, when I
was minister to the court of St. James's."

"May be you bought your tins at his shop," said Aunt Quimby.

The ex-ambassador in a low voice exchanged a few words with Mr. Smith;
and then taking his hand, presented him as the Earl of Huntingford,
adding, "The only tin he deals in is that produced by his extensive
mines in Cornwall."

The whole company were amazed into a silence of some moments: after
which there was a general buzz of favourable remark; Captain Cheston
shook hands with him, and all the gentlemen pressed forward to be more
particularly introduced to Lord Huntingford.

"Dear me!" said Aunt Quimby; "to think that I should have been so
sociable with a lord--and a real one too--and to think how he drank tea
at Billy Fairfowl's in the back parlour, and ate bread and butter just
like any other man--and how he saved Jane, and picked up Johnny--I
suppose I must not speak to you now, Mr. Smith, for I don't know how to
begin calling you my lord. And you don't seem like the same man, now
that you can look and talk like other people: and (excuse my saying so)
even your dress looks genteeler."

"Call me still Mr. Smith, if you choose," replied Lord Huntingford; and,
turning to Captain Cheston, he continued--"Under that name I have had
opportunities of obtaining much knowledge of your _unique_ and
interesting country:--knowledge that will be useful to me all the
remainder of my life, and that I could not so well have acquired in my
real character."

He then explained, that being tired of travelling in Europe, and having
an earnest desire to see America thoroughly, and more particularly to
become acquainted with the state of society among the middle classes
(always the truest samples of national character), he had, on taking his
passage in one of the Liverpool packets, given his name as Smith, and
put on the appearance of a man in very common life, resolving to
preserve his incognito as long as he could. His object being to observe
and to listen, and fearing that if he talked much he might inadvertently
betray himself, he endeavoured to acquire a habit of taciturnity. As is
frequently the case, he rather overdid his assumed character: and was
much amused at perceiving himself rated somewhat below mediocrity, and
regarded as poor Mr. Smith.

"But where is that Baron fellow?" said Mrs. Quimby; "I dare say he has
sneaked off and taken the railroad himself, while we were all busy about
Lord Smith."

"He has--he has!" sobbed Miss Bentley; who in spite of her grief and
mortification, had joined the group that surrounded the English
nobleman; "and he has run away with my beautiful diamond ring."

"Did he steal it from your finger?" asked Aunt Quimby, eagerly; "because
if he did, you can send a constable after him."

"I shall do no such thing," replied Matilda, tartly; then turning to her
mother she added, "It was when we first went to walk by the river side.
He took my hand and kissed it, and proposed exchanging rings--and so I
let him have it--and he said he did not happen to have any ring of his
own about him, but he would give me a magnificent one that had been
presented to him by some emperor or king."

"Now I think of it," exclaimed Mrs. Bentley, "he never gave me back my
gold essence-bottle with the emerald stopper."

"Now I remember," said Miss Turretville, "he did not return me the
beautiful fan he took out of my hand the other evening at Mrs. De
Mingle's. And I doubt also if he restored her diamond opera glass to the
Princess of Saxe Blinkinberg."

"The Princess of Saxe Fiddlestick!" exclaimed Aunt Quimby; "do you
suppose he ever really had anything to do with such people? Between
ourselves, I thought it was all fudge the whole time he was trying to
make us believe he was hand and glove with women that had crowns on
their heads, and men with diamond coats, and kings that shot peach
stones. The more he talked, the more he looked like Jacob Stimbel--I'm
not apt to forget people, so it would be strange if I did not remember
our Jake; and I never saw a greater likeness."

"Well, for my part," said Miss Turretville, candidly, "I really _did_
think he had serfs, and a castle with ramparts, and I did believe in the
banditti, and the captain just like Charles De Moor. And I grieved, as I
often do, that here, in America, we had no such things."

"Pity we should!" remarked Aunt Quimby.

To be brief: the Bentleys, after what had passed, thought it best to
order their carriage and return to the city: and on their ride home
there was much recrimination between the lady and her eldest daughter;
Matilda declaring, that she would never have thought of encouraging the
addresses of such an ugly fellow as the baron, had not her mother first
put it into her head. And as to the projected elopement, she felt very
certain of being forgiven for that as soon as she came out a baroness.

After the departure of the Bentleys, and when the excitement, caused by
the events immediately preceding it, had somewhat subsided, it was
proposed that the dancing should be resumed, and Lord Huntingford opened
the ball with Mrs. Cheston, and proved that he could dance, and talk,
and look extremely well. As soon as she was disengaged, he solicited
Myrtilla's hand for the nest set, and she smilingly assented to his
request. Before they began, Aunt Quimby took an opportunity of saying to
her: "Well, Myrtilla; after all you are going to exhibit yourself, as
you call it, with Mr. Smith."

"Oh! Aunt Quimby, you must not remember anything that was said about him
while he was incog--"

"Yes, and now he's out of cog it's thought quite an honour to get a word
or a look from him. Well--well--whether as poor simple Mr. Smith, or a
great lord that owns whole tin mines, he'll always find _me_ exactly the
same; now I've got over the first flurry of his being found out."

"I have no doubt of that, Aunt Quimby," replied Myrtilla, giving her
hand to Lord Huntingford, who just then came up to lead her to the
dance.

The afternoon passed rapidly away, with infinite enjoyment to the whole
company; all of whom seemed to feel relieved by the absence of the Blake
Bentley party. Aunt Quimby was very assiduous in volunteering to
introduce ladies to Lord Smith, as she called him, and chaperoned him
more than ever.

The Chestons, perfectly aware that if Mrs. Quimby returned to
Philadelphia, and proceeded to Baltimore under the escort of Mr. Smith,
she would publish all along the road that he was a lord, and perhaps
convert into annoyance the amusement he seemed to find in her entire
want of tact, persuaded her to defer the Baltimore journey and pass a
few days with them; promising to provide her with an escort there, in
the person of an old gentleman of their neighbourhood, who was going to
the south early next week; and whom they knew to be one of the mildest
men in the world, and never incommoded by anything.

When the fête was over, Lord Huntingford returned to the city with his
friend, the ex-minister. At parting, he warmly expressed his delight at
having had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with Captain Cheston
and his ladies; and Aunt Quimby exclaimed, "It's all owing to me--if it
had not been for me you might never have known them; I always had the
character of bringing good luck to people: so it's no wonder I'm so
welcome everywhere."

On Captain Cheston's next visit to Philadelphia, he gathered that the
fictitious Baron Von Klingenberg was really the reprobate son of Jacob
Stimbel of Lancaster, and had been recognised as such by a gentleman
from that place. That he had many years before gone to seek his fortune
in Europe, with the wreck of some property left him by his father; where
(as Lord Huntingford had stated) he had last been seen in London in the
capacity of a valet to a German nobleman; and that now he had departed
for the west, with the design, as was supposed, of gambling his way to
New Orleans. Nothing could exceed the delight of Aunt Quimby on finding
her impression of him so well corroborated.

The old lady went to Baltimore, and found herself so happy with her dear
crony Mrs. Bagnell, that she concluded to take up her permanent
residence with her on the same terms on which she lived at her
son-in-law Billy Fairfowl's, whose large family of children had, to say
the truth, latterly caused her some inconvenience by their number and
their noise; particularly as one of the girls was growing up so like her
grandmother, as to out-talk her. Aunt Quimby's removal from Philadelphia
to Baltimore was, of course, a sensible relief to the Chestons.

Lord Huntingford (relinquishing the name and character of Mr. Smith)
devoted two years to making the tour of the United States, including a
visit to Canada; justly believing that he could not in less time
accomplish his object of becoming _well_ acquainted with the country and
the people. On his return through the Atlantic cities, he met with
Captain Cheston at Norfolk, where he had just brought in his ship from a
cruise in the Pacific. Both gentlemen were glad to renew their
acquaintance; and they travelled together to Philadelphia, where they
found Mrs. Cheston and Myrtilla waiting to meet the captain.

Lord Huntingford became a constant visitor at the house of the Chestons.
He found Myrtilla improved in beauty, and as he thought in everything
else, and he felt that in all his travels through Europe and America,
he had met with no woman so well calculated to insure his happiness in
married life. The sister of Captain Cheston was too good a republican to
marry a foreigner and a nobleman, merely on account of his rank and
title: but Lord Huntingford, as a man of sense, feeling, and unblemished
morality, was one of the best specimens of his class, and after an
intimate acquaintance of two months, she consented to become his
countess. They were married a few days before their departure for
England, where Captain and Mrs. Cheston promised to make them a visit
the ensuing spring.

Emily Atwood and Mr. Symmington were bridesmaid and groomsman, and were
themselves united the following month. Miss Turretville made a very
advantageous match, and has settled down into a rational woman and a
first-rate housewife. The Miss Bentleys are all single yet; but their
mother is married to an Italian singer, who is dissipating her property
as fast as he can, and treating her ill all the time.

While in Philadelphia, Lord Huntingford did not forget to visit
occasionally his early acquaintance, Mr. William Fairfowl (who always
received him as if he was still Mr. Smith), and on leaving the city he
presented an elegant little souvenir to Mrs. Fairfowl, and one to each
of her daughters.

At Lord Huntingford's desire, Mrs. Quimby was invited from Baltimore to
be present at his wedding (though the company was small and select), and
she did honour to the occasion by wearing an entirely new gown and cap,
telling the cost of them to every person in the room, but declaring she
did not grudge it in the least; and assuming to herself the entire
credit of the match, which she averred never would have taken place if
she had not happened to come up the river, instead of going down.

The events connected with the picnic day, had certainly one singular
effect on Aunt Quimby, who from that time protested that she always
thought of a nobleman whenever she heard the name of Smith.

Could all our readers give in their experience of the numerous Smiths
they must have known and heard of, would not many be found who, though
bearing that trite appellation, were noblemen of nature's own making?



UNCLE PHILIP.

     "Out spake that ancient mariner."--COLERIDGE.


We will not be particular in designating the exact site of the
flourishing village of Corinth; neither would we advise any of our
readers to take the trouble of seeking it on the map. It is sufficient
to tell them that they may consider it located on one of the banks of
the Hudson, somewhere above the city of New York, and somewhere below
that of Albany; and that, more than twenty years ago, the Clavering
family occupied one of the best houses at its southern extremity.

Mrs. Clavering was the widow of a storekeeper, who had always, by
courtesy, been called a merchant, according to a prevailing custom in
the provincial towns of America. Her husband had left her in affluent
circumstances, and to each of her five children he had bequeathed a
sufficient portion to furnish, when they came of age, an outfit for the
girls and a beginning for the boys. Added to this, they had considerable
expectations from an uncle of their mother's, a retired sea-captain, and
a confirmed old bachelor, who had long been in the practice of paying
the family an annual visit on returning from his India voyages. He had
become so much attached to the children, that when he quitted the sea
(which was soon after the death of Mr. Clavering) he had, at the request
of his niece, removed to Corinth, and taken up his residence in her
family.

Though so far from his beloved element, the ocean, Captain Kentledge
managed to pass his time very contentedly, taking occasional trips down
the river to New York (particularly when a new ship was to be launched),
and performing, every summer, an excursion to the eastward: keeping
closely along the coast, and visiting in turn every maritime town and
village from Newport to Portland; never omitting to diverge off to
Nantucket, which was his native place, and from whence, when a boy, he
had taken his first voyage in a whale ship.

Uncle Philip (for so Captain Kentledge was familiarly called by Mrs.
Clavering and her children) was a square-built man, with a broad
weather-beaten face, and features the reverse of classical. His head was
entirely bald, with the exception of two rough side-locks, and a long
thin gray tress of hair, gathered into a queue, and secured with black
ribbon. Uncle Philip was very tenacious of his queue.

Like most seamen when on shore, he was singularly neat in his dress. He
wore, all the year round, a huge blue coat, immense blue trowsers, and a
white waistcoat of ample dimensions, the whole suit being decorated with
gold buttons; for, as he observed, he had, in the course of his life,
worn enough of brass buttons to be heartily tired of them: gilt ones he
hated, because they were shams; and gold he could very well afford, and
therefore it was his pleasure to have them. His cravat was a large black
silk handkerchief, tied in front, with a spreading bow and long ends.
His shirt frill was particularly conspicuous and amazingly broad, and it
was fastened with a large oval-shaped brooch, containing under its glass
a handsome hair-coloured device of Hope leaning on an anchor. He never
wore boots, but always white stockings and well-blacked long-quartered
shoes. His hat had both a wide crown and a wide brim. Every part of his
dress was good in quality and large in quantity, denoting that he was
above economizing in the material.

Though "every inch a sailor," it must not be supposed that Captain
Kentledge was in the constant habit of interlarding his conversation
with sea-terms; a practice which, if it ever actually prevailed to the
extent that has been represented in fictitious delineations of "the sons
of the wild and warring wave," has long since been discontinued in real
life, by all nautical men who have any pretensions to the title of
gentlemen. A sea-captain, whose only phraseology was that of the
forecastle, and who could talk of nothing without reference to the
technical terms of his profession, would now be considered as obsolete a
character "as the Lieutenant Bowlings and Commodore Trunnions of the
last century."

Next to the children of his niece, the object most beloved by Uncle
Philip was an enormous Newfoundland dog, the companion of his last
voyages, and his constant attendant on land and on water, in doors and
out of doors. In the faces of Neptune and his master there was an
obvious resemblance, which a physiognomist would have deduced from the
similarity of their characters; and it was remarked by one of the wags
of the village that the two animals walked exactly alike, and held out
their paws to strangers precisely in the same manner.

Mrs. Clavering, as is generally the case with mothers of the present
day, when they consider themselves very genteel, intended one of her
sons for the profession of physic, and the other for that of law. But in
the mean time, Uncle Philip had so deeply imbued Sam, the eldest, with a
predilection for the sea, that the boy's sole ambition was to unite
himself to that hardy race, "whose march is o'er the mountain-waves,
whose home is on the deep." And Dick, whom his mother designed for a
lawyer, intended himself for a carpenter: his genius pointing decidedly
to hand-work rather than to head-work. It was Uncle Philip's opinion
that boys should never be controlled in the choice of a profession. Yet
he found it difficult to convince Mrs. Clavering that there was little
chance of one of her sons filling a professor's chair at a medical
college, or of the other arriving at the rank of chief justice; but that
as the laws of nature and the decrees of fate were not to be reversed,
Dick would very probably build the ships that Sam would navigate.

About three months before the period at which our story commences, Uncle
Philip had set out on his usual summer excursion, and had taken with him
not only Neptune, but Sam also, leaving Dick very much engaged in making
a new kitchen-table with a drawer at each end. After the travellers had
gone as far as the State of Maine, and were supposed to be on their
return, Mrs. Clavering was surprised to receive a letter from Uncle
Philip, dated "Off Cape Cod, lat. 42, lon. 60, wind N.N.E." The
following were the words of this epistle:--

     "DEAR NIECE KITTY CLAVERING: I take this opportunity of informing
     you, by a fishing-boat that is just going into the harbour, that
     being on Long Wharf, Boston, yesterday at 7 A. M., and finding
     there the schooner Winthrop about to sail for Cuba, and the
     schooner being commanded by a son of my old ship-mate, Ben
     Binnacle, and thinking it quite time that Sam should begin to see
     the world (as he was fifteen the first of last April), and that so
     good an opportunity should not be lost, I concluded to let him have
     a taste of the sea by giving him a run down to the West Indies. Sam
     was naturally very glad, and so was Neptune; and Sam being under my
     care, I, of course, felt in duty bound to go along with him. The
     schooner Winthrop is as fine a sea-boat as ever swam, and young Ben
     Binnacle is as clever a fellow as his father. We are very well off
     for hands, the crew being young Ben's brother and three of his
     cousins (all from Marblehead, and all part owners), besides Sam and
     myself, and Neptune, and black Bob, the cabin-boy. So you have
     nothing to fear. And even if we should have a long passage, there
     is no danger of our starving, for most of the cargo is pork and
     onions, and the rest is turkeys, potatoes, flour, butter, and
     cheese.

     "You may calculate on finding Sam greatly improved by the voyage.
     Going to sea will cure him of all his awkward tricks, as you call
     them, and give him an opportunity of showing what he really is. He
     went out of Boston harbour perched on the end of the foresail boom,
     and was at the mainmast head before we had cleared the light-house.
     To-morrow I shall teach him to take an observation. Young Ben
     Binnacle has an excellent quadrant that was his father's. We shall
     be back in a few weeks, and bring you pine-apples and parrots.
     Shall write from Havana, if I have time.

     "Till then, yours,

     "PHILIP KENTLEDGE.

     "P. S. Neptune is very happy at finding himself at sea again. Give
     our love to Dick and the girls.

     "N. B. We took care to have our trunk brought on board before we
     got under way. Though we have a stiff breeze, Sam is not yet
     sea-sick, having set his face against it.

     "2d P. S. Don't take advantage of my absence to put the girls in
     corsets, as you did when I was away last summer.

     "2d N. B. Remember to send old Tom Tarpaulin his weekly allowance
     of tobacco all the time I am gone. You know I promised, when I
     first found him at Corinth, to keep him in tobacco as long as he
     lived; and if you forget to furnish it punctually, the poor fellow
     will be obliged to take his own money to buy it with."

This elopement, as Mrs. Clavering called it, caused at first great
consternation in the family, but she soon consoled herself with the idea
that 'twas well it was no worse, for if Uncle Philip had found a vessel
going to China, commanded by an old ship-mate, or a ship-mate's son, he
would scarcely have hesitated to have acted as he had done in this
instance. The two younger girls grieved that in all probability Sam had
gone without gingerbread, which, they had heard, was a preventive to
sea-sickness; but Fanny, the elder, remarked that it was more probable
he had his pockets full, as, from Uncle Philip's account, he continued
perfectly well. "Whatever Uncle Philip may say," observed Fanny, very
judiciously, "Sam must, of course, have known that gingerbread is a more
certain remedy for sea-sickness than merely setting one's face against
it." Dick's chief regret was, that not knowing beforehand of their trip
to the West Indies, he had lost the opportunity of sending by them for
some mahogany.

In about four weeks, the Clavering family was set at ease by a letter
from Sam himself, dated Havana. It detailed at full length the delights
of the voyage, and the various qualifications of black Bob, the
cabin-boy, and it was finished by two postscripts from Uncle Philip; one
celebrating the rapid progress of Sam in nautical knowledge, and another
stating that they should return in the schooner Winthrop.

They did return--Uncle Philip bringing with him, among other West India
productions, a barrel of pine-apples for Mrs. Clavering, and three
parrots, one for each of his young nieces; to all of whom he observed
the strictest impartiality in distributing his favours. Also, a large
box for Dick, filled with numerous specimens of tropical woods.

It was evening when they arrived at Corinth, and they walked up directly
from the steamboat wharf to Mrs. Clavering's house; leaving their
baggage to follow in a cart. Intending to give the family a pleasant
surprise, they stole cautiously in at the gate, and walked on the grass
to avoid making a noise with their shoes on the gravel. As usual at this
hour, a light shone through the Venetian shutters of the
parlour-windows. But our voyagers listened in vain for the well-known
sounds of noisy mirth excited by the enjoyment of various little games
and plays in which it was usual for the children to pass the interval
between tea and bed-time; a laudable custom, instituted by Uncle Philip
soon after he became one of the family.

"I hope all may be right," whispered the old captain, as he ascended
the steps of the front porch, "I don't hear the least sound."

They sat down the three parrot-cages, which they had carried themselves
from the wharf, and then went up to the windows and reconnoitered
through the shutters. They saw the whole family seated round the table,
busily employed with books and writing materials, and all perfectly
silent. Uncle Philip now hastily threw open the front door, and,
followed by Sam, made his appearance in the parlour, exclaiming--

"Why, what is all this? Not hearing any noise as we came along, we
concluded there must be sickness, or death in the house."

"We are not dead yet," said Dick, starting up, "though we are learning
French."

In an instant the books were abandoned, the table nearly overset in
getting from behind it, and the whole group hung round the voyagers,
delighted at their return, and overwhelming them with questions and
caresses. In a moment there came prancing into the room the dog Neptune,
who had remained behind to guard the baggage-cart, which had now arrived
at the front gate. The faithful animal was literally received with open
arms by all the children, and when he had nearly demolished little Anne
by the roughness of his gambols, she only exclaimed--"Oh! never
mind--never mind. I am so glad to have Neptune back again, that I don't
care, if he _does_ tear my new pink frock all to tatters."

Mrs. Clavering made a faint attempt at reproaching Uncle Philip for thus
stealing a march and carrying off her son, but the old captain turned it
all into a subject of merriment, and pointed out to her Sam's ruddy
looks and improved height; and his good fortune in having a brown skin,
which, on being exposed to the air and sun of the ocean, only deepened
its manly tint, instead of being disfigured by freckles. On Mrs.
Clavering remarking that her poor boy had learnt the true balancing gait
of a sailor, the uncle and nephew exchanged glances of congratulation;
and Sam, in the course of the evening, took frequent occasions to get up
and walk across the room, by way of displaying this new accomplishment.

As Mrs. Clavering understood that her uncle and son had not yet had
their supper, she quitted the room "on hospitable thoughts intent,"
while the children were listening with breathless interest to a minute
detail of the voyage; Sam leaning over the back of his uncle's great
chair, into which Fanny had squeezed herself beside the old gentleman,
who held Jane on one knee and Anne on the other; and Dick making a seat
of the dog Neptune, who lay at his master's feet.

"Who are those people talking in the porch?" asked little Anne,
interrupting her uncle to listen to the strange sounds that issued from
without.

"Oh! they are the parrots," said Sam, laughing, "I wonder they should
have been forgotten so long."

"Parrots!" exclaimed all the children at once, and in a moment every one
of the young people were out in the porch, and the cages were carried
into the parlour. The parrots were duly admired, and made to go through
all their phrases, of which (being very smart parrots) they had learnt
an infinite variety, and Uncle Philip told the girls to draw lots for
the first choice of these new pets. Dick supplying for that purpose
little sticks of unequal lengths. After this the box of tropical woods
was opened, and Dick's happiness became too great for utterance.

Supper was now brought in, and placed by Mrs. Clavering's order on a
little table in the corner, it not being worth while, as she said, to
remove the books and writing apparatus from the centre-table, as the
lessons must be shortly resumed.

"What lessons are these," said Uncle Philip, "on which you seem so
intent? Before I went away there was no lesson-learning of evenings.
Have Mr. Fulmer and Miss Hickman adopted a new plan? I think, children,
I have heard you say that your lessons were very short, and that you
always learned them in school, which was one reason, why I approved of
Mr. Fulmer for the boys, and Miss Hickman for the girls. I never could
bear the idea of poor children being forced to spend their play-time in
learning lessons. The school hours are long enough in all conscience."

"Oh--we don't go to Miss Hickman now," exclaimed the girls:--"And I
don't go any longer to Mr. Fulmer," cried Dick, with something like a
sigh.

"And where do you go, then?" inquired Uncle Philip.

"We go to Monsieur and Madame Franchimeau's French Study," replied Dick.
"He teaches the boys, and she the girls--and our lessons are so long
that it takes us the whole evening to learn them, and write our
exercises. We are kept in school from eight in the morning till three in
the afternoon. And then at four we go back again, and stay till dusk,
trying to read and talk French with Monsieur and Madame Ravigote, the
father and mother of Madame Franchimeau."

"What's all this?" said Uncle Philip, laying down his knife and fork.

Mrs. Clavering, after silencing Dick with a significant look, proceeded
to explain--

"Why, uncle," said she, "you must know that immediately after you left
us, there came to Corinth a very elegant French family, and their
purpose was to establish an Institute, or Study, as they now call it, in
which, according to the last new system of education, everything is to
be learnt in French. Mrs. Apesley, Mrs. Nedging, Mrs. Pinxton, Mrs.
Slimbridge and myself, with others of the leading ladies of Corinth, had
long wished for such an opportunity of having our children properly
instructed, and we all determined to avail ourselves of it. We called
immediately on the French ladies, who are very superior women, and we
resolved at once to bring them into fashion by showing them every
possible attention. We understood, also, that before Monsieur
Franchimeau and his family came to Corinth, they had been on the other
side of the river, and had visited Tusculum with a view of locating
themselves in that village. But these polished and talented strangers
were not in the least appreciated by the Tusculans, who are certainly a
coarse and vulgar people; and therefore it became the duty of us
Corinthians to prove to them our superiority in gentility and
refinement."

"I thought as much," said Uncle Philip; "I knew it would come out this
way. So the Corinthians are learning French out of spite to the
Tusculans. And I suppose, when these Monsieurs and Madames have done
making fools of the people of this village, they will move higher up the
river, and monkeyfy all before them between this and Albany. For, of
course, the Hyde Parkers will learn French to spite the New Paltzers,
and the Hudsonians to spite the Athenians, and the Kinderhookers to
spite the--"

"Now, uncle, do hush," said Mrs. Clavering, interrupting him; "how can
you make a jest of a thing from which we expect to derive so much
benefit?"

"I am not jesting at all," replied Uncle Philip; "I fear it is a thing
too serious to laugh at. But why do you say _we_? I hope, Kitty
Clavering, _you_ are not making a fool of yourself, and turning
school-girl again?"

"I certainly do take lessons in French," replied Mrs. Clavering. "Mrs.
Apesley, Mrs. Nedging, Mrs. Pinxton, Mrs. Slimbridge and myself, have
formed a class for that purpose."

"Mrs. Apesley has eleven children," said Uncle Philip.

"Yes," replied Mrs. Clavering, "but the youngest is more than two years
old. And Mrs. Nedging has only three."

"True," observed the uncle; "one of them is an idiot boy that can
neither hear, speak, nor use any of his limbs; the others are a couple
of twin babies, that were only two months old when I went away."

"But they are remarkably good babies," answered Mrs. Clavering, "and can
bear very well to have their mother out of their sight."

"And Mrs. Pinxton," said Uncle Philip, "has, ever since the death of her
husband, presided over a large hotel, which, if properly attended to,
ought to furnish her with employment for eighteen hours out of the
twenty-four."

"Oh! but she has an excellent barkeeper," replied Mrs. Clavering, "and
she has lately got a cook from New York, to whom she gives thirty
dollars a month, and she has promoted her head-chambermaid to the rank
of housekeeper. Mrs. Pinxton herself is no longer to be seen going
through the house as she formerly did. You would not suppose that there
was any mistress belonging to the establishment."

"So much the worse," said Uncle Philip, "both for the mistress and the
establishment. Well, and let me ask, if Mrs. Slimbridge's husband has
recovered his health during my absence?"

"Oh! no, he is worse than ever," replied Mrs. Clavering.

"And still," resumed Uncle Philip, "with an invalid husband, who
requires her constant care and attention, Mrs. Slimbridge can find it in
her heart to neglect him, and waste her time in taking lessons that she
may learn to read French (though I am told their books are all about
nothing), and to talk French, though I cannot for my life see who she is
to talk to."

"There is no telling what advantage she may not derive from it in future
life," remarked Mrs. Clavering.

"I can tell her one thing," said Uncle Philip, "when poor Slimbridge
dies, her French will never help her to a second husband. No man ever
married a woman because she had learnt French."

"Indeed, uncle," replied Mrs. Clavering, "your prejudices against
everything foreign are so strong, that it is in vain for me to oppose
them. To-night, at least, I shall not say another word on the subject."

"Well, well, Kitty," said Uncle Philip, shaking her kindly by the hand,
"we'll talk no more about it to-night, and perhaps, as you say, I ought
to have more patience with foreigners, seeing that, as no man can choose
his own birth-place, it is not to be expected that everybody can be born
in America. And those that are not, are certainly objects of pity rather
than of blame."

"Very right, uncle," exclaimed Sam; "I am sure I pity all that are not
Americans of the United States, particularly since I have been among the
West Indian Spaniards."

"Now, Kitty Clavering," said Uncle Philip, triumphantly, "you perceive
the advantages of seeing the world: who says that Sam has not profited
by his voyage?"

The family separated for the night; and next morning Sam laughed at Dick
for repeating his French verbs in his sleep. "No wonder," replied Dick,
"if you knew how many verbs I have to learn every day, and how much
difficulty I have in getting them by heart, when I am all the time
thinking of other things, you would not be surprised at my dreaming of
them; as people are apt to do of whatever is their greatest affliction."

At breakfast, the conversation of the preceding evening was renewed, by
Mrs. Clavering observing with much complacency,

"Monsieur Franchimeau will be very happy to find that I have a new
scholar for him."

"Indeed!" said Uncle Philip; "and who else have you been pressing into
the service?"

"My son Sam, certainly," replied Mrs. Clavering. "I promised him to Mr.
Franchimeau, and he of course has been expecting to have him immediately
on his return from the West Indies. Undoubtedly, Sam must be allowed the
same advantages as his brother and sisters. Not to give him an equal
opportunity of learning French would be unjust in the extreme."

"Dear mother," replied Sam, "I am quite willing to put up with that much
injustice."

"Right, my boy," exclaimed Uncle Philip; "and when you have learnt
everything else, it will then be quite time enough to begin French."

"You misunderstand entirely," said Mrs. Clavering. "The children _are_
learning everything else. But Mr. Franchimeau goes upon the new system,
and teaches the whole in French and out of French books. His pupils, and
those of Madame Franchimeau, learn history, geography, astronomy,
botany, chemistry, mathematics, logic, criticism, composition, geology,
mineralogy, conchology, and phrenology."

"Mercy on their poor heads," exclaimed Uncle Philip, interrupting her:
"They'll every one grow up idiots. All the sense they have will be
crushed out of them, by this unnatural business of overloading their
minds with five times as much as they can bear. And the whole of this is
to be learned in a foreign tongue too. Well, what next? Are they also
taught Latin and Greek in French? And now I speak of those two
languages--that have caused so many aching heads and aching hearts to
poor boys that never had the least occasion to turn them to any
account--suppose that all the lectures at the Medical Colleges were
delivered in Latin or Greek. How much, do you think, would the students
profit by them? Pretty doctors we should have, if they learnt their
business in that way. No, no; the branches you have mentioned are all
hard enough in themselves, particularly that last ology about the bumps
on people's heads. To get a thorough knowledge of any one of these arts
or sciences, or whatever you call them, is work enough for a man's
lifetime; and now the whole of them together are to be forced upon the
weak understandings of poor innocent children, and in a foreign
language, to boot. Shame on you--shame on you, Kitty Clavering!"

"Uncle Philip," said Mrs. Clavering, smiling at his vehemence, for on
such occasions she had always found it more prudent to smile than to
frown, "you may say what you will now, but I foresee that you will
finally become a convert to my views of this subject. I intend to make
French the general language of the family, and in a short time you will
soon catch it yourself. Why, though I cannot say much for his
proficiency in his lessons, even Ric_har_[4] has picked up without
intending it, a number of French phrases, that he pronounces quite well
when I make him go over them with me."

[Footnote 4: The French pronunciation of Richard.]

"Ric_har_!" cried Uncle Philip, "and pray who is he? Who is Richar?"

"That's me, uncle," said Dick.

"So you have Frenchified Dick's name, have you!" said the old
gentleman, "but I'm determined you shall not Frenchify Sam's."

"No," observed Sam, "I'll not be Frenchified."

"And pray, young ladies," resumed the uncle, "Fanny, Jenny, and Anny,
have you too been put into French?"

"Yes, uncle," replied Jane, "we are now Fanchette, Jeanette, and
Annette."

"So much the worse," said Uncle Philip. "Listen to me, when I tell you,
that all this Frenchifying will come to no good; and I foresee that you
may be sorry for it when it is too late. Of what use will it be to any
of you? I have often heard that all French books worth reading are
immediately done into English. And I never met with a French person
worth knowing that had not learned to talk English."

"Now, uncle," said Mrs. Clavering, "you are going quite too far. If our
knowledge of French should not come into use while in our own country,
who knows but some time or other we may all go to France."

"I for one," replied Uncle Philip, "_I_ know that you will not; at
least, you shall never go to France with my consent. No American woman
goes to France, without coming home the worse for it in some way or
other. There were the two Miss Facebys, who came up here last spring,
fresh from a six months' foolery in Paris. I can see them now, ambling
along in their short petticoats, with their hands clasped on their belt
buckles, their mouths half open like idiots, and their eyes turned
upwards like dying calves."

Here Uncle Philip set the whole family to laughing, by starting from his
chair and imitating the walk and manner of the Miss Facebys.

"There," said he, resuming his seat, "I know that's exactly like them.
Then did not they pretend to have nearly forgotten their own language,
affecting to speak English imperfectly. And what was the end of them?
One ran away with a dancing-master's mate, and the other got privately
married to a fiddler."

"But you must allow," said Mrs. Clavering, "that the Miss Facebys
improved greatly in manner by their visit to France."

"I know not what you call _manner_" replied Uncle Philip, "but I'm sure
in _manners_ they did not. Manner and manners, I find, are very
different things. And I was told by a gentleman, who had lived many
years in France, that the Miss Facebys looked and behaved like French
chambermaids, but not like French ladies. For my part, I am no judge of
French women; but this I know, that American girls had better be like
themselves, and not copy any foreign women whatever. And let them take
care not to unfit themselves for American husbands. If they do, they'll
lose more than they'll gain."

"Well, Uncle Philip," said Mrs. Clavering, "I see it will take time to
make a convert of you."

"Don't depend on that," replied the old gentleman. "I, that for sixty
years have stood out against all foreigners, particularly the French, am
not likely to be taken in by them now."

"We shall see," resumed Mrs. Clavering. "But are you really serious in
prohibiting Sam from becoming a pupil of Mr. Franchimeau?"

"Serious, to be sure I am," replied Uncle Philip. "Of what use can it be
to him, if he follows the sea, as of course he will?"

"Of great use," answered Mrs. Clavering, "if he should be in the French
trade."

"I look forward to his being in the India trade," said Uncle Philip,
proudly.

"But suppose, uncle," said Fanny, "he should happen to have French
sailors on board his ship?"

"French sailors! French!" exclaimed Uncle Philip; "for what purpose
should he ship a Frenchman as a sailor? Why, I was once all over a
French frigate that came into New York, and she was a pretty thing
enough to look at outside. But when you got on board and went between
decks, I never saw so dirty a ship. However, I won't go too far--I won't
say that all French frigates are like this one, or all French sailors
like those. Besides, this was many years ago, and, perhaps, they've
improved since."

"No doubt of it," said Mrs. Clavering.

"Well," pursued Uncle Philip, "I only tell you what I saw."

"But, not knowing their language, you must have misunderstood a great
deal that you saw," observed Mrs. Clavering.

"The first-lieutenant spoke English," said Uncle Philip, "and he showed
me the ship; and, to do him justice, he was a very clever fellow, for
all he was a Frenchman. There must certainly be _some_ good ones among
them. Yes, yes--I have not a word to say against that first-lieutenant.
But I wish you had seen the men that we found between decks. Some were
tinkling on a sort of guitars, and some were tooting on a kind of
flutes, and some were scraping on wretched fiddles. Some had little
paint-boxes, and were drawing watch-papers, with loves and doves on
them; some were sipping lemonade, and some were eating sugar-candy; and
one (whom I suspected to have been originally a barber), was combing and
curling a lapdog. It was really sickening to see sailors making such
fools of themselves. By the bye, I did not see a tolerable dog about the
ship. There was no fine Newfoundlander like my gallant Neptune (come
here, old fellow), but there were half a dozen short-legged,
long-bodied, red-eyed, tangle-haired wretches, meant for poodles, but
not even half so good. And some of the men were petting huge cats, and
some were feeding little birds in cages."

"Well," said Mrs. Clavering, "I see no harm in all this--only an
evidence that the general refinement of the French nation pervades all
ranks of society. Is it not better to eat sugar-candy than to chew
tobacco, and to sip lemonade than to drink grog?"

"And then," continued Uncle Philip, "to hear the names by which the
fellows were calling each other, for their tongues were all going the
whole time as fast as they could chatter. There were Lindor and Isidore,
and Adolphe and Emile. I don't believe there was a Jack or a Tom in the
whole ship. I was so diverted with their names, that I made the
first-lieutenant repeat them to me, and I wrote them down in my
pocket-book. A very gentlemanly man was that first-lieutenant. But as to
the sailors--why, there was one fellow sprawling on a gun (I suppose I
should say reclining), and talking to himself about his amiable Pauline,
which, I suppose, is the French for Poll. When we went into the
gun-room, there was the gunner sitting on a chest, and reading some
love-verses of his own writing, addressed to his belle Celestine, which,
doubtless, is the French for Sall. Think of a sailor pretending to have
a belle for his sweetheart! The first-lieutenant told me that the gunner
was the best poet in the ship. I must say, I think very well of that
first-lieutenant. There were half a dozen boys crowding round the gunner
(or forming a group, as, I suppose, you would call it), and looking up
to his face with admiration; and one great fool was kneeling behind him,
and holding over his head a wreath of some sort of green leaves,
waiting to crown him when he had done reading his verses."

"Well," observed Mrs. Clavering, "I have no doubt the whole scene had a
very pretty effect."

"Pshaw," said Uncle Philip. "When I came on deck again, there was the
boatswain's mate, who was also the ship's dancing-master (for a
Frenchman can turn his hand to anything, provided it's foolery), and he
was giving a lesson to two dozen dirty fellows with bare feet and red
woollen caps, and taking them by their huge tarry hands, and bidding
them _chassez_ here, and _balancez_ there, and _promenade_ here, and
_pirouette_ there. I was too angry to laugh, when I saw sailors making
such baboons of themselves."

"Now," remarked Mrs. Clavering, "it is an established fact, that without
some knowledge of dancing, no one can move well, or have a graceful air
and carriage. Why, then, should not sailors be allowed an opportunity of
cultivating the graces as well as other people? Why should they be
debarred from everything that savours of refinement?"

"I am glad," said Uncle Philip, laughing, "that it never fell to my lot
to go to sea with a crew of refined sailors. I think, I should have
tried hard to whack their refinement out of them. Why the French
first-lieutenant (who was certainly a very clever fellow), told me that,
during the cruise, five or six seamen had nearly died of their
sensibility, as he called it; having jumped overboard, because they
could not bear the separation from their sweethearts."

"Poor fellows," said Fanny, "and were they drowned?"

"I asked that," replied Uncle Philip, "hoping that they were; but,
unluckily for the service, they were all provided with sworn friends,
who jumped heroically into the sea, and fished the lubbers out. And, no
doubt, the whole scene had a very pretty effect."

"How can you make a jest of such things?" said Mrs. Clavering,
reproachfully.

"Why, I am only repeating your own words," answered the old gentleman.
"But, to speak seriously, this shows that French ships ought always to
be furnished with Newfoundland dogs to send in after the lovers, and
spare their friends the trouble of getting a wet jacket for them:--Come
here, old Nep. Up, my fine fellow, up," patting the dog's head, while
the enormous animal rested his fore-paws on his master's shoulders.

Mrs. Clavering now reminded the children that it was considerably past
their hour for going to school, but with one accord they petitioned for
a holiday, as it was the first day of Uncle Philip's and Sam's return.

"You know the penalty," said Mrs. Clavering; "you know that if you stay
away from school, you will be put down to the bottom of the class."

The children all declared their willingness to submit to this punishment
rather than go to school that day.

"Now, Kitty Clavering," said Uncle Philip, "you see plainly that their
hearts are not in the French: and that it is all forced work with them.
So I shall be regularly displeased, if you send the children to school
to-day. They shall go with me to the cabin, and we will all spend the
morning there."

The cabin was a small wooden edifice planned by Uncle Philip, and
erected by his own hands with the assistance of Sam and Dick. It stood
on the verge of the river, where the bank took the form of a little cape
or headland, which Uncle Philip called Point Lookout. On an eminence
immediately above, was the house of Mrs. Clavering, from the front
garden of which a green slope, planted with fruit-trees, descended
gradually to the water's edge.

The building (into which you went down by a flight of wooden steps
inserted in the face of the hill), was as much as possible like the
cabin of a ship. The ceiling was low, with a skylight near the centre,
and the floor was not exactly level, there being a very visible slant to
one side. At the back of this cabin was an imitation of transoms, above
which was a row of small windows of four panes each, and when these
windows were open, they were fastened up by brass hooks to the beams
that supported the roof. In the middle of the room was a flag-staff,
which went up through the centre of a table, and perforated the ceiling
like the mizen-mast of a ship, and rose to a great height above the
roof. From the top of this staff an American ensign, on Sundays and
holidays, displayed its stars and stripes to the breeze. There was a
range of lockers all round the room, containing in their recesses an
infinite variety of marine curiosities that Uncle Philip had collected
during his voyages, and also some very amusing specimens of Chinese
patience and ingenuity. The walls were hung with charts, and ornamented
with four coloured drawings that Captain Kentledge showed as the
likenesses of four favourite ships, all of which he, had at different
times commanded. These drawings were made by a young man that had
sailed with him as mate; and to unpractised eyes all the four ships
looked exactly alike; but Uncle Philip always took care to explain that
the Columbia was sharpest at the bows, and the American roundest at the
stern; that the United States had the tallest masts, and the Union the
longest yards.

An important appendage to the furniture of this singular room was a
hanging-shelf, containing Captain Kentledge's library; and the books
were the six octavo volumes of Cook's Voyages, and also the voyages of
Scoresby, Ross and Parry, the Arabian Nights, Dibdin's Songs, Robinson
Crusoe, and Cooper's Pilot, Red Rover, and Water Witch.

This cabin was the stronghold of Uncle Philip, and the place where, with
Sam and Neptune, he spent all his happiest hours. For here he could
smoke his segars in peace, and chew his tobacco without being obliged to
watch an opportunity of slipping it privately into his mouth. But as
Mrs. Clavering had particularly desired that he would not initiate Sam
into the use of "the Indian weed," he had promised to refrain from
instructing him in this branch of a sailor's education; and being "an
honourable man," Uncle Philip had faithfully kept his word.

Dick (acknowledging that during his uncle's absence he had used the
cabin as a workshop, and that it was now ankle-deep in chips and
shavings), ran on before with a broom to sweep the litter into a corner.
The whole group proceeded thither from the breakfast table, Uncle Philip
wishing he had three hands that he might give one to each of the little
girls; but as that was not the case, they drew lots to decide which
should be contented to hold by the skirt of his coat, and the lot fell
upon Fanny; the old gentleman leading Jane and Anne, while Sam and
Neptune brought up the rear.

Arrived at the cabin, Uncle Philip placed himself in his arm-chair; the
girls sat round him sewing for their dolls; Sam took his slate and drew
upon it all the different parts of the schooner Winthrop, of which (from
his brother's description) Dick commenced making a minature model in
wood; and Neptune mounted one of the transoms and looked out of the
window.

Things were going on very pleasantly, and Uncle Philip was in the midst
of narrating the particulars of a violent storm they had encountered in
the gulf of Florida, when Dick, casting his eyes towards the glass
door, exclaimed, "the French are coming, the French are coming!"

Uncle Philip testified much dissatisfaction at the intrusion of these
unwelcome visitors, and Dick again fell to work with the broom. In a few
minutes Mrs. Clavering entered the cabin, bringing with her Monsieur and
Madame Franchimeau, and the _vieux_ papa, and _vieille_ mama,[5]
Monsieur and Madame Ravigote.

[Footnote 5: The old papa, and the old mamma.]

Mr. Franchimeau was a clumsy, ill-made man, fierce-eyed,
black-whiskered, and looking as if he might sit for the picture of
"Abællino the Great Bandit." Madame Franchimeau was a large woman, with
large features, and a figure that was very bad in dishabille, and very
good in full dress. Her father and mother were remnants of the _ancien
régime_, but the costume of the _vieux_ papa was not at all in the style
of Blissett's Frenchman. His clothes were like those of other people,
and instead of a powdered toupee and pigeon-wing side-curls, with a
black silk bag behind, he wore a reddish scratch-wig that almost came
down to his eyebrows. Why do very old men, when they wear wigs,
generally prefer red ones? Madame Ravigote was a little withered,
witch-like woman, with a skin resembling brown leather, which was set
off by four scanty flaxen ringlets.

Soon after breakfast, Mrs. Clavering had sent a message to "the French
Study," implying the arrival of Captain Kentledge, and the consequent
holiday of the children; and the Gauls had concluded it expedient to
dismiss their school at twelve o'clock, and hasten to pay their
compliments to the rich old uncle, of whom they had heard much since
their residence at Corinth.

When they were presented to Captain Kentledge, he was not at all
prepossessed in favor of their appearance, and would have been much
inclined to receive them coldly; but as he was now called upon to appear
in the character of their host, he remembered the courtesy due to them
as his guests, and he managed to do the honors of his cabin in a very
commendable manner, considering that he said to himself, "for my own
sake, I cannot be otherwise than civil to them; but I despise them,
notwithstanding."

There was much chattering that amounted to nothing; and much admiration
of the cabin, by which, instead of pleasing Uncle Philip, they only
incurred his farther contempt, by admiring always in the wrong place,
and evincing an ignorance of ships that he thought unpardonable in
people that had crossed the Atlantic. On Sam being introduced to them,
there were many overstrained compliments on his beauty, and what they
called his _air distingué_. Monsieur Franchimeau thought that _le jeune
Sammi_[6] greatly resembled Mr. Irvine Voshintone, whom he had seen in
Paris; but Monsieur Ravigote thought him more like the portrait of Sir
Valter Scotch. Madame Franchimeau likened him to the head of the Apollo
Belvidere, and Madame Ravigote to the Duke of Berry. But all agreed that
he had a general resemblance to La Fayette, with a slight touch of Dr.
Franklin. However these various similitudes might be intended as
compliments, they afforded no gratification to Uncle Philip, whose
secret opinion was, that if Sam looked like anybody, it was undoubtedly
Paul Jones. And during this examination, Sam was not a little
disconcerted at being seized by the shoulders and twirled round, and
taken sometimes by the forehead and sometimes by the chin, that his face
might be brought into the best light for discovering all its affinities.

[Footnote 6: The young Sammy.]

There was then an attempt at general conversation, the chief part of
which was borne by the ladies, or rather by Madame Franchimeau, who
thought in her duty to atone for the dogged taciturnity of her husband.
Monsieur Franchimeau, unlike the generality of his countrymen, neither
smiled, bowed, nor complimented. Having a great contempt for the manners
of the _vieille cour_[7] and particularly for those of his
father-in-law; he piqued himself on his _brusquerie_,[8] and his almost
total disregard of _les bienséances_,[9] and set up _un esprit
fort_:[10] but he took care to talk as little as possible, lest his
claims to that character should be suspected.

[Footnote 7: Old Court.]

[Footnote 8: Bluntness, roughness.]

[Footnote 9: Customs of polite society.]

[Footnote 10: A person of strong mind, superior mind.]

Uncle Philip, though he scorned to acknowledge it, was not in reality
destitute of all comprehension of the French language, having picked up
some little acquaintance with it from having, in the course of his
wanderings, been at places where nothing else was spoken; and though
determined on being displeased, he was amused, in spite of himself, at
some of the tirades of Madame Franchimeau. Understanding that Monsieur
Philippe (as much to his annoyance she called him) had just returned
from the West Indies, she began to talk of Cape François, and the
insurrection of the blacks, in which, she said, she had lost her first
husband, Monsieur Mascaron. "By this terrible blow," said she, "I was
_parfaitement abimé_,[11] and I refused all consolation till it was my
felicity to inspire Monsieur Franchimeau with sentiments the most
profound. But my heart will for ever preserve a tender recollection of
my well-beloved Alphonse. Ah! my Alphonse--his manners were adorable.
However, my regards are great for _mon ami_[12] Monsieur Franchimeau. It
is true, he is _un pen brusque--c'est son caractère_.[13] But his heart
is of a goodness that is really inconceivable. He performs the most
charming actions, and with a generosity that is heroic. _Ah! mon
ami_--you hear me speak of you--but permit me the sad consolation of
shedding yet a few tears for my respectable Alphonse."

[Footnote 11: Perfectly destroyed, plunged into an abyss of despair.]

[Footnote 12: My friend, my dear].

[Footnote 13: A little blunt--a little rough. It is his character.]

Madame Franchimeau then entered into an animated detail of the death of
her first husband, who was killed before her eyes by the negroes; and
she dwelt upon every horrid particular, till she had worked herself into
a passion of tears. Just then, Fanny Clavering (who had for that purpose
been sent up to the house by her mother) arrived with a servant carrying
a waiter of pine-apples, sugar and Madeira.

Madame Franchimeau stopped in the midst of her tears, and exclaimed--"_Ah!
des ananas--mon ami (to her husband)--maman--papa--voyez--voyez--des
ananas._[14] Ah! my poorest Alphonse, great was his love for these--what
you call them--apple de pine. He was just paring his apple de pine, when
the detestable negroes rushed in and overset the table. _Ah! quel
scène--une véritable tragédie!_[15] _Pardonnez_, Madame Colavering, I
prefer a slice from the largest part of the fruit.--Ah! my amiable
Alphonse--his blood flew all over my robe, which was of spotted Japan
muslin. I wore that day a long sash of a broad ribbon of the colour of
Aurore, fringed at both of its ends. When I was running away, he grasped
it so hard that it came untied, and I left it in his hand.--May I beg
the favour of some more sugar?--_Mon ami_, you always prefer the
pine-apple bathed in Champagne."

[Footnote 14: "Ah! pine-apples--my dear--(to her
husband)--mamma--papa--see--see--pine-apples!"]

[Footnote 15: Ah! what a scene--a real tragedy!]

"Yes," replied Franchimeau, "it does me no good, unless each slice is
soaked in some wine of fine quality." But Mrs. Clavering acknowledging
that she had no Champagne in the house, Franchimeau gruffly replied,
that "he supposed Madeira might do."

Madame then continued her story and her pine-apple. "_Ah! mon bien-aimé
Alphonse_,"[16] said she, "he had fourteen wounds--I will take another
slice, if you please, Madame Colavering. There--there--a little more
sugar. _Bien obligé_[17]--a little more still. _Maman, vous ne mangez
pas de bon appetit. Ah! je comprens--vous voulez de la crème avec votre
anana._[18]--Madame Colavering, will you do mamma the favour to have
some cream brought for her? and I shall not refuse some for myself.
Ah! _mon Alphonse_--the object of my first grand passion! He
exhibited in dying some contortions that were hideous--_absolument
effroyable_[19]--they are always present before my eyes--Madame
Colavering, I would prefer those two under slices; they are the best
penetrated with the sugar, and also well steeped in the _jus_."[20]

[Footnote 16: My beloved Alphonse.]

[Footnote 17: Much obliged to you.]

[Footnote 18: Mamma, you do not eat with a good appetite. Ah! I
understand--you wish for some cream with your pine-apple.]

[Footnote 19: Absolutely frightful.]

[Footnote 20: Juice.]

The cream was procured, and the two Madames did it ample justice.
Presently the youngest of the French ladies opened her eyes very wide,
and exclaimed to her father, "_Mon cher papa, vous n' avez pas déjà
fini?_"[21] "My good friend, Madame Colavering, you know, of course,
that my papa cannot eat much fruit, unless it is accompanied by some
_biscuit_--for instance, the cake you call sponge."

[Footnote 21: My dear papa, you have not finished already?]

"I was not aware of that," replied Mrs. Clavering.

"_Est-il possible?_"[22] exclaimed the whole French family, looking at
each other.

[Footnote 22: Is it possible?]

Mrs. Clavering then recollecting that there was some sponge-cake in the
house, sent one of the children for it, and when it was brought, their
French visiters all ate heartily of it; and she heard the _vieille
maman_[23] saying to the _vieux papa_,[24] "_Eh, mon ami, ce petit
collation vient fort à-propos, comme notre déjeûner était seulement un
mauvais salade._"[25]

[Footnote 23: Old mamma.]

[Footnote 24: Old papa.]

[Footnote 25: Eh! my dear, this little collation comes very seasonably,
as our breakfast was nothing but a bad salad.]

The collation over, Mrs. Clavering, by way of giving her guests an
opportunity of saying something that would please Uncle Philip, patted
old Neptune on the head, and asked them if they had ever seen a finer
dog?

"I will show you a finer," replied Madame Franchimeau; "see, I have
brought with me my interesting _Bijou_"--and she called in an ugly
little pug that had been scrambling about the cabin door ever since
their arrival, and whose only qualification was that of painfully
sitting up on his hind legs, and shaking his fore-paws in the fashion
that is called begging. His mistress, with much importunity, prevailed
on him to perform this elegant feat, and she then rewarded him with a
saucer-full of cream, sugar, and sponge-cake. He was waspish and
snappish, and snarled at Jane Clavering when she attempted to play with
him; upon which Neptune, with one blow of his huge forefoot, brought the
pug to the ground, and then stood motionless, looking up in Uncle
Philip's face, with his paw on the neck of the sprawling animal, who
kicked and yelped most piteously. This interference of the old
Newfoundlander gave great offence to the French family, who all
exclaimed, "_Quelle horreur! Quelle abomination! En effet c'est
trop!_"[26]

[Footnote 26: What horror! What abomination! It is really too much!]

Uncle Philip could not help laughing; but Sam called off Neptune from
Bijou, and set the fallen pug on his legs again, for which compassionate
act he was complimented by the French ladies on his _bonté de
coeur_,[27] and honoured at parting, with the title of _le doux
Sammi_.[28]

[Footnote 27: Goodness of heart.]

[Footnote 28: The mild Sammy--the gentle Sammy.]

"I'll never return this visit," said Uncle Philip, after the French
guests had taken their leave.

"Oh! but you _must_," replied Mrs. Clavering; "it was intended expressly
for you--you _must_ return it, in common civility."

"But," persisted Uncle Philip, "I wish them to understand that I don't
intend to treat them with common civility. A pack of selfish,
ridiculous, impudent fools. No, no. I am not so prejudiced as to believe
that all French people are as bad as these--many of them, no doubt, if
we could only find where they are, may be quite as clever as the first
lieutenant of that frigate; but, to their shame be it spoken, the best
of them seldom visit America, and our country is overrun with ignorant,
vulgar impostors, who, unable to get their bread at home, come here full
of lies and pretensions, and to them and their quackery must our
children be intrusted, in the hope of acquiring a smattering of French
jabber, and at the risk of losing everything else."

"Don't you think Uncle Philip always talks best when he's in a passion?"
observed Dick to Sam.

After Mrs. Clavering had returned to the house, Dick informed his uncle
that, a few days before, she had made a dinner for the whole French
family; and Captain Kentledge congratulated himself and Sam on their not
arriving sooner from their voyage. Dick had privately told his brother
that the behaviour of the guests, on this occasion, had not given much
satisfaction. Mrs. Clavering, it seems, had hired, to dress the dinner,
a mulatto woman that professed great knowledge of French cookery, having
lived at one of the best hotels in New York. But Monsieur Franchimeau
had sneered at all the French dishes as soon as he tasted them, and
pretended not to know their names, or for what they were intended;
Monsieur Ravigote had shrugged and sighed, and the ladies had declined
touching them at all, dining entirely on what (as Dick expressed it)
they called roast beef de mutton and natural potatoes.[29]

[Footnote 29: The vulgar French think that the English term for all
sorts of roasted meat is _rosbif_--thus _rosbif de mouton--rosbif de
porc_. Potatoes plainly boiled, with the skins on, are called, in
France, _pommes de terre au naturel_.]

It was not only his regard for the children that made Mrs. Clavering's
French mania a source of great annoyance to Uncle Philip, but he soon
found that much of the domestic comfort of the family was destroyed by
this unaccountable freak, as he considered it. Mrs. Clavering was not
young enough to be a very apt scholar, and so much of her time was
occupied by learning her very long lessons, and writing her very long
exercises, that her household duties were neglected in consequence. As
in a provincial town it is difficult to obtain servants who can go on
well without considerable attention from the mistress, the house was not
kept in as nice order as formerly; the meals were at irregular hours,
and no longer well prepared; the children's comfort was forgotten,
their pleasures were not thought of, and the little girls grieved that
no sweetmeats were to be made that season; their mother telling them
that she had now no time to attend to such things. The children's
story-books were taken from them, because they were now to read nothing
but Telemaque; they were stopped short in the midst of their talk, and
told to _parlez Français_.[30] Even the parrots heard so much of it
that, in a short time, they prated nothing but French.

[Footnote 30: Speak French.]

Uncle Philip had put his positive veto on Sam's going to French school,
and he insisted that little Anne had become pale and thin since she had
been a pupil of the Franchimeaus. Mrs. Clavering, to pacify him,
consented to withdraw the child from school; but only on condition that
she was every day to receive a lesson at home, from old Mr. Ravigote.

Anne Clavering was but five years old. As yet, no taste for French "had
dawned upon her soul," and very little for English; her mind being
constantly occupied with her doll, and other playthings. Monsieur
Ravigote, with all the excitability of his nation, was, in the main, a
very good-natured man, and was really anxious for the improvement of his
pupil. But all was in vain. Little Anne never knew her lessons, and had
as yet acquired no other French phrase than "_Oui, Monsieur_."[31]

[Footnote 31: Yes, sir.]

Every morning, Mr. Ravigote came with a face dressed in smiles, and
earnest hope that his pupil was going that day to give him what he
called "one grand satisfaction;" but the result was always the same.

One morning, as Uncle Philip sat reading the newspaper, and holding
little Anne on his knee while she dressed her doll, Mr. Ravigote came
in, bowing and smiling as usual, and after saluting Captain Kentledge,
he said to the little child: "Well, my dear little friend, _ma gentille
Annette_,[32] I see by the look of your countenance that I shall have
one grand satisfaction with you this day. Application is painted on your
visage, and docility also. Is there not, _ma chère_?"[33]

[Footnote 32: My pretty Annette.]

[Footnote 33: My dear.]

"_Oui, Monsieur_," replied the little Anne.

"_J'en suis ravi._[34] Now, _ma chère, commençons--commençons tout de
suite_."[35]

[Footnote 34: I am delighted at it.]

[Footnote 35: Now, my dear, let us begin--let us begin immediately.]

Little Anne slowly descended from her uncle's knee, carefully put away
her doll and folded up her doll's clothes, and then made a tedious
search for her book.

"_Eh! bien, commençons_," said Mr. Ravigote, "you move without any
rapidity."

"_Oui, Monsieur_," responded little Anne, who, after she had taken her
seat in a low chair beside Mr. Ravigote, was a long time getting into a
comfortable position, and at last settled herself to her satisfaction by
crossing her feet, leaning back as far as she could go, and hooking one
finger in her coral necklace, that she might pull at it all the time.

"_Eh! bien, ma chère_; we will first have the lessons without the book,"
said Mr. Ravigote, commencing with the vocabulary. "Tell me the names of
all the months of the year--for instance, January."

"_Janvier_," answered the pupil, promptly.

"Ah! very well, very well, indeed, _ma chère_--for once, you know the
first word of your lesson. Ah! to-day I have, indeed, great hope of you.
Come, now, February?"

"_Fevrier_," said little Anne.

"Excellent! excellent! you know the second word too--and now, then,
March?"

"Marsh."

"Ah! no, no--but I am old; perhaps I did not rightly hear. Repeat, _ma
chère enfant_,[36] repeat."

[Footnote 36: My dear child.]

"Marsh," cried little Anne in a very loud voice.

"Ah! you are wrong; but I will pardon you--you have said two words
right. _Mars, ma chère, Mars_ is the French for March the month. Come
now, April."

"Aprile."

"Aprile! there is no such word as Aprile--_Avril_. And now tell me, what
is May?"

"_Mai._"

"Excellent! excellent! capital! _magnifique!_ you said that word
_parfaitement bien_.[37] Now let us proceed--June."

[Footnote 37: Perfectly well.]

"Juney."

"Ah! no, no--_Juin, ma chère, Juin_--but I will excuse you. Now, tell me
July."

Little Anne could make no answer.

"Ah! I fear--I begin to fear you. Are you not growing bad?"

"_Oui, Monsieur_," said little Anne.

"Come then; I will tell you this once--_Juillet_ is the French for July.
Now, tell me what is August?"

"Augoost!"

"Augoost! Augoost! there is no such a word. Why, you are very bad,
indeed--_Août, Août, Août_."

The manner in which Mr. Ravigote vociferated this rather uncouth word,
roused Uncle Philip from his newspaper and his rocking-chair, and
mistaking it for a howl of pain, he started up and exclaimed, "Hallo!"
Mr. Ravigote turned round in amazement, and Uncle Philip continued,
"Hey, what's the matter? Has anything hurt you? I thought I heard a
howl."

"Dear uncle," said little Anne, "Mr. Ravigote is not howling; he is only
saying August in French."

Uncle Philip bit his lip and resumed his paper. Mr. Ravigote proceeded,
"September?" and his pupil repeated in a breath, as if she was afraid to
stop an instant lest she should forget--

"Septembre, Octobre, Novembre, Décembre."

"Ah! very well; very well, indeed," exclaimed Mr. Ravigote; "you have
said these four words _comme il faut_;[38] but it must be confessed they
are not much difficult."

[Footnote 38: Properly].

He then proceeded with the remainder of her vocabulary lesson; but in
vain--not another word did she say that had the least affinity to the
right one. "Ah!" said he, "_je suis au desespoir_;[39] I much expected
of you this day, but you have overtumbled all my hopes. _Je suis
abimé._"[40]

[Footnote 39: I am in despair.]

[Footnote 40: "I am thrown in an abyss of grief," is perhaps nearest the
meaning of this very French expression.]

"_Oui, Monsieur_, said little Anne.

"You are one _mauvais sujet_,"[41] pursued the teacher, beginning to
lose his patience; "punishment is all that you merit. _Mais allons,
essayons encore._"[42]

[Footnote 41: Bad person--bad child.]

[Footnote 42: But come, let us try again.]

Just at that moment the string of little Anne's beads (at which she had
been pulling during the whole lesson) broke suddenly in two, and the
beads began to shower down, a few into her lap, but most of them on the
floor.

"_Oh! quel dommage!_"[43] exclaimed Mr. Ravigote; "_Mais n'importe,
laissez-les_,[44] and continue your lesson."

[Footnote 43: Oh! what a pity!]

[Footnote 44: But no matter--let them alone.]

But poor Mr. Ravigote found it impossible to make the little girl pay
the slightest attention to him while her beads were scattered on the
floor; and his only alternative was to stoop down and help her to pick
them up. Uncle Philip raised his eyes from the paper, and said, "Never
mind the beads, my dear; finish the lesson, and I will buy you a new
coral necklace to-morrow, and a much prettier one than that."

Little Anne instantly rose from the floor, and whisking into her chair,
prepared to resume her lesson with alacrity.

"_Eh! bien_," said the teacher, "now we will start off again, and read
the inside of a book. Come, here is the fable of the fox and the grapes.
These are the fables that we read during the _ancien régime_; there are
none so good now."

Mr. Ravigote then proceeded to read with her, translating as he went on,
and making her repeat after him--"A fox of Normandy, (some say of
Gascony,) &c., &c. Now, my dear, you must try this day and make a copy
of the nasal sounds as you hear them from me. It is in these sounds that
you are always the very worst. The nasal sounds are the soul and the
life of French speaking."

The teacher bent over the book, and little Anne followed his
pronunciation more closely than she had ever done before: he exclaiming
at every sentence, "Very well--very well, indeed, my dear. To-day you
have the nasal sounds, _comme une ange_."[45]

[Footnote 45: Like an angel.]

But on turning round to pat her head, he perceived that _gentille
Annette_ was holding her nose between her thumb and finger, and that it
was in this way only she had managed to give him satisfaction with the
nasal sounds. He started back aghast, exclaiming--

"_Ah! quelle friponnerie! la petite coquine! Voici un grand acte de
fourberie et de méchanceté!_[46] So young and so depraved--ah! I fear, I
much fear, she will grow up a rogue-a cheat--perhaps a thief. _Je suis
glacé d'horreur! Je tremble! Je frissonne!_"[47]

[Footnote 46: Ah! what roguery--the little jade! What an instance of
imposture and wickedness!]

[Footnote 47: I am frozen with horror!--I tremble!--I shiver!]

"I'll tell you what," said Uncle Philip, laying down his newspaper, "you
need neither tremble nor frisson, nor get yourself into any horror about
it. The child's only a girl of five years old, and I've no notion that
the little tricks, that all children are apt to play at times, are
proofs of natural wickedness, or signs that they will grow up bad men
and women. But to cut the matter short, the girl is too little to learn
French. She is not old enough either to understand it, or to remember
it, and you see it's impossible for her to give her mind to it. So from
this time, I say, she shall learn no more French till she is grown up,
and desires it herself. (_Little Anne gave a skip half way to the
ceiling._) You shall be paid for her quarter all the same, and I'll pay
you myself on the spot. So you need never come again."

Mr. Ravigote was now from head to foot all one smile; and bowing with
his hands on his heart, he, at Uncle Philip's desire, mentioned the sum
due for a quarter's attempt at instruction. Uncle Philip immediately
took the money out of his pocket-book, saying, "There,--there is a
dollar over; but you may keep it yourself: I want no change. I suppose
my niece, Kitty Clavering, will not be pleased at my sending you off;
but she will have to get over it, for I'll see that child tormented no
longer."

Mr. Ravigote thought in his own mind, that the torment had been much
greater to him than to the child; but he was so full of gratitude, that
he magnanimously offered to take the blame on himself, and represent to
Mrs. Clavering that it was his own proposal to give up Mademoiselle
Annette, as her organ of French was not yet developed.

"No, no," said Uncle Philip, "I am always fair and above-board. I want
nobody to shift the blame from my shoulders to their own. Whatever I do,
I'll stand by manfully. I only hope that you'll never again attempt to
teach French to babies."

Mr. Ravigote took leave with many thanks, and on turning to bid his
adieu to the little girl, he found that she had already vanished from
the parlour, and was riding about the green on the back of old Neptune.

When Uncle Philip told Mrs. Clavering of his dismissal of Mr. Ravigote,
she was so deeply vexed, that she thought it most prudent to say
nothing, lest she should be induced to say too much.

A few days after this event, Madame Franchimeau sent an invitation,
written in French, for Mrs. Clavering, and "Monsieur Philippe" to pass
the evening at her house, and partake of a _petit souper_,[48] bringing
with them _le doux Sammi_, and _la belle Fanchette_.[49] This supper
was to celebrate the birthday of her niece, Mademoiselle Robertine, who
had just arrived from New York, and was to spend a few weeks at Corinth.

[Footnote 48: A little supper.]

[Footnote 49: The gentle Sammy and the lovely Fanchette.]

Uncle Philip had never yet been prevailed on to enter the French house,
as he called it; and on this occasion he stoutly declared off, saying
that he had no desire to see any more of their foolery, and that he
hated the thoughts of a French supper. "My friend, Tom Logbook," said
he, "who commands the packet Louis Quatorze, and understands French,
told me of a supper to which he was invited the first time he was at
Havre, and of the dishes he was expected to eat, and I shall take care
never to put myself in the way of such ridiculous trash. Why, he told me
there was wooden-leg soup, and bagpipes of mutton, and rabbits in
spectacles, and pullets in silk stockings, and potatoes in shirts.[50]
Answer me now, are such things fit for Christians to eat?"

[Footnote 50: _Soupe à la jambe de bois--musettes de mouton--lapins en
lorgnettes--poulardes en bas de soie--pommes de terre en chemise._ See
Ude, &c.]

For a long time Mrs. Clavering tried in vain to prevail on Uncle Philip
to accept of the invitation. At last Dick suggested a new persuasive.
"Mother," said he, "I have no doubt Uncle Philip would go to the French
supper, if you will let us all have a holiday from school for a week."

"That's a good thought, Dick," exclaimed the old gentleman. "Yes, I
think I would. Well, on these terms I will go, and eat trash. I suppose
I shall live through it. But remember now, this is the first and last
and only time I will ever enter a French house."

After tea, the party set out for Monsieur Franchimeau's, and were
ushered into the front parlour, which was fitted up in a manner that
exhibited a strange _mélange_ of slovenliness and pretension. There was
neither carpet nor matting, and the floor was by no means in the nicest
order; but there were three very large looking-glasses, the plates being
all more or less cracked, and the frames sadly tarnished. The chairs
were of two different sorts, and of very ungenteel appearance; but there
was a kind of Grecian sofa, or lounge, with a gilt frame much defaced,
and a red damask cover much soiled; and, in the centre of the room,
stood a _fauteuil_[51] covered with blue moreen, the hair poking out in
tufts through the slits. The windows were decorated with showy curtains
of coarse pink muslin and marvellously coarse white muslin; the drapery
suspended from two gilt arrows, one of which had lost its point, and the
other had parted with its feather. The hearth was filled with rubbish,
such as old pens, curl-papers, and bits of rag; but the mantel-piece was
adorned with vases of artificial flowers under glass bells, and two
elegant chocolate cups of French china.

[Footnote 51: Easy chair.]

The walls were hung with a dozen bad lithographic prints, tastefully
suspended by bows of gauze ribbon. Among these specimens of the worst
style of the modern French school, was a Cupid and Psyche, with a
background that was the most prominent part of the picture, every leaf
of every tree on the distant mountains being distinctly defined and
smoothly finished. The clouds seemed unwilling to stay behind the hills,
but had come so boldly forward and looked so like masses of stone, that
there was much apparent danger of their falling on the heads of the
lovers and crushing them to atoms. Psyche was an immensely tall, narrow
woman, of a certain age, and remarkably strong features; and Cupid was a
slender young man, of nineteen or twenty, about seven feet high, with
long tresses descending to his waist.

Another print represented a huge muscular woman, with large coarse
features distorted into the stare and grin of a maniac, an enormous lyre
in her hand, a cloud of hair flying in one direction, and a volume of
drapery exhibiting its streaky folds in another; while she is running to
the edge of a precipice, as if pursued by a mad bull, and plunging
forward with one foot in the air, and her arms extended above her head.
This was Sappho on the rock of Leucate. These two prints Mr. Franchimeau
(who professed connoisseurship, and always talked when pictures were the
subject--that is, French pictures) pointed out to his visiters as
magnificent emanations of the Fine Arts. "The coarse arts, rather,"
murmured Uncle Philip.

The guests were received with much suavity by the French ladies and the
_vieux_ papa; and Capt. Kentledge was introduced by Madame Franchimeau
to three little black-haired girls, with surprisingly yellow faces, who
were designated by the mother as "_mon aimable Lulu, ma mignonne Mimi,
and ma petite ange Gogo_."[52] Uncle Philip wondered what were the real
names of these children.

[Footnote 52: My lovely Lulu, my darling Mimi, and my little angel
Gogo.]

After this, Madame Franchimeau left the room for a moment, and returned,
leading in a very pretty young girl, whom she introduced as her _très
chère niece, Mademoiselle Robertine_,[53] orphan daughter of a brother
of her respectable Alphonse.

[Footnote 53: Her beloved niece, Miss Robertine.]

Robertine had a neat French figure, a handsome French face, and a
profusion of hair arranged precisely in the newest style of the wax
figures that decorate the windows of the most fashionable
_coiffeurs_.[54] She was dressed in a thin white muslin, with a short
black silk apron, embroidered at the corners with flowers in colours.
Mr. Franchimeau resigned to her his chair beside Uncle Philip, to whom
(while her aunt and the Ravigotes were chattering and shrugging to Mrs.
Clavering) she addressed herself with considerable fluency and in good
English. People who have known but little of the world, and of the best
tone of society, are apt, on being introduced to new acquaintances, to
talk to them at once of their profession, or in reference to it; and
Robertine questioned Uncle Philip about his ships and his voyages, and
took occasion to tell him that she had always admired the character of a
sailor, and still more that of a captain; that she thought the brown
tinge given by the sea air a great improvement to a fine manly
countenance; that fair-complexioned people were her utter aversion, and
that a gentleman was never in his best looks till he had attained the
age of forty, or, indeed, of forty-five.

[Footnote 54: Hair-dressers.]

"Then I am long past the age of good looks," said Uncle Philip, "for I
was sixty-two the sixth of last June."

"Is it possible!" exclaimed Robertine. "I had no idea that Captain
Kentledge could have been more than forty-three or forty-four at the
utmost. But gentlemen who have good health and amiable dispositions,
never seem to grow old. I have known some who were absolutely charming
even at seventy."

"Pshaw!" said Uncle Philip, half aside.

Robertine, who had been tutored by her aunt Franchimeau, ran on with a
tirade of compliments and innuendos, so glaring as to defeat their own
purpose. Sam, who sat opposite, and was a shrewd lad, saw in a moment
her design, and could not forbear at times casting significant looks
towards his uncle. The old captain perfectly comprehended the meaning of
those looks, and perceived that Mademoiselle Robertine was spreading
her net for him. Determining not to be caught, he received all her
smiles with a contracted brow; replied only in monosyllables; and, as
she proceeded, shut his teeth firmly together, closed his lips tightly,
pressed his clenched hands against the sides of his chair, and sat bolt
upright; resolved on answering her no more.

About nine o'clock, the door of the back parlour was thrown open by the
little mulatto girl, and Madame Franchimeau was seen seated at the head
of the supper-table. Mr. Franchimeau led in Mrs. Clavering; Mr. Ravigote
took Fanny; Madame Ravigote gave her hand to Sam, and Robertine, of
course, fell to the lot of Uncle Philip, who touched with a very ill
grace the fingers that she smilingly extended to him.

In the centre of the supper-table was a salad decorated with roses, and
surrounded by four candles. The chief dish contained _blanquettes_ of
veal; and the other viands were a _fricandeau_ of calves' ears; a
_purée_ of pigs' tails; a _ragout_ of sheep's feet, and another of
chickens' pinions interspersed with claws; there was a dish of turnips
with mustard, another of cabbage with cheese, a bread omelet, a plate of
poached eggs, a plate of sugar-plums, and a dish of hashed fish, which
Madame Franchimeau called a _farce_.

As soon as they were seated, Robertine took a rose from the salad, and
with a look of considerable sentiment, presented it to Uncle Philip, who
received it with a silent frown, and took an opportunity of dropping it
on the floor, when Sam slyly set his foot on it and crushed it flat. The
young lady then mixed a glass of _eau sucré_[55] for the old gentleman,
saying very sweet things all the time; but the beverage was as little to
his taste as the Hebe that prepared it.

[Footnote 55: Sugar and water.]

The French children were all at table, and the youngest girl looking
somewhat unwell, and leaving her food on her plate, caused Mrs.
Clavering to make a remark on her want of appetite.

"_N'importe_,"[56] said Madame Franchimeau; "she is not affamished; she
did eat very hearty at her tea; she had shesnoot for her tea."

[Footnote 56: No matter.]

"Chestnuts!" exclaimed Mrs. Clavering.

"Oh, yes; we have them at times. _N'importe_, my little Gogo; cease your
supper, you will have the better appetite for your breakfast. You shall
have an apple for your breakfast--a large, big apple. Monsieur Philippe,
permit me to help you to some of this fish; you will find it a most
excellent _farce_:[57] I have preserved it from corruption by a process
of vinegar and salt, and some charcoal. Madame Colavering, I will show
you that mode of restoring fish when it begins to putrefy: a great
chemist taught it to my assassined Alphonse."

[Footnote 57: Farce, in French cookery, signifies chopped meat, fish,
poultry, well seasoned and mixed with other ingredients.]

Uncle Philip pushed away his plate with unequivocal signs of disgust,
and moved back his chair, determined not to taste another mouthful while
he stayed in the house. Suspicious of everything, he even declined
Robertine's solicitations to take a glass of _liqueur_ which she poured
out for him, and which she assured him was genuine _parfait amour_.[58]
During supper, she had talked to him, in a low voice, of the great
superiority of the American nation when compared with the French; and
regretted the frivolity and _inconsequence_ of the French character; but
assured him that when French ladies had the honour of marrying American
gentlemen, they always lost that inconsequence, and acquired much depth
and force.

[Footnote 58: Perfect love.]

After supper, Mr. Franchimeau, who, notwithstanding his taciturnity and
_brusquerie_, was what Uncle Philip called a Jack of all trades, sat
down to an old out-of-tune piano, that stood in one of the recesses of
the back parlour, and played an insipid air of "Paul at the Tomb of
Virginia," singing with a hoarse stentorian voice half-a-dozen
namby-pamby stanzas, lengthening out or contracting some of the words,
and mispronouncing others to suit the measure and the rhyme. This song,
however, seemed to produce great effect on the French part of his
audience, who sighed, started, and exclaimed--"_Ah! quels sont touchans,
ces sentimens sublimes!_"[59]

[Footnote 59: Ah! how touching are these sublime sentiments!]

"_Ma chère amie_," continued Madame Franchimeau, pressing the hand of
Mrs. Clavering, "_permettez que je pleure un peu le triste destin de
l'innocence et de la vertu--infortuné Paul--malheureuse Virginie_;"[60]
and she really seemed to shed tears.

[Footnote 60: My dear friend, permit me to weep a little for the sad
fate of innocence and virtue--unfortunate Paul--hapless Virginia.]

Uncle Philip could no longer restrain himself, but he started from his
chair and paced the room in evident discomposure at the folly and
affectation that surrounded him; his contempt for all men that played on
pianos being much heightened by the absurd appearance of the huge
black-whiskered, shock-headed Monsieur Franchimeau, with his long
frock-coat hanging down all over the music-stool. Robertine declined
playing, alleging that she had none of her own music with her; and she
privately told Uncle Philip that she had lost all relish for French
songs, and that she was very desirous of learning some of the national
airs of America--for instance, the Tars of Columbia. But still Uncle
Philip's heart was iron-bound, and he deigned no other reply than, "I
don't believe they'll suit you."

A dance was then proposed by Madame Ravigote, and Robertine, "nothing
daunted," challenged Uncle Philip to lead off with her; but, completely
out of patience, he turned on his heel, and walked away without
vouchsafing an answer. Robertine then applied to Sam, but with no better
success, for as yet he had not learned that accomplishment, and she was
finally obliged to dance with old Mr. Ravigote, while Madame Franchimeau
took out her mother; Fanny danced with the lovely Lulu, and Mimi and
Gogo with each other; Mr. Franchimeau playing cotillions for them.

Uncle Philip thought in his own mind that the dancing was the best part
of the evening's entertainment, and old Madame Ravigote was certainly
the best of the dancers; though none of the family were deficient in a
talent which seems indigenous to the whole French nation.

The cotillions were succeeded by cream of tartar lemonade, and a plate
of sugar-plums enfolded in French mottoes, from which Robertine selected
the most amatory, and presented them to Uncle Philip, who regularly made
a point of giving them all back to her in silence, determined not to
retain a single one, lest she might suppose he acknowledged the
application.

The old gentleman was very tired of the visit, and glad enough when Mrs.
Clavering proposed departing. And all the way home his infatuated niece
talked to him in raptures of the elegance of French people, and the vast
difference between them and the Americans.

"There is, indeed, a difference," said Uncle Philip, too much fatigued
to argue the point that night.

Next morning, after they had adjourned to the cabin, Sam addressed the
old gentleman with, "Well, Uncle Philip, I wish you joy of the conquest
you made last evening of the pretty French girl, Miss Robertine."

"A conquest of _her_," replied Uncle Philip, indignantly; "the report of
my dollars has made the conquest. I am not yet old enough to be taken in
by such barefaced manoeuvring. No, no; I am not yet in my dotage; and
I heartily despise a young girl that is willing to sell herself to a man
old enough to be her father."

"I am glad you do," observed Sam; "I have often heard my mother say that
such matches never fail to turn out badly, and to make both husband and
wife miserable. We all think she talks very sensibly on this subject."

"No doubt," said Uncle Philip.

"I really wonder," pursued Sam, "that a Frenchwoman should venture to
make love to _you_."

"Love!" exclaimed Uncle Philip; "I tell you, there's no love in the
case. I am not such a fool as to believe that a pretty young girl could
fall in love with an old fellow like _me_. No, no; all she wants is,
that I should die as soon as possible and leave her a rich widow: but
she will find her mistake; she shall see that all her sweet looks and
sweet speeches will have no effect on me but to make me hate her. She
might as well attempt to soften marble by dropping honey on it."

"You'll be not only marble, but granite, also, won't you, Uncle Philip?"
said Sam.

"That I will, my boy," said the old gentleman; "and now let's talk of
something else."

After this, no persuasion could induce Uncle Philip to repeat his visit
to the Franchimeaus; and when any of that family came to Mrs.
Clavering's he always left the room in a few minutes, particularly if
they were accompanied by Robertine. In short, he now almost lived in his
cabin, laying strict injunctions on Mrs. Clavering not to bring thither
any of the French.

One morning, while he was busy there with Sam, Dick, and Neptune, the
boys, happening to look out, saw Robertine listlessly rambling on the
bank of the river, and entirely alone. There was every appearance of a
shower coming up. "I suppose," said Dick, "Miss Robertine intends going
to our house; and if she does not make haste, she will be caught in the
rain. There, now, she is looking up at the clouds. See, see--she is
coming this way as fast as she can."

"Confound her impudence!" said Uncle Philip; "is she going to ferret me
out of my cabin? Sam, shut that door."

"Shall I place the great chest against it?" said Sam.

"Pho--no," replied the old gentleman. "With all her assurance, she'll
scarcely venture to break in by force. I would not for a thousand
dollars that she should get a footing here."

Presently a knock was heard at the door.

"There she is," said Dick.

"Let us take no notice," said Sam.

"After all," said Uncle Philip, "she's a woman; and a woman must not be
exposed to the rain, when a man can give her a shelter. We must let her
in; nothing else can be done with her."

Upon this, Sam opened the door; and Robertine, with many apologies for
her intrusion, expressed her fear of being caught in the rain, and
begged permission to wait there till the shower was over.

"I was quite lost in a reverie," said she, "as I wandered on the shore
of the river. Retired walks are now best suited to my feelings. When the
heart has received a deep impression, nothing is more delicious than to
sigh in secret."

"Fudge!" muttered Uncle Philip between his teeth.

"Uncle Philip says fudge," whispered Dick to Sam.

"I'm glad of it," whispered Sam to Dick.

Uncle Philip handed Robertine a chair, and she received this
common-place civility with as much evident delight as if he had
proffered her "the plain gold ring."

"Sam," said the old gentleman, "run to the house as fast as you can, and
bring an umbrella, and then see Miss Robertine home."

"That I will, uncle," said Sam, with alacrity.

Robertine then began to admire the drawings on the wall, and
said--"Apparently, these are all ships that Captain Kentledge has taken
in battle?"

"No," replied Uncle Philip, "I never took any ship in battle; I always
belonged to the merchant service."

Robertine was now at fault; but soon recovering herself, she
continued--"No doubt if you _had_ been in battle, you _would_ have taken
ships; for victory always crowns the brave, and my opinion is, that all
Americans are brave of course; particularly if they are gentlemen of the
sea."

"And have plenty of cash," Uncle Philip could not avoid saying.

Robertine coloured to the eyes; and Uncle Philip checked himself, seeing
that he had been too severe upon her. "I must not forget that she is a
woman," thought he; "while she stays, I will try to be civil to her."

But Robertine was too thoroughly resolved on carrying her point to be
easily daunted; and, in half a minute, she said with a smile--"I see
that Captain Kentledge will always have his jest. Wit is one of the
attributes of his profession."

Her admiration of the ships not having produced much effect, Robertine
next betook herself to admiring the dog Neptune, who was lying at his
master's feet, and she gracefully knelt beside him and patted his head,
saying--"What a magnificent animal! The most splendid dog I ever saw!
What a grand and imposing figure! How sensible and expressive is his
face!"

Dick found it difficult to suppress an involuntary giggle, for it struck
him that Robertine must have heard the remark which was very current
through the village, of Neptune's face having a great resemblance to
Uncle Philip's own.

Where is the man that, being "the fortunate possessor of a Newfoundland
dog," can hear his praises without emotion? Uncle Philip's ice began to
thaw. All the blandishments that Robertine had lavished on himself,
caused no other effect than disgust; but the moment she appeared to like
his dog, his granite heart began to soften, and he felt a disposition to
like _her_ in return. He cast a glance towards Robertine as she caressed
old Neptune, and he thought her so pretty that the glance was succeeded
by a gaze. He put out his hand to raise her from her kneeling attitude,
and actually placed a chair for her beside his own. Robertine thought
herself in Paradise, for she saw that her last arrow had struck the
mark. Uncle Philip's stubborn tongue was now completely loosened, and he
entered into an eloquent detail of the numerous excellencies of the
noble animal, and related a story of his life having been saved by
Neptune during a shipwreck.

To all this did Robertine "most seriously incline." She listened with
breathless interest, was startled, terrified, anxious, delighted, and
always in the right place; and when the story was finished, she
pronounced Newfoundland dogs the best of all created animals, and
Neptune the best of all Newfoundland dogs.

Just then Sam arrived with the umbrella.

"Sam," said Uncle Philip, "you may give _me_ the umbrella; I will see
Miss Robertine home myself. But I think she had better wait till the
rain is over."

This last proposal Robertine thought it most prudent to decline, fearing
that if she stayed till the rain ceased, Uncle Philip might no longer
think it necessary to escort her home. Accordingly the old gentleman
gave her his arm, and walked off with her under the umbrella. As soon as
they were gone, Sam and Dick laughed out, and compared notes.

In the afternoon, after spending a considerable time at his toilet,
Uncle Philip, without saying anything to the family, told one of the
servants that he should not drink tea at home, and sallied off in the
direction of Franchimeau's. He did not return till ten o'clock, and then
went straight to bed without entering the sitting-room. The truth was,
that when he conveyed Robertine home in the morning, he could not resist
her invitation into the house; and he sat there long enough for Madame
Ravigote (who, in frightful _dishabille_, was darning stockings in the
parlour) to see that things wore a promising aspect. The old lady went
to the school-room door, and called out Madame Franchimeau to inform her
of the favourable change in the state of affairs: and it was decided
that _le vieux Philippe_[61] (as they called him behind the scenes, for
none of them, except Robertine, could say Kentledge), should be invited
to tea, that the young lady might have an immediate opportunity of
following up the success of the morning.

[Footnote 61: Old Philip.]

Next morning, about eleven o'clock, Uncle Philip disappeared again, and
was seen no more till dinner-time. When he came in, he took his seat at
the table without saying a word, and there was something unusually queer
in his look, and embarrassed in all his motions; and the children
thought that he did not seem at all like himself. Little Anne, who sat
always at his right hand, leaned back in her chair and looked behind
him, and then suddenly exclaimed--"Why, Uncle Philip has had his queue
cut off!"

There was a general movement of surprise. Uncle Philip reddened,
hesitated, and at last said, in a confused manner, "that he had for a
long time thought his queue rather troublesome, and that he had recently
been told that it made him look ten years older than he really was; and,
therefore, he had stopped at the barber's, on his way home, and got rid
of it."

Mrs. Clavering had never admired the queue; but she thought the loss of
it, just at this juncture, looked particularly ominous.

In the afternoon she received a visit from her friend, Mrs. Slimbridge,
who was scarcely seated when she commenced with--"Well, Mrs. Clavering,
I understand you are shortly to have a new aunt, and I have come to
congratulate you on the joyful occasion."

"A new aunt?" said Mrs. Clavering; "I am really at a loss to understand
your meaning!" looking, however, as if she understood it perfectly.

"Why, certainly," replied Mrs. Slimbridge, "it can be no news to _you_
that Captain Kentledge is going to be married to Madame Franchimeau's
niece, Mademoiselle Robertine. He was seen, yesterday morning, walking
with her under the same umbrella!"

"Well, and what of that?" interrupted Mrs. Clavering, fretfully; "does a
gentleman never hold an umbrella over a lady's head unless he intends to
marry her?"

"Oh, as yet they do," replied Mrs. Slimbridge, "but I know not how much
longer even that piece of civility will be continued--gentlemen are now
so much afraid of committing themselves. But seriously, his seeing her
home in the rain is not the most important part of the story. He drank
tea at Franchimeau's last evening, and paid a long visit at the house
this morning; and Emilie, their mulatto girl, told Mrs. Pinxton's Mary,
and my Phillis had it direct from _her_, that she overheard Miss
Robertine, persuading Captain Kentledge to have his queue cut off. The
good gentleman, it seems, held out for a long time, but at last
consented to lose it. However, I do not vouch for the truth of that part
of the statement. Old seafaring men are so partial to their hair, and it
is a point on which they are so obstinate, that I scarcely think Miss
Robertine would have ventured so far."

"Some young girls have boldness enough for anything," said Mrs.
Clavering, with a toss of her head, and knowing in her own mind that the
queue was really off.

"Well," continued Mrs. Slimbridge, "the story is all over town that it
is quite a settled thing; and, as I said, I have hastened to
congratulate you."

"Congratulate me! For what?" said Mrs. Clavering; with much asperity.

"Why," returned Mrs. Slimbridge, "you know these French people are your
bosom friends, and of course you must rejoice in the prospect of a
nearer connexion with them. To be sure, it would be rather more
gratifying if Miss Robertine was in a somewhat higher walk of life. You
know it is whispered, that she is only a mantua-maker's girl, and that
the dear friend whom Madame Franchimeau talks about, as having adopted
her beloved Robertine (though she takes care never to mention the name
of that dear friend), is in reality no other than the celebrated Madame
Gigot, in whose dressmaking establishment Mademoiselle is hired to
work."

"Horrible!" was Mrs. Clavering's involuntary exclamation; but recovering
herself, she continued--"But I can assure you, Mrs. Slimbridge, that I
am perfectly convinced there is not a word of truth in the whole story.
Captain Kentledge has certainly his peculiarities, but he is a man of
too much sense to marry a young wife; and besides, his regard for my
children is so great, that I am convinced it is his firm intention to
live single for their sakes, that he may leave them the whole of his
property. He thinks too much of the family to allow his money to go out
of it."

"All that may be," answered Mrs. Slimbridge; "but when an old man falls
in love with a young girl, his regard for his own relations generally
melts away like snow before the fire. I think you had better speak to
Captain Kentledge on the subject. I advise you, as a friend, to do so,
unless you conclude that opposition may only render him the more
determined. Certainly one would not like to lose so much money out of
the family, without making a little struggle to retain it. However, I
must now take my leave. As a friend, I advise you to speak to Captain
Kentledge."

"I can assure you," replied Mrs. Clavering, as she accompanied her guest
to the door, "this silly report gives me not the slightest uneasiness,
as it is too absurd to merit one serious thought. I shall dismiss it
from my mind with silent contempt. To mention it to Captain Kentledge
would be really too ridiculous."

As soon as she had got rid of her visitor, Mrs. Clavering hastily threw
on her calash, and repaired at a brisk pace to Uncle Philip's cabin. She
found him at his desk, busily employed in writing out for Robertine the
words of "America, Commerce, and Freedom." She made a pretext for
sending away Sam, and told Uncle Philip that she wished some private
conversation with him. The old gentleman coloured, laid down his pen,
and began to sit very uneasy on his chair, guessing what was to come.

Mrs. Clavering then, without further hesitation, acquainted him with all
she had heard, and asked him if it could possibly be true that he had
any intention of marrying Robertine.

"I don't know but I shall," said Uncle Philip.

"You really shock me!" exclaimed Mrs. Clavering.

"What is there so shocking," replied the old gentleman, "in my liking a
pretty girl--ay, and in making her my wife, too, if I think proper? But
that's as it may be--I have not yet made her the offer."

Mrs. Clavering breathed again. "Really, Uncle Philip," said she, "I
thought you had more sense, and knew more of the world. Can you not see
at once that all she wants is your money? It is impossible she could
have any other inducement."

"I thank you for your compliment," said Uncle Philip, pulling up his
shirt collar and taking a glance at the looking-glass.

"Is the man an absolute fool?" thought Mrs. Clavering: "what can have
got into him?" Then raising her voice, she exclaimed--"Is this, then,
the end of all your aversion to the French?"

"Then you should not have put the French in my way," said Uncle Philip:
"it is all your own fault; and if I _should_ play the fool, you have
nobody to thank but yourself. Why did you make me go to that supper?"

"Why, indeed!" replied Mrs. Clavering, with a sigh: "but knowing how
much you dislike foreigners and all their ways, such an idea as your
falling in love with a French girl never for a moment entered my mind.
But I can tell you one thing that will effectually put all thoughts of
Miss Robertine out of your head."

"What is that?" said Uncle Philip, starting and changing colour.

"When I tell you that she is a mantua-maker," pursued Mrs. Clavering,
"and in the employ of Madame Gigot of New York, you, of course, can
never again think of her as a wife."

"And why not?" said Uncle Philip, recovering himself--"why should not a
mantua-maker be thought of as a wife? If that's all you have to say
against her, it only makes me like her the better. I honour the girl for
engaging in a business that procures her a decent living, and prevents
her from being burdensome to her friends. Don't you know that a man can
always raise his wife to his own level? It is only a woman that sinks by
marrying beneath her; as I used to tell you when you fell in love with
the players, the first winter you spent in New York."

"I deny the players--I deny them altogether," said Mrs. Clavering, with
much warmth: "all I admired was their spangled jackets and their caps
and feathers, and I had some curiosity to see how they looked off the
stage, and therefore was always glad when I met any of them in the
street."

"Well, well," replied Uncle Philip, "let the players pass; I was only
joking."

"And even if it were true," resumed Mrs. Clavering, "that I had
particularly admired one or two of the most distinguished performers, I
was then but a mere child, and there is a great difference between
playing the fool at sixteen and at sixty."

"I don't see the folly," said Uncle Philip, "of marrying a pretty young
girl, who is so devotedly attached to me that she cannot possibly help
showing it continually."

"Robertine attached to _you_!" retorted Mrs. Clavering. "And can you
really believe such an absurdity?"

"I thank you again for the compliment," replied Uncle Philip: "but I
know that such things _have been_, strange as they may appear to you. I
believe I have all my life undervalued myself; and this young lady has
opened my eyes."

"Blinded them, rather," said Mrs. Clavering. "But for your own sake, let
me advise you to give up this girl. No marriage, where there is so great
a disparity of years, ever did or could, or ever will or can, turn out
well--and so you will find to your sorrow."

"I rather think I shall try the experiment," said Uncle Philip. "If I am
convinced that Miss Robertine has really a sincere regard for me, I
shall certainly make her Mrs. Kentledge--so I must tell you candidly
that you need not say another word to me on the subject."

He resumed his writing, and Mrs. Clavering, after pausing a few moments,
saw the inutility of urging anything further, and walked slowly and
sadly back to the house. The children's quarters at school had nearly
expired, and she delighted them all with the information that, finding
they had not made as much progress in French as she had expected, and
having reason to believe that the plan of learning everything through
the medium of that language was not a good one, she had determined that
after this week they should quit Monsieur and Madame Franchimeau, and
return to Mr. Fulmer and Miss Hickman. She ceased visiting the French
family, who, conscious that they would now be unwelcome guests, did not
approach Mrs. Clavering's house. But Uncle Philip regularly spent every
evening with Robertine; and Mrs. Clavering did not presume openly to
oppose what she now perceived to be his fixed intention; but she
indulged herself in frequent innuendoes against everything French, which
the old gentleman was ashamed to controvert, knowing how very recently
he had been in the practice of annoying his niece by the vehement
expression of his own prejudices against that singular people; and he
could not help acknowledging to himself that though he liked Robertine,
all the rest of her family were still fools. That the Franchimeaus and
Ravigotes were ridiculous, vulgar pretenders, Mrs. Clavering was no
longer slow in discovering; but she was so unjust as to consider them
fair specimens of their nation, and to turn the tables so completely as
to aver that nothing French was endurable. She even silenced the parrots
whenever they said, "_Parlons toujours François_."[62]

[Footnote 62: Let us always speak French.]

One morning Uncle Philip was surprised in his cabin by the sudden
appearance of a very tall, very slender young Frenchman, dressed in the
extreme of dandyism; his long, thin face was of deadly whiteness, but
his cheeks were tinted with rouge; he had large black eyes, and eyebrows
arched up to a point; his immense whiskers were reddish, and met under
his chin; but his hair was black, and arranged with great skill and care
according to the latest fashion, and filling the apartment with the
perfume of attar of roses.

Immediately on entering, he strode up to Uncle Philip, and extending a
hand whose fingers were decorated with half a dozen showy rings,
presented to him a highly-scented rose-coloured card, which announced
him as "Monsieur Achille Simagrée de Lantiponne, of Paris."

"Well, sir," said Uncle Philip, "and I am Captain Philip Kentledge, once
of Salem, Massachusetts, and now of Corinth, New York."

"_Oui, je le sais_,"[63] replied the Frenchman, in a loud shrill
voice, and with a frown that was meant to be terrific. "_Oui,
perfide--traitre--presque scélérat--tremblez! Je vous connois--tremblez,
tremblez, je vous dit! Moi, c'est moi qui vous parle!_"[64]

[Footnote 63: Yes, I know it.]

[Footnote 64: Yes, perfidious man--traitor--almost rascal--tremble. I
know you--tremble, tremble. I tell you--I--it is I that am speaking to
you.]

"What's all this for?" said Uncle Philip, looking amazed.

"_Imbecil_," muttered Monsieur de Lantiponne; "_il ne comprend pas le
Français._[65] _Eh, bien_; I will, then, address you (_roturier comme
vous êtes_[66]) in perfect English, and very cool. How did you dare to
have the temerity to rob from me the young miss, my _fiancée_, very soon
my bride. Next month I should have conducted her up to the front of the
altar. I had just taken four apartments in the Broadway--two for the
exercise of my profession of artist in hair, and merchant of perfumes
and all good smells; and two up the staircase, where Mademoiselle
Robertine would pursue her dresses and her bonnets. United together, we
should have made a large fortune. My father was a part of the noblesse
of France, but we lost all our nobleness by the revolution. 'Virtue,
though unfortunate, is always respectable;' that sentiment was inscribed
above the door of my mamma's shop in the Palais Royal."

[Footnote 65: Idiot--he does not understand French.]

[Footnote 66: Plebeian as you are.]

"Well," said Uncle Philip, "and what next?"

"What next, _coquin_?"[67] continued the Frenchman, grinding his teeth.
"Listen and die. Yesterday, I received from her this letter, enfolding a
ring of my hair which once I had plaited for her. Now, I will overwhelm
you with shame and repentance by reading to you this fatal letter,
translating it into perfect English. _Ah! comme il est difficile
d'étouffer mes emotions! N'importe, il faut un grand effort._"[68]

[Footnote 67: Knave.]

[Footnote 68: Ah! how difficult it is to stifle my emotions! No matter,
I must make a great effort.]

"Take a chair," said Uncle Philip, who was curious to know how all this
would end; "when people are in great trouble, they had better be
seated."

"_Ecoutez_,"[69] said Lantiponne; "hear this lettre." He then commenced
the epistle, first reading audibly a sentence in French, and then
construing it into English:--

[Footnote 69: Listen.]

     CORINTH,----.

     MY EVER DEAR FRIEND:

     Destiny has decreed the separation of two hearts that should have
     been disunited by death alone, and has brought me acquainted with
     an old man who, since the moment of our introduction, has never
     ceased to persecute me with the language of love. In vain did I fly
     from him--for ever did he present himself before me with the most
     audacious perseverance. My aunt (and what affectionate niece can
     possibly disobey the commands of her father's sister-in-law?) has
     ordered me to accept him; and I must now, like a mournful dove, be
     sacrificed on the altar of Plutus. His name is Captain Kentledge,
     but we generally call him Old Philip--sometimes the Triton, and
     sometimes Sinbad, for he is a sailor, and very rich. He is a
     stranger both to elegance and sentiment; of an exterior perfectly
     revolting; and his manners are distinguished by a species of
     brutality. It is impossible for me to regard him without horror.
     But duty is the first consideration of a niece, and, though the
     detestable Philip knows that my heart is devoted to my amiable
     Achille, he takes a savage pleasure in urging me to name the day of
     our marriage. Compassionate me, my ever dear Lantiponne. I know it
     will be long before the wounds of our faithful hearts are
     cicatrized.

     I return you the little ring (so simple and so touching) that you
     made me of your hair. But I will keep for ever the gold
     essence-bottle and the silver toothpick, as emblems of your
     tenderness. I shall often bathe them with my tears.

     Adieu, my dear friend--my long-beloved Lantiponne. As Philip
     Kentledge is very bald, I shall, when we are married, compel him to
     wear a wig, and I will take care that he buys it of you. Likewise,
     we shall get all our perfumery at your shop.

     The inconsolable

     ROBERTINE.

     There are moments when my affliction is so great, that I think
     seriously of charcoal. If you find it impossible to survive the
     loss of your Robertine, that is the mode of death which you will
     undoubtedly select, as being most generally approved in Paris. For
     my own part, reason has triumphed, and I think it more heroic to
     live and to suffer.

Uncle Philip listened to this letter with all the indignation it was
calculated to excite. But Sam and Dick were so diverted that they could
not refrain from laughing all the time; and towards the conclusion, the
old gentleman caught the contagion, and laughed also.

"_Ah! scélérat--monstre--ogre!_"[70] exclaimed Lantiponne--"do you make
your amusement of my sorrows? Render me, on this spot, the satisfaction
due to a gentleman. It is for that I am come. Behold--here I offer you
two pistoles--make your selection. Choose one this moment, or you die."

[Footnote 70: Ah! villain--monster--ogre.]

"Sam," said Uncle Philip, "hand me that stick."

"Which one, uncle?" exclaimed Sam--"the hickory or the maple?"

"The hickory," replied Uncle Philip.

And as soon as he got it into his hand, he advanced towards the
Frenchman, who drew back, but still extended the pistols, saying--"I
will shoot off both--instantly I will present fire!"

"Present fire if you dare," said Uncle Philip, brandishing his stick.

Monsieur Simagrée de Lantiponne lowered his pistols and walked backward
towards the door, which was suddenly thrown open from without, so as
nearly to push him down, and Robertine entered, followed by Madame
Franchimeau. At the sight of Lantiponne, both ladies exclaimed--"_Ah!
perfide! traitre!_" and a scene of violent recrimination took place in
French--Madame Franchimeau declaring that she had never influenced her
niece to give up her first lover for "Monsieur Philippe," but that the
whole plan had originated with Robertine herself. Lantiponne, in
deprecating the inconstancy of his mistress, complained bitterly of the
useless expense he had incurred in hiring four rooms, when two would
have sufficed, had he known in time that she intended to jilt him.
Robertine reproached him with his dishonourable conduct in betraying her
confidence and showing her letter to the very person who, above all
others, ought not to have seen it; and she deeply regretted having been
from home with her aunt and uncle when Lantiponne came to their house
immediately on his arrival at Corinth, and before he had sought an
interview with Captain Kentledge. He had seen only the old Ravigotes,
who were so impolitic as to give him a direction to Uncle Philip's
cabin, as soon as he inquired where his rival was to be found.

The altercation was so loud and so violent, that Uncle Philip finally
demanded silence in the startling and authoritative tone to which he had
accustomed himself when issuing his orders on ship-board; putting his
hands before his mouth and hallooing through them as substitutes for a
speaking trumpet. He was not so ungallant as to say that in reality the
lady had made the first advances, but he addressed his audience in the
following words:--

"I tell you what, my friends, here's a great noise to little purpose,
and much shrugging, and stamping, and flourishing of hands, that might
as well be let alone. As for me, take notice, that I am quite out of the
question, and after this day I'll have nothing more to do with any of
you. I'm thankful to this young fellow for having opened my eyes; though
I can't approve of his showing me his sweetheart's letter. He has saved
me from the greatest act of folly an old man can commit, that of
marrying a young girl. I shall take care not to make a jackass of myself
another time."

Sam and Dick exchanged looks of congratulation.

"Now," continued Uncle Philip, "if, after all this, the young barber-man
is still willing to take the girl, I know not what better either of them
can do than to get married off-hand. I shall not feel quite satisfied
till I have seen the ceremony myself, so let it take place immediately.
I happen to have a hundred dollar bill in my pocket-book, so I'll give
it to them for a wedding present. Come, I'm waiting for an answer."

Madame Franchimeau and the young couple all hesitated.

"Uncle," whispered Sam, "they have just been quarrelling violently--how
can you expect them to get over it so soon, and be married directly?"

"Pho!" replied Uncle Philip, "an't they French?"

There was a pause of some moments. At last Robertine put on her best
smile, and said in French to Lantiponne--"My estimable friend, pardon
the errors of a young and simple heart, which has never for a moment
ceased to love you."

"What candour!" exclaimed Lantiponne--"what adorable frankness! Charming
Robertine!"--kissing her hand--"more dear to me than ever."

The aunt, though much displeased at Robertine for missing Uncle Philip,
thought it best that the affair should go off with as good a grace as
possible, and she exclaimed, while she wiped tears of vexation from her
eyes--"How sweet to witness this reunion!"

"Boys," said Uncle Philip, "which of you will run for Squire Van
Tackemfast? To prevent all future risks, we'll have the marriage here on
the spot, and Miss Robertine shall return to New York to-day as
Madame"--he had to consult the young Frenchman's card--"as Madame
Achille Simagrée de Lantiponne."

Both boys instantly set off for the magistrate, but as Sam ran fastest,
Dick gave up the chase, and turned to the house, where he startled his
mother by exclaiming--"Make haste--make haste down to the cabin--there's
to be marrying there directly."

"Shocking!" cried Mrs. Clavering, throwing away her sewing. "Is Uncle
Philip really going to play the madman? Can there be no way of saving
him?"

"He _is_ saved," replied Dick; "he has just been saved by a French
barber, Miss Robertine's old sweetheart; and so Uncle Philip is going to
have them married out of the way, as soon as possible. I suppose he is
determined that Miss Robertine shall not have the least chance of making
another dead set at him. Sam is gone for Squire Van Tackemfast."

"But the cabin is no place for a wedding," said Mrs. Clavering.

"Why," replied Dick, "Uncle Philip seems determined not to quit the
cabin till all danger is over. Dear mother, make haste, or Miss
Robertine may yet win him back again."

Mrs. Clavering hastily changed her cap, and ordered a servant to follow
with cake and wine; and on their way to the cabin Dick gave her an
account of all that had passed. In a few minutes Sam arrived,
accompanied by Squire Van Tackemfast, with whom Captain Kentledge
exchanged a few explanatory words. There was no time for any further
preparation. Uncle Philip instantly put the hand of Robertine into that
of her lover. The young couple stood up before the magistrate, who
merely uttered a few words, but which were sufficient in law to unite
them for ever--"In the name of the commonwealth, I pronounce you man and
wife." This was the whole of the ceremony; the magistrate writing a
certificate, which was duly signed by all present.

"Now," said Uncle Philip, looking at his watch and addressing
Lantiponne, "the steamboat will soon be along, and if you are going down
to the city to-day, you will have little enough time to make your
preparations."

The bride and groom curtsied and bowed gracefully, and departed with
Madame Franchimeau, whose last words were--"What a surprise for Monsieur
Franchimeau, and also for papa and mamma and my little darlings!"

When they were all fairly off, Mrs. Clavering felt as if relieved from
the weight of a mountain; and she could not quit the cabin till she had
had a long discussion with Uncle Philip on the recent events.

In about an hour, the steamboat passed along, going close in shore to
get all the advantage of the tide; and Robertine, who stood on the deck
leaning on her husband's arm, smiled and waved her handkerchief to Uncle
Philip.

To conclude--it was not long before the old gentleman prevailed on Mrs.
Clavering and her family to remove with him to a house of his own at
Salem, a plan which had been in agitation for the last year; and in due
time the boys commenced their apprenticeships, Sam to the captain of an
Indiaman, and Dick to a shipbuilder. Both succeeded well; and have since
become eminent in their respective professions.

Uncle Philip looks not much older than when he first allowed himself to
be smitten with Miss Robertine; but he has never since fallen into a
similar snare. He has made his will, and divided his whole property
between Mrs. Clavering and her children, with the exception of some
legacies to old sailors.

The Simagrée de Lantiponnes have a large establishment in Broadway.

The Franchimeaus and their system soon got out of favour at Corinth, and
they have ever since been going the rounds of new villages.



THE ALBUM.

     "Tis not in mortals to command success."--ADDISON.


"Ungallant!--unmilitary!" exclaimed the beautiful Orinda Melbourne, to
her yet unprofessed lover, Lieutenant Sunderland, as in the decline of a
summer afternoon they sat near an open window in the northwest parlour
of Mr. Cozzens's house at West Point, where as yet there was no hotel.
"And do you steadily persist in refusing to write in my album? Really,
you deserve to be dismissed the service for unofficer-like conduct."

"I have forsworn albums," replied Sunderland, "and for at least a dozen
reasons. In the first place, the gods have not made me poetical."

"Ah!" interrupted Miss Melbourne, "you remind me of the well-known story
of the mayor of a French provincial town, who informed the king that the
worthy burgesses had fifteen reasons for not doing themselves the honour
of firing a salute on his majesty's arrival: the first reason being that
they had no cannon."

"A case in point," remarked Sunderland.

"Well," resumed Orinda, "I do not expect you to surpass the glories of
Byron and Moore."

"Nothing is more contemptible than _mediocre_ poetry," observed
Sunderland; "the magazines and souvenirs have surfeited the world with
it."

"I do not require you to be even _mediocre_," persisted the young lady.
"Give me something ludicrously bad, and I shall prize it almost as
highly as if it were seriously good. I need not remind you of the
hackneyed remarks, that extremes meet, and that there is but one step
from the sublime to the ridiculous. Look at this Ode to West Point,
written in my album by a very obliging cadet, a room-mate of my
brother's. It is a perfect gem. How I admire these lines--

    'The steamboat up the river shoots,
    While Willis on his bugle toots.'"

"Wo to the man," said Sunderland, "who subjects his poetical reputation
to the ordeal of a lady's album, where all, whether gifted or ungifted,
are expected to do their best."

"You are mistaken," replied Orinda; "that expectation has long since
gone by. We have found, by experience, that either from negligence or
perverseness, gentlemen are very apt to write their worst in our
albums."

"I do not wonder at it," said Sunderland. "However, I must retrieve my
character as a knight of chivalry. Appoint me any other task, and I will
pledge myself to perform your bidding. Let your request 'take any shape
but that, and my firm nerves shall never tremble.'"

"But why this inveterate horror of albums?" asked Orinda. "Have you had
any experience in them?"

"I have, to my sorrow," replied Sunderland. "With me, I am convinced,
'the course of albums never will run smooth.' For instance, I once, by
means of an album, lost the lady of my love (I presume not to say the
love of my lady.)"

Orinda looked up and looked down, and "a change came o'er the spirit of
her face:" which change was not unnoticed by her yet undeclared admirer,
whose acquaintance with Miss Melbourne commenced on a former visit she
had made to West Point, to see her brother, who was one of the cadets of
the Military Academy.

Orinda Melbourne was now in her twenty-first year, at her own disposal
(having lost both her parents), and mistress of considerable property, a
great part of which had been left to her by an aunt. She resided in the
city of New York, with Mr. and Mrs. Ledbury, two old and intimate
friends of her family, and they had accompanied her to West Point. She
was universally considered a very charming girl, and by none more so
than by Lieutenant Sunderland. But hearing that Miss Melbourne had
declined the addresses of several very unexceptionable gentlemen, our
hero was trying to delay an explicit avowal of his sentiments, till he
should discover some reason to hope that the disclosure would be
favourably received.

Like most other men, on similar occasions, he gave a favourable
interpretation to the emotion involuntarily evinced by the young lady,
on hearing him allude to his former flame.

There was a pause of a few moments, till Orinda rallied, and said with
affected carelessness, "You may as well tell me the whole story, as we
seem to have nothing better to talk of."

"Well, then," proceeded Sunderland, "during one of my visits to the
city, I met with a very pretty young lady from Brooklyn. Her name is of
course unmentionable; but I soon found myself, for the first time in my
life, a little in love--"

"I suspect it was not merely a little," remarked Orinda, with a
penetrating glance; "it is said, that in love the first fit is always
the strongest."

"No, no!" exclaimed Sunderland; "I deny the truth of that opinion. It is
a popular fallacy--I know it is," fixing his eyes on Orinda.

At that minute, the young officer would have given a year's pay to be
certain whether the glow that heightened Miss Melbourne's complexion,
was a _bona fide_ blush, or only the reflection of the declining
sunbeams, as they streamed from under a dark cloud that was hovering
over the western hills. However, after a few moments' consideration, he
again interpreted favourably.

"Proceed, Mr. Sunderland," said Orinda in rather a tremulous voice;
"tell me all the particulars."

"Of the album I will," replied he. "Well, then--this young lady was one
of the belles of Brooklyn, and certainly very handsome."

"Of what colour were her eyes and hair?" inquired Orinda.

"Light--both very light."

Orinda, who was a brunette, caught herself on the point of saying, that
she had rarely seen much expression in the countenance of a blonde; but
she checked the remark, and Sunderland proceeded.

"The lady in question had a splendidly bound album, which she produced
and talked about on all occasions, and seemed to regard with so much
pride and admiration, that if a lover could possibly have been jealous
of a book, I was, at times, very near becoming so. It was half filled
with amatory verses by juvenile rhymesters, and with tasteless insipid
drawings in water colours, by boarding-school misses: which drawings my
Dulcinea persisted in calling paintings. She also persisted in urging me
to write 'a piece of poetry' in her album, and I persevered in declaring
my utter inability: as my few attempts at versification had hitherto
proved entire failures. At last, I reluctantly consented, recollecting
to have heard of sudden fits of inspiration, and of miraculous gifts of
poetical genius, with which even milkmaids and cobblers have been
unexpectedly visited. So taking the album with me, I retired to the
solitude of my apartment at the City Hall, concluding with Macbeth that
when a thing is to be well done, 'tis well to do it quickly. Here I
manfully made my preparations 'to saddle Pegasus and ride up
Parnassus'--but in vain. With me the winged steed of Apollo was as
obstinate as a Spanish mule on the Sierra Morena. Not an inch would he
stir. There was not even the slightest flutter in his pinions; and the
mountain of the Muses looked to me as inaccessible as--as what shall I
say--"

"I will help you to a simile," replied Orinda; "as inaccessible as the
sublime and stupendous precipice to which you West Pointers have given
the elegant and appropriate title of Butter Hill."

"Exactly," responded Sunderland. "Parnassus looked like Butter Hill.
Well, then--to be brief (as every man says when he suspects himself to
be tedious), I sat up till one o'clock, vainly endeavouring to
manufacture something that might stand for poetry. But I had no rhymes
for my ideas, and no ideas for my rhymes. I found it impossible to make
both go together. I at last determined to write my verses in prose till
I had arranged the sense, and afterwards to put them into measure and
rhyme. I tried every sort of measure from six feet to ten, and I essayed
consecutive rhymes and alternate rhymes, but all was in vain. I found
that I must either sacrifice the sense to the sound, or the sound to the
sense. At length, I thought of the Bouts Rimées of the French. So I
wrote down, near the right hand edge of my paper, a whole column of
familiar rhymes, such as mine, thine, tears, fears, light, bright, &c.
And now I congratulated myself on having accomplished one-half of my
task, supposing that I should find it comparatively easy to do the
filling up. But all was to no purpose. I could effect nothing that I
thought even tolerable, and I was too proud to write badly and be
laughed at. However, I must acknowledge that, could I have been certain
that my 'piece of poetry' would be seen only by the fair damsel herself,
I might easily have screwed my courage to the sticking place; for
greatly as I was smitten with the beauty of my little nymph, I had a
secret misgiving that she had never sacrificed to Minerva."

Our hero paused a moment to admire the radiance of the smile that now
lighted up the countenance of Orinda.

"In short," continued he, "I sat up till 'night's candles were burnt
out,' both literally and metaphorically, and I then retired in despair
to my pillow, from whence I did not rise till ten o'clock in the
morning.

"That evening I carried back the album to my fair one; but she still
refused to let me off, and insisted that I should take it with me to
West Point, to which place I was to return next day. I did so, hoping to
catch some inspiration from the mountain air, and the mountain scenery.
I ought to have recollected that few of the poets on record, either
lived among mountains, or wrote while visiting them. The sons of song
are too often fated to set up their household gods, and strike their
lyres, in dark narrow streets and dismal alleys.

"As soon as the steamboat had cleared the city, I took out my
pocket-book and pencil, and prepared for the onset. I now regarded the
ever-beautiful scenery of the magnificent Hudson with a new interest. I
thought the Palisades would do something for me; but my imagination
remained as sterile and as impenetrable as their eternal rocks. The
broad expanse of the Tappan Sea lay like a resplendent mirror around me,
but it reflected no image that I could transfer to my tablets. We came
into the Highlands, but the old Dundeberg rumbled nothing in my fancy's
ears, Anthony's Nose looked coldly down upon me, and the Sugar Loaf
suggested no idea of sweetness. We proceeded along, but Buttermilk Falls
reminded me not of the fountain of Helicon, and Bull Hill and Breakneck
Hill seemed too rugged ever to be smoothed into verse.

"That afternoon I went up to Fort Putnam, for the hundred and twentieth
time in my life. I walked round the dismantled ramparts; I looked into
their damp and gloomy cells. I thought (as is the duty of every one that
visits these martial ruins) on the 'pride, pomp, and circumstance of
glorious war.' But they inspired nothing that I could turn to account in
my lady's album; nothing that could serve to introduce the compliment
always expected in the last stanza. And, in truth, this compliment was
the chief stumbling-block after all. 'But for these vile compliments, I
might myself have been an album-poet.'"

"Is it then so difficult to compliment a lady?" inquired Orinda.

"Not in plain prose," replied Sunderland, "and when the lady is a little
_à l'imbecile_, nothing in the world is more easy. But even in prose, to
compliment a sensible woman as she deserves, and without danger of
offending her modesty, requires both tact and talent."

"Which I suppose is the reason," said Orinda, "that sensible women
obtain so few compliments from your sex, and fools so many."

"True," replied Sunderland. "But such compliments as we wish to offer to
elegant and intellectual females, are as orient pearls compared to
French beads."

Orinda cast down her beautiful eyes under the expressive glance of her
admirer. She felt that she was now receiving a pearl.

"But to proceed," continued Sunderland. "I came down from the fort no
better poet than I went up, and I had recourse again to the solitude of
my own room. Grown desperate, and determined to get the album off my
mind and have it over, an idea struck me which I almost blush to
mention. Promise not to look at me, and I will amaze you with my
candour."

Orinda pretended to hold her fan before her eyes.

"Are you sure you are not peeping between the stems of the feathers?"
said Sunderland. "Well, then, now for my confession; but listen to it
'more in sorrow than in anger,' and remember that the album alone was
the cause of my desperation and my dishonour. Some Mephistopheles
whispered in my ear to look among the older poets for something but
little known, and transfer it as mine to a page in the fatal book. I
would not, of course, venture on Scott or Moore or Byron; for though I
doubted whether my lady-love was better versed in _them_ than in the
bards of Queen Anne's reign, yet I thought that perhaps some of the
readers of her album might be acquainted with the last and best of the
minstrels. But on looking over a volume of Pope, I found his 'Song by a
Person of Quality.'"

"I recollect it," said Orinda; "it is a satire on the amateur
love-verses of that period,--such as were generally produced by
fashionable inamoratoes. In these stanzas the author has purposely
avoided every approach to sense or connexion, but has assembled together
a medley of smooth and euphonous sounds. And could you risk such verses
with your Dulcinea?"

"Yes," replied Sunderland; "with _her_ I knew that I was perfectly safe,
and that she would pronounce them sweet and delightful. And in short,
that they would exactly suit the calibre of her understanding."

"Yet still," said Orinda, "with such an opinion of her mental
qualifications, you professed to love this young lady--or rather you
really loved her--no doubt you did."

"No, no," replied Sunderland, eagerly; "it was only a passing whim--only
a boyish fancy--such as a man may feel a dozen times before he is
five-and-twenty, and before he is seriously in love. I should have told
you that at this period I had not yet arrived at years of discretion."

"I should have guessed it without your telling," said Orinda,
mischievously.

The young officer smiled, and proceeded.

"I now saw my way clear. So I made a new pen, placed Pope on my desk,
and sitting down to the album with a lightened spirit, I began with the
first stanza of his poem:

    'Fluttering spread thy purple pinions,
      Gentle Cupid, o'er my heart--
    I a slave in thy dominions,
      Nature must give way to art.'

And I then added the second and sixth verses, substituting the name of
my fair one for that of Aurelia."

"What would I not give to know that name!" thought Orinda. "But, in
those verses," she remarked to Sunderland, "if I recollect aright, there
is no direct compliment to the lady's beauty."

"But there is a very great one by implication," answered the lieutenant.
"For instance, the line--'Hear me pay my dying vows.'--What more could I
profess than to die for love of her! And a lady that is died for, must
of course be superlatively charming. In short, I finished the verses,
and I must say they were very handsomely transcribed. Now, do not laugh.
Is it not more excusable to take some pride in writing a good hand, than
to boast of scribbling a bad one? I have known persons who seemed
absolutely to plume themselves on the illegibility of their scrawls;
because, unfortunately, so many men of genius have indulged in a most
shameful style of chirography.

"Well, I viewed my performance with much satisfaction, and then
proceeded to look attentively through the album (I had as yet but
glanced over it), to see if any one excelled me in calligraphy. What was
my horror, when I found among a multitude of Lines to Zephyrs and
Dew-drops, and Stanzas to Rose-buds and Violets, the identical verses
that I had just copied from Pope! Some other poor fellow, equally hard
pressed, had been beforehand with me, and committed the very same theft;
which, in his case, appeared to me enormous. I pronounced it 'flat
burglary,' and could have consigned him to the penitentiary 'for the
whole term of his natural life.' To be compelled to commit a robbery is
bad enough, but to be anticipated in the very same robbery, and to find
that you have burdened your conscience, and jeoparded your self-respect
for nothing, is worse still."

"There was one way," observed Orinda, "in which you could have
extricated yourself from the dilemma. You might have cut out the leaf,
and written something else on another."

"That was the very thing I finally determined on doing," replied
Sunderland. "So after a pause of deep distress, I took my penknife, and
did cut out the leaf: resolving that for my next 'writing-piece,' I
would go as far back as the poets of Elizabeth's time. While pleasing
myself with the idea that all was now safe, I perceived, in moving the
book, that another leaf was working its way out; and I found, to my
great consternation, that I had cut too deeply, and that I had loosened
a page on which was faintly drawn in a lady's hand a faint Cupid
shooting at a faint heart, encircled with a wreath of faint flowers. I
recollected that my 'fair one with locks of gold,' had pointed out to me
this performance as 'the sweetest thing in her album.'"

"By-the-bye," remarked Orinda, "when you found so much difficulty in
composing verses, why did you not substitute a drawing?"

"Oh!" replied the lieutenant, "though I am at no loss in military
drawing, and can finish my bastions, and counterscarps, and ravelins,
with all due neatness, yet my miscellaneous sketches are very much in
the style of scene-painting, and totally unfit to be classed with the
smooth, delicate, half-tinted prettinesses that are peculiar to ladies'
albums."

"Now," said Orinda, "I am going to see how you will bear a compliment.
I know that your drawings are bold and spirited, and such as the artists
consider very excellent for an amateur, and therefore I will excuse you
from writing verses in my album, on condition that you make me a sketch,
in your own way, of my favourite view of Fort Putnam--I mean that fine
scene of the west side which bursts suddenly upon you when going thither
by the back road that leads through the woods. How sublime is the
effect, when you stand at the foot of the dark gray precipice, feathered
as it is with masses of beautiful foliage, and when you look up to its
lofty summit, where the living rock seems to blend itself with the
dilapidated ramparts of the mountain fortress!"

"To attempt such a sketch for Miss Melbourne," replied Sunderland, with
much animation, "I shall consider both a pleasure and an honour. But
Loves and Doves, and Roses and Posies, are entirely out of my line, or
rather out of the line of my pencil. Now, where was I? I believe I was
telling of my confusion when I found that I had inadvertently cut out
the young lady's pet Cupid."

"But did it not strike you," said Orinda, "that the easiest course,
after all, was to go to your demoiselle, and make a candid confession of
the whole? which she would undoubtedly have regarded in no other light
than as a subject of amusement, and have been too much diverted to feel
any displeasure."

"Ah! you must not judge of every one by yourself," replied Sunderland.
"I thought for a moment of doing what you now suggest, but after a
little consideration, I more than suspected that my candour would be
thrown away upon the perverse little damsel that owned the album, and
that any attempt to take a ludicrous view of the business would
mortally offend her. All young ladies are not like Miss Orinda
Melbourne"--(bowing as he spoke).

Orinda turned her head towards the window, and fixed her eyes intently
on the top of the Crow's Nest. This time the suffusion on her cheeks was
not in the least doubtful.

"Well, then," continued Sunderland, "that I might remedy the disaster as
far as possible, I procured some fine paste, and was proceeding to
cement the leaf to its predecessor, when, in my agitation, a drop of the
paste fell on the Cupid's face. In trying to absorb it with the corner
of a clean handkerchief, I 'spread the ruin widely round,' and smeared
off his wings, which unfortunately grew out of the back of his neck: a
very pardonable mistake, as the fair artist had probably never seen a
live Cupid. I was now nearly frantic, and I enacted sundry ravings 'too
tedious to mention.' The first use I made of my returning senses was to
employ a distinguished artist (then on a visit to West Point) to execute
on another leaf, another Cupid, with bow and arrow, heart and roses, &c.
He made a beautiful little thing, a design of his own, which alone was
worth a thousand album drawings of the usual sort. I was now quite
reconciled to the disaster, which had given me an opportunity of
presenting the young lady with a precious specimen of taste and genius.
As soon as it was finished, I obtained leave of absence for a few days,
went down to the city, and, album in hand, repaired to my Brooklyn
beauty. I knew that, with her, there would be no use in telling the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and I acknowledge, with shame,
that I suppressed the fact of my copying Pope's verses. I merely said
that, not being quite satisfied with my poetry, I had cut out the leaf;
and I then went on to relate the remainder exactly as it happened. As I
proceeded, I observed her brows beginning to contract, and her lips
beginning to pout. 'Well, sir,' said she, with her eyes flashing (for I
now found that even blue eyes could flash), 'I think you have been
taking great liberties with my album: cutting and clipping it, and
smearing it with paste, and spoiling my best Cupid, and then getting a
man to put another picture into it, without asking my leave.'

"Much disconcerted, I made many apologies, all of which she received
with a very ill grace. I ventured to point out to her the superiority of
the drawing that had been made by the artist.

"'I see no beauty in it,' she exclaimed; 'the shading is not half so
much blended as Miss Cottonwool's, and it does not look half so soft.'"

"I have observed," said Orinda, "that persons who in reality know but
little of the art, always dwell greatly on what they call softness."

"I endeavoured to reconcile her to the drawing," continued Sunderland;
"but she persisted in saying that it was nothing to compare to Miss
Cottonwool's, which she alleged was of one delicate tint throughout,
while this was very light in some places and very dark in others, and
that she could actually see distinctly where most of the touches were
put on, 'when in paintings that are really handsome,' said she, 'all the
shading is blended together, and looks soft.'

"To conclude, she would not forgive me; and, in sober truth, I must
acknowledge that the petulance and silliness she evinced on this
occasion, took away much of my desire to be restored to favour. Next
day, I met her walking on the Battery, in high flirtation with an old
West Indian planter, who espoused her in the course of a fortnight, and
carried her to Antigua."

Orinda now gave an involuntary and almost audible sigh; feeling a
sensation of relief on hearing that her rival by anticipation was
married and gone, and entirely _hors de combat_.

Mr. and Mrs. Ledbury, who had been taking a long walk, now came in; and
shortly after, the bell rang for tea. And when Orinda took the offered
arm of Sunderland (as he conducted her to the table), she felt a
presentiment that, before many days, the important question would be
asked and answered.

The evening on which our story commences, was that of the 3d of July,
1825, and tea was scarcely over at the Mess House when an orderly
sergeant came round with a notice for the officers to assemble in
uniform at the dock, to receive General La Fayette, who was expected in
half an hour.

The guest of the nation had visited the Military Academy soon after his
arrival in America. He had there been introduced to Cadet Huger, the son
of that gallant Carolinian who, in conjunction with the generous and
enterprising Bollman, had so nearly succeeded in the hazardous attempt
of delivering him from the dungeons of Olmutz.

La Fayette was now on his return from his memorable tour throughout the
United States. Major Worth,[71] who was in command at West Point during
the temporary absence of Colonel Thayer, happened to be at Newburgh when
the steamboat arrived there, in which La Fayette was proceeding down the
river from Albany to New York; and he invited the General to stop at
West Point, and remain till the next boat. The invitation was promptly
accepted, and Major Worth instantly despatched a messenger with the
intelligence; wishing to give the residents of the post an opportunity
of making such preparations for the reception of their distinguished
visiter as the shortness of the time would allow.

[Footnote 71: Afterwards General Worth.]

The officers hastily put on their full dress uniform, and repaired to
the wharf, or dock, as it was called. The band (at that time the finest
in America) was already there. The ladies assembled on the high bank
that overlooks the river, and from thence witnessed the arrival of La
Fayette.

On the heights above the landing-place, and near the spot where the
hotel has been since erected, appeared an officer, and a detachment of
soldiers, waiting, with a lighted match, to commence the salute; for
which purpose several pieces of artillery had been conveyed thither.

The twilight of a summer evening was accelerated by a vast and heavy
cloud, portentous of a thunderstorm. It had overspread the west, and
loured upon the river, on whose yet unruffled waters the giant shadows
of the mountains were casting a still deeper gloom. Beyond Polipel's
Island was seen the coming steamboat, looking like an immense star upon
a level with the horizon. There was a solemn silence all around, which
was soon broken by the sound of the paddles, that were heard when the
boat was as far off as Washington's Valley: and, in a few minutes, her
dense shower of sparks and her wreath of red smoke were vividly defined
upon the darkening sky.

The boat was soon at the wharf; and, at the moment that La Fayette
stepped on shore, the officers took off their hats, the band struck up
Hail Columbia, and, amid the twilight gloom and the darkness of the
impending thundercloud, it was chiefly by the flashes of the guns from
the heights that the scene was distinctly visible. The lightning of
heaven quivered also on the water; and the mountain echoes repeated the
low rolling of the distant thunder in unison with the loud roar of the
cannon.

The general, accompanied by his son, and by his secretary, Levasseur,
walked slowly up the hill, leaning on the arm of Major Worth, preceded
by the band playing La Fayette's March, and followed by the officers and
professors of the Institution. When they had ascended to the plain, they
found the houses lighted up, and the camp of the cadets illuminated
also. They proceeded to the Mess House, and as soon as they had entered,
the musicians ranged themselves under the elms in front, and commenced
Yankee Doodle; the quickstep to which La Fayette, at the head of his
American division, had marched to the attack at the siege of Yorktown.

While the General was partaking of some refreshment, the officers and
professors returned for the ladies, all of whom were desirous of an
introduction to him. Many children were also brought and presented to
the far-famed European, who had so importantly assisted in obtaining
for them and for their fathers, the glorious immunities of independence.

The star has now set which shone so auspiciously for our country at that
disastrous period of our revolutionary struggle--

    "When hope was sinking in dismay,
    And gloom obscured Columbia's day."

Mouldering into dust is that honoured hand which was clasped with such
deep emotion by the assembled sons and daughters of the nation in whose
cause it had first unsheathed the sword of liberty. And soon will that
noble and generous heart, so replete with truth and benevolence, be
reduced to "a clod of the valley." Yet, may we not hope that from the
world of eternity, of which his immortal spirit is now an inhabitant, he
looks down with equal interest on the land of his nativity, and on the
land of his adoption: that country so bound to him by ties of
everlasting gratitude; that country where all were his friends, as he
was the friend of all.

Tears suffused the beautiful eyes of Orinda Melbourne, when, introduced
by her lover, she took the offered hand of La Fayette, and her voice
trembled as she replied to the compliment of the patriot of both
hemispheres. Sunderland remarked to the son of the illustrious veteran,
that it gave him much pleasure to see that the General's long and
fatiguing journey had by no means impaired his healthful appearance, but
that, on the contrary, he now looked better than he had done on his
first arrival in America. "Ah!" replied Colonel La Fayette, "how could
my father suffer from fatigue, when every day was a day of happiness!"

After Orinda had resigned her place to another lady, she said to
Sunderland, who stood at the back of her chair--"What would I not give
for La Fayette's autograph in my album!"

"Still harping on the album," said Sunderland, smiling.

"Excuse me this once," replied Orinda. "I begin to think as you do with
respect to albums, but if nothing else can be alleged in their favour,
they may, at least, be safe and convenient depositories for mementoes of
those whose names are their history. All I presume to wish or to hope
from La Fayette, is simply his signature. But I have not courage myself
to ask such a favour. Will you convey my request to him?"

"Willingly," answered Sunderland. "But he will grant that request still
more readily if it comes from your own lips. Let us wait awhile, and I
will see that you have an opportunity."

In a short time, nearly all the company had departed, except those that
were inmates of the house. The gentlemen having taken home the ladies,
returned for the purpose of remaining with La Fayette till the boat came
along in which he was to proceed to the city.

Orinda took her album; her admirer conducted her to the General, and
with much confusion she proffered her request; Sunderland brought him a
standish, and he wrote the name "La Fayette" in the centre of a blank
page, which our heroine presented to him: it having on each side other
blank leaves that Orinda determined should never be filled up. Highly
gratified at becoming the possessor of so valued a signature, she could
scarcely refrain, in her enthusiasm, from pressing the leaf to her lips,
when she soon after retired with Mrs. Ledbury.

The officers remained with General La Fayette till the arrival of the
boat, which came not till near twelve o'clock. They then accompanied him
to the wharf, and took their final leave. The thunderstorm had gone
round without discharging its fury on West Point, and everything had
turned out propitiously for the General's visit; which was perhaps the
more pleasant for having been so little expected.

The following day was the Fourth of July, and the next was the one fixed
on by Mr. and Mrs. Ledbury for returning to New York. That morning, at
the breakfast-table, the number of guests was increased by the presence
of a Mr. Jenkins, who had come from the city in the same boat with Miss
Melbourne and her friends, and after passing a few days at West Point,
had gone up the river to visit some relations at Poughkeepsie, from
whence he had just returned. Mr. Jenkins was a shallow, conceited,
over-dressed young man, and, moreover, extremely ugly, though of this
misfortune he was not in the least aware. He was of a family whose
wealth had not made them genteel. He professed great politeness to the
ladies, that is, if they had beauty and money; yet he always declared
that he would marry nothing under a hundred thousand dollars. But he was
good-natured; and that, and his utter insignificance, got him along
tolerably well, for no one ever thought it worth while to be offended at
his folly and self-sufficiency.

After breakfast, Mrs. Ledbury asked Orinda if she had prevailed on Mr.
Sunderland to write an article in her album, adding--"I heard you urging
him to that effect the other day, as I passed the front parlour."

"I found him inexorable, as to writing," replied Orinda.

"Well, really," said Mr. Jenkins, "I don't know how a gentleman can
reconcile himself to refuse anything a lady asks. And he an officer too!
For my part, I always hold it my bounden duty to oblige the ladies, and
never on any account to treat them with _hauteur_, as the French call
it. To be sure, I am not a marrying man--that is, I do not marry under a
hundred thousand--but still, that is no reason why I should not be
always polite and agreeable. _Apropos_, as the French say--_apropos_,
Miss Melbourne, you know _I_ offered the other day to write something
for you in your album, and I will do it with all the pleasure in life. I
am very partial to albums, and quite _au-fait_ to them, to use a French
term."

"We return to the city this afternoon," said Orinda. "You will scarcely
have time to add anything to the treasures of _my_ album."

"Oh! it won't take me long," replied Jenkins; "short and sweet is _my_
motto. There will be quite time enough. You see I have already finished
my breakfast. I am not the least of a _gourmand_, to borrow a word from
the French."

Orinda had really some curiosity to see a specimen of Jenkins's poetry:
supposing that, like the poor cadet's, it might be amusingly bad.
Therefore, having sent for her album, she put it hastily into Jenkins's
hand: for at that moment Lieutenant Sunderland, who had, as usual,
breakfasted at the mess-table with his brother officers, came in to
invite her to walk with him to Gee's Point. Orinda assented, and
immediately put on her bonnet, saying to her lover as she left the
house--

"You know this is one of my favourite walks--I like that fine mass of
bare granite running far out into the river, and the beautiful view from
its extreme point. And then the road, by which we descend to it, is so
charmingly picturesque, with its deep ravine on one side, filled with
trees and flowering shrubs, and the dark and lofty cliff that towers up
on the other, where the thick vine wanders in festoons, and the branches
of the wild rose throw their long streamers down the rock, whose utmost
heights are crowned with still-lingering remnants of the grass-grown
ruins of Fort Clinton."

But we question if, on this eventful morning, the beauties of Gee's
Point were duly appreciated by our heroine, for long before they had
reached it, her lover had made an explicit avowal of his feelings and
his hopes, and had obtained from her the promise of her hand: which
promise was faithfully fulfilled on that day two months.

In the afternoon, Lieutenant Sunderland accompanied Miss Melbourne and
her friends on their return to the city. Previous to her departure,
Orinda did not forgot to remind Mr. Jenkins of her album, now doubly
valuable to her as containing the name of La Fayette, written by his own
hand.

Jenkins begged a thousand pardons, alleging that the arrival of a friend
from New York, had prevented him from writing in it, as he had intended.
"And of course," said he, "I could not put off my friend, as he is one
of the _élite_ of the city, to describe him in French. However, there is
time enough yet. Short and sweet, you know"--

"The boat is in sight," said Sunderland.

"Oh! no matter," answered Jenkins. "I can do it in a minute, and I will
send it down to the boat after you. Miss Melbourne shall have it before
she quits the wharf. I would on no consideration be guilty of
disappointing a lady."

And taking with him the album, he went directly to his room.

"You had best go down to the dock," said the cadet, young Melbourne, who
had come to see his sister off. "There is no time to be lost. I will
take care that the album reaches you in safety, should you be obliged to
go without it."

They proceeded towards the river, but they had scarcely got as far as
Mrs. Thomson's, when a waiter came running after them with the book,
saying--"Mr. Jenkins's compliments to Miss Melbourne, and all is right."

"Really," said Sunderland, "that silly fellow must have a machine for
making verses, to have turned out anything like poetry in so short a
time."

They were scarcely seated on the deck of the steamboat, when Orinda
opened her album to look for the inspirations of Jenkins's Muse. She
found no verses. But on the very page consecrated by the hand of La
Fayette, and immediately under the autograph of the hero, was written,
in an awkward school-boy character, the name of Jeremiah Jenkins.



THE SET OF CHINA.

     "How thrive the beauties of the graphic art?"--PETER PINDAR.


"Mr. Gummage," said Mrs. Atmore, as she entered a certain
drawing-school, at that time the most fashionable in Philadelphia, "I
have brought you a new pupil, my daughter, Miss Marianne Atmore. Have
you a vacancy?"

"Why, I can't say that I have," replied Mr. Gummage; "I never have
vacancies."

"I am very sorry to hear it," said Mrs. Atmore; and Miss Marianne, a
tall, handsome girl of fifteen, looked disappointed.

"But perhaps I _could_ strain a point, and find a place for her,"
resumed Mr. Gummage, who knew very well that he never had the smallest
idea of limiting the number of his pupils, and that if twenty more were
to apply, he would take them every one, however full his school might
be.

"Do, pray, Mr. Gummage," said Mrs. Atmore; "do try and make an exertion
to admit my daughter; I shall regard it as a particular favour."

"Well, I believe she may come," replied Gummage: "I suppose I can take
her. Has she any turn for drawing?"

"I don't know," answered Mrs. Atmore; "she has never tried."

"So much the better," said Gummage; "I like girls that have never tried;
they are much more manageable than those that have been scratching and
daubing at home all their lives."

Mr. Gummage was no gentleman, either in appearance or manner. But he
passed for a genius among those who knew nothing of that ill-understood
race. He had a hooked nose that turned to the right, and a crooked mouth
that turned to the left--his face being very much out of drawing,--and
he had two round eyes that in colour and expression resembled two
hazel-nuts. His lips were "pea-green and blue," from the habit of
putting the brushes into his mouth when they were overcharged with
colour. He took snuff illimitably, and generally carried half a dozen
handkerchiefs, some of which, however, were to wrap his dinner in, as he
conveyed it from market in his capacious pockets; others, as he said,
were "to wipe the girl's saucers."

His usual costume was an old dusty brown coat, corduroy pantaloons, and
a waistcoat that had once been red, boots that had once been black, and
a low crowned rusty hat--which was never off his head, even in the
presence of the ladies--and a bandanna cravat. The vulgarity of his
habits, and the rudeness of his deportment, all passed off under the
title of eccentricity. At the period when he flourished--it was long
before the time of Sully--the _beau ideal_ of an artist, at least among
the multitude, was an ugly, ill-mannered, dirty fellow, that painted an
inch thick in divers gaudy colours, equally irreconcileable to nature
and art. And the chief attractions of a drawing master--for Mr. Gummage
was nothing more--lay in doing almost everything himself, and producing
for his pupils, in their first quarter, pictures (so called) that were
pronounced "fit to frame."

"Well, madam," said Mr. Gummage, "what do you wish your daughter to
learn? figures, flowers, or landscapes?"

"Oh! all three," replied Mrs. Atmore. "We have been furnishing our new
house, and I told Mr. Atmore that he need not get any pictures for the
front parlour, as I would much prefer having them all painted by
Marianne. She has been four quarters with Miss Julia,[72] and has worked
Friendship and Innocence, which cost, altogether, upwards of a hundred
dollars. Do you know the piece, Mr. Gummage? There is a tomb with a
weeping willow, and two ladies with long hair, one dressed in pink, the
other in blue, holding a wreath between them over the top of the urn.
The ladies are Friendship. Then on the right hand of the piece is a
cottage, and an oak, and a little girl dressed in yellow, sitting on a
green bank, and putting a wreath round the neck of a lamb. Nothing can
be more natural than the lamb's wool. It is done entirely in French
knots. The child and the lamb are Innocence."

[Footnote 72: Miss Julianna Bater, an old Moravian lady, from Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania, who was well known in Philadelphia, many years since, as a
teacher of embroidery.]

"Ay, ay," said Gummage, "I know the piece well enough--I've drawn them
by dozens."

"Well," continued Mrs. Atmore, "this satin piece hangs over the front
parlour mantel. It is much prettier and better done than the one Miss
Longstitch worked, of Charlotte at the tomb of Werter, though she _did_
sew silver spangles all over Charlotte's lilac gown, and used chenille,
at a fi'-penny-bit a needleful, for all the banks and the large tree.
Now, as the mantel-piece is provided for, I wish a landscape for each of
the recesses, and a figure-piece to hang on each side of the large
looking-glass, with flower-pieces under them, all by Marianne. Can she
do all these in one quarter?"

"No, that she can't," replied Gummage; "it will take her two quarters'
hard work, and may be three, to get through the whole of them."

"Well, I won't stand about a quarter more or less," said Mrs. Atmore;
"but what I wish Marianne to do most particularly, and, indeed, the
chief reason why I send her to drawing-school just now, is a pattern for
a set of china that we are going to have made in Canton. I was told the
other day by a New York lady (who was quite tired of the queer,
unmeaning things which are generally put on India ware), that she had
sent a pattern for a tea-set, drawn by her daughter, and that every
article came out with the identical device beautifully done on the
china, all in the proper colours. She said it was talked of all over New
York, and that people who had never been at the house before, came to
look at and admire it. No doubt it was a great feather in her daughter's
cap."

"Possibly, madam," said Gummage.

"And now," resumed Mrs. Atmore, "since I heard this, I have thought of
nothing else than having the same thing done in my family; only I shall
send for a dinner set, and a very long one, too. Mr. Atmore tells me
that the Voltaire, one of Stephen Girard's ships, sails for Canton early
next month, and he is well acquainted with the captain, who will attend
to the order for the china. I suppose in the course of a fortnight
Marianne will have learnt drawing enough to enable her to do the
pattern?"

"Oh! yes, madam--quite enough," replied Gummage, suppressing a laugh.

"Very well," said Mrs. Atmore. "And now, Mr. Gummage, let me look at
some of your models."

"Figures, flowers, or landscapes?" asked the artist.

"Oh! some of each," replied the lady.

Mr. Gummage had so many pupils--both boys and girls--and so many
classes, and gave lessons besides, at so many boarding-schools, that he
had no leisure time for receiving applications, and as he kept his
domicile incog. he saw all his visitors at his school-room. Foreseeing a
long examination of the prints, he took from a hanging shelf several of
his numerous portfolios, and having placed them on a table before Mrs.
Atmore and her daughter, he proceeded to go round and direct his present
class of young ladies, who were all sitting at the drawing-desks in
their bonnets and shawls, because the apartment afforded no
accommodation for these habiliments if laid aside. Each young lady was
leaning over a straining-frame, on which was pasted a sheet of
drawing-paper, and each seemed engaged in attempting to copy one of the
coloured engravings that were fastened by a slip of cleft cane to the
cord of twine that ran along the wall. The benches were dusty, the floor
dirty and slopped with spilt water; and the windows, for want of
washing, looked more like horn than glass. The school-room and teacher
were all in keeping. Yet for many years Mr. Gummage was so much in
fashion that no other drawing-masters had the least chance of success.
Those who recollect the original, will not think his portrait
overcharged.

We left Mr. Gummage going round his class for the purpose of giving a
glance, and saying a few words to each.

"Miss Jones, lay down the lid of your paint-box. No rulers shall be used
in my school, as I have often told you."

"But, Mr. Gummage, only look at the walls of my castle; they are all
leaning to one side; both the turrets stand crooked, and the doors and
windows slant every way."

"No matter, it's my rule that nobody shall use a rule. Miss Miller, have
you rubbed the blue and bistre I told you?"

"Yes, sir; I've been at it all the afternoon; here it is."

"Why, that's not half enough."

"Mr. Gummage, I've rubbed, and rubbed, till my arm aches to the
shoulder, and my face is all in a glow."

"Then take off your bonnet, and cool yourself. I tell you there's not
half enough. Why, my boys rub blue and bistre till their faces run of a
stream. I make them take off their coats to it."

"Mr. Gummage," said one young lady, "you promised to put in my sky
to-day."

"Mr. Gummage," said another, "I've been waiting for my distances these
two weeks. How can I go any farther till you have done them for me?"

"Finish the fore-ground to-day. It is time enough for the distances:
I'll put them in on Friday."

"Mr. Gummage," said another, "my river has been expecting you since last
Wednesday."

"Why, you have not put in the boat yet. Do the boat to-day, and the
fisherman on the shore. But look at your bridge! Every arch is of a
different size--some big, and some little."

"Well, Mr. Gummage, it is your own fault--you should let me use
compasses. I have a pair in my box--do, pray, let me use them."

"No, I won't. My plan is that you shall all draw entirely by the eye."

"That is the reason we make everything so crooked."

"I see nothing more crooked than yourselves," replied the polite
drawing-master.

"Mr. Gummage," said another young lady, raising her eyes from a novel
that she had brought with her, "I have done nothing at my piece for at
least a fortnight. I have been all the time waiting for you to put in my
large tree."

"Hush this moment with your babbling, every soul of you," said the
teacher, in an under tone: "don't you see there are strangers here? What
an unreasonable pack of fools you are! Can I do everybody's piece at
once? Learn to have patience, one and all of you, and wait till your
turn comes."

Some of the girls tossed their heads and pouted, and some laughed, and
some quitted their desks and amused themselves by looking out at the
windows. But the instructor turned his back on them, and walked off
towards the table at which Mrs. Atmore and her daughter were seated with
the portfolios, both making incessant exclamations of "How
beautiful!--how elegant!--how sweet!"

"Oh! here are Romeo and Juliet in the tomb scene!" cried Marianne.
"Look, mamma, is it not lovely?--the very play in which we saw Cooper
and Mrs. Merry. Oh! do let me paint Romeo and Juliet for the dinner set!
But stop--here's the Shepherdess of the Alps! how magnificent! I think I
would rather do that for the china. And here's Mary Queen of Scots; I
remember her ever since I read history. And here are Telemachus and
Minerva, just as I translated about them in my Telemaque exercises. Oh!
let me do them for the dinner set--sha'n't I. Mr. Gummage?"

"I don't see any figure-pieces in which the colours are bright enough,"
remarked Mrs. Atmore.

"As to that," observed Gummage--who knew that the burthen of the drawing
would eventually fall on him, and who never liked to do figures--"I
don't believe that any of these figure pieces would look well if reduced
so small as to go on china plates."

"Well,--here are some very fine landscapes," pursued Mrs. Atmore;
"Here's the Cascade of Tivoli--and here's a view in Jamaica--and here's
Glastonbury Abbey."

"Oh! I dote on abbeys," cried Marianne, "for the sake of Amanda
Fitzalan."

"Your papa will not approve of your doing this," observed Mrs. Atmore:
"you know, he says that abbeys are nothing but old tumble-down
churches."

"If I may not do an abbey, let me do a castle," said Marianne; "there's
Conway Castle by moonlight--how natural the moon looks!"

"As to castles," replied Mrs. Atmore, "you know your papa says they are
no better than old jails. He hates both abbeys and castles."

"Well, here is a noble country seat," said Marianne--"'Chiswick House.'"

"Your papa has no patience with country seats," rejoined Mrs. Atmore.
"He says that when people have made their money, they had better stay in
town to enjoy it; where they can be convenient to the market, and the
stores, and the post-office, and the coffee-house. He likes a good
comfortable three story brick mansion, in a central part of the city,
with marble steps, iron railings, and green venetian shutters."

"To cut the matter short," said Mr. Gummage, "the best thing for the
china is a flower piece--a basket, or a wreath--or something of that
sort. You can have a good cipher in the centre, and the colours may be
as bright as you please. India ware is generally painted with one colour
only; but the Chinese are submissive animals, and will do just as they
are bid. It may cost something more to have a variety of colours; but I
suppose you will not mind that."

"Oh! no--no," exclaimed Mrs. Atmore, "I shall not care for the price; I
have set my mind on having this china the wonder of all Philadelphia."

Our readers will understand, that at this period nearly all the
porcelain used in America was of Chinese manufacture; very little of
that elegant article having been, as yet, imported from France.

A wreath was selected from the portfolio that contained the engravings
and drawings of flowers. It was decided that Marianne should first
execute it the full size of the model (which was as large as nature),
that she might immediately have a piece to frame; and that she was
afterwards to make a smaller copy of it, as a border for all the
articles of the china set; the middle to be ornamented with the letter
A, in gold, surrounded by the rays of a golden star. Sprigs and tendrils
of the flowers were to branch down from the border, so as nearly to
reach the gilding in the middle. The large wreath that was intended to
frame, was to bear in its centre the initials of Marianne Atmore, being
the letters M. A., painted in shell gold.

"And so," said Mr. Gummage, "having a piece to frame, and a pattern for
your china, you'll kill two birds with one stone."

On the following Monday, the young lady came to take her first lesson,
followed by a mulatto boy, carrying a little black morocco trunk, that
contained a four row box of Reeves' colours, with an assortment of
camel's hair pencils, half a dozen white saucers, a water cup, a lead
pencil, and a piece of India rubber. Mr. Gummage immediately supplied
her with two bristle brushes, and sundry little shallow earthern cups,
each containing a modicum of some sort of body colour, masticot, flake
white, &c., prepared by himself, and charged at a quarter-dollar apiece,
and which he told her she would want when she came to do landscapes and
figures.

Mr. Gummage's style was, to put in the sky, water, and distances with
opaque paints, and the most prominent objects with transparent colours.
This was probably the reason that his foregrounds seemed always to be
sunk in his backgrounds. The model was scarcely considered as a guide,
for he continually told his pupils that they must try to excel it; and
he helped them to do so by making all his skies deep red fire at the
bottom, and dark blue smoke at the top; and exactly reversing the
colours on the water, by putting red at the top, and blue at the bottom.
The distant mountains were lilac and white, and the near rocks buff
colour shaded with purple. The castles and abbeys were usually gamboge.
The trees were dabbed and dotted in with a large bristle brush, so that
the foliage looked like a green fog. The foam of the cascades resembled
a concourse of wigs, scuffling together and knocking the powder out of
each other, the spray being always fizzed on with one of the aforesaid
bristle brushes. All the dark shadows in every part of the picture were
done with a mixture of Prussian blue and bistre, and of these two
colours there was consequently a vast consumption in Mr. Gummage's
school. At the period of our story, many of the best houses in
Philadelphia were decorated with these landscapes. But for the honour of
my townspeople, I must say that the taste for such productions is now
entirely obsolete. We may look forward to the time, which we trust is
not far distant, when the elements of drawing will be taught in every
school, and considered as indispensable to education as a knowledge of
writing. It has long been our belief that _any_ child may, with proper
instruction, be made to draw, as easily as any child may be made to
write. We are rejoiced to find that so distinguished an artist as
Rembrandt Peale has avowed the same opinion, in giving to the world his
invaluable little work on Graphics: in which he has clearly demonstrated
the affinity between drawing and writing, and admirably exemplified the
leading principles of both.

Marianne's first attempt at the great wreath was awkward enough. After
she had spent five or six afternoons at the outline, and made it
triangular rather than circular, and found it impossible to get in the
sweet pea, and the convolvulus, and lost and bewildered herself among
the multitude of leaves that formed the cup of the rose, Mr. Gummage
snatched the pencil from her hand, rubbed out the whole, and then drew
it himself. It must be confessed that his forte lay in flowers, and he
was extremely clever at them; "but," as he expressed it, "his scholars
chiefly ran upon landscapes."

After he had sketched the wreath, he directed Marianne to rub the
colours for her flowers, while he put in Miss Smithson's rocks.

When Marianne had covered all her saucers with colours, and wasted ten
times as much as was necessary, she was eager to commence painting, as
she called it; and in trying to wash the rose with lake, she daubed it
on of crimson thickness. When Mr. Gummage saw it, he gave her a severe
reprimand for meddling with her own piece. It was with great difficulty
that the superabundant colour was removed; and he charged her to let the
flowers alone till he was ready to wash them for her. He worked a little
at the piece every day, forbidding Marianne to touch it: and she
remained idle while he was putting in skies, mountains, &c., for the
other young ladies.

At length the wreath was finished--Mr. Gummage having only sketched it,
and washed it, and given it the last touches. It was put into a splendid
frame, and shown as Miss Marianne Atmore's first attempt at painting;
and everybody exclaimed, "What an excellent teacher Mr. Gummage must be!
How fast he brings on his pupils!"

In the mean time, she undertook at home to make the small copy that was
to go to China. But she was now "at a dead lock," and found it utterly
impossible to advance a step without Mr. Gummage. It was then thought
best that she should do it at school--meaning that Mr. Gummage should do
it for her, while she looked out of the window.

The whole was at last satisfactorily accomplished, even to the gilt star
with the A in the centre. It was taken home and compared with the larger
wreath, and found still prettier, and shown as Marianne's, to the envy
of all mothers whose daughters could not furnish models for china. It
was finally given in charge to the captain of the Voltaire, with
injunctions to order a dinner-set exactly according to the pattern--and
to prevent the possibility of a mistake, a written direction accompanied
it.

The ship sailed--and Marianne continued three quarters at Mr. Gummage's
school, where she nominally effected another flower piece, and also
perpetrated Kemble in Rolla, Edwin and Angelina, the Falls of the Rhine,
and the Falls of Niagara; all of which were duly framed, and hung in
their appointed places.

During the year that followed the departure of the ship Voltaire, great
impatience for her return was manifested by the ladies of the Atmore
family--anxious to see how the china would look, and frequently hoping
that the colours would be bright enough, and none of the flowers
omitted--that the gilding would be rich, and everything inserted in its
proper place, exactly according to the pattern. Mrs. Atmore's only
regret was, that she had not sent for a tea-set also; not that she was
in want of one, but then it would be so much better to have a dinner-set
and a tea-set precisely alike, and Marianne's beautiful wreath on all.

"Why, my dear," said Mr. Atmore, "how often have I heard you say that
you would never have another _tea_-set from Canton, because the Chinese
persist in making the principal articles of such old-fashioned, awkward
shapes. For my part, I always disliked the tall coffee pots, with their
straight spouts, looking like light-houses with bowsprits to them; and
the short, clumsy tea-pots, with their twisted handles, and lids that
always fall off."

"To be sure," said Mrs. Atmore, "I have been looking forward to the
time, when we can get a French tea-set upon tolerable terms. But in the
mean while, I should be very glad to have cups and saucers with
Marianne's beautiful wreath, and of course, when we use this china on
the table we shall always bring forward our silver pots."

Spring returned, and there was much watching of the vanes, and great joy
when they pointed easterly, and the ship-news now became the most
interesting column of the papers. A vessel that had sailed from New York
for Canton, on the same day the Voltaire departed for Philadelphia, had
already got in; therefore the Voltaire might be hourly expected. At
length she was reported below; and at this period the river Delaware
suffered much, in comparison with the river Hudson, owing to the
tediousness of its navigation from the capes to the city.

At last the Voltaire cast anchor at the foot of Market street, and our
ladies could scarcely refrain from walking down to the wharf to see the
ship that held the box, that held the china. But invitations were
immediately sent out for a long projected dinner-party, which Mrs.
Atmore had persuaded her husband to defer till they could exhibit the
beautiful new porcelain.

The box was landed, and conveyed to the house. The whole family were
present at the opening, which was performed in the dining-room by Mr.
Atmore himself,--all the servants peeping in at the door. As soon as a
part of the lid was split off, and a handful of straw removed, a pile of
plates appeared, all separately wrapped in India paper. Each of the
family snatched up a plate and hastily tore off the covering. There were
the flowers glowing in beautiful colours, and the gold star and the gold
A, admirably executed. But under the gold star, on every plate, dish,
and tureen, were the words, "THIS IN THE MIDDLE!"--being the direction
which the literal and exact Chinese had minutely copied from a crooked
line that Mr. Atmore had hastily scrawled on the pattern with a very bad
pen, and of course without the slightest thought of its being inserted
_verbatim_ beneath the central ornament.

Mr. Atmore laughed--Mrs. Atmore cried--the servants giggled aloud--and
Marianne cried first, and laughed afterwards.

The only good that resulted was, that it gave occasion to Mr. Atmore to
relate the story to his guests whenever he had a dinner-party.



LAURA LOVEL.

     "The world is still deceived with ornament."--SHAKSPEARE.


Laura Lovel was the eldest surviving daughter of a clergyman settled in
a retired and beautiful village at the western extremity of the state of
Massachusetts. Between Laura and her two youngest sisters, three other
children had died. Being so much their senior, it was in her power to
assist her father materially in the instruction of Ella and Rosa; as
after his family had become small, Mr. Lovel thought it best that the
two little girls should receive all their education at home, and never
were children that conferred more credit on their teachers. Mrs. Lovel
was a plain, good woman, of excellent practical sense, a notable
seamstress, and a first-rate housewife. Few families were more perfectly
happy, notwithstanding that the limited income of Mr. Lovel (though
sufficient for comfort) left them little or nothing for superfluities.

They had a very neat house standing in the centre of a flourishing
garden, in which utility had been the first consideration, though
blended as far as possible with beauty. The stone fence looked like a
hedge of nasturtians. The pillars supporting the rustic piazza that
surrounded the house, were the rough trunks of small trees, with a
sufficient portion of the chief branches remaining, to afford
resting-places for the luxuriant masses of scarlet beans that ran over
them; furnishing, when the blossoms were off, and the green pods full
grown, an excellent vegetable-dish for the table. The house was shaded
with fruit-trees exclusively; and the garden shrubs were all raspberry,
currant, and gooseberry, and the flowers were chiefly those that had
medicinal properties, or could be turned to culinary purposes--with the
exception of some that were cultivated purposely for the bees. A meadow
which pastured two cows and a horse, completed the little domain.

About the time that Laura Lovel had finished her seventeenth year, there
came to the village of Rosebrook an old friend of her father's, whom he
had long since lost sight of. They had received their early education at
the same school, they had met again at college, and had some years after
performed together a voyage to India; Mr. Brantley as supercargo, Mr.
Lovel as a missionary. Mr. Brantley had been very successful in
business, and was now a merchant of wealth and respectability, with a
handsome establishment in Boston. Mr. Lovel had settled down as pastor
of the principal church in his native village.

The object of Mr. Brantley's present visit to Rosebrook, was to inquire
personally into the state of some property he still retained there. Mr.
Lovel would not allow his old friend to remain at the tavern, but
insisted that _his_ house should be his abiding place; and they had much
pleasure in comparing their reminiscences of former times. As their
chief conversation was on topics common to both, Mr. Lovel did not
perceive that, except upon mercantile subjects, Mr. Brantley had
acquired few new ideas since they had last met, and that his reading was
confined exclusively to the newspapers. But he saw that in quiet
good-nature, and easiness of disposition, his old friend was still the
same as in early life.

Mr. Brantley was so pleased with every member of the Lovel family, and
liked his visit so much, that he was induced to prolong it two days
beyond his first intention; and he expressed an earnest desire to take
Laura home with him, to pass a few weeks with his wife and daughter.
This proposal, however, was declined, with sincere acknowledgments for
its kindness; Mr. Lovel's delicacy making him unwilling to send his
daughter, as a guest, to a lady who as yet was ignorant of her
existence, and Laura sharing in her father's scruples.

Mr. Brantley took his leave: and three months afterwards he paid a
second visit to Rosebrook, for the purpose of selling his property in
that neighbourhood. He brought with him a short but very polite letter
from his wife to Mr. and Mrs. Lovel, renewing the invitation for Laura,
and pressing it in a manner that could scarcely be withstood. Mr. Lovel
began to waver; Mrs. Lovel thought it was time that Laura should see a
little of the world, and Laura's speaking looks told how much pleasure
she anticipated from the excursion. The two little girls, though their
eyes filled at the idea of being separated from their beloved sister,
most magnanimously joined in entreating permission for her to go, as
they saw that she wished it. Finally, Mr. Lovel consented; and Laura
seemed to tread on air while making her preparations for the journey.

That evening, at the hour of family worship, her father laid his hand on
Laura's head, and uttered a fervent prayer for the preservation of her
health and happiness during her absence from the paternal roof. Mrs.
Lovel and all her daughters were deeply affected, and Mr. Brantley
looked very much inclined to participate in their emotion.

Early next morning Mr. Brantley's chaise was at the door, and Laura took
leave of the family with almost as many tears and kisses as if she had
been going to cross the Atlantic. Little Ella, who was about eight years
old, presented her, at parting, with a very ingenious needle-book of her
own making, and Rosa, who was just seven, gave her as a keepsake an
equally clever pincushion. She promised to bring them new books, and
other little presents from Boston, a place in which they supposed
everything that the world produced, could be obtained without
difficulty.

Finally, the last farewell was uttered, the last kiss was given, and
Laura Lovel took her seat in the chaise beside Mr. Brantley, who drove
off at a rapid pace; and in a few moments a turn in the road hid from
her view the house of her father, and the affectionate group that still
lingered at its gate, to catch the latest glimpse of the vehicle that
was bearing away from them the daughter and the sister.

As they proceeded on their journey, Laura's spirits gradually revived,
and she soon became interested or delighted with everything she beheld;
for she had a quick perception, with a mind of much intelligence and
depth of observation.

The second day of their journey had nearly closed, before the spires of
the Boston churches, and the majestic dome of the State House, met the
intense gaze of our heroine. Thousands of lights soon twinkled over the
city of the three hills, and the long vistas of lamps that illuminated
the bridges, seemed to the unpractised eyes of Laura Lovel to realize
the glories of the Arabian Nights. "Oh!" she involuntarily exclaimed,
"if my dear little sisters could only be with me now!"

As they entered by the western avenue, and as Mr. Brantley's residence
was situated in the eastern part of the city, Laura had an opportunity
of seeing as she passed a vast number of lofty, spacious, and
noble-looking dwelling-houses, in the erection of which the patrician
families of Boston have perhaps surpassed all the other aristocracies of
the Union; for, sternly republican as are our laws and institutions, it
cannot be denied that in private life every section of our commonwealth
has its aristocracy.

At length they stopped at Mr. Brantley's door, and Laura had a very
polite reception from the lady of the mansion, an indolent,
good-natured, insipid woman, the chief business of whose life was dress
and company. Mr. Brantley had purchased a large and handsome house in
the western part of the town, to which the family were to remove in the
course of the autumn, and it was Mrs. Brantley's intention, when they
were settled in their new and elegant establishment, to get into a
higher circle, and to have weekly _soirées_. To make her parties the
more attractive, she was desirous of engaging some very pretty young
lady (a stranger with a new face) to pass the winter with her. She had
but one child, a pert, forward girl, about fourteen, thin, pale, and
seeming "as if she suffered a great deal in order to look pretty." She
sat, stood, and moved, as if in constant pain from the tightness of her
corsets, the smallness of her sleeve-holes, and the narrowness of her
shoes. Her hair, having been kept long during the whole period of her
childhood, was exhausted with incessant tying, brushing, and curling,
and she was already obliged to make artificial additions to it. It was
at this time a mountain of bows, plaits, and puffs; and her costume was
in every respect that of a woman of twenty. She was extremely anxious to
"come out," as it is called, but her father insisted on her staying in,
till she had finished her education; and her mother had been told that
it was very impolitic to allow young ladies to "appear in society" at
too early an age, as they were always supposed to be older than they
really were, and therefore would be the sooner considered _passé_.

After tea, Mrs. Brantley reclined herself idly in one of the
rocking-chairs, Mr. Brantley retired to the back parlour to read
undisturbed the evening papers, and Augusta took up some bead-work,
while Laura looked over the Souvenirs with which the centre-table was
strewed.

"How happy you must be, Miss Brantley," said Laura, "to have it in your
power to read so many new books!"

"As to reading," replied Augusta, "I never have any time to spare for
that purpose; what with my music, and my dancing, and my lessons in
French conversation, and my worsted-work, and my bead-work; then I have
every day to go out shopping, for I always _will_ choose everything for
myself. Mamma has not the least idea of my taste; at least, she never
remembers it. And then there is always some business with the
mantua-makers and milliners. And I have so many morning visits to pay
with mamma--and in the afternoon I am generally so tired that I can do
nothing but put on a wrapper, and throw myself on the bed, and sleep
till it is time to dress for evening."

"Oh!" thought Laura Lovel, "how differently do we pass our time at
Rosebrook!--Is not this a beautiful engraving?" she continued, holding
one of the open Souvenirs towards Augusta.

"Yes--pretty enough," replied Augusta, scarcely turning her head to look
at it.--"Mamma, do not you think I had better have my green pelerine cut
in points rather than in scollops?"

"I think," replied Mrs. Brantley, "that scollops are the prettiest."

"Really, mamma," said Augusta, petulantly, "it is very peculiar in you
to say so, when you ought to know that scollops have had their day, and
that points have come round again."

"Very well, then, my love," replied Mrs. Brantley, indolently, "consult
your own taste."

"That I always do," said Augusta, half aside to Laura, who, addressing
herself to Mrs. Brantley, made some inquiry about the last new novel.

"I cannot say that I have read it," answered Mrs. Brantley; "at least, I
don't know that I have. Augusta, my love, do you recollect if you have
heard me say anything about the last new book--the--a--the--what is it
you call it, Miss Lovel?"

"La! mamma," said Augusta, "I should as soon expect you to write a book
as to read one."

There was a pause for a minute or two. Augusta then leaning back towards
her mother, exclaimed, "Upon second thoughts, I think I will have the
green pelerine scolloped, and the blue one pointed. But the points
shall be squared at the ends--on that I am determined."

Laura now took up a volume of the juvenile annual, entitled the Pearl,
and said to Augusta, "You have most probably a complete set of the
Pearl."

"After all, mamma," pursued Augusta, "butterfly bows are much prettier
than shell-bows. What were you saying just now, Miss Lovel, about my
having a set of pearls?--you may well ask;"--looking spitefully towards
the back-parlour, in which her father was sitting. "Papa holds out that
he will not give me a set till I am eighteen; and as to gold chains, and
corals, and cornelians, I am sick of them, and I won't wear them at all;
so you see me without any ornaments whatever, which you must think very
peculiar."

Laura had tact enough to perceive that any further attempt at a
conversation on books would be unavailing; and she made some inquiry
about the annual exhibition of pictures at the Athenæum.

"I believe it is a very good one," replied Mrs. Brantley. "We stopped
there one day on our way to dine with some friends out of town. But as
the carriage was waiting, and the horses were impatient, we only stayed
a few minutes, just long enough to walk round."

"Oh! yes, mamma," cried Augusta; "and don't you recollect we saw Miss
Darford there in a new dress of lavender-coloured grenadine, though
grenadines have been over these hundred years. And there was pretty Mrs.
Lenham, as the gentlemen call her, in a puce-coloured italianet, though
italianets have been out for ages. And don't you remember Miss Grover's
canary-coloured reps bonnet, that looked as if it had been made in the
ark. The idea of any one wearing reps! a thing that has not been seen
since the flood! Only think of reps!"

Laura Lovel wondered what _reps_ could possibly be. "Now I talk of
bonnets," pursued Augusta; "pray, mamma, did you tell Miss Pipingcord
that I would have my Tuscan Leghorn trimmed with the lilac and green
riband, instead of the blue and yellow?"

"Indeed," replied Mrs. Brantley, "I found your cousin Mary so extremely
ill this afternoon when I went to see her, and my sister so very uneasy
on her account, that I absolutely forgot to call at the milliner's, as I
had promised you."

"Was there ever anything so vexatious!" exclaimed Augusta, throwing
down her bead-work. "Really, mamma, there is no trusting you at all. You
never remember to do anything you are desired." And flying to the bell,
she rang it with violence.

"I could think of nothing but poor Mary's danger," said Mrs. Brantley,
"and the twenty-five leeches that I saw on her forehead."

"Dreadful!" ejaculated Augusta. "But you might have supposed that the
leeches would do her good, as, of course, they will. Here, William,"
addressing the servant-man that had just entered, "run as if you were
running for your life to Miss Pipingcord, the milliner, and tell her
upon no account whatever to trim Miss Brantley's Tuscan Leghorn with the
blue and yellow riband that was decided on yesterday. Tell her I have
changed my mind, and resolved upon the lilac and green. Fly as if you
had not another moment to live, or Miss Pipingcord will have already
trimmed the bonnet with the blue and yellow."

"And then," said Mrs. Brantley, "go to Mrs. Ashmore's, and inquire how
Miss Mary is this evening."

"Why, mamma," exclaimed Augusta, "aunt Ashmore lives so far from Miss
Pipingcord's, that it will be ten or eleven o'clock before William gets
back, and I shall be all that time on thorns to know if she has not
already disfigured my bonnet with the vile blue and yellow."

"Yesterday," said Mrs. Brantley, "you admired that very riband
extremely."

"So I did," replied Augusta, "but I have been thinking about it since,
and, as I tell you, I have changed my mind. And now that I have set my
heart upon the lilac and green, I absolutely detest the blue and
yellow."

"But I am really very anxious to know how Mary is to-night," said Mrs.
Brantley.

"Oh!" replied Augusta, "I dare say the leeches have relieved her. And if
they have not, no doubt Dr. Warren will order twenty-five more--or
something else that will answer the purpose. She is in very good
hands--I am certain that in the morning we shall hear she is
considerably better. At all events, I _will not_ wear the hateful blue
and yellow riband.--William, what are you standing for?"

The man turned to leave the room, but Mrs. Brantley called him back.
"William," said she, "tell one of the women to go to Mrs. Ashmore's and
inquire how Miss Mary is."

"Eliza and Matilda are both out," said William, "and Louisa is crying
with the toothache, and steaming her face over hot yerbs. I guess she
won't be willing to walk so far in the night-air, just out of the
steam."

"William," exclaimed Augusta, stamping with her foot, "don't stand here
talking, but go at once; there's not a moment to lose. Tell Miss
Pipingcord if she _has_ put on that horrid riband, she must take it off
again, and charge it in the bill, if she pretends she can't afford to
lose it, as I dare say she will; and tell her to be sure and send the
bonnet home early in the morning--I am dying to see it."

To all this, Laura Lovel had sat listening in amazement, and could
scarcely conceive the possibility of the mind of so young a girl being
totally absorbed in things that concerned nothing but external
appearance. She had yet to learn that a passion for dress, when
thoroughly excited in the female bosom, and carried to excess, has a
direct tendency to cloud the understanding, injure the temper, and
harden the heart.

Till the return of William, Augusta seemed indeed to be on thorns. At
last he came, and brought with him the bonnet, trimmed with the blue and
yellow. Augusta snatched it out of the bandbox, and stood speechless
with passion, and William thus delivered his message from the
milliner:--

"Miss Pippincod sends word that she had riband'd the bonnet afore I come
for it--she says she has used up all her laylock green for another
lady's bonnet, as chose it this very afternoon; and she guesses you
won't stand no chance of finding no more of it, if you sarch Boston
through; and she says she shew you all her ribands yesterday, and you
chose the yellow blue yourself, and she han't got no more ribands as
you'd be likely to like. Them's her very words."

"How I hate milliners!" exclaimed Augusta; and ringing for the maid that
always assisted her in undressing, she flounced out of the room and went
to bed.

"Miss Lovel," said Mrs. Brantley, smiling, "you must excuse dear
Augusta. She is extremely sensitive about everything, and that is the
reason she is apt to give way to these little fits of irritation."

Laura retired to her room, grieving to think how unamiable a young girl
might be made, by the indulgence of an inordinate passion for dress.

Augusta's cousin Mary did not die.

The following day was to have been devoted to shopping, and to making
some additions to the simple wardrobe of Laura Lovel, for which purpose
her father had given her as much money as he could possibly spare. But
it rained till late in the afternoon, and Mrs. Brantley's coach was out
of order, and the Brantleys (like many other families that kept
carriages of their own) could not conceive the possibility of _hiring_ a
similar vehicle upon any exigency whatever.

It is true that the present case was in reality no exigency at all; but
Mrs. Brantley and her daughter seemed to consider it as such, from the
one watching the clouds all day as she sat at the window, in her
rocking-chair, and the other wandering about like a troubled spirit,
fretting all the time, and complaining of the weather. Laura got through
the hours very well, between reading Souvenirs (almost the only books in
the house) and writing a long letter to inform her family of her safe
arrival, and to describe her journey. Towards evening, a coach was heard
to stop at the door, and there was a violent ringing, followed by a loud
sharp voice in the entry, inquiring for Mrs. Brantley, who started from
her rocking-chair, as Augusta exclaimed, "Miss Frampton!--I know 'tis
Miss Frampton!" The young lady rushed into the hall, while her mother
advanced a few steps, and Mr. Brantley threw down his paper, and
hastened into the front-parlour with a look that expressed anything but
satisfaction.

There was no time for comment or preparation. The sound was heard of
baggage depositing, and in a few moments Augusta returned to the
parlour, hanging lovingly on the arm of a lady in a very handsome
travelling dress, who flew to Mrs. Brantley and kissed her familiarly,
and then shook hands with her husband, and was introduced by him to our
heroine.

Miss Frampton was a fashionable-looking woman, of no particular age. Her
figure was good, but her features were the contrary, and the expression
of her eye was strikingly bad. She had no relations, but she talked
incessantly of her _friends_--for so she called every person whom she
knew by sight, provided always that they were _presentable_ people. She
had some property, on the income of which she lived, exercising close
economy in everything but dress. Sometimes she boarded out, and
sometimes she billeted herself on one or other of these said friends,
having no scruples of delicacy to deter her from eagerly availing
herself of the slightest hint that might be construed into the semblance
of an invitation. In short, she was assiduous in trying to get
acquainted with everybody from whom anything was to be gained,
flattering them to their faces, though she abused them behind their
backs. Still, strange to tell, she had succeeded in forcing her way into
the outworks of what is called society. She dressed well, professed to
know everybody, and to go everywhere, was _au fait_ of all the gossip of
the day, and could always furnish ample food for the too prevailing
appetite for scandal. Therefore, though every one disliked Miss
Frampton, still every one tolerated her; and though a notorious
calumniator, she excited so much fear, that it was generally thought
safer to keep up some slight intercourse with her, than to affront her
by throwing her off entirely.

Philadelphia was her usual place of residence; but she had met the
Brantley family at the Saratoga Springs, had managed to accompany them
to New York on their way home, had boarded at Bunker's during the week
they stayed at that house, had assisted them in their shopping
expeditions, and professed a violent regard for Augusta, who professed
the same for her. Mrs. Brantley's slight intimation "that she should be
glad to see her if ever she came to Boston," Miss Frampton had now taken
advantage of, on pretext of benefiting by change of air. Conscious of
her faded looks, but still hoping to pass for a young woman, she
pretended always to be in precarious health, though of this there was
seldom any proof positive.

On being introduced to Laura Lovel, as to a young lady on a visit to the
family, Miss Frampton, who at once considered her an interloper,
surveyed our heroine from head to foot, with something like a sneer, and
exchanged significant glances with Augusta.

As soon as Miss Frampton had taken her seat, "My dear Mrs. Brantley,"
said she, "how delighted I am to see you! And my sweet Augusta, too! Why
she has grown a perfect sylph!"

After hearing this, Augusta could not keep her seat five minutes
together, but was gliding and flitting about all the remainder of the
evening, and hovering round Miss Frampton's chair.

Miss Frampton continued, "Yes, my dear Mrs. Brantley, my health has, as
usual, been extremely delicate. My friends have been seriously alarmed
for me, and all my physicians have been quite miserable on my account.
Dr. Dengue has been seen driving through the streets like a madman, in
his haste to get to me. Poor man!--you must have heard the report of
his suffering Mrs. Smith's baby to die with the croup, from neglecting
to visit it, which, if true, was certainly in very bad taste. However,
Dr. Dengue is one of my oldest friends, and a most charming man."

"But, as I was saying, my health still continued delicate,
and excitement was unanimously recommended by the medical
gentlemen--excitement and ice-cream. And as soon as this was known in
society, it is incredible how many parties were made for me, and how
many excursions were planned on my account. I had carriages at my door
day and night. My friends were absolutely dragging me from each other's
arms. Finally they all suggested entire change of air, and total change
of scene. So I consented to tear myself awhile from my beloved
Philadelphia, and pay you my promised visit in Boston."

"We are much obliged to you," said Mrs. Brantley. "And really," pursued
Miss Frampton, "I had so many engagements on my hands, that I had fixed
five different days for starting, and disappointed five different
escorts. My receiving-room was like a levee every morning at visiting
hours, with young gentlemen of fashion, coming to press their services,
as is always the case when it is reported in Philadelphia that Miss
Frampton has a disposition to travel. A whole procession of my friends
accompanied me to the steamboat, and I believe I had more than a dozen
elegant smelling-bottles presented to me--as it is universally known how
much I always suffer during a journey, being deadly sick on the water,
and in a constant state of nervous agitation while riding."

"And who did you come with at last?" asked Mrs. Brantley.

"Oh! with my friends the Twamberleys, of your city," replied Miss
Frampton. "The whole family had been at Washington, and as soon as I
heard they were in Philadelphia on their return home, I sent to
inquire--that is, or rather, I mean, _they_ sent to inquire as soon as
they came to town, and heard that I intended visiting Boston--they sent
to inquire if I would make them happy by joining their party."

"Well," observed Mr. Brantley, "I cannot imagine how you got along with
all the Twamberleys. Mr. Twamberley, besides being a clumsy, fat man,
upwards of seventy years old, and lame with the gout, and nearly quite
deaf, and having cataracts coming on both eyes, is always obliged to
travel with his silly young wife, and the eight children of her first
husband, and I should think he had enough to do in taking care of
himself and them. I wonder you did not prefer availing yourself of the
politeness of some of the single gentlemen you mentioned."

"Oh!" replied Miss Frampton, "any of them would have been too happy, as
they politely expressed it, to have had the pleasure of waiting on me to
Boston. Indeed, I knew not how to make a selection, being unwilling to
offend any of them by a preference. And then again, it is always in
better taste for young ladies to travel, and, indeed, to go everywhere,
under the wing of a married woman. I dote upon chaperones; and by coming
with this family, I had Mrs. Twamberley to matronize me. I have just
parted with them all at their own door, where they were set down."

Mr. Brantley smiled when he thought of Mrs. Twamberley (who had been
married to her first husband at fifteen, and was still a blooming
girlish looking woman) matronizing the faded Miss Frampton, so evidently
by many years her senior.

Laura Lovel, though new to the world, had sufficient good sense and
penetration to perceive almost immediately, that Miss Frampton was a
woman of much vanity and pretension, and that she was in the habit of
talking with great exaggeration; and in a short time she more than
suspected that many of her assertions were arrant falsehoods--a fact
that was well known to all those numerous persons that Miss Frampton
called her _friends_.

Tea was now brought in, and Miss Frampton took occasion to relate in
what manner she had discovered that the famous silver urn of that
charming family, the Sam Kettlethorps, was, in reality, only
plated--that her particular favourites, the Joe Sowerbys, showed such
bad taste at their great terrapin supper, as to have green hock-glasses
for the champagne; and that those delightful people, the Bob Skutterbys,
the first time they attempted the new style of heaters at a venison
dinner, had them filled with spirits of turpentine, instead of spirits
of wine.

Next morning, Miss Frampton did not appear at the breakfast-table, but
had her first meal carried into her room, and Augusta breakfasted with
her. Between them Laura Lovel was discussed at full length, and their
conclusion was, that she had not a single good feature--that her
complexion was nothing, her figure nothing, and her dress worse than
nothing.

"I don't suppose," said Augusta, "that her father has given her much
money to bring to town with her."

"To be sure he has not," replied Miss Frampton, "if he is only a poor
country clergyman. I think it was in very bad taste for him to let her
come at all."

"Well," said Augusta, "we must take her a shopping this morning, and try
to get her fitted out, so as to make a decent appearance at Nahant, as
we are going thither in a few days."

"Then I have come just in the right time," said Miss Frampton. "Nahant
is the very place I wish to visit--my sweet friend Mrs. Dick Pewsey has
given me such an account of it. She says there is considerable style
there. She passed a week at Nahant when she came to Boston last summer."

"Oh! I remember her," cried Augusta. "She was a mountain of blonde
lace."

"Yes," observed Miss Frampton, "and not an inch of that blonde has yet
been paid for, or ever will be; I know it from good authority."

They went shopping, and Augusta took them to the most fashionable store
in Washington street, where Laura was surprised and confused at the
sight of the various beautiful articles shown to them. Even their names
perplexed her. She knew very well what gros de Naples was (or gro de
nap, as it is commonly called), but she was at a loss to distinguish
gros de Berlin, gros de Suisse, gros des Indes, and all the other gros.
Augusta, however, was au fait of the whole, and talked and flitted, and
glided; producing, as she supposed, great effect among the young
salesmen at the counters. Miss Frampton examined everything with a
scrutinizing eye, undervalued them all, and took frequent occasions to
say that they were far inferior to similar articles in Philadelphia.

At length, a very light-coloured figured silk, with a very new name, was
selected for Laura. The price appeared to her extremely high, and when
she heard the number of yards that were considered necessary, she
faintly asked "if less would not do." Miss Frampton sneered, and Augusta
laughed out, saying, "Don't you see that the silk is very narrow, and
that it has a wrong side and a right side, and that the flowers have a
top and a bottom? So as it cannot be turned every way, a larger quantity
will be required."

"Had I not better choose a plain silk," said Laura, "one that is wider,
and that _can_ be turned any way?"

"Oh! plain silks are so common," replied Augusta; "though, for a change,
they are well enough. I have four. But this will be best for Nahant. We
always dress to go there; and, of course, we expect all of our party to
do the same."

"But really this silk is so expensive," whispered Laura.

"Let the dress be cut off," said Miss Frampton, in a peremptory tone. "I
am tired of so much hesitation. Tis in very bad taste."

The dress _was_ cut off, and Laura, on calculating the amount, found
that it would make a sad inroad on her little modicum. Being told that
she must have also a new printed muslin, one was chosen for her with a
beautiful sky blue for the predominant colour, and Laura found that this
also was a very costly dress. She was next informed that she could not
be presentable without a French pelerine of embroidered muslin.

Pelerines in great variety were then produced, and Laura found, to her
dismay, that the prices were from ten to twenty-five dollars. She
declined taking one, and Miss Frampton and Augusta exchanged looks which
said, as plainly as looks could speak, "I suppose she has not money
enough."

Laura coloured--hesitated--at last false pride got the better of her
scruples. The salesman commended the beauty of the pelerines;
particularly of one tied up in the front, and ornamented on the
shoulders, with bows of blue riband--and our heroine yielded, and took
it at fifteen dollars; those at ten dollars being voted by Miss Frampton
"absolutely mean."

After this, Laura was induced to supply herself with silk stockings and
white kid gloves, "of a new style," and was also persuaded to give five
dollars for a small scarf, also of a new style. And when all these
purchases were made, she found that three quarters of a dollar were all
that remained in her purse. Augusta also bought several new articles;
but Miss Frampton got nothing. However, she insisted afterwards on going
into every fancy store in Washington street--not to buy, but "to see
what they had": and gave much trouble in causing the salesmen needlessly
to display their goods to her, and some offence by making invidious
comparisons between their merchandise and that of Philadelphia. By the
time all this shopping was over, the clock of the Old South had struck
two, and it was found expedient to postpone till next day the intended
visit to the milliner and mantua-maker, Miss Frampton and Augusta
declaring that, of afternoons, they were never fit for anything but to
throw themselves on the bed and go to sleep. Laura Lovel, fatigued both
in body and mind, and feeling much dissatisfied with herself, was glad
of a respite from the pursuit of finery, though it was only till next
morning; and she was almost "at her wit's end" to know in what way she
was to pay for having her dress made--much less for the fashionable new
bonnet which her companions insisted on her getting--Augusta giving more
than hints, that if she went with the family to Nahant, they should
expect her "to look like other people;" and Miss Frampton signifying in
loud whispers, that "those who were unable to make an appearance, had
always better stay at home."

In the evening there were some visitors, none of whom were very
entertaining or agreeable, though all the ladies were excessively
dressed. Laura was reminded of the homely proverb, "Birds of a feather
flock together." The chief entertainment was listening to Augusta's
music, who considered herself to play and sing with wonderful execution.
But to the unpractised ears and eyes of our heroine, it seemed nothing
more than an alternate succession of high shrieks and low murmurs,
accompanied by various contortions of the face, sundry bowings and
wavings of the body, great elevation of the shoulders and squaring of
the elbows, and incessant quivering of the fingers, and throwing back of
the hands. Miss Frampton talked all the while in a low voice to a lady
that sat next to her, and turned round at intervals to assure Augusta
that her singing was divine, and that she reminded her of Madame Feron.

Augusta had just finished a very great song, and was turning over her
music-books in search of another, when a slight ring was heard at the
street door, and as William opened it, a weak, hesitating voice inquired
for Miss Laura Lovel, adding, "I hope to be excused. I know I ought not
to make so free; but I heard this afternoon that Miss Laura, eldest
daughter of the Reverend Edward Lovel of Rosebrook, Massachusetts, is
now in this house, and I have walked five miles into town, for the
purpose of seeing the young lady. However, I ought not to consider the
walk as anything, and it was improper in me to speak of it at all. The
young lady is an old friend of mine, if I may be so bold as to say so."

"There's company in the parlour," said William, in a tone not over
respectful; "very particular company."

"I won't meddle with any of the company," proceeded the voice. "I am
very careful never to make myself disagreeable. But I just wish (if I am
not taking too great a liberty) to see Miss Laura Lovel."

"Shall I call her out," said William.

"I would not for the world give her the trouble," replied the stranger.
"It is certainly my place to go to the young lady, and not hers to come
to me. I always try to be polite. I hope you don't find me unpleasant."

"Miss Lovel," said Miss Frampton, sneeringly, "this must certainly be
_your_ beau."

The parlour-door being open, the whole of the preceding dialogue had
been heard by the company, and Miss Frampton, from the place in which
she sat, had a view of the stranger, as he stood in the entry.

William, then, with an unsuppressed grin, ushered into the room a
little, thin, weak-looking man, who had a whitish face, and dead light
hair, cut straight across his forehead. His dress was scrupulously neat,
but very unfashionable. He wore a full suit of yellowish brown cloth,
with all the gloss on. His legs were covered with smooth cotton
stockings, and he had little silver knee-buckles. His shirt collar and
cravat were stiff and blue, the latter being tied in front with very
long ends, and in his hand he held a blue bandanna handkerchief,
carefully folded up. His whole deportment was stiff and awkward.

On entering the room, he bowed very low with a peculiar jerk of the
head, and his whole appearance and manner denoted the very acme of
humility. The company regarded him with amazement, and Miss Frampton
began to whisper, keeping her eye fixed on him all the time. Laura
started from her chair, hastened to him, and holding out her hand,
addressed him by the name of Pyam Dodge. He took the proffered hand,
after a moment of hesitation, and said, "I hope I am properly sensible
of your kindness, Miss Laura Lovel, in allowing me to take your hand,
now that you are grown. Many a time have I led you to my school, when I
boarded at your respected father's, who I trust is well. But now I would
not, on any account, be too familiar."

(Laura pointed to a chair.)

"But which is the mistress of the house? I know perfectly well that it
is proper for me to pay my respects to her, before I take the liberty of
sitting down under her roof. If I may presume to say that I understand
anything thoroughly, it is certainly good manners. In my school, manners
were always perfectly well taught--my own manners, I learned chiefly
from my revered uncle, Deacon Ironskirt, formerly of Wicketiquock, but
now of Popsquash."

Laura then introduced Pyam Dodge to the lady of the house, who received
him civilly, and then to Mr. Brantley, who, perceiving that the poor
schoolmaster was what is called a character, found his curiosity excited
to know what he would do next.

This ceremony over, Pyam Dodge bowed round to each of the company
separately. Laura saw at once that he was an object of ridicule; and his
entire want of tact, and his pitiable simplicity, had never before
struck her so forcibly. She was glad when, at last, he took a seat
beside her, and, in a low voice, she endeavoured to engage him in a
conversation that should prevent him from talking to any one else. She
found that he was master of a district school about five miles from
Boston, and that he was perfectly contented--for more than that he had
never aspired to be.

But vain were the efforts of our heroine to keep Pyam Dodge to herself,
and to prevent him from manifesting his peculiarities to the rest of the
company. Perceiving that Augusta had turned round on her music-stool to
listen and to look at him, the schoolmaster rose on his feet, and bowing
first to the young lady, and then to her mother, he said: "Madam, I am
afraid that I have disturbed the child while striking on her
pyano-forty. I would on no account cause any interruption--for that
might be making myself disagreeable. On the contrary, it would give me
satisfaction for the child to continue her exercise, and I shall esteem
it a privilege to hear how she plays her music. I have taught singing
myself."

Augusta then, by desire of her mother, commenced a new bravura, which
ran somehow thus:--

Oh! drop a tear, a tender tear--oh! drop a tear, a tender, tender tear.
Oh! drop, oh! drop, oh! dro-o-op a te-en-der te-e-ear--a tender tear--a
tear for me--a tear for me; a tender tear for me.

When I, when I, when I-I-I am wand'ring, wand'ring, wand'ring, wand'ring
far, far from thee--fa-a-ar, far, far, far from thee--from thee.

For sadness in--for sadness in, my heart, my heart shall reign--shall
re-e-e-ign--my hee-e-art--for sa-a-adness in my heart shall reign--shall
reign.

Until--until--unti-i-il we fondly, fondly meet again, we fondly meet,
we fo-o-ondly me-e-et--until we fondly, fondly, fondly meet--meet, meet,
meet again--we meet again.

This song (in which the silliness of the words was increased tenfold by
the incessant repetition of them), after various alternations of high
and low, fast and slow, finished in thunder, Augusta striking the
concluding notes with an energy that made the piano tremble.

When the bravura was over, Pyam Dodge, who had stood listening in
amazement, looked at Mrs. Brantley, and said: "Madam, your child must
doubtless sing that song very well when she gets the right tune."

"The right tune!" interrupted Augusta, indignantly.

"The right tune!" echoed Mrs. Brantley and Miss Frampton.

"Yes," said Pyam Dodge, solemnly--"and the right words also. For what I
have just heard is, of course, neither the regular tune nor the proper
words, as they seem to go every how--therefore I conclude that all this
wandering and confusion was caused by the presence of strangers: myself,
in all probability, being the greatest stranger, if I may be so bold as
to say so. This is doubtless the reason why she mixed up the words at
random, and repeated the same so often, and why her actions at the
pyano-forty are so strange. I trust that at other times she plays and
sings so as to give the proper sense."

Augusta violently shut down the lid of the piano, and gave her father a
look that implied: "Won't you turn him out of the house?" But Mr.
Brantley was much diverted, and laughed audibly.

Pyam Dodge surveyed himself from head to foot, ascertained that his
knee-buckles were fast, and his cravat not untied, and, finding all his
clothes in complete order, he said, looking round to the company: "I
hope there is nothing ridiculous about me. It is my endeavour to appear
as well as possible; but the race is not always to the swift, nor the
battle to the strong."

"Upon my word," said Miss Frampton, leaning across the centre-table to
Mrs. Brantley, "your _protegée_ seems to have a strange taste in her
acquaintances. However, that is always the case with people who have
never been in society, as my friend Mrs. Tom Spradlington justly
remarks."

A waiter with refreshments was now brought in, and handed round to the
company. When it came to Pyam Dodge, he rose on his feet, and thanked
the man for handing it to him; then, taking the smallest possible
quantity of each of the different articles, he put all on the same
plate, and, unfolding his blue bandanna, he spread it carefully and
smoothly over his knees, and commenced eating with the smallest possible
mouthfuls, praising everything as he tasted it. The wine being offered
to him, he respectfully declined it, signifying that he belonged to the
Temperance Society. But he afterwards took a glass of lemonade, on being
assured that it was not punch, and again rising on his feet, he drank
the health of each of the company separately, and not knowing their
names, he designated them as the lady in the blue gown, the lady in the
white gown, the gentleman in the black coat, &c.

This ceremony over, Pyam Dodge took out an old-fashioned silver watch,
of a shape almost globular, and looking at the hour, he made many
apologies for going away so soon, having five miles to walk, and
requested that his departure might not break up the company. He then
bowed all round again--told Laura he would thank her for her hand,
which, on her giving him, he shook high and awkwardly, walked backwards
to the door and ran against it, trusted he had made himself agreeable,
and at last departed.

The front-door had scarcely closed after him, when a general laugh took
place, which even Laura could scarcely refrain from joining in.

"Upon my word, Miss Lovel," said Augusta, "this friend of yours is the
most peculiar person I ever beheld."

"I never saw a man in worse taste," remarked Miss Frampton.

In a moment another ring was heard at the door, and on its being opened,
Pyam Dodge again made his appearance in the parlour, to beg pardon of
the lady of the house, for not having returned thanks for his
entertainment, and also to the _young_ lady for her music, which, he
said, "was doubtless well meant." He then repeated his bows and
withdrew.

"What an intolerable fool!" exclaimed Augusta.

"Indeed," replied Laura Lovel, "he is, after all, not deficient in
understanding, though his total want of tact, and his entire ignorance
of the customs of the world, give an absurdity to his manner, which I
confess it is difficult to witness without a smile. I have heard my
father say that Pyam Dodge is one of the best classical scholars he ever
knew, and he is certainly a man of good feelings, and of irreproachable
character."

"I never knew a bore that was not," remarked Miss Frampton.

There was again a ring at the door, and again Pyam Dodge was ushered in.
His business now was to inform Miss Laura Lovel, that if she did not see
him every day during her residence in Boston, she must not impute the
infrequency of his visits to any disrespect on his part, but rather to
his close confinement to the duties of his school--besides which, his
leisure time was much occupied in studying Arabic; but he hoped to make
his arrangements, so as to be able to come to town and spend at least
three evenings with her every week.

At this intimation there were such evident tokens of disapproval, on the
part of the Brantley family and Miss Frampton, and of embarrassment on
that of Laura, that poor Pyam Dodge, obtuse as he was to the things of
this world, saw that the announcement of his visits was not perfectly
well received. He looked amazed at this discovery, but bowed lower than
ever, hoped he was not disgusting, and again retreated.

Once more was heard at the door the faint ring that announced the
schoolmaster. "Assuredly," observed a gentleman present, "this must be
the original Return Strong."

This time, however, poor Pyam Dodge did not venture into the parlour,
but was heard meekly to inquire of the servant, if he had not dropped
his handkerchief in the hall. The handkerchief was picked up, and he
finally departed, humbly hoping "that the gentleman attending the door,
had not found him troublesome." The moment he was gone, the gentleman
that attended the door was heard audibly to put down the dead-latch.

Next day Augusta Brantley gave a standing order to the servants, that
whenever Miss Lovel's schoolmaster came, he was to be told that the
whole family were out of town.

In the morning, Laura was conveyed by Augusta and Miss Frampton to the
mantua-maker's, and Miss Boxpleat demurred a long time about undertaking
the two dresses, and longer still about finishing them that week, in
consequence of the vast quantity of work she had now on hand. Finally
she consented, assuring Laura Lovel that she only did so to oblige Miss
Brantley.

Laura then asked what would be her charge for making the dresses. Miss
Boxpleat reddened, and vouchsafed no reply; Miss Frampton laughed out,
and Augusta twitched Laura's sleeve, who wondered what _faux pas_ she
had committed, till she learned in a whisper, that it was an affront to
the dressmaker to attempt to bargain with her beforehand, and our
heroine, much disconcerted, passively allowed herself to be fitted for
the dresses.

Laura had a very pretty bonnet of the finest and whitest split straw,
modestly trimmed with white lutestring riband; but her companions told
her that there was no existing without a dress-hat, and she was
accordingly carried to Miss Pipingcord's. Here they found that all the
handsomest articles of this description were already engaged, but they
made her bespeak one of a very expensive silk, trimmed with flowers and
gauze riband, and when she objected to the front, as exposing her whole
face to the summer sun, she was told that of course she must have a
blonde gauze veil. "We will stop at Whitaker's," said Augusta, "and see
his assortment, and you can make the purchase at once." Laura knew that
she could not, and steadily persisted in her refusal, saying that she
must depend on her parasol for screening her face.

Several other superfluities were pressed upon our poor heroine, as they
proceeded along Washington street; Augusta really thinking it
indispensable that Laura should be fashionably and expensively dressed,
and Miss Frampton feeling a malignant pleasure in observing how much
these importunities confused and distressed her.

Laura sat down to dinner with an aching head, and no appetite, and
afterwards retired to her room, and endeavoured to allay her uneasiness
with a book.

"So," said Miss Frampton to Mrs. Brantley, "this is the girl that dear
Augusta tells me you think of inviting to pass the winter with you."

"Why, is she not very pretty?" replied Mrs. Brantley.

"Not in my eye," answered Miss Frampton. "Wait but two years, till my
sweet Augusta is old enough and tall enough to come out, and you will
have no occasion to invite beauties, for the purpose of drawing company
to your house--for, of course, I cannot but understand the motive; and
pray, how can the father of this girl enable her to make a proper
appearance? When she has got through the two new dresses that we had so
much difficulty in persuading her to venture upon, is she to return to
her black marcelline?--You certainly do not intend to wrong your own
child by going to the expense of dressing out this parson's daughter
yourself. And, after all, these green young girls do not draw company
half so well as ladies a few years older--decided women of ton, who are
familiar with the whole routine of society, and have the veritable _air
distingué_. One of that description would do more for your soirées, next
winter, than twenty of these village beauties."

Next day our heroine's new bonnet came home, accompanied by a bill of
twelve dollars. She had supposed that the price would not exceed seven
or eight. She had not the money, and her embarrassment was increased by
Miss Frampton's examining the bill, and reminding her that there was a
receipt to it. Laura's confusion was so palpable, that Mrs. Brantley
felt some compassion for her, and said to the milliner's girl, "The
young lady will call at Miss Pipingcord's, and pay for her hat." And the
girl departed, first asking to have the bill returned to her, as it was
receipted.

When our heroine and her companions were out next morning, they passed
by the milliner's, and Laura instinctively turned away her head. "You
can now call at Miss Pipingcord's and pay her bill," said Miss Frampton.
"It is here that she lives--don't you see her name on the door?"

"I have not the money about me," said Laura, in a faltering voice--"I
have left my purse at home." This was her first attempt at a subterfuge,
and conscience-struck, she could not say another word during the walk.

On the last day of the week, her dresses were sent home, with a bill of
eleven dollars for making the two, not including what are called the
trimmings, all of which were charged at about four times their real
cost. Laura was more confounded than ever. Neither Mrs. Brantley nor
Augusta happened to be present, but Miss Frampton was, and understood it
all. "Can't you tell the girl you will call and settle Miss Boxpleat's
bill?" said she. "Don't look so confused"--adding in a somewhat lower
voice, "she will suspect you have no money to pay with--really, your
behaviour is in very bad taste."

Laura's lip quivered, and her cheek grew pale. Miss Frampton could
scarcely help laughing, to see her so new to the world, and at last
deigned to relieve her by telling Miss Boxpleat's girl that Miss Lovel
would call and settle the bill.

The girl was scarcely out of the room, when poor Laura, unable to
restrain herself another moment, hid her face against one of the
cushions of the ottoman, and burst into tears. The flinty heart of Miss
Frampton underwent a momentary softening. She looked awhile in silence
at Laura, and then said to her, "Why, you seem to take this very much to
heart."

"No wonder," replied Laura, sobbing--"I have expended all my money; all
that my father gave me at my departure from home. At least I have only
the merest trifle left; and how am I to pay either the milliner's bill,
or the mantua-maker's?"

Miss Frampton deliberated for a few moments, walked to the window, and
stood there awhile--then approached the still weeping Laura, and said to
her, "What would you say if a friend was to come forward to relieve you
from this embarrassment?"

"I have no friend," replied Laura, in a half-choked voice--"at least
none here. Oh! how I wish that I had never left home!"

Miss Frampton paused again, and finally offered Laura the loan of
twenty-five dollars, till she could get money from her father. "I know
not," said Laura, "how I can ask my father so soon for any more money. I
am convinced that he gave me all he could possibly spare. I have done
very wrong in allowing myself to incur expenses which I am unable to
meet. I can never forgive myself. Oh! how miserable I am!" And she again
covered her face and cried bitterly.

Miss Frampton hesitated--but she had heard Mr. Brantley speak of Mr.
Lovel as a man of the strictest integrity, and she was certain that he
would strain every nerve, and redouble the economy of his family
expenditure, rather than allow his daughter to remain long under
pecuniary obligations to a stranger. She felt that she ran no risk in
taking from her pocket-book notes to the amount of twenty-five dollars,
and putting them into the hands of Laura, who had thought at one time of
applying to Mr. Brantley for the loan of a sufficient sum to help her
out of her present difficulties, but was deterred by a feeling of
invincible repugnance to taxing any farther the kindness of her host,
conceiving herself already under sufficient obligations to him as his
guest, and a partaker of his hospitality. However, had she known more of
the world and had a greater insight into the varieties of the human
character, she would have infinitely preferred throwing herself on the
generosity of Mr. Brantley, to becoming the debtor of Miss Frampton. As
it was, she gratefully accepted the proffered kindness of that lady,
feeling it a respite. Drying her tears, she immediately equipped herself
for walking, hastened both to the milliner and the mantua-maker, and
paying their bills, she returned home with a lightened heart.

Laura Lovel had already begun to find her visit to the Brantley family
less agreeable than she had anticipated. They had nothing in common with
herself; their conversation was neither edifying nor entertaining. They
had few books, except the Annuals; and though she passed the Circulating
Libraries with longing eyes, she did not consider that she was
sufficiently in funds to avail herself of their contents. No
opportunities were offered her of seeing any of the shows of the city,
and of those that casually fell in her way, she found her companions
generally more ignorant than herself. They did not conceive that a
stranger could be amused or interested with things that, having always
been within their own reach, had failed to awaken in _them_ the
slightest curiosity. Mr. Brantley was infinitely the best of the family;
but he was immersed in business all day, and in the newspapers all the
evening. Mrs. Brantley was nothing, and Augusta's petulance and
heartlessness, and Miss Frampton's impertinence (which somewhat
increased after she lent the money to Laura), were equally annoying. The
visitors of the family were nearly of the same stamp as its members.

Laura, however, had looked forward with much anticipated pleasure to the
long-talked-of visit to the sea-shore; and in the mean time her chief
enjoyment was derived from the afternoon rides that were occasionally
taken in Mr. Brantley's carriage, and which gave our heroine an
opportunity of seeing something of the beautiful environs of Boston.

Miss Frampton's fits of kindness were always very transient, and Laura's
deep mortification at having been necessitated to accept a favour from
such a woman, was rendered still more poignant by unavoidably
overhearing (as she was dressing at her toilet-table that stood between
two open windows) the following dialogue; the speakers being two of Mrs.
Brantley's servant girls that were ironing in the kitchen porch, and who
in talking to each other of the young ladies, always dropped the title
of Miss:

"Matilda," said one of them, "don't you hear Laura's bell? Didn't she
tell you arter dinner, that she would ring for you arter a while, to
come up stairs and hook the back of her dress."

"Yes," replied Matilda--"I hear it as plain as you do, Eliza; but I
guess I shan't go till it suits me. I'm quite beat out with running up
stairs from morning to night to wait on that there Philadelphy woman, as
she takes such high airs. Who but she indeed! Any how, I'm not a going
to hurry. I shall just act as if I did not hear no bell at all--for as
to this here Laura, I guess she an't much. Augusta told me this morning,
when she got me to fix her hair, that Miss Frampton told her that Laura
axed and begged her, amost on her bare knees, to lend her some money to
pay for her frocks and bunnet."

"Why, how could she act so!" exclaimed Eliza.

"Because," resumed Matilda, "her people sent her here without a copper
in her pocket. So I guess they're a pretty shabby set, after all."

"I was judging as much," said Eliza, "by her not taking no airs, and
always acting so polite to everybody."

"Well now," observed Matilda, "Mr. Scourbrass, the gentleman as lives
with old Madam Montgomery, at the big house, in Bowdin Square, and helps
to do her work, always stands out that very great people of the rale
sort, act much better, and an't so apt to take airs as them what are
upstarts."

"Doctors differ," sagely remarked Eliza. "However, as you say, I don't
believe this here Laura _is_ much; and I'm thinking how she'll get along
at Nahant. Miss Lathersoap, the lady as washes her clothes, told me,
among other things, that Laura's pocket-handkerchers are all quite
plain--not a worked or a laced one among them. Now our Augusta would
scorn to carry a plain handkercher, and so would her mother."

"I've taken notice of Laura's handkerchers myself," said Matilda, "and I
don't see why we young ladies as lives out, and does people's work to
oblige them, should be expected to run at the beck and call of any
strangers they may choose to take into the house; let alone when they're
not no great things."

Laura retreated from the open windows, that she might hear no more of a
conversation so painful to her. She would at once have written to her
father, told him all, and begged him, if he possibly could, to send her
money enough to repay Miss Frampton, but she had found, by a letter
received the day before, that he had gone on some business to the
interior of Maine, and would not be home in less than a fortnight.

Next day was the one finally appointed for their removal to Nahant, and
our heroine felt her spirits revive at the idea of beholding, for the
first time in her life, "the sea, the sea, the open sea." They went in
Mr. Brantley's carriage, and Laura understood that she _might_ ride in
her black silk dress and her straw bonnet.

They crossed at the Winnisimmet Ferry, rode through Chelsea, and soon
arrived at the flourishing town of Lynn, where every man was making
shoes, and every woman binding them. The last sunbeams were glowing in
the west, when they came to the beautiful Long Beach that connects the
rocks of Lynn with those of Nahant, the sand being so firm and smooth
that the shadow of every object is reflected in it downwards. The tide
was so high that they drove along the verge of the surf, the horses'
feet splashing through the water, and trampling on the shells and
sea-weed left by the retiring waves. Cattle, as they went home, were
cooling themselves by wading breast high in the breakers; and the little
sand-birds were sporting on the crests of the billows, sometimes flying
low, and dipping into the water the white edges of their wings, and
sometimes seeming, with their slender feet, to walk on the surface of
the foam. Beyond the everlasting breakers rolled the unbounded ocean,
the haze of evening coming fast upon it, and the full moon rising broad
and red through the misty veil of the eastern horizon.

Laura Lovel felt as if she could have viewed this scene for ever, and at
times she could not refrain from audibly expressing her delight. The
other ladies were deeply engaged in listening to Miss Frampton's account
of a ball and supper given by her intimate friend, that lovely woman,
Mrs. Ben Derrydown, the evening before Mr. Ben Derrydown's last failure,
and which ball and supper exceeded in splendour anything she had ever
witnessed, except the wedding-party of her sweet love, Mrs. Nick
Rearsby, whose furniture was seized by the sheriff a few months after;
and the birth-night concert at the coming out of her darling pet, Kate
Bolderhurst, who ran away next morning with her music-master.

Our party now arrived at the Nahant Hotel, which was full of visitors,
with some of whom the Brantleys were acquainted. After tea, when the
company adjourned to the lower drawing-rooms, the extraordinary beauty
of Laura Lovel drew the majority of the gentlemen to that side of the
apartment on which the Brantley family were seated. Many introductions
took place, and Mrs. Brantley felt in paradise at seeing that _her_
party had attracted the greatest number of beaux. Miss Frampton
generally made a point of answering everything that was addressed to
Laura; and Augusta glided, and flitted, and chattered much impertinent
nonsense to the gentlemen on the outskirts of the group, that were
waiting for an opportunity of saying something to Miss Lovel.

Our heroine was much confused at finding herself an object of such
general attention, and was also overwhelmed by the officious volubility
of Miss Frampton, though none of it was addressed to _her_. Mrs.
Maitland, a lady as unlike Mrs. Brantley as possible, was seated on the
other side of Laura Lovel, and was at once prepossessed in her favour,
not only from the beauty of her features, but from the intelligence of
her countenance. Desirous of being better acquainted, and seeing that
Laura's present position was anything but pleasant to her, Mrs. Maitland
proposed that they should take a turn in the veranda that runs round the
second story of the hotel. To this suggestion Laura gladly assented--for
she felt at once that Mrs. Maitland was just the sort of woman she would
like to know. There was a refinement and dignity in her appearance and
manner that showed her to be "every inch a lady;" but that dignity was
tempered with a frankness and courtesy that put every one around her
immediately at their ease. Though now in the autumn of life, her figure
was still good--her features still handsome, but they derived their
chief charm from the sensible and benevolent expression of her fine open
countenance. Her attire was admirably suited to her face and person; but
she was not over-dressed, and she was evidently one of those fortunate
women who, without bestowing much time and attention upon it, are _au
fait_ of all that constitutes a correct and tasteful costume.

Mrs. Maitland took Laura's arm within hers, and telling Mrs. Brantley
that she was going to carry off Miss Lovel for half an hour, she made a
sign to a fine-looking young man on the other side of the room, and
introduced him as her son, Mr. Aubrey Maitland. He conducted the two
ladies up stairs to the veranda, and in a few minutes our heroine felt
as if she had been acquainted with the Maitlands for years. No longer
kept down and oppressed by the night-mare influence of fools, her spirit
expanded, and breathed once more. She expressed, without hesitation,
her delight at the scene that presented itself before her--for she felt
that she was understood.

The moon, now "high in heaven," threw a solemn light on the trembling
expanse of the ocean, and glittered on the spray that foamed and
murmured for ever round the rocks that environed the little peninsula,
their deep recesses slumbering in shade, while their crags and points
came out in silver brightness. Around lay the numerous islands that are
scattered over Boston harbour, and far apart glowed the fires of two
light-houses, like immense stars beaming on the verge of the horizon;
one of them, a revolving light, alternately shining out and
disappearing. As a contrast to the still repose that reigned around, was
the billiard-room (resembling a little Grecian temple), on a promontory
that overlooked the sea--the lamps that shone through its windows,
mingling with the moon-beams, and the rolling sound of the
billiard-balls uniting with the murmur of the eternal waters.

Mrs. Maitland listened with corresponding interest to the animated and
original comments of her new friend, whose young and enthusiastic
imagination had never been more vividly excited; and she drew her out,
till Laura suddenly stopped, blushing with the fear that she had been
saying too much. Before they returned to the drawing-room, Aubrey was
decidedly and deeply in love.

When Laura retired to her apartment, she left the window open, that she
might from her pillow look out upon the moonlight sea, and be fanned by
the cool night breeze that gently rippled its waters; and when she was
at last lulled to repose by the monotonous dashing of the surf against
the rocks beneath her casement, she had a dream of the peninsula of
Nahant--not as it now is, covered with new and tasteful buildings, and a
favourite resort of the fashion and opulence of Boston, but as it must
have looked two centuries ago, when the seals made their homes among its
caverned rocks, and when the only human habitations were the rude huts
of the Indian fishers, and the only boats their canoes of bark and
skins.

When she awoke from her dream, she saw the morning-star sparkling high
in the east, and casting on the dark surface of the sea a line of light
which seemed to mimic that of the moon, long since gone down beyond the
opposite horizon. Laura rose at the earliest glimpse of dawn to watch
the approaches of the coming day. A hazy vapour had spread itself over
the water, and through its gauzy veil she first beheld the red rim of
the rising sun, seeming to emerge from its ocean bed. As the sun
ascended, the mist slowly rolled away, and "the light of morning smiled
upon the wave," and tinted the white sails of a little fleet of
outward-bound fishing-boats.

At the breakfast table the majority of the company consisted of ladies
only: most of the gentlemen (including Aubrey Maitland) having gone in
the early steamboat to attend to their business in the city. After
breakfast, Laura proposed a walk, and Augusta and Miss Frampton, not
knowing what else to do with themselves, consented to accompany her. A
certain Miss Blunsdon (who, being an heiress, and of a patrician family,
conceived herself privileged to do as she pleased, and therefore made it
her pleasure to be a hoyden and a slattern), volunteered to pioneer
them, boasting of her intimate knowledge of every nook and corner of the
neighbourhood. Our heroine, by particular desire of Augusta and Miss
Frampton, had arrayed herself that morning in her new French muslin,
with what they called its proper accompaniments.

Miss Blunsdon conducted the party to that singular cleft in the rocks,
known by the name of the Swallow's Cave, in consequence of its having
been formerly the resort of those birds, whose nests covered its walls.
Miss Frampton stopped as soon as they came in sight of it, declaring
that it was in bad taste for ladies to scramble about such rugged
places, and Augusta agreeing that a fancy for wet, slippery rocks was
certainly very peculiar. So the two friends sat down on the most level
spot they could find, while Miss Blunsdon insisted on Laura's following
her to the utmost extent of the cave, and our heroine's desire to
explore this wild and picturesque recess made her forgetful of the
probable consequences to her dress.

Miss Blunsdon and Laura descended into the cleft, which, as they
proceeded, became so narrow as almost to close above their heads; its
lofty and irregular walls seeming to lose themselves in the blue sky.
The passage at the bottom was in some places scarcely wide enough to
allow them to squeeze through it. The tide was low, yet still the
stepping-stones, loosely imbedded in the sand and sea-weed, were nearly
covered with water. But Laura followed her guide to the utmost extent of
the passage, till they looked out again upon the sea.

When they rejoined their companions--"Oh! look at your new French
muslin," exclaimed Augusta to Laura. "It is draggled half way up to your
knees, and the salt water has already taken the colour out of it--and
your pelerine is split down the back--and your shoes are half off your
feet, and your stockings are all over wet sand. How very peculiar you
look!"

Laura was now extremely sorry to find her dress so much injured, and
Miss Frampton comforted her by the assurance that it would never again
be fit to be seen. They returned to the hotel, where they found Mrs.
Maitland reading on one of the sofas in the upper hall. Laura was
hastily running up stairs, but Augusta called out--"Mrs. Maitland, do
look at Miss Lovel--did you ever see such a figure? She has demolished
her new dress, scrambling through the Swallow's Cave with Miss
Blunsdon." And she ran into the ladies' drawing-room to repeat the story
at full length, while Laura retired to her room to try some means of
remedying her disasters, and to regret that she had not been permitted
to bring with her to Nahant some of her gingham morning dresses. The
French muslin, however, was incurable; its blue, though very beautiful,
being of that peculiar cast which always fades into a dull white when
wet with water.

Miss Frampton remained a while in the hall: and taking her seat beside
Mrs. Maitland, said to her in a low confidential voice--"Have you not
observed, Mrs. Maitland, that when people, who are nobody, attempt
dress, they always overdo it. Only think of a country clergyman's
daughter coming to breakfast in so expensive a French muslin, and then
going out in it to clamber about the rocks, and paddle among the wet
sea-weed. Now you will see what a show she will make at dinner in a
dress, the cost of which would keep her whole family in comfortable
calico gowns for two years. I was with her when she did her shopping,
and though, as a friend, I could not forbear entreating her to get
things that were suitable to her circumstances and to her station in
life, she turned a deaf ear to everything I said (which was certainly in
very bad taste), and she would buy nothing but the most expensive and
useless frippery. I suppose she expects to catch the beaux by it. But
when they find out who she is, I rather think they will only nibble at
the bait--Heavens! what a wife she will make! And then such a want of
self-respect, and even of common integrity. Of course you will not
mention it--for I would on no consideration that it should go any
farther--but between ourselves. I was actually obliged to lend her money
to pay her bills."

Mrs. Maitland, thoroughly disgusted with her companion, and disbelieving
the whole of her gratuitous communication, rose from the sofa and
departed without vouchsafing a reply.

At dinner, Laura Lovel appeared in her new silk, and really looked
beautifully. Miss Frampton, observing that our heroine attracted the
attention of several gentlemen who had just arrived from the city, took
an opportunity, while she was receiving a plate of chowder from one of
the waiters, to spill part of it on Laura's dress.

"I beg your pardon, Miss Lovel," said she; "when I took the soup I did
not perceive that you and your new silk were beside me."

Laura began to wipe her dress with her pocket-handkerchief. "Now don't
look so disconcerted," pursued Miss Frampton, in a loud whisper. "It is
in very bad taste to appear annoyed when an accident happens to your
dress. People in society always pass off such things, as of no
consequence whatever. I have apologized for spilling the soup, and what
more can I do?"

Poor Laura was not in _society_, and she knew that to _her_ the accident
_was_ of consequence. However, she rallied, and tried to appear as if
she thought no more of the mischance that had spoiled the handsomest and
most expensive dress she had ever possessed. After dinner she tried to
remove the immense grease-spot by every application within her reach,
but had no success.

When she returned to the drawing-room, she was invited to join a party
that was going to visit the Spouting Horn, as it is generally
denominated. She had heard this remarkable place much talked of since
her arrival at Nahant, and she certainly felt a great desire to see it.
Mrs. Maitland had letters to write, and Mrs. Brantley and Miss Frampton
were engaged in their siesta; but Augusta was eager for the walk, as she
found that several gentlemen were going, among them Aubrey Maitland, who
had just arrived in the afternoon boat. His eyes sparkled at the sight
of our heroine, and offering her his arm, they proceeded with the rest
of the party to the Spouting Horn. This is a deep cavity at the bottom
of a steep ledge of rocks, and the waves, as they rush successively into
it with the tide, are immediately thrown out again by the action of a
current of air which comes through a small opening at the back of the
recess, the spray falling round like that of a cascade or fountain. The
tide and wind were both high, and Laura was told that the Spouting Horn
would be seen to great advantage.

Aubrey Maitland conducted her carefully down the least rugged declivity
of the rock, and gave her his hand to assist her in springing from point
to point. They at length descended to the bottom of the crag. Laura was
bending forward with eager curiosity, and looking steadfastly into the
wave-worn cavern, much interested in the explosions of foaming water,
which was sometimes greater and sometimes less. Suddenly a blast of wind
twisted her light dress-bonnet completely round, and broke the sewing of
one of the strings, and the bonnet was directly whirled before her into
the cavity of the rock, and the next moment thrown back again amidst a
shower of sea-froth. Laura cried out involuntarily, and Aubrey sprung
forward, and snatched it out of the water.

"I fear," said he, "Miss Level, your bonnet is irreparably injured." "It
is, indeed," replied Laura; and remembering Miss Frampton's lecture, she
tried to say that the destruction of her bonnet was of no consequence,
but unaccustomed to falsehood, the words died away on her lips.

The ladies now gathered round our heroine, who held in her hand the
dripping wreck of the once elegant bonnet; and they gave it as their
unanimous opinion, that nothing could possibly be done to restore it to
any form that would make it wearable. Laura then tied her scarf over her
head, and Aubrey Maitland thought she looked prettier than ever.

Late in the evening, Mr. Brantley arrived from town in his chaise,
bringing from the post-office a letter for Laura Lovel, from her little
sisters, or rather two letters written on the same sheet. They ran
thus:--

     "ROSEBROOK, August 9th, 18--.

     "DEAREST SISTER:--We hope you are having a great deal of pleasure
     in Boston. How many novels you must be reading--I wish I was grown
     up as you are--I am eight years old, and I have never yet read a
     novel. We miss you all the time. There is still a chair placed for
     you at table, and Rosa and I take turns in sitting next to it. But
     we can no longer hear your pleasant talk with our dear father. You
     know Rosa and I always listened so attentively that we frequently
     forgot to eat our dinners. I see advertised a large new book of
     Fairy Tales. How much you will have to tell us when you come home.
     Since you were so kind as to promise to bring me a book, I think,
     upon second thought, I would rather have the Tales of the Castle
     than Miss Edgeworth's Moral Tales.

     "Dear mother now has to make all the pies and puddings herself. We
     miss you every way. The Children's Friend must be a charming
     book--so must the Friend of Youth.

     "Yesterday we had a pair of fowls killed for dinner. Of course they
     were not Rosa's chickens, nor mine--they were only Billy and Bobby.
     But still, Rosa and I cried very much, as they were fowls that we
     were acquainted with. Dear father reasoned with us about it for a
     long time; but still, though the fowls were made into a pie, we
     could eat nothing but the crust. I think I should like very much to
     read the Robins, and also Keeper's Travels in Search of his Master.

     "I hope, dear Laura, you will be able to remember everything you
     have seen and heard in Boston, that you may have the more to tell
     us when you come home. I think, after all, there is no book I would
     prefer to the Arabian Nights--no doubt the Tales of the Genii are
     also excellent. Dear Laura, how I long to see you again. Paul and
     Virginia must be very delightful.

     "Yours affectionately,

     "ELLA LOVEL."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "DEAR SISTER LAURA--I cried for a long time after you left us, but
     at last I wiped my eyes, and played with Ponto, and was happy. I
     have concluded not to want the canary-bird I asked you to get for
     me, as I think it best to be satisfied by hearing the birds sing on
     the trees, in the garden, and in the woods. Last night I heard a
     screech-owl--I would rather have a young fig-tree in a tub--or
     else, a great quantity of new flower-seeds. If you do not get
     either the fig-tree or the flower-seeds, I should like a blue cat,
     such as I have read of: you know those cats are not sky-blue, but
     only a bluish gray. If a blue cat is not to be had, I should be
     glad of a pair of white English rabbits; and yet, I think I would
     quite as willingly have a pair of doves. I never saw a real dove;
     but if doves are scarce, or cost too much, I shall be satisfied
     with a pair of fan-tailed pigeons, if they are quite white, and
     their tails fan very much. If you had a great deal of money to
     spare, I should like a kid or a fawn, but I know that is
     impossible; so I will not think of it. Perhaps, when I grow up, I
     may be a president's wife; if so, I will buy an elephant.

     "Your affectionate sister,

     "ROSA LOVEL."

     "I send kisses to all the people in Boston that love you."

How gladly would Laura, had it been in her power, have made every
purchase mentioned in the letters of the two innocent little girls! And
her heart swelled and her eyes overflowed, when she thought how happy
she might have made them at a small part of the expense she had been
persuaded to lavish on the finery that had given her so little pleasure,
and that was now nearly all spoiled.

Next day was Sunday; and they went to church and heard Mr. Taylor, the
celebrated mariner clergyman, with whose deep pathos and simple good
sense Laura was much interested, while she was at the same time amused
with his originality and quaintness.

On returning to the hotel, they found that the morning boat had arrived,
and on looking up at the veranda, the first object Laura saw there was
Pyam Dodge, standing stiffly with his hands on the railing.

"Miss Lovel," said Augusta, "there's your friend, the schoolmaster."

"Mercy upon us," screamed Miss Frampton, "has that horrid fellow come
after you? Really, Miss Lovel, it was in very bad taste to invite him to
Nahant."

"I did not invite him," replied Laura, colouring; "I know not how he
discovered that I was here."

"The only way, then," said Miss Frampton, "is to cut him dead, and then
perhaps he'll clear off."

"Pho," said Augusta, "do you suppose he can understand cutting? why he
won't know whether he's cut or not."

"May I ask who this person is?" said Aubrey Maitland, in a low voice, to
Laura. "Is there any stain or any suspicion attached to him?"

"Oh! no, indeed," replied Laura, earnestly. And, in a few words, as they
ascended the stairs, she gave him an outline of the schoolmaster and his
character.

"Then do not cut him at all," said Aubrey. "Let me take the liberty of
suggesting to you how to receive him." They had now come out into the
veranda, and Maitland immediately led Laura up to Pyam Dodge, who bowed
profoundly on being introduced to him, and then turned to our heroine,
asked permission to shake hands with her, hoped his company would be
found agreeable, and signified that he had been unable to learn where
she was from Mr. Brantley's servants; but that the evening before, a
gentleman of Boston had told him that Mr. Brantley and all the family
were at Nahant. Therefore, he had come thither to-day purposely to see
her, and to inform her that the summer vacation having commenced, he was
going to pay a visit to his old friends at Rosebrook, and would be very
thankful if she would honour him with a letter or message to her family.

All this was said with much bowing, and prosing, and apologizing. When
it was finished, Maitland invited Pyam Dodge to take a turn round the
veranda with Miss Lovel and himself, and the poor schoolmaster expressed
the most profound gratitude. When they were going to dinner, Aubrey
introduced him to Mrs. Maitland, placed him next to himself at table,
and engaged him in a conversation on the Greek classics, in which Pyam
Dodge, finding himself precisely in his element, forgot his humility,
and being less embarrassed, was therefore less awkward and absurd than
usual.

Laura Lovel had thought Aubrey Maitland the handsomest and most elegant
young man she had ever seen. She now thought him the most amiable.

In the afternoon, there was a mirage, in which the far-off rocks in the
vicinity of Marblehead appeared almost in the immediate neighbourhood of
Nahant, coming out in full relief, their forms and colours well-defined,
and their height and breadth seemingly much increased. While all the
company were assembled to look at this singular optical phenomenon
(Aubrey Maitland being earnestly engaged in explaining it to our
heroine), Miss Frampton whispered to Laura that she wished particularly
to speak with her, and accordingly drew her away to another part of the
veranda.

Laura turned pale, for she had a presentiment of what was coming. Miss
Frampton then told her, that presuming she had heard from home, she
concluded that it would, of course, be convenient to return the trifle
she had lent her; adding, that she wished to give a small commission to
a lady that was going to town the next morning.

Poor Laura knew not what to say. She changed colour, trembled with
nervous agitation, and at last faltered out that, in consequence of
knowing her father was from home, she had not yet written to him on the
subject, but that she would do so immediately, and hoped Miss Frampton
would not find it very inconvenient to wait a few days.

"Why, really, I don't know how I can," replied Miss Frampton; "I want a
shawl exactly like Mrs. Horton's. She tells me they are only to be had
at one store in Boston, and that when she got hers the other day, there
were only two left. They are really quite a new style, strange as it is
to see anything in Boston that is not quite old-fashioned in
Philadelphia. The money I lent you is precisely the sum for this
purpose. Of course, I am in no want of a shawl--thank Heaven, I have
more than I know what to do with--but, as I told you, these are quite a
new style--"

"Oh! how gladly would I pay you, if I could!" exclaimed Laura, covering
her face with her hands. "What would I give at this moment for
twenty-five dollars!"

"I hope I am not inconvenient," said the voice of Pyam Dodge, close at
Laura's back; "but I have been looking for Miss Laura Lovel, that I may
take my leave, and return to town in the next boat."

Miss Frampton tossed her head and walked away, to tell Mrs. Horton,
confidentially, that Miss Lovel had borrowed twenty-five dollars of her
to buy finery; but not to add that she had just been asking her for
payment.

"If I may venture to use such freedom," pursued Pyam Dodge, "I think,
Miss Laura Lovel, I overheard you just now grieving that you could not
pay some money. Now, my good child (if you will forgive me for calling
you so), why should you be at any loss for money, when I have just
received my quarter's salary, and when I have more about me than I know
what to do with? I heard you mention twenty-five dollars--here it is
(taking some notes out of an enormous pocket-book), and if you want any
more, as I hope you do--"

"Oh! no, indeed--no," interrupted Laura. "I cannot take it; I would not
on any consideration."

"I know too well," continued Pyam Dodge, "I am not worthy to offer it,
and I hope I am not making myself disagreeable. But if, Miss Laura
Lovel, you would only have the goodness to accept it, you may be sure I
will never ask you for it as long as I live. I would even take a
book-oath not to do so."

Laura steadily refused the proffered kindness of the poor schoolmaster,
and begged Pyam Dodge to mention the subject to her no more. She told
him that all she now wished was to go home, and that she would write by
him to her family, begging that her father would come for her (as he had
promised at parting) and take her back to Rosebrook, as soon as he
could. She quitted Pyam Dodge, who was evidently much mortified, and
retired to write her letter, which she gave to him as soon as it was
finished, finding him in the hall taking a ceremonious leave of the
Maitlands. He departed, and Laura's spirits were gradually revived
during the evening by the gratifying attentions and agreeable
conversation of Mrs. Maitland and her son.

When our heroine retired for the night, she found on her table a letter
in a singularly uncouth hand, if hand it could be called, where every
word was differently written. It enclosed two ten dollar notes and a
five, and was conceived in the following words:

"This is to inform Miss Laura, eldest daughter of the Reverend Edward
Lovel, of Rosebrook, Massachusetts, that an unknown friend of hers,
whose name it will be impossible for her to guess (and therefore to make
the attempt will doubtless be entire loss of time, and time is always
precious), having accidentally heard (though by what means is a profound
secret) that she, at this present time, is in some little difficulty for
want of a small sum of money, he, therefore, this unknown friend, offers
to her acceptance the before-mentioned sum, hoping that she will find
nothing disgusting in his using so great a liberty."

"Oh! poor Pyam Dodge!" exclaimed Laura, "why did you take the trouble to
disguise and disfigure your excellent handwriting?" And she felt, after
all, what a relief it was to transfer her debt from Miss Frampton to the
good schoolmaster. Reluctant to have any further personal discussion on
this painful subject, she enclosed the notes in a short billet to Miss
Frampton, and sent it immediately to that lady's apartment. She then
went to bed, comparatively happy, slept soundly, and dreamed of Aubrey
Maitland.

About the end of the week, Laura Lovel was delighted to see her father
arrive with Mr. Brantley. As soon as they were alone, she threw herself
into his arms, and with a flood of tears explained to him the
particulars of all that passed since she left home, and deeply lamented
that she had allowed herself to be drawn into expenses beyond her means
of defraying, and which her father could ill afford to supply, to say
nothing of the pain and mortification they had occasioned to herself.

"My beloved child," said Mr. Lovel, "I have been much to blame for
intrusting you at an age so early and inexperienced, and with no
knowledge of a town-life and its habits, to the guidance and example of
a family of whom I knew nothing, except that they were reputable and
opulent."

Mr. Lovel then gave his daughter the agreeable intelligence that the
tract of land which was the object of his visit to Maine, and which had
been left him in his youth by an old aunt, and was then considered of
little or no account, had greatly increased in value by a new and
flourishing town having sprung up in its immediate vicinity. This tract
he had recently been able to sell for ten thousand dollars, and the
interest of that sum would now make a most acceptable addition to his
little income.

He also informed her that Pyam Dodge was then at the village of
Rosebrook, where he was "visiting round," as he called it, and that the
good schoolmaster had faithfully kept the secret of the twenty-five
dollars which he had pressed upon Laura, and which Mr. Lovel had now
heard, for the first time, from herself.

While this conversation was going on between the father and daughter,
Mrs. Maitland and her son were engaged in discussing the beauty and the
apparent merits of our heroine. "I should like extremely," said Mrs.
Maitland, "to invite Miss Lovel to pass the winter with me. But, you
know, we live much in the world, and I fear the limited state of her
father's finances could not allow her to appear as she would wish. Yet,
perhaps, I might manage to assist her in that respect, without wounding
her delicacy. I think with regret of so fair a flower being 'born to
blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air.'"

"There is one way," said Aubrey Maitland, smiling and colouring, "by
which we might have Miss Lovel to spend next winter in Boston, without
any danger of offending her delicacy, or subjecting her to embarrassment
on account of her personal expenses--a way which would enable her to
appear as she deserves, and to move in a sphere that she is so well
calculated to adorn, though not as _Miss Lovel_."

"I cannot but understand you, Aubrey," replied Mrs. Maitland, who had
always been not only the mother, but the sympathizing and confidential
friend of her son--"yet be not too precipitate. Know more of this young
lady, before you go so far that you cannot in honour recede."

"I know her sufficiently," said Aubrey, with animation. "She is to be
understood at once, and though I flatter myself that I may have already
excited some interest in her heart, yet I have no reason to suppose
that she entertains for me such feelings as would induce her at this
time to accept my offer. She is extremely anxious to get home; she may
have left a lover there. But let me be once assured that her affections
are disengaged, and that she is really inclined to bestow them on me,
and a declaration shall immediately follow the discovery. A man who,
after being convinced of the regard of the woman he loves, can trifle
with her feelings, and hesitate about securing her hand, does not
deserve to obtain her."

Laura had few preparations to make for her departure, which took place
the next morning, Aubrey Maitland and Mr. Brantley accompanying her and
her father to town, in the early boat. Mrs. Maitland took leave of her
affectionately, Mrs. Brantley smilingly, Augusta coldly, and Miss
Frampton not at all.

Mr. Lovel and his daughter passed that day in Boston, staying at a
hotel. Laura showed her father the children's letter. All the books that
Ella mentioned were purchased for her, and quite a little menagerie of
animals was procured for Rosa.

They arrived safely at Rosebrook. And when Mr. Lovel was invoking a
blessing on their evening repast, he referred to the return of his
daughter, and to his happiness on seeing her once more in her accustomed
seat at table, in a manner that drew tears into the eyes of every member
of the family.

Pyam Dodge was there, only waiting for Laura's arrival, to set out next
morning on a visit to his relations in Vermont. With his usual want of
tact, and his usual kindness of heart, he made so many objections to
receiving the money with which he had accommodated our heroine, that Mr.
Lovel was obliged to slip it privately into his trunk before his
departure.

In a few days, Aubrey Maitland came to Rosebrook and established himself
at the principal inn, from whence he visited Laura the evening of his
arrival. Next day he came both morning and evening. On the third day he
paid her three visits, and after that it was not worth while to count
them.

The marriage of Aubrey and Laura took place at the close of the autumn,
and they immediately went into the possession of an elegant residence of
their own, adjoining the mansion of the elder Mrs. Maitland. They are
now living in as much happiness as can fall to the lot of human beings.

Before the Nahant season was over, Miss Frampton had quarrelled with or
offended nearly every lady at the hotel, and Mr. Brantley privately
insisted that his wife should not invite her to pass the winter with
them. However, she protracted her stay as long as she possibly could,
with any appearance of decency, and then returned to Philadelphia, under
the escort of one of Mr. Brantley's clerks. After she came home, her
visit to Boston afforded her a new subject of conversation, in which the
predominant features were general ridicule of the Yankees (as she called
them), circumstantial slanders of the family to whose hospitality she
had been indebted for more than three months, and particular abuse of
"that little wretch Augusta."



JOHN W. ROBERTSON.

A TALE OF A CENT.

     "Some there be that shadows kiss."--SHAKSPEARE.


Selina Mansel was only sixteen when she took charge of her father's
house, and he delegated to her the arduous task of doing as she pleased:
provided always that she duly attended to his chief injunction, never to
allow herself to incur a debt, however trifling, and to purchase nothing
that she could not pay for on the spot. To the observance of this rule,
which he had laid down for himself in early life, Mr. Mansel attributed
all his success in business, and his ability to retire at the age of
fifty with a handsome competence.

Since the death of his wife, Mr. Mansel's sister had presided over his
family, and had taken much interest in instructing Selina in what she
justly termed the most useful part of a woman's education. Such was Miss
Eleanor Mansel's devotion to her brother and his daughter, that she had
hesitated for twelve years about returning an intelligible answer to the
love-letters which she received quarterly from Mr. Waitstill Wonderly, a
gentleman whose dwelling-place was in the far, far east. Every two years
this paragon of patience came in person: his home being at a distance of
several hundred miles, and his habits by no means so itinerant as those
of the generality of his countrymen.

On his sixth avatar, Miss Mansel consented to reward with her hand the
constancy of her inamorato; as Selina had, within the last twelvemonth,
made up two pieces of linen for her father, prepared the annual quantity
of pickles and preserves, and superintended two house-cleanings, all
herself--thus giving proof positive that she was fully competent to
succeed her aunt Eleanor as mistress of the establishment.

Selina Mansel was a very good and a very pretty girl. Though living in a
large and flourishing provincial town, which we shall denominate
Somerford, she had been brought up in comparative retirement, and had
scarcely yet begun to go into company, as it is called. Her
understanding was naturally excellent; but she was timid, sensitive,
easily disconcerted, and likely to appear to considerable disadvantage
in any situation that was the least embarrassing.

About two months after the departure of Mr. and Mrs. Wonderly, the whole
borough of Somerford was thrown into commotion by the unexpected arrival
of an old townsman, who had made his fortune in New Orleans. This person
was called in his youth Jack Robinson. After twenty years of successful
adventure, he now returned as John W. Robertson, Esq., and concluded to
astonish for a while the natives of his own birth-place, and perhaps
pass the summer among them. Therefore, he took two of the best
apartments in the chief hotel; and having grown very tired of old
bachelorship, and entertaining a great predilection for all the
productions of his native town, he determined to select a wife from
among the belles of Somerford.

Now Mr. Robertson was a man in whose face and figure the most amiable
portrait-painter could have found nothing to commend. He was not what is
called a fine-looking man, for though sufficiently tall, he was gaunt
and ill-proportioned. He was not a handsome man, for every feature was
ugly; and his complexion, as well as his hair, was all of one
ash-colour; though his eyes were much lighter than his skin. He was
fully aware of his deficiency in beauty; but it was some consolation to
him that he had been a very pretty baby, as he frequently took occasion
to mention. With all this, he was extremely ambitious of marrying a
beautiful woman, and resolutely determined that she should "love him for
himself alone." Though in the habit of talking ostentatiously of his
wealth, yet he sometimes considered this wealth as a sort of thorn in
his path to matrimony; for he could not avoid the intrusion of a very
uncomfortable surmise, that were he still poor Jack Robinson, he would
undoubtedly be "cut dead" by the same ladies who were now assiduously
angling for a word or a look from John W. Robertson, Esq. It is true
that, being habitually cautious, he proceeded warily, and dispensed his
notice to the ladies with much economy, finding that, in the words of
charity advertisements, "the smallest donations were thankfully
received."

Having once read a novel, and it being one in which the heroine blushes
all through the book, he concluded that confusion and suffusion were
infallible signs of love, and that whenever the bloom on a lady's cheeks
deepens at the sight of a gentleman, there can be no doubt of the
sincerity and disinterestedness of her regard, and that she certainly
loves him for himself alone. Adopting this theory, Mr. Robertson
determined not to owe his success to any adventitious circumstances; and
he accordingly disdained that attention to his toilet usually observed
by gentlemen in the Coelebs line. Therefore, as the season was summer,
he walked about all the morning in a long loose gown of broad-striped
gingham, buckskin shoes, and an enormous Leghorn hat, the brim turned up
behind and down before. In the afternoon, his flying joseph was
exchanged for a round jacket of sea-grass: and in the evening he
generally appeared in a seersucker coat. But he was invited everywhere.

The mothers flattered him, and the daughters smiled on him, yet still he
saw no blushes. He looked in vain for the "sweet confusion, rosy
terror," which he supposed to be always evinced by a young lady in the
presence of the man of her heart. The young ladies that _he_ met with,
had all their wits about them; and if on seeing him they covered their
faces, it was only to giggle behind their fans. Instead of shrinking
modestly back at his approach, they followed him everywhere; and he has
more than once been seen perambulating the main street of Somerford at
the head of half a dozen young ladies, like a locomotive engine drawing
a train of cars.

With the exception of two professed novel-readers who treated our hero
with ill-concealed contempt, because they could find in him no
resemblance to Lord St. Orville or to Thaddeus of Warsaw, Selina Mansel
was almost the only lady in Somerford that took Mr. Robertson quietly.
The truth was, she never thought of him at all: and it was this evident
indifference, so strikingly contrasted with the unremitting solicitude
of her companions, that first attracted his attention towards Selina,
rather than her superiority in beauty or accomplishments; for Miss
Madderlake had redder cheeks, Miss Tightscrew a smaller waist, Miss
Deathscream sung louder, and Miss Twirlfoot danced higher.

Selina Mansel was the youngest of the Somerford belles, and had scarcely
yet come out. It never entered her mind that a man of Mr. Robertson's
age could think of marrying a girl of sixteen. How little she knew of
old bachelors!

Having always heard herself termed "the child," by her father and her
aunt, she still retained the habit of considering herself as such; and
strange to tell, the idea of a lover had not yet found its way into her
head or her heart. Accordingly, on meeting Mr. Robertson for the first
time (it was at a small party), she thought she passed the evening
pleasantly enough in sitting between two matrons, and hearing from them
the praises of her aunt Wonderly's notability--accompanied by numerous
suggestions of improvements in confectionery, and in the management of
servants; these hints being kindly intended for her benefit as a young
housekeeper.

Mr. Robertson, who proceeded cautiously in everything, after gazing at
Selina across the room, satisfied himself that she was very handsome and
very unaffected, and requested an introduction to her from the gentleman
of the house, adding--"But not just now--any time in the course of the
evening. You know, when ladies are in question, it is very impolitic in
gentlemen to show too much eagerness."

The introduction eventually took place, and Mr. Robertson talked of the
weather, then of the westerly winds, which he informed Selina were
favourable to vessels going out to Europe, but dead ahead to those that
were coming home. He then commenced a long story about the very
profitable voyage of one of his ships, but told it in language
unintelligible to any but a merchant.

Selina grew very tired, and having tried to listen quite as long as she
thought due to civility, she renewed her conversation with one of the
ladies that sat beside her, and Mr. Robertson, in some vexation, turned
away and carried his dullness to the other end of the room, where pretty
Miss Holdhimfast sat, the image of delighted attention, her eyes smiling
with pleasure, and her lips parted in intense interest, while he talked
to her of assorted cargoes, bills of lading, and customhouse bonds. At
times, he looked round, over his shoulder, to see if Selina evinced any
discomposure at his quitting her--but he perceived no signs of it.

Mr. Mansel having renewed his acquaintance with Mr. Robertson, our hero
called next morning to pay a visit to the father of Selina, though his
chief motive was the expectation of seeing the young lady, who since the
preceding evening had occupied as much of his mind and thoughts as a
thorough-going business man ever devotes to a woman.

Selina was in the parlour, and sat quietly at her sewing, not perceiving
that, though Mr. Robertson talked to her father all the time about the
Bank of the United States, he looked almost continually at her. On
hearing the clock strike, she rose, put up her work, and repaired to her
own room--recollecting that it was her day for writing to Mrs. Wonderly,
and that the mail would close in two hours, which Selina had always
found the shortest possible time for filling a large sheet of paper
closely written--such being the missive that she despatched every week
to her beloved aunt.

Mr. Robertson, after prolonging his visit to an unreasonable period,
departed in no very good humour at Selina's not returning to the
parlour: for though he saw through the designs of the other ladies, he
was somewhat piqued that our young and handsome heroine should have no
design at all.

In the afternoon Selina went out on a shopping expedition. Mr. Robertson
happened to overtake her, and she looked so very pretty, and tripped
along so lightly and gracefully, that he could not refrain from joining
her, instead of making his bow and passing on, as had been his first
intention.

In the course of conversation, Selina was informed by Mr. Robertson
(who, though no longer in business, still made the price-current his
daily study) that, by the last advices from New York, tallow was calm,
and hides were drooping--that pots were lively, and that pearls were
looking up; and that there was a better feeling towards mackerel.

He accompanied Selina to the principal fancy-store, and when the young
lady had completed her purchases, and had been persuaded by Mr.
Stretchlace to take several additional articles, she found, on examining
her purse, that she had nearly exhausted its contents, and that even
with putting all her small change together, she still wanted one cent.
Mr. Stretchlace assured her that he considered a cent as of no
consequence; but Selina, who had been brought up in the strictest ideas
of integrity, replied that, as she had agreed to pay as much for the
article as he had asked her, she could not allow him to lose a single
farthing. Mr. Stretchlace smiled, and reminded her that she could easily
stop in and give him the cent, at any time when she happened to be
passing his store. Selina, recollecting her father's rule of never going
in debt to a shopkeeper, even to the most trifling amount, proposed
leaving a pair of gloves (her last purchase) till she came again. Mr.
Robertson, to put an end to the difficulty, took a cent from his purse,
and requested permission to lend it to Miss Mansel. Selina coloured, but
after some hesitation accepted the loan, resolving to repay it
immediately. Having this intention on her mind, she was rather glad when
she found that Mr. Robertson intended walking home with her, as it would
give her an opportunity of liquidating the debt--and he entertained her
on the way with the history of a transaction in uplands, and another in
sea-islands.

They arrived at Mr. Mansel's door, and her companion was taking his
leave, when Selina, thinking only of the cent, asked him if he would not
come in. Of course, she had no motive but to induce him to wait till she
had procured the little coin in question. He found the invitation too
flattering to be resisted, and smirkingly followed her into the front
parlour. Selina was disappointed at not finding her father there.
Desiring Mr. Robertson to excuse her for a moment, she went to her own
room in quest of some change--but found nothing less than a five dollar
note.

A young lady of more experience and more self-possession, would, at
once, have thought of extricating herself from the dilemma by applying
to one of the servants for the loan of a cent; but at this time no such
idea entered Selina's head. Therefore, calling Ovid, her black man, she
despatched him with the note to get changed, and then returned herself
to the parlour.

Taking her seat near the centre-table, Selina endeavoured to engage her
guest in conversation, lest he should go away without his money. But,
too little accustomed to the world and its contingencies to feel at all
at her ease on this occasion, not having courage to mention the cent,
and afraid every moment that Mr. Robertson would rise to take his leave,
she became more and more embarrassed, sat uneasily on her chair, kept
her eyes on the floor, except when she stole glances at her visiter to
see if he showed any symptoms of departure, and looked frequently
towards the door, hoping the arrival of Ovid.

Unconscious of what she was doing, our heroine took a camellia japonica
from a vase that stood on the table, and having smelled it a dozen
times (though it is a flower that has no perfume) she began to pick it
to pieces. Mr. Robertson stopped frequently in the midst of a long story
about a speculation in sperm oil, his attention being continually
engaged by the evident perturbation of the young lady. But when he saw
her picking to pieces the camellia which she had pressed to her nose and
to her lips, he was taken with a sudden access of gallantry, and
stalking up to her, and awkwardly stretching out his hand at arm's
length, he said, in a voice intended to be very sweet--"Miss Mansel,
will you favour me with that flower?"

Selina, not thinking of what she did, hastily dropped the camellia into
his out-spread palm, and ran to meet her servant Ovid, whom she saw at
that moment coming into the house. She stopped him in the hall, and
eagerly held out her hand, while Ovid slowly and carefully counted into
it, one by one, ten half dollars, telling her that he had been nearly
all over town with the note, as "change is always _scace_ of an
afternoon."

"How vexatious!" said Selina, in a low voice--"You have brought me no
cents. It was particularly a cent that I wanted--a cent above all
things. Did I not tell you so?--I am sure I thought I did."

Ovid persisted in declaring that she had merely desired him to get the
note changed, and that he thought "nobody needn't wish for better change
than all big silver,"--but feeling in his pocket, he said "he believed,
if Miss Selina would let him, he could lend her a cent." However, after
searching all his pockets, he found only a quarter of a dollar. "But,"
added he, "I can go in the kitchen and ax if the women hav'n't got no
coppers. Ah! Miss Selina--your departed aunt always kept her pocket
full."

Selina then desired him to go immediately and inquire for a cent among
the women. She then returned to the parlour, and Mr. Robertson, having
nothing more to say, rose to take his leave. During her absence from the
room, he had torn off the back of a letter, folded in it the
half-demolished camellia japonica, and deposited it in his waistcoat
pocket.

Selina begged him to stay a few minutes longer, and she went into the
kitchen to inquire in person about the cent.

"Apparently," thought Robertson, "she finds it hard to part with me. And
certainly she _has_ seemed confused and agitated, during the whole of my
visit."

On making her inquiry among the denizens of the kitchen, Selina found
that none of the women had any probable coppers, excepting Violet, the
black cook, who was fat and lame, and who intended, as soon as she had
done making some cakes for tea, to ascend to her attic, and search for
one among her hoards.

"La! Miss Selina," said Violet, "what can put you in such a pheeze about
a cent?"

"I have borrowed a cent of Mr. Robertson," replied Selina, "and I wish
to return it immediately."

"Well, now, if ever!" exclaimed Violet; "why, if that's all, I count it
the same as nothing, and samer. To be sure he is too much of a gentleman
to take a cent from a lady. Why, what's a cent?"

"I hope," replied Selina, "that he is too much of a gentleman to
_refuse_ to take it."

"I lay you what you please," resumed Violet, "that if you go to offer
him that cent, you'll 'front him out of the house. Why, when any of us
borrows a copper of Ovid, we never thinks of paying him."

"True enough," said Ovid, half aside; "and that's the reason I most
always take care never to have no coppers about me."

Selina now heard her father's voice in the parlour; and glad that he had
come home, she hastened to obtain from him the much-desired coin. She
found him earnestly engaged in discussing the Bank of the United States
to Mr. Robertson, who was on the verge of departure. She went softly
behind her father, and in a low voice asked him for a cent; but he was
talking so busily that he did not hear her. She repeated the request.
"Presently--presently," said Mr. Mansel, "another time will do as well."
Mr. Robertson then made his parting bow to Selina, who, disconcerted at
being baffled in all her attempts to get rid of her little debt,
coloured excessively, and could not make an articulate reply to his
"Good afternoon, Miss Mansel."

When her father returned from escorting his guest to the door, he
recollected her request, and said--"What were you asking me, Selina? I
think I heard you say something about money. But never interrupt me when
I am talking of the bank."

Selina then made her explanation.

"You know," replied Mr. Mansel, "that I have always told you to avoid a
debt as you would a sin; and I have also cautioned you never to allow
yourself to be without all the varieties of small change."

He then gave her a handful of this convenient article, including half a
dozen cents, saying, "There, now, do not forget to pay Mr. Robertson the
first time you see him."

"Certainly, I will not forget it," replied Selina; "for, trifle as it
is, I shall not feel at peace while it remains on my mind."

On the following afternoon Selina went out with her father to take a
ride on horseback; and when they returned they found on the centre table
the card of John W. Robertson. "Another _contre-tems_," cried Selina.
"He has been here again, and I have not seen him to pay him the cent!"

"Send it to him by Ovid," said Mr. Mansel.

"_Send_ such a trifle to a gentleman!" exclaimed Selina.

"Certainly," replied her father. "Even in the smallest trifles, it is
best to be correct and punctual. You know I have always told you so."

Selina left the room for the purpose of despatching Ovid with the cent,
but Ovid had gone out on some affairs of his own, and when she returned
to the parlour she found two young ladies there, whose visit was not
over till nearly dusk. By that time Ovid was engaged in setting the
tea-table; a business from which nothing could ever withdraw him till
all its details were slowly and minutely accomplished.

"It will be time enough after tea," said Selina, who, like most young
housekeepers, was somewhat in awe of her servants. When tea was over
both in parlour and kitchen (and by the members of the lower house that
business was never accomplished without a long session), Ovid was
despatched to the hotel with "Miss Mansel's compliments to Mr.
Robertson, and the cent that she had borrowed of him." It was long
before Ovid came back, and he then brought word that Mr. Robertson was
out, but that he had left the cent with Mr. Muddler, the barkeeper.

"Of course," said Selina, "the barkeeper will give it to Mr. Robertson
as soon as he returns."

"I have my doubts," replied Ovid.

"Why?" asked Selina; "why should you suppose otherwise?"

"Because," answered Ovid, "Mr. Muddler is a very doubty sort of man.
That is, he's always to be doubted of. I lived at the hotel once, and I
know all about him. He don't mind trifles, and he never remembers
nothing. I guess Mr. Robertson won't be apt to get the cent: for afore I
left the bar, I saw Muddler give it away in change to a man that came
for a glass of punch. And I'm sure that Muddler won't never think no
more about it. I could be as good as qualified that he won't."

"How very provoking!" cried Selina.

"You should have sealed it up in a piece of paper, and directed it to
Mr. Robertson," said her father, raising his eyes from the newspaper in
which he had been absorbed for the last hour. "Whatever is to be done at
all, should always be done thoroughly."

"Yes, miss," said Ovid, "you know that's what your departed aunt always
told you: partikaly when you were stoning reasons for plum-cake."

Selina was now at a complete loss what course to pursue. The cent was in
itself a trifle; but there had been so much difficulty about it, that it
seemed to have swelled into an object of importance: and from this time
her repugnance to speaking of it to Mr. Robertson, or to any one else,
became almost insurmountable.

On the following morning, her father told her that he had met Mr.
Robertson at the Post Office, and had been told by him that he should do
himself the pleasure of making a morning call. "Therefore, Selina, I
shall leave you to entertain him," said Mr. Mansel, "for I have made an
appointment with Mr. Thinwall this morning, to go with him to look at a
block of houses he is anxious to sell me."

Selina repaired to her room to get her sewing: and taking a cent from
her purse, she laid it in her work-basket and went down stairs to be
ready for the visit of Mr. Robertson. While waiting for him, she
happened to look at the cent, and perceived that it was one of the very
earliest coinage, the date being 1793. She had heard these cents
described, but had never before seen one. The head of Liberty was
characterized by the lawless freedom of her hair, the flakes of which
were all flying wildly back from her forehead and cheek, and seemed to
be blowing away in a strong north-wester; and she carried over her
shoulder a staff surmounted with a cap. On the reverse, there was
(instead of the olive wreath) a circular chain, whose links signified
the union of the States. Our heroine was making a collection of curious
coins, and she was so strongly tempted by the opportunity of adding this
to the number, that she determined on keeping it for that purpose. She
was just rising to go up stairs and get another as a substitute, when
Mr. Robertson entered the parlour.

Selina was glad to see him, hoping that this visit would make a final
settlement of the eternal cent. But she was also struck with the idea
that it would be very awkward to ask him if the barkeeper had given him
the one she had transmitted to him the evening before. She feared that
the gentleman might reply in the affirmative, even if he had not really
received it, and she felt a persuasion that it had entirely escaped the
memory of Mr. Muddler. Not having sufficient self-possession to help her
out of the difficulty, she hastily slipped the old cent back into her
work-basket, and looked confused and foolish, and answered incoherently
to Mr. Robertson's salutation. He saw her embarrassment, and augured
favourably from it: but he cautiously determined not to allow himself to
proceed too rapidly.

He commenced the conversation by informing her that sugars had declined
a shade, but that coffee was active, and cotton firm; and he then prosed
off into a long mercantile story, of which Selina heard and understood
nothing: her ideas, when in presence of Mr. Robertson, being now unable
to take any other form than that of a piece of copper.

Longing to go for another cent, and regretting that she had not brought
down her purse, she sat uneasy and disconcerted: the delighted Robertson
pausing in the midst of his tierces of rice, seroons of indigo, carboys
of tar, and quintals of codfish, to look at the heightened colour of her
cheek, and to give it the interpretation he most desired.

Selina had never thought him so tiresome. Just then came in Miss
Peepabout and Miss Doublesight, who, having seen Mr. Robertson through
the window, had a curiosity to ascertain what he was saying and doing at
Mr. Mansel's. These two ladies were our hero's peculiar aversion, as
they had both presumed to lay siege to him, notwithstanding that they
were neither young nor handsome. Therefore, he rose immediately and took
his leave: though Selina, in the hope of still finding an opportunity to
discharge her debt, said to him, anxiously: "Do not go yet, Mr.
Robertson." This request nearly elevated the lover to paradise, but not
wishing to spoil her by too much compliance, he persevered in departing.

That evening Selina met him at a party given by Mrs. Vincent, one of the
leading ladies of Somerford. Thinking of this possibility, and the idea
of Mr. Robertson and a cent having now become synonymous, our heroine
tied a bright new one in the corner of her pocket-handkerchief,
determined to go fully prepared for an opportunity of presenting it to
him. When, on arriving at Mrs. Vincent's house, she was shown to the
ladies' room, Selina discovered that the cent had vanished, having
slipped out from its fastening; and after an ineffectual search on the
floor and on the staircase, she concluded that she must have dropped it
in the street. The night was very fine, and Mrs. Vincent's residence was
so near her father's, that Selina had walked thither, and Mr. Mansel
(who had no relish for parties), after conducting her into the principal
room, and paying his compliments to the hostess, had slipped off, and
returned home to seek a quiet game of backgammon with his next-door
neighbour, telling his daughter that he would come for her at eleven
o'clock.

Our heroine was dressed with much taste, and looked unusually well. Mr.
Robertson's inclination would have led him to attach himself to Selina
for the whole evening; but convinced of the depth and sincerity of her
regard (as he perceived that she now never saw him without blushing), he
deemed it politic to hold back, and not allow himself to be considered
too cheap a conquest. Therefore, after making his bow, and informing her
that soap was heavy, but that raisins were animated, and that there was
a good feeling towards Havana cigars, he withdrew to the opposite side
of the room.

But though he divided his tediousness pretty equally among the other
ladies, he could not prevent his eyes from wandering almost incessantly
towards Selina, particularly when he perceived a remarkably handsome
young man, Henry Wynslade, engaged in a very lively conversation with
her. Mr. Wynslade, who had recently returned from India, lodged, for the
present, at the hotel in which Robertson had located himself;
consequently, our hero had some acquaintance with him.

Mrs. Vincent having taken away Wynslade to introduce him to her niece,
Mr. Robertson immediately strode across the room, and presented himself
in front of Selina. To do him justice, he had entirely forgotten the
cent: and he meant not the most distant allusion to it, when, at the end
of a long narrative about a very close and fortunate bargain he had once
made in rough turpentine, he introduced the well-known adages of "a
penny saved is a penny got," and "take care of the pence and the pounds
will take care of themselves."

"Pence and cents are nearly the same," thought the conscious Selina. She
had on her plate some of the little printed rhymes that, being
accompanied by bonbons, and enveloped in coloured paper, go under the
denomination of secrets or mottoes. These delectable distichs were most
probably the leisure effusions of the poet kept by Mr. and Mrs.
Packwood, of razor-strop celebrity, and from their ludicrous silliness
frequently cause much diversion among the younger part of the company.

In her confusion on hearing Mr. Robertson talk of pence, Selina began to
distribute her mottoes among the ladies in her vicinity, and, without
looking at it, she unthinkingly presented one to her admirer, as he
stood stiff before her. A moment after he was led away by Mr. Vincent,
to be introduced to a stranger: and in a short time the company
adjourned to the supper-room.

The ladies were all seated, and the gentlemen were standing round, and
Selina was not aware of her proximity to Mr. Robertson till she
overheard him say to young Wynslade--"A most extraordinary circumstance
has happened to me this evening."

"What is it?" cried Wynslade.

"I have received a declaration."

"A declaration! Of what?"

"I have indeed," pursued Robertson, "a declaration of love. To be sure,
I have been somewhat prepared for it. When a lady blushes, and shows
evident signs of confusion, whenever she meets a gentleman, there is
good reason to believe that her heart is really touched. Is there not?"

"I suppose so," said Wynslade, smiling.

"You conclude then that the lady must love him for himself, and not for
his property?" inquired Robertson.

"Ladies who are influenced only by mercenary considerations," replied
Wynslade, "seldom feel much embarrassment in the presence of any
gentleman."

"There is no forcing a blush--is there?" asked Robertson.

"I should think not," answered Wynslade, wondering to what all this
would tend.

"To tell you a secret," resumed Robertson, "I have proof positive that I
have made a serious impression on a very beautiful young lady. You need
not smile, Mr. Wynslade, for I can show you something that was presented
to me the other day by herself, after first pressing it repeatedly to
her lips."

He then took out of his waistcoat pocket the paper that contained the
remnant of the camellia japonica, adding, "I can assure you that this
flower was given me by the prettiest girl in the room."

The eyes of Wynslade were involuntarily directed to Selina.

"You are right," resumed Robertson. "That is the very lady, Miss Selina
Mansel."

"Can it be possible!" exclaimed Wynslade. "Is this the lady that blushes
at you? Did _she_ give you the flower?"

"Yes, she did," replied Robertson. "A true bill, I assure you. The
flower was her gift, and she has just presented me with a piece of
poetry that is still more pointed. And yet, between ourselves, I think
it strange that so young a lady should not have had patience to wait for
a declaration on my part. I wonder that she should be the first to break
the ice. However, I suppose it is only a stronger evidence of her
partiality."

"And what are you going to do?" asked Wynslade.

"Oh! I shall take her," answered Robertson. "At least I think I shall.
To be sure, I have been so short a time in Somerford, that I have
scarcely yet had an opportunity of ascertaining the state of the market.
But, besides her being an only child, with a father that is likely to
come down handsomely, she is very young and very pretty, and will in
every respect suit me exactly. However, I shall proceed with due
circumspection. It is bad policy to be too alert on these occasions. It
will be most prudent to keep her in suspense awhile."

"Insufferable coxcomb!" thought Wynslade. However, he checked his
contempt and indignation so far as to say with tolerable calmness--"Mr.
Robertson, there must be certainly some mistake. Before I went to India,
I knew something of Miss Mansel and her family, and I reproach myself
for not having sought to renew my acquaintance with them immediately on
my return. She was a mere child when I last saw her before my departure.
Still, I know from the manner in which she has been brought up, that it
is utterly impossible she should have given you any real cause to
suspect her of a partiality, which, after all, you seem incapable of
appreciating."

"Suspect!" exclaimed Robertson, warmly; "suspect, indeed! Blushes and
confusion you acknowledge to be certain signs. And then there is the
flower--and then--"

"Where is the piece of poetry you talked of?" said Wynslade.

"Here," replied Robertson, showing him the motto--"here it is--read--and
confess it to be proof positive."

Wynslade took the slip, and read on it--

    "To gain a look of your sweet face,
    I'd walk three times round the market-place."

"Ridiculous!" he exclaimed, as he returned the couplet to Robertson, the
course of his ideas changing in a moment. The whole affair now appeared
to him in so ludicrous a light that he erroneously imagined Selina to
have been all the time diverting herself at Mr. Robertson's expense. He
looked towards her with a smile of intelligence, and was surprised to
find that she had set down her almost untasted ice-cream, and was
changing colour, from red to pale, evidently overwhelmed with confusion.

"There," said Robertson, looking significantly from Selina to Wynslade,
"I told you so--only see her cheeks. No doubt she has overheard all we
have been saying."

Selina had, indeed, overheard the whole; for notwithstanding the talking
of the ladies who were near her, her attention had been the whole time
riveted to the conversation that was going on between Robertson and
Wynslade. Her first impulse was to quit her seat, to go at once to
Robertson, and to explain to him his mistake. But she felt the
difficulty of making such an effort in a room full of company, and to
the youthful simplicity of her mind that difficulty was enhanced by the
want of a cent to put into his hand at the same time.

Still, she was so extremely discomfited, that every moment seemed to her
an age till she could have an opportunity of undeceiving him. She sat
pale and silent till Robertson stepped up and informed her that she
seemed quite below par; and Wynslade, who followed him, observed that
"Miss Mansel was probably incommoded by the heat of the room."

"Oh, yes!" she exclaimed, scarcely conscious of what she was saying; "it
is, indeed, too warm--and here is such a crowd--and I am so fatigued--I
wish it were eleven o'clock--I wish my father was here to take me home."

Both gentlemen at once volunteered their services; but Selina, struck
with the idea that during their walk she should have a full opportunity
of making her explanation to Mr. Robertson, immediately started up, and
said she would avail herself of _his_ offer. Robertson now cast a
triumphant glance at Wynslade, who returned it with a look of disgust,
and walked away, saying to himself, "What an incomprehensible being is
woman!--I begin to despise the whole sex!"

Selina then took leave of her hostess, and in a few minutes found
herself on her way home with Mr. Robertson.

"Mr. Robertson," said she, in a hurried voice, "I have something
particular to say to you."

"Now it is coming," thought Robertson; "but I will take care not to meet
her half way." Then speaking aloud--"It is a fine moonlight evening,"
said he: "that is probably what you are going to observe."

"You are under a serious mistake," continued Selina.

"I believe not," pursued Robertson, looking up. "The sky is quite clear,
and the moon is at the full."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Selina.

"I am fond of moonlight," persisted Robertson; "and I am extremely
flattered at your giving me an opportunity of enjoying it with you."
Here he stopped short, fearing that he had said too much.

"My only motive," said Selina, "for accepting your offer of escorting me
home, was that I might have an opportunity of explaining to you." Here
she paused.

"Take your time, Miss Selina," said Robertson, trying to soften his
voice. "I do not wish you to hurry yourself. I can wait very well for
the explanation till to-morrow."

"No, you shall not," said Selina; "I must make it at once, for I shall
be unable to sleep to-night till I have relieved my mind from it."

"Surely," thought Robertson to himself, "young ladies now-a-days are
remarkably forward." "Well, then, Miss Mansel," speaking aloud, "proceed
at once to the point. I am all attention."

Selina still hesitated--"Really," said she, "I know not how to express
myself."

"No doubt of it," he replied; "young ladies, I suppose, are not
accustomed to being very explicit on these occasions. However, I can
understand--'A word to the wise,' you know: but the truth is, for my own
part, I have not quite made up my mind. You are sensible that our
acquaintance is of very recent date: a wife is not a bill to be accepted
at sight You know the proverb--'Marry in haste and repent at leisure.'
However, I think you may draw on me at sixty days. And now that I have
acknowledged the receipt of your addresses"----

Selina interrupted him with vehemence--"Mr. Robertson, what are you
talking about? You are certainly not in your senses. You are mistaken, I
tell you--it is no such thing."

"Come, Miss Mansel," said Robertson, "do not fly from your offer: it is
too late for what they call coquetry--actions speak louder than words.
If I must be plain, why so much embarrassment whenever we meet? To say
nothing of the flower you gave me--and that little verse, which speaks
volumes"----

"Speaks nonsense!" cried Selina: "Is it possible you can be so absurd as
to suppose"----Then bursting into tears of vexation, she exclaimed--"Oh
that I had a cent!"

"A cent!" said Robertson, much surprised. "Is it possible you are crying
for a cent?"

"Yes, I am," answered Selina; "just now, that is all I want on earth!"

"Well, then," said Robertson, taking one out of his pocket, "you shall
cry for it no longer: here's one for you."

"This won't do--this won't do!" sobbed Selina.

"Why, I am sure it is a good cent," said Robertson, "just like any
other."

"No," cried Selina, "your giving me another cent only makes things
worse."

By this time they were in sight of Mr. Mansel's door, and Selina
perceived something on the pavement glittering in the moonlight. "Ah!"
she exclaimed, taking it up, "this must be the very cent I dropped on my
way to Mrs. Vincent's. I know it by its being quite a new one. How glad
I am to find it!"

"Well," said Robertson, "I have heard of ladies taking cents to church;
but I never knew before that they had any occasion for them at
tea-parties. And, by-the-bye (as I have often told my friend Pennychink
the vestryman), that practice of handing a money-box round the church in
service-time, is one of the meanest things I know, and I wonder how any
man that is a gentleman can bring himself to do it."

"And now, Mr. Robertson," said Selina, hastily wiping her eyes, "have
you forgotten that I borrowed a cent of you the other day at Mr.
Stretchlace's store?"

"I _had_ forgotten it," answered Robertson; "but I recollect it now."

"That cent was never returned to you," said Selina.

"It was not," replied Robertson, looking surprised.

"There it is," continued our heroine, as she gave it to him. "Now that I
see it in your hand, I have courage to explain all. My father and my
aunt have taught me to dread contracting even the smallest debt.
Therefore, I could not feel at ease till I had repaid your cent. Several
untoward circumstances have since prevented my giving it to you, though
I can assure you, that whenever we met it was seldom absent from my
mind. This was the real cause of the embarrassment or confusion you talk
of. When I gave you the flower, and afterwards that foolish motto, I was
thinking so much of the unlucky cent as to be scarcely conscious of what
I was doing. Believe me when I repeat to you that this is the whole
truth of what you have so strangely misinterpreted."

"Is it possible!" exclaimed Robertson: "and was there nothing in it but
a paltry bit of copper, when I thought all the time that I had at last
met with a young lady who loved me for myself, and not for my
bank-stock, and my real estate, and my railroad shares!"

"For neither, I can assure you," said Selina, gayly; "but I shall be
very glad to hear that yourself, and your bank-stock, and your real
estate, and your railroad shares, have become the property of a lady of
better taste than myself."

They had been for some time on the steps of Mr. Mansel's door, and
before he rung the bell, Robertson said to Selina: "Well, however, you
know I did not actually come to a proposal?"

"Not exactly," replied Selina, smiling.

"Therefore, you will not tell everybody that you refused me?"

"I will not, indeed," answered Selina. "And now, then, allow me to bid
you adieu in the words of the song--'Good night--all's well!'"

She then tripped into the parlour, where she found her father just
preparing to come for her; and having made him very merry with her
account of the events of the evening, she went to bed with a light
heart.

Mr. Robertson returned sullenly to his hotel, as much chagrined as a man
of his obtuse feelings could possibly be. And he was the more vexed at
losing Selina, as he conceived that a woman who could give herself so
much uneasiness on account of a cent, would consequently make a good
wife. The more he thought of this, the better he liked her: and next
morning, when Henry Wynslade inquired of him the progress of wooing,
Robertson not having invention enough to gloss over the truth, told him
the facts as they really were, and asked his companion's opinion of the
possibility of yet obtaining Miss Mansel.

"Try again by all means," said Wynslade, who was curious to see how this
business would end. "There is no knowing what may be the effect of a
direct proposal--the ladies never like us the better for proceeding
slowly and cautiously: so now for a point-blank shot."

"It shall be conveyed in a letter, then," replied Robertson; "I have
always found it best, in matters of business, to put down everything in
black and white."

"Do it at once, then," said Wynslade: "I have some thoughts of Miss
Mansel myself, and perhaps I may cut you out."

"I doubt that," replied Robertson; "you are but commencing business, and
_my_ fortune is already made."

"I thought," observed Wynslade, "you would marry only on condition of
being loved for yourself alone."

"I have given up that hope," answered Robertson, with a sort of sigh:
"however, I was certainly a very pretty baby. I fear I must now be
content to take a wife on the usual terms."

"Be quick, then, with your proposal," said Wynslade, "for I am impatient
to make mine."

Wynslade then departed, and Robertson placed himself at his desk, and in
a short time despatched to our heroine the following epistle, taking
care to keep a copy of it:

     "MISS SELINA MANSEL:--Your statement last night was duly attended
     to; but further consideration may give another turn to the
     business. The following terms are the best I think proper to offer:

     "One Town House--1 Country House--4 Servants--2 Horses--1
     Carriage--1 Chaise--1 Set of Jewels--1 New Dress per Month--4
     Bonnets per Ann.--1 Tea-party on your Birthday--Ditto on mine--1
     Dinner-party on each anniversary of our Wedding-day, till further
     orders--2 Plays per Season--and half an Opera.

     "If you are not satisfied with the T. H. and the C. H. you may take
     1 trip per summer to the Springs or the Sea-shore. If the Parties
     on the B.D.'s and the W. D. are not deemed sufficient, you may have
     sundry others.

     "On your part I only stipulate for a dish of rice always at dinner,
     black tea, 6 cigars per day, to be smoked by me without remark from
     you--newspapers, chess, and sundries. Your politics to be always
     the same as mine. No gentlemen under fifty to be received, except
     at parties. No musician to be allowed to enter the house; nor any
     young doctor.

     "If you conclude to close with these conditions, let me have advice
     of it as soon as convenient, that I may wait upon you without loss
     of time.

     "Your most obt. servt.

     "JOHN W. ROBERTSON.

     "N.B. It may be well to mention, that with respect to furniture, I
     cannot allow a piano, considering them as nuisances. Shall not
     object to any reasonable number of sofas and
     rocking-chairs.--Astral lamps at discretion.--Beg to call your
     attention to the allowance of gowns and bonnets.--Consider it
     remarkably liberal.--With respect to dress, sundries of course."

       *       *       *       *       *

To this letter half an hour brought a concise answer, containing a civil
but decided refusal, which Mr. Robertson, though quite crest-fallen,
could not forbear showing to Wynslade, telling him that he now withdrew
from the market. On the following morning our hero left Somerford on a
tour to Canada.

Wynslade immediately laid siege to Selina Mansel, and being young,
handsome, intelligent, and very much in love, he found little difficulty
in obtaining her heart and hand.

After their marriage the young couple continued to live with Mr. Mansel,
who since the affair of Robertson has taken especial care that Selina
shall always be well supplied with cents, frequently procuring her from
the bank five dollars' worth at a time.

John W. Robertson finally established himself in one of the large
Atlantic cities; and in process of time his vanity recovered from the
shock that had been given it by Miss Mansel. He has lately married a
young widow, who being dependent with her five children on the bounty of
her sister's husband, in whose house she lived with all her family, had
address enough to persuade him that she loved him for himself alone.



THE LADIES' BALL.

    "Then, thrilling to the harp's gay sound,
      So sweetly rung each vaulted wall,
    And echoed light the dancer's bound,
      As mirth and music cheer'd the hall."--SCOTT.


The gentlemen who were considered as the _élite_ of a certain city that
shall be nameless, had been for some years in the practice of giving,
about Christmas, a splendid ball to the ladies of the same circle. But
at the period from which we date the commencement of our story,
Christmas was fast approaching, and there had, as yet, been no
intimation of the usual practical compliment.

Conjecture was busy among the ladies as to the cause of this
extraordinary defection; but it was most generally attributed to the
palpable fact that the attention of the gentlemen had been recently
directed to a very different channel. In short, the beaux were now
taking vast strides in the march of intellect, pioneered by certain
newly popular lecturers in various departments of science. The pursuit
of knowledge, both useful and useless, had become the order of the day.
Profound were the researches into those mysteries of nature that in this
world can never be elucidated: and long and elaborate were the
dissertations on points that, when established, would not be worth a
farthing.

The "beaux turned savans," had formed themselves into an association to
which they had given a polysyllabic name of Greek etymology, and beyond
the power of female tongue to pronounce, or of female hand to write; but
a very young girl designated it as the Fee-faw-fum Society. They hired a
spare room in one of the public buildings, and assembled there "in
close divan" on stated nights when there were no evening lectures:
several of the ologists holding forth to their classes of afternoons.

One seemingly indispensable instructor brought up the rear of the host
of lecturers, and this was a professor of mnemonics: that is, a
gentleman who gave lessons in memory, pledging himself to furnish the
minds of his pupils with a regular set of springs, which as soon as
touched would instantly unlock the treasures of knowledge that were laid
up in "the storehouse of the brain:" the springs being acted upon by
certain sheets of engraved and coloured hieroglyphics, some of which
were numerical figures, others represented trees and houses, and cats
and dogs, much in the style of what children call primer pictures. Some
of our readers may, perhaps, recollect this professor, who made the
circuit of the Union a few years since.

There seemed but two objections to this system, one being that the
hieroglyphics and their key were harder to remember than the things they
were to remind you of: the other, that they were frequently to be
understood by contraries, like the Hetman in Count Benyowsky, whose
characteristic phraseology is--"When I say the garret, I mean the
cellar--when I tell you to go up, I mean you to come down."

The professor of mnemonics was very unpopular with the ladies, who
asserted, that he had done the gentlemen more harm than good, by so
puzzling their already overcharged heads, that he, in many instances,
destroyed what little memory they had once possessed. This was
particularly the case with regard to Mr. Slowman, who having, at length,
proposed in form to Miss Tremor, and the lady, in her agitation, being
unable at the moment to give him an intelligible answer, he had never
remembered to press his suit any further.

One thing was certain, that since the gentlemen had been taking lessons
in memory, they seemed totally to have forgotten the annual ball.

Yet, as the time drew near, there could be no doubt of its frequently
entering their minds, from their steadily avoiding all reference to the
subject. There was evidently a tacit understanding among them, that it
was inexpedient to mention the ball. But the ice was at last broken by
Gordon Fitzsimmons, as they were all standing round the fire, and
adjusting their cloaks and surtouts, at the close of one of their
society meetings.

"Is it not time," said he, "that we should begin to prepare for the
Christmas ball?"

There was a silence--at last, one of the young gentlemen spoke, and
replied--"that he had long since come to a conclusion that dancing was a
very foolish thing, and that there was something extremely ridiculous in
seeing a room-full of men and women jumping about to the sound of a
fiddle. In short, he regarded it as an amusement derogatory to the
dignity of human nature."

He was interrupted in the midst of his philippic by Fitzsimmons, who
advised him to "consider it not so deeply." Now, Fitzsimmons was himself
an excellent dancer, very popular as a partner, conscious of looking
well in a ball-room, and therefore a warm advocate for "the poetry of
motion."

Another of the young philosophers observed, "that he saw neither good
nor harm in dancing, considered merely as an exercise: but that he was
now busily engaged in writing a treatise on the Milky Way, the precise
nature of which he had undoubtedly discovered, and therefore he had no
leisure to attend to the ball or the ladies."

A second, who was originally from Norridgewock, in the state of Maine,
protested that almost every moment of his time was now occupied in
lithographing his drawings for the Flora Norridgewockiana, a work that
would constitute an important accession to the science of botany, and
which he was shortly going to publish.

A third declared frankly, that instead of subscribing to the ball, he
should devote all his spare cash to a much more rational purpose, that
of purchasing a set of geological specimens from the Himalaya Mountains.
A fifth, with equal candour, announced a similar intention with regard
to a box of beetles lately arrived from Van Diemen's Land.

A sixth was deeply and unremittingly employed in composing a history of
the Muskogee Indians, in which work he would prove to demonstration that
they were of Russian origin, as their name denotes: Muskogee being
evidently a corruption of Muscovite; just as the Tuscaroras are
undoubtedly of Italian descent, the founders of their tribe having, of
course, come over from Tuscany.

And a seventh (who did things on a large scale) could not possibly give
his attention to a ball or anything else, till he had finished a work
which would convince the world that the whole Atlantic Ocean was once
land, and that the whole American continent was once water.

To be brief, the number of young men who were in favour of the ball was
so very limited, that it seemed impossible to get one up in a manner
approaching to the style of former years. And the gentlemen, feeling a
sort of consciousness that they were not exactly in their duty, became
more remiss than ever in visiting the ladies.

It was now the week before Christmas: the ladies, being in hourly
expectation of receiving their cards, had already begun to prepare; and
flowers, feathers, ribands, and laces were in great activity. Still no
invitations came. It was now conjectured that the ball was, for some
extraordinary reason, to be deferred till New Year's. But what this
reason was, the ladies (being all in a state of pique) had too much
pride to inquire.

The gentlemen begun to feel a little ashamed; and Gordon Fitzsimmons had
nearly prevailed on them to agree to a New Year's ball, when Apesley
Sappington (who had recently returned from England in a coat by Stultz,
and boots by Hoby) threw a damp on the whole business, by averring that,
with the exception of Miss Lucinda Mandeville, who was certainly a
splendid woman with a splendid fortune, there was not a lady in the
whole circle worth favouring with a ball ticket. At least so they
appeared to him, after seeing Lady Caroline Percy, and Lady Augusta
Howard, and Lady Georgiana Beauclerck. Mr. Sappington did not explain
that his only view of these fair blossoms of nobility had been
circumscribed to such glimpses as he could catch of them while he stood
in the street among a crowd assembled in front of Devonshire House, to
gaze on the company through the windows, which in London are always open
on gala nights. He assured his friends that all the ladies of the
American aristocracy had a sort of _parvenue_ air, and looked as if they
had passed their lives east of Temple Bar; and that he knew not a single
one of them that would be presentable at Almack's: always excepting Miss
Lucinda Mandeville.

The gentlemen _savans_ knew Apesley Sappington to be a coxcomb, and in
their own minds did not believe him; but still they thought it scarcely
worth while to allow their favourite pursuits to be interrupted for the
sake of giving a ball to ladies that _might_ be unpresentable at
Almack's, and that _possibly_ looked like _parvenues_ from the east side
of Temple Bar.

The belles, though much disappointed at the failure of the expected
fête, proudly determined not to advert to the subject by the remotest
hint in presence of the beaux; carefully avoiding even to mention the
word cotillion when a gentleman was by. One young lady left off wishing
that Taglioni would come to America, the name of that celebrated
_artiste_ being synonymous with dancing; and another checked herself
when about to inquire of her sister if she had seen a missing ball of
silk, because the word ball was not to be uttered before one of the male
sex.

Things were in this uncomfortable state, when Miss Lucinda Mandeville,
the belle _par excellence_, gave a turn to them which we shall relate,
after presenting our readers with a sketch of the lady herself.

Miss Mandeville was very beautiful, very accomplished, and very rich,
and had just completed her twenty-second year. Her parents being dead,
she presided over an elegant mansion in the most fashionable part of the
city, having invited an excellent old lady, a distant relation of the
family, to reside with her. Mrs. Danforth, however, was but nominally
the companion of Miss Mandeville, being so entirely absorbed in books
that it was difficult to get her out of the library.

The hand of Miss Mandeville had been sought openly by one-half the
gentlemen that boasted the honour of her acquaintance, and it had been
hinted at by the other half, with the exception of Gordon Fitzsimmons, a
young attorney of highly promising talents, whose ambition would have
led him to look forward to the probability of arriving at the summit of
his profession, but whose rise was, as yet, somewhat impeded by several
very singular notions: such, for instance, as that a lawyer should never
plead against his conscience, and never undertake what he knows to be
the wrong side of a cause.

Another of his peculiarities was a strange idea that no gentleman should
ever condescend to be under pecuniary obligations to his
wife--ergo--that a man who has nothing himself, should never marry a
woman that has anything. This last consideration had induced Mr.
Fitzsimmons to undertake the Herculean task of steeling his heart, and
setting his face against the attractions of Miss Mandeville, with all
her advantages of mind and person. Notwithstanding, therefore, that her
conversation was always delightful to him, he rarely visited her, except
when invited with other company.

Lucinda Mandeville, who, since the age of sixteen, had been surrounded
by admirers, and accustomed to all the adulation that is generally
lavished on a beauty and an heiress, was surprised at the apparent
coldness of Gordon Fitzsimmons, than whom she had never met with a young
man more congenial to her taste. His manifest indifference continually
attracted her attention, and, after awhile, she began to suspect that it
was no indifference at all, and that something else lurked beneath it.
What that was, the sagacity of her sex soon enabled her to discover.

Fitzsimmons never urged Lucinda to play, never handed her to the piano,
never placed her harp for her, never turned over the leaves of her music
book; but she always perceived that though he affected to mingle with
the groups that stood round as listeners, he uniformly took a position
from whence he could see her to advantage all the time. When she
happened to glance towards him, which, it must be confessed, she did
much oftener than she intended (particularly when she came to the finest
passage of her song), she never failed to find his eyes fixed on her
face with a gaze of involuntary admiration, that, when they met, was
instantly changed to an averted look of indifference.

Though he was scrupulous in dancing with her once only in the course of
the evening, she could not but perceive that, during this set, his
countenance, in spite of himself, lighted up with even more than its
usual animation. And if she accidentally turned her head, she saw that
his eyes were following her every motion: as well indeed they might, for
she danced with the lightness of a sylph, and the elegance of a lady.

Notwithstanding his own acknowledged taste for everything connected with
the fine arts, Fitzsimmons never asked to see Miss Mandeville's
drawings. But she observed that after she had been showing them to
others, and he supposed her attention to be elsewhere engaged, he failed
not to take them up, and gaze on them as if he found it difficult to lay
them down again.

In conversation, he never risked a compliment to Miss Mandeville, but
often dissented with her opinion, and frequently rallied her.--Yet when
she was talking to any one else, he always contrived to be within
hearing; and frequently, when engaged himself in conversing with others,
he involuntarily stopped short to listen to what Lucinda was saying.

Miss Mandeville had read much, and seen much, and had had much love
made to her: but her heart had never, till now, been touched even
slightly. That Fitzsimmons admired her, she could not possibly doubt:
and that he loved her, she would have been equally certain, only that he
continued all the time in excellent health and spirits; that, so far
from sitting "like patience on a monument," he seldom sat anywhere; that
when he smiled (which he did very often) it was evidently not at grief;
and that the concealment he affected, was assuredly not feeding on his
cheek, which, so far from turning "green and yellow," had lost nothing
of its "natural ruby."

Neither was our heroine at all likely to die for love. Though there
seemed no prospect of his coming to a proposal, and though she was
sometimes assured by the youngest and prettiest of her female friends,
that they knew from authentic sources that Mr. Fitzsimmons had
magnanimously declared against marrying a woman of fortune; yet other
ladies, who were neither young nor handsome, and had no hope of Mr.
Fitzsimmons for themselves, were so kind as to convince Miss Mandeville
that he admired her even at "the very top of admiration." And these
generous and disinterested ladies were usually, after such agreeable
communications, invited by Miss Mandeville to pass the evening with her.

Also--our heroine chanced one day to overhear a conversation between
Dora, her own maid, and another mulatto girl; in which Dora averred to
her companion that she had heard from no less authority than Squire
Fitzsimmons's man Cato, "who always wore a blue coat, be the colour what
it may, that the squire was dead in love with Miss Lucinda, as might be
seen from many invisible _symptoms_, and that both Dora and Cato had a
certain _foregiving_ that it would turn out a match at last, for all
that the lady had the money on her side, which, to be sure, was rather
unnatural; and that the wedding might be looked for _momently_, any
minute."

In the course of the next quarter of an hour, Miss Lucinda called Dora
into her dressing-room, and presented her with a little Thibet shawl,
which she had worn but once. Dora grinned understandingly: and from that
time she contrived to be overheard so frequently in similar
conversations, that much of the effect was diminished.

To resume the thread of our narrative--Lucinda being one morning on a
visit to her friend Miss Delwin, the latter adverted to the failure of
the annual dancing party.

"What would the beaux say," exclaimed Lucinda, struck with a sudden
idea, "if the belles were to give a ball to _them_, by way of hinting
our sense of their extraordinary remissness? Let us convince them that,
according to the luminous and incontrovertible aphorism of the renowned
Sam Patch, 'some things may be done as well as others.'"

"Excellent," replied Miss Delwin; "the thought is well worth pursuing.
Let us try what we can make of it."

The two young ladies then proceeded to an animated discussion of the
subject, and the more they talked of it, the better they liked it. They
very soon moulded the idea into regular form: and, as there was no time
to be lost, they set out to call on several of their friends, and
mention it to them.

The idea, novel as it seemed, was seized on with avidity by all to whom
it was suggested, and a secret conclave was held on the following
morning at Miss Mandeville's house, where the ladies debated with closed
doors, while the plan was organized and the particulars arranged: our
heroine proposing much that she thought would "point the moral and adorn
the tale."

Next day, notes of invitation to a ball given by the ladies, were sent
round to the gentlemen; all of whom were surprised, and many mortified,
for they at once saw the motive, and understood the implied reproof.
Some protested that they should never have courage to go, and talked of
declining the invitation. But the majority decided on accepting it,
justly concluding that it was best to carry the thing off with a good
grace; and having, besides, much curiosity to see how the ladies would
_conduct_, if we may be pardoned a Yankeeism.

Fitzsimmons declared that the delinquent beaux were rightly punished by
this palpable hit of the belles. And he congratulated himself on having
always voted in favour of the ball being given as formerly: secretly
hoping that Miss Mandeville knew that _he_ had not been one of the
backsliders. We are tolerably sure that she _did_ know it.

Eventually the invitations were all accepted, and the preparations went
secretly but rapidly on, under the superintendence of Miss Mandeville
and Miss Delwin. In the mean time, the gentlemen, knowing that they all
looked conscious and foolish, avoided the ladies, and kept themselves as
much out of their sight as possible; with the exception of Gordon
Fitzsimmons, he being the only one that felt freedom to "wear his beaver
up."

At length the eventful evening arrived. It had been specified in the
notes that the ladies were to meet the gentlemen at the ball-room, which
was a public one engaged for the occasion. Accordingly, the beaux found
all the belles there before them: the givers of the _fête_ having gone
in their own conveyances, an hour in advance of the time appointed for
their guests.

The six ladies that officiated as managers (and were all distinguished
by a loop of blue riband drawn through their belts) met the gentlemen at
the door as they entered the ball-room, and taking their hands,
conducted them to their seats with much mock civility. The gentlemen,
though greatly ashamed, tried in vain to look grave.

The room was illuminated with astral lamps, whose silver rays shone out
from clusters of blue and purple flowers, and with crystal chandeliers,
whose pendent drops sparkled amid festoons of roses. The walls were
painted of a pale and beautiful cream colour. Curtains of the richest
crimson, relieved by their masses of shadow the brilliant lightness of
the other decorations: their deep silken fringes reflected in the
mirrors, whose polished surfaces were partially hidden by folds of their
graceful drapery. The orchestra represented a splendid oriental tent;
and the musicians were habited in uniform Turkish dresses, their white
turbans strikingly contrasting their black faces.

At the opposite end of the room was an excellent transparency, executed
by an artist from a sketch by Miss Mandeville. It depicted a medley of
scenery and figures, but so skilfully and tastefully arranged as to have
a very fine effect when viewed as a whole. There was a Virginian lady
assisting her cavalier to mount his horse--a Spanish damsel under the
lattice of her lover, serenading him with a guitar--a Swiss _paysanne_
supporting the steps of a chamois hunter as he timidly clambered up a
rock--four Hindoo women carrying a Bramin in a palanquin--an English
girl rowing a sailor in a boat--and many other anomalies of a similar
description. Beneath the picture was a scroll fancifully ornamented, and
containing the words "_Le monde renversé_."

That nothing might be wanting to the effect of the ball, the ladies had
made a point of appearing this evening in dresses unusually splendid and
_recherché_. The elegant form of Lucinda Mandeville was attired in a
rich purple satin, bordered with gold embroidery, and trimmed round the
neck with blond lace. Long full sleeves of the same material threw
their transparent shade over her beautiful arms, and were confined at
intervals with bands of pearls clasped with amethysts. A chain of pearls
was arranged above the curls of her dark and glossy hair, crossing at
the back of her head, and meeting in front, where it terminated in a
splendid amethyst aigrette. Three short white feathers, tastefully
disposed at intervals, completed the coiffure, which was peculiarly
becoming to the noble and resplendent style of beauty that distinguished
our heroine; though to a little slight woman with light hair and eyes,
it would have been exactly the contrary.

"Did you ever see so princess-like a figure as Miss Mandeville?" said
young Rainsford to Gordon Fitzsimmons, "or features more finely
chiselled?"

"I have never seen a princess," replied Fitzsimmons, "but from what I
have heard, few of them look in reality as a princess should. Neither, I
think, does the word _chiselled_ apply exactly to features, formed by a
hand beside whose noble and beautiful creations the finest _chef
d'oeuvres_ of sculpture are as nothing. I like not to hear of the
human face being _well cut_ or _finely chiselled_: though these
expressions have long been sanctioned by the currency of fashion. Why
borrow from art a term, or terms, that so imperfectly defines the beauty
of nature? When we look at a living face, with features more lovely than
the imagination of an artist has ever conceived, or at a complexion
blooming with health, and eyes sparkling with intelligence, why should
our delight and our admiration be disturbed, by admitting any idea
connected with a block of marble and the instruments that form it into
shape?"

"But you must allow," said Rainsford, "that Miss Mandeville has a fine
classic head."

"I acknowledge," said Fitzsimmons, "the graceful contour of the heads
called classic. On this side of the Atlantic we have few opportunities
of judging of antique sculpture, except from casts and engravings. But
as to the faces of the nymphs and goddesses of Grecian art, I must
venture to confess that they do not exactly comport with my ideas of
female loveliness. Not to speak of their almost unvarying sameness (an
evidence, I think, that they are not modelled from life, for nature
never repeats herself), their chief characteristics are a cold
regularity of outline, and an insipid straightness of nose and forehead,
such as in a living countenance would be found detrimental to all
expression. I know I am talking heresy: but I cannot divest myself of
the persuasion, that a face with precisely the features that we are
accustomed to admire in antique statuary, would, if clothed in flesh and
blood, be scarcely considered beautiful."

"Perhaps so," said Rainsford; "but you surely consider Miss Mandeville
beautiful?"

"The beauty of Lucinda Mandeville," replied Fitzsimmons, "is not that of
a Grecian statue. It is the beauty of an elegant American lady, uniting
all the best points of her countrywomen. Her figure is symmetry itself,
and there is an ease, a grace, a dignity in her movements, which I have
never seen surpassed. Her features are lovely in their form and charming
in their expression, particularly her fine black eyes: and her
complexion is unrivalled both in its bloom and its delicacy."

"What a pity that Lucinda does not hear all this!" remarked Miss Delwin,
who happened to be near Fitzsimmons and his friend.

Fitzsimmons coloured, fearing that he had spoken with too much warmth:
and, bowing to Miss Delwin, he took the arm of Rainsford, and went to
another part of the room.

Miss Delwin, however, lost no time in finding Lucinda, and repeated the
whole, verbatim, to her highly gratified friend, who tried to look
indifferent, but blushed and smiled all the time she was listening: and
who, from this moment, felt a sensible accession to her usual excellent
spirits.

"Ladies," said Miss Delwin, "choose your partners for a cotillion."

For a few moments the ladies hesitated, and held back at the idea of so
novel a beginning to the ball: and Fitzsimmons, much amused, made a sign
to his friends not to advance. Miss Mandeville came forward with a smile
on her lips, and a blush on her cheeks. The heart of Fitzsimmons beat
quick; but she passed him, and curtsying to young Colesberry, who was
just from college, and extremely diffident, she requested the honour of
his hand, and led him, with as much composure as she could assume, to a
cotillion that was forming in the centre of the room; he shrinking and
apologizing all the while. And Miss Delwin engaged Fitzsimmons.

In a short time, all the ladies had provided themselves with partners.
At first, from the singularity of their mutual situation, both beaux and
belles felt themselves under considerable embarrassment, but gradually
this awkwardness wore away, and an example being set by the master
spirits of the assembly, there was much pleasantry on either side; all
being determined to humour the jest, and sustain it throughout with as
good a grace as possible.

When the cotillions were forming for the second set, nearly a dozen
young ladies found themselves simultaneously approaching Gordon
Fitzsimmons, each with the design of engaging him as a partner. And this
_empressement_ was not surprising, as he was decidedly the handsomest
and most elegant man in the room.

"Well, ladies," said Fitzsimmons, as they almost surrounded him, "you
must decide among yourselves which of you is to take me out. All I can
do is to stand still and be passive. But I positively interdict any
quarrelling about me."

"We have heard," said Miss Atherley, "of men dying of love, dying of
grief, and dying from fear of death. We are now trying if it is not
possible to make them die of vanity."

"True," replied Fitzsimmons, "we may say with Harry the Fifth at
Agincourt--'He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,'"--"'Will
stand a-tiptoe when this day is named,'"--added Miss Atherley, finishing
the quotation.

Fitzsimmons did not reply; for his attention was at that moment engaged
by seeing Miss Manderville leading out Apesley Sappington, and
apparently much diverted with his absurdities.

"Ladies," said Miss Atherley, looking round to her companions, "let us
try a fair chance of Mr. Fitzsimmons--suppose we draw lots for him."

"Do--by all means," exclaimed Fitzsimmons. "Set me up at a raffle."

"No," replied Miss Atherley, "we cannot conveniently raffle for you, as
we have no dice at hand. Another way will do as well."

She then plucked from her bouquet some green rose-leaves, and half
concealing them between her fingers, she offered the stems to each of
her companions in turn, saying--"Whoever draws the largest rose-leaf may
claim the honour of Mr. Fitzsimmons's hand for the next set."

The lots were drawn, and the largest rose-leaf remained with Miss
Atherley (who was a young lady of much beauty and vivacity), and whom
her friends laughingly accused of foul play in contriving to hold it
back, in which opinion Fitzsimmons assured them that he perfectly
coincided. But Miss Atherley, however, led him triumphantly to the
cotillion which, fortunately for his partner, did not happen to be the
one in which Lucinda Mandeville was engaged.

At the conclusion of each set, the ladies conducted the gentlemen to
their seats, assisted them to the refreshments that were handed round,
and stood by and fanned them. Most of the gentlemen took all this very
well, but others were much disconcerted: particularly a grave
knight-errant-looking Spaniard, who (having but lately arrived, and
understanding the language but imperfectly) conceived that it was the
custom in America for ladies to give balls to gentlemen, and to wait on
them during the evening. In this error he was mischievously allowed to
continue: but so much was his gallantry shocked, that he could not
forbear dropping on his knees to receive the attentions that were
assiduously proffered to him: bowing gratefully on the fair hands that
presented him with a glass of orgeat or a plate of ice-cream.--And he
was so overcome with the honour, and so deeply penetrated with a sense
of his own unworthiness, when Lucinda Mandeville invited him to dance
with her, that she almost expected to see him perform kotou, and knock
his head nine times against the floor.

Among others of the company was Colonel Kingswood, a very agreeable
bachelor, long past the meridian of life, but not quite old enough to
marry a young girl, his mind, as yet, showing no symptoms of dotage. His
fortune was not sufficient to make him an object of speculation, and
though courteous to all, his attentions were addressed exclusively to
none. He was much liked by his young friends of both sexes, all of them
feeling perfectly at ease in his society. Though he rarely danced, he
was very fond of balls, and had participated in the vexation of Gordon
Fitzsimmons when the beaux had declined giving their Christmas fête to
the belles.

In an interval between the sets, Lucinda suggested to a group of her
fair companions, the propriety of asking Colonel Kingswood to dance; a
compliment that he had not as yet received during the evening. "You
know," said she, "the Colonel sometimes dances, and now that the ladies
have assumed the privilege of choosing their partners, courtesy requires
that none of the gentlemen should be neglected."

But each declined asking Colonel Kingswood, on the plea that they had
other partners in view.

"For my part," said Miss Ormond, frankly, "I am just going to ask Mr.
Wyndham. This is, perhaps, the only chance I shall ever have of dancing
with him, as I am quite certain he will never ask _me_."

"But, my dear Lucinda," said Miss Elgrove, "why not invite Colonel
Kingswood yourself? There he is, talking to Mr. Fitzsimmons, near the
central window. It is not magnanimous to propose to others what you are
unwilling to do in _propriâ personâ_."

Lucinda had, in reality, but one objection to proposing herself as a
partner to Colonel Kingswood, and that was, his being just then engaged
in conversation with Gordon Fitzsimmons, whom she felt a sort of
conscious reluctance to approach. However, she paused a moment, and then
summoned courage to join the two gentlemen and proffer her request to
the Colonel, even though Fitzsimmons was close at hand.

"My dear Miss Mandeville," said Colonel Kingswood, "I confess that I
have not courage to avail myself of your very tempting proposal. As my
fighting days are now over, I cannot stand the shot of the jealous eyes
that will be directed at me from every part of the ball-room."

"I have seen you dance," remarked Lucinda, evading the application of
his compliment.

"True," replied the Colonel, "but you might have observed that I never
take out the _young_ ladies--always being so considerate as to leave
them to the young gentlemen. I carry my disinterestedness so far as
invariably to select partners that are _ni jeune, ni jolie_:
notwithstanding the remarks I frequently hear about well-matched pairs,
&c."

"I am to understand, then," said Lucinda, "that you are mortifying me by
a refusal."

"Come, now, be honest," returned Colonel Kingswood, "and change the word
'mortify' into _gratify_. But do not turn away. It is customary, you
know, when a man is drawn for the militia and is unwilling to serve, to
allow him to choose a substitute. Here then is mine. Advance, Mr.
Fitzsimmons, and with such a partner I shall expect to see you 'rise
from the ground like feather'd Mercury.'"

Fitzsimmons came forward with sparkling eyes and a heightened colour,
and offered his hand to Lucinda, whose face was suffused even to the
temples. There were a few moments of mutual confusion, and neither party
uttered a word till they had reached the cotillion. The music commenced
as soon as they had taken their places, and Lucinda being desired by her
opposite lady to lead, there was no immediate conversation.

Our heroine called up all her pride, all her self-command, and all her
native buoyancy of spirits; Fitzsimmons did the same, and they managed
in the intervals of the dance to talk with so much vivacity, that each
was convinced that their secret was still preserved from the other.

When the set was over, they returned to the place in which they had left
Colonel Kingswood, who received them with a smile.

"Well, Miss Mandeville," said he, "what pretty things have you been
saying to your partner?"

"Ask Mr. Fitzsimmons," replied Lucinda.

"Not a single compliment could I extract from her," said Fitzsimmons;
"she had not even the grace to imply her gratitude for doing me the
honour of dancing with me, or rather, for my doing her the honour. Ah!
that is it--is it not? I forgot the present mode of expression. It is so
difficult for one night only to get out of the old phraseology. But she
certainly expressed no gratitude."

"I owed you none," replied Lucinda; "for, like Malvolio, you have had
greatness thrust upon you. You know you are only Colonel Kingswood's
substitute."

"Well," resumed Fitzsimmons, "have I not done my best to make 'the
substitute shine brightly as the king?'"

"Recollect that the king is now by," said Colonel Kingswood. "But, Miss
Mandeville, you must go through your part. Consider that to-night is the
only opportunity the gentlemen may ever have of hearing how adroitly the
ladies can flatter them."

"It is not in the bond," replied Lucinda.

"What is not?"

"That the ladies should flatter the gentlemen."

"Excuse me," said Colonel Kingswood; "the ladies having voluntarily
taken the responsibility, the gentlemen must insist on their going
regularly through the whole ball with all its accompaniments, including
compliments, flattery, and flirtation, and a seasoning of genuine
courtship, of which last article there is always more or less at every
large party. And as it appears that Miss Mandeville has not faithfully
done her part during the dance, she must make amends by doing it now."

"On the latter subject," said Fitzsimmons, "Miss Mandeville can need no
prompting. Her own experience must have made her familiar with courtship
in all its varieties."

"Of course,"--resumed the Colonel.--"So, Miss Mandeville, you can be at
no loss in what manner to begin."

"And am I to stand here and be courted?" said Fitzsimmons.

"Now do not be frightened," observed the Colonel, "and do not look round
as if you were meditating an escape. I will stand by and see how you
acquit yourself in this new and delightful situation. Come, Miss
Mandeville, begin."

"What sort of courtship will you have?" said Lucinda, who could not
avoid laughing. "The sentimental, the prudential, or the downright?"

"The downright, by all means," cried the Colonel. "No, no," said
Fitzsimmons; "let me hear the others first. The downright would be too
overwhelming without a previous preparation."

Lucinda affected to hide her face with a feather that had fallen from
her head during the dance, and which she still held in her hand, and she
uttered hesitatingly and with downcast eyes--

"If I could hope to be pardoned for my temerity in thus presuming to
address one whose manifest perfections so preponderate in the scale,
when weighed against my own demerits--"

"Oh! stop, stop!" exclaimed Fitzsimmons; "this will never do!"

"Why, it is just the way a poor young fellow courted me last summer,"
replied Lucinda. "Come, let me go on. Conscious as I am that I might as
well 'love a bright and particular star, and think to wed it--'"

"You will never succeed in that strain," said Fitzsimmons, laughing.
"You must try another."

"Well, then," continued Lucinda, changing her tone, "here is the
prudential mode. Mr. Gordon Fitzsimmons, thinking it probable (though I
speak advisedly) that you may have no objection to change your
condition, and believing (though perhaps I may be mistaken) that we are
tolerably well suited to each other--I being my own mistress, and you
being your own master--perceiving no great disparity of age, or
incompatibility of temper--"

"I like not this mode either," interrupted Fitzsimmons; "it is worse
than the other."

"Do you think so?" resumed Lucinda. "It is just the way a rich old
fellow courted me last winter."

"Nothing is more likely," said Fitzsimmons. "But neither of these modes
will succeed with me."

"Then," observed the Colonel, "there is nothing left but the plain
downright."

"Mr. Fitzsimmons, will you marry me?" said Lucinda.

"With all my heart and soul," replied Fitzsimmons, taking her hand.

"Oh! you forget yourself," exclaimed Lucinda, struggling to withdraw it.
"You are not half so good a comedian as I am. You should look down, and
play with your guard-chain; and then look up, and tell me you are
perfectly happy in your single state--that marriage is a lottery--that
our acquaintance has been too slight for either of us to form a correct
opinion of the other. In short, you should say _no_."

"By heavens!" exclaimed Fitzsimmons, kissing her beautiful hand; "I
cannot say no--even in jest."

Lucinda's first sensation was involuntary delight. But in a moment she
was startled by the conviction that she had unthinkingly gone too far.
The native delicacy of woman thrilled every nerve in her frame, and her
cheeks varied alternately from red to pale. Shocked at the length to
which she had inadvertently carried a dialogue begun in _badinage_, and
confused, mortified, and distressed at its result, she forcibly
disengaged her hand from that of Fitzsimmons, and turning to a lady and
gentleman that she saw passing, she said she would accompany them to the
other end of the room. Arrived there, she seated herself in the midst of
a group that were warmly engaged in discussing the comparative merits of
Spanish dances and Polish dances: and she endeavoured to collect her
scattered thoughts, and compose the flutter of her spirits. But it was
in vain--the more she reflected on the little scene that had just taken
place, the more she regretted it.

"What must Fitzsimmons think of me?" was her predominant idea. "His
gallantry as a gentleman prompted his reply, but still how sadly I must
have sunk in his opinion! That I should have allowed myself to be drawn
into such a conversation! That I should have carried a foolish jest so
far! But I will punish myself severely. I will expiate my folly by
avoiding all farther intercourse with Gordon Fitzsimmons; and from this
night we must become strangers to each other."

The change in Lucinda's countenance and manner was now so obvious that
several of her friends asked her if she was ill. To these questions she
answered in the negative: but her cheeks grew paler, and the tears
sprang to her eyes.

Miss Delwin now approached, and said to her in a low voice--"My dear
Lucinda, I perceive that you are suffering under some _contre-tems_; but
such things, you know, are always incidental to balls, and all other
assemblages where every one expects unqualified delight. We should be
prepared for these contingencies, and when they do occur, the only
alternative is to try to pass them over as well as we can, by making an
effort to rally our spirits so as to get through the remainder of the
evening with apparent composure, or else to plead indisposition and go
home. Which course will you take?"

"Oh! how gladly would I retire!" exclaimed Lucinda, scarcely able to
restrain her tears. "But were I to do so, there are persons who might
put strange constructions--or rather the company might be induced to
make invidious remarks--"

"By no means," interrupted Miss Delwin. "A lady may at any time be
overcome with the heat and fatigue of a ball-room--nothing is more
common."

"But," said Lucinda, "were I to leave the company--were I to appear as
if unable to stay--were I to evince so much emotion--he would, indeed,
suppose me in earnest."

"He!" cried Miss Delwin, looking surprised. "Of whom are you speaking,
dear Lucinda? Who is it that would suppose you in earnest?"

"No matter," replied Lucinda, "I spoke inadvertently; I forgot myself; I
knew not what I was saying."

"Dearest Lucinda," exclaimed Miss Delwin, "I am extremely sorry to find
you so discomposed. What can have happened? At a more convenient time,
may I hope that you will tell me?"

"Oh! no, no," replied Lucinda, "it is impossible. I cannot speak of it
even to you. Ask me no further. I am distressed, humiliated, shocked at
myself (and she covered her face with her hands). But I cannot talk
about it, now or ever."

"Lucinda, my dear Lucinda," said Miss Delwin, "your agitation will be
observed."

"Then I must endeavour to suppress it," replied Lucinda, starting up. "I
_must_ stay till this unfortunate ball is over; my going home would seem
too pointed."

"Let me then intreat you, my dear girl," said Miss Delwin, "to exert
yourself to appear as usual. Come, take my arm, and we will go and talk
nonsense to Apesley Sappington."

Lucinda did make an effort to resume her usual vivacity. But it was
evidently forced. She relapsed continually: and she resembled an actress
that is one moment playing with her wonted spirit, and the next moment
forgetting her part.

"So," said Colonel Kingswood to Fitzsimmons, after Lucinda had left them
together, "I am to infer that you are are really in love with Miss
Mandeville?"

"Ardently--passionately--and I long to tell her so in earnest," replied
Fitzsimmons; and he took up the feather that Lucinda in her agitation
had dropped from her hand.

"Of course, then, you will make your proposal to-morrow morning," said
the colonel.

"No," replied Fitzsimmons, concealing the feather within the breast of
his coat. "I cannot so wound her delicacy. I see that she is
disconcerted at the little scene into which we inadvertently drew her,
and alarmed at the idea that perhaps she allowed herself to go too far.
I respect her feelings, and I will spare them. But to me she has long
been the most charming woman in existence."

"What, then," inquired the colonel, "has retarded the disclosure of your
secret, if secret it may be called?"

"Her superiority in point of fortune," replied Fitzsimmons. "You know
the small amount of property left me by my father, and that in my
profession I am as yet but a beginner; though I must own that my
prospects of success are highly encouraging. To say nothing of my
repugnance to reversing the usual order of the married state, and
drawing the chief part of our expenditure from the money of my wife, how
could I expect to convince her that my motives in seeking her hand were
otherwise than mercenary?"

"Are they?" said Colonel Kingswood, with a half smile.

"No, on my soul they are not," replied Fitzsimmons, earnestly. "Were our
situations reversed, I would, without a moment's hesitation, lay all
that I possessed at her feet, and think myself the most honoured, the
most fortunate of men if I could obtain a gem whose intrinsic value
requires not the aid of a gold setting."

"Do you suppose, then," said Colonel Kingswood, "that a lovely and
elegant woman like Miss Lucinda Mandeville can have so humble an opinion
of herself as to suppose that she owes all her admirers to her wealth,
and that there is nothing attractive about her but her bank-stock and
her houses?"

"Since I first knew Miss Mandeville," replied Fitzsimmons, "I have
secretly cherished the hope of being one day worthy of her acceptance.
And this hope has incited me to be doubly assiduous in my profession,
with the view of ultimately acquiring both wealth and distinction. And
when I have made a name, as well as a fortune, I shall have no scruples
in offering myself to her acceptance."

"And before all this is accomplished," observed the colonel, "some lucky
fellow, with a ready-made fortune, and a ready-made name, or, more
probably, some bold adventurer with neither, may fearlessly step in and
carry off the prize."

"There is madness in the thought!" exclaimed Fitzsimmons, putting his
hand to his forehead.

"Did it never strike you before?" inquired the colonel.

"It has, it has," cried Fitzsimmons; "a thousand times has it passed
like a dark cloud over the sunshine of my hopes."

"Take my advice," said the colonel, "and address Miss Mandeville at
once."

"Fool that I was!" exclaimed Fitzsimmons, "how could I be so utterly
absurd--so devoid of all tact, as to reply to her unguarded _badinage_
in a tone of reality! No wonder she looked so disconcerted, so shocked.
At this moment, how she must hate me!"

"I am not so sure of that," observed the colonel; "but take my advice,
and let the _etourderie_ of this evening be repaired by the opening it
affords you of disclosing your real feelings to the object of your
love."

"I cannot," replied Fitzsimmons, "I cannot, after what has passed, run
the risk of giving farther offence to her delicacy."

"Her delicacy," remarked the colonel, "may be more deeply offended by
your delaying the disclosure. But we must separate for the present. If
Miss Mandeville sees us talking together so earnestly, she may justly
suppose herself the object of discussion."

The two gentlemen parted; and Fitzsimmons, feeling it impossible to
speak to Lucinda again that evening, and having no inclination to talk
to any one else, withdrew from the ball, and passed two hours in
traversing his own room.

After the departure of her lover, Lucinda felt more at her ease;
particularly as Colonel Kingswood was so considerate as to avoid
approaching her. During the remainder of the evening, she exerted
herself with such success as to recall a portion of her natural
sprightliness, and of the habitual self-command that she had acquired
from living in the world of fashion.

Supper was announced. The ladies, persisting in their assumed
characters, conducted the gentlemen to the table, where the profusion
and variety of the delicacies that composed the feast, could only be
equalled by the taste and elegance with which they were decorated and
arranged. The belles filled the plates of the beaux, and poured out the
wine for them; and many pretty things were said about ambrosia and
nectar.

At the conclusion of the banquet, the band in the orchestra, on a signal
from some of the gentlemen, struck up the symphony to a favourite air
that chiefly owes its popularity to the words with which Moore has
introduced it into his melodies; and "To ladies' eyes a round, boys,"
was sung in concert by all the best male voices in the room. The song
went off with much eclat, and made a pleasant conclusion to the evening.

After the belles had curtsied out the beaux, and retired to the
cloak-room to equip themselves for their departure, they found the
gentlemen all waiting to see them to their carriages, and assist in
escorting them home: declaring that as the play was over, and the
curtain dropped, they must be allowed to resume their real characters.

When Lucinda Mandeville arrived at her own house, and found herself
alone in her dressing-room, all the smothered emotions of the evening
burst forth without restraint, and leaning her head on the arm of the
sofa, she indulged in a long fit of tears before she proceeded to take
off her ornaments. But when she went to her psyche for that purpose, she
could not help feeling that hers was not a face and figure to be seen
with indifference, and that in all probability the unguarded warmth with
which Fitzsimmons had replied to her mock courtship, was only the
genuine ebullition of a sincere and ardent passion.

It was long before she could compose herself to sleep, and her dreams
were entirely of the ball and of Fitzsimmons. When she arose next
morning, she determined to remain all day up stairs, and to see no
visiters; rejoicing that the fatigue of the preceding evening would
probably keep most of her friends at home.

About noon, Gordon Fitzsimmons, who had counted the moments till then,
sent up his card with a pencilled request to see Miss Mandeville.
Terrified, agitated, and feeling as if she never again could raise her
eyes to his face, or open her lips in his presence, Lucinda's first
thought was to reply that she was indisposed, but she checked herself
from sending him such a message, first, because it was not exactly the
truth, and secondly, lest he should suppose that the cause of her
illness might have some reference to himself. She therefore desired the
servant simply to tell Mr. Fitzsimmons that Miss Mandeville could
receive no visiters that day.

But Fitzsimmons was not now to be put off. He had been shown into one of
the parlours, and going to the writing-case on the centre-table, he took
a sheet of paper, and addressed to her an epistle expressing in the most
ardent terms his admiration and his love, and concluding with the hope
that she would grant him an interview. There was not, of course, the
slightest allusion to the events of the preceding evening. The letter
was conceived with as much delicacy as warmth, and highly elevated the
writer in the opinion of the reader. Still, she hesitated whether to see
him or not. Her heart said yes--but her pride said no. And at length she
most heroically determined to send him a written refusal, not only of
the interview but of himself, that in case he should have dared to
presume that the unfortunate scene at the ball could possibly have meant
anything more than a jest, so preposterous an idea might be banished
from his mind for ever.

In this spirit she commenced several replies to his letter, but found it
impossible to indite them in such terms as to satisfy herself; and,
after wasting half a dozen sheets of paper with unsuccessful beginnings,
she committed them all to the fire. Finally, she concluded that she
could explain herself more effectually in a personal interview, whatever
embarrassment the sight of him might occasion her. But not being able at
this time to summon courage to meet him face to face, she sent down a
note of three lines, informing Mr. Fitzsimmons that she would see him in
the evening at seven o'clock.

Several of Lucinda's friends called to talk about the ball, but she
excused herself from seeing them, and passed the remainder of the day up
stairs, in one long thought of Fitzsimmons, and in dwelling on the
painful idea that the avowal of his sentiments had, in all probability,
been elicited by her indiscretion of the preceding evening. "But," said
she to herself, "I will steadily persist in declining his addresses; I
will positively refuse him, for unless I do so, I never can recover my
own self-respect. I will make this sacrifice to delicacy, and even then
I shall never cease to regret my folly in having allowed myself to be
carried so far in the thoughtless levity of the moment."

Being thus firmly resolved on dismissing her admirer, it is not to be
supposed that Lucinda could attach the smallest consequence to looking
well that evening, during what she considered their final interview.
Therefore we must, of course, attribute to accident the length of time
she spent in considering which she should wear of two new silk dresses;
one being of the colour denominated _ashes of roses_--the other of the
tint designated as _monkey's sighs_. Though ashes of roses seemed
emblematic of an extinguished flame, yet monkey's sighs bore more direct
reference to a rejected lover, which, perhaps, was the reason that she
finally decided on it. There was likewise a considerable demur about a
canezou and a pelerine, but eventually the latter carried the day. And
it was long, also, before she could determine on the most becoming style
of arranging her hair, wavering between plaits and braids. At last the
braids had it.

Mr. Fitzsimmons was announced a quarter before seven, his watch being
undoubtedly too fast. Lucinda came down in ill-concealed perturbation,
repeating to herself, as she descended the stairs, "Yes--my rejection of
him shall be positive--and my adherence to it firm and inexorable."

Whether it was so we will not presume to say, but this much is
certain--that in a month from that time the delinquent gentlemen made
the _amende honorable_ by giving the ladies a most splendid ball, at
which the _ci-devant_ Miss Mandeville and Mr. Gordon Fitzsimmons made
their first appearance in public as bride and bridegroom, to the great
delight of Colonel Kingswood.



THE RED BOX,

OR,

SCENES AT THE GENERAL WAYNE.

A TALE.

    ----"Just of the same piece
    Is every flatterer's spirit."--SHAKSPEARE.


In one of the most beautiful counties of Pennsylvania, and in the
immediate vicinity of the Susquehanna, stood an old fashioned country
tavern, known by the designation of the General Wayne. Of its landlord
and his family, and of some little incidents that took place within its
precincts about forty years ago, it is our purpose to relate a few
particulars.

The proprietor of the house and of the fine farm that surrounded it, was
by birth a New-Englander; and having served in Washington's army during
the whole of the revolutionary war, he was still distinguished by the
title of Colonel Brigham. When, on the return of peace, he resumed his
original occupation of farming, he concluded to settle on the genial
soil of Pennsylvania, and removed thither with his wife, their little
daughter, and an adopted child named Oliver, a fine boy whom they
boasted of loving equally with their own Fanny; that he was equally
indulged admitted not of a doubt.

As Oliver advanced to manhood he took the chief charge of the farm, and
Mrs. Brigham with great difficulty prevailed on her husband to set up an
inn; partly to give himself more occupation, and partly because his
boundless hospitality in entertaining gratuitously all strangers that
came into the neighbourhood, had become rather too much of a tax.

Accordingly, a range of stalls for horses was erected at a short
distance from the house, which was beautified with a new porch, running
all along the front, and furnished with green benches. A village artist
(who was not only a painter, but a glazier also) was employed to
contrive a sign, which it was expected would surpass all that had ever
been seen in the country; it being neither Buck nor Fox, neither Black
Horse, Green Tree, Conestoga Wagon, or any of those every-day things.

The painter's ideas were committed to board in the shape of the
landlord's old commander, General Anthony Wayne. This effigy was
evidently designed for that of a human being, but the artist had begun
the upper part on so large a scale, that there was little or no room for
the body and limbs; the gallant general looking as if crushed down by
the weight of his hat and head. He stood upon a narrow strip of
verdigris green, with his two heels together, and his toes wonderfully
turned out. The facings of his coat, and all his under-clothes, were of
gold. He wielded in one hand an enormous sword--the other held out a
pistol in the act of going off--and he leaned on a cannon from whence
issued a flash of scarlet fire, and a cloud of sky-blue smoke.

It is true, that when the sign came home, the colonel made many
objections to it, declaring that gold breeches had never been worn in
the continental army, and that no man ever stood still leaning on a gun
at the moment it was discharged--neither did he think it by any means a
good likeness of General Wayne. But Mrs. Brigham reminded her husband
that there was no use in telling all this to everybody, and that it
might suit some people's ideas of General Wayne--adding, that she never
saw a sign that _was_ a good likeness, except Timothy Grimshaw's White
Lion, which looked exactly like Timothy himself.

Oliver averred that the artist was certainly a liberal man, and had
given them the full worth of their money, for beside the gilding, there
was more paint on it than on any sign he had ever seen.

Their neighbour, Tempy Walters, was, however, of opinion that they had
been greatly overcharged, for that a man had painted her brother's
cellar-door (which was considerably larger than this sign) for half the
money. "To be sure," added Tempy, "there was no gold on the
cellar-door--but it must have taken twice the paint."

To be brief, the colonel dismissed the case by paying the artist rather
more than he asked--telling him, also, that he should be glad to see him
at his house whenever he chose to come, and that his visits should not
cost him a cent.

There never, perhaps, was a less profitable tavern than the General
Wayne. The people of the neighbourhood were amazingly sober, and Mrs.
Brigham allowed no tipplers to lounge about the bar-room or porch. The
charges were so moderate as scarcely to cover the actual cost of the
good things which were so profusely lavished on the table, and the
family could not relinquish the habit of treating their guests as
visiters and friends. Colonel Brigham always found some reason why such
and such articles were not worth considering at all, and why such and
such people could not afford to pay as well as he could afford to give
them food and shelter. On soldiers, of course, he bestowed gratuitous
entertainment, and was never more delighted than when he saw them
coming. Pedlers and tinmen always took it--and emigrants on their way to
the back settlements were invariably told to keep their money to help
pay for their land.

But though tavern-keeping did not realize the anticipations of Mrs.
Brigham in operating as a check on the hospitality of her husband,
still, as she said, it kept him about the house, and prevented him from
heating and fatiguing himself in the fields, and from interfering with
Oliver in the management of the farm--Oliver always doing best when left
to himself. It must be understood that this youth, though virtually a
dependant on the bounty of the Brighams, evinced as free and determined
a spirit as if he had been literally "monarch of all he surveyed." He
was active, industrious, frank to a fault, brave and generous; and would
have fought at any moment in defence of any member of the family; or,
indeed, for any member of any other family, if he conceived them to have
been injured.

Between Oliver and Fanny Brigham there was as yet no demonstration of
any particular attachment. They had been brought up so much like brother
and sister that they seemed not to know when to begin to fall in love.
Fanny coquetted with the smart young men in the neighbourhood, and
Oliver flirted with the pretty girls; not seeming to perceive that Fanny
was the prettiest of all. The old people, however, had it very much at
heart for a match to take place between the young people, as the best
preventive to Oliver "going west" (a thing he sometimes talked of, in
common with the generality of young farmers), and therefore they watched
closely, and were always fancying that they detected symptoms of real
_bona fide_ love. If the young people quarrelled, it was better so than
that they should feel nothing for each other but mutual indifference. If
they appeared indifferent, it was supposed that Fanny was modestly
veiling her genuine feelings, and that Oliver was disguising his to try
the strength of hers. If they talked and laughed together, they were
animated by each other's society. If they were silent, they had the
matter under serious consideration. If Fanny received with complaisance
the civilities of a rural beau, and if Oliver devoted his attention to a
rural belle, it was only to excite each other's jealousy. On one thing,
however, the old people were agreed--which was, that it was best not to
hurry matters. In this they judged from their own experience; for Mrs.
Brigham had lost her first lover (a man that had come to see her every
Wednesday and Saturday for five years and a half) because her father
prematurely asked him what his intentions were. And Colonel Brigham had
been refused no less than nine times, in consequence of "popping the
question" at his first interview--a way he had when he was young.

So equal, however, was their love for the two children (as they still
continued to call them), so anxious were they to keep Oliver always with
them, and so impossible did it seem to them to think of any other young
man as a son-in-law, that they would have sacrificed much to bring about
so desirable a conclusion. But we have been loitering too long on the
brink of our story, and it is time we were fairly afloat.

One clear, mild autumnal evening, Colonel Brigham (who for himself never
liked benches) was occupying a few chairs in his front porch, and
reading several newspapers; looking occasionally towards a cider-press
under a large tree, round which lay a mountain of apples that a horse
and a black boy were engaged in grinding. The colonel was habited in
striped homespun trousers, a dark brown waistcoat with silver buttons,
and no coat--but he took great pride in always wearing a clean shirt of
fine country-made linen. As relics of his former military capacity, he
persisted in a three-cocked hat and a black stock. He had joined the
army in the meridian of life, and he was now a large, stout, handsome
old man, with a clear blue eye, and silver gray hair curling on each
side of a broad high forehead. Suddenly a stage that passed the house
twice a week, stopped before the door. The only passengers in it were an
old gentleman who occupied the back seat, and four young ones that sat
on the two others, all with their faces towards him.

"Can we be accommodated at this inn for a few days?" said the elder
stranger, looking out at the side. Colonel Brigham replied in the
affirmative, adding that just then there were no guests in the house.
"So much the better," said the old gentleman; "I like the appearance of
this part of the country, and may as well be here for a little while as
any where else." And making a sign to the young ones, they all four
scrambled out of the stage with such eagerness as nearly to fall over
each other--and every one took a part in assisting him down the steps,
two holding him by the hands, and two by the elbows. But as soon as his
feet touched the ground, he shook them all off as if scattering them to
the four winds. He was a small slender old man, but of a florid
complexion, and showed no indication of infirm health, but the excessive
care that he took of himself--being enveloped in a great coat, over it a
fur tippet round his neck, and his hat was tied down with a silk
handkerchief.

"Sir, you are welcome to the General Wayne," said Colonel Brigham,
"though I cannot say much for the sign. That was not the way brave
Anthony looked at Stony Point. May I ask the favour of your name?"

The stranger looked at first as if unaccustomed to this question, and
unwilling to answer it. However, after a pause, he deigned to designate
himself as Mr. Culpepper, and slightly mentioned the four young men as
his nephews, the Mr. Lambleys. There was a family likeness throughout
the brothers. They were all tall and slender--all had the same
fawn-coloured hair, the same cheeks of a dull pink, the same smiling
mouths habitually turned up at the corners, and faces that looked as if
all expression had been subdued out of them, except that their
greenish-gray eyes had the earnest intent look, that is generally found
in those of dumb people.

Mr. Culpepper was conducted into a parlour, where (though the evening
was far from cold) he expressed his satisfaction at finding a fire. He
deposited on the broad mantel-piece a small red morocco box which he had
carried under his arm, and while his nephews (who had all been to see
the baggage deposited) were engaged in disrobing him of his extra
habiliments, he addressed himself to Colonel Brigham, whom he seemed to
regard with particular complaisance.

"Well, landlord," said he; "you are, perhaps, surprised at my stopping
here?"

"Not at all," said the colonel.

"The truth is," pursued Mr. Culpepper, "I am travelling for my health,
and therefore I am taking cross-roads, and stopping at out of the way
places. For there is no health to be got by staying in cities, and
putting up at crowded hotels, and accepting invitations to
dinner-parties and tea-parties, or in doing anything else that is called
fashionable."

"Give me your hand, sir," said Colonel Brigham; "you are a man after my
own heart!"

The four Mr. Lambleys stared at the landlord's temerity, and opened
their eyes still wider when they saw it taken perfectly well, and that
their uncle actually shook hands with the innkeeper. This emboldened
them to murmur something in chorus about their all disliking fashion.

"And pray," said old Culpepper, "why should you do that? 'Tis just as
natural for young people to like folly, as it is for old people to be
tired of it. And I am certain you have never seen so much of fashion as
to be surfeited with it already."

The nephews respectfully assented.

It had already come to the knowledge of Mrs. Brigham (who was busily
occupied up stairs in filling with new feathers some pillow-ticks which
Fanny was making) that a party of distinguished strangers had arrived.
"Fanny, Fanny," she exclaimed, opening the door of the adjoining room,
in which Fanny was seated at her sewing, "there are great people below
stairs. Get fixed in a moment, and go down and speak to them. I am glad
your father has had sense enough to take them into the front parlour."

"But, mother," replied Fanny, "I saw them from the window when they got
out of the stage. They are all men people, and I know I shall be
ashamed, as they are quite strange to me, and I suppose are very great
gentlemen. Won't it suit better for you to go?"

"Don't you see how the feathers are all over me?" said Mrs. Brigham: "it
will take me an hour to get them well picked off, and myself washed and
dressed. Get fixed at once, and go down and let the strangers see that
the women of the house have proper manners. If you think you'll feel
better with something in your hands, make some milk punch, and take it
in to them."

Fanny's habitual neatness precluded any real necessity for an alteration
in her dress--but still she thought it expedient to put on a new glossy
blue gingham gown, and a clean muslin collar with a nicely plaited frill
round it. This dress would have been very well, but that Fanny, in her
desire to appear to great advantage, added a long sash of red and green
plaid riband, and a large white satin bow deposited in the curve of her
comb. Then, having turned herself round three or four times before the
glass, to ascertain the effect, she descended the stairs, and in the
entry met Oliver, who had just come in at the front door, and had seen
from the barn-yard the arrival of the guests.

"Fanny," said Oliver, "why have you put on that great white top-knot? It
makes you look like one of the cockatoos in the Philadelphia Museum. Let
me take it off."

"Oh! Oliver, Oliver!" exclaimed Fanny, putting her hands to her head,
"how you have spoiled my hair!"

"And this long sash streaming out at one side," pursued Oliver, "how
ridiculous it looks!" And he dexterously twitched it off, saying,
"There, take these fly-traps up stairs--they only disfigure you. I
thought so the other day when you wore them at Mary Shortstitch's sewing
frolic. You are much better without them."

"But I am _not_," said Fanny, angrily snatching them from his hand;
"look how you've crumpled them up! Instead of finding fault with me for
wishing to look respectfully to the strangers, you had best go and make
yourself fit to be seen."

"I always am fit to be seen," replied Oliver, "and you know very well
that I always do put myself in order as soon as I have done my work. But
as for dressing up in any remarkable finery on account of four or five
strange men, it is not in my line to do so. If, indeed, there were some
smart girls along, it would be a different thing: but it is not my way
to show too much respect to any man."

"I believe you, indeed," remarked Fanny.

"Well, well," said Oliver, "your hair is pretty enough of itself--and
you fix it so nicely that it wants no top-knot to set it off; and this
party-coloured sash only spoils the look of your waist. I hate to see
you make a fool of yourself."

Fanny tossed her head in affected disdain, but she smiled as she ran up
stairs to put away the offending ribands. She found her mother leaning
down over the banisters, and looking very happy at Oliver's desire that
Fanny should not make a fool of herself.

Fanny, having prepared the milk-punch in the best possible manner,
filled half a dozen tumblers with it, grating a profusion of nutmeg over
each, and then arranged them on a small waiter. When she entered the
parlour with it, Mr. Culpepper, who called himself a confirmed invalid,
was engaged in giving her father a particular description of all his
ailments; and the four nephews were listening with an air of intense
interest, as if it was the first they had heard of them.

"This is my daughter, Fanny," said Colonel Brigham, and Mr. Culpepper
stopped short in his narrative, and his nephews all turned their eyes to
look at her. When she handed the milk-punch the old gentleman declined
it, alleging that the state of his health did not permit him to taste
any sort of liquor. His nephews were going to follow his example, till
he said to them peremptorily--

"Take it--there is nothing the matter with any of you. If there is, say
so."

The Mr. Lambleys all rose to receive their tumblers, their uncle having
made them a sign to that purpose, and Fanny thought herself treated with
great respect, and curtsied, blushingly, to every one as he set down his
glass.

"From such a Hebe it is difficult to refuse nectar," said the old
gentleman, gallantly.

"A Hebe, indeed!" echoed the nephews.

The uncle frowned at them, and they all looked foolish--even more so
than usual.

"Now, Fanny, my dear," said her father, "you may go out, and send in
Oliver."

"Mother," said Fanny, as she joined Mrs. Brigham in the pantry, "I like
these strangers quite well. They were very polite indeed--but they
called me _Phebe_--I wonder why?"

When Oliver made his appearance, Colonel Brigham introduced him as "a
boy he had raised, and who was just the same as a son to him." Mr.
Culpepper surveyed Oliver from head to foot, saying, "Upon my word--a
fine-looking youth! Straight--athletic--brown and ruddy--dark hair and
eyes--some meaning in his face. See, young men--there's a pattern for
you."

The four Mr. Lambleys exchanged looks, and tried in vain to conceal
their inclination to laugh.

"Behave yourselves," said the uncle, in a stern voice.

The nephews behaved.

The supper table was now set, and Mr. Culpepper had become so gracious
with his landlord, as to propose that he and his nephews should eat with
the family during their stay. "That is what my guests always do," said
Colonel Brigham; "and then we can see that all is right, and that they
are well served."

When supper came in, Mr. Culpepper declined leaving the fire-side; and
having previously had some cocoa brought from one of his travelling
boxes, and prepared according to his own directions, he commenced his
repast on a small round table or stand, that was placed beside him,
declaring that his evening meal never consisted of anything more than a
little cocoa, sago, or arrow-root.

But after taking a survey of the variety of nice-looking things that
were profusely spread on the supper-table, the old gentleman so far
broke through his rule, as to say he would try a cup of tea and a rusk.
When Mrs. Brigham had poured it out, the four nephews, who at their
uncle's sign manual had just taken their seats at the table, all started
up at once to hand him his cup, though there was a black boy in
attendance. The business was finally adjusted by one of the Mr. Lambleys
taking the tea-cup, one the cream-jug, one the sugar-dish, and one the
plate of rusk; and he of the cup was kept going all the time, first to
have more water put into it, then more tea, then more water, and then
more tea again. The invalid next concluded to try a cup of coffee, to
counteract, as he said, any bad effects that might arise from the tea;
and he ventured, also, on some well-buttered buckwheat cake and honey.
He was afterwards emboldened to attempt some stewed chicken and milk
toast, and finally finished with preserved peaches and cream.

All these articles were carried to him by his nephews, jumping up and
running with an _empressement_, that excited the amazement of Mrs.
Brigham, the pity of Fanny, the smiles of her father, and the
indignation of Oliver.

The females retired with the supper equipage; and finding that Colonel
Brigham had served in the war of independence, Mr. Culpepper engaged him
in recounting some reminiscences of those eventful times; for the
veteran had seen and known much that was well worth hearing.

The Mr. Lambleys, unaccustomed to feel or to affect an interest in
anything that was not said or done by their uncle, looked very weary,
and at last became palpably sleepy. They all sat in full view, and
within reach of old Culpepper, who, whenever he perceived them to nod,
or to show any other indication of drowsiness, poked at them with his
cane, so as effectually to rouse them for a time, causing them to start
forward, and set their faces to a smile, stretching up their eyes to
keep them wide open.

At last the colonel, who was much amused by the absurdity of the scene,
came to a full pause. "Go on," said Culpepper, "never mind their
nodding. I'll see that they do not go to sleep."

The colonel, out of compassion to the young men, shortened his story as
much as possible, and finally, on Mrs. Brigham sending in the black boy
with bed-candles, Mr. Culpepper looked at his watch, and rose from his
chair. The nephews were all on their feet in a moment. One tied the old
man's fur tippet round his neck, to prevent his taking cold in ascending
the staircase, another put on his hat for him, and the two others
contended for the happiness of carrying his cloak. "What are you about?"
said Mr. Culpepper; "do not you see my greatcoat there on the chair?
Take that, one of you."

He bade good night, and the procession began to move, headed by Peter,
the black boy, lighting them up stairs.

As soon as they were entirely out of hearing, Colonel Brigham, who had
with difficulty restrained himself, broke out into a laugh, but Oliver
traversed the room indignantly.

"I have no patience," said he, "with such fellows. To think that
full-grown men--men that have hands to work and get their own living,
should humble themselves to the dust, and submit to be treated as
lacqueys by an old uncle (or, indeed, by anybody), merely because he
happens to be rich, and they expect to get his money when he sees proper
to die, which may not be these twenty years, for it is plain that
nothing ails him. 'I'd rather be a dog and bay the moon,' as I once
heard an actor say in the Philadelphia play-house. Now I talk of
Philadelphia; I have engaged all our next barley to Wortley & Hopkins.
They pay better than Maltman & Co. But these Lambleys, Sheepleys
rather--I saw them from the barn, handing the old fellow out of the
stage. I almost expected to see them lift his feet for him; I was glad
he scattered them all as soon as he had got down the steps. I dare say
if he rides on horseback, they all four run beside him and hold him on
his horse. Now I talk of horses, I've concluded to keep the two bay
colts, and raise them myself. Tom Martingale shall not have them for the
price he offers. To see how these chaps fetch and carry, and rise up and
sit down, just at that old fellow's beck. It would be harder work for me
than following the plough from sunrise to sunset, were I obliged to do
so. Now I talk of ploughing; I bought another yoke of oxen yesterday,
and hired a Dutchman. I shall put the five-acre field in corn. That old
villain! you may see by his eye that he is despising them all the time.
Why should not he? ninnies as they are. I wonder where they all came
from? I do not believe they are Americans."

"And yet," said Colonel Brigham, "they do not speak like Englishmen, and
I am sure they are neither Scotch nor Irish."

"I hear them all pacing about up stairs in the old fellow's room," said
Oliver; "think of four men putting one man to bed, or of any one man
allowing four to do it. But 'their souls are subdued to what they work
in,' as I heard another play-actor say. By-the-bye, the old rogue has
forgotten his red box, and left it on the mantel-piece. I wonder what is
in it?"

"Maybe it is full of gold money," said Mrs. Brigham, who had just
entered the room with Fanny; the daughter proceeding to put back the
chairs, while the mother swept up the hearth.

"Bank notes rather," said Oliver.

"Jewels, I think," said Fanny.

"Deeds of property, perhaps," said the colonel.

"Well, well," said Mrs. Brigham, "'tis time for all good people to be in
bed, so we'll let the strangers and their box rest till to-morrow."

"I think," observed the colonel, "the box had best be carried up to
them. Take it, Oliver."

"I just heard the young men leave their uncle's room to go to their
own," said Mrs. Brigham. "May be it won't do to disturb him, now he's in
bed."

"Then let it be taken to the young men," returned the colonel. "Where
have you put them?"

"I told Peter to show them all to the four-bedded room, at the other end
of the house," answered Mrs. Brigham, "as they seemed to be alike in
everything. I supposed they always prefer sleeping in the same place.
All the four beds have exactly the same blue and white coverlets."

"Well," said Oliver, "I'll take them the box as I pass their room on the
way to my own. But I must go first to the stable, and see how Sorrel's
foot is; I cannot be satisfied if I do not look at it once more
to-night."

The other members of the family now retired to their apartments, and
Oliver took a lantern and went to the stable, to inspect again the state
of the disabled horse.

When the four Lambleys waited on their uncle out of the parlour, they
all perceived that the old gentleman had for the first time forgotten to
take the red morocco box with him, and they all exchanged glances to
this effect, being used to each other's signs. After they had gone
through the tedious process of seeing him to bed, and carefully folding
up his numerous garments, they held a consultation in their own room;
and, accustomed to acting in concert, they concluded that as soon as the
house was quiet, they would all go down stairs together and bring up the
red box. Fortunately for them, they knew Mr. Culpepper to be a sound
sleeper (notwithstanding his constant assertions to the contrary), and
that he always went to sleep as soon as he was in bed.

When they came into the parlour, where all was now dark and silent, they
set their candle on the table, and taking down the red box, one of them
said, "At last we have an opportunity of satisfying ourselves."

"Tis the first time," said another, "that the box has ever been out of
the old villain's possession. How strange that he should not have missed
it! He must have had something in his head more than usual to-night."

"He even forgot to take his lozenges before he went to bed," said the
third.

"James," said the fourth, "did you slip the little key out of his under
waistcoat pocket, as I signed to you to do while you were folding it
up?"

"To be sure I did," replied James, "here it is," (dangling it by the red
ribbon that was tied to it). "But do _you_ open the box, George, for I
am afraid."

"Give me the key, then," said George, "for we have no time to lose."

"What a lucky chance!" said Richard Lambley.

"Now," said William, "we shall learn what we have been longing to
discover for the last five years."

The key was turned, and the box opened. A folded parchment lay within
it, tied round with red tape. Each of the brothers simultaneously put
out a hand to grasp it.

"One at a time," said the elder, taking it out and opening it; "just as
we suspected. It is the old fellow's will, regularly drawn up, signed
and witnessed."

They looked over each other's shoulders in intense anxiety, while the
eldest of the brothers, in a low voice, ran over the contents of the
parchment. There was a unanimous exclamation of surprise that amounted
almost to horror, when, after the usual preamble, they came to some
explicit words by which the testator devoted the whole of his property
to the endowment of a hospital for idiots. They had proceeded thus far,
when they were startled by the entrance of Oliver, who saw in a moment
in what manner they were all engaged. They hastily folded up the will,
and replaced it in the box, of which they directly turned the key,
looking very much disconcerted.

"I was coming," said Oliver, setting down his lantern, "to get that box
and take it to you, that you might keep it safe for your uncle till
morning. I have been detained at the stable longer than I expected,
doing something for a lame horse."

There was a whispering among the Lambleys.

"Very well," said one of them to Oliver, "the box can stand on the
mantel-piece till morning, and then when my uncle comes down he can get
it for himself. He must not be disturbed with it to-night; and no doubt
it will be safe enough here."

The truth was, they were all justly impressed with the persuasion, that
if Mr. Culpepper knew the box to have been all night in their room, he
would believe, as a thing of course, that they had opened it by some
means, and examined its contents. Servility and integrity rarely go
together.

They whispered again, and each advanced towards Oliver, holding out a
dollar.

"What is this for?" said Oliver, drawing back.

"We do not wish you," said one of the Lambleys, "to mention to any one
that you found us examining this box."

"Why should I mention it?" replied Oliver; "do you suppose I tell
everything I see and hear? But what is that money for?"

"For you," said the Lambleys.

"What am I to do for it?"

"Keep our secret."

Oliver started back, coloured to his temples, contracted his brows, and
clenching his hands, said, "I think I could beat you all four. I am sure
of it. I could knock every one of you down, and keep you there, one
after another. And I will; too, if you don't put up that money this
instant."

The Lambleys quickly returned the dollars to their pockets, murmuring an
apology; and Oliver paced the room in great agitation, saying, "I'll go
west. I'll go to the backest of the back woods; nobody there will
affront me with money."

The Lambleys hastily replaced the red box on the mantel-piece, and
taking an opportunity when Oliver, as he walked up and down, was at the
far end of the room, with his back to them, they all stole past him, and
glided up stairs, to talk over the discovery of the night.

Having no longer the same motive for submitting to the iron rule of
their uncle, they were eager to be emancipated from his tyranny, and
they spent several hours in canvassing the manner in which this was to
be effected. They had not candour enough to acknowledge that they had
inspected the will, nor courage enough to break out into open rebellion;
still, knowing what they now did, they feared that it would be
impossible for them to persevere in their usual assiduities to Mr.
Culpepper, for whom they could find no term that seemed sufficiently
opprobrious.

Habit is second nature. The morning found them, as usual, in their
uncle's room to assist at his toilet, with all their accustomed
submission. The one that had purloined the key of the red box, took care
to contrive an opportunity of slipping it unperceived into the pocket,
as he unfolded and handed Mr. Culpepper his under waistcoat.

After he was shaved and dressed, and ready to go down stairs, the old
gentleman suddenly missed the red box, and exclaimed, "Why, where is my
box? What has gone with it? Who has taken it?"

The nephews had all turned their faces to the windows, and were
steadfastly engaged in observing the pigeons that were walking about the
roof of the porch.

"Where's my red box, I say?" vociferated the old man. "Go and see if I
left it down stairs last night. A thing impossible, though.
No--stay--I'll not trust one of you. I'll go down myself."

He then actually _ran_ down stairs, and on entering the parlour where
the breakfast table was already set, and the family all assembled, he
espied the red box standing quietly on the mantel-piece.

"Ah!" he ejaculated, "there it is. I feared I had lost it." And he felt
in his waistcoat pocket to ascertain if the key was safe.

To Mrs. Brigham's inquiry, of "how he had rested," Mr. Culpepper replied
in a melancholy tone, that he had not slept a wink the whole night. On
her asking if anything had disturbed him, he replied, "Nothing whatever;
nothing but the usual restlessness of ill health." And he seemed almost
offended, when she suggested the possibility of being asleep without
knowing it.

Though he assured the family, when he sat down, that he had not the
slightest appetite, the bowl of sago which had been prepared by his
orders was soon pushed aside, and his breakfast became the counterpart
of his supper the night before.

In taking their seats, the Lambleys, instead of their customary amicable
contention, as to which of them should sit next their uncle, now, in the
awkwardness of their embarrassment, all got to the other side of the
table, and ranged themselves opposite to him in a row. Mr. Culpepper
looked surprised, and invited Fanny and Oliver to place themselves
beside him.

The four young men were very irregular and inconsistent in their
behaviour. As often as their uncle signified any of his numerous wants,
their habitual sycophancy caused them to start forward to wait on him;
but their recent disappointment with regard to the disposal of his
wealth, and their secret consciousness of the illicit means they had
made use of to discover the tenor of his will, rendered them unable to
watch his countenance, and anticipate his demands by keeping their eyes
on his face as heretofore.

Their uncle saw that they were all in a strange way, and that something
unusual was possessing them, and frequently in the midst of his talk
with Colonel Brigham, he stopped to look at them and wonder. Something
having reminded him of a certain ridiculous anecdote, he related it to
the great amusement of the Brighams, who heard it for the first time.
Mr. Culpepper, on looking over at his nephews, perceived that instead of
laughing in concert (as they always did at this his favourite joke),
they all appeared _distrait_, and as if they had not paid the slightest
attention to it. He bent forward across the table, and fixing his keen
eyes upon them, said, with a scrutinizing look, and in an under tone,
"you have been reading my will."

The poor Lambleys all laid down their knives and forks, turned pale, and
nearly fell back in their chairs.

"Don't expose yourselves farther," whispered Culpepper, leaning across
to them, "I know you all;" and then turning to Colonel Brigham, he with
much _sang froid_ pursued the conversation.

Oliver (who alone of the family understood what was passing) began to
feel much compassion for the poor young men. The scene became very
painful to him, and finding that his aversion to the uncle was
increasing almost beyond concealment, he hastily finished his coffee,
and quitted the room.

When breakfast was over, and they were all leaving the table, old
Culpepper said aside to his nephews: "In founding a hospital for idiots,
I still give you an opportunity of benefiting by my bounty."

They reddened, and were about to quit the parlour, when their uncle,
taking a chair himself, said to them: "Sit down, all of you." They
mechanically obeyed, looking as if they were about to receive sentence
of death. Fanny began to feel frightened, and glided out of the room;
her mother having just followed the departure of the breakfast things.
Colonel Brigham rose also to go, when Mr. Culpepper stopped him, saying:
"Remain, my good friend. Stay and hear my explanation of some things
that must have excited your curiosity."

He then took down the red box. The nephews looked at each other, and a
sort of whisper ran along the line, which ended in their all jumping up
together, and bolting out at the door.

Mr. Culpepper gazed after them awhile, and then turned towards Colonel
Brigham, with a sardonic laugh on his face. "Well, well," said he, "they
are right. It is refreshing to see them for once acting naturally. It
was, perhaps, expecting too much, even of them, to suppose they would
sit still and listen to all I was likely to say, for they know me well.
Yet, if they had not read my will, they would not have dared to quit the
room when I ordered them to remain."

He then proceeded to relate that he was a native of Quebec, where, in
early life, he had long been engaged in a very profitable commercial
business, and had been left a widower at the age of forty. A few years
afterwards, he married again. His second wife was a lady of large
fortune, which she made over to him, on condition that he should take
her family name of Culpepper. The Mr. Lambleys were the nephews of his
wife, being the children of her younger sister. On the death of their
parents, he was induced by her to give them a home in his house.

The four Lambleys had very little property of their own, their father
having dissipated nearly all that he had acquired by his marriage. They
had been educated for professions, in which it was soon found that they
had neither the ability nor the perseverance to succeed; their whole
souls seeming concentrated to one point, that of gaining the favour of
their uncle (who lost his second wife a few years after their marriage),
and with this object they vied with each other in a course of
unremitting and untiring servilities, foolishly supposing it the only
way to accomplish their aim of eventually becoming his heirs.

All that they gained beyond the payment of their current expenses, was
Mr. Culpepper's unqualified contempt. He made a secret resolution to
revenge himself on their duplicity, and to disappoint their mercenary
views by playing them a trick at the last, and he had a will drawn up,
in which he devised his whole property to the establishment of a
hospital. This will he always carried about with him in the red morocco
box.

He had come to the United States on a tour for the benefit of his
health, and also to satisfy himself as to the truth of all he had heard
respecting the unparalleled improvement of the country since it had
thrown off the yoke which his fellow-subjects of Canada were still
satisfied to wear.

"And now," continued Mr. Culpepper to his landlord, "you have not seen
all that is in the red box. I know not by what presentiment I am
impelled; but, short as our acquaintance has been, I cannot resist an
unaccountable inclination to speak more openly of my private affairs to
you, Colonel Brigham, than to any person I have ever met with. I feel
persuaded that I shall find no cause to regret having done so. It is a
long time since I have had any one near me to whom I could talk
confidentially." And he added, with a sigh: "I fear that I may say with
Shakspeare's Richard, 'there is no creature loves me.'"

Mr. Culpepper then opened the red box, and took out from beneath the
will and several other documents that lay under it, a folded paper,
which he held in his hand for some moments in silence. He then gave it
to Colonel Brigham, saying, "Do you open it; I cannot. It is more than
twenty years since I have seen it."

The Colonel unfolded the paper. It contained a small miniature of a
beautiful young lady, in a rich but old-fashioned dress of blue satin,
with lace cuffs and stomacher, her hair being drest very high, and
ornamented with a string of pearls, arranged in festoons. Colonel
Brigham looked at the miniature, and exclaimed in a voice of
astonishment: "This is the likeness of Oliver's mother!"

"Oliver's mother!" ejaculated Mr. Culpepper, in equal amazement;
"Oliver--what, the young man that lives with you--that you call your
adopted son? This is the miniature of my daughter, Elizabeth Osborne."

"Then," replied the Colonel, "your daughter was Oliver's mother."

"Where is she?" exclaimed Culpepper, wildly. "Is she alive, after
all?--When I heard of her death I believed it.--Do you know where she
is?"

"She is dead," said Colonel Brigham, passing his hand over his eyes.--"I
saw her die;--I was at her funeral.--I can bring you proof enough that
this is the likeness of Oliver's mother.--Shall I tell my wife of this
discovery?"

"You may tell it to your whole family," answered Mr. Culpepper, throwing
himself back in his chair.--"You are all concerned in it.--Why, indeed,
should it be a secret?"

Colonel Brigham left the room, and shortly after returned, conducting
his wife, who was much flurried, and carried an enormously large
pocket-book, worked in queen-stitch with coloured crewels. She was
followed by Fanny, looking very pale, and bringing with her some sewing,
by way of "having something in her hands." They found Mr. Culpepper with
his face covered, and evidently in great agitation.

"See," said Mrs. Brigham, sitting down before him, and untying the red
worsted strings of the pocket-book, "here's the very fellow to that
likeness." She then took out an exact copy of the miniature. There were
also some letters that had passed between the father and mother of
Oliver, previous to their marriage.

"I keep these things in my best pocket-book," continued Mrs. Brigham;
"husband gave them into my keeping, and when Oliver is twenty-one (which
will not be till next spring), they are all to go to him."

Mr. Culpepper gazed awhile at the miniature, and then turned over the
letters with a trembling hand. "I see," said he, "that there is no flaw
in the evidence. This is, indeed, a copy of my daughter's miniature.
These letters I have no desire to read, for, of course, they refer to
the plot that was in train for deceiving me. And they thought they had
well succeeded. But their punishment soon came, in a life of privation
and suffering, and in an early death to both. May such be the end of all
stolen marriages!--Still, she was my daughter; my only child.--So much
the worse; she should not have left me for a stranger."

It was painful and revolting to the kind-hearted Brighams to witness the
conflict between the vindictive spirit of this unamiable old man, and
the tardy rekindling of his parental feelings. In a few moments he made
an effort to speak with connexion and composure, and related the
following particulars. After the unsuccessful attack on Quebec, by the
gallant and ill-fated Montgomery, a young American officer, who had been
severely wounded in the conflict, was brought into the city, and
received the most kind and careful attendance from the family of a
gentleman who had once been intimately acquainted with his father. The
family who thus extended their hospitality to a suffering enemy, were
the next-door neighbours of Mr. Culpepper, whose name was then Osborne.
Captain Dalzel was a handsome and accomplished young man, and his case
excited much interest among the ladies of Quebec, and in none more than
in Miss Osborne, who, from her intimacy in the house at which he was
staying, had frequent opportunities of seeing him during his long
convalescence. A mutual attachment was the consequence, and it was kept
a profound secret from her father, who had in view for her a marriage
with a Canadian gentleman of wealth and consequence.

When Captain Dalzel was about to return home on being exchanged, he
prevailed on Miss Osborne to consent to a secret marriage. Mr. Culpepper
acknowledged that on discovering it he literally turned his daughter out
of doors, and sent back unopened a letter which she wrote to him from
Montreal. From that time he never suffered her name to be mentioned in
his presence; and he was almost tempted to consign to the flames a
miniature of her, that had been painted for him by an English artist,
then resident in Quebec. But a revulsion of feeling so far prevailed, as
to prevent him from thus destroying the resemblance of his only child;
and he put away the miniature with a firm resolution never to look at it
again. Five years afterwards he heard accidentally of Captain Dalzel's
having fallen in battle, and that Elizabeth had survived him but a few
days.

"And how did you feel when you heard this?" asked Colonel Brigham.

"Feel," replied Culpepper, fiercely; "I felt that she deserved her fate,
for having deceived her father, and taken a rebel for her husband, and
an enemy's country for her dwelling-place."

Fanny shuddered at the bitter and implacable tone in which these words
were uttered, and the Brighams were convinced that, with such a parent,
Miss Osborne's home could at no time have been a happy one.

"But," continued old Culpepper, after a pause, "I will confess, that
since I have been in your country, I have felt some 'compunctious
visitings;' and I had determined not to leave the States without making
some inquiry as to my daughter having left children."

"She had only Oliver," replied Colonel Brigham.

"The boy's features have no resemblance to those of his mother," said
Culpepper; "still there is something in his look that at once
prepossessed me in his favour. But tell me all that you know about his
parents?"

The colonel's narrative implied, that he had been well acquainted with
Captain Dalzel, who was of the Virginia line, and who was mortally
wounded at Yorktown, where he died two days after the surrender;
consigning to the care of Colonel Brigham a miniature of his wife, which
he said was procured before his marriage from an artist whom he had
induced to copy privately one that he was painting for the young lady's
father.

The war being now considered as ended by the capture of Cornwallis and
his army, Colonel Brigham repaired to Philadelphia, where her husband
had informed him that Mrs. Dalzel was living in retired lodgings. He
found that the melancholy news of Captain Dalzel's fate had already
reached her; and it had caused the rupture of a blood-vessel, which was
hurrying her immediately to the grave. She was unable to speak, but she
pointed to her child (then about four years old), who was sobbing at her
pillow. The colonel, deeply moved, assured her that he would carry the
boy home with him to his wife, and that while either of them lived, he
should never want a parent. A gleam of joy lighted up the languid eyes
of Mrs. Dalzel, and they closed to open in this world no more.

The anguish evinced by Mr. Culpepper at this part of the narrative, was
such as to draw tears from Mrs. Brigham and Fanny. The colonel dwelt no
further on the death of Mrs. Dalzel, but concluded his story in as few
words as possible, saying that he carried the child home with him; that
his wife received him gladly; and that not one of the relations of
Captain Dalzel (and he had none that were of near affinity) ever came
forward to dispute with him the charge of the boy. Captain Dalzel, he
knew, had possessed no other fortune than his commission.

When Colonel Brigham had finished his tale,----

"Well," said Mr. Culpepper, making a strong effort to recover his
composure, "perhaps I treated my daughter too severely, in continuing to
cherish so deep a resentment against her. But why did she provoke me to
it? However, the past can never be recalled. I must endeavour to make
her son behave better to me. Where is Oliver? Let me see him
immediately."

He had scarcely spoken when Oliver entered the porch, accompanied by the
four Lambleys, whom he had met strolling about lonely and uncomfortable,
and he kindly offered to show them round the farm, not knowing what
better he could do for them. They had just completed their tour; and
though it was a beautiful farm, and in fine order, the Lambleys had
walked over it without observing anything, being all the time engaged in
inveighing bitterly to Oliver against their uncle. Oliver regarded them
as so many Sinbads ridden by the Old Man of the Sea, and advised them to
throw him off forthwith.

"Come in, Oliver," said Colonel Brigham; "you are wanted here."

Oliver entered the parlour, and the Lambleys remained in the porch and
looked in at the windows, curious to know what was going on.

"Come in, all of you," said Mr. Culpepper.

They mechanically obeyed his summons, and entered the parlour.

Mr. Culpepper then took Oliver by the hand, and said to him in a voice
tremulous with emotion, "Young man, in me you behold your grandfather."

Oliver changed colour, and started back, and Mr. Culpepper was deeply
chagrined to see that this announcement gave him anything but pleasure.
The story was briefly explained to him, and Mr. Culpepper added, "From
this moment you may consider yourself as belonging to me. I like
you--and I will leave my money to you rather than to found a hospital."

"You had better leave it to these poor fellows, that have been trying
for it so long," said Oliver, bluntly.

The nephews all regarded him with amazement.

"Hear me, Oliver," said Mr. Culpepper; "It is not merely because you are
my grandson, and as such my legal heir--unless I choose to dispose of my
property otherwise--but I took a fancy to you the moment I saw you, when
I could not know that you were of my own blood. As to those fellows, I
have had enough of them, and no doubt they have had enough of me. I have
towed them about with me already too long. It is time I should cut the
rope, and turn them adrift. No doubt they will do better when left to
shift for themselves."

The Lambleys exhibited visible signs of consternation.

"Oliver," continued Mr. Culpepper, "prepare to accompany me to Canada.
There you shall live with me as my acknowledged heir, taking the name of
Culpepper, and no longer feeling yourself a destitute orphan."

"I never have felt myself a destitute orphan," said Oliver, looking
gratefully at Colonel and Mrs. Brigham, both of whom looked as if they
could clasp him in their arms.

"I promise you every reasonable enjoyment that wealth can bestow,"
pursued Mr. Culpepper.

"I have all sorts of reasonable enjoyments already," answered Oliver. "A
fine farm to take care of; a capital gun; four excellent dogs; and such
horses as are not to be found within fifty miles; fine fishing in the
Susquehanna; plenty of newspapers to read, and some books too; frolics
to go to, all through the neighbourhood; and now and then a visit to the
city, where I take care to see all the shows."

"Nonsense," said Mr. Culpepper; "what is all this compared to an
introduction to the best society of Quebec?"

"And what better than all this is done by the best society of Quebec?"
inquired Oliver.

Mr. Culpepper did not answer this question; but continued: "There is
another consideration of still more consequence: As my grandson and
heir, I can insure you an opportunity of marrying a lady of family and
fortune."

"I would rather marry Fanny," said Oliver.

At this spontaneous and unequivocal announcement, Colonel and Mrs.
Brigham each caught one of Oliver's hands, unable to conceal their joy.
A flush passed over Fanny's face, and she half rose up, and then sat
down again. At last she said, with sparkling eyes, and a curl of her
lip, "How do you know that Fanny will have you?" And she pursued her
work with such eagerness, that she forgot to replenish her needle, and
went on sewing without a thread.

There was a silence a few moments, and then Mr. Culpepper proceeded: "In
short, Oliver, you must go with me to Canada, and settle there for
life."

"First listen to me," said Oliver, "for I am going to make a speech, and
I intend to abide by it.--As to your being my grandfather, that is a
thing I cannot help. You must not expect me to be taken with a sudden
affection for you, and to feel dutiful all at once, when I never saw you
in my life till yesterday. Maybe it might come after awhile; but that is
quite a matter of doubt, as I fear we should never suit each other at
all. Neither will I ever consent to go and live in Canada, and be under
the rule of a king. My father died in trying to get free from one. I
like my own country, and I like the way of living I am used to; and I
like the good friends that have brought me up. And if Fanny won't have
me, I dare say I can find somebody that will."

The Brighams looked reproachfully at their daughter, who held down her
head and gave her sewing such a flirt, that it fell from her hand on the
floor and the Lambleys picked it up.

"Another thing," proceeded Oliver to Mr. Culpepper, "this is your will,
is it not?" (putting his hand on it as it lay beside the red box). "Now
tell me if there are any legacies in it?"

"Not one;" replied Mr. Culpepper, "the whole is left to endow a hospital
for idiots. I knew nobody that deserved a legacy."

"So much the worse," said Oliver, "it looks as if you had no friends.
You had better make another will."

"I intend to do so," replied Culpepper.

"Then," said Oliver, "this is of no use; and the sooner there is an end
of it the better;"--and he threw it into the fire, where it was
instantly consumed.

The Lambleys were so frightened at this outrageous act (for so it
appeared to them), that they all tried to get out of the room. Mrs.
Brigham spread her hands with a sort of scream; her husband could not
help laughing; Fanny again dropped her work, and nobody picked it up.
Mr. Culpepper frowned awfully; but he was the first to speak, and said,
"Young man, how have you dared to do this?"

"I can dare twice as much," replied Oliver;--"I have shot a bear face to
face. One hard winter there were several found in the woods not ten
miles off. Suppose, Mr. Culpepper, you were to die suddenly (as you
possibly may in a fit or something), before you get your new will made!
This would then be considered the right one, and your money after all
would go to that idiot hospital."

"You are the most original youth I have ever met with," said Culpepper;
"I know not how it is; but the more you oppose me, the better I like
you."

The nephews looked astonished.

"Still," observed Oliver, "it would never do for us to live together.
For myself, I neither like opposing nor submitting; never having been
used to either."

"It is not possible," said Culpepper, "that you mean seriously to refuse
my offer of protection and fortune?"

"As to protection," replied Oliver; "I can protect myself. And as to
fortune, I dare say I can make one for myself. And as to that other
thing, the wife, I shall try to get one of my own sort--Fanny, or
somebody else. And as to the name of Culpepper, I'll never take it."

"And will you really not go with me to Canada?"

"No! positively I will not. I believe, though, I ought to thank you for
your offers, which I now do. No doubt they were well meant. But here I
intend to stay, with the excellent people that took me when nobody else
would, and that have brought me up as their own child. I know how sorry
they would be were I to leave them, and yet they have had the
forbearance not to say one word to persuade me to stay. So it is my firm
determination to live and die with them."

He then shook hands with each of the old Brighams, who were deeply
affected, and threw their arms round him. Fanny, completely overcome,
entirely off her guard, flew to Oliver, hid her face on his shoulder,
and burst into tears. He kissed her cheek, saying, "Now, Fanny, I hope
we understand each other;"--and Colonel Brigham put his daughter's hand
into Oliver's.

"So then," said Mr. Culpepper, "I have found a grandson but to lose him.
Well, I deserve it."

The nephews looked as if they thought so too.

"What shall I do now?" continued the old man dolorously.

"Take your nephews into favour again," said Oliver.

"They never were in favour," replied the uncle.

"At all events treat them like men."

"It is their own fault. Why do they not behave as such?"

The old gentleman walked about in much perturbation. At last he said to
the Lambleys, "Young men, as you took a most nefarious method of
discovering my intentions towards you, and as I never had a doubt
respecting the real motive of all your obsequiousness to me, there is no
use in attempting any farther disguise on either side. When masks are
only of gauze, it is not worth while to wear them. Try then if you can
be natural for a little while, till I see what can be done with you. You
will find it best in the end. And now, I think, we will go away as soon
as possible. The longer I stay here, the more difficult I shall find it
to leave Oliver."

To be brief.--Mr. Culpepper and his nephews departed in about an hour,
in a vehicle belonging to the General Wayne, and which was to carry them
to the nearest village from whence they could proceed to New York.

At parting, Mr. Culpepper held out his hand and said, "Oliver, for once
call me grandfather."

Oliver pressed his hand, and said, "Grandfather, we part friends." The
old gentleman held his handkerchief to his eyes, as he turned from the
door, and his nephews looked nohow.

In about a month, Oliver received a parcel from Mr. Culpepper,
containing the little red morocco box, in which was a letter and some
papers. The letter was dated from New York. The old gentleman informed
his grandson, that he had been so fortunate as to engage the affections
and obtain the hand of a very beautiful young lady of that city (the
youngest of eight sisters, and just entering her seventeenth year), who
had convinced him, that she married only from the sincerest love.
Finding no farther occasion for his nephews, he had established them
all in business in New York, where no doubt they would do better than in
Canada. He sent Oliver certificates for bank stock to a considerable
amount, and requested him, whenever he wanted more money for the
enlargement or improvement of the farm, to apply to him without scruple.

This letter arrived on the day of Oliver's marriage with Fanny; on which
day the sign of the General Wayne was taken down, and the tavern became
once more a farm-house only; Mrs. Brigham having been much troubled by
the interruptions she sustained from customers, during her immense
preparations for the wedding, and determining that on the great occasion
itself, she would not be "put out" by the arrival of any guest, except
those that were invited.

Colonel Brigham, never having approved of the sign, was not sorry to see
it removed; and Mrs. Brigham, thinking it a pity to have it wasted, made
it do duty in the largest bedchamber as a chimney-board.

In a few years the Colonel found sufficient employment for most of his
time in playing with Fanny's children, and such was his "green old age,"
that when upwards of seventy, he was still able to take the
superintendence of the farm, while Oliver was absent at the seat of the
state government, making energetic speeches in the capacity of an
assembly-man.



THE OFFICERS:

A STORY OF THE LAST WAR WITH ENGLAND.

    ----"All furnished, all in arms,
    All plumed like estridges."--SHAKSPEARE.


Sophia Clements had just arrived in Philadelphia on a visit to her
sister, Mrs. Darnel, the widow of a merchant who had left his family in
very affluent circumstances. The children were a son now settled in
business at Canton, two very pretty daughters who had recently quitted
school, and a boy just entering his twelfth year.

Miss Clements, who (being the child of a second marriage) was twenty
years younger than Mrs. Darnel, had resided since the death of her
parents with an unmarried brother in New York, where her beauty and her
mental accomplishments had gained her many admirers, none of whom,
however, had been able to make any impression on her heart.

Sophia Clements was but few years older than her gay and giddy nieces,
who kindly offered to pass her off as their cousin, declaring that she
was quite too young to be called aunt. But secure in the consciousness
of real youth, she preferred being addressed by the title that properly
belonged to her.

This visit of Sophia Clements was in the last year of the second contest
between England and America; and she found the heads of her two nieces
filled chiefly with the war, and particularly with the officers. They
had an infinity to tell her of "the stirring times" that had prevailed
in Philadelphia, and were still prevailing. And she found it difficult
to convince them that there was quite as much drumming and fifing in
New York, and rather more danger; as that city, from its vicinity to the
ocean, was much easier of access to the enemy.

The boy Robert was, of course, not behind his sisters in enthusiasm for
the "pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war," and they were
indebted to him for much soldier-news that they would not otherwise have
had the felicity of knowing--his time, between school hours, being
chiefly spent in collecting it.

On the morning after Miss Clements's arrival, she and her nieces were
sitting at their muslin work,--an occupation at that time very customary
with the ladies, as no foreign articles of cotton embroidery were then
to be purchased. There was much military talk, and frequent running to
the window by the two girls, to look out at a passing recruiting party
with their drum, and fife, and colours, and to admire the gallant
bearing of the sergeant that walked in front with his drawn sword; for
recruiting sergeants always have

    "A swashing and a martial outside."

"Certainly," said Harriet Darnel, "it is right and proper to wish for
peace; but still, to say the truth, war-time is a very amusing time.
Everything will seem so flat when it is over."

"I fear, indeed," replied Miss Clements, smiling, "that you will find
some difficulty in returning to the 'dull pursuits of civil life.'"

"Aunt Sophy," said Caroline, "I wish you had been here in the summer,
when we were all digging at the fortifications that were thrown up in
the neighbourhood of the city, to defend it in case of an attack by
land. Each citizen gave a day's work, and worked with his own hands.
They went in bodies, according to their trades and professions, marching
out at early dawn with their digging implements. They were always
preceded by a band of music, playing Hail Columbia or Washington's
March, and they returned at dusk in the same manner. We regularly took
care to see them whenever they passed by."

"The first morning," said Harriet, "they came along so very early that
none of us were up till the sound of the music wakened us; and being in
our night-clothes, we could only peep at them through the half-closed
shutters; but afterwards, we took care to be always up and dressed in
time, so that we could throw open the windows and lean out, and gaze
after them till they were out of sight. You cannot think how affecting
it was. Our eyes were often filled with tears as we looked at them--even
though they were not soldiers, but merely our own people, and had no
uniform."

"All instances of patriotism, or of self-devotion for the general good,
are undoubtedly affecting," observed Sophia.

"Every trade went in its turn," pursued Harriet, "and every man of every
trade, masters and journeymen--none stayed behind. One day we saw the
butchers go, another day the bakers; also the carpenters and
bricklayers, then the shoemakers and the tailors, the curriers and the
saddlers, and the blacksmiths. Often two or three trades went together.
There were the type-founders, and the printers, and the book-binders.
The merchants also assisted, and the lawyers, and the clergymen of every
denomination. Most of the Irishmen went twice--first, according to their
respective trades, and again as Irishmen only, when they marched out
playing 'St. Patrick's Day in the Morning.' The negroes had their day,
also; and we heard them laughing and talking long before we saw them.
Only imagine the giggling and chattering of several hundred negroes!"

"Mr. and Mrs. Linley took us out in their carriage to see the
fortifications," resumed Caroline. "It was the lawyers' day; and there
were some of the principal gentlemen of the city, in straw hats and
round jackets, and some in their waistcoats only, with their
shirt-sleeves rolled up, digging with pickaxes and spades, and wheeling
barrows full of sods. It was delightful to look at them."

"There's a drum and fife again!" exclaimed Harriet. "See, see, Aunt
Sophy, do look out; here's another recruiting party--and they have
picked up four men, who have actually joined them in the street. How
glad I am!"

"Do come and look, aunt," said Caroline; "it is not the same party that
passed a little while ago. I know it by the sergeant, who has darker
hair and eyes than the other. This is Lieutenant Bunting's recruiting
party. He has handbills on all the corners, headed: 'List, list--oh,
list!'"

"Aunt Sophy," said Harriet, as they resumed their seats, "you cannot
imagine what a lively summer we have had!"

"I can easily imagine," replied Sophia, "that you almost lived out of
the window."

"How could we do otherwise," answered Harriet, "when there was so much
to look at, particularly during the alarm? Alarms are certainly very
exciting."

"Undoubtedly," observed Sophia; "but what was the alarm?"

"Oh! there has been one long alarm all summer; and it is still going on,
or our volunteers would not stay so long at Camp Dupont. But there, it
seems, they may have to remain till winter drives the British away from
the Capes."

"I conclude," said Miss Clements, "the alarm _par excellence_ was when
the enemy sailed up the Chesapeake to attack Baltimore, and there was an
apprehension of their crossing over to Philadelphia."

"The very time," answered Harriet. "We had a troop of horse
reconnoitering on the Chesapeake. Their camp was at Mount Bull, near
Elkton. They were all gentlemen, and they acted in turn as videttes. One
of them arrived here every evening with despatches for General
Bloomfield concerning the movements of the enemy--and they still come.
You know last evening, soon after your arrival, one of the times that I
ran to the window was to see the vidette[73] galloping along the street,
looking so superbly in his light-horseman's uniform, with his pistols in
his holsters, and his horse's feet striking fire from the stones."

[Footnote 73: _Estafette_, we believe, is the proper term, but the
military couriers of that period were always called _videttes_ by the
citizens.]

"Once," said Caroline, "we heard a galloping in the middle of the night,
and therefore we all got up and looked out. In a few minutes the streets
were full of men who had risen and dressed themselves, and gone out to
get the news. I was sorry that, being women, we could not do the same.
But we sent Bob--you don't know how useful we find Bob. He is versed in
all sorts of soldiers and officers, and every kind of uniform, and the
right way of wearing it. He taught us to distinguish a captain from a
lieutenant, and an infantry from an artillery officer,--silver for
infantry, and gold for artillery,--and then there is the staff uniform
besides, and the dragoons, and the rifle officers, and the engineers. Of
course, I mean the regular army. As to volunteers and militia, we knew
them long ago."

"But you are forgetting the vidette that galloped through the street at
midnight," said Sophia.

"True, aunt; but when one has so much to tell, it is difficult to avoid
digressions. Well, then--this vidette brought news of the attack on
Baltimore; and, by daylight, there was as much confusion and hustle in
the town, as if we had expected the enemy before breakfast."

"We saw all the volunteers march off," said Harriet, taking up the
narrative. "They started immediately to intercept the British on their
way to Philadelphia,--for we were sure they would make an attempt to
come. We had seen from our windows, these volunteers drilling for weeks
before, in the State House Yard. It is delightful to have a house in
such a situation. My favourite company was the Washington Guards, but
Caroline preferred the State Fencibles. I liked the close round jackets
of the Guards, and their black belts, and their tall black feathers
tipped with red. There was something novel and out of the common way in
their uniform."

"No matter," said Caroline, "the dress of the State Fencibles was far
more manly and becoming. They wore coatees, and white belts, and little
white pompons tipped with red; pompons stand the wind and weather much
better than tall feathers. And then the State Fencibles were all such
genteel, respectable men."

"So were the Washington Guards," retorted Harriet, "and younger
besides."

"No, no," replied Caroline, "it was their short, boyish-looking jackets
that gave them that appearance."

"Well, well," resumed Harriet, "I must say that all the volunteer
companies looked their very best the day they marched off in full
expectation of a battle. I liked them every one. Even the blankets that
were folded under their knapsacks were becoming to them. We saw some of
the most fashionable gentlemen of the city shoulder their muskets and go
off as guards to the baggage-wagons, laughing as if they considered it
an excellent joke."

"To think," said Caroline, "of the hardships they have to suffer in
camp! After the worst of the alarm had subsided, many of the volunteers
obtained leave of absence for a day or two, and came up to the city to
visit their families, and attend a little to business. We always knew
them in a moment by their sunburnt faces. They told all about it, and
certainly their sufferings have been dreadful, for gentlemen. Standing
guard at night, and in all weather,--sleeping in tents, without any
bedsteads, and with no seats but their trunks,--cooking their own
dinners, and washing their own dishes,--and, above all, having to eat
their own awful cooking!"

"But you forget the country volunteers," said Harriet, "that came
pouring in from all parts of Pennsylvania. We saw them every one as they
passed through the city on their way down to Camp Dupont. And really we
liked _them_ also. Most of the country companies wore rifle-dresses of
coloured cotton, trimmed with fringe; for instance, some had blue with
red fringe, others green with yellow fringe; some brown with blue
fringe. One company was dressed entirely in yellow, spotted with black.
They looked like great two-legged leopards. We were very desirous of
discovering who an old gray-haired man was that rode at the head. He was
a fine-looking old fellow, and his dress and his horse were of the same
entire gray. I shall never forget that man."

"I shall never forget anything connected with the alarm," resumed
Caroline. "There was a notice published in all the papers, and stuck up
at every corner, telling what was to be done in case the enemy were
actually approaching the city. Three guns were to be fired from the Navy
Yard as a signal for the inhabitants to prepare for immediate danger.
You can't think how anxiously we listened for those three guns."

"I can readily believe it," said Miss Clements.

"We knew some families," continued Caroline, "that, in anticipation of
the worst, went and engaged lodgings in out-of-the-way places, thirty or
forty miles from town, that they might have retreats secured; and they
packed up their plate and other valuable articles, for removal at a
short notice. We begged of mamma to let us stay through everything, as
we might never have another opportunity of being in a town that was
taken by the enemy; and as no gentleman belonging to us was in any way
engaged in the war, we thought the British would not molest _us_. To say
the truth, mamma took the whole alarm very coolly, and always said she
had no apprehensions for Philadelphia."

"Maria Milden was at Washington," observed Harriet, "when the British
burnt the President's House and the Capitol, and she told us all about
it, for she was so fortunate as to see the whole. Nobody seems to think
they will burn the State House, if they come to Philadelphia. But I
do--don't you, aunt Sophia? What a grand sight it would be, and how fast
the State-House bell would ring for its own fire!"

"We can only hope that they will always be prevented from reaching the
city at all," replied Miss Clements.

"But don't I hear a trumpet?" exclaimed Caroline; and the girls were
again at the window.

"Oh! that is the troop of United States dragoons that Bob admires so
much," cried Harriet. "They have recruited a hundred men here in the
city. I suppose they are on their way to the lines. Look, look, aunt
Sophy,--now, you must acknowledge this to be a fine sight."

"It is," said Sophia.

"Only see," continued Harriet, "how the long tresses of white horse-hair
on their helmets are waving in the wind; and see how gallantly they hold
their sabres; and look at the captain as he rides at their head,--only
see his moustaches. I hope that captain will not be killed."

"But I shall be sorry if he is not wounded," said Caroline. "Wounded
officers are always so much admired. You know, Harriet, we saw one last
winter with his arm in a sling, and a black patch on his forehead. How
sweetly he looked!"

"Nay," said Harriet, "I cannot assent to that; for he was one of the
ugliest men I ever saw, both face and figure, and all the wounding in
the world would not have made him handsome."

"Well, interesting then,"--persisted Caroline;--"you must own that he
looked interesting, and that's everything."

"May I ask," said Miss Clements, "if you are acquainted with any
officers?"

"Oh, yes," replied Harriet, "we meet with them sometimes at houses where
we visit. How very unlucky it is that brother Francis happens to be
living in Canton, just at this time of all others! If he were with us,
we could go more into company, and his friends would visit at our
house--and of course he would know a great many officers. But mamma is
so very particular, and so very apprehensive about us, and she cannot
herself be persuaded to go to any public places. I wish Bob were grown
up."

"We were very desirous," said Caroline, "of being among the young ladies
who joined in presenting a standard, last October, to a regiment of
infantry that was raised chiefly in the city, but mamma would not permit
us. However, we saw the ceremony from a window. The young ladies who
gave the standard were all dressed alike in white muslin frocks and long
white kid gloves, with their hair plain and without ornament--they
looked sweetly. The regiment had marched into town for the purpose,--for
they were encamped near Darby. The young ladies with the flag stood on
the steps of a house in Chestnut street, and the officers were ranged in
front. She that held the standard delivered a short address on the
occasion, and the ensign who received it knelt on one knee, and replied
very handsomely to her speech. Then the drums rolled, and the band
struck up, and the colours waved, and the officers all saluted the
ladies."

"In what way?" asked Sophia.

"Oh, with their swords. A military salute is superb--Bob showed us all
the motions. Look now, aunt Sophia, I'll do it with the fly-brush.
That's exactly the way."

"I have always considered a military salute extremely graceful," said
Miss Clements.

"But we have still more to tell about this regiment," continued
Caroline. "You must know we spent a most delightful day in their
camp--actually in their camp!"

"And how did you happen to arrive at that pitch of felicity?" asked
Sophia.

"Oh!" replied Caroline, "we are, most fortunately for us, acquainted
with the family of an officer belonging to this district, and they
invited us to join them on a visit to the camp. Our friends had made
arrangements for having a sort of picnic dinner there, and baskets of
cold provisions were accordingly conveyed in the carriages. The weather
was charming, for it was the Indian summer, and everything conspired to
be so delightful. First we saw a review: how elegantly the officers
looked galloping along the line,--and then the manoeuvres of the
soldiers were superb,--they seemed to move by magic. When the review was
over, the officers were all invited to share our dinner. As they always
went to Darby (which was close by) for their meals, they had no
conveniences for dining in camp; and the contrivances that were resorted
to for the accommodation of our party caused us much amusement. The
flies of two or three tents were put together so as to make a sort of
pavilion for us. Some boards were brought, and laid upon barrels, so as
to form a table; and for table-cloths we had sheets supplied by the
colonel. We sat on benches of rough boards, similar to those that formed
the table. Plates, and knives and forks, were borrowed for us of the
soldiers. We happened to have no salt with us,--some, therefore, was
procured from the men's pork-barrels, and we made paper salt-cellars to
put it in. But the effect of our table was superb, all the gentlemen
being in full uniform--such a range of epaulets and sashes! Their
swords and chapeaux, which they had thrown under a tree, formed such a
picturesque heap! The music was playing for us all the time, and we were
waited upon by orderlies--think of having your plate taken by a soldier
in uniform! Wine-glasses being scarce among us, when a gentleman invited
a lady to take wine with him, she drank first, and gave him her glass,
and he drank out of it--and so many pretty things were said on the
occasion. After dinner the colonel took us to his tent, which was
distinguished from the others by being larger, and having a flag flying
in front, and what they called a picket fence round it. Then we were
conducted all through the camp, each lady leaning on the arm of an
officer: we almost thought ourselves in Paradise. For weeks we could
scarcely bear to speak to a citizen--Mr. Wilson and Mr. Thomson seemed
quite sickening."

"What nonsense you are talking!" said Mrs. Darnel, who, unperceived by
her daughters, had entered the room but a few moments before, and seated
herself on the sofa with her sewing. "When you are old enough to think
of marrying (the two girls smiled and exchanged glances), you may
consider yourselves very fortunate if any such respectable young men as
the two you have mentioned so disdainfully, should deem you worthy of
their choice."

"I have no fancy for respectable young men," said Harriet, in a low
voice.

"I hope you will live to change your opinion," pursued Mrs. Darnel. "I
cannot be all the time checking and reproving; but my consolation is
that when the war is over, you will both come to your senses,--and while
it lasts the officers have, fortunately, something else to think of than
courtship and marriage; and are seldom long enough in one place to
undertake anything more than a mere flirtation."

"For my part," said Miss Clements, "nothing could induce me to marry an
officer. Even in time of peace to have no settled home; and to be
transferred continually from place to place, not knowing at what moment
the order for removal may arrive; and certainly in time of war my
anxiety for my husband's safety would be so great as entirely to destroy
my happiness."

"Well," said Mrs. Darnel, "I wish, for a thousand reasons, that this war
was over. Setting aside all more important considerations, the
inconvenience it causes in our domestic concerns is too incessant to be
trifling. We are not yet prepared to live comfortably without the aid
of foreign importations. The price of everything has risen enormously."

"That is very true, mamma," observed Harriet; "only think of having to
give two dollars a yard for slight Florence silk; such silk as before
the war _we_ would not have worn at all--but now we are glad to get
anything,--and two dollars a pair for cotton stockings; cambric muslin a
dollar and a half a yard--a dollar for a paper of pins--twenty-five
cents for a cotton ball!"

"And groceries!" resumed Mrs. Darnel; "sugar a dollar a pound--lemons
half a dollar a piece!"

"I must say," said Caroline, "I am very tired of cream of tartar
lemonade. I find it wherever I go."

"Well, all this is bad enough," said Harriet; "but somehow it does not
make us the least unhappy, and certainly we are anything but dull."

"And then it is so pleasant," remarked Caroline, "every now and then to
hear the bells ringing, and to find that it is for a victory; and it is
so glorious to be taking ship after ship from the British. Bob says he
envied the New Yorkers the day the frigate United States brought in the
Macedonian."

"I own," said Miss Clements, "that the excitement of that day, can never
be forgotten by those that felt it. It had been ascertained the evening
before that these ships were off Sandy Hook, but in the morning there
was a heavy fog which, it was feared, would prevent their coming up to
the city. Nevertheless, thousands of people were assembled at daylight
on the Battery. At last a sunbeam shone out, the fog cleared off with
almost unprecedented rapidity, and there lay the two frigates at anchor,
side by side--the Macedonian with the American colours flying above the
British ensign. So loud were the acclamations of the spectators, that
they were heard half over the city, and they ceased not, till both
vessels commenced firing a salute."

The conversation was finally interrupted by the arrival of some female
visitors, who joined Mrs. Darnel in lamenting the inconveniences of the
times. One fearing that if the present state of things continued, she
would soon be obliged to dress her children in domestic gingham, and the
other producing from her reticule a pattern for a white linen glove,
which she had just borrowed with a view of making some for herself; kid
gloves being now so scarce that they were rarely to be had at any
price.

A few evenings afterwards, our young ladies were invited to join a party
to a ball; where Mr. Wilson and Mr. Thomson were treated with
considerable indifference by the Miss Darnels; but being very
persevering young men, they consoled themselves with the hope that _le
bon temps viendra_. About the middle of the evening, the girls espied at
a distance, among the crowd of gentlemen near the door, the glitter of a
pair of silver epaulets.

"There's a field-officer, Aunt Sophia," said Harriet: "he wears two
epaulets, and is therefore either a major or a colonel. So I am
determined to dance with him."

"If you can," added Caroline.

"How will you accomplish this enterprise?" asked Sophia.

"Oh!" replied Harriet, "I saw him talking to Mr. Wilson, who, I suppose,
has got acquainted with him somehow. So I'll first dance with poor
Wilson, just to put him into a good humour, and I'll make him introduce
this field-officer to me."

All this was accomplished. She _did_ dance with Mr. Wilson--he _was_ put
into a good humour; and when, half-laughing, half-blushing, she
requested that he would contrive for her an introduction to the
field-officer, he smiled, and, somewhat to her surprise, said at once,
"Your wish shall be gratified," adding, "he fought bravely at
Tippecanoe, and was rewarded with a commission in the regular service."

Mr. Wilson then left her, and in a few minutes returned with the
gentleman in question, whom he introduced as Major Steifenbiegen. The
major was of German extraction (as his name denoted), and came
originally from one of the back counties of Pennsylvania.

When Harriet Darnel had a near view of him, she found that the
field-officer, though a tall, stout man, was not distinguished by any
elegance of figure, and that his features, though by no means ugly, were
heavy and inexpressive, and his movements very much like those of a
wooden image set in motion by springs. However, he was in full uniform,
and had two epaulets, and wore the U. S. button.

On being introduced by young Wilson to Harriet and her companions, the
major bowed almost to the floor, as he gravely requested the honour of
Miss Darnel's hand for the next set,--which he told her he was happy to
say was a country-dance. On her assenting, he expressed his gratitude in
slow and measured terms, and in a manner that showed he had been
studying his speech during his progress across the ball-room.

"Madam," said he, "will you have the goodness to accept my most obliged
thanks for the two honours you are doing me; first, in desiring the
acquaintance of so unworthy an object, and secondly, madam, in agreeing
to dance with me? I have never been so much favoured by so fine a young
lady."

Harriet looked reproachfully at Mr. Wilson for having betrayed to Major
Steifenbiegen her wish for the introduction; but Wilson afterwards took
an opportunity of making her understand that she had nothing to fear;
the field-officer being entirely guiltless of the sin of vanity--as far,
at least, as regarded the ladies.

In a few minutes a fair-haired, slovenly, but rather a handsome young
man, in a citizen's old brown surtout, with an epaulet on his left
shoulder, came up to Major Steifenbiegen, and slapping him on the back,
said, "Well, here I am, just from Washington. I've got a
commission,--you see, I've mounted my epaulet,--and the tailor is making
my uniform. Who's that pretty girl you're going to dance with?" he
added, in a loud whisper.

"Miss Darnel," replied the major, drawing him aside, and speaking in a
tone quite different from that in which he thought proper to address the
ladies.

"Is that her sister beside her--the one that's dressed exactly the
same?"

"I presume so."

"You know it is--she's the prettiest of the two. So introduce me, and I
declare I'll take her out."

"I don't see how you can dance in that long surtout," observed the
major.

"Just as well as you can in those long jack-boots."

"But I'm in full uniform," said the major, "and your dress is neither
one thing nor t'other."

"No matter for that," replied the youth, "I'm old Virginia, and am above
caring about my dress. Haven't I my epaulet on my shoulder, to let
everybody know I'm an officer?--and that's enough. Show me the girl that
wouldn't be willing, any minute, to 'pack up her tatters and follow the
drum.'"

Major Steifenbiegen then introduced to the ladies Lieutenant Tinsley,
who requested Miss Caroline Darnel's hand for the next dance. Caroline,
consoling herself with the idea that _her_ officer, though in an old
brown surtout and dingy Jefferson shoes, was younger and handsomer than
Harriet's major, allowed him, as he expressed it, to carry her to the
dance,--which, he did by tucking her hand under his arm, and walking
very fast; informing her, at the same time, that he was old Virginia.

Major Steifenbiegen respectfully took the tips of Harriet's fingers,
saying, "Madam, I am highly obligated to you for allowing me the
privilege of leading you by the hand to the dance: I consider it a third
honour."

"Then you are three by honours," said Tinsley.

Miss Clements, who was too much fatigued by six sets of cotillions to
undertake the "never-ending, still-beginning country-dance," remained in
her seat, talking to her last partner, and regarding at a distance the
proceedings of her two nieces and their military beaux.

It is well known that during the war of 1812, commissions were sometimes
bestowed upon citizens who proved excellent soldiers, but whose
opportunities of acquiring the polish of gentlemen had been rather
circumscribed. There were really a few such officers as Major
Steifenbiegen and Lieutenant Tinsley.

The Miss Darnels and their partners took their places near the top of
the country-dance. While it was forming, each of the gentlemen
endeavoured to entertain his lady according to his own way--the major by
slowly hammering out a series of dull and awkward compliments, and the
lieutenant by a profusion of idle talk that Caroline laughed at without
knowing why; seasoned as it was with local words and phrases, and with
boastings about that section of the Union which had the honour of being
his birth-place.

"Madam," said the major, "I think it is the duty of an officer--the
bounden duty--to make himself agreeable, that is, to be perpetually
polite, and so forth. I mean we are to be always agreeable to the
ladies, because the ladies are always agreeable to us. Perhaps, madam, I
don't speak loud enough. Madam, don't you think it is the duty of an
officer to be polite and agreeable to the ladies?"

"Certainly," answered Harriet, "of an officer and of all gentlemen."

"Very true, madam," persisted the major, "your sentiments are quite
correct. All gentlemen should be polite to the fair sex, but officers
particularly. Not that I would presume to hint that they ought to be so
out of gratitude, or that ladies are apt to like officers--I have not
that vanity, madam--we are not a vain people--that is, we officers. But
perhaps, madam, my conversation does not amuse you."

"Oh! yes it does," replied Harriet, archly.

"Well, madam, if it doesn't, just mention it to me, and I'll willingly
stop,--the honour of dancing with so fine a young lady is sufficient
happiness."

"Well, Miss," said young Tinsley to Caroline, "you have but a stran_n_ge
sort of dancing here to the north. I can't make out much with your
cotillions. Before one has time to learn the figure by heart they're
over; and as to your sash_a_y and balanj_a_y, I don't know which is
which: I'm not good at any of your French capers--I'm old Virginia. Give
me one of our own up-country reels--'Fire in the mountains,' or 'Possum
up the gum tree,'--I could show you the figure in a minute, with
ourselves and two chears."

The dance had now commenced; and Major Steifenbiegen showed some signs
of trepidation, saying to Miss Darnel, "Madam, will you allow me, if I
may be so bold, to tax your goodness farther by depending entirely on
your kind instructions as to the manoeuvres of the dance. I cannot
say, madam, that I ever was a dancing character--some people are not.
It's a study that I have but lately taken up. But with so fine a young
lady for a teacher, I hope to acquit myself properly. I have been
informed that Rome was not built in a day. Please, madam, to tell me
what I am to do first."

"Observe the gentleman above you," replied Harriet, "and you will see in
a moment."

The major did observe, but could not "catch the idea." The music was
Fisher's Hornpipe, at that time very popular as a country-dance, and
Major Steifenbiegen was at length made to understand that he was first
to go down by himself, outside of the line of gentlemen, and without his
partner, who was to go down on the inside. He set off on his lonely
expedition with rather a _triste_ countenance. To give himself a wide
field, he struck out so far into the vacant part of the room, that a
stranger, entering at the moment, would have supposed that, for some
misdemeanor, he had been expelled from the dance, and was performing a
solitary _pas seul_ by way of penance. His face brightened, however,
when a gentleman, observing that he took no "note of time," kindly
recalled him to his place in the vicinity of Miss Darnel. But his
perplexities were now increased. In crossing hands, he went every way
but the right one, and the confusion he caused, and his formal
apologies, were as annoying to his partner,--who tried in vain to
rectify his mistakes,--as they were diverting to the other ladies. He
ducked his head, and raised his shoulders every time he made a dive at
their hands, lifting his feet high, like the Irishman that "rose upon
sugan, and sunk upon gad."

Harriet could almost have cried with vexation; but the worst was still
to come, and she prepared for the crowning misery of going down the
middle with Major Steifenbiegen. He no longer touched merely the ends of
her fingers, but he grasped both her hands hard, as if to secure her
protection, and holding them high above her head, he blundered down the
dance, running against one person, stumbling over another, and looking
like a frightened fool, while his uniform made him doubly conspicuous.
The smiles of the company were irrepressible, and those at a distance
laughed outright.

When they came to the bottom, Harriet, who was completely out of
patience, declared herself fatigued, and insisted on sitting down; and
the major, saying that it was his duty to comply with every request of
so fine a young lady, led her to Miss Clements, who, though pained at
her niece's evident mortification, had been an amused spectator of the
dance. The major then took his station beside Harriet, fanning her
awkwardly, and desiring permission to entertain her till the next set.
She hinted that it would probably be more agreeable to him to join some
of his friends on the other side of the room; but he told her that he
could not be so ungrateful for the numerous honours she had done him, as
to prefer any society to hers.

In the mean time, Caroline Darnel had fared but little better with
Lieutenant Tinsley; and she was glad to recollect, for the honour of the
army, that he was only an officer of yesterday, and also to hope (as was
the truth) that he was by no means a fair sample of the sons of
Virginia. He danced badly and ridiculously, though certainly not from
embarrassment, romped and scampered, and was entirely regardless of _les
bienséances_.

When they had got to the bottom of the set, and had paused to take
breath, the lieutenant began to describe to Caroline an opossum
hunt--then told her how inferior was the rabbit of Pennsylvania to the
"old yar"[74] of Virginia; and descanted on the excellence of their
corn-bread, bacon, and barbecued chickens. He acknowledged, however,
that "where he was raised, the whole neighbourhood counted on having the
ague every spring and fall."

[Footnote 74: Hare.]

"Then why do they stay there?" inquired Caroline. "I wonder that any
people, who are able to leave it, should persist in living in such a
place."

"Oh! you don't know us at all," replied Tinsley. "We are so used to the
ague, that when it quits us, we feel as if we were parting with an old
friend. As for me, I fit against it for a while, and then gave up;
finding that all the remedies, except mint-juleps, were worse than the
disease. I used to sit upon the _stars_ and shake, wrapped in my big
overcoat, with my hat on, and the capes drawn over my head--I'm old
Virginia."

Like her sister, Caroline now expressed a desire to quit the dance and
sit down, to which her partner assented; and, after conveying her to her
party, and telling her: "There, now, you can say you have danced with an
officer," he wheeled off, adding: "I'll go and get a _cigyar_, and take
a stroll round the _squarr_ with it. There's so much noise here that I
can't do my think."

The major looked astonished at Tinsley's immediate abandonment of a lady
so young and so pretty, and, by way of contrast, was more obsequious
than ever to Harriet, reiterating the request which he had made her as
they quitted the dance, to honour him with her hand for the next set;
telling her that now, having had some practice, he hoped, with her
instructions, to acquit himself better than in the last. Harriet parried
his importunities as adroitly as she could; determined to avoid any
farther exhibition with him, and yet unwilling to sit still, according
to the usual ball-room penalty for refusing the invitation of a
proffered partner.

Both the girls had been thoroughly ashamed of their epauletted beaux,
and had often, during the dance, looked with wistful eyes towards
Messrs. Wilson and Thomson, who were very genteel young men, and very
good dancers, and whose partners--two beautiful girls--seemed very happy
with them.

The major, seeing that other gentlemen were doing so, now departed in
quest of lemonade for the ladies; and, taking advantage of his absence,
Harriet exclaimed: "Oh, Aunt Sophy, Aunt Sophy! tell me what to do--I
cannot dance again with that intolerable man, neither do I wish to be
compelled to sit still in consequence of refusing him. I have paid
dearly for his two epaulets."

"My fool had but one," said Caroline, "and a citizen's coat beside,
therefore my bargain was far worse than yours. I have some hope,
however, that he has no notion of asking me again, and if he has, that
he will not get back from his tour round the _squarr_ before the next
set begins. I wish his cigar was the size of one of those candles, that
he might be the longer getting through with it! Oh! that some one would
ask me immediately!"

"I am sure I wish the same," said Harriet.

At that moment, they were gladdened by the approach of Mr. Harford, a
very ugly little man, whose dancing and deportment were sufficiently
_comme il faut_, and no more. And when he requested Caroline's hand for
the next set, both the girls, in their eagerness, started forward, and
replied: "With pleasure."

Mr. Harford, not appearing to perceive that her sister had also accepted
the invitation, bowed his thanks to Caroline, who introduced him to Miss
Clements. Harriet, recollecting herself, blushed and drew back; while
Sophia, to cover her niece's confusion, entered into conversation with
the gentleman.

Presently, Major Steifenbiegen came up with three or four glasses of
lemonade on a waiter, and a plate piled high with cakes; all of which he
pressed on the ladies with most urgent perseverance, evidently desirous
that they should drain the last drop of the lemonade, and finish the
last morsel of the cakes.

As soon as they had partaken of these refreshments, Mr. Harford led
Caroline to a cotillion that was arranging. While talking to him she
felt some one twitch her sleeve, and turning round she beheld Lieutenant
Tinsley.

"So, miss," said he, "you have given me the slip. Well, I have not been
gone long. My cigyar was not good, so I chuck'd it away in short order;
and I came back, and have been looking all about; but seeing nobody
prettier, I concluded I might as well take you out for this dance also.
However, there's not much harm done, as I suppose you'll have no
objection to dance with me next time; and I'll try to get up a Virginia
reel."

Caroline, much vexed, replied, "I believe I shall dance no more after
this set."

"What! tired already!" exclaimed Tinsley; "it's easy to see you are not
old Virginia."

"I hope so," said Caroline, petulantly.

"Why, that's rather a quare answer," resumed Tinsley, after pondering a
moment till he had comprehended the innuendo; "but I suppose ladies must
be allowed to say what they please. Good evening, miss."

And he doggedly walked off, murmuring, "After all, these Philadelphia
girls are not worth a copper."

When Caroline turned round again, she was delighted to perceive the
glitter of his epaulet amidst a group of young men that were leaving the
room; and the music now striking up, she cheerfully led off with good,
ugly Mr. Harford, who had risen highly in her estimation as contrasted
with Lieutenant Tinsley.

Meanwhile, Harriet remained in her seat beside her aunt; the major
standing before them, prosing and complimenting, and setting forth his
humble opinion of himself; in which opinion the two ladies, in their
hearts, most cordially joined him. Miss Clements, who had much tact,
drew him off from her niece, by engaging him in a dialogue exactly
suited to his character and capacity; while, unperceived by the major,
Mr. Thomson stepped up, and, after the interchange of a few words, led
off Harriet to a cotillion, saying, "Depend upon it, he is not
sufficiently _au fait_ of the etiquette of a ball room to take offence
at your dancing with me, after having been asked by him."

"But, if he _should_ resent it----"

"Then I shall know how to answer him. But rely upon it, there is nothing
to fear."

It was not till the Chace was danced, and the major, happening to turn
his head in following the eyes of Miss Clements, saw Harriet gayly
flying round the cotillion with Mr. Thomson, that he missed her for the
first time,--having taken it for granted that she would dance with him.
He started, and exclaimed--"Well, I certainly am the most faulty of
men--the most condemnable--the most unpardonable officer in the army--to
be guilty of such neglect--such rudeness--and to so fine a young lady. I
ought never to presume to show myself in the best classes of society.
Madam, may I hope that you will stand my friend--that you will help me
to gain my pardon?"

"For what?" asked Miss Clements.

"For inviting that handsome young lady to favour me again with her hand,
and then to neglect observing when the dance was about to begin, so that
she was obliged to accept the offer of another gentleman. He, no doubt,
stepped up just in time to save her from sitting still, which, I am
told, is remarkably disagreeable to young ladies. Madam, I mean no
reflection on you--I am incapable of any reflection on you--but (if I
may be so bold as to say so) it was _your_ fine, sensible conversation
that drew me from my duty."

The set being now over, Major Steifenbiegen advanced to meet Mr. Thomson
and Miss Darnel, and he accosted the former with--"Sir, give me your
hand. Sir, you are a gentleman, and I am much obligated to you for
sparing this young lady the mortification of not dancing with me."

("You may leave out the 'not,'" murmured Harriet to herself.)

"Of not enjoying the dance to which I had invited her, and of saving her
from sitting still for want of a partner--all owing to my unofficer-like
conduct in neglecting to claim her hand. I begin to perceive that I want
some more practice in ball behaviour. I thank you again for your humane
kindness to the young lady, which, I hope, will turn aside her anger
from me."

"Oh, yes!" said Harriet, almost afraid to speak lest she should laugh.

"Will you favour me with your name, sir?" pursued the major.

Mr. Thomson gave it, much amused at the turn that things had taken. The
major, after admiring the name, said he should always remember it with
esteem, and regretted that his having to set out for Plattsburgh early
on the following morning would, for the present, prevent their farther
acquaintance. He then made sundry other acknowledgments to Harriet for
all the honours she had done him that evening, including her forgiveness
of his "letting her dance without him,"--bowed to Caroline, who had just
approached with Mr. Harford; and, going up to Miss Clements, he thanked
her for her conversation, and finally took his departure. The girls did
not laugh till he was entirely out of the room, though Harriet remarked
that he walked edgeways, which she had not observed when he was first
brought up to her; her fancy being then excited, and her perception
blinded by the glitter of his two epaulets.

"Well, Miss Darnel," said Mr. Wilson, who had just joined them, "how do
you like your field-officer?"

"Need you ask me?" replied Harriet. "In future I shall hate the sight of
two silver epaulets."

"And I of one gold one," added Caroline.

"I will not trust you," said Mr. Thomson, with a smile.

"We shall see," said Mr. Wilson.

"Well, young ladies," observed Miss Clements, "you may at least deduce
one moral from the events of the evening. You find that it _is_ possible
for officers to be extremely annoying, and to deport themselves in a
manner that you would consider intolerable in citizens."

"It is intolerable in _them_, aunt," replied Harriet, "particularly when
they are stiff and ungainly in all their movements, and dance
shockingly."

"And if they are conceited, and prating, and ungenteel," added Caroline.

"Awkward in their expressions, and dull in their ideas," pursued
Harriet.

"Talking ridiculously and behaving worse," continued Caroline.

"Come, come," said Sophia Clements, "candour must compel us to
acknowledge that these two gentlemen are anything but fair specimens of
their profession, which I am very sure can boast a large majority of
intelligent, polished, and accomplished men."

"Be that as it may," replied Harriet, "I confess that my delight in the
show and parade of war, and my admiration of officers, has received a
severe shock to-night. 'My thoughts, I must confess, are turned on
peace.'"

"I fear these pacific feelings are too sudden to be lasting," remarked
Miss Clements, "and in a day or two we shall find that 'your voice is
still for war.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

The following morning the young ladies did more sewing than on any day
for the last two years, sitting all the time in the back parlour. In the
afternoon, Harriet read Coelebs aloud to her mother and aunt, and
Caroline went out to do some shopping. When she came home, she told of
her having stopped in at Mrs. Raymond's, and of her finding the family
just going to tea with an officer as their guest. "They pressed me
urgently," said she, "to sit down and take tea with them, and to remain
and spend the evening; but I steadily excused myself, notwithstanding
the officer."

"Good girl!" said Sophia.

"To be sure," added Caroline, "he was only in a citizen's dress."

"Ah!" said Mrs. Darnel, "that materially alters the case. Had he been in
uniform, I am sure your steadiness would have given way."

In less than two days all their anti-military resolutions were overset,
and the young ladies were again on the _qui vive_, in consequence of the
promulgation of an order for the return of the volunteers from Camp
Dupont, as, the winter having set in, the enemy had retired from the
vicinity of the Delaware and Chesapeake. The breaking up of this
encampment was an event of much interest to the inhabitants of
Philadelphia, as there were few of them that had not a near relative, or
an intimate friend among those citizen-soldiers.

On the morning that they marched home all business was suspended; the
pavements and door-steps were crowded with spectators, and the windows
filled with ladies, eager to recognise among the returning volunteers
their brothers, sons, husbands, or lovers,--who, on their side, cast
many upward glances towards the fair groups that were gazing on them.

The British General Riall, who had been taken prisoner at the battle of
Niagara, chanced to be at a house on the road-side when this gallant
band went by, on their way to Philadelphia. It is said that he remarked
to an American gentleman near him, "You should never go to war with
us--the terms are too unequal. Men like these are too valuable to be
thrown away in battle with such as compose _our_ armies, which are
formed from the overflowings of a superabundant population; while here I
see not a man that you can spare."

And he was essentially right.

The volunteers entered the city by the central bridge, and came down
Market street. All were in high spirits, and glad to return once more to
their homes and families. But unfortunate were those who on that day
formed the rear-guard, it being their inglorious lot to come in late in
the afternoon, after the spectators had withdrawn, convoying, with
"toilsome march, the long array" of baggage-wagons, which they had been
all day forcing through the heavy roads of an early winter, cold, weary,
and dispirited, with no music to cheer them, no acclamations to greet
them. No doubt, however, their chagrin was soon dispelled, and their
enjoyment proportionately great, when at last they reached their own
domestic hearths, and met the joyous faces and happy hearts assembled
round them.

A few days after the return of the volunteers, Mrs. Darnel received a
letter from an old friend of hers, Mrs. Forrester, a lady of large
fortune, residing in Boston, containing the information that her son,
Colonel Forrester, would shortly proceed to Philadelphia from the Canada
frontier, and that she would accompany him, taking the opportunity of
making her a long-promised visit. Mrs. Darnel replied immediately,
expressive of the pleasure it would afford her to meet again one of the
most intimate companions of her youth, and to have both Mrs. Forrester
and the colonel staying at her house.

The same post brought a letter to Sophia from Mr. Clements, her brother,
in New York, who, after telling her of his having heard that Colonel
Forrester would shortly be in Philadelphia, jestingly proposed her
attempting the conquest of his heart, as he was not only a gallant
officer, but a man of high character and noble appearance. Sophia showed
this letter to no one, but she read it twice over,--the first time with
a smile, the second time with a blush. She had heard much of Colonel
Forrester, of whom "report spoke goldenly;" and several times in New
York she had seen him in public, but had never chanced to meet him,
except once at a very large party, when accident had prevented his
introduction to her.

Harriet and Caroline were almost wild with delight at the prospect of an
intimate acquaintance with this accomplished warrior; but their joy was
somewhat damped by the arrival of a second letter from Mrs. Forrester,
in which she designated the exact time when she might be expected at the
house of her friend, but said that her son, having some business that
would detain him several weeks in Philadelphia, would not trespass on
the hospitality of Mrs. Darnel, but had made arrangements for staying at
a hotel.

"He is perfectly right," said Sophia. "I concluded, of course, that he
would do so. Few gentlemen, when in a city, like to stay at private
houses, if they can be accommodated elsewhere."

"At all events," said Harriet, "his mother will be with us, and he
_must_ come every day to pay his duty to her."

"That's some comfort," pursued Caroline; "and, no doubt, we shall see a
great deal of him, one way or another."

Sophia Clements, though scarcely conscious of it herself, felt a secret
desire of appearing to advantage in the eyes of Colonel Forrester. Her
two nieces felt the same desire, except that they made it no secret.
They had worked up their imaginations to the persuasion that Colonel
Forrester was the finest man in the army, and therefore the finest in
the world, and they anticipated the delight of his being their frequent
guest during the stay of his mother; of his morning visits, and his
evening visits; of having him at dinner and at tea; of planning
excursions with him to show Mrs. Forrester the lions of the city and its
vicinity, when, of course, he would be their escort. They imagined him
walking in Chestnut street with them, and sitting in the same box at the
theatre. Be it remembered, that during the war, officers in the regular
service were seldom seen out of uniform, and even when habited as
citizens they were always distinguished by that "gallant badge, the dear
cockade." Perhaps, also, Colonel Forrester and his mother might
accompany them to a ball, and they would then have the glory of dancing
with an officer so elegant as entirely to efface their mortification at
their former military partners. We need not say that Messrs. Wilson and
Thomson were again at a discount.

The girls were taken with an immediate want of various new articles of
dress, and had their attention been less engaged by the activity of
their preparations for "looking their very best," the time that
intervened between the receipt of Mrs. Forrester's last letter and that
appointed for their arrival, would have seemed of length immeasurable.

At last came the eve of the day on which these all-important strangers
were expected. As they quitted the tea-table, one of the young ladies
remarked:--

"By this time to-morrow, we shall have seen Col. Forrester and his
mother."

"As to the mother," observed Mrs. Darnel, "I am very sure that were it
not for the son, the expectation of _her_ visit would excite but little
interest in either of you--though, as you have often heard me say, she
is a very agreeable and highly intelligent woman."

"We can easily perceive it from her letters," said Sophia.

Mrs. Darnel, complaining of the headache, retired for the night very
early in the evening, desiring that she might not be disturbed. Sophia
took some needle-work, and each of the girls tried a book, but were too
restless and unsettled to read, and they alternately walked about the
room or extended themselves on the sofas. It was a dark, stormy
night--the windows rattled, and the pattering of the rain against the
glass was plainly heard through the inside shutters.

"I wish to-morrow evening were come," said Harriet, "and that the
introduction was over, and we were all seated round the tea-table."

"For my part," said Caroline, "I have a presentiment that everything
will go on well. We will all do _notre possible_ to look our very best;
mamma will take care that the rooms and the table shall be arranged in
admirable style--and if you and I can only manage to talk and behave
just as we ought, there is nothing to fear."

"I hope, indeed, that Colonel Forrester will like us," rejoined Harriet,
"and be induced to continue his visits when he again comes to
Philadelphia."

"Much depends on the first impression," remarked Miss Clements.

"Now let us just imagine over the arrival of Colonel and Mrs.
Forrester," said Harriet.--"The lamps lighted, and the fires burning
brightly in both rooms. In the back parlour, the tea-table set out with
the French china and the chased plate;--mamma sitting in an arm-chair
with her feet on one of the embroidered footstools, dressed in her
queen's-gray lutestring, and one of her Brussels lace caps--I suppose
the one trimmed with white riband. Aunt Sophia in her myrtle-green
levantine, seated at the marble table in the front parlour, holding in
her hand an elegant book--for instance, her beautiful copy of the
Pleasures of Hope. Caroline and I will wear our new scarlet Canton
crapes with the satin trimming, and our coral ornaments."

"No, no," rejoined Caroline; "we resemble each other so much that, if we
are dressed alike, Colonel Forrester will find too great a sameness in
us. Do you wear your scarlet crape, and I will put on my white muslin
with the six narrow flounces headed with insertion.[75] I have reserved
it clean on purpose; and I think Aunt Sophia had best wear her last new
coat dress, with the lace trimming. It is so becoming to her with a pink
silk handkerchief tied under the collar."

[Footnote 75: In those days, white muslin dresses were worn both in
winter and summer.]

"Well," said Harriet, "I will be seated at the table also, not reading,
but working a pair of cambric cuffs; my mother-of-pearl work-box before
me."

"And I," resumed Caroline, "will be found at the piano, turning over the
leaves of a new music-book. Every one looks their best on a music-stool;
it shows the figure to advantage, and the dress falls in such graceful
folds."

"My hair shall be _à la Grecque_," said Harriet.

"And mine in the Vandyke style," said Caroline.

"But," asked Sophia, "are the strangers on entering the room to find us
all sitting up in form, and arranged for effect, like actresses waiting
for the bell to ring and the curtain to rise? How can you pretend that
you were not the least aware of their approach till they were actually
in the room, when you know very well that you will be impatiently
listening to the sound of every carriage till you hear theirs stop at
the door. Never, certainly, will a visiter come _less_ unexpectedly than
Colonel Forrester."

"But you know, aunt," replied Caroline, "how much depends on a first
impression."

"Well," resumed Harriet, "I have thought of another way. As soon as they
enter the front parlour let us all advance through the folding doors to
meet them,--mamma leading the van with Aunt Sophy, Caroline and I arm in
arm behind."

"No," said Caroline, "let us not be close together, so that the same
glance can take in both."

"Then," rejoined Harriet, "I will be a few steps in advance of you. You,
as the youngest, should be timid, and should hold back a little; while
I, as the eldest, should have more self-possession. Variety is
advisable."

"But I cannot be timid all the time," said Caroline; "that will require
too great an effort."

"We must not laugh and talk too much at first," observed Harriet; "but
all we say must be both sprightly and sensible. However, we shall have
the whole day to-morrow to make our final arrangements; and I think I am
still in favour of the sitting reception."

"Whether he has a sitting or a standing reception," said Caroline, "let
the colonel have as striking a _coup d'oeil_ as possible."

Their brother Robert had gone to the theatre by invitation of a family
with whose sons he was intimate; and Sophia Clements, who was desirous
of finishing a highly interesting book, and who was not in the least
addicted to sleepiness, volunteered to sit up for him.

"I think," said she, "as the hour is too late, and the night too stormy
to expect any visiters, I will go and exchange my dress for a wrapper; I
can then be perfectly at my ease while sitting up for Robert. I will
first ring for Peter to move one of the sofas to the side of the fire,
and to place the reading-lamp upon the table before it."

She did so; and in a short time she came down in a loose double wrapper,
and with her curls pinned up.

"Really, Aunt Sophy," said Harriet, "that is an excellent idea.
Caroline, let us pin our hair here in the parlour before the
mantel-glass; that will be better still--our own toilet table is far
from the fire."

"True," replied Caroline, "and you are always so long at the
dressing-glass that it is an age before I can get to it,--but here, if
there were even four of us, we could all stand in a row and arrange our
hair together before this long mirror."

They sent up for their combs and brushes, their boxes of hair pins, and
their flannel dressing-gowns, and placed candles on the mantel-piece,
preparing for what they called "clear comfort;" while Sophia reclined on
the sofa by the fire, deeply engaged with Miss Owenson's new novel. The
girls, having poured some cologne-water into a glass, wetted out all
their ringlets with it, preparatory to the grand curling that was to be
undertaken for the morrow, and which was not to be opened out during the
day.

Harriet had just taken out her comb and untied her long hair behind, to
rehearse its arrangement for the ensuing evening, when a ring was heard
at the street-door.

"That's Bob," said Caroline. "He is very early from the theatre; I
wonder he should come home without staying for the farce."

Presently their black man, with a grin of high delight, threw open the
parlour-door, and ushered in an elegant-looking officer, who, having
left his cloak in the hall, appeared before them in full uniform,--and
they saw at a glance that it could be no one but Colonel Forrester.

Words cannot describe the consternation and surprise of the young
ladies. Sophia dropped her book, and started on her feet; Harriet
throwing down her comb so that it broke in pieces on the hearth,
retreated to a chair that stood behind the sofa with such precipitation
as nearly to overset the table and the reading-lamp; and Caroline,
scattering her hair-pins over the carpet, knew not where she was, till
she found herself on a footstool in one of the recesses. Alas! for the
_coup d'oeil_ and the first impression! Instead of heads _à la
Grecque_, or in the Vandyke fashion, their whole _chevelure_ was
disordered, and their side-locks straightened into long strings, and
clinging, wet and ungraceful, to their cheeks. Instead of scarlet crape
frocks trimmed with satin, or white muslin with six flounces, their
figures were enveloped in flannel dressing-gowns. All question of the
sitting reception, or the standing reception was now at an end; for
Harriet was hiding unsuccessfully behind the sofa, and Caroline
crouching on a footstool in the corner, trying to conceal a large rent
which in her hurry she had given to her flannel gown. Resolutions never
again to make their toilet in the parlour, regret that they had not
thought of flying into the adjoining room and shutting the folding-doors
after them, and wonder at the colonel's premature appearance, all passed
through their minds with the rapidity of lightning.

Sophia, after a moment's hesitation, rallied from her confusion; and her
natural good sense and ease of manner came to her aid, as she curtsied
to the stranger and pointed to a seat. Colonel Forrester, who saw at
once that he had come at an unlucky season, after introducing himself,
and saying he presumed he was addressing Miss Clements, proceeded
immediately to explain the reason of his being a day in advance of the
appointed time. He stated that his mother, on account of the dangerous
illness of an intimate and valued friend, had been obliged to postpone
her visit to Philadelphia; and that in consequence of an order from the
war-office, which required his immediate presence at Washington, he had
been obliged to leave Boston a day sooner than he intended, and to
travel with all the rapidity that the public conveyances would admit. He
had arrived about eight o'clock at the Mansion House Hotel, where a
dinner was given that evening to a distinguished naval commander.
Colonel Forrester had immediately been waited upon by a deputation from
the dinner-table, with a pressing invitation to join the company; and
this (though he did not then allude to it) was the reason of his being
in full uniform. Compelled to pursue his journey very early in the
morning, he had taken the opportunity, as soon as he could get away from
the table, of paying his compliments to the ladies, and bringing with
him a letter to Miss Clements from her brother, whom he had seen in
passing through New York, and one from his mother for Mrs. Darnel.

Grievously chagrined and mortified as the girls were, they listened
admiringly to the clear and handsome manner in which the colonel made
his explanation, and they more than ever regretted that all their
castles in the air were demolished, and that after this unlucky visit he
would probably have no desire to see them again, when he came to
Philadelphia on his return from Washington.

Sophia, who saw at once that she had to deal with a man of tact and
consideration, felt that an apology for the disorder in which he had
found them was to him totally unnecessary, being persuaded that he
already comprehended all she could have said in the way of excuse; and,
with true civility, she forbore to make any allusion which might remind
him that his unexpected visit had caused them discomfiture or annoyance.
Kindred spirits soon understand each other.

The girls were amazed to see their aunt so cool and so much at her ease,
when her beautiful hair was pinned up, and her beautiful form disfigured
by a large wrapper. But the colonel had penetration enough to perceive
that under all these disadvantages she was an elegant woman.

Harriet and Caroline, though longing to join in the conversation, made
signs to Sophia not to introduce them to the colonel, as they could not
endure the idea of his attention being distinctly attracted towards
them; and they perceived that in the fear of adding to their
embarrassment he seemed to avoid noticing their presence. But they
contrived to exchange signals of approbation at his wearing the staff
uniform, with its golden-looking bullet buttons, and its shining star on
each extremity of the coat skirts.

Colonel Forrester now began to admire a picture that hung over the
piano, and Sophia took a candle and conducted him to it, that while his
back was towards them, the girls might have an opportunity of rising and
slipping out of the room. Of this lucky chance they instantly and with
much adroitness availed themselves, ran up stairs, and in a shorter time
than they had ever before changed their dresses, they came back with
frocks on,--not, however, the scarlet crape, and the six-flounced
muslin,--and with their hair nicely but simply arranged, by parting it
on their foreheads in front, and turning it in a band round their combs
behind. Sophia introduced them to the colonel, and they were now able to
speak; but were still too much discomposed by their recent fright to be
very fluent, or much at their ease.

In the mean time, their brother Robert had come home from the theatre;
and the boy's eyes sparkled, when, on Miss Clements presenting her
nephew, the colonel shook hands with him.

Colonel Forrester began to find it difficult to depart, and he was
easily induced to stay and partake of the little collation that was on
the table waiting the return of Robert; and the ease and grace with
which Sophia did the honours of their _petit souper_ completely charmed
him.

In conversation, Colonel Forrester was certainly "both sprightly and
sensible." He had read much, seen much, and was peculiarly happy in his
mode of expressing himself. Time flew as if

    "----birds of paradise had lent
    Their plumage to his wings,"

and when the colonel took out his watch and discovered the lateness of
the hour, the ladies _looked_ their surprise, and his was denoted by a
very handsome compliment to them. He then concluded his visit by
requesting permission to resume their acquaintance on his return from
Washington.

As soon as he had finally departed, and Robert had locked the door after
him, the girls broke out into a rhapsody of admiration, mingled with
regret at the state in which he had surprised them, and the entire
failure of their first impression, which they feared had not been
retrieved by their second appearance in an improved style.

"Well," said Bob, "yours may have been a failure, but I am sure that was
not the case with Aunt Sophia. It is plain enough that the colonel's
impression of _her_ turned out very well indeed, notwithstanding that
she kept on her wrapper, and had her hair pinned up all the time. Aunt
Sophy is a person that a man may fall in love with in any dress; that
is, a man who has as much sense as herself."

"As I am going to be a midshipman," continued Robert, "there is one
thing I particularly like in Colonel Forrester, which is, that he is not
in the least jealous of the navy. How handsomely he spoke of the
sea-officers!"

"A man of sense and feeling," observed Sophia, "is rarely susceptible of
so mean a vice as jealousy."

"How animated he looked," pursued the boy, "when he spoke of Midshipman
Hamilton arriving at Washington with the news of the capture of the
Macedonian, and going in his travelling dress to Mrs. Madison's ball, in
search of his father the secretary of the navy, to show his despatches
to him, and the flag of the British frigate to the President, carrying
it with him for the purpose. No wonder the dancing ceased, and the
ladies cried."

"Did you observe him," said Harriet, "when he talked of Captain
Crowninshield going to Halifax to bring home the body of poor Lawrence,
in a vessel of his own, manned entirely by twelve sea-captains, who
volunteered for the purpose?"

"And did not you like him," said Caroline, "when he was speaking of
Perry removing in his boat from the Lawrence to the Niagara, in the
thickest of the battle, and carrying his flag on his arm? And when he
praised the gallant seamanship of Captain Morris, when he took advantage
of a tremendous tempest to sail out of the Chesapeake, where he had been
so long blockaded by the enemy, passing fearlessly through the midst of
the British squadron, not one of them daring, on account of the storm,
to follow him to sea and fight him."

"The eloquence of the colonel seems to have inspired you all," said
Sophia.

"Aunt Sophy," remarked Caroline, "at supper to-night, did you feel as
firm in your resolution of never marrying an officer, as you were at the
tea-table?"

"Colonel Forrester is not the only agreeable man I have met with,"
replied Miss Clements, evading the question. "It has been my good
fortune to know many gentlemen that were handsome and intelligent."

"Well," said Robert, "one thing is plain enough to me, that Colonel
Forrester is exactly suited to Aunt Sophy, and he knows it himself."

"And now, Bob," said Sophia, blushing, "light your candle, and go to
bed."

"Bob is right," observed Harriet, after he had gone; "I saw in a moment
that such a man as Colonel Forrester would never fancy _me_."

"Nor me," said Caroline.

Sophia kissed her nieces with more kindness than usual as they bade her
good-night. And, they, retired to bed impatient for the arrival of
morning, that they might give their mother all the particulars of
Colonel Forrester's visit.

In a fortnight, he returned from Washington, and this time he made his
first visit in the morning, and saw all the ladies to the best
advantage. His admiration of Sophia admitted not of a doubt. Being
employed for the remainder of the winter on some military duty in
Philadelphia, he went for a few days to Boston and brought his mother
(whose friend had recovered from her illness), to fulfil her expected
visit. The girls found Mrs. Forrester a charming woman, and, fortunately
for them, very indulgent to the follies of young people. The colonel
introduced to them various officers that were passing through the city,
so that they really _did_ walk in Chestnut street with gentlemen in
uniform, and sat in boxes with them at the theatre.

Before the winter was over, Sophia Clements had promised to become Mrs.
Forrester as soon as the war was at an end. This fortunate event took
place sooner than was expected, the treaty having been made, though it
did not arrive, previous to the victory of New Orleans. The colonel
immediately claimed the hand of the lady, and the wedding and its
preparations, by engaging the attention of Harriet and Caroline, enabled
them to conform to the return of peace with more philosophy than was
expected. The streets no longer resounded with drums and fifes. Most of
the volunteer corps disbanded themselves--the army was reduced, and the
officers left off wearing their uniforms, except when at their posts.
The military ardour of the young ladies rapidly subsided--citizens were
again at par--and Harriet and Caroline began to look with complacence on
their old admirers. Messrs. Wilson and Thomson were once more in
favour--and, seeing the coast clear, they, in process of time, ventured
to propose, and were thankfully accepted.



PETER JONES.

A SKETCH FROM LIFE.

     "Let the players be cared for."--SHAKSPEARE.


In the early part of the present century, there lived in one of the long
streets in the south-eastern section of Philadelphia, a tailor, whom we
shall introduce to our readers by the name of Peter Jones. His
old-fashioned residence, which (strange to say) is yet standing, was not
then put out of countenance by the modern-built structures that have
since been run up on each side of it. There were, it is true, three or
four new houses nearly opposite, all of them tenanted by genteel
families--but Peter's side of the way (at least for the length of a
square), was yet untouched by the hand of improvement, his own domicile
being the largest and best in the row, and moreover of three stories--an
advantage not possessed by the others. It had a square-topped door
lighted by three small square panes--the parlour window (there was but
one) being glazed to match, also with small glass and heavy wood work.
The blue-painted wooden door-step was furnished with a very convenient
seat, denominated the porch, and sheltered above by a moss-grown
pent-house. The whole front of the mansion was shaded by an enormous
buttonwood tree, that looked as if it had been spared from the primeval
forest by the axe of a companion of William Penn. The house, indeed,
might have been the country seat of one of the early colonists. Under
this tree stood a pump of excellent water.

Adjoining to the house was a little low blue frame, fronting also the
street--and no ground speculator could pass it without sighing to think
that so valuable a lot should be thus wasted. But Peter Jones owned both
house and shop--his circumstances were comfortable, his tastes and
ideas the reverse of elegant, and he had sense enough to perceive that
in attempting a superior style of life he should be out of his element,
and therefore less happy. Assisted at times by a journeyman, he
continued to work at his trade because he was used to it, and that he
might still have the enjoyment of making clothes for three or four
veterans of the revolution; and also for two old judges, who had been in
Congress in those sensible times when that well-chosen body acted more
and talked less. All these sexagenarians, having been enamoured of Peter
Jones's cut when he was the Watson of his day, still retained their
predilection for it; liking also to feel at ease in their own clothes,
and not to wear garments that seemed as if borrowed from "the sons of
little men." These gentlemen of the old school never passed without
stopping at the shop window to chat a few words with Peter; sometimes
stepping in, and taking a seat on his green Windsor chair--himself
always occupying the shop-board, whether he was at work or not.

Our hero, though a tailor, was a tall, stout, ruddy, well-looking old
man, having a fine capacious forehead, thinly shaded with gray hair,
which was tied behind in a queue, and a clear, lively blue eye. He had
acquired something of a martial air while assisting in the war of
Independence, by making regimental coats--and no doubt this assistance
was of considerable importance to the cause, it being then supposed that
all men, even Americans, fight better, and endure hardships longer, when
dressed in uniform.

Peter Jones was a very popular man among his neighbours, being frank,
good-natured, and clever in all manner of things. As soon as the new
houses opposite were occupied, he made acquaintance with their
inhabitants, who all regarded him as what is called a character; and he
never abused the degree of familiarity to which they admitted him. He
was considered a sort of walking directory--but when applied to, by a
new settler, for the "whereabout" of a carpenter who might be wanted for
a job, his usual answer was--"I believe I will bring over my saw and
plane, and do it myself"--also, if a lock-smith or bell-hanger was
inquired for, Peter Jones generally came himself, and repaired the lock
or re-fixed the bell; just as skilfully as if he had been "to the manner
born."

He took several of the opposite gardens under his special protection,
and supplied them with seeds and roots from his own stock. He was as
proud of their morning-glories, queen margarets, johny-jump-ups,
daffydowndillies (for so in primitive parlance he called all these
beautiful flowers), as if they had been produced in his own rather
extensive ground, which was always in fine order, and to see which he
often invited his neighbouring fellow-citizens. In flower season, he was
rarely seen without a sprig or two in one of the button-holes of his
lengthy waistcoat, for in warm weather he seldom wore a coat except on
Sundays and on the Fourth of July, when he appeared in a well-kept,
fresh-looking garment of bottle-green with large yellow buttons, a very
long body, and a broad, short skirt.

His wife, Martha, was a plump, notable, quiet, pleasant-faced woman,
aged about fifty-five, but very old-fashioned in looks and ideas. During
the morning, when she assisted her servant girl, Mrs. Jones wore a
calico short gown, a stuff petticoat, and a check-apron, with a close
muslin cap--in the afternoon her costume was a calico long gown, a white
linen apron, and a thinner muslin cap with brown ribbon; and on Sundays
a silk gown, a clear muslin apron, and a still thinner and much larger
cap trimmed with gray ribbon. Everything about them had an air of homely
comfort, and they lived plainly and substantially. Peter brought home
every morning on his arm an amply-filled market basket; but on Sundays
their girl was always seen, before church time, carrying to the baker's
a waiter containing a large dish that held a piece of meat mounted on a
trivet with abundance of potatoes around and beneath, and also a huge
pudding in a tin pan.

Peter Jones, who proportioned all his expenses so as to keep an even
balance, allowed himself and his wife to go once in the season to the
theatre, and that was on the anniversary of their wedding, an event of
which he informed his neighbours he had never found cause to repent.
This custom had been commenced the first year of their marriage, and
continued ever since; and as their plays were few and far between, they
enjoyed them with all the zest of novices in the amusement. To them
every actor was good, and every play was excellent; the last being
generally considered the best. They were not sufficiently familiar with
the drama to be fastidious in their taste; and happily for them, they
were entirely ignorant of both the theory and practice of criticism. To
them a visit to the theatre was a great event; and on the preceding
afternoon the neighbours always observed symptoms of restlessness in
Peter, and a manifest disinclination to settle himself to anything.
Before going to bed, he regularly, on the eve of this important day,
went round to the theatre to look at the bills that are displayed in the
vestibule a night in advance; being too impatient to wait for the
announcement in the morning papers. When the play-day actually came, he
shut up his shop at noon, and they had an earlier and better dinner than
usual. About three, Peter appeared in full dress with a ruffled shirt
and white cravat, wandering up and down the pavement, going in and out
at the front-door, singing, whistling, throwing up his stick and
catching it, stopping every one he knew, to have a talk with them on
theatricals, and trying every device to while away the intervening
hours. At four, the tea-table was set, that they might get over the
repast in good time, and, as Mrs. Jones said, "have it off their minds."

The play-day was late in the spring, and near the close of the season;
and while the sun was yet far above the horizon, Mr. and Mrs. Jones
issued from their door, and walked off, arm-in-arm, with that peculiar
gait that people always adopt when going to the theatre: he swinging his
clouded cane with its ivory top and buckskin tassel, and she fanning
herself already with a huge green fan with black sticks; and ambling
along in her best shoes and stockings, and her annual silk gown, which,
on this occasion, she always put on new.

As they went but once a year, they determined on doing the thing
respectably, and on having the best possible view of the stage;
therefore they always took seats in an upper front box. Arriving so
early, they had ample time to witness the gradual filling of the house,
and to conjecture who was coming whenever a box door was thrown open. To
be sure, Peter had frequent recourse to his thick, heavy, but unerring
silver watch, and when he found that it still wanted three quarters of
an hour of the time for the curtain to rise, his wife sagely remarked to
him that it was better to be even two hours too early than two minutes
too late; and that they might as well get over the time in sitting in
the play-house as in sitting at home. Their faces always brightened
exceedingly when the musicians first began to emerge from the subterrany
below, and took their places in the orchestra. Mrs. Jones pitied
extremely those that were seated with their backs to the stage, and
amusing herself with counting the fiddles, and observing how gradually
they diminished in size from the bass viol down; till her husband
explained to her that they diminished up rather than down, the smallest
fiddle being held by the boss or foreman of the band. Great was their
joy (and particularly that of Peter), when the increasing loudness of
the instruments proclaimed that the overture was about to finish; when
glimpses of feet appearing below the green curtain, denoted that the
actors were taking their places on the stage, when the welcome tingle of
the long-wished-for bell turned their eyes exultingly to the upward
glide of the barrier that had so long interposed between them and
felicity.

Many a listless and fastidious gentleman, having satiated himself with
the theatre by the nightly use of a season ticket (that certain
destroyer of all relish for dramatic amusements), might have envied in
our plain and simple-minded mechanic the freshness of sensation, the
unswerving interest, and the unqualified pleasure with which he regarded
the wonders of the histrionic world.

To watch Peter Jones at his annual play was as amusing as to look at the
performance itself (and sometimes much more so), such was his earnest
attention, and his vivid enjoyment of the whole; as testified by the
glee of his laugh, the heartiness of his applause, and the energy with
which he joined in an encore. If it chanced to be a tragedy, he consoled
his wife in what she called the "forepart of her tears," by reminding
her that it was only a play; but as the pathos of the scene increased,
he always caught himself first wiping his eyes with the back of his
hand; then blowing his nose, trumpetwise, with his clean bandanna
pocket-handkerchief; and then calling himself a fool for crying. Like
Addison's trunk-maker, he frequently led the clap; and on Peter Jones's
night there was certainly more applause than usual. The kindness of his
heart, however, would never allow him to join in a hiss, assuring those
about him that the actors and the play-writers always did their best,
and that if they failed it was their misfortune, and not their fault.

That all the old observances of the theatre might be duly observed, he
failed not to produce between the play and farce an ample supply of what
children denominate "goodies," as a regale for Mrs. Jones and himself;
also presenting them all round to every one within his reach; and if
there were any little boys and girls in the vicinity, he always produced
a double quantity.

It is unnecessary to say that Mr. and Mrs. Jones always stayed to the
extreme last; not quitting their seats till the curtain had descended to
the very floor, and shut from their view, for another year, the bows
and curtsies of the actors at the final of the _finale_ in the
concluding scene of the after-piece. Then our happy old couple walked
leisurely home, and had a supper of cold meat and pickles, and roasted
potatoes; and talked of the play over the supper-table; and also over
the breakfast-table next morning; and also to all their acquaintances
for a month or two afterwards.

In those days, when Peter Jones found the enjoyment of one play
sufficient to last him a twelvemonth, the Philadelphia theatre was in
its "high and palmy state." There was an excellent stock company, with a
continual succession of new pieces, or judicious revivals of old ones of
standard worth. The starring system, as it is called, did not then
prevail. The performers, having permanent engagements, were satisfied to
do their duty towards an audience with whose tastes they were familiar.
Each actor could play an infinite number of parts--each singer could
sing an infinity of songs--and all considered it a portion of their
business to learn new characters, or new music.

Having seen Mr. Bluster in Hamlet, Pierre, and Romeo, we were not
expected, after a short interval, to crowd again to the theatre to
applaud Mr. Fluster in Romeo, Pierre, and Hamlet. Having laughed
sufficiently at Mr. Skipabout in Young Rapid, Bob Handy, and Rover, we
were not then required, in the lapse of a few weeks, to laugh likewise
at Mr. Tripabout in Rover, Bob Handy, and Young Rapid. Also, if we had
been properly enraptured with Madam Dagolini Dobson in Rosina and
Rosetta, we were not compelled, almost immediately, to re-prepare our
_bravos_ and _bravissimas_ for Madame Jomellini Jobson in Rosetta and
Rosina.

The list of acting plays was not then reduced to about five comedies,
and six tragedies; served out night after night, not in the alternate
variety of one of each sort successively, but with a course of tragedy
for a hero of the buskin, and a course of comedy for the fortunate man
that was able to personate a lively _gentleman_. Neither were the lovers
of vocal harmony obliged to content themselves with the perpetual
repetition of four musical pieces, regularly produced, "when certain
stars shot madly from their spheres" in the brilliant and _recherché_
opera-houses of Europe (where princes and kings pay for a song in
diamonds), to waste their glories on yankees, buckeyes, and tuckahoes,
whose only idea of pay is in the inelegant form of things called
dollars.

It is true that in those days the machinery and decorations of the
Philadelphia stage, and the costume of the actors, were far inferior to
the _materiel_ of the present time; but there was always a regular
company of sterling excellence, the pieces were various and well
selected, and the audience was satisfied.

Years had passed on, and Peter and Martha Jones were still "keeping the
even tenor of their way," and enjoying the anniversary play with all
their might, when a house on the other side of the street was taken by a
respectable hair-dresser, whose window soon exhibited all the emblems of
his profession, arranged with peculiar taste, and among them an unusual
assortment of wigs for both sexes.

Now, if Mrs. Jones had a failing (and who is perfect), it was in
indulging a sort of anti-barber prejudice, very unaccountable,
certainly--but so are most prejudices. This induced her rather to
discourage all demonstrations of her husband's usual disposition to make
acquaintance with the new neighbours, whom she set down in her own mind
as "queer people"--a very comprehensive term. To be sure, Mr. Dodcomb's
looks and deportment differed not materially from those of any other
hair-dresser; but Peter Jones could not help agreeing that the
appearance of his family were much at variance with the imputed virtues
of the numerous beautifying specifics that were set forth in his shop.
For instance, notwithstanding the infallibility of his lotions and
emollients, and creams and pastes, the face and neck of Mrs. Dodcomb
obstinately persisted in remaining wrinkled, yellow, speckled, and
spotty. And in spite of Macassar oil, and bear's oil, and other certain
promoters of luxuriant, soft, and glossy tresses, her locks continued
scanty, stringy, stiff, and disorderly. By-the-bye, though there were
"plenty more in the shop," she always wore a comb whose teeth were "few
and far between."

Though Mr. Dodcomb professed to cut hair in a style of unrivalled
elegance, the hair of his children was sheared to the quick, their heads
looking nearly as bald as if shaved with a razor; and this phrenological
display was rather unbecoming to the juvenile Dodcombs, as their ears
were singularly prominent and donkey-like. Then as to skin, the faces of
the boys were sadly freckled, and those of the girls surprisingly coarse
and rough.

Mrs. Jones came to a conclusion that their new neighbour must be a
remarkably close man, and unwilling to waste any of his stock in trade
upon his own family; and Peter thought it would be more politic in Mr.
Dodcomb to use his wife and children as pattern cards, exhibiting on
their heads and faces the success of his commodities; which Mrs. Jones
unamiably suspected to be all trash and trickery, and far inferior to
plain soap and water.

Things were in this state when election day came; and on the following
morning Mr. Dodcomb came over to look at Mr. Jones's newspaper, and see
the returns of the city and county; complaining that ever since he had
lived in the neighbourhood, his own paper had been shamefully purloined
from the handle of the door so early as before the shop was open. To
steal a newspaper appeared to honest Peter the very climax of felony,
for, as he said, it was stealing a man's sense and knowledge; and, being
himself the earliest riser in the neighbourhood, he volunteered to watch
for the offender. This he did by rising with the first blush of dawn,
and promenading the pavement, stick in hand. It was not long before he
discovered the abstractor in the person of an ever-briefless lawyerling,
belonging to the only family in the neighbourhood who professed
aristocracy, and discountenanced Peter Jones. And our indignant old hero
saw "the young gentleman of rank" issue scarcely half dressed from his
own door, pounce rapidly upon the newspaper, and carry it off. "Stop
thief!--stop thief!" was loudly vociferated by Peter, who, brandishing
his stick, made directly across the street, and the astonished culprit
immediately dropped the paper, and took refuge in his own patrician
mansion.

As soon as the Dodcomb house was opened, Peter Jones went over with the
trophy of his success. Mr. Dodcomb was profuse of thanks, making some
remarkably handsome speeches on the occasion, and Peter went home and
assured his wife that, though a barber, their new neighbour was a very
clever man and well worth knowing. Mrs. Jones immediately saw things in
their proper light, did not perceive that the Dodcombs were at all
queerer than other people, concluded that they had a right to look as
they pleased, and imputed their indifference to hair and cosmetics to
the probability that they were surfeited with the sight of both; as
confectioners never eat cakes, and shoemakers' families are said to go
barefoot.

The same evening, Mrs. Jones accompanied her husband to make a
neighbourly visit to the Dodcombs, whom, to their great surprise, they
found to be extremely _au-fait_ of the theatre; Mr. Dodcomb being barber
to that establishment, and his sister-in-law, Miss Sarah Ann Flimbrey,
one of the dressmakers.

The progress of the intimacy between the Jones and Dodcomb families now
increased rapidly, making prodigious strides every day. By the next
week, which was the beginning of January, they had made up a party to go
together to the theatre on New Year's night; Peter Jones having been
actually and wonderfully over-persuaded to break through his
time-honoured custom of going but once a twelvemonth. The Dodcombs had
an irregular way of seeing the plays from between the scenes, from the
flies over the stage, and from all other inconvenient and uncomfortable
places where they could slip in "by virtue of their office;" but on New
Year's night they always went in form, taking a front box up stairs,
that their children might have an uninterrupted view of the whole show;
Mr. Dodcomb on that evening employing a deputy to arrange the heads of
the performers.

Early on New Year's morning, Peter Jones put into the hands of his
neighbour two dollars, to pay for the tickets of himself and wife; and
during the remainder of the day (which, fortunately for him, was at this
season a very short one) he had his usual difficulty in getting through
the time.

It was in vain that the Joneses were dressed at an early hour and had
their usual early tea. The Dodcombs (to whom the theatre was no novelty)
did not hurry with _their_ preparations, and on Peter going over to see
if they were ready, he found them all in their usual dishabille, and
their maid just beginning to set the tea-table. That people (under any
circumstances) could be so dilatory with a play in prospect, presented
to the mind of the astonished Peter a new view of the varieties of the
human species. But as all things must have an end, so at last had the
tea-drinking of the Dodcombs; and luckily their toilets did not occupy
much time, for they only put themselves in full dress from their waist
upward; to the great surprise of Mrs. Jones, who was somewhat
scandalized at their oldish shoes and dirtyish stockings.

To the utter dismay of the Joneses, the curtain, for the first time in
their lives, was up when they arrived; and to this misfortune the
Dodcombs did not seem to attach the least consequence, assuring them
that in losing the first scene of a play they lost nothing.

The five children were ranged in front, each of the three girls wearing
a rose-bud on one side of her closely trimmed head, which rose-bud, as
Mrs. Jones afterwards averred to her husband, must have been stuck there
and held in its place by some hocus pocus, which no one but a play-house
barber could contrive or execute. During the progress of the play, which
was a melo-drama of what is called "thrilling interest," Peter Jones,
who always himself paid the most exemplary attention to the scene before
him, was annoyed to find that his wife was continually drawn in to talk,
by the example of Mrs. Dodcomb and Miss Flimbrey, one of whom sat on
each side of her, and who both kept up a running fire of questions,
answers, and remarks during the whole of the performance--plays, as they
said, being mere drugs to them.

"How do you like that scarlet and gold dress?" said Mrs. Dodcomb.

"Oh! it's beautiful!" replied Mrs. Jones, "and he's a beautiful man that
wears it! What handsome legs he has?--and what a white neck for a
man!--and such fine curly hair--"

"You would not say so," said Mrs. Dodcomb, "if you were to see him in
daylight without his paint, and without his chestnut wig (they have all
sorts of wigs, even flax, tow, and yarn). His natural face and hair are
both of the same clay-colour. As to his neck, it's nothing when it is
not coated all over with whitening--and then his stage legs are always
padded."

"Mr. Jones, you are a judge of those things--what do you suppose that
man's dress is made of?" asked Mr. Dodcomb.

"Scarlet cloth and gold lace."

"Fudge! it's only red flannel, trimmed with copper binding."

"I'm sorry to hear that," observed Mrs. Jones--and during the remainder
of the piece she designated him as "the man in the flannel jacket."

"That's a pretty hat of his sweetheart's," she remarked, "that gauze hat
with the long white feathers--how light and airy it looks!"

Miss Flimbrey now giggled. "I made it myself, this morning," said she,
"it's only thin catgut, with nothing at all outside--but at a distance,
it certainly may be taken for transparent gauze."

From this time Mrs. Jones distinguished the actress as "the woman with
the catgut hat."

The hero of the piece appeared in a new and magnificent dress, which was
very much applauded, as new and showy dresses frequently are. It was a
purple velvet, decorated profusely with gold ornaments, somewhat
resembling rows of very large buttons; each button being raised or
relieved in the centre, and having a flat rim round the edge. They went
up all the seams of the back, and down the front of the jacket, and
round the cuffs; and, being very bright and very close together, the
effect was rich and unique. Also, one of them fastened the plume and
looped up the hat, and two others glittered in the rosettes of the
shoes.

"Oh! how grand!--how very grand!" exclaimed Mrs. Jones. "This dress
beats all the others!"

"Upon my word, that trimming is fine," said Peter.

"Ain't they big gold buttons, put very close together?" asked his wife.

"Why, no," replied Peter. "They ain't buttons at all--not one of them.
Surely I ought to know buttons, when they _are_ buttons. I can't make
out these things exactly. But they're handsome, however."

Mr. Dodcomb now began to laugh. "I'll tell you," said he, "the history
of these new-fashioned ornaments. It was a bright idea of the actor's
own when he was planning his new dress. He went to one of the great
hardware stores in Market Street, and bought I don't know how many gross
of those shining covers that are put over the screw-holes of bedsteads
to hide the screws, and that are fastened on by a small thing at the top
of each, like a loop, having a hole for a little screw, to fix them
tight in their places. And these holes in the loops were just convenient
for the needle to go through when they were sewed on to the dress. So
you see what a good show they make now."

"Of all contrivances!" exclaimed Peter. "To think that bed-screw covers
should trim so well!"

"Wonders will never cease!" ejaculated Mrs. Jones. And whenever the
actor reappeared, she jogged her husband, and reminded him that "here
came the man all over bed-screws."

"What beautiful lace cuffs and collars all those gentlemen have, that
are gallanting the ladies to the feast!" said Mrs. Jones.

"Cut paper, my dear--only cut paper," replied Mrs. Dodcomb. "Sally
Flimbrey cuts them out herself--don't you, Sally?"

Miss Flimbrey (who was not proud), nodded in the affirmative--"You would
never guess," said she, "my dear Mrs. Jones, what odd contrivances they
have--did you observe the milk-maid's pail in the cottage scene?"

"Yes--it was full to the brim of fine frothy new milk--I should like to
have taken a drink of it."

"You would have found it pretty hard to swallow, for it was only cotton
wadding," said Miss Flimbrey.

"Well now! if ever I heard the beat of that!" interjected Mrs. Jones.

"How do you like the thunder and lightning?" said Mr. Dodcomb to Mr.
Jones.

"It's fine," replied Peter, "and very natural."

"I'll tell you what it is," replied Dodcomb, "the lightning is made by
sprinkling a handful of powdered rosin into a ladle heated over a pan of
charcoal. A man stands between the scenes and does it whenever a flash
is wanted. The thunder is produced by a pair of cannon balls joined
across a bar to which is fixed a long wooden handle like the tongue of a
child's basket wagon, and by this the balls are pushed and hauled about
the floor behind the back scene."

"Astonishing!" exclaimed Mr. Jones. "But the rattling of the
rain--_that_ sounds just as if it was real."

"The rain!" answered Mr. Dodcomb. "Oh, the rain is done by a tall wooden
case, something on the plan of a great hour glass, lined with tin and
filled half full with small shot, which when the case is set on end,
dribbles gradually down and rattles as it falls."

"Dear me," ejaculated Mrs. Jones, "what a wonderful thing is knowledge
of the stage! I never _shall_ see a thunder-gust again (at the
play-house, I mean) without thinking all the time of rosin and ladles,
and cannon balls with long handles, and the dribbling of shot."

"Then for snow," pursued Mr. Dodcomb, "they snip up white paper into
shreds, and carry it up to the flies or beams and rafters above the
stage, and scatter it down by handfuls."

"You don't say so!" exclaimed Mrs. Jones--

"Well--now the storm is over," said Mrs. Dodcomb, "and here is a castle
scene by moonlight."

"And a very pretty moon it is," observed Mrs. Jones, "all solemn and
natural."

"Not very solemn to me," said Mr. Dodcomb, "as I know it to be a bit of
oiled linen let into a round hole in the back scene, with a candle put
behind it."

"Wonders will never cease!" ejaculated Mrs. Jones. "And there's an owl
sitting up in that old tumble-down tower--how natural he blinks!"

"Yes," said Mr. Dodcomb, "his eyes are two doors, with a string to each;
and a man climbs up behind, and keeps jerking the doors open and letting
them shut again--that's the way to make an owl blink. But here comes the
bleeding ghost, that wanders about the ruins by moonlight."

The children all drew back a little, and looked somewhat frightened; it
happening to be the first ghost they had ever seen.

"Dear me!" said Mrs. Jones, drawing her shawl closely round her, "what
an awful sight a ghost is, even when we know it's only a play-actor!
This one seem to have no regular clothes, but only those white fly-away
things--how deadly pale it is--and just look at the blood, how it keeps
streaming down all the time from that great gash in the breast!"

"As to the paleness," explained Miss Flimbrey, "it's only that the face
is powdered thick all over with flour; and as to what looks to you like
blood, it's nothing but red ribbon, gathered a little full at the top
where the wound is, and the ends left long to flow down the white
drapery."

"Why this beats all the rest!" exclaimed Mrs. Jones, "Well--I never
_shall_ see a bloody ghost again without thinking of meal and red
ribbon."

Previous to the last act of the melo-drama, a man belonging to the
theatre came and called Mr. Dodcomb out of the box to ask him if he
would be so obliging as to go on the stage for a senator in the trial
scene, one of the big boys that usually assisted in making out this
august assemblage having unexpectedly run away and gone to sea. Mr.
Dodcomb (who was not entirely unused to lending himself to similar
emergencies) kindly consented; and, after returning to whisper the
circumstance to his wife, he slipped out unobserved by the rest of the
party. When the drop-curtain again rose, eight or ten senators, with
venerable white wigs, were seen sitting in a sort of pews, and wearing
pink robes and ermine capes; which ermine, according to Miss Flimbury,
was only white paper spotted over with large regular splotches of ink at
equal distances.

Presently, on recognising their beloved parent among the conscript
fathers, the Dodcomb children became rather too audible in expressing
their delight, exclaiming: "Oh! there's pappy. Only see pappy on the
stage. Don't pappy look funny?"

The pit-people looked up, and the box-people looked round, and Mrs.
Dodcomb tried to silence the children by threats of making them go home.
Peter Jones quieted them directly by stopping their mouths with cakes
from his well-stored pocket; thus anticipating the treat he had provided
for them as a regale between the play and after-piece.

The scene over, Mr. Dodcomb speedily got rid of his senatorial costume,
and returned to the box in _propriâ personâ_, where he was loudly
greeted by his children, each insisting on being "the one that first
found out their pappy among the men in wigs and gowns."

"Well if ever!" exclaimed Mr. Jones. "There's no knowing what good's
before us! Little did we expect when we came here to-night, that we
should be sitting here in the same box with anybody that ever acted on
the stage. I am so glad."

The after-piece was the Forty Thieves, which Peter and Mrs. Jones had
never seen before, and which had extraordinary charms for the old man,
who in his youth had been well versed in the Arabian Tales. Giving
himself up, as he always did, to the illusion of the scene, he could
well have dispensed with the explanations of the Dodcombs, who began by
informing Mrs. Jones that the fairy Ardanelle, though in her
shell-formed car she seemed to glide through the water, was in reality
pulled along by concealed men with concealed ropes.

When the equestrian robbers appeared one by one galloping across the
distant mountains, and Mrs. Jones had carefully counted them all to
ascertain that there was the full complement of exactly forty, Miss
Flimbrey laughed, and assured her that in reality there were only three,
one mounted on a black, one on a bay, and one on a white horse, but they
passed round and appeared again, till the precise number was
accomplished. "And the same thing," said she, "is always done when an
army marches across the stage, so that a few soldiers are made to seem
like a great many."

"You perceive, Mrs. Jones," said Mr. Dodcomb, "these robbers that ride
over the distant mountains are not the real men; but both man and horse
is nothing more than a flat thin piece of wood painted and cut out."

On Peter remarking that there was certainly a look of life or reality in
the near leg of each rider as it was thrown over the saddle, Mr. Dodcomb
explained that each of these equestrian figures was carried by a man
concealed behind, and that one arm of the man was thrust through an
aperture at the top of the painted saddle; the arm that hung over so as
to personate a leg, being dressed in a Turkish trowser, with a boot
drawn on the hand.

"Do you mean," said Peter, "that these men run along the ridge, each
carrying a horse under his arm?"

"Exactly so," replied Dodcomb, "the horse and rider of painted board
being so arranged as to hide the carrier."

"Well--I never did hear anything so queer," said Mrs. Jones, "I wonder
how they can keep their countenances. But, there are so many queer
things about play-acting. Dear me! what a pug-nose that cobbler has! Let
me look at the bill and see who he is--why I saw the same man in the
play, and his nose was long and straight."

"Oh! when he wants a snub nose," replied Miss Flimbrey, "he ties up the
end with a single horse-hair fastened round his forehead, and the horse
hair is too fine to be seen by the audience."

During the scene in which Morgiana destroys the thieves, one at a time,
by pouring a few drops of the magic liquid into the jars in which they
are hidden, Mrs. Jones found out of her own accord that the jars were
only flat pieces of painted board; but Mrs. Dodcomb made her observe
that as each of the dying bandits uttered distinctly his own separate
groan, the sound was in reality produced from the orchestra, by he of
the bass viol giving his bow a hard scrub across the instrument.

"Well," said Mrs. Jones on her way home, "now that my eyes are opened, I
must say there is a great deal of deception in plays."

"To be sure there is," replied Peter, "and that we knew all along, or
might have known if we had thought about it; but people that go to the
theatre only once a year are quite willing to take things as they see
them; and they have pleasure enough in the play itself and in what
passes before their eyes, without wondering or caring about the
contrivances behind the scenes. I never supposed their finery to be
real, or their handsome looks either; but that was none of our business,
as long as they appeared well to us--I said nothing to _you_, for I know
if you were once put on the scent, you would be the whole time trying to
find out their shams and trickeries."

Next morning, while talking over the play in Peter's shop, Mr. Dodcomb
kindly volunteered to procure for him and Mrs. Jones, bones or orders
from the managers or chief performers, that would insure a gratuitous
admission. Peter, much as he liked plays, demurred awhile about availing
himself of this neighbourly offer, but the urgency of his wife prevailed
on him to consent; and a day or two after, Mr. Dodcomb put into his hand
two circular pieces of lettered ivory, which on giving them to the
doorkeeper admitted Mr. and Mrs. Jones to the house for that evening;
and thus, for the first time in their lives, they found themselves at
the theatre twice in one week.

In this manner they went again and again; and a visit to the theatre
soon ceased to be an event. It was no longer eagerly anticipated, and
minutely remembered. The sight of one play almost effaced the
recollection of another. The edge of novelty was fast wearing off, and
the sense of enjoyment becoming blunted in proportion. Weariness crept
upon them with satiety, and they sometimes even went home before the
concluding scene of the farce, and at last they did not even stay to see
the first. Often they caught themselves nodding shamefully during the
most moral and instructive dialogues of sentimental comedy, and they
actually slept a duett through the four first acts of the Gamester, in
which, however, they were accompanied by a large portion of the
audience.

Their friends the Dodcombs escorted them one afternoon all through the
interior of the theatre, so that they obtained a full comprehension of
the whole paraphernalia, with all its illusions and realities; and of
this knowledge Mrs. Jones made ample use in her comments at night during
the performance.

As Peter's enjoyment of the drama grew less, he became more fastidious,
particularly as to the ways and means that were employed to produce
effect. He now saw the ridicule of the armies of the rival roses being
represented by half a dozen men, who when they belonged to King Richard
were distinguished by white stockings, but clapped on red ones when, in
the next scene, they personated the forces of Richmond. The theatrical
vision of our hero being cleared and refined, he ceased to perceive a
moving forest when the progress of Birnam Wood to Dunsinane was
represented by six or seven men in plaid kilts, each holding up before
his face, fan-wise, a little bunch of withered pine twigs. He now
discovered that the proper place for the ghost of Banquo was a seat at
the table of his murderer, in the midst of the company, and not on a
modern parlour chair, set conspicuously by itself near one of the stage
doors. He also perceived that in Antony's oration over Cæsar, the Roman
populace was illy represented by one boyish-looking, smooth-faced young
man (plebeians must have been strangely scarce) who at the words, "Good
friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up to sudden mutiny"--always
made sundry futile attempts to look mutinous.[76]

[Footnote 76: All these things the author has seen.]

To conclude--in the course of that season and the next, Peter Jones and
his wife by dint of bones and Dodcombs, became so familiar with
theatricals that they ceased entirely to enjoy them; and it finally
became a sort of task to go, and a greater task to sit through the play.

Mrs. Jones thought that the old actors had all fallen off, and that the
new ones were not so good as the old ones; but her more sagacious
husband laid the fault to the right cause, which was, "that plays were
now a drug to them."

The Dodcombs removed to New York, and the Joneses gave up without regret
the facilities of free admission to the theatre. After a lapse of two
years, they determined to resume their old and long-tested custom of
seeing one single play at the close of the season, and on the
anniversary of their wedding. But the charm was broken, the illusion was
destroyed; the keenness of their relish was palled by satiety, and could
revive no more.

In a less humble sphere of life, and in circumstances of far greater
importance than the play-going of Peter Jones, how often is the
long-cherished enjoyment of a temperate pleasure destroyed for ever by a
short period of over-indulgence!



THE OLD FARM-HOUSE.

     "Her charm around, the enchantress Memory throws."--ROGERS.


Edward Lindsay had recently returned from Europe, where a long series of
years passed in the successful prosecution of a lucrative mercantile
business, had gained for him an independence that in his own country
would be considered wealth. Continuing in heart and soul an American, it
was only in the land of his birth, that he could resolve to settle
himself, and enjoy the fruits of well-directed enterprise, and almost
uninterrupted good fortune.

Early impressions are lasting; and among the images that frequently
recurred to the memory of our hero, were those of a certain old
farm-house in the interior of Pennsylvania, and its kind and
simple-hearted inhabitants. The farmer, whose name was Abraham Hilliard,
had been in the practice of occasionally bringing to Philadelphia a
wagon-load of excellent marketing, and stopping with his team at the
doors of several genteel families, his unfailing customers. It was thus
that Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay obtained a knowledge of him, which eventually
induced them to place in his house, as a boarder, their only surviving
child Edward: that during the summer season, the boy, whose constitution
was naturally delicate, might have a chance of acquiring confirmed
health and hardihood, united with habits of self-dependence; it being
clearly understood by all parties, that young Lindsay was to be treated,
in every respect, like the farmer's own children. The experiment
succeeded: and it was at Oakland Farm that Edward Lindsay's summers were
chiefly spent from the age of eight to eighteen, at which time he was
sent to Bordeaux, and placed in the counting-house of his maternal
uncle. And twice when Philadelphia was visited by the malignant fever
which in former years spread such terror through the city, and whose
ravages were only checked by the return of cold weather, the anxious
parents of our hero made him stay in the country till the winter had
fairly set in.

During his long residence in Europe, Edward Lindsay was so unfortunate
as to lose both father and mother, and, therefore, his arrival in his
native town was accompanied by many painful feelings. The bustle of the
city, and the company into which the hospitality of his friends
endeavoured to draw him, were not in accordance with his present state
of mind, and he imagined that nothing would be more soothing to him than
a visit to the country, and particularly to the place where so much of
his boyhood had been passed. While his mother lived, she had frequently
sent him tidings of his old friends at Oakland Farm, none of whom were
letter writers; but since her death, they seemed to be lost sight of,
and it was now many years since Edward had heard anything of them.

Oakland Farm was not on a public road, and it was some miles remote from
the route of any public conveyance. As the season was the close of
spring, and the weather delightful, Lindsay determined to go thither on
a fine horse that he had recently purchased; taking with him only a
small valise, it being his intention to remain there but a few days.

He set out in the afternoon, and passed the night at a tavern about ten
miles from the city, formerly known as the Black Bear, but now dignified
with the title of the Pennsylvania Hotel, expressed in immense gilt
letters on a blue board above the door. Lindsay felt something like
regret at the ejectment of his old acquaintance Bruin, who, proclaiming
"Entertainment for Man and Horse," had swung so many years on a lofty
sign-post under the shade of a great buttonwood tree, now cut down to
make room for four slender Lombardy poplars, which, though out of favour
in the city, had become fashionable in the country.

We will pass over many other changes which our hero observed about the
new-modelled inn, and accompany him as he pursued his way along the road
which had been so familiar to him in his early youth, and which, though
it retained many of its original features, had partaken greatly of the
all-pervading spirit of improvement. The hills were still there. The
beautiful creek, which in England would have been termed a river,
meandered everywhere just as before, wide, clear, and deep; but its
rude log bridges had now given place to substantial structures of
masonry and wood-work, and he missed several well-known tracts of
forest-land, of which the very stumps had long since been dislodged.

His eye, for years accustomed to the small farms and miniature
enclosures of Europe, now dwelt with delight on immense fields of grain
or clover, each of them covering a whole hill, and frequently of such
extent that a single glance could not take in their limits. He saw vast
orchards that seemed to contain a thousand trees, now white with
blossoms that, scattered by the slightest breeze, fell around them like
showers of scented snow. He missed, it is true, the hawthorn hedges of
England; those beautiful walls of verdure, whose only fault is that
their impervious foliage shuts out from view the fields they enclose;
while the open fences of America allow the stranger to regale his eye,
and satisfy his curiosity with a free prospect of the country through
which he is travelling.

Oakland Farm, as we have said, lay some miles from the great highway,
and Lindsay was glad to find with how much ease he recollected the
turnings and windings of the by-roads. It even gave him pleasure to
recognise a glen at the bottom of a ravine thickly shaded with crooked
and moss-grown trees, where half a century ago a woman had been guilty
of infanticide, and whose subsequent execution at the county town is
talked of still; it being apparently as well remembered as an event of
yesterday. The dogwood and the wild grape vine still canopied the fatal
spot, for the thicket had never been cleared away, nor the ground
cultivated. A little beyond, the road lay through a dark piece of woods
that countrywomen, returning late from the store, were afraid to ride
through after night-fall; as their horses always started and trembled
and laid back their ears at the appearance of a mysterious white colt,
which was frequently seen gamboling among the trees, and which no
sensible people believed to be a real or living colt, as one horse is
never frightened at the sight of another. Shortly after, our traveller
stopped for a few moments to gaze at the transformation of a building on
the verge of a creek. He had remembered it as a large old house
chequered with bricks alternately blackish and reddish, and having dark
red window-shutters with holes cut in them to admit the light; some of
the apertures being in the form of hearts, others in the shape of
crescents. There had been a red porch, and a red front door which for
years had the inconvenient property of bursting open in the dead of
night; at which time, a noise was always heard as of the hoofs of a calf
trotting in the dark, about the rooms up stairs. This calf was finally
spoken to by a very courageous stranger, who inquired its name. The calf
made not a word of answer, but from that night was heard no more. This
house, being now painted yellow, and the red shutters removed, had been
altered into an establishment for carding and spinning wool, as was
evident by surrounding indications, and by the noise of the machinery,
which could be heard plainly as far as the road. Lindsay began to fear
that he should never again see Polly Nichols, a tall, gaunt,
hard-featured spinning girl, whose untiring strength and immoveable
countenance, as she ran all day at the "big wheel," had often amazed
him, and whom Mrs. Hilliard considered as the princess of wool-spinners.
His conscience reproached him with having one day, while she was at
dinner, mischievously stolen the wheel-finger of the said Polly Nichols,
and hidden it in the dough trough, thereby occasioning a long search to
the industrious damsel, and the loss of an hour's spinning to Mrs.
Hilliard.

He next came to the old well-known meeting-house, embosomed in large
elms of aboriginal growth. He saw it as in former days, with its long
range of stalls for the horses of the congregation, and its square
horse-blocks at the gate with steps ascending on all their four sides,
to which the country beaux gallantly led up the steeds of the country
belles. Just beyond the meeting-house, he looked in vain for a
well-known little brook, distinguished of old as "Blue Woman's Run," and
which had formerly crossed the road, murmuring over its bed of pebbles.
It had derived this cognomen from the singular apparition of a woman in
a blue gown, with a pail of water on her head, which had on several
Sundays boldly appeared even in the brightness of the noon-day sun, and
was seen walking fearlessly among the "meeting folks," and their horses,
as they stopped to let them drink at the brook; coming no one knew from
whence, and going no one knew where; but appearing and disappearing in
the midst of them. But the streamlet was no longer there, diverted
perhaps to some other channel, and the hollow of its bed was filled up
and made level with the road.

About two miles further, our hero looked out for a waste field at some
distance from the road, and distinguished by an antique persimmon tree
of unusual size. This field he had always known of a wild and desolate
aspect, bristled with the tall stalks of the mullein. Here, according to
tradition, had once lived a family of free negroes, probably runaways
from the south. They had lost their children by an epidemic, buried them
at the foot of the persimmon tree, and soon after quitted the
neighbourhood. All vestiges of their hut had vanished long before Edward
Lindsay had known the place, but the graves of the children might have
been traced under the grass and weeds. The deserted field had the
reputation of being haunted, because whoever had the temerity to cross
it, even in broad daylight, never failed, that is if they had faith, to
see the faces of two little black boys looking out from behind the tree,
and laughing merrily. But on approaching the tree no black boys were
there.

There is considerable variety in American ghosts. In Europe these
phantoms are nearly all of the same stamp: either tall white females
that glide by moonlight among the ruined cloisters of old abbeys; or
pale knights, in dark armour, that wander, at midnight, about the
turrets and corridors of feudal castles. In our country, apparitions go
as little by rule as their living prototypes; and are certainly very
prosaic both in looks and ways.

The old persimmon tree was still there; but the field had been
cultivated, and was now in red clover, and Lindsay knew that mind had
marched over it.

He now came to a well-remembered place, the low one-story school-house
under the shade of a great birch tree, whose twigs had been of essential
service in the hands of Master Whackaboy, and whose smooth and
paper-like bark was fashionable in the seminary for writing-pieces. The
door and windows were open, and Lindsay expected as formerly, to hear
the master say to his scholars, at the sound of horses' feet--"Read
out--read out--strangers are going by--;" which order had always been
succeeded by a chorus of readers as loud and inharmonious as what
children call a Dutch Concert. As Lindsay passed the school-house, he
could not forbear stopping a moment to look in; and instead of Bumpus
Whackaboy in his round jacket, he saw a young gentleman in a frock coat,
seated at the master's desk, with an aspect of great satisfaction, while
a lad stood before him frowning and stamping desperately, and reciting
Collins's Ode on the Passions.

Our traveller now perceived by certain well-remembered landmarks, that
he was approaching the mill in whose scales he had frequently been
weighed: a ceremony never omitted at the close of his annual visit to
Oakland, that he might go home rejoicing in the number of pounds he had
gained during his sojourn in the salubrious air and homely abundance of
the farm. When he came to the place, he found three mills; and he was,
for a while, puzzled to recollect which of them was his old
acquaintance. On the other side of the road were now a tavern, a store,
and a blacksmith's shop, with half a dozen dwelling-houses. "This, I
suppose, is an incipient city," thought Lindsay--and so it was, as he
afterwards found: the name being Candyville, in consequence, perhaps, of
the people of the neighbourhood having left off tobacco and taken to
mint-stick, for which, and other _bonbons_ of a similar character, the
demand was so great that the storekeeper often found it necessary to
take a journey to the metropolis chiefly for the purpose of bringing out
a fresh supply.

At length our hero came to a hill beyond which he recollected that a
turn in the road would present to his view the house of Abraham
Hilliard, as it stood on the very edge of the farm. It was a lovely
afternoon. The sunbeams were dancing merrily on the creek, whose shining
waters beautifully inverted its green banks, overshadowed with laurel
bushes now in full bloom and covered with large clusters of delicate
pink flowers.

He saw the top of the enormous oak that stood in front of the house, and
which had been spared for its size and beauty, when the ground was first
redeemed from the primeval forest by the grandfather of the present
proprietor.

Lindsay turned into the lane. What was his amazement when he saw not, as
he expected, the well-known farm-house and its appurtenances!--It was no
longer there. The dilapidated ruins of the chimney alone were standing,
and round them lay a heap of rubbish. He stopped his horse and gazed
long and sadly, on finding all his pleasant anticipations turned at once
to disappointment. Finally he dismounted, and securing his bridle to a
large nail which yet remained in the trunk of the old tree, having been
placed there for that purpose, he proceeded to take a nearer view of
what had once been the Oakland Farm-House.

There were indications of the last fire that had ever gladdened the
hearth, the charred remains of an immense backlog, now half hidden
beneath a luxuriant growth of the dusky and ragged-leaved Jamestown
weed. In a corner of the hearth grew a sumach that bid fair in a short
time to overtop all that was left of the chimney. These corners had once
been furnished with benches on which the children used to sit and amuse
themselves with stories and riddles, in the cold autumnal evenings, when
fires are doubly cheerful from being the first of the season.

Of the long porch in which they had so often played by moonlight,
nothing now remained but a few broken and decaying boards with grass and
plantain-weeds growing among them; and some relics of the rough stone
steps that had ascended to it, now displaced and fallen aside by the
caving in of the earth behind.

The well that had supplied the family with cold water for drinking, had
lost its cover--the sweep had fallen down, and the bucket and chain were
gone. The dark cool cellar was laid open to the light of day, and was
now a deep square pit, overgrown with thistles and toad-flax.

From the cracks of the old clay oven that had belonged to the chimney
(and which was now half hidden in pokeberry plants), issued tufts of
chick-weed; and when Lindsay looked into the place which he had so often
seen filled with pies and rice-puddings, the glare of bright eyes and a
rustling noise denoted that some wild animal had made its lair in the
cavity. Suddenly a large gray fox sprung out of the oven-mouth, and ran
fearfully past him into the thicket. Lindsay thought in a moment of the
often-quoted lines of Ossian.

At the foot of the little eminence on which the house was situated,
there had formerly been what its inhabitants called the _harbour_
(probably a corruption of arbour), a shed rudely constructed of poles
interwoven with branches, and covered with a luxuriant gourd-vine. Here
the milk-pans and pails were washed, and much of the "slopping-work" of
the family done in the summer. A piece of rock formed the back-wall of a
fire-place in which an immense iron pot had always hung. A slight
water-gate opened from this place on a branch of the creek, over which a
broad thick board had been laid as a bridge, and a short distance below
there was a miniature cascade or fall, at which Edward, in his
childhood, had erected a small wooden tilt-hammer of his own making; and
the strokes of this tilt-hammer could be heard, to his great delight, as
far as the house, particularly in the stillness of night, when the sound
was doubly audible.

The cauldron had now disappeared, leaving no trace but the blackened
stone behind it; the remains of the water-gate were lying far up on the
bank; the board had fallen into the water; the rude trellis was broken
down; and masses of the gourd-vine, which had sprung from the scattered
seeds, were running about in wild disorder wherever they could find
anything to climb upon.

Lindsay turned to the spot "where once the garden smiled," and found it
a wilderness of tall and tangled weeds, interspersed with three or four
degenerate hollyhocks, and a few other flowers that had sowed themselves
and dwindled into insignificance. And in the division appropriated to
culinary purposes, were some straggling vegetables that had returned to
a state worse than indigenous--with half a dozen rambling bushes that
had long since ceased to bear fruit.

Lindsay had gazed on the gigantic remains of the Roman Coliseum, on "the
castled crag of Drachenfels," and on the ivy-mantled arches of Tintern,
but they awakened no sensation that could compare with the melancholy
feeling that oppressed him as he explored the humble ruins of this
simple farm-house, where every association came home to his heart,
reminding him not of what he had read, but of what he had seen, and
known, and felt, and enjoyed.

As he stood with folded arms contemplating the images of desolation
before him, his attention was diverted by the sound of footsteps, and,
on looking round, he perceived an old negro coming down the road, with a
basket in one hand, and in the other a jug corked with a corn-cob. The
negro pulled off his battered wool-hat, and making a bow and a scrape,
said: "Sarvant, masser--" and Lindsay, on returning his bow, recognised
the unusual breadth of nose and width of mouth that had distinguished a
free black, well known in the neighbourhood by the name of Pharaoh, and
in whom the lapse of time had made no other alteration than that of
bleaching his wool, which was now quite white.

"Why, Pharaoh--my old fellow!" exclaimed Lindsay, "is this really
yourself?"

"Can't say, masser," replied Pharaoh. "All people's much the same. Best
not be too personal. But I b'lieve I'm he."

"Have you no recollection of Edward Lindsay?" inquired our hero.

"Lawful heart, masser!" exclaimed the negro. "I do b'lieve you're little
Neddy, what used to come from town and stay at old Abram Hilliard's of
summers, and what still kept wisiting there, by times, till you goed
over sea."

"I am that identical Neddy," replied Lindsay, holding out his hand to
the old negro, who evinced his delight by a series of loud laughs.

"Yes--yes," pursued Pharaoh, "now I look sharper at you, masser, I see
plain you're 'xactly he. You've jist a same nose, and a same eyes, and a
same mouth, what you had when you tumbled down the well, and fall'd out
the chestnut tree, and when you was peck'd hard by the big turkey-cock,
and butted by the old ram."

"Truly," said Lindsay, "you seem to have forgotten none of my juvenile
disasters."

"To be sure not," replied Pharaoh, "I 'member every one of them, and a
heap more, only I don't want to be personal."

"And now," said Lindsay, "as we have so successfully identified each
other, let me know, at once, what has happened to my good friends the
Hilliards, who I thought were fixed here for life. Why do I see their
house a heap of ruins? Have the family been reduced to poverty?"

"Lawful heart, no," exclaimed the negro: "Masser Neddy been away so long
in foreign parts, he forget how when people here in 'Merica give up
their old houses, it's a'most always acause they've got new ones. Now
old Abram Hilliard he got richer and richer every minute--though I guess
he was pretty rich when you know'd him, only he never let on. And so he
build him fine stone house beyont his piece of oak-woods, and there he
live this blessed day.--And we goes there quite another road.--And so he
gove this old frame to old Pharaoh; and so I had the whole house carted
off, all that was good of it, and put it up on the road-side, just
beyont here, in place of my old tumble-down cabin what I used to live
in, that I've altered into a pig-pen. So now me and Binkey am quite
comfabull."

"Show me the way," said Lindsay, "to the new residence of Mr. Hilliard.
I have come from Philadelphia on purpose to visit the family."

"Bless your heart, masser, for that," said the old negro, as he held the
stirrup for Lindsay to mount; and walking by his side, he proceeded with
the usual garrulity of the African race, to relate many particulars of
the Hilliards and their transit.

"Of course, Masser Neddy," said Pharaoh, "you 'member old Abram's two
boys Isaac and Jacob, what you used to play with. You know Isaac mostly
whipped you when you fout with him. Well, when they growed up, they
thought they'd help'd their father long enough, and as they wanted right
bad to go west, the old man gove 'em money to buy back land. So each
took him horse--Isaac took Mike, and Jacob took Morgan, and they started
west, and went to a place away back--away back--seven hundred thousand
miles beyont Pitchburg. And they're like to get mighty rich; and word's
come as Jacob's neighbours is going to set him up for congress, and I
shouldn't be the least 'prized if he's presidump. You 'member, Masser
Neddy, Jacob was always the tonguiest of the two boys."

"And where are Mr. Hilliard's daughters?" asked Lindsay.

"Oh, as to the two oldest," replied Pharaoh, "Kitty married Billy
Pleasants, as keeps the store over at Candyville, and Betsey made a
great match with a man what has a terrible big farm over on Siskahanna.
And old Abram, after he got into him new house, sent him two youngest to
the new school up at Wonderville, where they teaches the gals all sorts
of wit and larning."

"And how are your own wife and children, Pharaoh?" inquired Lindsay; "I
remember them very well."

"Bless your heart for that, masser!" replied the negro; "why Rose is
hired at Abram Hilliard's--you know they brungt her up. And Cato lives
out in Philadelphy--I wonders masser did not see him. And as for old
Binkey, she holds her own pretty well. You know, masser, Binkey was
always a great hand at quiltings, and weddings, and buryings, and such
like frolics, and used to be sent for, high and low, to help cook at
them times. But now she's a getting old,--being most a thousand,--and
her birthday mostly comes on the forty-second of Feberwary--and so she
stays at home, and makes rusk and gingerbread and molasses beer. This is
molasses I have in the jemmy-john; I've jist come from the store. So she
sells cakes and beer--that's the reason we lives on the road-side--and I
works about. We used to have a sign that Sammy Spokes the wheelwright
painted for us, for he was then the only man in these parts that had
paints. There was two ginger-cakes on it, and one rusk, and a coal-black
bottle with the beer spouting up high, and falling into a tumbler
without ever spilling a drap. We were desperate pleased with the sign,
for folks said it looked so nateral, and Sammy Spokes made us a present
of it, and would not take it out in cakes and beer, as we wanted him,
and that shewed him to be very much of a gemplan."

"As no doubt he is," remarked Lindsay; "I find, since my return to
America, that gentlemen are 'as plenty as blackberries.'"

"You say very true, masser," rejoined the negro; "we are all gemplans
now-a-days, and has plenty of blackberries. Well, as I was saying, we
liked the sign a heap. But after Nelly Hilliard as was--we calls her
Miss Ellen now--quit Wonderville school, where she learnt everything on
the face of the yearth, she thought she would persecute painting at
home, for she had a turn that way and wanted to keep her hand in. So she
set to, and painted a new sign, and took it all out of her own head; and
gove it to old Binkey and axplaned it to us. There's a thing on it that
Miss Ellen calls a urn or wase--_that_ stands for beer--and then there's
a sugarcane growing out of it--_that_ stands for molasses. And then
there's a thick string of green leaves, with roots twisted amongst
'em--_that_ answers for ginger, for she told us that ginger grows like
any other widgable, and has stalks and leaves, but the root is what we
uses. Yet, somehow, folks doesn't seem to understand this sign as well
as the old one. A great many thinks the wase be an old sugar-dish with a
bit of a corn-stalk sticking out of it, and some passley and hossreddish
plastered on the outside, and say they should never guess cakes and beer
by it."

"I should suppose not," said Lindsay.

"But, Masser Neddy," pursued the old negro, "all this time, we have been
calling Abram Hilliard 'Abram,' instead of saying squire. Only think of
old Abram; he has been made a squire this good while, and marries
people. After he move into him new house, he begun to get high, and took
to putting on a clean shirt and shaving every day, which Rose says was a
pretty tough job with him at first; but he parsewered. And he's apt to
have fresh meat whenever it's to be got, and he won't eat stale pies:
and so they have to do small bakings every day, instead of big ones
twice a week. And sometimes he even go so far as to have geese took out
of the flock, and killed and roasted, instead of saving 'em all for
feathers. And he says that now he's clear of the world, he _will_ live
as he likes, and have everything he wants, and be quite comfabull. And
he made his old woman leave off wearing short gownds, and put on long
gownds all the time, and quit calling him daddy, which Rose says went
very hard with her for a while. The gals being young, were broke of it
easy enough; and now they says pappy."

"Pshaw!" ejaculated Lindsay, whose regret at the general change which
seemed to have come over the Hilliard family now amounted nearly to
vexation.

"Now, Masser Neddy," continued Pharaoh, "we've got to the new
house--there it stands, right afore you. An't you 'prised at it? I
always am whenever I sees it. So please a jump off, and I'll take your
hoss to the stable, and put him up, and tell the people at the barn that
Masser Neddy's come; and you can go into the house and speak for
you'mself."

Lindsay, at parting, put a dollar into the hand of the old negro. "What
for this, Masser Neddy?" asked Pharaoh, trying to look very
disinterested.

"Do whatever you please with it," answered Lindsay.

"Well, masser," replied the negro, "I never likes to hurt a gemplan's
feelings by 'fusing him. So I'll keep it, just to 'blige you. But, I
'spect, to be sure, Masser Neddy'll step in some day at negor-man's
cabin, and see old Binkey, and take part of him dollar out in cakes and
beer. I'll let masser know when Binkey has a fresh baking."

Pharaoh then led off the horse, and Lindsay stood for a few moments to
take a survey of the new residence of his old friends. It was a broad,
substantial two-story stone house. There was a front garden, where large
snow-ball trees

    "Threw up their silver globes, light as the foamy surf,"

and where the conical clusters of the lilac, and the little May roses,
were bursting into fragrance and beauty, and uniting their odours with
those of the tall white lily, and the lowly but delicious pink. Behind
the house ascended a woodland hill, whose trees at this season exhibited
every shade of green, in tints as various as the diversified browns of
autumn.

Lindsay found the front door unfastened, and opening it without
ceremony, he entered a wide hall furnished with a long settee, a large
table, a hat-stand, a hanging lamp, a map of the United States, and one
of the world. There was a large parlour on each side of the hall, and
Lindsay looked into both, the doors being open. One was carpeted, and
seemed to be fitted up for winter, the other had a matted floor, and was
evidently the summer sitting-room. The furniture in both, though by no
means showy, was excellent of its kind and extremely neat; and in its
form and arrangement convenience seemed to be the chief consideration.
Lindsay thought he had never seen more pleasant-looking rooms. In the
carpeted parlour, on the hearth of the Franklin stove, sat a blue china
jar filled with magnolia flowers, whose spicy perfume was tempered by
the outer air that came through the venetian blinds which were lowered
to exclude the sunbeams. One recess was occupied by a mahogany
book-case, and there was a side-board in the other. The chimney-place of
the summer parlour was concealed by a drapery of ingeniously cut paper,
and the various and beautiful flowers that adorned the mantel-piece had
evidently been cultivated with care. Shelves of books hung in the
recesses, and in both rooms were sofas and rocking-chairs.

"Is it possible," thought Lindsay, "that this can be the habitation of
Abraham Hilliard?" And he ran over in his mind the humble aspect of
their sitting-room in the old farm-house, with its home-made carpet of
strips of listing; its tall-backed rush chairs; its walnut table; its
corner cupboard; its hanging shelves suspended from the beams that
crossed the ceiling, and holding miscellaneous articles of every
description.

Having satisfied his curiosity by looking into the parlours, he
proceeded through the hall to the back door, and there he found, in a
porch canopied with honeysuckle, a woman busily engaged in picking the
stems from a basket of early strawberries, as she transferred the fruit
to a large bowl. Time had made so little change in her features, that,
though much improved in her costume, he easily guessed her to be his old
hostess Mrs. Hilliard. "Aunt Susan!" he exclaimed; for by that title he
had been accustomed to address her in his boyhood. The old lady started
up, and hastily snatched off her strawberry-stained apron.

"Have you no recollection of Edward Lindsay?" continued our hero,
heartily shaking her hand.

She surveyed him from head to foot, till his identity dawned upon her,
and then she ejaculated--"It is--it must be--though you are a gentleman,
you _must_ be little Neddy--there--there, sit down--I'll be back in a
moment."

She went into the house, and returned almost immediately, bringing with
her a small coquelicot waiter, with cakes and wine, which she pressed
Lindsay to partake of. He smiled as he recollected that one of the
customs of Oakland Farm was to oblige every stranger to eat and drink
immediately on his arrival. And while he was discussing a cake and a
glass of wine, the good dame heaped a saucer with strawberries, carried
it away for a few minutes, and then brought it back inundated with cream
and sugar. This was also presented to Lindsay, recommending that he
should eat another cake with the strawberries, and take another glass of
wine after them.

On Edward's inquiring for her husband, Mrs. Hilliard replied that he was
somewhere about the farm, and that the girls were drinking tea with some
neighbours a few miles off; but she said she would send the carriage for
them immediately, that they might be home early in the evening.

In a short time Abraham Hilliard came in, having seen Pharaoh at the
barn, who had informed him of the arrival of "Master Neddy." The meeting
afforded equal gratification to both parties. The old farmer looked as
if quite accustomed to a clean shirt and to shaving every day; and
Lindsay was glad to find that his manner of expressing himself had
improved with his circumstances. Aunt Susan, however, had not, in this
respect, kept pace with her husband, remaining, to use her own
expression--"just the same old two and sixpence." Women who have not in
early life enjoyed opportunities of cultivating their minds are rarely
able at a late period to acquire much conversational polish.--With men
the case is different.

Mrs. Hilliard now left her husband to entertain their guest, and, "on
hospitable thoughts intent," withdrew to superintend the setting of a
tea-table abounding in cakes and sweetmeats; the strawberry bowl and a
pitcher of cream occupying the centre. This repast was laid out in the
wide hall, and while engaged in arranging it, Mrs. Hilliard joined
occasionally in the conversation which her husband and Lindsay were
pursuing in her hearing, as they sat in the porch.

"Well, Edward," proceeded Mr. Hilliard, "you see a great alteration in
things at the farm: and I conclude you are glad to find us in a better
way than when you left us."

"Certainly," replied Lindsay.

"Now," said the penetrating old farmer, "that 'certainly' did not come
from your heart.--Tell me the truth--you miss something, don't you?"

"Frankly, then," replied Lindsay, "I miss everything--I own myself so
selfish as to feel some disappointment at the entire overthrow of all
the images which during my long absence had been present to my mind's
eye, in connexion with my remembrances of Oakland Farm. Thinking of the
old farm house and its inhabitants, precisely as I had left them, and
believing that time had passed over them without causing any essential
change, I must say that I cannot, just at first, bring myself to be glad
that it is otherwise. The happiness that seemed to dwell with the old
house and the old-fashioned ways of its people, had been vividly
impressed upon my feelings. And I fear--forgive me for saying so--that
your family cannot have added much to their felicity by acquiring ideas
and adopting habits to which they so long were strangers."

"There you are mistaken, my dear boy," answered the farmer. "I
acknowledge that if, in removing to a larger house, and altering our way
of living, we had in any one instance sacrificed comfort to show, or
convenience to ostentation--which, unfortunately, has been the error of
some of our neighbours--we should, indeed, have enjoyed far less
happiness than heretofore. But we have not done so. We have made no
attempts at mimicking what in the city is called style; and I have
forbidden my daughters to mention the word fashion in my presence."

"Yes--yes," said Mrs. Hilliard, "I hope we have been wiser than the
Newman family over at Poplar Plains. As soon as they got a little up in
the world, they built a shell of a house that looks as if it was made of
white pasteboard; and figured it all over with carved work inside and
out; and stuck posts and pillars all about it with nothing of
consequence to hold up; and furnished the rooms with all sorts of
useless trumpery."

"Softly--softly--wife!" interrupted old Abraham--and turning to our
hero, he proceeded--"well, as I was telling you, Edward, I endeavour to
enjoy what I have worked so hard to acquire, and to enjoy it in a manner
that really improves our condition, and renders it in every respect
better. You know, that in former times, though I had very little leisure
to read, I liked to take up a book whenever I had a few moments to
spare, if I was not too tired with my work; and when I went to town with
marketing, I always bought a book to bring home with me. Also, I took a
weekly paper. As soon as I could afford it, I brought home more than one
book, and took a daily paper. I gave my children the benefit of the best
schooling that could be procured without sending them to town for the
purpose; but at the same time, I was averse to their learning any showy
and useless accomplishments."

"Well," rejoined Mrs. Hilliard, "we were certainly wiser than the
Newmans, who sent their girls to a French school in Philadelphia, and
had them taught music, both guitar and piano. And the Newman girls mix
up their talk with all sorts of French words that sound very ugly to me.
Instead of 'good night' they say _bone swear_;[77] and a 'trifle' they
call a _bagtau_;[78] and they are always talking about having a
_Gennessee Squaw_;[79] though what they mean by that I cannot imagine;
for, I am sure I never saw any such thing in this part of the country.
And the tunes they play on the piano seem to me like no tunes at all,
but just a sort of scrambling up and down, that nobody can make either
head or tail of. And when they sing to the guitar, it sounds to me just
like moaning one minute, and screaming the next, with a little tinkling
between whiles."

[Footnote 77: Bonsoir.]

[Footnote 78: Bagatelle.]

[Footnote 79: Je ne sais quoi.]

"Wife--wife," interrupted Abraham, "you are too severe on the poor
girls."

"Well--well," proceeded Mrs. Hilliard, "I'll say nothing more, only
this: that the airs they take on themselves make them the talk of the
whole country--And then they've given up all sorts of work. The mother
spends most of her time in taking naps, to make up, I suppose, for
having had to rise early all the former part of her life. The girls sit
about all day in stiff silk frocks, squeezed so tight in them that they
can hardly move. Or they go round paying morning visits, interrupting
people in the busy part of the day. And they invite company to their
house, and give them no tea; and say they're having a _swearey_.[80] To
be sure it's a shame for me to say so, but it's well known that they
never have a good thing on their table now, but pretend it's genteel to
live on bits and morsels that have neither taste nor substance. And no
doubt that's the reason the whole family have grown so thin and yellow,
and are always complaining of something they call dyspepsy."

[Footnote 80: Soirée.]

"_They_ have certainly changed for the worse," remarked Lindsay. "I
remember the Newmans very well--a happy, homely family living in a long,
low, red frame house, and having everything about them plain and
plentiful."

"So had we in our former dwelling," said Mr. Hilliard, "yet I think we
are living still better now."

"I have many pleasant recollections of the old house," said Lindsay.

"For you," observed the farmer, "our old house and the manner in which
we then lived, owed most of their charms to novelty, and to the
circumstance that children are seldom fastidious. I doubt much, if you
had found everything in _statu quo_, and the old house and its
inhabitants just as you left them, whether you could have been induced
to make us as long a visit as I hope you will now."

"My husband," said Mrs. Hilliard, "is different from most men of his
age. Instead of dwelling all the while upon old times, he stands up for
the times we live in, and says everything now is better than it used to
be. And he's brought me to agree with him pretty much--I never was an
idle woman, and I keep myself busy enough still, but I do think it is
pleasanter to keep hired people for the hard work than to have to help
with it myself, as you know I used to. Though I never complained about
it, still I cannot say, now I look back, that there was any great
pleasure in helping on washing-days and ironing-days, or in making soft
soap, and baking great batches of bread and pies--to be sure, my soft
soap was admired all over the country, and my bread was always light,
and my pie-crust never tough. Neither was there much delight in seeing
my two eldest girls paddling to the barn-yard every morning and evening,
through all weathers, to milk the cows; or setting them at heavy
churnings, and other hard work. And then at harvest-time, and at
killing-time, and when we were getting the marketing ready for husband
to take to town in the wagon, we were on our feet the whole blessed day.
To be sure, they were used to it, but I often felt sorry for Abraham and
the boys, when they came home from the field in a warm evening, so tired
with work they could hardly speak, and were glad to wash themselves, and
get their supper, and go to bed at dark. And the girls and I were always
glad enough, too, to get our rest as soon as we had put away the milk
and washed the supper things; knowing we should have to be up before the
stars were gone, to sweep the house and do the milking, and get the
breakfast, that the men might be off early to work."

"I remember all this very well," said Lindsay.

"To be sure you do," pursued Mrs. Hilliard. "Then don't you think it's
pleasant for us now not to be overworked during the day, so that in the
evening, instead of going to bed, we can sit round the table in a nice
parlour, and sew and knit; or read, for them that likes it. Husband and
the girls always did take pleasure in reading--and, for my part, now
I've time, I'm beginning to like a book myself. Last winter, I read a
good deal in the second volume of the Spectator. In short, I have not
the least notion of grieving after our way of living at the old house."

"Nor I neither," added Abraham; "and I really find it much more
agreeable to superintend my farm, than to be obliged to labour on it
myself."

"And now let us proceed with our tea," said Mrs. Hilliard; "and, Neddy,
if you do not eat hearty of what you see before you, I shall think you
are fretting after the mush and milk, and sowins, and pie and cheese,
that we use to have on our old supper table, and which I do not believe
you could eat now if they were before you. Come, you must not mind my
speaking out so plainly. You know I always was a right-down sort of
woman, and am so still."

Edward smiled, and pressed her hand kindly, acknowledging that all she
had said was justified by truth and reason.

The carriage--they kept a very plain but a very capacious one--brought
home the girls shortly after candle-light. Lindsay ran out to assist
them in alighting, and was glad to find that on hearing his name they
retained a perfect recollection of him, though they were in their
earliest childhood at the time of his departure for Europe. When they
came into the light, he found them both very pretty. Their skins had not
been tanned by exposure to the sun and wind, nor their shoulders
stooped, nor their hands reddened by hard work; as had been the case
with their two elder sisters. They were dressed in white frocks, blue
shawls, and straw bonnets with blue ribbons; neatly, and in good taste.

The evening passed pleasantly, and Lindsay soon discovered that the
daughters of his host were very charming girls. Ellen, perhaps, had a
little tinge of vanity, but Lucy was entirely free from it. Diffidence
prevented her from talking much, but she listened understandingly, and
when she did speak, it was with animation and intelligence. Lindsay felt
that he should not have liked her so well had she looked, and dressed,
and talked as he remembered her elder sisters.

When he retired for the night, his bed and room were so well furnished,
and looked so inviting, that he could not regret the little low
apartment with no chimney and only one window, that he had occupied in
the old farm-house; and he slept quite as soundly under a white
counterpane as he had formerly done under a patch-work quilt.

We have no space to enter more minutely into the details of our hero's
visit, nor to relate by what process he speedily became a convert to the
fact that even among country-people the march of improvement adds
greatly to their comfort and happiness; provided always, that they do
not mistake the road, and diverge into the path of folly and pretension.

Suffice it to say, that he protracted his stay to a week, during which
he broke the girls of the habit of saying "pappy," substituting the more
sensible and affectionate epithet of "father." When Pharaoh announced
the proper time, he made a visit to the refectory of old Binkey, whom he
afterwards desired the Candyville storekeeper to supply at his charge,
with materials for her cakes and beer, _ad libitum_, during the
remainder of her life.

The visit of Edward Lindsay to Oakland was in the course of the summer
so frequently repeated, that no one was much surprised when, early in
October, he conducted Lucy Hilliard to Philadelphia as his bride:
acknowledging to himself that he could never have made her so, had she
and her family continued exactly as he had known them at the OLD
FARM-HOUSE.



THAT GENTLEMAN:

OR,

PENCILLINGS ON SHIP-BOARD.

    "Yon sun that sets upon the sea
    We follow in his flight."--BYRON.


"And now, dear Caroline, tell us some particulars of your passage home,"
said Mrs. Esdale to her sister, as they quitted the tea-table on the
evening of Mr. and Mrs. Fenton's arrival from a visit to Europe.

"Our passage home," replied Mrs. Fenton, "was moderately short, and
generally pleasant. We had a good ship, a good captain, splendid
accommodations, and an excellent table, and were not crowded with too
many passengers."

"Yet, let us hear something more circumstantial," said Mrs. Esdale.

"Dear Henrietta," replied her sister, "have I not often told you how
difficult it is to relate anything amusingly or interestingly when you
are expressly called upon to do so; when you are expected to sit up in
form, and furnish a regular narrative, with a beginning, a middle, and
an end."

"But indeed," rejoined Mrs. Esdale, "we have anticipated much pleasure
from hearing your account of the voyage. Come,--let us take our seats in
the front parlour, and leave your husband and mine to their discussion
of the political prospects of both hemispheres. The girls and myself
would much rather listen to your last impressions of life on
ship-board."

"Do, dear aunt," said both the daughters of Mrs. Esdale, two fine girls
of seventeen and fifteen--and taking their seats at the sofa-table, they
urged Mrs Fenton to commence.

"Well, then," said Mrs. Fenton, "to begin in the manner of the fairy
tales--once upon a time there lived in the city of New York, a merchant
whose name was Edward Fenton--and he had a wife named Caroline Fenton.
And notwithstanding that they had a town-house and a country-house, and
a coach to ride in, and fine clothes, and fine furniture, and plenty of
good things to eat and to drink, they grew tired of staying at home and
being comfortable. So they sailed away in a ship, and never stopped till
they got to England. And there they saw the king and queen, with gold
crowns on their heads, and sceptres in their hands--(by-the-bye it was
lucky that we arrived in time for the coronation)--and they heard the
king cough, and the queen sneeze: and they saw lords with ribands and
stars, and ladies with plumes and diamonds. They travelled and
travelled, and often came to great castles that looked like giants'
houses: and they went all over England and Wales, and Ireland and
Scotland. Then they returned to London, and saw more sights; and then
they were satisfied to come back to America, where they expect to live
happily all the rest of their lives."

"Now, aunt, you are laughing at us," said Juliet Esdale--"your letters
from Europe have somewhat taken off the edge of our curiosity as to your
adventures there: and it is just now our especial desire to hear
something of your voyage home."

"In truth," replied Mrs. Fenton, "I must explain, that on this, the
first evening of my return, I feel too happy, and too much excited, to
talk systematically on any subject whatever; much less to arrange my
ideas into the form of a history. To-morrow I shall be engaged all day
at my own house: for I must preside at the awakening of numerous
articles of furniture that have been indulged during our absence with a
long slumber; some being covered up in cases, and some shut up in
closets, or disrespectfully imprisoned in the attics. But I will come
over in the evening; and, if we are not interrupted by visiters, I will
read you some memorandums that I made on the passage. I kept no regular
journal, but I wrote a little now and then, chiefly for my amusement,
and to diversify my usual occupations of reading, sewing, and walking
the deck. Therefore excuse me to-night, and let me have my humour, for
I feel exactly in the vein to talk 'an infinite deal of nothing.'"

"Aunt Caroline," said Clara, "you know that, talk as you will, we always
like to hear you. But we shall long for to-morrow evening."

"Do not, however, expect a finished picture of a sea-voyage," said Mrs.
Fenton, "I can only promise you a few slight outlines, filled up with a
half tint, and without lights or shadows; like the things that the
Chinese sometimes paint on their tea-chests."

On the following evening, the gentlemen having gone to a public meeting,
and measures being taken for the exclusion of visitors, Mrs. Esdale and
her daughters seated themselves at the table with their work, and Mrs.
Fenton produced her manuscript book, and read as follows: having first
reminded her auditors that her husband and herself, instead of embarking
at London, had gone by land to Portsmouth, and from thence crossed over
to the Isle of Wight, where they took apartments at the principal hotel
in the little town of Cowes, at which place the ship was to touch on her
way down the British channel.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having amply availed ourselves of the opportunity (afforded by a three
days' sojourn) of exploring the beauties of the Isle of Wight, we felt
some impatience to find ourselves fairly afloat, and actually on our
passage "o'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea." On the fourth
afternoon, we walked down to the beach, and strolled amid shells and
sea-weed, along the level sands at the foot of a range of those chalky
cliffs that characterize the southern coast of England. It was a lovely
day. A breeze from the west was ruffling the crests of the green
transparent waves, and wafting a few light clouds across the effulgence
of the declining sun, whose beams danced radiantly on the surface of the
water, gilding the black and red sails of the fishing-boats, and then
withdrawing, at intervals, and leaving the sea in shade.

"Should this wind continue," said Mr. Fenton, "we may be detained here a
week, and have full leisure to clamber again among the ruins of
Carisbrook Castle, and to gaze at the cloven chalk-rocks of Shankline
Chine, and the other wonders of this pleasant little island."

We then approached an old disabled sailor, who was smoking his pipe,
seated on a dismantled cannon that lay prostrate on the sands, its iron
mouth choked up with the sea-weed that the tide had washed into it; and
on entering into conversation with him, we found that he was an
out-pensioner of Greenwich hospital, and that for the last ten years he
had passed most of his time about Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

"Have you ever known a ship come down from London with such a wind as
this?" inquired Mr. Fenton.

"No," replied the sailor.--"After she doubles Beachy Head, this wind
would be right in her teeth."

"Then," said Mr. Fenton, turning to me--"till it changes, we may give up
all hope of seeing our gallant vessel."

"What ship are you looking for?" asked the sailor.

"The Washington."

"Oh! an American ship--ay, _she'll_ come down. _They_ can make their way
with any sort of wind."[81]

[Footnote 81: This implied compliment to our vessels and seamen was
really made by a British sailor, in a similar conversation with an
American gentleman.]

He had scarcely spoken, when the flag of our country appeared beyond the
point, its bright stars half obscured by the ample folds of the white
and crimson stripes that, blown backward by the adverse breeze, were
waving across them. In a moment the snowy sails of the Washington came
full into view, shaded with purple by the setting sun.

"There she is!" exclaimed my husband. "There she comes--is not an
American ship one of the most beautiful objects created by the hand of
man? Well, indeed, do they merit the admiration that is so frankly
accorded to them by every nation of the earth."

My husband, in his enthusiasm, shook the hand of the old sailor, and
slipped some money into it. We remained on the beach looking at the ship
till

    "----o'er her bow the rustling cable rung,
    The sails were furl'd; and anchoring round she swung."

A boat was then lowered from her stern, and the captain came off in it.
He walked with us to the hotel, and informed us that he should leave
Cowes early the following day. We soon completed the preparations for
our final departure, and before eight o'clock next morning we had taken
our last step on British ground, and were installed in our new abode on
the world of waters. Several of the passengers had come down in the
ship from London; others, like ourselves, had preferred commencing their
voyage from the Isle of Wight; and some, as we understood, were to join
us at Plymouth.

We sailed immediately. The breeze freshened, and that night and the next
day, there was much general discomfort from sea-sickness; but,
fortunately for us both, I was very slightly affected by that
distressing malady, and Mr. Fenton not at all.

On the third day, we were enabled to lay our course with a fair wind and
a clear sky: the coast of Cornwall looking like a succession of low
white clouds ranged along the edge of the northern horizon. Towards
evening we passed the Lizard, to see land no more till we should descry
it on the other side of the Atlantic. As Mr. Fenton and myself leaned
over the taffrail, and saw the last point of England fade dimly from our
view, we thought with regret of the shore we were leaving behind us, and
of much that we had seen, and known, and enjoyed in that country of
which all that remained to our lingering gaze was a dark spot so distant
and so small as to be scarcely perceptible. Soon we could discern it no
longer: and nothing of Europe was now left to us but the indelible
recollections that it has impressed upon our minds. We turned towards
the region of the descending sun--

    "To where his setting splendours burn
    Upon the western sea-maid's urn,"

and we vainly endeavoured to direct all our thoughts and feelings
towards our home beyond the ocean--our beloved American home.

On that night, as on many others, when our ship was careering through
the sea, with her yards squared, and her sails all trimmed to a fresh
and favouring breeze, while we sat on a sofa in the lesser cabin, and
looked up through the open skylight at the stars that seemed flying over
our heads, we talked of the land we had so recently quitted. We talked
of her people, who though differing from ours in a thousand minute
particulars, are still essentially the same. Our laws, our institutions,
our manners, and our customs are derived from theirs: we are benefited
by the same arts, we are enlightened by the same sciences. Their noble
and copious language is fortunately ours--their Shakspeare also belongs
to us; and we rejoice that we can possess ourselves of his "thoughts
that breathe, and words that burn," in all their original freshness and
splendour, unobscured by the mist of translation. Though the ocean
divides our dwelling-places: though the sword and the cannon-shot have
sundered the bonds that once united us to her dominion: though the
misrepresentations of travelling adventurers have done much to foster
mutual prejudices, and to embitter mutual jealousies, still we share the
pride of our parent in the glorious beings she can number among the
children of her island home, for

    "Yet lives the blood of England in our veins."

On the fourth day of our departure from the Isle of Wight, we found
ourselves several hundred miles from land, and consigned to the
solitudes of that ocean-desert, "dark-heaving-boundless--endless--and
sublime"--whose travellers find no path before them, and leave no track
behind. But the wind was favourable, the sky was bright, the passengers
had recovered their health and spirits, and for the first time were all
able to present themselves at the dinner-table; and there was really
what might be termed a "goodly company."

It is no longer the custom in American packet ships for ladies to
persevere in what is called a sea-dress: that is, a sort of dishabille
prepared expressly for the voyage. Those who are not well enough to
devote some little time and attention to their personal appearance,
rarely come to the general table, but take their meals in their own
apartment. The gentlemen, also, pay as much respect to their toilet as
when on shore.

The _coup d'oeil_ of the dinner-table very much resembles that of a
fashionable hotel. All the appurtenances of the repast are in handsome
style. The eatables are many of them such as, even on shore, would be
considered delicacies, and they are never deficient in abundance and
variety. Whatever may be the state of the weather, or the motion of the
ship, the steward and the cook are unfailing in their duty; constantly
fulfilling their arduous functions with the same care and regularity.
The breakfast-table is always covered with a variety of relishes, and
warm cakes. At noon there is a luncheon of pickled oysters, cold ham,
tongue, &c. The dinner consists of fowls, ducks, geese, turkeys, fresh
pork or mutton; for every ship is well supplied with live poultry, pigs
and sheep. During the first week of the voyage there is generally fresh
beef on the table, it being brought on board from the last place at
which the vessel has touched: and it is kept on deck wrapped closely in
a sail-cloth, and attached to one of the masts, the salt atmosphere
preserving it. Every day at the dessert there are delicious pies and
puddings, followed by almonds, raisins, oranges, &c.; and the tea-table
is profusely set out with rich cakes and sweetmeats. For the sick there
is always an ample store of sago, arrow-root, pearl-barley, tamarinds,
&c. Many persons have an opportunity, during their passage across the
Atlantic, of living more luxuriously than they have ever done in their
lives, or perhaps ever will again. Our passengers were not too numerous.
The lesser cabin was appropriated to three other ladies and myself. It
formed our drawing-room; the gentlemen being admitted only as visiters.
One of the ladies was Mrs. Calcott, an amiable and intelligent woman,
who was returning with her husband from a long residence in England.
Another was Miss Harriet Audley, a very pretty and very lively young
lady from Virginia, who had been visiting a married sister in London,
and was now on her way home under the care of the captain, expecting to
meet her father in New York. We were much amused during the voyage with
the coquetry of our fair Virginian, as she aimed her arrows at nearly
all the single gentlemen in turn; and with her frankness in openly
talking of her designs, and animadverting on their good or ill success.
The gentlemen, with the usual vanity of their sex, always believed Miss
Audley's attacks on their hearts to be made in earnest, and that she was
deeply smitten with each of them in succession; notwithstanding that the
smile in her eye was far more frequent than the blush on her cheek; and
notwithstanding that rumour had asserted the existence of a certain
cavalier in the neighbourhood of Richmond, whose constancy it was
supposed she would eventually reward with her hand, as he might be
considered, in every sense of the term, an excellent match.

Our fourth female passenger was Mrs. Cummings, a plump, rosy-faced old
lady of remarkably limited ideas, who had literally passed her whole
life in the city of London. Having been recently left a widow, she had
broken up housekeeping, and was now on her way to join a son established
in New York, who had very kindly sent for her to come over and live with
him. The rest of the world was almost a sealed book to her, but she
talked a great deal of the Minories, the Poultry, the Old Jewry,
Cheapside, Long Acre, Bishopsgate Within, and Bishopsgate Without, and
other streets and places with, appellations equally expressive.

The majority of the male passengers were pleasant and companionable--and
we thought we had seen them all in the course of the first three
days--but on the fourth, we heard the captain say to one of the waiters,
"Juba, ask that gentleman if I shall have the pleasure of taking wine
with him." My eyes now involuntarily followed the direction of Juba's
movements, feeling some curiosity to know who "that gentleman" was, as I
now recollected having frequently heard the epithet within the last few
days. For instance, when almost every one was confined by sea-sickness
to their state-rooms, I had seen the captain despatch a servant to
inquire of that gentleman if he would have anything sent to him from the
table. Also, I had heard Hamilton, the steward, call out,--"There, boys,
don't you hear that gentleman ring his bell--why don't you run
spontaneously--jump, one of you, to number eleventeen." I was puzzled
for a moment to divine which state-room bore the designation of
eleventeen, but concluded it to be one of the many unmeaning terms that
characterize the phraseology of our coloured people. Once or twice I
wondered who that gentleman could be; but something else happened
immediately to divert my attention.

Now, when I heard Captain Santlow propose taking wine with him, I
concluded that, of course, that gentleman must be visible in _propriâ
personâ_, and, casting my eyes towards the lower end of the table, I
perceived a genteel-looking man whom I had not seen before. He was
apparently of no particular age, and there was nothing in his face that
could lead any one to guess at his country. He might have been English,
Scotch, Irish, or American; but he had none of the characteristic marks
of either nation. He filled his glass, and bowing his head to Captain
Santlow, who congratulated him on his recovery, he swallowed his wine in
silence. There was an animated conversation going on near the head of
the table, between Miss Audley and two of her beaux, and we thought no
more of him.

At the close of the dessert, we happened to know that he had quitted the
table and gone on deck, by one of the waiters coming down and requesting
Mr. Overslaugh (who was sitting a-tilt, while discussing his walnuts,
with his chair balanced on one leg, and his head leaning against the
wainscot) to let him pass for a moment, while he went into No.
eleventeen for that gentleman's overcoat. I now found that the servants
had converted No. 13 into eleventeen. By-the-bye, that gentleman had a
state-room all to himself, sometimes occupying the upper and sometimes
the under berth.

"Captain Santlow," said Mr. Fenton, "allow me to ask you the name of
that gentleman."

"Oh! I don't know"--replied the captain, trying to suppress a smile--"at
least I have forgotten it--some English name; for he is an
Englishman--he came on board at Plymouth, and his indisposition
commenced immediately. Mrs. Cummings, shall I have the pleasure of
peeling an orange for you?"

I now recollected a little incident which had set me laughing soon after
we left Plymouth, and when we were beating down the coast of Devonshire.
I had been trying to write at the table in the Ladies' Cabin, but it was
one of those days when

    "Our paper, pen and ink, and we
    Roll up and down our ships at sea."

And all I could do was to take refuge in my berth, and endeavour to
read, leaving the door open for more air. My attention, however, was
continually withdrawn from my book by the sound of things that were
dislodged from their places, sliding or falling, and frequently
suffering destruction; though sometimes miraculously escaping unhurt.

While I was watching the progress of two pitchers that had been tossed
out of the washing-stand, and after deluging the floor with water, had
met in the Ladies' Cabin, and were rolling amicably side by side,
without happening to break each other, I saw a barrel of flour start
from the steward's pantry, and running across the dining-room, stop at a
gentleman that lay extended in a lower berth with his room door open,
and pour out its contents upon him, completely enveloping him in a fog
of meal. I heard the steward, who was busily engaged in mopping up the
water that had flowed from the pitchers, call out, "Run, boys, run, that
gentleman's smothering up in flour--go take the barrel off him--jump, I
tell you!"

How that gentleman acted while hidden in the cloud of flour, I could not
perceive, and immediately the closing of the folding doors shut out the
scene.

For a few days after he appeared among us, there was some speculation
with regard to this nameless stranger, whose taciturnity seemed his
chief characteristic. One morning while we were looking at the gambols
of a shoal of porpoises that were tumbling through the waves and
sometimes leaping out of them, my husband made some remark on the clumsy
antics of this unsightly fish, addressing himself, for the first time,
to the unknown Englishman, who happened to be standing near him. That
gentleman smiled affably, but made no reply. Mr. Fenton pursued the
subject--and that gentleman smiled still more affably, and walked away.

Nevertheless, he was neither deaf nor dumb, nor melancholy, but had only
"a great talent for silence," and as is usually the case with persons
whose genius lies that way, he was soon left entirely to himself, no one
thinking it worth while to take the trouble of extracting words from
him. In truth, he was so impracticable, and at the same time so
evidently insignificant, and so totally uninteresting, that his
fellow-passengers tacitly conveyed him to Coventry; and in Coventry he
seemed perfectly satisfied to dwell. Once or twice Captain Santlow was
asked again if he recollected the name of that gentleman; but he always
replied with a sort of smile, "I cannot say I do--not exactly, at
least--but I'll look at my manifest and see"--and he never failed to
turn the conversation to something else.

The only person that persisted in occasionally talking to that
gentleman, was old Mrs. Cummings; and she confided to him her perpetual
alarms at "the perils of the sea," considering him a good hearer, as he
never made any reply, and was always disengaged, and sitting and
standing about, apparently at leisure while the other gentlemen were
occupied in reading, writing, playing chess, walking the deck, &c.

Whenever the ship was struck by a heavy sea, and after quivering with
the shock, remained motionless for a moment before she recovered herself
and rolled the other way, poor Mrs. Cummings supposed that we had run
against a rock, and could not be convinced that rocks were not dispersed
every where about the open ocean. And as that gentleman never attempted
to undeceive her on this or any other subject, but merely listened with
a placid smile, she believed that he always thought precisely as she
did. She not unfrequently discussed to him, in an under tone, the
obstinacy and incivility of the captain, who she averred, with truth,
had never in any one instance had the politeness to stop the ship, often
as she had requested, nay implored him to do so even when she was
suffering with sea-sickness, and actually tossed out of her berth by the
violence of the storm, though she was holding on with both hands.

One day, while we were all three sitting in the round-house (that very
pleasant little saloon on the upper deck, at the head of the
cabin-staircase), my attention was diverted from my book by hearing Mrs.
Cummings say to that gentleman, "Pray, sir, can you tell me what is the
matter with that poor man's head? I mean the man that has to stand
always at the wheel there, holding it fast and turning it. I hear the
captain call out to him every now and then (and in a very rough voice
too, sometimes), 'How is your head?' and 'How is your head now?' I
cannot understand what the man says in answer, so I suppose he speaks
American; but the captain often tells him 'to keep it steady.' And once
I heard the captain call out 'Port--port,' which I was very glad of,
concluding that the poor fellow had nearly given out, and he was
ordering a glass of port wine to revive him. Do you think, sir, that the
poor man at the wheel has a constant headache like my friend Mrs.
Dawlish of Leadenhall street, or that he has hurt his head somehow, by
falling out of the sails, or tumbling down the ropeladders--(there
now--we've struck a rock!--mercy on us--what a life we lead! I wish I
was on Ludgate Hill.) Talking of hurts, I have not escaped them myself,
for I've had my falls; and yet the captain is so rude as to turn a deaf
ear, and keeps sailing on all the same, even when the breath is nearly
knocked out of me, and though I've offered several times to pay him for
stopping, but he only laughs at me. By-the-bye, when I go back again to
dear old England, and I'm sorry enough that I ever left it (as Mr.
Stackhouse, the great corn-chandler in Whitechapel, told me I certainly
should be), I'll see and take my passage with a captain that has more
feeling for the ladies. As for this one, he never lets the ship rest a
minute, but he keeps forcing her on day and night. I doubt whether
she'll last the voyage out, with all this wear and tear--and then if she
_should_ give in, what's to become of us all? If he would only let her
stand still while we are at table, that we might eat our dinners in
peace!--though it's seldom I'm well enough to eat anything to speak
of--I often make my whole dinner of the leg and wing of a goose, and a
slice or two of plum-pudding; but there's no comfort in eating, when we
are one minute thrown forward with our heads bowing down to the very
table-cloth, and the next minute flung back with them knocking against
the wall."

"There was the other day at breakfast you know, we had all the cabin
windows shut up at eight o'clock in the morning, which they called
putting in the dead-lights--(I cannot see why shutters should be called
lights)--and they put the lid on the skylight, and made it so dark that
we had to breakfast with lamps. There must have been some strange
mismanagement, or we need not have been put to all that inconvenience;
and then when the ship almost fell over, they let a great flood of sea
come pouring down among us, sweeping the plates off the table, and
washing the very cups out of our hands, and filling our mouths with salt
water, and ruining our dresses. I wonder what my friend Mrs. Danks, of
Crutched Friars, would say if she had all this to go through--she that
is so afraid of the water, she won't go over London Bridge for fear it
should break down with her, and therefore visits nobody that lives in
the Borough--there now--a rock again! I wish I was in St. Paul's Church
Yard! Dear me!--what will become of us?"

"Upon my word I can't tell," said that gentleman, as he rose and walked
out on deck.

I then endeavoured to set the old lady right, by explaining to her that
the business of the man at the wheel was to steer the vessel, and that
he was not always the same person, the helmsman being changed at regular
periods. I also made her understand that the captain only meant to ask
in what direction was the head of the ship--and that "port--port,"
signified that he should put up the helm to the larboard or left side.

I could not forbear repeating to Captain Santlow the ludicrous mistake
of Mrs. Cummings, and her unfounded sympathy for the man at the wheel.
He laughed, and said it reminded him of a story he had heard concerning
an old Irish woman, a steerage passenger, that early in the morning
after a stormy night, was found by the mate, cautiously creeping along
the deck and looking round at every step, with a bottle of whiskey
half-concealed under her apron. On the mate asking her what she was
going to do with the whiskey, she replied, "I'm looking for that cratur
Bill Lay, that ye were all calling upon the whole night long, and not
giving him a minute to rest himself. I lay in my bed and I heard ye
tramping and shouting over head!--'twas nothing but Bill Lay[82] here,
and Bill Lay there, and Bill Lay this, and Bill Lay that--and a weary
time he's had of it--for it was yourselves that could do nothing without
him, great shame to ye. And I thought I'd try and find him out, the
sowl, and bring him a drop of comfort, for it's himself that nades it."

[Footnote 82: Belay--a sea-term, signifying to secure or make fast a
rope.]

Mrs. Cummings's compassion for the helmsman was changed into a somewhat
different feeling a few days after. The captain and Mr. Fenton were
sitting near the wheel earnestly engaged in a game of chess. The wind
had been directly ahead for the last twenty-four hours, and several of
the passengers were pacing the deck, and looking alternately at the
sails and the dog-vane--suddenly there was an exclamation from one of
them, of "Captain--captain--the wind has changed--it has just gone
about!" Captain Santlow started up, and perceived that the little flag
was apparently blowing in another direction; but on looking at the
compass, he discovered the truth--it was now found that the steersman,
who happened to understand chess, was so interested with the game which
was playing immediately before him, that he had for a moment forgotten
his duty, and inadvertently allowed the head of the ship to fall off
half a dozen points from the wind. The error was immediately rectified;
and Captain Santlow (who never on any occasion lost his temper) said
coolly to the helmsman, "For this, sir, your grog shall be stopped."

This little incident afforded an additional excitement to the ever-ready
fears of Mrs. Cummings, who now took it into her head that if (as she
phrased it) the wheel was turned the wrong way, it would overset the
ship. Upon finding that the delinquent was an American, she opined that
there could be no safety in a vessel where the sailors understood chess.
And whenever we had a fresh breeze (such as she always persisted in
calling a violent storm) she was very importunate with the captain not
to allow the chess-man to take the wheel.

"Ah!" said Mrs. Cummings, "I am sure there is no such thing in his
majesty's ships, as sailors knowing chess or any of those hard things
that are enough to set one crazy to think of. In my own dear country,
people are saving of their wits; but you Americans always know more of
everything than you ought to. I don't wonder so few of you look plump
and ruddy. You all wear yourselves out with head-work. Your eyes are not
half so big as ours, for they are fairly sunk in your heads with
thinking and contriving. To be sure, at our house in the Minories we
always kept a pack of cards in the parlour closet. But we never played
any but very easy games, for it was not our way to make a toil of
pleasure. Mercy on me!--what a rock!--I wish I was at the Back of St.
Clements--How I have seen the Potheridge family in Throgmorton street,
ponder and study over a game of whist as if their lives depended on
every card. I had to play whist whenever I drank tea there, for they
were never satisfied unless they were at it every night; and I hated it,
because I always happened to get old Miss Nancy for a partner, and she
was so sharp and so cross, and was continually finding fault with me for
something she called reneaging. Whenever I gave out that I was one by
honours, she always said it was no such thing; and she downright
scolded, when after she had played an ace I played a king; or when she
had trumped first and I made all sure by trumping too. Now what I say is
this--a trick can't be too well taken. But I'm not for whist--give me a
good easy game where you can't go wrong, such as I've been used to all
my life; though, no doubt when I get to America, I shall find my son
Jacky playing chess and whist and despising Beggar my neighbour."

In less than a fortnight after we left the British Channel, we were off
the Banks of Newfoundland; and, as is frequently the case in their
vicinity, we met with cold foggy weather. It cleared a little about
seven in the morning, and we then discovered no less than three
ice-bergs to leeward. One of them, whose distance from us was perhaps a
mile, appeared higher than the mainmast head, and as the top shot up
into a tall column, it looked like a vast rock with a light-house on its
pinnacle. As the cold and watery sunbeams gleamed fitfully upon it, it
exhibited in some places the rainbow tints of a prism--other parts were
of a dazzling white, while its sharp angular projections seemed like
masses of diamonds glittering upon snow.

The fog soon became so dense, that in looking over the side of the ship
we could not discern the sea. Fortunately, it was so calm that we
scarcely moved, or the danger of driving on the ice-bergs would have
been terrific. We had now no other means of ascertaining our distance
from them, but by trying the temperature of the water with a
thermometer.

In the afternoon, the fog gathered still more thickly round us, and
dripped from the rigging, so that the sailors were continually swabbing
the deck. I had gone with Mr. Fenton to the round-house, and looked a
while from its windows on the comfortless scene without. The only
persons then on the main-deck were the captain and the first mate. They
were wrapped in their watch-coats, their hair and whiskers dripping with
the fog-dew. Most of the passengers went to bed at an early hour, and
soon all was awfully still; Mrs. Cummings being really too much
frightened to talk, only that she sometimes wished herself in
Shoreditch, and sometimes in Houndsditch. It was a night of real danger.
The captain remained on deck till morning, and several of the gentlemen
bore him company, being too anxious to stay below.

About day-break, a heavy shower of rain dispersed the fog--"the
conscious vessel waked as from a trance"--a breeze sprung up that
carried us out of danger from the ice-bergs, which were soon diminished
to three specks on the horizon, and the sun rose bright and cheerfully.

Towards noon, the ladies recollected that none of them had seen that
gentleman during the last twenty-four hours, and some apprehension was
expressed lest he should have walked overboard in the fog. No one could
give any account of him, or remember his last appearance; and Miss
Audley professed much regret that now, in all probability, we should
never be able to ascertain his name, as, most likely, he had "died and
made no sign." To our shames be it spoken, not one of us could cry a
tear at his possible fate. The captain had turned into his berth, and
was reposing himself after the fatigue of last night; so we could make
no inquiry of him on the subject of our missing fellow-passenger.

Mrs. Cummings called the steward, and asked him how long it was since he
had seen anything of that gentleman. "I really can't tell, madam,"
replied Hamilton; "I can't pretend to charge my memory with such things.
But I conclude he must have been seen yesterday--at least I rather
expect he was."

The waiter Juba was now appealed to: "I believe, madam," said Juba--"I
remember something of handing that gentleman the bread-basket yesterday
at dinner--but I would not be qualified as to whether the thing took
place or not, my mind being a good deal engaged at the time."

Solomon, the third waiter, disclaimed all positive knowledge of this or
any other fact, but sagely remarked, "that it was very likely that
gentleman had been about all yesterday, as usual; yet still it was just
as likely he might not; and there was only one thing certain, which
was, that if he was not nowhere, he must, of course, be somewhere."

"I have a misgiving," said Mrs. Cummings, "that he will never be found
again."

"I'll tell you what I can do, madam," exclaimed the steward, looking as
if suddenly struck with a bright thought--"I can examine into No.
eleventeen, and see if I can perceive him there." And softly opening the
door of the state-room in question, he stepped back, and said with a
triumphant flourish of his hand--"There he is, ladies, there he is in
the upper berth, fast asleep in his double-cashmere dressing-gown. I
opinionate that he was one of the gentlemen that stayed on deck all
night, because they were afraid to go to sleep on account of the
icebergers.--Of course, nobody noticed him--but there he is _now_, safe
enough."

Instantly we proceeded _en masse_ towards No. eleventeen, to convince
ourselves: and there indeed we saw that gentleman lying asleep in his
double cashmere dressing-gown. He opened his eyes, and seemed surprised,
as well he might, at seeing all the ladies and all the servants ranged
before the door of his room, and gazing in at him: and then we all stole
off, looking foolish enough.

"Well," said Mrs. Cummings, "he is not dead, however,--so we have yet a
chance of knowing his name from himself, if we choose to ask him. But
I'm determined I'll make the captain tell it me, as soon as he gets up.
It's all nonsense, this making a secret of a man's name."

"I suspect," said Mr. Fenton, who had just then entered the cabin, "we
shall find it

    ----'a name unpronouncea_ble_,
    Which nobody can speak and nobody can spell.'"

"I never," observed Mrs. Cummings, "knew but one name that could neither
be spoke nor spelt--and that was the great general's, that was so often
in the papers at the time people were talking about the Poles."

"Sczrynecki?" said Mr. Fenton.

"Oh! I don't know how _you_ call him," replied Mrs. Cummings; "but Mr.
Upshaw of Great Knight Rider street, said it was 'Screw him sky high.'
And Dr. Mangleman of Cateaton street (who was always to me a very
disagreeable person, because he always talked of disagreeable things),
said it was 'Squeeze neck and eyes out.' A very unpleasant person was
Dr. Mangleman. His talk was enough to make well people sick, and sick
people sicker--I'm glad he's not on board o' ship with us. He told us
one day at Mrs. Winceby's dinner-table, when some of us were eating
calf's head, and some roast pig, about his dissecting a man that was
hanged, and how he took his knife and--"

"I really believe," said I, wishing to be spared the story, "that we
have actually struck a rock this time."

"There now," exclaimed Mrs. Cummings, "you see I am right, after all. If
it is not a rock, it is one of those great hills of ice that has turned
about and is coming right after us--Mercy on us! I wish I was in Middle
Row, Holborn! Let us go on deck, and see."

We went on deck, and saw a whale, which was spouting at a distance.
While looking at it, we were joined by Captain Santlow, and the
conversation turning entirely on whales, that gentleman and his name
were again forgotten.

Among the numerous steerage passengers was a young man whose profession
was that of a methodist preacher. Having succeeded in making some
religious impressions on the majority of his companions, he one Sunday
obtained their consent to his performing divine service that evening in
the steerage: and respectfully intimated that he would be highly
gratified by the attendance of any of the cabin passengers that would
condescend to honour him so far. Accordingly, after tea, we all
descended to the steerage at early candle-light, and found everything
prepared for the occasion. A barrel, its head covered with a piece of
sail-cloth, served as a desk, lighted by two yellowish dip candles
placed in empty porter bottles. But as there was considerable motion, it
was found that the bottles would not rest in their stations; therefore,
they were held by two boys. The chests and boxes nearest to the desk,
were the seats allotted to the ladies and gentlemen: and the steerage
people ranged themselves behind.

A hymn was sung to a popular tune. The prayer and sermon were delivered
in simple but impressive language; for the preacher, though a poor and
illiterate man, was not deficient either in sense or feeling, and was
evidently imbued with the sincerest piety. There was something solemn
and affecting in the aspect of the whole scene, with all its rude
arrangement; and also in the idea of the lonely and insulated situation
of our little community, with "one wide water all around us." And when
the preacher, in his homely but fervent language, returned thanks for
our hitherto prosperous voyage, and prayed for our speedy and safe
arrival at our destined port, tears stood in the eyes of many of his
auditors. I thought, when it was over, how frequently such scenes must
have occurred between the decks of the May-flower, during the long and
tempestuous passage of that pilgrim band who finally

          "moored their bark
    On the wild New England shore,"

and how often

    "Amid the storm they sung,
      And the stars heard, and the sea--"

when the wise and pious Brewster lifted his voice in exhortation and
prayer, and the virtuous Carver, and the gallant Standish, bowed their
heads in devotion before him.

Another of the steerage passengers was a lieutenant in the British army,
a man about forty years old, of excellent education, polished manners,
and a fine military deportment. He was accompanied by his family, and
they excited much sympathy among the ladies and gentlemen of the cabin.
He had a wife, a handsome, modest, and intelligent looking woman, and
five very pretty children, three boys and two girls. Being reduced to
half-pay, seeing no chance of promotion, and weary of living on "hope
deferred that maketh the heart sick," Lieutenant Lynford had resolved to
emigrate, and settle on a grant of land accorded to him in Canada in
consequence of his having been in service there during our last war. He
believed that the new world would offer better prospects to his
children, and that he could there support his family at less expense
than in Europe. Unable to afford the cost of their passage in the cabin,
he was under the painful necessity of bringing them over in the
steerage, amidst all its unimaginable and revolting inconveniences.

It was impossible to regard this unfortunate and misplaced family
without emotions of deep interest and sincere commiseration; they were
so evidently out of their proper sphere, and it must have been so
painful to the feelings of a gentleman and lady to live in almost
immediate contact with the coarse and vulgar tenants of that crowded and
comfortless part of the vessel.

Mr. Fenton, and others of the gentlemen, took great pleasure in
conversing with Lieutenant Lynford; though, according to rule, the poor
officer was not permitted, as a steerage passenger, to come aft the
mainmast. Therefore, their conversations had to take place at the
extreme limits of the boundary line, which the lieutenant was scrupulous
in never overstepping.

His wife, a lady both in appearance and manner, was seldom seen on deck,
except when her husband prevailed on her to come up with him to look at
something that made a spectacle, or an event, in the monotony of our
usual sea-view. We understood that they had surrounded the narrow space
allotted to their beds with a sort of partition, made by suspending a
screen of quilts and blankets, so as to interpose a slight barrier
between themselves and the disgusting scenes, and frequently disgusting
people with whom it was their hard fate to be associated during the
voyage; and whose jealousy and ill-will would have been immediately
excited by any attempt on the part of the captain or the cabin
passengers, to alleviate the discomforts to which the unfortunate
Lynfords were subjected.

The regulation that no light shall be allowed in the steerage, except on
some extraordinary occasion (and which originates in the danger of the
ship being carelessly set on fire), must have been an almost intolerable
grievance to Lieutenant Lynford, and his wife and children. I often
thought of them while we were spending our evenings so agreeably in
various amusements and occupations round the cabin tables, brightly
illuminated by the elegant lamps that were suspended from the ceiling. I
felt how long and how dismally _their_ evenings must have passed,
capable as they were in mind, in taste, and in education, of the same
enjoyments as ourselves; and therefore feeling with double intensity the
severe pressure of their hard and unmerited condition.

After crossing the Banks we seemed to feel ourselves on American ground,
or rather on American sea. As our interest increased on approaching the
land of our destination, that gentleman was proportionably overlooked
and forgotten. He "kept the even tenor of his way," and we had become
scarcely conscious that he was still among us: till one day, when there
was rather a hard gale, and the waves were running high, we were
startled, as we surrounded the luncheon table, by a tremendous noise on
the cabin staircase, and the sudden bursting open of the door at its
foot. We all looked up, and saw that gentleman falling down stairs, with
both arms extended, as he held in one hand a tall cane stool, and in
the other the captain's barometer, which had hung just within the upper
door; he having involuntarily caught hold of both these articles with a
view of saving himself. "While his head, as he tumbled, went nicketty
nock," his countenance, for once, assumed a new expression, and the
change from its usual unvarying sameness was so striking, that, combined
with his ludicrous attitude, it set us all to laughing. The waiters ran
forward and assisted him to rise; and it was then found that the stool
and the barometer had been the greatest sufferers; one having lost a
leg, and the other being so shattered that the stair-carpet was covered
with globules of quicksilver. However, he retired to his state-room, and
whether or not he was seen again before next morning, I cannot
positively undertake to say.

On the edge of the Gulf Stream, we had a day of entire calm, when "there
was not a breath the blue wave to curl." A thin veil of haziness
somewhat softened the fires of the American sun (as it was now called by
the European passengers), and we passed the whole day on deck, in a
delightful state of idle enjoyment; gazing on the inhabitants of the
deep, that, like ourselves, seemed to be taking a holiday. Dolphins,
horse-mackerel, and porpoises were sporting round the vessel, and the
flying-fish, "with brine still dropping from its wings," was darting up
into the sun-light; while flocks of petrels, their black plumage tinged
with flame-colour, seemed to rest on the surface of the water; and the
nautilus, "the native pilot of his little bark," glided gayly along the
dimpling mirror that reflected his tiny oars and gauzy sail. We fished
up large clusters of sea-weed, among which were some beautiful specimens
of a delicate purple colour, which, when viewed through a microscope,
glittered like silver, and were covered with little shell-fish so minute
as to be invisible to the naked eye.

It was a lovely day. The lieutenant and his family were all on deck, and
looked happy. That gentleman looked as usual. Towards evening, a breeze
sprung up directly fair, and filled the sails, which all day had been
clinging idly to the masts; and before midnight we were wafted along at
the rate of nine knots an hour, "while round the waves phosphoric
brightness broke," the ship seeming, as she cleaved the foam, to draw
after her in her wake a long train of stars.

Next day, we continued to proceed rapidly, with a fair wind, which we
knew would soon bring us to the end of our voyage. The ladies' cabin was
now littered with trunks and boxes, brought from the baggage-room that
we might select from them such articles as we thought we should require
when we went on shore.

But we were soon attracted to the deck, to see the always interesting
experiment of sounding with the deep-sea lead. To our great joy, it came
up (though from almost immeasurable depth) with a little sand adhering
to the cake of tallow at the bottom of the plummet. The breeze was
increasing, and Mr. Overslaugh, whose pretensions to nautical knowledge
were considered very shallow by his fellow amateurs, remarked to my
husband: "If this wind holds, I should not wonder if we are aground in
less than two hour."

Before Mr. Fenton could reply, Mrs. Cummings exclaimed: "Aground, did
you say!"--And she scuttled away with greater alacrity than we had ever
seen her evince on any former occasion. Some time after, on entering the
ladies' cabin, I found that the old dame, with her usual misconstruction
of sea-phrases, had rejoicingly dressed herself in a very showy suit
prepared for her first landing in America, and was now in the act of
buttoning at the ankles a pair of frilled leggings to "go aground in,"
as she informed me.

I explained to her her mistake, at which she was wofully disappointed,
and proportionately alarmed, ejaculating--"Oh! if I was only back
again--anywhere at all--even in the very out-scouts of London--rather
than stay another night in this dreadful ship!--To think, that after all
my sufferings at sea, I may be blown headforemost ashore, and drowned on
dry land at last!"

However, I succeeded in calming her terrors; and seeing her engaged in
taking off her finery to resume the black silk she had worn during the
voyage, I left Mrs. Cummings, and returned to my husband. The wind,
though still fair, had decreased towards the close of the day, and was
now mild and balmy. When I saw the white wings of a flight of curlews
glancing against the bright crimson glories of the sunset sky, I could
not help saying, "those birds will reach their nests at twilight, and
their nests are in America."

We remained on deck the whole evening, believing it probably the last we
should spend together; and the close companionship of four weeks in the
very circumscribed limits of a ship, had made us seem like one family.

We talked of the morrow, and I forgot that that gentleman was among us,
till I saw him leave the deck to retire for the night. The thought then
struck me, that another day, and we should cease perhaps to remember his
existence.

I laid my head on my pillow with the understanding that land would be
discovered before morning, and I found it impossible to sleep. Mr.
Fenton went on deck about midnight, and remained there till dawn. What
American, when returning to his native country, and almost in view of
its shores, is not reminded of that night, when Columbus stood on the
prow of the Santa Maria, and watched in breathless silence with his
impatient companions, for the first glimpse of the long wished-for
land--that memorable night, which gave a new impulse to the world
already known, and to that which was about to be discovered!

Near one o'clock, I heard a voice announcing the light on the highlands
of Neversink, and in a short time all the gentlemen were on deck. At
day-break Mr. Fenton came to ask me if I would rise, and see the morning
dawn upon our own country. We had taken a pilot on board at two o'clock,
had a fine fair breeze to carry us into the bay of New York, and there
was every probability of our being on shore in a few hours. When I
reached the deck, tears came into my eyes as I leaned on my husband's
arm, and saw the light of Sandy Hook shining brilliantly in the dimness
of the closing night, and emulating the morning star as it sparkled
above the rosy streak that was brightening in the eastern horizon. We
gazed till the rising sun sent up his first rays from behind the
kindling and empurpled ocean, and our native shore lay clear and
distinct before us.

Soon after sunrise we were visited by a news-boat, when there was an
exchange of papers, and much to inquire and much to tell.

We were going rapidly through the Narrows, when the bell rung for
breakfast, which Captain Santlow had ordered at an early hour, as we had
all been up before daylight. Chancing to look towards his accustomed
seat, I missed that gentleman, and inquired after him of the
captain.--"Oh!" he replied, "that gentleman went on shore in the
news-boat; did you not see him depart? He bowed all round, before he
went down the side."

"No," was the general reply; "we did not see him go." In truth, we had
all been too much interested in hearing, reading, and talking of the
news brought by the boat.

"Then he is gone for ever," exclaimed Mrs. Cummings--"and we shall never
know his name."

"Come, Captain Santlow," said Mr. Fenton, "try to recollect it.--'Let it
not,' as Grumio says, 'die in oblivion, while we return to our graves
inexperienced in it.'"

Captain Santlow smiled, and remained silent. "Now, captain," said Miss
Audley, "I will not quit the ship till you tell me that gentleman's
name.--I cannot hold out a greater threat to you, as I know you have had
a weary time of it since I have been under your charge. Come, I set not
my foot on shore till I know the name of that gentleman, and also why
you cannot refrain from smiling whenever you are asked about it."

"Well, then," replied Captain Santlow, "though his name is a very pretty
one when you get it said, there is a little awkwardness in speaking it.
So I thought I would save myself and my passengers the trouble. And
partly for that reason, and partly to tease you all, I have withheld it
from your knowledge during the voyage. But I can assure you he is a
baronet."

"A baronet!" cried Miss Audley; "I wish I had known that before, I
should certainly have made a dead set at him. A baronet would have been
far better worth the trouble of a flirtation, than you, Mr. Williams, or
you, Mr. Sutton, or you, Mr. Belfield, or any of the other gentlemen
that I have been amusing myself with during the voyage."

"A baronet!" exclaimed Mrs. Cummings; "well, really--and have I been
four weeks in the same ship with a baronet--and sitting at the same
table with him,--and often talking to him face to face?--I wonder what
Mrs. Thimbleby of Threadneedle street would say if she knew that I am
now acquainted with a baronet!"

"But what is his name, captain?" said Mr. Fenton; "still you do not tell
us."

"His name," answered the captain, "is Sir St. John St. Leger."

"Sir St. John St. Leger!" was repeated by each of the company.

"Yes," resumed Captain Santlow--"and you see how difficult it is to say
it smoothly. There is more sibilation in it than in any name I
know.--Was I not right in keeping it from you till the voyage was over,
and thus sparing you the trouble of articulating it, and myself the
annoyance of hearing it? See, here it is in writing."

The captain took his manifest out of his pocket-book, and showed us the
words, "Sir St. John St. Leger, of Sevenoaks, Kent."

"Pho!" said Mrs. Cummings. "Where's the trouble in speaking that name,
if you only knew the right way--I have heard it a hundred times--and
even seen it in the newspapers. This must be the very gentleman that my
cousin George's wife is always talking about. She has a brother that
lives near his estate, a topping apothecary. Why, 'tis easy enough to
say his name, if you say it as we do in England."

"And how is that?" asked the captain; "what can you make of Sir St. John
St. Leger?"

"Why, Sir Singeon Sillinger, to be sure," replied Mrs. Cummings; "I am
confident he would have answered to that name. Sir Singeon Sillinger of
Sunnock--cousin George's wife's brother lives close by Sunnock in a
yellow house with a red door."

"And have I," said the captain, laughing, "so carefully kept his name to
myself, during the whole passage, for fear we should have had to call
him Sir St. John St. Leger, when all the while we might have said Sir
Singeon Sillinger?"

"To be sure you might," replied Mrs. Cummings, looking proud of the
opportunity of displaying her superior knowledge of something. "With all
your striving after sense you Americans are a very ignorant people,
particularly of the right way of speaking English. Since I have been on
board, I have heard you all say the oddest things--though I thought
there would be no use in trying to set you right. The other day there
was Mr. Williams talking of the church of St. Mary le bon--instead of
saying Marrow bone. Then Mr. Belfield says, Lord Cholmondeley, instead
of Lord Chumley, and Col. Sinclair, instead of Col. Sinkler; and Mr.
Sutton says Lady Beauchamp, instead of Lady Beachum; and you all say
Birmingham, instead of Brummagem. The truth is, you know nothing about
English names. Now that name, Trollope, that you all sneer at so much,
and think so very low, why Trollope is quite genteel in England, and so
is Hussey. The Trollopes and Husseys belong to great families. But I
have no doubt of finding many things that are very elegant in England,
counted quite vulgar in America, owing to the ignorance of your people.
For my part, I was particularly brought up to despise all manner of
ignorance."

In a short time a steamboat came alongside into which we removed
ourselves, accompanied by the captain and the letter bags; and we
proceeded up to the city, where Mr. Fenton and myself were met on the
wharf, I need not tell how, and by whom.

Captain Santlow informed us during our little trip in the boat, that
soon after breakfast, the steward had brought him a letter which he had
just found on the pillow in that gentleman's birth. It was directed to
Lieutenant Lynford. The captain immediately went forward and presented
it to him, and the poor officer was so overcome after opening it, that
he could not forbear making known to Captain Santlow that it contained a
draft for five hundred dollars on a house in New York, and a few lines
signed St. John St. Leger, requesting Lieutenant Lynford to oblige the
writer by making use of that sum to assist in settling his family in
Canada.

We were now all warm in our praise of that gentleman's generosity. And
Mrs. Cummings recollected that she had heard from her cousin George's
wife that her brother of Sunnock often said that, though he never spoke
if he could help it, nobody did kinder things in his own quiet way than
Sir Singeon Sillinger.



THE SERENADES.

     "Sleep you, or wake you, lady bright?"--LEWIS.


"And now tell me the reason of your giving us the slip on Tuesday
night," said Charles Cavender to Frederick Merrill, as they came out of
court together, and walked into the shade of the beautiful double row of
linden trees that interlace their branches in front of the Philadelphia
State House, perfuming the atmosphere of early summer with the fragrance
of their delicate yellow blossoms.

"To tell you the truth," replied Merrill, "I never had much fancy for
these regular serenading parties. And as, on Tuesday night, I had a
presentiment that the course of ours was not going to run smoothly, and
as I found it impossible to play with such a second as Dick
Doubletongue, I resigned my flute to Walton, and went home for my
guitar, being very much in the notion of taking a ramble on my own
account, and giving a little unpretending music to several pretty girls
of my own acquaintance."

"Ah! that guitar!" exclaimed Cavender: "Since you first heard Segura, no
Spaniard can be more completely fascinated with the instrument. And, to
do Segura justice, he has made an excellent guitar player of you, and
cultivated your voice with great success."

"But how did you proceed after I left you?" asked Merrill.

"Oh! very well!" replied Cavender; "only that infernal piano, that Harry
Fingerley insisted on being brought along with us, was pretty
considerable of a bore."

"So I thought," responded Merrill; "to me there appeared something too
absurd in conveying through the streets at night so cumbrous an
instrument--carrying it on a hand-barrow, like porters."

"Well," observed Cavender, "there were, however, enough of us to relieve
each other every square. By-the-bye, I suspect that your true reason for
deserting was to avoid taking your turn in carrying the piano."

"You are not far wrong," replied Merrill, smiling.

"It was a ridiculous business," resumed Cavender. "As Fingerley cannot
touch an instrument without his notes, and always chooses to show off in
difficult pieces, a lantern was brought along, which one of us was
obliged to hold for him whenever he played. Unluckily, a music stool had
been forgotten, and poor Harry, who, you know, is one of the tallest
striplings in town, was obliged to play kneeling: and he wore the knees
of his pantaloons threadbare, in getting through a long concerto of
Beethoven's, before Miss Flickwire's door."

"To what place did you go after I left you?" inquired Merrill.

"Oh! to serenade that saucy flirt, Miss Lawless, Frank Hazeldon's flame.
We ranged ourselves in front of the house, set down the piano and its
elegant supporter, the hand-barrow, upon the pavement, and all struck up
the Band March, with our eyes turned upwards, expecting that we should
see the shutters gently open, and the pretty faces of Lucy Lawless and
her two sisters slyly peeping down at us. But we looked in vain. No
shutters opened, and no faces peeped."

"Perhaps," said Merrill, "the family were all out of town?"

"No, no," replied Cavender; "a bright light shone through the fan-glass
over the door, which opened at last, just as we had concluded the Band
March, and out came Bogle, followed by two or three other waiters of
rather a more decided colour, who stood a little aloof. 'Gentlemen,'
said Bogle, 'Miss Lawless desires her respects and compliments to you
all, and wishes me to inquire if there is one Mr. Hazeldon among
you?'--'Yes; I am Mr. Hazeldon,' said Frank, stepping out.--'Then,'
resumed Bogle, with his usual flourish of hand, 'Miss Lawless presents
her further respects and compliments, and requests me to make you
acquainted that she has a party to-night, and as Frank Johnson was
pre-engaged, and could not come, she desires you will play a few
cotillions for the company to dance--and if there are any more
gentlemen-fiddlers present, she will thank them to play too.'

"There was a general burst of mingled indignation and laughter. Some of
the serenaders advanced to put Bogle into the gutter, but he very
naturally resisted, justly declaring that he ought not to be punished
for obeying the lady's orders, and delivering the message
systematically, as he termed it.

"The windows of the front parlour were now thrown open, and Miss Lawless
with her sisters appeared at them, dressed in lace and flowers. Both
parlours were lighted up with chandeliers, and filled with company.

"'Mr. Hazeldon,' said Miss Lawless, 'you and your friends have come
precisely at the right time. Nothing could be more apropos than your
arrival. We were all engaged with the ice-creams and jellies while you
were playing the Band March (which, to do you justice, you performed
very respectably), or we should have sent Bogle out to you before. Pray,
Mr. Hazeldon, give us "Love was once a little boy;"--it makes an
excellent cotillion--and we shall then be able to decide between the
merits of your band and that of Mr. Francis Johnson.'--'But we are all
gentlemen, madam,' said the simple Bob Midgely, 'and this is a
serenade.'--'The more convenient,' replied Miss Lawless, who is really a
very handsome girl; 'a serenade may thus be made to answer a double
purpose--killing two birds with one stone, in proverbial parlance.'

"Poor Frank Hazeldon was so much annoyed as to be incapable of reply,
being also vexed and mortified at having no invitation to his
lady-love's party.

"But I went forward, and said to Miss Lawless, that if she and her
friends would come out, and perform their cotillions on the pavement, we
would have much pleasure in playing for them. To this she replied, that
she now perceived we had no tambourine with us, and that a dance without
that enlivening instrument must always be a very spiritless affair.
Therefore she would excuse, for the present, the services of Mr.
Hazeldon and his musical friends.

"She then closed the window, and we bowed and moved off; resolved that
for the future we would take care to avoid the awkward _contre-tems_ of
serenading a lady when she is in the act of having a party. Frank
Hazeldon loudly protested against the insolence of his dulcinea, 'who,'
said he, 'would not dare to say and do such things, only that she knows
herself to be (as she certainly is), the most beautiful creature on the
face of the earth.' However, he averred that he had done with Miss
Lawless entirely, and would scrupulously avoid all further acquaintance
with her, now that she had not only affronted himself, but his friends.
We advised him to consider it not so deeply."

"He seems to have taken your advice," observed Merrill; "for there he
is, just turning the corner of Sixth street with her--she laughing at
him as usual, and he, as usual, thankful to be laughed at by her. But
where else did you go?"

"We went to two other places," replied Cavender; "where nothing
particular happened, except that at one of them the ladies threw flowers
down to us. Afterwards, Dick Doubletongue proposed our going into Market
street to serenade two very pretty girls, the daughters of a wealthy
tradesman, who, being an old-fashioned man, persevered in the
convenience of living in the same house in which he kept his store.
Unluckily, it was the night before market-day. We began with 'Life let
us cherish,' which Dick assured us was a special favourite with the
young ladies--and our music soon aroused the market-people, some of whom
were sleeping in their carts that stood in the street, others, wrapped
in coverlets, were bivouacking on the stalls in the market-house, to be
ready on the spot for early morning. They started up, jumped down,
gathered around us, and exclaimed--'Well, did ever!'--'Now, that's what
I call music!'--'There, Polly, there's the right sort of fiddling for
you!'--'Well, this beats _me_!'--'Law, Suz!--how they do play it
up!'--and other equally gratifying expressions. And one woman called out
to her husband--'Here, daddy, take up the baby, and bring him out of the
cart, and let him hear some music-playing, now he has a chance.' So the
baby was brought, and daddy held him close up to the flute-players, and
the baby cried, as all babies should do when they are taken up in the
night to hear music.

"To crown all, the concert was joined by a dozen calves, who awoke from
their uneasy slumbers in the carts, and began bleating in chorus; and by
the crowing of various fowls, and the quacking of various ducks that
were tied by the legs in pairs, and lying under the stalls. Every moment
fresh market-carts came jolting and rattling over the stones, and we
would have gone away at the conclusion of 'Life let us cherish,' only
that Dick begged us to remain till we saw some indications of the
ladies being awake and listening to us--a circumstance always gratifying
to serenaders. While we were in full performance of 'The Goddess Diana,'
we saw a light in a room up stairs, a window was opened, and there
appeared at it two young ladies, who had evidently taken the trouble to
arrange their hair, and attire themselves very becomingly in pink gowns
and white collars, for the purpose of doing honour to the musicians and
themselves. After this, we could do no less than play another of their
favourites. When it was finished, we bowed up to the window, and they
curtsied down to us, and the market-women approved, saying--'Law, now,
if that a'n't pretty!--all making their manners to one another!--well,
if we a'n't in luck to-night!'"

"The combination of noises that accompanied your Market street
serenade," observed Merrill, "reminds me of a ridiculous incident that
occurred one night, when I and my flute were out with Tom Clearnote and
Sam Startlem; Clearnote having his Kent bugle, and Startlem making his
first public essay on the trombone, which he had taken a fancy to learn.
We went to a house in Chestnut street, where there were three charming
girls, who we soon saw had all properly disposed themselves for
listening at the windows. We commenced with the March in Masaniello.
Unfortunately, Sam Startlem, from having a cold, or some other cause,
and being but a novice on the trombone, found it impossible to fill the
instrument, or to produce any sound but a sort of hollow croak, that
went exactly like 'Fire! fire!'--the cry which so often frights our town
from its propriety.

"Just then the watchman was passing with a dog that always followed him,
and that had a habit of howling whenever he heard the alarm of fire. On
meeting the strange sounds, half guttural, half nasal, from Startlem's
trombone, he very naturally mistook them for the announcement of a
conflagration, and set up his customary yell.[83] In a few minutes, the
boys issued from all quarters, according to their practice, by day and
by night whenever there is anything to be seen or heard that promises a
mob. The supposed cry of fire was reiterated through the street; and
spread all round. Presently two or three engines came scampering along,
bells ringing, trumpets braying, torches flaring, and men shouting--all
running they knew not whither; for as yet the bell of the State House
had not tolled out its unerring signal.

[Footnote 83: Fact.]

"In the general confusion, we thought it best to cease playing, and
quietly decamp, being ashamed (for the honour of our musicians) to
inform the firemen of the real cause of the mistake; so we gladly stole
out of the crowd, and turned into a private street.--But excuse me for
interrupting you.--Finish your narrative."

"There is little more to be said," resumed Cavender. "By the time we had
afforded sufficient amusement to the market-people, the moon had long
since set, and the stars begun to fade. So we all put up our
instruments, and wearily sought our dwelling-places;--Harry Fingerley
wisely hiring relays of black men to carry home the piano.

"But we have been talking long enough under these trees," continued
Cavender; "let us walk up Chestnut street together, and tell me what
befell yourself while serenading according to the fashion of Old
Castile. Of course, you went first to Miss Osbrook?"

"I did," replied Merrill, smiling, and colouring a little; "and I played
and sung for her, in my very best style, several of my very best songs.
And I was rewarded by obtaining a glimpse of a graceful white figure at
the window, as she half unclosed it, and seeing a white hand (half
hidden by a ruffle) resting gently on one of the bars of the Venetian
shutter--and as the moon was then shining brightly down, I knew that my
divine Emily also saw _me_.

"From thence I went to the residence of a blooming Quaker girl, who, I
understood from a mutual friend, had expressed a great wish for a
serenade. She came to the window, and was soon joined by an old nurse,
who, I found by their conversation, had been kindly awakened by the
considerate Rebecca, and invited by her to come to the front room and
listen to the music; on which the half-dozing matron made no comment,
but that 'sometimes the tune went away up, and sometimes it went right
down.'

"Having commenced with 'The Soldier's Bride,' I was somewhat surprised
at the martial propensities of the fair Quakeress, who in a loud whisper
to her companion, first wished that Frederick Merrill (for she had at
once recognised me) would play and sing 'The Soldier's Tear,' and then
'The Soldier's Gratitude.' When I had accomplished both these songs, I
heard her tell the old woman, that she was sure 'The Battle of Prague'
would go well on the guitar. This performance, however, I did not think
proper to undertake, and I thereupon prepared to withdraw, to the
audible regret of the lovely Rebecca.

"As I directed my steps homeward, I happened to pass the house of a
young lady whose family and mine have long been somewhat acquainted, and
who has acquired (I will not say how deservedly) a most unfortunate
_sobriquet_. At a fancy ball, last winter, she appeared in the character
of Sterne's Maria, dressed in a white jacket and petticoat, with vine
leaves in her hair, and a flageolet suspended by a green riband over one
shoulder. Her mother, a very silly and illiterate woman, announced her
as 'Strange Maria'--absurdly introducing her by that title, and saying
repeatedly through the evening to gentlemen as well as to ladies--'Have
you seen my daughter yet?--Have you seen Strange Maria?--There she is,
sitting in that corner, leaning her head upon her hand--it is a part of
her character to sit so--and when she is tired, she gets up and dances.
She appears to-night as Strange Maria, and it suits exactly, as her name
is really Maria. Her aunt, Mrs. Fondlesheep, chose the character for her
out of some book, and Madame Gaubert made the jacket.'

"From that night, the poor girl has gone unconsciously by this foolish
nickname. And, unfortunately, she is almost as much of a simpleton as
her mother, though she was educated at a great boarding-school, and said
a great many long lessons.

"I took my seat on the marble carriage-step in front of the house, and
the moon having declined, I played and sung 'Look out upon the stars, my
love.' Soon after I commenced, I saw a window in the second story thrown
open, and the literal Maria doing exactly as she was bid, in earnestly
surveying the stars--turning her head about that she might take a view
of them in every direction.

"I then began the beautiful serenading song of 'Lilla, come down to me,'
with no other motive than that of hearing myself sing it. At the
conclusion of the air, the front door softly opened, and Strange Maria
appeared at it, dressed in a black silk frock, with a bonnet and shawl,
and carrying a bundle under her arm.

"She looked mysterious, and beckoned to me. I approached her, somewhat
surprised. She put the bundle into my hands, and laying her finger on
her lips, whispered--'All's safe--we can get off now--I have just had
time to put up a change of clothes, and you must carry them for me.'

"'My dear Miss Maria,' said I, 'what is it you mean? Excuse me for
saying that I do not exactly comprehend you.'

"'Now, don't pretend to be so stupid,' was the damsel's reply; 'did you
not invite me in the song to come down and run away with you? You sung
it so plain that I heard every word. There could not be a better
opportunity, for ma's in the country, and there is never any danger of
waking pa.'

"'Really, Miss Maria,' said I, 'allow me to say that you have totally
misunderstood me.'

"'No such thing,' persisted the young lady. 'Did I not hear you over and
over again say, "Lilla, come down to me?" Though I never was allowed to
see a play or read a novel, I am not such a fool that I cannot
understand when people want to run away with me. By Lilla you of course
meant me, just as much as if you had said Maria.'

"'On my honour,' I expostulated, 'you are entirely mistaken. Only permit
me to explain'--

"'Nonsense,' interrupted the lady; 'the song was plain enough. And so I
got ready, and stole down stairs as quickly as possible. Alderman
Pickwick always sits up late at night, and rises before day to write for
the newspapers. He lives just round the corner, and never objects to
marry any couple that comes to him. So let's be off.'

"'I entreat you,' said I, 'to listen to me for one moment.'

"'Did you bring a ring with you?' continued the fair eloper, whose
present volubility surprised me no less than her pertinacity, having
hitherto considered her as one of the numerous young ladies that are
never expected to talk.

"'A ring!' I repeated; 'you must pardon me, but I really had no such
thought.'

"'How careless!' exclaimed Maria. 'Don't you know that plain rings are
the only sort used at weddings? I wish I had pulled one off the window
curtain before I came down. I dare say, Squire Pickwick would never
notice whether it was brass or gold.'

"'There is no need of troubling yourself about a ring,' said I.

"'True,' replied she, 'Quakers get married without, and why should not
we? But come, we must not stand parleying here. You can't think, Mr.
Merrill, how glad I am that you came for me before any one else. I would
much rather run away with you, than with Mr. Simpson, or Mr. Tomlins, or
Mr. Carter. Pa' says if ever he does let me marry, he'll choose for me
himself, and I have no doubt he'll choose some ugly fright. Fathers are
such bad judges of people.'

"'Miss Maria,' said I, 'you mistake me entirely, and this error must be
rectified at once. I must positively undeceive you.'

"At that moment, the door half opened--a hand was put out, and seizing
the arm of Maria, drew her forcibly inside. The door was then shut, and
double locked; and I heard her receding voice, loudly exclaiming--'Oh!
pa'--now, indeed, pa'--who'd have thought, pa', that you were listening
all the time!'

"I stood motionless with joy and surprise at this opportune release--and
I recollected that once during our scene on the door-step, I had thought
I heard footsteps in the entry.

"Presently the father put his head out of his own window and said to
me--'Young man, you may go, I have locked her up.'--I took him at his
word and departed, not a little pleased at having been extricated in so
summary a way from the dilemma in which the absurdity of Strange Maria
had involved me."

       *       *       *       *       *

About a week after this conversation, Cavender inquired of his friend,
who was visiting him at his office, if he had again been out solus on a
serenading excursion.

"No," replied Merrill, "I have had enough of that nonsense. There is no
better cure for folly, and particularly for romantic folly, than a good
burlesque; and I find I have been parodied most ridiculously by that
prince of fools, old Pharaby, the bachelor in an auburn wig and corsets,
that lives next door to Miss Osbrook. This said Pharaby assumes a
penchant for my opposite neighbour, the rich and handsome young widow,
Mrs. Westwyn. Taking a hint from my serenading Emily Osbrook, but far
outdoing me, he has every night since presented himself under the
windows of the fair widow, and tinkled a guitar--which instrument he
professes to have learned during a three months' consulship in one of
the Spanish West India Islands. He plays Spanish, but sings Italian; and
with a voice and manner to make Paggi tear his hair, and Pucci drop down
dead.

"Mrs. Westwyn, whom I escorted home last evening from a visit to Miss
Osbrook, was congratulating herself on the appearance of rain; as it
would of course prevent her from being disturbed that night by her usual
serenader, the regularity of whose musical visitations had become, she
said, absolutely intolerable.

"About twelve o'clock, however, I heard the customary noise in front of
Mrs. Westwyn's house, notwithstanding that the rain had set in, and was
falling very fast. I looked out, and beheld the persevering inamorato
standing upright beneath the shelter of an umbrella held over his head
by a black man, and twitching the strings of his guitar to the air of
'Dalla gioja.' I was glad when the persecuted widow, losing all
patience, raised her sash, and in a peremptory tone, commanded him to
depart and trouble her no more; threatening, if he ever again repeated
the offence, to have him taken into custody by the watchman. Poor
Pharaby was struck aghast; and being too much disconcerted to offer an
apology, he stood motionless for a few moments, and then replacing his
guitar in its case, and tucking it under his arm, he stole off round the
corner, his servant following close behind with the umbrella. From that
moment I abjured serenades."

"What! all sorts?" inquired Cavender.

"All," replied Merrill--"both gregarious and solitary. The truth is, I
this morning obtained the consent of the loveliest of women to make me
the happiest of men, this day three months; and therefore I have
something else to think of than strumming guitars or blowing flutes
about the streets at night."

"I congratulate you, most sincerely," said Cavender, shaking hands with
his friend; "Miss Osbrook is certainly, as the phrase is, possessed of
every qualification to render the marriage state happy. And though I and
my other associates in harmony have not so good an excuse for leaving
off our musical rambles, yet I believe we shall, at least, give them up
till next summer--and perhaps, by that time, we may have devised some
other means of obtaining the good graces of the ladies."

"But apropos to music," continued Cavender; "if I can obtain my sister's
permission, I will show you a letter she received some time since from a
young friend of hers with whom she is engaged in a whimsical
correspondence under fictitious names, somewhat in imitation of the
ladies of the last century. Both girls have been reading the Spectator,
and have consequently taken a fancy to the Addisonian plan of
occasionally throwing their ideas into the form of dreams or visions;
addressing each other as Ariella Shadow and Ombrelina Vapour."

Cavender then withdrew to his sister's parlour, and in a few minutes
returned with the letter, which he put into Merrill's hand, telling him
to read it while he finished looking over some deeds that had been left
with him for examination.

Merrill opened the letter, and perused its contents, which we will
present to our readers under the title of


A DREAM OF SONGS.


     MY DEAR OMBRELINA,

     Last evening, on my return from Melania Medley's musical party,
     where nothing was played or sung that had been out more than two or
     three weeks, I could not but reflect on the fate that attends even
     the most meritorious compositions of the sons of song: honoured for
     awhile with a short-lived popularity, and then allowed to float
     down the stream of time unnoticed and forgotten--or only remembered
     as things too entirely _passé_ to be listened to by "_ears
     polite_"--or even mentioned in their presence. It is true that as
     soon as a song becomes popular it ceases to be fashionable; but is
     not its popularity an evidence of its merit, or at least of its
     possessing melody and originality, and of its sounds being such as
     to give pleasure to the general ear? Who ever heard a dull and
     insipid tune played or sung in the streets, or whistled by the
     boys?

     Falling asleep with these notions in my head, they suggested a
     dream in which I imagined myself visited by impersonations of
     almost innumerable songs, many of which had been "pretty fellows in
     their day," but have now given place to others whose chief
     characteristic is that of having no character at all.

     The following outline may give you, dear Ombrelina, a slight idea
     of my vision, making due allowance for the confusion, incoherence,
     and absurdity that are always found in those pictures that
     imagination, when loosened from the control of reason, presents to
     the mind's eye of the slumberer.

     "I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls," being mistress of a
     handsome and spacious mansion in a fine romantic country, whose
     hills and woodlands sloped down towards the ocean. I seemed to be
     duly prepared for the reception of a numerous party of visiters,
     whom I recognised intuitively, as soon as I saw them, for the
     heroes and heroines of certain well-known songs--also being
     familiar with the characters of many of them from my intimate
     acquaintance with Aunt Balladina's old music-books.

     The earliest of my guests were some much-esteemed friends,
     descendants of the "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled"--they wore "The
     Tartan Plaidie" and "The White Cockade"--and they looked as if they
     had all been "Over the Water to Charlie." I felt particularly
     honoured by the presence of that gallant chieftain, "Kinloch of
     Kinloch," who, for the express purpose of making me a visit, had
     relinquished for a time his grouse-shooting excursions "O'er the
     moor among the heather"--had given up his musings on "The banks and
     braes o' Bonnie Doon," and bade for awhile "Adieu, a heartwarm fond
     adieu" to "The Birks of Aberfeldy."

     Next arrived the ancient laird "Logie o' Buchan;" and then "Auld
     Robin Gray" came tottering along supported by his pensive daughter
     Alice, and by "Duncan Gray," his laughter-loving son, well known
     among the lasses as "The Braw Wooer." The Gray family took their
     seats at "The Ingle Side," where old "John Anderson" and his wife
     had already established themselves close together in two
     arm-chairs. "Logie o' Buchan" joined them; but his habits being
     somewhat taciturn, it was not till they talked of "Auld lang syne"
     that he was induced to mingle in the conversation--yet the ice once
     broken, he was as merry in his reminiscences as either of his
     companions.

     Robin Gray reminded the laird of Buchan of his elopement with that
     extreme blonde the "Lassie wi' the lint-white locks," who, when
     only "Within a mile of Edinburgh," had given him the slip and ran
     off with "Jockey to the Fair." The laird retaliated by laughing at
     Robin for having been one of the six-and-thirty suitors of that
     ugliest of heiresses, "Tibby Fouller o' the Glen." John Anderson
     was made to recollect his having been deserted in his youth by the
     beautiful but mercenary "Katrine Ogie," who afterwards became
     "Roy's wife of Aldivalloch," and in taking the carle and leaving
     her Johnnie, furnished another illustration of the fallacy of the
     remark, "Oh! say not woman's heart is bought."

     These old stories were at first very amusing, but they continued so
     long and with so many episodes and digressions, that we at length
     discovered "We were a' noddin." Finally they were interrupted by
     the arrival of "Bonnie Jean," "The Lass of Patie's Mill," "Bessie
     Bell and Mary Gray," and other "Flowers o' the Forest," who were
     following that gay deceiver "Robin Adair," himself a verification
     of the well-known fact that "Though love is warm awhile, soon it
     grows cold."

     Robin Adair, whose mind, after all, seems to have run chiefly on
     balls and plays (a visit to Paris having quite spoiled him for the
     society of "The Braes of Balquither"), had first made love to the
     unfortunate "Highland Mary," and then gayly and heartlessly quitted
     her with that useless piece of advice which nobody ever took, "Sigh
     not for love." Next he paid his devoirs to "Jessie the flower o'
     Dumblane," as he met her one morning "Comin' thro' the rye." And he
     had subsequently entered into a flirtation with "Dumbarton's bonny
     Belle"--a young lady whose literary and scientific achievements had
     lately procured for her the unique title of "The Blue Bell of
     Scotland." But it was whispered in the most authentic circles that
     she had recently frightened him away by asking him that puzzling
     question "Why does azure deck the sky?"

     Yet, however the follies and inconstancies of Robin Adair might
     have rendered him a favourite with the ladies (who often tapped him
     with their fans, saying, "Fly away pretty moth"), he did not seem
     to be held in equal esteem by his manly compatriots. On his
     presuming to clap "Young Lochinvar" on the shoulder, and accost him
     as "Friend of my soul," that high-spirited chieftain immediately
     proceeded to "Draw the sword o' Scotland," with a view of
     chastising his familiarity. But "Swift as the flash," Robin eluded
     the blow, and danced out of the room singing "I'd be a Butterfly."

     At the desire of several of the ladies, I accompanied them to the
     veranda to look at the prospect of the beautiful surrounding
     country, and our attention was soon arrested by notes of distant
     music.

     "What airy sounds!" was our unanimous exclamation; and we almost
     fancied that they must have proceeded from the "Harp of the winds,"
     till presently we heard the tramp of horses, and beheld a numerous
     company descending by its circuitous path the hill that rose in
     front of the house. As "I saw them on their winding way," I had no
     difficulty in recognising each individual of the troop.

     Foremost came "The Baron of Mowbray" mounted on his "Arab Steed,"
     and accompanied by a "Captive Knight" whom he had rescued from a
     Saracen prison, and I soon discovered that it was "Dunois the young
     and brave." Dunois was followed by his accomplished but wilful
     page, "The Minstrel Boy," who, having broken his harp in a fit of
     spite, was obliged to substitute an inferior instrument, and to
     strike "The Light Guitar," which he retained as "The Legacy" of a
     "Gallant Troubadour" who had fallen beside him in battle, and of
     whose untimely fate he had sent notice to his "Isabelle" by a
     "Carrier Pigeon."

     Behind the youthful minstrel strode a "Happy Tawny Moor" performing
     powerfully on "The Tartar Drum."

     "The Young Son of Chivalry" brought with him a beautiful damsel
     whom he had found in a "Bower of Roses by Bendameer's Stream"--and
     whose eyes, resembling those of "The Light Gazelle," identified her
     as "Araby's Daughter." "Rich and rare were the gems she wore;" and
     she had testified her readiness to "Fly to the Desert" with her
     bravo Dunois; to glide with him "Thro' icy valleys," in the wilds
     of Siberia; or to accompany him even across "The sea--the sea--the
     open sea." No music would have sounded so sweetly in her ear as
     "The Bridemaid's Chorus," and she would willingly have given all
     her pearls and diamonds in exchange for "The plain gold ring."

     Next came a gentleman in naval uniform, whom I gladly recognised as
     my former acquaintance, "The Post Captain;" for the last time "We
     met--'twas in a crowd"--and I had not an opportunity of saying more
     than a few words to him. He was not in his usual spirits, having
     lately been jilted by the beautiful but "Faithless Emma," who knew
     not how to value "The Manly Heart" that had so long been devoted to
     her. He was accompanied by a "Smart Young Midshipman," and followed
     at a respectful distance by some hardy-looking "Tars of Columbia,"
     who, whether exposed to the storms of "The Bay of Biscay," or
     sailing before the wind with "A wet sheet and a flowing sea," or
     engaged in contest with "The Mariners of England," are always ready
     to venture life and limb in the cause of "America, Commerce, and
     Freedom."

     After them came a motley group whose homes were to be found in
     every part of the world, and amongst whom even "The Gipsies' Wild
     Chant" was heard at intervals. Looking as if he had just issued
     from "The vale of Ovoca," and wrapping around him a damp overcoat,
     threadbare wherever it was whole, came an "Exile of Erin," who
     proved to be the famous serenading robber, "Ned of the Hills." Near
     him was another outlaw, "Allen-a-Dale," who, being something of an
     exquisite (notwithstanding his deficiency in ploughland and
     firewood) looked with hauteur on "The wayworn Traveller." The
     Hibernian freebooter was not, it is true, as well supported as when
     "Proudly and wide his standard flew;" having found by recent
     experience that it is not always safe to go a-robbing with flying
     colours: but he was not without his followers (what Irishman is?)
     and he and they returned with interest the contemptuous glances of
     the English brigand.

     There were representatives of every nation and of every period in
     which the voice of music has been heard. Some were serious and some
     were gay--some were dignified, and others very much the
     contrary--some had always moved in the first circle, and some were
     in the people's line. I saw a "Bavarian Broom Girl" endeavouring to
     persuade "Mynheer Van Clam" to waltz with her round the hill: but
     finding it impossible to induce in him a rotatory motion, and that
     his steps never could be made to describe a circle, she wisely gave
     him up for a "Merry Swiss Boy," who whirled round with her to her
     heart's content, though his sister would not dance, but was
     perpetually wailing "Oh! take me back to Switzerland." There was
     also the disdainful "Polly Hopkins" sailing round her ill-used but
     persevering lover, "Tommy Tompkins." Among others came the foolish
     "Maid of Lodi," ambling on her poney; the deplorable "Galley
     Slave;" the moaning "Beggar Girl;" and several others with whose
     company I could well have dispensed.

     The sound of voices now came from the sea, and we saw several boats
     approaching the shore--"Faintly as tolls the evening chime," we
     distinguished the Canadian rowers. Next came the fellow-fishermen
     of Masaniello chanting their Barcarole; and next we recognised the
     swiftly-gliding and "Bonnie Boat" of a party of musical Caledonians
     on their return from a fruitless attempt to wake the "Maid of
     Lorn." I looked in vain for my sensible and excellent friend, "The
     Pilot," whom I was afterwards informed by his daughter, "Black-eyed
     Susan," had gone to the assistance of an endangered vessel, whose
     "Minute Gun at Sea" he had heard the night before.

     I went down with the other ladies to the portico to receive the
     company that was every moment arriving, and I found the avenue that
     led to it already filled. Among the Hibernians, we saw a wandering
     musician who had "Come o'er the sea" to pursue his profession.
     However, he succeeded but badly; after several attempts, finding it
     impossible even to "Remember the glories of Brian the Brave." The
     truth is, he was confused and disconcerted by discovering, when too
     late, that the harp he had in haste brought with him, was the
     identical one which had hung so long on Tara's walls that its soul
     of music was undoubtedly fled; all the strings being broken. This
     _contre-tems_ excited the sneers of the English part of his
     audience, but I besought them to "Blame not the bard," whose
     countrymen I saw were beginning to kindle in his behalf, and
     knowing that "Avenging and bright are the swift swords of Erin," I
     made peace by ordering refreshments to be brought out, and sending
     round among them the "Crooskeen Lawn."

     Again the sound of distant music floated on the air from "Over the
     hills and far away." At first, we thought that "The Campbells were
     coming" (none of that noble and warlike clan having accompanied the
     numerous "Sons of the Clyde" that had already arrived), and the
     male part of our company were preparing to "Hurrah for the Bonnets
     of Blue." But as the sounds approached, they were easily
     distinguished for the ever-charming and exhilarating notes of "The
     Hunters' Chorus," that splendid triumph of musical genius. We soon
     saw the bold yagers of the Hartz forest descending the path that
     led round the hill, their rifles in their hands, their oak-sprigs
     in their hats, and looking as much at home as if they were still in
     their "Father-land."

     I welcomed the whole company, though well aware that among them all
     there was "Nobody coming to marry me;" and, as "Twilight dews were
     falling fast," I invited them into the house, which fortunately was
     large enough to accommodate them. The evening was spent in much
     hilarity. "Merrily every bosom boundeth," and "Away with
     melancholy," was the general feeling. A toast was suggested in
     compliment to their hostess; but unwilling that they should "Drink
     to me only," I proposed "A health to all good lasses," and it went
     round with enthusiasm.

     Our festivity met with a little interruption from "The Maid of
     Marlivale," who, while taking one of her usual moonlight rambles,
     had been frightened by something that she supposed to be "The Erl
     King," and she rushed in among us, in a state of terror which we
     had some difficulty in appeasing.

     After supper, at which "Jim Crow" was chief waiter (till his
     antics obliged me to dismiss him from the room), music and dancing
     continued till a late hour. At length "I knew by the smoke" that
     the lamps were about to expire, and I was not sorry when the party
     from Scotland broke up the company by taking leave with "Gude
     night, and joy be wi' you a'"--and in a short time "All the blue
     bonnets were over the border." I must tell you in confidence, my
     dear Ombrelina, that "A chieftain to the highlands bound" presented
     me "The last rose of summer," and was very importunate with me to
     become the companion of his journey and the lady of his castle; but
     I had no inclination to intrust my happiness to a stranger, and to
     bid "My native land, good night."

     Hitherto, whenever, "I've wandered in dreams," it has generally
     been my unlucky fate to lose all distinct recollection of them
     before "The morn unbars the gates of light." This once I have been
     more fortunate. But still, my dear Ombrelina, I think it safest to
     intrust to your care this slight memorandum of my singular vision.
     And should you lose it, and I forget it, we have still the
     consolation that "'Tis but fancy's sketch."

     ARIELLA SHADOW.

"In truth," said Merrill, folding up the letter, after making various
comments upon it, "on the subject of music, this young lady seems quite
_au naturel_. I fear for her success in society."

"Then," observed Cavender, "you must exert your influence in inducing
her to change or suppress her opinion on this topic, and perhaps on some
others in which she may be equally at variance with _les gens comme il
faut_."

"My influence?" replied Merrill. "Is it possible that I know the lady?"

"You know her so well," answered Cavender, "that I wonder you are
unacquainted with her autograph; but I suppose your courtship has been
altogether verbal."

"Emily Osbrook!" exclaimed Merrill. "Is she, indeed, the author of this
letter? It is singular enough that I have never yet happened to see her
handwriting; and once seen, I could not have forgotten it. But I can
assure you that she has sufficient knowledge of the art to be fully
capable of appreciating its difficulties and understanding its beauties,
and of warmly admiring whatever of our fashionable music is really good;
that is, when the sound is not only a combination of beautiful tones,
but also an echo to the sense. We have often lamented that so many fine
composers have deigned to furnish charming airs for common-place or
nonsensical poetry, and that some of the most exquisite effusions of our
poets are degraded by an association with tasteless and insipid music.
But when music that is truly excellent is 'married to immortal verse,'
and when the words are equal to the air, who does not perceive that the
hearers listen with two-fold enjoyment?"

"Two-fold!" exclaimed Cavender.--"The pleasure of listening to
delightful notes, with delightful words, uttered with taste and feeling
by an accomplished and intellectual singer, is one of the most perfect
that can fall to the lot of beings who are unable to hear the music of
the spheres and the songs of Paradise."



SOCIABLE VISITING.

     "Shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it."--ADDISON.


After a residence of several years at their country-house in the
vicinity of Philadelphia, circumstances induced Mr. Heathcote to
establish himself again in the city. This removal gave great
satisfaction to his family, particularly to his wife and to his two
elder children, Harriet and Albert, as they all had very good reasons
for preferring a decided town-life to the numerous conveniences of
ruralizing at a villa both in winter and summer. They were called on in
due time by all their former city friends; most of whom, indeed, had
sedulously kept up their acquaintance with the Heathcote family by
frequent visits to them during their long sojourn in the country.

By all these friends, the Heathcotes were invited to tea in form,
sometimes to large parties, sometimes to small parties, and sometimes to
meet only the family circle. And Mrs. Heathcote had made a return for
these civilities by giving an evening party, which included the whole
range of her friends and acquaintances, while her husband got rid of his
similar obligations by a series of dinners.

These duties being over, and the family settled quietly down into
every-day life, the invitations for particular times became less
frequent; gradually subsiding into pressing entreaties from their
friends to waive all formality, and to come sociably and take tea with
them whenever they felt an inclination, without waiting for the ceremony
of being regularly asked. These intimations were at once declined by
Mrs. Heathcote, who declared herself "no visitor," her large family (for
she had eight children) giving her always sufficient occupation at
home. Such excuses, however, were not admitted from Harriet, who was
handsome, lively, and intelligent, and much liked by all who knew her.
She was fond of society, and had no objection to visiting in all its
branches. Her days were generally passed in constant and rational
employment, and though her evenings were pleasant enough at home, still
she liked variety, and thought it would be very agreeable to visit her
friends occasionally on the terms proposed; and she anticipated much
quiet enjoyment at these extemporaneous tea-drinkings. We must premise
that the sociable visits performed by our heroine did not, in reality,
all follow each other consecutively, though, for the sake of brevity, it
is expedient for us to relate them in that manner. Between some of them
were long intervals, during which she, of course, received occasional
invitations in regular form; and a due proportion of her evenings was
spent in places of public amusement. Our present design is merely to
give a sketch of the events which ensued when Harriet Heathcote, taking
her friends at their word, availed herself of their earnest entreaties
to visit them _sociably_: that is, without being either invited or
expected.

In compliance with the oft-repeated request of her old acquaintances,
the two Miss Drakelows, to spend a long afternoon with them, coming
early and bringing her sewing, our heroine set out on this visit at four
o'clock, taking her work-basket in her hand. The Miss Drakelows, indeed,
had urged her to come immediately after dinner, that they might have the
longer enjoyment of her company; and Harriet, for her part, liked them
so well (for they were very agreeable girls), that she had no
apprehension of finding the visit tedious.

On arriving at the house, the servant who opened the door informed her
that both the young ladies were out. Harriet, much disappointed, was
turning to go home again, when their mother, old Mrs. Drakelow, appeared
at the door of the front parlour, and hastening forward, seized her by
both hands, and insisted on her coming in, saying that Ellen and Fanny
had only gone out shopping with Mrs. Eastwood (their married sister),
and that she was in momentary expectation of their return. Harriet found
it so difficult to resist the entreaties of the old lady, who was always
delighted to see visiters, that she yielded and accompanied her into the
parlour.

"Well, my dear Miss Harriet," said Mrs. Drakelow, "I am really very glad
that you have come, at last, just as we wished you, without any
ceremony. I always think a visit the more agreeable for being
unexpected. Do take off your cloak. My daughters will be at home in a
few minutes, and I dare say they will bring Mrs. Eastwood with them, and
then we will make her stay to tea. We shall have a charming evening."

Miss Heathcote took out her work, and Mrs. Drakelow resumed her
knitting, and endeavoured to entertain her guest by enumerating those
among her own acquaintances that persisted in using knitting-sheaths,
and those that could knit just as well without them by holding the
needles in a different manner. She also discussed the relative merits of
ribbed welts and rolled welts, and gave due honour to certain
expeditious ladies that could knit a pair of large stockings in three
days; and higher glory still to several that had been known to perform
that exploit in _two_ days.

In truth, the old lady was one of those dull wearisome people, that are
only tolerated because they are good and respectable. She had no
reading; no observation, except of trifles not worth observing; no
memory, but of things not worth remembering, and her ideas, which were
very limited in number, had all her life flowed in the same channel.
Still, Mrs. Drakelow thought herself a very sensible woman, and believed
that her conversation could not be otherwise than agreeable; and
therefore, whenever she had an opportunity, she talked almost
incessantly. It is true, that when her daughters were present, she was
content to be comparatively silent, as she regarded them with great
deference, and listened to them always with habitual admiration.

Evening came, and the young ladies did not return; though Mrs. Drakelow
was still expecting them every moment. Finally, she concluded that Mrs.
Eastwood had prevailed on them to go home and take tea with her. "So
much the better for me," said Mrs. Drakelow, "for now, my dear Miss
Harriet, I shall have you all to myself." She then ordered tea to be
brought immediately, and Harriet saw nothing in prospect but a long,
tedious evening with the prosing old lady; and she knew that it would be
at least nine o'clock, or perhaps ten, before her brother came to see
her home.

The evening, as she anticipated, was indeed tedious. Mrs. Drakelow took
upon herself "the whole expense of the conversation," talked of cheap
shops and dear shops, and specified the prices that had been given for
almost every article of dress that had been purchased by her daughters
or herself during the last year. She told a long story of a piece of
linen which her friend Mrs. Willett had bought for her husband, and
which went to pieces before it was made up, splitting down in streaks
during the process of stroking the gathers. She told the rent that was
given by all her acquaintances that lived in rented houses, and the
precise price paid by those that had purchased their dwellings. She
described minutely the particulars of several long illnesses that had
taken place among her relations and friends; and the exact number of
persons that attended their funerals when they died, as on those
occasions she said she made it a rule always to count the company. She
mentioned several circumstances which proved to demonstration, that the
weather was usually cold in winter and warm in summer; and she gave a
circumstantial history of her four last cats, with suitable episodes of
rats and mice.

The old lady's garrulity was so incessant, her tone so monotonous, and
her narratives so totally devoid of either point or interest, that Miss
Heathcote caught herself several times on the verge of falling asleep.
She frequently stole anxious glances at the time-piece, and when it was
nine o'clock she roused herself by the excitement of hoping every moment
for the arrival of Albert.

At length she heard the agreeable sound of the door-bell, but it was
only a shoemaker's boy that had brought home a pair of new shoes for
Mrs. Drakelow, who tried them on, and talked about them for half an
hour, telling various stories of tight shoes and loose shoes, long shoes
and short shoes. Finally, Albert Heathcote made his welcome appearance,
and Harriet joyfully prepared for her departure; though the old lady
entreated her "to sit awhile longer, and not to take away her brother so
soon."

"You cannot imagine," said Mrs. Drakelow, "how disappointed the girls
will feel, at happening to be from home on this afternoon above all
others. If they had had the most distant idea of a visit from you
to-day, they would, I am sure, have either deferred their shopping, or
made it as short as possible. But do not be discouraged, my dear Miss
Harriet," continued the good old lady, "I hope you will very soon favour
us with another sociable visit. I really do not know when I have passed
so pleasant an evening. It has seemed to me not more than half an hour
since tea."

About a fortnight afterwards, Miss Heathcote went to take tea, sociably,
with her friend Mrs. Rushbrook, who had been married about eighteen
months, and whom she had known intimately for many years. This time, she
went quite late, and was glad to be informed that Mrs. Rushbrook was at
home. She was shown into the parlour, where she waited till long after
the lamp was lighted, in momentary expectation of the appearance of her
friend, who had sent down word that she would be with her in a few
minutes. Occasionally, whenever the nursery door was opened, Harriet
heard violent screams of the baby.

At length Mrs. Rushbrook came down, apologized to Miss Heathcote for
making her wait, and said that poor little George was very unwell, and
had been fretful and feverish all day; and that he had just been got to
sleep with much difficulty, having cried incessantly for more than an
hour. Harriet now regretted having chosen this day for her visit (the
baby being so much indisposed), and she offered to conclude it
immediately, only requesting that the servant-man might see her home, as
it had long been quite dark. But Mrs. Rushbrook would not listen to
Harriet's proposal of going away so soon, and insisted on her staying to
tea as she had intended; saying that she had no doubt the baby would be
much better when he awoke. At her pressing instances, Miss Heathcote
concluded to remain. In a short time Mr. Rushbrook came home, and his
wife detailed to him all the particulars of the baby's illness. Harriet,
who was accustomed to children, saw that in all probability the
complaint would be attended with no serious consequences. But young
married people are very naturally prone to take alarm at the slightest
ailment of their first child: a feeling which no one should censure,
however far it may be carried, as it originates in the best affections
of the human heart.

Though Mr. and Mrs. Rushbrook tried to entertain their visitor, and to
listen to her when she talked, Harriet could not but perceive that their
minds were all the time with the infant up-stairs; and they frequently
called each other out of the room to consult about him.

After tea, the baby awoke and renewed its screams, and Mr. Rushbrook
determined to go himself for the doctor, who had already been brought
thither three times that day. Finding that it was a physician who lived
in her immediate neighbourhood, Harriet wisely concluded to shorten her
unlucky visit by availing herself of Mr. Rushbrook's protection to her
own door. Mrs. Rushbrook took leave of our heroine with much civility,
but with very evident satisfaction, and said to her at parting, "To
tell you the truth, my dear Harriet, if I had known that you designed me
the pleasure of a visit this evening, I would have candidly requested
you to defer it till another time, as poor little George has been unwell
since early in the morning."

Harriet's next sociable visit was to the two Miss Brandons, who had
always appeared to her as very charming girls, and remarkable for their
affectionate manner towards each other. Being left in affluent
circumstances at the decease of their father (the mother died while they
were children), Letitia and Charlotte Brandon lived together in a very
genteel establishment, under the protection of an unmarried brother, who
was just now absent on business in the West. Harriet had always imagined
them in possession of an unusual portion of happiness, for they were
young, handsome, rich, at their own disposal, with no one to control
them, and, as she supposed, nothing to trouble them. She did not know,
or rather she did not believe (for she had heard some whispers of the
fact), that in reality the Miss Brandons lived half their time at open
war; both having tempers that were very irritable, and also very
implacable, for it is not true that the more easily anger is excited,
the sooner it subsides. It so happened, however, that Miss Heathcote had
only seen these young ladies during their occasional fits of
good-humour, when they were at peace with each other, and with all the
world; and at such times no women could possibly be more amiable.

On the morning before Harriet Heathcote's visit, a violent quarrel had
taken place between the two sisters, and therefore they were not on
speaking terms, nor likely to be so in less than a fortnight; that being
the period they generally required to smooth down their angry passions,
before they could find it in their hearts to resume the usual routine of
even common civility. There was this difference in the two ladies:
Charlotte was the most passionate, Letitia the most rancorous.

When Harriet arrived, she found the Miss Brandons alone in the back
parlour, sitting at opposite sides of the fire, with each a book.
Charlotte, who was just the age of Harriet, looked pleased at the sight
of a visiter, whose company she thought would be preferable to the
alternative of passing the evening with her sister in utter silence; and
she had some faint hope that the presence of Miss Heathcote might
perhaps induce Letitia to make some little exertion to conceal her
ill-humour. And therefore Charlotte expressed great pleasure when she
found that Harriet had come to spend the evening with them. But Letitia,
after a very cold salutation, immediately rose and left the room, with
an air that showed plainly she did not intend to consider Miss Heathcote
as in part her visiter, but exclusively as her sister Charlotte's.

Charlotte followed Letitia with her eyes, and looked very angry, but
after a few moments, she smothered her resentment so far as to attempt a
sort of apology, saying, "she believed her sister had the headache." She
then commenced a conversation with Harriet, who endeavoured to keep it
up with her usual vivacity; but was disconcerted to find that Charlotte
was too uncomfortable, and her mind evidently too much abstracted,
either to listen attentively, or to take the least interest in anything
she said.

In a short time the table was set, and Charlotte desired the servant to
go up-stairs and ask Miss Letitia if she was coming down to tea, or if
she should send her some. The man departed, and was gone a long while.
When he returned--"Is Miss Letitia coming down to tea?" asked Charlotte
anxiously; "Miss Letitia don't say," replied the man. Charlotte bit her
lip in vexation, and then with something that resembled a sigh, invited
Harriet to take her seat at the table, and began to pour out. When tea
was about half over, Letitia made her appearance, walking with great
dignity, and looking very cross. She sat down in silence, opposite to
Harriet. "Sister," said Charlotte, in a voice of half-suppressed anger,
"shall I give you black tea or green? you know you sometimes take one
and sometimes the other." "I'll help myself," replied Letitia, in a
voice of chilling coldness. And taking up one of the tea-pots she
proceeded to do so. As soon as she put the cup to her lips, she set it
down again with apparent disgust, saying--"This tea is not fit to
drink." Charlotte, making a visible effort to restrain herself, placed
the other tea-pot within her sister's reach; Letitia poured out a few
drops by way of trial, tasted it, then pushed it away with still greater
disgust than before, and threw herself back in her chair, casting a look
of indignation at Charlotte, and murmuring,--"'Tis always so when I do
not preside at the tea-table myself."

Charlotte sat swelling with anger, afraid to trust herself to speak,
while Harriet, affecting not to notice what was passing, made an attempt
to talk on some indifferent subject, and addressed to Letitia a few
words which she did not answer, and handed her some waffles which she
would not take. Never had Harriet been present at so uncomfortable a
repast, and heartily did she wish herself at home, regretting much that
she had happened to pay a visit during this state of hostilities.

After the failure of both sorts of tea, Letitia sat in silent
indignation till the table was cleared, leaning back in her chair,
eating nothing, but crumbling a piece of bread to atoms, and
pertinaciously averting her head both from Charlotte and Harriet.

When tea was over, Harriet hoped that Letitia would retire to her own
room, but on the contrary the lady was perversely bent on staying in the
parlour. Charlotte and Harriet placed themselves at the sofa-table with
their sewing, and Letitia desired the servant-man to bring her one of
the new table-cloths that had been sent home that morning. Then making
him light a lamp that stood in the corner of the mantel-piece, she
seated herself under it on a low chair, and commenced silently and
sedulously the task of ravelling or fringing the ends of the
table-cloth, while Charlotte looked at her from time to time with
ill-suppressed resentment. Now and then, Harriet, in the hope of
conciliating Letitia into something like common civility, addressed a
few words to her in as pleasant a manner as possible, but Letitia
replied only by a cold monosyllable, and finally made no answer at all.
Charlotte was too angry at her sister to be able to sustain anything
that could be called a conversation with Miss Heathcote, and Harriet,
rather than say nothing, began to describe a very entertaining new novel
that had lately appeared, relating with great vivacity some of its most
amusing scenes. But she soon found that Charlotte was too much out of
humour with her sister to be able to give much attention to the
narrative, and that her replies and comments were _distrait_ and
_mal-à-propos_.

Letitia sat coldly fringing the table-cloth, and showing no sort of
emotion, except that she threw the ravellings into the fire with rather
more energy than was necessary, and occasionally jogged the foot that
rested on a cushion before her; and she resolutely refused to partake of
the refreshments that were brought in after tea.

Miss Heathcote sat in momentary dread of an explosion, as she saw that
the angry glances of Charlotte towards the lady fringing the
table-cloth, were becoming more frequent and more vivid, that her colour
was heightening, and the tremor of her voice increasing. Our heroine was
heartily glad of the arrival of her brother about nine o'clock, an hour
earlier than she expected him. He explained, in a few words, that being
desirous of returning to the theatre to see a favourite after-piece, he
had thought it best to come for his sister as soon as the play was over,
rather than keep her waiting for him till near eleven, before which time
it was not probable that the whole entertainment would be finished.
Charlotte, who was evidently impatient for an outbreak, saw Miss
Heathcote depart with visible satisfaction, and Letitia merely bowed her
head to the adieu of our heroine, who, vexed at herself for having
volunteered her visit on this ill-omened day, felt it a relief to quit
the presence of these unamiable sisters, and "leave them alone in their
glory."

The black girl that had brought down her hood and cloak, ran forward to
open the street door, and said in a low voice to Harriet, "I suppose,
miss, you did not know before you came, that our ladies had a high
quarrel this morning, and are affronted, and don't speak. But I dare say
they will come to, in the course of a few weeks, and then I hope you'll
pay us another visit, for company's _scace_."

When Harriet equipped herself to pass a _sociable_ evening with the
Urlingford family, who were among the most agreeable of her friends, she
could not possibly anticipate any _contre-tems_ that would mar the
pleasure of the visit. She arrived about dusk, and was somewhat
surprised to find the whole family already at their tea. Mrs. Urlingford
and the young ladies received her very cordially, but looked a little
disconcerted, and Harriet apologized for interrupting them at table, by
saying, that she thought their tea-hour was not till seven o'clock.

Mrs. Urlingford replied, that seven o'clock _was_ their usual hour for
tea, but on that evening they had it much earlier than usual, that it
might be over before the arrival of some of their musical friends, who
were coming to practise with her daughters.

"Really, my dear Harriet," pursued Mrs. Urlingford, "I am rejoiced that
you happened to fix on this evening for favouring us with an
unceremonious visit. Though I know that you always decline playing and
singing in company, and that you persist in saying you have very little
knowledge of music, yet I think too highly of your taste and feeling not
to be convinced of your fondness for that delightful art, and I am
certain you will be much gratified by what you will hear to-night,
though this is only a private practising; indeed a mere rehearsal. Next
week we will have a general music-party, the first of a series which we
have arranged to take place at intervals of a fortnight, and to which we
intend ourselves the pleasure of sending invitations to you and all our
other friends. This, of to-night, is, I repeat, nothing more than a
rehearsal, and we expect only a few professional musicians, whose
assistance we have secured for our regular musical soirées. I am very
glad, indeed, my dear Harriet, that you chance to be with us this
evening. As I said, we have tea earlier than usual, that the music may
begin the sooner, and at ten o'clock we will have coffee and other
refreshments handed round."

By this time, the table was newly set, fresh tea was made, and some
additional nice things were produced. Harriet, who was very sorry for
having caused any unnecessary trouble, sat down to her tea, which she
despatched in all possible haste, as she knew that Mrs. Urlingford must
be impatient to have the table cleared away, previous to the arrival of
the musicians, who were now momentarily expected. Just as Harriet was
finishing, there came in a German that played on the violon-cello, and
was always very early. On being asked if he had taken tea, he replied in
the affirmative, but that he would have no objection to a little more.
Accordingly he sat down and made a long and hearty meal, to the evident
annoyance of the family, and still more to that of Harriet Heathcote,
who knew that the table would long since have been removed, had it not
been detained on her account. There was nothing now to be done, but to
close the folding-doors, and shut in the German till he had completed
his repast, as others of the company were fast arriving. And though
Harriet had been told that this was merely a private practising, she
soon found herself in the midst of something that very much resembled a
large party; so many persons having been invited exclusive of the
regular performers. She understood, however, that nobody had been asked
to this rehearsal, who had not a decided taste for music.

Our heroine, for her part, had no extraordinary talent for that
difficult and elegant accomplishment; and, after taking lessons for
about a year, it was considered best that she should give it up, as her
voice was of no great compass, and there was little probability of her
reaching any proficiency, as an instrumental musician, that would
compensate for an undue expense of time, money, and application.
Therefore, Harriet had never advanced beyond simple ballads, which she
played and sang agreeably and correctly enough, but which she only
attempted when her audience consisted exclusively of her own family; and
none of her brothers and sisters had as yet shown any taste for that
sort of music which is commonly called scientific.

The Urlingfords, on the contrary, could all sing and play; the girls on
the harp, piano, and guitar; and the boys on the flute, and violin. They
all had voices of great power, and sung nothing but Italian.

The evening was passed in the performance of pieces that exhibited much
science, and much difficulty of execution: such pieces, in short, as Dr.
Johnson wished were "impossible." Being totally at variance with the
simplicity of Harriet's taste, she found them very uninteresting, and
inconceivably fatiguing, and after a while she had great difficulty in
keeping herself awake. Of course, not a word was uttered during the
performance, and the concertos, potpourris, arias, and cavatinas
succeeded each other so rapidly that there was no interval in which to
snatch a few moments of conversation. It is true the purport of the
meeting was music, and music alone.

Miss Heathcote almost envied a young lady, who, having learnt all her
music in Europe, had come home with an enthusiasm for feats of voice and
finger, that on all these occasions transported her into the third
heaven. She sat with her neck stretched forward, and her hands
out-spread, her lips half open, her eyes sometimes raised as in ecstasy,
and sometimes closed in overpowering bliss. But Harriet's envy of such
exquisite sensations was a little checked, when she observed Miss Denham
stealing a sly glance all round, to see who was looking at her, and
admiring her enthusiasm. And then Harriet could not help thinking how
very painful it must be (when only done for effect) to keep up such an
air and attitude of admiration during a whole long evening.

Our heroine was also much entertained in the early part of the
performance, particularly during a grand concerto, by observing the
musician who officiated as leader, and was a foreigner of great skill in
his profession. In him there was certainly no affectation. To have the
piece performed in the most perfect manner, was "the settled purpose of
his soul." All the energies of his mind and body were absorbed in this
one object, and he seemed as if the whole happiness of his future life,
nay, his existence itself, depended on its success. The piece was
proceeding in its full tide of glory, and the leader was waving his bow
with more pride and satisfaction than a monarch ever felt in wielding
his sceptre, or a triumphant warrior in brandishing his sword. Suddenly
he gave "a look of horror and a sudden start," and turning instantly
round, his eyes glared fiercely over the whole circle of performers in
search of the culprit who had been guilty of a false note; an error
which would scarcely have been noticed by any of the company, had it not
been made so conspicuous by the shock it had given to the chief
musician. The criminal, however, was only discovered by his
injudiciously "hiding his diminished head." Better for him to have been
"a fine, gay, bold-faced villain."

Harriet could not help remarking that though the company all applauded
every song that was sung, and every piece that was played, and that at
the conclusion of each, the words "charming," "exquisite," "divine,"
were murmured round the room, still almost every one looked tired, many
were evidently suppressing their inclination to yawn--some took
opportunities of looking privately at their watches; and Mr. Urlingford
and another old gentleman slept a duet together in a corner. The
entrance of the coffee, &c., produced a wonderful revival, and restored
animation to eyes that seemed ready to close in slumber. The company all
started from the listless postures into which they had unconsciously
thrown themselves, and every one sat up straight. As soon as she had
drunk a cup of the refreshing beverage, Miss Heathcote was glad to avail
herself of her brother's arrival and take her leave; Mrs. Urlingford,
congratulating her again on having been so fortunate as to drop in
exactly on that evening, and telling her that she should certainly
expect her at all her musical parties throughout the season.

And Harriet might perhaps have gone to the first one, had she not been
so unluckily present at the rehearsal.

On the next uninvited visit of our heroine, she found her friends, the
three Miss Celbridges, sitting in the parlour with their mother, by no
other light than that of the fire, and all looking extremely dejected.
On inquiring if they were well, they answered in the affirmative. Her
next question was to ask when they had heard from Baltimore, in which
place some of their nearest relations were settled. The reply was, that
they had received letters that morning, and that their friends were in
good health. "Well, girls," said Harriet, gayly, "you see I have taken
you at your word, and have come to pass the evening with you _sans
ceremonie_."

The Miss Celbridges exchanged looks with their mother, who cast down her
eyes and said nothing; and one of the young ladies silently assisted
Harriet in taking off her walking habiliments. There was an air of
general constraint, and our heroine began to fear that her visit was not
quite acceptable. "Is it possible," thought she, "that I could
unconsciously have given any offence at our last meeting?" But she
recollected immediately, that the Miss Celbridges had then taken leave
of her with the most unequivocal evidences of cordiality, and had
earnestly insisted on her coming to drink tea with them, as often as she
felt a desire, assuring her that they should always be delighted to see
her "in a sociable way."

The young ladies made an effort at conversation, but it was visibly an
effort. The minds of the Miss Celbridges were all palpably engrossed
with something quite foreign to the topic of discussion, and Harriet was
too much surprised, and too much embarrassed to talk with her usual
fluency.

At length Mr. Celbridge entered the room, and after slightly saluting
Miss Heathcote, asked why the lamp was not lighted. It was done--and
Harriet then perceived by the redness of their eyes, that the mother and
daughters had all been in tears. Mr. Celbridge looked also very
melancholy, and seating himself beside his wife, he entered into a low
and earnest conversation with her. Mrs. Celbridge held her handkerchief
to her face, and Harriet could no longer refrain from inquiring if the
family had been visited by any unexpected misfortune. There was a pause,
during which the daughters evidently struggled to command their
feelings, and Mr. Celbridge, after a few moments' hesitation, replied in
a tremulous voice: "Perhaps, Miss Heathcote, you know not that to-day I
have become a bankrupt; that the unexpected failure of a house for which
I had endorsed to a large amount, has deprived me of the earnings of
twenty years, and reduced me to indigence."

Harriet was much shocked, and expressed her entire ignorance of the
fact. "We supposed," said Mrs. Celbridge, "that it must have been known
universally--and such reports always spread with too much rapidity."
"Surely," replied Harriet, taking the hand of Mrs. Celbridge, "you
cannot seriously believe that it was known to _me_. The slightest
intimation of this unfortunate event, would certainly have deterred me
from interrupting you with my presence at a time when the company of a
visitor must be so painfully irksome to the whole family."

She then rose, and said that if Mr. Celbridge would have the kindness to
accompany her to her own door, she would immediately go home. "I will
not dissemble, my dear Miss Heathcote," replied Mrs. Celbridge, "and
urge you to remain, when it must be evident to you that none of us are
in a state to make your visit agreeable to you, or indeed to derive
pleasure from it ourselves. After the first shock is over, we shall be
able, I hope, to look on our reverse of fortune with something like
composure. And when we are settled in the humble habitation to which we
must soon remove, we shall be glad indeed to have our evenings
occasionally enlivened by the society of one whom we have always been so
happy to class among our friends."

Mr. Celbridge escorted Harriet to her own residence, which was only at a
short distance. She there found that her brother, having just heard of
the failure, and knowing that she intended spending the evening at Mr.
Celbridge's, had sent her from his office a note to prevent her going,
but it had not arrived till after her departure.

Among Miss Heathcote's acquaintances was Mrs. Accleton, a very young
lady recently married, who on receiving her bridal-visits, had given out
that she intended to live economically, and not to indulge in any
unnecessary expense. She emphatically proclaimed her resolution never to
give a party; but she did not even insinuate that she would never go to
a party herself. She also declared that it did not comport with her
plans (young girls when just married are apt to talk much of their
plans) to have any regularly invited company; but that it would always
afford her the greatest possible pleasure to see her friends _sociably_,
if they would come and take tea with her, whenever it was convenient to
themselves, and without waiting for her to appoint any particular time.
"My husband and I," said Mrs. Accleton, "intend spending all our
evenings at home, so there is no risk of ever finding us out. We are too
happy in each other to seek for amusement abroad; and we find by
experience that nothing the world can offer is equal to our own domestic
felicity, varied occasionally by the delightful surprise of an
unceremonious visit from an intimate friend."

It was not till after the most urgent entreaties, often reiterated, that
Harriet Heathcote undertook one of these visits to Mrs. Accleton. After
ringing at the street-door till her patience was nearly exhausted, it
was opened by a sulky-looking white girl, who performed the office of
porteress with a very ill grace, hiding herself behind it because she
was not in full dress; and to Harriet's inquiry if Mrs. Accleton was at
home, murmuring in a most repulsive tone that "she believed she was."

Our heroine was kept waiting a considerable time in a cold and
comfortless, though richly-furnished parlour, where the splendid
coal-grate exhibited no evidences of fire, but a mass of cinders
blackening at the bottom. At length Mrs. Accleton made her appearance,
fresh from the toilet, and apologized by saying, that expecting no one
that afternoon, she had ever since dinner been sitting up stairs in her
wrapper. "About twelve o'clock," said she, "I always, when the weather
is fine, dress myself and have the front-parlour fire made up, in case
of morning-visiters. But after dinner, I usually put on a wrapper, and
establish myself in the dining-room for the remainder of the day. My
husband and I have got into the habit of spending all our evenings
there. It is a charmingly comfortable little room, and we think it
scarcely worth while to keep up the parlour-fire just for our two
selves. However, I will have it replenished immediately. Excuse me for
one moment." She then left the room, and shortly returning, resumed her
discourse.

"I determined," said she, "from the hour I first thought of
housekeeping, that it should be my plan to have none but white servants.
They are less wasteful than the blacks; less extravagant in their
cooking; are satisfied to sit by smaller fires; and have fewer visiters.
The chief difficulty with them is, that there are so many things they
are unwilling to do. Yesterday my cook left me quite suddenly, and
to-day a little girl about fourteen, whom I hired last week as a waiter,
was taken away by her mother; and I have just now been trying to
persuade Sally, the chambermaid, to bring in the coal-scuttle and make
up the fire. But she has a great objection to doing anything in presence
of strangers, and I am rather afraid she will not come. And I do not
much wonder at it, for Sally is a girl of a very respectable family. She
has nothing of the servant about her."

"So much the worse," thought Harriet, "if she is obliged to get her
living in that capacity."

After a long uncomfortable pause, during which there were no signs of
Sally, Mrs. Accleton involuntarily put her hand to the bell, but
recollecting herself, withdrew it again without pressing the spring.
"There would be no use," said she, "in ringing the bell, for Sally never
takes the least notice of it. She is principled against it, and says she
will not be rung about the house like a negro. I have to indulge her in
this laudable feeling of self-respect, for in everything that is
essential she is a most valuable girl, and irons my dresses beautifully,
and does up my collars and pelerines to admiration."

So saying, Mrs. Accleton again left the parlour to have another
expostulation with Sally, who finally vouchsafed to bring in the
coal-scuttle, and flinging a few fresh coals on the top of the dying
embers (from which all power of ignition had too visibly fled), put up
the blower, and hurried out of the room. But the blower awakened no
flame, and not a sound was heard to issue from behind its blank and
dreary expanse. "I am afraid the fire is too far gone to be revived
without a regular clearing out of the grate," said Mrs. Accleton, "and I
doubt the possibility of prevailing on Sally to go through all that.
Anthracite has certainly its disadvantages. Perhaps we had better
adjourn to the dining-room, where there has been a good fire the whole
day. If I had only known that you intended me the pleasure of this
visit! However, I have no doubt you will find it very comfortable up
stairs."

To the dining-room they accordingly went. It was a little narrow
apartment over the kitchen, with a low ceiling and small windows looking
out on the dead wall of the next house, and furnished in the plainest
and most economical manner. There was a little soap-stone grate that
held about three quarts of coal, which, however, _was_ burning; a small
round table that answered for every purpose; half a dozen
wooden-bottomed cane-coloured chairs; and a small settee to match,
covered with a calico cushion, and calculated to hold but two people.
"This is just the size for my husband and myself," said Mrs. Accleton,
as she placed herself on the settee. "We had it made on purpose. Will
you take a seat on it, Miss Harriet, or would you prefer a chair? I
expect Mr. Accleton home in a few minutes." Harriet preferred a chair.

The conversation now turned on housekeeping, and the _nouvelle mariée_
gave a circumstantial detail of her various plans, and expressed some
surprise that, notwithstanding the excellence of her system, she found
so much difficulty in getting servants to fall into it. "I have the most
trouble with my cooks," pursued Mrs. Accleton. "I have had six
different women in that capacity, though I have only been married two
months. And I am sure Mr. Accleton and myself are by no means hard to
please. We live in the plainest way possible, and a very little is
sufficient for our table. Our meat is simply boiled or roasted, and
often we have nothing more than a beefsteak. We never have any sort of
dessert, considering all such things as extremely unwholesome." "What is
the reason," thought Harriet, "that so many young ladies, when they are
first married, discover immediately that desserts are unwholesome;
particularly if prepared and eaten in their own houses?"

Mrs. Accleton made frequent trips back and forward to the kitchen, and
Harriet understood that tea was in agitation. Finally, Sally, looking
very much out of humour, came and asked for the keys; and unlocking a
dwarf side-board that stood in one of the recesses, she got out the
common tea-equipage and placed it on the table. "You see, Miss Harriet,
we treat you quite _en famille_," said Mrs. Accleton. "We make no
stranger of you. After tea, the parlour will doubtless be warm, and we
will go down thither." Harriet wondered if the anthracite was expected
to repent of its obstinacy, and take to burning of its own accord.

Mr. Accleton now came home, and his wife, after running to kiss him,
exclaimed: "Oh! my dear, I am glad you are come! You can now entertain
Miss Heathcote while I go down and pay some attention to the tea, for
Sally protests that she was not hired to cook, and, if the truth must be
told, she is very busy ironing, and does not like to be taken off. This
is our regular ironing-day, and one of my rules is never, on any
consideration, to have it put off or passed over. Method is the soul of
housekeeping."

Mr. Accleton was naturally taciturn, but he made a prodigious effort to
entertain Harriet, and talked to her of the tariff.

It was near eight o'clock before Sally condescended to bring up the tea
and its accompaniments, which were a plate containing four slices of the
thinnest possible bread and butter, another with two slices of pale
toast, and a third with two shapeless whitish cakes, of what composition
it was difficult to tell, but similar to those that are called
flap-jacks in Boston, slap-jacks in New York, and buckwheat cakes in
Philadelphia.[84] In the centre was a deep dish with a dozen small
stewed oysters floating in an ocean of liquor, as tasteless and insipid
as dish-water. The tea also was tasteless, and for two reasons--first,
that the Chinese herb had been apportioned in a very small quantity; and
secondly, that the kettle had not "come to a boil."

[Footnote 84: Query? Which epithet is the most elegant, flap or slap? We
rather think "the flaps have it."]

"We give you tea in a very plain style," said Mrs. Accleton to Harriet;
"you see we make no stranger of you, and that we treat you just as we do
ourselves. We know that simple food is always the most wholesome, and
when our friends are so kind as to visit us, we have no desire to make
them sick by covering our table with dainties. It is one of my rules
never to have a sweetcake or sweetmeat in the house. They are not only a
foolish expense, but decidedly prejudicial to health."

The hot cakes being soon despatched, there was considerable waiting for
another supply. Mr. and Mrs. Accleton were at somewhat of a nonplus as
to the most feasible means of procuring the attendance of Sally.
"Perhaps she will come if we knock on the floor," said Mrs. Accleton;
"she _has_ done so sometimes." Mr. Accleton stamped on the floor, but
Sally came not. Harriet could not imagine why Sally's pride should be
less hurt by coming to a knock on the floor than to a ring of the bell;
but there is no accounting for tastes. Mr. Accleton stamped again, and
much more loudly than before. "Now you have spoiled all," said his wife,
fretfully; "Sally will never come now. She will be justly offended at
your stamping for her in that violent way. I much question if we see her
face again to-night."

At last, after much canvassing, it was decided that Mr. Accleton should
go to the head of the stairs and venture to call Sally; his wife
enjoining him not to call too loudly, and to let his tone and manner be
as mild as possible. This delicate business was successfully
accomplished. Sally at last appeared with two more hot cakes, and Mrs.
Accleton respectfully intimated to her that she wished her to return in
a few minutes to clear away the table.

Mr. Accleton, who was a meek man, being sent down by his wife to
reconnoitre the parlour fire, came back and reported that it was "dead
out." "How very unlucky," said Mrs. Accleton, "that Miss Heathcote
should happen to come just on this evening! Unlucky for herself, I mean,
for we must always be delighted to see her. However, I am so fond of
this snug little room, that for my own part I have no desire ever to sit
in any other. My husband and I have passed so many pleasant hours in
it."

The ladies now resumed their sewing; Mrs. Accleton talked of her plans,
and her economy, and Sally; and Mr. Accleton pored over the newspaper as
if he was learning it all by heart, even to the advertisements; while
his wife, who had taken occasion to remark that the price of oil had
risen considerably, managed two or three times to give the screw of the
astral lamp a twist to the left, which so much diminished the light that
Harriet could scarcely see to thread her needle.

About an hour after tea, Mrs. Accleton called her husband to the other
end of the room, and a half-whispered consultation took place between
them, which ended in the disappearance of the gentleman. In a short time
he returned, and there was another consultation, in the course of which
Harriet could not avoid distinguishing the words--"Sally refuses to quit
her clear-starching." "Well, dear, cannot I ask you just to do them
yourself?" "Oh, no! indeed, it is quite out of the question; I would
willingly oblige you in anything else." "But, dear, only think how often
you have done this very thing when a boy." "But I am not a boy now."
"Oh, but dear, you really must. There is no one else to do it. Come now,
only a few, just a very few." There was a little more persuasion; the
lady seemed to prevail, and the gentleman quitted the room. A short time
after, there was heard a sound of cracking nuts, which Mrs. Accleton,
consciously colouring, endeavoured to drown by talking as fast and as
loudly as possible.

We have said that Mr. Accleton was a meek man. Having finished his
business down-stairs, he came back looking red and foolish; and after
awhile Sally appeared with great displeasure in her countenance, and in
her hands a waiter containing a plate of shellbarks, a pitcher of water,
and some glasses. Mr. Accleton belonged to the temperance society, and
therefore, as his wife said, was principled against having in his house,
either wine, or any other sort of liquor.

The arrival of Albert Heathcote put an end to this comfortless visit;
and Mrs. Accleton on taking leave of Harriet, repeated, for the
twentieth time, her regret at not having had any previous intimation of
it.

Our heroine could not but wonder why marriage should so soon have have
made a change for the worse, in the lady with whom she had been passing
the evening, and whom she had known when Miss Maiden, as a lively,
pleasant, agreeable girl, not remarkable for much mind, but in every
other respect the reverse of what she was now. Harriet had yet to learn
that marriage, particularly when it takes place at a very early age, and
before the judgment of the lady has had time to ripen by intercourse
with the world, frequently produces a sad alteration in her habits and
ideas. As soon as she is emancipated from the control of her parents,
and when "her market is made," and a partner secured for life, all her
latent faults and foibles are too prone to show themselves without
disguise, and she is likewise in much danger of acquiring new ones.
Presuming upon her importance as a married lady, and also upon the
indulgence with which husbands generally regard all the sayings and
doings of their wives in the _early_ days of matrimony, woman, as well
as man, is indeed too apt to "play fantastic tricks when dressed in a
little brief authority."

Next day, Harriet was surprised by a morning visit from Mrs. Accleton,
who came in looking much discomposed, and, after the first salutations,
said in a tone of some bitterness, "I have met with a great misfortune,
Miss Heathcote. I have lost that most valuable servant, Sally. The poor
girl's pride was so deeply wounded at being obliged to bring in the
waiter before company (and as her family is so respectable, she of
course has a certain degree of proper pride), that she gave me notice
this morning of the utter impossibility of her remaining in the house
another day. I tried in vain to pacify her, and I assured her that your
coming to tea was entirely accidental, and that such a thing might never
happen again. All I could urge had no effect on her, and she persisted
in saying that she never could stay in any place after her feelings had
been hurt, and that she had concluded to live at home for the future,
and take in sewing. So she quitted me at once, leaving me without a
creature in the house, and I have been obliged to borrow mamma's Kitty
for the present. And I have nearly fatigued myself to death by walking
almost to Schuylkill to inquire the character of a cook that I heard of
yesterday. As to a chambermaid, I never expect to find one that will
replace poor Sally. She was so perfectly clean, and she clear-starched,
and plaited, and ironed so beautifully; and when I went to a party, she
could arrange my hair as well as a French barber, which was certainly a
great saving to me. Undoubtedly, Miss Heathcote, your company is always
pleasant, and we certainly spent a delightful evening, but if I had had
the least intimation that you intended me the honour of a visit
yesterday, I should have taken the liberty of requesting you to defer it
till I had provided myself with a cook and a waiter. Poor Sally--and to
think, too, that she had been ironing all day!"

Harriet was much vexed, and attempted an apology for her ill-timed
visit. She finally succeeded in somewhat mollifying the lady by
presenting her with some cake and wine as a refreshment after her
fatigue, and Mrs. Accleton departed in rather a better humour, but still
the burthen of her song was, "of course, Miss Heathcote, your visits
must be always welcome--but it is certainly a sad thing to lose poor
Sally."

Our heroine's next attempt at a sociable visit was to her friend Amanda
Milbourne, the eldest daughter of a large family. As soon as Harriet
made her entrance, the children, with all of whom she was a great
favourite, gathered round, and informed her with delighted faces, that
their father and mother were going to take them to the play. Harriet
feared that again her visit had been ill-timed, and offered to return
home. "On the contrary," said Mrs. Milbourne, "nothing can be more
fortunate, at least for Amanda, who has declined accompanying us to the
theatre, as her eyes are again out of order, and she is afraid of the
lights. Therefore she will be extremely happy to have you spend the
evening with her." "It is asking too much of Harriet's kindness," said
Amanda, "to expect her to pass a dull evening alone with me; I fear I
shall not be able to entertain her as I would wish. The place that was
taken for me at the theatre will be vacant, and I am sure it would give
you all great pleasure if Harriet would accept of it, and accompany you
thither." This invitation was eagerly urged by Mr. and Mrs. Milbourne,
and loudly reiterated by all the children, but Harriet had been at the
theatre the preceding evening, the performances of to-night were exactly
the same, and she was one of those that think "nothing so tedious as a
twice-seen play," that is, if all the parts are filled precisely as
before.

Mrs. Milbourne then again felicitated Amanda on being so fortunate as to
have Miss Heathcote to pass the evening with her. "To say the truth,"
said the good mother, "I could scarcely reconcile myself to the idea of
your staying at home, particularly as your eyes will not allow you to
read or to sew this evening, and you could have no resource but the
piano." Then turning to Harriet, she continued, "When her eyes are
well, it may be truly remarked of Amanda, that she is one of those
fortunate persons 'who are never less alone than when alone;' she often
says so herself."

Accordingly Harriet was prevailed on to go through with her visit. And
as soon as tea was over, all the Milbourne family (with the exception of
Amanda) departed for the theatre.

Harriet produced her bead work, and endeavoured to be as amusing as
possible, but her friend seemed silent, abstracted, and not in the vein
for conversation, complaining at times of the pain in her eyes, which,
however, looked as well as usual. Just after the departure of the
family, Amanda stole softly to the front-door and put up the dead-latch,
so that it could be opened from without. After that, she resumed her
seat in the parlour, and appeared to be anxiously listening for
something. The sound of footsteps was soon heard at the door, and
presently a handsome young gentleman walked in without having rung the
bell, and as he entered the parlour, stopped short, and looked
disconcerted at finding a stranger there. Amanda blushed deeply, but
rose and introduced him as Captain Sedbury of the army. Harriet then
recollected having heard a vague report of an officer being very much in
love with Miss Milbourne, and that her parents discountenanced his
addresses, unwilling that the most beautiful and most accomplished of
their daughters should marry a man who had no fortune but his
commission.

The fact was, that Captain Sedbury, after an absence of several months
at his station, had only arrived in town that morning, and finding means
to notify his mistress of his return, it had been arranged between them
that he should visit her in the evening, during the absence of the
family, and for this purpose Amanda had excused herself from going to
the theatre. He took his seat beside Amanda, who contrived to give him
her hand behind the backs of their chairs, and attempted some general
conversation, catching, at times, an opportunity of saying in a low
voice a few words to the lady of his love, whose inclination was
evidently to talk to him only.

Harriet Heathcote now found herself in a very awkward situation. On this
occasion she was palpably what the French call _Madame de Trop_, a
character which is irksome beyond all endurance to the lady herself, if
she is a person of proper consideration for the convenience of others.
Though conscious that they were wishing her at least in Alabama, she
felt much sympathy for the lovers, as she had a favoured inamorato of
her own, who was now on his return from Canton. She talked, and their
replies were tardy and _distrait_; she looked at them, and they were
gazing at each other, and several times she found them earnestly engaged
in a whisper. She felt as if on thorns, and became so nervous that she
actually got the headache. The dullness of Mrs. Drakelow, the sick baby
of Mrs. Rushbrook, the feuds of the Miss Brandons, the failure of Mr.
Celbridge, the music-practising of the Urlingfords, the maid Sally of
the Accletons, had none of them at the time caused our heroine so much
annoyance as she felt on this evening, from the idea that she was so
inconveniently interrupting the stolen interview of two affianced
lovers. At last she became too nervous to endure it any longer, and
putting away her bead work, she expressed a desire to go home, pleading
her headache as an excuse. Captain Sedbury started up with alacrity, and
offered immediately to attend her. But Amanda, whose eyes had at first
sparkled with delight, suddenly changed countenance, and begged Harriet
to stay, saying, "You expect your brother, do you not?"

"Certainly," replied Harriet, "but as the distance is short, I hope it
will be no great encroachment on Captain Sedbury's time. And then," she
added with a smile, "he will of course return hither and finish his
visit, after he has deposited me at my own door."

Amanda still hesitated. She recollected an instance of a friend of hers
having lost her lover in consequence of his escorting home a pretty girl
that made a "deadset" at him. And she was afraid to trust Captain
Sedbury with so handsome a young lady as Miss Heathcote. Fortunately,
however, Harriet removed this perplexity as soon as she guessed the
cause. "Suppose," said she to Amanda, "that you were to accompany us
yourself. It is a fine moonlight night, and I have no doubt the walk
will do you good, as you say you have not been out for several days."

To this proposal Amanda joyfully assented, and in a moment her face was
radiant with smiles. She ran up stairs for her walking equipments, and
was down so quickly that Harriet had not much chance of throwing out any
allurements in her absence, even if she had been so disposed. The
captain gave an arm to each of the ladies, and in a short time the
lovers bade Miss Heathcote good night at the door of her father's
mansion.

Harriet now comprehended why her friend Amanda "was never less alone
than when alone."

Three weeks afterwards, when Miss Milbourne and Captain Sedbury had
effected a runaway marriage, and the parents had forgiven them according
to custom, Amanda and her husband made themselves and Harriet very merry
by good-humouredly telling her how much her accidental visit had
incommoded them, and how glad they were to get rid of her.

We have only to relate one more instance of Harriet Heathcote's sociable
visits. This was to her friends the Tanfields, a very charming family,
consisting of a widow and her two daughters, whom she was certain of
finding at home, because they were in deep mourning, and did not go out
of an evening.

Harriet had been detained by a visiter, and it was nearly dark when she
reached Mrs. Tanfield's door, and was told by the coloured man who
opened it, that all his ladies had set out that morning for New York,
having heard that young Mr. Tanfield (who lived in that city) was
dangerously ill. Harriet was sorry that her friends should have received
such painful intelligence, and for a few moments could think of nothing
else, for she knew young Tanfield to be one of the best of sons and
brothers. Her next consideration was how to get home, as there was no
possibility of staying at Mrs. Tanfield's. Her residence was at a
considerable distance, and "the gloomy night was gathering fast." She
thought for a moment of asking Peters, the black man, to accompany her;
but from the loud chattering and giggling that came up from the kitchen,
(which seemed to be lighted with unusual brightness), and from having
noticed, as she approached the house, that innumerable coloured people
were trooping down the area-steps, she rightly concluded that Mrs.
Tanfield's servants had taken advantage of her absence to give a party,
and that "high life below stairs" was at that moment performing.

Fearing that if she requested Peters to escort her, he would comply very
ungraciously, or perhaps excuse himself, rather than be taken away from
his company, Miss Heathcote concluded on essaying to walk home by
herself, for the first time in her life, after lamplight. As she turned
from the door, (which Peters immediately closed) she lingered awhile on
the step, looking out upon the increasing gloom, and afraid to venture
into it. However, as there seemed no alternative, she summoned all her
courage, and set off at a brisk pace. Her intention was to walk quietly
along without showing the slightest apprehension, but she involuntarily
shrunk aside whenever she met any of the other sex. On suddenly
encountering a row of young men, arm in arm, with each a segar in his
mouth, she came to a full stop, and actually shook with terror. They all
looked at her a moment, and then made way for her to pass, and she felt
as if she could have plunged into the wall to avoid touching them.

Presently our heroine met three sailors reeling along, evidently
intoxicated, and singing loudly. She kept as close as possible to the
curbstone, expecting nothing else than to be rudely accosted by them,
but they were too intent upon their song to notice her; though one of
them staggered against her, and pushed her off the pavement, so as
almost to throw her into the street.

Her way home lay directly in front of the Walnut Street Theatre, which
she felt it impossible to pass, as the people were just crowding in. And
she now blessed the plan of the city which enabled her to avoid this
inconvenience by "going round a square." The change of route took her
into a street comparatively silent and retired, and now her greatest
fear was of being seized and robbed. She would have given the world to
have met any gentleman of her acquaintance, determining, if she did so,
to request his protection home. At last she perceived one approaching,
whose appearance she thought was familiar to her, and as they came
within the light of a lamp, she found it to be Mr. Morland, an intimate
friend of her brother's. He looked at her with a scrutinizing glance, as
if he half-recognised her features under the shade of her hood. Poor
Harriet now felt ashamed and mortified that Mr. Morland should see her
alone and unprotected, walking in the street after dark. She had not
courage to utter a word, but, drawing her hood more closely over her
face, she glided hastily past him, and walked rapidly on. She had no
sooner turned the corner of the street, than she regretted having obeyed
the impulse of the moment, lamenting her want of presence of mind, and
reflecting how much better it would have been for her to have stopped
Mr. Morland, and candidly explained to him her embarrassing situation.
But it was now too late.

Presently there was a cry of fire, and the State House bell tolled out
north-east, which was exactly the contrary direction from Mr.
Heathcote's residence. Immediately an engine came thundering along the
street, accompanied by a hose, and followed by several others, and
Harriet found herself in the midst of the crowd and uproar, while the
light of the torches carried by the firemen glared full upon her. But
what had at first struck her with terror, she now perceived to be rather
an advantage than otherwise, for no one noticed her in the general
confusion, and it set every one to running the same way. She found, as
she approached her father's dwelling, that there was no longer any
danger of her being molested by man or boy, all being gone to the fire,
and the streets nearly deserted. Anxious to get home at all hazards, she
commenced running as fast as she could, and never stopped till she found
herself at her own door.

The family were amazed and alarmed when they saw Harriet run into the
parlour, pale, trembling, and almost breathless, and looking half dead
as she threw herself on the sofa, unable to speak; and she did not
recover from her agitation, till she had relieved the hurry of her
spirits by a flood of tears.

It was some minutes before Harriet was sufficiently composed to begin an
explanation of the events of the evening.

"It is true," said she, "that I have not been actually molested or
insulted, and I believe, after all, that in our orderly city there is
little real danger to be apprehended by females of respectable
appearance, when reduced to the sad necessity of walking alone in the
evening. But still the mere supposition, the bare possibility of being
thus exposed to the rudeness of the vulgar and unfeeling, will for ever
prevent me from again subjecting myself to so intolerable a situation. I
know not what could induce me again to go through all I have suffered
since I left Mrs. Tanfield's door.--And this will be my last attempt at
sociable visiting."

       *       *       *       *       *

We submit it to the opinion of our fair readers, whether, in nine cases
out of ten, the visits of ladies do not "go off the better," if
anticipated by some previous intimation. We believe that our position
will be borne out by the experience both of the visiters and the
visited. Our heroine, as we have seen, did not only, on most of these
occasions, subject herself to much disappointment and annoyance, but she
was likewise the cause of considerable inconvenience to her
entertainers; and we can say with truth, that the little incidents we
have selected "to point our moral and adorn our tale," are all sketched
from life and reality.



COUNTRY LODGINGS.

     "Chacun a son gout."--_French Proverb._


It has often been a subject of surprise to me, that so many even of
those highly-gifted people who are fortunate enough to possess both
sorts of sense (common and uncommon), show, nevertheless, on some
occasions, a strange disinclination to be guided by the self-evident
truth, that in all cases where the evil preponderates over the good, it
is better to reject the whole than to endure a large portion of certain
evil for the sake of a little sprinkling of probable good. I can think
of nothing, just now, that will more aptly illustrate my position, than
the practice so prevalent in the summer-months of quitting a commodious
and comfortable home, in this most beautiful and convenient of cities,
for the purpose of what is called boarding out of town; and wilfully
encountering an assemblage of almost all "the ills that flesh is heir
to," in the vain hope of finding superior coolness in those
establishments that go under the denomination of country lodgings, and
are sometimes to be met with in insulated locations, but generally in
the unpaved and dusty streets of the villages and hamlets that are
scattered about the vicinity of Philadelphia.

These places are adopted as substitutes for the springs or the
sea-shore; and it is also not unusual for persons who have already
accomplished the fashionable tour, to think it expedient to board out of
town for the remainder of the summer, or till they are frightened home
by the autumnal epidemics.

I have more than once been prevailed on to try this experiment, in the
universal search after coolness which occupies so much of the attention
of my fellow-citizens from June to September, and the result has been
uniformly the same: a conviction that a mere residence beyond the
limits of the city is not an infallible remedy for all the _désagrémens_
of summer; that (to say nothing of other discomforts) it is possible to
feel the heat more in a small house out of the town than in a large one
in it.

The last time I was induced to make a trial of the delights of country
lodgings, I had been told of a very genteel lady (the widow of an
Englishman, said to have been highly connected in his own country), who
had taken a charming house at a short distance from the city, with the
intention of accommodating boarders for the summer; and I finally
allowed myself to be prevailed on to become an inmate of her
establishment, as I had just returned from the north, and found the
weather still very warm.

Two of my friends, a lady and gentleman, accompanied me when I went to
engage my apartment. The ride was a very short one, and we soon arrived
at a white frame house with green window-shutters, and also a green gate
which opened into a little front garden with one gravel walk, two grass
plats, and four Lombardy poplar trees, which, though excluded in the
city, still keep their ground in out-of-town places.

There was no knocker, but, after hammering and shaking the door for near
five minutes, it was at last opened by a barefooted bound-girl, who hid
herself behind it as if ashamed to be seen. She wore a ragged light
calico frock, through the slits of which appeared at intervals a black
stuff petticoat: the body was only kept together with pins, and partly
concealed by a dirty cape of coarse white muslin; one lock of her long
yellow hair was stuck up by the wreck of a horn comb, and the remaining
tresses hung about her shoulders. When we inquired if Mrs. Netherby was
at home, the girl scratched her head, and stared as if stupified by the
question, and on its being repeated, she replied that "she would go and
look," and then left us standing at the door. A coloured servant would
have opened the parlour, ushered us in, and with smiles and curtsies
requested us to be seated. However, we took the liberty of entering
without invitation: and the room being perfectly dark, we also used the
freedom of opening the shutters.

The floor was covered with a mat which fitted nowhere, and showed
evidence of long service. Whatever air might have been introduced
through the fire-place, was effectually excluded by a thick
chimney-board, covered with a square of wall-paper representing King
George IV. visiting his cameleopard. I afterwards found that Mrs.
Netherby was very proud of her husband's English origin. The
mantel-piece was higher than our heads, and therefore the mirror that
adorned it was too elevated to be of any use. This lofty shelf was also
decorated with two pasteboard baskets, edged with gilt paper, and
painted with bunches of calico-looking flowers, two fire-screens ditto,
and two card-racks in the shape of harps with loose and crooked strings
of gold thread. In the centre of the room stood an old-fashioned round
tea-table, the feet black with age, and the top covered with one of
those coarse unbleached cloths of figured linen that always look like
dirty white. The curiosities of the centre-table consisted of a tumbler
of marigolds: a dead souvenir which had been a living one in 1826: a
scrap work-box stuck all over with figures of men, women, and children,
which had been most wickedly cut out of engravings and deprived of their
backgrounds for this purpose: an album with wishy-washy drawings and
sickening verses: a china writing-apparatus, destitute alike of ink,
sand, and wafers: and a card of the British consul, which, I afterwards
learnt, had once been left by him for Mr. Netherby.

The walls were ornamented with enormous heads drawn in black crayon, and
hung up in narrow gilt frames with bows of faded gauze riband. One head
was inscribed Innocence, and had a crooked mouth; a second was
Beneficence, with a crooked nose; and a third was Contemplation, with a
prodigious swelling on one of her cheeks; and the fourth was Veneration,
turning up two eyes of unequal size. The flesh of one of these heads
looked like china, and another like satin; the third had the effect of
velvet, and the fourth resembled plush.

All these things savoured of much unfounded pretension; but we did not
then know that they were chiefly the work of Mrs. Netherby herself, who,
as we learned in the sequel, had been blest with a boarding-school
education, and was, according to her own opinion, a person of great
taste and high polish.

It was a long time before the lady made her appearance, as we had
arrived in the midst of the siesta in which it was the custom of every
member of the establishment (servants included) to indulge themselves
during the greatest part of the afternoon, with the exception of the
bound-girl, who was left up to "mind the house." Mrs. Netherby was a
tall, thin, sharp-faced woman, with an immense cap, that stood out all
round, and encircled her head like a halo, and was embellished with an
enormous quantity of yellowish gauze riband that seemed to incorporate
with her huge yellow curls: fair hair being much affected by ladies who
have survived all other fairness. She received us with abundance of
smiles, and a profusion of flat compliments, uttered in a voice of
affected softness; and on making known my business, I was conducted
up-stairs to see a room which she said would suit me exactly. Mrs.
Netherby was what is called "a sweet woman."

The room was small, but looked tolerably well, and though I was not much
prepossessed in favour of either the house or the lady, I was unwilling
that my friends should think me too fastidious, and it was soon arranged
that I should take possession the following day.

Next afternoon I arrived at my new quarters; and tea being ready soon
after, I was introduced to the other boarders, as they came down from
their respective apartments. The table was set in a place dignified with
the title of "the dining-room," but which was in reality a sort of
anti-kitchen, and located between the acknowledged kitchen and the
parlour. It still retained vestiges of a dresser, part of which was
entire, in the shape of the broad lower-shelf and the under-closets.
This was painted red, and Mrs. Netherby called it the side-board. The
room was narrow, the ceiling was low, the sunbeams had shone full upon
the windows the whole afternoon, and the heat was extreme. A mulatto man
waited on the tea-table, with his coat out at elbows, and a marvellous
dirty apron, not thinking it worth his while to wear good clothes in the
country. And while he was tolerably attentive to every one else, he made
a point of disregarding or disobeying every order given to him by Mrs.
Netherby: knowing that for so trifling a cause as disrespect to herself,
she would not dare to dismiss him at the risk of getting no one in his
place; it being always understood that servants confer a great favour on
their employers when they condescend to go with them into the country.
Behind Mrs. Netherby's chair stood the long-haired bound girl (called
Anna by her mistress, and Nance by Bingham the waiter), waving a green
poplar branch by way of fly-brush, and awkwardly flirting it in every
one's face.

The aspect of the tea-table was not inviting. Everything was in the
smallest possible quantity that decency would allow. There was a plate
of rye-bread, and a plate of wheat, and a basket of crackers: another
plate with half a dozen paltry cakes that looked as if they had been
bought under the old Court House: some morsels of dried beef on two
little tea-cup plates, and a small glass dish of that preparation of
curds, which in vulgar language is called smearcase, but whose _nom de
guerre_ is cottage-cheese, at least that was the appellation given it by
our hostess. The tea was so weak that it was difficult to discover
whether it was black or green; but, finding it undrinkable, I requested
a glass of milk: and when Bingham brought me one, Mrs. Netherby said
with a smile, "See what it is to live in the country!" Though, after
all, we were not out of sight of Christ Church steeple.

The company consisted of a lady with three very bad children; another
with a very insipid daughter, about eighteen or twenty, who, like her
mother, seemed utterly incapable of conversation; and a fat Mrs.
Pownsey, who talked an infinite deal of nothing, and soon took occasion
to let me know that she had a very handsome house in the city. The
gentlemen belonging to these ladies never came out till after tea, and
returned to town early in the morning.

Towards sunset, I proposed taking a walk with the young lady, but she
declined on account of the dew, and we returned to the parlour, where
there was no light during the whole evening, as Mrs. Netherby declared
that she thought nothing was more pleasant than to sit in a dark room in
the summer. And when we caught a momentary glimpse from the candles that
were carried past the door as the people went up and down stairs, we had
the pleasure of finding that innumerable cockroaches were running over
the floor and probably over our feet; these detestable insects having
also a fancy for darkness.

The youngest of the mothers went up stairs to assist her maid in the
arduous task of putting the children to bed, a business that occupied
the whole evening; though the eldest boy stoutly refused to go at all,
and stretching himself on the settee, he slept there till ten o'clock,
when his father carried him off kicking and screaming.

The gentlemen talked altogether of trade and bank business. Some
neighbours came in, and nearly fell over us in the dark. Finding the
parlour (which had but one door) most insupportably warm, I took my seat
in the entry, a narrow passage which Mrs. Netherby called the hall.
Thither I was followed by Mrs. Pownsey, a lady of the Malaprop school,
who had been talking to me all the evening of her daughters, Mary
Margaret and Sarah Susan, they being now on a visit to an aunt in
Connecticut. These young ladies had been educated, as their mother
informed me, entirely by herself, on a plan of her own: and, as she
assured me, with complete success; for Sarah Susan, the youngest, though
only ten years old, was already regarded as quite a phinnominy
(phenomenon), and as to Mary Margaret, she was an absolute prodigal.

"I teach them everything myself," said she, "except their French, and
music, and drawing, in all which they take lessons from the first
masters. And Mr. Bullhead, an English gentleman, comes twice a week to
attend to their reading and writing and arithmetic, and the grammar of
geography. They never have a moment to themselves, but are kept busy
from morning till night. You know that idleness is the root of all
evil."

"It is certainly the root of _much_ evil," I replied; "but you know the
old adage, which will apply equally to both sexes--'All work and no play
makes Jack a dull boy.'"

"Oh! they often play," resumed Mrs. Pownsey. "In the evening, after they
have learned their lessons, they have games of history, and botany, and
mathematics, and all such instructive diversions. I allow them no other
plays. Their minds certainly are well stored with all the arts and
science. At the same time, as I wish them to acquire a sufficient idea
of what is going on in the world, I permit them every day to read over
the Marianne List in our New York paper, the Chimerical Advertiser, that
they may have a proper knowledge of ships: and also Mr. Walsh's Experts
in his Gazette; though I believe he does not write these little moral
things himself, but hires Mr. Addison, and Mr. Bacon, and Mr. Locke, and
other such gentlemen for the purpose. The Daily Chronicle I never allow
them to touch, for there is almost always a story in every paper, and
none of these stories are warranted to be true, and reading falsehoods
will learn them to tell fibs."

I was much amused with this process of reasoning, though I had more than
once heard such logic on the subject of fictitious narratives.

"But, surely, Mrs. Pownsey," said I, "you do not interdict all works of
imagination? Do you never permit your daughters to read for amusement?"

"Never," replied this wisest of mothers; "amusement is the high-road to
vice. Indeed, with all their numerous studies, they have little or no
time for reading anything. And when they have, I watch well that they
shall read only books of instruction, such as Mr. Bullhead chooses for
them. They are now at Rowland's Ancient History (I am told he is not the
same Rowland that makes the Maccassar oil), and they have already got
through seven volumes. Their Aunt Watson (who, between ourselves, is
rather a weak-minded woman) is shocked at the children reading that
book, and says it is filled with crimes and horrors. But so is all the
Ancient History that ever I heard of, and of course it is proper that
little girls should know these things. They will get a great deal more
benefit from Rowland than from reading Miss Edgeworth's story-books,
that sister Watson is always recommending."

"Have they ever read the history of their own country?" said I.

"I suppose you mean the History of America," replied Mrs. Pownsey. "Oh!
that is of no consequence at all, and Mr. Bullhead says it is never read
in England. After they have got through Rowland, they are going to begin
Sully's Memoirs. I know Mr. Sully very well; and when they have read it,
I will make the girls tell me his whole history; he painted my portrait,
and a most delightful man he is, only rather obstinate; for with all I
could say, I could not prevail on him to rub out the white spots that he
foolishly put in the black part of my eyes. And he also persisted in
making one side of my nose darker than the other. It is strange that in
these things painters will always take their own course in spite of us,
as if we that pay for the pictures have not a right to direct them as we
please. But the artist people are all alike. My friend, Mrs. Oakface,
tells me she had just the same trouble with Mr. Neagle; in that respect
he's quite as bad as Mr. Sully."

She paused a moment to take breath, and then proceeded in continuation
of the subject. "Now we talk of pictures, you have no idea what
beautiful things my daughters can paint. The very first quarter they
each produced two pieces to frame. And Mary Margaret is such a capital
judge of these things, that whenever she is looking at a new souvenir,
her first thought is to see who did the pictures, that she may know
which to praise and which not. There are a great many artists now, but I
remember the time when almost all the pictures were done by Mr. Sculp
and Mr. Pinx. And then as to music! I wish you could hear my daughters.
Their execution is wonderful. They can play crotchets quite as well as
quivers; and they sing sollos, and dooets, and tryos, and quartetties
equal to the Musical Fund. I long for the time when they are old enough
to come out. I will go with them everywhere myself; I am determined to
be their perpetual shabberoon."

So much for the lady that educated her daughters herself.

And still, when the mother is capable and judicious, I know no system of
education that is likely to be attended with more complete success than
that which keeps the child under the immediate superintendence of those
who are naturally the most interested in her improvement and welfare;
and which removes her from the contagion of bad example, and the danger
of forming improper or unprofitable acquaintances. Some of the finest
female minds I have ever known received all their cultivation at home.
But much, indeed, are those children to be commiserated, whose education
has been undertaken by a vain and ignorant parent.

About nine o'clock, Mrs. Netherby had begun to talk of the lateness of
the hour, giving hints that it was time to think of retiring for the
night, and calling Bingham to shut up the house: which order he did not
see proper to obey till half-past ten. I then (after much delay and
difficulty in obtaining a bed-candle) adjourned to my own apartment, the
evening having appeared to me of almost interminable length, as is
generally the case with evenings that are passed without light.

The night was warm, and after removing the chimney-board, I left the
sash of my window open: though I had been cautioned not to do so, and
told that in the country the night air was always unwholesome. But I
remembered Dr. Franklin's essay on the art of sleeping well. It was long
before I closed my eyes, as the heat was intense, and my bed very
uncomfortable. The bolster and pillow were nearly flat for want of
sufficient feathers, and the sheets of thick muslin were neither long
enough nor wide enough. At "the witching time of night," I was suddenly
awakened by a most terrible shrieking and bouncing in my room, and
evidently close upon me. I started up in a fright, and soon ascertained
the presence of two huge cats, who, having commenced a duel on the
trellis of an old blighted grape-vine that unfortunately ran under the
back windows, had sprung in at the open sash, and were finishing the
fight on my bed, biting and scratching each other in a style that an old
backwoodsman would have recognised as the true rough and tumble.

With great difficulty I succeeded in expelling my fiendish visiters,
and to prevent their return, there was nothing to be done but to close
the sash. There were no shutters, and the only screen was a scanty
muslin curtain, divided down the middle with so wide a gap that it was
impossible to close it effectually. The air being now excluded, the heat
was so intolerable as to prevent me from sleeping, and the cats remained
on the trellis, looking in at the window with their glaring eyes,
yelling and scratching at the glass, and trying to get in after some
mice that were beginning to course about the floor.

The heat, the cats and the mice, kept me awake till near morning; and I
fell asleep about daylight, when I dreamed that a large cat stood at my
bed-side, and slowly and gradually swelling to the size of a tiger,
darted its long claws into my throat. Of course, I again woke in a
fright, and regretted my own large room in the city, where there was no
trellis under my windows, and where the sashes were made to slide down
at the top.

I rose early with the intention of taking a walk, as was my custom when
in town, but the grass was covered with dew, and the road was ankle-deep
in dust. So I contented myself with making a few circuits round the
garden, where I saw four altheas, one rose-tree, and two currant-bushes,
with a few common flowers on each side of a grass-grown gravel walk;
neither the landlord nor the tenant being willing to incur any further
expense by improving the domain. The grape-vine and trellis had been
erected by a former occupant, a Frenchman, who had golden visions of
wine-making.

At breakfast, we were regaled with muddy water, miscalled coffee; a
small dish of doubtful eggs; and another of sliced cucumbers, very
yellow and swimming in sweetish vinegar; also two plates containing
round white lumps of heavy half-baked dough, dignified by the title of
Maryland biscuit; and one of dry toast, the crumb left nearly white, and
the crust burnt to a coal.

After breakfast, there came walking into the room a tame white pigeon,
which Mrs. Netherby told us was a turtle-dove. "Dear sweet Phebe," she
exclaimed, taking up the bird and fondling it, "has it come for its
breakfast; well, then, kiss its own mistress, and it shall have some
nice soft bread."

The pigeon was then handed round to be admired (it was really a pretty
one), and Mrs. Netherby told us a long story of its coming to the house
in the early part of the summer with its mate, who was soon after
killed by lightning in consequence of sitting on the roof close by the
conductor during a thunderstorm, and she was very eloquent and
sentimental in describing the manner in which Phebe had mourned for her
deceased companion, declaring that the widowed _dove_ often reminded her
of herself after she had lost poor dear Mr. Netherby.

Our hostess then crumbled some bread on the floor, and placed near it a
saucer of water, and she rose greatly in my estimation when I observed
the fixed look of delight with which she gazed on the pet-bird, and her
evident fondness as she caressed it, and carried it out of the room,
after it had finished its repast. "Notwithstanding her parsimony and her
pretension," thought I, "Mrs. Netherby has certainly a good heart."

I went to my own room, and could easily have beguiled the morning with
my usual occupations, but that I was much incommoded by the intense heat
of my little apartment, whose thin walls were completely penetrated by
the sun. Also, I was greatly annoyed by the noise of the children in the
next room and on the staircase. It was not the joyous exhilaration of
play, or the shouts and laughter of good-humoured romping (all that I
could easily have borne); but I heard only an incessant quarrelling,
fighting, and screaming, which was generally made worse by the
interference of the mother whenever she attempted to silence it.

Shortly before dinner, the bound-girl came up and went the rounds of all
the chambers to collect the tumblers from the washing-stands, which
tumblers were made to perform double duty by figuring also on the
dining-table. This would have been no great inconvenience, only that no
one remembered to bring them back again, and the glasses were not
restored to our rooms till after repeated applications.

The dinner consisted of very salt fried ham; and a pair of skeleton
chickens, with a small black-looking leg of mutton; and a few
half-drained vegetables, set about on little plates with a puddle of
greasy water in the bottom of each. However, as we were in the country,
there was a pitcher of milk for those that chose to drink milk at
dinner. For the dessert we had half a dozen tasteless custards, the tops
burnt, and the cups half-full of whey, a plate of hard green pears,
another of hard green apples, and a small whitish watermelon.

"What a fine thing it is to be in the country," said Mrs. Netherby,
"and have such abundance of delicious fruit! I can purchase every
variety from my next neighbour."

The truth is, that even where there is really an inclination to furnish
a good table, there is generally much difficulty and inconvenience in
procuring the requisite articles at any country place that is not
absolutely a farm, and where the arrangements are not on an extensive
scale. Mrs. Netherby, however, made no apology for any deficiency, but
always went on with smiling composure, praising everything on the table,
and wondering how people could think of remaining in the city when they
might pass the summer in the country. As the gentlemen ate their meals
in town (a proof of their wisdom), ours were very irregular as to time;
Mrs. Netherby supposing that it could make no difference to ladies, or
to any persons who had not business that required punctual attention.

Two days after my arrival, the dust having been laid by a shower, Mrs.
Pownsey and myself set out to walk on the road, in the latter part of
the afternoon. When we came home, I found that the washing-stand had
been removed from my room, and the basin and pitcher placed in the
corner on a little triangular shelf that had formerly held a flower-pot.
The mirror was also gone, and I found as a substitute a little
half-dollar Dutch glass in a narrow red frame. The two best chairs were
also missing, one chair only being left, and that a broken one; and a
heavy patch-work quilt had taken the place of the white dimity
bed-cover. I learnt that these articles had been abstracted to furnish a
chamber that was as yet disengaged, and which they were to decorate by
way of enticing a new-comer. Next morning, after my room had been put in
order, I perceived that the mattrass had been exchanged for a
feather-bed, and on inquiring the reason of Mrs. Netherby she told me,
with much sweetness, that it had been taken for two southern ladies that
were expected in the afternoon, and who, being southern, could not
possibly sleep on anything but a mattrass, and that she was sorry to
cause me any inconvenience, but it would be a great disadvantage to
_her_ if they declined coming.

In short, almost every day something disappeared from my room to assist
in fitting up apartments for strangers; the same articles being
afterwards transferred to others that were still unoccupied. But what
else was to be done, when Mrs. Netherby mildly represented the
impossibility of getting things at a short notice from town?

My time passed very monotonously. The stock of books I had brought with
me was too soon exhausted, and I had no sewing of sufficient importance
to interest my attention. The nonsense of Mrs. Pownsey became very
tiresome, and the other ladies were mere automatons. The children were
taken sick (as children generally are at country lodgings), and fretted
and cried all the time. I longed for the society of my friends in the
city, and for the unceremonious visits that are so pleasant in summer
evenings.

After a trial of two weeks, during which I vainly hoped that custom
would reconcile me to much that had annoyed me at first, I determined to
return to Philadelphia; in the full persuasion that this would be my
last essay at boarding out of town.

On the day before my departure, we were all attracted to the
front-garden, to see a company of city volunteers, who were marching to
a certain field where they were to practise shooting at a target. While
we were lingering to catch the last glimpse of them as long as they
remained in sight, the cook came to Mrs. Netherby (who was affectedly
smelling the leaves of a dusty geranium), and informed her that though
she had collected all the cold meat in the house, there was still not
enough to fill the pie that was to be a part of the dinner.[85] "Oh!
then," replied Mrs. Netherby, with perfect sang-froid, and in her usual
soft voice, "put Phebe on the top of it--put Phebe on the top." "Do you
mean," said the cook, "that I am to kill the pigeon to help out with?"
"Certainly," rejoined Mrs. Netherby, "put Phebe in the pie."

[Footnote 85: Fact.]

There was a general exclamation from all present, except from the
automaton young lady and her mamma; and the children who were looking
out of the front windows were loud in lamentations for the poor pigeon,
who, in truth, had constituted their only innocent amusement. For my
part, I could not forbear openly expressing my surprise that Mrs.
Netherby should think for a moment of devoting her pet pigeon to such a
purpose, and I earnestly deprecated its impending fate.

Mrs. Netherby reddened, and forgetting her usual mildness, her eyes
assumed a very cat-like expression as she replied to me in a loud sharp
voice. "Upon my word, miss, this is very strange. Really, you astonish
me. This is something quite new. I am not at all accustomed to having
the ladies of my family to meddle in my private affairs. Really, miss,
it is excessively odd that you should presume to dictate to me about
the disposal of my own property. I have some exquisite veal-cutlets and
some delicious calves-feet, but the pie is wanted for a centre dish. I
am always, as you know, particular in giving my table a handsome
set-out."

In vain we protested our willingness to dine without the centre dish,
rather than the pigeon, whom we regarded in the light of an intimate
acquaintance, should be killed to furnish it, all declaring that nothing
could induce us to taste a mouthful of poor Phebe. Mrs. Netherby,
obstinately bent on carrying her point (as is generally the case with
women who profess an extra portion of sweetness), heard us unmoved, only
replying, "Certainly, miss, you cannot deny that the bird is mine, and
that I have a right to do as I please with my own property. Phillis, put
Phebe in the pie!"

The cook grinned, and stood irresolute; when suddenly Bingham the waiter
stepped up with Phebe in his hands, and calling to a black boy of his
acquaintance, who lived in the neighbourhood, and was passing at the
moment: "Here, Harrison," said he, "are you going to town?" "Yes,"
replied the boy, "I am going there of an errand." "Then take this here
pigeon with you," said Bingham, "and give it as a gift from me to your
sister Louisa. You need not tell her to take good care of it. I know
she'll affection it for my sake. There, take it, and run." So saying, he
handed the pigeon over the fence to the boy, who ran off with it
immediately, and Bingham coolly returned to the kitchen, whistling as he
went.

"Well, if I ever saw the like!" exclaimed Mrs. Netherby. "But Bingham
will always have his way; he's really a strange fellow." Then, looking
foolish and subdued, she walked into the house. I could not help
laughing, and was glad that the life of the poor pigeon had been saved
on any terms, though sorry to find that Mrs. Netherby, after all, had
not the redeeming quality I ascribed to her.

To conclude,--I have no doubt that summer establishments may be found
which are in many respects more agreeable than the one I have attempted
to describe. But it has not been my good fortune, or that of my friends
who have adopted this plan of getting through the warm weather, to meet
with any country lodgings (of course, I have no reference to decided
farm-houses), in which the comparison was not decidedly in favour of the
superior advantages of remaining in a commodious mansion in the city,
surrounded with the comforts of home, and "with all the appliances, and
means to boot," which only a large town can furnish.



CONSTANCE ALLERTON;

OR,

THE MOURNING SUITS.

     "But I have that within which passeth show."--SHAKSPEARE.


Mr. Allerton, a merchant of Philadelphia, had for some years been doing
business to considerable advantage, when a sudden check was put to his
prosperity by the unexpected failure of a house for which he had
endorsed to a very large amount. There was no alternative but to
surrender everything to his creditors; and this he did literally and
conscientiously. He brought down his mind to his circumstances; and as,
at that juncture, the precarious state of the times did not authorize
any hope of success if he recommenced business (as he might have done)
upon borrowed capital, he gladly availed himself of a vacant clerkship
in one of the principal banks of the city.

His salary, however, would have been scarcely adequate to the support of
his family, had he not added something to his little stipend by
employing his leisure hours in keeping the books of a merchant. He
removed with his wife and children to a small house in a remote part of
the city; and they would, with all his exertions, have been obliged to
live in the constant exercise of the most painful economy, had it not
been for the aid they derived from his sister Constance Allerton. Since
the death of her parents, this young lady had resided at New Bedford
with her maternal aunt, Mrs. Ilford, a quakeress, who left her a legacy
of ten thousand dollars.

After the demise of her aunt, Miss Allerton took lodgings at a private
house in New Bedford; but on hearing of her brother's misfortunes, she
wrote to know if it would be agreeable to him and to his family for her
to remove to Philadelphia, and to live with them--supposing that the sum
she would pay for her accommodation might, in their present
difficulties, prove a welcome addition to their income. This proposal
was joyfully acceded to, as Constance was much beloved by every member
of her brother's family, and had kept up a continual intercourse with
them by frequent letters, and by an annual visit of a few weeks to
Philadelphia.

At this period, Constance Allerton had just completed her twenty-third
year. She had a beautiful face, a fine graceful figure, and a highly
cultivated mind. With warm feelings and deep sensibility, she possessed
much energy of character--a qualification which, when called forth by
circumstances, is often found to be as useful in a woman as in a man.
Affectionate, generous, and totally devoid of all selfish
considerations, Constance had nothing so much at heart as the comfort
and happiness of her brother's family; and to become an inmate of their
house was as gratifying to her as it was to them. She furnished her own
apartment, and shared it with little Louisa, the youngest of her three
nieces, a lovely child about ten years old. She insisted on paying the
quarter bills of her nephew Frederic Allerton, and volunteered to
complete the education of his sisters, who were delighted to receive
their daily lessons from an instructress so kind, so sensible, and so
competent. Exclusive of these arrangements, she bestowed on them many
little presents, which were always well-timed and judiciously selected;
though, to enable her to purchase these gifts, she was obliged, with her
limited income of six hundred dollars, to deny herself many
gratifications, and, indeed, conveniences, to which she had hitherto
been accustomed, and the want of which she now passed over with a
cheerfulness and delicacy which was duly appreciated by the objects of
her kindness.

In this manner the family had been living about a twelvemonth, when Mr.
Allerton was suddenly attacked by a violent and dangerous illness, which
was soon accompanied by delirium; and in a few days it brought him to
the brink of the grave.

His disease baffled the skill of an excellent physician; and the
unremitting cares of his wife and sister could only effect a slight
alleviation of his sufferings. He expired on the fifth day, without
recovering his senses, and totally unconscious of the presence of the
heart-struck mourners that were weeping round his bed.

When Mr. Allerton's last breath had departed, his wife was conveyed from
the room in a fainting-fit. Constance endeavoured to repress her own
feelings, till she had rendered the necessary assistance to Mrs.
Allerton, and till she had somewhat calmed the agony of the children.
She then retired to her own apartment, and gave vent to a burst of
grief, such as can only be felt by those in whose minds and hearts there
is a union of sense and sensibility. With the weak and frivolous, sorrow
is rarely either acute or lasting.

The immortal soul of Mr. Allerton had departed from its earthly
tenement, and it was now necessary to think of the painful details that
belonged to the disposal of his inanimate corpse. As soon as Constance
could command sufficient courage to allow her mind to dwell on this
subject, she went down to send a servant for Mr. Denman (an old friend
of the family), whom she knew Mrs. Allerton would wish to take charge of
the funeral. At the foot of the stairs, she met the physician, who, by
her pale cheeks, and by the tears that streamed from her eyes at sight
of him, saw that all was over. He pressed her hand in sympathy; and,
perceiving that she was unable to answer his questions, he bowed and
left the house.

In a short time, Mr. Denman arrived; and Mrs. Allerton declaring herself
incompetent to the task, Constance saw the gentleman, and requested him
to make every necessary arrangement for a plain but respectable funeral.

At such times, how every little circumstance seems to add a new pang to
the agonized feelings of the bereaved family! The closing of the
window-shutters, the arrival of the woman whose gloomy business it is to
prepare the corpse for interment, the undertaker coming to take measure
for the coffin, the removal of the bedding on which the deceased has
expired, the gliding step, the half-whispered directions--all these sad
indications that death is in the house, fail not, however quietly and
carefully managed, to reach the ears and hearts of the afflicted
relatives, assisted by the intuitive knowledge of what is so well
understood to be passing at these melancholy moments.

In the evening, after Louisa had cried herself to sleep, Constance
repaired to the apartment of her sister-in-law, whom, about an hour
before, she had left exhausted and passive. Mrs. Allerton was extended
on the bed, pale and silent; her daughters, Isabella and Helen, were in
tears beside her; and Frederick had retired to his room.

In the fauteuil, near the head of the bed, sat Mrs. Bladen, who, in the
days of their prosperity, had been the next door neighbour of the
Allerton family, and who still continued to favour them with frequent
visits. She was one of those busy people who seem almost to verify the
justly-censured maxim of Rochefoucault, that "in the misfortunes of our
best friends, there is always something which is pleasing to us."

True it was that Mrs. Bladen, being a woman of great leisure, and of a
disposition extremely officious, devoted most of her time and attention
to the concerns of others; and any circumstances that prevented her
associates from acting immediately for themselves, of course threw open
a wider field for her interference.

"And now, my dear friends," said Mrs. Bladen, squeezing Mrs. Allerton's
hand, and looking at Constance, who seated herself in an opposite chair,
"as the funeral is to take place on Thursday, you know there is no time
to be lost. What have you fixed on respecting your mourning? I will
cheerfully attend to it for you, and bespeak everything necessary."

At the words "funeral" and "mourning," tears gushed again from the eyes
of the distressed family; and neither Mrs. Allerton nor Constance could
command themselves sufficiently to reply.

"Come, my dear creatures," continued Mrs. Bladen, "you must really make
an effort to compose yourselves. Just try to be calm for a few minutes,
till we have settled this business. Tell me what I shall order for you.
However, there is but one rule on these occasions--crape and bombazine,
and everything of the best. Nothing, you know, is more disreputable than
mean mourning."

"I fear, then," replied Mrs. Allerton, "that our mourning attire must be
mean enough. The situation in which we are left will not allow us to go
to any unnecessary expense in that, or in anything else. We had but
little to live upon--we could lay by nothing. We have nothing
beforehand: we did not--we could not apprehend that this dreadful event
was so near. And you know that his salary--that Mr. Allerton's
salary--of course, expires with him."

"So I suppose, my dear friend," answered Mrs. Bladen; "but you know you
_must_ have mourning; and as the funeral takes place so soon, there will
be little enough time to order it and have it made."

"We will borrow dresses to wear at the--to wear on Thursday," said Mrs.
Allerton.

"And of whom will you borrow?"

"I do not know. I have not yet thought."

"The Liscom family are in black," observed Isabella; "no doubt they
would lend us dresses."

"Oh! none of their things will fit you at all," exclaimed Mrs. Bladen.
"None of the Liscoms have the least resemblance to any of you, either in
height or figure. You would look perfectly ridiculous in _their_
things."

"Then there are Mrs. Patterson and her daughters," said Helen.

"The Pattersons," replied Mrs. Bladen, "are just going to leave off
black; and nothing that _they_ have looks either new or fresh. You know
how soon black becomes rusty. You certainly would feel very much
mortified if you had to make a shabby appearance at Mr. Allerton's
funeral. Besides, nobody now wears borrowed mourning--it can always be
detected in a moment. No--with a little exertion--and I repeat that I am
willing to do all in my power--there is time enough to provide the whole
family with genteel and proper mourning suits. And as you _must_ get
them at last, it is certainly much better to have them at first, so as
to appear handsomely at the funeral."

"Oh!" exclaimed Mrs. Allerton, sighing, "at such a time, what
consequence can we possibly attach to our external appearance? How can
we for a moment think of it?"

"To be sure, my dear friend," said Mrs. Bladen, kissing her, "you have
had a very severe loss--very severe, indeed. It is really quite
irreparable; and I can sincerely sympathize in your feelings. Certainly
everybody ought to feel on these occasions; but you know it is
impossible to devote every moment between this and the funeral to tears
and sobs. One cannot be crying all the time--nobody ever does. And, as
to the mourning, that is of course indispensable, and a thing that
_must_ be."

Mrs. Allerton wept bitterly. "Indeed, indeed!" said she, "I cannot
discuss it now."

"And if it is not settled to-night," resumed Mrs. Bladen, "there will
be hardly time to-morrow to talk it over, and get the things, and send
to the mantua-maker's and milliner's. You had better get it off your
mind at once. Suppose you leave it entirely to me. I attended to all the
mourning for the Liscoms, and the Weldons, and the Nortons. It is a
business I am quite used to. I pique myself on being rather clever at
it."

"I will, then, trust to your judgment," replied Mrs. Allerton, anxious
to get rid of the subject, and of the light frivolous prattle of her
_soi-disant_ dear friend. "Be kind enough to undertake it, and procure
for us whatever you think suitable--only let it not be too expensive."

"As to that," answered Mrs. Bladen, "crape is crape, and bombazine is
bombazine; and as everybody likes to have these articles of good
quality, nothing otherwise is now imported for mourning. With regard to
Frederick's black suit, Mr. Watson will send to take his measure, and
there will be no further difficulty about it. Let me see--there must be
bombazine for five dresses: that is, for yourself, three daughters, and
Miss Allerton."

"Not for me," said Constance, taking her handkerchief from her eyes. "I
shall not get a bombazine."

"My dear creature!" cried Mrs. Bladen; "not get a bombazine! You
astonish me! What else can you possibly have? Black gingham or black
chintz is only fit for wrappers; and black silk is no mourning at all."

"I shall wear no mourning," replied Constance, with a deep sigh.

"Not wear mourning!" ejaculated Mrs. Bladen. "What, no mourning at all!
Not wear mourning for your own brother! Now you do indeed surprise me."

Mrs. Allerton and her daughters were also surprised; and they withdrew
their handkerchiefs from their eyes, and gazed on Constance, as if
scarcely believing that they had understood her rightly.

"I have considered it well," resumed Miss Allerton; "and I have come to
a conclusion to make no change in my dress. In short, to wear no
mourning, even for my brother--well as I have loved him, and deeply as I
feel his loss."

"This is very strange," said Mrs. Allerton.

"Excuse me, Miss Constance," said Mrs. Bladen, "but have you no respect
for his memory? He was certainly an excellent man."

"Respect for his memory!" exclaimed Constance, bursting into tears.
"Yes! I indeed respect his memory! And were he still living, there is
nothing on earth I would not cheerfully do for him, if I thought it
would contribute to his happiness or comfort. But he is now in a land
where all the forms and ceremonies of this world are of no avail; and
where everything that speaks to the senses only, must appear like the
mimic trappings of a theatre. With him, all is now awful reality. To the
decaying inhabitant of the narrow and gloomy grave, or to the
disembodied spirit that has ascended to its Father in heaven, of what
consequence is the colour that distinguishes the dress of those whose
mourning is deep in the heart? What to him is the livery that fashion
has assigned to grief, when he knows how intense is the feeling itself,
in the sorrowing bosoms of the family that loved him so well?"

"All this is very true," remarked Mrs. Bladen; "but still, custom is
everything, or fashion, as you are pleased to call it. You know you are
not a Quaker; and therefore I do not see how you can possibly venture to
go without mourning on such an occasion as this. Surely, you would not
set the usages of the world at defiance?"

"I would not," replied Constance, "in things of minor importance; but on
this subject I believe I can be firm."

"Of course," said Mrs. Bladen, "you will not go to the funeral without
mourning."

"I cannot go to the funeral at all," answered Constance.

"Not go to the funeral!" exclaimed Mrs. Allerton. "Dear Constance, you
amaze me!"

"I hope," observed Mrs. Bladen, looking very serious, "there can be no
reason to doubt Miss Allerton's affection for her brother?"

"Oh! no! no! no!" cried the two girls indignantly. "If you had only
seen," said Isabella, "how she nursed my dear father in his illness--how
she was with him day and night."

"And how much she always loved him," said Helen.

"My dear kind sister," said Mrs. Allerton, taking the hand of Constance,
"I hope I shall never again see you distressed by such an intimation."

Mrs. Bladen reddened, looked down, and attentively examined the
embroidered corners of her pocket handkerchief. There was a silence of a
few moments, till Constance, making an effort to speak with composure,
proceeded to explain herself.

"My brother," said she, "has finished his mortal existence. No human
power, no human love, can aid him or soothe him now; and we will
endeavour to submit with resignation to the will of Omnipotence. I
hope--I trust we shall be able to do so; but the shock is yet too
recent, and we cannot at once subdue the feelings of nature. It is
dreadful to see the lifeless remains of one we have long and dearly
loved, removed from our sight for ever, and consigned to the darkness
and loneliness of the grave. For my part, on this sad occasion I feel an
utter repugnance to the idea of becoming an object of curiosity to the
spectators that gaze from the windows, and to the vulgar and noisy crowd
that assembles about a burying-ground when an interment is to take
place. I cannot expose my tears, my deep affliction, to the comments of
the multitude; and I cannot have my feelings outraged by perhaps
overhearing their coarse remarks. I may be too fastidious--I may be
wrong; but to be present at the funeral of my brother is an effort I
cannot resolve to make. And, moreover--"

Here her voice for a few moments became inarticulate, and her sister and
nieces sobbed audibly.

"And then," she continued, "I cannot stand beside that open grave--I
cannot see the coffin let down into it, and the earth thrown upon the
lid till it is covered up for ever. I cannot--indeed I cannot. In the
seclusion of my own apartment I shall, of course, know that all this is
going on, and I shall suffer most acutely; but there will be no
strangers to witness my sufferings. It is a dreadful custom, that of
females attending the funerals of their nearest relatives. I wish it
were abolished throughout our country, as it is in many parts of
Europe."

"But you know," said Mrs. Bladen, "that it is almost universal in
Philadelphia; and, 'when we are in Rome we must do as Rome does.'
Besides which, it is certainly our duty always to see our friends and
relatives laid in the grave."

"Not when we are assured," replied Constance, "that the melancholy
office can be properly performed without our presence or assistance.
Duty requires of us no sacrifice by which neither the living nor the
dead can be benefited. But I have said enough; and I cannot be present
at my brother's funeral."

She then rose and left the room, unable any longer to sustain a
conversation so painful to her.

"Well, I am really astonished!" exclaimed Mrs. Bladen. "Not wear
mourning for her brother! Not go to his funeral! However, I suppose she
thinks she has a right to do as she pleases. But, she may depend on it,
people will talk."

Just then a servant came to inform Mrs. Bladen that her husband was
waiting for her in the parlour.

"Well, my dear Mrs. Allerton," said she, as she rose to depart, "we have
not yet settled about the mourning. Of course, you are not going to
adopt Miss Constance's strange whim of wearing none at all."

"What she has said on the subject appears to me very just," replied Mrs.
Allerton.

"Aunt Constance is always right," remarked one of the girls.

"As to Miss Allerton," resumed Mrs. Bladen, "she is well known to be
independent in every sense of the word; and therefore she may do as she
pleases--though she may rest assured that people will talk."

"What people?" asked Mrs. Allerton.

"Everybody--all the world."

Mrs. Allerton thought how very circumscribed was the world in which she
and her family had lived since the date of their fallen fortunes.

"It is well known," pursued Mrs. Bladen, "that Miss Constance is able to
wear mourning if she chooses it. But you may rely on it, Mrs. Allerton,
that if you and your children do not appear in black, people will be
ill-natured enough to say that it is because you cannot afford it.
Excuse my plainness."

"They will say rightly, then," replied Mrs. Allerton, with a sigh. "We
certainly cannot afford it."

"How you talk!" said Mrs. Bladen. "Afford it or not, everybody has to
wear mourning, and everybody does, from the highest down to the lowest.
Even my washerwoman put all her family (that is herself and her six
children) into black when her husband died; notwithstanding that he was
no great loss--for he was an idle, drunken Irishman, and beat them all
round every day of his life. And my cook, a coloured woman, whose
grandfather died in the almshouse a few weeks ago, has as handsome a
suit of mourning as any lady need desire to wear."

"May I request," said Mrs. Allerton, "that you will spare me on this
subject to-night? Indeed I can neither think nor talk about it."

"Well, then," replied Mrs. Bladen, kissing her, "I will hope to find you
better in the morning. I shall be with you immediately after breakfast."

She then took her leave; and Constance, who had been weeping over the
corpse of Mr. Allerton, now returned to the apartment of her
sister-in-law.

Released from the importunities of Mrs. Bladen, our heroine now mildly
and sensibly reasoned with the family on the great inconvenience, and,
as she believed, the unnecessary expense of furnishing themselves with
suits of mourning in their present circumstances. The season was late in
the autumn, and they had recently supplied themselves with their winter
outfit, all of which would now be rendered useless if black must be
substituted. Her arguments had so much effect that Mrs. Allerton, with
the concurrence of her daughters, very nearly promised to give up all
intention of making a general change in their dress. But they found it
harder than they had supposed, to free themselves from the trammels of
custom.

Mrs. Allerton and Constance passed a sleepless night, and the children
"awoke to weep" at an early hour in the morning. They all met in tears
at the breakfast table. Little was eaten, and the table was scarcely
cleared, when Mrs. Bladen came in, followed by two shop boys, one
carrying two rolls of bombazine, and the other two boxes of Italian
crape. Constance had just left the room.

After the first salutations were over, Mrs. Bladen informed Mrs.
Allerton that she had breakfasted an hour earlier than usual, that she
might allow herself more time to go out, and transact the business of
the morning.

"My dear friend," said she, "Mrs. Doubleprice has sent you, at my
request, two pieces of bombazine, that you may choose for yourself.--One
is more of a jet black than the other--but I think the blue black rather
the finest. However, they are both of superb quality, and this season
jet black is rather the most fashionable. I have been to Miss Facings,
the mantua-maker, who is famous for mourning. Bombazines, when made up
by her, have an air and a style about them, such as you will never see
if done by any one else. There is nothing more difficult than to make up
mourning as it ought to be.--I have appointed Miss Facings to meet me
here--I wonder she has not arrived--she can tell you how much is
necessary for the four dresses. If Miss Allerton finally concludes to be
like other people and put on black, I suppose she will attend to it
herself. These very sensible young ladies are beyond my comprehension."

"I am sure," said Helen, "no one is more easy to understand, than my
dear Aunt Constance."

"And here," continued Mrs. Bladen, "is the double-width crape for the
veils. As it is of very superior quality, you had best have it to trim
the dresses, and for the neck handkerchiefs, and to border the black
cloth shawls that you will have to get."

We must remark to our readers, that at the period of our story, it was
customary to trim mourning dresses with a very broad fold of crape,
reaching nearly from the feet to the knees.

Mrs. Allerton on hearing the prices of the crape and bombazine, declared
them too expensive.

"But only look at the quality," persisted Mrs. Bladen, "and you know the
best things are always the cheapest in the end--and, as I told you,
nobody now wears economical mourning."

"We had best wear none of any description," said Mrs. Allerton.

"Ah!" cried Mrs. Bladen, "I see that Miss Constance has been trying
again to make a convert of you. Yet, as you are not Quakers, I know not
how you will be able to show your faces in the world, if you do not put
on black. Excuse me, but innovations on established customs ought only
to be attempted by people of note--by persons so far up in society that
they may feel at liberty to do any out-of-the-way thing with impunity."

"I wish, indeed," said Mrs. Allerton, "that some of those influential
persons would be so public-spirited as to set the example of dispensing
with all customs that bear hard on people in narrow circumstances."

The mantua-maker now made her appearance, and Mrs. Bladen exclaimed,
"Oh! Miss Facings, we have been waiting for you to tell us exactly how
much of everything we are to get."

A long and earnest discussion now took place between Mrs. Bladen and the
dressmaker, respecting the quality and quantity of the bombazine and
crape.

Miss Facings having calculated the number of yards, Mrs. Bladen inquired
if there was no yard-measure in the house. One was produced, and the
measuring commenced forthwith; Mrs. Allerton having no longer energy to
offer any further opposition. She sat with her handkerchief to her face,
and her daughters wept also. Sirs. Bladen stepped up to her, and
whispered, "You are aware that it will not be necessary to pay the bills
immediately."

"Ah!" returned Mrs. Allerton, "I know not when they can be paid. But we
will strain every nerve to do it as soon as possible. I cannot bear the
idea of remaining in debt for this mourning."

Their business being accomplished, the shop-boys departed, and Miss
Facings made her preparations for cutting out the dresses, taking an
opportunity of assuring the weeping girls that nothing was more becoming
to the figure than black bombazine, and that everybody looked their best
in a new suit of mourning.

At this juncture, Constance returned to the room, and was extremely
sorry to find that the fear of singularity, and the officious
perseverance of Mrs. Bladen, had superseded the better sense of her
sister-in-law. But as the evil was now past remedy, our heroine,
according to her usual practice, refrained from any further
animadversions on the subject.

Little Louisa was now brought in to be fitted: and when her frock was
cut out, Constance offered to make it herself, on hearing Miss Facings
declare that she would be obliged to keep her girls up all night to
complete the dresses by the appointed time, as they had already more
work in the house than they could possibly accomplish.

Mrs. Allerton expressed great unwillingness to allowing her
sister-in-law to take the trouble of making Louisa's dress. But
Constance whispered to her that she had always found occupation to be
one of the best medicines for an afflicted mind, and that it would in
some degree prevent her thoughts from dwelling incessantly on the same
melancholy subject. Taking Louisa with her, she retired to her own
apartment, and the frock was completed by next day: though the
overflowing eyes of poor Constance frequently obliged her to lay down
her sewing. In reality, her chief motive in proposing to make the dress,
was to save the expense of having it done by the mantua-maker.

Miss Facings took Mrs. Allerton's gown home with her, saying she would
send one of her girls for the two others; and Mrs. Bladen then began to
plan the bonnets and shawls. She went off to a fashionable milliner, and
engaged a mourning bonnet and four mourning caps for Mrs. Allerton, and
a bonnet for each of her daughters. And she was going back and forwards
nearly all day with specimens of black cloth for the shawls, black
stockings, black gloves, &c.

The girls, at their aunt's suggestion, hemmed the crape veils, and on
the following morning, she assisted them in making and trimming the
shawls. Still, Constance was well convinced that the expense of the
mourning (including the suit bespoken for Frederick) would be greater
than they could possibly afford. The cost of the funeral she intended to
defray from her own funds, and she took occasion to request Mr. Denman
to have nothing about it that should be unnecessarily expensive.

The hour arrived when the sorrowing family of Mr. Allerton were to be
parted for ever from all that remained of the husband, the father, and
the brother. They had taken the last look of his fixed and lifeless
features, they had imprinted the last kiss on his cold and pallid lips;
and from the chamber of death, they had to adjourn to the incongruous
task of attiring themselves in their mourning habits to appear at his
funeral. How bitterly they wept as their friends assisted them in
putting on their new dresses; and when they tied on their bonnets and
their long veils, to follow to his grave the object of their fondest
affection!

Constance, with an almost breaking heart, sat in her chamber, and little
Louisa hung crying on her shoulder, declaring that she could not see her
dear father buried. But Mrs. Bladen came in, protesting that all the
children _must_ be present, and that people would _talk_ if even the
youngest child was to stay away. Mrs. Bladen then put on Louisa's
mourning dress almost by force. When this was done, the little girl
threw her arms round the neck of her aunt and kissed her, saying with a
burst of tears, "When I see you again, my dear dear father will be
covered up in his grave." Mrs. Bladen then led, or rather dragged the
child to the room in which the family were assembled.

Constance threw herself on her bed in a paroxysm of grief. She heard the
slow tread of the company as they came in, and she fancied that she
could distinguish the sound of the lid as it was laid on the coffin, and
the fastening of the screws that closed it for ever. She knew when it
was carried down stairs, and she listened in sympathetic agony to the
sobs of the family as they descended after it. She heard the shutting of
the hearse-door, and the gloomy vehicle slowly rolling off to give
place to the carriages of the mourners. She started up, and casting her
eyes towards an opening in the window-curtain, she saw Mr. Denman
supporting to the first coach the tottering steps of her half-fainting
sister-in-law. She looked no longer, but sunk back on the bed and hid
her face on the pillow. By all that she suffered when indulging her
grief alone and in the retirement of her chamber, she felt how dreadful
it would have been to her, had she accompanied the corpse of her brother
to its final resting-place.

In about an hour the family returned, pale, exhausted, and worn out with
the intensity of their feelings at the grave. And they could well have
dispensed with the company of Mrs. Bladen, who came home and passed the
evening with them; as she foolishly said that people in affliction ought
not to be left to themselves.

After some days the violence of their grief settled into melancholy
sadness: they ceased to speak of him whom they had loved and lost, and
they felt as if they could never talk of him again.

The unfortunate family of Mr. Allerton now began to consider what they
should do for their support. Constance was willing to share with them
her little income even to the last farthing, but it was too small to
enable them all to live on it with comfort. Great indeed are the
sufferings, the unacknowledged and unimagined sufferings of that class
who "cannot dig, and to beg are ashamed"--whose children have been
nursed in the lap of affluence, and who "every night have slept with
soft content about their heads"--who still retain a vivid recollection
of happier times, and who still feel that they themselves are the same,
though all is changed around them.

Such was the condition of the Allerton family. "The world was all before
them where to choose," and so low were now their finances, that it was
necessary they should think and act promptly, and decide at once upon
some plan for their subsistence. Constance proposed a school, but the
house they now occupied was in too remote a place to expect any success.
A lady had already attempted establishing a seminary in the immediate
neighbourhood, but it had proved an entire failure. Mrs. Allerton
thought that in a better part of the town, and in a larger house, they
might have a fair chance of encouragement. But they were now destitute
of the means of defraying the expense of a removal, and of purchasing
such articles of furniture as would be indispensably necessary in a more
commodious dwelling; particularly if fitted up as a school.

Frederick Allerton, who was twelve years old, had just completed his
last quarter at the excellent academy in which he had been a pupil from
early childhood, and it was now found necessary, after paying the bill,
to take him away; as the present situation of the family did not seem to
warrant them in continuing him there any longer. He was, however, very
forward in all his acquirements, having an excellent capacity, and being
extremely diligent. Still it was hard that so promising a boy should be
obliged to stop short, when in a fair way of becoming an extraordinary
proficient in the principal branches appertaining to what is considered
an excellent education. Fortunately, however, a place was obtained for
him in a highly respectable book-store.

There was now a general retrenchment in the expenditures of the Allerton
family. One of their servants was discharged, as they could no longer
afford to keep two--and they were obliged to endure many privations
which were but ill compensated by the idea that they were wearing very
genteel mourning. Again, as they had begun with black, it was necessary
to go through with it. They could not wear their bombazines continually,
and as black ginghams and chintzes are always spoiled by washing, it was
thought better that their common dresses should be of Canton crape, an
article that, though very durable, is at first of no trifling cost.

In the mean time, their only resource seemed to be that of literally
supporting themselves by the work of their hands. Constance undertook
the painful task of going round among their acquaintances, and
announcing their readiness to undertake any sort of needle-work that was
offered to them. Nobody had any work to put out just then. Some promised
not to forget them when they had. Others said they were already suited
with seamstresses. At this time the Ladies' Depository was not in
existence; that excellent establishment, where the feelings of the
industrious indigent who have seen better days are so delicately spared
by the secrecy with which its operations are conducted.

At length a piece of linen was sent to the Allerton family for the
purpose of being made up by them into shirts. And so great was their joy
at the prospect of getting a little money, that it almost absorbed the
painful feelings with which for the first time they employed their
needles in really working for their living.

They all sewed assiduously, little Louisa doing the easiest parts. The
linen was soon made up, and they then obtained another piece, and
afterwards some muslin work. Constance, who was one of the most
indefatigable of women, found time occasionally to copy music, and
correct proof-sheets, and to do many other things by which she was able
to add a little more to the general fund. For a short time, her not
appearing in black excited much conversation among the acquaintances of
the family: but these discussions soon subsided, and after a while
nothing more was said or thought on the subject.

But to pay for the mourning of Mrs. Allerton and her children was a
necessity that pressed heavily on them all, and they dreaded the sound
of the door-bell, lest it should be followed by the presentation of the
bills. The bills came, and were found to be considerably larger than was
anticipated. Yet they were paid in the course of the winter, though with
much difficulty, and at the expense of much comfort. The unfortunate
Allertons rose early and sat up late, kept scanty fires and a very
humble table, and rarely went out of the house, except to church, or to
take a little air and exercise at the close of the afternoon.

Most of their friends dropped off, and the few that seemed disposed to
continue their acquaintance with people whose extreme indigence was no
secret, were so thoughtless as to make their visits in the morning, a
time which is never convenient to families that cannot afford to be
idle. Mrs. Bladen, who, though frivolous and inconsiderate, was really a
good-natured woman, came frequently to see them; and another of their
visiters was Mrs. Craycroft, whose chief incentive was curiosity to see
how the Allertons were going on, and a love of dictation which induced
her frequently to favour them with what she considered salutary counsel.
Mrs. Craycroft was a hard, cold, heartless woman, who by dint of the
closest economy had helped her husband to amass a large fortune, and
they now had every sort of luxury at their command. The Craycrofts as
well as the Bladens had formerly been neighbours of Mr. and Mrs.
Allerton.

Mrs. Bladen and Mrs. Craycroft happened to meet one morning in Mrs.
Allerton's little sitting-room. Mrs. Craycroft came in last, and Mrs.
Bladen, after stopping for a few minutes, pursued her discourse with her
usual volubility. It was on the subject of Mrs. Allerton and her
daughter getting new pelisses, or coats as they are more commonly called
in Philadelphia.

"I can assure you," said she, "now that the weather has become so cold,
people talk about your going to church in those three-cornered
cloth-shawls, which you know are only single, and were merely intended
for autumn and spring. They did very well when you first got them (for
the weather was then mild), but the season is now too far advanced to
wear shawls of any sort. You know everybody gets their new coats by
Christmas, and it is now after New-Year's."

"We would be very glad to have coats," replied Mrs. Allerton, "but they
are too expensive."

"Not so very," answered Mrs. Bladen. "To be sure, fine black cloth or
cassimere is the most fashionable for mourning coats. But many very
genteel people wear black levantine or black mode trimmed with crape.
Handsome silk coats would scarcely cost above twenty or twenty-five
dollars apiece."

"We cannot afford them," said Mrs. Allerton. "We must only refrain from
going out when the weather is very cold. I acknowledge that our shawls
are not sufficiently warm."

"Did you not all get new olive-coloured silk coats, just before Mr.
Allerton died?" inquired Mrs. Craycroft.

The abrupt mention of a name which they had long since found it almost
impossible to utter, brought tears into the eyes of the whole family.
There was a general silence, and Mrs. Bladen rose to depart, saying, "I
would recommend to you to get the coats as soon as possible, or the
winter will be over without them. And I can assure you as a friend, that
people do make their remarks. I am going into Second street; shall I
look among the best stores for some black levantine? or would you rather
have mode? But I had best bring you patterns of both: and shall I call
on Miss Facings and bespeak her to make the coats for you?"

"We thank you much," replied Mrs. Allerton, "but we will not give you
the trouble either to look for the silk, or to engage the mantua-maker.
We must for this winter dispense with new coats."

Mrs. Bladen then took her leave, saying, "Well, do as you please, but
people think it very strange that you should be still wearing your
shawls, now that the cold weather has set in."

Constance was glad that Mrs. Bladen had not in this instance carried
her point. But she grieved to think that her sister and nieces could not
have the comfort of wearing their coats because the olive-colour did not
comport with their mourning bonnets. For herself, having made no attempt
at mourning, Constance had no scruple as to appearing in hers.

When Mrs. Bladen was gone, Mrs. Craycroft spoke again, and said, "I
wonder how people can be so inconsiderate! But Mrs. Bladen never could
see things in their proper light. She ought to be ashamed of giving you
such advice. Now, I would recommend to you to have your olive silk coats
ripped apart, and dyed black, and then you can make them up again
yourselves. You know that if you were not in mourning, you might wear
them as they are; but as you have begun with black, I suppose it would
never do to be seen in coloured things also."

"I believe," replied Mrs. Allerton, "there is generally much trouble in
getting articles dyed--at least in this city, and that they are
frequently spoiled in the process."

"Your informants," said Mrs. Craycroft, "must have been peculiarly
unlucky in their dyers. I can recommend you to Mr. Copperas, who does
things beautifully, so that they look quite as good as new. He dyes for
Mrs. Narrowskirt and for Mrs. Dingy. I advise you by all means to send
your coats to him. And no doubt you have many other things, now lying by
as useless, that would be serviceable if dyed black."

"I believe I will take your advice," answered Mrs. Allerton.

Mrs. Craycroft then proceeded: "Situated as you are, Mrs. Allerton, I
need not say how much it behooves you to economize in everything you
possibly can; now for instance, I would suggest to you all to drink rye
coffee. And then as to tea, if you _must_ have tea of an evening, I know
a place where you can get it as low as half a dollar a pound--to be sure
it is only Hyson Skin. In _your_ family a pound of tea ought to go a
great way, for now, of course, you do not make it strong. And then, I
would advise you all to accustom yourselves to brown sugar in your tea;
it is nothing when you are used to it. Of course you always take it in
your coffee. And there is a baker not far off, that makes large loaves
of rye and Indian mixed. You will find it much cheaper than wheat. Of
course you are not so extravagant as to eat fresh bread. And as to
butter, if you cannot dispense with it altogether, I would suggest that
you should use the potted butter from the grocery stores. Some of it is
excellent. I suppose that of course you have entirely given up all
kinds of desserts, but if you should wish for anything of the kind on
Sundays, or after a cold dinner, you will find plain boiled rice
sweetened with a very little molasses, almost as good as a pudding. No
doubt the children will like it quite as well. You know, I suppose, that
if you defer going to market till near twelve o'clock you will always
get things much cheaper than if you go in the early part of the day; as
towards noon the market people are impatient to get home, and in their
hurry to be off, will sell for almost nothing whatever they may chance
to have left. In buying wood, let me recommend to you always to get it
as green as possible. To be sure green wood does not always make so good
a fire as that which is dry, neither does it kindle so well; but then
the slower it burns the longer it lasts, and it is therefore the
cheapest. And always get gum back-logs, for they scarcely burn at all. I
see you still keep your black woman Lucy. Now you will find it much
better to dismiss her, and take a bound girl about twelve or thirteen.
Then you know you would have no wages to pay, and your daughters, of
course, would not mind helping her with the work."

During this harangue, the colour came into Mrs. Allerton's face, and she
was about to answer in a manner that showed how acutely she was wounded
by the unfeeling impertinence of the speaker: but glancing at Constance
she saw something in her countenance that resembled a smile, and
perceived that she seemed rather amused than angry. Therefore Mrs.
Allerton suppressed her resentment, and made no reply.

When Mrs. Craycroft had departed, the mother and daughters warmly
deprecated her rudeness and insolence; but Constance, being by nature
very susceptible of the ridiculous, was much more inclined to laugh, and
succeeded in inducing her sister and the girls to regard it in the same
light that she did.

"After all," said Mrs. Allerton, "I think we will take Mrs. Craycroft's
advice about the dyeing. The olive coats may thus be turned to very good
account, and so may several other things of which we cannot now make use
because of their colour. It is true, that we can ill afford even the
expense of dyeing them; but still we are really very much in want of
such coats as we may wear in mourning."

Next day, the olive pelisses, which were very pretty and extremely well
made, were carefully ripped apart, and the silk was conveyed to the
dyer's, together with a small scarlet Canton crape shawl of Mrs.
Allerton's, which she thought would be convenient in cold weather to
wear over her shoulders when at home. The _materiel_ of the dismembered
coats was rolled up in as small a compass as possible, wrapped in
papers, and carried one afternoon by Isabella and Helen. Mr. Copperas
informed them that he only dyed on Thursdays, and as this was Friday
afternoon, they had come a day too late to have the things done that
week. Therefore the articles could not be put into the dye before next
Thursday, and then it would be another week before they could be
dressed. Dressing, in the dyer's phraseology, means stiffening and
ironing; and very frequently ironing only.

This delay was extremely inconvenient, as Mrs. Allerton and her
daughters were absolutely very much in need of the coats; yet there was
no remedy but patience. At the appointed time, two of the girls went to
bring home the silk, but were told by a small-featured, mild-spoken
Quaker woman, employed to attend the customers, that "the things were
dyed but not yet dressed."

"Will they be finished by to-morrow afternoon?" asked Isabella.

"I rather think they will not."

"By Saturday, then?"

"It's likely they will."

On Saturday, the girls went again. Still the articles, though dyed, were
not yet dressed: but they were promised for Tuesday--if nothing happened
to prevent.

Every few days, for near a fortnight, some of the Allerton family
repaired to the dyer's (and it was a very long walk) but without any
success--the things, though always dyed, were never dressed. And when
they expressed their disappointment, the Quaker woman regularly told
them: "Thee knows I did not say positive--we should never be too certain
of anything."

Finally, the silk was acknowledged to be dressed, and it was produced
and paid for; but the crape shawl was missing. A search was made for it,
but in vain; still the woman assured them that it could not be lost, as
nothing ever _was_ lost in James Copperas's house, adding: "I partly
promise thee, that if I live, I will find it for thee by to-morrow."

Next day, when she had done sewing, little Louisa went again for the
shawl. The woman now confessed that she had not been able to find it,
and said to Louisa: "I think, child, I would not advise thee to trouble
thyself to come after it again. It seems a pity to wear out thy shoes
too much. One should not be too certain of anything in this life, and
therefore I am not free to say that thy shawl is lost; but it seems to
me likely that it will never be found."

"My mother will be sorry," said Louisa, "for she really wants the shawl,
and will regret to lose it."

The little girl then turned to depart, and had reached the front door
when the woman called her back, saying: "But thee'll pay for the
dyeing?"[86]

[Footnote 86: Fact.]

"What!" exclaimed Louisa, "after you have lost the shawl?"

"But I can assure thee it _was_ dyed," replied the woman. "It actually
_was_ dyed, I can speak positive to that, and we cannot afford to lose
the dyeing."

Louisa, child as she was, had acuteness enough to perceive the intended
imposition, and, without making an answer, she slipped out of the door:
though the woman caught her by the skirt, and attempted to stop her,
repeating: "But we can't afford to lose the dyeing."

Louisa, however, disengaged herself from her grasp, and ran down the
street, for some distance, as fast as possible--afraid to look back lest
the Quaker woman should be coming after her for the money she had
brought to pay for the shawl, and which she took care to hold tightly in
her hand.

In attempting to make up the coats, it was found impossible to put the
different pieces together to the same advantage as before. Also, the
silk did not look well, being dyed of a dull brownish black, and
stiffened to the consistence of paper. The skirts and sleeves had shrunk
much in dyeing, and the pieces that composed the bodies had been
ravelled, frayed, and pulled so crooked in dressing, that they had lost
nearly all shape. It was impossible to make up the deficiencies by
matching the silk with new, as none was to be found that bore sufficient
resemblance to it. "Ah!" thought Constance, "how well these coats looked
when in their original state! The shade of olive was so beautiful, the
silk so soft and glossy, and they fitted so perfectly well."

When put together under all these disadvantages, the coats looked so
badly that the girls were at first unwilling to wear them, except in
extreme cold weather--particularly as in coming out of church they
overheard whispers among the ladies in the crowd, of "That's a dyed
silk"--"Any one may see that those coats have been dyed."

They trimmed them with crape, in hopes of making them look better; but
the crape wore out almost immediately, and in fact it had to be taken
off before the final close of the cold weather.

Spring came at last, and the Allerton family, having struggled through a
melancholy and comfortless winter, had taken a larger house in a better
part of the town, and made arrangements for commencing their school, in
which Constance was to be chief instructress. Isabella and Helen, whose
ages were sixteen and fourteen, were to assist in teaching some
branches, but to continue receiving lessons in others. Louisa was to be
one of the pupils.

About a fortnight before their intended removal to their new residence,
one afternoon when none of the family were at home, except Constance,
she was surprised by the visit of a friend from New Bedford, a young
gentleman who had been absent three years on a whaling voyage, in a ship
in which he had the chief interest, his father being owner of several
vessels in that line.

Edmund Lessingham was an admirer of ladies generally: but during his
long voyage he found by his thinking incessantly of Constance, and not
at all of any other female, that he was undoubtedly in love with her; a
fact which he had not suspected till the last point of Massachusetts
faded from his view. He resolved to improve his intimacy with our
heroine, should he find her still at liberty, on his return to New
Bedford; and if he perceived a probability of success, to make her at
once an offer of his hand. When Lessingham came home, he was much
disappointed to hear that Constance Allerton had been living for more
than a twelvemonth in Philadelphia. However, he lost no time in coming
on to see her.

When he was shown into the parlour, she was sitting with her head bent
over her work. She started up on being accosted by his well-remembered
voice. Not having heard of the death of her brother, and not seeing her
in mourning, Edmund Lessingham was at a loss to account for the tears
that filled her eyes, and for the emotion that suffocated her voice when
she attempted to reply to his warm expressions of delight at seeing her
again. He perceived that she was thinner and paler than when he had last
seen her, and he feared that all was not right. She signed to him to sit
down, and was endeavouring to compose herself, when Mrs. Craycroft was
shown into the room. That lady stared with surprise at seeing a very
handsome young gentleman with Constance, who hastily wiped her eyes and
introduced Mr. Lessingham.

Mrs. Craycroft took a seat, and producing two or three morning caps from
her reticule, she said in her usual loud voice, "Miss Allerton, I have
brought these caps for you to alter--I wish you to do them immediately,
that they may be washed next week. I find the borders rather too broad,
and the headpieces too large (though to be sure I did cut them out
myself), so I want you to rip them apart, and make the headpieces
smaller, and the borders narrower, and then whip them and sew them on
again. I was out the other day when you sent home my husband's shirts
with the bill, but when you have done the caps I will pay you for all
together. What will you charge for making a dozen aprons of bird's eye
diaper for my little Anna? You must not ask much, for I want them quite
plain--mere bibs--they are always the best for babies. Unless you will
do them very cheap, I may as well make them myself."

The face of Lessingham became scarlet, and, starting from his chair, he
traversed the room in manifest perturbation; sympathizing with what he
supposed to be the confusion and mortification of Constance, and
regretting that the sex of Mrs. Craycroft prevented him from knocking
her down.

Constance, however, rallied, replying with apparent composure to Mrs.
Craycroft on the points in question, and calmly settling the bargain for
the bird's-eye aprons--she knew that it is only in the eyes of the
vulgar-minded and the foolish that a woman is degraded by exerting her
ingenuity or her talents as a means of support.

"Well," said Mrs. Craycroft, "you may send for the aprons to-morrow, and
I wish you to hurry with them as fast as you can--when I give out work,
I never like it to be kept long on hand. I will pay you for the other
things when the aprons are done."

Mrs. Craycroft then took her leave, and Constance turned to the window
to conceal from Lessingham the tears that in spite of her self-command
were now stealing down her cheeks.

Lessingham hastily went up to her, and taking her hand, he said, with
much feeling: "Dear Constance--Miss Allerton I mean--what has happened
during my absence? Why do I see you thus? But I fear that I distress you
by inquiring. I perceive that you are not happy--that you have suffered
much, and that your circumstances are changed. Can I do nothing to
console you or to improve your situation? Let me at once have a right to
do so--let me persuade you to unite your fate with mine, and put an end,
I hope for ever, to these unmerited, these intolerable humiliations."

"No, Mr. Lessingham," said Constance, deeply affected, "I will not take
advantage of the generous impulse that has led you thus suddenly to make
an offer, which, perhaps, in a calmer moment, and on cooler
consideration, you may think of with regret."

"Regret!" exclaimed Lessingham, pressing her hand between both of his,
and surveying her with a look of the fondest admiration, "dearest
Constance, how little you know your own value--how little you suppose
that during our long separation--"

Here he was interrupted in his impassioned address by the entrance of
Mrs. Allerton and her daughters. Constance hastily withdrew her hand and
presented him as Mr. Lessingham, a friend of hers from New Bedford.

Being much agitated, she in a few minutes retired to compose herself in
her own apartment. The girls soon after withdrew, and Lessingham,
frankly informing Mrs. Allerton that he was much and seriously
interested in her sister-in-law, begged to know some particulars of her
present condition.

Mrs. Allerton, who felt it impossible to regard Mr. Lessingham as a
stranger, gave him a brief outline of the circumstances of Constance's
residence with them, and spoke of her as the guardian-angel of the
family. "She is not only," said her sister-in-law, "one of the most
amiable and affectionate, but also one of the most sensible and
judicious of women. Never, never have we in any instance acted contrary
to her advice, without eventually finding cause to regret that we did
so." And Mrs. Allerton could not forbear casting her eyes over her
mourning dress.

Lessingham, though the praises of Constance were music in his ears, had
tact enough to take his leave, fearing that his visit was interfering
with the tea-hour of the family.

Next morning, the weather was so mild as to enable them to sit up stairs
with their sewing; for latterly, the state of their fuel had not allowed
them to keep fire except in the parlour and kitchen. Lessingham called
and inquired for Constance. She came down, and saw him alone. He
renewed, in explicit terms, the offer he had so abruptly made her on
the preceding afternoon. Constance, whose heart had been with Lessingham
during the whole of his long absence, had a severe struggle before she
could bring herself to insist on their union being postponed for at
least two years: during which time she wished, for the sake of the
family, to remain with them, and get the school firmly established; her
nieces, meanwhile, completing their education, and acquiring, under her
guidance, a proficiency in the routine of teaching.

"But surely," said Lessingham, "you understand that I wish you to make
over to your sister-in-law the whole of your aunt Ilford's legacy? You
shall bring me nothing but your invaluable self."

Though grateful for the generosity and disinterestedness of her lover,
Constance knew that the interest of her ten thousand dollars was, of
course, not sufficient to support Mrs. Allerton and her children without
some other source of income; and she was convinced that they would never
consent to become pensioners on Lessingham's bounty, kind and liberal as
he was. She therefore adhered to her determination of remaining with her
sister and nieces till she had seen them fairly afloat, and till she
could leave them in a prosperous condition. And Lessingham was obliged
to yield to her conviction that she was acting rightly, and to consent
that the completion of his happiness should accordingly be deferred for
two years.

He remained in Philadelphia till he had seen the Allerton family
established in their new habitation, and he managed with much delicacy
to aid them in the expenses of fitting it up.

The school was commenced with a much larger number of pupils than had
been anticipated. It increased rapidly under the judicious
superintendence of Constance: and in the course of two years she had
rendered Isabella and Helen so capable of filling her place, that all
the parents were perfectly satisfied to continue their children with
them. At the end of that time, Lessingham (who, in the interval, had
made frequent visits to Philadelphia) came to claim the promised hand of
his Constance. They were married--she having first transferred the whole
of her little property to her brother's widow.

At the earnest desire of Lessingham, Mrs. Allerton consented that Louisa
should live in future with her beloved aunt Constance; and consequently
the little girl accompanied them to New Bedford.

Mrs. Allerton and her family went on and prospered--her son was
everything that a parent could wish--her children all married
advantageously--and happily she has not yet had occasion to put in
practice her resolution of never again wearing mourning: though
principle, and not necessity, is the motive which will henceforward
deter her from complying with that custom.


THE END.





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