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Title: Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 6, December 1847
Author: Various
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 6, December 1847" ***

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                           GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE.
               Vol. XXXI.      August, 1847.      No. 2.


                           Table of Contents

                   Fiction, Literature and Articles

          Love’s Last Supper
          The Islets of the Gulf
          The Darkened Hearth
          Sophy’s Flirtation
          The Widow and the Deformed
          An Assiniboin Lodge
          Review of New Books

                          Poetry and Fashion

          Sonnet.—To Mary M. R. W.
          The Last Tilt
          Blind!
          My Loved—My Own
          The Wayside Dream
          Sonnet
          Thou’rt Not Alone
          On a Sleeping Child
          Stanzas for Music
          Description of the Fashion Plate
          Le Follet

       Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.

                 *        *        *        *        *

[Illustration: Figures from J. P. Davis., Drawn with original scenery
  & Engraved by Geo. B. Ellis.

THE TROUBADOUR.
 _Engraved expressly for Graham’s Magazine._]

                 *        *        *        *        *

                           GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE.

        Vol. XXXI.     PHILADELPHIA, DECEMBER, 1847.     No. 6.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                          LOVE’S LAST SUPPER.


                         A PROVENÇAL BIOGRAPHY.


 BY WM. GILMORE SIMMS, AUTHOR OF “THE YEMASSE,” “RICHARD HURDIS,” ETC.


In the first conception of the institution of chivalry it was doubtless
a device of great purity, and contemplated none but highly proper and
becoming purposes. Those very features which, in our more sophisticated
era, seem to have been the most absurd, or at least fantastic, were,
perhaps among its best securities. The sentiment of love, apart from its
passion, is what a very earnest people, in a very selfish period, cannot
so well understand; but it was this very separation of interests, which
we now hold to be inseparable, that constituted the peculiarity of
chivalry—the fanciful in its characteristics rendering sentiment
independent of passion, and refining the crude desire by the exercise
and influence of tastes, which do not usually accompany it. Among the
Provençal knights and troubadours, in the palmy days of their progress,
love was really the most innocent and the most elevated of sentiments.
It seems to have been nursed without guile, and was professed, even when
seemingly in conflict with the rights of others, without the slightest
notion of wrong doing or offence. It did not vex the temper, or impair
the marital securities of the husband, that the beauties of his dame
were sung with enthusiasm by the youthful poet; on the contrary, he who
gloried in the possession of a jewel, was scarcely satisfied with
fortune unless she brought to a just knowledge of its splendors, the
bard who alone could convey to the world a similar sense of the value of
his treasure. The narrative which we have gathered from the ancient
chronicles of Provence, and which we take occasion to say is drawn from
the most veracious sources of history, will illustrate the correctness
of these particulars.

One of the most remarkable instances of the sentiment of love, warmed
into passion, yet without evil in its objects, is to be found in the
true and touching history of Guillaume de Cabestaign, a noble youth of
Roussillon. Though noble of birth, Guillaume was without fortune, and it
was not thought improper or humiliating in those days that he should
serve, as a page, the knight whose ancestors were known to his own as
associates. It was in this capacity that he became the retainer of
Raymond, Lord of Roussillon. Raymond, though a haughty baron, was one
who possessed certain generous tastes and sentiments, and who showed
himself capable of appreciating the talents and great merits of
Guillaume de Cabestaign. His endowments, indeed were of a character to
find ready favor with all parties. The youth was not only graceful of
carriage, and particularly handsome of face and person, but he possessed
graces of mind and manner which especially commended him to knightly
sympathy and admiration. He belonged to that class of _improvisatori_ to
whom the people of Provence gave the name of troubadour, and was quite
as ready to sing the praises of his mistress, as he was to mount horse,
and charge with sword and lance in her defence and honor. His muse,
taking her moral aspect from his own, was pure and modest in her
behavior—indulging in no song or sentiment which would not fall
becomingly on the most virgin ear. His verses were distinguished equally
by their delicacy and fancy, and united to a spirit of the most generous
and exulting life a taste of the utmost simplicity and purity. Not less
gentle than buoyant, he was at once timid in approach, and joy-giving in
society; and while he compelled the respect of men by his frank and
fearless manhood, he won the hearts of the other sex by those gentle
graces which, always prompt and ready, are never obtrusive, and which
leave us only to the just appreciation of their value, when they are
withdrawn from our knowledge and enjoyment.

It happened, unfortunately for our troubadour, that he won too many
hearts. Raised by the Lord of Roussillon to the rank of gentleman usher
to the Lady Marguerite, his young and beautiful wife, the graces and
accomplishments of Guillaume de Cabestaign, soon became quite as
apparent and agreeable to her as to the meanest of the damsels in her
train. She was never so well satisfied as in his society; and her young
and ardent soul, repelled rather than solicited by the stern nature of
Raymond, her lord, was better prepared and pleased to sympathize with
the more beguiling and accessible spirit of the page. The tenderest
impressions of love, without her own knowledge, soon seized upon her
heart; and she had learned to sigh as she gazed upon the person that she
favored, long before she entertained the slightest consciousness that he
was at all precious to her eyes. He himself, dutiful as devoted, for a
long season beheld none of these proofs of favor on the part of his
noble mistress. She called him her servant, it is true, and he as such,
sung daily in her praises the equal language of the lover and the
knight. These were words, however, of specific and conventional meaning,
to which her husband listened with indifferent ear. In those days every
noble lady entertained a lover, who was called her servant. It was a
prerogative of nobility that such should be the case. It spoke for the
courtliness and aristocracy of the party; and to be without a lover,
though in the possession of a husband, was to be an object of scornful
sympathy in the eyes of the sex. Fashion, in other words, had taken the
name of chivalry; and it was one of her regulations that the noble lady
should possess a lover, who should of necessity be other than her lord.
In this capacity, Raymond of Roussillon, found nothing of which to
complain in the devotion of Guillaume de Cabestaign to Marguerite, his
wife. But the courtiers who gathered in her train were not so indulgent,
or were of keener sight. They soon felt the preference which she gave,
over all others, to our troubadour. They felt, and they resented it the
more readily, as they were not insensible to his personal superiority.
Guillaume himself, was exceeding slow in arriving at a similar
consciousness. Touched with a fonder sentiment for his mistress than was
compatible with his security, his modesty had never suffered him to
suppose that he had been so fortunate as to inspire her with a feeling
such as he now knew within himself. It was at a moment when he least
looked for it, that he made the perilous discovery. It was in the course
of a discussion upon the various signs of love—such a discussion as
occupied the idle hours, and the wandering fancies of chivalry—that she
said to him, somewhat abruptly,

“Surely thou, Guillaume, thou, who canst sing of love so tenderly, and
with so much sweetness, thou, of all persons, should be the one to
distinguish between a feigned passion and a real one. Methinks the eye
of him who loves truly, could most certainly discover from the eye of
the beloved one, whether the real flame were yet burning in her heart.”

And even as she spoke, the glance of her dark and lustrous eye settled
upon his own with such a dewy and quivering fire, that his soul at once
became enlightened with her secret. The troubadour was necessarily an
_improvisatore_. Guillaume de Cabestaign was admitted to be one of the
most spontaneous in his utterance of all his order. His lyre took for
him the voice which he could not well have used at that overpowering
moment. He sung wildly and triumphantly, inspired by his new and
rapturous consciousness, even while her eyes were yet fixed upon him,
full still of the involuntary declaration which made the inspiration of
his song. These verses, which embodied the first impulsive sentiment
which he had ever dared to breathe from his heart of the passion which
had long been lurking within it, have been preserved for us by the
damsels of Provence. We translate them, necessarily to the great
detriment of their melody, from the sweet South, where they had birth,
to our harsher Runic region. The song of Guillaume was an apostrophe.

        Touch the weeping string!
          Those whose beauty fires me;
        Oh! how vainly would I sing
          The passion that inspires me.
        This, dear heart, believe,
          Were the love I’ve given,
        Half as warm for Heaven as thee,
          I were worthy heaven!

        Ah! should I lament,
          That, in evil hour,
        Too much loving to repent,
          I confess thy power.
        Too much blessed to fly,
          Yet, with shame confessing,
        That I dread to meet the eye,
          Where my heart finds blessing.

Such a poem is beyond analysis. It was simply a gush of enthusiasm—the
lyrical overflow of sentiment and passion, such as a song should be
always. The reader will easily understand that the delicacy of the tune,
the epigrammatic intenseness of the expression, is totally lost in the
difficulty of subjugating our more stubborn language to the uses of the
poet. A faint and inferior idea of what was said, sung at this moment of
wild and almost spasmodical utterance, is all that we design to convey.

The spot in which this scene took place was amid the depth of umbrageous
trees, in the beautiful garden of Chateau Roussillon. A soft and
persuasive silence hung suspended in the atmosphere. Not a leaf stirred,
not a bird chirruped in the foliage; and however passionate was the
sentiment expressed by the troubadour, it scarcely rose beyond a
whisper—harmonizing in the subdued utterance, and the sweet delicacy of
its sentiment with the exquisite repose and languor of the scene.
Carried beyond herself by the emotions of the moment, the feeling of
Marguerite became so far irresistible that she stooped ere the song of
the troubadour had subsided from the ear, and pressed her lips upon the
forehead of her kneeling lover. He seized her hand at this moment and
carried it to his own lips, in an equally involuntary impulse. This act
awakened the noble lady to a just consciousness of her weakness. She at
once recoiled from his grasp.

“Alas!” she exclaimed, with clasped hands, “what have I done?”

“Ah, lady!” was the answer of the troubadour, “it is thy goodness which
has at length discovered how my heart is devoted to thee. It is thy
truth, and thy nobleness, dear lady, which I love and worship.”

“By these shalt thou know me ever, Guillaume of Cabestaign,” was the
response; “and yet I warn thee,” she continued, “I warn and I entreat
thee, dear servant, that thou approach me not so near again. Thou hast
shown to me, and surprised from me, a most precious but an unhappy
secret. Thou hast, too, deeply found thy way into my heart. Alas!
wherefore! wherefore!” and the eyes of the amiable and virtuous woman
were suffused with tears, as her innocent soul trembled under the
reproaches of her jealous conscience. She continued,

“I cannot help but love thee, Guillaume of Cabestaign, but it shall
never be said that the love of the Lady Marguerite of Roussillon was
other than became the wife of her lord. Thou, too, shall know me by love
only, Guillaume; but it shall be such a love as shall work neither of us
trespass. Yet do not thou cease to love me as before, for, of a truth,
dear servant, the affections of thy heart are needful to the life of
mine.”

The voice of the troubadour was only in his lyre. At all his events, his
reply has been only preserved to us in song. It was in the fullness of
his joy that he again poured forth his melody.

        Where spreads the pleasant garden,
          Where blow the precious flowers,
        My happy lot hath found me
          The bud of all the bowers.
        Heaven framed it with a likeness,
          Its very self in sweetness,
        Where virtue crowns the beauty,
          And love bestows completeness.
        Still humble in possessions,
          That humble all that prove her,
        I joy in the affections,
          That suffer me to love her;
        And in my joy I sorrow,
          And in my tears I sing her,
        The love that others hide away,
          She suffers me to bring her.
        This right is due my homage,
          For while they speak her beauty,
        ’Tis I alone that feel it well,
          And love with perfect duty.

It does not appear that love trespassed in this instance beyond the
sweet but narrow boundaries of sentiment. The lovers met daily, as
usual, secretly as well as publicly, and their professions of attachment
were frankly made in the hearing of the world; but the vows thus spoken
were not articulated any longer in that formal, conventional phraseology
and manner, which, in fact, only mocked the passion which it affectedly
professed. It was soon discovered that the songs of Guillaume de
Cabestaign were no longer the frigid effusions of mere gallantry, the
common, stilt style of artifice and commonplace. There was life, and
blood, and a rare enthusiasm in his lyrics. His song was no longer a
thing of air, floating, as it had done, on the winglets of a simple
fancy, but a living and a burning soul, borne upward and forward, by the
gales of an intense and earnest passion. It was seen, that when the poet
and his noble mistress spoke together, the tones of their voices
mutually trembled as if with a strange and eager sympathy. When they
met, it was noted that their eyes seemed to dart at once into each
other, with the intensity of two wedded fires, which high walls would
vainly separate, and which, however sundered, show clearly that they
will overleap their bounds, and unite themselves in one at last. Theirs
was evidently no simulated passion. It was too certainly real, as well
in other eyes as their own. The world, though ignorant of the mutual
purity of their hearts, were yet quick enough to discern what were their
real sentiments. They saw the affections of which they soon learned,
naturally enough, to conjecture the worst only. The rage of rivals, the
jealousy of inferiors, the spite of the envious, the malice of the
wantonly scandalous, readily found cause of evil where in reality
offence was none. To conceive the crime, was to convey the cruel
suspicion, as a certainty, to the mind of him whom the supposed offence
most affected. Busy tongues soon assailed the ears of the Lord of
Roussillon, in relation to his wife. They whispered him to watch the
lovers—to remark the eager intimacy of their eyes—the tremulous
sweetness of their voices, and their subdued tones whenever they
met—the frequency of their meetings—the reluctance with which they
separated; and they dwelt with emphasis upon the pointed and passionate
declarations, the intensity and ardor of the sentiments which now filled
the songs of the troubadour—so very different from what they had ever
been before. In truth, the new passion of Guillaume had wrought
wondrously in favor of his music. He who had been only a clever and
dextrous imitator of the artificial strains of other poets, had broken
down all the fetters of convention, and now poured forth the most
natural and original poetry of his own, greatly to the increase of his
reputation as a troubadour.

Raymond de Roussillon hearkened to these suggestions in silence, and
with a gloomy heart. He loved his wife truly, as far as it was possible
for him to love. He was a stern, harsh man, fond of the chase, of the
toils of chivalry rather than its sports; was cold in his own emotions,
and with an intense self-esteem, that grew impatient under every sort of
rivalry. It was not difficult to impress him with evil thoughts, even
where he had bestowed his confidence; and to kindle his mind with the
most terrible suspicions of the unconsciously offending parties. Once
aroused, the dark, stern man, resolved to avenge his supposed wrong; and
hearing one day that Guillaume had gone out hawking, and alone, he
hastily put on his armor, concealing it under his courtly and silken
vestments, took his weapon, and rode forth in the direction which the
troubadour had taken. He overtook the latter after a while, upon the
edge of a little river that wound slowly through a wood. Guillaume de
Cabestaign approached his lord without any misgiving; but as he drew
near, a certain indefinable something in the face of Raymond, inspired a
feeling of anxiety in his mind, and, possibly, the secret consciousness
in his own bosom, added to his uneasiness. He remembered that it was not
often that great lords thus wandered forth unattended; and the path
which Raymond pursued was one that Guillaume had taken because of its
obscurity, and with the desire to find a solitude in which he might
brood securely over his own secret fancies and affections. His doubts
thus awakened, our troubadour prepared to guard his speech. He boldly
approached his superior, however, and was the first to break silence.

“You here, my lord, and alone! How does this chance?”

“Nay, Guillaume,” answered the other, mildly, “I heard that you were
here, and hawking, and resolved to share your amusement. What has been
your sport?”

“Nothing, my lord. I have scarcely seen a single bird; and you remember
the proverb—‘Who finds nothing, takes not much.’”

The artlessness and simplicity of the troubadour’s speech and manner,
for the first time, inspired some doubts in the mind of Raymond, whether
he could be so guilty as his enemies had reported him. His purpose, when
he came forth that morning, had been to ride the supposed offender down,
whenever he encountered him, and to thrust his boar-spear through his
body. Such was the summary justice of the feudal baron. Milder thoughts
had suddenly possessed him. If Raymond of Roussillon was a stern man,
jealous of his honor, and prompt in his resentment, he at least desired
to be a just man; and a lurking doubt of the motives of those by whom
the troubadour had been slandered, now determined him to proceed more
deliberately in the work of justice. He remembered the former confidence
which he had felt in the fidelity of the page, and he was not insensible
to the charm of his society. Every sentence which had been spoken since
their meeting, had tended to make him hesitate before he hurried to
judgment in a matter where it was scarcely possible to repair the wrong
which a rash and hasty vengeance might commit. By this time, they had
entered the wood together, and were now concealed from all human eyes.
The Lord of Roussillon alighted from his horse, and motioned his
companion to seat himself beside him in the shade. When both were
seated, and, after a brief pause, Raymond addressed the troubadour in
the following language:

“Guillaume de Cabestaign,” said he, “be sure I came not hither this day
to talk to you of birds and hawking, but of something more serious. Now,
look upon me, and as a true and loyal servant, see that thou answer
honestly to all that I shall ask of thee.”

The troubadour was naturally impressed by the stern simplicity and
solemnity of this exordium. He was not unaware that, as the knight had
alighted from his steed, he had done so heavily, and under the
impediment of concealed armor. His doubts and anxieties were necessarily
increased by this discovery, but so also was his firmness. He left that
much depended upon his coolness and address, and he steeled himself,
with all his soul, to the trial which was before him. The recollection
of Marguerite, and of her fate and reputation depending upon his own,
was the source of no small portion of his present resolution. His
reflections were instantaneous; there was no unreasonable delay in his
answer, which was at once manly and circumspect.

“I know not what you aim at or intend, my lord, but, by heaven! I swear
to you that, if it be proper for me to answer you in that you seek, I
will keep nothing from your knowledge that you desire to know!”

“Nay, Guillaume,” replied the knight, “I will have no conditions. You
shall reply honestly, and without reserve, to all the questions I shall
put to you.”

“Let me hear them, my lord—command me, as you have the right,” was the
reply of the troubadour, “and I will answer you, with my conscience, as
far as I can.”

“I would then know from you,” responded Raymond, very solemnly, “on your
faith, and by your God, whether the verses that you make are inspired by
a real passion?”

A warm flush passed over the cheeks of the troubadour; the pride of the
artist was offended by the inquiry. That it should be questioned whether
he really felt what he so passionately declared, was a disparaging
judgment upon the merits of his song.

“Ah! my lord,” was the reply, expressed with some degree of
mortification, “how could I sing as I do, unless I really felt all the
passion which I declare. In good sooth, then, I tell you, love has the
entire possession of my soul.”

“And, verily, I believe thee, Guillaume,” was the subdued answer of the
baron; “I believe thee, my friend, for unless a real passion was at his
heart, no troubadour could ever sing as thou. But, something more of
thee, Guillaume de Cabestaign. Prithee, now, declare to me the name of
the lady whom thy verses celebrate.”

Then it was that the cheek of our troubadour grew pale, and his heart
sunk within him; but the piercing eye of the baron was upon him. He had
no moment for hesitation. To falter now, he was well assured, was to
forfeit love, life, and every thing that was proud and precious in his
sight. In the moment of exigency the troubadour found his answer. It was
evasive, but adroitly conceived and expressed.

“Nay, my lord, will it please you to consider? I appeal to your own
heart and honour—can any one, without perfidy, declare such a secret?
Reveal a thing that involves the rights and the reputation of another,
and that other a lady of good fame and quality? Well must you remember
what is said on this subject by the very master of our art, no less a
person than the excellent Bernard de Ventadour. He should know—what
says he?”

The baron remained silent, while Guillaume repeated the following verses
of the popular troubadour, whose authority he appealed to:

        “The spy your secret still would claim,
         And asks to know your lady’s name;
         But tell it not for very shame!

        “The loyal lover sees the snare,
         And neither to the waves nor air,
         Betrays the secret of his fair.

        “The duty that to love we owe,
         Is, while to her we all may show,
         On others nothing to bestow.”

Though seemingly well adapted to his objects, the quotation of our
troubadour was unfortunate. There were yet other verses to this
instructive ditty, and the Baron of Roussillon, who had listened very
patiently as his companion recited the preceding, soon proved himself to
have a memory for good songs, though he never pretended to make them
himself. When Guillaume had fairly finished, he took up the strain after
a brief introduction.

“That is all very right and very proper, Guillaume, and I gainsay not a
syllable that Master Bernard hath written; nay, methinks my proper
answer to thee lieth in another of his verses, which thou shouldst not
have forgotten while reminding me of its companions. I shall refresh thy
memory with the next that follows.” And without waiting for any answer,
the baron proceeded to repeat another stanza of the old poem, in very
creditable style and manner for an amateur. This remark Guillaume de
Cabestaign could not forbear making to himself, though he was conscious
at the same time that the utterance of the baron was in singularly slow
and subdued accents—accents that scarcely rose above a whisper, and
which were timed as if every syllable were weighed and spelled, ere it
was confided to expression. The verse was as follows:

        “We yield her name to those alone,
         Who, when the sacred truth is shown,
         May help to make the maid our own.”

“Now, methinks,” continued the baron, “here lieth the wisdom of my
quest. Who better than myself can help to secure thee thy desires, to
promote thy passion, and gain for thee the favor of the fair? Tell me,
then, I command thee, Guillaume, and I promise to help thee with my best
efforts and advice.”

Here was a dilemma. The troubadour was foiled with his own weapons. The
quotation from his own authority was conclusive against him. The
argument of Raymond was irresistible. Of his ability to serve the young
lover there could be no question; and as little could the latter doubt
the readiness of that friendship—assuming his pursuit to be a proper
one—to which he had been so long indebted for favor and protection. He
could excuse himself by no further evasion; and having admitted that he
really and deeply loved, and that his verses declared a real and living
passion, it became absolutely necessary that our troubadour, unless he
would confirm the evident suspicions of his lord, should promptly find
for her a name. He did so. The emergency seemed to justify a falsehood;
and, with firm accents, Guillaume did not scruple to declare himself
devoted, heart and soul, to the beautiful Lady Agnes de Tarrascon, the
sister of Marguerite, his real mistress. At the pressing solicitation of
Raymond, and in order to render applicable to this case certain of his
verses, he admitted himself to have received from this lady certain
favoring smiles, upon which his hopes of future happiness were founded.
Our troubadour was persuaded to select the name of this lady, over all
others, for two reasons. He believed that she suspected, or somewhat
knew of the mutual flame which existed between himself and her sister;
and he had long been conscious of that benevolence of temper which the
former possessed, and which he fondly thought would prompt her in some
degree to sympathize with him in his necessity, and lend herself
somewhat to his own and the extrication of Marguerite. After making his
confession, he concluded by imploring Raymond to approach his object
cautiously, and by no means to peril his fortunes in the esteem of the
lady he professed to love.

But the difficulties of Guillaume de Cabestaign were only begun. It was
not the policy of Raymond to be satisfied with his simple asseverations.
The suspicions which had been awakened in his mind by the malignant
suggestions of his courtiers, were too deeply and skillfully infixed
there, to suffer him to be soothed by the mere statement of the supposed
offender. He required something of a confirmatory character from the
lips of Lady Agnes herself. Pleased, nevertheless, at what he had heard,
and at the readiness and seeming frankness with which the troubadour had
finally yielded his secret to his keeping, he eagerly assured the latter
of his assistance in the prosecution of his quest; and he, who a moment
before had coolly contemplated a deliberate murder, to revenge a
supposed wrong to his own honor, did not now scruple to profess his
willingness to aid his companion in compassing the dishonor of another.
It did not matter much to our sullen baron that the victim was the
sister of his own wife. The human nature of Lord Raymond of Roussillon,
his own dignity uninjured, had but little sympathy with his neighbor’s
rights and sensibilities. He promptly proposed, at that very moment, to
proceed on his charitable mission. The castle of Tarrascon was in sight;
and, pointing to its turrets, that rose loftily above the distant hills,
the imperious finger of Raymond gave the direction to our troubadour,
which he shuddered to pursue, but did not dare to decline. He now began
to feel all the dangers and embarrassments which he was about to
encounter, and to tremble at the disgrace and ruin which seemed to rise,
threatening and dead before him. Never was woman more virtuous than the
Lady Agnes. Gentle and beautiful, like her sister Marguerite, her
reputation had been more fortunate in escaping wholly the assaults of
the malignant. She had always shown an affectionate indulgence for our
troubadour, and a delighted interest in his various accomplishments; and
he now remembered all her goodness and kindness only to curse himself,
in his heart, for the treachery of which he had just been guilty. His
remorse at what he had said to Raymond, was not the less deep and
distressing from the conviction that he felt, that there had been no
other way left him of escape from his dilemma.

We are bound to believe that the eagerness which Raymond of Roussillon
now exhibited was not so much because of a desire to bring about the
dishonor of another, as to be perfectly satisfied that he himself was
free from injury. At the Castle of Tarrascon, the Lady Agnes was found
alone. She gave the kindest reception to her guests; and, anxious to
behold things through the medium of his wishes rather than his doubts
and fears, Raymond fancied that there was a peculiar sort of tenderness
in the tone and spirit of the compliments which she addressed to the
dejected troubadour. That he was disquieted and dejected she was soon
able to discover. His uneasiness made itself apparent before they had
been long together; and the keen intelligence of the feminine mind was
accordingly very soon prepared to comprehend the occasion of his
disquiet, when drawn aside by Raymond at the earliest opportunity, she
found herself cross-examined by the impatient baron on the nature and
object of her own affections. A glance of the eye at Guillaume de
Cabestaign, as she listened to the inquiries of the suspicious Raymond,
revealed to the quick-witted woman the extent of his apprehensions, and
possibly the danger of her sister. Her ready instinct and equally prompt
benevolence of heart, at once decided all the answers of the lady.

“Why question me of lovers,” she replied to Raymond, with a pretty
querulousness of tone and manner, “certainly, I have lovers enow, as
many as I choose to have. Would you that I should live unlike other
women of birth and quality, without my servant to sing my praises, and
declare his readiness to die in my behalf?”

“Ay, ay, my lady,” answered the knight, “lovers, I well know, you
possess; for of these, I trow, that no lady of rank and beauty such as
yours, can or possibly should be without; but is there not one lover
over all whom you not only esteem for his grace and service, but for
whom you feel the tenderest interest, whom, in fact, you prefer to the
full surrender of your whole heart, and were this possible or proper, of
your whole person?”

For a moment the gentle lady hesitated in her answer. The question was
one of a kind to startle a delicate and faithful spirit; but, as her
eyes wandered off to the place where the troubadour stood trembling—as
she detected the pleading terror that was apparent in his face—her
benevolence got the better of her scruples, and she frankly admitted
that there really was one person in the world for whom her sentiments
were even thus lively, and her sympathies thus broad and active.

“And now, I beseech you, Lady Agnes,” urged the anxious baron, “that you
deal with me like a brother who will joy to serve you, and declare to me
the name of the person whom you so much favor?”

“Now, out upon it, my Lord of Roussillon;” was the quick and somewhat
indignant reply of the lady, “that you should presume thus greatly upon
the kindred that lies between us. Women are not to be constrained to
make such confession as this. It is their prerogative to be silent when
the safety of their affections may suffer from their speech. To urge
them to confess, in such cases, is only to compel them to speak
unnecessary falsehoods. And know I not you husbands all—you have but a
feeling in common; and if I reveal myself to you, it were as well that I
should go at once and make full confession to my own lord.”

“Nay, dearest Lady Agnes, have no such doubt of my loyalty. I will
assure you that what you tell me never finds its way to the ear of your
lord. I pray thee do not fear to make this confession to me; nay, but
thou must, Agnes,” exclaimed the rude baron, his voice rising more
earnestly, and his manner becoming passionate and stern, while he
grasped her wrist firmly in his convulsive fingers, and drawing her
toward him, added, in the subdued but intense tones of half-suppressed
passion, “I tell thee, lady, it behooves me much to know this secret.”

The lady did not immediately yield, though the manner of Raymond, from
this moment, determined her that she would do so. She now conjectured
all the circumstances of the case, and felt the necessity of saving the
troubadour for the sake of her sister. But she played with the excited
baron awhile longer, and when his passion grew so impatient as to be
almost beyond his control, she admitted, as a most precious secret,
confided to his keeping only that he might serve her in its
gratification, that she had a burning passion for Guillaume de
Cabestaign, of which he himself was probably not conscious. The
invention of the lady was as prompt and accurate as if the troubadour
had whispered at her elbow. Raymond was now satisfied. He was relieved
of his suspicions, turned away from the Lady of Tarrascon, to embrace
her supposed lover, and readily accepted an invitation from the former,
for himself and companion, to remain that night to supper. At that
moment the great gates of the castle was thrown open, and the Lord of
Tarrascon made his appearance. He confirmed the invitation extended by
his wife; and, as usual, gave a most cordial reception to his guests. As
soon as an opportunity offered, and before the hour of supper arrived,
the Lady Agnes contrived to withdraw her lord to her own apartments, and
there frankly revealed to him all that had taken place. He cordially
gave his sanction to all that she had done. Guillaume de Cabestaign was
much more of a favorite than his jealous master; and the sympathies of
the noble and the virtuous, in those days, were always accorded to those
who professed a love so innocent as, it was justly believed by this
noble couple, was that of the Lady Marguerite and the troubadour. The
harsh suspicions of Raymond were supposed to characterize only a coarse
and brutal nature, which, in the assertion of its unquestionable rights,
would abridge all those freedoms which courtliness and chivalry had
established for the pleasurable intercourse of other parties. A perfect
understanding thus established between the wife and husband, in behalf
of the troubadour, and in misleading the baron, these several persons
sat down to supper in the rarest good humor and harmony. Guillaume de
Cabestaign recovered all his confidence, and with it his inspiration. He
made several improvisations during the evening, which delighted the
company—all in favor of the Lady Agnes, and glimpsing faintly at his
attachment for her. These, unhappily, have not been preserved to us.
They are said to have been so made as to correspond to the exigency of
his recent situation; the excellent Baron Raymond all the while
supposing that he alone possessed the key to their meaning. The Lady
Agnes, meanwhile, under the approving eye of her husband, was at special
pains to show such an interest in the troubadour, and such a preference
for his comfort, over that of all persons present, as contributed to
confirm all the assurances she had given to her brother-in-law in regard
to her affections. The latter saw this with perfect satisfaction; and
leaving Guillaume to pass the night where he was so happily entertained,
he hurried home to Roussillon, eager to reveal to his own wife, the
intrigue between her lover and her sister. It is quite possible that, if
his suspicions of the troubadour were quieted, he still entertained some
with regard to Marguerite. It is not improbable that a conviction that
he was giving pain at every syllable he uttered entered into his
calculations, and prompted what he said. He might be persuaded of the
innocence of the parties, yet doubtful of their affections; and though
assured now that he was mistaken in respect to the tendency of those of
Guillaume, his suspicions were still lively in regard to those of his
wife. His present revelations might be intended to probe her to the
quick, and to gather from her emotions, at his recital, in how much she
was interested in the sympathies of the troubadour.

How far he succeeded in diving into her secret, has not been confided to
the chronicle. It is very certain, however, that he succeeded in making
Marguerite very unhappy. She now entertained no doubt, after her
husband’s recital, of the treachery of her sister, and the infidelity of
her lover; and though she herself had permitted him no privilege,
inconsistent with the claims of her lord, she was yet indignant that he
should have proved unfaithful to a heart which he so well knew to be
thoroughly his own. The pure soul itself entirely devoted to the beloved
object, thus always revolts at a consciousness of its fall from its
purity and its pledges; and though itself denied—doomed only to a
secret worship, to which no altar may be raised, and to which there is
no offering but the sacrifice of constant privation—yet it greatly
prefers to entertain this sacred sense of isolation, to any enjoyment of
mere mortal happiness. To feel that our affections are thus isolated in
vain; that we have yielded them to one who is indifferent to the trust,
and lives still for his earthly passions, is to suffer from a more than
mortal deprivation. Marguerite of Roussillon passed the night in extreme
agony of mind, the misery of which was greatly aggravated by the
necessity, in her husband’s presence, of suppressing every feeling of
uneasiness. But her feelings could not always be suppressed; and when,
the next day, on the return of the troubadour from Tarrascon, she
encountered him in those garden walks which had been made sacred to
their passion by its first mutual revelation, the pang grew to
utterance, which her sense of dignity and propriety in vain endeavored
to subdue. Her eyes brightened indignantly through her tears; and she
whose virtue had withheld every gift of passion from the being whom she
yet professed to love, at once, but still most tenderly, reproached him
with his infidelity.

“Alas! Guillaume,” she continued, after telling him all that she had
heard, “alas! that my soul should have so singled thine out from all the
rest, because of its purity, and should find thee thus, like all the
rest, incapable of a sweet and holy love such as thou didst promise. I
had rather died, Guillaume, a thousand deaths, than that thou shouldst
have fallen from thy faith to me.”

“But I have not fallen—I have not faltered in my faith, Marguerite! I
am still true to thee—to thee only, though I sigh for thee vainly, and
know that thou livest only for another. Hear me, Marguerite, while I
tell thee what has truly happened. Thou hast heard something, truly, but
not all the truth.”

And he proceeded with the narrative to which we have already listened.
He had only to show her what had passed between her lord and himself, to
show how great had been his emergency. The subsequent events at
Tarrascon, only convinced her of the quick intelligence, and sweet
benevolence of purpose by which her sister had been governed. Her
charitable sympathies had seen and favored the artifice in which lay the
safety equally of her lover and herself. The revulsion of her feelings
from grief to exultation, spoke in a gust of tears, which relieved the
distresses of her soul. The single kiss upon his forehead, with which
she rewarded the devotion of the troubadour, inspired his fancy. He made
the event the subject of a sonnet, which has fortunately been preserved
to us.

                    MARGUERITE.

        That there should be a question whom I love,
          As if the world had more than one so fair!
          _Would’st know her name, behold the letters rare,_
        _God-written, on the wing of every dove!_
        Ask if a blindness darkens my fond eyes,
          That I should doubt me whither I should turn;
        Ask if my soul, in cold abeyance lies,
          That I should fail at sight of her to burn.
        That I should wander to another’s sway,
          Would speak a blindnesss worse than that of sight,
          Since here, though nothing I may ask of right,
        Blessings most precious woo my heart to stay.
          High my ambition, since at heaven it aims,
          Yet humble, _since a daisy’s all it claims_.

The lines first italicized embody the name of the lady, by a periphrasis
known to the Provençal dialect, and the name of the daisy, as used in
the closing line, is Marguerite’s. The poem is an unequivocal
declaration of attachment, obviously meant to do away with all adverse
declarations. To those acquainted with the previous history, it unfolds
another history quite as significant; and to those who knew nothing of
the purity of the parties, and who made no allowance for the exaggerated
manner in which a troubadour would be apt to declare the privileges he
had enjoyed, it would convey the idea of a triumph inconsistent with the
innocence of the lovers, and destructive of the rights of the injured
husband. Thus, full of meaning, it is difficult to conceive by what
imprudence of the parties, this fatal sonnet found its way to the hands
of Raymond of Roussillon. It is charged by the biographers, in the
absence of other proofs, that the vanity of Marguerite, in her moments
of exultation—greater than her passion—proud of the homage which she
inspired, and confident in the innocence which the world had too
slanderously already begun to question—could not forbear the temptation
of showing so beautiful a testimony of the power of her charms. But the
suggestion lacks in plausibility. It is more easy to conceive that the
fond heart of the woman would not suffer her to destroy so exquisite a
tribute, and that the jealousy of her lord, provoked by the arts of
envious rivals, conducted him to the place of safe-keeping where her
treasure was concealed. At all events, it fell into his hands, and
revived all his suspicions. In fact, it gave the lie to the artful story
by which he had been lulled into confidence, and was thus, in a manner,
conclusive of the utter guilt of the lovers. His pride was outraged as
well as his honor. He had been gulled by all upon whom he had
relied—his wife, his page, and his sister. He no longer doubted
Marguerite’s infidelity and his own disgrace; and breathing nothing but
vengeance, he yet succeeded in concealing from all persons the
convictions which he felt, of the guilt which dishonored him, and the
terrible vengeance which he meditated for its punishment. He was a cold
and savage man, who could suppress, in most cases, the pangs which he
felt, and could deliberately restrain the passions which yet occupied
triumphant places in his heart and purpose. It was not long before he
found the occasion which he desired. The movements of the troubadour
were closely watched, and one day when he had wandered forth from the
castle, seeking solitude, as was his frequent habit, Raymond contrived
to steal away from observation, and to follow him out into the forest.
He was successful in his quest. He found Guillaume resting at the foot
of a shady tree, in a secluded glen, with his tablets before him. The
outlines of a tender ballad, tender but spiritual, as was the character
of all his melodies, were already inscribed upon the paper. The poet was
meditating, as usual, the charms of that dangerous mistress, whose
beauty was destined to become his bane. Raymond threw himself upon the
ground beside him.

“Ah! well,” said he, as he joined the troubadour, “this love of the Lady
Agnes is still a distressing matter in thy thoughts.”

“In truth, my lord, I think of her with the greatest love and
tenderness,” was the reply of Guillaume.

“Verily, thou dost well,” returned the baron; “she deserves requital at
thy hands. Thou owest her good service. And yet, for one who so greatly
affects a lady, and who hath found so much favor in her sight, methinks
thou seek’st her but seldom. Why is this, Sir Troubadour?”

Without waiting for the answer, Raymond added, “But let me see what thou
hast just written in her praise. It is by his verses that we understand
the devotion of the troubadour.”

Leaning over the poet as he spoke, as if his purpose had been to possess
himself of his tablets, he suddenly threw the whole weight of his person
upon him, and, in the very same moment, by a quick movement of the hand,
he drove the _couteau de chasse_, with which he was armed, and which he
had hitherto concealed behind him, with a swift, unerring stroke deep
down into the bosom of the victim. Never was blow better aimed, or with
more energy delivered. The moment of danger was that of death. The
unfortunate troubadour was conscious of the weapon only when he felt the
steel. It was with a playful smile that Raymond struck, and so innocent
was the expression of his face, even while his arm was extended and the
weight of his body was pressing upon Guillaume, that the only solicitude
of the latter had been to conceal his tablets. One convulsive cry, one
hideous contortion, and Guillaume de Cabestaign was no more. The name of
Marguerite was the only word which escaped him with his dying shriek.
The murderer placed his hand upon the heart of the victim. It had
already ceased to beat.

“Thou wilt mock me no more!” he muttered fiercely, as he half rose from
the body now stiffening fast. But his fierce vengeance was by no means
completed. As if a new suggestion had seized upon his mind, while his
hand rested upon the heart of the troubadour, he suddenly started and
tore away the garments from the unconscious bosom. Once more he struck
it deeply with the keen and heavy blade. In a few moments he had laid it
open. Then he plunged his naked hand into the gaping wound, and tore out
the still quivering heart. This he wrapped up with care, and concealed
in his garments. With another stroke he smote the head from the body,
and this he also concealed, in fragments torn from the person of his
victim. With these proofs of his terrible revenge, he made his way,
under cover of the dusk, in secret to the castle. What remains to be
told is still more dreadful—beyond belief indeed, were it not that the
sources of our history are wholly above discredit or denial. The cruel
baron, ordering his cook into his presence, then gave the heart of the
troubadour into his keeping, with instructions to dress it richly, and
after a manner of dressing certain favorite portions of venison, of
which Marguerite was known to be particularly fond. The dish was a
subject of special solicitude with her husband. He himself superintended
the preparation, and furnished the spices. That night, he being her only
companion at the feast, it was served up to his wife, at the usual time
of supper. He had assiduously subdued every vestige of anger, unkindness
or suspicion from his countenance. Marguerite was suffered to hear and
see nothing which might provoke her apprehensions or arrest her
appetite. She was more than usually serene and cheerful, as, that day
and evening, her lord was more than commonly indulgent. He, too, could
play a part when it suited him to do so; and, like most men of stern
will and great experience, could adapt his moods and manners to that
livelier cast, and more pliant temper, which better persuade the
feminine heart into confidence and pleasure. He smiled upon her now with
the most benevolent sweetness; but while he earnestly encouraged her to
partake of the delicacy specially put before her, he himself might be
seen to eat of any other dish. The wretched woman, totally unsuspicious
of guile or evil, undreaming of disaster, and really conscious of but
little self-reproach, ate freely of the precious meat which had been
placed before her. The eyes of Raymond greedily followed every morsel
which she carried to her lips. She evidently enjoyed the dish which had
been spiced for her benefit, and as she continued to draw upon it, he
could no longer forbear to unfold the exultation which he felt at the
entire satisfaction of his vengeance.

“You seem very much to like your meats to-night, Marguerite. Do you find
them good?”

“Verily,” she answered, “this venison is really delicious.”

“Eat then,” he continued, “I have had it dressed purposely for you. You
ought to like it. It is a dish of which you have always shown yourself
very fond.”

“Nay, my lord, but you surely err. I cannot think that I have ever eaten
before of any thing so very delicious as this.”

“Nay, nay, Marguerite, it is you that err. I _know_ that the meat of
which you now partake, is one which you have always found the sweetest.”

There was something now in the voice of the speaker that made Marguerite
look up. Her eyes immediately met his own, and the wolfish exultation
which they betrayed confounded her and made her shudder. She felt at
once terrified with a nameless fear. There was a sudden sickness and
sinking of her heart. She felt that there was a terrible meaning, a
dreadful mystery in his looks and words, the solution of which she
shrunk from with a vague but absorbing terror. She was too well
acquainted with the sinister expression of that glance. She rallied
herself to speak.

“What is it that you mean, my lord? Something dreadful! What have you
done? This food—”

“Ay, this food! I can very well understand that you should find it
delicious. It is such as you have always loved a little too much. It is
but natural that you should relish, now that it is dead, that which you
so passionately enjoyed while living. Marguerite, the meat of that dish
which you have eaten was once the heart of Guillaume de Cabestaign!”

The lips of the wretched woman parted spasmodically. Her jaws seemed to
stretch asunder. Her eyes dilated in a horror akin to madness. Her arms
were stretched out and forward. She half rose from the table, which she
at length seized upon for her support.

“No!” she exclaimed, hoarsely, at length. “No! no! It is not true. It is
not possible. I will not—I dare not believe it.”

“You shall have a witness, Marguerite! You shall hear it from one whom,
heretofore, you have believed always, and who will find it impossible
now to lie. Behold! This is the head of him whose heart you have eaten!”

With these dreadful words, the cruel baron raised the ghastly head of
the troubadour, which he had hitherto concealed beneath the table, and
which he now placed upon it. At this horrible spectacle the wretched
woman sunk down in a swoon, from which, however, she awakened but too
quickly. The wan and bloody aspect of her lover, the eyes glazed in
death, but full still of the tenderest expression, met her gaze as it
opened upon the light. The savage lord who had achieved the horrid
butchery stood erect, and pointing at the spectacle of terror. His
scornful and demoniac glance—the horrid cruelty of which he continued
to boast—her conscious innocence and that of her lover—her complete
and deep despair—all conspired to arm her soul with a courage which she
had never felt till now. In the ruin of her heart she had grown reckless
of her life. Her eye confronted the murderer.

“Be it so!” she exclaimed. “As I have eaten of meat so precious, it fits
not that inferior food should ever again pass these lips! This is the
last supper which I shall taste on earth!”

“What! dare you thus shamelessly avow to me your passion?”

“Ay! as God who beholds us knows, never did woman more passionately and
truly love mortal man, than did Marguerite of Roussillon the pure and
noble Guillaume de Cabestaign. It is true! I fear not to say it now!
Now, indeed, I am his only and forever!”

Transported with fury at what he heard, Raymond drew his dagger, and
rushed to where she stood. But she did not await his weapon.
Anticipating his wrath, she darted headlong through a door which opened
upon a balcony, over the balustrade of which, with a second effort, she
flung herself into the court below. All this was the work of but one
impulse and of a single instant Raymond reached the balcony as the
delicate frame of the beautiful woman was crushed upon the flag-stones
of the court. Life had utterly departed when they raised her from the
ground!

                 *        *        *        *        *

This terrible catastrophe struck society every where with consternation.
At a season, when not only chivalry, but the church, gave its most
absolute sanction to the existence and encouragement of that strange
conventional love which we have sought to describe, the crime of Raymond
provoked an universal honor. Love, artificial and sentimental rather
than passionate, was the soul equally of military achievement and of
aristocratic society. It was then of vast importance, as an element of
power, in the use of religious enthusiasm. The shock given to those who
cherished this sentiment, by this dreadful history, was felt to all the
extremities of the social circle. The friends and kindred of the
lovers—the princes and princesses of the land—noble lords, knights and
ladies, all combined, as by a common impulse, to denounce and to destroy
the bloody-minded criminal. Alphonso, King of Arragon, devoted himself
to the work of justice. Raymond was seized and cast into a dungeon. His
castle was razed to the ground, under a public decree, which scarcely
anticipated the eager rage of hundreds who rushed to the work of
demolition. The criminal himself was suffered to live; but he lived
either in prison or in exile, with loss of caste and society, and amidst
universal detestation!

Very different was the fate of the lovers, whom man could no more harm
or separate. They were honored, under the sanction of Alphonso, with a
gorgeous funeral procession. They were laid together, in the same tomb,
before the church of Perpignan, and their names and cruel history were
duly engraven upon the stone raised to their memory. According the
Provençal historians, it was afterward a custom with the knights of
Roussillon, of Cerdagne, and of Narbonnois, every year to join with the
noble dames and ladies of the same places, in a solemn service, in
memory of Marguerite of Roussillon, and William of Cabestaign. At the
same time came lovers of both sexes, on a pilgrimage to their tomb,
where they prayed for the repose of their souls. The anniversary of this
service was instituted by Alphonso. We may add that romance has more
than once seized upon this tragic history, out of which to weave her
fictions. Boccaccio has found in it the material for one of the stories
of the Decameron, in which, however, while perverting history, he has
done but little to merit the gratulation of Art. He has failed equally
to do justice to himself, and to his melancholy subject.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                        SONNET.—TO MARY M. R. W.


    Both when the morning and the evening dews
      Moisten the earth, I pray thee, lady, seek
      Some lofty hill, whence many a swelling peak
    May be descried far in the distance. Views
    Like these shall tune thy spirit, and infuse
      Thoughts worthy of immortal life: thy cheek
      Shall glow with rosier healthfulness; thy meek
    And dove-like eyes shall drink in tints and hues
    Like those of heaven; and when the magic play
      Of colors, shifting o’er the mountain-side,
    Has mingled with thy fancy; when the ray
      Of rising or of setting sun has dyed
    Thy inmost soul with splendor—come away—
      For then thou shalt be almost deified.
                                   T. E. V. B.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                             THE LAST TILT.


                           BY HENRY B. HIRST.


        At twilight, through the shadow, fled
          An ancient, war-worn knight,
        Arrayed in steel, from head to heel,
          And on a steed of white;
          And, in the knight’s despite,
          The horse pursued his flight:
        For the old man’s cheek was pale,
          And his hands strove at the rein,
          With the clutch of frenzied pain;
          And his courser’s streaming mane
        Swept, disheveled, on the gale.

    _“Dong—dong!” And the sound of a bell_
      _Went wailing away over meadow and mere—_“Seven!”
    _Counted aloud by the sentinel clock_
      _On the turret of Time; and the regular beat_
      _Of his echoing feet_
    _Fell—like lead—on the ear—_
    _As he left the dead Hour on its desolate bier._

        The old knight heard the mystic clock;
          And the sound, like a funeral bell,
        Rang in his ears till their caverns were full
          Of the knoll of the desolate knell.
          And the steed, as aroused by a spell,
          Sprang away with a withering yell,
        While the old man strove again,
          But each time, with feebler force,
          To arrest the spectral horse
          In its mad, remorseless course,
        But, alas! he strove in vain.

    _“Dong—dong!” And the sound of a bell_
      _Went wailing away over meadow and mere—_ “Eight!”
    _Counted aloud by the sentinel clock_
      _On the turret of Time; and the regular beat_
      _Of his echoing feet_
    _Fell—like lead—on the ear—_
    _As he left the dead Hour on its desolate bier._

        The steed was white, and gaunt, and grim,
          With lidless, leaden eyes
        That burned with the lurid, livid glare
          Of the stars of Stygian skies;
          And the wind, behind, with sighs,
          Mimicked his maniac cries,
        While through the ebony gloom, alone,
          Wan-visaged Saturn gazed
          On the warrior—unamazed—
          On the steed whose eye-balls blazed
        With a lustre like his own.

    _“Dong—dong!” And the sound of a bell_
      _Went wailing away over meadow and mere—_ “Nine!”
    _Counted aloud by the sentinel clock_
      _On the turret of Time; and the regular beat_
      _Of his echoing feet_
    _Fell—like lead—on the ear—_
    _As he left the dead Hour on its desolate bier._

        Athwart a swart and shadowy moor
          The struggling knight was borne,
        And far away, before him, gleamed
          A light like the gray of morn;
          While the old man, weak, forlorn,
          And wan, and travel-worn,
        Gazed, mad with deathly fear:
          For he dreamed it was the day,
          Though the dawn was far away,
          And he trembled with dismay
        In the desert—dark and drear.

    _“Dong—dong!” And the sound of a bell_
      _Went wailing away over meadow and mere—_“Ten!”
    _Counted aloud by the sentinel clock_
      _On the turret of Time; and the regular beat_
      _Of his echoing feet_
    _Fell—like lead—on the ear—_
    _As he left the dead Hour on its desolate bier._

        In casque and cuirass, white as snow,
          Came, merrily, over the wold,
        A maiden knight, with lance and shield,
          And a form of manly mould,
          And a beard of woven gold,
          When—suddenly!—behold!
        With a loud defiant cry,
          And a tone of stern command,
          The ancient knight, with lance in hand,
          Rushed, thundering, over the frozen land,
        And bade him “Stand! or die!”

    _“Dong—dong!” And the sound of a bell_
      _Went wailing away over meadow and mere—_“Eleven!”
    _Counted aloud by the sentinel clock_
      _On the turret of Time; and the regular beat_
      _Of his echoing feet_
    _Fell—like lead—on the ear—_
    _As he left the dead Hour on its desolate bier._

        With his ashen lance in rest,
          Careered the youthful knight,
        With a haughty heart, and an eagle eye,
          And a visage burning bright—
          For he loved the tilted fight—
          And, under Saturn’s light,
        With a shock that shook the world,
          The rude old warrior fell—and lay
          A corpse—along the frozen clay!
          As with a crash the gates of day
        Their brazen valves unfurled.

    _“Dong—dong!” And the sound of a bell_
      _Went wailing away over meadow and mere—_“Twelve!”
    _Counted aloud by the sentinel clock_
      _On the turret of Time; and the regular beat_
      _Of his echoing feet_
    _Fell—like lead—on the ear—_
    _As he left the dead Year on his desolate bier._

                 *        *        *        *        *



                        THE ISLETS OF THE GULF;


                             OR, ROSE BUDD.


           Ay, now I am in Arden; the more fool
           I; when I was at home I was in a better place; but
           Travelers must be content.    As You Like It.

BY THE AUTHOR OF “PILOT,” “RED ROVER,” “TWO ADMIRALS,” “WING-AND-WING,”
                       “MILES WALLINGFORD,” ETC.


    [Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by
    J. Fenimore Cooper, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court
    of the United States, for the Northern District of New York.]

                      (_Continued from page 252._)


                               PART XIV.

             She’s in a scene of nature’s war,
             The winds and waters are at strife;
             And both with her contending for
             The brittle thread of human life.—Miss Gould.

Spike was sleeping hard in his berth, quite early on the following
morning, before the return of light, indeed, when he suddenly started
up, rubbed his eyes, and sprang upon deck like a man alarmed. He had
heard, or fancied he had heard, a cry. A voice once well known and
listened to, seemed to call him in the very portals of his ear. At first
he had listened to its words in wonder, entranced like the bird by the
snake, the tones recalling scenes and persons that had once possessed a
strong control over his rude feelings. Presently the voice became
harsher in its utterance, and it said,

“Stephen Spike, awake! The hour is getting late, and you have enemies
nearer to you than you imagine. Awake, Stephen, awake!”

When the captain was on his feet, and had plunged his head into a basin
of water that stood ready for him in the state-room, he could not have
told, for his life, whether he had been dreaming or waking, whether what
he had heard was the result of a feverish imagination, or of the laws of
nature. The call haunted him all that morning, or until events of
importance so pressed upon him as to draw his undivided attention to
them alone.

It was not yet day. The men were still in heavy sleep, lying about the
decks, for they avoided the small and crowded forecastle in that warm
climate, and the night was apparently at its deepest hour. Spike walked
forward to look for the man charged with the anchor-watch. It proved to
be Jack Tier, who was standing near the galley, his arms folded as
usual, apparently watching the few signs of approaching day that were
beginning to be apparent in the western sky. The captain was in none of
the best humors with the steward’s assistant; but Jack had unaccountably
got an ascendency over his commander, which it was certainly very
unusual for any subordinate in the Swash to obtain. Spike had deferred
more to Mulford than to any mate he had ever before employed; but this
was the deference due to superior information, manners, and origin. It
was common-place, if not vulgar; whereas, the ascendency obtained by
little Jack Tier was, even to its subject, entirely inexplicable. He was
unwilling to admit it to himself in the most secret manner, though he
had begun to feel it on all occasions which brought them in contact, and
to submit to it as a thing not to be averted.

“Jack Tier,” demanded the captain, now that he found himself once more
alone with the other, desirous of obtaining his opinion on a point that
harrassed him, though he knew not why; “Jack Tier, answer me one thing.
Do you believe that we saw the form of a dead or of a living man at the
foot of the light-house?”

“The dead are never seen leaning against walls in that manner, Stephen
Spike,” answered Jack, coolly, not even taking the trouble to uncoil his
arms. “What you saw was a living man; and you would do well to be on
your guard against him. Harry Mulford is not your friend—and there is
reason for it.”

“Harry Mulford, and living! How can that be, Jack? You know the port in
which he chose to run.”

“I know the rock on which you chose to abandon him, Capt. Spike.”

“If so, how could he be living and at the Dry Tortugas? The thing is
impossible!”

“The thing is so. You saw Harry Mulford, living and well, and ready to
hunt you to the gallows. Beware of him, then; and beware of his handsome
wife!”

“Wife! the fellow has no wife—he has always professed to be a single
man!”

“The man is married—and I bid you beware of his handsome wife. She,
too, will be a witness ag’in you.”

“This will be news, then, for Rose Budd. I shall delight in telling it
to _her_, at least.”

“’Twill be _no_ news to Rose Budd. She was present at the wedding, and
will not be taken by surprise. Rose loves Harry too well to let him
marry, and she not present at the wedding.”

“Jack, you talk strangely! What is the meaning of all this? I am captain
of this craft, and will not be trifled with—tell me at once your
meaning, fellow.”

“My meaning is simple enough, and easily told. Rose Budd is the wife of
Harry Mulford.”

“You’re dreaming, fellow, or are wishing to trifle with me!”

“It may be a dream, but it is one that will turn out to be true. If they
have found the Poughkeepsie sloop-of-war, as I make no doubt they have
by this time, Mulford and Rose are man and wife.”

“Fool! you know not what you say! Rose is at this moment in her berth,
sick at heart on account of the young gentleman who preferred to live on
the Florida Reef rather than to sail in the Molly!”

“Rose is not in her berth, sick or well; neither is she on board this
brig at all. She went off in the light-house boat to deliver her lover
from the naked rock—and well did she succeed in so doing. God was of
her side, Stephen Spike; and a body seldom foils with such a friend to
support one.”

Spike was astounded at these words, and not less so at the cool and
confident manner with which they were pronounced. Jack spoke in a
certain dogmatical, oracular manner, it is true, one that might have
lessened his authority with a person over whom he had less influence;
but this in no degree diminished its effect on Spike. On the contrary,
it even disposed the captain to yield an implicit faith to what he
heard, and all so much the more because the facts he was told appeared
of themselves to be nearly impossible. It was half a minute before he
had sufficiently recovered from his surprise to continue the discourse.

“The light-house boat!” Spike then slowly repeated. “Why, fellow, you
told me the light-house boat went adrift from your own hands!”

“So it did,” answered Jack, coolly, “since I cast off the painter—and
what is more, went in it.”

“You! This is impossible. You are telling me a fabricated lie. If you
had gone away in that boat, how could you now be here? No, no—it is a
miserable lie, and Rose is below!”

“Go and look into her state-room, and satisfy yourself with your own
eyes.”

Spike did as was suggested. He went below, took a lamp that was always
suspended, lighted, in the main cabin, and, without ceremony, proceeded
to Rose’s state-room, where he soon found that the bird had really
flown. A direful execration followed this discovery, one so loud as to
awaken Mrs. Budd and Biddy. Determined not to do things by halves, he
broke open the door of the widow’s state-room, and ascertained that the
person he sought was not there. A fierce explosion of oaths and
denunciations followed, which produced an answer in the customary
screams. In the midst of this violent scene, however, questions were
put, and answers obtained, that not only served to let the captain know
that Jack had told him nothing but truth, but to put an end to every
thing like amicable relations between himself and the relict of his old
commander. Until this explosion, appearances had been observed between
them; but, from that moment, there must necessarily be an end of all
professions of even civility. Spike was never particularly refined in
his intercourse with females, but he now threw aside even its
pretension. His rage was so great that he totally forgot his manhood,
and lavished on both Mrs. Budd and Biddy epithets that were altogether
inexcusable, and many of which it will not do to repeat. Weak and silly
as was the widow, she was not without spirit; and on this occasion she
was indisposed to submit to all this unmerited abuse in silence. Biddy,
as usual, took her cue from her mistress, and between the two, their
part of the wordy conflict was kept up with a very respectable degree of
animation.

“I know you—I know you, now!” screamed the widow, at the top of her
voice; “and you can no longer deceive me, unworthy son of Neptune as you
are! You are unfit to be a lubber, and would be log-booked for an
or’nary by every gentleman on board ship. You, a full-jiggered seaman!
No, you are not even half-jiggered, sir; and I tell you so to your
face.”

“Yes, and it isn’t _half_ that might be tould the likes of yees!” put in
Biddy, as her mistress stopped to breathe. “And it’s Miss Rose you’d
have for a wife, when Biddy Noon would be too good for ye! We knows ye,
and all about ye, and can give yer history as complate from the day ye
was born down to the present moment, and not find a good word to say in
yer favor in all that time—and a precious time it is, too, for a
gentleman that would marry pretthy, _young_ Miss Rose! Och! I scorn to
look at ye, yer so ugly!”

“And trying to persuade me you were a friend of my poor, dear Mr. Budd,
whose shoe you are unworthy to touch, and who had the heart and soul for
the noble profession you disgrace,” cut in the widow, the moment Biddy
gave her a chance, by pausing to make a wry face as she pronounced the
word “ugly.” “I now believe you capasided them poor Mexicans, in order
to get their money; and the moment we cast anchor in a road-side, I’ll
go ashore, and complain of you for murder, I will.”

“Do, missus, dear, and I’ll be your bail, will I, and swear to all that
happened, and more too. Och! yer a wretch, to wish to be the husband of
Miss Rose, and she so young and pretthy, and you so ould and ugly!”

“Come away—come away, Stephen Spike, and do not stand wrangling with
women, when you and your brig, and all that belongs to you are in
danger,” called out Jack Tier from the companion-way. “Day is come; and
what is much worse for you, your most dangerous enemy is coming with
it.”

Spike was almost livid with rage, and ready to burst out in awful
maledictions; but at this summons he sprang to the ladder, and was on
deck in a moment. At first, he felt a strong disposition to wreak his
vengeance on Tier, but, fortunately for the latter, as the captain’s
foot touched the quarter-deck, his eye fell on the Poughkeepsie, then
within half a league of the Swash, standing in toward the reef, though
fully half a mile to leeward. This spectre drove all other subjects from
his mind, leaving the captain of the Swash in the only character in
which he could be said to be respectable, or that of a seaman. Almost
instinctively he called all hands, then he gave one brief minute to a
survey of his situation.

It was, indeed, time for the Swash to be moving. There she lay, with
three anchors down, including that of the schooner, all she had, in
fact, with the exception of her best bower, and one kedge, with the
purchases aloft, in readiness for hooking on to the wreck, and all the
extra securities up that had been given to the masts. As for the
sloop-of-war, she was under the very same canvas as that with which she
had come out from the Dry Tortugas, or her three top-sails, spanker, and
jib; but most of her other sails were loose, even to her royals and
flying-jibs, though closely gathered into their spars by means of the
running gear. In a word, every sailor would know, at a glance, that the
ship was merely waiting for the proper moment to spread her wings, when
she would be flying through the water at the top of her speed. The
weather looked dirty, and the wind was gradually increasing, threatening
to blow heavily as the day advanced.

“Unshackle, unshackle!” shouted Spike to the boatswain, who was the
first man that appeared on deck. “The bloody sloop-of-war is upon us,
and there is not a moment to lose. We must get the brig clear of the
ground in the shortest way we can, and abandon every thing. Unshackle,
and cast off for’ard and aft, men.”

A few minutes of almost desperate exertion succeeded. No men work like
sailors, when the last are in a hurry, their efforts being directed to
counteracting squalls, and avoiding emergencies of the most pressing
character. Thus was it now with the crew of the Swash. The clanking of
chains lasted but a minute, when the parts attached to the anchors were
thrust through the hawse-holes, or were dropped into the water from
other parts of the brig. This at once released the vessel, though a
great deal remained to be done to clear her for working, and to put her
in her best trim.

“Away with this out-hauler!” again shouted Spike, casting loose the
main-brails as he did so; “loose the jibs!”

All went on at once, and the Swash moved away from the grave of the poor
carpenter with the ease and facility of motion that marked all her
evolutions. Then the top-sail was let fall, and presently all the upper
square-sails were sheeted home, and hoisted, and the fore-tack was
hauled aboard. The Molly was soon alive, and jumping into the seas that
met her with more power than was common, as she drew out from under the
shelter of the reef into rough water. From the time when Spike gave his
first order, to that when all his canvas was spread, was just seven
minutes.

The Poughkeepsie, with her vastly superior crew, was not idle the while.
Although the watch below was not disturbed, she tacked beautifully, and
stood off the reef, in a line parallel to the course of the brig, and
distant from her about half a mile. Then sail was made, her tacks having
been boarded in stays. Spike knew the play of his craft was short legs,
for she was so nimble in her movements that he believed she could go
about in half the time that would be required for a vessel of the
Poughkeepsie’s length. “Ready about,” was his cry, therefore, when less
than a mile distant from the reef—“ready about, and let her go round.”
Round the Molly did go, like a top, being full on the other tack in just
fifty-six seconds. The movement of the corvette was more stately, and
somewhat more deliberate. Still, she stayed beautifully, and both Spike
and the boatswain shook their heads, as they saw her coming into the
wind with her sails all lifting and the sheets flowing.

“That fellow will fore-reach a cable’s length before he gets about!”
exclaimed Spike. “He will prove too much for us at this sport! Keep her
away, my man—keep the brig away for the passage. We must run through
the reef, instead of trusting ourselves to our heels in open water.”

The brig was kept away accordingly, and sheets were eased off, and
braces just touched, to meet the new line of sailing. As the wind stood,
it was possible to lay through the passage on an easy bowline, though
the breeze, which was getting to be fresher than Spike wished it to be,
promised to haul more to the southward of east, as the day advanced.
Nevertheless, this was the Swash’s best point of sailing, and all on
board of her had strong hopes of her being too much for her pursuer,
could she maintain it. Until this feeling began to diffuse itself in the
brig, not a countenance was to be seen on her decks that did not betray
intense anxiety; but now something like grim smiles passed among the
crew, as their craft seemed rather to fly than force her way through the
water, toward the entrance of the passage so often adverted to in this
narrative.

On the other hand, the Poughkeepsie was admirably sailed and handled.
Everybody was now on deck, and the first lieutenant had taken the
trumpet. Capt. Mull was a man of method, and a thorough man-of-war’s
man. Whatever he did was done according to rule, and with great system.
Just as the Swash was about to enter the passage, the drum of the
Poughkeepsie beat to quarters. No sooner were the men mustered, in the
leeward, or starboard batteries, than orders were sent to cast loose the
guns, and to get them ready for service. Owing to the more leeward
position of his vessel, and to the fact that she always head-reached so
much in stays, Capt. Mull knew that she would not lose much by luffing
into the wind, or by making half boards, while he might gain every thing
by one well directed shot.

The strife commenced by the sloop-of-war firing her weather bow-gun,
single-shotted, at the Swash. No damage was done, though the fore-yard
of the brig had a very narrow escape. This experiment was repeated three
times, without even a rope-yarn being carried away, though the gun was
pointed by Wallace himself and well pointed, too. But it is possible for
a shot to come very near its object and still to do no injury. Such was
the fact on this occasion, though the “ship’s gentleman” was a good deal
mortified by the result. Men look so much at success as the test of
merit, that few pause to inquire into the reasons of failures, though it
frequently happens that adventurers prosper by means of their very
blunders. Capt. Mull now determined on a half board, for his ship was
more to leeward than he desired. Directions were given to the officers
in the batteries to be deliberate, and the helm was put down. As the
ship shot into the wind, each gun was fired, as it could be brought to
bear, until the last of them all was discharged. Then the course of the
vessel was changed, the helm being righted before the ship had lost her
way, and the sloop-of-war fell off again to her course.

All this was done in such a short period of time as scarcely to cause
the Poughkeepsie to lose any thing, while it did the Swash the most
serious injury. The guns had been directed at the brig’s spars and
sails, Capt. Mull desiring no more than to capture his chase, and the
destruction they produced aloft was such as to induce Spike and his men,
at first, to imagine that the whole hamper above their heads was about
to come clattering down on deck. One shot carried away all the weather
fore-topmast rigging of the brig, and would no doubt have brought about
the loss of the mast, if another, that almost instantly succeeded it had
not cut the spar itself in two, bringing down, as a matter of course,
every thing above it. Nearly half of the main-mast was gouged out of
that spar, and the gaff was taken fairly out of its jaws. The fore-yard
was cut in the slings, and various important ropes, were carried away in
different parts of the vessel.

Flight under such circumstances, was impossible, unless some
extraordinary external assistance was to be obtained. This Spike saw at
once, and he had recourse to the only expedient that remained; which
might possibly yet save him. The guns were still belching forth their
smoke and flames, when he shouted out the order to put the helm hard up.
The width of the passage in which the vessels were was not so great but
that he might hope to pass across it and to enter a channel among the
rocks, which was favorably placed for such a purpose, ere the
sloop-of-war could overtake him. Whither that channel led, what water it
possessed, or whether it were not a shallow _cul de sac_, were all facts
of which Spike was ignorant. The circumstances, however, would not admit
of an alternative.

Happily for the execution of Spike’s present design, nothing from aloft
had fallen into the water, to impede the brig’s way. Forward, in
particular, she seemed all wreck; her fore-yard having come down
altogether, so as to encumber the forecastle, while her top-mast, with
its dependent spars and gear, was suspended but a short distance above.
Still, nothing had gone over the side, so as actually to touch the
water, and the craft obeyed her helm as usual. Away she went, then, for
the lateral opening in the reef just mentioned, driven ahead by the
pressure of a strong breeze on her sails, which still offered large
surfaces to the wind, at a rapid rate. Instead of keeping away to
follow, the Poughkeepsie maintained her luff, and just as the Swash
entered the unknown passage, into which she was blindly plunging, the
sloop-of war was about a quarter of a mile to windward, and standing
directly across her stern. Nothing would have been easier, now, than for
Capt. Mull to destroy his chase; but humanity prevented his firing. He
knew that her career must be short, and he fully expected to see her
anchor; when it would be easy for him to take possession with his boats.
With this expectation, indeed, he shortened sail, furling
top-gallant-sails, and hauling up his courses. By this time, the wind
had so much freshened, as to induce him to think of putting in a reef,
and the step now taken had a double object in view.

To the surprise of all on board the man-of-war, the brig continued on,
until she was fully a mile distant, finding her way deeper and deeper
among the mazes of the reef without meeting with any impediment! This
fact induced Capt. Mull to order his Paixhan’s to throw their shells
beyond her, by way of a hint to anchor. While the guns were getting
ready, Spike stood on boldly, knowing it was neck or nothing, and
beginning to feel a faint revival of hope, as he found himself getting
further and further from his pursuers, and the rocks not fetching him
up. Even the men, who had begun to murmur at what seemed to them to be
risking too much, partook, in a slight degree, of the same feeling, and
began to execute the order they had received to try to get the launch
into the water, with some appearance of an intention to succeed.
Previously, the work could scarcely be said to go on at all; but two or
three of the older seamen now bestirred themselves, and suggestions were
made and attended to, that promised results. But it was no easy thing to
get the launch out of a half-rigged brig, that had lost her fore-yard,
and which carried nothing square abaft. A derrick was used in common, to
lift the stern of the boat, but a derrick would now be useless aft,
without an assistant forward. While these things were in discussion,
under the superintendence of the boatswain, and Spike was standing
between the knight-heads, conning the craft, the sloop-of-war let fly
the first of her hollow shot. Down came the hurtling mass upon the
Swash, keeping every head elevated and all eyes looking for the dark
object, as it went booming through the air above their heads. The shot
passed fully a mile to leeward, where it exploded. This great range had
been given to the first shot, with a view to admonish the captain how
long he must continue under the guns of the ship, and as advice to come
to. The second gun followed immediately. Its shot was seen to ricochet,
directly in a line with the brig, making leaps of about half a mile in
length. It struck the water about fifty yards astern of the vessel,
bounded directly over her decks, passing through the main-sail and some
of the fallen hamper forward, and exploded about a hundred yards ahead.
As usually happens with such projectiles, most of the fragments were
either scattered laterally, or went on, impelled by the original
momentum.

The effect of this last gun on the crew of the Swash was instantaneous
and deep. The faint gleamings of hope vanished at once, and a lively
consciousness of the desperate nature of their condition succeeded in
every mind. The launch was forgotten, and, after conferring together for
a moment, the men went in a body, with the boatswain at their head, to
the forecastle, and offered a remonstrance to their commander, on the
subject of holding out any longer, under circumstances so very
hazardous, and which menaced their lives in so many different ways.
Spike listened to them with eyes that fairly glared with fury. He
ordered them back to their duty in a voice of thunder, tapping the
breast of his jacket, where he was known to carry revolvers, with a
significance that could convey but one meaning.

It is wonderful the ascendency that men sometimes obtain over their
fellows, by means of character, the habits of command, and obedience,
and intimidation. Spike was a stern disciplinarian, relying on that and
ample pay for the unlimited control he often found it necessary to
exercise over his crew. On the present occasion, his people were
profoundly alarmed, but habitual deference and submission to their
leader counteracted the feeling, and held them in suspense. They were
fully aware of the nature of the position they occupied in a legal
sense, and were deeply reluctant to increase the appearances of crime;
but most of them had been extricated from so many grave difficulties in
former instances, by the coolness, nerve and readiness of the captain,
that a latent ray of hope was perhaps dimly shining in the rude breast
of every old sea-dog among them. As a consequence of these several
causes, they abandoned their remonstrance, for the moment at least, and
made a show of returning to their duty; though it was in a sullen and
moody manner.

It was easier, however, to make a show of hoisting out the launch, than
to effect the object. This was soon made apparent on trial, and Spike
himself gave the matter up. He ordered the yawl to be lowered, got
alongside, and to be prepared for the reception of the crew, by putting
into it a small provision of food and water. All this time the brig was
rushing madly to leeward, among rocks and breakers, without any other
guide than that which the visible dangers afforded. Spike knew no more
where he was going than the meanest man in his vessel. His sole aim was
to get away from his pursuers, and to save his neck from the rope. He
magnified the danger of punishment that he really ran, for he best knew
the extent and nature of his crimes, of which the few that have been
laid before the reader, while they might have been amongst the most
prominent, as viewed through the statutes and international law, were
far from the gravest he had committed in the eyes of morals.

About this time the Señor Montefalderon went forward to confer with
Spike. The calmness of this gentleman’s demeanor, the simplicity and
coolness of his movements, denoted a conscience that saw no particular
ground for alarm. He wished to escape captivity, that he might continue
to serve his country, but no other apprehension troubled him.

“Do you intend to trust yourself in the yawl, Don Esteban?” demanded the
Mexican quietly. “If so, is she not too small to contain so many as we
shall make altogether?”

Spike’s answer was given in a low voice; and it evidently came from a
very husky throat.

“Speak lower, Don Wan,” he said. “The boat would be greatly overloaded
with all hands in it, especially among the breakers, and blowing as it
does; but we may leave some of the party behind.”

“The brig _must_ go on the rocks, sooner or later, Don Esteban; when she
does, she will go to pieces in an hour.

“I expect to hear her strike every minute, señor; the moment she does we
must be off. I have had my eye on that ship for some time, expecting to
see her lower her cutters and gigs to board us. _You_ will not be out of
the way, Don Wan; but there is no need of being talkative on the subject
of our escape.”

Spike now turned his back on the Mexican, looking anxiously ahead, with
the desire to get as far into the reef as possible with his brig, which
he conned with great skill and coolness. The Señor Montefalderon left
him. With the chivalry and consideration of a man and a gentleman, he
went in quest of Mrs. Budd and Biddy. A hint sufficed for them, and
gathering together a few necessaries they were in the yawl in the next
three minutes. This movement was unseen by Spike, or he might have
prevented, it. His eyes were now riveted on the channel ahead. It had
been fully his original intention to make off in the boat, the instant
the brig struck, abandoning not only Don Juan, with Mrs. Budd and Biddy
to their fates, but most of the crew. A private order had been given to
the boatswain, and three of the ablest bodied among the seamen, each and
all of whom kept the secret with religious fidelity, as it was believed
their own personal safety might be connected with the success of this
plan.

Nothing is so contagious as alarm. It requires not only great natural
steadiness of nerve, but much acquired firmness to remain unmoved when
sudden terror has seized on the minds of those around us. Habitual
respect had prevented the crew from interfering with the movements of
the Mexican, who not only descended into the boat with his female
companions uninterrupted, but also took with him the little bag of
doubloons which fell to his share from the first raising of the
schooner. Josh and Jack Tier assisted in getting Mrs. Budd and Biddy
over the side, and both took their own places in the yawl, as soon as
this pious duty was discharged. This served as a hint to others near at
hand; and man after man left his work to steal into the yawl, until
every living being had disappeared from the deck of the Swash, Spike
himself excepted. The man at the wheel had been the last to desert his
post, nor would he have done so then, but for a signal from the
boatswain, with whom he was a favorite.

It is certain there was a secret desire among the people of the Swash,
who were now crowded into a boat not large enough to contain more than
half their number with safety, to push off from the brig’s side, and
abandon her commander and owner to his fate. All had passed so soon,
however, and events succeeded each other with so much rapidity, that
little time was given for consultation. Habit kept them in their places,
though the appearances around them were strong motives for taking care
of themselves.

Notwithstanding the time necessary to relate the foregoing events, a
quarter of an hour had not elapsed, from the moment when the Swash
entered this unknown channel among the rocks, ere she struck. No sooner
was her helm deserted than she broached-to, and Spike was in the act of
denouncing the steerage, ignorant of its cause, when the brig was
thrown, broadside-to, on a sharp, angular bed of rocks. It was fortunate
for the boat, and all in it, that it was brought to leeward by the
broaching-to of the vessel, and that the water was still sufficiently
deep around them to prevent the waves from breaking. Breakers there
were, however, in thousands, on every side; and the seamen understood
that their situation was almost desperately perilous, without shipwreck
coming to increase the danger.

The storm itself was scarcely more noisy and boisterous than was Spike,
when he ascertained the manner in which his people had behaved. At
first, he believed it was their plan to abandon him to his fate; but, on
rushing to the lee-gangway, Don Juan Montefalderon assured him that no
such intention existed, and that he would not allow the boat to be cast
off until the captain was received on board. This brief respite gave
Spike a moment to care for his portion of the doubloons; and he rushed
to his state-room to secure them, together with his quadrant.

The grinding of the brig’s bottom on the coral, announced a speedy
breaking up of the craft, while her commander was thus employed. So
violent were some of the shocks with which she came down on the hard bed
in which she was now cradled, that Spike expected to see her burst
asunder, while he was yet on her decks. The cracking of timbers told him
that all was over with the Swash, nor had he got back as far as the
gangway with his prize, before he saw plainly that the vessel had broken
her back, as it is termed, and that her plank-sheer was opening in a way
that threatened to permit a separation of the craft into two sections,
one forward and the other aft. Notwithstanding all these portentous
proofs that the minutes of the Molly were numbered, and the danger that
existed of his being abandoned by his crew, Spike paused a moment, ere
he went over the vessel’s side, to take a hasty survey of the reef. His
object was to get a general idea of the position of the breakers, with a
view to avoid them. As much of the interest of that which is to succeed
is connected with these particular dangers, it may be well to explain
their character, along with a few other points of a similar bearing.

The brig had gone ashore fully two miles within the passage she had
entered, and which, indeed, terminated at the very spot where she had
struck. The Poughkeepsie was standing off and on, in the main channel,
with her boats in the water, evidently preparing to carry the brig in
that mode. As for the breakers, they whitened the surface of the ocean
in all directions around the wreck, far as the eye could reach, but in
two. The passage in which the Poughkeepsie was standing to and fro was
clear of them, of course; and about a mile and a half to the northward,
Spike saw that he should be in open water, or altogether on the northern
side of the reef, could he only get there. The gravest dangers would
exist in the passage, which led among breakers on all sides, and very
possibly among rocks so near the surface as to absolutely obstruct the
way. In one sense, however, the breakers were useful. By avoiding them
as much as possible, and by keeping in the unbroken water, the boat
would be running in the channels of the reef, and consequently would be
the safer. The result of the survey, short as it was, and it did not
last a minute, was to give Spike something like a plan; and when he went
over the side, and got into the boat, it was with a determination to
work his way out of the reef to its northern edge, as soon as possible,
and then to skirt it as near as he could, in his flight toward the Dry
Tortugas.

                                                  [_To be continued._

                 *        *        *        *        *



                                 BLIND!


                        BY MRS. JOSEPH C. NEAL.


                  PART I.

        The hand of the operator wavered—the
    instrument glanced aside—in a moment she
    was blind for life. MS.


        Blind, said you? Blind for life!
    ’Tis but a jest—no, no, it cannot be
    That I no more the blessed light may see!
        Oh, what a fearful strife
    Of horrid thought is raging in my mind.
    I did not hear aright—“forever blind!”

        Mother, you would not speak
    Aught but the truth to me, your stricken child;
    Tell me I do but dream; my brain is wild,
        And yet my heart is weak.
    Oh, mother, fold me in a close embrace,
    Bend down to me that dear, that gentle face.

        I cannot hear your voice!
    Speak louder, mother. Speak to me, and say
    This frightful dream will quickly pass away.
        Have I no hope, no choice?
    Oh, Heaven, with light, has sound, too, from me fled!
    Call, shout aloud, as if to wake the dead.

        Thank God! I hear you now.
    I hear the beating of your troubled heart,
    With every wo of mine it has a part;
        Upon my upturned brow
    The hot tears fall, from those dear eyes, for me.
    Once more, oh is it true I may not see?

        This silence chills my blood.
    Had you one word of comfort, all my fears
    Were quickly banished—faster still the tears,
        A bitter, burning flood,
    Fall on my face, and now one trembling word
    Confirms the dreadful truth my ears have heard.

        Why weep you? I am calm.
    My wan lip quivers not, my heart is still.
    My swollen temples—see, they do not thrill!
        That word was as a charm.
    Tell me the worst, all, all I now can bear.
    I have a fearful strength—that of despair.

        What is it to be blind?
    To be shut out forever, from the skies—
    To see no more the “light of loving eyes”—
        And, as years pass, to find
    My lot unvaried by one passing gleam
    Of the bright woodland, or the flashing stream!

        To feel the breath of Spring,
    Yet not to view one of the tiny flowers
    That come from out the earth with her soft showers;
        To hear the bright birds sing,
    And feel, while listening to their joyous strain,
    My heart can ne’er know happiness again!

        Then in the solemn night
    To lie alone, while all anear me sleep,
    And fancy fearful forms about me creep.
        Starting in wild afright,
    To know, if true, I could not have the power
    To ward off danger in that lonely hour.

        And as my breath came thick
    To feel the hideous darkness round me press,
    Adding new terror to my loneliness;
        While every pulse leapt quick
    To clutch and grasp at the black, stifling air,
    Then sink in stupor from my wild despair.

        It comes upon me now!
    I cannot breathe, my heart grows sick and chill,
    Oh, mother, are your arms about me still—
        Still o’er me do you bow?
    And yet I care not, better all alone,
    No one to heed my weakness should I moan.

        Again! I will not live.
    Death is no worse than this eternal night—
    Those resting in the grave heed not the light!
        Small comfort can ye give.
    Yes, Death is welcome as my only friend
    In the calm grave my sorrows will have end.

        Talk not to me of hope!
    Have you not told me it is all in vain—
    That while I live I may not see again?
        That earth, and the broad scope
    Of the blue heaven—that all things glad and free
    Henceforth are hidden—tell of hope to me?

        It is not hard to lie
    Calmly, and silently in that long sleep;
    No fear can wake me from that slumber deep.
        So, mother—let me die;
    I shall be happier in the gentle rest
    Than living with this grief to fill my breast.


                 PART II.

    God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.  Sterne.


        Thank God, that yet I live.
    In tender mercy, heeding not the prayer
    I boldly uttered, in my first despair,
        He would not rashly give
    The punishment an erring spirit braved.
    From sudden death, in kindness. I was saved.

        It was a fearful thought
    That this fair earth had not one pleasure left.
    I was at once of sight and hope bereft.
        My soul was not yet taught
    To bow submissive to the sudden stroke;
    Its crushing weight my heart had well nigh broke.

        Words are not that can tell
    The horrid thoughts that burned upon my brain—
    That came and went with madness still the same—
        A black and icy spell
    That froze my life blood, stopped my fluttering breath,
    Was laid upon me—even “_life in death_.”

        Long weary months crept by,
    And I refused all comfort, turned aside
    Wishing that in my weakness I had died.
        I uttered no reply,
    But without ceasing wept, and moaned, and prayed
    The hand of death no longer might be stayed.

        I shunned the gaze of all.
    I knew that pity dwelt in every look.
    Pity e’en then my proud breast could not brook,
        Though darkness as a pall
    Circled me round, each mournful eye _I felt_
    That for a moment on my features dwelt.

        You, dearest mother, know
    I shrank in sullenness from your caress.
    Even _your_ kisses added to distress,
        For burning tears would flow
    As you bent o’er me, whispering “be calm,
    He who hath wounded holds for thee a balm.”

        He did not seem a friend.
    I deemed in wrath the sudden blow was sent
    From a strong arm that never might relent.
        That pain alone would end
    With life, for, mother, then it seemed to me
    That long, and dreamless, would death’s slumber be.

        That blessed illness came.
    My weakened pulse now bounded wild and strong,
    While soon a raging fever burned along
        My worn, exhausted frame.
    And for the time all knowledge passed away.
    It mattered not that hidden was the day.

                    —

        The odor of sweet flowers
    Came stealing through the casement when I woke;
    When the wild fever spell at last was broke.
        And yet for many hours
    I laid in dreamy stillness, till your tone
    Called back the life that seemed forever flown.

        You, mother, knelt in prayer.
    While one dear hand was resting on my head,
    With sobbing voice, how fervently you plead
        For a strong heart, to bear
    The parting which you feared—“Or, if she live,
    Comfort, oh, Father! to the stricken give.

        “Take from her wandering mind
    The heavy load which it so long hath borne,
    Which even unto death her frame hath worn.
        Let her in mercy find
    _That though the Earth she may no longer see,_
    _Her spirit still can look to Heaven and Thee_.”

        A low sob from me stole.
    A moment more—your arms about me wound—
    My head upon your breast a pillow found.
        And through my weary soul
    A holy calm came stealing from on high.
    Your prayer was answered—I was not to die.

        Then when the bell’s faint chime
    Came floating gently on the burdened air,
    My heart went up to God in fervent prayer.
        And, mother, from that time
    My wild thoughts left me—hope returned once more—
    I felt that happiness was yet in store.

        Daily new strength was given.
    For the first time, since darkness on me fell,
    I passed with more of joy than words can tell
        Under the free blue Heaven.
    I bathed my brow in the cool gushing spring—
    How much of life those bright drops seemed to bring.

        I crushed the dewy leaves
    Of the pale violets, and drank their breath—
    Though I had heard that at each floweret’s death
        A sister blossom grieves.
    I did not care to see their glorious hues,
    Fearing the richer _perfume_ I might lose.

        Then in the dim old wood
    I laid me down beneath a bending tree,
    And dreamed, dear mother, waking dreams of thee.
        I thought how just and good
    The power that had so gently sealed mine eyes,
    Yet bade new pleasures and new hopes arise.

        For now in truth I find
    My Father all his promises hath kept;
    He comforts those who here in sadness wept.
        “Eyes to the blind”
    Thou art, oh, God! Earth I no longer see,
    Yet trustfully my spirit looks to thee.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                            MY LOVED—MY OWN.


                        BY WILLIAM H. C. HOSMER.


    Nor the hush of the shadowy night.
      Nor the glare of the busy day,
    Nor the many cares of the world, from thee
      Ever lure my thoughts away.
    In dreams thou art by my side,
      With thy babe, a rose unblown,
    And thy voice for me breathes melody,
      My loved—my own!

    The page of the laureled bard
      Thrills me not, since thou art gone;
    And from earth below, and the sky above
      Is an olden charm withdrawn.
    Come back with thy beaming smile,
      For my heart is mournful grown—
    Fast the wild bird flies, when her sad mate cries,
      My loved—my own!

    I have prayed for a spell whereby
      I might question the wind of thee,
    And learn if thy cheek is flushed with health,
      Or wan, while afar from me:
    And I start when the casement jars,
      And I hear a hollow moan,
    But the churlish gale will tell no tale,
      My loved—my own!

    Not sooner the noon-parched flower
      Would revive in summer rain,
    Than a glimpse of thee and thy laughing boy
      Would my sick heart heal again.
    We have been, since wed, like leaves
      By the breath of Autumn blown;
    But home’s green bowers may yet be ours,
      My loved—my own!

                 *        *        *        *        *



                          THE DARKENED HEARTH.


                            BY HENRY G. LEE.


Escaped from the heat and noise of the city, I went, a few years ago,
some fifty miles into the country, to spend a short time with a friend,
who lived in a pleasant village, the quiet air of which had never been
disturbed by rushing steamboat or rumbling car. There was to me a
Sabbath stillness about the place that made the brief time I sojourned
in Heathdale a period of rest to my spirit.

The scenery around the village was rather picturesque than bold. There
were high hills, but no mountains; deep valleys, but no abrupt
precipices. Far away along the distant horizon lay heavy blue masses,
like clouds; but, though their shapes looked fantastic, they never
changed.

My friend was a physician, and his practice lay for miles around the
village of Heathdale. In order to have the pleasure of his society, as
well as to enjoy the beautiful scenery, I usually went with him in all
his country visits.

One morning he said to me, “I shall have rather a longer ride than usual
to-day; but as it will be through some of the finest scenery we have,
you must be my companion.”

I did not hesitate. Recreation of mind and body was my object in
visiting the country, and in no better way could I find both. So, when
the doctor’s light carriage drove up, I was ready to step into it.

In talking of the past, the present, and the future, as well as in
remarking upon the various objects of interest around us, we spent an
hour, by which time we were riding along an old, grass-covered road,
winding in many a graceful sweep, and lined by tall poplars that had
seen their palmiest days.

“Wealth and taste have left their marks here,” I said, as a fine old
mansion, situated upon a gentle eminence, came in sight.

“Yes,” replied the doctor, “both have been here.”

“But are hardly present now, I should think.”

“No. They disappeared long since. Ten years ago a lovelier spot than
this could hardly have been found; nor one in which were happier hearts.
But now the hearth is desolate. ‘The bright fire quenched and gone.’ I
never like to come here. Of the many who lived and loved in this sweet
spot one only remains shivering by the darkened fireside.”

The doctor appeared to be disturbed. He was silent for some moments,
during which time my eyes were marking all that was peculiar about the
place. The house that we were approaching was a large, square-built,
two-story edifice, with a portico, and handsome Corinthian columns in
front. It stood, as just said, upon an eminence, one slope of which was
in a beautiful green lawn, and the others terraced for gardens and
shrubbery. Of the gardens, only the plan remained; and rank weeds grew
where once had blossomed the sweetest flowers. The untrimmed shrubbery
as strongly attested, by its wildness, tangled and irregular growth, the
want of care and culture. Everywhere that my eye turned, I could see
that the hand of taste had been—but not of late. The summer-house was
in ruins; the fish-pond grown over with weeds; the statues that stood
here and there, broken.

“To whom did this, or does this place belong?” I asked, rousing by my
question the doctor from the musing mood into which he had fallen.

“To an English gentleman of fortune, taste, and intelligence, named
Belmont,” he replied. “When a young man, he came to the United States
for the purpose of seeing the country, with ample means and freedom from
business. He lingered wherever he went as long as pleased his fancy.
Something drew him to this part of our state, where he spent two or
three months. In his rambles about he fell upon this spot, which had
been cleared by a farmer, whose log-cabin stood upon the very site of
that fine old mansion. Struck with its natural beauty, Belmont made the
man a liberal offer for his farm, which was accepted. A year afterward
he returned and commenced and completed as rapidly as possible, all the
main improvements you now see. But, as we are at the door, I must defer
this narrative until I have seen my patient.”

The doctor then left me in the carriage while he went into the house. He
was gone nearly half an hour. When he returned he looked graver than
when he went in.

“It always gives me the heart-ache to visit here,” he said, as we rode
away. “_My_ medicine can do no good.”

“Your patient has a disease of the mind?”

“Yes, an incurable one,” he replied. “Hers is a heart-sickness beyond my
skill to heal. She needs a spiritual rather than a bodily physician. But
to resume where I left off. Mr. Belmont was occupied about two years in
building that handsome house, and in improving these grounds. A part of
his time was spent in superintending these improvements in person; but
the greater portion of it was passed in England. When all was completed,
the house was elegantly furnished, and Mr. Belmont, with a lovely bride,
retired from the world, to live here in beautiful seclusion. People
wondered why a young couple, who had evidently mingled in the gayest
circles, and been used to elegant and refined society, should hide
themselves, as it were, in the vicinity of a small village in
Pennsylvania, thousands of miles away from their old homes and country.
For a while there was a great deal of gossip on the subject, and dozens
of little stories afloat as to what this, that, or the other servant at
the ‘white house’ had said about the young wife of Belmont. It was
alledged that she was often seen weeping, and that she was not at all
happy. This, however, was not generally believed; for Mrs. Belmont was
seen every Sabbath at the village church, and looked so cheerful, and
leaned so lovingly toward her husband, that all idea of her being
unhappy was banished from the mind. Still, people continued to wonder
why a young and wealthy Englishman, of noble blood, for aught they knew,
should prefer the deep seclusion of an almost forest-life in America.
Subsequent events threw light on this subject, and enables me to give
you the history of this young couple.

“Belmont belonged to a wealthy English aristocratic family, and was the
legal heir, on the death of his father, to a large estate. As is too
generally the case where the law of primogeniture exists, Belmont, as
the eldest son, was not left to consult his affections in a matter of so
much importance as marriage. A bride was chosen for him, long before he
was old enough to think of or care for a bride. But when the boy became
the man, he felt little inclined to enter into so close a union as that
of marriage with one for whom not a single affection stirred.

“Not long after the young man entered society, he met Catherine H——,
the only daughter of Lord H——, a lovely young creature, who soon
captivated all his feelings. Catherine, it happened, had, like him, been
early betrothed by her parents. Her hand was not therefore free. He
might admire, but not love her. Unlike Belmont, she was not indifferent
toward her betrothed. As they grew up together from childhood, their
young affections intertwined, until the friendship of youth became love
at mature age.

“A year spent on the Continent, and particularly in the gayest circles
of Paris, tended in no wise to elevate the moral sentiments of Belmont;
nor did absence from home weaken the attachment he felt for Catherine
H——, whose society he sought on his return at every favorable
opportunity. Between the ardor of a lover who seeks to win a heart, and
the quiet, gentle, unobtrusive attentions of one who believes that he
has already made a love-conquest, there is and must be a marked
difference. This was just the difference between the manner of Belmont
and the lover of Catherine. The lady, not indifferent to admiration,
found, ere long, the image of the former resting upon her heart, and
hiding that of the latter. Belmont was quick to perceive this; but the
lover of Catherine, who was not of a jealous temperament, remained
altogether unconscious that any change had taken place in the feelings
of his bride elect.

“From his false and delusive dream, something, not necessary to mention,
awoke Belmont; and in the effort to break through the meshes of love in
which he was entangled, he left England, and spent nearly twelve months
in the United States. While here, the beautiful site upon which he
afterward built himself an elegant residence, struck his fancy, and, in
a moment of enthusiastic admiration, and with, perhaps, a half-formed
resolution to attempt what was afterward done, he purchased it, and then
went back to England. When he again met Catherine H——, he was struck
with the change a year had wrought in her appearance; and he was also
struck with the marked expression of pleasure with which she received
him. The half-quenched fire which he had been endeavoring to extinguish
in his bosom, again burst into a flame, and burned more brightly than
ever. In a moment of passion, he avowed his love, and the maiden sunk in
silent joy upon his bosom.

“Meantime, the betrothed of Belmont, as well as her friends, were
fretted and angry with the coldness and indifference which he manifested
toward her. A near relative, a young man of a fiery temper, undertook to
ask explanations, and considering himself insulted by the answer he
obtained, sent Belmont a challenge to fight. This was accepted; and at
the hostile meeting which followed, the young man received a severe
wound that came near costing him his life. Belmont took advantage of
this circumstance to break off all intercourse with the lady, and to arm
himself, ready to give any of her friends who chose to espouse her
cause, whatever satisfaction they might desire. All this caused a good
deal of excitement in the circles immediately affected by it, and a good
many threats were made by the lady’s friends; but they amounted to
nothing.

“Erskine, the lover of Catherine H——, at length saw cause for
suspicion that all was not right. He had repeatedly urged her to consent
to an early performance of the marriage rite; but she had as often
evaded any direct response to his wishes. At length there was no
disguising the fact that she was becoming colder toward him every time
they met. He complained of this; but his complaint elicited no warm
denial of what he alledged. Erskine, who was deeply attached to the
lady, now became alarmed. It was too plain that she had grown
indifferent. Why, he was for some time at a loss to understand. But at
length his suspicions took the right direction. Just as he was about
demanding from Belmont an explanation of his conduct toward Catherine,
the father of the latter died; and before he could with any appearance
of decency refer to the matter after this afflictive occurrence, Belmont
left England, it was said, for America. His errand to this country you
know. As soon as he had completed the improvements he had projected, he
returned home to consummate the purpose that had been uppermost in his
mind for nearly two years. He married Catherine H—— secretly, and left
for the United States before the fact had transpired, bringing with him
his lovely and loving young bride.

“I do not wonder that the servants sometimes saw Mrs. Belmont weeping.
Smiles could not always rest upon her sweet face. And yet she was
happy—that is, happy as she could be under the circumstances, for she
loved devotedly her husband, and he in turn almost idolized her.

“Erskine, when the truth became known, was deeply afflicted at the
infidelity of his ‘betrothed,’ and for a time suffered the severest
pangs. The reaction upon this was angry indignation, and a final vow of
retribution. The ardent lover was changed to a cruel hater and seeker
for revenge.

“‘I’ll bide my time,’ he said, bitterly. ‘When they think I have
forgotten all, my hand will find them out, and my shadow will fall upon
them. When their fire burns brightest, I will extinguish it.’

“Year after year he nursed this bitter purpose in his heart. He had
found no difficulty in learning where the young bride had retired with
her husband, and from thence he managed to obtain frequent intelligence.
All that he heard but made the fire of hate burn fiercer in his bosom.
Catherine was represented as being happy amid her blooming children; and
the lovely spot where she dwelt was described as a little paradise.

“Fifteen years were permitted to go by, and then Erskine sought to
effect his fiendish purpose. An instrument by which this was to be done,
came into his hands, as he felt, most opportunely, in a young man of
fine exterior, elegant manners, intelligence, and varied
accomplishments, but without honor or feeling. He was a perfect man of
the world, and at heart an unprincipled villain. The name of this person
was Edgerton. By loans of money and other favors, Erskine attached this
man to him. The tie was, of course, that of self-interest. To him he
unfolded what was in his mind. He told him of the wrong he had
sustained, and the burning thirst for revenge that ever since had filled
his heart. Then he described, in glowing language, the beautiful spot
where Catherine dwelt, and the happiness that filled her bosom.

“‘Will you steal, as did the serpent of old, into this lovely paradise?’
he asked. ‘I have been your friend, but if you will serve me now, you
may command me in every thing. The wife of Belmont you will find to be a
lovely creature; and if you can win her from him, as he won her from me,
you will gain possession of a magnificent woman. She is a prize,
Edgerton—just the prize for a man like you. Gain it, and I will furnish
you with all the means of flight and security.’

“An adventure like this just suited the debased, impure, heartless
Edgerton; and he entered upon it with an ardor of feeling, and coolness
of purpose, that too sorely foreshadowed success.

“For sixteen years scarcely a cloud had rested upon the hearts of the
happy family of Belmont. He had three daughters, between each of whom
there was but little over a year’s difference in age. The oldest was a
tall, exquisitely beautiful girl of fifteen, and her sisters gave the
same promise of opening loveliness. Just at this time, and while Mr.
Belmont was in search of a musical instructor for his children, Edgerton
managed to fall in his way, and by the most perfect address and
assumption of a false exterior, to win his good opinion. He showed
credentials of ability from well-known personages in New York and
Philadelphia; and also testimonials of character from eminent clergymen,
and others. These represented him as highly educated, belonging to a
good family, and distinguished for high moral excellence. They were, of
course, spurious.

“When Edgerton was introduced to the family of Mr. Belmont, Mrs. Belmont
shrunk from him with instinctive aversion. This was her first
impression; but it slightly wore off during the interview; and she was
rather inclined, after he had gone away, to think that she had permitted
herself to feel prejudiced against him without a cause.

“After due deliberation, Edgerton was engaged as instructor of the young
ladies in music and the modern languages—in all of which they had made
some proficiency; and also to superintend their studies in other
branches. To do all this Edgerton was fully qualified. He entered upon
his duties with patience and assiduity. In all his intercourse with the
family he was modest and unassuming, yet managed, in every conversation
that passed between himself and either Mr. or Mrs. Belmont, to show that
he possessed a discriminating, well-furnished mind. He had traveled
throughout Europe and Asia Minor, and been an accurate observer. This
made him an interesting and intelligent companion to both Belmont and
his wife, who had been over the same ground. In short, Edgerton soon
became the highly valued friend of the parents, as well as the
instructor of their children.

“For two years Edgerton remained in the family of Mr. Belmont, during
which time nothing occurred to awaken a suspicion, or to shake his
confidence in the young man. About this time business required him to go
to New York. He was absent over two weeks. Separation from his family
was painful to him, and therefore he hurried home as quickly as
possible. He had never, since his marriage, been so long absent from his
wife, and he grew impatient to be with her again, and to hear her voice,
which, in memory, was sweeter than it had ever seemed. He wrote her,
during his absence, many times, each letter warmer in its expressions of
tenderness than the one that preceded it. In the last letter, written
three or four days before he reached home, he said,

“‘I do not think I shall ever venture to go away from home again without
taking you with me. The separation has filled my heart with an
indescribable sadness. I think of you all the while; I see you all the
while; there is not a moment that I do not hear the sound of your voice.
But I cannot press my lips to yours, glowing with love; I cannot take
you in my arms—you are not really present. Dear Catherine! I shall soon
be with you. Ah! how the idea will force itself upon me that the day
must come when there will be a longer separation than this. But I will
drive the cruel thought from my mind.’

“As Belmont approached his home, his impatient spirit chafed at what to
him seemed the slow pace of the stage-horses, by which he was conveyed
the last twenty miles. At last time and distance intervened between him
and his earthly paradise no longer. As he sprung from the horse that had
borne him with swift feet from the village, he felt a slight chill of
disappointment at not seeing his wife at the door, with open arms, to
meet him. In the hall he was met by his youngest daughter, in whose face
there lighted up a smile, but it was not the free, glad, heart-smile
that ought to have been there.

“‘Where is your mother?’ he eagerly asked.

“‘I do not know. She went away somewhere day before yesterday, before we
were up in the morning.’

“‘Who did she go with?’

“‘I don’t know. But Mr. Edgerton went away at the same time. We think
she went with him.’

“Belmont caught hold of the door, and leaned hard against it.

“‘Where are your sisters?’ he asked.

“‘Catherine has been sick ever since. I can’t tell what is the matter
with her; but she cries all the time. Mary is in her room with her.’

“‘Does nobody in the house know where your mother is gone?’

“‘No, sir. She went away before any body was up. But there is a letter
for you in your room.’

“Belmont tried to run up stairs, but his knees trembled so, and were so
weak, that it was with difficulty that he could support himself. When he
reached his room, he grasped the letter to which his daughter had
referred, and sunk into a chair. It was sometime before, with his
quivering hands, he could break the seal, and then many minutes passed
before he could read a line. The blasting contents were as follows:

    “‘My Husband,—How can I break to you the dreadful truth that
    must be told? Long and devotedly as I have loved you, and still
    love you, I am impelled to leave you, under the influence of a
    stronger, more fiery, and intenser passion. I am mad with the
    bewildering excitement in which I am whirling, as in the charmed
    circle of a fascinating serpent. I do not love you less, but I
    love another more. Forgive me, if you can forgive, and in mercy
    both to you and to your unhappy wife, forget me. You know not
    how I have been tempted and tried; you know not how, by the most
    imperceptible approaches, the citadel of my heart has been
    taken. God forgive him who has wronged you, and her who
    permitted herself to be made an instrument in that wrong. You
    will be far happier than she can ever be. As for my chil—’

“Here the paper was blotted and soiled, as if by a gush of tears. It
contained no word more.

“An hour afterward, when Mary Belmont and her younger sister stole
softly into their father’s chamber, they found him sitting motionless in
a chair, with the letter he had read crumpled in his hand. His eyes were
closed; and he did not open them as they drew near. They spoke to him in
timid voices, but he did not look up, nor appear to hear them.

“‘Father! dear father!’ they said, coming up close to his side.

“Slowly he drew an arm around each, and pressed them tightly to his
bosom—but he did not utter a word.

“‘Papa, where has mother gone?’ asked Mary, in a quivering voice.

“‘I do not know,’ was the low, mournful reply.

“‘Will she never come back?’

“‘No—never!’

“The children burst into tears, and wept for a long time bitterly. The
agitation of Belmont’s mind now became agonizing. It was his first wish
to conceal what he felt as much as possible from his children; he
therefore asked to be left alone. Mary and her sister retired from the
room, but with slow and lingering steps. When left to himself, the
father sunk down again, like one paralized, not to think but to feel. An
hour afterward, Ella, his youngest daughter, came quietly in, and said,

“‘Papa, I wish you would see Catherine. She does nothing but cry all the
while.’

“Feeling the necessity, at least for his children’s sake, of rousing
himself under this terrible affliction, for which there was no healing
balm, Mr. Belmont arose, and taking the hand of Ella, went with her to
the chamber of his eldest child, now a tall, beautiful young girl, in
her eighteenth year. Her face was turned toward the door when he
entered. At a single glance he saw that it was exceedingly pale, had a
strange expression, and was full of anguish. In a moment after it was
buried beneath the bed-clothes, while the whole body of Catherine
shivered as if in an ague fit. Sobs and deep moans of anguish followed.
To all that the father could say, not a word of reply was given.
Suddenly there flashed through his mind a dreadful suspicion, that
caused him to clasp his forehead tightly with his hands, and stagger a
few paces backward. Soon after he left the chamber, and retired to his
own room to make an effort to think. But it was a vain effort—all the
elements of his mind were in wild confusion. At one moment he would
start up with a fierce imprecation on his lips, resolved to pursue the
fugitives; but before reaching the door of his room, a thought of the
utter hopelessness of his condition would cause him to droop, nerveless,
into a chair, or sink with a groan upon the bed.

“For nearly the whole of the night that followed, Belmont paced, with
slow and measured tread, the floor of his chamber. Toward morning, his
mind became calmer and clearer. He was like a man suddenly pressed to
the earth by a burden that seemed impossible to be borne, who had
re-collected his strength, and risen with the burden upon his shoulders,
feeling that though almost crushing in its weight, he could yet bear up
under it. The first clear determination of his mind was to ascertain, if
possible, the cause of Catherine’s strange distress. He had a
heart-sickening dread of something that he dared not even confess to
himself. He felt that the specious villain who could draw his wife from
virtue, would not be one to hesitate on the question of sacrificing his
child, if by any means he could get her into his power.

“Late in the morning he left his bed, and had nearly completed dressing
himself when some one knocked at his door. On opening it, he found Ella,
with the tears raining over her cheeks.

“‘Oh, papa!’ she exclaimed, ‘Come, quick! and see Catherine. I don’t
know what’s the matter with her, but she says she is dying.’

“A cold shiver passed through every nerve of the unhappy man. He sprung
away at the last word of Ella, and was quickly at the bed-side of his
daughter. A great change had taken place since he saw her on the day
before. Her face, that was pale then, was now of an ashy whiteness, but
her eyes and lips had a calm expression.

“‘Papa,’ she said, in a voice that thrilled through the heart of the
unhappy man, it was so inexpressibly mournful, ‘I do not think I can
live long. I have a strange feeling here,’ and she laid her hand upon
her heart. ‘If I have done wrong in any thing; if I have been betrayed
into evil, I pray you forgive the innocence that suspected no wrong, and
the weakness that could not endure in temptation.’

“‘Catherine, my dear child! why do you speak thus? What is it that you
mean?’ asked her father. ‘Has that villain dared—’

“Mr. Belmont checked himself for he saw that his daughter had become
greatly disturbed. She raised up partly from her pillow, while a rapid
play of the muscles agitated her whole face. Before, however, she was
able to articulate a word, she sunk back paler than ever. Two or three
deep groans struggled up from her heart, and then all was still—still
as death. Mr. Belmont looked for some time at the young, white face of
his first-born and dearly beloved child, upon which the great destroyer
had so suddenly set his seal, and then, answering groan for groan,
turned from the withered blossom that lay before him, and again sought
the silence and solitude of his own room.

“Two months subsequently to this, Erskine received a letter from
Edgerton. It was in these words:

    “‘My Dear Sir,—The work is done—and well done. I have
    succeeded fully in my plans. Your old flame has been with me in
    New York for a month. But she takes the matter rather too hard,
    and weeps eternally. I can’t stand this; and if she does not
    improve very shortly, shall abandon her. If it had not been for
    my wish to follow your instructions to the letter, I should have
    taken the eldest daughter instead of the mother, who is much
    more to my fancy. I have not yet heard any thing from Belmont,
    though I look every day for him to pounce down upon me; but I am
    not afraid of him. I suppose this affair will drive him half
    mad, for he was exceedingly fond of his wife. This I mention for
    your particular gratification. You may expect to see me in
    England by the next arrival. Whether I shall bring my lady-love
    along or not, I cannot say. It is, however, doubtful. Addio.

                                                        Edgerton.’

“The death of his oldest daughter, under circumstances of so much doubt
and distress, added to the desertion of a beloved wife, wrought a great
and melancholy change in Mr. Belmont. I only saw him a few times
afterwards, and then it was at his own house, where I was called to
visit as a physician. A few months had made the impression of years. His
face was thin, and marked with strong lines; his countenance dull and
depressed; his eyes drooping and sad. He moved about slowly, and spoke
in a low, quiet, pensive voice.

“One cold night in November, some six or seven months after the
afflictive events just described had occurred, Mr. Belmont, after laying
awake for hours, trying in vain to sleep, arose from his bed, and going
to the window, stood there for some time. The moon was shining brightly
through the clear, frosty air, making every object distinctly visible.
After standing at the window for some time, Belmont was about turning
away, when his eye was arrested by a figure that came slowly along the
main avenue through which we drove up to the house a little while ago.
Sometimes it would stop for the space of a minute, and then move on
again, until at length it stood in the clear moonlight, directly under
his window. He then saw that it was a woman. Her head was bowed down at
first, but soon she looked up, and the moonlight fell strongly upon her
face. Belmont started with a low exclamation, and retreated from the
window, and staggering back, sunk with a groan upon the bed, where he
lay for nearly five minutes. He then arose, dressed himself, and
descended with a deliberate air. On opening the hall-door, he perceived
that the woman had sunk down upon the steps. She did not move at his
approach.

“‘Catherine!’ he said, in as firm a voice as he could assume.

“But there was no motion—no reply.

“‘Catherine!’ But she did not answer.

“Stooping down, he placed his hand upon her, and then she looked up, and
the moonbeams fell upon her face. Her lips were thin and tightly
compressed; her pale cheeks deeply sunken; her eyes tearless, but, oh!
how full of mingled penitence, humility, and hopelessness. She uttered
no word, but lay upon the cold marble, at the threshhold of her
husband’s mansion, with her eyes fixed upon his face, that, if not stern
and angry, betrayed no sign of affection.

“‘Catherine,’ he said at length, in a cold, steady voice, ‘you have
returned to the old home that your conduct has made desolate. I do not
see that you have been any happier than those you left behind. I forgive
you, as I hope God will. I believe you were once worthy of all the love
I bore you, and for the sake of what you then were, I will not spurn you
back from the threshhold you now seek to pass.’

“He then took her arm, and raising her up, conducted her into the house,
and up into her old chamber, where every thing remained as she had left
it. The thoughts and feelings of other days came rushing upon his heart,
but he sternly drove them back. It was too late. They could never again
have place in his bosom. What she thought and felt is not known, and can
hardly be imagined. In the old chamber Belmont left his fallen wife,
with but a single word, and that a caution to remain where she was until
he visited her in the morning.

“Belmont did not again retire that night. Until near day he was busily
engaged in writing, and in evident preparation for a journey. About 5
o’clock the servants were aroused, and directed to prepare an early
breakfast. The coachman was ordered to have the carriage at the door by
7 o’clock. Then Ella and Mary were awakened by their father, who desired
them to dress immediately, and come to him in the library. When there,
he informed them that it had become necessary for him to leave for
England immediately, and that he wished them to accompany him. All
necessary preparation could be made in New York, where he would remain
two or three weeks. The girls were surprised, as may well be supposed,
by this announcement; but their father was too much in earnest to leave
them room to ask for a longer time to prepare for the journey than he
had given them. Precisely at seven they entered the carriage and drove
into Heathdale. On arriving there, Mr. Belmont said that he would have
to return, and that while he was gone they must remain at the hotel.
Mary wanted to go back with him for something that she had forgotten,
but he said that he would rather have her remain where she was, in a
tone that prevented her from saying any thing more.

“The object of Mr. Belmont in returning, was to have a parting interview
with the mother of his children, for whom he could not but feel the
deepest commiseration. But her own hands had placed the burden upon her
heart, and it was not in his power to remove it. She had been false to
her marriage vows, and false to those who had called her by the tender
name of ‘mother.’ He could not again take her to his bosom, nor again
bring her back among her children. He found her a sad wreck, indeed, and
could scarcely keep back the tears when he met her again, with the
searching light of day making visible all the marks of grief, crime, and
suffering.

“‘Catherine,’ he said, in a voice that trembled, spite of all his
efforts to be composed, ‘I meet you now for the last time. I shall
return to England, never again, I hope, to visit this country. This is
your home for life, if you wish to make it so. I have settled upon you
an annuity; and these papers, which I leave here upon the table, will
give you all necessary information in regard to the manner of drawing
it. I will not upbraid you for what you have done, for I do not wish to
add a single pang to the thousands you must suffer; I would rather
mitigate than increase them.’

“‘My children,’ she said, in an eager voice, as he paused, ‘where are
they—am I not to see them?’

“‘But two remain,’ Belmont replied, ‘and you cannot see them. You are
dead to your children, and must remain so. Catherine is in heaven. She
died, to all appearance, of a broken heart, a few days after you went
away.’

“The whole frame of this wretched woman quivered.

“‘Dead!’ she ejaculated, in a deep, hoarse whisper; and then covering
her face, wept for some moments violently.

“‘But Mary and Ellen,’ she at length said, looking up with streaming
eyes. ‘May I not see them? They are my children, Edward, and, erring and
sinful as I have been, I still love them. Do not, then, in mercy, deny
me this, the only boon I will ever ask at your hands. Oh! Edward, let me
see my children once before I die.’

“Belmont was deeply moved, but his purpose did not falter.

“‘You are dead to them, Catherine,’ he replied, with assumed coldness,
‘and must remain so.’

“Even on her knees the wretched woman prayed to see her children; but
she prayed in vain. Hard as it was for Belmont to resist her agonized
entreaties, he remained firm to his well-formed purpose.

“The moment of parting with her, and leaving her in loneliness and
misery on the very spot where she had once been so happy, and with a
thousand things around her to remind her of that happiness, was a most
painful one. It was with difficulty that Belmont could restrain the
desire he felt to take her in his arms, press her to his bosom, and
forgive and forget all. But her sin had been too deep—she had fallen
too low. He could not throw over the past the blessed mantle of
forgiveness; and so he left her alone, to shiver by the cold ashes of a
darkened hearth.”

“Has her husband never returned?” I asked.

“Never! Five years have passed since he left, but no one has seen him in
this region. There came a rumor a few years ago, that he had met
Edgerton, and made him account with his life for his crime. But I know
not whether this be so.”

A year afterward I received a letter from my excellent friend, the
doctor, in which he mentioned that death had given the unhappy Mrs.
Belmont a kind release; “and, we may hope,” he remarked, “that through
much suffering she was purified and forgiven.”

                 *        *        *        *        *



                           THE WAYSIDE DREAM.


                          BY J. BAYARD TAYLOR.


    The deep and lordly Danube
      Goes winding far below;—
    I see the white-walled hamlets
      Amid his vineyards glow,
    And southward, through the ether, shine
      The Styrian hills of snow.

    O’er many a league of landscape
      Sleeps the warm haze of noon;
    The wooing winds come freighted
      With fragrant tales of June,
    And down amid the corn and flowers
      I hear the water’s tune.

    The meadow-lark is singing
      As if it still were morn;
    Sounds through the dark pine forest
      The hunter’s dreamy horn;
    And the shy cuckoo’s plaining note
      Mocks the maidens in the corn.

    I watch the cloud armada
      Go sailing up the sky,
    Lulled by the murmuring mountain-grass,
      Upon whose bed I lie,
    And the faint sound of noonday chimes
      That in the distance die!

    A warm and drowsy sweetness
      Is stealing o’er my brain;
    I see no more the Danube
      Sweep through his royal plain—
    I hear no more the peasant-girls
      Singing amid the grain!

    Soft, silvery wings, a moment
      Seem resting on my brow:
    Again I hear the water,
      But its voice is deeper now,
    And the mocking-bird and oriole
      Are singing on the bough!

    The elm and linden branches
      Droop close and dark o’erhead,
    And the foaming forest brooklet
      Leaps down its rocky bed;
    Be still, my heart! the seas are passed—
      The paths of home I tread!

    The showers of creamy blossoms
      Are on the linden spray,
    And down the clover meadow
      They heap the scented hay,
    And glad winds toss the forest leaves
      All the bright summer day.

    Old playmates! bid me welcome
      Amid your brother band!
    Give me the old affection—
      The glowing grasp of hand!
    I worship no more the realms of old—
      _Here_ is my Fatherland!

    Come hither, gentle maiden,
      Who weep’st in tender joy!
    The rapture of thy presence
      Overcomes the world’s annoy,
    And calms the wild and throbbing heart
      Which warms the wandering boy.

    In many a mountain fastness—
      By many a river’s foam,
    And through the gorgeous cities,
      ’Twas loneliness to roam,
    For the sweetest music in my heart
      Was the olden songs of home!

    Ah! glen, and foaming brooklet,
      And friends, have vanished now!
    The balmy Styrian breezes
      Are blowing on my brow,
    And sounds again the cuckoo’s call
      From the forest’s inmost bough.

    Veiled is the heart’s glad vision—
      The wings of Fancy fold;
    I rise and journey onward.
      Through valleys green and old,
    Where the far, white Alps reveal the morn
      And keep the sunset’s gold!

                 *        *        *        *        *



                                SONNET.


    Sun of the new-born year! I hail thy light;
    As bursting through the dark clouds that so long
    Had veiled the glories of each morn and night,
    Thou pourest over all thy radiance strong;
    Bidding the chilling rains their fury cease,
    And smiling on the drenched and languid earth,
    That, all exulting in her glad release,
    Puts on the beauty of a second birth,
    And joys to greet thee. Type art thou, O Sun!
    Amid the parting clouds thy bright path making,
    Of that clear Star—the never setting One!
    That through the pall of darksome ages breaking,
    With healing beams, still moves, eternal on!
    And lights the living soul when life’s dim day is gone!

                 *        *        *        *        *



                          SOPHY’S FLIRTATION.


                           A COUNTRY SKETCH.


                        BY MRS. M. N. M‘DONALD.


“Well, to _my_ mind, a nicer young man doesn’t live any where than
Archie Harris. So pleasant spoken, so good tempered, so civil as he is.
You ‘may go farther and fare worse,’ I can tell you, Sophy. It’s all
very well for girls to be dainty and particular about looks, when they
are young and handsome themselves, and think they may catch anybody, but
it’s no joke for a girl to settle herself with a man who may be unkind
to her by and bye. Archie Harris has that in him which will last in dark
days as well as sunshine; something that wont wear out in old age, like
your grandfather here, that I’ve lived with forty-five years come next
Christmas, and found him just the same, winter and summer. So, as I said
before, ‘you may go farther and fare worse,’ Sophy.” And having
delivered her sentiments, old Mrs. Middleton took a pinch of snuff, drew
her chair a little nearer the fire with an emphatic “hem,” and then
resumed her knitting, while she glanced over her spectacles to observe
what had been the effect of her speech upon her pretty granddaughter,
who was seated on the opposite side of the little round table, engaged
in sewing.

Sophy Middleton plied her needle with something of a petulant air, while
her grandmother spoke, and answered with a slight tone of
vexation—“Everybody can’t think alike, that is certain. Archie Harris
is well enough in his way, but he isn’t the only man in the world, that
is one comfort.”

“And why don’t you like him?” pursued the old lady, resolved not to give
up the point. “Tell me of one in the whole place that is better, or
kinder, or cleverer. _I_ never saw such a one at any rate, and once upon
a time, Sophy, you thought Archie a little better than most folks
yourself, and have only changed your mind since Philip Greyson came
home, I’m thinking.”

“Philip Greyson, indeed!” exclaimed Sophy, with a toss of her head,
while her cheeks crimsoned in spite of herself.

“Yes, Philip Greyson,” said the old lady. “I suppose you think, Sophy,
because I wear spectacles, I am half blind, and can’t see as far as I
used to do. But I have my eyes about me, and maybe spy a little farther
for my glasses, and I fancy that Philip, with his spruce uniform and
navy buttons, will make you forget poor Archie altogether.”

“I am sure,” said Sophy, whose thread at that moment had got into such a
knot that her undivided attention was necessary to disentangle it. “I’m
sure Philip Greyson is nothing to _me_.”

“I hope he never may be, indeed,” said Mrs. Middleton emphatically.
“These young midshipmen are wild blades, my dear, and I should never
know a minute’s peace if you were to marry one. But Archie Harris, ah!
Sophy, he is the husband for you; such a good son and brother—so quiet,
and steady, and—”

“Stupid,” said Sophy, supplying with a laugh the word for which her
grandmother paused. “Why, last night at Mrs. Morgan’s he scarcely said
ten syllables, and say what you will, grandmother,” she continued,
roused by the recollection of her last evening’s visit, “everybody likes
a merry, talkative beau, who has seen something of the world, better
than a fellow who sits by with a long face, and can do nothing to amuse
one.”

“And that fellow isn’t Philip Greyson, I guess,” said her grandfather,
who, on the opposite side of the fire, was calmly knocking the ashes
from his pipe. “Phil is one of those chaps that have no lack of words in
any company, if I may judge from the way in which I have heard him
chatter at his own father’s table.”

“Chatter! that he can, like a magpie, and with but little more sense, to
my mind,” said the old lady. “If Archie Harris speaks but seldom, his
words are always to some purpose, and he doesn’t think it amiss to be
civil to old people either. Philip has enough and enow to prate about to
young folks, but if an elderly person comes by, he is at no pains to
entertain him. Times have changed since my day, when young men and women
were taught to reverence their betters. Ah! well,” and Mrs. Middleton
drew a long deep sigh, and shook her head significantly as she leaned
over to mend the fire.

It was in the prettiest, neatest white house, in the main street of a
pretty village, somewhere in the Empire State, that Sophy Middleton and
her grand-parents resided. Samuel Middleton, who from his silvery hair,
and general knowledge of past events, together with the melancholy fact
that he is totally blind, has long been dignified with the title of “the
oldest inhabitant,” which title, by the way, the old gentleman
particularly glories in, being fond of relating anecdotes of the place,
which happened when he was a boy, and adventures with persons long since
dead, and though Brookville has not improved materially during the last
twenty years—being off the rail-road—yet the old man imagines in his
blindness that great changes have taken place, because the Episcopalians
have built a church, and Squire Edgewood a new house and barn, and
descants largely upon the good old times, when Brookville was just
settled, and “no folly or fashion had got into it.”

A youth of industry—for it was not until advancing years that darkness
fell upon him—had secured for Samuel Middleton a moderate competency,
and at the old homestead, with the kind partner of his joys and sorrows,
and the orphan child of an only son, he had learned to bear with
patience and fortitude the sore trial which it had pleased God to send
him; thankful for the past, contented with the present, and fearless of
the future.

Sophy, so early orphaned as scarcely to remember any other care than
that of her grand-parents, was the life and light of the old man’s home.
Her cheerfulness beguiled very many of his wearisome hours, and her
merry voice, and mirth-inspiring laughter, seemed to cheat him of half
his sorrow. He knew her step upon the gravel walk when she came in from
school, as readily as if his sightless eyes could have looked upon her
face, and felt only too proud and happy when his friends said “that
Sophy was growing up a comely girl, and would be a beauty one of these
days.” As his beloved child grew older, this prophecy seemed likely to
prove true. Sophy’s blue eyes were full of vivacity, and her oval cheeks
and sweet lips were colored with Nature’s pure carnation. By degrees the
scrawny figure of the school girl was moulded to the grace of early
womanhood, and we introduce Sophy Middleton to our readers, at this
particular moment, a blooming country maiden of nineteen summers, very
much petted at home, sufficiently admired abroad, and therefore a
little, very little bit _spoiled_.

But who is Archie Harris, that we find the old lady eulogizing so
warmly? Why, Archie Harris and our Sophy went to the same school; sat on
the same bench; learned out of the same book, and were friends from the
time they were “no bigger than a midge’s wing.” Being next door
neighbors, this friendship had strengthened with their years rather than
diminished. Sophy had found a sister in Mary Harris, and, in the natural
course of things, a lover in Archie; and although no positive engagement
existed between them, it seemed such a matter of course that they should
love each other, and so desirable a connection on both sides, that
everybody—that wise person found in all villages—said it would
certainly be a match at some future day.

Philip Greyson, too, was a Brookville boy, and had been a schoolmate of
Sophy’s years ago. But Philip’s ambition soared higher than a life of
usefulness at home. He longed to see the world; to brave the ocean; to
tread on foreign shores; and when, through the influence of friends at
Washington, he procured a midshipman’s warrant, and left Brookville to
join his vessel at Norfolk, what cared he for aught he was leaving, when
the future stretched so brightly before him? His parents, teachers,
school-fellows, he bade them good-bye without a moment’s regret; and as
to Sophy Middleton, if he thought of her at all, it was but as an
unformed girl, rather more indifferent to him than his own sisters, and
whom he might perhaps never see again. On his return, however, after a
three years’ cruise, Philip found, to his surprise, this same little
Sophy grown a young lady, and a pretty one, too; and, charmed at the
sight of so much beauty where he least expected it, renewed his
acquaintance with delight, while Sophy, pleased and flattered by his
attentions, and dazzled by the glitter of his gilt buttons, danced and
flirted with the young midshipman to her heart’s content, exciting the
envy of sundry other damsels to whom nature had denied bright eyes and
rosy lips, and vexing poor Archie, by her unwonted vanity, in the most
uncomfortable degree.

Had Sophy related to her grandmother what passed between Archie and
herself on the previous night, as they walked home from Mrs. Morgan’s
tea-party, the old lady would have been inexpressibly distressed, for
Archie, in the warmth of his feelings, upbraided Sophy for her coquetry
and coldness, which Sophy’s high spirit would not brook. She bade him
remember that no engagement had taken place, and therefore she was free
to choose for herself, though everybody seemed to think—why she could
not tell—that because they lived next door to each other, they were “as
good as married.” Philip Greyson, she said, was an old friend as well as
he, and she would not give up the pleasure of talking to him, if she
liked, for _anybody_, and so at the garden-gate they parted, with a cold
“good-night.” Archie to mourn over the fickleness of the girl he dearly
loved, and Sophy to dream of—Philip Greyson.

Probably Mrs. Middleton suspected something of this, however, from her
urgent appeal to her granddaughter in behalf of their neighbor’s son,
and might, perhaps, have gone on still further to expostulate, had not a
knock at the outer door interrupted the conversation; and Sophy, who had
risen to answer the summons, returned in a few minutes with a letter
directed to her grandfather.

“A letter for you, grandfather,” she said, placing it in the old man’s
hand. “Mr. Norris sent it up from the post-office. It came by the late
mail.”

“For me?” said Mr. Middleton, turning it over, and placing his finger
upon the large, red seal. “I did not expect any letters just now. Read
it, wife.”

Mrs. Middleton, who had been adjusting her spectacles, eagerly seized
the mysterious letter, and carefully cutting it open, read the signature
aloud. “Henry Willetson.”

“I don’t know such a person,” said the old man, leaning forward to catch
every word. “Go on, Hannah.”

The letter was a brief one; and the old lady glanced her eye over it
before she began—but that glance was sufficient to tell the whole
story. There it was, written down in few but fearful characters; and
suddenly throwing the paper upon the table, she exclaimed, “Merciful
Father! we are ruined! All swept away! Oh! Samuel, Samuel, what shall we
do in our old age? All gone, all gone!”

“Tell me what it is. Let me know the whole truth,” said the old man,
groping his way to the table, and stretching his hand over it to find
the letter. “Tell me what has happened, Hannah—I can bear it.”

“All gone, all gone!” murmured poor Mrs. Middleton, as if deprived of
the power to say more.

“What is gone? Tell me, Hannah?” said the agitated old man. “Oh, this
awful blindness! Sophy, where are you? Do you read it for me.”

Pale and trembling, Sophy obeyed. The letter was from the agent of a
mercantile house in New York, in which Mr. Middleton had been persuaded
to invest the bulk of his small property, announcing the entire failure
of the concern, which would not, in all probability, at the winding up
of its affairs, pay five cents on the dollar; and thus the fruits of
patient industry, during the best years of Samuel Middleton’s life, were
swept away by the reckless speculation of others, and nothing remained
to him, save the pretty cottage in which he lived, and the good name
which no dishonest act had ever tarnished.

Had the old man been in the possession of his eye-sight, the blow had
not, perhaps, fallen so heavily; but unable by personal exertion of any
kind to repair the mischief, with no children to lean upon, his bark
seemed stranded among the breakers, and Samuel Middleton bowed his head
upon his hands, and sought for strength, in this hour of darkness, from
the source whence alone he felt certain of obtaining it. There was
silence for a few moments in the little apartment, disturbed only by the
stifled sobs of poor Sophy, and the moans of Mrs. Middleton, as she
rocked backward and forward in her arm-chair, till the old man spoke.

“We have received good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive
evil?” he said. “Hannah, this is a sore trial—but it comes from God,
and we must submit. If He sends poverty upon us in our old days, depend
upon it, He will send strength to bear it. The trouble and the comfort
always seem to go hand-in-hand. Let us be thankful it is no worse.”

“It seems the worst that _could_ have happened, Samuel,” said the old
woman, her voice choked with sorrow.

“The worst!—oh, no! Think if we had been parted by death, Hannah; or if
Sophy had gone off with some wild, idle fellow, or many another thing
that might befall us. Don’t cry, Sophy, darling, grandfather specially
grieves on your account. But it’s all for the best, dear child. I feel
as sure of that as I do that I sit here this moment. Wife, don’t moan
so; it isn’t Christian-like to despair. God’s will be done.”

“Ah! husband, if I had your faith; but it comes so sudden, I can’t seem
to bear it.”

“Bring the Bible, Sophy,” said her grandfather, “and read to grandmother
and me how Job bore the loss of all his possessions.”

Sophy brought the Bible, and read with trembling voice, as Mr. Middleton
directed. When she had finished, the old man knelt down, and reverently
clasped his hands. He prayed for the patience of the patriarch of old;
for faith to believe it was in love as well as wisdom they had been
afflicted; for entire and cheerful submission to the Divine will; and
strengthened by this near approach to the Great Chastener of his
children, the little family lay down to rest that sorrowful night,
tranquil at least, if not altogether resigned.

Before noon the next day, everybody in Brookville had been made
acquainted with the misfortune of the Middletons; and neighbors came
with kind offers, which the old man could not accept. He had settled
what to do, he told them, and thought it was the best plan. The white
cottage must be sold or rented, and, indeed, he had already dictated a
letter, which Sophy had written, to a gentleman in New York, who was
looking for a summer residence, and had once expressed himself pleased
with the situation of Mr. Middleton’s house, and the scenery about
Brookville. The income accruing from this would enable him to hire an
old broken-down tenement, about five miles off, where they would remove
without delay, and with strict economy, and good use of a little
garden-plot, become as contented, he hoped, if not as happy, as they
once were.

To this arrangement, reasonable as it appeared, everybody objected, and
suggested, of course, something else. One would take Sophy to live with
him; another would help to pay the rent of a better place; and a third
proposed some other grand expedient; but the old gentleman was firm.

“I thank you, my friends,” he said, “but I would keep my independence if
I can. Let me feel that I still eat my own bread, though it be coarser
and harder than it once was, and pray for a contented heart, which seems
to lighten almost any burden.”

A purchaser for the neat homestead was easily found, in the gentleman to
whom Sophy had written by her grandfather’s dictation; and at the
appointed time, Samuel Middleton and his family removed to their new
abode, not, however, until kind hearts and willing hands had contributed
to make the old place tolerably comfortable; to lay out and improve the
garden, long run to waste, and even to plant a few rose-bushes and
flowering shrubs about the door-way, that Sophy’s eyes, if not her
grandfather’s, might find some pleasant memento of Brookville and its
inhabitants, in these silent marks of their affection and respect.

When moving-day came, everybody came to help. Squire Edgewood’s men and
fine team, and Mr. Harris, with his strong market cart, to transport the
furniture, and when these were fairly off, arrived neighbor Maynard’s
light wagon, to carry Sophy and her grandmother down, with sundry small
baskets and boxes, while the minister himself drove the old gentleman in
his gig; and it was sad, though soothing, to catch the kind farewell
words as they passed down the village street, when many a one pressed
forward to shake hands, and to wish “good health, and God’s blessing on
their new home.”

And over this new home, in answer, perhaps, to these good wishes, some
benevolent brownie seemed already to preside; for when Mrs. Middleton
unpacked her valuables, she found, stored away in cupboards, supposed,
of course, to be entirely empty, such loaves of cake, and jars of
butter, with preserves, pickles, eggs, et cætera, as to excite her
astonishment in the highest degree; nor could any inquiries or surmises
detect the mysterious donors; and the old lady, amid her sighs and
bemoanings at their altered condition, could not but smile as she
surveyed the kind remembrances; and Sophy, poor girl, would have smiled
too, since she duly estimated the kind feelings which had induced them,
but that she was too miserable for any thing to interest her now—so
home-sick and lonely, that she cared for nothing, save the luxury of
shedding tears, when she could steal away from her grandmother’s side,
and, unobserved, weep over the change which had so suddenly befallen
them.

But all this time, amid these adverse circumstances, where were Sophy’s
admirers? Was she to find them only _summer_ friends, who, like
migratory birds, flew off in darker weather? Alas! it seemed too true.
Once or twice after their removal Philip Greyson rode down to Mr.
Middleton’s, and then Sophy resumed her smiles, and was happy; but his
visits were few and far between, and she learned that a pretty girl in
the midst of plenty and prosperity was very different from a pretty girl
fallen in fortune, and obliged to perform all sorts of menial offices
for her grand-parents. But Archie Harris, the companion of her
childhood, surely _he_ might have come to offer consolation, where he
knew it was so much required. Was it altogether right in _him_ to stand
back under such circumstances? Sophy felt it was unkind, “unbrotherly,”
as she mentally termed it, yet could scarcely blame him either, when she
remembered their last conversation, the indifference she had evinced
toward him, and the decided preference she had given to Philip; and
while her heart smote her for this, she felt more inclined to forgive a
coldness which she had herself so entirely provoked.

Our friend Archie, however, despite his seeming indifference, had not
forgotten. He had been wounded to the quick by her preference for his
rival; and the manner in which she appeared to rejoice that no previous
troth-plight would prevent her accepting Philip, made him feel how
little she valued true affection, when compared with a dashing exterior,
or a greater share of personal beauty. “Let her go! the vain,
cold-hearted girl!” he mentally ejaculated, as they parted on that
eventful night. “Let her try if he _can_ love her half so well as I
do—as I _have_ done,” he added more bitterly. “Fool that I was, to
believe she ever cared for me. That conceited peacock! I wish—” and
Archie, the best-tempered, kindest-hearted creature in the world,
conceived from that moment such an unutterable dislike and contempt for
all navy officers, and navy buttons, as to wish, in his awakened ire,
that Philip Greyson was on the coast of Africa, or the deep waters of
the Pacific.

But when misfortune came, Archie’s resentment at once gave way. Sophy
was in sorrow, and he longed to go and assure her that his love was
brighter than any skies could darken. But had she not rejected his love?
Then why should he urge it now? Philip was still at Brookville, and
might follow up the advantage he had gained; and Archie would not for
the world have interposed his own wishes. Pride, therefore, more than
anger, kept him back from any other attention than common civility
required; and he resolved by every means in his power to drive away the
remembrance of the past, and wait as calmly as he might the issue of
future events.

While such was the state of affairs with Archie, Sophy Middleton, in her
new home, was learning many valuable lessons, which, perhaps, she had
never gained but for these untoward circumstances. Lessons of patience
and submission, of industry, activity, and economy; and though she did
not recover her usual flow of spirits, still, as the months rolled on,
and her employments increased, a tolerable degree of cheerfulness
returned also. She found pleasure in her garden-beds and flower-borders;
pleasure in leading her good old grandfather about through the house and
ground, making him familiar with every thing, and instructing him how to
find his way, unaided, to the arm-chair in the porch; pleasure, too, in
devising plans with her grandmother for the better arrangement of their
little household, that pleasure which ever comes with the faithful
discharge of duty; and if Sophy could not forget, if she still
remembered Archie’s slighted love with bitter self-reproach, or Philip’s
short-lived admiration with mortification and disdain, she was still
calm, and patient, and resigned; less gay, perhaps, but not less
loveable or lovely.

The first year of their misfortunes had passed away, and during that
time Archie and our heroine had met but seldom, when the calm current of
the blind man’s life was ruffled by the intelligence that Mr. Wilson had
“sold out,” and the white cottage at Brookville gone into other hands.

That the beloved home of his early years, and of his married life,
should belong to another, had always seemed to Samuel Middleton but as
an unpleasant dream, from which he vainly tried to rouse himself, and
believe that it was, indeed, a reality. He could not discern the changes
around him, or miss the familiar objects which still lingered on his
memory; and this news, communicated rather abruptly by his wife, on her
return from a visit to Brookville, appeared to awaken all his past
regrets, and remind him anew of other and happier days.

“Why did Wilson sell, I wonder?” he said. “Dear me, I’m very sorry for
it. I’m afraid somebody may get there who will abuse the place.”

“It will make no difference to us _now_, grandfather,” said Sophy,
quietly.

“I don’t know as to that,” replied the old gentleman, rather testily. “I
don’t know as to that. Wouldn’t it make you feel badly, Sophy, to walk
past there, and see every thing going to rack and ruin? And if I can’t
see it, I can remember just how it all looked when we came away. If any
one should cut down those two elm trees in front of the house, it would
go nigh to break my heart, I think. Why, my father planted those elms
with his own hands when I was a boy; and I do hope nobody will cut them
down while _I_ live.”

“I hope not, indeed,” said Sophy, in a soothing tone, “but I don’t
suppose there is much danger of that, grandfather, they shade the house
so pleasantly.”

“Maybe not,” said Mr. Middleton, fidgeting in his chair, as if the very
idea had made him nervous, “but there is no telling how it will be.
People are so crazy to make money now-a-days, that nothing is safe. Who
did you say had bought it, wife?”

“I didn’t hear his name,” replied Mrs. Middleton; “but I was so busy
with other matters, that maybe I didn’t ask. However, we can hear all
about it to-morrow, Samuel, for to-morrow is election-day, you know, and
Mr. Harris says he must have your vote, and they’ll send down their
wagon for you and me in good season, so that we can take a dish of tea
with them, if Sophy don’t mind being alone _one_ afternoon.”

Sophy expressed her entire willingness to remain at home, and, indeed,
was rejoiced at the prospect of so doing; and at the appointed hour next
day, when Mr. Harris’s wagon came rattling down the lane, gladly
assisted her grand-parents to prepare for their visit, and saw them
drive away with, it must be confessed, a feeling of relief, somewhat
difficult, perhaps, to analyze.

Instead, however, of setting about the various little tasks which, to
beguile her loneliness, Mrs. Middleton had suggested, Sophy sat down by
the window, and was soon lost in deep thought. What was the subject of
her meditations, I think I _would_ not tell, even if I could, because I
do not choose to betray all the weaknesses of my sex; but I am sure her
eyes were wet, and her face very sorrowful, when who should come
trotting to the door but Archie Harris himself, the very last person in
the world one might have expected on election-day, when everybody, young
or old, was, or ought to have been, busy at the Brookville poll. Be this
as it may, however, here, as I said, came Archie, who threw the bridle
of his pretty bay pony over the gate-post, and walked into the
sitting-room, saying, “I met your folks just now going to the village,
and hearing you were at home, called to see you.”

Sophy received him with a mixture of reserve and cordiality quite
unmistakable, and a blended shower of tears, smiles, and blushes, which
Archie interpreted favorably, I suppose, for he said, “Then you _are_
glad to see an old friend once more, Sophy.”

“Certainly I am, and it is a long time since you were here.”

“Long! let me see—six weeks, I guess. You don’t call that a great
while, do you?”

“Oh, yes, I do,” replied Sophy, blushing. “We are so lonely now that we
have learned to think much of our friends.”

“Have you?” said Archie, regarding her with a look half pleased, half
sorrowful, as if some painful recollection at that moment crossed his
mind; “that is enough to make _some_ of us almost glad that you have
left Brookville.”

“Oh! never say you are glad of _that_!” cried Sophy, earnestly, “when it
made me so unhappy.”

“Not glad on some accounts, certainly,” said Archie, “not that you
should have met with misfortune, but only because you think more of old
friends here than there.”

“True! real friends are the same everywhere,” said Sophy, not exactly
knowing what to say.

“Sometimes—not always,” replied Archie, significantly. “But if friends
bring bad news, are they less welcome?”

“I don’t believe you have any _bad_ news to tell me this afternoon,”
said Sophy. “You look very well pleased.”

“Oh! it is not disagreeable news to _me_, but perhaps it may be to
_you_,” said Archie, smiling.

“Let me hear it, then,” said Sophy, “or maybe I can guess it. Mr. Wilson
has sold the old place.”

“Yes, the old place has changed hands again, and _I_ think for the
better; but that is not the news I mean.”

“Do tell me, then,” said Sophy, impatiently, “for I cannot guess.”

“Perhaps,” said Archie, suddenly becoming grave, “it may make you sorry;
and if so, I had rather not be the one to tell it; but—Philip Greyson
is married.”

“Is that all?” asked Sophy, blushing to the very eyes at the mention of
Philip’s name. “I thought your news was _bad_.”

“And don’t you _really_ care about it?” said Archie. “Let me look in
your eyes, Sophy, and see if you are in earnest—if you really do not
care.”

“No, indeed, I _do not_,” said Sophy, looking in Archie’s face with a
smile which spoke entire truth. “I should not care if he had married all
the girls in Brookville.”

“You thought differently once,” said Archie, “and I am not sure, Sophy,
that you will care to hear an old story of true love over again, after
the last talk we had on the subject.”

“Oh, Archie! will you never forget that foolish business!” exclaimed
Sophy, bursting into tears.

“People forgive easier than they forget, sometimes,” said Archie; “and I
can’t, for my life, forget any thing that concerns you. I may be
mistaken, but I think, that, after Philip Greyson, you care more for me
than any one else; and now that he is married—”

Sophy answered him with a glance, which told a whole story of penitence,
and a world of reproach.

“And if you think I could make you happy, as I would try to do, dear
Sophy,” he continued, “why then, perhaps, you wont object to go back to
Brookville, and live with me at the ‘old place,’ and take grandfather
and grandmother with you, hey, Sophy?”

Poor Sophy was crying so heartily, from a mingled feeling of joy and
sorrow, that she could not answer, and so Archie proceeded.

“I have been very fortunate this last year. I suppose, because I had
nothing to draw me off from business, and have been able to buy the
place from Mr. Wilson. I will put it in good order again, and we shall
be _so_ happy there—shan’t we, Sophy, darling? But you don’t speak.”

“Because I am so happy that I have no words to tell it,” replied Sophy,
smiling through her tears. “But will you really forgive all my
foolishness and vanity, dear Archie? And shall we really go back to
Brookville; to the ‘old place’—and with _you_, too? Oh! it seems like a
blessed dream.”

“A dream that will last, I hope,” said Archie, “and pay us for all the
sorrow we have had the past year—for you haven’t been sad alone, Sophy;
I have thought of you, and loved you just the same; and longed to come
and tell you so, often and often, only I thought if you did like Phil
Greyson best—”

“Please don’t name him again,” said Sophy. And Archie, nothing loth to
discard a disagreeable topic, promised—I believe with a kiss—that he
would not. Unfortunately for grandmother Middleton’s little jobs, Sophy
found the time pass so rapidly that she quite forgot them—since Archie
stayed all the afternoon, while his poor horse stood, kicking off the
flies, at the garden-gate—wondering it may be, at his master’s unusual
delay, or sudden love of gossiping.

The old gentleman and his wife came home in excellent spirits, having
heard who had become the purchaser of their former abode, and Mr.
Middleton’s mind quite at ease respecting his favorite elm trees; and
when they learned further of all that had occurred during their absence,
and how their darling Sophy—now so smiling and happy—was to become the
mistress once more of the dear ‘old place,’ their cup of joy and
contentment seemed full to overflowing. Grandmother reminded Sophy that
“she had told her a year ago that Archie Harris would make the best
husband in the world—always excepting _her_ old man;” while grandfather
could only clasp his withered hands, and raise his sightless eyes in
silent ejaculations of gratitude and love.

Genuine lovers of love stories like to hear of that devoutly wished-for
consummation—a wedding; but editors, and some other people, best fancy
jumping at the conclusion at once. So, most kind reader, whoever you may
be, please to imagine Archie Harris and his bride quietly settled at
Brookville before the autumn commenced—the happiest people in the wide
world; while grandmother is busiest of the busy, all day long, in her
accustomed haunts; and grandfather sits under the shadow of his beloved
elms, almost forgetting his misfortunes, or their year of exile, in the
added happiness of his darling Sophy.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                           THOU’RT NOT ALONE.


    Written on hearing a young lady exclaim, “Alas! I’m all alone!”


                          BY N. CURTISS STINE.


    Thou’rt not alone—the greenwood’s shades are round thee,
    When summer comes, with all her joyous train;
    And playful winds at eve have often found thee,
    And murmured in thine ear Hope’s sweetest strain.
    Thou’rt not alone—each gaily tinted flower,
    That smiling greets us on the dewy lea,
    The painted clouds at sunset’s golden hour,
    To me are friends, and should be so to thee.

    Thou’rt not alone—the red stars gleaming o’er thee,
    At midnight lone, with whispering voices tell,
    Old tales of those who passed away before thee,
    In brighter lands beyond the sun to dwell.
    And when the robe of Autumn gaily shining,
    With rainbow hues is o’er the forest thrown,
    Go, list the winds among their boughs repining,
    And learn on earth thou ne’er can’st dwell alone.

    Thou’rt not alone—the shades of the departed,
    On radiant wings are soaring softly by—
    Thou can’st not see them, but the gentle hearted
    To visit thee oft leave the azure sky.
    What though the world in chasing flying Pleasure,
    With icy heart should past thee coldly hie?
    Look—look on high—thou hast a richer treasure,
    Than all its gems and glittering dross can buy.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                      THE WIDOW AND THE DEFORMED.


                      BY MRS. CAROLINE H. BUTLER.


                                PART I.

Mr. Oakly was a rich man. Stately dwellings and noble warehouses were
his; he owned large and flourishing farms, and the sails of his ships
whitened the ocean. No man enjoyed a higher reputation on ’change; no
merchant’s opinion was more quoted or depended on; no man’s integrity
considered more spotless. Blest, too, with an excellent wife, the world
pronounced Mr. Oakly a very happy man. But where the mere surface of
things forms the criterion of judgment, the world, wise as it is, is
very apt to be mistaken. Mr. Oakly was _not_ a happy man. Neither was he
a favorite with the multitude; and had not the magic of riches
surrounded him, he would have had fewer professed friends, and many more
open enemies—for his manners were arrogant and repulsive, while his
deeds of charity were but as a feather in the scale with his _power_ of
being charitable.

Mr. Oakley had paid a great price for his riches—no less a jewel than
his own peace of mind. He might count over his heaps of gold, and talk
about the just reward of long years of industry and economy, and try to
cheat even himself into the belief that his prosperity was but his
deserts, yet well he knew that the foundation of his fortune was based
on crime. Flatter himself, then, as he would, the whispers of conscience
told him louder than the jingling of coin that it was mockery all! His
only child, too, was miserably deformed and lame; thus it proved, with
all his great wealth, he was neither an enviable or a happy man.

Mr. Oakly, with his family, were spending the warm months at his
delightful country-residence on the banks of the Susquehanna; and there
our story takes us on a sultry August morning. Breakfast is just over,
and now, while Mr. Oakly breaks the seals of various letters which the
postman has just brought to the door, Mrs. Oakly listlessly looks over
the city journals.

“So John is dead at last!” exclaimed Mr. Oakly, with something of relief
in his tone, and throwing down upon the table a dirty-looking letter,
with a huge black seal. “Died a pauper! Well, I expected it, and so
might he, when he refused compliance with the wishes of his friends.”

Mrs. Oakly looked up with some surprise.

“Of whom are you speaking, my dear—a relative of yours?” she inquired.

“Only my brother,” replied her husband, coolly.

“Your brother—and died a pauper! You amaze me! Pray how did it happen?”

“It happened, and justly, too, through his own folly and imprudence,”
cried the cold-hearted man—for even had his brother been the basest of
criminals, he was his brother still. Death should have inspired some
faint shadow of grief, if no more.

“The fact is,” continued Mr. Oakly, “John was too much favored in early
life. He was my father’s idol, and, to my disadvantage, favor after
favor was heaped upon him. Although younger by several years than
myself, _he_ was sent to college, _I_ was kept at home—_he_ had choice
of a profession, _I_ was forced to measure off tape and calico by the
yard. He became dissipated, was wounded in some rowdy frolic, fell in
love with, and married, a girl of low family, who took care of him
during his illness. Such conduct highly exasperated my father, who vowed
that unless he would abandon this low connection forever, and return
home, he not only would disinherit him, but would never see him more.
John refused the terms; the consequences were as my father had said, who
shortly after died. I was his only heir, and, of course, as such, was
bound to hold all my father’s views sacred; and as he never forgave my
ungrateful brother, consequently, neither did I.”

So much for Mr. Oakly’s version of his brother’s history. We shall see,
by and bye, how far it may be depended upon.

“But were you not aware of your brother’s destitute situation?” said
Mrs. Oakly, somewhat reproachfully.

“Why, not exactly—at least I—I did not know it for a _fact_. But, what
then—suppose I did; he chose his own path—what had I to do with it?”

Mrs. Oakly shook her head and sighed.

“Did your brother leave any family?”

“Yes, so it seems—for here comes a begging letter from some country
scribe, whereby it appears he has left a widow and two children—girls,
too; but read it yourself.”

Mrs. Oakly took the letter.

“Sir,—Your brother, Mr. John Oakly, was buried yesterday at the expense
of the parish. Upon his death-bed he requested that notice should be
forwarded you of the event, and some assistance solicited on behalf of
his destitute family. He leaves a widow, in delicate health, and two
small children, both girls. As they are without any means of support
save the little which the mother can earn by labor, I trust this appeal
to your sympathy will not be in vain.”

“Well, my dear,” said Mrs. Oakly, looking inquiringly at her husband, as
she finished reading.

“Well!” echoed her husband, “what concern is it of mine if they do
starve! It was all owing to his connection with this same woman that his
misfortunes fell upon him; and now do you think I am going to encourage
her arts by aiding her in her justly deserved poverty—no, not I, Mrs.
Oakly!”

“Revoke that cruel sentence, I beseech you, Alfred,” said his wife; “you
surely will not let this appeal to your sympathy pass without notice; do
not, I entreat you, let the poor little ones suffer for their parents’
fault!”

“Really, Mrs. Oakly,” cried her husband sarcastically, “really, I hope I
may do as I please with what is mine. Those who have no money of their
own, and never had a cent in their lives, may well cant upon charity.”

There was evidently a bitter meaning couched under these words, for Mrs.
Oakly colored deeply, and tears filled her eyes, though she made no
reply, but throwing open the window upon the lawn, was about to step
forth, when the nurse entered the room, leading by the hand a poor
deformed little girl apparently about two years of age. The sight of his
only and unfortunate child appeared to awaken a new train of ideas in
the mind of Mr. Oakly. For some moments he walked the room in deep
thought, now looking at the child, now at his wife, and then again
resuming his measured tread. At length motioning the nurse, with her
charge, to leave the room, he approached his wife, and in a much less
arrogant manner, said,

“My dear, a new idea has occurred to me, which, if I mistake not, may be
productive of much good, not only to ourselves, but also to those for
whom your sympathy appears so foolishly urgent. The more I consider of
my purpose, the better I think of it. My brother, it seems, has left two
little girls—very well. Now I propose taking the youngest of these
children as our own—”

“This is indeed noble of you, my dear husband!” exclaimed Mrs. Oakly.

“In lieu of our own poor Agatha,” said Mr. Oakly.

Mrs. Oakly screamed, and clasping her hands, sat pale as marble looking
up into the face of her husband.

“Nay, my dear,” said he, taking her hand with some tenderness, “I dare
say you will feel very badly at first, but only consider the benefits
which will arise from the exchange. Agatha is a poor unhappy object, and
as long as she lives, will be a sorrow and reproach to us. It will be
very easy for me to induce this woman, my brother’s widow, I mean, to
yield up one of her own children to me, upon the condition that if she
will take all future charge of our poor Agatha, her own shall be brought
up in every tenderness and luxury. There is one proviso, however, to
which I shall require oath—that is, the transaction is to remain
forever secret—she is never to claim her own child, but on the
contrary, to acknowledge Agatha as hers.”

Mr. Oakly paused, but his wife made no reply. It seemed as if surprise
and grief had deprived her of speech.

“We can pursue our plan the better,” he continued, “as we have always
kept Agatha secluded from observation. It will be very easy for us now
to give out word that she is under skillful treatment. By degrees we can
report of her wonderful improvement, until at the end of some months, or
even a year, we can produce our adopted child in proof of our
assertions.”

“But why is it necessary to do this?” cried Mrs. Oakly, falteringly,
“why not keep our own poor unfortunate, and at the same time adopt one
or both of your brother’s children? God knows, Alfred,” she added,
earnestly, “I will be a mother to them—I will cherish and love them;
but, oh, not so tenderly as my own poor Agatha!”

“Nonsense, nonsense!” interrupted Mr. Oakly, hastily, “don’t you see how
much disgrace and trouble you will save yourself by my arrangement?”

“_Disgrace_, Alfred! and from our innocent babe!”

“Hear me, if you please. You will have the double satisfaction of
knowing that she will be well provided for, and kindly treated, while at
the same time she can never trouble you by her agitating presence.”

“And to such a woman as you have described your brother’s wife to be,
would you confide so precious a trust?” said Mrs. Oakly, hoping this
appeal might arrest her husband’s views.

“Why not? She may be well enough for our purpose; her kindness I can
secure by money. As to any refinement, or education, it will never be of
much importance to Agatha. She will never be called upon, it is likely,
for any display of accomplishments, poor thing—to eat, sleep, and read
verses in the Bible, will fill up the measure of her days better than
any thing else.”

This cutting and cruel remark aroused all the mother. Rising to her
feet, she said, slowly and emphatically,

“Alfred Oakly! can you speak thus lightly of your own flesh and blood!
Now, shame upon you! God has given us this unhappy child; she is our own
to love and protect. Were she the loveliest babe that ever fond mother
circled to her heart, I could not love her more. I might be proud of
such an one; but _love_—oh, I could not so deeply, so tenderly!”

“Well, there we differ, Mrs. Oakly; it is precisely because she is such
a child that I am anxious to be rid of her,” replied the heartless
father. “Understand me, my dear, I wish no harm to poor Agatha; it is
for her good, I assure you, that the change should be made. What answer,
then, have you to my plan?”

“That I will never consent to it,” she replied, firmly.

“Very well—you will not. Then it must be done without your consent. I
am fixed; neither your refusal, or your tears, will avail any thing; so
you may as well make up your mind to yield, madam, without further
argument.” So saying, Mr. Oakly turned coolly on his heel and left the
room.

Now wo to the poor wife—for well did she know her husband’s unfaltering
determination. If it is possible for a woman to be too amiable, Mrs.
Oakly was so; while her husband, far from appreciating such a character,
ruled over her like some petty despot. Her only hope now rested upon the
belief that the widow could never be induced to give up one of her
children for the unfortunate Agatha.

“O, would she were ten times more repulsive!—my poor child!” cried the
unhappy mother, “_I_ should still love her, but _she_ would shrink from
an object so unsightly.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

It was at the close of a chill, rainy day, near the middle of September,
that a handsome traveling-carriage drew up at the door of a small inn,
in a retired country town. Such an occurrence was rare; and no sooner,
therefore, was it seen entering the long street of straggling houses,
than it was followed by a noisy set of bare-footed urchins, yelping
dogs, and idle loungers, so that by the time it reached the inn, a
motley assemblage was formed around it.

As the carriage stopped, the glass was let down; a thin, sallow face
looked sharply forth, and a voice not the most gentle, demanded,

“Here, some of you—can you tell me where one Widow Oakly lives?”

The landlord, who by this time had reached the scene of wonder,
imperatively thrust aside all other aspirants to the honor of answering
the stranger, and himself began.

“The Widow Oakly—ah, yes. The Widow Oakly you said, sir?”

“To be sure I did. I ask you to direct me to her residence.”

“Certainly, sir. Well, you see the widow lives in that small house
yonder, on the bank of the creek—that is, she has a room there; an
honest little woman, but poor—very poor!”

“Drive on!” cried the gentleman, sternly, without deigning further
notice of the loquacious landlord.

The driver cracked his whip, and the spirited horses obeying the
impulse, dashed through the crowd at the imminent risk of trampling some
of the throng under their feet.

“There, I told you,” cried the landlord, “there was something uncommon
about them Oakly’s, poor as they are; and now you see what a grand coach
comes after them. Run down there, Jimmy, my boy, and find out what it
means.”

And not only Jimmy, but a dozen others set off on full trot in the rear
of the carriage.

In the meantime the object of so much curiosity had reached the house
pointed out as the residence of the widow; and carefully mincing his
steps across the muddy pathway, Mr. Oakly rapped loudly at the door with
his gold-headed cane, for knocker there was none. After several
repetitions of the same, each more vehement than the last, the door was
finally opened by a middle-aged woman, whose red face, and scowling
brows told she was in no very pleasant frame of mind. Around her head
was tied an old black handkerchief through which, in several places, her
grizzly hair shot up like “quills upon the fretted porcupine.” She was
slip-shod, and stockingless—her dress drabbled and torn.

“Well,” she exclaimed, not at all daunted at sight either of the
carriage or its owner, “what’s all this rumpus—what do you want, that
you knock a body’s house down about their ears?”

“Is there a Mrs. Oakly lives here?” inquired the gentleman,
involuntarily retreating a step or two.

“Well, if there is—what do you want?” said the woman, surlily.

“That is my business,” answered Mr. Oakly, looking daggers. “If there is
such a woman here I must speak with her.”

“Then go round to the other door, and knock that down too,” replied the
woman. “_Eh_, maybe you are one of her husband’s relations. I’ve heard
tell he had powerful rich ones.”

Mr. Oakly turned away without deigning reply to this half interrogatory.

“_Eh_,” she continued, her voice becoming shriller and shriller, “and a
plaguy proud set you are, I’ll be bound. You can ride in your coach, can
you, and let your brother, as maybe he was, die on straw. _Ho-oo-t!_”
she shrieked, her face inflamed with anger, as she found her taunts
unnoticed, “_ho-oo-t_ away with you off my door-steps—did you ever hear
of Dives and Lazarus? Your gold wont keep _your_ back from scorching,
old Dives. Faith I should like to have the basting of you myself!”
Saying which she boxed the ears of the nearest unlucky wight who stood
grinning with the rest at her eloquence, and then giving him a shake,
which nearly sent his head off, she slammed the door, and retreated.

Her last words were inaudible to the person they were intended for. Glad
to escape from such a virago, he had hastily bent his steps around to
the back entrance of the domicil. Here he knocked several times, but as
no answer was given, he ventured at length to lift the latch, and enter.

It was a low, dark room in which he found himself, little better than a
cellar. I fancy it would have been impossible even for those who dwell
upon the charms and romance of poverty, and who, with well-fed stomachs,
in slippered ease, on Turkey carpets, descant so eloquently upon this
theme, to have found aught charming here. The floor was broken and
uneven; two low windows, which could only boast of three whole panes
between them, the rest being patched with paper, or their places
supplied by rags, through which the rain had forced its way, and now
trickled in long streams across the floor. There were two chairs, a low
bedstead, miserably furnished, a pine table, and some few articles of
crockery and cooking utensils of the poorest kind.

Upon an old quilt, thrown down upon the floor in one corner of the room,
two little children, entwined in each other’s arms, were sleeping. At
this sight the knees of Mr. Oakly trembled, his teeth chattered, and for
a moment he leaned for support against the wall—for a voice seemed
whispering in his ear, “_Look wretch! thy brother’s children—this is
thy work!_”

And perhaps it will be as well here as elsewhere, here, in the scene of
that brother’s death, to relate the events which led to so sad an end.

In Mr. Alfred Oakly’s summary of his brother’s life, there was some
truth, but not the whole truth. John _was_ the favorite of his father;
for beside that his mind was of a much higher order than his brother’s,
his disposition and deportment were also far more amiable and
respectful. Mr. Oakly preferred not sending both his sons to college, so
he very wisely resolved it should be the younger, as one whose talents
would most honor the expense. This excited the envy and jealousy of
Alfred, and from that moment he resolved to work his brother’s undoing.
It happened that at the same college—and in the same class with John
Oakly, was a wild, dissipated fellow of the same name, who was
continually getting into disgrace. Accident furnished Alfred with this
clue, which he determined should lead to his desired wishes. By degrees
whispers of misconduct began to reach the father’s ears. Then came
letters to corroborate these rumors, filling the heart of Mr. Oakly with
sorrow. Letters, too, were continually being received, demanding money,
which, if forwarded, it is unnecessary to say never reached its
destination. Mr. Alfred took good care of that; for, of course, the
letters his father received, purporting to be from his brother,
originated in his own wicked mind, while those actually penned by John,
as also his father’s, were suppressed by the same crafty power.

When Alfred first originated this scheme, it is probable he had no idea
its success would result in so much misery; his desire was as much to be
revenged on his father, for his partiality to his brother, as upon his
brother for being the object of that partiality; but when once he had
entangled himself in the meshes of deceit, he could not break through
without sure detection of his wickedness. The father and son met but
once after the latter went to college. He was then received with
coldness and reproaches. Conscious of his innocence, John was too proud
to make any explanations, and left his father’s roof in bitterness. Soon
after Mr. Oakly went abroad, as wretched as his son, leaving Alfred in
sole charge of his business. The constitution of John was never strong;
and no doubt the unmerited treatment of his father hastened the work of
disease. He commenced the practice of the law, but in pleading his first
cause, unfortunately ruptured a blood-vessel, and was borne from the
court-room to his lodgings in apparently a dying state. Through the
kindness and careful nursing of the lady with whom he boarded, he at
length partially recovered; or it may be that the beauty and gentleness
of Louisa, her only daughter, contributed somewhat to his restoration.
Certain it is, a mutual affection sprang up between them, and, though in
no situation to marry, the death of her mother a few months after, by
which Louisa was left alone and destitute in the world, brought the
event about.

And now love and poverty were henceforth to bear them company on their
life-journey—for a final blow was put to any expectation which John
might have indulged secretly of a reconciliation with his father,
through the machinations of his brother. It seems the other John Oakly
had, in the meanwhile, absconded with a girl of low character. Of this
fact Alfred availed himself, and communicated the same to his credulous
father, who immediately wrote to his youngest son, that unless he
renounced at once, and forever, the disgraceful connection, he would
disinherit him. This letter, as referring to his darling Louisa, the
most amiable and lovely of wives, filled John with indignation and
anger. He answered the letter in terms which nothing but his feelings as
a _husband_ could excuse—and the rupture was complete. Mr. Oakly soon
after returned home in miserable health, and died, cutting off John
entirely in his will, and leaving the whole of his property to Alfred.
This event the latter communicated to his brother, generously enclosing
a _fifty dollar_ note, with the assurance that as his father had died so
incensed against him, out of respect to that father’s memory he must
decline all further intercourse with him.

When sickness and poverty meet, the path of life’s pilgrimage is hard.
Too unwell to practice his profession, John attempted writing, but this
at best was precarious, beside that the exertion again brought on pain
in the side, and difficulty of breathing. He had fine talents, and had
health permitted, no doubt might have succeeded as a writer. Sometimes
he would dictate, and his faithful Louisa commit his ideas to paper; but
this could not continue. New and precious cares were added, which
required all her time, so that this resource was abandoned. He soon grew
so feeble as to be unable to leave his room. A kind physician
recommended country-air, and through his assistance the unfortunate
couple, with their two little ones, were enabled to reach a small
country town. Here living would be cheaper, and hope whispered to Louisa
that by industry and economy, she might support comfortably her dear
husband and little ones. Poor girl! on offering herself as a seamstress,
the good people looked at her with surprise—they did all their own
sewing. She offered to teach painting or music, at very low rates; but
they laughed at her, and wondered what she thought they wanted of such
foolish fashions. At last she was thankful, for her children’s sake, to
be employed even in the most menial offices, if thereby she might get
them bread. Once did John Oakly address a letter to his brother, in
which he stated his ill-health and destitution. It was never answered.
Again, on his death-bed, did he give to the clergyman who attended his
last moments his brother’s address, requesting him to write when he
should be no more, and crave that assistance for his babes, which, while
he lived, was refused to _him_.

The result of this appeal is already known.

The unfortunate widow met with little sympathy from her rough neighbors.
Not that they meant unkindness or uncharitableness, but each one was too
busy with their own affairs to give more than a chance thought to a poor
widow and a stranger. They were themselves industrious and frugal; and
it was difficult for her even to get a day’s work from such economical,
thrifty people.

And hither now had the rich man come—and on what errand? Not to
sympathize—not to succor or relieve, but to prosecute his own selfish
views, both cruel and unnatural.

But to return. We left Mr. Alfred Oakly gazing upon his brother’s
sleeping babes. The opening of a door aroused him; he turned, and the
wan countenance of the widow met his view. She did not look to be more
than three-and-twenty. She was tall, and her figure slender and
delicate, but her small feet were bare, her garments coarse. On her
sunken cheeks there was no trace of color, and the lines of suffering
too plainly drawn around her beautiful mouth. Her dark eyes were large,
but their brilliancy dimmed by tears of sorrow, and her long, raven
hair—that splendid hair that had once been the admiration of all—was
now combed carelessly back from her high brow, and concealed by a plain
muslin cap. The man of the world was abashed, and the widow the first to
break the silence.

“I presume I speak to Mr. Alfred Oakly,” she said.

The gentleman bowed, but had his life depended upon utterance, he could
not have spoken. Their mother’s voice, though low, at once aroused the
sleeping innocents, and springing from their hard couch, they bounded to
meet her. At sight of a stranger, however, the youngest, not two years
old, hid her face in the folds of her mother’s dress, but the elder
looked up inquiringly into his face, and then raising herself on her
little toes, and putting back her sunny ringlets, said, “Me will tiss
you.”

Mr. Oakly _did_ stoop to those little rosy lips, and even lifted the
little creature for a moment in his arms; but that was all—he placed
her on the floor again, as cold, as unimpassioned as ever.

This little scene overcame the fortitude of the mother; folding both
little ones to her bosom, she burst into tears, and for many moments
wept bitterly. This gave Mr. Oakly time to recover himself. He would
fain have believed the tears of the widow called forth more for effect
than for real grief; but there was something too lofty and pure in her
pale countenance to encourage such base thoughts. At length feeling
himself bound to say something by way of consolation, in a husky,
fettering voice, he began. The words “we must all
die—sorry—death—unfortunate—in heaven—” being alone intelligible.

As if indignant with herself for having given way to her feelings in the
presence of one so heartless, Mrs. Oakly instantly dried her tears, and
with something of scorn on her features, listened to this
lip-language—for well she knew the heart had little to do with it.

“I have come here,” he continued, “as the near relative of your late
husband, to remove you from this miserable spot. You must leave this
place, madam; it is entirely too poor and wretched for you.”

“Wretched and poor as it is, on _that_ bed your brother died!” said the
widow, pointing as she spoke to the low, miserable bedstead.

Mr. Oakly was evidently put down. After a moment’s silence he added,

“It is my intention, as my brother’s widow, to treat you with every
kindness.”

“Your kindness, sir, comes late,” replied Mrs. Oakly, “and will prove
but thankless. He whom it should have rescued from the grave, is now
beyond your cruelty; and to me, therefore, your _kindness_, as you term
it, is little else than cruel.”

The brow of Mr. Oakly contracted with anger, but the object he had in
view was too important to be thwarted by a woman’s reproaches; so,
dissembling his mortification, he continued.

“I wish you to remove from here at once to a pleasant town which I shall
name to you; and it is also my desire and intention to adopt your
youngest child as my own.”

“Separate me from my children! No, that you shall never do!” cried the
widow, pressing them to her bosom.

“Do not be so hasty in your decision, my dear madam,” said Mr. Oakly,
blandly, “but listen to me with reason. This child shall be most
tenderly and carefully brought up. My wife will love her as her own; and
her education shall be the best which the city can give. You yourself
shall not only live in comfort, but also have ample means to educate
your other daughter as you could wish. Nay, more; I do not ask you to
give me your daughter without an equivalent. Now,” continued he, drawing
his chair still closer to Mrs. Oakly, and taking her hand, “I want you
to listen to me—neither do I wish you to give me an answer to-night;
you shall have time to reflect upon my proposition, and to consider well
the immense benefit which will result to yourself from conceding to my
wishes, or, in case of refusal, the poverty and wretchedness which will
still surround you and these poor babes, aggravated, perhaps, by the
thought that you might have spared their tender frames, but would not.”

The countenance of the widow flushed with indignation; she spoke not,
however, but turning her full dark eye upon him, prepared to hear what
further this man had to say.

“It has pleased the Almighty,” he continued, “to give me one child, now
nearly three years of age; but this child he has blasted with the most
hopeless deformity. You have two beautiful children—then give me one,
and receive to your maternal care my poor, blighted Agatha.”

“And are you a _father_! and can you talk thus easily of severing the
holy bond of parent and child!” interrupted Mrs. Oakly. “Have you not a
wife—is there no _mother_ to be consulted in your most unnatural
scheme!”

“Yes—an unhappy mother; but she has already consented. Aware that in
perfect retirement her poor child can alone know happiness, she is
willing to yield her up to your gentle treatment, and will in return
bestow her love and tenderness upon your own babe. Reflect, you will
still have one lovely child to console you, while the future welfare of
both your children will be secured by the sacrifice; furthermore, there
will be the heartfelt pleasure of knowing that through your watchful
care an unfortunate being is made happy.”

“Do you know aught of the pleasures of _duty_, that you talk so
feelingly?” said the widow, scornfully.

“Nay, reproach me not thus; look at your two children, those little
beings confided to your care—can you see their little frames wasted by
hunger, or sinking through toil; or, should you die, what then is there
for them but a cold and bitter lot of poverty and death—or maybe a fate
worse than death. You shudder; then why hesitate, when by simply
yielding to my wishes you are all made comfortable and happy. I see you
are moved. I have but one stipulation to make, should you consent, as I
think you will; it may alarm you at first, but upon reflection you will
see its propriety. It is this—you are to promise solemnly never to
claim your child, but to acknowledge poor Agatha to be _yours_, and
never, on any account or any emergency, divulge this important secret.
Do not answer me,” said he, hastily, as he saw the widow was about to
speak; “take time to consider my views—I will call at an early hour in
the morning for your reply. Good night!” Then kissing the
half-frightened children, the plausible brother of poor John Oakly
softly closed the door, and once more entering his carriage, returned to
the inn.

It is difficult to conceive the pain and agitation with which this
interview filled the breast of the poor widow. Doubts distracted her;
and decision either way filled her with dread. One moment she resolved
to spurn the offered ransom from poverty, the next, as her eyes dwelt on
her helpless little ones doomed by such decision to years of toil and
want, she wavered, and almost consented to part forever with her darling
Louisa, if by the sacrifice their comfort might be secured. Then her
mind wandered to the poor, cast-off Agatha, whom, perhaps, cruelty and
harshness might destroy. She had well divined the father’s selfishness,
and should she refuse the charge, he might entrust her to other hands
less faithful—for already she felt her heart warm toward the
unfortunate.

Unconscious of their mother’s distress, the children had once more
fallen asleep. Softly removing the little arm of the youngest from her
neck, she carefully placed them on her humble bed, and then kneeling
down beside them, she prayed that strength and resolution might be given
her that she might decide justly and wisely. Mournfully the wind sighed
around that dismal dwelling; the rain beat against the shattered
windows—but she heard it not, knew it not. Through that long, long
night, without lamp or food, unto the dawning of another dismal day, the
widow remained on her knees by the bed-side of her beloved children.
Years seemed added unto her by the sufferings of that night.

Her decision was made—made with an anguish which mocks at consolation.

Blame her not, fond mother, as, surrounded by all the comforts of life,
you fondly circle your own dear babes to your bosom, and think no power
but death can separate you from them. Blame her not, that in poverty and
destitution, in forlornness and widowhood, to save her poor infants from
a lot so wretched, she at length, with grief too deep for tears, decided
to yield up forever to _another_, her youngest born—her darling Louisa.

                 *        *        *        *        *

To a pleasant seaport town, many miles distant from the scene of the
preceding chapter, and still further removed from the residence of Mr.
Oakly, our story now takes us. We must allow, too, for a flight of
years, which shall be as noiseless as those circling so swiftly around
the head of the young and happy.

With the exception of one long street, consisting mostly of mechanics’
shops, a few stores, a rope-walk, and a tavern, the dwellings, clustered
here and there in a most picturesque and delightful manner. The land
rising rather abruptly a few rods from the shore, and slightly
undulating, gave to each little cottage a distinct and pretty
appearance, each with its little garden-plot of bright-green vegetables
and brilliant flowers, some half hidden behind the huge brown trunks of
forest-trees, others mantled with the vine or honey-suckle. To the south
and west, the horizon rested upon the bosom of the majestic ocean;
northward towered hill on hill until the blue sky kissed their dark
summits; while to the east stretched a beautiful vista of finely
cultivated fields, and glowing orchards, with the spires of distant
villages proclaiming—_God above all!_

It was the hour of noon, on a bright June day. A band of happy, sportive
children were just let loose from school, and with whoop and huzza, with
careless laugh, and merry song, away bounded the gay young things, happy
that the four brick walls of A B C-dom were behind them, yet now and
then glancing back with a look of fondness to their school-mistress, as
she slowly crossed the play-ground to her own residence. In the path
before her gayly frolicked a beautiful girl of perhaps ten summers, the
very embodiment of health and innocence, skipping and dancing onward,
light as any fairy, or with sunny smiles bounding back with a flower and
a kiss for the child her mother was so tenderly assisting. This poor
little creature was not only very lame, but was terribly hunchbacked,
and otherwise deformed. Although really older than little Ruth Oakly,
(for in the school-mistress the reader finds the widow,) she was not
taller than most children at five. One little hand was clasped in her
mother’s, (she knew no other mother,) who, with the most tender care,
guarded her steps, now and then, as the eyes of the child were lifted to
hers, stooping down to kiss her, and encouraging her in the most
endearing terms. The other hand held a wreath of flowers, which she had
woven for her dear sister Ruth.

As they entered the gate opening upon the nicely graveled walk leading
up to the cottage-door, Ruth ran and brought a little arm-chair on
rollers, softly cushioned, and placed it on the grass beneath the shadow
of a large apple-tree, whose pendant branches, nestling down amid the
sweet clover, thus formed a beautiful bower for the children’s sports.

“There, Gatty,” cried Ruth, flinging herself down at her feet among the
clover, “now let’s play the story you were reading this morning. You
shall be queen, and I will be the little girl that was never happy;
would it be wrong, Gatty, to _play_ you were never happy—would it be
telling a lie; for you know, Gatty, dear, I am very, very happy—aren’t
you?”

“Yes—very happy,” said Agatha, thoughtfully, “but, Ruth, I cannot be
queen, you know—how I should look! No, you must be queen; and see, I
have made this pretty wreath on purpose for you. I will be the ugly old
fairy, and ma’ma shall be Leoline, that was never happy—for, Ruthy, do
you know I think dear ma’ma is sometimes very miserable. I wonder what
makes her cry so; for every night when she kneels down by our bed-side I
can feel the hot tears on my cheek as she kisses me.”

“Ah! and so can I—poor ma’ma!” said Ruth, and both children remained
sad and thoughtful, the arm of Ruth thrown across the lap of her sister,
whose little hand, still clasping the wreath, rested on Ruth’s shoulder.
At length Agatha spoke, but her voice was low and broken.

“Ruth,” said she, “maybe ma’ma weeps for me, because—because—I am not
more like _you_.”

“How like me?” said the little girl, raising her eyes to the sad face
bent over her.

“Why you know, Ruth, you are so straight and so pretty, and can walk so
nicely, while I—I—”

“You are a thousand times better than me, dear Gatty,” cried Ruth,
springing up and throwing both arms around her weeping sister—for it
was almost the first time she had ever heard Agatha allude to her
deformity; “indeed you are a great deal prettier and better. Oh! how
many times I have heard dear ma’ma say she wished I was as good as you.”

“Ruth,” said Agatha, laying her hand on her sister’s arm, and looking
earnestly in her face, “I _am_ a frightful looking child, am I not?”

“_You_, Agatha!” exclaimed little Ruth, “_you_ frightful! O, no; don’t
every body love you, Gatty, dear?”

“Everybody is very _kind_ to me,” said the child, unconsciously making
the distinction—“but then, Ruth, sometimes I hear people say, ‘_O, what
an ugly little thing!_’ ‘_Did you ever see such a fright?_’ and then
sometimes the children call me a _spider_, and say I have arms like an
_ape_, and cry, ‘_Hunch-Bunch, what’s in your pack?_’”

“O, stop, dear Agatha!” said Ruth, tenderly kissing her, “don’t talk
so—pray don’t! it is only rude stranger children that say so; it is
because they don’t know what a sweet, dear child you are.”

“I pray to God every night,” continued Agatha, “to forgive them, for
they don’t know what it is to be lame, and deformed, and helpless; and I
pray God to make _me_ good and amiable, too, that _I_ may forgive them.”

“Don’t cry, Gatty, dear,” sobbed Ruth, and then both little heads sunk
lovingly together in a paroxysm of tears.

When Mrs. Oakly came to call the children to dinner, she was surprised
to find them both weeping and sobbing bitterly. There was never any
concealment from their mother; so Ruth, in a simple, earnest manner,
related the conversation between Agatha and herself. Mrs. Oakly was
grieved to find the mind of her hitherto happy child dwelling on a
subject so hopelessly calamitous. Raising the poor little girl in her
arms, she fondly kissed her.

“My darling,” said she, “is it not better to be good and lovely in your
heart, than to possess the most beautiful form, and yet be wicked, and
have no love for God and his commandments? My dear little girl, listen
to me; it was the will of the Almighty to strike you with lameness, and
to render your frame less pleasing to the sight than that of other
children; but reflect how many blessings he has also granted you.
Suppose you were blind; suppose you could never look upon the face of
your dear little sister Ruth, or your ma’ma’s; could not see the
beautiful flowers, nor the grass, nor yonder ocean, which you now so
much love to look upon, or the beautiful blue sky above you; or, Agatha,
what if you were deprived of speech and hearing. Ah! my child, do not
sorrow any more, for you see how good God has been; you must not let the
speech of thoughtless children thus disturb you—will you promise me,
Agatha?”

“I will _try_, dearest ma’ma—I must not promise, for I may be wicked
again, and forget that God is so good,” answered the child.

Mr. Alfred Oakly had so far fulfilled the promises he made the widow as
to remove her from the wretched spot where he had first sought an
interview with her to the home she now occupied. He had purchased the
cottage, which was pleasantly located, and presented her with the title
deed. He had furnished it neatly, adding also a piano, and a small
collection of books, to the other equipments. Half yearly she received a
stipulated amount of money, which, though small, would, with economy,
have been sufficient for her support, had she chosen to avail herself of
its uses. But this sum she considered sacred to Agatha. In case of her
own death, she saw how utterly hopeless and dependent her situation
would be, and she nobly resolved not to encroach upon it any more than
was absolutely necessary for the first six months. She therefore exerted
all her energies to support herself and the children, independent of
this allowance. In this laudable endeavor she found the piano one great
resource. She gave lessons in music, also in drawing and painting, and
was engaged as teacher in the village school, in which capacity she was
much beloved and respected both by parents and children.

Thus years rolled on. Although she still grieved for her darling Louisa,
and wept in secret those tears of which none but a _mother_ may know the
bitterness, still she was most fondly attached to the unfortunate little
Agatha, while the affection subsisting between Ruth and the poor
deformed was truly lovely to witness. There could not be a much greater
contrast than in the looks of these two children, although their
dispositions were in perfect harmony. Ruth possessed a rich olive
complexion, with cheeks which might vie with June roses, they were so
bright and glowing; her eyes were black and sparkling; and her raven
hair closely cut to her beautifully rounded throat, was parted on top of
her finely formed head, and waved over each temple in one rich, glossy
curl. Her figure, tall for her age, was light and graceful. The
complexion of Agatha, on the contrary, was dazzlingly fair, save where
dashed by the small, violet veins; her large, deep-hazel eyes possessed
that peculiar brightness and intensity which usually designates those
who suffer from like causes; long ringlets of light-brown hair, fell
around her almost to the ground as if to hide within their beautiful
redundance the mis-shapen form of their little mistress. But it was the
expression of her innocent face which called forth the pity and kindness
of every one; that look, so gentle, so confiding, as if pleading with
every one to love her, though she knew how hard it would be to take to
their hearts a helpless deformed little object such as she was.

Incapable of joining in the sports of other children, Agatha devoted a
great portion of her time to reading, of which she was passionately
fond; and possessing a retentive memory, she was better informed,
perhaps, at ten years of age than most children at fourteen. She had a
great taste for drawing and for music; these Mrs. Oakly had assiduously
cultivated, knowing what a source of comfort and amusement they would
afford her, and also contribute to draw her from dwelling too much upon
herself and her misfortunes, which would only tend to sour and destroy
her happiness.

From its proximity to the sea, and consequent advantages of sea-bathing,
the village in which Mrs. Oakly resided was, in the summer season, a
frequent and favorite resort for invalids.

There was a certain wealthy bachelor of the name of Sullivan, who, for
two successive seasons, had made this his place of residence. Every one
granted his claim to invalidism the first season, but when with robust
frame, and fresh, healthy countenance, he appeared the second, people
shook their heads, and talked of _hypocondriacs_. By and bye, it began
to be whispered about that Mr. Sullivan was often seen coming from the
little cottage of the Widow Oakly; and at last it was asserted that he
was soon to bear off their good school-mistress as his bride. This was
all true. Mr. Sullivan was talented, agreeable, good looking, and rich;
one who, in his youthful days, need not fear the frown of any damsel,
and who now, in the prime of manhood, might still have won the fairest.
But the heart of the handsome bachelor seemed invulnerable, for nearly
forty years resisting all the charms of beauty. He came to the seashore
to restore his head, and lost his heart.

            “When I said I should die a bachelor,
        I did not think I should live to be married,”

thought he, blushing like a school-girl at his ridiculous plight.

The acquaintance between Mr. Sullivan and Mrs. Oakly commenced by means
of the children. He one day met them on the beach as they were gathering
shells, and being always interested in children—a sure sign that his
heart was good—he stopped to speak with them. The beauty and vivacity
of Ruth charmed him, while her unfortunate little companion filled him
with deep sympathy and pity. By and bye he found himself thinking less
of the children and more of the mother, until in fact he made the
astonishing discovery that he was in love.

Mrs. Oakly, now in her thirty-eighth year, had preserved her beauty
through all the troubles and vicissitudes of her life. There are some
forms and faces we see, upon which time appears unwilling to lay his
withering hand—and Mrs. Oakly was one of these. The rose yet lingered
on her cheek; her eyes were still soft and brilliant; her mouth had not
lost its freshness, nor her teeth their pearly hue, while the dark hair
folded over her fine brow was as thick and glossy as in the days of
girlhood.

You may be sure the bachelor was not for any long delay in the
matter—that “Happy’s the wooing that’s not long a doing,” was precisely
his idea—so he made proposals at once, and was accepted.

The evening previous to her marriage, Mrs. Oakly addressed a letter to
Mr. Alfred Oakly, informing him of the event, though she entered into no
particulars, not even giving the name of her intended husband. All the
request she made was, that he would continue to place the same amount of
money which he had previously forwarded to her, in some safe deposit,
for the benefit of Agatha; that should she survive those whose happiness
it was now to do for her, she might not be entirely thrown upon the cold
charity of the world. Not one word did she breathe of her yearning for
her own precious Louisa; she felt he would not understand her if she
did, so she coldly bade him farewell.

The marriage was solemnized in the widow’s own little parlor; after
which, amid the tears and blessings of the villagers, Mrs. Sullivan
departed with her happy husband for his beautiful residence near Lake
George.


                                PART II.

We will now return to Mr. Alfred Oakly, and learn how the world in the
interim has fared with him. Prosperity at the helm, his richly freighted
vessels careered over the wide ocean, no devastating fires destroyed his
dwellings, no whirlwinds up-rooted his forests, no blight or mildew
stole over his fields to nip the golden harvest, and yet, with all this,
there was many a beggar who gleaned the refuse from his kitchen, who
knew more of happiness than did this cold, selfish man. In the first
place his wife had never recovered from the shock to her affections in
being forced to yield up her unfortunate child—not only her health but
her temper suffered severely. Toward her husband in particular this
change seemed pointed, and as much as she had loved him previously her
coldness was now proportionate. Unhappily, too, for Louisa, the innocent
cause of this rupture, it extended itself even to her, and thus
childhood, that rainbow-tinted period of life was to her clouded and
joyless. Her father, stern and morose, secluding her from playmates of
her own age—her mother seldom greeting her with a word of affection or
a smile of encouragement—her caresses met by both with coldness, and
all the winning graces of childhood frowned down with disfavor. Her
education, however, went on as though her frame were formed of iron.
There was a stiff governess, whose cold gray eye was ever on her, to
watch that she did not loll in sitting or stoop in walking—that her
toes turned out and her elbows turned in—that she neither spoiled her
mouth by laughing (little danger!) nor her eyes by crying. Then came the
music-master with commands for six hours daily practice for those little
fingers—and the dancing-master, saying “_Ma’amselle_, you must be very
gay—you cannot never learn de dance ven you do look so vat you call
fat-i-gued.” Then came the drawing-master, and the professor of
languages; nor were these all to which her mind was tasked, for besides,
were those branches which her governess professed to teach—her
governess, Miss Pinchem, with whom in comparison Miss Blimber of Blimber
Hall would have shrunk into insignificance!

Poor little Louisa!

She would sometimes wonder if the little children she read of in the
Bible had to learn all such things to make them good—for Miss Pinchem
was great on goodness—always beginning and ending her exhortations
with, “Now, Miss Louisa, you must be _good_, and not raise your eyes
from your book”—“You must play that tune with more scientific grace,
Miss Louisa, or you will not be _good_”—“You must turn out your toes if
you want to be _good_”—“You will never be _good_ if you don’t pronounce
better”—in short there was a great deal of goodness on Miss Pinchem’s
wiry tongue, let people say what they would, and though Louisa wondered
_what_ made _Miss Pinchem_ good!

No sooner had Mr. Oakly accomplished his object in ridding his sight of
the poor deformed, than he would fain have held himself excused from all
obligation to the widow—but he dared not act out his wishes, fearful in
such case that she would claim her own, and thus betray his disgraceful
secret. When he received Mrs. Oakly’s letter informing him of her
intended marriage, his apprehensions were anew awakened. Could it be
possible she would keep the secret from her husband! Doubtless she would
scorn the imputation that so unsightly a child as Agatha was her own
offspring, and thus to preserve her maternal pride forfeit her word! O!
a thorny pillow was that Mr. Oakly nightly pressed! How often in his
dreams did the pale corse of his injured brother rise up before him, and
ever in its fleshless arms it bore the shrunken form of Agatha! But as
month after month rolled on, swelling finally to years, and hearing
nothing further from the late Mrs. Oakly, he felt more at ease, so much
so that he entirely forgot her request relative to the future advantage
of his discarded child! an oversight very natural to such a man!

Louisa reached her seventeenth year, and as the bud gave promise so
proved the flower, beautiful indeed and lovely. Mr. Oakly was really
proud of this! He mentally contrasted her light elegant figure with the
_probable_ appearance of Agatha, and congratulated himself that he had
not to bear about the shame of acknowledging the latter! Still, he did
not _love_ Louisa—strange that he almost hated her for possessing those
very attributes of loveliness for which he had preferred her above his
own offspring!

When Louisa emerged from the seclusion of the school-room to the
brilliant circles of fashion, she was caressed, flattered, adored.
Wealth and beauty tripping hand in hand seldom fail to win favor, and
brought a throng of admirers to the feet of the heiress, who, however,
did not seem easily moved; and many were the suitors to her favor who
met with a kind but firm refusal. But, beware, Louisa, your affections
will be held by your tyrant father just as much enslaved as your person;
and now, wo to you, should they centre where he does not approve.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Moonlight, golden, twinkling stars, fragrant zephyrs, sweet from the lip
of the lily, soft music from tinkling leaves, a murmur from the rippling
river, and through the winding shrubbery, slowly along the path
tesselated by the moonbeams, which glint through the leafy curtain,
Louisa is straying—but not alone. A youth is by her side, one whose arm
her own encircles, who clasps her willing hand in his; one whose
whispers are of love, and to whom her own voice, gentle and low, speaks
of hope and happiness in return.

Ah! foolish, foolish Louisa! what are you thinking of? Only a poor
painter—and _you_ in love! True, he has talent, worth, grace,
refinement, but—_no money_! And you, unfortunate youth, why did you
love this beautiful maiden? Know you not that man of heartlessness and
pride, her father, would gladly crush you to the earth for lifting your
eyes heaven-ward to his daughter; that he would sooner buy her
winding-sheet than that she should don her wedding-robe for _thee_! And
yet, even now, closer and closer are you both riveting the chain,
drawing heart to heart, which no hand but death can loose.

It was the second summer after Louisa’s initiation into the gay world
that the Oakly family were once more assembled at Oak Villa, their
annual resort during the warm months of July and August. With no taste
for reading, a mind not attuned for meditation, and the querulousness of
an _ungraceful_ old age gradually stealing upon him, Mr. Oakly found the
time drag most wearily on amid those quiet groves. In his extremity an
idea suddenly flashed across his brain, which he eagerly caught at, as
it promised to relieve somewhat of that tedious vacuum between those
hours when such a man and happiness may alone be said to look each other
in the face: viz., the hour of meals—and this was to summon an artist
to the villa, for the purpose of decorating the walls of the saloon with
the portraits of its inmates. He had not thought of it before, but,
quite luckily, it now occurred to him that he already had the address of
a young artist in his pocket, for whom some friend of struggling genius
had solicited patronage. Now he could kill two birds with one stone, as
it were, secure the plaudits of the world by taking the artist by the
hand in so flattering a manner, and at the same time pull away the drag
from the wheels of time. He looked at the card—“Walter Evertson,”—and
to Walter Evertson did he immediately address a letter, requesting his
presence at the villa.

He came—a fine, handsome youth of three-and-twenty, with an eye like an
eagle, and hair dark as a starless night—a dangerous companion, we must
allow, for the gentle Louisa. He was met with condescending affability
made most apparent by the master of the house, and by Mrs. Oakly, who
seldom manifested much interest in any thing, with cool indifference. No
wonder, then, that he turned with a thrill of pleasure tingling his
heart-strings, to the gentle Louisa, whose manners, at once so courteous
and refined, offered so agreeable a contrast.

There are some, perhaps, whose hearts have never yet felt the power of
love, who rail about love at first sight as a theory too ridiculous to
dwell upon—a chimera only originating in the heads of romantic
school-girls and beardless shop-boys; very well, let them have it so; I
only assert that both Louisa and the artist, at that first interview,
were favorably impressed; and that a brief intercourse under the same
roof cemented their young hearts with all the strength of a first and
truthful affection. Love (himself a sly artist) traced each on the other
a heart in fadeless tints. Sincere and unselfish was the love which
Walter Evertson had conceived for Louisa; a love which he intended to
bury within his own throbbing breast—for he dared not flatter himself
that it would be returned—she, the heiress of thousands—he, the poor,
unfriended artist. Vain resolve! It was the evening with which this
chapter commences, that, in an unguarded moment, he had revealed to her
his love, and received the blest assurance of her own in return. But
their cup of joy was even then embittered by the consciousness that her
father, in his cold, selfish nature, would tear their hearts asunder,
even though he snapped their life-strings.

In the meantime the business which had brought him to the villa was
being accomplished. Mr. and Mrs. Oakly saw themselves to the life on
canvas, and now it only remained to consummate his work by portraying
the features of Louisa. Delightful, yet difficult task! Mrs. Oakly had
so far aroused herself from her usual lethargy, as to insist that the
figure of Louisa herself should be but secondary in the picture about to
be executed. She was tired, she said, of those stiff, prim figures on
sombre-tinted ground, looking out from gilded frames with eye-balls ever
coldly glaring upon one, and would have a large painting of rare design
and skill—woods, fountains, birds, and flowers, to relieve the form and
face of Louisa from this dull sameness. Various were the sketches
brought forward for her approval; and whole days, which Evertson wished
might never end, were spent in vain endeavors to settle upon some one of
them for the purpose. Accident, however, at length furnished the desired
_tableau_ although it would be doing injustice to Evertson to imply that
he lacked talent or originality—fine as were his sketches, they failed
to please Mrs. Oakly, because—she would not be pleased.

One morning Louisa strolled out alone, and unconsciously pursued her
ramble until she reached a beautiful meadow fringed with fine old trees,
whose branches bent down to meet their dark, leafy shadows in the bright
waters of the Susquehanna. Birds were singing merrily, butterflies
sported their golden wings, and the grasshopper chirped, blithely
leaping through the tall grass. Here and there, where the rays of the
sun had not yet penetrated, were the gossamers of elfin
broidery—mantles dropped by fairies on their merry rounds in the
checkered moonlight beneath those old trees; there was a drop of bright
nectar, too, left in the cup of the wild-flower, and the large, red
clover-tops were sparkling with dew-gems. I cannot assert that Louisa
saw all the beauties of this fine morning; for, absorbed in pleasing
thoughts, upon which we will not intrude, satisfied as we ought to be
that the artist occupied a full share, she seated herself beneath one of
those shadowing trees, and resting her chin within the palm of her
little hand, most likely, I am sorry to say, heard neither the warble of
the birds, the cheerful chirping insect, or saw the bright glancing
river, with the little boat which was just then dancing over its silver
ripples.

The sound of voices approaching in the opposite direction suddenly broke
in upon her trance, and she then, for the first time, reflected that she
had passed the boundaries of her father’s land. The estate adjoining had
lately been purchased by a wealthy Englishman, it was said. For many
weeks repairs had been going on in the old mansion, which for several
years had been tenantless; and the family were daily expected to arrive.
That they had now done so was Louisa’s conclusion. The voices drew
nearer; but, trusting to the thick foliage for concealment, she remained
perfectly still; when apparently within but a few paces of her the party
stopped.

“What a lovely view!” exclaimed a soft female voice. “I wish ma’ma had
not turned back, she would have been so delighted.”

“It is truly fine,” was the reply, in a masculine tone; “it is even more
beautiful than the view from the lawn we so much admired last evening;
what if you were to sketch it.”

“If I had only brought my crayons, I would do so now. How lovely it is!”
answered the lady.

“If you have strength for it after your long walk,” was the reply, “I
will return for your portfolio; here is a nice shady seat for you—I
will soon be back, but do not ramble away from this spot.”

Louisa heard the retreating footsteps, and was about to make good her
own, when a beautiful Scotch air, very sweetly warbled, arrested her
attention. The song ceased abruptly, giving place to a scream so loud
and shrill, as blanched the cheek of Louisa with the hue of death. She
sprang to her feet, and panting with terror, emerged from her shelter
into the open meadow just as the scream was again repeated. She now
almost breathlessly looked around to detect the cause of alarm. In a
moment she saw it all. A noble stag, having probably leaped the
park-pailings, came bounding swiftly across the meadow directly toward
the spot where Louisa was now standing, no doubt with the intention of
slaking his thirst at the tempting stream. The terrors of Louisa were at
once allayed; and she now hastened to the spot whence the screams
issued, to soothe, if possible, the fears of the unknown.

Trembling with fright, and clinging to a tree for support, was a female,
dwarf-like in stature, and deformed in shape. Her countenance was deadly
pale, and her eye-balls, almost fixed with terror, were strained upon
the animal, as he came leaping onward. Ere Louisa could speak he had
approached within a few paces, and, as if now first aware of their
presence, he suddenly halted, arched his beautiful, glossy neck, and
bending his antlered head, stood at bay. Seeing how utterly helpless was
the poor unknown, Louisa sprung forward, and telling her not to be
alarmed, quickly placed herself before her; but the noble stag, as if
disdaining to war with women, after gazing upon them a few seconds with
his wild eyes, suddenly turned, and tossing his head proudly, trotted
off in another direction.

At that moment how rejoiced was Louisa to see her lover rapidly
approaching—for the stranger had already fainted.

“Water! water!” she cried, “quick, or she will die!”

Without speaking, Evertson rushed to the river, and filling his hat with
its cooling waters, was in a second at her side.

“Poor girl! she will die with terror, I fear. What fine features, and
what beautiful hair!” said Louisa, as she swept back the long tresses
from her neck and brow, purer than alabaster.

In a few moments the object of their solicitude opened her eyes. She
could not speak, but pressing the hand of Louisa to her lips, pointed
toward a mansion just discernible through a dense shrubbery at some
distance.

“Shall I bear you home?” inquired Evertson.

The stranger looked her thanks; and lifting her in his arms as tenderly
as if she were a babe, he proceeded with his almost lifeless burthen in
the direction pointed out.

Thus met, for the first time, the discarded Agatha and the innocent
usurper of her rights.

The fancy of Walter Evertson seized at once upon a scene so interesting
as the one he had just witnessed. No sooner did he part with Louisa at
the door of the saloon, than, hastening to his studio, he began
sketching the outlines of his truthful conceptions. Rapidly did he
hasten on his own misery—blissfully unconscious the while of the sad
termination of his labors. Never had he wrought so well and so
rapidly—not a stroke but told. There was the beautiful meadow, with its
brave old trees, and the river gleaming through their branches; the fine
stag, his antlered front bent toward the two females; the graceful form
of Louisa standing beneath the old oak, shielding the terrified
stranger, one arm thrown around her, the other slightly raised as if
motioning the animal away. Love surely guided his hand; for, without a
sitting, the artist had transferred from his heart to the canvas the
gentle features of Louisa with an accuracy undisputable. Strikingly,
too, had he delineated the form and face of the deformed—her long,
waving tresses—her pale countenance—her large eyes fixed in terror
upon the stag, and her small, mis-shapen figure. Something, too, had he
caught, even in that short interview, of the features of Agatha. He
could not, however, proceed in his task until it had received the
approbation of the master and mistress of the mansion. He had purposely
requested Louisa to be silent respecting the morning’s adventure, that
he might, by surprise, obtain the mastery over the whims of Mrs. Oakly,
so hard to be gratified. They were now respectfully invited to the
picture-room, together with Louisa, to pass judgment upon his (to him)
beautiful sketch.

To depict the scene which followed the withdrawal of the curtain he had
placed before it would be impossible. Mrs. Oakly gave one look, and with
a dreadful shriek, exclaiming, “_My child!_” fell senseless to the
floor. Mr. Oakly, foaming with rage, his face livid and distorted,
rushed upon the astonished artist, and in a voice choked with passion,
cried,

“Out of my house, villain! Ha! do you beard me thus! Who are you, that
have thus stolen my secret, and dare to show me that picture—dare to
place that hateful image before me? Out of my house, I say, ere I am
tempted to commit a worse crime!”

Astonished, bewildered, confounded, Evertson for a moment could not
speak, nor would the enraged man hear him when he did. In vain Louisa,
while striving to restore animation to her mother, interceded,
explained, expostulated—alas! her tears and agitation only betraying to
her father a new source of anger. Seizing her by the arm, and bidding
her seek her chamber, he thrust her from the room, and then turning once
more to the artist, as he raised the still inanimate form of his wife,

“I give you half an hour to make your arrangements for leaving my
roof—beware how you exceed that time; when you are ready, you will find
the sum due you in this cursed room—begone, sir!”

Without any attempt to see poor Louisa again, and trusting he might be
able to communicate with her in a few days, Walter Evertson left the
villa.

When Mr. Oakly next entered the painting-room the money of the artist
was still there—but the fatal picture had disappeared.

                 *        *        *        *        *

A few years after his marriage, Mr. Sullivan took his family to Europe,
where they remained until within a few months previous to the singular
meeting of Louisa and Agatha.

In a beautiful cottage on the borders of Loch Katrine, their lives had
been one uninterrupted scene of happiness—always excepting the yearning
of a mother’s heart for her lost child. The education of Ruth and Agatha
had formed their chief care, and was such as a kind-hearted, intelligent
man like Mr. Sullivan was proud to give them, sparing neither money nor
precept, and aided, too, by the superior judgment and example of their
excellent mother. Ruth had grown up lovely and amiable, and at the time
the family returned to America, was affianced to a fine young Scotchman.
Poor Agatha had become even more unsightly in figure, yet retained all
the simplicity and amiableness of her childhood. Whatever may have been
her own private feelings upon her unfortunate deformity, it was rare,
indeed, that she ever made allusion to it. When she did, it was with
meekness and resignation to her Maker’s will; for early in life had
Agatha given herself to Him whose love is more precious than all earthly
advantages. She seldom mixed with society, yet when she did, even
strangers, after a slight acquaintance, thought no more of her
unshapeliness. The sweet expression of her countenance interested, her
intelligence charmed them.

When Mrs. Sullivan took possession of her new residence on the
Susquehanna, little did she dream how short the distance which separated
her from her youngest born; and when Agatha related the fright she had
received during her morning ramble, and spoke with such enthusiasm of
the beautiful girl who had so nobly come to her assistance, how little
did she think _whose_ arms had encircled the trembling Agatha, _whose_
voice it was had tried to soothe her fears.

Mr. Sullivan avowed his determination of calling immediately upon their
neighbors to express his thanks to the fair maid, and the gallant young
gentleman who had so opportunely come to the assistance of dear Agatha,
his pet and favorite. He did so the next day, but he was too late—the
house was deserted.

Agatha evinced much regret at the circumstance.

“How sorry I am!” said she; “O, I do hope we may hereafter meet again;
the countenance of that charming girl haunts me like a dream—so lovely,
and somehow so familiar to me—a stranger, sad yet not a stranger.
Sometimes, ma’ma, when you look at me as you do now, I almost fancy her
eyes are on me; and then again, only for being a blonde, it appears to
me she greatly resembled dear Ruth.”

Mrs. Sullivan changed color, and evidently much agitated, she inquired
of her husband if he knew the name of their late neighbor.

“I do not,” was his reply, “and our servants are as ignorant as
ourselves. Ah! here comes an honest lad with berries to sell—and a fine
tempting load, too. I will ask him while I purchase the fruit.”

As the boy measured out the berries, Mr. Sullivan said,

“Well, my son, can you tell me who lives in the fine old stone house
just at the bend of the river?”

“Oakly, sir—_Squire_ Oakly we call him here.”

“Quick, quick, father, ma’ma is fainting!” screamed Ruth, springing to
her side.

For a moment all was alarm and confusion; but at length Mrs. Sullivan
slowly opening her eyes desired to be led to her chamber.

“I will lie down a few moments—I shall soon be better; it is
nothing—nothing,” she answered to their affectionate solicitude.

When alone, then did she give way to her joy. What happiness! her dear
Louisa—her long lost was found. She was good, too, and lovely; her
kindness to a stranger proved the former, and the assertions of the
grateful Agatha the latter. She might now hope by some fortunate chance
to see her—they might now meet. O, how could she keep down her
throbbing heart; how would she be able to refrain from clasping her to
her bosom, and avowing herself her mother. When she thought she had
recovered sufficient composure, she again joined the family; but it was
almost as soon dissipated by the conversation which followed her
entrance into the sitting-room.

“My dear,” said Mr. Sullivan, “do you know these foolish girls are for
making out a relationship between themselves and our runaway
neighbors—claiming a cousinship, even if several degrees removed, to
the fair heroine of Agatha’s story—can it be so, think you?”

“This Mr. Oakly may possibly have been some connection of their
father’s,” faltered Mrs. Sullivan.

“Had papa no brothers?” said Agatha.

“Yes, one; but some unhappy family disagreement, however, prevented any
intercourse. They were as strangers to each other.”

“What if this Mr. Oakly should prove our uncle. Had he any family,
ma’ma?” asked Ruth.

“I believe—one—one daughter,” was the almost inaudible reply.

“Do not say any more,” whispered Agatha to her sister, “don’t you see
how it distresses ma’ma?”

Mr. Sullivan had observed the same thing, and the subject was dropped.

In a few days the papers announced among the list of passengers sailed
for Havre, the name of Mr. Alfred Oakly, lady and daughter.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Another flight of years, and behold what changes in the fortunes of Mr.
Oakly. Adversity had at last seized its victim, gorging to the full its
revenge for those years when its existence had been but as a phantom to
the wealthy merchant; he now felt its iron clutches to be something more
tangible than shadows. The sea had swallowed his vessels; flames had
greedily swept over his warehouses; blight had devastated his fields;
failures of firms he considered as good as the bank—nay, even the bank
itself failed; and in the short space of one year, Mr. Oakly found
himself stripped of all save a mere pittance, which, with the most
scrupulous economy, could hardly support his family. The teachings of
adversity upon the cold, selfish heart, are sometimes blessed with happy
fruits. And thus it proved with Mr. Oakly.

True, the change was not instantaneous; he lost not his property to-day,
to become a Christian, a philosopher to-morrow. But as a drop of water
will in time wear away the hardest rock, so, little by little, were the
flinty feelings of his heart softened and purified. The wicked and
selfish deeds of his past life arose up before him, each with its own
accusing tongue. That fortune, for which he had risked his soul, had
crumbled away, but these stood out plain and distinct, only to be
effaced through the mercies of One whose most sacred obligations he had
violated.

Mrs. Oakly met this reverse of fortune humbly and uncomplainingly.
Happily, she was ignorant of the sin of her husband, in having, like a
second Cain, destroyed his brother. Yet she felt that for another
crime—_the disowning of his own offspring_—the punishment was just.
Her own conscience, too, reproached her for the unjust feelings in which
she had indulged toward the innocent Louisa; and now, almost for the
first time in her life, she treated her as a daughter.

Kind, gentle, affectionate Louisa! only that she saw her parents
deprived of many comforts which would have soothed their declining
years, she would have rejoiced in a change of fortune which had brought
with it their love. In her heart there was a secret sorrow which she
might breathe to none—it was her love for Walter Evertson. Never, since
that fatal day, had she seen or heard again from him; but that he was
faithful, and would be faithful unto death, her trusting heart assured
her. When ease and affluence surrounded her, this sudden separation from
her lover, and under such afflicting and inexplicable circumstances, had
seemed to paralyze her energies. Books, music, travel, all failed to
excite more than mere mechanical attention; but now, in the sorrows of
her parents, she lost the selfishness of her own, and strove in every
way to comfort them.

What now had become of the once proud merchant? His name was no longer
heard on ’change, unless coupled with a creditor’s anathema; and summer
friends, like the sun on a rainy day, were behind the cloud.

                 *        *        *        *        *

It was a cold, cheerless day in December; one of those days when one
hugs close to the fire-side, and when even a glance at the dull,
sombrous out-of-door atmosphere makes, or ought to make, one thankful
for the blessings of a pleasant fire, to say nothing of the society of a
friend, or the solace of a book. With all these comforts combined, the
family of Mr. Sullivan had assembled in the breakfast parlor. There was
the grate, heaped to the topmost bar of the polished steel, with glowing
anthracite; the soft carpet of warm and gorgeous hues; luxuriant plants
of foreign climes, half hiding the cages of various little songsters,
whose merry notes breathed of spring-time and shady groves; and the face
of grim winter shut out by rich, silken folds of crimson drapery.

The pleasant morning meal was already passed, and the breakfast things
removed, with the exception of the beautiful coffee-set of Sevre’s
china, which Mrs. Sullivan was so old-fashioned as to take charge of
herself; in preference to trusting it with servants. Seated at the head
of the table, a snowy napkin in her hand, she was now engaged in this
domestic office. Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Danvers (the husband of Ruth) had
just gone into the study, to talk over some business affairs. Ruth had
taken the morning paper, and upon a low ottoman by the side of her
mother, was reading the news of the day—now to herself, or, as she
found a paragraph of peculiar interest, aloud for the general
entertainment. Agatha was reclining upon the sofa, and nestling by her
side was a beautiful boy of two years old, playing bo-peep through the
long, sunny curls of “Aunt Gatty,” his merry little shouts, and
infantile prattle, quite overpowering ma’ma’s news.

“Why what can this mean?” suddenly exclaimed Ruth; “do hear this, ma’ma.
‘If the former widow of Mr. John Oakly (the name of her present husband
unknown) be still living, or the children of said John Oakly, they are
requested to call at No. 18 —— street, and inquire for A. O., or to
forward a note to the same address, stating where they may be found.’
What can it mean, ma’ma?”

Without answering, Mrs. Sullivan rose from her chair; she trembled in
every limb, and her countenance was deadly pale.

“Ruth, dearest,” said she, “ring the bell, and order the carriage
immediately to the door.”

“Ma’ma, you surely will not go out alone,” said Ruth.

“Yes, alone! do not disturb your father,” answered Mrs. Sullivan; “alone
must I meet this trial. My dear girls,” she continued, “ask me no
questions. God knows what I am about to learn, whether tidings of joy or
sorrow; but I trust all may be explained when I return.”

In a few moments the carriage was at the door, and tenderly embracing
Ruth and Agatha, she departed upon her anxious errand.

After passing through so many streets that it seemed they must have
nearly cleared the city, the carriage turned into a narrow street, or
rather lane, and stopped at No. 18, a small two story wooden building.
Mrs. Sullivan alighted and rang the bell. The door was opened by a
little servant-girl, to whom she handed a card, on which she had written
with a trembling hand, “A person wishes to speak with A. O.”

In a few moments the girl returned and ushered her up stairs into a
small parlor. Her fortitude now nearly forsook her, and it was with
difficulty she could support herself to a chair. As soon as she could
command herself she looked around to see if she could detect aught which
might speak to her of her child. Upon the table on which she leaned were
books. She took up one, and turned to the title-page; in a pretty
Italian hand was traced “Louisa Oakly.” Several beautiful drawings also
attracted her eye—they, too, bore the name of “Louisa Oakly.” But
before she had time to indulge in the blissful hopes this caused her,
the door opened, and Mr. Oakly, with an agitation nearly equal to her
own, entered the room.

Many years had flown since they met, and time on both had laid his
withering hand; but while Mrs. Sullivan presented all the beautiful
traits of a peaceful, happy decline into the vale of years, the
countenance of Mr. Oakly was furrowed and haggard with remorse, and all
those evil passions which had formerly ruled his reason. Quickly
advancing, he extended his hand, and attempted to speak, but emotion
checked all utterance, while the big tears slowly rolled down his cheek.

“O, speak—speak! tell me—Louisa!” cried Mrs. Sullivan, alarmed at his
agitation.

“Compose yourself,” replied Mr. Oakly, “Louisa is well. I have sought
this interview, that I may make all the reparation now left me for my
injustice and cruelty. You see before you, madam, a miserable man,
haunted by remorse, and vain regrets for past misdeeds. From my once
proud and lofty standing,” he continued, glancing around the apartment,
“I am reduced to this. Yet think not I repine for the loss of riches.
No! were millions now at my command, I would barter all for a clear,
unaccusing conscience. Wealth, based on fraud, on uncharitableness, must
sooner or later come to ruin. I once despised poverty, and cherished a
haughty spirit toward those I arrogantly deemed my inferiors. Have I not
my reward!”

“But my child—tell me of my child!” interrupted Mrs. Sullivan, scarce
heeding his remarks, “where is she? May I not see her!”

“Bear with me a little while longer,” said Mr. Oakly, “in half an hour
she shall be yours forever!”

“My God, I thank thee!” exclaimed Mrs. Sullivan, bursting into tears of
joy.

“Yes, I yield her to your arms,” continued Mr. Oakly, “the loveliest
daughter that ever blessed a mother, and relieve you forever from the
charge of an unfortunate, to whom my conduct has been both brutal and
unnatural. Listen to me, madam, for a few moments.”

He then as briefly as possible made confession of the base part he had
acted toward his brother, and the means employed to ruin him with his
father; the selfish motives which led to the exchange of the children;
related the incident of the picture, and consequent removal from Oak
Villa—for well did he divine _who_ the deformed was. He then spoke of
Louisa; of her uniform loveliness of character, and the gentleness with
which she had borne, as he acknowledged, his oft repeated unkindness.

“She knows all,” said he in conclusion, “and waits even now to receive a
mother’s embrace. I will send her to you, and may her tears and caresses
plead my forgiveness!” So saying, Mr. Oakly quickly withdrew.

A moment—an age to Mrs. Sullivan—the door gently unclosed and mother
and child were folded in each other’s arms!

There are feelings which no language can convey—and which to attempt to
paint would seem almost a sacrilege!

In a short time Mr. Oakly re-entered, accompanied by his wife. The
meeting between the mothers was painful—for each felt there was still
another trial for them! Mrs. Oakly now really loved Louisa, and that
Mrs. Sullivan was most fondly attached to poor Agatha the reader already
knows.

“O she has been a solace and a comfort to me!” said she to Mrs. Oakly.
“A more noble-minded—a more unselfish, pure being never lived than our
dear Agatha! believe me, to part from her will cause a pang nearly as
great as when I first gave my darling Louisa to your arms!”

Another hour was spent in free communion, and then tenderly embracing
her new found daughter, the happy mother returned home—the events of
the morning seeming almost too blissful to be real!

It was sometime ere she could command herself sufficiently to the task
before her. At length summoning all her resolution she made known to her
astonished husband and Ruth the strange secret she had so long buried in
her breast.

Mr. Sullivan undertook to break the intelligence to Agatha.

Poor Agatha was very much overcome, and for several hours her distress
was such as made them almost tremble for her reason. Although the
circumstances were related in the most guarded and delicate manner, nor
even a hint given as to the motives of an act so unnatural as her father
had been guilty of toward her—her sensitive mind too well divined the
cause.

“Yet how can I blame them,” said she, glancing in a mirror as she spoke,
“who could love such a being! Ah forgive me,” she cried, throwing her
arms around the neck of Mrs. Sullivan, who now joined them—“forgive
me—_you_—_you_ received me—my best, my dearest, my only mother—_you_
took the little outcast to your arms—_you_ could love even the
mis-shapen child whom others loathed!”

Mrs. Sullivan strove by the most gentle caresses to sooth her agitation,
and at length succeeded so far that Agatha listened calmly to all she
had to say, and expressed her desire to be guided by her in every thing
relating to this (to her) painful disclosure.

Almost in a fainting state was Agatha given to her mother’s arms, and at
sight of her father she shuddered and buried her face in her hands.

O the pang that went to the soul of her wretched father as he witnessed
this!

“Agatha, my _child_, will you not then look upon me! will you not say
you forgive me?”

She extended her hand wet with tears:

“Father, I have nothing to pardon. I am not now less hideous in form
than when to look upon me caused you shame and sorrow. In giving me to
my dearest aunt you gave me every blessing, every happiness, this world
has for me—but do not, O do not now tear me from!”

“O God! I am rightly punished!” exclaimed Mr. Oakly—“my own child in
turn disowns me!”

“Agatha,” said Mrs. Oakly, “will you not love _me_—love your mother,
Agatha?”

Agatha hesitated, and her beautiful eyes streamed with tears—

“_Mother!_ I can give that name to but _one_!—_here—here_ is my
_mother_!” turning and throwing her arms around the neck of Mrs.
Sullivan.

Not so was it with Louisa. Like a dove long panting for its rest, she
had at last reached that haven of love—a mother’s heart!

Indeed so much distress did the thought of being separated from her more
than mother cause poor Agatha, that, fearful for her health, Mr. and
Mrs. Sullivan prevailed upon her parents to take up their residence with
them for a few months, to which request they finally acceded.

Soon after her first interview with Mr. Oakly, Mrs. Sullivan presented
him with a deed of the cottage, which so many years before he had given
her, little dreaming that any reverse of fortune would ever make _him_
grateful for so humble a shelter!

“The rent,” said she, “has been regularly paid into the hands of a
faithful person, who also holds in trust the remittances which you from
time to time forwarded me. I placed them there for the benefit of
Agatha, should she survive me. It came from you originally—it is again
your own—then hesitate not to receive it from my hands.”

“Excellent, noble woman!” exclaimed Mr. Oakly, overwhelmed with emotion,
“how little have I merited this kindness!”

Indeed, together with principal and interest, what at first was but a
trifling sum, had in the course of eighteen or twenty years amounted to
quite a little fortune. It was now settled that as soon as the Spring
opened Mr. and Mrs. Oakly were to take possession of the little cottage,
and rather than be separated from their dear Agatha, the Sullivans were
soon to follow and take lodgings for the summer months.

                 *        *        *        *        *

“But, my dear madam,” says the reader, “you have entirely forgotten to
tell us what became of the unfortunate artist, the lover of Louisa, whom
you appear to think happy enough in her present situation _without_ a
lover.”

“O no, dear reader—but this is not a love-story, you know—if it were I
would tell you the particulars of a most interesting love scene between
Walter Evertson and his adored Louisa. Suffice it to say, they were
married, and that the picture which caused their unhappy separation
occupies a conspicuous place in their beautiful villa, a few miles from
the city of P——.”

                 *        *        *        *        *



                          ON A SLEEPING CHILD


    Step softly! step lightly! I would not disturb her!
      She’s wrapt all unconscious in innocence’s charms;
    Her slumbers are peaceful, her dreams are as gentle
      As when she reposed in her fond mother’s arms.

    And thus may it last—may no cause for repining
      E’er darken the unsullied days of her youth—
    May she as age deepens, when backward reviewing,
      Find mem’ry well stored with Virtue and Truth.
                                               S. E. T.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                             THE RASH OATH.


      TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY MRS. JANE TAYLOE WORTHINGTON.


During my childhood my mother carried me every year, toward the close of
autumn, to spend a month with one of my aunts. It has been a long while
since then, but, nevertheless, the memory of my sojourn with her appears
as vivid as the events of yesterday, and I fancy myself once more in her
handsome château, which was situated on the right branch of the river
Meuse, at the place where the stream, still far from its mouth, has not
attained its greatest width, and where it is bordered with rugged rocks
and precipitous steeps, which remind one of many portions of
Switzerland, and of the delicious banks of the Rhine.

To linger near a beloved sister was a great pleasure to my mother; she
had arrived, too, at that age when the glories of nature produce the
deepest impression, and enjoyed with enthusiasm the exquisite landscape
unrolled before our eyes. As to myself, I dwelt but little on the
picturesque charms of the country. I was too young for the inhabitants
of the château to interest themselves much concerning my amusements, and
left to follow my own will, I discovered sources of happiness which I
tested with all the eager vivacity of a child. First I found an orchard
filled with young fruit, which, though still indifferent, I gladly
availed myself of; then in the mountain I claimed a grotto, whose
entrance I closed with boughs of trees, and pompously styled it my
house; and lastly, I delighted in a gallery that was narrow and dimly
lighted, and hung on both sides with old family portraits.

I saw there, warlike men, clothed in complete armor, the hand clenched,
the head held high and proudly; others, habited in black, wearing
immense ruffs, and having their hair braided, and their beards cut in a
point; and others were handsome gentlemen, with coats of embroidered
velvet, and _coiffés_, with enormous wigs, which covered even their
shoulders.

The ladies there were yet more numerous. Some of them wore their hair in
small curls, and long robes bordered with fur; others had hoops, and
powdered heads, laden with plumes, pearls, and flowers, carrying in
their hands an immense rose, or a very small bird. Several were in fancy
costumes; there were Dianas, the quiver on their shoulders, the crescent
on their brows; Floras, in white satin, sprinkled with blossoms; and
shepherdesses, with a crook, and tiny hat.

I passed in this gallery every moment I could steal from my lessons and
my mother. I glided there unperceived, and remained until I imagined all
those figures, their eyes fixed on mine, seemed to move from their
frames; sometimes I thought their features grew more stern, their smiles
more scornful—and I would depart hastily, in fear and trembling, with
the firm resolution to return no more. But what is it at last—the firm
resolution of a little girl. By the next day I had forgotten the terrors
of the preceding one, and found myself again in the gallery, feverish
with emotion, and drawn by some powerful attraction I could not resist,
to gaze on those old pictures I had so often contemplated.

Among these paintings, the one that I loved the best, that I always
sought for, and that never frightened me, was the portrait of a youthful
woman, dressed in a black robe. The sleeves were looped with agrafes,
inlaid with pearls, leaving uncovered the loveliest arm in the world,
and long, fair hair, entirely unadorned, flowed in large waves on her
shoulders. With her large, blue eyes, her peculiarly regular features,
and singularly gentle expression, her beauty would have been faultless,
but for the frightful paleness which spread itself over her countenance.
She was as white as the column of marble against which her brow was
pictured as leaning; and I have frequently thought since, that there
was, perhaps, something of coquetry in this posture. The melancholy face
of the young lady, contrasted with the smiling visages of the dames who
surrounded her, and this strange sadness, combined with the languid
grace of her position, exercised over my mind a sort of inexplicable
fascination. In my childish admiration, I asked myself if a being so
beautiful had ever really existed. The impression produced by her
haunted me every where; and I remembered it even in my dreams. One day,
which had been appointed for a visit in the neighborhood, I contrived to
escape, for the purpose of seeing again my cherished favorites, before
leaving them for several hours. I had intended remaining with them but a
moment; and I flattered myself my absence would be unperceived by the
family. But gradually I forgot the anticipated trip, the pleasure
awaiting me, my aunt, my mother, in fact, every thing, and lingered, as
if chained to my stand, with eyes fixed rapturously on the Pale Lady,
(it was thus I designated her,) and blending her image with the wildest
adventures my youthful imagination could conceive.

Already I had been called twenty times, and the domestics were sent to
search for me; but my abstraction was so profound, that I was insensible
to all, and still lingered motionless before the portrait, when my aunt
opened the door, and surprised me in the gallery. My lengthened absence
had begun to occasion alarm, and the frightened manner of my aunt
recalled suddenly my wandering thoughts. Perhaps conscious of my fault,
or it may be, ashamed of being thus entrapped, I threw myself into my
aunt’s arms, and a few tears moistened my cheeks. The reprimand died
upon her lips, but yielding to the astonishment inspired by my intense
admiration for these old pictures, she said,

“My child, you are beholding a woman who has been very beautiful, and
very unhappy.”

“Very unhappy!” I had then imagined rightly. “Dear aunt, will you relate
to me her history!”

“Not this morning, they are waiting for us; and beside, you are yet too
young.”

“Too young to hear her history? Ah! how unfortunate that is! But never
mind, by our next visit I shall be twelve years of age, then I will be
tall—promise I may hear it then.”

She granted the wished for promise, and a few days afterward we quitted
the château.

The following year we repaired, as usual, to my aunt’s, and had scarcely
exchanged the greeting caresses, before, longing to satisfy my impatient
curiosity, I seized my aunt’s hand with an air of gravity whose cause
she did not comprehend. I conducted her to the gallery, and pausing
before my favorite picture, “Good aunt,” I said, “now is the time to
fulfill your promise!” She regarded me, surprised and smiling, and
deferred only until that evening the recital of the history so much
desired.

Orders were issued to prepare the gallery for our reception, and in the
presence of the portrait of Wilhelmine de Cernan, I learned the strange
misfortunes of her life. They appeared to me so interesting that I have
since endeavored to find further details to fill the deficiency of my
memory; and it is her history which, in my turn, I am about to relate to
you.

Wilhelmine de Cernan, reared by her mother in the country, had grown to
girlhood in the seclusion of her own family, and the intimacy of a few
cherished friends. Her simple tastes prompted her to love retirement,
and her disposition, naturally a melancholy one, shrunk timidly from
much which usually makes the happiness of women. The pleasures of
society, those gay balls and animated assemblies youth is prone to love
so intensely, had for her no attractions. Her mother, by whom she was
idolized, never imagined that this tendency of character could injure
her daughter; she therefore never sought to subdue it, and only throve
to inculcate those doctrines of piety which had formed the basis of her
own education.

Religion appeared to the spirit of Wilhelmine robed with all its noblest
and sublimest coloring; and its mystical beauty tinged for her the most
trivial details of life. She seemed almost like an angel, who claimed
communion every day, every moment, with heaven. God and her mother! in
these two thoughts lay all her existence.

When she had attained the age of eighteen, the Baron de Breuil was
presented to her as a desirable connection, and scarcely pausing to
interrogate her heart as to the nature of her sentiments, she tranquilly
accepted his hand, confident that she could repose on her mother the
care of her happiness. Wilhelmine could not, in truth, have made a
selection more worthy of her, for M. de Breuil was in all respects a
good and estimable man. His château was but a league distant from the
residence of Madame de Cernan; the mother and daughter met daily, and
nothing was changed for Wilhelmine. The baron believed himself the most
fortunate of men, and was unceasingly occupied in cultivating the powers
of his young wife. He lavished all his care to adorn her intellect, to
direct her talents, and to elevate her mind to the appreciation of
whatever is truly grand and beautiful. One portion of their time was
dedicated to reading, another to drawing, a third to music and exercise;
and they never concluded a day without a visit to some poor dwelling,
where their presence carried consolation and benefit. In the midst of
these peaceful employments and pure pleasures, the life of Wilhelmine
glided tranquilly on. The spectacle of crime had never saddened her
eyes; and misery had appeared to her only to be relieved. It seemed as
if an existence so uniform, so gentle, should have lasted long; but He
whose will is not as our will, had ordained otherwise. At the end of two
years of happiness, the Baron de Breuil was attacked by violent illness,
and the physicians soon declared his life was in imminent danger.
Wilhelmine, bathed in tears, never quitted the bedside of her husband,
but, unable to conceal the agony of her grief, she lavished upon him all
the attentions of the truest tenderness. Himself resigned to death, but
profoundly grieved by the deep affliction of his wife, he endeavored to
console her by the most comforting expressions; but Wilhelmine, overcome
by anguish, would listen to nothing he could say. She sunk at length
into a state of torpor, from which she could scarcely be aroused, even
by her desire to attend on the invalid.

“God is merciful!” at last said M. de Breuil to her, “he will sustain
you in your misfortune, he will enable you once more to find charms in
existence. You are young; the future proffers you bright days; the
prospect of life before you is calm and smiling. Alas! I fondly hoped we
might have trodden its pathway together; but Heaven has ordained
otherwise. Perhaps another—”

“Never!” exclaimed Wilhelmine, “never! _I_ love another after loving
you! _I_ unite my lot with another’s! _I_ forget you! Ah! rather would I
die a thousand times!”

“Wilhelmine! Wilhelmine! grief at this time distracts you, but remember,
nothing here is eternal, not even an affection as pure is ours. Believe
a man who has had much experience; your heart will feel the ‘strong
necessity of loving.’ Happy will he be who fulfills that want! May he be
worthy of that enjoyment!”

Wilhelmine covered her husband’s hands with kisses; she seemed almost
indignant at being thus misunderstood, thus illy judged; she repulsed
these mournful predictions; but the dying one drew her gently toward
him, “My love, life departs, the last moment approaches. Here, take back
this ring, I release thee from all thy promises!”

“Ah! have pity on me! retain this ring, and if ever your fatal
prophecies should be realised; if ever I bestow on another the affection
you should bear with you, unbroken in the tomb, it is from yourself I
will demand the right; it is in your grave I will seek this ring; it is
from your finger I will dare to take it! _Most solemnly I swear it!_”

“Wilhelmine! no impious words—no rash oaths!” The baron pronounced
these words with difficulty—and they were his last. He revived only to
fall into renewed paroxysms, and after a few hours, expired in the arms
of his despairing wife.

Wilhelmine sincerely mourned for the man who had acquired so many claims
on her gratitude. During a long period the young widow remained shut up
in her château, surrounding herself with all objects calculated to
recall her past felicity, and seeming to revel in her sorrow, by
refusing every means by which it might have been alleviated.

At the end of three years, an event obliged her to leave this solitude.
Madame de Cernan fell dangerously ill. Wilhelmine, terrified by the
peril of her mother, forgot her grief, and made preparations for
immediate departure. A celebrated physician resided at Brussels, and it
was decided they should travel to that city. The tenderness of a
daughter is sometimes as inexhaustible as that of a mother; and only
those who have seen their parents on the brink of the grave, who have
experienced the agony of their loss, can comprehend the profundity of
filial love. Wilhelmine dreaded the moment when she might read in the
physician’s eyes, the sentence of life or death for her mother; and at
length that moment, so feared while it was desired, arrived. The doctor
reassured her concerning the illness of Madame de Cernan; but her
convalescence, he said, must be tedious, and they must not think of
removing their residence for several months.

Wilhelmine was for some time faithful to her preconceived plan of living
alone with her mother. She could not, however, refuse forming a few
acquaintances. Madame de Cernan had met with one of her early friends;
and the _sauvagerie_ of the young widow was not proof against the
pressing solicitations of this lady. She consented at first to see her
unceremoniously, then accepted invitations to her _soirées_, and finally
avowed she found them exceedingly entertaining. In truth, the very best
society was to be found in the saloons of the Comtesse D’A——, for they
united all that Belgium contained of the lovely and the intellectual.
Among the gentlemen, the nephew of Madame D’A——, Edmond de Gaser, was
distinguished by the beauty of his person, the original tone of his
mind, and the uncommon variety of his acquirements. Among the ladies,
Wilhelmine soon occupied a prominent station; and her gentleness and
reserve prevented the jealousy her loveliness and talent were calculated
to awaken.

There was a continual contest as to who could most surround her with
homage, who bestow the most flattering tokens of friendship.

Edmond de Gaser speedily became very devoted to Madame de Breuil, and,
indeed, this conquest could not have failed to gratify the vanity of any
woman less destitute of _coquetterie_—for Edmond had been reared with
strict principles; his few years of life had already been shadowed by
trouble, and he had acquired by severe and philosophic studies a
judgment of rare solidity. Edmond combined with the advantages of rank
and fortune, those qualities of mind which, in all social communities,
elevate a man above those otherwise his equals.

Wilhelmine never dreamed of incurring danger in encouraging the
sentiments of benevolence and interest inspired by M. de Gaser. Knowing
nothing of what is commonly called love, except through the medium of a
few novels, she imagined the dawnings of passion were attended by the
violent and peculiar emotions of which she had read such false
portraitures; and she calculated on defence from these in the purity of
her own heart. This dangerous security proved fatal to her peace.

When she at length perceived the nature of her sentiments, it was too
late to subdue them—for she loved M. de Gaser with all the devotedness
of an ardent nature, and a vivid imagination; remorse even added depth
to her affection. Since the moment she had comprehended that her feeling
for Edmond was neither esteem nor friendship, but a more absorbing
attachment, the recollection of her husband arose in her heart with all
the impetuosity of an appealing conscience. She would have taken refuge
in flight, but winter was at its height, and she dared not cause her
mother to undertake at that time, a journey whose consequences would
have been fatal to her health. Every thing was in opposition to poor
Wilhelmine; the representations of her mother, who treated the griefs
which engrossed her as mere idle scruples; the opinion of the world,
which might have served to authorise in her own eyes a second marriage;
and, more than all, the constant presence of Edmond—for had she ceased
to see him, it would have seemed a tacit confession of weakness. The
tears she almost continually shed, destroyed her health; and when, on
the arrival of spring, they prepared to leave Brussels, it was not for
Madame de Cernan, but for Wilhelmine, the journey offered dangers, so
completely had she been, in a short time, exhausted by grief.

Nevertheless, the day for their departure was fixed. Wishing to avoid a
final interview with M. de Gaser, she denied herself to visitors; but
Edmond, charmed at the thought of Wilhelmine’s no longer suffering,
entered by a different door, and penetrated into the garden of the
hotel. He stood fixedly regarding the windows which he supposed were
those of Madame de Breuil’s apartment, when suddenly, in a turn of the
path, he perceived her walking slowly, her eyes bent on the ground, like
a person giving way to most profound abstraction. The exclamation
uttered by Edmond on recognising her, aroused her from her reverie.
Wilhelmine being no longer able to control her emotion, Edmond realised
that he was beloved; and this belief lent him courage to declare a
tenderness which had until now been only told by his looks. Troubled and
irresolute, Wilhelmine seemed not to hear him, but, nevertheless, every
word re-echoed through her heart. At last, with that impetuosity of
determination which sometimes succeeds to prolonged uncertainty, she
answered, “In six months I will be your wife!” and then hastily quitted
him, leaving M. de Gaser intoxicated with happiness.

The next day Madame de Cernan and her daughter were on their homeward
way. The nearer Wilhelmine approached the places she had frequented with
M. de Breuil, the sadder became her thoughts. When the sombre turrets of
the castle became visible, enveloped in the morning clouds, a torrent of
tears flowed from Wilhelmine’s eyes. “Never! never!” she passionately
exclaimed, and threw herself in the arms of her mother. Madame de Cernan
did not endeavor to repress the emotions which the aspect of these
places was calculated to call forth in the refined mind of her daughter;
she waited patiently until time should familiarize her to these
memories; but the time which calmed the paroxysms of sorrow, also
restored all her incertitudes. No longer to love Edmond, seemed a
sacrifice beyond her strength; and would he not, then, have the right to
reproach her with the loss of the happiness she had promised him?
Unfortunate woman! she should have concealed her love; then, at least,
she would have suffered alone. There were even moments when Wilhelmine
wished to go and reclaim her marriage-ring; when she would revel in all
the horror inspired by the thought, and encourage it in a spirit of
penitence; again, she would repel it with fright and indignation; but,
nevertheless, this idea pursued her incessantly, and even in her sleep
she heard a voice murmur to her, “Go, seek thy ring in the tomb!”

Madame de Breuil consulted the venerable priest who had always
instructed and guided her. Under the sacred seal of confession she
implored his counsel; prostrate at his feet, she entreated him to decide
her destiny. Never had the confessor directed a penitent in a case so
difficult; he paused for many moments, and seemed unwilling to
pronounce—but the young widow insisted.

“My daughter,” at last said the minister of truth, “it has been said,
‘Thou shalt not swear!’ and you have failed to follow this command; you
have disobeyed God—you ought to submit to the consequence of your
fault. It has been before Heaven; beside a dying bed you have pronounced
a terrible vow—this vow you must fulfill.”

“O, mercy! mercy!” cried the penitent

“Yes, my daughter, I but repeat the words spoken to you by the voice of
conscience; I only say to you what you say each day to yourself. Either
renounce Edmond, or demand from the dead your marriage-ring.”

“My father!” replied Wilhelmine, trembling and overwhelmed, “my father,
to renounce Edmond is impossible, I love him a thousand times more than
myself; he is dearer even than M. de Breuil, whom I loved so well. In
mercy, curse me not! for all will be expiated to-day. You decree that I
should descend into our family vault. I will go. You tell me to touch
the hand of a skeleton. I will touch it. You order me to ask from the
dead the ring which alone can unite me to Edmond. Well, I will ask it,
even if I must die in the sad place I go to sully with my presence!”

The worthy confessor, alarmed by this tone of excitement, sought to calm
her, and recommended the deferring until a future period an undertaking
so solemn.

“Father! it is this very hour I must perform the deed; but my mother
knows nothing of it. My poor mother! she would never consent to her
child’s passing through such an ordeal. One person only must accompany
me in this mournful visit, and he is the man who knew the secret, the
man who advised it—yourself! Will you consent to follow me?”

The venerable priest, surprised by a resolution so sudden, surprised,
above all, by the change which had come over the mind and language of
Wilhelmine, could not resist the impetuosity of his penitent, and
yielded, in opposition to his better judgment, to the ascendency of a
strong and overbearing will.

“I will follow you!” was his reply. He silently selected the key of the
vault, where lay the remains of the members of the family of Breuil, he
lighted a torch, and advanced toward the chapel, beneath which the tomb
was situated.

“Madame!” he said impressively to Wilhelmine, “this is the moment to
have courage. The action you are about to commit is a solemn one, but it
should not dismay you. You are fulfilling a sacred promise, you are
acquitting yourself of a painful duty. God approves it, you have nothing
to fear;” and taking her hand, they descended together the stairs that
no step had trodden since the death of the baron. They entered the
vault. Wilhelmine concentrated all her energy; she advanced, still
guided by the priest. He lifted the stone which covered the tomb, and
removed every obstacle. Wilhelmine, with averted eyes, put forth her
hand; she wished to accomplish her vow without contemplating the hideous
spectacle before her—but the ring must be grasped. She looks, and a cry
of astonishment burst from her lips. She had expected to behold remains
disfigured, and perhaps not recognizable; but she sees her husband, such
as he ever was during the happy days they passed together; his
countenance still retained its expression of goodness and tenderness. It
was still M. de Breuil, the husband so well-beloved; doubtless he
reposed, he only slept. Alas! soon he may awaken, to ask an account of
the fidelity which should have been eternal; he may speak to her in
threatening words; he may crush her with scorn, on learning the cause of
this, her first visit. Such were the thoughts that startled the young
widow, as she gazed on her husband’s form. She had not strength to bear
such a scene, and striving to support herself on her companion’s arm,
she faltered, tottered, and fell lifeless. The priest, fearing this pure
spirit had departed to rejoin that of the dead, carried the young widow
to her apartment, and informed her mother of the cause of this terrible
shock.

Wilhelmine recovered her consciousness, only to sink into the most
alarming delirium. A burning fever attacked her, and during several days
her death was momentarily expected. But at last her youth triumphed over
this crisis, she recovered her health, and at the end of two months had
regained sufficient strength to walk a few steps in her chamber. She
passed before a mirror, and accidentally glanced at its image of
herself; what was her amazement at beholding a face whiter than
alabaster itself. She tried to close her eyes, but could not cease
regarding it. It was herself, these were indeed her features, but could
illness have produced a change so sudden and mysterious? Alas! this
paleness never departed more!

Her former intentions were irrevocably arrested, she resolved not to see
Edmond again, and the prayers of her lover and her mother were equally
unavailing. She consecrated herself solely to good works, and to those
exercises of piety and benevolence which her too exclusive affection for
M. de Gaser had for a time interrupted. She lived the life of a saint,
shedding blessings around her, and endeavoring to procure for others the
happiness she could no longer obtain for herself.

Wilhelmine’s appearance continued as she had seen it the first day of
her convalescence. She had now forsaken the world, and the world
speedily forgot her; but a small number of friends ceased not to offer
her pity and consolation. While still young, she was attacked by a
disease of languor, which left no room for hope, and ere long Wilhelmine
had reached her last hour. A few moments before her death she bade a
touching farewell to all her friends, and turning to Madame de Cernan,
she said—

“My mother, relate to them the particulars of my history; tell them to
beware of making rash vows; it is a vow which has killed me!”

My aunt shed tears as she concluded this recital, and I wept bitterly
over the mournful destiny of the pale lady. After the day I learned this
mournful chronicle, I evinced as much solicitude to avoid finding myself
in the vicinity of the portrait gallery as I had hitherto displayed
anxiety to visit its attractions. I could not pass before her picture
without my heart beating quicker at the remembrance of the sorrows of
Wilhelmine. It seemed to me as if I heard her speak her last words, and
I would repeat to myself as I glided in terror before her—“O! beware of
rash vows, for it is a vow which has killed me!”

                 *        *        *        *        *

[Illustration: Drawn by C. H. Bodmer. Eng^{d}. by Rawdon, Wright &
Hatch. A Skin Lodge of an Assiniboin Chief. Engraved Expressly for
Graham’s Magazine.]

                 *        *        *        *        *



                          AN ASSINIBOIN LODGE.


The travels of Prince Maximilian, of Wied, in the interior of North
America, give us an interesting account of the Assiniboin tribe of
Indians in the far west.

“All on a sudden,” he says, describing their visit, “we heard some
musket-shot, which announced a very interesting scene. The whole prairie
was covered with scattered Indians, whose numerous dogs drew their
sledges with the baggage; a close body of warriors, about 250 in number,
had formed themselves in the centre, in the manner of two bodies of
infantry, and advanced in quick time toward the fort. The whole troop
commenced a song consisting of many broken, abrupt tones, like those of
the war-whoop, and resembling the song which we heard in 1814 from the
Russian soldiers. Many of these warriors had their faces painted all
over with vermillion, others quite black. In their heads they wore
feathers of eagles, or other birds of prey; some had wolf-skin caps;
others had fastened green leaves around their heads; and long wolves’
tails were hanging down to their heels, as marks of honor for enemies
they had slain.”

We continue the extract to afford our readers a description of the
manner in which the Assiniboins erect their rude dwellings. “At noon a
band of Indians had arrived, and twenty-five tents were set up near the
fort. The women, their faces painted red, soon finished this work, and
dug up with their instruments the clods of turf which lay around the
lower part of the hut. One of these huts, (see the plate in the present
number of “Graham,”) the dwelling of a chief, was distinguished from the
rest. It was painted of the color of yellow ochre, had a broad,
reddish-brown border below, and on its sides a large black bear was
painted, (something of a caricature, it must be confessed,) to the head
of which, just above the nose, a piece of red cloth, that fluttered in
the wind, was fastened; doubtless a medicine. We now saw the women
returning in all directions from the forest, panting under the weight of
large bundles of wood, which were fastened to their backs.” The scene,
brief as it is, affords a characteristic view of the life of the
children of the prairie.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                            THE AUTUMN WIND.


                       BY MRS. JANE C. CAMPBELL.


    The Autumn wind is rushing by,
      And in its wild career
    It beareth on its mighty wings
      The beauty of the year;
    And mournfully its deep dirge rings
      Upon the spirit’s ear.

    How drear the sound that sweeps along
      The forest and the vale,
    Those solemn tones, they chill the heart,
      Like plaintive funeral wail.
    I’ll sit me down on these dead leaves,
      And question of its tale.

    “What tidings hast thou—where hast been
      Since last thy voice I heard,
    Since last the quivering of thy wings
      The leafless branches stirred,
    And frighted from its moss-clad home
      Each gentle nestling bird?

    “Ah, wherefore didst thou swell the storm
      When good ships went to sea;
    And why was bent the tall, stout mast—
      The cordage rent by thee;
    And why, when shattered bark went down,
      Thy shout of victory?

    “Oh! bring back tidings of the lost
      To many an anxious ear;
    Bear to the mourner, mighty wind,
      The last words thou didst hear;
    One token give—some simple things
      From those who were so dear.

    “And tell us—” “Mortal, why dost ask
      These tidings of the wind—
    Dost think that of the unfathomed deep
      The secrets thou shall find?
    As well might hope, with filmy thread,
      The storm’s wild rage to bind.

    “If o’er the ocean I have swept,
      And lashed its waves to heaven,
    While high before me on the surge
      The hapless bark was driven,
    And loud and fearful rose the cry
      Of men from warm life riven.

    “Or if I kissed the pale, calm brow
      Of some fair bride of death,
    And colder made the cold pure snow
      Where froze her heart aneath,
    And mingled with mine own low moan,
      Her last faint flitting breath.

    “If I have stilled the infant’s sob
      Upon its mother’s breast,
    While closer, closer in her arms
      Her treasured one was pressed,
    Until my wailing lullaby
      Had hushed the babe to rest.

    “I did His bidding who doth hold
      In his all-powerful hand
    The whirlwind that hath swept in might
      O’er ocean-wave and land;
    I questioned not why such things were—
      Can mortal understand?

    “Enough, that thou hast wept the dead,
      Since last was heard my tone;
    Enough, that thy poor human heart
      Has sorrowed not alone;
    Enough, that when thou hearest now,
      I tell of treasures gone.

    “There has been beauty in my path,
      And I have whispered low
    To rose-buds till their cheek has flushed;
      Have fanned eve’s crimson glow,
    And dimpled founts, where sunbeams danced,
      And mingled with their flow.

    “Many a shout from a merry troop
      Of children at their play,
    And gladsome tone of mirth and joy
      Have I borne in my flight away;
    And odors of heaven my wings have caught
      Where the holy knelt to pray.

    “Do thou His bidding—question not,
      Nor cower like frighted dove,
    There’s a home where the storm-winds never sweep,
      In the heaven of heavens above.
    Thy jewels are garnered in that bright land
      With their God—and God is Love.”

                 *        *        *        *        *



                           STANZAS FOR MUSIC.


    In golden dreams the night goes by,
      And sweet the world of sleep to me;
    For, moon-like ’mid her starry sky,
      My brightest dream is still of thee.

    As swells the sea beneath the glance
      Of moonbeams in their midnight play,
    So ’neath thine eyes my bosom pants,
      My heart’s deep midnight wakes in day.
                                     A.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                          REVIEW OF NEW BOOKS.


    _Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie. By Henry Wordsworth Longfellow.
    Boston: Wm. D. Ticknor & Co. 1 vol. 12mo._

We are glad that Professor Longfellow has, in this volume, produced a
poem which, while it indicates his capacity as a writer, is practically
a triumphant answer to various depreciating criticisms on his writings.
It has been said that his strength lay in small lyrics and didactics;
that he had not sufficient force of feeling and imagination to create a
poem. Here is a long and elaborate effort, extending to some hundred and
sixty pages, where the strictest unity of effect is combined with great
variety of character, incident, scenery, sentiment, and description. It
has been said that his love of thought, if not his imagery and ideas,
were borrowed from foreign sources, and that he rather polished than
created. Here is a poem almost entirely American, blooming with flowers,
and fragrant with odors peculiar to his own continent, and reflecting in
its beautiful verse the streams, valleys, and mountains of his native
land. It has been said that a certain foppery and effeminate elegance
characterized his fancy; and that he dared not trust himself in the
delineation of actual homely objects, where the poetic effect could not
be produced by cunning combinations of words, but must result from the
exercise of a pure and bright imagination. Here is a poem, in which
whole pages are devoted to the delineation of humble, hearty farmers and
mechanics, evincing an almost Chaucerian trust in things as opposed to
words, giving clear pictures of objects and characters, replete with a
sweet, humane humor, and producing poetry of effect by intensity and
clearness of imaginative conception. Basil, the blacksmith, and
Benedict, are as vivid and true as the delineations of Crabbe. Any
farmer or smith would instantly recognize them as genuine. Yet the poet,
by his subtil power of discerning the spirit beneath the rough external
appearance, has given them an intrinsic beauty and dignity which would
entitle them to rank with kings. He has, with a severe simplicity, fixed
his gaze steadily on the human heart and soul, and we recognize in his
delineations, humanity as well as the externals of rural life.

If Mr. Longfellow has in this poem thus practically illustrated his
possession of rare powers, for which a few critics have not given him
credit, he has also done something which, from the time of Sidney, has
been pronounced impossible by English criticism—he has written a long
narrative poem in hexameter verse, and managed it so admirably, that it
seems the best he could have chosen for his purpose. We cannot conceive
of the poem as being recast in heroics, octosyllabics, blank verse, or
the Spenserian stanza, without essential injury to its effect, and a
limitation of its range of character and description. In this Mr.
Longfellow has clearly performed “the impossible;” and it should be a
source of gratification to every American, that one of his own
countrymen has achieved what no English poet has been able to perform,
and what few have dared to attempt. The composition of a poem in
hexameter verse, which can be read with as much ease and delight as
“Gertrude of Wyoming,” we conceive to be the most original peculiarity
of this original work.

The character of Evangeline is, perhaps, Mr. Longfellow’s most beautiful
creation. It is both conceived and sustained with wonderful force and
truth. The sweetness, purity, energy, holiness, and naturalness of the
character, as displayed in her life-long wanderings, the unforced
religious elevation which envelopes her, and through her the whole poem;

          —“The hope, and the fear, and the sorrow,
    All the aching of heart, the restless, unsatisfied longing,
    All the dull, deep pain, and constant anguish of patience,”

which she endures from her early youth to that period when, old and worn
with constant endeavor, she presses the lifeless head of her long-sought
betrothed to her bosom, and “meekly bows her own, and murmurs, ‘Father,
I thank thee,’” all combine to consecrate her to the heart and
imagination as one of those pure conceptions of humanity, which none who
once cherishes will willingly let die. The author has well addressed the
class of readers who will appreciate the deep seriousness of his
purpose, in a few of the opening lines:

    “Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient;
    Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman’s devotion;
    List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines of the forest;
    List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy.”

We cannot refrain from making a few extracts from this poem, although we
must warn our readers that they can obtain no clear idea of its merits,
and the artistical relation, of the characters to each other, and the
scenery to the characters, without reading the whole. We will guarantee
that it possesses sufficient interest to be read at one sitting.

We will first give a few lines partially indicating some of the
characters. Benedict, Evangeline’s father, is thus described:

    “Stalworth and stately in form was the man of seventy winters;
    Hearty and hale was he, an oak that is covered with snow-flakes;
    White as the snow were his locks, and his cheeks as brown as the
      oak-leaves.”
               •       •       •       •       •       •       •       •
    “In-door, warm by the wide-mouth fire-place, idly the farmer
    Sat in his elbow-chair, and watched how the flames and the
      smoke-wreaths
    Struggled together like foes in a burning city.
    Faces clumsily carved in oak on the back of his arm-chair
    Laughed in the flickering light, and the pewter plates on the dresser
    Caught and reflected the flame, as shields of armies the sunshine.
    Fragments of song the old man sang, and carols of Christmas,
    Such as at home, in the olden time, his fathers before him
    Sang in their Norman orchards and bright Burgundian vineyards.”

The following is a picture of the good notary:

    “Bent like a laboring oar, that toils in the surf of the ocean,
    Bent, but not broken, by age, was the form of the notary public;
    Shocks of yellow hair, like the silken floss of the maize, hung
    Over his shoulders; his forehead was high; and glasses with horn bows
    Sat astride on his nose, with a look of wisdom supernal.
    Father of twenty children was he, and more than a hundred
    Children’s children rode on his knee, and heard his great watch tick.”

The blacksmith, the very impersonation of strength, is well delineated;
but we have only space for a few lines:

    “Silenced but not convinced, when the story was ended, the blacksmith
    Stood like a man who fain would speak, but findeth no language;
    And all his thoughts congealed into lines on his face, as the vapors
    Freeze in fantastic shapes on the window-panes in the winter.”

The following view of the little maiden on a Sunday morn, is very
beautiful:

    “But a celestial brightness—a more ethereal beauty—
    Shone on her face and encircled her form, when after confession,
    Homeward serenely she walked with God’s benediction upon her.
    When she had passed it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music.”

The descriptions of rural life in Acadie, of the scenery of the Ohio and
Mississippi rivers, of the wilds of Oregon, are replete with force,
beauty, and finely chosen details. They are all too long for short
extracts to give an adequate impression of their excellence; and
besides, the author has connected the scenery which surrounds the
heroine with her feelings on the occasion of viewing it. The description
of the burning village is grand, but we have space only for a few lines:

    “Columns of shining smoke uprose, and flashes of flame were
    Thrust through their folds and withdrawn, _like the quivering hands of
      a martyr_.
    Then as the winds seized the gleeds and the burning thatch, and,
      uplifting,
    Whirled them aloft through the air, at once from a hundred house-tops
    Started the sheeted smoke with flashes of flame intermingled.”

The following exquisite passage, on the mocking-bird in the far west,
is, perhaps, the finest and most life-like description in the poem:

    “Then from a neighboring thicket, the mocking-bird, wildest of
      singers,
    Swinging aloft on a willow spray that hung o’er the water,
    Shook from his little throat such floods of delicious music,
    That the whole air, and the woods, and the waves, seemed silent to
      listen.
    Plaintive at first were the tones and sad, then soaring to madness
    Seemed they to follow or guide the revel of frenzied Bacchantes.
    Then single notes were heard, in sorrowful low lamentation,
    Till, having gathered them all, he flung them abroad in derision,
    As when, after a storm, a gust of wind through the tree-tops
    Shakes down the rattling rain in a crystal shower on the branches.”

Here we have a view of our own city, for which we are reasonably
grateful to the poet:

    “In that delightful land which is washed by the Delaware’s waters,
    Guarding in sylvan shades the name of Penn the apostle,
    Stands on the banks of its beautiful stream the city he founded.
    There all the air is balm, and the peach is the emblem of beauty,
    And the streets still re-echo the names of the trees of the forest,
    As if they fain would appease the Dryads whose haunts they molested.”

Mr. Longfellow shows in this poem, together with much that is new, his
usual felicity and breadth of imagery and comparison. We cannot take
leave of his book more pleasantly than in quoting a few of his separate
excellencies of thought or language:

    “And as she gazed from the window she saw serenely the moon pass
    Forth from the folds of a cloud, and one star follow her footsteps,
    As out of Abraham’s tent young Ishmael wandered with Hagar.”
               •       •       •       •       •       •       •       •
    “Life had been long astir in the village, and clamorous labor
    Knocked with its hundred hands at the golden gates of the morning.”
               •       •       •       •       •       •       •       •
    “Sadly echoed her step on the stair and the chamber.
    In the dead of the night she heard the whispering rain fall
    Loud on the withered leaves of the sycamore tree by the window.
    Keenly the lightning flashed, and the voice of the neighboring thunder
    Told her that God was in heaven, and governed the world he created.”
               •       •       •       •       •       •       •       •
    “Sometimes a rumor, a hearsay, an inarticulate whisper,
    Came with its airy hand to point and beckon her forward.”
               •       •       •       •       •       •       •       •
    “Whither my heart has gone, there follows my hand, and not elsewhere;
    For when the heart goes before, like a lamp, and illumines the
      pathway,
    Many things are made clear, that else lie hidden in darkness.”
               •       •       •       •       •       •       •       •
    “Nearer and round about her, the manifold flowers of the garden
    Poured out their souls in odors, that were their prayers and
      confessions
    Unto the night, as it went its way, like a silent Carthusian.”
               •       •       •       •       •       •       •       •
    “Bright rose the sun the next day; and all the flowers of the garden
    Bathed his shining feet with their tears, and anointed his tresses
    With the delicious balm that they bore in their vases of crystal.”

The pathos of Evangeline it is impossible to develop in our limited
space. The chief beauty of the poem is its unity of interest and
feeling. The reader soon comes to admire the unaccustomed movement of
the verse, and he is carried onward with its majestic sweep to the
conclusion, without any faltering of attention. We end our notice with a
portion of the concluding lines, which fitly close the sweet and
mournful story of the lovers:

    “Still stands the forest primeval; but far away from its shadow,
    Side by side in their nameless graves the lovers are sleeping.
    Under the humble walls of the little Catholic church-yard,
    In the heart of the city, they lie, unknown and unnoticed,
    Daily the tides of life go ebbing and flowing beside them,
    Thousands of throbbing hearts, where theirs are at rest and for ever;
    Thousands of aching brains, where theirs no longer are busy;
    Thousands of toiling hands, where theirs have ceased from their
      labors;
    Thousands of weary feet, where theirs have completed their journey.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

    _Tam’s Fortnight Ramble, and other Poems. By Thomas Mackellar.
    Phila.: Carey & Hart. 1 vol. 12mo._

The modest preface of this elegantly printed volume is enough to smooth
the wrinkled front of criticism. The writer is, we believe, an
intelligent printer, who has made verse the solace, not the occupation
of his life. It would be hard to try his volume by any severe
requisitions of criticism. It is hearty, earnest and genuine, and fairly
expresses what is in the man. The little poem entitled, “The Editor sat
in his Sanctum,” has been very popular. The principal fault of the
author is his habit of disturbing the train of serious feeling which he
often awakens, by some expressions which trail along with them ludicrous
suggestions.

                 *        *        *        *        *

    _Appleton’s Railroad and Steamboat Companion, being a Traveler’s
    Guide through New England and the Middle States. By W. Williams.
    New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1 vol. 12mo._

We allude to this book, not so much because it is the best and most
complete traveler’s guide ever published in the United States, as for
the information it contains respecting the cost and fares of railroads,
and the sketches of every town and village they pass through. It is not
until we see them all set down together in one book, that we appreciate
the money expended, and the obstacles overcome in building them, and the
vast impetus they have given to the productive energies of the country,
and to civilization.

                 *        *        *        *        *

    _Washington and the Generals of the American Revolution. With
    Sixteen Portraits on Steel, from Original Pictures.
    Philadelphia: Carey & Hart. 2 vols. 12mo._

These volumes contain upward of ninety biographies, varying in extent,
according to the importance of the subjects and the means of obtaining
accurate information regarding them. As a whole they are interesting,
well written, and reliable. A book on so important a subject cannot fail
of success.

The best biography in the volume is that of Washington. From the small
space in which the events are crowded, the writer had not an opportunity
to do justice to his artistical powers, but the view taken of
Washington’s mind is the truest and most original we have ever seen.
Every American who has been accustomed to consider the Father of his
Country, and one of the leaders of his race, as being a man of great
virtues but of moderate talents—a view which seems to obtain among the
warmest eulogists of Washington—should read the searching and profound
remarks with which the writer precedes his narrative. There is one slip
of the pen, however, which it may be as well to note. After showing that
Washington possessed the most eminent qualities of mind and feeling, he
says, toward the end, that Hamilton’s “talents took the form of genius,
which Washington’s did not.” The writer should have recollected that he
had been describing a high though not obvious genius throughout his
eloquent and profound statement; and that he was using the term genius,
not in its primal, but in one of its secondary applications.

                 *        *        *        *        *

    _Scenes in the Lives of the Patriarchs and Prophets._

Two years ago Messrs. Lindsay & Blackiston issued a beautiful volume,
under the title of “_Scenes in the Life of the Saviour_,” and last year
succeeded it with “_Scenes in the Lives of the Apostles_.” The last of
these works, was prepared under the supervision of the Rev. H. Hastings
Weld, a gentleman whose name is familiar to our readers, and who
possesses all the qualifications to fit him for the editorship of works
of this character. The volumes referred to met with great favor in the
literary world; and they are now followed by a third, prepared under the
same auspices, entitled, “_Scenes in the Lives of the Patriarchs and
Prophets_.” We do but simple justice when we declare that it has seldom
fallen to our lot to notice a book which possesses so many and such
varied attractions. Mr. Weld has gathered from the best writers the most
beautiful of their works, in illustration of his theme, and prepared for
the reader a rich literary repast. We are assured that the volume before
us will, like those which preceded it, come acceptably before the
public, and be a favorite offering during the approaching holyday
season.

                 *        *        *        *        *

    _Oregon Missions and Travels over the Rocky Mountains in
    1845-6._

Mr. W. J. Cunningham has laid upon our table a handsome volume, bearing
this title, published by Mr. Dunigan, of New York. It is from the pen of
Father P. J. De Smet, of the Society of Jesus, and embodies an
interesting view of the manners and customs, traditions, superstitions,
&c., of the Indian tribes of the Rocky Mountains, as gathered by the
Reverend Father during an extended missionary tour amongst them. The
book will be read with interest, and numerous lithographic illustrations
of the text add to the attractiveness of its pages.

                 *        *        *        *        *

_The Mirror of Life_ is the title of a magnificent volume which Messrs.
Lindsay & Blackiston have published, the matter of which is entirely
original. It is ornamented with a number of plates, beautifully and
expressly prepared by American artists, and the letter-press is really
superb. Mrs. L. C. Tuthill, who edits the work, has acquitted herself
admirably, and has gathered together many choice literary gems.

                 *        *        *        *        *

    _The Crater, or Vulcan’s Peak, by J. Fenimore Cooper, Author of
    “Miles Wallingford,” “The Pathfinder” &c._

Mr. Cooper is so great a favorite with the American public that any
thing coming from his pen will be sought for with avidity. We do not
regard “The Crater” as one of the best of his works, but coming from
almost any other living writer it would be regarded as extraordinary.
The invention of Mr. Cooper seems to be inexhaustible; age cannot stale
nor custom wither his infinite variety; and we have in “The Crater,” and
especially in the scenes descriptive of the working of the “Old
Rancocus” among the breakers, evidence that the genius which has won the
admiration of all civilized communities, still holds its wand with an
unrelaxed grasp, and possesses spells powerful as at the first. His
sea-stories surpass those of Smollet even in power and verisimilitude,
while they bear no taint of his grossness. The best of these, the ocean
tale, “Rose Budd,” now in the course of publication in this Magazine,
has been pronounced, by all who have read it, one of the most
fascinating and valuable contributions to American literature.

                 *        *        *        *        *

    _The Arabian Nights._

A beautiful and cheap edition of this universal favorite among the
young, has been issued, and a copy has been laid upon our desk by
Messrs. Zieber & Co. To speak of the work would be supererogatory, but
we may remark that all which typographical skill and enterprise could do
to add attraction to it, has been done by the publishers.

                 *        *        *        *        *

    _The Christiad._

A volume of poems on various subjects, of which the principal one is
entitled The Christiad, has been published by the author, _William
Alexander, Esq., A. M._ The work is brought out in handsome style, and a
cursory examination induces us to believe that it contains many passages
of merit.

                 *        *        *        *        *


                   DESCRIPTION OF THE FASHION PLATE.

Toilette de Ville.—Dress of violet colored satin, _à la Reine_; skirt
plain; corsage high, _à la Puritan_; hat of shaded yellow satin, and
ornamented with a shaded feather, or with shaded garnets velvet; sleeves
large, slit half way up the arm, and falling back upon the sides.

Toilette de Bal.—Dress of white muslin; skirt ornamented with three
rows of embroidery, in festoons, or scollops, with large spaces, and
surmounted right and left by a bouquet, composed of three daisies, with
foliage. The same trimming of embroidery and flowers on the corsage,
which is very low, with the point somewhat rounded, and without sleeves.
The head-dress, in perfect keeping with the toilette, is composed of a
(_franche_) crown of daisies, those of the front part of the head very
small, and those of the sides and back much larger.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The sketch by Fanny Forester published in our last was sent originally
to the publisher of Graham’s Magazine, and was set up from the
manuscript for our last number. We mention this to correct a
misapprehension of the newspaper press, and to relieve the author from
any imputation. The fault was our own, in leaving the article so long
unpublished.

                 *        *        *        *        *

[Illustration:
LE FOLLET
Boulevart S^{t}. Martin, 61.
_Chapeaux de M^{me}._ Baudry, _r. Richlieu, 87—Robes de M^{me}._ Mercier,
  _r. N^{ve}. des Petits Champs, 82;_
_Fleurs et plumes de_ Chagot—_Pardessus et fourrures du_ Cardinal, _boul.
  Poissonnière, 41;_
_Mouchoir de_ L. Chapron & Dubois, _r. de la Paix, 7—Gants de_ Aveline,
  _r. de la Paix, 18 et 20;_
_Passementeries de_ Richenet Bayard, _r. S^{t}. Denis, 400, et r. de la
  Paix, 24._
Graham’s Magazine.]

                 *        *        *        *        *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Table of Contents has been added for reader convenience. Archaic
spellings and hyphenation have been retained. Obvious typesetting and
punctuation errors have been corrected without note. Other errors have
been corrected as noted below. For illustrations, some caption text may
be missing or incomplete due to condition of the originals available for
preparation of the eBook.

page 295, _perfume_ I might loose. ==> _perfume_ I might lose.
page 297, he replied. “Her’s ==> he replied. “Hers
page 315, for the childrens’ ==> for the children’s
page 322, in each others ==> in each other’s
page 328, days they past ==> days they passed
page 328, long wolve’s tails ==> long wolves’ tails
page 331, life in Arcadie, of ==> life in Acadie, of


[End of Graham’s Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 6, December 1847]





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