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Title: Camperdown - or, News from our neighbourhood: being sketches
Author: Griffith, Mary
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                              CAMPERDOWN;
                               NEWS FROM
                           OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD:
                                 BEING
                               SKETCHES,


                                   BY

                 THE AUTHOR OF “OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD,” &C.


                            _PHILADELPHIA_:
                        CAREY, LEA & BLANCHARD.

                                 1836.



Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836, by CAREY,
LEA & BLANCHARD, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              DEDICATION.


                   THIS LITTLE VOLUME IS DEDICATED TO

                          MRS. WILLIAM MINOT,


A lady distinguished as a writer and an artist; and esteemed by her
friends for her domestic virtues. With her accomplishments, and
excellence of character, she would be appreciated any where; but it has
been her peculiar good fortune to belong to Boston; a place, above all
others, wherein a woman receives that high respect and consideration to
which she is so justly entitled.



                           Table of Contents


                      DEDICATION.
                      PREFACE.
                      THREE HUNDRED YEARS HENCE.
                      THE SURPRISE.
                      THE SEVEN SHANTIES.
                      THE LITTLE COUPLE.
                      THE BAKER’S DOZEN.
                      THE THREAD AND NEEDLE STORE.



                                PREFACE.


A few years ago a book was published, called “Our Neighbourhood;” and
those who read it, will recollect that the author intended, in the
second series, to give a short sketch of some of the most conspicuous
characters therein mentioned. The second series is now presented to the
public, and is called “Camperdown,” the name of our neighbourhood. The
work will be continued, under different titles, until the author has
accomplished the object stated in the preface to the first series; and
which the tenor of the two volumes will more fully explain.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                       THREE HUNDRED YEARS HENCE.



                               CHAPTER I.


It is seldom that men begin to muse and sit alone in the twilight until
they arrive at the age of fifty, for until that period the cares of the
world and the education of their young children engross all their
thoughts. Edgar Hastings, our hero, at thirty years of age was still
unmarried, but he had gone through a vast deal of excitement, and the
age of musing had been anticipated by twenty years. He was left an
orphan at fourteen, with a large income, and the gentleman who had the
management of his estates proved faithful, so that when a person of
talents and character was wanted to travel with the young man, a liberal
recompense was at hand to secure his services. From the age of fourteen
to twenty-one he was therefore travelling over Europe; but his
education, instead of receiving a check, went on much more
advantageously than if he had remained at home, and he became master of
all the modern languages in the very countries where they were spoken.
The last twelve months of his seven years’ tour was spent in England,
being stationary in London only during the sitting of Parliament.

His talents thus cultivated, and his mind enlarged by liberal travel, he
returned to America well worthy the friendship and attention of those
who admire and appreciate a character of his stamp. He had not therefore
been back more than a year, before his society was courted by some of
the best men in the country; but previous to his settling himself into
_a home_, he thought it but proper to travel through his own country
also. His old friend, still at his elbow, accompanied him; but at the
close of the excursion, which lasted nearly two years, he was taken ill
of a fever caught from an exposure near the Lakes, and died after a few
days’ illness.

Edgar Hastings was now entirely alone in the world, and he would have
fallen into a deep melancholy, had he not engaged in politics. This
occupied him incessantly; and, as his purse was ample and his heart
liberally disposed, he found the demands on his time gradually
increasing. He had occupations heaped upon him—for rich, disengaged, and
willing, every body demanded his aid; and such were the enthusiasm and
generosity of his nature, that no one applied in vain.

His first intention, on returning from his tour through his own country,
was to improve an estate he had purchased in Pennsylvania, promising
himself an amiable and beautiful wife to share his happiness; but
politics interfered, and left him no time even for the luxury of musing
in the evening. But a man can get weary of politics as well as of any
other hard up-hill work; so, at the end of seven years, seeing that the
young trees which he had planted were giving shade, and that the house
that they were to overshadow was not yet begun, he fell to musing. He
wanted something, likewise, to love and protect—so he fell to musing
about that. He wished to convert a brisk stream, that fell down the side
of a hill opposite to the south end of his grounds, into a waterfall—so
he fell to musing about that. He wanted to make an opening through a
noble piece of woods that bounded the north side, that he might catch a
view of the village steeple—so he fell to musing about that. A beautiful
winding river lay in front of his estate, the bank of which sloped down
to the water’s edge; this tranquillizing scene likewise operated on his
feelings, so that politics faded away, and his mind became calm and
serene. Thus it was, that at thirty years of age he had these fits of
abstraction, and he became a muser.

Men of his age—sensible men—are not so easily pleased as those who are
younger. He admired graceful, easy manners, and a polished mind, far
before beauty or wealth; and thus fastidious, he doubted whether he
should marry at all. Every now and then, too, an old bachelor feeling
came over him, and he feared that when his beloved twilight found him
sitting under the noble porticos which he intended to build, his wife
would drag him away to some far distant route in the city; or that she
would, untimely, fill the house with visiters. So, with all the
dispositions in the world, he lived alone, though every fit of musing
ended by finding a wife at his side, gazing on the dim and fading
landscape with him.

While his house was building, he occupied a small stone farm house, at
the extremity of the estate. Here he brought his valuable books and
prints, well secured from damp and insects by aromatic oils; here did he
draw his plans during the day, and here, under a small piazza, did he
meditate in the evening, transferring his musings to the little parlour
as soon as the damp evenings of autumn compelled him to sit within
doors.

Adjoining his estate lived a quaker, by the name of Harley, a steady,
upright man, loving his ease, as all quakers do, but having no objection
to see his neighbours finer or wiser than himself. He took a fancy to
our hero, and the beloved evening hour often found him sitting on the
settee with Hastings, when, after enjoying together an animated
conversation, he also would fall into the deep feeling which fading
scenery, and the energy of such a character as his young friend’s, would
naturally excite in a mind so tranquil as his own.

At length, the quiet quaker spoke of his daughter, but it was not with a
view to draw Edgar’s attention; he mentioned her incidentally, and the
young man was delighted. In a moment, his imagination depicted her as a
beautiful, graceful, accomplished creature; and there could be no doubt
that she was amiable and gentle; so he strolled over to his friend’s
house, and was regularly introduced to her. She _was_ beautiful, and
amiable, and gentle—all this he saw at a glance; but, alas! she had no
accomplishment farther than that she wrote an exquisitely clear, neat
hand, and was an excellent botanist and florist. But “propinquity”
softened down all objections. Every time he strayed away to Pine Grove
the eligibilities of the match became more apparent, and his love of
grace and polish of mind seemed to be of comparatively little
importance, when he listened to the breathings of the innocent quaker,
who thought all of beauty was in a flower, and who infinitely preferred
the perfume of a rose or a lilac, to the smell of a dozen lamps in a
crowded room. Her name was Ophelia, too.

Mr. Harley, or friend Harley as he was called, was nowise rigid in his
creed; for the recent lawsuits between the Orthodox and Hicksite quakers
had very much weakened his attachments to the forms of quakerism. He
found that the irritable portion of his society had great difficulty in
keeping _hands off_, and in preserving the decorum of their order.
Peaceful feelings, equable temperaments, being the foundation—the
cement, which, for so many years, had bound the fraternity together,
were now displaced for the anger and turbulence so often displayed by
other sects of Christians.

Litigations amongst themselves—the law—had done that which neither fine
nor imprisonment, the derision nor impositions of other sects, could
accomplish. The strong cement had cracked along the edge of the
bulwarks, where strength was the most necessary, and the waters of
discord and disunion were insinuating themselves into every opening. The
superstructure was fast crumbling away, and friend Harley looked to the
no very distant period when his posterity should cast off the quaker
dress, and naturally follow the customs and obey the general laws which
govern the whole body of Americans.

This was sensible Valentine Harley’s opinion and feeling; in rules of
faith he had never been inducted—are there any quakers, apart from a few
of their leaders, who can define what their religious faith is? So,
although he loved the forms in which he had been educated—although he
wore the quaker dress, and made his son and daughter do the same—yet
when Edgar Hastings left off musing in the twilight, and was seen at
that hour walking slowly down the glen, with Ophelia hanging on his arm,
he only heaved a sigh, and wished that the young man said _thee_ and
_thou_. But this sigh was far from being a painful one; he felt that
when the obscure grave, which shuts out all trace of the quaker’s place
of rest, should close over him, his memory would live fresh and green in
the heart of his daughter. Far more should he be reverenced, if he gave
her gentle spirit to the strong arm, the highly gifted mind of such a
man as Edgar Hastings, than if he compelled her to marry a man of their
own order—to the one who was now preferring his suit, friend Hezekiah
Connerthwaite, a rich, respectable, yet narrow minded and uneducated
man.

That he consented to his daughter’s marriage willingly, and without an
inward struggle, was a thing not to be expected; but he was too manly,
too virtuous, to use a mean subterfuge with his sect that he might
escape the odium which falls on the parent who allows his daughter to
marry out of the pale. He would not suffer his child to wed
clandestinely, when in reality his heart and reason approved of her
choice; when her lover’s merits and claims, and her own happiness,
strongly overbalanced his scruples. She might have married privately,
and her father, thus rid of the blame of consenting to her apostacy,
could, as usual, take his seat in their place of worship, without the
fear of excommunication. But Valentine Harley scorned such duplicity and
foolishness; Ophelia was therefore married under her father’s roof, and
received her father’s blessing; and here, in this well regulated house,
Edgar Hastings spent the first year of his wedded life. Here, too, his
son was born; and now no longer a being without kindred or a home, he
found how much happier were the feelings of a husband and father than
those of a selfish, isolated being.

As he was building a spacious, elegant, and durable mansion, one that
should last for many years, he went slowly to work. It was begun a year
before his marriage, and it was not until his young son was three months
old that he could remove his family, of which Mr. Harley now made a
part, to their permanent home. The younger Harley, who had married and
settled at a distance, being induced to come among them, again to take
the property at Pine Grove, thus adding another link to the bond of
friendship which this happy marriage had created. In the month of May
the younger Harley was expected to take possession of his father’s
house.

It was now February. The new house was completely furnished, and every
thing ready for their removal as soon as Mr. Hastings returned from New
York, where he had some business of importance to transact. As it called
for immediate attention, he deferred unpacking his books, or indeed
taking them from the farm house, until his return. It was with great
reluctance that he left his wife, who grieved as if the separation was
to last for years instead of a fortnight; but he was compelled to go, so
after a thousand charges to take care of her health, and imploring her
father to watch over her and his little boy, he once more embraced them
and tore himself away. His wife followed him with her eyes until she saw
him pass their new habitation, cross over the stile and turn the angle;
here he stopped to take one more look at the spot where all he loved
dwelt, and seeing the group still looking towards him, he waved his
handkerchief, and a few steps farther hid him from their sight.

The farm house was at the extremity of the estate, and as it lay on the
road leading to the ferry, he thought he would look at the fire which
had been burning in the grate all the morning. Mr. Harley said he would
extinguish it in the afternoon, and lock up the house, but still he felt
a curiosity to see whether all was safe. His servant, with the baggage,
had preceded him, and was now waiting for him at the boat; so he hurried
in, and passed from the hall to the middle room, where the books were.
Here he found an old man sitting, apparently warming himself by the
still glowing coals, who made an apology for the intrusion, by saying
that he was very cold, and seeing a fire burning, for he had looked in
at the window, he made bold to enter.

Mr. Hastings bade him sit still, but the man said he was about to cross
the ferry and must hurry on, observing that he thought there would be a
great thaw before morning, “and in that case,” said he, pointing up to
the hill, at the foot of which the house stood, “that great bank of snow
will come down and crush the roof of this house.” Hastings looked up and
saw the dangerous position of the snow bank, and likewise apprehending a
thaw, he begged the man to hurry on and tell his servant to go over with
his baggage, and get all things in readiness for him on the other side,
and that he would wait for the next boat, which crossed in fifteen
minutes after the other. He gave the poor man a small piece of money,
and after he left the house Hastings wrote a note about the snow bank to
Mr. Harley, which he knew that gentleman would see, as he was to be
there in the afternoon. Knowing that he should hear the steam boat bell,
and feeling cold, he drew an old fashioned chair, something in the form
of an easy chair, and fell into one of his old fits of musing. He
thought it would not be prudent to return to his family merely to say
farewell again, even if there were time, but a melancholy _would_ creep
over him, as if a final separation were about to take place. In vain he
tried to rouse himself and shake it off; he closed his eyes, as if by
doing so he could shut out thought, and it did, for in less than five
minutes he was fast asleep.



                              CHAPTER II.


Hearing a noise, he suddenly started up. It was dusk, and having lain
long in one position, he felt so stiff as to move with difficulty; on
turning his head, he saw two strangers looking at him with wonder and
pity. “Is the steamboat ready?” exclaimed he, still confused with his
long sleep. “Has the bell rung, gentlemen? Bless me, I have overslept
myself—what o’clock is it? Why, it is almost dark—I am ashamed of
myself.”

Finding, after one or two attempts, that he could not get up easily, the
two strangers hastened forward and assisted him to rise. They led him to
the door, but here the confusion of his mind seemed rather to increase
than diminish, for he found himself in a strange place. To be sure,
there lay the river, and the hills on the opposite shore still rose in
grandeur; but that which was a wide river, now appeared to be a narrow
stream; and where his beautiful estate lay, stretching far to the south,
was covered by a populous city, the steeples and towers of which were
still illuminated by the last rays of the sun.

“Gentlemen,” said the bewildered man, “I am in a strange perplexity. I
fell asleep at noon in this house, which belongs to me, and after
remaining in this deep repose for six hours I awoke, and find myself
utterly at a loss to comprehend where I am. Surely I am in a dream, or
my senses are leaving me.”

“You are not dreaming, neither is your mind wandering; a strange fate is
yours,” said the elder of the two young men. “When you are a little more
composed we will tell you how all this has happened; meantime, you must
come with me; I shall take you where you will find a home and a
welcome.”

“What is your name,” said the astonished Hastings, “and how have I been
transported hither.”

“My name is Edgar Hastings,” said the young man; “and I feel assured
that yours is the same. If I thought you had sufficient fortitude to
hear the strange events which have occurred, I would tell you at once;
but you had better come with me, and during the evening you shall know
all.”

Hastings suffered himself to be led by the two strangers, as he felt
cramped and chilly; but every step he took revived some singular train
of thought. As he proceeded, he saw what appeared to be his own house,
for the shape, dimensions and situation were like the one he built, and
the distance and direction from his farm house was the same. What
astonished him most was the trees; when he saw them last they were
silver pines, chestnuts, catalpas, locusts and sycamores—now the few
that remained were only oak and willow; they were of enormous size, and
appeared aged.

“I must wait, I see,” said poor Hastings, “for an explanation of all
this; my hope is, that I am dreaming. Here lie trees newly felled,
immense trees they are, and they grew on a spot where I formerly had a
range of offices. I shall awake to-morrow, no doubt,” said he, faintly
smiling, “and find myself recompensed for this miserable dream. Pray
what is your name?”—turning to the younger of the two men.

“My name is Valentine Harley, and I am related to this gentleman; our
family have, at intervals, intermarried, for upwards of three hundred
years.”

“Valentine Harley!” exclaimed Hastings, “that is the name of my wife’s
father. There never was any of the name of Valentine, to my knowledge,
but his; and I did not know that there was another Edgar Hastings in
existence, excepting myself and my young son.”

They were now in front of the house—the massive north portico had been
replaced by another of different shape; the windows were altered; the
vestibule, the main hall, the staircase, no longer the same—yet the
general plan was familiar, and when they opened the door of a small room
in the north wing, he found it exactly to correspond with what he had
intended for his laboratory.

After persuading him to take some refreshments, they conducted him to
his chamber, and the two young men related to the astonished Hastings
what follows. We shall not stop to speak of his surprise, his
sufferings, his mortal agony—nor of the interruptions which naturally
took place; but the group sat up till midnight. It is needless to say
that not one of the three closed his eyes the remainder of the night.

“Early this morning,” began the younger Edgar Hastings—“and be not
dismayed when I tell you, that instead of the 15th of February, 1835, it
is now the 15th of April, 2135—several of us stood looking at some
labourers who were at work cutting a street through the adjoining hill.
Our engines had succeeded in removing the trees, rocks and stones, which
lay embedded in the large mounds of earth, and about ten o’clock the
street, with the exception of the great mass which covered your farm
house, was entirely cut through to the river. This portion of it would
have been also removed, but both from papers in my possession and
tradition, a stone building, containing many valuable articles, was
supposed to be buried there, by the fall of the hill near which it
stood.

“To extend the city, which is called Hamilton, my property, or rather, I
should say, your property, was from time to time sold, till at length
nothing remains in our possession but this house and a few acres of
ground; the last we sold was that strip on which your farm house stands.
It was with great reluctance that I parted with this portion, as I could
not but consider it as your sepulchre, which in fact it has proved to
be.

“When they commenced cutting through the hill the top was covered with
large oaks, some of which, when sawed through, showed that they were
upwards of a century old; and one in particular, which stood on the
boundary line, had been designated as a landmark in all the old title
deeds of two hundred years’ standing.

“About three hours before you were liberated the workmen came to a solid
stratum of ice, a phenomenon so extraordinary, that all the people in
the vicinity gathered to the spot to talk and ponder over it. An aged
man, upwards of ninety, but with his faculties unimpaired, was among the
number present. He said, that in his youth his great grandfather had
often spoken of a tradition respecting this hill. It was reported to
have been much higher, and that a ravine, or rather a precipitous slope,
a little below the road, was quite filled up by the overthrow of the
hill. That the fall had been occasioned by an earthquake, and the peak
of the hill, after dislodging a huge rock, had entirely covered up a
stone building which contained a large treasure. He very well remembered
hearing his aged relative say, that the hill was covered with immense
pines and chestnuts.

“The truth of part of this story was corroborated by ancient documents
in my possession, and I hastened to my library to search for some old
family papers, which had been transmitted to me with great care. I soon
found what I wanted, and with a map of the estate, in which, from father
to son, all the alterations of time had been carefully marked down, I
was able to point out the exact spot on which the old stone farm house
stood. In a letter from a gentleman named Valentine Harley, which, with
several from the same hand, accompanied the different maps, an account
was given of the avalanche which buried the house and filled up the
ravine and gap below. As the originals were likely to be destroyed by
time, they had been copied in a large book, containing all the records
of the family, which, from period to period, receive the attestation of
the proper recording officer, so that you may look upon these documents
as a faithful transcript of every thing of moment that has occurred
within the last three hundred years. It was only last November that I
entered an account of the sale of this very strip of land in which the
stone house lay.

“Here is the first thing on record—a letter, as I observed, from the
father-in-law of Edgar Hastings, my great ancestor—but I forget that it
is of you he speaks. Believe me, dear sir, that most deeply do we
sympathize with you; but your case is so singular, and the period in
which all this suffering occurred is so very remote, that your strong
sense will teach you to bear your extraordinary fate like a man. Allow
me to read the letter; it is directed to James Harley, son to the above
mentioned Valentine Harley.

    “‘Second month, 17th, 1834. My dear son—Stay where thou art, for
    thy presence will but aggravate our grief. I will give thee all
    the particulars of the dreadful calamity which has befallen us. I
    have not yet recovered from the shock, and thy sister is in the
    deepest wo; but it is proper that thou shouldst know the truth,
    and there is no one to tell thee but myself. On Monday the 15th,
    my dear son Edgar Hastings took a tender farewell of thy sister
    and his babe, shaking hands with me in so earnest and solemn a
    manner, that one prone to superstition would have said it was
    prophetic of evil. We saw him walk briskly along the road until
    the angle, which thou knowest is made by the great hill, shut him
    from our sight; but just before he turned the angle he cast a look
    towards the house wherein all his treasure lay, and seeing that we
    were watching his steps, he waved his handkerchief and
    disappeared. His intention, thou knowest, was to proceed to New
    York; Samuel, his faithful servant, was to accompany him, and had
    gone forward in the carriage with the baggage, as Edgar preferred
    to walk to the boat. Thy poor sister and myself stood on the old
    piazza waiting until the little steamboat—it was the Black
    Hawk—should turn the great bend and appear in sight, for it was
    natural, thou knowest, to linger and look at the vessel which held
    one so dear to us both. It was the first time that thy sister had
    been separated from Edgar, and she stood weeping silently, leaning
    on my arm, as the little steamboat shot briskly round the bend and
    appeared full in sight. Thou must recollect that the channel
    brings the boat nearly opposite the stone farm house, and even at
    that distance, although we could not distinguish features or
    person, yet we fancied we saw the waving of a handkerchief. At
    that instant the Black Hawk blew up, every thing went asunder, and
    to my affrighted soul the boat appeared to rise many feet out of
    the water. I cannot paint to thee our agony, or speak of the
    profound grief, the unextinguishable grief, of thy dear sister;
    she lies still in silent wo, and who is there, save her Maker, who
    dares to comfort her.

    “‘I told thee in a previous letter, written I believe on the 12th,
    that I apprehended a sudden thaw. I mentioned my fears to our dear
    Edgar, and with his usual prudence he gave orders to strengthen
    some of the embankments below the ravine. Among other things I
    thought of his valuable books and instruments, which still
    remained in the stone farm house, and that very afternoon I
    intended to have them removed to Elmwood. At the instant the
    dreadful explosion took place, the great snow bank, which thou
    recollectest lay above the house in the hollow of the hill, slid
    down and entirely covered the building; and, in another second,
    the high peak of the hill, heavily covered with large pines, fell
    down and buried itself in the ravine and gap below. The building
    and all its valuable contents lie buried deep below the immense
    mass of earth, but we stop not in our grief to care for it, as he
    who delighted in them is gone from us for ever.

    “‘Thy sister, thy poor sister, when the first horrible shock was
    over, would cling to the hope that Edgar might be spared, and it
    was with the greatest difficulty that I could prevent her from
    flying to the spot where the crowd had collected. Alas! no one
    lived to tell how death had overtaken them. Of the five persons
    engaged on board, three of their bodies have since been found;
    this was in dragging the water. It seems there were but few
    passengers, perhaps only our beloved Edgar, his poor servant
    Samuel, and one or two others. An old man was seen to enter the
    boat just as she was moving off; _his_ body was found on the bank,
    and on searching his pockets a small piece of silver, a quarter of
    a dollar, was taken out, which I knew in a moment; it was mine
    only an hour before, and had three little crosses deeply indented
    on the rim, with a hole in the centre of the coin; I made these
    marks on it the day before, for a particular purpose; I could
    therefore identify the money at once. About an hour before Edgar
    left us, thinking he might want small silver, I gave him a
    handful, and this piece was among the number. He must have given
    it to the man as soon as he got on board, perhaps for charity, as
    the man was poor, and probably had begged of him. This at once
    convinced me that our dear Edgar was in the fatal boat. We have
    made every exertion to recover the body, but are still
    unsuccessful; nor can we find that of our poor faithful Samuel.
    The body of the horse was seen floating down the river yesterday;
    and the large trunk, valueless thing now, was found but this
    morning near the stone fence on the opposite shore.

    “‘There were some valuable parchments, title deeds, in a small
    leather valise, which our dear Edgar carried himself—but what do
    we care for such things now, or for the gold pieces which he also
    had in the same case. Alas! we think of nothing but of the loss of
    him, thy much valued brother. Edgar Hastings has been taken from
    us, and although thy poor sister is the greatest sufferer, yet
    _all_ mourn.

    “‘Offer up thy prayers, my son, that God will please to spare thy
    sister’s reason; if that can be preserved, time will soften this
    bitter grief, and some little comfort will remain, for she has
    Edgar’s boy to nourish and protect. As to me, tranquil as I am
    compelled to be before her, I find that my chief pleasure, my
    happiness, is for ever gone. Edgar was superior to most men, ay,
    to any man living, and so excellent was he in heart, and so
    virtuous and upright in all his ways, that I trust his pure spirit
    has ascended to the Great Being who gave it.

    “‘Do not come to us just now, unless it be necessary to thy peace
    of mind; but if thou shouldst come, ask not to see thy sister, for
    the sight of any one, save me and her child, is most painful to
    her.

    “‘Kiss thy babe, and bid him not forget his afflicted grandfather.
    God bless thee and thy kind wife.—Adieu, my son.

                                                   VALENTINE HARLEY.’”

It need not be said that Edgar Hastings was plunged in profound grief at
hearing this epistle read; his excellent father, his beloved wife, his
darling child, were brought before him, fresh as when he last saw them;
and now the withering thought came over him that he was to see them no
more! After a few moments spent in bitter anguish, he raised his head,
and motioned the young man to proceed.

“Meantime the workmen proceeded in their labours, and so great was the
anxiety of all, that upwards of fifty more hands were employed to assist
in removing the thick layer of ice which apparently covered the whole
building. When the ice was removed, we came immediately to the crushed
roof of the house, into which several of the labourers would have worked
their way had we not withheld them. After placing the engines in front
they soon cleared a road to the entrance, and by sundown Valentine
Harley and myself stood before the doorway of the low stone farm house.

“It was not without great emotion that we came thus suddenly in view of
a building which had lain under such a mass of earth for three
centuries. We are both, I trust, men of strong and tender feelings, and
we could not but sigh over the disastrous fate of our great ancestor,
distant as was the period of his existence. We had often thought of it,
for it was the story of our childhood, and every document had been
religiously preserved. We stood for a few moments looking at the
entrance in silence, for among other letters there were two or three,
written late in life by your faithful and excellent wife—was not her
name Ophelia?”

“It was, it was,” said the afflicted man; “go on, and ask me no
questions, for my reason is unsteady.”

“In one of these letters she suggested the possibility that her beloved
husband might have been buried under the ruins; that the thought had
sometimes struck her; but her father believed otherwise. That within a
few years an old sailor had returned to his native place, and as it was
near Elmwood, he called on her to state that it was his firm belief that
Mr. Hastings did not perish in the Black Hawk. His reason for this
belief was, that on the way to the ship he encountered an old friend,
just at that moment leaving the low stone building. ‘I wanted him,’ said
the old sailor, ‘to jump in the wagon and go with me to the wharf, but
he refused, as he had business on the other side of the river. Besides,
said my friend, the gentleman within, pointing to the door, has given me
a quarter of a dollar to go forward and tell the captain of the Black
Hawk that he cannot cross this trip. This gentleman, he said, was Mr.
Hastings.’

“Another letter stated—I think it was written by the wife of James
Harley, your brother-in-law—that, in addition to the above, the old
sailor stated, that the ship in which he sailed had not raised anchor
yet, when they heard the explosion of the Black Hawk, of which fact they
became acquainted by means of a little fishing boat that came along
side, and which saw her blow up. He observed to some one near, that if
that was the case, an old shipmate of his had lost his life. The sailor
added likewise, that he had been beating about the world for many years,
but at length growing tired, and finding old age creeping on him, he
determined to end his days in his native village. Among the recitals of
early days was the bursting of the Black Hawk and the death of Mr.
Hastings, which latter fact he contradicted, stating his reasons for
believing that you were not in the boat. The idea of your being buried
under the ruins, and the dread that you might have perished with hunger,
so afflicted the poor Lady Ophelia that she fell into a nervous fever,
of which she died.”

“Say no more—tell me nothing farther,” said the poor sufferer; “I can
listen no longer—good night—good night—leave me alone.”

The young men renewed the fire, and were about to depart, when he called
them back.

“Excuse this emotion—but my son—tell me of him; did he perish?”

“No—he lived to see his great grandchildren all married: I think he was
upwards of ninety when he died.”

“And what relation are you to him?”

“I am the great grandson of your great grandson,” said Edgar Hastings
the younger; “and this young man is the eighth in descent from your
brother, James Harley. We both feel respect and tenderness for you, and
it shall be the business of our lives to make you forget your griefs. Be
comforted, therefore, for we are your children. In the morning you shall
see my wife and children. Meantime, as we have not much more to say, let
us finish our account of meeting you, and then we trust you will be able
to get a few hours’ rest.”

“Rest!” said the man who had slept three hundred years, “I think I have
had enough of sleep; but proceed.”

“When the thought struck us that your bones might lie under the ruins,
we did not wish any common eye to see them; we therefore dismissed the
workmen, and entered the door by ourselves. We came immediately into a
square hall, at the end of which was the opening to what is called in
all the papers the middle room; the door had crumbled away. The only
light in the room proceeded from a hole which had been recently made by
the removal of the ice on the roof, but it was sufficient to show the
contents of the room. We saw the boxes, so often mentioned in all the
letters, nine in number, and four large cases, which we supposed to be
instruments. The table and four chairs were in good preservation, and on
the table lay the very note which you must have written but a few
minutes before the ice covered you. On walking to the other side of the
room, the light fell on the large chair in which you were reclining.

“‘This is the body of our great ancestor,’ said Valentine Harley, ‘and
now that the air has been admitted it will crumble to dust. Let us have
the entrance nailed up, and make arrangements for giving the bones an
honourable grave.’

“‘Unfortunate man,’ said I; ‘he must have perished with hunger—and yet
his flesh does not appear to have wasted. It is no doubt the first owner
of our estate, and he was buried in the fall of the ice and hill. The
old sailor was right. His cap of sealskin lies at the back of his head,
his gloves are on his lap, and there is the cameo on his little finger,
the very one described in the paper which offered that large reward for
the recovery of his body. The little valise lies at his feet—how
natural—how like a living being he looks; one could almost fancy he
breathes.’

“‘My fancy is playing the fool with me,’ said Valentine; ‘he not only
appears to breathe, but he moves his hand. If we stay much longer our
senses will become affected, and we shall imagine that he can rise and
walk.’

“We stepped back, therefore, a few paces; but you may imagine our
surprise, when you opened your eyes and made an attempt to get up. At
length you spoke, and we hastened to you; our humanity and pity, for one
so singularly circumstanced, being stronger than our fears. You know the
rest. I picked up the valise, and there it lies.”

We shall draw a veil over the next two months of our hero’s existence.
His mind was in distress and confusion, and he refused to be comforted;
but the young men devoted themselves to him, and they had their reward
in seeing him at length assume a tranquil manner—yet the sad expression
of his countenance never left him. His greatest pleasure—a melancholy
one it was, which often made him shed tears—was to caress the youngest
child; it was about the age of his own, and he fancied he saw a
resemblance. In fact, he saw a strong likeness to his wife in the lady
who now occupied Elmwood, and her name being Ophelia rendered the
likeness more pleasing. She had been told of the strange relationship
which existed between her guest and themselves; but, at our hero’s
request, no other human being was to know who he was, save Edgar
Hastings the younger and his wife, and Valentine Harley. It was thought
most prudent to keep it a secret from the wife of the latter, as her
health was exceedingly delicate, and her husband feared that the
strangeness of the affair might disturb her mind.

Behold our hero, then, in full health and vigour, at the ripe age of
thirty-two, returning to the earth after an absence of three hundred
years! Had it not been for the loss of his wife and son, and his
excellent father, he surely was quite as happily circumstanced, as when,
at twenty-one, he returned from Europe, unknowing and unknown. He soon
made friends _then_, and but for the canker at his heart he could make
friends again. He thought of nothing less than to appear before the
public, or of engaging in any pursuit. His fortune, and that part of his
father-in-law’s which naturally would have fallen to him, was now in the
possession of this remote descendant. He was willing to let it so
remain, retaining only sufficient for his wants; and his amiable
relation took care that his means were ample.

To divert his mind, and keep him from brooding over his sorrows, his
young relative proposed that they should travel through the different
states. “Surely,” said he, “you must feel a desire to see what changes
three hundred years have made. Are not the people altered? Do those
around you talk, and dress, and live as you were accustomed to do?”

“I see a difference certainly,” said Hastings, “but less than I should
have imagined. But my mind has been in such confusion, and my grief has
pressed so heavily on my heart, that I can observe nothing. I will
travel with you, perhaps it may be of service; let us set out on the
first of May. Shall we go northward first, or where?”

“I think we had better go to New York,” said Edgar, “and then to Boston;
we can spend the months of May, June and July very pleasantly in
travelling from one watering place to another. We now go in locomotive
cars, without either gas or steam.”

“Is that the way you travel now?” exclaimed Hastings.

“Yes, certainly; how should we travel? Oh, I recollect, you had balloons
and air cars in your time.”

“We had balloons, but they were not used as carriages; now and then some
adventurous man went up in one, but it was merely to amuse the people.
Have you discovered the mode of navigating balloons?”

“Oh yes; we guide them as easily through the air, as you used to do
horses on land.”

“Do you never use horses to travel with now?”

“No, never. It is upwards of a hundred years since horses were used
either for the saddle or carriage; and full two hundred years since they
were used for ploughing, or other farming or domestic purposes.”

“You astonish me; but in field sports, or horse racing, there you must
have horses.”

The young man smiled. “My dear sir,” said he, “there is no such thing as
field sports or horse racing now. Those brutal pastimes, thank heaven,
have been entirely abandoned. In fact, you will be surprised to learn,
that the races of horses, asses and mules are almost extinct. I can
assure you, that they are so great a curiosity now to the rising
generation, that they are carried about with wild beasts as part of the
show.”

“Then there is no travelling on horseback? I think that is a great loss,
as the exercise was very healthy and pleasant.”

“Oh, we have a much more agreeable mode of getting exercise now. Will
you take a ride on the land or a sail on the water?”

“I think I should feel a reluctance in getting into one of your new
fashioned cars. Do the steamboats cross at what was called the Little
Ferry, where the Black Hawk went from when her boiler exploded?”

“Steamboats indeed! they have been out of use since the year 1950. But
suspend your curiosity until we commence our journey; you will find many
things altered for the better.”

“One thing surprises me,” said Hastings. “You wear the quaker dress;
indeed, it is of that fashion which the gravest of the sect of my time
wore; but you do not use the mode of speech—is that abolished among
you?”

The young man, whom we shall in future call Edgar, laughed out.
“Quaker!” said he; “why, my dear sir, the quakers have been extinct for
upwards of two centuries. My dress is the fashion of the present moment;
all the young men of my age and standing dress in this style now. Does
it appear odd to you?”

“No,” said Hastings, “because this precise dress was worn by the people
called Friends or Quakers, in my day—strange that I should have to use
this curious mode of speech—my day! yes, like the wandering Jew, I seem
to exist to the end of time. I see one alteration or difference,
however; you wear heavy gold buckles in your shoes, the quakers wore
strings; you have long ruffles on your hands, they had none; you wear a
cocked hat, and they wore one with a large round rim.”

“But the women—did they dress as my wife does?”

“No.—Your wife wears what the old ladies before my time called a _frisk_
and petticoat; it is the fashion of the year 1780. Her hair is cropped
and curled closely to her head, with small clusters of curls in the
hollow of each temple. In 1835 the hair was dressed in the Grecian
style—but you can see the fashion. You have preserved the picture of my
dear Ophelia; she sat to two of the best painters of the day, Sully and
Ingham; the one _you_ have was painted by Ingham, and is in the gay
dress of the time. The other, which her brother had in his possession,
was in a quaker dress, and was painted by Sully.”

“We have it still, and it is invaluable for the sweetness of expression
and the grace of attitude. The one in your room is admirable likewise;
it abounds in beauties. No one since has ever been able to paint in that
style; it bears examination closely. Was he admired as an artist in your
day?”

“Yes; he was a distinguished painter, but he deserved his reputation,
for he bestowed immense labour on his portraits, and sent nothing
unfinished from his hands.”

“But portrait painting is quite out of date now; it began to decline
about the year 1870. It was a strange taste, that of covering the walls
with paintings, which your grandchildren had to burn up as useless
lumber. Where character, beauty and grace were combined, and a good
artist to embody them, it was well enough; a number of these beautiful
fancy pieces are still preserved. Landscape and historical painting is
on the decline also. There are no good artists now, but you had a
delightful painter in your day—Leslie. His pictures are still considered
as very great treasures, and they bring the very highest prices.”

“How is it with sculpture? That art was beginning to improve in my day.”

“Yes; and has continued to improve. We now rival the proudest days of
Greece. But you must see all these things. The Academy of Fine Arts in
Philadelphia will delight you; it is now the largest in the world. In
reading an old work I find that in your time it was contemptible enough,
for in the month of April of 1833, the Academy of Fine Arts in that city
was so much in debt, as to be unable to sustain itself. It was with the
greatest difficulty that the trustees could beg a sum sufficient to pay
the debts. The strong appeal that was made to the public enabled them to
continue it a little longer in its impoverished condition, but it seems
that it crumbled to pieces, and was not resuscitated until the year
1850, at which time a taste for the art of sculpture began to appear in
this country.”

On the first of May the two gentlemen commenced their tour—not in
locomotive engines, nor in steamboats, but in curious vehicles that
moved by some internal machinery. They were regulated every hour at the
different stopping places, and could be made to move faster or slower,
to suit the pleasure of those within. The roads were beautifully smooth
and perfectly level; and Hastings observed that there were no dangerous
passes, for a strong railing stretched along the whole extent of every
elevation. How different from the roads of 1834! Then men were reckless
or prodigal of life; stages were overturned, or pitched down some steep
hill—rail cars bounded off the rails, or set the vehicles on
fire—steamboats exploded and destroyed many lives—horses ran away and
broke their riders’ necks—carts, heavily laden, passed over children and
animals—boats upset in squalls of wind—in short, if human ingenuity had
been exerted to its fullest extent, there could not be contrivances
better suited to shorten life, or render travelling more unsafe and
disagreeable.

Instead of going directly to New York, as they at first contemplated,
they visited every part of Pennsylvania. Railroads intersected one
another in every direction; every thing was a source of amazement and
amusement to Hastings. The fields were no longer cultivated by the horse
or the ox, nor by small steam engines, as was projected in the
nineteenth century, but by a self-moving plough, having the same
machinery to propel it as that of the travelling cars. Instead of rough,
unequal grounds, gullied, and with old tree stumps in some of the most
valuable parts of the field, the whole was one beautiful level; and,
where inclinations were unavoidable, there were suitable drains. The
same power mowed the grass, raked it up, spread it out, gathered it, and
brought it to the barn—the same power scattered seeds, ploughed, hoed,
harrowed, cut, gathered, threshed, stored and ground the grain—and the
same power distributed it to the merchants and small consumers.

“Wonderful, most wonderful,” said the astonished Hastings. “I well
remember this very farm; those fields, the soil of which was washed away
by the precipitous fall of rain from high parts, are now all levelled
smooth. The hand of time has done nothing better for the husbandman than
in perfecting such operations as these. Now, every inch of ground is
valuable; and this very farm, once only capable of supporting a man, his
wife and five children in the mere necessaries of life, must now give to
four times that number every luxury.”

“Yes, you are right; and instead of requiring the assistance of four
labourers, two horses and two oxen, it is all managed by four men alone!
The machines have done every thing—they fill up gullies, dig out the
roots of trees, plough down hills, turn water courses—in short, they
have entirely superseded the use of cattle of any kind.”

“But I see no fences,” said Hastings; “how is this? In my day, every
man’s estate was enclosed by a fence or wall of some kind; now, for
boundary lines I see nothing but a low hedge, and a moveable wire fence
for pasturage for cows.”

“Why should there be the uncouth and expensive fences, which I find by
the old books were in use in 1834, when we have no horses; there is no
fear of injury now from their trespassing. All our carriages move on
rails, and cannot turn aside to injure a neighbouring grain field. Cows,
under no pretence whatever, are allowed to roam at large; and it would
be most disgraceful to the corporate bodies of city or county to allow
hogs or sheep to run loose in the streets or on the road. The rich,
therefore, need no enclosure but for ornament, which, as it embellishes
the prospect, is always made of some pleasant looking evergreen or
flowering shrub. In fact, it is now a state affair, and when a poor man
is unable to enclose the land himself, it is done by money lawfully
appropriated to the purpose.”

“And dogs—I see no dogs,” said Hastings. “In my day every farmer had one
or more dogs; in little villages there were often three and four in each
house; the cities were full of them, notwithstanding the dog laws—but I
see none now.”

“No—it is many years since dogs were domesticated; it is a rarity to see
one now. Once in awhile some odd, eccentric old fellow will bring a dog
with him from some foreign port, but he dare not let him run loose. I
presume that in your time hydrophobia was common; at least, on looking
over a file of newspapers of the year 1930, called the Recorder of
Self-Inflicted Miseries, I saw several accounts of that dreadful
disease. Men, women, children, animals, were frequently bitten by mad
dogs in those early days. It is strange, that so useless an animal was
caressed, and allowed to come near your persons, when the malady to
which they were so frequently liable, and from which there was no
guarding, no cure, could be imparted to human beings.”

“Well, what caused the final expulsion of dogs?”

“You will find the whole account in that old paper called the Recorder
of Self-Inflicted Miseries; there, from time to time, all the accidents
that happened to what were called steamboats, locomotive engines,
stages, &c. were registered. You will see that in the year 1860, during
the months of August and September, more than ten thousand dogs were
seized with that horrible disease, and that upward of one hundred
thousand people fell victims to it. It raged with the greatest fury in
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore; and but for the timely
destruction of every dog in the South, ten times the number of human
beings would have perished. The death from hydrophobia is as disgraceful
to a corporate body, as if the inhabitants had died of thirst, when good
water was near them.”

“This was horrible; the consternation of the people must have been very
great—equal to what was felt during the cholera. Did you ever read of
that terrible disease?”

“No, I do not recollect it——Oh, yes, now I remember to have read
something of it—but that came in a shape that was not easy to foresee.
But dogs were always known to be subject to this awful disease, and
therefore encouraging their increase was shameful. Posterity had cause
enough to curse the memory of their ancestors, for having entailed such
a dreadful scourge upon them. The panic, it seems, was so great, that to
this day children are more afraid of looking at a dog, for they are kept
among wild beasts as a curiosity, than at a Bengal tiger.”

“I confess I never could discover in what their usefulness consisted.
They were capable of feeling a strong attachment to their master, and
had a show of reason and intelligence, but it amounted to very little in
its effects. It was very singular, but I used frequently to observe,
that men were oftentimes more gentle and kind to their dogs than to
their wives and children; and much better citizens would these children
have made, if their fathers had bestowed half the pains in _breaking
them in_, and in training them, that they did on their dogs. It was a
very rare circumstance if a theft was prevented by the presence of a
dog; when such a thing _did_ occur, every paper spoke of it, and the
anecdote was never forgotten. But had they been ever so useful, so
necessary to man’s comfort, nothing could compensate or overbalance the
evil to which he was liable from this disease. Were the dogs all
destroyed at once?”

“Yes; the papers say, that by the first of October there was but one dog
to be seen, and the owner of that had to pay a fine of three thousand
dollars, and be imprisoned for one year at hard labour. When you
consider the horrible sufferings of so many people, and all to gratify a
pernicious as well as foolish fondness for an animal, we cannot wonder
at the severity of the punishment.”

“I very well remember how frequently I was annoyed by dogs when riding
along the road. A yelping cur has followed at my horse’s heels for five
or six minutes, cunningly keeping beyond the reach of my whip—some dogs
do this all their lives. Have the shepherd’s dogs perished likewise—all,
did you say?”

“Yes; every dog—pointers, setters, hounds—all were exterminated; and I
sincerely hope that the breed will never be encouraged again. In fact,
the laws are so severe that there is no fear of it, for no man can bring
them in the country without incurring a heavy fine, and in particular
cases imprisonment at hard labour. We should as soon expect to see a
wolf or a tiger running loose in the streets as a dog.”

Every step they took excited fresh remarks from Hastings, and his mind
naturally turned to the friends he had lost. How perfect would have been
his happiness if it had been permitted that his wife and his father
could be with him to see the improved state of the country. When he
looked forward to what his life might be—unknown, alone—he regretted
that he had been awakened: but his kind relative, who never left him for
a moment, as soon as these melancholy reveries came over him hurried him
to some new scene.

They were now in Philadelphia, the Athens of America, as it was called
three centuries back. Great changes had taken place here. Very few of
the public edifices had escaped the all-devouring hand of time. In fact,
Hastings recognised but five—that beautiful building called originally
the United States Bank, the Mint, the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, and
the Girard College. The latter continued to flourish, notwithstanding
its downfall was early predicted, in consequence of the prohibition of
clergymen in the direction of its affairs. The dispute, too, about the
true signification of the term “orphan” had been settled; it was at
length, after a term of years, twenty, I think, decided, that the true
meaning and intent of Stephen Girard, the wise founder of the
institution, was to make it a charity for those children who had lost
_both_ parents.

“I should not think,” said Hastings, on hearing this from Edgar, “that
any one could fancy, for a moment, that Girard meant any thing else.”

“Why no, neither you nor I, nor ninety-nine out of a hundred, would
decide otherwise; but it seems a question was raised, and all the books
of reference were appealed to, as well as the poets. In almost every
case, an _orphan_ was said to be a child deprived of one or both
parents; and, what is very singular, the term orphan occurs but _once_
throughout the Old and New Testaments. In Lamentations it says, ‘We are
_orphans_, and fatherless, and our mothers are as widows.’ Now, in the
opinion of many, the _orphan_ and _fatherless_, and those whose mothers
are as widows, here mentioned, are three distinct sets of children—that
is, as the lament says, _some_ of us are orphans, meaning children
without father and mother, _some_ of us are fatherless; and the third
set says, ‘our mothers are as widows.’ This means, that in consequence
of their fathers’ absence, their mothers were as desolate and helpless
as if in reality they were widows by the _death_ of their husbands. This
text, therefore, settles nothing. Girard, like all the unlettered men of
the age, by the term _orphan_, understood it to mean a child without
parents.”

“I very well remember,” said Hastings, “that on another occasion when
the term came in question, I asked every man and woman that worked on
and lived near the great canal, what they meant by orphan, and they
_invariably_, without a _single_ exception, said it meant a child
without parents.”

“Well, the good sense of the trustees, at the end of the time I
mentioned, decided after the manner of the multitude—for it was from
this mass that their objects of charity were taken. And there is no
instance on the records, of a widow begging admittance for her
fatherless boys. They knew very well what being an orphan meant, but to
their praise be it said, if _fatherless_ children had been included in
the term, there were very few who would not have struggled as long as it
was in their power, before their boys should be taken to a charitable
institution.”

“I recollect, too,” said Hastings, “that great umbrage was taken by many
persons because the clergy were debarred from any interference in the
management of the college. No evil, you say, has arisen from this
prohibition?”

“None at all,” replied Edgar. “The clergy were not offended by it; they
found they had enough to do with church affairs. It has been ever since
in the hands of a succession of wise, humane, and honest men. The funds
have gone on increasing, and as they became more than sufficient for the
purposes of the college, the surplus has been lawfully spent in
improving the city.”

“In the year 1835—alas, it seems to me that but a few days ago I existed
at that period—was there not an Orphan Asylum here?”

“Yes, my dear sir, the old books speak of a small establishment of that
kind, founded by several sensible and benevolent women; but it was
attended with very great personal sacrifices—for there was in that
century a very singular, and, we must say, disgusting practice among all
classes, to obtain money for the establishment of any charitable,
benevolent, or literary institution. Both men and women—women for the
most part, because men used then to shove off from themselves all that
was irksome or disagreeable—women, I say, used to go from door to door,
and in the most humble manner beg a few dollars from each individual.
Sometimes, the Recorder of Self-Inflicted Miseries says, that men and
women of coarse minds and mean education were in the habit of insulting
the committee who thus turned beggars. They did not make their refusal
in decent terms even, but added insult to it. In the course of time the
Recorder goes on to say, men felt ashamed of all this, and their first
step was to relieve women from the drudgery and disgrace of begging.
After that, but it was by degrees, the different corporate bodies of
each state took the matter up, and finally every state had its own
humane and charitable institutions, so that there are now no longer any
private ones, excepting such as men volunteer to maintain with their own
money.”

“Did the old Orphan Asylum of Philadelphia, begun by private
individuals, merge into the one now established?”

“No,” replied Edgar; “the original asylum only existed a certain number
of years, for people got tired of keeping up a charity by funds gathered
in this loose way. At length, another man of immense wealth died, and
bequeathed all his property to the erection and support of a college for
orphan girls—and this time the world was not in doubt as to the
testator’s meaning. From this moment a new era took place with regard to
women, and we owe the improved condition of our people entirely to the
improvement in the education of the female poor; blessed be the name of
that man.”

“Well, from time to time you must tell me the rise and progress of all
these things; at present I must try and find my way in this now truly
beautiful city. This is Market street, but so altered that I should
scarcely know it.”

“Yes, I presume that three hundred years would improve the markets
likewise. But wherein is it altered?”

“In my day the market was of one story, or rather had a roof supported
by brick pillars, with a neat stone pavement running the whole length of
the building. Market women not only sat under each arch and outside of
the pillars, but likewise in the open spaces where the streets
intersected the market. Butchers and fish sellers had their appropriate
stalls; and clerks of the market, as they were called, took care that no
imposition was practised. Besides this, the women used to bawl through
the streets, and carry their fish and vegetables on their heads.”

“All that sounds very well; but our old friend, the Recorder of
Self-Inflicted Miseries, mentions this very market as a detestable
nuisance, and the manner of selling things through the streets shameful.
Come with me, and let us see wherein this is superior to the one you
describe.”

The two friends entered the range above at the Schuylkill, for to that
point had the famous Philadelphia market reached. The building was of
two stories, built of hewn stone, and entirely fire-proof, as there was
not a particle of woodwork or other ignitable matter in it. The upper
story was appropriated to wooden, tin, basket, crockery, and other
domestic wares, such as stockings, gloves, seeds, and garden utensils,
all neatly arranged and kept perpetually clean. On the ground floor, in
cool niches, under which ran a stream of cold, clear water, were all the
variety of vegetables; and there, at this early season, were
strawberries and green peas, all of which were raised in the
neighbourhood. The finest of the strawberries were those that three
centuries before went by the name, as it now did, of the _dark
hautbois_, rich in flavour and delicate in perfume. Women, dressed in
close caps and snow white aprons, stood or sat modestly by their
baskets—not, as formerly, bawling out to the passers-by and entreating
them to purchase of them, but waiting for their turn with patience and
good humour. Their hair was all hidden, save a few plain braids or
plaits in front, and their neck was entirely covered. Their dress was
appropriate to their condition, and their bearing had both dignity and
grace.

“Well, this surpasses belief,” said Hastings. “Are these the descendants
of that coarse, vulgar, noisy, ill dressed tribe, one half of whom
appeared before their dirty baskets and crazy fixtures with tawdry
finery, and the other half in sluttish, uncouth clothes, with their hair
hanging about their face, or stuck up behind with a greasy horn comb?
What has done all this?”

“Why, the improvement which took place in the education of women. While
women were degraded as they were in your time”——

“In my time, my dear Edgar,” said Hastings, quickly—“in my time! I can
tell you that women were not in a degraded state then. Go back to the
days of Elizabeth, if you please; but I assure you that in 1835 women
enjoyed perfect equality of rights.”

“Did they! then our old friend, the Recorder of Self-Inflicted Miseries,
has been imposing on us—but we will discuss this theme more at our
leisure. Let us ask that neat pretty young woman for some strawberries
and cream.”

They were ripe and delicious, and Hastings found, that however much all
other things had changed, the fine perfume, the grateful flavour, the
rich consistency of the fruit and cream were the same—nature never
changes.

There were no unpleasant sights—no rotten vegetables or leaves, no mud,
no spitting, no——in short, the whole looked like a painting, and the
women all seemed as if they were dressed for the purpose of sitting for
their portraits, to let other times have a peep at what was going on in
a former world.

“If I am in my senses,” said Hastings, “which I very much doubt, this is
the most pleasing change which time has wrought; I cannot but believe
that I shall wake up in the morning and find this all a dream. This is
no market—it is a picture.”

“We shall see,” said Edgar. “Come, let us proceed to the butchers’
market.”

So they walked on, and still the rippling stream followed them; and here
no sights of blood, or stained hands, or greasy knives, or
slaughter-house smells, were present. The meats were not hung up to view
in the open air, as in times of old; but you had only to ask for a
particular joint, and lo! a small door, two feet square, opened in the
wall, and there hung the identical part.

“This gentleman is a stranger,” said Edgar, to a neatly dressed man,
having on a snow white apron; “show him a hind quarter of veal; we do
not want to buy any, but merely to look at what you have to sell.”

The little door opened, and there hung one of the fattest and finest
quarters Hastings had ever seen.

“And the price,” asked he.

“It is four cents a pound,” replied the man.

A purchaser soon came; the meat was weighed within; the man received the
money, and gave a ticket with the weight written on it; the servant
departed, and the two friends moved on.

“Our regulations are excellent,” said Edgar; “formerly, as the old
Recorder of Self-Inflicted Miseries says, the butchers weighed their
meats in the most careless manner, and many a man went home with a
suspicion that he was cheated of half or three quarters of a pound. Now,
nothing of this kind can take place, for the clerks of the market stand
at every corner. See! those men use the graduated balance; the meat is
laid, basket and all, on that little table; the pressure acts on a
wheel—a clicking is heard—it strikes the number of pounds and quarters,
and thus the weight is ascertained. The basket you saw, all those you
now see in the meat market, are of equal weight, and they are marked 1,
2, 3, 4 or more pounds, as the size may be. Do you not see how much of
labour and confusion this saves. I suppose, in your day, you would have
scorned to legislate on such trifling objects; but I assure you we find
our account in it.”

“I must confess that this simplifies things wonderfully; but the
cleanliness, order and cheerfulness that are seen throughout this
market—these are things worthy of legislation. I suppose all this took
place gradually?”

“Yes, I presume so; but it had arrived to this point before my time; the
water which flows under and through the market was conveyed there upward
of a century ago. But here is beef, mutton, all kinds of meat—and this
is the poultry market—all sold by weight, as it should be; and here is
the fish market—see what large marble basins; each fishmonger has one of
his own, so that all kinds are separate; and see how dexterously they
scoop up the very fish that a customer wants.”

“What is this?” said Hastings, looking through one of the arches of the
fish market; “can this be the Delaware?”

“Yes,” replied Edgar; “the market on which we are now, is over the
Delaware. Look over this railing, we are on a wide bridge—but let us
proceed to the extremity; this bridge extends to the Jersey shore, and
thus connects the two large cities Philadelphia and Camden.”

“In my day, it was in contemplation to build a bridge over the Delaware;
but there was great opposition to it, as in that case there would be a
very great delay, if not hinderance, to the free passage of ships.”

New wonders sprung up at every step—vessels, light as gossamer, of
curious construction, were passing and repassing under the arches of the
bridge, some of three and four hundred tons burden, others for the
convenience of market people, and many for the pleasure of the idle.
While yet they looked, a beautiful vessel hove in sight, and in a moment
she moved gracefully and swiftly under the arches, and by the time that
Hastings had crossed to the other side of the bridge she was fastened to
the pier.

“Is this a steamboat from Baltimore?” said Hastings. “Yet it cannot be,
for I see neither steam nor smoke.”

“Steamboat!” answered his companion—“don’t speak so loud, the people
will think you crazy. Why, steamboats have been out of date for more
than two hundred years. I forget the name of the one who introduced them
into our waters, but they did not continue in use more than fifty years,
perhaps not so long: but so many accidents occurred through the extreme
carelessness, ignorance and avarice of many who were engaged in them,
that a very great prejudice existed against their use. No laws were
found sufficiently strong to prevent frequent occurrences of the
bursting of the boilers, notwithstanding that sometimes as many as nine
or ten lives were destroyed by the explosion. That those accidents were
not the consequence of using steam power—I mean a _necessary_
consequence—all sensible men knew; for on this river, the Delaware, the
bursting of the boiler of a steam engine was never known, nor did such
dreadful accidents ever occur in Europe. But, as I was saying, after one
of the most awful catastrophes that ever took place, the bursting of a
boiler which scalded to death forty-one members of Congress, (on their
way home,) besides upwards of thirty women and children, and nine of the
crew, the people of this country began to arouse themselves, and very
severe laws were enacted. Before, however, any farther loss of lives
occurred, a stop was put to the use of steamboats altogether. The
dreadful accident of which I spoke occurred in the year 1850, and in
that eventful year a new power was brought into use, by which steamboats
were laid aside for ever.”

“What is the new principle, and who first brought it to light?”

“Why, a lady. The world owes this blessed invention to a female! I will
take you into one of our small boats presently, where you can handle the
machinery yourself. No steam, nor heat, nor animal power—but one of
sufficient energy to move the largest ship.”

“Condensed air, is it?—that was tried in my time.”

“No, nor condensed air; that was almost as dangerous a power as steam;
for the bursting of an air vessel was always destructive of life. The
Recorder of Self-Inflicted Miseries mentions several instances of loss
of life by the bursting of one of the air machines used by the
manufacturers of mineral waters. If that lady had lived in _this_
century, her memory would be honoured and cherished; but if no memorial
was erected by the English to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, a reproach
could not rest upon us for not having paid suitable honours to the
American lady.”

“Why, what did lady Mary Wortley Montagu do?” said Hastings: “I
recollect nothing but that she wrote several volumes of very agreeable
letters—Oh, yes, how could I forget—the small-pox! Yes, indeed, she did
deserve to have a monument; but surely the English erected one to her
memory?”

“Did they?—yes—that old defamer of women, Horace Walpole, took good care
to keep the public feeling from flowing in the right channel. He made
people laugh at her dirty hands and painted cheeks, but he never urged
them to heap honours on her head for introducing into England the
practice of innoculation for the small-pox. If this American lady
deserved the thanks and gratitude of her country for thus, for ever,
preventing the loss of lives from steam, and I may say, too, from
shipwreck—still farther was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu entitled to
distinction, for the very great benefit she bestowed on England. She
saved thousands of lives, and prevented, what sometimes amounted to
hideous deformity, deeply scarred faces, from being universal.—Yes, the
benefit was incalculable and beyond price—quite equal, I think, to that
which the world owes to Dr. Jenner, who introduced a new form of
small-pox, or rather the small-pox pure and unadulterated by any
affinitive virus. This modified the disease to such a degree, that the
small-pox, in its mixed and complicated state, almost disappeared. The
Recorder of Self-Inflicted Miseries states, that after a time a new
variety of the small-pox made its appearance, which was called
_varioloid_; but it was quite under the control of medical skill.”

“Well, you live in an age so much in advance of mine, and so many facts
and curious phenomena came to light during the nineteenth century, that
you can tell me what the settled opinion is now respecting small-pox,
kine-pox, and varioloid.”

“The settled opinion now is, that they are one and the same disease.
Thus—the original disease, transferable from an ulcer of the cow’s udder
to the broken skin of a human being, produced what is called the kine or
cow-pox. This virus of the kine-pox, in its original state, was only
capable of being communicated by contact, and only when the skin was
broken or cut; but, when _combined_ with the other poison, infected the
system by means of breathing in the same atmosphere. The poison from the
ulcer called cow-pox was never communicated to or by the lungs, neither
was the poison which had so strong an affinity for it communicated in
that way: but when the two poisons united, and met in the same system, a
third poison was generated, and the _small-pox was result_. But here we
are discussing a deep subject in this busy place—what gave rise to
it?—oh, steamboats, the new power now used, Lady Mary Wortley, and Dr.
Jenner.”

“I presume,” said the attentive Hastings, “that Dr. Jenner fared no
better than your American lady and Lady Mary Wortley.”

“You are much mistaken,” said Edgar. “Dr. Jenner was a _man_, which in
your day was a very different circumstance. I verily believe if it had
been a woman who brought that happy event about, although the whole
world would have availed itself of the discovery, her name would
scarcely be known at this day.”

Hastings laughed at his friend’s angry defence of women’s rights, but he
could not help acknowledging the truth of what was said—there was always
a great unwillingness in men to admit the claims of women. But it was
not a time, nor was this the place, to discuss so important a subject;
he intended, however, to resume it the first leisure moment. He turned
his eye to the river, and saw vessels innumerable coming and going; and
on the arrival of one a little larger than that which he first saw, the
crowd pressed forward to get on board as soon as she should land.

“Where is that vessel from?” said Hastings; “she looks more
weather-beaten than the rest—she has been at sea.”

“Yes; that is one of our Indiamen. Let us go to her, I see a friend of
mine on board—he went out as supercargo.”

They went on board of the Indiaman, and although it had encountered
several storms, and had met with several accidents, yet the crew was all
well and the cargo safe. The vessel was propelled by the same
machinery—there was neither masts nor sails!

“How many months have they been on their return?” said Hastings.

“Hush!” said his friend Edgar; “do not let any one hear you. Why, this
passage has been a very tedious one, and yet it has only occupied four
weeks. In general twenty days are sufficient.”

“Well,” said Hastings, “after this I shall not be surprised at any
thing. Why, in my time we considered it as a very agreeable thing if we
made a voyage to England in that time. Have you many India ships?”

“Yes; the trade has been opened to the very walls of China: the number
of our vessels has greatly increased. But you will be astonished to hear
that the emperor of China gets his porcelain from France.”

“No, I am not, now that I hear foreigners have access to that mysterious
city, for I never considered the Indian china as at all equal to the
French, either in texture or workmanship. But I presume I have wonders
to learn about the Chinese?”

“Yes, much more than you imagine. It is not more than a century since
the change in their system has been effected; before that, no foreigner
was allowed to enter their gates. But quarrels and dissensions among
themselves effected what neither external violence nor manœuvring could
do. The consequence of this intercourse with foreign nations is, that
the feet of their women are allowed to grow, and they dress now in the
European style. They import their fashions from France; and I see by the
papers that the emperor’s second son intends to pay this country a
visit. They have English and French, as well as German and Spanish
schools; and a great improvement in the condition of the lower classes
of the Chinese has taken place; but it was first by humanizing the women
that these great changes were effected. Their form of government is fast
approaching that of ours, but they held out long and obstinately.”

“Their climate is very much against them,” observed Hastings; “mental
culture must proceed slowly, where the heat is so constant and
excessive.”

“Yes; but, my dear sir, you must recollect that they have ice in
abundance now. We carry on a great trade in that article. In fact, some
of our richest men owe their wealth to the exportation of this luxury
alone. Boston set the example—she first sent cargoes of ice to China;
but it was not until our fast sailing vessels were invented that the
thing could be accomplished.”

“I should think it almost impossible to transport ice to such a
distance, even were the time lessened to a month or six weeks, as it now
is.”

“You must recollect, that half of this difficulty of transporting ice
was lessened by the knowledge that was obtained, even in your day, of
saving ice. According to the Recorder, who sneered at the _times_ for
remaining so long ignorant of the fact, ice houses could be built above
ground, with the certainty that they would preserve ice. It was the
expense of building those deep ice houses which prevented the poor from
enjoying this luxury—nay, necessary article. Now, every landlord builds
a stack of ice in the yard, and thatches it well with oat straw; and the
corporation have an immense number of these stacks of ice distributed
about the several wards.”

“I have awakened in delightful times, my friend. Oh, that my family
could have been with me when I was buried under the mountain.”

Young Hastings, seeing the melancholy which was creeping over the
unfortunate man, hurried him away from the wharf, and hastened to
Chestnut street. Our hero looked anxiously to the right and to the left,
but all was altered—all was strange. Arcades now took precedence of the
ancient, inconvenient shops, there being one between every square,
extending from Chestnut to Market on one side, and to Walnut on the
other, intersecting the smaller streets and alleys in their way. Here
alone were goods sold—no where else was there a shop seen; and what made
it delightful was, that a fine stream of water ran through pipes under
the centre of the pavement, bursting up every twenty feet in little
jets, cooling the air, and contributing to health and cleanliness. The
arcades for the grocers were as well arranged as those for different
merchandize, and the fountains of water, which flowed perpetually in and
under their shops, dispersed all impure smells and all decayed
substances.

“All this is beautiful,” said Hastings; “but where is the old Arcade—the
original one?”

“Oh, I know what you mean,” said Edgar; “our old Recorder states that it
fell into disuse, and was then removed, solely from the circumstance
that the first floor was raised from the level of the street; even in
our time people dislike to mount steps when they have to go from shop to
shop to purchase goods.”

“And what building is that?—the antiquated one, I mean, that stands in
the little court. The masons are repairing it I perceive.”

“That small, brick building—oh, that is the house in which William Penn
lived,” said Edgar. “It was very much neglected, and was suffered to go
to ruin almost, till the year 1840, when a lady of great wealth
purchased a number of the old houses adjoining and opened an area around
it, putting the whole house in thorough repair. She collected all the
relics that remained of this great man, and placed them as fixtures
there, and she left ample funds for repairs, so that there is a hope
that this venerable and venerated building will endure for many
centuries to come.”

“And what is this heap of ruins?” said Hastings, “it appears to have
tumbled down through age; it was a large pile, if one may judge from the
rubbish.”

“Yes, it was an immense building, and was called at first the National
Bank. It was built in the year 1842, during the presidency of Daniel
Webster.”

“What,” said Hastings, “was he really president of the United States?
This is truly an interesting piece of news.”

“News, my dear sir,” said Edgar, smiling—“yes, it was news three hundred
years ago, but Daniel Webster now sleeps with his fathers. He was really
the chief magistrate for eight years, and excepting for the project of a
national bank, which did not, however, exist long, he made an able
president, and, what was very extraordinary, as the old Recorder of
Self-Inflicted Miseries states, he gained the good will even of those
who were violently opposed to him. He was the first president after
Washington who had independence of mind enough to retain in office all
those who had been favoured by his predecessor. There was not a single
removal.”

“But his friends—did not they complain?” said Hastings.

“It is not stated that they did; perhaps he did not promise an office to
any one: at any rate the old ‘Recorder’ treats him respectfully. It was
during his term that copyrights were placed on a more liberal footing
here. An Englishman now can get his works secured to him as well as if
he were a citizen of the country.”

“How long is the copyright secured! it used to be, in my time,” sighed
poor Hastings, “only fourteen years.”

“Fourteen years!” exclaimed Edgar—“you joke. Why, was not a man entitled
to his own property for ever? I assure you that an author now has as
much control over his own labours after a lapse of fifty years as he had
at the moment he wrote it. Nay, it belongs to his family as long as they
choose to keep it, just the same as if it were a house or a tract of
land. I wonder what right the legislature had to meddle with property in
that way. We should think a man deranged who proposed such a thing.”

“But how is it when a man invents a piece of machinery? surely the term
is limited then.”

“Oh, yes, that is a different affair. If a man invent a new mode of
printing, or of propelling boats, then a patent is secured to him for
that particular invention, but it does not prevent another man from
making use of the same power and improving on the machinery. But there
is this benefit accruing to the original patentee, the one who makes the
improvement after him is compelled to purchase a right of him. Our laws
now, allow of no monopolies; that is, no monopolies of soil, or air, or
water. On these three elements, one person has as good a right as
another; he that makes the greatest improvements is entitled to the
greatest share of public favour, and, in consequence, the arts have been
brought to their present state of perfection.”

“But rail-roads—surely _these_ it was necessary to guarantee to a
company on exclusive privilege for a term of years, even if a better one
could be made.”

“And I say, surely not. Why should all the people of a great nation be
compelled to pass over an unsafe road, in miserably constructed cars,
which made such a noise that for six hours a man had to be mute, and
where there was perpetual fear of explosion from the steam engine—why
should this be, when another company could give them a better road, more
commodious cars, and a safer propelling power? On consulting the
Recorder of Self-Inflicted Miseries, you will find that in the year
1846, the monopolies of roads, that is public roads, were broken up, and
these roads came under the cognizance of the state governments, and in
the year 1900 all merged under one head. There was then, and has
continued ever since, a national road—the grand route from one extreme
of the country to the other. Cross roads, leading from town to town and
village to village, are under the control of the state governments.
Here, let us get in this car which is going to Princeton; it is only an
hour’s ride. Well, here we are seated in nice rocking chairs, and we can
talk at our ease; for the fine springs and neat workmanship make the
cars run without noise, as there is but little friction, the rails of
the road and the tires of the wheels being of wood. In your time this
could not be the case, for as steam and manual labour were expensive,
you were forced to club all together—there were, therefore, large cars
that held from eight to fourteen persons; consequently, there had to be
heavy iron work to keep these large machines together. Now, you
perceive, the cars are made of different sizes, to accommodate either
two or four persons, and they run of themselves. We have only to turn
this little crank, and the machine stops. This is Bristol. It was a very
small town in your day, but by connecting it to Burlington, which lies
slantingly opposite, the town soon rose to its present eminence.
Burlington, too, is a large city—look at the green bank yonder; it is a
paradise: and look at that large tree—it is a buttonwood or sycamore; we
cannot see it very distinctly; take this pocket glass. Well, you see it
now at the foot of the beautiful green slope in front of the largest
marble building on this bank. That tree is upwards of four hundred years
old, but the house was built within the last century.”

“What a change,” said Hastings, as they returned to their car,—“all is
altered. New Jersey, the meanest and the poorest state in the union, is
now in appearance equal to the other inland states. It was in my time a
mere thoroughfare. What has thus changed the whole face of nature.”

“Why canals and rail roads in the first place, and rail roads now; for
in a few years canals were entirely abandoned. That is, as soon as the
new propelling power came into use, it was found far more economical to
travel on rail roads. The track of canals through four of the principal
states is no longer to be seen.”

At Princeton, the first thing to be seen was the college; not the same
that existed in Hastings’s day, but a long, deep range of stone
buildings, six in number, with work shops attached to them, after the
mode so happily begun by Fellenberg. In these work shops the young men
worked during leisure hours, every one learning some trade or some
handicraft, by which he could earn a living if necessity required it.
Large gardens lay in the rear, cultivated entirely by the labour of the
students, particularly by those who were intended for clergymen, as many
of this class were destined to live in the country. The college was well
endowed, and the salaries of the professors were ample. It was able to
maintain and educate three hundred boys—the children of the rich and the
poor.

“How do they select professors?” said Hastings; “in my day a very
scandalous practice prevailed. I hope there is a change in this
particular.”

“Oh, I know to what you refer,” said Edgar; “I read an account of it in
the Recorder. It seems that when a college wanted a professor, or a
president, they either wrote a letter, or sent a committee of gentlemen
to the professor of another college, and told him that if he would quit
the people who had with so much difficulty made up a salary for him,
they would give him a hundred dollars a year more. They made it appear
very plausible and profitable, and the idea of being thought of so much
consequence quite unsettled his notions of right and wrong, so that,
without scruple, he gave notice to his patrons that they must get
another man in his place. I believe this is the true state of the case.
Is it not?”

“Yes, that is the _English_ of it, as we say. The funds for the support
of a professor were gathered together with great difficulty, for there
were very few who gave liberally and for the pure love of the
advancement of learning. When by the mere force of entreaty, by
appealing to the feelings, to reason, to—in short, each man’s pulse was
felt, and the ruling passion was consulted and made subservient to the
plan of beguiling him of his money. Well, the money thus wrung from the
majority,—for you must suppose that a few gave from right motives,—was
appropriated to the salary of a professor, and then the question arose
as to the man to be selected. They run their eye over the whole country,
and, finally, the fame of some one individual induced them to consider
him as a suitable candidate. This man was doing great service where he
was; the college, almost gone to decay, was resuscitated by his
exertions; students came from all parts on the faith of his remaining
there; in fact, he had given an impulse to the whole district. What a
pity to remove such a man from a place where the benefits of his labour
and his energies were so great, and where his removal would produce such
regrets and such a deteriorating change! But our new professor, being
established in the new college, instead of going to work with the same
alacrity, and with the same views, which views were to spend his life in
promoting the interests of the college which he had helped to raise, now
began to look ‘_a-head_,’ as the term is, and he waited impatiently for
the rise of another establishment, in the city perhaps, where every
thing was more congenial to his newly awakened tastes. Thus it went
on—change, change, for ever; and in the end he found himself much worse
off than if he had remained in the place which first patronised him. It
is certainly a man’s duty to do the best he can for the advancement of
his own interest, and if he can get five hundred dollars a year more in
one place than in another, he has a right to do it; but the advantage of
change is always problematical. The complaint is not so much against
him, however, as against those who so indelicately inveigle him away.”

“Yes. I can easily imagine how hurtful in its effects such a policy
would be, for instance, to a merchant, although it is pernicious in
every case. But here is a merchant—he has regularly inducted a clerk in
all the perplexities and mysteries of his business; the young man
becomes acquainted with his private affairs, and by his acuteness and
industry he relieves his employer of one half of his anxieties and
cares. The time is coming when he might think it proper to raise the
salary of the young man, but his neighbours envy the merchant’s
prosperity, and they want to take advantage of the talent which has
grown up under his vigilance and superintending care. ‘If he does so
well for a man who gives him but five hundred dollars a year, he will do
as well, or better, for ten.’ So they go underhandedly to work, and the
young man gives the merchant notice that his neighbour has offered him a
larger salary. The old Recorder is quite indignant at this mean and base
mode of bettering the condition of one man or one institution at the
expense of another. But was it the case also with house servants?—did
the women of your day send a committee or write a letter to the servant
of one of their friends, offering higher wages—for the cases are exactly
similar; it is only talent of another form, but equally useful.”

“Oh, no, indeed,” said Hastings—“then the sex showed their superior
delicacy and refinement. It was thought most disgraceful and unladylike
conduct to enveigle away the servant of a neighbour, or, in fact, of a
stranger; I have heard it frequently canvassed. A servant, a clerk, a
professor, or a clergyman, nine times out of ten, would be contented in
his situation if offers of this kind were not forced upon him. A servant
cannot feel an attachment to a mistress when she contemplates leaving
her at the first offer; no tender feeling can subsist between them, and
in the case of a clergyman, the consequence is very bad both to himself
and his parish. In the good old times”—

“And in the good new times, if you please,” said Edgar; “for I know what
you are going to say. In our times there is no such thing as changing a
clergyman. Why, we should as soon think of changing our father! A
clergyman is selected with great care for his piety and learning—but
principally for his piety; and, in consequence of there being no old
clergymen out of place, he is a young man, who comes amongst us in early
life, and sees our children grow up around him, he becomes acquainted
with their character, and he has a paternal eye over their eternal
welfare. They love and reverence him, and it is their delight to do him
honour. His salary is a mere trifle perhaps, for in some country towns a
clergyman does not get more than five or six hundred dollars a year, but
his wants are all supplied with the most affectionate care. He receives
their delightful gifts as a father receives the gifts of his children;
he is sure of being amply provided for, and he takes no thought of what
he is to eat or what he is to wear. He pays neither house rent, for
there is always a parsonage; nor taxes; he pays neither physician nor
teacher; his library is as good as the means of his congregation can
afford; and there he is with a mind free from worldly solicitude, doing
good to the souls of those who so abundantly supply him with worldly
comforts. In your day, as the Recorder states”—

“Yes,” said Hastings, “in my day, things were bad enough, for a
clergyman was more imposed upon than any other professional man. He was
expected to subscribe to every charity that was set on foot—to every
mission that was sent out—to every church that was to be built—to every
paper that related to church offices; _he had to give up all his time to
his people_—literally all his time, for they expected him to visit at
their houses, not when ill, or when wanting spiritual consolation, for
that he would delight to do, but in the ordinary chit-chat, gossiping
way, that he might hear them talk of their neighbours’ backslidings, of
this one who gave expensive supper parties, and of another who gave
balls and went to theatres. Never was there a man from whom so much was
exacted, and to whom so little was given. There were clergymen, in New
York and Philadelphia, belonging to wealthy congregations, who never so
much as received a plum cake for the new year’s table, or a minced pie
at Christmas, or a basket of fruit in summer; yet he was expected to
entertain company at all times. His congregation never seemed to
recollect that, with his limited means, he could not lay up a cent for
his children. Other salaried men could increase their means by
speculation, or by a variety of methods, but a clergyman had to live on
with the melancholy feelings that when he died his children must be
dependent on charity. Women _did_ do their best to aid their pastors,
but they could not do much, and even in the way that some of them
assisted their clergymen there was a want of judgment; for they took the
bread out of the mouths of poor women, who would otherwise have got the
money for the very articles which the rich of their congregation made
and sold for the benefit of this very man. Feeling the shame and
disgrace of his being obliged to subscribe to a charity, they earned
among themselves, _by sewing_, a sum sufficient to constitute him a
‘life member!’ What a hoax upon charity! What a poor, pitiful
compliment,—and at whose expense! The twenty-five dollars thus necessary
to be raised, which was to constitute their beloved pastor a life member
of a charitable society, would be applied to a better purpose, if they
had bought him some rare and valuable book, such as his small means
could not allow him to buy.”

“I am glad to hear that one so much respected by us had those
sentiments,” said Edgar, “for the old Recorder, even in the year 1850,
speaks of the little reverence that the people felt for their clergy.
Now, we vie with each other in making him comfortable; he is not looked
upon as a man from whom we are to get our pennyworth, as we do from
those of other professions—he is our pastor, a dear and endearing word,
and we should never think of dismissing him because he had not the gift
of eloquence, or because he was wanting in grace of action, or because
he did not come amongst us every day to listen to our fiddle-faddle.
When we want spiritual consolement, or require his services in marriage,
baptism, or burial, then he is at his post, and no severity of weather
withholds him from coming amongst us. In turn we call on him at some
stated period, when he can be seen at his ease and enjoy the sight of
our loving faces, and happy is the child who has been patted on the head
by him. When he grows old we indulge him in preaching his old sermons,
or in reading others that have stood the test of time, and when the
infirmities of age disable him from attending to his duties, we draw him
gently away and give him a competence for the remainder of his life.
What we should do for our father, we do for our spiritual father.”

“I am truly rejoiced at this,” said Hastings, “for in my day a clergyman
never felt secure of the affections of his people. If he was deficient
in that external polish, which certainly is a charm in an orator, or was
wanting in vehemence of action, or in enthusiasm, the way to displace
him was simple and easy: dissatisfaction showed itself in every action
of theirs—to sum up all, they ‘held him uneasy,’ and many a respectable,
godly man was forced to relinquish his hold on his cure to give place to
a younger and a more popular one.”

“Do you send a committee to a popular clergyman, and cajole him away
from his congregation, by offering him a larger salary or greater
perquisites?”

“Oh no—never, never; the very question shocks me. Our professors and our
clergymen are taken from the colleges and seminaries where they are
educated. They are young, generally, and are the better able to adapt
themselves to the feelings and capacities of their students and their
congregation. Parents give up the idle desire which they had in your
time, of hearing fine preaching at the expense of honour and delicacy.
When a congregation became very much attached to their pastor, and he
was doing good amongst them, it was cruel to break in upon their peace
and happiness merely because it was in a person’s power to do this. We
are certainly much better pleased to have a clergyman with fine talents
and a graceful exterior, but we value him more for goodness of heart and
honest principles. But, however gifted he may be, we never break the
tenth commandment, we never desire to take him away from our neighbour,
nor even in your time do I think a clergyman would ever seek to leave
his charge, unless strongly importuned.”

“Pray can you tell me,” said Hastings, “what has become of that vast
amount of property which belonged to the —— in New York?”

“Oh, it did a vast deal of good; after a time it was discovered that the
trustees had the power of being more liberal with it; other churches, or
rather all the Episcopal churches in the state, were assisted, and,
finally, each church received a yearly sum, sufficient to maintain a
clergyman. Every village, therefore, had a church and a clergyman; and
in due time, from this very circumstance, the Episcopalians came to be
more numerous in New York than any other sect. It is not now as it was
in your time, in the year 1835; then a poor clergyman, that he might
have the means to live, was compelled to travel through two, three, and
sometimes four parishes: all these clubbing together to make up the sum
of six hundred dollars in a year. Now this was scandalous, when that
large trust had such ample means in its power to give liberally to every
church in the state.”

“Why, yes,” said Hastings, “the true intent of accumulating wealth in
churches, is to advance religion; for what other purposes are the funds
created? I used to smile when I saw the _amazing_ liberality of the
trustees of this immense fund; they would, in the most freezing and
pompous manner, dole out a thousand dollars to this church, and a
thousand to that, making them all understand that nothing more could be
done, as they were fearful, even in doing this, that they had gone
beyond their charter.”

“Just as if they did not know,” said Edgar, “that any set of men, in any
legislature, would give them full powers to expend the whole income in
the cause of their own peculiar religion. Why I cannot tell how many
years were suffered to elapse before they raised what was called a
Bishop’s Fund, and you know better than I do, how it was raised, or
rather, how it commenced. And the old Recorder of Self-Inflicted
Miseries, states, that the fund for the support of decayed clergymen and
their families, was raised by the poor clergymen themselves. Never were
people so hardly used as these ministers of the Gospel. You were an
irreverent, exacting race in your day; you expected more from a preacher
than from any other person to whom they gave salaries—_they_ were
screwed down to the last thread of the screw; people would have their
pennyworth out of them. It is no wonder that you had such poor preachers
in your day; why few men of liberal education, aware of all the
exactions and disabilities under which the sacred cloth laboured, would
ever encounter them. But, now, every village has its own pastor; and
some of them are highly gifted men, commanding the attention of the most
intelligent people. The little churches are filled, throughout the
summer, with such of the gentry of the cities who can afford to spend a
few months in the country during the warm weather. No one, however, has
the indecency or the unfeelingness to covet this preacher for their own
church in the city. They do not attempt to bribe him away, but leave him
there, satisfied that the poor people who take such delight in
administering to his wants and his comforts, should have the benefit of
his piety, his learning and his example. Why, the clergymen, now, are
our best horticulturists too. It is to them that we owe the great
advancement in this useful art. They even taught, themselves, while at
college, and now they encourage their parishioners to cultivate gardens
and orchards. Every village, as well as town and city, has a large
garden attached to it, in which the children of the poor are taught to
work, so that to till the earth and to ‘make two blades of grass grow
where only one grew before,’ is now the chief aim of every individual;
and we owe this, principally, to our pastors. I can tell you that it is
something now to be a country clergyman.”

“But how were funds raised for the purchase of these garden and orchard
spots?”

“Why, through the means of the _general tax_, that which, in your day,
would have been called direct tax.”

“Direct tax! Why my dear Edgar, such a thing could never have been
tolerated in my time; people would have burnt the man in effigy for only
proposing such a thing. It was once or twice attempted, indirectly, and
in a very cautious way, but it would not do.”

“Yes—direct tax—I knew you would be startled, for the old Recorder of
Self-Inflicted Miseries states that at the close of Daniel Webster’s
administration something of the kind was suggested, but even then, so
late as the year 1850, it was violently opposed. But a new state of
things gradually paved the way for it, and now we cannot but pity the
times when all the poor inhabitants of this free country were taxed so
unequally. There is now, but one tax, and each man is made to pay
according to the value of his property, or his business, or his labour.
A land-holder, a stock-holder and the one who has houses and bonds and
mortgages, pays so much per cent, on the advance of his property, and
for his annual receipts—the merchant, with a fluctuating capital, pays
so much on his book account of sales—the mechanic and labourer, so much
on their yearly receipts, for we have no sales on credit now—that
demoralizing practice has been abolished for upwards of a century.”

“The merchants, then,” said Hastings, “pay more than any other class of
men, for there are the customhouse bonds.”

“Yes,” said Edgar, “I recollect reading in the Recorder of
Self-Inflicted Miseries,—you must run your eye over that celebrated
newspaper—that all goods imported from foreign ports had to pay
_duties_, as it was called. But every thing now is free to come and go,
and as the custom prevails all over the world, there is no hardship to
any one. What a demoralizing effect that duty or tariff system produced;
why honesty was but a loose term then, and did not apply to every act as
it now does. The Recorder was full of the exposures that were yearly
occurring, of _defrauding the revenue_, as it was called. Some of these
frauds were to a large amount; and then it was considered as a crime;
but when a man smuggled in hats, shoes, coats and other articles of the
like nature, he was suffered to go free; such small offences were winked
at as if defrauding the revenue of a dollar were not a crime _per_ se as
well as defrauding it of a thousand dollars—just as if murdering an
infant were not as much murder as if the life had been taken from a
man—just as if killing a man in private, because his enemy had paid you
to do it, was not as much murder in the first degree as if the
government had paid you for killing a dozen men in battle in open
day—just as if”—

“Just as if what?” said the astonished Hastings, “has the time come when
killing men by wholesale, in war, is accounted a crime?”

“Yes, thank Heaven,” said Edgar, “that blessed time has at length
arrived; it is upwards of one hundred and twenty years since men were
ordered to kill one another in that barbarous manner. Why the recital of
such cruel and barbarous deeds fills our young children with horror. The
ancient policy of referring the disputes of nations to single combat,
was far more humanizing than the referring such disputes to ten thousand
men on each side; for, after all, it was ‘might that made right.’
Because a strong party beats a weaker one, that is not a proof that the
_right_ was in the strong one; yet, still, if men had no other way of
settling their disputes but by spilling blood, then that plan was the
most humane which only sacrificed two or one man. As to national honour!
why not let the few settle it? why drag the poor sailors and soldiers to
be butchered like cattle to gratify the fine feelings of a few morbidly
constructed minds?”

“Oh, that my good father, Valentine Harley, could have seen this day,”
said Hastings. “But this bloodthirsty, savage propensity—this murdering
our fellow creatures in cold blood, as it were, was cured by degrees I
presume. What gave the first impulse to such a blessed change?”

“The old Recorder states that it was brought about by the _influence of
women_; it was they who gave the first impulse. As soon as they
themselves were considered as of equal importance with their husbands—as
soon as they were on an equality in _money matters_, for after all,
people are respected in proportion to their wealth, that moment all the
barbarisms of the age disappeared. Why, in your day, a strange perverted
system had taken deep root; _then_, it was the _man that was struck_ by
another who was disgraced in public opinion, and not the one who struck
him. It was that system which fermented and promoted bloodthirstiness,
and it was encouraged and fostered by men and by women both.

“But as soon as women had more power in their hands, their energies were
directed another way; they became more enlightened as they rose higher
in the scale, and instead of encroaching on our privileges, of which we
stood in such fear, women shrunk farther and farther from all approach
to men’s pursuits and occupations. Instead of congregating, as they did
in your time, to beg for alms to establish and sustain a charity, that
they might have some independent power of their own—for this craving
after distinction was almost always blended with their desire to do
good—they united for the purpose of exterminating that _war seed_ above
mentioned—that system which fastened the _disgrace_ of a blow on the one
who received it. This was their first effort; they then taught their
children likewise, that to kill a man in battle, or men in battle, when
mere national honour was the war cry, or when we had been robbed of our
money on the high seas, was a crime of the blackest die, and contrary to
the divine precepts of our Saviour. They taught them to abstain from
shedding human blood, _excepting in self defence_—excepting in case of
invasion.

“They next taught them to reverence religion; for until bloodthirstiness
was cured, how could a child reverence our Saviour’s precepts? How could
we recommend a wholesome, simple diet to a man who had been accustomed
to riot in rich sauces and condiments? They had first to wean them from
the savage propensities that they had received through the maddening
influence of unreflecting men, before a reverence for holy things could
be excited. Then it was that clergymen became the exalted beings in our
eyes that they now are—then it was that children began to love and
respect them. As soon as their fathers did their mothers the poor
justice of trusting them with all their property, the children began to
respect her as they ought, and then her words were the words of wisdom.
It was then, and not till then, that war and duelling ceased. We are
amazed at what we read. What! take away a man’s life because he has
robbed us of money! Hang a man because he has forged our name for a few
dollars! No: go to our prisons, there you will see the murderer’s
fate—solitary confinement, at hard labour, for life! that is his
punishment; but murders are very rare now in this country. A man stands
in greater dread of solitary confinement at hard labour than he does of
hanging. In fact, according to our way of thinking, now, we have no
right, by the Divine law, to take that away from a human being for which
we can give no equivalent. It is right to prevent a murderer from
committing still farther crime; and this we do by confining him for life
at hard labour, _and alone_.”

“Women, you say, produced a reform in that miserable code called _the
law of honour_.”

“Yes, thanks be to them for it. Why, as the old Recorder states, if a
man did not challenge the fellow who struck him, he was obliged to quit
the army or the navy, and be for ever banished as a coward, and it was
considered as disgraceful in a private citizen to receive a blow without
challenging the ruffian that struck him. But the moment that women took
the office in hand, that moment the thing was reversed. They entered
into a compact not to receive a man into their society who had struck
another, unless he made such ample apology to the injured person as to
be forgiven by him; and not only that, but his restoration to favour was
to be sued for by the injured party himself. A man soon became cautious
how he incurred the risk.”

“It often occurred to me,” said Hastings, “that women had much of the
means of moral reform in their power; but they always appeared to be
pursuing objects tending rather to weaken than to strengthen morals.
They acted with good intentions, but really wanted judgment to select
the proper method of pursuing their benevolent schemes. Only look at
their toiling as they did to collect funds towards educating poor young
men for the ministry.”

“Oh, those young men,” replied Edgar, “were, no doubt, their sons or
brothers, and even then they must have been working at some trade to
assist their parents or some poor relation, and thus had to neglect
themselves.”

“No, indeed,” said Hastings, “I assure you these young men were entire
strangers, persons that they never saw in their lives, nor ever expected
to see.”

“Then, all I can say is, that the women were to be pitied for their
mistaken zeal, and the men ought to have scorned such aid—but the times
are altered: no man, no poor man stands in need of women’s help now, as
they have trades or employments that enable them to educate themselves.
Only propose such a thing _now_ and see how it would be received; why a
young man would think you intended to insult him. We pursue the plan so
admirably begun in your day by the celebrated Fellenberg. When we return
this way again, I will show you the work-shops attached to the
college—the one we saw in Princeton.”

“While we are thus far on the road, suppose that we go to New York,”
said Hastings, “I was bound thither when that calamity befell me. I
wonder if I shall see a single house remaining that I saw three hundred
years ago.”

Edgar laughed—“You will see but very few, I can tell you,” said he,
“houses, in your day, were built too slightly to stand the test of _one_
century. At one time, the corporation of the city had to inspect the
mortar, lest it should not be strong enough to cement the bricks! And it
frequently happened that houses tumbled down, not having been built
strong enough to bear their own weight. A few of the public buildings
remain, but they have undergone such changes that you will hardly
recognize them. The City Hall, indeed, stands in the same place, but if
you approach it, in the rear, you will find that it is of marble, and
not freestone as the old Recorder says it was in your time. But since
the two great fires at the close of the years 1835 and 1842 the city
underwent great alterations.”

“Great fires; in what quarter of the city were they? They must have been
disasters, indeed, to be remembered for three hundred years.”

“Yes, the first destroyed nearly seven hundred houses, and about fifteen
millions of property; and the second, upwards of a thousand houses, and
about three millions of property; but excepting that it reduced a number
of very respectable females to absolute want, the merchants, and the
city itself, were greatly benefited by it. There were salutary laws
enacted in consequence of it, that is, after the second fire; for
instance, the streets in the burnt districts were made wider; the houses
were better and stronger built; the fire engines were drawn by horses,
and afterwards by a new power: firemen were not only exempt from jury
and militia duty, but they had a regular salary while they served out
their seven years’ labour; and if any fireman lost his life, or was
disabled, his family received the salary for a term of years. The old
Recorder says that there was not a merchant of any enterprise who did
not recover from his losses in three years.”

“But what became of the poor women who lost all their property? did they
lose insurance stock? for I presume the insurance companies became
insolvent.”

“The poor women?—oh, they remained poor—nothing in _your_ day ever
happened to better their condition when a calamity like that overtook
_them_. Men had enough to do to pity and help themselves. Yes, their
loss was in the insolvency of the insurance companies; but stock is safe
enough now, for the last tremendous fire (they did not let the first
make the impression it ought to have done,) roused the energies and
_sense_ of the people, and insurance is managed very different. Every
house, now, whether of the rich or the poor man, is insured. It has to
pay so much additional tax, and the corporation are the insurers. But
the tax is so trifling that no one feels it a burden; our houses are
almost all fire-proof since the discovery of a substance which renders
wood almost proof against fire. But I have a file of the Recorder of
Self-Inflicted Miseries, and you will see the regular gradation from the
barbarisms of your day to the enlightened times it has been permitted
you to see.”

“But the water, in my day,”—poor Hastings never repeated this without a
sigh—“in my day the city was supplied by water from a brackish stream,
but there was a plan in contemplation to bring good water to the city
from the distance of forty miles.”

“Where, when was that? I do not remember to have read any thing about
it.—Oh, yes, there was such a scheme, and it appears to me they did
attempt it, but whatever was the cause of failure I now forget; at
present they have a plentiful supply by means of boring. Some of these
bored wells are upwards of a thousand feet deep.”

“Why the Manhattan Company made an attempt of this kind in my time, but
they gave it up as hopeless after going down to the depth of six or
seven hundred feet.”

“Yes, I recollect; but only look at the difficulties they had to
encounter. In the first place, the chisel that they bored with was not
more than three or four inches wide; of course, as the hole made by this
instrument could be no larger, there was no possibility of getting the
chisel up if it were broken off below, neither could they break or cut
it into fragments. If such an accident were to occur at the depth of six
hundred feet, this bored hole would have to be abandoned. We go
differently to work now; with our great engines we cut down through the
earth and rock, as if it were cheese, and the wells are of four feet
diameter. As they are lined throughout with an impervious cement, the
overflowing water does not escape. Every house is now supplied from this
never-failing source—the rich, and the poor likewise, use this water,
and it is excellent. All the expense comes within the one yearly general
tax: when a man builds he knows that pipes are to be conveyed through
his house, and he knows also that his one tax comprehends the use of
water. He pays so much per centum for water, for all the municipal
arrangement, for defence of harbour, for the support of government, &c.,
and as there is such a wide door open, such a competition, his food and
clothing do not cost half as much as they did in your day.”

“You spoke of wells a thousand feet deep and four feet wide; what became
of all the earth taken from them—stones I should say.”

“Oh, they were used for the extension of the Battery. Do you remember,
in your day, an ill constructed thing called Fort William, or Castle
Garden? Well, the Battery was filled up on each side from that point, so
that at present there are at least five acres of ground more attached to
it than when you saw it, and as we are now levelling a part of Brooklyn
heights, we intend to fill it out much farther. The Battery is a noble
promenade now.”

They reached New York by the slow line at two o’clock, having travelled
at the rate of thirty miles an hour; and after walking up Broadway to
amuse themselves with looking at the improvements that had taken place
since Hastings last saw it—three hundred years previous—they stopped at
the Astor Hotel. This venerable building, the City Hall, the Public
Mart, the St. Paul’s Church, and a stone house at the lower end of the
street, built by governor Jay, were all that had stood the test of ages.
The St. Paul was a fine old church, but the steeple had been taken down
and a dome substituted, as was the fashion of all the churches in the
city—the burial yards of all were gone—houses were built on
them:—vaults, tombs, graves, monuments—what had become of them?

The Astor Hotel, a noble building, of simple and chaste architecture,
stood just as firm, and looked just as well, as it did when Hastings saw
it. Why should it not? stone is stone, and three hundred years more
would pass over it without impairing it. This shows the advantage of
stone over brick. Mr. Astor built for posterity, and he has thus
perpetuated his name. He was very near living as long as this building;
the planning and completing of it seemed to renovate him, for his life
was extended to his ninety-ninth year. This building proves him to have
been a man of fine taste and excellent judgment, for it still continues
to be admired.

“But how is this?” said Hastings, “I see no houses but this one built by
Mr. Astor that are higher than three stories; it is the case throughout
the city, stores and all.”

“Since the two great fires of 1835 and 1842, the corporation forbid the
building of any house or store above a certain height. Those tremendous
fires, as I observed, brought people to their senses, and they now see
the folly of it.

“The ceilings are not so high as formerly; more regard is shown to
comfort. Why the old Recorder of Self-Inflicted Miseries states, that
men were so indifferent about the conveniences and comforts of life,
that they would sometimes raise the ceilings to the great height of
fourteen and fifteen feet! Nay, that they did so in despite of their
wives’ health, never considering how hard it bore on the lungs of those
who were affected with asthma or other visceral complaints. Heavens and
earth! how little the ease and pleasure of women were consulted in your
day.”

“Yes, that appears all very true,” said Hastings, “but you must likewise
recollect that these very women were quite as eager as their husbands to
live in houses having such high flights of stairs.”

“Poor things,” exclaimed Edgar, “to think of their being trained to like
and desire a thing that bore so hard on them. Only consider what a loss
of time and breath it must be to go up and down forty or fifty times a
day, for your nurseries were, it seems, generally in the third story. We
love our wives too well now to pitch our houses so high up in the air.
The Philadelphians had far more humanity, more consideration; they
always built a range of rooms in the rear of the main building, and this
was a great saving of time and health.”

“Where, at length, did they build the custom house?” said Hastings; “I
think there was a difficulty in choosing a suitable spot for it.”

“Oh, I recollect,” said Edgar. “Why they did at length decide, and one
was built in Pine street; but that has crumbled away long since. You
know that we have no necessity for a custom house now, as all foreign
goods come free of duty. This direct tax includes all the expenses of
the general and state governments, and it operates so beautifully that
the rich man now bears his full proportion towards the support of the
whole as the poor man does. This was not the case in your day. Only
think how unequally it bore on the labourer who had to buy foreign
articles, such as tea, and sugar, and coffee, for a wife and six or
eight children, and to do all this with his wealth, which was the labour
of his hands. The rich man did not contribute the thousandth part of his
proportion towards paying for foreign goods, nor was he taxed according
to his revenue for the support of government. The direct tax includes
the poor man’s wealth, which is his labour, and the rich man’s wealth,
which is his property.”

“But have the merchants no mart—no exchange? According to the map you
showed me of the two great fires, the first exchange was burnt.”

“Yes, the merchants have a noble exchange. Did you not see that immense
building on State street, surrounded by an area? After the first great
fire they purchased—that is, a company purchased—the whole block that
included State street in front, Pearl street in the rear, and Whitehall
street at the lower end. All mercantile business is transacted there,
the principal post office and the exchange are there now; the whole go
under the general name of Mart—the City Mart.”

“Is it not inconvenient to have the post office so far from the centre
of business?—it was a vexed question in my day,” said Hastings.

“You must recollect that even then, central as the post office was,
there were many sub-post offices. If men in your day were regardless of
the many unnecessary steps that their wives were obliged to take, they
were very careful of sparing themselves. We adopt the plan now of having
two sets of post men or letter carriers; one set pass through the
streets at a certain hour to receive letters, their coming being
announced by the chiming of a few bells at their cars, and the other set
delivering letters. They both ride in cars, for now that no letter, far
or near, pays more than two cents postage—which money is to pay the
letter carriers themselves—the number of letters is so great that cars
are really necessary. All the expense of the post office department is
defrayed from the income or revenue of the direct tax—and hence the man
of business pays his just proportion too. It was a wise thing,
therefore, to establish all the mercantile offices near the Battery;
they knew that the time was coming when New York and Brooklyn would be
as one city.”

“One city!” exclaimed Hastings; “how can that be? If connected by
bridges, how can the ships pass up the East river?”

“You forget that our vessels have no masts; they pass under the bridges
here as they do in the Delaware.”

“Oh, true, I had forgotten; but my head is so confused with all the
wonders that I see and hear, that you must excuse my mistakes. The old
theatre stood there, but it has disappeared, I suppose. It was called
the Park Theatre. How are the play houses conducted now? is there only
one or two good actors now among a whole company?”

“Well, that question really does amuse me. I dare say that the people of
your day were as much astonished at reading the accounts handed down to
them of the fight of gladiators before an audience, as we are at your
setting out evening after evening to hear the great poets travestied. If
we could be transported back to your time, how disgusted we should be to
spend four hours in listening to rant and ignorance. All our actors now,
are men and women of education, such as the Placides, the Wallacks, the
Kembles, the Keans, of your day. I assure you, we would not put up with
inferior talent in our cities. It is a rich treat now to listen to one
of Shakspeare’s plays, for every man and woman is perfect in the part.
The whole theatrical corps is held in as much esteem, and make a part of
our society, as those of any other profession do. The worthless and the
dissolute are more scrupulously rejected by that body than they are from
the body of lawyers or doctors; in fact it is no more extraordinary now,
than it was in your day to see a worthless lawyer, or merchant, or
physician, and to see him tolerated in society too, if he happen to be
rich. But there is no set of people more worthy of our friendship and
esteem than the players. A great change, to be sure, took place in their
character, as soon as they had reaped the benefit of a college
education. I presume you know that there is a college now for the
education of public actors?”

“Is it possible?” said Hastings; “then I can easily imagine the
improvements you speak of; for with the exception of the few—the stars,
as they were called—there was but little education among them.”

“Here it is that elocution is taught, and here all public speakers take
lessons,” said Edgar; “you may readily imagine what an effect such an
institution would have on those who intended to become actors. In your
day, out of the whole theatrical corps of one city, not more than six or
seven, perhaps, could tell the meaning of the _words_ they used in
speaking, to say nothing of the _sense_ of the author. There is no more
prejudice now against play-acting than there is against farming. The old
Recorder states, that, before our revolution, the farmers were of a more
inferior race, and went as little into polite society as the mechanics
did. Even so far back as your time a farmer was something of a
gentleman, and why an actor should not be a gentleman is to us
incomprehensible. One of the principal causes of this change of personal
feeling towards actors has arisen from our having expunged all the low
and indelicate passages from the early plays. Shakspeare wrote as the
times then were, but his works did not depend on a few coarse and vulgar
passages for their popularity and immortality; they could bear to be
taken out, as you will perceive, for the space they occupied is not now
known; the adjoining sentence closed over them, as it were, and they are
forgotten. There were but few erasures to be made in the writings of Sir
Walter Scott; the times were beginning to loathe coarse and indelicate
allusions in your day, and, indeed, we may thank the other sex for this
great improvement. They never disgraced their pages with sentences and
expressions which would excite a blush. Look at the purity of such
writers as Miss Burney, Mrs. Radcliffe, Miss Edgeworth, Miss Austin,
Madame Cotton, and others of their day in Europe,—it is to woman’s
influence that we owe so much. See what is done by them now; why they
have fairly routed and scouted out that vile, disgraceful, barbarous
practice which was even prevalent in your time—that of beating and
bruising the tender flesh of their children.”

“I am truly rejoiced at that,” said Hastings, “but I hope they extended
their influence to the schools likewise—I mean the common schools; for,
in my day in the grammar school of a college, a man who should bruise a
child’s flesh by beating or whipping him would have been kicked out of
society.”

“Why, I thought that boys were whipped in the grammar schools also. In
the year 1836, it appears to me, that I remember to have read of the
dismissal of some professor for injuring one of the boys by flogging him
severely.”

“I do not recollect it; but you say 1836—alas! I was unconscious then.
It was the remains of barbarism; how a teacher could get roused to such
height of passion as to make him desire to bruise a child’s flesh, I
cannot conceive—when the only crime of the poor little sufferer was
either an unwillingness or an inability to recite his lessons. I can
imagine that a man, when drunk, might bruise a child’s flesh in such a
shocking manner as that the blood would settle under the skin, because
liquor always brutalizes. Is drunkenness as prevalent now as formerly?”

“Oh no, none but the lowest of the people drink to excess now, and they
have to get drunk on cider and wine, for spirituous liquors have been
prohibited by law for upwards of two hundred years. A law was passed in
the year 1901, granting a divorce to any woman whose husband was proved
to be a drunkard. This had a good effect, for a drunkard knew that if he
was abandoned by his wife he must perish; so it actually reclaimed many
drunkards at the time, and had a salutary effect afterwards. Besides
this punishment, if a single man, or a bachelor, as he is called, was
found drunk three times, he was put in the workhouse and obliged to have
his head shaved, and to work at some trade. It is a very rare thing to
see a drunkard now. But what are you looking for?”

“I thought I might see a cigar box about—not that I ever smoke”—

“A what?—a cigar? Oh yes, I know—little things made of tobacco leaves;
but you have to learn that there is not a tobacco plantation in the
world now. That is one of the most extraordinary parts of your history:
that well educated men could keep a pungent and bitter mass of leaves in
their mouth for the pleasure of seeing a stream of yellow water running
out of it, is the most incomprehensible mystery to me; and then, to push
the dust of these leaves up their nostrils, which I find by the old
Recorder that they did, for the mere pleasure of hearing the noise that
was made by their noses! The old Recorder called their pocket
handkerchiefs flags of abomination.”

Hastings thought it was not worth while to convince the young man that
the disgusting practice was not adopted for such purposes as he
mentioned. In fact his melancholy had greatly increased since their
arrival in this city, and he determined to beg his young friend to
return the next day to their home, and to remain quiet for another year,
to see if time could reconcile him to his strange fate. He took pleasure
in rambling through the city hall, and the park, which remained still of
the same shape, and he was pleased likewise to see that many of the
streets at right angles with Broadway were more than twice the width
that they were in 1835. For instance, all the streets from Wall street
up to the Park were as wide as Broadway, and they were opened on the
other side quite down to the Hudson.

“Yes,” said Edgar, “it was the great fire of 1842 which made this
salutary change; but here is a neat building—you had nothing of this
kind in your time. This is a house where the daughters of the poor are
taught to sew and cut out wearing apparel. I suppose you know that there
are no men tailors now.”

“What, do women take measure?”

“Oh no, men are the measurers, but women cut out and sew. It is of great
advantage to poor women that they can cut out and make their husbands’
and children’s clothes. The old Recorder states that women—poor women—in
the year 1836, were scarcely able to cut out their own clothes. But just
about that date, a lady of this city suggested the plan of establishing
an institution of this kind, and it was adopted. Some benevolent men
built the house and left ample funds for the maintenance of a certain
number of poor girls, with a good salary for those who superintend it.
And here is another house: this is for the education of those girls
whose parents have seen better days. Here they are taught accounts and
book-keeping—which, however, in our day is not so complicated as it was,
for there is no credit given for any thing. In short these girls are
instructed in all that relates to the disposal of money; our women now
comprehend what is meant by stocks, and dividends, and loans, and
tracts, and bonds, and mortgages.”

“Do women still get the third of their husband’s estate after their
husband’s death?”

“Their thirds? I don’t know what you mean—Oh, I recollect; yes, in your
day it was the practice to curtail a woman’s income after her husband’s
death. A man never then considered a woman as equal to himself; but,
while he lived, he let her enjoy the whole of his income equally with
himself, because he could not do otherwise and enjoy his money; but when
he died, or rather, when about making his will, he found out that she
was but a poor creature after all, and that a very little of what he had
to leave would suffice for her. Nay, the old Recorder says that there
have been rich men who ordered the very house in which they lived, and
which had been built for their wives’ comfort, during their life time,
to be sold, and who thus compelled their wives to live in mean, pitiful
houses, or go to lodgings.”

“Yes,” said Hastings,—quite ashamed of his own times,—“but then you know
the husband was fearful that his wife would marry again, and all their
property would go to strangers.”

“Well, why should not women have the same privileges as men? Do you not
think that a woman had the same fears? A man married again and gave his
money to strangers—did he not? The fact is, we consider that a woman has
the same feelings as we have ourselves—a thing you never once thought
of—and now the property that is made during marriage is as much the
woman’s as the man’s; they are partners in health and in sickness, in
joy and in sorrow—they enjoy every thing in common while they live
together, and why a woman, merely on account of her being more helpless,
should be cut off from affluence because she survives her husband, is
more than we of this century can tell. Why should not children wait for
the property till after her death, as they would for their father’s
death? It was a relic of barbarism, but it has passed away with wars and
bloodshed. We educate our women now, and they are as capable of taking
care of property as we are ourselves. They are our trustees, far better
than the trustees you had amongst you in your day—they seldom could find
it in their hearts to allow a widow even her poor income. I suppose they
thought that a creature so pitifully used by her husband was not worth
bestowing their honesty upon.”

“But the women in my day,” said Hastings, “seemed to approve of this
treatment: in fact, I have known many very sensible women who thought it
right that a man should not leave his wife the whole of his income after
his death. But they were beginning to have their eyes opened, for I
recollect that the subject was being discussed in 1835.”

“Yes, you can train a mind to acquiesce in any absurd doctrine, and the
truth is, that as women were then educated, they were, for the most
part, unfit to have the command of a large estate. But I cannot find
that the children were eventually benefited by it; for young men and
women, coming into possession of their father’s estate at the early age
of twenty-one, possessed no more business talent than their mother; nor
had they even as much prudence and judgment in the management of money
matters, as she had. Men seldom thought of this, but generally directed
their executors to divide the property among the children as soon as
they became of age—utterly regardless of the injustice they were doing
their wives, and of the oath which they took when they married—that is,
if they married according to the forms of the Episcopal church. In that
service, a man binds himself by a solemn oath ‘to endow his wife with
_all_ his worldly goods.’ If he swears to endow her with all, how can he
in safety to his soul, _will_ these worldly goods away from her. We
consider the practice of depriving a woman of the right to the whole of
her husband’s property after his death, as a monstrous act of injustice,
and the laws are now peremptory on this subject.”

“I am certain you are right,” said Hastings, “and you have improved more
rapidly in this particular, during a period of three hundred years, than
was done by my ancestors in two thousand years before, I can understand
now, how it happens, that children have the same respect for their
mother, that they only felt for their father in my time. The custom, or
laws, being altogether in favour of equality of rights between the
parents, the children do not repine when they find that they stand in
the same relation of dependence to their mother, that they did to their
father; and why this should not be, is incomprehensible to me now, but I
never reflected on it before.”

“Yes, there are fewer estates squandered away in consequence of this,
and society is all the better for it. Then to this is added the great
improvement in the business education of women. All the retail and
detail of mercantile operations are conducted by them. You had some
notion of this in your time; for, in Philadelphia, although women were
generally only employed to make sales behind the counter, yet some were
now and then seen at the head of the establishment. Before our
separation from Great Britain, the business of farming was also at a low
ebb, and a farmer was but a mean person in public estimation. He ranks
now amongst the highest of our business men; and in fact, he is equal to
any man whether in business or not, and this is the case with female
merchants. Even in 1836, a woman who undertook the business of a retail
shop, managing the whole concern herself, although greatly respected,
she never took her rank amongst the first classes of society. This
arose, first, from want of education, and, secondly, from her having
lived amongst an inferior set of people. But when women were trained to
the comprehension of mercantile operations, and were taught how to
dispose of money, their whole character underwent a change, and with
this accession of business talent, came the respect from men for those
who had a capacity for the conducting of business affairs. Only think
what an advantage this is to our children; why our mothers and wives are
the first teachers, they give us sound views from the very commencement,
and our clerkship begins from the time we can comprehend the distinction
of right and wrong.”

“Did not our infant schools give a great impulse to this improvement in
the condition of women, and to the improvement in morals, and were not
women mainly instrumental in fostering these schools?”

“Yes, that they were; it was chiefly through the influence of their pen
and active benevolence, that the scheme arrived at perfection. In these
infant schools a child was early taught the mystery of its relation to
society; all its good dispositions and propensities were encouraged and
developed, and its vicious ones were repressed. The world owes much to
the blessed influence of infant schools, and the lower orders were the
first to be humanized by them. But I need not dwell on this particular.
I shall only point to the improvement in the morals of our people at
this day, to convince you that it is owing altogether to the benign
influence of women. As soon as they took their rank as an equal to man,
equal as to property I mean, for they had no other right to _desire_;
there was no longer any struggle, it became their ambition to show how
long the world had been benighted by thus keeping them in a degraded
state. I say degraded state, for surely it argued in them imbecility or
incapacity of some kind, and to great extent, too, when a man appointed
executors and trustees to his estate whilst his wife was living. It
showed one of three things—that he never considered her as having equal
rights with himself; or, that he thought her incompetent to take charge
of his property—or, that the customs and laws of the land had so warped
his judgment, that he only did as he saw others do, without considering
whether these laws and customs were right or wrong. But if you only look
back you will perceive, that in every benevolent scheme, in every plan
for meliorating the condition of the poor, and improving their morals,
it was women’s influence that promoted and fostered it. It is to that
healthy influence, that we owe our present prosperity and happiness—and
it is an influence which I hope may forever continue.”

It was not to such a man as Hastings that Edgar need have spoken so
earnestly; he only wanted to have a subject fairly before him to
comprehend it in all its bearings. He rejoiced that women were now equal
to men in all that they ever considered as their rights; and he rejoiced
likewise that the proper distinction was rigidly observed between the
sexes—that as men no longer encroached on their rights, they, in return,
kept within the limits assigned them by the Creator. As a man and a
Christian, he was glad that this change had taken place; and it was a
melancholy satisfaction to feel that with these views, if it had been
permitted him to continue with his wife, he should have put her on an
equality with himself.

The moment his wife and child appeared to his mental vision, he became
indifferent to what was passing around him; Edgar, perceiving that he
was buried in his own thoughts, proposed that they should return home
immediately, and they accordingly passed down Broadway to the Battery,
from which place they intended to take a boat. They reached the wharf—a
ship had just arrived from the Cape of Good Hope, with a fine cargo. The
captain and crew of which were black.

——“That is true,” said Hastings, “I have seen very few negroes; what has
become of them. The question of slavery was a very painful one in my
time, and much of evil was apprehended in consequence of a premature
attempt to hasten their emancipation. I dread to hear how it
eventuated.”

“You have nothing to fear on that score,” said Edgar, “for the whole
thing was arranged most satisfactorily to all parties. The government
was rich in resources, and rich in land; they sold the land, and with
the money thus obtained, and a certain portion of the surplus revenue in
the course of ten years, they not only indemnified the slaveholders for
their loss of property, but actually transplanted the whole of the negro
population to Liberia, and to other healthy colonies. The southern
planters soon found that their lands could be as easily cultivated by
the labour of white men, as by the negroes.”

“But a great number remained, I presume, for it would not have been
humane to force those to go who preferred to stay.”

“All that chose to settle in this country were at liberty to do so, and
their rights and privileges were respected; but in the course of twenty
or thirty years, their descendants gradually went over to their own
people, who by this time, had firmly established themselves.”

“Did those that remained, ever intermarry with the white population, and
were they ever admitted into society?”

“As soon as they became free, as soon as their bodies were unshackled,
their minds became enlightened, and as their education advanced, they
learned to appreciate themselves properly. They saw no advantage in
intermarrying with the whites; on the contrary, they learned, by close
investigation, that the negro race becomes extinct in the fourth remove,
when marriages took place between the two colours. It seemed to be their
pride to keep themselves a distinct people, and to show the world that
their organization allowed of the highest grade of mental culture. They
seemed utterly indifferent likewise about mixing in the society of white
men, for their object and sole aim was to become independent. Many of
their descendants left the United States with handsome fortunes. You
could not insult a black man more highly than to talk of their
intermarrying with the whites—they scorn it much more than the whites
did in your time.”

“How do they treat the white people that trade with them in their own
country?”

“How? why as Christians—to their praise be it said, they never
retaliated. The few excesses they committed whilst they were degraded by
slavery, was entirely owing to a misdirection of their energies; but the
moment the white man gave up his right over them, that moment all
malignant and hostile feelings disappeared. The name of negro is no
longer a term of reproach, he is proud of it; and he smiles when he
reads in the history of their servitude, how indignant the blacks were
at being called by that title. They are a prosperous and happy people,
respected by all nations, for their trade extends over the whole world.
They would never have arrived at their present happy condition if they
had sought to obtain their freedom by force; but by waiting a few
years—for the best men of their colour saw that the spirit of the times
indicated that their day of freedom was near—they were released from
bondage with the aid and good wishes of the whole country. It showed
their strong good sense in waiting for the turn of the tide in their
favour; it proved that they had forethought, and deserved our
sympathies.”

“I am glad of all this,” said Hastings—“and the Indians—what has become
of them, are they still a distinct people?”

“I am sorry you ask that question,—for it is one on which I do not like
to converse—but

     ‘The Indians have departed—gone is their hunting ground,
     And the twanging of their bow-string is a forgotten sound.
     Where dwelleth yesterday—and where is echo’s cell?
     Where hath the rainbow vanished—there doth the Indian dwell!’

“When our own minds were sufficiently enlightened, when our hearts were
sufficiently inspired by the humane principles of the Christian
religion, we emancipated the blacks. What demon closed up the springs of
tender mercy when Indian rights were in question I know not?—but I must
not speak of it!”

They now proceeded homewards, and in three hours—for they travelled
slowly, that they might the better converse,—they came in sight of the
low, stone farm-house, in which poor Hastings had taken his nap of three
hundred years. They alighted from the car, and as he wished to indulge
himself in taking one more look at the interior—for the building was
soon to be removed—his young relative left him to apprize his family of
their arrival. After casting a glance at Edgar, he entered the house,
and seating himself mechanically in the old arm chair, he leaned his
head back in mournful reverie. Thoughts innumerable, and of every
variety chased each other through his troubled brain; his early youth,
his political career, his wife and child, all that they had ever been to
him, his excellent father, Valentine Harley, and all their tender
relationship, mingled confusedly with the events that had occurred since
his long sleep—copyrights—mad dogs—bursting of steam boilers—the two
great fires in New-York—direct tax—no duties—post-offices—the improved
condition of clergymen—no more wars—no bruising of children’s
flesh—women’s rights—Astor’s hotel—New-York Mart in State-street—Negro
emancipation—all passed in rapid review, whilst his perplexities to know
what became of the Indians were mixed with the rest, and ran through the
whole scene. At the same time that all this was galloping through his
feverish brain, he caught a glance of his young relative, and in his
troubled imagination, it appeared that it was not the Edgar Hastings who
had of late been his kind companion, but his own son. He was conscious
that this was only a trick of the fancy, and arose from his looking so
earnestly at the young man as he left him at the door of the house; but
it was a pleasant fancy, and he indulged in it, till a sudden crash or
noise of some kind jarred the windows and aroused him. He was sensible
that footsteps approached, and he concluded it was his young friend who
had returned to conduct him home.

“Edgar—Edgar Hastings—my son is it thou—didst thou not hear the cannon
of the Black Hawk—hast thou been sleeping?”

“Amazement! Was that the voice of his father—was this the good Valentine
Harley that now assisted him to rise—and who were those approaching
him—was it his darling wife, and was that smiling boy his own son, his
little Edgar!”

“You have been asleep, I find, my dear husband,” said the gentle
Ophelia, “and a happy sleep it has been for me, for us all. See, here is
a letter which makes it unnecessary for you to leave home.”

“And is this reality?—do I indeed hold thee to my heart once more, my
Ophelia—oh, my father, what a dream!”



                             THE SURPRISE.


Nothing injures a man’s prospects in life more than a bad name. My
father, an honest, good man, never could rise above it, it depressed him
to his dying day. His name was Pan, and no one ever spoke to him without
some small joke, a thing which my father’s sensitiveness could not bear.
He was a gardener and sent the finest of vegetables to market, striving
to excel all others—I presume that my taste for horticulture arose from
this circumstance.

Adjoining our garden was one that belonged to a man by the name of
Patrick O’Brien; he likewise raised fruits and vegetables for sale, and
there was a constant strife between him and my father as to who should
get the pre-eminence; but it so happened that, although my father had
the greatest abundance of large and fine specimens, yet Patrick O’Brien
had the largest for the monthly exhibitions. My father was not of a
jealous nature, yet he did envy his friend’s success; and there is no
knowing whether a breach might not have been made in their long tried
friendship but for my excellent mother. She always begged my father to
try and try again; and, above all, to try for the yearly fair.

My father did persevere, and to his great joy, he got three premiums.

“I cannot tell how it has happened, wife,” said he, “I have certainly
acquired the premiums, but O’Brien’s tulips were, to my notion, far more
beautiful than mine; and you yourself saw how much larger his salad was;
and then the early strawberries—I had the greatest quantity, but his
were the largest.”

My mother certainly was glad that my father’s spirit was elated, but she
was of a timid, nervous temperament, and she could not bear excitement
of any kind. She therefore trembled very much whilst he stood talking to
her, nor was she the less agitated when Patrick O’Brien entered the
room.

“Right glad am I, neighbour Pan, that you have the three prizes this
day,” said honest Patrick, “and you must try your luck again, for
there’s to be a great prize given next year. Early peas, my boy. Arrah,
but won’t I try for them; and you have a fine warm spot for them too.
But, mistress Pan, for what are you not wishing your husband joy this
bright day, seeing he has what he so long wished for?”

“Mr. O’Brien,” said my mother, the next day, “it must not be done again;
my husband will find it out, and he will die of vexation. Pray
discourage him from making the attempt next spring, for he will not bear
a disappointment so well then as he has hitherto done. Did no one see
you put the large strawberries in his dish?”

“No, never a creature, and I’m wondering you’ll mention a thing to me
that I have almost forgotten. I was frightful, though, about the Parrot
tulip, for one of the gentlemen would keep talking about it, and I had
to keep saying, ‘It’s not a Parrot, your honour, it’s a Bijou.’”

The fact was, that this kind hearted creature could not bear to see my
father so crest-fallen, and he determined, as he had borne off so many
premiums, to let his friend share the pleasure with him. He slily put
three of his finest tulips in the bunch belonging to my father, and, one
by one, he put a dozen of his largest strawberries on the dish. He told
all this to my poor mother, for which he was very sorry, seeing that it
troubled her tender conscience; but, as her husband was not to know of
the trick, she endeavoured to forget it also. “And you, too, poor
Patrick,” said she, “you feel badly at not getting the prizes; you have
had them so long that it must be hard for you to lose them now—and
particularly when, by rights, you should have them.”

“Oh, honey, never you mind me; I care more to name your little baby,
when it comes; and if you’ll let it be called Patrick, why I have a
little matter of money which shall all be his; and we will make the boy
a great scholar. I’ll bring him up like a gentleman.”

I was born on St. Patrick’s day; a double reason, as the poor Irishman
said, for getting the name; but my mother cared little about that; all
she thought of was leaving me to the mercy of heartless strangers. She
was in very delicate health, and just lived long enough to hear me call
her mother. Her death was a severe blow to my father and my poor
godfather, for she was the peacemaker in their little disputes, and the
consoler in all their little troubles and miscarriages, of which a
gardener, you know, has many. In less than three months I lost my father
also; and thus I became entirely thrown on the care of this good and
honest Irishman.

As my father was liberal and spirited, it cannot be supposed that he
had, in a few short years, made much money; when his effects were sold,
and every thing converted into money, there only remained about five
hundred dollars. A far greater sum, as Patrick said, than he expected to
realize; but nothing at all equal to what was necessary. He was a very
sanguine creature, and always had a hope that the next year would do
wonders; so putting the money thus obtained from my father’s effects
into safe hands, he determined on providing for me himself.

Never was there a father so proud of a child as Patrick was of his
little godson; and never did a child fare better, for three years, than
I did. He dressed me in the finest clothes; and I was never without a
lap full of toys; in fact, he could not resist my entreaties for more
when we passed a toy shop. He often neglected his work to take me either
a riding or walking with him; and even when toiling in the garden, he
was uneasy unless I was running around him. But, alas, this state of
things was not to last long; he missed my father’s excellent example and
my mother’s gentle hints, so he went on as if his income was never to be
diminished, and as if he had thousands at his command.

Like all weak people, the moment his affairs became embarrassed, he gave
up all endeavours at retrieving them; he ended by neglecting every
thing; and when my nurse presented the quarterly account for my board,
poor Patrick had to sell a valuable watch to meet the demand. My little
property was in the Savings Bank, and, hitherto, untouched; but much as
it was against his inclination—and, oh, how sore a thing it was—he was
compelled to take up the year’s interest, which he fondly hoped to leave
with the principal, to pay the woman for my next quarter.

Thus it went from bad to worse, until it came to utter ruin; and Patrick
had sunk so low in public esteem, that he could not obtain even the
ordinary wages of a common gardener. He seemed to have lost his skill
with his pride, and all was aggravated by the thought of being unable to
provide for me as he once intended to do. He used to hug me to him and
weep over me, calling on my father, but most frequently on my mother, to
scorn him and hate him for breaking his promise, which was to educate
me, and give me a gentlemanly trade. He was so true to his trust,
however, that he never would touch my little patrimony; he only grieved
too much, as I observed, at having to draw upon the interest, little as
it was. But five shillings a week was not a sum sufficient to satisfy my
nurse. She had taken care of me for three years, and had been well paid
by my godfather, who likewise made her several valuable presents; but
when it came to the shillings, she at once told Patrick, who was
thunderstruck at her hardness of heart, that he must get another place
for the little spoilt boy; that she found him so troublesome she could
keep him no longer.

I shall not tell of the change that came over me, nor the resistance I
made to every new face, for I was turned over to a dozen strangers in
the course of a year. Nor shall I tell of poor Patrick’s misery at
seeing my altered looks and spirits. He rallied a little and went in a
gentleman’s service as under gardener, that he might not only be near
me, but comfort my little heart, which was breaking with ill usage and
neglect. Small as the sum was, which Patrick gave for my board, there
were miserable creatures who offered to take me for less, so that one
woman, with whom I lived, actually farmed me out, keeping two shillings
a week out of the scanty allowance. No one can have an idea how poor
little orphans are abused when there are no kind friends to interest
themselves for them.

I was a very unprepossessing child, neither good looking nor pleasant
tempered; not that I was really ill-tempered, but that ill usage had
stupified me. I never entered into play with the children of my own age,
nor did I seek the amusements that were even within my reach. I loved to
be alone, to lie under a tree near a brook, listening to the babbling
and murmuring of the waters, and fancying that I heard my mother talking
to me. Little as I was, I used to frame long conversations with her, and
they had the effect of soothing me. Her gentle spirit was for ever
present, and constantly encouraging me to bear all, and suffer in
silence, and that when I was a man I should be rewarded. I bless the
good Irishman’s memory for having so early and so constantly spoken of
my parents; particularly of my mother.

A man finds he cannot make his way in the world without honesty and
industry, so that, although his father’s example may do much, he has to
depend upon his own exertions; he _must_ work, he _must_ be honest, or
he cannot attain to any enviable rank. But the tender soothings of a
mother, her sympathy, her devotedness, her forgiving temper—all this
sinks deep in a child’s heart; and let him wander ever so wide, let him
err or let him lead a life of virtue, the remembrance of all this comes
like a holy calm over his heart, and he weeps that he has offended her,
or he rejoices that he has listened to her disinterested, gentle
admonition.

When I reached the age of eight years I was taught to read, and the
eagerness with which I proceeded, mastering every difficulty, and
overcoming every impediment from cold, hunger and chilblain, might have
shown to an observer how suitable this occupation was to my character.
Poor Patrick used to boast of my acquirements to every one who would
listen; and every fresh book that I read through, gave him visions of my
future glory.

No one can tell how the poor fellow pinched himself to give me this
scanty education, but hard necessity had taught me to think; I was
compelled to make use of my judgment, young as I was; and, knowing that
he had the sum of five hundred dollars in his possession, for my use, I
tried to prevail on him to draw out a fifth part of it for the purpose
of paying a better board, and getting me a better teacher. If any one
could have seen this poor man as I saw him at that time, thin, bowed
down by poverty and neglect, ragged and with scarcely a home, they would
have wondered that his honesty could have held out as it did when he had
what might be considered as so large a sum within his power. He not only
did not touch a penny himself, but he would not take a cent of it from
the principal. He distrusted his own judgment, and he distrusted mine,
for I was such a mere child; yet his anxiety to give me an education was
still uppermost, and he wavered for a long time about adopting the only
means of accomplishing it.

He had been digging post holes, one day, for a gentleman, and when his
task was finished, he began to speak of the books which he saw lying
about—it was a printing office—and, as was most natural to him, he spoke
of me. He told the printer of his anxieties and his desire that I should
have a good education, and finally he spoke of my proposal respecting
the money. The printer told Patrick, that it was very good advice, and
he had better take it; for if his object was to educate me, there was no
other way but this of effecting it, unless he sent me to a charity
school. The blood mounted in the poor fellow’s cheeks at this
suggestion, and he told me that he had great difficulty in commanding
his temper, but his love for me conquered.

As soon as he could swallow the affront—an affront, he said, to my
father, and to my angel of a mother; for he, too, never separated my
feelings from their’s—he begged the printer to let him bring me there
and see how far I had advanced in my learning; but the man did not seem
disposed to grant this favour. Bring the boy to me one year from this,
and then I shall be better able to judge, said he; mean time, do you see
that he is placed with a good teacher; one that will keep him to his
studies.

With a heavy heart, Patrick obeyed him, and I thus obtained a knowledge
of reading, writing and arithmetic; but he seemed to be failing fast;
every time he came to see me he appeared weaker, and was still more
wretchedly clad, and I could devise no plan for his comfort. He never
complained of his poverty, but of his laziness; and his constant
exhortations were, “Patrick, my boy, be industrious; never allow of an
idle moment; give over lying under the trees, and do not saunter about
when your lessons are over—look at me; I am in rags and despised by
every body because I have been an idler.”

At the end of the year, in as good a suit of clothes as my poor
godfather could manage to procure for me, I was taken to the printer. He
cast a look at me as he stood at his desk writing, and then told us to
take a seat. His cold manner struck a chill through my heart, and I
crowded myself on Patrick’s chair that I might feel the warmth of his
kindness. There we sat, speechless, for half an hour, until the letters
were finished and despatched, and then the man turned his head again and
gave another look.

“Will you be for speaking to the boy touching his learning, your
honour?” said honest Patrick, his feelings hurt by this coldness of
manner; “or shall we come some other time?”

“I have no time to question him now,” said the printer, “but if he can
read and write—here, my boy, write your name on this leaf—Patrick Pan!
hem—Pan, is it?”

“Yes, your honour,” said the indignant Irishman, “and it was an honest
man that bore it, and gived it to him, and I trust he’ll never disgrace
it.”

“I trust so too,” said the man. “He writes legibly, and if you have
nothing better to do with him, he may have his food and clothing for the
few errands he can do.”

“And Patrick, dear,” said O’Brien, “will you be liking this employment,
sure my son it’s a good berth, though a mean one, to what I meant to
give you; but you’ll be industrious and mind what’s told you, and I’ll
still be looking after you, and you’ll have plenty of books, dear, for
they are not scarce here.”

“The boy will have but little chance of meddling with books,” said the
printer, “it will be time enough when he is older. Is he to stay now, or
do you wish him to come next week? he must be apprenticed to me, you
recollect.”

Smothering and choking was the poor fellow for a minute or two; he knew
that the hundred dollars was all gone, and that my last quarter had just
ended. He knew it was entirely out of his power to assist me any
further, so with a mighty effort he made the sacrifice—he transferred me
to another.

It was but the work of half an hour, and I became this man’s property;
for twelve years he was to rule my destiny. I looked up in his face
whilst he was speaking, and I saw nothing to cheer me; his countenance
was only expressive of care and deep thought. I cast another glance at
him when my indentures were signed, and there was no change. Poor
Patrick never thought of his looks; he was only alive to the misery of
having consigned me to another; of having no longer any power or control
over my comforts and enjoyments.

When all was over, and the printer had left us together, the poor man
burst into tears, bewailing his cruel fate that would not let him alone,
as he said, that he might perform his promise of giving me a good
education. “I wanted to be industrious,” said he, “but something always
pulled me back and pointed to a toy or a hobby-horse, or a fine suit of
clothes, or a ride, or a pleasant walk, and so all these things being
more agreeable to my nature, I left my garden for the pleasure of
pleasing you, my poor boy; and now you must work for this nigger, who
won’t let you touch one of his books even. But remember your mother,
Patrick, whatever becomes of you; be honest, and she will be looking
down upon you, my jewel; and that will encourage you; and I shall be
looking after you too, dear, for all I am—for all I am—in the
poor-house. Don’t cry, poor fellow, I did not mean to tell you; but
where’s the use of being proud now, when you can’t even get a book to
read, but must just be an errand boy and be pushed about any how, and it
all comes of my laziness.”

“Oh no, Patrick, you have done every thing for me,” said I, “and only
keep a good heart for twelve years, and then I shall have a trade, and I
can make you happy and comfortable; but you must come and see me every
day, for I shall miss you so much; and there is such a difference
between Mr. Bartlett and you. It will kill me if you don’t come every
day.”

“Well, child, it is idle to stand here making you more unhappy than you
need be; I will come as often as I can; but I shall just walk up and
down the alley, there, till you get sight of me, for I’ll not be after
knocking at the door and shaming you before your new acquaintances, and
I all in these old rags.”

So we parted with many a last look and last speech; I following him,
poor, ragged, broken down old creature as he was, as far as my eye could
see him, and then sat on the stairs in the hall and cried myself asleep;
nor did I awake till the bell rang for dinner. Mr. Bartlett pointed to a
little room, as he passed me on coming down stairs, telling me to go
there and take my seat at the table as soon as the cook told me that the
dinner was ready. The cook cast a surly glance at me, and so did the
chambermaid, muttering in audible whispers that “here was more trouble;
and wondering what could possess Mr. Bartlett to bring such a mere child
in the house, one not big enough to fetch a pail of water.”

In the afternoon I was allowed to lounge about the room, no one taking
the least notice of me, till the foreman said, “Here is a little errand
boy, one of the elder apprentices must take him out when he goes with
books and papers, that he may learn to find his way.” Then they all cast
a look at me, and seeing my tiny size, and how awkward and poorly clad I
was, they made themselves very merry at my expense. But small and
contemptible as I appeared, they did not think me too small nor too mean
for their services. I was made to toil from morning till night, scarcely
sitting down to my impoverished meals; for I always had to wait till the
elder boys had finished, and I was scarcely seated before I was wanted.
By degrees I lost all pride about my outward appearance. From my infancy
I was particularly careful to keep my face and hands clean; but now that
I was driven about from place to place I had no time. All I could do was
to dip my hands and face hastily in a basin, or a pail, or more
commonly, under the pump, and either let the water dry off, or else use
a pocket-handkerchief. My master never looked after me, nor inquired
about me, that I ever heard, so that I was as much neglected as if I was
among wild beasts—is not this the case with the most of apprentices?

It was a week, and more, before I had a room to sleep in; and I was
forced to lie about on floors, or on benches, wherever my mattress was
to be found. At length, by the removal of a young man, I was put up in a
small garret room, and in this hole I slept for twelve years. There was
one thing, however, which made it endurable; and this was, that the
branches of a large buttonwood tree reached up to the window and
sheltered it from the afternoon sun; but for this I should have suffered
from the heat. Many and many an evening have I been soothed by the
gentle rustling of the leaves, as the mild breeze passed over them. It
seemed as if the spirit of my mother was there, and I would listen and
fancy that I heard her whispering to me, and then I would shut my eyes
and let the cool soft air fall on my cheek, and say to myself, Perhaps
it is the breath of my mother. To this day, now that I am a man, I still
seem to hear that ever-to-beloved voice in the silence of the night,
when the summer wind murmurs through the foliage. I used, at that
forlorn period of my existence, to give myself up to these delusions
till my heart has fairly throbbed with emotion.

I looked around for something to love, but no one ever dreamed of me,
all were engaged in their business, or when the day closed, in their own
amusement; all that I could draw to me was a poor singed cat, which I
coaxed into my garret-room, and domesticated there. I rescued her from
the gripe of the cook’s son, a hard-hearted little tyrant, who took
great pleasure in tormenting animals.

But my unfortunate name—that, too, added to my miseries. I told you it
was Pan. I was called Pat from the first; but when they found out my
father’s name, it was an easy thing to call me Patty Pan; and by this
name I went for years. Oh, how hard it was to my sensitive spirit to
hear my father’s—my mother’s name turned into ridicule by these
inconsiderate and callous people.

Every Sunday poor Patrick met me in one of the public squares, and there
we would talk together, and he would tell me anecdote after anecdote of
my parents and their family, always making them out grandees at home.
Both my father and mother were from Scotland, and I learned that my
mother had displeased her only brother by her marriage, and that his
ill-natured conduct towards her caused them to come to America.

“You are come of a good stock, Patrick, dear,” said he to me, when I was
about fourteen years old, “barring that your uncle was such a nigger. I
have written twice to him, my jewel, and its never an answer I’ve got,
so I’ll trouble him no more, only I’ll just be for telling Mr. Bartlett
who you are; and in case your uncle should ever deign to inquire about
you, he can answer for you. I’ve kept all safe, honey; here in this old
tobacco-box is the certificates of your parents’ marriage, and of your
birth, and, oh, wo’s me, of their death too; and here is an account of
your money in the savings bank, and not a penny has been touched since
you began your trade, so that the five hundred dollars are all whole
again, and something over.”

It was in vain that I entreated the poor fellow to take the interest and
spend it on himself; he would not do it; and from seeing his self-denial
I found it impossible to make use of it myself, although I was sadly in
want of comforts. Often and often would the old man question me as to my
usage at the printing office; but I could not bear to tell him how
utterly neglected I was; it would have killed him. Every time I saw him
he appeared weaker and weaker, and at length his eye-sight failed, and
it was with great difficulty that he could grope his way to our
accustomed haunts. He never would allow me to come to the alms-house,
not so much as to meet him at the door or near it; but I bribed a poor
man to lead him to the place and call for him again; this I was enabled
to do from the few shillings that I received from Mr. Bartlett on the
new year’s day and the fourth of July.

My master called me to him, one morning, with some little show of
sympathy; he said that Patrick O’Brien was very ill, and that it was
doubtful whether he would live till night; that he had been to the
alms-house and was satisfied that the poor man was properly treated. I
begged to go to him, but Mr. Bartlett said that Patrick had desired that
I should not, and that I should not follow him to the grave; but, added
he, on seeing my grief, if you really desire to go, I will send you
there or go with you myself.

I was so astonished at this unexpected kindness, that my tears dried up
in an instant, and I blessed and blessed him over and over again—not by
speech, for I was unfit for it, but mentally. My master told me to go to
my room and remain there till he sent for me, bidding me say nothing to
any one either respecting my poor godfather or what had recently
occurred. He need not have enjoined this on me; no one had ever thought
it worth while to inquire whence I came, or to whom I belonged. The
general opinion was, that I was a poor, spiritless, melancholy creature.

The last link was broken; I followed my only friend to the grave, my
master having the humanity to take me in a carriage to the funeral; and
I need not tell you that one of the first acts of my life, when I had
the power to do it, was to put a stone at the head of poor O’Brien’s
grave.

But heaven opened one source of pleasure to the poor orphan’s heart. If
the living denied me their sympathy, the dead did not; I became fond of
reading; and all at once, as it were, a flood of light and knowledge
entered my whole soul. To indulge myself in this newly found pleasure
was scarcely possible, for my labours seemed to increase as I grew
older. Indeed there were greater difficulties in the way now than there
would have been at first, for then I was a mere cipher, and was only
used as a convenience. But there were certain things going on which made
it necessary that there should be no spies or tell-tales about; and as I
would not join the young men in their irregularities, they thought I
meant to ingratiate myself with Mr. Bartlett by exposing them. As the
follies they committed were not injurious to our master’s interest, I
had no intention of exposing them, for he was a hard man and showed them
but few favours. My companions, however, became shy of me, and I found
that they even preferred to do without my assistance than to have me
near them; but I held fast by my integrity; and I have the satisfaction
of knowing that I was true to my employer’s interests, never injuring
them myself nor suffering others to do it.

My only chance of reading was after supper; I then went to my room, and
there I sat, devouring book after book, night after night, by the light
of my little lamp, with my old cat, either on my lap or on my bed, the
only living thing that claimed any companionship with me. When I had
exhausted the books in the house, I hired others at the libraries; and
thus I went on, my appetite increasing as I proceeded; and my eighteenth
year found me exactly in the same round of duty, but with a mind that
seemed almost bursting its bounds with the knowledge that I had thus
crammed into it.

Just at this period, my uncle, that cruel man, of whom poor O’Brien had
so often to speak, wrote to Mr. Bartlett concerning me. He said that, if
I would take the name of Parr he would make over to me a tract of land
which he owned in Virginia, and that if money were necessary, towards
procuring this change of name, I might draw on a certain firm in New
York to the amount of two hundred dollars. I was very indignant at
first, but Mr. Bartlett seemed resolute in accomplishing the thing, and
I at length reluctantly consented to give up the name. In the course of
a year, the whole was arranged. I adopted the name of Parr, and Mr.
Bartlett, thinking it better to sell the land at a moderate price than
to let it lie unproductive, found a purchaser for it, and the
money—twelve hundred dollars—was judiciously placed out at good
interest.

My fellow-apprentices only laughed amongst themselves when Mr. Bartlett
told them that in future I was to be called by another name; but it soon
passed out of their thoughts, and I was again left to my own solitude
and insignificance.

But the same objections did not exist with respect to the income I
derived from my uncle’s bounty. I felt a sort of pleasure in spending
it; and the first things I purchased was a looking-glass and other
little comforts for my forlorn garret-room. Oh, the luxury of a large
wash basin, a white towel and pleasant soap; and the infinitely greater
luxury of giving a few shillings to the poor objects who solicited
charity. The pride of my childhood returned, and I once more took care
of my dress and my outward appearance. I no longer went slouching and
careless along, inattentive to what was passing, but stopped to let my
eye rest on the shop windows; suffering myself to take pleasure in the
beauty and brightness that was spread out around me—such a difference is
there between the penny-less and crushed spirit and the one who has
wealth at command.

But there was still a craving at the heart, which money could not
satisfy—I wanted a home, kind fellowship, a brother, a sister, something
near and dear, that I could call my own. In my Sunday walks I used to
look at the cheerful and happy young people that passed me, selecting
first one and then the other as a companion, and held mental
conversation with them, trying in this way to cheat myself into the
belief that I was of consequence to some one being. Oh, if any one could
have guessed at the deep feeling which lay hidden under my cold manner;
if they could but have known whence arose the nervous tremblings which
assailed me when I performed any little friendly office for strangers!

As to Mr. Bartlett, he never varied his treatment of the work-people;
they were all kept at the same distance; he paid them their wages and
exacted obedience in return; and when the rules were neglected, or when
his commands were disobeyed, he dismissed the offender at once, without
remark or dispute. Of all that came and went, I was the only one that
served out my apprenticeship. Out of fourteen men and boys, when I left
him, there was not one that had been with him four years. But this gave
me no advantages. I was no nearer his confidence than I was when I
entered his service. I was advanced in the regular way, from step to
step, until I had arrived at the highest point; and I did not consider
myself as master of the trade until my time was expired. He could not
prevent me from feeling gratitude towards him, for I recollected his
kindness in going with me to poor O’Brien’s grave, and in his care and
attention to my interests respecting the change of name and the
investment of the money for the Virginia land; but he did not require
sympathy, and he never gave it to others.

My last act of duty was to correct the proofs of a very valuable work,
requiring a knowledge of the subject matter, almost equal to that of the
author. Several had undertaken it, but made so many blunders that the
poor author was in despair. Mr. Bartlett was very much mortified, and
determined to put back the work until he could procure a competent
person to read the proofs. Having been fond of that particular branch of
study—Vegetable Physiology—I knew that I could accomplish the task; so I
stepped into the office and told Mr. Bartlett that if he had no
objection I would read the proofs, for having always had access to works
of the kind, the terms made use of were quite familiar. He looked at me
with astonishment, having, like the rest of the house, always considered
me as a mere automaton; a faithful drudge, who did every thing
mechanically. He put the work into my hands, and I laboured at it with
care and diligence, so that the work came out without a single erratum.
Mr. Bartlett said, “This is well done, Mr. Parr, excellent, and you
deserve all our thanks; the author has sent you _his_ grateful thanks
and this little box; it contains a compound microscope. I have the
pleasure, likewise, of giving you a copy of the work.”

But praise from him, respect from my fellow labourers, came too late to
satisfy me; the time was approaching when I should be _free_, when I
could at intervals relieve both mind and body from this unnatural
monotony, and roam about in the country unrestrained. I hoped likewise
to meet with some congenial mind to whom I could pour out my feelings
and thoughts; for to this one point all my wishes turned; my whole soul
was so swallowed up with this one sentiment that every other
passion—wealth, fame, and all, were but things seen at a vast distance.
I was born with tender and strong feelings, and a friend was the bounds
of my ambition.

At length the day came, St. Patrick’s day, blessed be his name, it gave
me freedom. My agitation had kept me awake the whole night before, for I
had a sort of fear that something would occur to hinder me from leaving
the office. As to where I was to go, that never troubled me—green
fields, the river, running brooks, trees, birds, and the animals of the
country, were all before me, and to me they would speak volumes. If man
denied me his sympathy, they would not refuse it; and to the haunts of
my childhood, to the very spot where I drew my breath, there I meant to
direct my steps. I knew I had not neglected a single duty, nor disobeyed
a single command. God had blessed me with health, so that I never had to
keep my room for one day even. To be sure, there were times when I had
severe headaches, and wretched coughs, and great weakness from night
sweats; but I never complained, determined that, when my day of service
expired, there should be nothing exacted of me for lost time. I did not
know that my master would make me remain, to work out the days that were
lost by sickness, but it had been put in my head by some of the
apprentices, and I never forgot it.

On this happy, memorable morning, dressed in a full suit of mourning,
even to the crape on my new hat, with a valise well filled with good
linen, handkerchiefs, and stockings, I entered Mr. Bartlett’s private
office for the last time. He looked at me with an inquiring eye, as I
stood covered with confusion and agitation. “What is the meaning of
this, Mr. Parr?” said he, “you seem equipped for a journey.”

“I was twenty-one years of age at six o’clock this morning,” said I, my
face flushed as I could feel by the tingling in my ears.

“Well, what if you were,” said he, looking as much surprised as if an
apprentice never was to leave his master. “I thought your time was
nearly out—this is St. Patrick’s day, is it? but you are going to
return. You shall have good wages, and I shall take care that you have a
good berth.”

“No, sir,” said I, almost breathless with fear that I should be spell
bound,—“no, sir, I intend to travel about in the country this summer; I
am going to put head stones to the graves of my father and mother: that
is my first purpose, now that I have money and am free. I hope and trust
that you think I have served a faithful and honest apprenticeship, and
that if I want a situation in a printing office I can ask you for a good
character.”

“Yes, most assuredly you can; but you need not apply elsewhere. I know
your worth, young man, and I have both the power and inclination to
serve you. Serve me for five years as well as you have done, and I will
make you a partner in the concern.”

I thanked him warmly for this gratifying mark of esteem, but I could not
accept of his offer, my very heart turned sick at the thought of staying
another day even. He was evidently disconcerted, and made several
pauses, as if to consider whether he might not propose something more
acceptable, but I fortified myself against all that he might urge, and I
am sure that an offer to make me his full partner immediately would not
have induced me to remain.

I asked for my indentures. “Well,” said he, “Mr. Parr, you are not to be
moved, I see; but that shall not hinder me from doing you justice; you
have served me well, and it is but fair that I should look to your
interest. He turned from me and wrote a letter of recommendation to two
publishers, one in New York and the other in Boston, and taking his
check book from the shelf, he drew a check, which I found was for two
hundred dollars. He gave me the three papers, and then proceeded to look
for the indenture; he handed it to me, endorsed properly, and after
thanking him for his former and present kindness, I asked him if he
would allow me to beg one more favour of him, which was that he would
still keep for me the certificates of my parents’ marriage and my birth,
and allow me to draw on him, as usual, for the interest of the mortgage
which he held for me. He had previously to this put me in possession of
it, and of the money in the savings bank, he having held it in trust for
me. He readily promised me this favour, begging me to use the money
prudently as hitherto, and in case of any difficulty to apply to him. We
shook hands, and I was in the act of picking up my valise to depart when
the crape on my hat caught his eye.

“You are in mourning, I perceive,” said he, “there is crape on your hat
and your clothes are black; I did not know that you had a single
relation here.”

“Nor have I,” said I. “I put on this mourning dress as a mark of
affectionate gratitude to my poor godfather, Patrick O’Brien. I had it
not in my power to do it before, but as his goodness lives still fresh
and green in my memory, why should I omit doing that which I know would
gratify his spirit if it should be permitted him to know it?”

“I wish for your sake that he had lived to see this day,” said Mr.
Bartlett, “but I will not detain you longer; I wish you well from the
bottom of my heart.”

“There is but one thing more, sir,” said I, turning back from the door.
“There are several articles belonging to me in my bed room; I have given
them to the youngest apprentice, and I wish he may have your sanction to
retain them; here is a list of them.” He took the list: I left the room,
walked hastily through the hall, and shut the street door as I went
out—I shut out the whole twelve years from my memory.

It was a clear, cold, bright day; the frost had been out of the ground
for some time, so that the roads were dry and the walking pleasant, but
the sense of freedom was exquisite. “What,” said I, “no calls upon my
time, no hurry, no driving? can I call this blessed day my own? is that
_my_ sun? that glorious sun which goes careering through the sky, and
shedding its brightness all around, filling my eyes with the beautiful
pictures which it illuminates?” And thus I went on, step by step,
rejoicing, my enraptured soul drinking in new cause for exultation at
every turn.

In the whole twelve years I had never eaten a meal out of Mr. Bartlett’s
house, nor had I ever been within the walls of any other house than his,
so strictly did I keep within the limits of my duty. I was exceedingly
shy, therefore, of entering a public house, although my hunger was
beginning to make itself felt. But I conquered my timidity, and entering
a house of entertainment I called for dinner. I was ushered into a neat
room, and in the course of half an hour was served with what appeared to
me then an excellent dinner. I was covered with confusion because the
host would wait on me, and I was equally embarrassed with the services
of a good-natured waiter, who bowed low when I paid for the dinner, and
still lower when I refused to take the half dollar change.

I was now completely in the country, and in the neighbourhood of the
place that gave me birth. Having a faint recollection of the house in
which my parents lived, I determined, if I ever was rich enough, that I
would purchase it; for visions of a beautiful river, and a waterfall,
and every variety of romantic scenery, were constantly floating before
me; and then there was the inspiration of my mother to heighten the
picture. I reached the spot at nightfall, and engaged lodgings at the
inn—not the one that you now see at the head of the briery lane, but
further on; it was destroyed by fire about four years ago; you must all
recollect it. Here I remained three weeks, going over the haunts of my
early childhood—infancy, I might say—and reviving the almost faded
images, by being amongst the same scenes. The willow and the aspen tree,
near my spring house, O’Brien helped me to plant when I was about six
years old, and under the large elm I used to lie when I first began to
read. You need not be surprised that I purchased this little estate as
soon as I had the means of doing so; I contemplated it from the moment I
entered Mr. Bartlett’s employment, and it was a project that never
ceased to occupy my thoughts. The house was small, but substantially
built; it is the one on the edge of the common, in which Martha’s
brother lives; and I keep it in neat repair, as I also do the garden in
which my father worked; these fine apple trees are of his planting. I
made several attempts to purchase the little property which once
belonged to my poor godfather, but it belonged to an old man by the name
of Banks; he added it to the Oak Valley farm, which I do not regret now,
as it has fallen into the hands of our excellent neighbours, Mr. and
Mrs. Webb.

I knew the precise spot where my parents were buried, for poor Patrick
had described it accurately, making a drawing of it upon a piece of
paper which I shall preserve to the day of my death; I therefore placed
a tomb stone to each grave, with an inscription that satisfied my ardent
feelings, but which I have since replaced with others more suited to
their humble merits and my more mature judgment. Patrick’s grave was
about a mile from the city, and, with Mr. Bartlett’s assent, I had
caused a neat stone to be put over it, as many as six years before this
period.

My hard hearted old nurse was then and is still living; that fine,
promising boy that was lost at sea, and in whom you all took such an
interest, was her only child; for his sake I allow her a small yearly
sum, but she has no idea that I am the one that she so cruelly gave up
to the ill usage of the poor creatures around her. Poor Patrick, how he
hated her; she even taunted him when she afterwards saw him with me,
pretending to wonder why he did not dress me in such fine clothes as
formerly. He had, in his days of wealth, bought me a hobby horse, the
skeleton of which I found about three years ago in an old barn, and
which I knew immediately, for the initials of my name were carved
underneath by him; it is in complete order again. How it would gratify
the poor, kind old man, were he living, for he would know the motives
which influenced me in this trifling act.

What a tumult of mind I was in during these three weeks! The country had
not the tranquillizing effect that I expected, for I was striving to
recall far-gone images and thoughts; I went to every old tree, to the
brook, to the river, to the church, and to the pew in which my parents
sat, for of this too I had inquired of Patrick. I thought my all of
happiness was centred in this one place, and that, though human sympathy
was denied me, I might here pass the remainder of my days in peace and
quiet, worshipping my Maker, and in doing good to the poor creatures
around me. But the money was to be made to purchase these blessings, for
I had but eighteen hundred dollars, and it required as many thousands to
accomplish this desirable object, and Patrick’s last injunction for ever
rung in my ears—“never be idle.”

I tore myself away from this cherished spot, and walked back again to
the city just in time to get in one of the cars for New York, where I
arrived the same afternoon. After I had looked at the curiosities which
were, to me, so thickly scattered about, I thought it quite time to
commence work in earnest. I therefore called on a printer by the name of
Blagge and offered my services. He happened, luckily, to be in want of a
proof reader, and without entering into any definite agreement, I
commenced the work, he having meanwhile written to Mr. Bartlett, that he
might be sure of the genuineness of the letter of recommendation. Mr.
Blagge was quite pleased with my care and industry, as well as with my
knowledge of the subject matter of the work; he said that he could now
bring out a book which he had long wished to publish, but that his proof
readers were, in general, so profoundly ignorant of science, that he was
unwilling to undertake it. I begged him to defer it until the ensuing
spring, that I intended to improve myself by attending the lectures, and
that I should then be better able to take charge of the work. Meantime
he gave me four hundred dollars a year, with a promise of presenting me
with tickets to such of the lectures as I chose to attend.

My companions in the office were civil, nay, respectful; for I came
amongst them under favourable circumstances, and Mr. Blagge’s kind
manner towards me had a great effect on them. But they were not suited
to me; I looked from one to the other in vain for one of congenial mind;
they were all industrious, and some ambitious; but their minds were a
blank, and their pursuits, when disengaged from their business, were of
a low order. Not one could I find that loved to walk out in the country
for the sake of breathing pure air, and of enjoying the soft, tender
scenes of nature; their pleasures lay in eating cellars where the best
suppers could be had for their limited means, and in playing at some low
pastime night after night, such as Domino, All-fours, Vingtun, and other
games of chance; and on Sundays to take a sail, or something, in fact,
which tended to demoralize rather than improve.

Mr. Blagge was, as I observed, respectful and kind, but he was full of
cares and anxieties, having a very large family to support, and with but
slender means; in fact, he had been very much embarrassed, and was just
recovering from it. It was not to be supposed that he could interest
himself in the feelings of a young man with whom he had so slight an
acquaintance—one, likewise, who did not ask for his sympathy. I
therefore moved on in silence, occupying myself at leisure hours in
learning the French and Latin languages, which, with the help of good
teachers and books I was enabled to do in the course of a few months.
This was a delightful occupation to me, and I soon overcame all the
difficulties, excepting the pronunciation, which I was unable to
accomplish, as I had no one with whom I could converse. I learned the
Latin that I might more fully comprehend the meaning of the technical
terms made use of in all the works of science, and which I considered it
absolutely necessary to do, as I was so soon to take charge of the
reputation of the great forthcoming work.

Here was, therefore, another pleasure, for I now became passionately
fond of works of this nature, and my greedy mind devoured all that came
within reach. I had nothing to interfere with my plan of study, living
entirely alone, and having no associates; I hired a room in which I
slept and studied, and I took my breakfast, dinner, and supper, at a
cheap ordinary near the office. As I stipulated to labour only between
sunrise and sunset, I had as much time as I wanted for exercise and
reading, and my practice was to walk from the hour I left the office
until it was dark, eat my supper, and then retire to my room. Being an
early riser, there was time, therefore, to attend to my dress, for I had
again become fastidiously clean. It now appears to me that I hurried
from one thing to another, and engaged in every thing so vigorously, to
keep off the ever-intruding feeling of loneliness. I wonder if any other
human being suffered so acutely on this subject as I did; it seemed as
if I would have given all I was worth in the world for one friend.

But heaven at length took pity on my desolate situation, and I was about
to be rewarded for all that I had suffered; it came in a way, too, in
which a man should be blest—in the form of love.

I was always a regular attendant at divine worship, excepting during the
latter part of poor O’Brien’s life, being then compelled to walk out
with him and talk to him; but after his death I used to go twice every
Sunday to church, going to every one that would admit me. Now that I was
my own master, and had the means to do it, I hired a seat in a church
about three miles out of town, where I could worship God without the
fear of having my attention distracted by the restlessness and frivolity
of a fashionable city congregation. I gained another object, too; I had
a pleasant walk, and the exercise was necessary to my health.

Directly in front of the pew that I occupied sat two ladies and a
gentleman, regular attendants likewise; the elderly lady was very lame,
and required assistance both in getting in and out of the carriage, and
the gentleman, I thought, seemed rather indifferent about her comfort,
for he was not as tender and delicate in his attentions as he should
have been. Almost the whole trouble of assisting her fell on the young
lady, who, I presumed, was her daughter. I had a very great desire to
offer my services, but my shyness of strangers prevented me, although
every succeeding week I saw that the poor invalid was less and less able
to help herself. Standing very near them one day, I found that it was
utterly impossible for the young lady to get her aged relative in the
carriage without help, so I stepped hastily forward just as the old lady
was falling from the step, and in time to catch her in my arms. I lifted
her gently in the carriage, seated her comfortably in it, sprung out
again, and offered my hand to the young lady. It was the impulse of a
moment. The door closed, and the carriage was soon out of sight.

But what a tumult and confusion I was in; what strange feelings
overpowered me. There had been magic in the touch of the hand. There had
been magic in the glance of her eye, as she turned to thank me. A dreamy
softness came over me, and diffused itself through my very soul. I could
not imagine why it was that so slight an incident should have affected
me so deeply; but I thought of nothing, dreamed of nothing, but the
touch of that hand and the glance of that beautiful eye. It was in vain
that I took up my pen or my book, in the evening; in a few seconds, my
hand dropped and my eye rested on vacancy.

With more than usual care I attended to my dress on the following
Sunday, and I was there at the church door sooner than necessary,
waiting for the carriage. It did not arrive, and I was compelled to
enter and take my seat, as the clergyman had commenced the service. You
may imagine my feelings when I saw the lady sitting quietly in her pew,
by the side of the old gentleman: they had walked to church, having left
the invalid at home; and they had passed me while I was gazing up the
road for the carriage. When leaving the church I inquired whether the
lady had been prevented from coming to church from indisposition; and a
voice, the sweetest and the gentlest that ever fell on human ear,
answered my question. I was so startled, both by my own temerity, in
thus venturing to address her, and by the uncommon softness of her
voice, that I did not hear the import of the words; but the loveliness
of the tones remained imprinted on my memory for ever. No music, since,
has ever made the like impression.

Sunday was now a day of exquisite enjoyment; for, added to strong
devotional feelings, I was breathing the same atmosphere with a being
that I considered as all perfection. She appeared to be that for which I
had so long sought—a friend, a sister—and I hoped the time was not far
distant when I could approach her and again hear that musical voice. In
this blissful state the summer passed, unclouded, save that the lady was
once absent from church—it was owing to the death of the elderly person
who, I discovered, was not her mother, but a distant connexion, who had
resided with them for many years; and that the gentleman I supposed to
be her father was her uncle. She was an orphan, and her destiny seemed
for ever linked with mine, from this circumstance.

Toward the close of the summer, the young lady sometimes came to church
alone; and fearing that, when the cold weather set in, I should lose
sight of her, perhaps for ever, I determined to make one attempt to
interest her in my favour. I had superintended the getting up of a
beautiful prayer-book, the type, paper, plates and execution were
perfect, and I had one copy exquisitely bound. I even ventured to write
the name of this fair being in the first page, and intended to present
it to her; but it was a month before I gained courage to make the
attempt. At one time I thought to lay it on the ledge of her pew, in
silence; but I could not bear that her devotions should be interrupted
by what might be considered as an act of levity on my part, so I
forbore. I ventured, at last, to address her on coming out of church;
and to my surprise, I found myself walking forward with her. She always
carried her prayer-book, and I asked permission to look at it; she
smiled and gave it to me, and I then took the one intended for her from
my pocket, and presented it to her, making my bow suddenly, and
hastening with the speed of lightning from her sight—I need not say that
the little worn out prayer-book is still a treasure to me.

How she received the book I could not tell, nor had I an opportunity of
knowing, on the following Sunday, for it stormed so violently that none
but a devoted lover, like myself, would have ventured out. She was not
there, nor did I expect to see her; but I had an exquisite pleasure in
being in a spot where I had so frequently been near her. On the Saturday
following the lectures commenced; I was to attend three, Astronomy,
Natural Philosophy and Chemistry, but fearing that my mind was in too
unsettled a state to attend to them all, I only entered my name for
two—Chemistry and Astronomy.

The lecture room was in a narrow street, badly lighted; and, there being
a basement, it became necessary to have a number of steps to the porch.
It was November, and there had been a little sleet in the afternoon, so
that the steps were slippery, and I could not avoid the reflection that
it would be exceedingly unsafe for ladies to pass up and down. It being
an introductory lecture, the room was crowded, as it always is, and I
therefore stood near the door, not caring to disturb any one by making
an attempt to look for a seat. A lady and gentleman sat near to the
corner where I stood, and on his getting up, she turned her head. You
may judge of my amazement and rapture when I saw it was the lady who was
ever present to my mind.

She smiled, and in a moment I was at her side—she spoke, for I could
not; I again heard that musical, that charming voice, and the lecturer
and the crowd were forgotten. I think she said something pleasing of the
book, but my heart beat so violently that I could not tell what it was.
She saw my agitation, but thought it proceeded from mere bashfulness,
and she therefore talked on, of the lecture and of the crowd. I said
yes, no, any thing—but I soon recovered, for of one thing I was now
certain—my book was not to be returned; she had spoken graciously of it,
and I was the happiest of mortals. My tongue seemed loosened from its
long iron bondage, and I poured out my thoughts in a strain that now
astonishes me. She listened whilst I explained to her the advantages and
pleasures of science, particularly that branch of it which now occupied
the attention of the audience. I was the lecturer, and the voice of the
one now speaking, which was falling on the ears of all in the room, was
like a far distant sound—we heard it not.

The young man who came with her was standing up near us and taking
notes; he had come regularly provided with a book and pencil, and seemed
more intent on getting information than on the comfort of his charge. He
now and then cast a look towards us, and it appeared to me that I had
seen him somewhere, but I was too happy to let the subject take hold of
my mind. What did I care for him, or all the world, whilst I was drawing
in new life at every breath.

Our conversation was carried on in the lowest whispers, so as not to be
overheard; but we were far removed from the centre, and there were
others talking in louder tones near to us; for of the number who came to
listen there were but few who had a real desire to learn. As it
afterwards proved, the class was very small, there not being more than
fifty of the audience now present. I was overjoyed to hear that the
young lady intended to come every night; that she was to remain at a
friend’s in town, on purpose to attend the lectures; and this gentleman
was to be her escort. I learned that he was her uncle’s grandson, and
that he had a passion for study, particularly chemistry. I exerted all
my eloquence to prevail on her to attend the astronomical lectures
likewise; but she said, much as she desired it, she feared it was out of
her power, but that she would write to her uncle for permission.

The minutes flew, and the audience were making a move to retire before I
awakened from this blissful trance. The young man came to us at last,
and asked the lady how she was pleased with the lecture. She smiled, and
said, very much, and then the crowd pressed on and separated us. I got
out as quickly as possible, to have the pleasure of handing her down the
slippery steps; and, as if expecting it, her precious hand was ready as
soon as I offered mine.

Oh, what visions of happiness floated through my brain that eventful
night. Even my dreams were filled with the sweet silvery tones of her
voice. It seemed as if angels were hovering round my bed, to sooth and
tranquilize my troubled spirit; and not one discordant thought or sound
mingled with it. Oh, if man would but give up his whole soul to pure
love. If he would let it mix up with his worldly occupations. If he
would allow it to be for ever present, how exalted would his nature
become; how free from all grossness and immoral thoughts and actions.
For my part, it had such an effect upon me that my whole nature was
changed. I was, to be sure, free from all vicious tendencies; and I was
active in benevolence towards the poor; but my heart was frozen up, and
I looked on the world, and those immediately around me, with a cold,
averted eye. Now, my full heart seemed bursting to communicate its
happiness to others; and I became sensible that it was in my power to
impart pleasure although I might receive neither thanks nor sympathy in
return.

I was attentive, therefore, to what was passing around me; moving my
desk a few feet farther, to give more light to one man, and nailing a
cleat between the tall legs of a stool, to give ease to the feet of
another. I bought a pot of pomatum, and made one of the young
apprentices rub it on his poor cracked and chopped hands, buying him a
stout pair of gloves, to protect them from the cold. I helped the
book-keeper through an intricate account, begging him not to speak of it
to others; a thing which he did not intend to do, being only too fearful
that I might mention it myself. My thawed heart expanded to all around
me; and, as it acquired warmth, it diffused its sympathies to every
thing within its reach. Oh, holy love, when in thy true shape, how
benign is thy influence!

The lady’s uncle was gracious, and allowed her to attend the
astronomical lectures likewise; and I need not say how regular I was in
my attendance and devotion; for as the young man was not particularly
interested in this study, he sometimes brought the young lady in the
room and left her, calling for her either before or after the lecture
was over. This he did not scruple to do, as the lady with whom she
lived, at present, always accompanied her to this lecture. I brought her
note-books and pencils, and assisted her in taking notes, contriving
that she should have the most comfortable seat in the room; and all
these attentions she received in the kindest manner—she received them as
a sister would from a brother, and I was satisfied.

Thus the winter wore away, and the month of February had nearly closed,
before the lectures were over. There was still one more evening for
each, and then this delightful intercourse was to cease; for I could not
devise any plan by which I could gain access to the presence of the
young lady; more particularly as the young man had been more than
usually vigilant and careful of her, and seemed desirous of preventing
her from receiving so much of my attention. Her companion, too, scarcely
condescended, of late, to notice me; all of which I saw was painful to
the only being for whom I cared. I went, as usual, to the astronomical
lecture—it was, as I observed, the last; and she was there also with the
same lady, who cast a scornful glance at me as I approached their seat.

I could not imagine what had produced such a change in this lady’s
manner towards me, unless she had been told of my humble occupation, and
that it had mortified her vanity to receive attention from one who might
be considered as a journeyman. From the first evening of my meeting the
fair creature to whom I had so unresistingly yielded up my heart, I made
her acquainted with my actual situation, my prospects and my hopes. It
seemed necessarily interwoven in the theme that I was discussing; for I
spoke of the difficulties I had to encounter, in consequence of which
knowledge came to me slowly; contrasting it with the facilities which
were now in my power. Neither she nor I dreamed that high birth or
fortune were at all necessary to an intercourse so simple, so unexacting
as ours. She redoubled the kindness of her usual manner on seeing that I
was a little hurt by her friend’s coolness; but she little knew the pain
I suffered on hearing that she was not to be at the last chemical
lecture—her uncle was in town, and they were to return home on that day.

It came like a death knell to my heart. What, was she to go and not be
informed of the tender and enduring love I bore her! Was I never to see
her; to hear that voice again! Was this to be the last interview! I
could not bear it. I took her note book, tremblingly, from her hand, and
wrote as follows—

“You have pierced my heart with grief. You are to leave the city, and I
am to see you no more. My whole soul is absorbed in one feeling; and
that is, love for you; and now that you are going from me, existence
will be a burden. I ask you not to love me in return; that seems
impossible. I can never hope to create a passion such as I now feel for
you; such as I felt from the moment I first heard your voice. But deign
to think of me—no, I cannot give up the thought of calling you mine—at
some future day, when fortune has been propitious; or should some evil
overtake you, remember me. I must hasten from your presence, for I am
unfit to remain here; but if, on reading this, you can feel compassion
for my hopeless love, let these few lines remain; but if you have no
pity to offer me, tear them out and put them in my hand as you leave the
house. I shall be there to receive my doom; but be merciful.”

After having written this, in great agony of mind, I turned to her, and
our eyes met. She saw that I was uncommonly agitated, and her concern
for me prevented her speaking. I bent close to her ear and said, read
this immediately—pointing to the page—and remember that my life depends
on what you do. I hurried from her, and walked up and down the narrow
street until the lecture was over; which, to my fevered apprehensions,
seemed never to have an end.

At length the door opened, and I saw one, and another, and then groups,
descend the steps; the young lady appearing amongst the last, moving
slowly, so as to give me time to see and approach her. When at the
bottom of the flight she stopped, for a moment, and as I came near her
she said, in a low tone, “Here are the notes, and I have added a few
lines to them; good night.” It was well she said this, as the giving me
the paper, as I requested, would have plunged me into despair. I need
not say that I hastened to my lodgings, that I might read the precious
contents; for I could not but augur favourably of them from the manner
of her giving the paper to me. Under my own impassioned scrawl were
these lines.

“Notwithstanding the fear of giving you pain, I must return the leaf;
for I should not like to leave it in the book. My whole manner must be a
convincing proof that I have a high esteem for your character, and that
I feel a strong interest in your welfare; more than this I dare not say.
I am entirely dependent on my uncle; and it has been his wish, for many
years, to see me the wife of his grandson—the person who has always
accompanied me to the lectures. You need not fear that this event will
ever take place, as my disinclination to it has long been known to the
young man; and neither he nor my uncle have any power to compel me. In
saying thus much I do not wish to encourage you, as my uncle is
obstinate and unyielding, and would never consent to the addresses of
any other man. I hope you may forget me and be as happy as you deserve.
I do violence to my feelings in bidding you farewell; but prudence and a
regard to your interests dictate it.”

Prudence, indeed! What were the prudential reasons? My inability to
support her? Surely if she loved me, there were means enough to be
comfortable, and I would move mountains to place her in affluence. She
has an esteem for me, and she does violence to her feelings in bidding
me farewell. I have hopes, therefore, that, as her heart is disengaged,
I may, in time, aspire to her love.

In thoughts like these I passed the night; nor did I recover my
equanimity for several days; every thing, every thought, that did not
relate to her, was irksome and distasteful, and my labours at the office
were conducted mechanically. The commencement of the great work was now
contemplated. I was told to get ready for it; and, as there was a
translation of a very popular French work wanted, Mr. Blagge pressed me
to undertake it. Perhaps it was well for me that I was thus suddenly
compelled to exertion, for with this depression of spirits I might have
sunk into apathy incurable. I likewise owed much to Mr. Blagge’s
kindness; and being of a grateful nature, determined not to disappoint
him.

To work, therefore, I went, reading proofs and attending to the types
during the day, and translating at night. Proceeding in this way for six
weeks, not allowing myself any exercise but a short walk, between
churches, on Sunday. Mr. Blagge was delighted, both with the execution
and diligence, and he promised to raise my salary the ensuing year, to
six hundred dollars. The French translation was likewise commended; and
I felt an honest pride in sending all the papers which spoke of the
merits of my performances to the only one whose applause I desired. For
this translation I received two hundred dollars; so that my little
fortune had increased to two thousand dollars. I saw it with a pleasure
that cannot be expressed, for I had now an object in view; and instead,
as heretofore, of spending all my income, I began a rigid system of
economy, amounting almost to meanness—but thank heaven, my heart was not
so exclusively selfish as to forget the poor.

As soon as these two important works were through the press, I went to
my accustomed seat in the church, on Sunday; which, as I before
mentioned, was three miles out of town; but my disappointment was very
great in not seeing the young lady. On inquiry of the sexton, I learned
that the family had removed to a country seat, about thirty miles
distant; and that they had given up their pew. He could not tell the
name of the place to which they had gone; but he promised to inquire,
and let me know on the following Sunday. It is impossible to describe my
uneasiness at this intelligence. I fancied that what was so desirable a
blessing to me would be equally coveted by others; and that her uncle
and cousin had removed her from the world that their plans might be the
more readily executed. I was fearful that her tender nature might be
subdued by importunities; and that she would yield to their wishes,
rather than incur their displeasure. I did not flatter myself that her
love for me was strong enough to enable her to brave persecution; and
how could she be assured of the strength and continuance of mine?

Four long weeks passed and I could gain no further intelligence, than
that Mr. Bewcastle, the young lady’s uncle, had purchased a farm on the
island, three miles from the river and about thirty from the city; that
he was devoted to the cultivation of it, and was making preparations for
building a large house. My worst fears were realized: these improvements
were no doubt in the expectation of his niece’s marriage, and I once
more abandoned myself to despair. This state of mind, added to the
severe labour I had gone through, had so perceptible an effect on my
health that Mr. Blagge became concerned. He entreated me to relax a
little in my attention to business, but I persevered until the first of
August, when fearing that I should really be unable to continue in the
office I determined on making an excursion in the country.

I need not say in which direction I bent my steps. In fact, my intention
was to explore the whole of the neighbourhood until I heard where Mr.
Bewcastle lived, and then to take up my residence near him. I was very
fortunate indeed, for the man in whose house I rested the first night,
knew the family, and he promised to take me to a friend of his who lived
about half a mile from them. It was about ten o’clock the next morning
when I reached the house, and as I liked the place and the appearance of
the people, I was induced to remain with them, paying them a moderate
board. I had a bed-room and parlour entirely to myself, and their
kindness soon made me feel myself at home. They saw I was the very sort
of lodger they wanted, and they exerted themselves to the utmost to make
me comfortable. When I tell you that the landlord of the little inn was
old uncle Porter, now living in the small stone house, and that his
sister was our kind aunt Martha, you will think how fortunate I was in
becoming an inmate of their house.

As I did not then know their worth, I was cautious in my inquiries about
the young lady, and it has amused both Martha and myself to recollect
how guarded, and with what apparent unconcern I talked and asked
questions about the family. I gathered that Mr. Bewcastle was a harsh
and obstinate man, loving his own ways and his own money better than any
thing in the world excepting his grandson, Mr. Anglesea, who could
prevail on him to do almost any thing. That it was talked of amongst the
neighbours that he wanted to marry his cousin, or rather second cousin,
but that she could not bear him.

I asked if they knew the young lady personally, and they said that she
often walked their way and sometimes stopped to speak to Martha, who had
when young lived with her parents. That she had called there on her way
to church on Sunday last, and they were sorry to see her look so thin
and unhappy.

I had to turn away suddenly from the good people to hide my emotion, nor
did I dare to resume the conversation for some time, lest they might
suspect my designs. I had, of course, no settled plan of proceeding; my
first object was to see the young lady and learn the state of her
affections; if they were favourable to my hopes I then intended to offer
my hand; my love had been hers from the first hour I saw her. I
projected a number of schemes either to see her, or get a letter
conveyed to her, but I became nervously timid when I attempted to put
any one of them in execution. At that time if I could have been sure of
our good Martha, I should have been spared two days of great distress,
for she, kind soul, would have assisted me immediately. I knew of no
better plan, at last, than to get her to take a note to Mr. Bewcastle’s,
and contrive to give it to the dear lady unobserved by the family, but
my hatred of deception was so great I was exceedingly reluctant to
practise this little artifice.

Towards the close of the second day, which was passed in wandering
through the fields and along the lanes, I made a desperate effort to
speak once more on the subject nearest my heart. Aunt Martha came in the
little parlour up stairs, and seated herself near to me looking
anxiously in my face, it was a motherly tender look, and I felt the
tears starting to my eyes. You are quite indisposed, said she, at
length, and I told my brother that I would make so bold as to ask you if
you had any trouble that we could relieve, and to say if you are short
of money that you can stay here a fortnight or longer, and never mind
paying us till you can afford it.

I was truly grateful for this kindness, and of course showed her my
pocket book full of notes. “What then ails you,” said she, “for it is
something more than ill health. May I guess?” I told her, smiling, that
she might guess, and if she came near the truth, and could assist me, I
should be eternally grateful.

“Well, then, I am sure it is connected with Mr. Bewcastle’s niece, and
if you are the gentleman that I have heard people talk about—are you a
printer?”

“Yes,” said I, “and I am determined to trust you—my name is Parr; now
tell me what you have heard.”

“Why, I have heard that one cause of the young lady’s aversion to this
Mr. Anglesea, is her love for a young printer by the name of Parr.”

My face was like scarlet; to hear this talked of publicly—to hear that
from others which I would give kingdoms to know was truth, rendered me
almost incapable of listening any further.

“Well, you need not answer,” said the kind-hearted woman, “I was pretty
sure last evening, that you were the very one, and now what can I do to
serve you. We both love the young lady, and should be very sorry to see
her married to a man she dislikes, particularly as she loves another.”

“Oh, do not say that,” said I, “there is no reason to say that, I have
not the slightest hope that she has any other sentiment for me than
friendship.”

“No matter, no matter, you are right,” said she, “not to expect too
much, but if you give me leave I will just let the young lady know that
you are here, and then you can see her yourself; perhaps you had better
write a few lines.”

I thought so too, so I went to my room and wrote as follows:—

“You will not be surprised, dearest lady, to hear that I am once more
near to you, nor will I disguise the truth, that my intention is to
learn from your own lips, whether my honest and faithful love can ever
meet with favour. You spoke kindly in your note to me, but I had not the
presumption to make any further advances until my circumstances were so
much improved that I could offer you competence. The anxiety of my mind
has preyed on my health, and I am now determined to know my fate at
once, for this suspense paralyzes all the energies of my soul.

“I learn that you are unhappy; confide but in me, give yourself up to my
devoted tender cares, and my whole life shall be spent in loving and
protecting you. Be generous, and give peace to my heart by saying that
you will endeavour to return my affection, at present I ask no more.

“I do not want fortune, indeed I should infinitely prefer that you had
not a cent in the world; if you are not ambitious I have enough to
render you happy; my income is now nearly eight hundred dollars a year,
and I shall soon have it in my power to increase it to a thousand. I
know that your tastes are simple, and with your right-mindedness and my
unceasing cares, you will find enough for all that is desirable. Dearest
lady, listen to my entreaties, and do not drive me to despair by doubts,
either of my love or my ability to make you happy.”

Martha Porter took this letter from my trembling hand, and promising to
be back by noon, she departed, leaving me in a state to which I cannot
look back without great pain—the answer was to seal my fate.

One o’clock, two o’clock came; but Martha Porter did not return; I
invented a thousand excuses—it might have been difficult to see the
young lady alone—she might be ill—married—every thing pressed on my
burning brain at once, and when poor Martha made her appearance at last,
I rushed up to my room unable to hear the result of her mission.

A gentle knock at the door, and a gentle voice as I opened it brought
some comfort—Martha’s face too was in smiles, and a letter was in her
hand—she saw that I was stupified, as it were, and unable to ask
questions, so she quietly laid the letter on the table, and closing the
door, went softly down stairs. Martha, dear Martha Porter, have I not
been as a son to thee?

When the tumult of my feelings subsided I ventured to open the precious
letter; my eye ran over the lines, but the sense came not, I did not
comprehend a word. I sealed myself and prayed for composure, for my
reason seemed departing, and as I prayed my strength returned. I am now
persuaded that it was a sense of the blissful import of the letter that
so completely unmanned me, although I would not allow myself to believe
it. The blessed letter was as follows:

    “I am convinced of your affection for me, I have known it for a
    long time, and I am sure that I can trust you. I am indeed very
    unhappy and with no hope that my uncle will ever cease his
    persecutions; but for your generous letter I should this day have
    sent for Martha Porter to confide in her, and to get her to go to
    the city. Will you love me the less when I say, that it was to see
    you and to make my situation known to you? But do not suppose that
    mere personal distress induces me to throw myself on your
    protection. I esteem you highly, and am perfectly willing to share
    your fortune be it what it may. Perhaps my repugnance to marry Mr.
    Anglesea would not have been so great—perhaps if I had never known
    you, I should have found less difficulty in obeying my uncle. You
    perceive that I trust in you entirely.”

It was not till I had read this dear letter over and over again that I
could comprehend the full measure of my felicity; then came a rush of
joy, then came an exquisite calm over my troubled heart. My aspiring eye
shot a quick glance over days of happiness, of thankfulness, of
usefulness, till my beloved and I had finished our duties on earth, and
were safely and securely and for ever seated among angels in Heaven.

I was in this tranquil yet exhausted state when the kind Martha again
came to the door; she thought by this time that I might be able to hear
the particulars of her visit to my angel, and confer with me as to the
best mode of proceeding.

“I found her in tears,” said she, “which she hastily dried when I
entered the room, and after welcoming me, she asked whether any thing
particular had brought me to her. I said, yes, something very particular
indeed, but that I did not like to tell her all at once. ‘Have you a
letter?’ said she, and oh, Mr. Parr, how the dear young lady coloured. I
told her I had, so I gave her your letter and went to the window that
she might read it unobserved. She wept a great deal while reading it,
and then went immediately to the table to answer it; and when it was
finished, and sealed, she called me to her. ‘Martha,’ said she, again
blushing up to the temples, ‘do you know the person who wrote this
letter?’ I told her that I did. ‘And can you get this conveyed to the
gentleman soon?’ I looked at her in surprise; I found she did not know
how near you were to her. ‘O yes,’ said I, ‘he shall get it in less than
ten minutes, for my dear young lady, he is at our house.’ This threw her
in a great flutter and she smiled, I suspect for the first time in a
year; for the neighbours say, and they had it from the servants, that
both the old man and the young one have been almost cruel to her,
because she would not consent to the marriage. Well, I left her happy
enough I dare say, and now what is best to be done; for old Mr.
Bewcastle will be on the look-out now, and who knows what he may do
next?”

I was not slow in deciding on what was best to be done; it was now three
o’clock, and I despatched Mr. Porter to a clergyman living about six
miles from us, requesting his attendance the next morning at eleven
o’clock. Martha went to a jeweller’s in the village, and brought home
several gold rings, going with them to my dear angel, and carrying also
a letter, wherein I detailed all our plans. All that a tender love, all
that a devoted, honest heart could dictate, was strongly urged, to
reconcile her to this precipitous step, and I had the happiness to learn
that she gave herself up wholly to my wishes. I arranged every thing as
well as the short time would allow, and aunt Martha was not idle; she
spent the evening with the dear young lady, packing up and preparing for
her departure, observing the utmost caution lest they might be
suspected. I knew that her uncle had no right to detain her, for she was
of age, and of course her own mistress; but we both thought it better to
prevent disagreeable scenes—scenes which might delay our marriage,
perhaps prevent it altogether.

The good clergyman came at the appointed time, and I went, as was
previously arranged, in a carriage to meet my beloved at the head of the
lane leading to the garden. She saw the carriage at a distance from her
window, and by the time it stopped she was at the gate. The steps were
down; I hastened to the dear creature, who trembled so much that I was
compelled to lift her in the carriage; the door closed, and I pressed
her to my heart—that heart which was filled with the purest esteem and
affection, an affection which was to endure for ever.

I entreated her to be composed, assuring her that there was nothing to
fear, that in a few moments it would be out of the power of any one to
separate us. I thanked her over and over again for thus making me the
happiest of men, pouring out my whole soul in words of love and truth.

In a few moments we stood before the clergyman; our vows were
pronounced, which with our prayers, I trust, were registered in heaven.

Behold me now, my friends; look at the proud and happy being; see the
swelling of his grateful heart. Was this the poor, despised, forsaken
orphan, toiling through a thankless servitude, without a kind look or a
cheering word; without pity, without a single comfort of any
kind—suffering through twelve long years, and with a heart formed to
love and be loved in return—could one short year have produced this
blessed change?

My bride!—oh, what a tender name! how sweetly it falls on the ear of the
man of tender sensibility. It is a word in common use; it is heard
daily; thousands and tens of thousands repeat it; in itself it is
nothing; but to the young husband, when it comes to be _his_ bride, then
does the magic of the name cast its glorious spell over him—it is then
that he feels all its beauty and its loveliness.

“My bride! thou art wholly mine, beloved one,” said I; “no evil that I
can avert shall ever come near thee. How is it that the few words which
we have just uttered have given thee so wholly to my protection? but
thou hast trusted to my strong arm and to my still stronger principles
and feelings, and may I perish if I ever deceive thee.”

We spent three weeks in a retired spot among the Highlands, each day
restoring tranquillity to my dear wife, and showing how infinitely
happier I was than my ardent fancy had ever contemplated. We talked over
our future prospects, and she drew a scheme and decked it out in such
beautiful colours—all, too, within the compass of my abilities—that I no
longer feared she would repine at the contrast of the humble home I
could offer, and that to which she had been accustomed. We had a letter
from our good friend, Martha, giving us an account of the consternation
they were in at Mr. Bewcastle’s when they read the letter which I sent
to them on the day of our marriage. They sent for her brother and
questioned him angrily, threatening to prosecute him for allowing the
ceremony to take place in his house; but he was not to be intimidated,
as he told Mr. Bewcastle, for he knew that the young lady was of age.
Martha proceeded to say, that as it was now exceedingly unpleasant for
them to remain in their neighbourhood, they had determined to sell their
little effects and go to the west. Her brother was to set out as soon as
this was settled, and she was to remain at lodgings until he had
selected a suitable place, his object being to purchase a small farm.

Nothing could have happened to suit our views better, for in all my dear
wife’s little plans there would arise a little distrust of herself when
it came to the marketing for our little household, and now, at the very
moment, came dear aunt Martha to our aid. We wrote immediately, begging
her to remain with us as a friend as long as it suited her
convenience—nay, to live with us always, if her good brother could do
without her. I told her to join us in New York as soon as their effects
were sold, and my dear wife added a postscript longer than my whole
letter, telling her of our happiness, and of the little plans of our
future establishment. She told her to reserve such articles as might be
useful to us, such as a bed and bedding, all of which we would pay for
as soon as she came to us.

It was on a beautiful September morning that we arrived in New York. As
I had written to the good lady with whom I lodged, she was prepared to
receive us, and I had the pleasure of finding that my beloved was
satisfied with her apartments. But the moment came when I was to leave
her for several hours—it would not do to linger in her dear presence any
longer, and she was the first to hint that my duties must be resumed. To
a solitary creature, whose existence was wrapped up in this one being,
this separation, short as it might be, was most painful; I bade her
farewell over and over again without moving, having a most horrible fear
that something or some one would spirit her away during my absence. I
was compelled at length to leave her, and I had the folly to beg her to
lock herself in the chamber until my return. I smile now while I think
of it, but O what tenderness steals over me when I look back to that
dear one, and recollect how sweetly she soothed my apprehensions, and
how careful she was not to ridicule my weakness.

I reported myself to Mr. Blagge, who expressed great pleasure at my
return, complimenting me on my improved looks. “I told you,” said he,
“that you wanted a little country air; where have you been?”

“I have been amongst the Highlands,” said I, “and I have brought back
health, happiness, and a wife.”

“Ah! that was the trouble, was it?” said he; “I feared it was a love
affair, but you are such a shy fellow that one cannot come at what is
passing in your mind.”

“Well, my dear sir, you will not find that the case any longer,” said I,
“I shall now carry my heart in my hand.”

“That is,” said Mr. Blagge, “you think you will; but excepting that your
face will be beaming with pleasure as it does now, no one will be the
better of what is going on within; I know you very well now; you will be
more reserved than ever.”

I laughed at this, for I was in fact at that very moment grudging the
time I spent in this little friendly talk, for I wanted to be thinking
of my wife.

“Oh, by the way,” said Mr. Blagge, “there is a letter for you from your
old master, Mr. Bartlett; it came enclosed to me, and he requested that
it might be given to you immediately. Now as you did not let me know
where you were going, I could not send it to you. I suspect the good
gentleman wants your services: but you must not leave me now, Mr. Parr,
for I am almost beside myself with business.”

I assured him that I would not; and as to Mr. Bartlett, much as I now
desired an increase of income I would not live under his chilling
influence, different as I was now in circumstances, for half his wealth.
I actually shuddered at the thoughts of taking my wife to the scenes of
my melancholy servitude.

It was curious, but the letter could not be found; high and low, in
every corner, on every shelf, did we look, but in vain; so we were
compelled to give up the search. I did not regret it in the least, for I
had learned from one of the young men belonging to Mr. Bartlett’s office
that he intended to make me an offer. Mr. Blagge had answered his
letter, stating why I did not write myself, and as this thing did not
concern me any further I dismissed the subject from my mind, not even
thinking it worth mentioning when I returned to my wife.

Every evening, the moment the sun went down, I returned to that dear,
solitary one, and then after taking our supper we would wander about
from place to place, caring very little in what direction we strayed. We
lived for ourselves, and most deeply and gratefully did we enjoy the
felicity of being together unnoticed and unknown. We frequently passed a
small, one-storied brick building; it was untenanted, and had been shut
up for two years, not happening to suit any one. My wife thought, if it
were repaired a little, it might answer for a dwelling house, for that a
stack of chimneys could soon be run up. On inquiry I found that it had
been built for lawyers’ offices during the last yellow fever that had
appeared in the city, and that it had since that been only used
occasionally for a school-house.

There were four very small rooms, only ten feet square, with a narrow
hall in the centre, and neither cellar nor garret; but the house stood
among trees and back from the street, so that this was a charm to
counterbalance many inconveniences. I saw the owner of it, and he agreed
to put it in repair provided I took it on a lease for four years; this I
gladly did; the rent was to be eighty dollars a year, and cheap enough
we thought it, as there was a good well of water directly in front of
the house. Aunt Martha came in the precise moment that she was wanted,
and now whilst the house was being repaired there came the pleasant task
of going from shop to shop to purchase the tiny furniture that was to
suit these tiny rooms. The front one of the left hand rooms was to be
used as a bed room for aunt Martha, and the one behind it as a kitchen;
of the other two the front was to be the parlour, and the back one our
bed room. No one can tell the pleasure I had in hearing and seeing all
that was going on—I had read of going to coronations and to brilliant
spectacles, but I hastened home every evening with a far more exquisite
pleasure to hold one end of a breadth of carpeting whilst my dear wife
cut it off, or listen to her little rambles with aunt Martha, or looked
at the neat candlesticks and the little set of china, all so cheap and
yet so very simple and pretty.

By the first of October the house was finished and the smell of the new
paint entirely gone; every thing, therefore, was ready, and I had begged
a holiday that I might assist in the grand move. The sun set gloriously
as I walked out of the office, and it seemed to my joyous spirit that it
smiled graciously as I poured forth my grateful feelings in song. Only
think of the poor, broken down, neglected apprentice, caroling along the
street “home, sweet home,” and having a sweet home to go to in the
bargain. Fast as I walked and quickly as I reached our lodgings, I did
not come too soon for my dear wife, for she was expecting me at the door
with hat and shawl, all equipped for a walk.

“What!” said I, “dearest, a walk before tea? or is it to be a little
shopping expedition? here is my arm; and which way now, my life? not
far, for I think you look fatigued.”

“Why, to tell the truth, Patrick, dear, I am a little tired, for I have
worked hard to-day that I may enjoy your holiday to-morrow. I am only
going to the house; aunt Martha is there waiting for us. And you can be
at home to-morrow, can you? oh, what a day of pleasure it will be! such
a day as to-morrow comes but once in a married life, dear husband.”

To me every day was one of happiness, and with her near me, even the
bustle of moving was a pleasant thing to anticipate; but in the
abstract, apart from the thought of my wife, nothing could be more
irksome than the hurry of change. It was not far to our new habitation,
and in looking up there stood dear aunt Martha at the door, bending
forward to look for us.

“Walk in, walk in,” said she; “walk in your own house, good folks; come
and see if every thing is to your liking, Mr. Parr,” and open went all
the doors of the four tiny rooms.

It was, indeed, as my darling said, a sight and a feeling that came but
once in the married life—the first moment that the young husband and his
bride put their feet on the threshold of their own house. I have changed
that humble dwelling for the princely one that I now inhabit, but that
same gentle touch came no more. My wife had an instinctive feeling that
I should be annoyed by the moving and lifting and hurry of the scene,
and she and Martha agreed to spare me; so there I stood, and it appeared
to me that some good fairy had been at work, so neatly and beautifully
every thing was arranged. In the middle of the little parlour stood the
tea table, and after I had gone through the rooms and praised every
thing over and over again, we sat down with grateful hearts to our own
frugal meal.

Every day my spirit rose higher; and my thoughts grew loftier; I did not
envy the greatest man in existence, so many and so varied were my
blessings. Mr. Blagge placed the most unlimited confidence in me; and,
as his profits increased through my exertions, he generously allowed me
to close my labours an hour earlier every day. This was a great favour;
and as the winter set in he moved the printing-office a great deal
higher up, so that I had the additional comfort of dining at home. Our
kind friend, aunt Martha, would not allow us to hire a servant, and my
wife took a share in the household duties, working for me, keeping my
drawers in order, and arranging every thing in the way she knew I liked.
I could not but indulge her in it, seeing that it gave her such
pleasure.

We made no acquaintances; we wanted none; there seemed scarcely time
enough for ourselves; and why should we be troubled with strangers?
Martha, seeing the innocent life we led, became sincerely attached to
us; promising never to leave us; and thus passed the first winter of my
married life. We were all happy. My dear wife was as cheerful as a bird;
and, at times, when I was particularly weary—too weary to read, or even
to listen to her reading—she would put away her little work-basket, set
the candle in the farthest corner, and draw her chair close to mine,
charming away my fatigue with her clear soft voice and gentle
endearments. She had bright visions of the future; and they always ended
as she knew I wished, in our purchasing the little estate on which I was
born. How delightful it is to listen to the little nothings of a
sensible woman; one that loves us too.

This was the way that heaven rewarded me for all that I had endured; and
the reward came to me in such a shape too—a wife! I spoke of the
rapturous feelings of a young husband, at the mention of his bride, but
they are nothing in comparison to those he has when she is called his
wife—when the quiet evenings of winter bring him for ever near her; when
he listens to her innocent conversation, full of love, and care, and
thoughtfulness—all for him. I often wondered whether all men loved their
wives as I loved mine. There was no way in which I could judge, for I
had never been even in the same room with a husband and wife; but I had
read of disagreements, and hatreds, and separations. It had given me
great uneasiness before my marriage; but I always took the side of the
wife, wondering why the man wanted to have his own way, in the merest
trifles too. As to me, every thing my wife or Martha did, seemed the
very best thing to be done; I was sure that their taste and judgment
were more to be depended upon than mine; particularly as it related to
household economy.

And then, was I not to be envied when, with the dear creature’s arm
linked in mine, we walked out either for exercise or business? A man
never feels his power and responsibility so strongly as when a lovely
woman leans on him for support, and relies on his courage and his
ability to protect her. What a delightful sensation comes over a man
when he knows that there is one being in the world who trusts to him
entirely, and looks up to him as the first and the best—none but a
husband can have this feeling—he enjoys it as long as life continues; it
is a pleasure of which he never wearies.

May came, with all its pleasantness and its flowers, and our love for
one another made every thing appear in the gayest and brightest colours.
Nothing could be more inconvenient than our house; nothing could be more
irksome than my occupation—the dullest of all dull employment,
correcting proofs—yet it was for me that my wife overlooked the
privations and difficulties she had to encounter from a limited income
and a house of such diminutive size—and it was for her that I continued
to drudge on, monotonously, without a thought of change. My wife was far
more prudent and economical than I was; that is, in every thing that
related to herself. I could not resist the pleasure of buying her all
the delicate fruits and early vegetables of the season; and I had great
pleasure in taking all sorts of little pretty table ornaments and
delicate perfumes, and prints, and books; in short, I scarcely went home
without something in my hand.

“My dear husband,” said she one evening, when I came home with a present
as usual, “have you found Aladdin’s lamp, that you are so lavish of your
money? You will have to put a rein on your generous nature, for instead
of laying up two hundred dollars this year, as we intended, there will
be nothing left. Come, dearest, and look over this little statement with
me, and then say whether we should not retrench? The worst of it, to me,
dearest, is the knowledge that the two hundred dollars have been
expended for my gratification: you have hardly allowed yourself any
thing; I must put a stop to your dear generous spirit; aunt Martha and I
have talked quite seriously about it.”

I promised to be more prudent for the future; and if there ever was any
thing trying to my temper it was the inability to purchase such little
articles of luxury as I thought my wife ought to have. Mr. Blagge,
however, true to his promise, raised my salary to a thousand dollars;
and with this welcome news I could not refrain from buying a pretty
little set of chess men; for my wife had a great desire to teach me to
play the game; and so, after telling her of the addition to our income,
I gave her the chess men and board. I thought to make it the more
welcome by hinting to her that it was for myself. The dear creature
smiled and shook her head. “Ah, my husband,” said she, “you think you
have found out a new way of indulging me; but I am not to be taken in.
Do you think I don’t know that you have no particular fancy for games of
any sort; and that the chess men are to give me pleasure? But I shall
punish you by sitting down to the game this evening in good earnest; you
will soon tire of it, however.”

In this way our evenings passed; part of them in playing at chess, in
which I soon became interested, as I had such a pleasant teacher; and in
part, in studying the German language. We had a German in the office,
who taught me the pronunciation, and what he taught me in the morning I
transferred to my wife in the evening; and it was really wonderful to
find how quickly she conquered all the difficulties. But if it was
wonderful that she acquired this language in so short a time, I could
not but feel surprised that nothing was neglected; there seemed to be
time for every thing; and she was always ready for a walk; always in
time, and always neatly dressed. What a happy fellow I was, to have no
care of my wardrobe; I, that never knew what it was to have a button to
my collar or wristbands.

I thought that no event could make her dearer to me than she now was;
but there did come the time when I found that, ardently as I loved her,
my tenderness and my cares were still more strongly excited; but they
came coupled with such apprehensions that I watched over her with
mingled emotions of joy and fear. It was now that I saw the necessity of
prudence and economy; and I could not but hope that some means might be
found by which my salary would be increased; for I desired, of all
things, to place my dear wife in a more comfortable house. Mr. Blagge
had, I knew, done his very best in allowing me two hundred dollars a
year more, so I could not expect any thing from him; but I thought there
might be ways to make money independently of the office. Perhaps I might
write for the magazines; or who knows whether I might not write a
saleable book. It was in vain that my wife discouraged me. It was in
vain that she assured me the want of a cellar was nothing, as the
grocer, at the corner, supplied her with every thing from day to day;
and that the little cabin rooms were quite large enough; and that larger
ones would but increase her labours.

I mentioned that Mr. Bartlett had written to me under cover to Mr.
Blagge, but as the letter had been mislaid, I knew nothing of the
contents. It struck me that he had made me an offer of partnership; and
what I then shuddered at, seemed not so very bad a thing now that I had
such an endearing prospect before me. I mentioned it to my wife, and she
was surprised that I had not written to Mr. Bartlett; but I told her,
that as Mr. Blagge had said to him, that he would give me the letter as
soon as I returned from the country, I thought there was no use in
saying any thing further, for I did not intend to avail myself of any
offer he might make.

“O, but, Patrick, my love,” said she, “the letter might relate to your
friends in Scotland; nay, I dare to say it did, for Mr. Bartlett, cold
and heartless as he is, has some sense of honour and honesty. He never
would have made you an offer, however advantageous, whilst you were
employed by Mr. Blagge; all that you tell me of him proves this. Do you
not think, dearest, that you had better write to him?”

This shows how much more acute a woman’s intellect is than ours; I never
so much as dreamed of my old uncle Parr in Scotland; and now it almost
amounted to conviction, that the letter related to him. I questioned Mr.
Blagge respecting the letter, and he said, that as far as his
recollection served, it appeared to be a double one, and he was quite
surprised to find that I had not written. There was no doubt on his mind
that the letter was still amongst the papers, and he proposed another
search, particularly as there were two or three boxes that had not been
opened since the office was removed, and he advised me to look there. We
opened the boxes and assorted the papers; they were principally old
manuscripts and the correspondence relating to them; but my letter did
not appear. Just as we had gone through the last box, one of the clerks
lifted up an old black morocco portfolio, which lay at the bottom, and
as he slapped off the dust a letter flew out and fell near Mr. Blagge.
The moment he saw the letter the whole thing flashed across his mind.
That one reminded him of mine, and he now recollected that he had put it
along with several others in this very letter book. Sure enough, there
it was, unsealed, just as it came from the postman; but as it was quite
dark, I hurried home, lest my wife should feel uneasy at my protracted
stay: in truth, I met her at the door with her hat on, intending to walk
down to the office, with Martha, to see what had detained me.

Martha brought the candle, and then a little doubt arose as to who
should read the letter first; but Martha decided in my wife’s favour.
“She can bear good or bad news better than you, Mr. Parr,” said the good
woman, “and if the news is good, why, she will break it to you by
degrees, and you will not be set all on a tremble; and if it is bad
news, such as the loss of your money in the Savings Bank, or the
mortgage”—Heavens, I had never thought of this—“why she will teach you
to bear it.” My darling, therefore, opened the now dreaded letter; but
you may judge of her astonishment when she read as follows—

“Sir—Yesterday I received by the packet ship Monongahela, the following
letter, enclosed in one directed to me; mine, I presume, was a copy of
yours; by it you perceive that your uncle is dead, and that you are the
sole heir to his estate, provided you go to Glasgow and identify
yourself before the month of October—next October year. I had intended
to write to you on my own account, offering you a third partnership in
our concern, but I presume this piece of good fortune will make it
unnecessary for you to toil at your profession.”

I sat watching my wife’s countenance, as did our good Martha likewise,
and we saw her change colour, first pale and then red; but she did not
speak until the letter was folded and in her bosom. “Patrick, love,”
said she, “what month is this?” I told her it was July—the first of
July. “Oh my,” said she, “then we have no time—it will all be lost—July,
August, September; only three months—but come, here is the tea; let us
drink it first, otherwise some people may forget to eat—aunt Martha, I
know you will not get a wink of sleep to-night; I shall sleep as sound
as a top, as I always do—and you, dearest, you will have golden dreams;
oh, what a fine house you will build at Camperdown; and how snugly uncle
Porter will be ensconced in the little, neat, comfortable stone house;
and dear aunt Martha, what a glorious south room you are to have on the
first floor, along with us; and oh, what planning and what perplexities
we shall be in for the next two years. Why, Mr. Bartlett has made a most
princely offer.”

And thus the dear creature went on, leading me to believe that the good
news related to him; but aunt Martha knew better. So, when tea was over,
and she was seated on my knee, I heard the whole truth. I pressed her to
my bosom in an ecstasy, at the thought of placing her in affluence; but
too soon came the reflection, that the ocean must be crossed before this
desirable event could take place. Sleep, dream, did she say? not I; no
sleep nor dreams for me; but she, the dear creature, with a mind so
justly balanced, and thinking nothing an evil that was to save me from
anxiety; she slept like a top, as she said she would. It was aunt Martha
that had the dreams all to herself.

Mr. Blagge expressed both joy and sorrow; joy at my good fortune, and
sorrow at parting with me. He, too, he said, intended to offer me better
terms the next year; perhaps an equal partnership; so that if the event
did not equal our expectations I had two means of advancement, and I
need not say that my choice would have fallen upon Mr. Blagge. He never,
for a moment, thought there could be a doubt on my mind as to the
propriety of going to Scotland; and I absolutely hated him for the ease
with which he discussed the subject; just as if there were to be no
fears, no struggles. When I went home, there was my dear wife, looking
calm, and receiving me cheerfully, but with an inquiring eye; and there
sat aunt Martha, ready for a thousand questions, and with a thousand
observations.

Long and painfully did the subject occupy me; I said nothing, but my
dear wife left off her interesting needlework and employed herself in
preparing for the voyage. As I had not made up my mind whether I would
go at all, the point of her going with me had not been discussed, and I
sat with a stupid wonder looking at certain dresses which she and Martha
were making, and at certain convenient caps that were to suit both the
cabin and deck. They talked and they chatted on, and congratulated
themselves that the smallness of the ship’s cabin would not be an
inconvenience, seeing that they had been so long accustomed to our small
rooms.

I still went daily to the office as if nothing had occurred, but my mind
was in a terrible state. To go, and leave my wife to the mercy of
strangers, and at such an interesting time too, was very painful; to
take her with me was to expose her to certain danger, for if there were
no storms, no shipwrecks, yet sea-sickness might prove fatal. When I
made up my mind to take her I reproached myself as being the most
selfish of mortals, and when I finally concluded to leave her behind,
her death knell rung in my ears. Most sincerely did I wish that the
hated letter had never been found. It became at length the subject of
discussion, that is, with me. My opinion was asked on several points,
and answers were wrung from me; but there seemed one thing certain in my
wife’s mind, that although I might not decide on her going with me, yet
I could not but choose to go. She never questioned it.

I fell to reading the biography of voyagers to see how the females of
their party bore the perils of the sea, and then I made many inquiries
as to their perils on shore, even with the tenderness of a husband to
sustain them. Recollect, my friends, that this beloved being was my only
tie on earth, and that without her, existence would be a burden. I was
not going rashly to decide on her fate and mine; it was therefore but
consistent with the love I bore her to weigh well the difficulties on
either side. She, too, had thought of every thing, and her mind was made
up at once—and that was to go with me. “I have but this to say, dearest
husband,” said she at the beginning, and her mind underwent no change,
“if we are permitted to go safely, we shall be a comfort to one another
throughout the voyage and on shore; but if otherwise—if the sea is to be
our grave, then we shall perish together; I could not survive your loss,
and you, dearest”—

I never could let her proceed further; as to live without her seemed a
thing impossible. At such times I seemed to yield assent, and began to
make preparations; but having read an account of the illness and death
of a lady on her passage across the Atlantic, I determined at once, if
the going was insisted upon, that I would let her remain behind. Then
again, if I saw in the papers the death of a young mother, I repented of
my former decision; and in this miserable state of mind I was during the
whole month of July. August still found me irresolute; but I had only
two weeks left to waver, for there would then be but little time left to
come within the limits of the bequest. There were but six weeks from
that time to the first of October; it therefore became necessary to
bring my mind to the painful decision of leaving my wife behind. I wrote
to Mr. Porter, entreating him to come immediately, and remain in the
house during my absence. I saw an eminent physician, and interested him
in such a way that I was sure he would never let a day pass without
paying her a visit, whether she were indisposed or not; and I took every
precaution, in short, that love and prudence could dictate to make her
comfortable and happy.

How she bore with all this nervous, morbid irritability, I cannot tell;
but never by word or look did she betray any impatience; her sole object
was to sooth me and make light of her own sufferings. She promised to
take great care of her health, and Martha exhausted words in her desire
to set my mind at rest. Mr. Porter declared she should never be out of
his thoughts, and Mr. Blagge promised to take his wife and daughter to
her the day after I should sail. But all this was nothing, absolutely
nothing, in my estimation, when I considered how much more than all this
I could do for her were I near her myself.

The time came at last; Mr. Blagge had taken my passage, and my trunk had
gone to the ship. I had been to get some necessary papers of the British
consul, and was hastening home—that home where I had enjoyed such
exquisite happiness—like a fool I was leaving it—for what?—for an
uncertain good—and when I returned, if Providence permitted me to
return, might I not find that dear and cherished spot desolate! Whilst I
was thus tormenting myself with these fearful fancies, the funeral of a
lady passed me; she had been married at the same time with us, and she
had died of inflammation of the lungs. I inquired of a person who was
acquainted with her, and I found that she had taken cold from sitting in
the draft of two doors, and, he added, the room was very small, so that
there was no avoiding the exposure—the very situation in which I had
left my dear wife only an hour before!

Of course I hastened home with greater speed and opened the door of the
little parlour with the dismal feelings that I came too late. But she
had removed to the window, and the sash was down. Oh, how I blessed her
for this act of prudence. She saw my nervous apprehension and asked what
had thus disturbed me, and finding my fears groundless I was ashamed to
tell her the cause. She looked earnestly at me and said, “My dear
husband, you are wearing yourself out with fears and anxieties; I am
well, and with the blessing of Providence I hope so to remain; nay, I am
strong enough to encounter the voyage, much more able to bear it than
you are with your excited feelings. There are our trunks, Martha’s and
mine, ready packed, and we are only hoping and waiting for your assent
to go with you; so, dearest, knowing how unhappy you will be to leave me
behind, even let me go. I shall not urge you any further, my love, but
think of it this evening, and we shall have time in the morning to get
ready what little remains to be done. Now throw all care from your mind
and let us sit down cheerfully to our supper; depend upon it we shall be
sitting here together this day four months laughing and talking over our
present anxieties.”

Laugh, indeed, thought I; there never can come a time when I shall laugh
at what I am now feeling so keenly. But I cast all selfishness aside,
and determined to go alone as the lesser evil of the two, going over and
over again the whole argument, and more fully convinced that although it
was most painful to leave her, yet it would be cruel and presumptuous to
make her encounter the risks of a sea voyage. I had but little sleep
this last night; but my dear wife, after vainly endeavouring to prevail
on me to court repose, fell asleep like an infant and slept soundly till
morning. She suffered as acutely as I did, but her nervous temperament
was of a less irritable cast; her sensibilities were more equally
balanced. A knowledge of this always gave me comfort.

The dreaded morning came; all was hurry and bustle, and of course but
little time for conversation. The trunks still stood in the room; mine
had gone the day before, and I cast a look at them, and then on my wife,
who, pale as death, was looking at the carriage that was to convey me to
the boat. She saw my look and said, “I may go then, dear husband, you
consent then that we shall go?” But I shut my eyes, as if to shut out
the temptation, and shook my head. “Put the trunks out of the room, Mr.
Porter,” said I, “for I shall be tormented with the desire to take her
with me, and that I ought not to do; I must not waver any more, or I
shall be unable to go at all.” The trunks were removed, and my dear wife
seated herself and sighed. “But why do not you and Martha accompany me
to the wharf?” said I—“perhaps we shall feel the parting less. There
will be no time for any thing there but getting on board. Do you think,
Martha, that she can bear it?”

“Oh yes, I dare say she can,” said Martha, “and I am sure it will do her
good, and we can keep the carriage for an hour or so and take a little
ride, for she has sat too much at her needle lately. Brother, do you get
another carriage for us, and let them go together; Mr. Parr will feel
the better for having her all to himself. We can return with her, you
know.”

I was thankful for being a few minutes longer with my beloved, and I
hoped that we might remain at the wharf an hour at least, as it was now
only nine o’clock. We thought it best to go, however, as the wind was
fair, and the captain might be anxious to sail; so we entered the
carriage, leaving Martha to come with her brother. We drove slowly to
the wharf, and there the first person we saw was Mr. Blagge, who had
kindly come to see me off. My dear wife drew back in the carriage and
begged that he might not see her, so I went to him and thanked him for
this proof of his friendship, and again entreated him to remember how
essential it was to my peace of mind that he should do all in his power
to lessen my wife’s anxieties—if I could not ask a favour for myself, I
would for this dear one.

Mr. Porter came to us and said that they had better return, as the
horses were restless and Mrs. Parr might get frightened. Mr. Blagge
thought so too, and blamed me for bringing her down to a scene of so
much confusion; so I hastily snatched one kiss, pressed her dear hand as
she held it out to me after the door was closed, and she and Martha
disappeared from my sight.

What Mr. Blagge said to me I don’t know, but I now and then heard the
sounds of new publications, and letters, and manuscripts, but I could
only dwell on the grief that my poor wife was now in; it was too much to
expect I could listen to him on such uninteresting subjects; why did he
not talk of what he knew was the only feeling of my mind?—and to hold me
by the arm too, lest I should get away. The steamboat, however, called
all hands aboard, and passengers with all their friends jumped on board
to go to the ship, which lay in the stream. I made a move to go also,
but the captain, coming up at the instant, told me he would give me ten
minutes longer, as he had to see a man on business, and that I could go
with him in the ship’s boat which lay there ready for him. The steamboat
left the wharf, and Mr. Blagge talked on; I never knew him so loquacious
before, and he kept jerking me around as if the nervousness under which
I was labouring had imparted itself to his arm.

At length the captain returned, and Mr. Blagge, shaking hands with me,
promised to look most carefully—and, he added with strong emphasis—most
affectionately, after all the concerns I left behind. The oars cut the
water, and as soon as we were on board the captain gave orders for
sailing. The steamboat was just departing, and on turning my eye towards
it I saw poor Mr. Porter. I called out to him that I was safely on
board, most thankful that he had seen me, for what would have been the
agony of my dear wife if he had returned and reported that the vessel
had sailed without me. He entered the boat, thought I, with the
intention of seeing me safely to the ship; his consternation must have
been great when I was not to be found amongst the passengers. He waved
his hat, however, on seeing me as I bent over the side of the vessel,
and pressing his hand to his heart he pointed towards the shore—it told
me that he intended to fulfil his promise of guarding well the sacred
trust I had confided to him.

Through the narrows and out in the broad ocean we soon were; but I stood
immovable with my eyes turned to that dear shore where all my hopes were
centred. I could not realize it—what! voluntarily to leave the only
creature on earth to whom I was attached?—she, too, who had chosen me
when poor and unknown. Could I not be content with the independence that
my own honest labour procured, but must I show how much more I valued
money than the pains to us both of such a bitter separation—a separation
that might be for ever! Before the pilot left us I had serious thoughts
of returning with him; but the captain was at my elbow, and assuming a
kind of authority; I was forced to see him depart without me. The wind
blew fresh, and before night there was a heavy gale; yet I cared not, my
feelings were too strong even for that to subdue. I could not go down to
dinner, nor was I disposed to sit with strangers at the supper table;
but the captain showed so much good natured solicitude that I yielded
and took my seat beside him.

I do not recollect now how many of the passengers were at supper, but
they were not all there, for some were already seasick and in their
berths. I only remember that opposite to me sat a young lady who looked
at me very frequently, and who could scarcely keep from laughing,
although the gentleman next her reprimanded her once or twice for her
ill breeding. I could not imagine what had caused her mirth, unless it
were the melancholy expression of my countenance. There was not much
time, however, to speculate on any thing, for the gale increased and
every body on board became anxious and watchful. The captain advised me
to go to bed, but I chose rather to remain on deck, hoping that if there
were any danger I might be of some use. Just as I was leaving the cabin
I heard the laughing lady say to her companion, “I am glad he is going
on deck, for I can hardly stand it.”

I had been so unaccustomed to the society of women, and my dear wife and
the gentle Martha, in all my various moods of gaiety and melancholy, had
always shown so much tenderness and sympathy for me, that the mirth of
this young lady excited something like uneasiness in my mind, and I
could not help referring to it in the midst of the storm that was
raging. Perhaps it was of service to me; but I could not help thinking
how indignant my wife would be had she been witness to it; for, as she
respected me herself, she could not but suppose that I would be entitled
to the same respect from others.

Having never been on the ocean before, the violence of the gale was
truly appalling, though the captain assured me there was no danger; it
continued unabated for two days and nights, and at every meal, there set
the laughing lady. I asked who the young lady was, that seemed so amused
when I went to the table. The captain laughed heartily and then begged
my pardon. “Indeed, Mr. Parr,” said he, “you must cheer up; why man, we
want mirth and not melancholy on shipboard. I cannot find out why you
look so very unhappy, for Mr. Blagge tells me that you have a lovely
wife, and are in expectation of getting a large fortune. Why you did not
bring your lady along with you is more than I can tell; this gale is
nothing, the ship is a fast sailer and the voyage will be a short and a
pleasant one, no doubt, so you might have enjoyed her society in
comfort, if it is the leaving her behind that makes you look so
miserable. I am sure I do not wonder that the young lady is amused; why
I could hardly keep my own countenance at the breakfast table this
morning, you looked so disturbed, and cast such suspicious glances at
the harmless young thing who was looking at you.”

But this did not mend the matter, for I was not to become gay merely
because others were amused by the expression of sadness in my
countenance. That I had willingly parted from my wife was a reality that
could not be forgotten, and I told the captain that to avoid giving the
tittering lady any further food for her mirth, I should take my seat on
the same side of the table with her. He consented that I should, and the
dinner passed off very well, for my opposite neighbour was a decrepit
old woman whose head was bent low, and who seemed to suffer too much
from sickness to care who looked sad or merry.

The gale abated, and by sundown it had died away to a pleasant breeze;
the full moon rose beautifully out of the ocean, and my whole soul was
filled with wonder and admiration. If my wife had been at my side, what
a happiness to enjoy it with her; I sighed heavily, and the good natured
captain broke in upon my meditations. “I am more and more sorry Mr.
Parr,” said he, “that you did not bring your wife with you; if I had
only known how hard you were going to take it, I should have brought her
along by main force. You will destroy yourself if you continue thus to
grieve, and yet I cannot blame you much neither, for I had pretty nearly
the same kind of feelings when I left my wife for the first time. It was
different with me, however, I was only mate then, and had not the power
to bring her with me, but I warrant you I did so as soon as I became
captain.”

“Why, is your wife on board now,” said I, frightened out of my senses
lest the laughing lady might be her. “I have not seen her, have I.”

“No, she is quite indisposed,” said he; “in fact she goes this voyage to
see whether it may not cure her eyes; she has to wear goggles all the
time as the light is so painful; if it were not for that she would be a
very pretty woman; one of these evenings I will get her to take them
off, and you must come down and see her. Do you play at chess? You do
hey; well, I am glad of it, for she plays a good game, and it will keep
you both to while away the time, particularly since my wife’s eyes won’t
allow her to sew. She has beautiful hair, too, though I say it,”
continued the warm-hearted captain, and I liked him all the better for
talking so tenderly of his wife. “That old lady that sits opposite to
you now, almost bent double, as you see, is a friend of my wife’s, and
we are taking her on a visit. Poor old thing she is so near-sighted,
that every thing must go close to her eyes, or her eyes be sent close to
the object, otherwise she could not see to cut her food even. Excuse me,
Mr. Parr, is your wife handsome?”

“I think she is,” said I, “to me she appears beautiful, and I wish she
was here to enjoy this delicious evening with me.”

“Why yes, as I said, it would be better to have her here. My wife has a
few freckles on her face—is your wife freckled?”

“Freckled!” said I indignantly, “no, why do you ask that question; she
has a remarkably clear skin.”

“Oh, I meant no offence; what colour are her eyes? my wife has blue
eyes; people say they are handsome, and I think so too.”

Would any one believe me when I say, that to this moment, I could not
tell the colour of her eyes. To me they always beamed with intelligence
and love; and as to whether they were blue or grey, I never thought. But
the persevering captain thinking that it gave me great pleasure in
talking of her, went on in this way to question me about her dear face
until I got as miserable as possible. “Well, well,” said he, moving off,
“you can’t bear more to-night, so I’ll go below and talk to the ladies a
little, and tell my wife the good news that you can play chess.”

Good news, indeed, to sit opposite to his goggle-eyed wife, and play at
chess, when she that taught me was sitting solitary at home. I thought I
should go mad, if I did not try and invent some excuse; for the idea was
intolerable, and yet I pitied the poor woman too.

The next morning the captain’s wife was at table; she had taken her seat
before I went down, so that I could not see her distinctly, although she
was on the opposite side. She wore green spectacles and plenty of curls,
which were certainly of a beautiful colour; but the cap she wore hid the
back hair entirely; so I thought, after all, it was only a little brag
of the captain, for these curls might be artificial. As to the freckles,
there they were, sure enough; ugly little yellow things. She did well, I
thought, to let the curls cover her face as much as possible, for these
freckles were well worth hiding. And then, such great clumsy hands too;
and to make them look still larger by wearing gloves. I was at last
quite ashamed of myself, for I really felt spiteful towards this poor
lady; more particularly as the tittering one opposite to her was now
fairly laughing out; and all the rest, but the captain’s wife and the
poor old lady opposite to me, laughed along with her. I looked at the
captain, and he sat with his handkerchief to his face.

I made a short meal of it; and I determined if this foolery was
continued at dinner, that I would eat in the steerage, any where, rather
than encounter such incivilities; for I, somehow or other, associated it
all with myself; but to my great relief, neither the captain’s wife nor
the young lady were at table, so that I ate my dinner without annoyance.
But there was no getting rid of the captain’s desire to amuse his poor
wife with a game of chess. He set aside every excuse; and at length,
fairly told me that he saw through my artifice; but that he knew better
than I did, how to make the voyage endurable; and that the sooner I
broke through my reserve and shyness the better able I should be to bear
up against the separation with my wife.

There were but three gentlemen passengers, so that, in all, there were,
besides myself and the captain’s wife, only the laughing lady and the
one who sat opposite to me. There were, to be sure, a number in the
steerage; but I had not taken any notice of them, nor, in fact, had I
exchanged a word with the gentlemen in the cabin. I was, therefore, very
much surprised when they all three left the table and went with me on
deck, talking with me as familiarly as if I had been the most
communicative person in the world. They were in high glee, and said a
number of pleasant things, all of which I might have enjoyed at any
other moment; but the chess and the captain’s wife crowded out all
social feelings; and when the captain came for me, and said the chess
board was arranged, and his wife waiting, I went down provoked
enough.—Only to think of being placed in such a dilemma—to sit with the
captain’s wife, dawdling over the chess men, with a mind so far away. My
only hope was, that she would beat me so easily that she would not ask
me to play with her again.

When I got in the cabin, the first person I saw was the old lady, who
was pulling and jerking at her black hood, and laughing heartily.
Surely, thought I, that laugh is familiar to me; but she could not untie
the string of her hood, so I offered to help her. Thereat she laughed
louder and pushed me away. I then turned to the captain’s wife, and she
seemed beside herself too. I never heard of such a cracked set of people
in my life; they all seemed bursting with fun. She threw, first one, and
then the other, ugly glove, across the floor; and then away went the
spectacles, away went the cap, and away went the curls, and I stood
amazed and wondering what was coming next, when a voice that sprung
fresh and warm to my heart, said, “Patrick, my dear Patrick, do you know
me now?” I had no words; not a syllable could my overjoyed heart allow
me to utter, as my dear wife lay in my fond arms.

And there she was, and Martha too. The captain and his wife, who was the
laughing lady, all were in the plot; and I was for a long time in such
agitated bliss that I did not want to hear how it had all happened; but
it was a surprise—a most joyful surprise.

“And so, Patrick, dearest,” said she, “you never knew I had freckles,
just look at them.” “No, no,” said I, kissing the dear cheek that she
held towards me, “nor do I see them now; nor could I tell the colour of
these eyes; all I was ever sensible to is their tender expression. And
here is dear Martha too; how completely were you both disguised. By and
by you must tell me all about it; but now I only want to feel the bliss
of being near to you, and to know that this is all reality.”

In half an hour some one tapped at the door, and in came my late
tormentor, and in came the captain; and now they laughed heartily; and I
smiled in return, for my heart was too full to break out in loud mirth.
It seems it was as much as they could all do to restrain the lively
lady, fearing that the plot would be discovered before the time. My wife
intended to show herself as soon as the pilot left us; but she was so
very seasick that she thought I could better bear the pain of thinking
her away from me than witness suffering which I could not relieve. The
gale came on, and her sickness continued, and she thought it most
prudent to wait till it was over. Her plan was to write me a note, and
prepare me for it, but the captain and his wife, as well as the
gentlemen, begged her to allow of this little artifice, which, as they
had taken such an interest in her affairs, she thought it right to
indulge them in. Finding me so averse to her going, and knowing that I
should so bitterly regret it, she and Martha went in a carriage, one
day, and interested Mr. Blagge in her scheme. The captain and his wife
were delighted; and whilst he detained me by a sham business, on shore,
Mr. Porter saw her and Martha safely on board. She had left the trunks
till the last, hoping that I might relent, and thus prevent any
necessity of a plot; but as I would not consent, Mr. Porter, who had
another carriage in waiting, took them down to the wharf.

What more is to be said? Our voyage was delightful. I had no difficulty,
whatever, in identifying myself; and I returned in possession of a large
estate, which I trust I shall spend with grateful feelings. Dr. Bently
and his amiable niece, Miss Sidney, now Mrs. North, were our
fellow-passengers on returning. They little knew what an interest I had
in the village of Camperdown, when they so earnestly pressed me to
settle in their neighbourhood. My beloved wife was not at all the worse
for the three months’ excursion; and two months after our return, we
were made still happier, if possible, by the birth of a son. My wife,
always mindful of my feelings, has called him Cyrus, after my poor
father; and we are, I trust, bringing him up in the love of his Maker,
and in the fear of breaking his commandments. Aunt Martha, as you know,
lives with us, and Mr. Porter resides altogether in the stone house,
where I was born; we could not do without him. Now that you all know my
dear wife, you can easily imagine that my love for her can never
diminish; and that, to be separated from her, would be the greatest of
evils.

You have asked me to write a memoir of my life; but, after all, what is
it? It is only a description of my heart and its feelings; of my early
sorrows, and of my deep, deep love for one, whom I still continue to
think is far too good—too far above me. Of her unworthy uncle I will not
speak; she was his sister’s only child, and he could neither appreciate
nor love her. All my felicity has arisen from his blindness, and I
therefore forgive him. But if there has been nothing remarkable in this
memoir, if the events are such as we meet with frequently, surely there
is some novelty in the Surprise.



                          THE SEVEN SHANTIES.


“Jemmy, come here—come quick, will ye,” said a poor, dirty, good-natured
looking fellow, to a man as ragged and poor as himself—“step faster,
will ye, and help me to raise this wagon.”

They lifted up the overturned light carriage and dragged out of the
mud—first, a trunk and carpet bag, then a gun case, and lastly the owner
of all this, a middle aged man, apparently, who had been stunned by the
fall, although in so soft a spot.

He recovered his senses, however, as soon as the men raised him from the
ground, and the next thing was to know what to do with him. One of the
men, Jemmy Brady, scratched his head and said, “If I had ever a room but
the one in which the wife and childer are, I would take the gentleman
there any how, but the noise would be too great for him I’m thinking.”

“Och! but he’ll never mind the childer, God bless them,” said the other.
“I dare say his honour has plenty of them—the likes of these jontlemen
are always fond of young childer.”

“You are very much mistaken, my friend,” said the stranger, “I do not
like children. Is there no cabin or hut about here where I could rest
for an hour or two, and change my clothes? I see that the wheel is off
the carriage, so I cannot proceed to the tavern.”

“Yes, sure,” said Larry, “plenty of them, barring Jemmy Brady’s and
mine. Jemmy has seven childer and I have five,—too much noise for your
honour, I’m thinking, and the mud is almost as thick on the floor of my
shanty as it is here, your honour—but if you’ll step a bit this way,
I’ll take you to Sally M’Curdy’s.”

The gentleman asked if this Sally M’Curdy had any children. Larry said
that she had not—that she was a lone woman. “She’s left with one
grand-daughter,” said he, “Norah—you’ll may be have heard of little
Norie, yer honour, for she is very smart at her latters, and can read
and write too, and she’s very quiet and very mindful of her
grandmother.”

Both Jemmy and Larry had the instinctive feeling, that this widow’s
shanty bade fairer for comfort than any other in the range, and they
were hastening forward to show the way and to prepare her for the guest,
when he discovered that he had sprained his ancle, and could not move.

“What _now_ is to be done,” said he, impatiently, “I cannot lift my foot
from the ground, and the pain is becoming intolerable.”

“Och, hub-bub-boo,” said Larry, “what is better to be done than to carry
your honour on our hands, crossed this fashion. I’ve carried a bigger
man nor you in this way, in play even.” So he called lazy Jemmy to him,
who scratched his head and sighed, to think of the heavy weight they
were to carry. He crossed hands with Larry, the stranger seated himself,
and in this awkward, singular way, with much vexation of spirit, he was
taken to Sally M’Curdy’s shanty.

“Here is a good ould gentleman what’s lame,” said Larry, as they lifted
him up a few steps into the neat little room—“he’s broke his foot any
how, Mistress M’Curdy, and shall I run for a doctor, your honour, to set
the leg?”

“My leg is not broken, my honest friend. If this good lady gives me
leave to rest here all night, all that I shall require is, to have the
boot cut off and my ancle bathed—it is only a sprain.”

“And is it I that will cut that good boot, your honour, I that am a
shoemaker by trade, if the white boys at home would have let me earn a
penny at it. Sure I know where the stitches are, and can’t I cut the
thread?” So down Larry knelt, and with speed and skill, giving the
stranger as little pain as possible, he cut through the seam, and took
the boot from the swelled foot. Meantime Mrs. M’Curdy was not idle, she
called her little grand-daughter, and immediately began to prepare
supper, as the gentle clatter of cups in the next room indicated.

The stranger, whose name was Price, begged Jemmy to take his horse and
dearborn to the next inn, and tell the landlord of his accident, and to
say where he was to be found. He knew there was nothing better to be
done than to put his foot in a tub of warm, salt water, and to remain as
quiet as possible. Larry, whose good nature was a strong recommendation,
promised to assist him in undressing, so that in half an hour after
changing his clothes and keeping his foot in the tepid water, he felt so
much easier that he was glad to hear that tea was ready. He was very
willing to have the little tea table drawn close to his chair, and
partake of the nice supper which his kind hostess had prepared for him.

“Don’t wait—don’t stand up, my good lady,” said he, “have you no young
person to assist you; pray sit down and pour out tea for me.”

Mrs. M’Curdy quietly seated herself and made tea, while Larry answered
the question about the young person, by pulling in the little shy Norah.

“Oh, Norah, dear,” said Mrs. M’Curdy, “you should not be coming in,
child, and the gentleman in such pain—may be children trouble you, sir.”

“I am not over fond of children, that’s certain,” said Mr. Price, “but I
should not imagine this nice little girl, who seems so unwilling to
intrude, could be noisy or troublesome. Let her go, Larry—I believe
that’s your name—let her hand go.”

Off darted the little girl, much to Mr. Price’s gratification; and much
to Larry’s joy. After getting the gentleman snugly to bed, he received a
dollar for his evening’s services, with a request to call in the morning
and assist him to rise.

But the morning found Mr. Price, although able to rise, in so much pain
that there was no hope of proceeding on his journey; he, therefore,
after securing Larry’s services during those intervals allotted to the
labourers at the forge, quietly settled it in his mind that here he must
remain until the ankle recovered its strength. Mrs. M’Curdy was gentle,
neat and attentive; anticipating his wants, and only wishing that more
was to be done. But Mr. Price was neither troublesome nor ungracious,
and before the dinner hour approached she wondered how so good-natured a
gentleman could dislike children.

“To be sure,” said she, finishing her thoughts aloud, “Larry’s little
ones are very noisy, and not over clean, and poor Jemmy’s are still
worse than noisy; for they are rude and mischievous. But Norah is not
like other children, sir, and she knows a world of stories, your honour,
if it is stories out of books would amuse you. Sure will you try and
coax the little creature in to sit by you a bit, till I come back from
the grocer; and if she tires you, just let her go when Larry comes in.”

“Well, send her in,” said Mr. Price, “and let me hear her little
stories. I will promise to get rid of her when she becomes troublesome.”

“Then your honour will want to keep her for ever at your side, for Norah
is never troublesome. She is an orphan, your honour, and that, as your
honour knows, is a child without father or mother; although in
Philadelphia they have found out, it is said, that an orphan means a
child with one parent. But little Norah’s mother died broken-hearted
because her husband left her and married another woman. She had too much
feeling for her little girl to prosecute him; so she bore it all and
died. Since that time her husband is dead; but I keep it all to myself,
not letting his hard-hearted family know of little Norah. Indeed, I have
kept purposely from knowing where they now are; for out of pride, like,
they would take her away from me, and put her to some grand
boarding-school; for, from what I could learn from him, they are rich.”

The grandmother brought in the blushing little girl, almost by force, to
the gentleman’s arm-chair; but on his stroking her hair, and speaking
tenderly, she, by degrees, began to look up and cast side glances at
him; and, finally, on his asking her to hand him a glass of water, she
shook back her curly locks, and, with the movement, threw off part of
her fright.

“Well, you are no longer afraid of me, Norah; you have a little chair
there, I see; bring it here, and sit by me till your grandmother comes
back. How old are you?”

“I am nine years old; but I can remember my mother quite well, for I was
five years old when she died. I have not cried about her for a great
while, but I feel as if I could cry now.”

“No, don’t cry, Norah, don’t,” said Mr. Price, as the poor little
creature burst into a passionate flood of tears—“don’t cry, my dear;”
and lifting the child up, he drew her to him, while she sobbed on his
bosom. “What makes you cry now?”

“Why, Jemmy Brady came in the room last evening, when grandmother was
getting your supper ready, and he said something to me which made me
think of my mother, and I have been all the morning thinking of her, and
of all that she said and did.”

“Well, what did this Jemmy Brady say to you that has troubled you so
much?” But Norah would not tell. She said it was no matter now, she
should not cry again; for she was sure he was good-natured.

It was a new thing for Mr. Price to be soothing a crying child—he kept
referring to it himself—but Norah advanced in his good graces, and by
the time Mrs. M’Curdy returned, he was laughing aloud at some of her
childish remarks. Norah too, was very much pleased with Mr. Price; her
bright blue eye seemed to watch every motion of his, and at length he
really felt a want, a restlessness whenever the child was called out of
the room.

A week still found Mr. Price sitting in the widow M’Curdy’s arm chair,
and little Norah at his side. A sprained ankle, every one knows,
requires time and quiet and an outstretched limb, but above all, a
tranquil mind. He had time, for he was rich; and where on earth, thought
he, could I be so quiet as in this neat little room. Friction was now
necessary, and who could rub his leg so tenderly as the dear little
girl; then her prattle was delightful. He had never been much among
children; he once had a son, but an indulgent mother ruined him. His
child from boy to manhood had been a constant source of disquiet and
misery to him, and he had three years before this period, followed him
to the grave. He thought that no child could ever again interest him, in
fact he had steeled his heart against children, and but for this
accident, and the good chance of meeting with Mrs. M’Curdy, the warm and
pleasant feelings which the innocence and beauty of childhood always
create, had been unknown to him for ever.

Nothing could be cleaner and neater than the old lady; all her ways were
tidy. She never ran her forefinger in a tumbler or tea cup, nor washed
the tea things in a wash basin, nor dried them on the same towel with
which the hands were dried, as many of the poor do. All this Mr. Price
saw, and what made his room particularly comfortable was, that there
were shutters to his window. His room was facing the road, which Mrs.
M’Curdy very much regretted, as the children of the other shanties were
for ever in view of the house, keeping up an eternal squalling and noise
of some kind or other, frequently amounting to screams and yells. When
things arrived at this height, the mothers of the different children
would rush out, and by dint of pulling, tugging, beating and scolding,
succeed in dragging the delinquent away from “the sick gentleman.”

“Can’t ye be after seeing that your noise disturbs the lame gentleman,
ye sinners you,” said Mrs. Brady one fine spring morning, as she was
separating her two eldest boys from a fighting frolic—“come away, will
ye, and get me the chips, or ye’ll no get your breakfast, let alone your
father’s and the baby’s.”

One eye was directed to Mr. Price’s window, while this was screamed out
by the woman, a poor, dirty, broken down looking creature; who, although
not more than five and thirty, looked at least fifty. She had never had
the “luck” to see Mr. Price, a thing she ardently longed for, as every
one else at some odd time or other, had taken a peep at him. Larry was
loud in his praise, and lazy Jemmy, as he was called by one and all of
the women, and by his own wife too, had also testified to the liberality
of the lame gentleman.

“Why are not these children made to work,” said he to Mrs. M’Curdy, as
he turned from the window in disgust. “Those two boys could be employed
in the factories, I should think; they must be at least eight and ten
years of age.”

“Yes, they are old enough to work,” said Mrs. M’Curdy, “but it is only
in the paper-mills that such young children are wanted; and those who
have even worked in a paper-mill know that nothing tires such young
children so much as picking and pulling about old rags. If they could be
employed at some other thing half the day, I think both the employer and
the children could be greatly benefited by it.”

“Well, why can they not? Why can’t they be made to work in a garden all
the morning, and at some quiet work in the afternoon? Here you have a
population of several thousand persons, and according to your own
account throughout the summer you have no fruit nor vegetables, scarcely
a potato. You live then on bread and meat. Are not those men who have an
eye to the interests of the community aware, that a diet of this kind
creates thirst, and they must know that a thirsty man will not always
drink water. How do you get along with such a poor diet as bread and
meat?”

“Oh, it is far different with us; when your honor is able to leave the
room I will show you my little garden, our little garden I should say;
for here is Norah, who is sitting on your lap, so helpless like just
now, she assists me greatly in the garden. She fetches and carries,
helps sow the seeds, and more than helps weed; indeed last summer I had
so much sowing to do that there was but little time to weed. And the
dear child picked every bean and pea herself, and from a very little
patch she got as much as a quart of strawberries every day; and did I
not get eighteen pence for every quart, without stirring away from the
door to sell them? And how much, dear, did you get from your little row
of raspberries?” Norah said it was thirteen shillings. “Well, we made
clear money, besides helping ourselves to as much as we wanted for our
own eating, just fourteen dollars; it paid our rent and two dollars
over; so it was no more than right that Norah, the little dear, should
get the two dollars to herself; the very frock and shoes she has on, can
show it.”

Mr. Price kissed the little girl, whose sparkling eye showed how deeply
she was interested in her grandmother’s story—he asked if all the
shanties had gardens attached to them, and whether the children assisted
their parents in working them.

“Oh, no, poor things,” said the old lady, “they would work, even lazy
Jemmy’s children would work if they were encouraged. But see how it is,
your honour. When I came here nine years ago, Norah was just two months’
old—this shanty was knocked up quickly for me; and it had never a floor
even till the winter came. There were then no other shanties near, and
as I had paid for the building of the house and for the fence around the
garden, I by degrees, got very comfortable. Before I built the chimney,
sashed the window, and made the floor, it was bad enough; but I had not
enough money at the time, and it was only by working early and late, and
my poor dear daughter helped too, that I got all these things done, and
proud enough I was to show people how much a lone woman could do.
There’s many a woman here, your honour, in these shanties, that could do
very well if their husbands would let them, but a poor woman has no
chance at all. Here is Biddy Brady, my next neighbour, she has seven
children, from ten years down to that little wee thing yonder, that has
just now been taken out for the first time—there it is, Norah dear, and
she’s called it Norah after my grandchild, sir, because Norah has been
kind like in her ways to poor Biddy, who is to be sure, a little bit of
a scold, and always in a hubbub of some kind or other. My landlord
leased me this piece of ground for ten years; but well he may, for I
have made this house quite comfortable, you see. There are three rooms,
small enough to be sure, but if I have to leave it, and oh, how loath I
shall be to go from it, he will get thirty-six dollars for it instead of
twelve—only think of that. He is a good man, and I dare say when I ask
him to renew my lease, for the sake of the good I have done to his
property, he will rent the place to me for thirty dollars.”

“Well, well,” said Mr. Price, who had been musing during this long
speech, “don’t think about your rent for the next year, or the year
after,—don’t cry, Norah, your grandmother shall have no rent to pay for
five years, if you will always be as good a girl as you are now. Who
taught you to read, Norah?—come kiss me, my child, and don’t sob so; you
are on my lap, and your crying jars my lame foot.”

“Oh, grandmother,” said the little girl, “tell the gentleman why we
don’t want to go away from this pleasant house,”—and she pointed to a
small enclosure on a rising hill a little way from the road.

“It is a burial ground, your honour,” said Mrs. M’Curdy in a low subdued
tone, “and under that old hemlock tree poor Norah’s mother lies buried.”

Mr. Price, whose sympathies had been long pent up; in fact, who had been
soured towards all the world; for his disappointment both in his
marriage and in his only child, had been severely felt; now suffered
himself to be deeply interested in the fate of this innocent family, he
pressed the child closer to his bosom, and resolved that he would
immediately place her and her grandmother above want. But this sudden
thawing of his feelings produced a kindlier interest towards others; he
saw a mass of suffering in this little community which he thought could
be alleviated without much trouble or expense, and his quick
apprehension soon pointed out the way. He put Norah down from his lap,
asked for his portfolio, and in a few moments a letter was written and
despatched to a gentleman in the neighbourhood.

“Now my good Mrs. M’Curdy, bring your work in this room, and tell me all
about your neighbours—tell me exactly how things are; I do not ask out
of idle curiosity, but I have a plan in my mind which I think will be of
service to them. I have an eye to you, too; I have become interested in
you and your little girl, and I should like to leave you in a better
neighbourhood. Only don’t call me your honour, but Mr. Price; I hate
your honour.”

“Well, sir, here is my work, and I can’t do better than just to say a
little more about myself. You see my pride, for I had a good bringing
up, would not let me live along so lazily and so miserably as the poor
people around me; besides, times in one respect, were better eight years
ago than they are now, at least for poor women I mean. The ladies’
societies had not then found us out, and widow women and young girls got
plenty of sewing to do, and for a decent price too. I could then earn
from three to four shillings a day, and there never was a time, until a
month before—Norah, dear, put chips under the pot, will you love, and
then set the milk pans in the sun, and be sure and put on your bonnet—I
never like to speak of my poor daughter before the tender hearted little
thing; for although she was but little more than five years old when her
mother died, yet she recollects her perfectly, and all her nice orderly
ways, and how she taught her to read and sew and pray. She says the same
prayers yet, sir, and indeed no better can be taught her. But as I was
saying when I sent Norah out, there never was a time until a month
before my daughter died, that she did not, weakly and drooping as she
was, earn two shillings a day. Had she lived till now, she would have
found an alteration.”

“Why, what has happened to deprive you of work? your town has increased
in numbers greatly since that time.”

“I’ll tell you, sir. Then, when ladies of large families had more linen
to make up than they or their maids could do, they gave a poor woman a
chance; there were then three ladies in this very town, that gave me
every year, a set of shirts to make; and my daughter made pincushions,
and thread cases, and night caps, and darned silk stockings for
gentlemen, and made linen gloves, all so neatly and prettily, that the
price she got for them purchased all our little comforts; but as soon as
the societies found us out, as I said before, the ladies of the town
themselves undertook to make all these things.”

“But if that was a saving to their families, my good friend, it was all
perfectly right.”

“Oh, it was not for their families that they met together to sew;
sometimes it was for a Dorcas society, sometimes for a Sunday school,
sometimes for an Infants’ school, sometimes to get a church out of debt,
or to buy an organ; and oftentimes to educate young men for the
ministry. For all the purposes I have mentioned, excepting that of
educating young men, I found some excuse, but I own I did inwardly fret
and find fault, with the kind-hearted women who belong to these
societies, when they neglected their own families, and let us poor women
who were willing to work, starve, while they did the things by which we
formerly earned our bread.”

“Why do not the young men work for themselves, or why are there not
societies of young men for these purposes; surely men can labour, and at
more trades too than women can—mechanics I mean, and rich young men,
they can contribute in money.”

“Yes, sir, that is what I said when these ladies came to me and begged
me to sew one day for this purpose; for seeing me a little better off
than my poor neighbours, they thought I was quite too well off. God
forgive me for my uncharitableness, but I looked at smart little Norah,
and was thinking how much at that moment she wanted a good warm cloak
for winter, so with all the willingness in the world, my love for the
child got the better of my wish to oblige the ladies.”

“In some parts of Connecticut, the young men destined for the church,
work for themselves.”

“Yes, sir, I hear they do, and why should not they as well as artists
and lawyers and doctors. Those who are poor find ways and means to
educate themselves; they go in gentlemen’s houses and teach children, or
they teach school, or write; in short, a man has ways and means enough
if he chooses.”

“This is all very true, Mrs. M’Curdy; I taught school myself, and
besides that I laboured in a garden for two years for my food and
lodging. With the profits of my school I bought books, and got myself
instructed in book-keeping and French; I had besides, two hundred
dollars in hand, to pay my board when I went as merchant’s clerk. In
five years I was sent out as supercargo, and from that hour I began to
make money. But I think you would not complain if these ladies were to
raise a fund for the education of females, not to preach, but to teach.”

“Yes, indeed, that is what I have often thought would be more creditable
to them, and there is not a poor body who would not join in it. I have
often thought how happy I should be, if at my death, I could leave Norah
at the head of a good school; instead of knowing, as I do, that she must
be put out to service, nay, bound out, as a common kitchen girl, if I
should die before she grows up.”

“You need not fear that, my good friend, I shall take care of that; but
let us leave that subject for the present. I have heard your grievances,
and you do not complain without cause. As to the women working for
missionaries, unless it be for missionaries who go out to teach reading
and writing, and the English or French language, I think they will soon
feel a little ashamed of it; and men will be ashamed to be under such an
obligation to women. We will try and get up societies among the young
men, and then women will direct their charities to their own sex.”

“I wish they would do this, but I am afraid it will be a long time
before men will give their time and money to such purposes. Why, I hear
they buy things at the ladies’ fairs very reluctantly, and there are
very few who give money to their societies willingly. I know that the
two young men I wash for, Mr. Green and Mr. Wilber, often make fun of
these ladies, and say they only do it to show themselves, and to be
talked about. Men are very ill-natured in these matters. For my part, I
think that ladies should teach at Sunday schools, if they are so
benevolently disposed, and in Infant schools, and in Dorcas societies;
which Dorcas societies should be for the relief of poor, sick women, but
_men should give the funds, and poor women should do the work and be
paid for it_. This _I_ think is the proper way; as it is, these
societies _create_ a great deal of distress, by sewing themselves. And
as to Sunday schools, the excellent persons who first set them going,
did not intend them for the children of rich parents. I am not the one
however, to put this matter in its proper light; the evil of the thing
will soon be seen, and then there will be a cure. But I am talking quite
astray; you wanted to hear about my neighbours, and I have gone off to
other matters.”

“I am glad of it, if I have the means of doing your poor neighbours a
little good, I should know where the grievance lies; this will enable me
to apply a remedy. I shall bear it in mind; at present we will speak of
the poor people immediately around you. You are on the edge of the
common, who is your next neighbour? It is Jemmy Brady, is it not?”

“Yes, poor Jemmy lives there, and a better tempered fellow never lived;
but ill luck pursues him in every thing he does, and I cannot think that
any thing can improve his condition. He has lived in that poor shanty
these seven years, and has never yet been able to put a floor to it, let
alone a chimney. To be sure, they have a stove in winter, and in summer
they set their pot over stones, yet it is a poor way of living. The two
eldest boys that you saw fighting this morning, did work a little in the
paper mill, but the confinement made them sick, at least one of them
became sick, and the other had to come home to help his mother nurse
him, for her other children were too young to bring her a pail of water
even.”

“Do you ever go into their cabin?”

“Do I? yes, sure. I go in every now and then, particularly when she’s
confined. If her neighbours did not go in to make her a little gruel,
and look after the children, they must perish; and the Catholic women,
we are all Catholics here, sir, are very good to one another. ‘Tis the
poor man alone that hears the poor man,’ you know, sir; but I am
thankful that Biddy Brady is the worst off; that is, I am thankful that
there are no more so very badly off; if there were, I do not know what
we should do.”

“Does not Jemmy like to work? he is a strong, healthy looking man.”

“Why, he likes to work, and he does not like to work; he was bred up to
do just nothing at all; but he can write a good hand, and is a good
weaver enough, but no one wants a clerk looking so ragged and dirty as
Jemmy; and no one weaves now in a small way. If he had a loom by himself
he could earn a little; that is, if he could have other employment with
it; for Jemmy, unlike Irishmen in general, cannot bear to keep all day
at one thing.”

Mr. Price set down this man’s name, and the ages of his children,
desiring Mrs. M’Curdy to proceed to the next shanty.

“Next to Jemmy Brady, lives lame David, a poor drunken creature; he has
an aged mother, two sisters, a wife and one child. He is a blacksmith,
and could get good wages throughout the year if he would only keep
sober. His son bids fair to be a decent honest man; but the child, now
only fourteen, works beyonds his strength, and his poor mother was
telling me the other day that he had dreadful night sweats, and is
losing his appetite. I wish you could see this boy, sir, I am sure you
would think he is overworked.”

“Don’t his employers take notice of it?”

“Why, yes, they tell him not to work so hard; but men have not time to
attend to such things; if they were to notice the ailings of all their
work people they could never get on—no, when poor people get sick they
must go home and trust to their family for help. Patrick Conolly is an
ill-favoured looking lad; he is red-haired, freckled and bandy-legged;
yet for all that he is a very interesting child, at least to his mother,
grandmother and aunts, to say nothing of myself. I wish the lad could be
sent to school, he has been so decently brought up, that I am sure he
would make a good school master to the poor Catholic children.”

“Well, Mrs. M’Curdy, your wish shall be gratified; Patrick Conolly shall
be sent to a good school for one year; nay, don’t stop to thank me, it
will cost me nothing. How do the women, his aunts and mother, maintain
themselves?”

“They wash for the men at the forge and the quarry; and they pick
blackberries in the season, and they go out to day’s work to clean house
and so on, and the old woman patches and mends and knits. They are as
industrious as possible, but they barely make out to keep life and body
together; for money is scarce and women are plenty. If the man only was
sober it would do very well, but he is so notorious a drunkard that he
can get no work during the few days he is sober.”

“And thus the peace and well doing of a whole family are destroyed by
the beastliness of one man. Who lives next to lame David?”

“Ah! then comes Larry M’Gilpin—there’s an honest creature spoiled, sir,
by too much willingness to help others. He is always too late at the
forge or the quarry, or the mill, for he is never steady at one place,
because he has to help one neighbour look for his run-a-way pig, or to
put up a fence, or to run for a doctor, or something or other. Every
body calls upon Larry M’Gilpin, but no one does a thing for him. I never
heard of any one doing him a good turn but yourself, sir, and it was but
small service he did for you. I try to be of use to him as far as I can,
and Norah teaches his little girl to read, which you know is something;
but his wages, somehow or other, amounts to very little the year out.
How they contrive to live I cannot tell; for they have five children,
all living in one room, and on the bare ground too. To be sure, he has a
chimney in it, and in winter they can keep themselves warm when they
have wood to burn; but they do certainly live on less means than any
family I know. I do not wonder she has the name of dirty Rachel; for how
can a poor creature keep a husband and five children clean, when she has
not money to buy soap even. But they are a quiet, well behaved set, and
disturb no one. Larry keeps the children around him, and by his eternal
good humour and pleasant ways he has contrived to make us all like him;
so one throws him this thing and the other that; and your little
bounties have come in a very good time. He only wishes, he says, that
such gentlemen as you would sprain their ankle every day.”

“Is his wife lazy?—does she take in work, or go out to work?”

“I can’t say that she is lazy—only spiritless like. You know a woman
with five children, the oldest only eight years old, cannot be expected
to do much more than take care of them; and yet Rachel would be willing
to make a coarse shirt now and then, if the price was not next to
nothing. But next to Larry M’Gilpin, lives the woman of women! Here,
just let me lift up this sash, sir, for one minute—now listen—do you
hear any thing?”

“Yes, I hear some one singing; do I not?”

“You do; that is Bonny Betty, as the ladies call her. She is a very
large, bony woman, full six feet high, and well looking too. She works
from morning till night, and has contrived to maintain herself and six
children without the help of a human being, and not one child to do a
turn for her, in the way of earning money, I mean. Her husband died a
drunkard; she buried him three years ago, and from that hour she seemed
to alter her very nature. Before that, she used to go about the country
to beg, carrying all the children with her; and, when far away from
home, would sleep in outhouses and barns. With the little money she
gathered in this way, she bought wood and other necessaries for the
winter, mending up the rags she had begged, and preparing for a traipse
in the summer, may be with an additional child on her arm. As soon as
Christie Kelley died, she bought a broom, the first ever seen in her
house, swept the two rooms of her shanty clean,—pulled out an old
leather glove from her huge pocket, and counted out fifty dollars in
notes and silver. ‘Now, Mrs. M’Curdy,’ said she, ‘you’re a sensible
woman; sit down by me and tell me how I had best lay out all this money.
I kept it unknown to poor Christie, and a little more too—how else could
he have been buried so decently?’ In a little time, sir, with her
prudence in laying out this money, her cabin got to look as well as
mine, barring that six ailing children will make a litter and some
noise.”

“How does she maintain herself, if work is so scarce, and what is the
matter with her children?”

“How does she maintain herself? why, in the strangest way you ever heard
of. She does every thing and any thing. In the morning she finds out
which of the children are likeliest to be the sickest through the day;
these she carries with her, for she is a powerful, strong woman; and
into a house she goes, seats the children in an obscure corner, and
falls to work—nothing comes amiss. If it is washing day, she is up to
her elbows in the suds before the lady of the house is up, and nothing
but a constable will force her out till she has done two women’s work,
has eaten three hearty meals, and fed the ailing children with such
little scraps as their feeble health requires. She then gathers up the
children, and, with a basket added to her load, off she goes to feed
those at home with the savoury scraps in her basket. When she forces her
way into a house she takes no money, contenting herself with receiving
broken meat for her pay, and if there is more than enough for the
family, she takes it in to Biddy Brady, or to one poor body or other.
But this vagrant disposition is fast leaving her, for she is so useful
and so cheerful that there are very few families that can do without
her. She scents a dinner or a tea party at a great distance, and she
gets there in the nick of time to be of service. She makes yeast, soap,
candles, bread,—whitewashes, takes out grease and stains, paints rooms,
mends broken windows and china,—cuts better cold slaw, as the Dutch call
it, finer and quicker than any one,—makes sourcrout, pickles and
preserves,—knows how to put up shad and smoke herrings; in short, in her
ramblings she watched the different ways of doing things, and now she
sets up for herself. You cannot think what a really useful woman Bonny
Betty is; it is a pity that the children are so sickly.”

“Has she a doctor?—does she ever consult a doctor?”

“A doctor! why they are all more or less deformed. Ben, the eldest, has
a great wen over his left eye which has nearly destroyed his sight;
Kate, the next, has a broken back, and is lame; Jemmy is one sore from
head to foot, and has been in that way for four years; Bob is a thin,
sickly boy, that has fainty turns, and is beginning to lose his hearing;
Susy is deaf and dumb; and little Christie, only four years old, has the
dropsy.”

“Good heavens! and this woman is cheerful, and maintains them all with
the labour of her own hands?”

“Yes, and is laying up money. She has nearly a hundred dollars in the
Savings Fund; her children are well clothed for poor people’s children,
and well fed; she has two pigs in the pen; and she and I are the only
persons in the neighbourhood that keep a cow. She has a fresh cow in the
fall and I in the spring; so we both do well by them. I wish she had a
better shanty.”

“Well, I shall make acquaintance with Bonny Betty; who comes next?”

“Sammy Oram is the sixth; he is a shoemaker, a poor, do-little kind of
man, with five boys; he is a widower. Three of his boys work at times in
the cotton factory and at times in the paper mill; but Sammy talks of
going to Philadelphia, and so get rid of them all at once; for he calls
his boys _orphans_, and he thinks as they were all born there, (for he
only came here about five years ago,) he can get them in the Girard
College. I wish he may, I am sure. Next to him lives an old man with one
leg. He was once a good gardener, they say, but it is many years since
he had to quit the trade owing to a white swelling which finally caused
him to lose his leg. He lives alone, and maintains himself by making
mats and brooms and such things; he is a very honest, sober man, and
would make a good overseer, or some such thing, if any body knew his
worth; but he is shy and melancholy like for an Irishman, and we often
think he suffers in winter for comforts; but he never complains, and if
people never complain, you know, why no one will thrust kindness on
them.”

“But there is Bonny Betty, with six helpless children—you see that she
can get along.”

“Yes, sir,—but Betty is a woman, and somehow they have a higher spirit
than a man. Why, a man would have broken down if he had been left with
six such children as she has, or if he had not sunk, he would have run
away and _left them to Providence_. You have no idea, sir, how long a
poor woman will bear up against every evil and misfortune if she has
children dependent upon her.”

“You have now told me the little history of the Seven Shanties, but has
no one a garden but yourself. I should think that the man you mentioned
last—what’s his name?—the man with one leg—he ought to have a garden.”

“Daniel M’Leary,—yes, he might do a little in that way, but for two
reasons; one is that he cannot dig, for his back is weak,—and a better
reason still is, that there’s never a shanty but mine that has a bit of
land to it. Daniel M’Leary has not even enough for a pig pen if he had
wherewithal to feed a pig. He has done, however, all that man could do;
he has planted a grape vine behind his shanty, and last summer, being
the third year of its bearing, he sold from it five dollars’ worth of
grapes. He gave me some cuttings; I planted them against the back of my
shanty which faces the south, and last summer two of them had a few
bunches on them, but the children pulled them off before they were ripe.
I don’t think, however, it was the neighbours’ children.”

The next day Mr. Price was able to get out of the little room and enjoy
the fresh air of the open commons. He saw, what Mrs. M’Curdy said, that
the shanties had no ground attached to them. In front was the road, and
behind a precipitous bank, scarcely a foot-path behind that of Bonny
Betty. Yet these poor people paid from ten to twelve dollars a year for
a piece of ground not more than twenty feet square. Mrs. M’Curdy was on
the edge of a common, and her plot took in a strip of land about twenty
by a hundred feet; this was the admiration and envy of the neighbours,
who all imagined that if they only had “the luck to get such a bit
garding spot” they would thrive as well as Mrs. M’Curdy.

At noon a gentleman called on Mr. Price; he was the owner of some of the
land thereabout, and likewise of the little strip on which all the
shanties, excepting Mrs. M’Curdy’s, stood. He came by consequence of the
letter which Mr. Price had written to him the day before, and being a
sensible and considerate man, he was soon convinced by this gentleman’s
arguments that some change in the circumstances of these poor people,
his tenants, would be beneficial to him as well as to them. He finally
agreed to lease to Mr. Price a piece of land not more than a few rods’
distance from the shanties; it was to be about one hundred and sixty
feet square. It was leased for twelve years.

As money can command any thing, in two weeks two hundred loads of manure
were spread over this spot and ploughed in, and a good rough board fence
enclosed the whole, with a wide gate in the centre of each side. Near
the upper gate, under a large hemlock, a comfortable shanty was built,
well floored, with two rooms, and a chimney between. On the lower side
was another, only larger, having four small rooms; this was shaded by a
fine silver pine. This shanty guarded the south gate. The fence and
gates, all the posts being made of cedar, cost Mr. Price one hundred and
fifty dollars, the manure and ploughing were one hundred more, the two
shanties cost three hundred and fifty dollars. Furniture for the two
shanties, grape vines, currant bushes, strawberry plants, garden seeds,
two carts, six wheelbarrows, and other garden tools, with a shed to keep
them in, cost four hundred dollars more. Here was an expenditure of the
round sum of ten hundred dollars. The interest of this at six per cent.
amounted only to sixty dollars, and he was only charged one hundred and
forty dollars for the rent of the land, so that the interest of the
money was but two hundred dollars a year. What was this to a man worth
twelve thousand a year?

Mr. Price, quick in planning and executing, soon arranged every thing to
his mind, and what was extraordinary, to the liking of every one. In ten
days he installed Daniel M’Leary in the north shanty, giving him the key
of the north, east and west gates; in the south shanty, he placed Bonny
Betty and her six helpless children; and a day it was to see, for both
he and Mrs. M’Curdy, as well as dear little Norah, kept the thing a
profound secret. The first intimation Bonny Betty had of the good luck,
was in the morning of the day of her removal; Mrs. M’Curdy called in by
accident, as it were, and observed that she should not be surprised if
Mr. Price were to call in and see about the wen on Benny’s forehead; “so
Betty, my friend, suppose you red up the children a little; here is
Susan quite able, I am sure, to lend a hand, deaf and dumb though the
poor little thing is. See how handy she goes to work.”

“If you thought he’d be coming Sally, why I’d leave my work, and put on
their Sunday clothes; but poor little Jemmy is very feverish to-day, and
Christie’s legs are more swelled than common; are you sure he’ll be
coming this way?”

“No, I am not sure, but at any rate red up the children, for who knows
what may happen; you’re an honest industrious woman, and you may well be
called Bonny Betty; I think ye’ll eat your dinner in a better house than
this ere you die; good folks are not always neglected.”

Well, Bonny Betty left her work, and in an hour the poor little
creatures were dressed in their best; and at ten o’clock, Mrs. M’Curdy
and Norah, with all the women of the other shanties, as well as those
children that were at home, proceeded to her house, and asked her to
take a walk and look at the gentleman’s improvements. On being urged by
Mrs. M’Curdy, whom she very much respected, and seeing the eager looks
of the children, she sat out with them. All was wonderment and pleasure
when they got to the shanty, for the pots were boiling, and the meat was
roasting, loaves of bread, and plates of butter, and gingerbread, and
small cakes, were all paraded on a clean new table; in short, a
house-warming was prepared for some one.

“Oh! if all this was for me and my poor children,” thought Bonny Betty,
“how happy I should be; but then there’s the other poor bodies, I’m
thinking, wishing the same thing, and sure, have not they as good a
right as me?”

“Now Betty, did not I tell you, that you’d eat your dinner in a better
house than your old ricketty forlorn one? You are in your own house now,
Bonny Betty! for the good kind man, God bless him, has bid me tell you,
that by giving him the same rent that you pay for that old one, you may
live in this nice comfortable house.”

There was a general cry of joy; and Bonny Betty fell on her knees, and
bade them all kneel down with her, and pray that she might continue to
deserve this great good. Every thing was of the plainest materials,
wooden presses, wooden bedsteads; in short, though all was new, yet
there was nothing better than poor people generally buy; but what went
most to Betty’s heart, were the neat comfortable beds for her children,
and the nice kitchen furniture, and the shed for the cow.

After they had dined, and assisted in washing up the plates and pots,
the neighbours after again wishing her joy departed, and left her “alone
in her glory,” and no creature could be happier nor more thankful. It
cannot be doubted that she prayed most fervently, and that she slept
soundly on her clean straw bed that night.

In the morning, Mr. Price sent for Jemmy Brady, Larry M’Gilpin, David
Conolly, Sammy Oram, and Daniel M’Leary. Through respect of age, he
addressed the latter first; he asked him if he liked his new quarters.
The poor Irishman said, he was only too comfortable. “Well then,” said
Mr. Price, “I hope you will lend a hand in what I propose doing; you
need not speak; the time of these men is precious; I know you will
assist me, and I trust as I leave you overseer, or agent, or give it any
name you please, over that square of land yonder, you will follow my
directions strictly. They are these: In the first place, you are to open
and shut three of the gates, keeping the keys yourself; and only opening
them for carts and wagons, which are to go in and out, whenever the
tenants desire it. You are to set down in a book, how many tools each
man takes out every day, and note down such as are not brought to you
when the day is ended. All the tools are to be mended at my expense for
one year. You are to give every man or boy as much seed as is required;
and as you are, I am told, a good gardener, you will be able to decide
on the quantity to be given. This is all I can recollect to ask of you
just now; excepting furthermore, to set down the names of such men and
children as are regular at their work; and to ask each person to let you
know how much money he makes from day to day, all of which you must
commit to writing. I do not wish to know this to raise the rent on the
tenants of that piece of ground, but to know to whom I am to give the
premium in the fall. I shall be here in November, to look at your book.
You will find paper and pens and ink in abundance in a box, which I
shall send you next week. Find out the men’s ages, and let the oldest
have the first choice of twenty-five feet. Good morning my friends—no
thanks—let me see whom I am to thank in November next. Here M’Leary,
here are twenty-five dollars; give five to the wife of each man, keep
five for yourself, and give a dollar a piece to Sammy Oram’s boys. I
hope you’ll give no trouble to Mr. M’Leary, and that people will come
far and near to see your garden—Good morning.”

This thing being settled, Mr. Price now turned his attention to his new
friend Mrs. M’Curdy; he asked her how she would like to have one of
David Conolly’s sisters to live with her? “You have given me so good a
character of her,” said he, “Nelly, I think you call her, that I should
like her to live an easier and a happier life. She is younger than
yourself, and is more able to do the rough work of the house, and I can
make it a desirable thing, for I will allow her good wages. My little
Norah must not labour any more; I want her to grow tall and fair, and
she must go to school likewise.”

Poor Sally did not like this part of the arrangement, which Mr. Price
seeing, he observed, that if she disliked to part with the little girl,
he would make another arrangement; but at any rate he should consult her
feelings in whatever he proposed. He intended to give her pleasure and
not pain. Reformers and patrons were too apt, he knew, to order things
to suit their own views, without regard to the feelings of those whom
they wish to benefit. At any rate one thing he was sure would give her
pleasure, and this was the adding a small house to the shanty she lived
in.

The house was soon begun—it was to be a neat two-storied brick house—and
while it was building he persuaded Mrs. M’Curdy to live with him,
leaving Nelly Conolly in the shanty to take care of the furniture, cow,
pigs and garden. They all set out together in a week from that time,
every heart blessing Mr. Price, and lamenting the absence of the old
lady and Norah, whose neatness and kindness of disposition had wrought
such a change in their prospects.

Sammy Oram was found to be the oldest man of the four candidates; but as
Bonny Betty had testified a desire to hire one of the lots, he very
gallantly resigned his rights of seniority to her; of course she chose
the one parallel with her own shanty; she therefore, had one of the
centre strips. Sammy Oram took the lot adjoining; at which Larry
M’Gilpin gave a knowing wink to Jemmy Brady. Jemmy took the one next to
him, being the corner lot. Between Bonny Betty and the next lot was a
cart road of ten feet; Larry had the one adjoining the road, David
Conolly the next, and his son Patrick, with Sammy Oram’s two oldest boys
took the corner lot—making in all six different tenants.

Mr. Price’s interest in this little community did not stop here; he
persuaded Bonny Betty to let her son Ben go to the hospital, and have
the wen on his forehead examined, promising that he would himself pay
all the necessary expenses; such as suitable clothes, travelling charges
and extra nursing. The boy was so eager and the neighbours so clamourous
in their entreaties, that poor Betty gave a reluctant assent. Ben went,
and in one month he returned perfectly cured—the wen taken out, and his
eye-sight very much improved. Kate was sent to town next, and by means
of Casey’s dormant balance, and Mrs. M’Curdy’s kind treatment, the
injured spine, although not entirely restored to its healthy state, was
prevented from further distortion. She remained under medical care, and
it was owing to this humane and judicious treatment that she was
relieved of her lameness, a lameness caused by general debility. A few
bottles of Swaim’s panacea, entirely removed the scrofulous complaint of
Jenny. Bob was found to be nearly devoured by worms; the doctor of the
village, when called in, soon removed _his_ complaint, and his hearing
improved as his stomach recovered its tone. But poor little Christie was
beyond cure; he died in the fall to the very great grief of poor Betty,
who was passionately attached to her children. The little deaf and dumb
girl was sent to the asylum in Hartford, and there she received an
education, which fitted her as a teacher to others of her own class. The
lifting up of one kind hand did all this for poor Bonny Betty; five good
little creatures, helpless and forlorn, an incumbrance to their mother,
and a tax on all around them, were thus made useful members of society;
whereas, in the course of time, they must necessarily have gone to the
alms-house.

But to return to our friends in the shanties. Early, full an hour before
sunrise, on the fifteenth of April, all the gardeners were at work under
old Daniel M’Leary’s superintendence; for his very youth seemed renewed,
so much was he raised in his own estimation. Instead of being a cumberer
of the earth, as in his fits of despondency he used to call himself, he
was now a second Napoleon ruling over the destiny of others—their well
doing was entrusted to his care, and many were his mental promises to be
just—if he could keep them. At the sound of his shrill whistle the
little band left off work, in time to eat their breakfast, and be ready
to go to their several employments when the bells rung. At twelve all
ate their dinner, and for half an hour were again in their garden plot
where they wrought—and pleasant it was to work in the open air under
such a glorious sky, with more satisfaction than they ever did in their
lives; for the proceeds of their labour was their own.

Their supper was ready when their working hours were over, and once more
they went up to their garden, and it was difficult for Daniel to
persuade them to leave off at the allotted time. Instead of lounging
about before a dram shop, which was their custom in the evening, and
often becoming noisy if not riotous, they went quietly to bed and slept
soundly. Even Pat Conolly, the overworked boy declared, that although he
went very tired to his rest, it was a far different sort of fatigue from
that which he nightly felt before.

By the first of June, the whole lot was one beautiful green, bright
spot. The land, naturally good, had been so well manured, and carefully
laboured, that the seeds could not help coming up freely. But if the
truth must be told, Bonny Betty and the three boys’ gardens, were more
forward than the rest; at least they had a more smiling gay look. And no
wonder, for in the first place, women and children will put a few flower
seeds in the garden; in the second place, the boys and Betty had the
double advantage of working in the afternoons, as Bonny Betty having a
little shop, scarcely ever went out to work by the day, and the children
only worked half a day in the mills; and lastly Daniel M’Leary lent a
hand “to beautify the women and childers’ bit garding.”

Every one in the neighbourhood had an eye on this project, and every one
predicted that the woman and boys might persevere, but that Sammy Oram
would give out first, Davy Conolly next, Lazy Jemmy next, and, lastly,
Larry M’Gilpin. Sammy Oram was very near verifying this prediction in
consequence of his taking it into his head to offer himself as a
helpmate to Bonny Betty; but the reader shall hear the progress and end
of the affair in a letter received by Mr. Price from Daniel M’Leary.

“Your honour asks how we are getting on—O beautifully, your honour, and
all work with good heart, with a pleasant thought of your praise in the
fall. I am glad your honour mistakes about Lazy Jemmy—Lazy Jemmy no
longer, for he’s here before any one, and brings his little boy with
him, and because there’s never a spade small enough for so young a boy,
he’s bought him one, your honour. I’m thinking Jemmy will hold out, and
his little girrel, I’m tould, is crying to come with the daddy to help
too; and why should she not? for here’s Bonny Betty’s little Jenny, now
quite cured, God bless your honour for ever and ever, she weeds and
helps her mother at every chance. So I bid Jemmy bring the little girrel
with him.

“Larry laughs and works, and runs over to one garden to help the boys a
bit, though they bid him keep off, and then he digs among the potatoes
for Bonny Betty; but he’s broke off that, your honour, for as soon as
she found it out she went to his garding and dug just as many rows as he
did. I’m thinking it will be hard to tell which of the men’s gardings
will get the premium, for they’re jealous like, and they all put in the
same things and work in the same way as near as possible, but they scorn
the flowers, your honour.

“David Conolly still drinks, but for very shame’s sake he works morning
and evening, and he would get behind hand only that that fine boy, his
son, just steps over now and then and keeps the garding up to the
others. His wife tould me t’other day that for certain David does not
drink so much, and she’s certain he will leave off in time, for now on
Sundays he takes up a book or lies in bed after chapel hours, and this
she thinks is a good sign. Pat, the boy, is another crater, your honour;
his master at the factory is well pleased with the change in him, and
agrees to his only coming half a day, since he’s all the better for it,
and his mother says for the last week he has not had any of those bad
night sweats, and he does not talk in his sleep—so the change of work
has done him good.

Sammy Oram is none the worse for working out of doors, and he’s better
tempered too, your honour, for we none of us took much to Sammy, he was
so soured like, owing to his sitting all day cobbling shoes and
fretting. He thought at one time of making _orphans_ of his boys and
getting them all off his hands in the Girard College, for the kind
gentlemen there made it out at one time that all childer that had only
one parent was orphans, but our priest, father M’Guire, tould him that
so many orphans came with their daddies, that the overseers, or whatever
their names may be, found that, large as the college was, it would not
hold all the orphans that the daddies brought. Father M’Guire said that
the truth ought to be tould, that very few mothers took their orphans;
they preferred to educate them themselves.

    “When Sammy, your honour, found there was no chance to get his
    little boys off his hands as orphans, he then thought to fall in
    love with Bonny Betty, for she’s now well off in the world, thanks
    to your honour. So one day last week he stept over the row of
    currant bushes, nimbly like, and says, ‘Mistress Kelly,’ says he,
    ‘you and I have wrought side by side since the 15th of April, and
    it’s now June. I’m thinking we could work on this way to the end
    of our lives, and I’ll be a good fader to your children, and keep
    you from such hard work as this, for it’s a shame to see a fine
    woman like yourself, Mistress Kelly, working like a man any how.’
    Well, what does Bonny Betty do but one thing, and Sammy Oram might
    be sure she’d tell; indeed we were all in the garding at the time,
    and saw them speak together, and we saw her lift him, easy like,
    with one hand, by the waistband behind, over the currant bushes,
    and set him gently down on the other side, and then Betty she
    laughed out loud, scornful like. Sammy Oram, after that, had no
    heart to work next to Bonny Betty. ‘And I knew what he comed next
    to me for at the time,’ said she, ‘but I said I’ll fit him when
    he’s ready to spake—he a fader to my childer—he’s not a fader to
    his own. There’s Lizzy Conolly, she’s a good enough body for him,
    and he’ll find her a better mammy to his childer than I would be.’
    Sammy’s a man, your honour, that soon tires of a wife. I remember
    once he tould me when his first wife had been a long time ailen,
    that he wished he could get her back to Ireland to her fader, he
    did not see why he was obliged to take care of another man’s
    child. But Sammy’s an honest man, your honour, and he’ll may be do
    well yet. I think the hint of Lizzy Conolly not a bad one, and
    she’s fond of little childer. We are all wishing to see your
    honour, not forgetting our respects to Mrs. M’Curdy and sweet
    little Nory. I remain your honour’s humble and obedient servant,

                                                     “DANIEL M’LEARY.”

On the fourth of July the four gates were thrown open, and all the
village, rich and poor, went in, for the first time, to see what the
idle hours of six persons had accomplished. The praises that the men and
boys received, to say nothing of Bonny Betty, who was there in all her
pride with her children, quite compensated them for any little extra
fatigue they had undergone. The boys and girls were neatly dressed, and
the poor women, the wives of the gardeners, began to take rank among the
better order of labourers, for their husbands were beginning to attract
notice. It was constantly—“Well, Jemmy Brady, how does your garden come
on? are you almost tired yet?” “Tired! Is it I that am tired, sir, when
I and the wife and children had a dish of potatoes of my own raising
larger nor any you ever seed in our foolish little market? Sure you have
not seen Bonny Betty’s stall, as they call it—only just go over
to-morrow, being Monday, ye’ll see a sight—early York cabbage—ye see
I’ve learned the names of things since I belonged to your garding—and
there’s real marrowfat peas, and big white ingans, as big as a tay
saucer, and ye’ll may be hardly see the end of the beets and carrots,
they’re so long, and then there’s the early turnip just fit to melt in
your mouth; sure we had a mess of them with our pork and potatoes this
blessed day, and how could a poor man like me, with seven childer, all
babies nearly, get the like of turnips and white ingans, unless I made
them grow myself, barring I might send to York for them, but poor people
can’t do that.”

Every one of the shanty people took a pride in having vegetables on the
table every Sunday, and in a little time Bonny Betty did nothing,
literally, but sell vegetables; and most scrupulous was she in keeping
the different interests separate. Each man and boy had his basket, and
every morning they were filled and carried to Betty’s shed, erected for
the purpose. No market woman was ever prouder, and none certainly so
happy, if we make allowance for the increased illness of her youngest
child. But even this she did not see, for so great a change had taken
place in the circumstances and health of all the rest, that she went on,
hoping that in God’s good time little Christie would get well too.

The trial day came—the first of November. It was on Saturday, and the
six candidates took a holiday, for they could now afford it. Jemmy Brady
and Larry M’Gilpin, at one time the worst off, and the most dirty and
ragged of them all, were now clean and decently dressed; they were each
the richer too, in having another child added to their number, but they
were very much set up about, as Larry had the felicity of calling his
new daughter Sally M’Curdy—and never even when in a hurry did he shorten
the name—and Jemmy only wished that his boy had been twins, that they
might both have been called Oliver Price.

Mr. Price, Mrs. M’Curdy and Norah arrived the day before; a wagon
followed them loaded with presents, and at ten o’clock on the day of
trial the three went together to the shanty of Bonny Betty. The gate was
thrown open, and after they had all walked over the grounds and had seen
the neat order in which each garden was prepared for the winter, they
went to Daniel M’Leary’s shanty to look at his accounts.

“I’m thinking,” said good natured Larry, “that the boys will get the
premium any how, and if neither Bonny Betty nor myself is to get it, why
the master, God bless his honour, could not do better than let the
children have it”—so he stood back, and in this happy frame of mind
waited the award of his industry.

Mr. Price, assisted by several gentlemen of the village, examined each
man’s account as rendered in by himself every day, all fairly written
out by Jemmy Brady. The result was wonderful; these poor families had
not only a large mess of vegetables of the best kind for their tables
every Sunday, and from twelve to fifteen bushels of potatoes for their
winter use, but they had cleared—first, the boys in the corner
lot—twenty-one dollars each, making sixty-three dollars. This was after
paying Bonny Betty a per centage for selling the different vegetables
for them, and Betty was not extortionate; this yielded the boys about
four dollars a month, which with the money they earned at their
different employments enabled them to buy themselves two good suits of
clothes, pay their parents for their board, and put a few dollars in the
savings fund. But I ought to go on with the other gardens.

Next to the three boys came David Conolly—he looked so much better in
health that Mr. Price did not recollect him—he produced his account; he
had cleared fifty dollars. “Well done, David,” said Mr. Price, “who
could have believed this?—what! fifty dollars, and such good looks! I
must shake hands with you—and your wife, which is she? let me wish her
joy too.”

Poor Mrs. Conolly stepped forward with her handkerchief to her eyes, and
shook hands with Mr. Price, but her heart was too full to speak, though
Bonny Betty punched her in the side several times and whispered to her
to hold up a bit.

David Conolly, so long despised as a drunken vagabond, had undergone
something of a change in his feelings too. He knew that, but for the
assistance of his good son, his garden would have been overrun with
weeds; and that, so often was he drunk, in the early part of the summer,
when every thing required so much care and attention, that if Patrick
had not turned in and helped, he would not have held up his head this
day. All this came full to his mind; and he was not slow in giving his
son this praise. Perhaps this was the most gratifying thing to Mr. Price
that had occurred. Here, by the little he had done, was a poor creature
restored to a moral sensibility, which had become almost extinct in his
bosom. Here, through his means, was a husband and a father restored to
the respect of his wife and child. “I am satisfied,” said Mr. Price,
inwardly, “and I humbly thank thee, oh, my God, for being the means of
saving this poor creature.”

Next came Larry, hitching and twisting himself into all manner of
shapes—he had sixty dollars—for by good luck, as he said, his
cauliflowers was bigger nor David’s; and a man had given a great price
for them, to take to York; and he had planted squashes in among his
potatoes, so that they took up no more room; and his little datters had
helped him weed; “and so, your honour,” said he, “you see that David’s
not behind me, any how, seeing he has no little datters to weed for
him.”

“Plase your honour,” said Bonny Betty, whose turn came next, “just pass
me by and let Jemmy Brady bring up; I’ll be better ready, being the
last.”

“Why, I thought that Sammy Oram had the next lot to you,” said Mr.
Price, “has Jemmy changed?”

“Yes, Sir,” said Jemmy, walking proudly up, with a decent smart dress
on; and, in his nervous anxiety to show himself to Mr. Price, he had his
hat on his head. His wife, however, twitched it off, and told him not to
forget where he was. “But he’s scared, like, your honour,” said Biddy,
dressed up as smart as her husband; “and I’ve brought you my little boy;
he’s a new comer, your honour, and if your honour would not be
affronted, we intend to call him Oliver Price.”

Mr. Price patted the chubby little thing on the cheek, and thanked the
mother for the compliment, saying, that when his little namesake was old
enough, he should be sent to school. Jemmy, with hat now in hand,
brought his account—alas, poor Jemmy, his account showed only forty
dollars—but eight children! “No, don’t feel ashamed,” said Mr. Price. “I
have heard that you were often obliged to remain at home to nurse your
wife—but what’s the matter, Bonny Betty, why do you look so amazed?”

“Why, sure, your honour, Jemmy’s fine clothes have crazed him. I kept
the money, and sure, Jemmy, there’s more; sure you had sixty dollars.”

“Yes, you gave me sixty,” said honest Jemmy, “but can’t I write and
read, and isn’t all these bills made out by myself? and did I not set
down all the time I worked? and sure I am that forty dollars is all I
earned any how. There’s the twenty dollars, and they’re none of mine;
but to be shared wid my two little boys—shame on me for spaking of my
own first, and Bonny Betty’s little Ben, to say nothing of Petey and Ody
Oram, them two good little fellows. When I could not work, your honour,
they all fell to, and my little garding looked none the worse, I can
tell you.”

Sammy Oram came next—he could not bear to work next to Betty, so good
natured Jemmy changed with him; and Sammy, after that, plucked up heart
a little, offered himself to Lizzy Conolly, got married, and really
improved wonderfully, for Lizzy was cheerful, and his children became
very fond of her. He had forty dollars likewise.

“And now, your honour, here’s my earnings, your honour,” said Bonny
Betty, stepping forward with five healthy children at her side—poor
little Christie having died about two weeks before. “Here is my money,”
and she opened a little box, counting out one hundred and ten dollars,
all in silver.

“I’m thankful” said Larry, “that she’ll get the premium, any how.” “No,
I’ve not earned all this money by my garden,” said honest Betty, “but by
selling for the rest—I had that chance over ye all. If I could rightly
tell how much I made by selling for you, you’d find I may be would be a
great deal behind you all.”

“I see, my friends,” said Mr. Price, “that it is difficult to tell which
has made the most. I shall not give the premium to any one in
particular. You have all done well. David Conolly is, certainly, most to
be praised, because he has broken himself of an accursed vice.”—“I’ll
never drink a drop, your honour, from this hour,” said David—“The boys,”
continued Mr. Price—“but I dare not trust myself to speak of them—the
gentlemen present will take care that they shall always have the best
wages and the best places in their gift; they deserve it well; and, as I
thought they would behave exactly as they have done, I have brought them
each something suited to their present wants. As to you, Bonny
Betty—seeing that you are a woman, by rights I ought to distinguish you
beyond the others. You shall have your shanty and lot rent free; the
rest shall pay into the hands of Daniel M’Leary ten dollars each, for
the next year. I shall charge them nothing now. The gardens will be
better, as the raspberries and strawberries will be ready for sale; and
the year after, the asparagus will be large enough to cut. I shall then
build a small market-house, and place Mr. M’Leary at the head of it.
Make way there, Larry, and let the packages from the wagon be brought
in.”

Mr. Price gave every one a parcel, containing a number of things
necessary to the coming winter; such as blankets, coarse cloth for the
children, stockings, and stuff for cloaks and coats—besides sewing
cotton, pins, tape, needles, scissors; and for the boys plenty of paper,
pencils, books and carpenter’s tools—the men could hardly stagger home
under their pleasant loads; and the women went trotting along by their
side, laughing and talking loud in the joy of their hearts. Mr. Price
did not stay for their thanks, which, after the Irish fashion, they were
pouring out feelingly and rapidly. All he heard, as he jumped in the
dearborn, with the gentleman who owned the land, was the end of Jemmy
Brady’s outpouring—“God bless him; if his son had lived, he’d, may be,
in time have been as good a man as himself.” Mr. Price was very much
affected; stopped with the intention of speaking to the man, but feeling
unable, he rode away.

“Norah, dear,” said he, in the evening of this busy day,—“Norah, you
have done being afraid of me, have you not? You may remember how
unwilling you were to come near me when I first saw you.”

“Yes,” said the little girl, “I was afraid of you then, but it was not
long. It was only something that Jemmy Brady said to me in the kitchen
that made me not like you at first; but I love you dearly now,” said
she, as she jumped on his lap and threw her arms around his neck.

“I wanted you then to tell me what Jemmy said to make you fear me, but
you would not. You will tell me now, will you not?” and he pressed the
little creature fondly to his bosom.

“Why, Jemmy said you were the image of my father; and that if he chose,
he could make my dear grandmother very unhappy; but that he would not
tell—he liked me too well to let any one separate me from him. So I was
afraid, and yet I did not know why you would take me from my dear
grandmother; for that was what I thought Jemmy meant.”

Mr. Price sent her to call Jemmy. When questioned, he said he firmly
believed that Mr. Price’s son was Norah’s father; that he lived in the
neighbourhood, very near to Sally M’Curdy; that the young man, who
called himself White, fell in love with Ellinora M’Curdy, who was a
beautiful girl, but too virtuous to listen to any one excepting in the
way of marriage—that he finally did marry her, but under the name of
White. After a few months, he came to America, where he married again,
and this was the last they ever heard of him. Jemmy Brady went on to
observe that he came to this country about a year after Mrs. M’Curdy,
and heard from them that Mr. White had married again, and that they had
made up their minds never to molest him, fearing that the little girl
would be taken from them. He had seen the likeness between Mr. Price and
the young man who called himself White, and he said aloud—but not in the
hearing of Mrs. M’Curdy—that the likeness was very strong; but he did
not think, at the time, the little girl minded it.

On further inquiry, and on recollecting what his son had said in his
last moments, owning that he had left a wife, and, he believed, a child,
in Ireland, Mr. Price had no doubt that little Norah was his grandchild.
A book, with a few lines in the title page, which Mrs. M’Curdy had
preserved, recognized as his own, given to his son before he sailed,
more fully proved it; but he could hardly be said to love the child more
after this disclosure. He immediately acknowledged her; and glad was he
that his unhappy son had left no children by this second marriage. Of
course, Mrs. M’Curdy returned no more to the shanty. She lived with Mr.
Price, and had but one regret—that her poor daughter had not lived to
share their happiness. Both she and Norah went yearly to visit the grave
under the old hemlock tree.

Here was an unlooked-for reward for his kindness to a hapless family;
but as every man who does good is not to expect a grandchild to start up
in his walk, he must look to other sources for compensation. Mr. Price
had these likewise; for the shanty people never relapsed into idleness
and dirt; but continued to improve in their circumstances. At the end of
ten years, (and they passed quickly away,) every man was able to buy the
lot of ground on which he had so long wrought. The owner sold them at a
moderate price; but he more than made up for this small advance by the
greater prices obtained for the rest of the land which he owned in the
neighbourhood.

In consequence of the success of this scheme other landholders adopted
the same wise policy, and the benefit to their property was immense. The
love of horticulture opened the way to better habits and tastes among
the poor of the district; and there was none so humble that had not a
garden spot of their own. The ladies’ societies fled from them for ever;
and the poor women blessed the day of their departure, for now they
could earn an honest living by their needle.

During the ten years of which we speak, other changes had taken place,
greatly beneficial to the village. A pier had been built by a company
from New York, and steamboats now plied there daily. In compliment to
Mr. Price they intended to call the first one that was built for the
place, “Oliver Price,” but that gentleman declined the honour for the
present; he said, if they had no objection, he would give them a more
suitable name—“The Seven Shanties”—and that if they ever built another,
of which there was no doubt, he wished it might be called the “Bonny
Betty.”

They did build another, and another; and at this moment there are no
less than five for the trade and pleasure of that place alone.—_The
Seven Shanties_—_The Bonny Betty_—_The Little Norah_—_The Henry
Barclay_, and the ——.



                           THE LITTLE COUPLE.


“I wish my dear Hassy,” said Mrs. Webb to her husband, “I do really wish
that we had a house of our own; I dislike to live at lodgings, it leaves
me so little to do. When my baby is dressed and your bureau is put in
order, I have nothing to do but to sew, no exercise at all; and as to
you, you read, read until you lose your colour and health. Now, if we
had a house to ourselves, you would have exercise enough in going to
market—(Heavens, Mr. Webb go to market!!)—and in one little odd notion
or other; and as to me, I should be as busy as a bee, and would scarcely
have time to sit down from morning till night.”

“My dear Winny,” said her husband, “I detest this mode of life as much
as you can do, I am even more anxious to leave these lodgings than you
are—and—I have several times lately been going to mention the subject to
you. I have weighed it over and over in my own mind for a long time, and
if you have no _material_ objection—(Here Mr. Webb refrained from
looking at his wife)—I should prefer, when we do move, to live in the
country.”

Now, this was precisely what Mrs. Webb disliked; she had for some time
been dreading that her husband would make a proposal of this kind, and
she had fortified herself well to meet it. She, too, as she thought, had
weighed the affair well, and all things being considered, her decision
was, that there was more real comfort for man, woman and child, in the
city than in the country. “When one comes to speak of horses, cows and
dogs,” said she one day to a friend, “why then the case is altered.
Keeping a horse at livery is an expensive thing, as Mr. Webb finds to
his cost, and milk from cows which are fed about a stable yard, is unfit
to drink. Dogs to be sure, nine cases in ten, are useless and worthless
animals, in any place; but they lead a life of misery in the city,
kicked and cuffed and half starved as they always are. If dogs must be
kept, the country is the best place for them too.”

Mr. Ahasuerus Webb was a gentleman born and bred; the peculiar cast of
his mind led him to study theology, and but for his timidity, for he
distrusted his own powers, he would have destined himself to the church.
His friends, however, thought there was a much stronger objection to his
taking orders than what arose from timidity or the absence of powerful
talent. Mr. Webb was one of the most diminutive of men—almost a
dwarf.—But was there ever a small man who felt conscious that he was
unable to achieve actions which belonged exclusively to those possessing
superior stature and strength?

Year after year, however, passed away in irresolution on his part in
choosing an occupation which might increase his income. He had no
employments but such as were the result of reading; and his friends at
length ceased to urge him to exertion, as there seemed every probability
that he would always remain single, having then attained his
twenty-eighth year.

But Mr. Webb at last fell in love and married; and the lady that he
selected, independently of the obligation which his marriage vows laid
him under, of loving her with the greatest tenderness, was entitled to
his utmost sympathy from another cause—she was even of smaller stature
than himself. She suited him therefore, in every particular but two,
which at the time of courtship seemed no difference at all; but which,
now that they had been man and wife for two years, seemed likely to
result in a very uncomfortable state of things. Mrs. Webb hated books,
and she detested the thoughts of living in the country; on the contrary,
Mr. Webb was a great reader, and was passionately fond of the country,
and of rural occupations.

“You are not very partial to the country, my dear Winny,” said he,
venturing to cast a look at his wife, whose tiny fingers were plying
like lightning over her work, while her cheeks were flushed with
agitation, “but if you will give up this small point.”

“Small point, Mr. Webb, do you call _that_ a small point which is so
very disagreeable to me? Nay,” said she, laughing, “if it be such a
_small_ point, why contend about it; do _you_ concede this small point
to me, and when it comes to one that you consider of greater magnitude,
why—exert your prerogative my dear.”

Mr. Webb looked grave and sighed; the little lady, although very fond of
her husband, was not disposed to yield, much as her husband’s sighs and
grave looks affected her. She continued to sew very fast, without
looking up for some time. At length, finding that his eyes were again
dropped on his book, and that he had resumed his tranquil manner, she
called his attention to the offer of a compromise. “Suppose my dear
Hassy, that we both give up a little? Do _you_ give up this small point
of living in the country, and I will live as frugally as I can in ever
so small a house in the city, that you may purchase books and keep the
horse—and—and—now my dear Hassy,” said she, drawing her chair nearer to
her husband and looking up to his face—“think of the very great point
lam going to give up for your small one—you shall have the naming of our
little girl!”

This was indeed a temptation, for Mr. Webb was of a romantic turn of
mind, and considered a good name as a thing of vital importance. His own
name, Ahasuerus, had been a source of much mortification to him; and
that of his wife, Winifred, was equally inharmonious and distasteful.
But Mrs. Webb had no romance about her; she called her husband’s horse
_Mush_, because the animal happened one day to run his nose into a
dishful of that article; and a fine handsome little terrier she called
Scratch, although her husband had named the one Orelio and the other
Bevis.

As to her own name, or that of her husband, she saw nothing disagreeable
in either of them; and could she have followed her own inclinations she
would have called her little girl Rachel. But, although thus indifferent
about names, which in general were thought old fashioned—such as
Margaret, Magdalen, Sarah and the like, yet she had an active dislike to
fanciful ones; Emily, Caroline and Matilda, had nothing notable or
thrifty in their character; they were novel names, and she hated novels.
Still less did she like those of Myrtilla, Flora, Narcissa; they
savoured too much of the country; she dreaded her husband’s tastes
either way.

If romances were uppermost at the time, then the first mentioned names
would be present to his imagination; and if her child were so
unfortunate as to get one of them, it might be the means of fastening a
lackadaisical character on her for life; she would never be fit for any
rational employment.

If, on the contrary, her husband had the country mania on him, then what
could she hope for but a Pastorella or a Daphne? What a milk and water
creature would this make of her child! For Mrs. Webb, too, in her way,
was of opinion that peculiar names gave a peculiar turn to character. In
either case, therefore, she was in a dilemma, and the baby, now three
months old, had no name.

Mr. Webb laid down his book at this unlooked-for offer of a compromise,
and was about to enter into a discussion concerning it, when a servant
announced a visiter. An elderly gentleman entered, at whose appearance
Mrs. Webb started up in great dismay and confusion. She hastily, and in
much trepidation, introduced the stranger as her uncle, Mr. Banks, her
mother’s only brother.

Mr. Banks, a rich planter, had just arrived from Jamaica, where his
principal estates lay. He had never seen Mr. Webb; and had now come to
pay his first visit. As Mrs. Webb was the only child of his only sister,
the old gentleman, in his way, had been very fond of her; yet, in spite
of this, and of his real goodness of heart, he could never see his niece
without laughing at her tiny little figure; and she was always called by
him, “the Little Fairy.” His only hope was, that she would either not
marry at all, or else choose a husband of ordinary size, that their
offspring might have a chance of looking as if they had not come from
fairy land. He had hardly got over the mirth of his niece’s marriage,
when he learned that her husband was as diminutive as herself; and his
impatience to see them together overcame his discretion. After making a
few purchases, as presents to the little couple, he posted immediately
to their lodgings.

“And so Winny,” said the old gentleman, after he had kissed his niece,
and had shaken hands with her husband, (without looking at him though)
“so, this is your—husband, and you have a baby too, they say; where is
it? cannot I see it? what is its name? tell the servant to bring it in.”
He could hardly restrain his impatience, so much did he want to see the
child of this diminutive couple; and when the maid brought it in,
dressed in its very best; its little cap, with pink bows; its little
sleeves, looped up with pink ribands; and its pretty little frock, all
stiff with delicate needlework, he was in an ecstasy of delight. He
snatched the child from the maid, and holding it from him, at arm’s
length, he laughed so loud and long that the poor child screamed with
fright.

He then drew the innocent, terrified little creature close to him to
take a nearer look; but no sooner had he examined its little features,
and had poised it in his arms, to ascertain its weight, than his
laughter was renewed with redoubled energy; and so little command had he
over himself, that if Mr. Webb, angrily enough, had not taken the child
from him, it must have fallen to the ground.

There seemed no end to the old gentleman’s mirth, when Mrs. Webb, unable
to contain herself any longer, indignantly exclaimed—“Uncle Banks, I
wonder at your coming here to insult us in this manner! What can make
you act in this strange unnatural way? You have hurt my husband’s
feelings; which, I can tell you, is more painful to me than if you had
insulted me alone.”

When the old gentleman could stop himself, he held out his arms as if he
still held the child—“Here, Winny,” said he, the tears of laughter
running down his cheeks—“here, take the baby; why don’t you take the
child, I say? I shall certainly let it fall.”

“Uncle Banks, if you would only come to your senses, you would know
that”—

“Hold your peace, Winny, and take the doll—the baby I mean.”

“You know well enough, uncle, that Mr. Webb took the child from you and
left the room. I could see that he was exceedingly hurt at”—

“What?” said the obdurate man—“what, did he actually take away the baby,
and I not miss it nor him either? Winny, I thought it was light, but I
did not dream it was so feathery that I could not tell whether I held it
or not—why I should have missed a down pincushion.”

Mrs. Webb burst into tears. This sobered the old man at once. “My dear
Winny,” said he, going suddenly to her, and kissing her cheek, “how
foolish it is in you to mind what your old uncle says or does in his
fun. Come, deary, do not cry any more, but save your eyes to look at the
pretty things I have brought you. Here, girl,” calling to a servant,
“tell those men to bring in that trunk.”

A large trunk was brought in, which he hastened to open; and it was not
in the nature of one so constituted as Mrs. Webb, to remain insensible
to the pleasure of examining such presents as her uncle had placed
before her. She forgot her vexation, and her eyes sparkled with delight
as the old gentleman, with much ostentatious parade, drew out each
valuable article. When he had, in this way, emptied the trunk, he asked
her if she had forgiven him for his laughter.

“Indeed, uncle Banks,” said she, “I am so used to your humour, that if I
alone were concerned, I should not mind it; but Mr. Webb feels such
things keenly, for he has a great deal of sensibility. I am sure,
however, that he will be delighted with the books—how elegantly they are
bound—and he will be more than pleased with this beautiful tea set of
silver. What a great help this is to our housekeeping; and all these
spoons too, and silver forks—Mr. Webb has a great fondness for silver
plate. I must call him in to thank you.”

“No don’t, Winny, don’t,” said her uncle, “I shall relapse, for I can
hardly help going at it fresh again when I think of his tiny, slender
little figure. Why don’t you send him in the country, to get a little
flesh on his little bones?”

Mrs. Webb reddened, but a look at the presents, as they lay on the
floor, kept her from replying; and finding him tolerably grave, she
thought it better for her husband to get accustomed to the coarse ways
of her uncle at once. She, therefore, went to him to prepare the way for
a better understanding. Mr. Webb, however, felt no willingness to be
under obligations to so vulgar a mind; but seeing his wife’s distress,
in consequence of his refusal to go into the room, and having, likewise,
a point to gain with her, he at length resolved to bear with the folly
of the old man, without showing his sense of the indignity.

It was some time before he made his appearance. Meantime Mrs. Webb had
been coaxing her uncle to behave with decency before her husband. “You
can but turn your back,” said she, “if you think you cannot refrain from
laughing; but if you knew how kind he is to me, and how much every body
respects him, you would not mind his size. You have no idea what an
excellent scholar he is. It is really cruel, my dear uncle, to make game
of what, by your mirth, you consider as a ludicrous affliction—a thing
which we neither of us have been instrumental in doing; and which we
would alter if we could. Do, dear sir, let him see what you really are—a
kind and affectionate man. I will give my husband a chair the moment he
comes in; he does not look so small when he sits.”

This last unlucky observation undid all that her previous conversation
had effected; and when Mr. Webb entered, the old man was in a roar of
laughter; and only one glance at the unfortunate man, as he came into
the room, increased it to such a degree, that he fairly rolled over the
floor.

In fact, a person of even more refinement, would have had his risible
faculties excited at the appearance which Mr. Webb made. Conscious of
his inferior size, and being now, for the first time, coarsely treated
in consequence of it, he had taken some pains to improve his figure. He
had on a long skirted coat and high heeled boots, with a hat of an
uncommonly high crown. His walk, as he entered, was constrained, and his
manner was formal. He was exceedingly provoked at the old gentleman’s
mirth; and nothing less than his wife’s distress could have induced him
to remain one moment in the room. But he _did_ stay, and he even helped
the silly old man to rise, who, through sheer weakness, was unable to
move from the floor.

When he had, in some measure, composed his features, he beckoned to his
niece, who stood looking very angrily at him; and, as she came near, he
mustered up resolution enough to restrain himself so that he could
articulate. He whispered in her ear, in a sort of hoarse giggle—“My dear
Winny—take off his hat, and get between us, while you coax him to look
at the things on the floor—the boots I do not mind—make him sit, Winny,
will you?—and then I shall not see his coat.”

Mrs. Webb could not, at length, help laughing herself; so she twitched
off the unfortunate hat, got a chair for her husband, and, after putting
a pile of books in his lap, she endeavoured to screen him from her
uncle’s view. In this way they all sat for a few minutes; the old
gentleman in a sort of convulsive titter, which he tried to disguise by
keeping a handkerchief close to his mouth. Mrs. Webb was then compelled
to leave the room on account of the poor little child, who could not
recover from its fright; but, as she was going out, she whispered to her
husband not to mind her uncle. “Laugh with him, my dear,” said she, “it
is the only way to stop him; but, above all, look at the beautiful
silver, and do not let his folly vex you. I will be back in a few
minutes.”

Mr. Banks behaved much better after his niece left the room; and he even
trusted his voice in making an apology. By degrees, poor Mr. Webb was
appeased; and, in looking at his dress, he could not but acknowledge
that he cut an exceedingly grotesque figure. He was, therefore, soon
disposed to bear with the oddity of his relation; and, in fact, to join
in his mirth, when the old gentleman put on his high crowned hat, by
mistake, for his own.

“Well, sir,” said he, “that hat, I must confess, is rather of the
tallest, and I can join you in your laugh. You may laugh at my slight,
small figure, and I will laugh at your robust one, and your red face,
for one is as fit a subject for mirth as the other.”

“You are very much mistaken,” said the old gentleman, rousing himself
suddenly. “You can see nothing at all to laugh at in me; for I am made
like most people—and—besides—I allow no man to laugh at me. This reminds
me, Mr. Webb, of the golden rule—I beg your pardon for my mirth; but,
really, the hat and coat, to say nothing of the boots, were too much for
me. But, my little man—hem—Mr. Webb, I mean, why do you not go into the
country and gather a little colour and flesh? You would look more like
a—hem—you would look as well again. Little Winny and the
little—doll—baby—would be the better for country air too.”

Mr. Webb, thoroughly good tempered, had long since smiled off his
chagrin, for he had a splendid edition of Shakspeare on his lap; and he
could not but think that the hint of the country might be of use to him.
He thought there was a possibility of drawing Mr. Banks over to his
scheme of living there; he, therefore, hastily explained his reasons for
being in town; and spoke of his regrets at not being able to live in the
country, both on his child’s account and his own. He finished by stating
his wife’s strong aversion to the plan, and of the impossibility of her
ever consenting to it.

“What income have you, my little—hem—Mr. Webb, I mean.”

“Why, sir, we have about six hundred dollars a year. Now I think that
sum, with my wife’s economy—and I have no expensive habits”—

“No, I’ll be sworn that your clothes won’t cost you much—nay,” said he,
on seeing the colour fly into Mr. Webb’s face, “let me have my joke, and
I’ll make you amends. In the first place, I will manage your wife, so
that she shall come into your plans. Winny always liked to have her own
way; and, as I helped to spoil her, when young, it is but fair that I
should endeavour to set things a little square now. And, to repay you
for bearing so well with an old man’s humour—which, considering how
little there is of you—nay, my boy—Mr. Webb, I mean, don’t look so
angry; I was only going to observe, that I might as well give you, in my
lifetime, what I should certainly leave you at my death. I mean a little
estate I have, called Oak Valley. It is just the very thing for two such
little—I mean two such agreeable young people.”

“I am much obliged to you for your kindness, sir, but it will be a
useless present; you forget your niece has a strong aversion to the
country.”

“What, Winny? Have I not told you to let me manage her; hush, there she
comes. I hope she has left the little doll—baby I mean—behind; two I can
stand, now that I am used to it, but a third would set me going again.
Well, Winny, your husband is not so much vexed at my laughter as you
are. I think him a good, pleasant tempered little—fellow. In short,
Winny, I begin to like him, he bears a joke so well. Now, a joke to me
is a great thing; and I shall be tempted, now that I find you in the
city, to remain here a year or two, and pitch my tent near you. If you
lived in the country I should not be able to enjoy your society, as I
never go there. But here, in the city, I could see you very often; and I
know two or three old fellows like myself, who would often come with me
to pay you an evening visit. You will soon get used to my jokes, eh, Mr.
Webb. You will not mind my laughing, Winny, when it comes to be a daily
thing?”

Mrs. Webb was struck dumb. What! to undergo the same torture daily? To
see her sensitive husband daily, hourly, exposed to such coarse insults
as he had been obliged to submit to during this day?—and before
strangers too, to be the butt of vulgar and unfeeling people?—It was too
much—nothing on earth could compensate for such an evil. She cast her
eye towards her husband, not doubting but that he was feeling precisely
as she did; but his back was towards her, and she could not learn how
this communication affected him. It would not do—that she knew at once;
she saw nothing but misery in having her uncle near them, and she
therefore determined to make an effort to prevent the threatened evil.

“My dear uncle,” said she, with much embarrassment, for she knew that
her husband was likewise interested in what she was saying,—“you would
no doubt be very kind to us, if we lived together in the city, which, on
many accounts, I should prefer to the country; but just before you came
in Mr. Webb had been expressing a strong desire to go in the
country—and—and—you know you, yourself, recommended our going—you
advised me to it, you know.”

“Yes, Winny, I told you that you had better send the little man—I mean
your little husband—in short, Winny, where is the use of your reddening
up to your temples every time I make a mistake? You must get used to it
if I live near you. I _must_ call your husband little, while I am near
him, and see that he is small. At my time of life people want indoor
amusement, and you three here, would be a great—no, a little help, to
wile away an hour or two in a rainy evening.”

This settled the matter with poor Mrs. Webb; not for worlds would she
put herself in the way of such an evil; she therefore, with much
pretended humility, disclaimed all right to decide on the question of
living in the town or country; she said that, like a prudent wife, she
meant to give up her own wishes to please her husband—that she was
certain of its being better for him and the child to be in pure air, and
now all that she should ask for this full compliance with his wishes
was, that she should have the privilege of naming their little girl.

“That is but fair, Winny,” said her uncle, “you have certainly the right
of naming little tiny as you choose. But stop—let me see—let _me_ give
the child a name; I will stand godfather to it, and, what is better, I
will act as a godfather should. I will settle a thousand dollars a year
on her, and will give _you_ a very pretty little farm—my Oak Valley
farm. Winny, you remember that farm.”

“You _shall_ have the naming of our little girl—remember Oak Valley!
yes, indeed I do; I can safely trust her name to you—my dear husband,
you can have no objection; you will give your consent, I hope.”

“Certainly,” said poor Mr. Webb, his mind misgiving him about the name,
as on looking at Mr. Banks, he saw his features announcing a new burst
of merriment—“I have no objection to a scripture name, and I would even
prefer Winnifred,”—casting a timid glance at the old humourist,—“to many
that I know.”

“Well, you both consent then, and will not retract—give me your word of
honour to let me name the child as I like, in case I settle a thousand
dollars a year upon her.” Mrs. Webb eagerly gave her word, and her
husband, after again expressing his entire willingness, once more hinted
that a plain scripture name was quite as agreeable to him now, as any
other.

“Well, then,” said Mr. Banks, “the thing is settled. I will now take my
leave and go to my lodgings. The deed for Oak Valley shall be made out
immediately, as shall the settlement on our little dolly—but, Winny,”
said he, casting a sly look at Mr. Webb—“you had better change your mind
and live in the city; your going so far off from me will drive me back
to Jamaica—what, you are determined? well, I must submit; but remember,
I must name dolly.” Saying this, he walked nimbly out of the house,
apparently unwilling to trust himself a minute longer in their sight.

In the course of the next day the deeds were sent to them by which the
estate of Oak Valley was secured to them, as was likewise a settlement
of one thousand dollars a year, which sum was for the use of the parents
until the child came of age. There was a letter accompanying the papers,
saying that he would tell them his mind concerning the name of the
child, meantime he had sent them each a present, which he hoped would do
away all past offences.

“Generous man,” said the enraptured Mrs. Webb, “I have no doubt but that
these two parcels, so carefully sealed, contain bank notes; here, my
dear, this one is directed to you—let him laugh, I only wish I may be
able to sleep this night under such a load of kindness. That farm of Oak
Valley, my dear, is a very excellent one—such pasturage, such fine
springs on it”—and while she was regaling herself with a recollection of
its many beauties and comforts, she was at the same time opening her
little packet, which was enveloped in fold after fold of paper, each one
carefully sealed. Mr. Webb was, however, in such a pleasing reverie,
that her words fell on his ear without his having any very distinct
notion of what she was saying, further than that they were harmonizing
with his feelings. As to his own packet, it remained untouched in his
hand.

“And then there is such a pretty river, navigable too for small craft,
running at the very foot of the farm; you can take——what a curious
conceit this is of Uncle Banks, what trouble he has given himself and me
to, in enclosing this money, for such I have no doubt it is, in so many
covers; I am afraid to tear them loose at once, lest I may tear the
notes—my dear, why do you not begin to open yours? I am sorry my poor
uncle does not like the country, for all things considered we might bear
with his fooleries—there, thank goodness, I have opened the last pa”——.
But what was her chagrin on finding that it contained the old story
book, “There was a little woman, as I’ve heard tell.”

Casting her quick eye towards her husband, she saw that his “eye was in
fine frenzy rolling,” and that he had been long past attending either to
her packet or his own; so, wishing to spare him the mortification which
she had just encountered, she gently took the unopened parcel from his
unresisting hand, and went quietly out of the room. She opened this
second parcel with much less ceremony than she did her own, cutting and
tearing through the numerous folds, and just as she expected, she saw a
book of the same size as the other, called, “There was a little man, and
he wooed a little maid.”

Indignation was the first effect, as she threw the books across the
room, but surprise and pleasure soon succeeded, for as the books dashed
against the wall, sundry bank notes fell out and were scattered on the
floor. On examination she found that the eccentric humourist had placed
a one hundred dollar bank note between every two leaves of each book.

“I know exactly, my dear Hassy,” said the now delighted wife, as she
rushed into the room, “I know what uncle Banks means by these handsome
presents—here is a thousand dollars for you and the same sum for me.
Your money is to purchase stock for the farm, and mine is to buy
furniture; was there ever any one so generous!—laugh? who cares for his
laughter and his odd ways, when he atones for them in such a handsome
manner as this? Here, my dear, put the money carefully away, while I
pick up these foolish bits of paper.”

She raised herself from her stooping posture on hearing her husband
sigh. “What, upon earth, my dear Hassy, is the matter with you?” said
she, in great alarm, for she feared that this sudden accession of wealth
had disturbed his brain, particularly as her own was in a whirl. She
recollected, too, at the moment, that Mr. Webb had read some
observations of Dr. Burroughs on the subject of insanity, which went to
prove that there were more frequently cases of aberration of mind from a
rise to sudden prosperity, than from adversity. “What can ail you?
surely you are not one of those weak minded persons who cannot bear a
sudden turn of good fortune?”

“My dear Winny,” said her husband, in the most rueful tone imaginable,
“I am not thinking in the least of the money, nor of the farm, but of
the probability of our child’s having a preposterous name.”

Mrs. Webb fairly laughed aloud. “Is that all?” said she. “Why, my dear
Hassy, I would not care if she were called Nebuchadnezzar—provided she
were a boy—fret about a name! Why, cannot we make a pleasant
abbreviation of it in case it be an ugly one? But my uncle is an old
fashioned man, and I apprehend nothing worse than Jerusha, or Kezia, or
Margaret.”

“I hope it may be so, Winny, but I fear that you are too sanguine; I
dread to hear the name—nothing can compensate me if the name be a
ridiculous one.”

After breakfast the next morning a note was brought from Mr. Banks,
bidding them farewell, saying that urgent business called him
immediately to Jamaica. He said that he had dwelt with much anxiety on
the subject of selecting a suitable name for their baby, and after
discarding a number of them he had at length pitched on one that he
thought would suit all parties; that it was a little of the longest, to
be sure, but then this fault was made up in its dignity. The child, he
said, should be called Glumdalclitch.

Any one would have pitied the poor little couple if they could have seen
the consternation which this billet produced.

“I never will consent to this,” said Mr. Webb, as soon as his anger and
shame would allow him to speak—“never shall my child reproach me with
fastening such a ridiculous name upon her. I will write this instant to
your uncle and refuse to accept any of his gifts on such disgraceful
conditions. No, no, my dear Winny, we are—_I_, at least, am mark enough
for ridicule, but this is a thing which I have learned to bear, as it
has been our Creator’s will to make me as I am; but to name our child in
such fantastic fashion, would be indeed to invite both scorn and
laughter.”

But prudent Mrs. Webb had cooled in proportion as her husband was
excited. She had felt a good deal mortified at first at the outlandish
name; but during the indignant burst of feeling of her husband, she
began to think that Glumdalclitch, although harsh and difficult to
pronounce, might have a short and pleasant abridgment, at any rate there
was no prohibition to a double name.

Clearing up as this passed through her mind, she then turned to give her
husband what comfort she could; for little refinement as she had in
general, she still could comprehend the morbid sensibilities of those
she loved. How few men there are who know how to appreciate the sympathy
of a prudent, tender wife! Mr. Webb understood the excellence of the
woman who now stood with affectionate earnestness before him, and before
she had talked the matter over the _third_ time—in her vague yet
decisive way—he had recovered his equanimity. Happy to perceive that he
had resumed his quiet manner again, Mrs. Webb continued,

“One thousand dollars a year may easily compensate for an ugly name; and
even if we do not choose to give the child a middle name, which is
optional with us, she will not have to be called by her Christian name
long; for after a girl is in her teens, she gets the title of her
surname. She will be called Miss Webb, you know. Perhaps, after all, my
dear, this name which is so disagreeable to us, may not be thought ugly
by some people.”

“Ugly,” said her husband, “do you know what this name means?—but no—I
heard you say the other day that you had never read Gulliver’s Travels,
my dear Winny,” blushing deeply as he said it—“Glumdalclitch is the name
of a giantess!”

“Well, this comes of so much reading; I bless my want of taste that way;
it is enough to make one forswear books; never reproach me again for my
indifference towards them. I am sure I wish Mr. Gulliver had staid at
home, if he could have communicated nothing better than such a hideous
name. But where is the use of fretting? since it is so, we must make the
best of it, and then you know we need not call the name out in full; you
never call me Winnifred, nor do I call you Ahasuerus. Let us shorten the
name to Glummy—no? Well, how would Clitchy sound—you don’t like that.
Let us shorten it to Dally, that I know will please you, for it is the
name of a flower.”

“How often Winny,” said her fretted husband, “have I told you that the
flower is called Dahlia;” suspending for a moment his right to feel
indignant and irritable, to do justice to the pronunciation of the name
of a flower.

“Dahlia is it? well, that is the way an Irishman would call Delia. Let
us call her Delia then, it is a pretty pastoral name;” and as she said
this, she cast a side glance at her husband.

After this, and other conversations of the kind, they agreed to give the
child this uncouth name, for the charm of living in the country was
hourly growing more captivating to Mr. Webb, and Mrs. Webb had a great
reverence for a thousand dollars a year. Besides, the misery of living
where they would daily be subject to the coarse mirth of her uncle, when
he made his regular visits to the city, which he had until of late
years, been always in the habit of doing, was becoming more and more
apparent. She even with more alacrity than one could expect, set about
making preparations for her departure to Oak Valley.

“This is all very hard upon you, my dear wife,” said Mr. Webb to her one
day when he saw how cheerfully she was preparing for their removal;
“this is worse for you than for me. With the _one_ part, at least, I am
more than gratified, whereas your feelings and taste have not been
consulted at all. You have neither the satisfaction of living where you
like best, nor the pleasure of having a decent name for your child.”

“But I have the pleasure of knowing that my little girl will have a
handsome independence—and do you think, my dear Hassy, that it is no
gratification to me to see that our going to the country is an event of
great importance to your health and happiness?”

“My dearest Winny,” said her tender-hearted, conscience-stricken
husband, “I do not deserve this goodness. I cannot enjoy the thought of
going into the country, unless I tell you how it has been brought about.
You were manœuvred into this scheme, my dear wife; and I here declare,
that much as I wish to leave the city, you shall yet remain if you wish
it. Your uncle had no intention of living near us, if we remained here;
he was eager to get us all into the country, on the score of our health,
and he made use of this stratagem to induce you to consent to it. Now
that I have told you the truth, pray do as you like best; but with
respect to the settlement on our child, much as I dislike the name, I
fear she would not thank us if we gave that up for a thing of such
little consequence. Giving up the farm,” continued he, sighing deeply,
“is another affair.”

“Yes,” said his wife laughing, “I see it is, and it would be a worse
affair if you knew what a sweet spot Oak Valley is; but here is this
money, this two thousand dollars—would you think it right to return this
too,—my part of it I need not return, for I am persuaded it was to
purchase furniture, which will suit me either for a town or a country
house. Your’s was no doubt, for purchasing stock for the farm; if we
live in the city we can have no pretence for keeping that part of it.”

But Mr. Webb did not like this view of the business at all, and he was
besides getting quite uneasy, notwithstanding his late compunctious
feelings, lest his wife should take him at his word, and remain where
she was.

Strange perplexities for these little people, but money always brings as
much pain as pleasure. Mrs. Webb had, however, accommodated herself
wonderfully to circumstances; she generally looked on the sunny side of
a question, and she had, by working it over in her mind early and late,
viewing it in every possible shape, fairly brought herself to think,
that all things considered (this was a favourite expression of hers)
farm, income, money and health, and, though last not least, the pleasure
of obliging her husband; and if it must be told, the _hold_ she would
have on him for this double disappointment of hers—the plan of living in
the country would be the very best thing for them all.

The spring opened delightfully, and the farm was to be ready for them in
a few days; but Mr. Webb, wishing to make the removal as pleasant as
possible, could not bear to let his wife go until every thing was
tolerably well arranged in their new house. He proposed, therefore, that
she and the child should go to see a relation of his who had never yet
seen her, and who had several times given her pressing invitations to
pay her a visit. The rooms they occupied at present had been let, and
new boarders were to take possession of them immediately.

But Mrs. Webb strongly objected to this plan—“My dear Hassy,” said she,
“no fear of my fatiguing myself or of taking cold. I shall remain
quietly in my room until the carpets are down and the furniture
unpacked. You will never catch me paying a visit to a near relation in
the spring of the year, unless there be other guests there at the same
time; I have seen too much of that.”

“But why,” said Mr. Webb, “why in the spring of the year more than in
any other season?”

“Because, then you are treated most scandalously. In the first place,
they begin with—a constrained smile on their face all the while—I am
very sorry that you have come just at this time, not sorry on our
account, but on your own; we are pulling every thing to pieces to
commence house cleaning. Our best bed-room, which you ought to have, is
all upside down; you will have to take the third story—and such a room,
my dear Hassy—you can have no idea of it; I shudder when I think of
exposing my baby to it. Perhaps it has been a nursery or neglected
school room; spots of ink and grease cover the floor, great black knots
show themselves, and the unseasoned boards gape wide. Three odd chairs,
a half circular wooden toilet table without a cover, and a slim-posted,
ricketty bedstead, with a feather bed scantily filled, and which still
more scantily covers the bedstead—happy if it have a sacking instead of
a rope bottom—coarse patched sheets, darned pillow cases, an old
heirloom blue chequered counterpane, a broken wash basin on a little
foot-square tottering table, and a blurred looking glass, complete the
furniture of this cold north room. I shall say nothing of ‘the hearth
unconscious of a fire,’ nor of the long deep cracks in the coarse
whitewashed walls, nor of the rattling of the window sashes.”

“What a picture you have drawn, Winny! you speak very feelingly; have
you ever been compelled to sleep in such a room? But what sort of fare
do you receive under such circumstances?”

“Oh, the worst in the world; when it is meal time, then you hear this,
or something like it: ‘How unfortunate to come at this unpropitious
season? it is so uncomfortable for you; no vegetables, but old potatoes;
no salad yet; all our hams gone; nothing but shoulders; and the hens are
so backward this spring.’—No, no, my dear Hassy, unless there be
visiters of some consequence in the house, never go near a relation in
the spring of the year; I mean, if they live in the country. There is no
exertion made to gratify your taste or your palate; a more forlorn state
of things cannot be imagined. Now in June, or July, you may, on the
score of your being a near relation, which is always a justifiable
excuse, be ushered up in that comfortless north room; but then coolness
and shade is not unpleasant—there are strawberries and blackberries, in
their season, along the hedges and meadows, if none are to be had in the
garden—then there are fresh milch cows, and the hens cannot help laying
if they would—new potatoes come in plenty, and dock and pigweed grow
without culture. I would rather have them than spinach at any time;
buttermilk too can be had for asking; and you can rove about uncared for
and unheeded, which I can tell you is as great a luxury when you are in
the country, as to eat fresh eggs and breathe fresh air.”

Mr. Webb was exceedingly amused with this description, and as his wife
did not seem to consider it an evil to go to an unaired house, he did
not think it prudent to make her think it one. Her pliant,
well-regulated mind soon enabled her to overcome her dislike to country
occupations; and even to exult in her achievement in the way of making
butter and cheese, and she soon excelled in raising poultry—three things
which formerly belonged to female management alone. Now, however, in
these wonder-working days, so ravenous are men for monopolies and for
experimentalizing, that they have encroached on privileges, which even
the old taskmasters of the female sex unreluctantly yielded to them.

Mrs. Webb, although of slender figure, and small in size, had a mind as
active and as comprehensive, a temper as irritable, and was as bold an
asserter of her own rights, as the stoutest of her sex. She soon
regulated her household in a quiet, economical way, and had none but
female servants within doors; detesting, as well she might, the
appearance of a stale, heavy-looking, half-dirty man about the room,
doing woman’s work, when he should be out of doors with a spade or a
hoe.

What a bower did the happy Mr. Webb make of Oak Valley! Such a profusion
of sweet-scented shrubs and flowers had never before been seen in the
neighbourhood. Fruit trees soon made their appearance; and their crops
of grain and grass were abundant and good. But what his wife most
admired was, the regular supply of wood which he provided for the
house—nicely cut and piled; a thing generally less attended to, and the
cause of more vexatious disputes between the farmer and his wife than
any other part of their arrangements. All things, therefore, considered,
which Mrs. Webb was still in the habit of saying, “it really was
preferable to live on such a pleasant, well regulated farm than in a
narrow street or at lodgings.”

Then there was so much speculation about the right breed of cows and
poultry. Mr. Webb first inclined to long-horns, then to short-horns; but
Mrs. Webb cut the matter short by declaring for no horns; and to this
day they have from ten to fifteen of these meek, subdued animals, so fat
that they could not do much in the way of running from a cross cur if
any such should attack them.

She had her own way, too, with the poultry. She soon banished the
coarse, long-legged Buck’s county fowls, with their uncouth looking
bodies. She said their tread was almost as heavy as a young colt’s; and,
really, when she pointed to a dozen of them which were _picking_ their
way over a strawberry bed, her husband submitted in silence to the order
given to the farmer, to prepare them for market. “And, David,” said Mrs.
Webb, after the man had chased the fowls from the garden, “see what
prospect there is of selling off our stock of Bantoms. It takes twenty
of their eggs to make a pudding, and they lay no more eggs a day than
other hens—and, David, when you return from Wicklowe, cross over to
neighbour Haywood’s, and see what he will take for two or three pair of
those old fashioned kind of hens—those full, broad breasted, pale
speckled ones; sometimes a dingy yellow and sometimes brown and gray,
with large spreading tails. Those are the only kind. But above all,
David, see that they have _flesh coloured_ legs; they fatten well; those
with yellow or black legs are not worth raising—strange that people are
so inattentive to such important matters.”

Sixteen years passed away, and time, as the little lady said, seemed to
fly with them; every thing prospered. Mr. Banks, to their great
surprise, never came near them. He contented himself with sending them a
yearly present; and heard of the birth of each succeeding child with a
fresh burst of merriment. Their children, all girls, were six in number;
and their income was now about three thousand dollars a year.

Mr. Webb, in the most peaceable, unaccountable manner, had been allowed
the pleasure of naming four of his children. Perhaps—for woman’s
tenderness _will_ sometimes increase—perhaps she felt for his first
disappointment; and, as it rose out of the caprice of a relative of her
own, she determined on remaining quiet, only resolving to interfere if
an outrageously romantic name presented itself to his imagination.

The first child literally had no name until the birth of the second;
then, as the “child,” or the “baby” could no longer distinguish it, they
took it to the font and had it christened. The clergyman, old Mr.
Saxeweld, was then a stranger to them, for through very shame they would
not apply to their own pastor. He did not rightly understand what Mr.
Webb said, when he demanded the name of the child, for he never, for a
moment, dreamed of Gulliver. He asked over and over again, and still the
sound of Glumdalclitch came to his ear. “Is it a French name?” said he,
looking angrily at Mrs. Webb, who, nothing disconcerted by all this
hubbub about the name, was enjoying the triumph which she should have
over her husband when she got home, in telling him that there was one
other person in the world beside herself who had not read Gulliver’s
Travels.

Mr. Webb was ready to sink in the earth; he felt that he could at that
moment renounce the world and all its vanities, as well as the child’s
income, which had caused all this disgrace.

“I presume,” said Mr. Saxeweld, willing to put an end to the scene, “I
presume it is a French name. Colombe—what?” But Mr. Webb was past
appeal; he felt a hollow ringing in his ears; and, in time to save him
from fainting, the child was christened Colombe.

The clergyman, a testy old man, was so provoked at what he thought
stupidity in the father of the child, that he felt disposed to rebuke
him; and when poor Mr. Webb turned to him, as he was leaving the church,
to offer him the accustomed fee, he not only refused it, but broke out
in this way—“Never come to _me_ again; you, with a name bigger than your
whole body; and which is too long for your mouth to utter. If it had not
been for my knowledge of French, I should have christened your child
Glumdalclitch, and it would have been serving you right if I had.”

After Colombe came Flora, then Rosa, then Imogen, then Christabelle;
and, when the sixth was old enough for baptism, while Mr. Webb was
deciding between Diana and Lilius, Mrs. Webb went to church during a
week-day service, with a friend, and came home in triumph, with the only
Christian name, as she said, in the family—it was Rebecca. Mr. Webb
thanked his stars that it was no worse.

Old Mr. Banks made no other remarks, when he heard of the mistake in the
child’s name, than that the income should now be divided between the
children, as at the time he did not imagine that the little girl would
ever have any rivals. When the little Rebecca was about two years old,
the old gentleman took it into his head to pay the tiny family a visit,
to see how they all looked together.

Early, one fine spring morning, he made his appearance at Oak Valley,
accompanied by Stephen Haywood, with whose father he had long been
acquainted. While on the way to the farm, he entertained our young
friend Stephen with an account of his first interview with the little
couple and their tiny little child. “How I shall stand it now,” said he,
“I cannot tell; but I am sixteen years older, and a man of eighty has
nearly expended all his laughter. It is high time, I think.”

Young Haywood, who, although not introduced to the family at that time,
yet knew them well, from report, could not help smiling; but the old
gentleman’s attention was soon directed to the neatness and order of the
farm; and, when Stephen asked him if he had an idea that the children
were all as small as their parents, he could scarcely answer.

“Assuredly they are; why, if any one of the six had been but an inch
taller than themselves, they would have sent an express to me at
Jamaica.”

A servant came to the door, and Mr. Banks asked eagerly, if Mr. and Mrs.
Webb and the six little children were at home. The girl stared, but
replied that Mr. and Mrs. Webb, and some of the children, were in the
garden, and some of the younger ones were in the nursery; but that Miss
Webb, the eldest daughter, was in the parlour. “Show me in, show me in,”
said he; and into the room he nimbly stepped, winking aside to young
Haywood, to express his glee. He seemed quite disappointed at seeing
only a middle sized young lady sitting there. She arose on the old
gentleman’s precipitate entrance, while he exclaimed, “I thought to find
one of Mr. Webb’s tiny little children here.”

“I am Mr. Webb’s eldest daughter,” said the young lady, blushing, “my
parents will be in presently—will you sit down?” and she presented each
gentleman with a chair.

Never was man more amazed—this young lady his little niece’s
daughter?—he certainly saw a likeness; but it was altogether a puzzle.
At length he roused himself to say, “Why did not your mother write me
word that they had a child as tall as you are? What is your name? Oh,—I
remember—Colombe. It is a foolish name enough; but it might have been
worse. Never mind, my dear, I will make you amends for your French name;
better though than—but no matter; let me introduce you to Mr. Stephen
Haywood.”

Just then the door opened, and his niece, with her husband, and the five
children, made their appearance. But if Mr. Banks was amazed at seeing
the respectable height of the eldest daughter, how much more so was he
when he saw that there was not one of the diminutive stature of the
parents. Even the youngest, a rosy little girl, just beginning to walk,
bade fair to be as tall as her sisters.

Mrs. Webb enjoyed her uncle’s amazement; not without suspicion, however,
that he was disappointed at bottom, because there were no dwarfs among
them. But in a short time, the old gentleman’s good-natured eye
glistened at the pictures of health, order and obedience of the
children, and at the improved looks of the parents. He did not laugh
once during his visit, which was of a week’s duration; and when he left
them, he had the satisfaction of seeing that Stephen Haywood was
following his advice; which was, to fall in love with his pretty pigeon
as fast as possible.



                           THE BAKER’S DOZEN.


“Mrs. Bangs, look here,” said the cook, “look at this queer thing in the
turkey’s craw; it looks for all the world like a brickbat.”

“O never mind the brickbat,” said Mrs. Bangs, “let that alone; ‘tis no
concern of ours—only make haste and prepare the turkey for the spit.
Your head is always running after things that don’t concern you.”

Thus spoke Mrs. Bangs, the mother of thirteen children, all girls. She
was a strong, healthy woman of fifty years of age, and in the three
characters of daughter, wife and mother, had been exemplary. She was the
only child of a respectable farmer, and at her parent’s death inherited
the farm which a few years after her marriage rose greatly in value. It
was on the outskirts of a populous city which had increased so rapidly
that at the birth of her second child the farm was laid out in streets,
in every one of which they had sold several lots for buildings.

Her husband was a chemist, and his laboratory was very near this
valuable property, so that he could attend to his business in the
manufactory and look after the workmen who were building his houses.
What Mr. Bangs learned during his apprenticeship, that he knew well, and
on that stock of knowledge he operated all his life. He manufactured the
best aqua ammonia in the country, free from that empyreumatic, old
tobacco-pipe taste and smell, which it has in general when made in
America, and his salt of tartar had not an opaque grain in it. Thus it
was with all the drugs that he made, for he was more intent upon keeping
up his good name than in making money speedily, and his pride was in
having it said that Christopher Bangs’s word was as good as his bond.
Further than this there was but little to be said, excepting that he was
a disappointed man, and had the feeling of being ill used.

This disappointment consisted in not having a son—one, he said, who
could take up the business when he laid it down—one to whom he could
confide the few secrets of his trade.

When the birth of the first girl was announced, it was very well; not
that he did not fret in secret, but he took it as a thing of course, and
as he was daily in the habit of hearing Mrs. Bangs congratulate herself
that the child was a girl, because she could assist her in her household
cares, he was resigned to it, although it was full three months before
his club mates were told of his having an increase of family. But he
really did murmur when the second girl came. “Why, at this rate,” said
he, indignantly, “I cannot have a child named after me at all.
Christopher Bangs will end with me, and who is to be the better of all
the valuable secrets of the laboratory?”

“Oh, la! my dear,” said his wife, “let that alone, it’s no concern of
ours, and as to the child’s name, don’t fret about that, for can’t I
name this dear chubby little thing Christina, the short of which is
Kitty, and that is as good as Kit any day in the year; and only think
what a help this dear, chubby little thing will be to her sister.”

Mr. Bangs sulked out of the room and went to his laboratory, and his
wife went through her nursing and household duties with double alacrity.
The third daughter came, and Mr. Bangs heard it with surprise that
bordered on despair. “Never mind it, Kit,” said the contented,
good-tempered Mrs. Bangs; “we’ll call this dear, chubby, little thing
after your old uncle Joseph; Josephine is a very pretty name.”

“I don’t care what you call it,” said her crusty husband; “I consider
myself as an ill used, injured man; only I hope, since you like girls so
well, that you may have a round dozen of them.”

“Oh la! husband, what makes you so spiteful against girls?” said
she—“but let that alone, it is no concern of ours—a dozen, indeed! how
do you think we can manage to live in this small house with so large a
family? You must build a bigger house, man; so, my dear Kit, set about
it,”—and this was all the concern it gave her.

After that he troubled himself no more with inquiries about the sex of
the child, and in due time, one after the other, the round dozen came.
The only thing that troubled the contented, busy woman was the naming of
the little girls. She certainly, when she could spare her thoughts from
her increased cares, would have liked a boy now and then, to please her
husband; but as this was not to be, she did the next best thing to
it—she gave them all boys’ names. So, after the first, which was called
Robina, came Christina, then Josephine, then Phillippa, Augusta,
Johanna, Gabriella, Georgiana, and Wilhelmina. At the birth of her tenth
child she paused—her father’s name was Jacob, and as she had named
Gabriella after her husband’s father, Gabriel, she thought it but fair
to honour her own likewise—but Jacob! However, she was not a woman to
stop at trifles, even if she had the time; so the _poor_, little, chubby
thing—for now she added _poor_ to the chubby—the poor, chubby, little
thing was called Jacobina. Then in due time came the eleventh, which was
Frederica—the twelfth, Benjamina—“and now,” said the still happy Mrs.
Bangs, “what to call my baker’s dozen is more than I can tell. I have
one more than Christopher wished me to have, but let that alone; ‘tis no
concern of ours; only Robina, dear, step to the parlour and tell your
father what a strait I am in about the name. There is his friend, Floss;
he has a curly headed, chubby little boy by the name of Francis, and it
is a girl’s name too; ask him if he would like to name the poor, dear,
chubby, little thing after his friend’s son.”

“Tell your mother—are you Phillippy?” “No, father, I am Robina.” “You
are all so much alike,” said he, “that I don’t know you apart; girls all
look alike; now if one of you had been a boy, as any reasonable man had
a right to expect, I could have told the difference. It is a hard thing
that a man cannot tell one child from another, a thing that I could have
done if they had been boys.”

“But mother knows us all apart,” said Robina, “and so do Hannah French
and our dear grandfather and grandmother Bangs—they never are in doubt.”

“Don’t tell me this,” said surly Mr. Bangs, “for have I not heard your
mother call you the one half of four or five names before she could hit
on the right one? Does she not call out ‘Phil—Will—Fred—Jo—Ben—Robina,
fetch me the poor, dear, chubby, little thing out of the cradle?’ Tell
her that Fabius Floss won’t think it any compliment to name a girl after
his fine little boy, and tell her that I am not going to stand godfather
to any more of her children, for I am tired of it.”

“But the name, father—shall mother call it Frances?”

“She may call it _Souse_ if she likes; what is the name of a girl to me?
it is all one, so go away, Robina, for I am busy.”

Christopher Bangs was now a rich man, and was cautious and prudent in
all his money matters, but he had no more care of his children and
household than if he were the great-grandfather. He arose early, went to
the workshop, saw that every thing went right there, returned home at
eight, with the certainty of finding the breakfast waiting for him. At
this meal he only saw some of the eldest of the girls, but being a man
of few words, and looking on women and girls as mere workers, and of a
different race, he had no thoughts in common with them. The
conversation, therefore, was all on the part of Mrs. Bangs, who told of
the price of beef and poultry, and what her husband might expect at
dinner. He nodded his head drily, but said nothing, being sure that,
come what would, he should find an excellent meal. He gave her as much
money as she wanted, a privilege which she never abused, and all he had
to do was to build a new house whenever she presented him with another
poor, chubby, little thing; for she had resolved that every child should
have a house.

Exactly at one o’clock his dinner was ready, and at this meal all the
children were assembled—for, as his wife observed, if he did not see
them all together once a day, he might chance to forget some of them;
so, in time, Frances, the baker’s dozen, came to sit on Mrs. Bangs’s
lap. Every day he made the same remark on entering the dining room, the
children all being seated before he entered, that the bustle of placing
them might be over before he came—“What! here you all are, all waiting I
see; well, keep quiet and help one another; don’t expect me to do more
than carve.”

Mrs. Bangs had drilled the children well, for a more orderly, peaceable
set were never seen. Her chief aim was to keep them from troubling their
father. “Poor man,” she would say, “he must not be plagued with noise,
for what with the business of the laboratory and building new houses,
his hands are full—but let that alone, ‘tis no concern of ours.”

She never thought of her own full hands; for she was of a nature that
delighted in work, and in doing things regularly and methodically, and
all the girls were like her. Busy, busy, busy, they all were from
morning till night, and most happily busy. It was making, and mending,
and razeeing, and cooking, and preserving, and housekeeping, and
shopping, and keeping accounts. Was not this quite enough to occupy
them?

Mr. Bangs built houses and Mrs. Bangs looked to the tenants and
collected the rents. The only thing she knew, out of the routine of her
family duties, was the various ways of disposing of money, and before
she was the mother of three children she made herself fully acquainted
with the meaning of the terms _dividends_, _stock_, _per centage_,
_mortgages_ and _notes of hand_. She put the money in the bank as fast
as she received it, and Mr. Bangs drew checks to any amount she
chose—well he might.

Mrs. Bangs thought it more suitable and economical to have a governess
for her daughters, so she hired a decent young person, who was an
excellent needle woman, and who could write and cipher admirably.
Reading and spelling, Mrs. Bangs said, seemed to come “by nature” with
the poor, dear, chubby, little things; how else could they learn, for
poor Hannah French was as deaf as a post. So eternally busy were they
all from morning till ten at night, that Robina, a pretty, delicate
girl, with a good understanding, and very excitable, had never found
time to cultivate the acquaintance of any of the young girls of her own
age, although in the abstract there was no unwillingness to it. Neither
her father nor mother would have hindered her, but sisters and
companions came so fast at home, and that home was made so happy by her
active, well-principled mother, that there was no craving for out-door
society.

Mrs. Bangs was a pious and benevolent woman too, and after going through
all her home duties she thought of the poor, and three days she set
apart in every month to sew for them. All the children, down to the
baker’s dozen, felt this as part of their duty, and they no more thought
it possible to break through the rule than not to eat when they were
hungry. It was a _want_ which they sought to attain like any other want
or comfort.

Mrs. Bangs never staid to inquire whether the poor wretches were worthy
of her attentions—“Let that alone,” she would say, “‘tis no concern of
ours.” She reverently left it to a higher power to judge of their
worthiness. All she had to do was to feed the hungry and clothe the
naked, choosing old age and infancy whenever she could, for the objects
of her bounty. The children thus brought up, I should like to know,—as
they did their own clear-starching, knitted stockings for their father,
grandfather, and three aged uncles, made their own linen and worked all
the baby caps, as well as sewed for the poor—I should like to know what
time they had to gossip or make acquaintances, excepting with the poor?

They _had_ no time—even on Sunday their faces were not familiar to the
congregation, for a cottage bonnet and a veil kept them from gazing
about; so the conversation, when they returned, was not about the dress
or spiteful looks of this person or that. If by accident an observation
was made, indiscreetly, the mother would stop them immediately by her
eternal saying—“Let that alone, ‘tis no concern of ours.”

She kept her accounts in excellent order, initiating her children early
in the mysteries of bank stock operations; for when it came to be
explained to them in the mother’s simple way, the children understood it
as well as A, B, C. It is the hard words, and the mystification, and
solemn nonsense kept up about it that keeps women so ignorant and
helpless in these matters, and makes them so entirely dependent on men,
who nineteen times out of twenty cheat them when they become widows.

As their wealth increased, so were her benevolent feelings excited, and
Mr. Bangs was no hinderance, for he had no love of hoarding now that
there were no boys to inherit his property. “Never mind that,
Christopher,” she would say, when this sore subject was touched upon,
“let that alone, ‘tis no concern of ours; but I am of opinion that every
man should make a will, and here is one that I drew up, which I wish you
to sign.” “I’ll tell you what it is, Molly Bangs,” said he, on reading
the will, “I’ll do none of this. I’ve made my will already, and if you
outlive me then all belongs to you; but if you die first, then I mean to
marry again, because the chance is that I may have sons; for I tell you
that such secrets as I have to disclose about my business ought not to
die with a man.”

Mrs. Bangs knew her husband’s obstinacy too well to make further words
about the matter, so she set herself to work to remedy the evil. Instead
of wanting to build a hospital or an asylum for the poor and destitute,
she built a row of houses in one of the back streets of her valuable lot
of ground, for poor widows with young children, and she studied their
comfort in every thing. Each division, for the row was uniform and
fire-proof, consisted of four rooms, two below, and two above. The
sitting room and bed-rooms were warmed by means of heated air from a
furnace in the kitchen, which was so constructed that the cooking was
done at the same fire. Even the stove pipe which was carried up to let
off the gas and smoke, threw all the external heat into the room above,
so that all was kept warm by one fire. The cistern of rain water was
close to the kitchen, and the water was drawn within by means of Hale’s
rotary pump. Drinking-water was likewise introduced by a pipe, and a
drain carried off all the slops from the house. She could not bear to
think that poor women should have to put up with so many inconveniences,
when it cost so little to make them comfortable.

When a very rich man has a few lots in an out of the way place, he
builds a row of houses for poor people and gets a good rent for
them—enjoining it on his agent not to let a poor widow have any one of
them; because, if she should be unable to pay her rent, he would be
ashamed to sell her little furniture. His houses are miserably built,
generally one brick thick, and with only one coat of plaster on the
walls; no crane in the kitchen, no cistern, no well, no comfort of any
kind. The poor tenants might think themselves well off with having the
shell to cover them.

Mrs. Bangs knew that the life to come was a long one—to last for ever;
so she thought it was not worth while to hoard up money for the very
short time she had to live here. She had a great love of comfort
herself, and so had all her children; and they could not bear to set a
poor widow in an empty house, without even a closet to put her clothes
in. So she had closets made between the two bed rooms, and likewise
between the parlour and kitchen. And she gave them a chance of helping
themselves still further by having a good deep, dry cellar, where they
could keep their half barrel of fish, and their little joints of meat,
and small pots of butter from the heats of summer, and their vegetables
from the frosts of winter, and why coal and wood should be kept out of
doors in winter was more than she could tell. It was easy to build a
cellar, she thought, and so the cellars were made. “It seems to me,” she
continued to say, “that men have no idea of comfort themselves, or they
would not grudge it to their poor tenants; women understand these
matters better, and as God has endowed them with greater sensibilities
than the other sex, why it is incumbent on them to show their grateful
sense of this partiality in their favour; and how can we show it but by
attending to those little things which make up, by their great number,
all the happiness of life? Men never view the subject in this light, but
let that alone, ‘tis no concern of ours.”

The thirty houses, with the plainest furniture that could be bought,
cost exactly thirty thousand dollars—the precise sum she intended to
appropriate to them. Fuel and repairs and taxes cost her twelve hundred
a year; this with the interest on the thirty thousand, came to three
thousand dollars a year. With an income of more than thirty thousand,
and the prospect of a great rise in the value of her lots of ground,
what was the annual loss of three thousand dollars?

As it was solely for poor widows that this charity was built, she did
not allow a woman to live in one of the houses a moment after she
married again; nor would she take a woman who had been twice a widow.
When the children grew up and were no longer a burden to their mother,
then this mother was allowed a dollar a week, and placed comfortably
with one of her children elsewhere, and this sum was continued until the
child was able to maintain her. To see that no one imposed upon her
became one of her tasks; but she was seldom deceived, for she made many
allowances for poor people. She even made more allowances for them, than
for the rich; for poverty, she thought, was such an evil in itself that
we should not expect all the virtues to centre in the poor alone. If she
saw that some little unfair attempt was made to excite her pity, she
would wink at it and say, “let that alone, ‘tis no concern of ours; of
one thing I am certain, deceive me in other things as they may, the poor
things are in great want, and must be helped through with it.” Mr. Bangs
did nothing towards all this; but still I wish him to keep some hold of
my readers’ good opinion, for was it not a great merit to let his
excellent wife manage as she liked?

To be sure the farm, and all the income ever to be derived from it, were
made fast, by will to his wife and her heirs; but a man knows that there
are one or two lawyers always at hand to pick flaws in a will; and a
suit can be carried up to the court of errors, and there brought to
issue in his favour, although neither law nor equity is on his side. So
Mr. Bangs, knowing this, would not go to law; for, thought he, whether I
should win or lose, the whole would go to the lawyers; and as the farm
was really intended, by the father, to belong to her and hers, why e’en
let them have it; but I must say it is hard that I can’t have a boy.

In the course of time Francis Floss, the foreman of the shop, had a
regular invitation to sit in their pew at church, partake of their
Sunday dinner, and join in their walk after church. Mr. Bangs begged the
lad of his father when he was of a suitable age, for the laboratory, and
he being of a curious and ingenious turn and very industrious, came not
only to find out all the little secrets of the art, so tenaciously
withheld from all eyes by simple Mr. Bangs, but to add more to the stock
of knowledge. He could not but see that his apprentice had outwitted
him, and that he more than rivalled him in his art; but he would not
allow himself to get angry about it, for two reasons—one was, that if he
quarrelled with him, the young man would leave him and set up for
himself—the other reason was, that he intended Francis Floss for the
husband of his wife’s baker’s dozen.

A young man in love with a beautiful girl, with the prospect of a
handsome independence with her, does not pay particular attention to the
extent of her acquirements. Inquisitive as Mr. Floss might be in
general, he was in utter ignorance of all things that concerned the
education of Mr. Bangs’s family. He fell in love with Fanny, before he
thought of her mind or her qualifications. He knew how far the mind of
Christopher Bangs stretched; but he had great reliance that all was
right at home, for every body allowed that Mrs. Bangs was a sensible,
notable, thrifty, shrewd, energetic, capable woman, and he knew that all
the virtues and talent generally come from the motherly side of the
house. Of the daughters no one knew any thing, excepting the shopkeepers
and poor people; the former thought them sensible and modest, and the
latter loved them entirely. All this, and he saw that she was docile and
affectionate at home, was fortune enough for him, as he was thoroughly
in love. He made proposals and was accepted—by all. Mr. Bangs for once
in his life, would have asked the reason why, if he had been rejected. I
think that all the girls loved Frank Floss nearly as well as Fanny did.

It was on the wedding day, and preparing the wedding dinner, that the
cook called Mrs. Bangs’s attention to the piece of brickbat in the
turkey’s craw. Four of her daughters were assisting likewise, but I
guess that _they_ did not stop to inquire or even look at the stone.
Their work was to attend to the jellies and pastry—pleasant work for
women, rich or poor. If they had found a _whole_ brick in the craw, all
their care would be to see that the cook got it out without breaking the
skin. But let that alone, as Mrs. Bangs says, ‘tis no concern of ours.

The happy Francis Floss took his beautiful bride home to a handsome,
well-furnished house; and never was there a bride that had less to do
with sublunary affairs than Mrs. Bangs’s thirteenth daughter. For in the
first place, there was she—the mother—both able and willing to relieve
her darling of all the cares of marketing. There were Robina, Christina,
Josephine and Philippa, by right of seniority and by having taught her
to read and spell—for good Hannah French being very deaf could not make
much display of erudition in these branches—and by making and mending
for her all her brief life, were they not fairly entitled to do the same
kind offices for her still, particularly as she had now a husband who
would require all her time? There were Augusta, Johanna, Gabriella, and
Georgiana, what suited them as well as to go from the garret to the
cellar, and thence back again, to see that no dust or cobweb found a
place there? Were there not Wilhelmina, Jacobina, Frederica, and
Benjamina to fuss about the pantries and kitchen, and to keep the
larders and store room filled with the choicest and best?

There was deaf Hannah French, too, to see that the fire was carefully
raked up at night; for Hannah, on the evening of the wedding day,
without question, or leave, or license—but to no one’s surprise—quietly
took her night things and her little work basket, and followed the bride
home. She took possession of a snug room in the back building, which
room she kept till her dying day. And there was Mr. Bangs himself; did
he not every night, on his way home from his club, where he had spent
all his evenings, excepting Sunday, for thirty years; did he not open
the street door with his night-key, walk to the back door, bolt that and
then latch the inside parlour window-shutters? He did this at his own
house, from the day of his marriage, for his wife left this part of
housekeeping duty purposely for him, “to keep him in mind,” she said,
“that he had a house and family to protect from thieves.” Fanny Floss
thought it part of her duty to let her father do this for her likewise;
and her husband was so accustomed to all their ways, that he naturally
fell into these agreeable regularities himself.

Well, then, Mr. Floss was a happy man; he went to the laboratory and
came home; went and came; went and came, for seven years; and whenever
his step was heard in the hall Fanny ran to meet him, to give him a
kiss. If it rained, there was a dry coat ready for him; and if the day
were warm, then she stood in the hall with a thin coat and a glass of
lemonade. Every evening he saw her in the rocking-chair, either sewing
or knitting; for now the three days for the poor had grown to three
times three. Her good temper and excellent nature never varied; she was
the gentlest, the tenderest, the purest and the most devoted wife that
man was ever blessed with—what could he desire more? Did he wish her
altered? Would any man wish such a wife to change?

Mr. Floss, as I observed, had an inquiring mind, and he went on from one
point to another until he became a man of consequence; and, as Mr. Bangs
predicted, _when he saw his name up_, he was a candidate for Congress.
Mrs. Bangs had some indistinct notion that a Congressman was a grandee;
but it passed through her head like a dream; for it was only in her
dreams that her fancy was ever excited. Her daughters never so much as
pondered on the word; and as to Fanny, that sweetest and gentlest of
human beings, it would have been cruel to mention the thing to her.
Going to Congress would have sounded to her like going down a deep pit,
among miners; or sailing in an open boat to Botany Bay. “Don’t tell
Fanny of it, my dear Francis; it will only set her to wondering and
crying, for she can’t understand it,” said good Mrs. Bangs; “but let
that alone, ‘tis no concern of ours.”

So Mr. Floss said nothing when he went home; and, in the evening, as
Fanny sat in the rocking chair, singing an evening hymn, in a low, sweet
voice, he looked steadily at her, for five minutes, and watched the
innocent play of her beautiful modest face, and gave the matter up. “It
will never do,” said he, “for as to leaving her behind, that is out of
the question; neither of us could bear the separation; and as to taking
her to Washington—Good Heavens!”

Well might he thus exclaim; for, excepting to knit, and sew, and work
muslin, and do kind little offices for the poor, and love her father and
mother, her twelve sisters—and, oh, best of all, her husband, what else
did Fanny Floss know?—not an earthly thing.

It was some time after his marriage before Mr. Floss found it all out;
but when the first surprise was over, he soon got used to it; and, after
a few vain attempts to enlighten her, he gave it up, and let his mind
flow into other channels. He made friends; had dinner parties—Could not
_he_ give dinner parties, with so many able and willing coadjutors?—and
nothing could show off to better advantage than his beautiful, modest
wife, and four or five of her neat, happy sisters, scattered about the
dinner table.

“What was it,” you ask, “that Fanny did not know?” All that she knew I
have told you already, gentle reader. Do you think that she ever so much
as dreamed that the earth moved around the sun?—that mahogany was once a
tree?—that the carpet came from a sheep’s back?—that her bobbinet lace
came from a cotton pod?—As to her silk dress, could it be supposed that
her imagination ever ran riot so far as to believe that little worms
spun the web? Does any one think for a moment, that she knew that quills
were plucked from the wing of a goose?—that paper came from old
rags?—that a looking-glass was ever any thing but the smooth, polished
thing it now is? She saw loads of hay pass, and knew that horses were
fed with it; but she never speculated on the manner in which it became
hay. It is a chance if she knew that it was once grass. Not that Fanny
had never read all this, when very young, in her little books; but she
read without letting any thing make an impression. Nothing was a mystery
to her; she never made a doubt of any thing; but took things and left
them just as she found them, either in books or in conversation.

Once her husband said, “I wonder whether they pull the feathers from the
tail of the ostrich while he is alive?” “Would it hurt him if they did?”
said Fanny. “Yes, I presume it would,” replied he. “Then they wait till
the poor thing dies,” quoth she—“only look, dear husband, see that merry
little group of children, all boys too; how my father would rejoice if
they were all his sons.”

You will ask whether Fanny ever took a walk. Yes, often; her husband had
great delight in letting her hang on his arm, and walk up the long
street with him. Sometimes, on Sunday, after church, they strayed as far
as the commons; she, pouring out her grateful feelings for being allowed
to enjoy the bright sunshiny day, and accustoming her husband to dwell
on the Divine source whence all our blessings flow. Mr. Floss, himself,
had a hard bringing up; to obey his father and mother; keep himself neat
and clean; to bring home medals from school, and to be honest in his
dealings, were all that he had to observe. Fanny never dipped into _his_
mind, or she would have seen how cold and barren all lay there; while,
outward, all was so fair. She thought that every one’s heart—but
no—Fanny never speculated on any thing; she talked to her husband as if
his heart was of the same mould as hers. He dipped into her mind though;
and the purity and excellence of it more than compensated for her want
of worldly knowledge. So all the way from church he listened to the
outpourings of her spirit; always fresh and animated, and clothed in a
language peculiar to herself; for Fanny knew nothing of the forms and
phrases in which bigots disguise the truth.

Her husband, therefore, listened and loved; and, at length, he loved the
subject; so that her very simplicity was the means of his becoming a
religious man. “To meet you in Heaven, my Fanny,” he said, one day, “I
must strive to think on these subjects as you do. I am afraid I shall
not be found worthy to join you there.”

“But you do think as I do, love,” said she, looking affrighted—“you
do—and you think more than I do; you can argue better. I never think at
all; all my feelings come naturally. You _will_ go to heaven, my
Francis, for the prayers of the humble and penitent are heard; and is
there a night, nay an hour in the day, that my spirit is not lifted up
to ask for forgiveness for you and for us all?”

“You are so merry and cheerful, my dear Fanny, that one would not
suppose you were in prayer so constantly.”

“Well, Francis, and is not that the time to pray?—why must God be
addressed only in darkness, and when we are ill and sad? Then we pray
through fear and selfishness. It is when I am happy and merry that I am
most afraid of committing sin; and it is then, too, that I feel God’s
goodness and mercy most. Dear Francis, what a pleasure it is to feel
this bright, warm sun shine on our face; and see, that little dog barks
in very gladness, too, for I see nothing near it to make it bark. He
feels the warmth and it gives him pleasure; but he forgets it, you see,
and falls to quarrelling with that little black dog, for the bone. God
is ever present to me, my husband, and that keeps me merry and cheerful.
I am sure I have no wish to quarrel for any thing.”

“I believe it, Fanny,” said her husband, as he pressed her arm closely
to his heart; “and I will let this thought sink deep, that I may in time
come to be merry and cheerful in your way.”

And then they would walk on till they reached the commons, where they
were sure to meet some of the family; and there talk over the subjects
of the sermon—when they could understand it, which was not very often
the case. The exposition of a doubtful text never made any thing the
clearer to these simple minded people. They had the Scriptures, and they
believed in the holy book most sincerely; nothing was a mystery to them;
they thought that the words and actions of our blessed Saviour were easy
enough to comprehend; and that they were all-sufficient to our
salvation. They could not imagine why clergymen darkened up a point by
hard words and cramped unintelligible terms and phrases, when the
meaning was so clear to them. As to the doctrine of the Trinity—even
Fanny, the least gifted, as to acuteness of intellect—even she could
believe all and adore; for a tree, the sun, moon and stars, a living,
moving being, and, above all, that perpetual spring of love which she
felt within her towards the Almighty, towards her family, and towards
her husband—all this was quite as incomprehensible to her as what her
religion enjoined on her to believe. So that Fanny never speculated even
on this subject.

Mr. Bangs felt nothing of all this; and his Sunday walk was to the
shipyards or arsenal; and his Sunday talk, scanty enough, was of laying
that that are ship would outsail the other; and that that are cannon
would do for the English. He never would walk with his daughters,
because they were not boys; and he always wound up by saying, “Time
enough to walk out with you when Fanny gives me a grandson; there will
be some sense in my going then.”

But Mr. Bangs was doomed to disappointment; for the little boy did not
come; nor was there any sister to put his nose out of joint; yet Mr.
Floss did not grieve, for Fanny was pet enough for him. When he was
tired out with business, and did not want to take up a book, she would
talk over her thoughts and feelings. Heavens! what a gush of tenderness
and pathos it was; and how the young man’s soul melted away in him as
she talked—and yet, what could it be about?

You will ask, perhaps, if Fanny ever read. Not much. When a child, and
learning to read, she had little story-books of good and naughty boys
and girls, which she read over and over again—wept over often—but
sensible Mrs. Bangs saw no use in all this, and she therefore seldom
opened her polished, mahogany book-case. Fanny loved poetry, tender,
pathetic poetry; but as she selected only such, and as it always set her
crying and sobbing, why, poetry was interdicted too. Mrs. Bangs gave her
son several hints on this point; a thing which he soon found out of
himself, as Fanny was made perfectly unhappy for a whole week after he
had read Keats’s Isabella to her. She had the most tender love for a
virtuous and beautiful heroine; the mishaps and death, therefore, which
overtook her, were taken to heart with such earnest grief that Mr.
Floss, after that, wisely, read all such things to himself. In fact, it
soon amounted to this, that he never read aloud at all; for works of wit
and fancy were lost on his gentle wife—a repartee she thought must cost
somebody pain, and that brought no pleasure to her.

While her husband read in the long winter evenings, she sat in her
rocking-chair and knitted or sewed; and had many little pleasant chats
with one or the other of her sisters or her mother—Fanny was never
alone. Let us listen to what she is saying to Robina; raising her voice
to its highest pitch, that poor Hannah French, who now and then made one
of the evening party, might feel that she was considered as one of the
family.

“Oh, Robina, dear, what a delightful walk we had. I just went up to the
laboratory with Gabriella, to say how do you do to my dear husband,
when, there he stood, ready for a walk, (here Mr. Floss laid down his
book to listen too) so up the road we went; and the warm sunshine, and
the brisk winds seemed to be playing with each other, and gambolling, as
it were, before us. We both felt grateful that we did not meet a single
beggar or a discontented face. So we walked around our own division and
inquired of the widows how they were getting on; and their glad looks,
when they saw my husband”—“It was you, Fanny,” said he, interrupting
her, “I am certain it was your sweet face, and not my hard, sunburnt
one, that made them brighten up so.”

“Hannah French, has my husband a hard, sunburnt face?” said Fanny,
raising her voice very loud—for she knew how very handsome poor Hannah
thought he was.

“Sunburnt!” exclaimed Hannah,—“no, indeed—sometimes I have seen it
smutted with the stuff which he is cooking over the great pots in his
furnace; but he is not sunburnt—he is fire-burnt.”

“There,” said Mr. Floss, laughing, “you will not appeal to Hannah French
again about my beauty—but go on, dearest; tell Gabriella all about your
walk. I should really be glad to know, too, for although I was with you,
yet my mind was so occupied with what I had been cooking, as Hannah
calls it, in that great pot, that I just followed where you led; and yet
I was sensible, all the time, of what you were saying. Her voice,
Gabriella, is always so musical that I feel its influence even when the
_sound_ only makes an impression.”

“So mother always said,” answered the modest Gabriella. “Fanny never
hurt her sweet voice by crying or getting in a passion, as some of us
did when we were children.”

Well, Fanny was not elated by all this fond praise; she felt that it was
love which had dictated it, and it came over her gentle nature like a
sunbeam, where all was mild and gracious before; she laid her hand
gently on her husband’s arm and proceeded.

“All this took up half an hour; and, cool as the weather was, I could
not help thinking how much of summer still remained; for almost every
window had rosebushes and geraniums in it, and our widows’ row looked
like one long green-house; for every window, there too, had a rosebush,
full of roses, in it. And that lemon tree belonging to Mrs. Green—did I
tell you, Hannah, that I bought you that fine, large lemon tree? Poor
Mrs. Green hated to part with it; but it was too large for her room. It
has ten large, ripe lemons on it; and ever so many blossoms.”

For fear of a mistake, Hannah feigned a little more of deafness than
belonged to her; but to have her hopes destroyed by misapprehension was
painful; for, of all things, she coveted a lemon tree, she so loved the
smell of its delicate white blossoms.

Fanny repeated it loud enough to bring conviction to poor Hannah; and in
a few moments the ten lemons were appropriated to more uses than one
hundred could satisfy. Custard! oh, how much superior was a boiled
custard, with the gratings of a _fresh_ lemon; and many a glass of jelly
did she fancy herself making with the sprightly _well ripened_ juice; so
much sprightlier, and having so much more of a perfume with it, than the
stale, unripe lemons of the shop—oh, how Hannah French, at that moment,
despised the shop lemons. And then to surprise Mr. Floss with the half
of a fine, well rolled, plump, ripe lemon on Sunday, to eat with his
fish or cutlet—on Sunday, when none could be bought—and Hannah laughed
out in very happiness. The deaf have many pleasant, innocent fancies.

I hope, gentle reader, you do not think that Fanny was an insipid kind
of person. Oh, if you could but know how much of beauty and loveliness
there is in a nature wherein truth dwells constantly, you would covet to
be like my Fanny. Yet, although she never read any thing but the Bible,
or some good little pattern book, now and then,—although she only
visited the poor and comfortless, and knew nothing of a theatre, yet her
conversation was full of life; and, I might say, poetry. Her soul was in
such harmony with all God’s works; and there was such melody in her
accents, and such eloquence in her eye and her smile—such devotion to
those she loved, that no one ever dreamed that she was an ignoramus.

Mr. Floss, as I before observed, after the first surprise was over,
doubted whether a woman more learned would have made him half so happy.
He saw that other men did not care twopence for their wives’ sense or
reading, after a month or so. Very few, he observed, talked out of book
to their family, or seemed particularly pleased to hear that their wives
were reading women.

As to sights—no one ever thought of taking so refined and delicate a
creature as Fanny to see them; particularly such as the Siamese twins,
or fat children, or the wild beasts in their closely confined, stifled
menageries. She certainly knew that there were wild beasts; for well she
remembered how often she had cried over the story, in a little gilt
covered book, of the boy who went too near the lion, and had his head
struck off. But Fanny, as she grew up, was not allowed to suffer her
mind to dwell on such things; her judicious mother said there was too
much of real life business to occupy her without crying over little boys
that had their heads chopped off by wild beasts; and, another thing, she
did not believe a word of the story—“But, let that alone,” said she,
“Fanny dear, ‘tis no concern of ours.”

But, although Fanny’s thoughts and actions were full of piety, yet there
was nothing mawkish, or canting, or tiresome, in her way of talking
about it. She made even the poor themselves feel cheerful by her
pleasant ways. It was not in her nature to exact any thing of them in
return for what she did; nor did she pry into the little unhappy affairs
which had contributed to bring them to poverty. It is only the callous
heart that does this; only those who wish to make themselves conspicuous
who ferret out the little miserable secrets of the poor.

At length, on Christmas day, the little boy was born; his mother’s
birthday likewise; and it seemed as if Mr. Bangs had never lived till
that moment. He was sitting in a very nervous, dogged, defying sort of
way, by himself, in the front parlour, before a large fire, having some
anxiety about his daughter, but a greater sympathy for himself and his
thirteen disappointments, when Mrs. Bangs entered the room. He turned
slowly around and stared at her with his mouth wide open, as she
announced that Fanny was safely through her trouble; and that Mr. Floss
was too happy to do more than cry like a child.

Mr. Bangs was speechless, while his wife expatiated on Fanny’s
fortitude, and her anxiety to prevent her mother from knowing what her
sufferings were. Still Mrs. Bangs did not hear the sound of thanksgiving
from his lips. She little dreamed that the foolish old man’s head was
running on the sex of the child.

“And—and—wife,” said he at last, “it is a girl, I presume; nothing but
girls in this life,” said he, as he jerked himself around and stared at
the fire. “I hope I shall be rewarded in the other world, by having some
of my girls turned to boys.”

“Why, Christopher, did I not tell you that the dear chubby little thing
was a boy?”

“A boy!” exclaimed he, jumping on his feet, his face flushed with
agitation, “a boy—a boy—now, Molly Bangs, are you sure?—take
care—remember, a man can’t bear disappointments for ever—I’ve had
thirteen, remember.”

“Am I sure—certainly I am; and a sweet, dear, blessed, chubby little
thing it is; one roll of fat and good nature; and the very picture of
you; but let that alone, ‘tis no concern of ours, just now; but I hope
that you are suited at last.”

Mr. Bangs could not speak; but he untied his cravat, and wiped the
perspiration from his face, while his wife stood looking at him with
amazement.

“Why, Christopher—Kit, what ails you?” said she, really frightened at
this extraordinary display of animation—“is it possible that a boy sat
so close to your heart? and have you borne your thirteen disappointments
so long, and so well? I really give you credit for not showing a great
deal of ugly temper; and now I trust that this dear, little, chubby
fellow will make amends.”

“It will, Molly, it will: and I heartily forgive you for giving me
thirteen girls. How soon will little Christopher walk? Hang it all; but
he shall have a hobby-horse as soon as he can call me grandpapa. And you
must dress him in his best when I walk out with him. I’ll take him to
our club, some warm evening. I’ll not let a servant touch him, to get
his back broke, but will carry him myself.”

“Heaven help him,” thought his wife, as she slowly walked up stairs, “he
is growing foolish.”

But Mr. Bangs! He went to the glass and said, “Grandpa, grandpa,” as if
a child was calling him—then he whistled and laughed. “Who is that,”
said he, as one of his daughters entered the room. “Is that you,
Fillippi?” “No, father, it is Georgiana; how glad you must be, father,
to hear that dear Fanny is so well.”

“Yes, child, yes. Does the little fellow grow? But don’t call him Kit;
it is too feminine. Call him out, boldly, Christopher;” and the
enraptured, foolish man made an attempt to chassée across the room, to
the no small amazement of his daughter. “I must tell mother,” said she,
“his joy is making him lose his wits.”

Mr. Bangs, in due time, was asked up to Fanny’s room, into which he
walked on tiptoe, giggling. But when he got a glimpse of the baby, his
cheek was flushed, and his lip quivered. It seemed as if all the
feelings of a father had been pent up till that moment; for when the
nurse put the little boy in his arms, he tenderly kissed it, and,
“lifting up his face, he wept aloud.”

Mr. Floss was kneeling by his wife, and blessing her every moment
between his grateful prayers; this sudden burst therefore of the old man
was not surprising, but it was to his wife. As to Hannah French, she
laughed so loud at the oddity of it, that Mrs. Bangs fearing that their
hubbub would be injurious to her daughter, made them both go out of the
room; but Hannah French laughed by snatches for the remainder of the
day.

“Adieu to business and to clubs now. The boy has been so long coming,”
said he to his wife, “and no thanks to you, that I shall make myself
amends for my thirteen disappointments, and having to wait seven years
too, in the bargain.”

So he staid nearly all the time in the nursery, and waited for the
development of growth and intellect with the most intense and feverish
anxiety. Every day he pulled the little fellow’s mouth open to look for
a tooth, and when it came at last, which it did at the end of six
months, he tore himself from the pleasure of looking at it, to rush out
among his old friends to make them as happy as himself.

The first that he saw was one of his club companions, for he consorted
with no others. This person was just coming up the street from the
river.

“Good morning, neighbour Bangs,” said he, “have you seen the steamboat
Sea Serpent? She has just come in—twenty miles in one hour!”

“My Christopher has a tooth,” roared Mr. Bangs, for his old friend was a
little deaf.

“She is expected to go even faster when her boiler is a little larger,”
said the club man, Peter Broo, by name.

“You never saw a finer tooth. It is a thundering large one. He bit my
little finger—here, just put your thumb in my mouth, and I’ll show you
how the little rogue tried to bite.”

“Yes; but you had better take a look at the boat, for it will be off
again in an hour.”

“‘Tis a thundering big tooth, and I thought I would just stop and tell
you; and the other will be out to-morrow at farthest. Good morning, I
must go and tell the good news to the captain, for every body is glad to
hear that the first tooth comes through without fits.”

His club mate, not a whit more gifted than himself, stared at Mr. Bangs,
as in very boyishness of heart he hopped off first on one foot, and then
on the other, as children do. He wondered how a baby’s tooth should
prevent any one from going to the wharf to see the famous steamboat Sea
Serpent. “If the old goose thought he had a thundering big tooth coming
through his own gums I should not wonder at it—but a baby’s tooth! as if
they did not get teeth every day—there, he has met the captain; _he’ll_
smoke him with his baby tooth. I will go look at the steamboat Sea
Serpent again.”

“Hillo! captain, stop, will you?” said Mr. Bangs; “we have a tooth, and
a thundering large white tooth it is.”

“What! your little grand-daughter has a tooth at last—well, it has been
long a coming; is it up or down?”

For thirty-seven years Mr. Bangs had had evening intercourse with
captain Muff, and till this morning he had never found out that he was a
fool; and what was worse, as he said to himself, an old fool.
Indignation kept him silent—forgot that he had a grandson when he had
talked of it for six months! At length he burst out.

“I presume it would make no difference to you, captain Muff,” said he,
grinning hysterically, “if I had thirteen more daughters?”

“No, why should it?” rejoined the sage captain, “I like girls. If my
wife and your wife had not been girls when they were babies, I wonder
where our wives would have been? You may be glad your little grandchild
is a girl.”

“Why, what a good for nothing old fat fool you are—that I must call you
names in your old age,” said the enraged Christopher. “Your memory is
very short this morning; have I not told you that my Christopher is a
boy?”

“No, I cannot forget what you tell me every day; but what has a boy to
do with what you were telling me about a thundering large tooth. Does
she grow?”

“You are enough to make a man swear, you damned old goose,” said Mr.
Bangs, in a huff—(too mad to pop off this time,) “to call Christopher
_she_: man and boy,” said he to himself, as he turned sulkily away,
“have I known captain Muff for sixty years, and I have but just found
out what a disadvantage he has been to me; why he is but half witted.”

Mr. Bangs turned homewards, fearing to find out more foolish old men
among his club. He was anxious too, to see whether the other tooth had
not got the start of him. The quiet, regular Mr. Bangs had become a
nuisance. No one had ever suspected him of being _soft_, and but for
this unlucky male child he might have “died as he lived, an excellent
chemist, an honest man, and one of the best husbands in the world;” but
if a weak man _will_ talk, people will find him out.

He passed away very easy, not long after this, just in time to save his
credit, so that no one but Peter Broo and captain Muff gave a ha, ha, or
a smile when his death was announced. The baby’s tooth stood for ever
uppermost in their eyes; and when they told the story, which they did
every day for a twelvemonth, they got the thundering big tooth to the
size of an elephant’s.

He was missed at home, particularly when the window shutters were to be
latched, which office Hannah French now undertook, and the first sound
of mirth that was heard in the house was from her. The baby’s teeth all
came out finely; and one day as she put on her spectacles to look at
them, she gave one of her little deaf laughs. Mrs. Bangs asked her what
she laughed at, but Hannah French was too “cute” to tell. It was what
follows that passed through her brain and produced the laugh at the end
of it.

“I am glad,” thought she, “the old man went off as he did, for the
baby’s mouth would have gone from ear to ear, by his grandfather’s
constantly pulling it open to see what thundering big tooth was coming
out next; and the baby was so used to have his mouth stretched open,
that whenever he heard his grandfather’s voice on the stairs, he used,
of his own accord, to throw his head back and open his mouth as wide as
possible.” Then it was, as this passed through her mind, that Hannah
French laughed; but it would not have done to tell Mrs. Bangs of it.

Every one of Mrs. Bangs’s thirteen daughters married, and every one had
sons and daughters. I have something pleasant to say of all of them,
though not so much as I have said of Fanny. She lives still, and is
loved by her husband and family as dearly as ever.

Mrs. Bangs would not have one of her grandsons called Christopher,
through fear of their hating her as they grew up. “I had such a deal of
trouble about naming you all,” said she, to her thirteen daughters,
“that I am resolved my grandchildren shall not be named after kit or kin
of mine.” Whether she meant this as a pun, or only as an old saw, I do
not know; I should rather suspect the latter; but we will let that
alone, ‘tis no concern of ours.



                      THE THREAD AND NEEDLE STORE.


Martin Barton, a respectable, well looking lad, entered Mr. Daly’s
thread and needle store at the age of fourteen. He was a faultless and
enduring creature, always at his post, and serving out his appointed
time—seven years—without giving his master the least cause of complaint.
The morning of his birthday was his day of freedom, and although Mr.
Daly knew that this day must come some time or other, yet he was quite
unprepared for it. Great, therefore, would have been his sorrow, if
Martin Barton had not, in announcing that his apprenticeship was
expired, asked his consent to marry Miss Letty Daly—his only child.

Now Mr. Daly had not the least suspicion that Martin Barton had a fancy
for his daughter, for he had always considered him as a young man that
had no fancy for any thing outside the counter. Even Mrs. Daly, as
sharp-eyed as one of her needles, heard the news pretty much as he had
done—sorrow that Martin Barton’s time was up, and surprise that he
wanted to marry their daughter.

“Martin Barton in love with our Letty!—it cannot be, Mr. Daly, for to my
knowledge he has never spent an evening with her in his life.”

“I did not say he was in love with her, Mrs. Daly, I only said he wanted
our consent to marry her—so, wife, if you have no objection, I may as
well let them marry at once; business is a little slack just at present,
and he can be spared better now than in the spring.”

“Why, to be sure, husband, Martin Barton is worth his weight in gold in
such a shop as ours, and no one could supply his place if he were to
leave us; so I’ll just step back and tell Letty—oh, here she
comes—Letty, my dear, Martin Barton’s time is up, he is twenty-one this
morning, and he told your father, and your father told me, that he wants
to have you for a wife.”

“Yes, so Martin Barton told me himself,” said Miss Letty, a fine
tempered girl of eighteen, and as brisk as a bee.

“Oh, then he has spoken to you himself, has he? When did you see him?
Not this morning after church, I guess, for I saw him turn the corner
with Ira Elkado, and I saw him come back with old Hosea Bringle around
the very same corner.”

“We talked the matter over after church about a month ago; indeed we
have done all our courting in that way while coming home after church,
for Martin Barton has no time to court on week days, you know.”

“No more he has not,” said the satisfied mother, “so, husband, all we
have to do now is to get them married and pass the shop over to Martin
Barton. You and I are tired of all this hard work, so we will go to our
little farm in the country and live at our ease.” Live at their ease!!

Martin Barton expected as much, and so did Miss Letty; they were married
the following week, and before another week had expired Mr. and Mrs.
Daly bade adieu to the thread and needle store, and went into the
country _to live at their ease_!

Hosea Bringle, with whom Martin Barton had gone round the corner, was
the book keeper as long as goods were sold on credit, but as soon as it
was determined to sell for cash alone, the old man’s occupation was
gone. He was transferred to the lower end of the counter—but, alas!
Hosea Bringle was found to be a poor vender of tape and bobbin. It did
well enough when it came to a dozen of stockings or socks, but he never
could tell which thread of yarn was thick or which thin, and above all
he could not tell linen tape from cotton tape. It was plain, therefore,
that Hosea Bringle had to go.

Sigismund Sloper had entered the shop at the same time with Martin
Barton, but although he was a decent lad enough, and had been a year out
of his time, for he was fifteen when he began his service, yet Mr. Daly
had no great partiality for him. He continued on, therefore, at good
wages, till the present time, when little Jenny Hart spoke up and said
that Sigismund Sloper was not wanted any longer, as she had heard of an
excellent lad of the right age who would work better and cheaper.

Now Jenny Hart was the oracle of the shop; she likewise had been in Mr.
Daly’s employ for a term of years—three, I believe—but it was a far
different thing to see her move about and direct every thing that was
done, than when the clerks or Martin Barton did it. Clean and neat, too,
was little Jenny Hart, quick at meals and quick at work, an early riser
and a late sitter up; and such a tongue as she had, such a spirit as she
showed, such a goer and comer! In short, little Jenny Hart was the life
and soul of the establishment, and money came in so fast that the money
drawers had to be emptied every night—no credit—happy thread and needle
people were Mr. and Mrs. Martin Barton.

Sigismund Sloper vowed vengeance against little Jenny Hart; for she was
a free spoken little thing, and made no scruple of speaking out her
thoughts. He was too slow and too tardy of speech for such off hand
business as theirs, and was too mulish to learn, so she fairly told him
that on the first of May—three months ahead—Ira Elkado was to take his
place. She cast many an anxious glance at old Hosea Bringle, wishing him
out of the concern too, for he was very much in her way, and it was
really hard upon her, for thus it went all day, week in and week out:
“It is three cents a yard, Hojer Bringle—(she always called him
Hojer)—this way, miss, that old gentleman does not know our private
mark, and yet he has lived in this shop seven years.” The old man
sighed, and little Jenny Hart heard him. “To be sure there is an excuse
for him, as he was always at the desk when we gave credit—nine yards and
a half?—yes, sir, stocks of all kinds, beautiful and well made—too high
a price!—oh, no indeed—will I take eighteen shillings? no, but I’ll
split the difference—Hojer Bringle, give this gentleman five
shillings—Hojer Bringle examines all the three dollar notes, sir.” And
so little Jenny Hart’s tongue run on, while she cast rueful glances at
the old man and strove to harden her heart against him.

Ira Elkado came in at one fold of the double door as Sigismund Sloper
went out at the other, and Jenny Hart laughed out in one of the
customers’ face while selling him a pair of stockings. The man looked at
his waistcoat and at his hands, and cast a glance at himself in the
glass behind the little shop girl’s head, but as nothing was amiss he
attributed it to a joyous spirit, as in reality it was. “You are merry,
Jenny Hart, this fine May morning,” said he. “I suspect you are thinking
of your lover.”

“Lover! oh, sir,” said Jenny Hart, casting a sly glance at Ira Elkado,
as he solemnly stalked behind the counter, and, as if he had been there
for years, fell to putting up a bundle of misses’ hose. “Such a lover,
too,” thought Jenny Hart, as he would make,—pretty much, however, like
Mr. Martin Barton,—and she cast her eye to the other end of the counter,
where Martin Barton stood folding up a bundle of suspenders in the very
same solemn way. Hosea Bringle, instead of taking a little girl’s penny
for two needles,—he had given her nines for sixes, the paper being
turned upside down when he looked at it,—was staring at the new clerk,
Ira Elkado.

“Put the cent in Hojer Bringle’s hand, little girl; he is thinking”—said
Jenny Hart—“here, let me stick the needles in the paper or you’ll lose
them; they are tiny little needles; are you hemming fine work, my dear?”

“No, Miss Jenny Hart, mother is making a cloak—these are sixes,” said
the child, “are they not?” So Jenny Hart had to go to the needle box and
get out No. 6, saying—“Look here, Hojer Bringle, the numbers are all at
the top; this paper, if turned up so, looks like nines; do you see now?”

Hosea Bringle sighed again, and Jenny whispered in his ear—“there are
two fine pair of ducks and a huge mess of corn salad for dinner to-day,
and I’ll have them at my side of the table and give you the _four_ legs
all to your own share, and all the stuffings out of two of them—precious
little will I give to Ira Elkado, beside the neck and rack, or may be
the drumsticks. Hosea Bringle wiped his mouth and put the needle box
nicely away, pitying Ira Elkado for the poor dinner he was to get, for
Hosea Bringle held the rack and drumsticks very cheap; while Ira Elkado
was revelling in the thoughts of owning this very thread and needle
store that day three years, with Jenny Hart for clerk and wife. No one,
to look at Ira Elkado, would ever suppose that he had an excursive
imagination, he looked so sober and acted so cautiously; but, oh! what a
turmoil and what business was going on within. He took all the company
in at a glance, and made up his mind that he would rule them all as
Jenny Hart did, and her into the bargain. So he began that very moment.

“This counter is very inconvenient, Miss Jenny Hart,” said he, striking
his foot against the bottom, “it ought to slope inward; it is very
wearisome for you to keep at such a distance from the counter. Now, if
it sloped inward—now Sigismund Sloper, he”—

Ah ha! did Ira Elkado think this was news to Jenny Hart? she had felt
the inconvenience often and often, but she counted cost, and made up her
mind that the house was old, the counter old, and time precious, so that
it was not worth while to make a new counter, and, besides, there was no
time to do it. She gave one of her peculiar stares, as if trying to
comprehend what Ira Elkado was saying.

“Sigums Sloper, did you say, Ira Elkado,—he went out as you came in; I
persuaded Mr. Martin Barton to change him for you because he was a fault
finder; I warned him, when he came, to mind the customers; the fact is,
we are such busy people that we have no time to fiddle-faddle and look
out for flaws and specks. This is your money drawer—here are four places
to drop money in—this for sixpenny pieces—this for shillings—this for
quarters, and this for half dollars. Hojer Bringle, there, changes three
dollar notes, I five, Mrs. Martin Barton ten, and Mr. Martin Barton all
larger ones. Do you recollect?—to-morrow I shall tell it to you over
again.” Oh, how small Ira Elkado felt, and how he hated Jenny Hart!

Little Jenny Hart did not tell him that she twitched the notes from
every hand first, before the others had a chance of looking at them. In
fact, she handed them to the one whose business it was to take them,
with a nod or a shake of the head, if good, or bad, for she was as wise
as a serpent about bank notes—and in what was she not wise?

Every body that went to the shop took a good look at Jenny Hart, but no
one took the least liberty with her; there she stood helping the
customers, watching Hosea Bringle, curbing Ira Elkado, keeping Martin
Barton from prosing, and relieving Mrs. Martin Barton from the most of
her labours. The worthy couple had now been married eight years, and had
but two children, twin girls, now in their seventh year, and it was odd
enough to see how they were brought up; in fact, if it had not been for
Jenny Hart they would not have been brought up at all. The shop was
opened at daylight winter and summer; Jenny Hart was the first in it,
and the last to leave it; every thing, as they said, went through her
mouth and through her hands; neither Martin Barton nor his wife had the
least concern in the world, for Jenny Hart ordered the marketing too;
and as the girl brought the market basket through the long shop, the
little body would whisk from behind the counter, lift up the cover, and
satisfy herself that all was as she ordered. Then she hired the cook,
and nurse, and maid of all work, and little Betty the waiter was of her
choosing.

“Mrs. Martin Barton, what a noise those children make,”—said Mr. Martin
Barton; “you must tell Jenny Hart that we shall have to build a room
back of the parlour, and let them range about there, for their play is
as noisy as their cries.”

Jenny Hart had just returned from quieting them, and a lady who was
buying some German worsted asked Mrs. Martin Barton how old the little
girls were.

“Let me see—how old are the two twins?”—for she always called them the
two twins, just as if they were speaking of two candles, or two pinches
of snuff—“how old are the two twins, Jenny Hart?”

“Just seven years old, Mrs. Martin Barton,” and Jenny Hart had answered
this question of the age of the two twins ever since they were a year
old. Mr. Martin Barton never knew, and Mrs. Martin Barton always forgot.

“As to building another room, Mr. Martin Barton, that will never do,”
(oh, how Ira Elkado stared to see what a sway she had!) said Jenny
Hart,—“for the back parlour is dark enough already, and we shall have
less draft through the shop, too, if we clutter up the yard; but the
twins are soon going to school; I spoke to Mrs. Playfair yesterday,—she
was buying canvass of me,—and she has promised to take good care of the
children, and for one year let them off easy—after that,” said she,
whispering in Mrs. Martin Barton’s ear—“after that, we’ll get poor old
Hojer to teach them at home, and Mrs. Armstrong will be a sort of
governess to them; for old Hojer Bringle is a dead weight in the shop.”

“Good,” said Mrs. Martin Barton, and she went the other side of Jenny
Hart and whispered it to Martin Barton. “Good,” said he.

“Oh, if I had only the ruling of that girl,” thought Ira Elkado, “how I
would quell her.” Just as he said this, mentally, however, Jenny Hart,
who had sold a gross of pearl buttons while the Martin Bartons were
saying “good, good,” thrust a bad shilling in his hand. “You took that
bad shilling from a boy, yesterday,” said she, “and gave it to Amy
Russel this morning; it has come back, and it must be charged to you.”
Ira Elkado put it in his pocket and gave her a good shilling; but the
moment her quick eye was directed to something else, he slipped the bad
piece of money in old Hosea Bringle’s drawer and helped himself to
another, for he did not see why he should lose it. Hosea Bringle stood
up, holding by the counter, fast asleep, and did not see it.

“That bad shilling,” said Jenny Hart, “will be known again, I’ll
warrant, for I run the file across the edge. You had better put it in
Hosea Bringle’s bad money drawer, that last slit in the corner; all the
counterfeit money goes there.” “Powers on earth!” thought Ira Elkado,
“did the little black-eyed devil see me slip the shilling in?”

No, Jenny Hart did not see him do it, but she suspected he would. She
knew that he was a capital hand to buy goods at auction, and it was for
this purpose she hired him—we may as well say she hired him, for it was
all her doings. Martin Barton had nothing to do but approve; Jenny Hart,
therefore, put up with many things from him.

“Mrs. Martin Barton,” said her husband, “what a long holiday those
children have; how noisy they are, jumping and screaming like mad
things; and old Hosea Bringle with your night cap on—only look there.”

“No, it is my cap,” said Jenny Hart, “let the poor old man play, for
once in his life; only think how long he has been nailed to this
counter. Just make a codicil to your will, Mr. Martin Barton, and give
the poor old soul one hundred dollars a year for life—I am only too glad
to get him out of the shop. By twelve to-morrow we shall have two nice
young lads—if I can only remember their names—I wish people would give
their children plain names. Oh, I forgot, Mrs. Armstrong will be in town
to-morrow; I have hired the house next door, as you told me, and here is
the lease. I paid one year’s rent, you see, in advance.”

“Good,” said Martin Barton. “Excellent,” said his wife. The back door
stood open, and happy Hosea Bringle was playing _sleep_ with the
children, while they were tickling his ears with a straw, and then he
would snap at the straw, which made the little girls shout again. “Hojer
Bringle will fall asleep in good earnest,” said Jenny Hart to a lady who
was buying hair pins of her, and in a few moments he was snoring.

“How old are your little girls?” said the lady to Mrs. Martin Barton.

“How old are the two twins?—how old are they, Jenny? I forget.”

“Ten years old, Mrs. Martin Barton; I thought I had better leave them
another year with old Mrs. Playfair, for they had been cooped up so
here, in this close place, that they were sickly like, and the good old
lady has quite freshened them up again. They have not learned much, that
is book learning, but all that will come in a few years, as Mrs.
Armstrong is a rock of learning. Ira Elkado, you are the very prince of
buyers.” The young man had just come in loaded from auction. “Oh, what
beautiful slippers—just what we wanted. Chessmen!—how many have you?
only three sets—well, I’ll take them off your hands, for we don’t sell
chessmen, you know, and I have been wanting to make a few presents.
Never buy things we are not in the habit of selling; it only confuses
us. Here is your money; pray Mr. Martin Barton charge me with fifteen
dollars—they are as cheap as dirt, Ira Elkado.” “Devil take the girl,”
thought Ira Elkado.

And so she went on, talking and acting, and letting no one get the
better of her, while the good couple did their share of labour too, for
the shop had a very great run, and customers stood three deep sometimes.
“We shall have to push the shop into the back room,” said she to Martin
Barton, “and get two more clerks—I mean two more besides those that are
coming to-morrow.” “Good,” said Martin Barton.

“I don’t hear the children’s voices any more,” said a lady to Mrs.
Martin Barton, “where are they?”

“Oh, they live next door with Mrs. Armstrong; we could not attend to
them ourselves, you know, having so much to do.”

“How old are they now, Mrs. Martin Barton.”

“How old are the two twins?—let me see—how old are they, Jenny Hart?”

“Twelve years old this month, Mrs. Martin Barton, and as fine, healthy
children as you would wish to see. Here, Alfred Gray, put up these
goods, the porter has laid them before me, and they belong to Mr. Martin
Barton’s shelves. These buttons are for the drawer, we shall retail
them. Mr. Martin Barton, to-morrow we begin to close the shop at
sundown. Alfred Gray and Jasper Merry stipulated, you know, that at the
end of two years they were only to tend shop between sunrise and
sunset.”

“Very well,” said Martin Barton, “I am glad of it. Then we may as well
all quit together, at the same hour, for the other young men have the
like privilege.”

“No,” said Jenny Hart, “Ira Elkado made no such bargain, he is to work
evenings, and as there are many bundles to pack up, he can help the
porter to”—but Jenny Hart cast those black eyes of hers to the end of
the long counter, and there stood Ira Elkado figuring away at accounts,
his auction accounts, and making all square. Her heart smote her, but
she reasoned herself out of her tender feelings, for the man had been
presumptuous and disposed to meddle, particularly with a fifth clerk, a
clever young man who had his station on the right hand of Martin Barton,
and, of course, next to her. Ira Elkado had at first longed for this
post of honour, but his having to turn buyer at auctions kept him from
having a regular station behind the counter. His place was the old spot
once occupied by Hosea Bringle, and here he had to sit perched up at a
small desk.

Oh, how these people worked; never shop had such a run; and Jenny Hart’s
fame had spread far and wide. Some people said she was beautiful, very
beautiful; far too beautiful to stand behind the counter; but others
thought that she was not so very beautiful either; only so remarkably
shrewd and good humoured. The gentlemen made business every day to get a
peep at her; and yet, after all, what was it? She had a neat, well made
figure; a pretty hand, and a small foot, with a delicate ankle. Her eyes
were like black cherries dipped in clear spring water; and her teeth
were like grains of white corn, standing out a little. She had a large,
well shaped mouth and rich red lips, with a breath like new made hay.
Her cheek bones were a little too high, and her nose a thought too
small; and her skin, the hundredth part of a shade too dark; but take
her all in all there was a something which was very piquant about her. I
forgot her voice; it was fine, clear, and musical, and such as no one
could ever forget.

“I’ll have her yet,” said Ira Elkado, as he sat watching her from the
corner of his eye. “That lad, Archy Campbell, next her, thinks he is in
a fair way to win her, but he shall eat poison first. I have wrought
hard for her, and she and this shop shall be mine. I wonder how old the
black eyed gipsy is.”

More than Ira Elkado had wondered; and had asked this question, but no
one knew. Jenny Hart was an orphan, and came early into Mr. Daly’s
family. We knew her age, however; she was just six and twenty when Ira
Elkado sat wondering.

At ten o’clock the postman brought two letters, one for Martin Barton,
and one for Mrs. Martin Barton—the first letter, really the first letter
either of them had ever received in their lives. Jenny Hart had never
read a letter, but she knew how one ought to be opened; a thing which
neither of the two owners of the shop did.

“Jenny Hart, can you tell how to open this letter?”

“Yes, surely I can; I have seen many a one opened—here, let me cut the
seals—there—they are open. This is yours, Mr. Martin Barton;—twelve
cents a dozen, Miss—and this is yours, Mrs. Martin Barton; but what is
the matter?”

The fact is, that Martin Barton was perplexed. The letter began thus:
“Dear sir, I am sorry to inform you of the death of ——,” he had got so
far when Jenny Hart, true as steel to her business, no sooner had said,
“What is the matter?” than she turned to a customer who wanted black
silk stockings. “Mr. Martin Barton, said she, please to show this
gentleman the best black silk stockings—here is a pin, stick it in the
place where you left off.” (Jenny Hart used to do so when reading a
book.)

Martin Barton stuck in the pin, laid down the letter, and sold the
stockings, while the gentleman was eyeing the pretty shop-girl. Archy
Campbell could have knocked him down; and Ira Elkado was well pleased to
see his rival vexed. Jenny Hart was indifferent to all this; turning to
Mrs. Martin Barton with, “some ladies’ gloves wanting—here, stick a pin
in the letter where you leave off; the gloves are twenty-five cents, you
know, Mrs. Martin Barton.”

“Archy Campbell,” said she, one day, “why did you look so angrily at the
gentleman who gave me the bunch of flowers yesterday? It was not like
you; and it gave me great pain; you will drive customers away if you
behave so rudely to them.”

“You know well enough, Jenny Hart, why I looked angrily; and there sits
Ira Elkado, who knows it too”—

“Carpet binding by the gross?”

“Yes, sir. Archy Campbell, show the best carpet binding,” said the
indefatigable Jenny Hart; never waiting to hear why Archy Campbell
looked so mad at the customer.

It certainly was a great relief to them all, when the shop closed at
sundown. Every one felt it a blessing but Ira Elkado; it cut him off
from two or three hours of gazing at Jenny Hart, and in regaling himself
with the thoughts of conquering this hard hearted gipsy, as he always
called her. He lay awake for hours, very often, in trying to perfect
some plan by which he could get admittance to her during the evening;
but it never came to any thing. He was one of those kind of persons
whose imaginations are fertile enough; but with physical capacities so
entirely different, that a life is spent, or dawdled away, without any
benefit to themselves or others. Had Ira Elkado been as brisk in his
motions as he was in his mind, the shop and Jenny Hart might have been
his long ago; but her good genius preserved her from a hard fate. Hard
it would have been; for Ira Elkado never ended one of his aspiring
soliloquies without grinding his teeth and promising himself great
satisfaction in scourging her, after marriage, as she had scourged him
before. Poor Jenny Hart did not mean to scourge him; it was her way of
managing people. She was shrewd, and treated them according to their
merits; but she was never unjust.

As soon as the shop was shut, and she had presided at the tea-table,
(for in the old fashioned way, the clerks always lived in the house, and
ate at the table, one after the other,) she assisted Martin Barton and
Archy Campbell in counting the money of the day; and it was a job. But
by the judicious mode of keeping the different money apart; and, oh, how
she rated the poor clerk, in whose box a sixpence was found in the
shilling department—much time was saved. Martin Barton and his wife,
good souls, went tired to bed, as soon as this was over; and then came
Jenny Hart’s holiday: then was the time to see her. Talk of her beauty
and musical voice; her bounding spirit and her grace of motion, behind
the counter; what was all that to the seeing her up in Mrs. Armstrong’s
room, with the twin sisters! Then her joyous spirit relaxed; tape,
bobbin, buttons, money, marketing, bank stock, rents—for Jenny managed
all the money concerns; and Martin Barton was now immensely rich—then
all was combed out of her head with the first brush that was put to her
fine glossy hair.

It was the signal for fun and frolic, when her light step was heard
bounding up the narrow stairs; and there stood the two girls ready to
snatch the first kiss, and to say the first word. From the time they
could hold the brush, they coveted the pleasure of combing and brushing
her hair; and the poor thing was generally so tired that she was really
glad when they were old enough to do it properly for her. So up she
came, and down she sat on the sofa; and a world of things had she to
hear from the two innocent girls; and then came the rummaging of her
apron pockets and her ample basket; and then came Mrs. Armstrong, with
her account of the progress of her pupils.

“Oh, such sweet walks as we have, dear Jenny Hart. Why can you not
sometimes go with us? it would do you so much good,” said Rona, a
beautiful black eyed girl; “you must go with us to-morrow.”

“Or, if you cannot take a walk, you can surely go with us to the museum
in the evening, now that the shop closes at sundown,” said Ida, the blue
eye, and quite as beautiful as her sister.

“Why, that is true,” said Jenny Hart, “and we can do a great deal in
that way, now that winter is coming and the evenings long.”

“Jenny Hart, dear, I want some fine cotton stockings,” said Rona. “And I
want gloves,” said Ida. “And I want a fresh supply of needles and
thread, and every thing, in short, for these little gipsies have given
away my whole stock.”

“Plenty, plenty shall you have; for plenty there is. And do you know
that you are to have a grand Christmas present? But if you guess till
morning you will not guess right; for ‘tis a present that does not often
fall to the lot of the daughters of thread and needle people. Oh, Mrs.
Armstrong, let us remember the poor, for we are growing very rich.”

The girls guessed; and Mrs. Armstrong was made to guess; but they fell
either above or below the mark; and tell, Jenny Hart would not. Then
came the little story, that one or the other read every evening. And, to
see Jenny Hart’s admiration at their progress! And then came the writing
books; and, lastly, just as the clock struck ten, came a tap at the
door, and little Betty, with her face hidden in her handkerchief,
presented to the astonished Jenny Hart _two_ letters.

“Oh, you rogues,” said the delighted little maiden—“letters from you—oh,
how nicely they are written. And I dare say they are all spelled right;
hey, Mrs. Armstrong? And how sweetly they smell of roses. I’ll show them
to your father and mother in the morning; and, if there is a chance, to
Archy Campbell.”

“And to Jasper Merry,” said black eyed Rona; “and to Alfred Gray,” said
the little blue eye. “I will, I will,” said Jenny Hart.

“And why not to Peter Squires and Ira Elkado?” said Mrs. Armstrong.
“Because,” said Jenny Hart, “I never think of Peter Squires from one
year’s end to the other. I see quite through him when he stands near me;
such a mere shadow he is. Not but that he is a faithful, honest
creature. I’ll get Mr. Martin Barton to set him up in business, one of
these days; and, as to Ira Elkado—I tell you what, Mrs. Armstrong, I go
as near to hating him as I can hate any one; and yet, poor soul, he does
me no harm. I think I’ll set him up with Peter Squires; but we cannot
spare him yet. We have not made, what I think, enough money yet. I shall
remember the museum; and, perhaps, I may bring Archy Campbell with me.”

“And Jasper Merry,” said Rona. “And Alfred Gray,” said Ida. “Yes, yes,
dears; I’ll bring them all; and so, good night—good night; and write me
such a pretty letter every day; and who knows what I’ll do when
Christmas comes?”

Christmas was indeed a day with the whole family of Martin Barton.
First, there was the great long counter, covered with squares of
table-cloths, before each clerk’s stand; and then, there was the hall
table, for the servants; and, lastly, there was the parlour, next
door—literally full of presents for the children, Mrs. Martin Barton’s
two twins; and there were the little baskets for the poor customers—I
suspect they did not pay much for needle and thread. Jenny Hart had
arranged every thing herself; and there she stood in the shop, at
sunrise, having given them all an early breakfast. With a little white
wand in her hand, she pointed to a table that stood out from the corner,
and said—

“Hosea Bringle—our oldest and our best clerk—lift up the table cover;
Martin Barton hopes you will be pleased with what is under.”

Old Hosea, who had not been in the shop for a long time, lifted up the
cover—“Oh, Jenny Hart, how kind; how excellent all these things are; and
I was wishing for this box of tools, and all this fine wire; (just as if
Jenny Hart did not know his wants) and here is fine perfumed soap, and
every thing an old man wants; and, ah ha, Miss Jenny Hart, you have
found out I have a sweet tooth, have you? (Jenny Hart had furnished him
with confectionary for twelve years,) and what’s this?—a suit of
clothes? oh, Miss Jenny Hart—and the old man wrung her hand, with his
eyes swimming; while she, the good little maiden, laughed till she
cried.

“Ira Elkado—lift up that cover,” said she, touching it with her wand.
“What can it be?” thought he; “it lies flat; I think she means to play
me a trick. I shall not touch it. Nothing can lie under that flat
cover;” so he said, “Never mind me, Jenny Hart; pass on to Mr. Archy
Campbell.”

“Well, then,” said Jenny Hart, laughing, “Archy Campbell, lift up your
parcel;” and Archy Campbell lifted up the cover; but there was nothing
but a bunch of rods and a little note. He slipped the note into his
pocket, without looking at it, reddening up to the very temples. He
likewise took up the bunch of rods, and gallantly kissed it, which made
Jenny Hart blush in return. “Devil take the impudent rascal,” said Ira
Elkado.

“You come next, Alfred Gray;” and Alfred Gray lifted up the cover, where
lay chess men and drawing materials, and perfumery, and books, and
keepsakes in plenty. A little note lay there, too; but he left all and
went near the door to read it. “Keep the contents to yourself,”
whispered Jenny Hart.

Jasper Merry’s parcel was similar to his friend’s; and the little note
caused them both to smile. Peter Squires came last; and there lay a nice
new suit of clothes for him, and a variety of very useful and pretty
articles likewise; such as a poor young man would like to have, and
could not afford to buy.

“Now you are all pleased,” said Jenny Hart, “but Ira Elkado; and why he
don’t lift up the cover I cannot tell. I must do it for him.” She lifted
up the cover, and only a little note was seen. Archy Campbell felt
injured, for he dreaded the contents of the note; but he need not have
been jealous. It ran thus:

“Mr. Ira Elkado, you have served me faithfully for seven years. I shall
want you no longer. At the corner of Joice street, you will find your
shop. I hope it will be to your liking. One year’s rent is paid. Your
friend, Martin Barton.”

Ira Elkado had nearly fainted; but, rallying, he lifted up his head to
thank Jenny Hart; but she was gone. Out he rushed to look at his shop.
He might well thank Jenny Hart, for it was all her doings. She had
persuaded Martin Barton to give the young man this outfit—a thousand
dollars’ worth. Ira Elkado made heaps of money, and died a rich man; but
he had visions of Jenny Hart to the last.

At twelve o’clock the little girls’ present was at the door; a handsome
new carriage, and a pair of excellent, gentle horses. “There’s for you,
dears,” said she, as the happy children flew to the window; “there, jump
in. After sitting in church so long you will be the better for a little
ride. Come, let us all go; Martin Barton has never been inside of a
carriage in his life; and I can scarcely remember how it is.” The whole
family—six—took a nice ride to old Mr. Daly’s, and had a fine Christmas
dinner.

“Well, young gentlemen, how did you like the contents of the notes?”
said she, the next morning. “O delightful! Most happy it made us,” said
Alfred Gray and Jasper Merry. “And the honour is deeply felt by me,”
said Archy Campbell, blushing and looking tenderly at Jenny Hart, who
said, “Pshaw.” The notes were nothing more than an invitation from Mrs.
Armstrong to go with them to the museum. From that hour every evening
was spent in Mrs. Armstrong’s parlour; and innocent they were, for the
lady was indeed, as Jenny Hart said, a rock of learning; and loved to
improve young people.

Martin Barton knew no more what was going on next door than if the
family was not his; all the day was spent behind the counter, and the
evening found them so tired that they were only fit for the bed when the
money was counted, and put in the iron chest. On Sunday they went
regularly to church, in the morning, dined, took a long nap in the
afternoon, were called up to tea, yawned while drinking it; and, after a
few vain attempts to keep awake, fairly took the candle and went to bed.
Poor tired souls; if it had not been for this one day’s rest, they never
could have gone through the week. But Jenny Hart did not tire; her
little caoutchouc frame never failed her. Her twins and herself, with
Mrs. Armstrong and old Hosea, spent almost every Sunday with Mr. and
Mrs. Daly, going with them to the village church.

Still they toiled on; the years passed—flew, it seemed; and they grew
richer and richer, until even Jenny thought they had enough; and most
judiciously had she placed the money. She had chosen her counsellor
well; honest Mr. Norton, the broker; he never deceived her for a moment;
and, as to herself, even Archy Campbell did not covet her hand more than
did Mr. Norton. He would have taken her without a cent; indeed he did
not know that she had a penny in the world; but Jenny Hart was as honest
as himself; and she settled it in her mind, long ago, that she could
never be his wife. He was true to her, however—dear Jenny Hart, who
would not be true to her?

“Take this parcel up to Mrs. Armstrong, Betty,” said Jenny Hart, one
fine morning in May, “and say, that if it suits she can keep the whole
dozen.” “Twelve for a shilling, sir; thank you.” “Knitting needles?”
“Yes, the best of steel; Alfred Gray, some of the best steel knitting
needles—A newspaper from Mr. Norton, my boy?—thank you; stop, here is a
pair of gloves for you; now run home.—You have only measured off seven
yards, Mrs. Martin Barton, and the lady asked for eight—Jasper Merry,
make that dog go out—Your’s, madam, is it?”—“well, Jasper Merry, just
put him outside of the door and shut it—Why did Mr. Norton send me the
paper?—Oh, I see—The Camperdown property is for sale, Mrs. Martin
Barton—Mr. Daly, your father wants you to buy it sadly. We rode out
there yesterday afternoon; and, really, it is a place for a prince, let
alone poor thread and needle people, like ourselves. It is very much
improved since you were there, last fall, Mrs. Martin Barton; all the
houses are finished; and now the gardens are all laid out, and the
fences and the grounds; and it looks like a little settlement already.
Four beautiful houses, all large and very roomy; and the river in front,
too. I wonder what it will bring. It is to be sold separate or together;
but I fear it is beyond our means. The property is to be sold on Monday
next.”

“I wonder how it came to be called Camperdown,” said Martin Barton. “I
had a scapegrace of a cousin, called Camperdown Barton; but for him my
old uncle Davies would have left me something handsome. Some people did
say, that this Camperdown Barton forged a will in his own favour; but I
could not believe it.”

“Mr. Barton,” said a man, entering the shop—“Martin Barton, if you
please, sir,” said Mr. Martin Barton.

“Mr. Martin Barton,” said the man, smiling, “have you any white
galloon?” “Yes.” “Alfred Gray, hand down that box of white galloon,”
said Jenny Hart.

“And where is this Camperdown Barton, now,” said Jenny Hart, when the
man had bought the galloon, and was out of the shop.

“I can hardly tell; but he was in the West Indies when I last heard of
him. He married, and had two children, and”—

“La, Mr. Martin Barton,” said his wife, “what became of my letter; I am
sure there was some mention made in it of this Camperdown Barton—I stuck
a pin in it, Jenny Hart, as you told me, at the very place; and I had no
time to finish the letter; in fact I don’t know where I put it. Do you
know, Jenny Hart?—it is many years ago.”

“Well, let me see—yes, I think I know; it is in the japan box, on the
toilet table. And what became of your letter, Mr. Martin Barton?”

“Mine, Jenny Hart? that is more than I can tell. I laid it just here;
and I stuck a pin in at where I left off, as you told me.”

“It must have been pushed aside; or perhaps it was folded up in one of
the bundles of stockings. It is gone, certainly. I trust it had nothing
of importance in it.” Jenny Hart always placed Martin Barton before the
shelves of socks and stockings, as they were the least perplexing
articles to sell.

“Here is a letter,” said Jasper Merry, “I picked it up the other day, by
Mr. Martin Barton’s feet; I think it must have fallen from that bundle
of stockings that you sent up to Mrs. Armstrong.”

“Let me see,” said Jenny Hart. She took it, and cast her eye over the
contents, while Mr. Martin Barton and his wife were plunged in tapes,
bobbins, buttons and pins. She quietly put it in her little French
pocket, and as quietly walked out of the shop. In five minutes Mr.
Norton was with her up in Mrs. Armstrong’s parlour.

“Look here,” said Jenny Hart, “just read this letter, Mr. Norton. Only
think what luck to find it as we did. Two days later, and all would have
been lost to us.” Mr. Norton was indeed surprised, for this letter
announced the death of this very cousin, and his two children—this
Camperdown Barton; and he had left all the property to his cousin,
Martin Barton, on condition that he claimed it before a certain period.
If not claimed then, it was to be sold and the money divided among some
distant relations. As Martin Barton had not claimed it—how tired I am of
always writing his name at full length; but I shall soon have done—the
property was to be sold on the following Monday, the very day the term
expired.

“There is no difficulty, then, Mr. Norton,” said Jenny Hart, “we can
claim it yet, can we? Certainly my dear Jenny Hart—he could not have
called her Jenny for the world, nor could I—so send Martin Barton to me.
Can you tell why he chose to be called Martin Barton?—‘tis so tiresome.”

“Why, this very Camperdown Barton was the cause; he was a bad character
even when very young, and our Martin Barton kept the two names together,
that he might not be taken for his cousin. I only heard all this this
morning, for we have been always too busy to talk of such matters. I
think that Mrs. Martin Barton is even more particular on this point than
he is. But, oh, Mr. Norton, don’t our dear little girls grow finely?”

“Little girls indeed! why they are young women, taller than yourself,
Jenny Hart; but they don’t eclipse you yet; you are as pretty and good
as ever, hard-hearted girl that you are; but I claim the promise of
giving you away,” said the kind old bachelor, seeing Jenny Hart shy off.
“Good morning, then, if you must go; but this shop business will kill
you; you work too hard.”

“Never fear,” said she, and down she tripped, pitying Mr. Norton for his
hopeless love, although he was now quite resigned to it; and
congratulating Martin Barton on this handsome accession of property. Of
course, every thing was properly done, and to the entire satisfaction of
every one but the poor folks, who were on the point of getting the
money. This Camperdown Barton had, in reality, secreted the will of
their uncle; but on the death of his children he repented, and restored
as much of the property as was left to the true owner.

But oh, what a plot Jenny Hart had in hand—her first plot and her last.
She had acquainted Martin Barton and his wife, with the affection that
was growing up between their daughters and the two excellent young
clerks, Jasper Merry and Alfred Gray; and the good couple were very well
content. The acme of bliss was to stand day in and day out, in the
thread and needle shop, eat their three nice meals, count out their five
long boxes of copper and silver and bank notes, rock themselves for a
quarter of an hour in their high backed rocking chairs, and go lovingly
to bed as innocent and happy as their “two” twins.

For one month did Jenny Hart toil as no woman ever did toil; for she had
all sorts of work people to superintend, and all sorts of secrets to
keep; and above all she had to repress Archy Campbell’s highly excited
feelings, for he was as far as ever from coming to any understanding
with her. Well, all was ready—the first of June came; Archy had been
told in a quiet kind of way, that he was to be bride’s man to his two
young companions; and that he must be ready at a minute’s warning, and
to go on as if nothing was to happen, particularly on this their last
day in the shop.

The last day came—the first of June, and the shop was unusually full;
for quietly as Jenny Hart managed every thing, still something had
leaked out, and as she was the most conspicuous person, the secret was
attached to her. It was conjectured, that she was either to be married
to Mr. Norton or to Archy Campbell, and in either case she would
disappear from public eyes.

It will be a great loss to the shop when she goes, said one; a public
loss said another; Jenny Hart ought never to marry said a young
gentleman; for half the pleasure in life we young fellows have, is to
get a look at her and hear her musical voice, so modest and so arch and
gay as she is too. I have a great mind to choke old Norton, and shoot
this Archy Campbell; and there he stands, looking as if no happiness
awaited him. I think it must be old Norton after all; for no man could
look so grave on the eve of marrying such a peerless creature as this
Jenny Hart. Young and old caught a whisper of the news, but no one dared
to banter her; in fact, there was no chance, she was so busy.

Tired and fagged they all were that day; and if you had looked down
behind the counter, you would have seen Martin Barton, the much enduring
creature, standing on one foot to rest the other. His wife had told him
to do it years ago; and so, whenever he saw her standing on one foot,
which was generally every Saturday, he thought it was high time to do
the same. This day poor Jenny Hart did complain of fatigue, the first
time Archy Campbell had ever heard her complain of any thing. “Are you
tired, Jenny Hart?” said Martin Barton, “how sorry I am.” “Tired, are
you?” said Mrs. Martin Barton, “stand on one foot as we do Jenny Hart,
that will rest the other.” “Stand on one foot,” said Jenny Hart,
laughing, “I have not a foot left to stand upon.”

“Oh, what a beautiful bunch of flowers,” said a lady, “where did they
come from, and whom are they for?”

“They came from our new place Camperdown,” said Mrs. Martin Barton, “and
they are for our two twins to-morrow.”—Jenny Hart pushed her.

“Ah! true,” said the lady, “I recollect you have twins; how old are
they?”

“How old? let me see,” said Mrs. Martin Barton, who really had known the
night before; but Jenny’s push had bewildered her—she was afraid that to
tell their age, would be to tell the secret. “How old are they Jenny
Hart?”

“Just seventeen, Mrs. Martin Barton, and the sun is down, you see. We
shut up shop now at sundown,” said Mr. Martin Barton. Seeing that many
of the customers lingered—we are going to the—Jenny gave him a push.
“What ails them both to tell things now,” thought she, “just at this
present moment, and never before?”

Well, the shop was closed, the clerks had their tea, the boxes were
brought in and the money counted; Archy Campbell put all in the strong
box and disappeared. Jenny Hart,—a thing of late years, quite unusual,
set herself down in a chair, and seemed as if she were going to spend
the evening in the little back room.

“I have something to say to you my good kind friends,” said she at last,
“something that I fear will give you pain; and I have also a favour to
beg of you, and this I know you will have pleasure in granting.”

“Tell us all in the morning, dear Jenny Hart,” said Mrs. Martin Barton,
“for I am so sleepy and tired, that I cannot even listen.”

“Just stop one moment,” said she, as Mrs. Martin Barton was pulling her
husband by the sleeve to go, she having the candlestick in her hand.

“You are going with us to Camperdown to-morrow,” said he, “and you can
come in our carriage, and tell us all about it. Poor thing, see how
tired she is;” and he looked down, and saw Mrs. Martin Barton on one
foot.

“Going with you,” said Jenny Hart, her lip quivering, “yes, just for
to-morrow; but you’ll see then—you’ll see. But go to bed, for I fear
that what I have to say, will rob you of sleep.”

“Oh, no,” said Martin Barton, “nothing can keep two such tired souls
awake, so say out and have done with it. You see that even poor tired
Letty is broad awake, has let go my sleeve, and has put down the
candlestick.”

“Well, to be sure,” said Mrs. Martin Barton, “a change has come over
you. I have not heard you call me Letty this many a day. Speak out Jenny
Hart.”

“I won’t detain you long,” said Jenny, rising as she spoke, and going
near her friends, “We have taken an account of stock you know—and my
wages for the last fourteen years, untouched you know, is about equal to
the amount of goods. I want you to let Archy Campbell have the goods and
the shop, and your good will—and—poor Jenny Hart in the bargain. Archy
Campbell has saved money too; will you give your consent?”

“No,” thundered out Martin Barton, wide awake, “that I won’t. The goods
he may have for nothing, the shop he may have for nothing, and our best
good will he may have; but as to your leaving us—no, never. Oh, Jenny
Hart, Jenny Hart, can you bear to leave us? You may well cry and take on
so, Letty; why it is impossible, Jenny Hart—we could not stand it.”

“Oh, Jenny Hart, dear Jenny Hart,” said Mrs. Martin Barton, wide awake
now, falling on the afflicted little maiden’s neck, and trembling like a
leaf—“don’t leave us, we shall both die if you think of leaving us.
Martin Barton, don’t let us go to Camperdown—that is, to live there, I
mean. If she will stay, let us remain and keep shop for her as she has
done for us.”

“Good heaven,” thought Jenny Hart, almost fainting with emotion, “could
I have believed that under this untiring money-making spirit there was
so much of deep feeling?—and for me too! But I cannot give up Archy
Campbell; he has wrought hard for me. If I go with them I must give him
up, and that I find I cannot do.”

“There is no sleep for us to-night, Jenny”—seeing her hesitate—“how much
did you say we were now worth?”

“Why, Archy Campbell was just whispering to me as he went out that you
were now worth half a million of dollars, besides the large Camperdown
property. He has been hard at work with Mr. Norton for the last week.”

“Half a million!” said Mrs. Martin Barton; “well, it is really time to
leave off selling thread and needles.”

“Yes, a good half million,” said the little shopwoman exultingly. Martin
Barton whispered to his wife, and she wiped her tearful eyes, and
laughed out aloud. “Excellent,” said she,—“ah, Jenny, you have had your
day, now we’ll have ours; it is all settled, Jenny Hart, we have settled
it all, and now I am getting sleepy again—so, good night.”

What did Jenny do when the good couple left her? why she sent little
Betty for Archy Campbell, and when he came in she pointed to a chair.

“Archy Campbell,” said she, “I have never told you that this was the
last day that Mr. and Mrs. Martin Barton were to be in the shop. They
have left it entirely, and—and—it is yours—all yours, goods, shop, and
all.”

“And _you_, Jenny Hart,” said the young man, rising and standing before
her, trembling with emotion.

“I,” said she, rising also, and stepping to the door of the entry which
led to the next house,—“I, why I am going to Camperdown with the
family.” (Oh, Jenny Hart, Jenny Hart, how could you torment the young
man in this way?)

“Then the devil take the goods, the shop, and all,” said he, putting on
his hat. “They may look out for another bridesman to-morrow, and so I
will tell the young man. I had hoped that in time”—

“They _are_ going to look out for another bridesman in your place,” said
the provoking girl, breaking her heart, too, to see him so unhappy.
“They went to see one of their friends an hour ago, and I am to have the
two sweet girls for my bridesmaids, and you are to have both Jasper
Merry and Alfred Gray for your bridesmen; so get yourself ready and”—

“Jenny, dearest Jenny,” said he, approaching her, almost beside himself
through hopes and fears, “are you in earnest? am I at last”—and he that
had never wept since he left his mother, now covered his face and wept
aloud.

“Archy Campbell, I did not think you would be so greatly affected. Oh,
how I have underrated every body! what a world we live in, myself the
poorest in it. Here is my hand, dear Archy Campbell; it is so long since
I gave you my heart that I forget I ever had one.”

One embrace and the lovers parted; she tripped up, frightened to death
at what she had done, and he threw his hat to the farthest end of the
room in a transport of joy.

So the carriages came to the door, and then first stepped in Mr. and
Mrs. Martin Barton, Mrs. Armstrong and Mr. Norton, (they were married
that day six months, and I was at the wedding,) and little Betty, who
sat down between Martin Barton’s feet. Then, in the second carriage,
stepped Rona, Jasper Merry, Ida, and Alfred Gray; then went Archy
Campbell—no, I ought rather to say, then went Jenny Hart and Archy
Campbell; he felt too deeply to wish for any other person near him at
that moment but his own darling, Jenny Hart—let me call her so a little
longer;—and, lastly, went the bridesmaids and bridesmen, who rattled
away, and were the first to get at the church door to help the party
out.

There had been great altercation the morning before as to who should be
married first, but Jenny Hart did not conquer this time. They all coaxed
and threatened, and at last she had to consent, to save time, she said.
“I would not give up now, my dear girls, but I feel as if the poor shop
girl”—

“Hold your tongue, Jenny Hart,” said Mrs. Martin Barton, “you are not a
poor”—

Martin Barton gave her a push. Then came the dispute as to which of the
twins should stand up first, for Mrs. Martin Barton had forgotten which
was the oldest; there was only half an hour’s difference, however. Jenny
Hart settled that by saying, that, as Jasper Merry was older than Alfred
Gray, his bride should take the precedence—and all was settled.

So Jenny Hart, and her manly, handsome lover, Archy Campbell, were
married first—and there had like to have been no one else married, there
was so much kissing and crying; but the ceremonies proceeded, and the
clergyman said he had never married three such lovely couples before. He
had five little notes in his hand as the carriages drove off; it was a
surprise to the poor clergyman, for each paper contained a hundred
dollar note—even Mr. Martin Barton and Mr. Norton made the clergyman a
present. But—half a million!

Away the carriages flew—five miles to Camperdown—and there, looking
quite young and handsome, stood good Mr. and Mrs. Daly, waiting to bless
them all, and to tell them that dinner was ready.

The table—two tables, I should say, were set out, and people may believe
it or not as they choose, but, though every delicacy was on them, there
was neither decanter nor wine glass. Temperance was their motto; it was
by temperance in all things that these thread and needle people made
themselves rich and happy.

The dinner was all one happy confusion; and, if Hosea Bringle had not
solaced himself with a good luncheon, beforehand, he would have risen
from the table with but a poor account of delicacies eaten—he was
impelled on by the tide of joyful faces, to follow, as they left the
house to take possession of their future homes.

Archy Campbell, with Jenny hanging on his arm, (good reader, let me go
back again, and call her Jenny Hart.) Archy Campbell, with dear Jenny
Hart hanging on his arm; walked slowly forward; his heart was too full
to be gay; his happiness was too new; his gratitude too deep, to know
what was passing; and his bride, letting in a flood of new feelings, was
pondering and wondering to see the quiet, yet alert, shopman, who, for
fifteen years, had frittered away the minutes in selling pennyworths of
tape and needles, transformed into a man of great elevation of soul, and
deep, tender feeling. “And this man is my husband,” said she, casting
her eyes up to his handsome countenance, which was all radiant with joy
as her eye met his.

First they installed Rona in her house. Every thing that heart could
wish was there, down to the minutest thing; and beautiful every thing
was; for dear Jenny—see, reader, I have dropped the other name—had an
exquisite taste. And then, Ida took possession of her home, exactly like
her sister’s, in point of beauty and completeness; but different only in
fancy. Then Mrs. Armstrong was taken to her house; every thing complete,
like the other two, only the furniture a thought more grave. Then the
whole flock proceeded to the fourth house—it was the one for the father
and mother—good, honest Martin Barton and his wife; this also was a
model of comfort and beauty. The whole party stood on the steps and
under the portico.

“Step in Jenny Hart—dear Jenny Campbell, now”—said Martin Barton, “step
in, Archy Campbell; I have made up my mind to one thing; and that is,
that I cannot let you have the thread and needle store; I have made it
all over to Peter Squire and Jacob Teller.”—Jacob Teller was the fifth
clerk.

Jenny turned pale and Archy red—“Come this way, Hosea Bringle,” said old
Mr. Daly, “don’t go to cry, man, you’ll hear all presently—come, son and
daughter, make haste, it is getting late.”

“Jenny Hart, my own Jenny,” said Mrs. Martin Barton, drying her eyes,
“this house, and all in it, is yours; and here comes Mr. Norton, to make
over to you one-fifth of the money you helped us to make. What, did you
think we could bear to see you toil, and toil again, as you have done;
and Archy Campbell, too—so in with you.” And in they went, with hearts
too full to thank their friends.

There was, indeed, plenty of room at Mr. Daly’s for Martin Barton and
his wife, and little Betty and all; and, as to Hosea Bringle, he was a
fixture there. Mrs. Armstrong, as I said, did not live alone long, in
her handsome house.

And now, gentle reader, I must leave off. But would you not like to hear
more of our dear Jenny—how she managed her house and her gardens, and
the poor people in the neighbourhood—and how her husband idolized her;
and how all the old customers, rich and poor, came to see her, and
partake of her hospitalities. Only let me know, and I will tell you more
of her, and how Hosea Bringle read to the four innocent people every
evening, either some good book or other; or in the Arabian Nights; and
how they blended the genii that wanted to kill the merchant, with the
giant in Pilgrim’s Progress. And how the old man sat whittling with a
penknife, making weathercocks for the stables; and, finally, little
go-carts, and little wheelbarrows, and little rakes, for the young
family that was fast rising up around him. They could not come too fast
for old Hosea Bringle. And then, how easy it came to Martin Barton to
take care of a garden; working as hard at it as he did in his thread and
needle store. Only encourage me, and I will write on; or drop a line in
the Evening Star, and the American, of New York, and my pen will soon be
set going again.


                                THE END.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                            NEW NOVELS, &c.


                            LATELY PUBLISHED

                      BY CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD.


                          _DR. BIRD’S NOVELS._

  THE HAWKS OF HAWK HOLLOW. A Tradition of Pennsylvania. By the author
    of “Calavar,” and “The Infidel.” In 2 vols. 12mo.

                           A second edition of

  CALAVAR, OR THE KNIGHT OF THE CONQUEST. A Romance of Mexico. 2 vols.
    12mo. By the author of “The Infidel.”

  THE INFIDEL, OR THE FALL OF MEXICO. A Romance. In 2 vols. 12mo. By
    the author of “Calavar.”

  PENCIL SKETCHES, OR OUTLINES OF CHARACTER AND MANNERS. By Miss
    Leslie. In 2 vols. 12mo.

  CLINTON BRADSHAW, OR THE ADVENTURES OF A LAWYER. In 2 vols. 12mo.

  TALES AND SKETCHES. By the author of “Linwoods,” “Redwood,” &c. 1
    vol. 12mo.

  THE INSURGENTS. A new American and Historical Novel. 2 vols. 12mo.

  DACRE. A Novel. 2 vols. 12mo.

  CHANCES AND CHANGES; a Domestic Story, in 2 vols. 12mo.

  THE TWO FRIENDS. By Lady Blessington, in 2 vols. 12mo.

  ANNE GREY; a Novel. 2 vols. 12mo.

  WILL WATCH. By the author of “Cavendish,” “Port Admiral,” &c. in 3
    vols. 12mo.

  THE MONIKINS. By the author of “The Spy.” In 2 vols. 12mo.

  MY COUSIN NICHOLAS, OR THE BULWINKLES OF UNDERDOWN HALL. 2 vols.
    12mo.

  THE MARDENS AND THE DAVENTRYS. Tales by Miss Pardoe. 2 vols. 12mo.

  THE MOST UNFORTUNATE MAN IN THE WORLD. By Captain Chamier. 2 vols.
    12mo.

  THE MAYOR OF WIND GAP, AND CANVASSING; Tales. By Banim, author of
    the O’Hara Family, &c. 2 vols. 12mo.

  BELFORD REGIS, OR SKETCHES OF A COUNTRY TOWN. By Miss Mitford. 2
    vols. 12mo.

  THE PRINCESS, OR THE BEGUINE. By Lady Morgan. 2 vols. 12mo.

  VATHEK, an Oriental Tale. By Mr. Beckford, author of “Journey to
    Alcobaco,” &c. 1 vol. 18mo.

  ROOKWOOD, a Romance. By W. H. Ainsworth, 12mo.

  THE COMIC SKETCH-BOOK. By John Poole, author of Paul Pry, &c. 2
    vols. 12mo.

  HORSE SHOE ROBINSON, a Tale of the Tory Ascendancy. By the author of
    “Swallow Barn.” Third Edition. 2 vols. 12mo.

  CHAIROLAS; by the author of “Pelham;” and OTHER TALES, by the author
    of “Vivian Grey,” and others. 1 vol. 12mo.

  GILBERT GURNEY. By the author of “Sayings and Doings.” 2 vols. 12mo.

  THE EARLY CALLED, THE STOIC, AND THE LANSBYS OF LANSBY HALL. 1 vol.

  PETER SNOOK, AND OTHER STRANGE TALES. By the author of “The
    Invisible Gentleman,” &c. 2 vols. 12mo. (Nearly ready.)

  MARGARET RAVENSCROFT, OR SECOND LOVE. By Mr. St. John. 2 vols. 12mo.

  AGNES DE MANFELDT. By the author of “Highways and Byways.” 2 vols.
    12mo.

  TALES OF OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD. By the author of “The Collegians.” 2
    vols. 12mo. (Nearly ready.)

  HARRY CALVERLY. By the author of “Cecil Hyde.” 2 vols.

  BEN BRACE, THE LAST OF NELSON’S AGAMEMNONS. By Captain Chamier. 2
    vols. 12mo.

  THE EMPRESS. By the author of “The Albanians,” &c. 2 vols.

  THE WARLOCK. A Tale of the Sea. By The Old Sailor. (Nearly ready.)

  WATKINS TOTTLE, and other Sketches, by Boz. 2 vols. 12mo.

  THE FARMER’S DAUGHTER, &c. By the author of “The Warlock,” &c.
    (Nearly ready.)

  THE DEVOTED. By Lady Charlotte Bury. 2 vols. 12mo. (Nearly ready.)

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. Added Table of Contents.
 2. Moved ads from beginning two pages to last two pages.
 3. Changed ‘It’s no a Parrot’ to ‘It’s not a Parrot’ on p. 94.
 4. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 5. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 6. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.





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