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Elinor Wyllys by Susan Fenimore Cooper

Part 4 out of 5

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"Don't pretend any longer, Jane, that you didn't know it,"
whispered Adeline, as they were stooping together over a bundle
of hoods and shawls. Jane made no answer. "Now, confess that you
knew he was serious before you left Paris."

"I did not think much of it for some time," said Jane.

"Well, I supposed from your letters that you knew long ago that
he was desperately in love with you. Trust me, we'll settle it
all between us."

"Oh, hush," said Jane, "there is somebody coming--I know it's

"Nonsense--wrong indeed! I should like to know where is the great
harm if he does break his engagement?"

Elinor moved away when she found the conversation was meant to be
private. But she had unintentionally heard enough to make her
anxious for Jane. "Was not Adeline leading her into difficulty?"
She felt uneasy, and thought of nothing else during her drive
home. It would not do to consult Miss Wyllys; but she determined
to speak to Jane herself, the first time she saw her.
Unfortunately, her cousin was going to New York, and nothing
could be done until she returned to pass a fortnight at
Wyllys-Roof before going to town for the winter.


-------------------------"the reward
Is in the race we run, not in the prize."

{Samuel Rogers (English poet, 1763-1855), "Italy: A Character"
lines 39-40}

MISS PATSEY had never, in her life, been to a regular ball,
before this house-warming of Uncle Josie's; but not even the
novelty of a ball could keep her in bed an hour later than usual.
Charlie and herself had returned home some time after midnight,
with the Wyllyses; but the next morning she rose with the
chickens, and before the October sun, to pursue, as usual, her
daily labours. It was truly surprising how much Patsey Hubbard
found time to do in a single day, and that without being one of
your fussy, utilitarian busy-bodies, whose activity is all
physical, and who look upon half an hour passed in quiet thought,
or innocent recreation, as so much time thrown away. Our friend
Patsey's career, from childhood, had been one of humble industry,
self-forgetfulness, and active charity; her time in the gay hours
of youth, as well as in the calmer years of mature experience,
had been devoted to the welfare and happiness of her parents, her
brothers and sisters. From a long habit of considering the wants
and pleasures of others first, she always seemed to think of
herself last, as a matter of course. She had had many laborious,
anxious hours, many cares; but it is far from being those who
have the most trouble in this world, who complain the loudest; no
one had fewer wants, fewer vanities, fewer idle hours than Miss
Patsey, and, consequently, no one could be more generally
cheerful and contented. There is nothing so conducive to true,
healthful cheerfulness, as the consciousness of time well-spent:
there is no better cure for the dull spirit of French ENNUI, or
the gloom of English BLUES, than regular, useful occupation,
followed by harmless recreation.

Any one who had followed Patsey Hubbard through the varied duties
of a single day, would have acknowledged that there is no
spectacle in this world more pleasant, than that of a human
being, discharging with untiring fidelity, and singleness of
heart, duties, however humble. The simple piety of her first
morning prayer, the plain good sense of her domestic
arrangements, and thorough performance of all her household
tasks, her respectful, considerate kindness to her step-mother,
and even a shade of undue indulgence of Charlie--all spoke her
character--all was consistent.

Happy was Patsey's little flock of scholars. Every morning, at
nine o'clock, they assembled; the Taylor children usually
appeared in Leghorn gipsies, and silk aprons; the rest of the
troop in gingham "sun-bonnets," and large aprons of the same
material. There were several little boys just out of petticoats,
and half-a-dozen little girls--enough to fill two benches. The
instruction Patsey gave her little people was of the simplest
kind; reading, spelling, writing, and arithmetic, learning a few
simple verses, with sewing and marking for the girls, made up the
amount of it. Most people, in these days of enlightenment, would
have been very much dissatisfied with her plan, for it actually
excluded all the sciences, and all the accomplishments. Patsey
had two reasons for confining herself to the plainest branches of
education only; in the first place, she did not think herself
capable of teaching anything else; and, secondly, she doubted
whether her scholars were capable of learning anything better or
more useful for themselves. Mr. Taylor thought she had very low
views of infant education; and yet, you could not have found
anywhere a set of children, between three and ten, who were more
thoroughly taught what their instructor professed to teach. Happy
would it be for these little creatures, if they never acquired
any worse knowledge than they gained under Patsey's care! She had
an eye to their tempers, their morals, and their manners; she
trained the little girls to be modest and gentle--the little boys
to be respectful and obliging; while she endeavoured to make all
alike honest, open, cheerful, and sincere. Were not these lessons
quite as important to most children, between the ages of three
and ten, as chemistry, astronomy, and natural philosophy?

{"Leghorn gipsies" = fashionable hats (named after Leghorn,
Italy) with large side flaps; "marking" = embroidering
identifying names or initials on linen}

The day following Uncle Josie's house-warming, Miss Patsey
released her little flock an hour earlier than usual; they were
allowed to pass the time playing in an adjoining meadow, until
sent for by their parents. There was to be a tea-party at the
"old gray house" that evening--a very unusual event; ten
invitations had been sent out. The fact is, Miss Patsey had
received a basket of noble peaches, the day before, from one of
her neighbours; and Uncle Josie had already, early in the
morning, sent over a wagon-load of good things to replenish his
niece's larder--the remains of the last night's supper; among
other delicacies there was a bit of boned turkey, for Mrs.
Hubbard's especial benefit. Patsey scarcely knew what to do with
so many luxuries. She sent a basket of fruits and jellies to a
couple of sick neighbours, by Charlie; still, there was more than
her mother, Charlie, and herself, could possibly do justice to in
a week. She determined to give a little tea-party; it was
eighteen months since she had had one, and that had been only for
the Wyllyses. Dr. and Mrs. Van Horne, the Taylors, the Wyllyses,
and the Clapps were accordingly invited; and Patsey proceeded to
burn some coffee, and make short-cake. The little parlour was
more carefully swept and dusted than ever, five additional chairs
were brought in, and a fire was made, on account of Mrs. Hubbard.
Then, about four o'clock, the ladies made their toilette; Mrs.
Hubbard was dressed in a smart new calico, with a cap, made by
Elinor, and was then seated in the best rocking-chair. As for
Patsey, herself, she could not think of wearing the elegant new
dress, Uncle Josie's present--that was much too fine; she
preferred what had now become her second-best--a black silk,
which looked somewhat rusty and well-worn. To tell the truth,
this gown had seen good service; it had been not only turned, but
re-turned--having twice gone through the operation of ripping and
sponging; and doubtful as the fact may appear to the reader, yet
we have Miss Patsey's word for it, that a good silk will bear
twice turning, but then it must be a silk of a first-rate
quality, like her own. It had been, indeed, the standing opinion
of the family for the last five years, that this particular dress
was still "as good as new." As for the changes in fashion that
this black silk had outlived, who shall tell them? It was
purchased in the days of short waists and belts, "gig-ohs," and
"pal-reens," as they were called by the country damsel, whose
scissors first shaped the glossy "gro de nap." Waists, long,
longer, longest, succeeded; sleeves, full, fuller, fullest,
followed; belts were discarded, boddices {sic} began to appear;
still Miss Patsey's silk kept up with the changes, or rather, did
not entirely lose sight of them. If you had seen her at a little
tea-party at Wyllys-Roof, wearing this silk, "nearly as good as
new," with a neat and pretty collar of Elinor's work, you would
have been obliged to confess that her dress answered a rule given
by a celebrated philosopher--you would not have remarked it. Had
you chanced to meet her of a Sunday, in Mr. Wyllys's
carriage--the Wyllyses always stopped on their way to St. John's
Church, at Longbridge, to offer a couple of seats to the
Hubbards, who were set down at the door of their father's old
Meeting-house--had you seen her of a Sunday, with a neat straw
hat, and the black silk gown, you would have been obliged to
acknowledge that her dress had the double merit, by no means
common, of according with her circumstances, and the sacred
duties she was going to fulfil; the devotion of her neighbours
would not be disturbed by admiration of her toilette.

{"burn some coffee" = roast some coffee; "gig-oh" = a puffed
"gigot" or "leg of mutton" sleeve; "pal-reen" = "pelerine", a
cape or mantle; "gro de nap" = "gros de Naples", a weave of silk
with a corded effect (French)}

At five o'clock, Miss Patsey's company began to assemble; the
Wyllyses were the first to appear; then came Mrs. Taylor, Mrs.
Van Horne, and Mrs. Clapp; Adeline excused herself, she thought
it a bore, Charlie was not worth flirting with. The doctor, Mr.
Taylor, and Mr. Clapp, were expected after tea. And a pleasant,
good-natured evening it proved to be. Miss Patsey's coffee was
excellent; the little black girl, engaged for the occasion,
performed her duties to admiration. Mrs. Taylor thought that she
had scarcely passed such a quiet, pleasant afternoon, since the
halcyon days before her husband was a rich man; she was much
interested in discussing with Miss Patsey, and Miss Wyllys, and
Mrs. Van Horne, various recipes for making bread, hoe-cake, and
other good things. As for Elinor, she told Charlie she had left
her work at home, on purpose that she might have time enough to
look over all his sketches--everything he had to show, old and
new. The drawings, and several oil-paintings were accordingly
produced, and looked over by the young people, and Mr. Wyllys,
who had taken a chair by the table, and joined them. Elinor knew
nothing of drawing, but her general taste was good; she asked
many questions about the details of the art, and was amused and
interested by Charlie's remarks.

{"left her work at home" = the knitting or similar hand-work
engaged in by ladies while they conversed}

"Show us everything, Charlie," said Mr. Wyllys. "I befriended
your genius, you know, in the days of the slate and compound
interest; and, of course, I shall think it due to my own
discernment to admire all your works."

"Of course, you are not afraid of my criticisms," said Elinor; "I
don't know enough to be severe."

"People who know little, my child, generally make very severe
critics," said Mr. Wyllys.

"When they know LITTLE, grandpapa; but mine is honest, humble
ignorance. I know nothing at all on the subject."

"Do you remember, Miss Elinor, that Hogarth said anybody
possessing common sense was a better judge of a picture than a

{"Hogarth" = William Hogarth (1697-1764), English artist and

"Did Hogarth say so?--I shall begin to feel qualified to find
fault. That is a very pretty group of children, grandpapa."

"Very pretty;--some of Miss Patsey's little people. And here is
another, quite natural and graceful, Charlie."

"I never see my sister's little scholars but I am tempted to
sketch them. Children are such a charming study; but I am never
satisfied with what I do; a picture of children that is not
thoroughly childlike is detestable. Those are mere scratches."

"What are these faint outlines of figures, with dashes of
colouring here and there?" asked Elinor.

"Oh, those are mere fancies, made entirely for amusement. They
are rude sketches of my own ideas of celebrated pictures that I
have never seen, of course; only as exercises for idle
moments--one way of practising attitudes of figures, and
composition. I keep them more as a lesson of humility than
anything else, for me to remember my own poor conceits when I see
the originals, if that happy day ever come."

"I thought you gave yourself up entirely to landscapes,
Charlie--do you think seriously of pursuing both branches?" asked
Mr. Wyllys.

"No, sir; I give the preference to landscapes; I find, at least,
that field quite wide enough. It seems scarcely possible to unite
both, they are so different in character and detail, and require
such a different course of study."

"That is the great point with you, my boy; you must not waste too
much time upon the ideal portion of the art; you must remember
that the most beautiful ideas in the world will be lost, if the
execution is not in some measure worthy of them."

"I am so well aware of that, sir, that I have done nothing but
study the practical part of my trade for the last three months,
and I feel that it has been of service to me."

"There is water in all your sketches, I believe," said Elinor.
"You must be very partial to it."

"I am, indeed--it is a most delightful study--I should be afraid
to tell you all the pleasure I have in painting water--you would
laugh at me, if I once set off upon my hobby."

"Not at all; you have made me an honest admirer of every variety
of lakes and rivers, since I have seen your pictures."

"When did you first take to water, Charlie?" asked Mr. Wyllys.

"Oh, long ago, sir, when I was a little bit of a shaver. Have you
never when a child, Miss Elinor, received great pleasure, perhaps
a lasting impression, from some natural object that you still
remember distinctly?"

"Yes, I know what you mean--I recollect perfectly several things
of the kind. I believe children have more observation, and
feeling for what is beautiful, than is generally supposed."

"It is very probable that most children have similar sensations.
I am glad that you do not laugh at me; there are few persons to
whom I confess my violent partiality for water; most people would
think it ridiculous."

"You are right, Charlie; one can talk to the world in action
only; it never believes the truth in any shape, until forced to
acknowledge it. You are pursuing the right course, however; you
have spoken quite clearly in your view from Nahant--your friends
have every reason to urge you to persevere. But does not Mr.
----- tell you to pay more attention to your foliage and
buildings? you rather neglect them for the water."

"Yes, sir; I am well aware of my defects in that respect, and
next summer I hope to devote a great deal of time to foliage."

The conversation was here interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Van
Horne and Mr. Taylor, followed shortly after by Mr. Clapp.

"You are late, William," said pretty little Mrs. Clapp to her
husband. "Did you leave the children all safe? Did the baby cry
for me?"

"Perfectly safe--all sound asleep," replied Mr. Clapp, passing
his fingers through his curls. But his wife, who knew every
expression of the face she thought so handsome, fancied William
looked pale and uneasy; some business had gone wrong, perhaps.

"Quite a select circle," observed Mr. Taylor, sitting down by
Miss Wyllys, leaning his chair back, and rolling his thumbs, one
over the other.

"I have not had a pleasanter evening in a great while," said Mrs.
Taylor. "It puts me in mind, husband, of old fashioned
tea-parties, when we lived altogether in the country. We used to
go at two o'clock, and stay until sunset. I think such sociable
parties are much pleasanter than late, crowded balls."

"Ha! ha!--that may be your opinion, Mrs. Taylor; a quiet party
does very well where one is intimate, no doubt; but I conclude
that younger ladies, Adeline, and her friends Miss Graham and
Miss Wyllys, would give a different verdict."

"Miss Taylor seems quite partial to large parties," said Elinor,
quietly, for the remark was addressed to her.

"Yes, Adeline and her 'chum' both like plenty of balls and beaux,
I reckon."

"What has become of your patient, doctor?" inquired Miss Patsey.
"The poor man at the tavern--do you think he will get well?"

"I have no doubt the fellow will outlive half-a-dozen such fits.
I left him last night under guard of two men, to keep him from
hanging himself; and this morning, when I went to look after him,
he was off. He was so much better, that he had been persuaded by
some messmate to ship for a cruize--only a three years' whaling
voyage. Regular Jack-tar fashion--a frolic one day, a fit the
next, and off for the end of the world the third."

"He has left Longbridge, has he?" said Mr. Wyllys. "I was just
going to inquire after him, for they have a story going about,
that he used very threatening language in speaking of myself and
Hazlehurst. Did you happen to hear him, doctor?"

"He did use some wild, incoherent expressions, sir, to that
effect, when I was with him; but the threats of a raving man are
not of much consequence."

"Certainly not. But I have no idea who the man can be; I don't
know a single common seaman by sight or name--at least, the only
one I ever knew is long since dead. It is singular that this
fellow should have known my name even; they say he was a stranger
at Longbridge."

"Entirely so, I believe."

"What was his name?"

"William Thompson, they told me."

"If he is a sailor, he probably has a dozen aliases," interposed
Mr. Clapp, who had been listening very attentively.

"By-the-bye, Clapp, they say he included you in his kind wishes."

"Yes, sir, so I understand."

"William, you never mentioned it to me!" said his wife.

"No, my dear; I did not attach any importance to the story,"
replied the lawyer, pulling out his handkerchief with one hand,
and running the other through his hair--looking a little nervous
and uneasy, notwithstanding.

"He did not exactly threaten you, Mr. Clapp, while I was with
him," said the doctor; "he seemed rather to depend upon you as an

"Still more singular," said Mr. Clapp, with a glance at Mr.

"That was very strange!" exclaimed his wife--"what could the man

"It is by no means easy to explain the meaning of a drunken man,
my dear. It is just possible he may have heard my name as a man
of business. I have had several sailors for clients, and one
quite recently, staying at the same tavern."

"I dare say, if explained, it would prove to be Much ado about
Nothing," said Mr. Wyllys. "Since the fellow was drunk at the
time, and went off as soon as he grew sober, the danger does not
seem very imminent."

{"Much ado about Nothing" = an allusion to Shakespeare's play of
that name}

"Precisely my opinion, sir," said Mr. Clapp.

"Grandpapa, do you remember the sailor who was found near our
house, one night, about two years ago? It was my birth-day, and
we had a little party--have you forgotten?"

"True, my child; I have never thought of the fellow since; but
now you speak of him, I remember the fact."

"Do you not think it is probably the same person?--you know Harry
had him locked up: perhaps he owes you both a grudge for the
treatment he received at Wyllys-Roof, upon that occasion."

"That accounts for the whole affair, Miss Elinor--you have
cleared up the mystery entirely," said Mr. Clapp, looking much
relieved. He not only appeared grateful to Elinor for the
explanation given, but seemed to extend the obligation to all the
family; for he was particularly attentive to Mr. Wyllys, and Miss
Agnes, during the whole evening--and the next morning, early,
drove out to Wyllys-Roof, expressly to carry some brook-trout,
for Mr. Wyllys's breakfast. The lawyer informed several persons,
who alluded to the story, of this simple explanation, which
seemed to satisfy all who heard it. The whole affair was soon
forgotten, for a time, at least.


"Weak and irresolute is man;
The purpose of to-day
Woven with pains into his plan,
To-morrow rends away."

{William Cowper (English poet, 1731-1800), "Human Frailty" lines

AFTER an absence of a week, or ten days, Harry returned to
Wyllys-Roof, not at all sorry to hear that he was too late to see
the Grahams, as they were going to New York the next morning. He
was very attentive to Elinor--pointedly so. Once or twice, she
was going to jest with him upon the subject, and inquire the
cause of this studied gallantry; but observing he was still a
little out of spirits, she contented herself with thanking him
for the books he had brought her.

The next day proved so mild, so hazy, and Indian-summer-like,
that Hazlehurst proposed to take advantage of it, to give the
ladies a row on the river. They were out for a couple of hours,
landed on the opposite bank, and paid a visit to their friends,
the Bernards, who lived a mile or two below them. The air was
delightful, the country looked beautiful--fresher, perhaps, than
at midsummer; for the heat was no longer parching, and the
September showers had washed away the dust, and brought out the
green grass again. Harry had become interested in the
conversation, and was particularly agreeable; Miss Agnes was
pleased with his remarks, and Elinor thought she had never passed
a pleasanter morning; she was little aware that it was to be
followed by many anxious, painful days.

They landed, as usual, at the boat-house; and the ladies prepared
to walk slowly across the lawn, while Harry secured the boat and
oars. As they approached the house, they were surprised to see
several of the servants collected on the piazza, listening so
intently to a lad that they did not see the ladies. Old Hetty, a
superannuated negro cook, who had lived all her life in the
family, was wringing her hands and wiping her eyes with her
apron; while Mammy Sarah, Elinor's former nurse, a respectable
white woman, was talking to the boy.

Elinor quickened her pace, and hastened before her aunt, to
inquire into the cause of this distress.

"What is it, Mammy?" she asked, on reaching the piazza. "What is
the matter?"

"Oh, dearie me; Miss Elly, Miss Elly!" exclaimed old Hetty; with
a fresh burst of tears.

"Tell us--Hetty--Mammy--what has happened?" said Miss Wyllys, as
she approached.

"Oh, Miss Aggess, Miss Aggess--dreadful news!" said the old negro
woman, burying her face in her apron.

"My father?" asked Miss Agnes, faintly, and trembling with alarm.

"No, ma'am," said Mammy Sarah, looking very sad, however; "Mr.
Wyllys is very well, and we were hoping he would come in before
you, so that we could get at the truth."

"Let us hear what you have to say, at once, Mammy," continued
Miss Agnes, anxiously.

"Billy, here, has brought bad news from Longbridge."

"Dreadful news!" interposed old Hetty. "Oh, Miss Aggess! Billy
say Miss Jane--"

"What is it?--Speak plainly!" cried Miss Wyllys.

"There's an accident happened to the steamboat," added Mammy.

"B'iler bust--dearie me--Miss Jane's scall to death!" exclaimed

A cry of horror burst from Elinor and her aunt, and they turned
towards Mammy Sarah.

"I hope it isn't quite so bad, ma'am," said Mammy; "but Billy
says the steamboat boiler did really burst after she had got only
half a mile from the wharf."

A second sufficed for Miss Agnes and Elinor to remember Hetty's
fondness for marvels and disasters, and they hoped ardently that
the present account might be exaggerated. They turned to the boy:
"What had he heard?" "Whom had he seen?" Billy reported that he
had seen the boat himself; that he had heard the cries from her
decks, which the people in the street thought had come from some
horses on board, that must have been scalded; that another boat
had gone out to the Longbridge steamer, and had towed her to a
wharf a few rods from the spot where the accident happened; that
he had seen, himself, a man on horseback, coming for the doctor;
and the people told him five horses had been killed, two men
badly hurt, and Mr. Graham's eldest daughter was scalded so badly
that she was not expected to live.

Miss Wyllys's anxiety increased on hearing the boy's story; she
ordered the carriage instantly, determined that under any
circumstances, it would be best to go to Longbridge at once,
either to discover the truth, or to assist Mrs. Graham in nursing
Jane, if she were really badly injured. At this moment, Harry
returned from the boat-house.

"What is the matter?" he exclaimed, springing up the piazza
steps, and looking round upon the sad and anxious faces.

"We have heard bad news from Longbridge," said Miss Wyllys; but
before she could explain herself, old Hetty burst into tears
again, and turning to Hazlehurst, exclaimed:

"Oh, Massa Harry!--dreadful news!--Miss Jane scall to death in

Miss Wyllys was so much struck with the effect of these words on
Harry, that for an instant she forgot to say "she trusted the
story had been exaggerated." Hazlehurst lost all colour--stood
speechless and motionless for a moment. Elinor was too much
agitated herself to speak. Suddenly, Harry met Miss Agnes' eye;
he turned from her, rushed through the house, and continued
walking rapidly up and down the avenue, apparently forgetful of
everything but his own feelings. Amid all her anxiety for Jane,
Miss Wyllys could not but remark Hazlehurst's manner--he seemed
entirely overcome, by his emotion; and yet he had not asked one
question, nor made one offer to do anything for Elinor, or
herself; and one would have thought it more natural that at such
a moment he should have remained with them, pained and distressed
as they were. Elinor only thought that Hazlehurst's feelings did
credit to his heart; her own was full of grief for the suffering
of her playfellow and companion, whom she had loved almost as a

Some twenty minutes were passed in this manner by the aunt and
niece, with feelings better understood than described. They were
waiting for the carriage, and nothing could be done in the mean
time; it seemed an age to Elinor before the coachman could be
found, and the horses harnessed. While her aunt and herself were
in tears, pacing the piazza together, they were surprised by the
appearance, on the Longbridge road, of the old-fashioned chair in
which Mr. Wyllys usually drove about his farm. Miss Agnes
distinctly saw her father driving, with a lady at his side. They
were approaching at a very steady, quiet pace. As they entered
the gate, Miss Agnes and Elinor hastened to meet them; they saw
Harry stopping to speak to Mr. Wyllys, and then Miss Wyllys heard
her father's voice calling to herself.

{"chair" = a light, one-horse carriage}

"All safe!" he cried. "It was a misunderstanding; Jane is quite
well; though a poor young woman, bearing the same name, has been

"We were in hopes the news had not reached you yet," said Mrs.
George Wyllys, who accompanied her father-in-law. "We were all
dreadfully alarmed, at first, for the accident was very much

Miss Wyllys and Elinor were too thankful for Jane's escape, to
express anything but the relief they felt on hearing of her

"No one killed," continued Mr. Wyllys. "They lost a couple of
horses; two of the men were hurt, but not dangerously; and the
new chambermaid, whose name is Jane Graham, had her feet badly
scalded. But there is so little harm done, considering what might
have happened, that we have reason to be very thankful for every
one on board."

"You may imagine how much alarmed I was," continued Mrs. Wyllys;
"for I happened to be sitting at my own window, which overlooks
the river, you know, and I heard the noise and cries from the
boat, and knew the Grahams were on board."

Long explanations followed: Mr. Wyllys had had his fright too. He
had heard at the saddler's, that half Mr. Graham's family were
killed. Now, however, it only remained for them to be thankful
that their friends had all escaped, and to hope Jane's namesake
would soon recover.

"But how long is it since you heard the story? why did you not
send Harry off at once, to get at the truth?" asked Mr. Wyllys.

"We were going ourselves," replied Miss Agnes.

"What has become of Harry?--Where is he?" asked her father.

But Harry had disappeared.

"He was much distressed at the news," said Elinor.

"No wonder; it was a horrible idea. But he should have jumped on
horseback, and rode over to Longbridge to find out the truth."

Elinor looked round once more for Hazlehurst, as they entered the
house; but he was certainly not there.

"And what are the Grahams going to do?" asked Miss Wyllys.

"They are off again this afternoon," replied her father, taking a
seat on the sofa.

Hazlehurst was not seen again all the morning. Dinner came, and
he had not joined the family.

"He is in his room," said Elinor; "I heard him walking as I
passed his door. I am afraid he is not well."

The servant who was sent to let him know that dinner was on
table, returned with the answer, that Mr. Hazlehurst had a bad
head-ache, and begged Miss Wyllys would excuse him.

"That long row in the sun must have given Harry a head-ache, Aunt
Agnes," said Elinor; "I am sorry we went so far."

"Perhaps so," said Miss Agnes; although she did not seem wholly
to be of Elinor's opinion.

"Hazlehurst is no such tender chicken, Nelly; you must not spoil
him, child--do you hear?" said her grandfather, smiling in a way
that made Elinor colour. Miss Agnes was silent during dinner; but
as the whole family had scarcely recovered from the alarm of the
morning, the shade of anxiety on her face was not remarked.

Harry remained in his room. As he had requested not to be
disturbed, he was left alone. Once, however, in the course of the
evening, a knock was heard at his door, and a servant appeared.

"Miss Elinor sends you a cup of tea, sir, and hopes your head is
better," said Thomas.

"Miss Elinor is very good--I am much obliged to her," was Harry's
answer, in a low, thick voice; but the cup of tea remained
untasted, while Hazlehurst resumed his walk across the room.
When, shortly after, Elinor's voice was heard singing her
grandfather's favourite air of Robin Adair in lower tones than
usual, Harry again started from the table, where he had laid pen
and paper preparatory to writing, and striking his hand against
his forehead, he exclaimed:

{"Robin Adair" = Irish folksong, though often identified with
Scotland, with words ca. 1750 by Lady Caroline Keppel; it is the
only specific tune Elinor is ever heard to sing}

"Ungrateful wretch, that I am!"

The next morning Elinor was up early, and taking the garden
basket, she went out to gather all the late flowers she could
find, to fill a jar for the drawing-room--singing gaily, as she
went from bush to bush, and gathering here a sprig of
honeysuckle, there violets or a late rose, blooming out of
season, and a few other straggling blossoms. After loitering
about the garden for half an hour, she returned to the house. She
was surprised to see the coachman, at that early hour, driving up
the avenue in the little wagon used for errands about the

"Where have you been, Williams?" she asked, as he drove past her
towards the stable.

"To carry Mr. Hazlehurst over to Upper Lewiston, in time for the
six o'clock boat, Miss."

Elinor could scarcely believe what she had heard. At the same
moment, Mr. Wyllys stepped out on the piazza.

"What is this, Elinor?" he asked. "They tell me Harry is off; did
you see him this morning?"

Elinor was obliged to say she had not.

"What can it mean! did he get any letters by last night's mail?"

"Not that I know of," said Elinor, much surprised, and a little

They found Miss Agnes in the drawing-room; she, it seemed,
already knew of Hazlehurst's departure. She said little on the
subject, but looked anxious and absent. Elinor scarcely knew what
to think; she was afraid to trust herself to make any inquiries,
preferring to wait until alone with her aunt after breakfast. The
meal passed over in silence. Mr. Wyllys looked uneasy; Elinor was
at a loss to know what to think; neither of the ladies paid much
attention to the morning meal that day.

Miss Agnes rose from table, and went to her own room; Elinor,
neglecting her usual task as housekeeper, hastened to follow her
aunt, her mind filled with indistinct fears and anxieties. Miss
Agnes was walking about her room, looking pained and distressed.
Several letters were lying on a table near her; two were
unopened; one she had been reading.

"Letters!--my dear Aunt, from whom? Tell me, I conjure you, what
you know! Has anything happened to Louisa--to Jane? Did Harry
leave no message for me?" cried Elinor, hurrying towards her
aunt, whose face she watched for an answer to each question, as
she asked it. Miss Wyllys made an effort to compose herself, and
held out her hand to Elinor.

"My dearest Aunt!--pray tell me what distresses you--Ha! Harry's
handwriting!" she exclaimed, as her eye fell on the open letter
by Miss Wyllys--"I know that letter is from Harry; do not conceal
anything; is it for me?"

"This letter is to me, my child," replied her aunt, taking up the
one she had been reading; wishing to give Elinor all the
preparation in her power, for a blow which she knew must fall
heavily, since it was so entirely unexpected.

"But there are two other letters," cried Elinor, "one of them is
for me, I am sure. Let me see it at once, Aunt; you cannot deny
that it is for me--and if it contain bad news, you know that I
can command myself when necessary."

Miss Agnes's hand trembled as she took the letters.

"My child! My beloved Elinor!" she said.

"Dearest Aunt, you torture me! Tell me, I beseech you, what we
have to fear!"

"You shall know all," Miss Agnes replied, seating herself; and
endeavouring to be calm. "You will be much distressed, my child;
but I know that you will be now, what you always have been,
reasonable, and true to yourself--to your grandfather--to me,"
added Miss Wyllys, in a voice almost inarticulate.

A thousand indistinct ideas passed through Elinor's mind with the
rapidity of lightning, while her aunt was speaking; illness of
some absent friend suggested itself--yet who could it be? Not
Harry, surely, for he had gone over to Upper Lewiston that
morning--yet her fears instinctively centred upon Hazlehurst.

"It is something relating to Harry, I am sure," she said. "Is he
ill?--is he in trouble?" she asked in a faint voice, while a
prayer for resignation sprang from her heart, with the words.

"You are right," replied Miss Wyllys, in a faltering voice; and
seating herself by her niece, she continued, "He is well. If he
is in trouble, it is from his own choice. Have you no suspicions,
my dearest child, of what has happened?"

"Suspicions!"--exclaimed Elinor, in astonishment, "what is there
for me to suspect? My dearest Aunt, I am more and more
perplexed--explain it all yourself--who is it you are concerned

"My only concern is for you, dearest; my only regret, that
trouble should have been brought on you by those dear to you--by
your grandfather, by myself, by your cousins."

"By you!--by my cousins--what cousins?"

"Harry--Jane--Have you remarked nothing?"

"Harry! what can he have done?"

"You must forget him," said Miss Wyllys; and as Elinor looked
eagerly in her aunt's eyes, she read there all that Miss Agnes
had not courage to tell in words.

Half starting from her seat, she exclaimed, "Harry!--and Jane
too!" and as a deadly paleness came over her face, she fell back,
unconscious, on the sofa. Her faintness lasted but a moment; too
short a time, indeed, to allow the impression of what she had
heard to pass from her mind. She burst into tears. "Oh, Aunt
Agnes!--Is it really true?--Can Harry have changed? can he have
been so unkind to me?--And Jane, too!" she exclaimed at

Her aunt answered only by her caresses, silently pressing her
lips upon Elinor's forehead.

Elinor threw her arms about Miss Agnes's neck, weeping bitterly.

"But is it really true? Is there not some mistake? Is it possible
he felt so little for me? Oh, dearest Aunt!--and Jane, too!"

Miss Wyllys said that she knew nothing of Jane's feelings; but
that the manner of both Jane and Harry had struck her several
times as singular; though now but too easily accounted for.
During the last ten days, she had begun to fear something wrong.

"Never, for one second, had I a doubt of either!" cried Elinor.
She now dreaded to receive the letter, she had before asked for
so eagerly.

A package had been given by Harry to the chambermaid, that
morning, requesting her to place it in Miss Agnes's hands as soon
as she left her room. It contained three letters. That to Miss
Agnes herself, was full and explicit. He now wrote, he said,
because he felt concealment to be no longer possible, after the
manner in which he had betrayed himself on hearing of the
steamboat accident. He felt convinced that his emotion had been
observed by Miss Wyllys, and he almost hoped the suspicions of
Elinor had been aroused. He hoped it, for he felt that longer
concealment would be unworthy of Elinor, and of himself, since he
had not been able to control his feelings. He acknowledged that a
frank confession was now due to her.

"I know," he said, "that you will reproach me severely for my
want of faith, and I feel that I deserve far more than you will
say. But do not think that I erred from deliberate forgetfulness
of all that I owed to Elinor. I was for a long time unconscious
of the state of my own feelings; and when at length I could no
longer deceive myself, the discovery of my weakness was deeply
painful and mortifying. You know what has been my situation since
last spring--you know to what I have been exposed. Greater
caution might no doubt have been used, had I not been misled by
blindness, or self-confidence, or vanity, call it what you
please. No one can reproach me as severely as I reproach myself.
But although my feelings had escaped my own control before I knew
it, yet I determined from the first that my actions should at
least be worthy of Elinor. I instantly became more guarded. No
human being, I believe, until to-day, suspected my folly. Do not
reproach Jane. The fault is entirely with me; Jane has been
blameless throughout."

He concluded by hoping that his letter would not for a moment be
considered by Miss Wyllys or Elinor, as an attempt to break his
engagement, which he was still anxious to fulfil. But he thought
that, now the explanation had been made, a separation for some
time would be preferable for all parties. He proposed to travel
for six months, and at the end of that time be hoped to have
conquered his own weakness, and to be forgiven by Elinor.

Bitter tears were shed by Elinor, in reading this letter.

The note to herself was short. He had not the courage to repeat
to her directly, what he had said to Miss Wyllys.

"I feel unworthy of you, Elinor, and I cannot endure longer to
deceive so generous a temper as yours. You must have remarked my
emotion this morning--Miss Wyllys now knows all; I refer you to
her. I shall never cease to reproach myself for my unpardonable
ingratitude. But painful as it is to confess it, it would have
been intolerable to play the hypocrite any longer, by continuing
to receive proofs of kindness which I no longer deserve. It is my
hope, that in time you will forgive me; though I shall never
forgive myself.

"H. H."

There are said to be young ladies with hearts so tender, as to be
capable of two or three different love affairs, and an unlimited
number of flirtations, in the course of a twelvemonth; but
Elinor's disposition was of a very different stamp. Her feelings
were all true and strong; her attachment for Harry little
resembled that mixture of caprice and vanity to which some young
people give the name of love. With something of fancy, and a
share of the weakness, no doubt, it was yet an affection to which
every better quality of her nature had contributed its share.
Hazlehurst's determination never to forgive himself for the
sorrow he had caused her, was a just one. His fickleness had
deeply wounded a heart, warm, true, and generous, as ever beat in
a woman's bosom.

Bitterly did Elinor weep, that first day of grief, humiliation,
and disappointment. She did not hesitate, however, for a moment,
as to the course to be pursued, and even felt indignant that
Harry should have believed her capable of holding him to his
engagement, with the feelings he had avowed. She answered his
note as soon as she could command herself sufficiently to write.

"I do not blame you--your conduct was but natural; one more
experienced, or more prudent than myself, would probably have
foreseen it. Had you left me in ignorance of the truth until too
late, I should then have been miserable indeed. My aunt will take
the first opportunity of letting our mutual friends know the
position in which it is best we should continue for the future.
May you be happy with Jane.


Elinor, at this moment, felt keenly the disadvantages of
homeliness, which she had hitherto borne so cheerfully, and had
never yet considered an evil. Beauty now appeared to her as a
blessed gift indeed.

"Had I not been so unfortunately plain," thought Elinor, "surely
Harry could not have forgotten me so soon. Oh," she exclaimed,
"had I but a small portion of that beauty which so many girls
waste upon the world, upon mere vanity; which they are so ready
to carry about to public places--through the very streets, to
catch the eye of every passing stranger, how highly should I
prize it, only for the sake of pleasing those I love! What a
happy thought it must be to those blessed with beauty, that the
eyes of their nearest and dearest friends never rest upon them
but with pleasure! How willingly would I consent to remain plain
to ugliness, plain as I am, in the eyes of the world, for the
precious power of pleasing those I love!"

Mr. Wyllys and Miss Agnes, of course, approved the step Elinor
had taken. They were both deeply pained by Harry's conduct; they
both regretted having allowed the engagement to take place so
early, and at the moment of Harry's absence. Miss Wyllys, indeed,
blamed herself severely for not having used all her influence to
prevent it. With her father, on the contrary, indignation against
Harry was the strongest feeling.

"Heartless young coxcomb!" he exclaimed; "to dare to trifle with
Elinor. I had a good opinion of him; I thought he had too much
sense, and too much feeling, not to appreciate Elinor, though her
face may not be as pretty as some others. Agnes, he must never be
asked to Wyllys-Roof again. I can never forget his treatment of
my grandchild."


"May this be so?"

{William Shakespeare, "Much Ado About Nothing", III.ii.117}

WHILE the family at Wyllys-Roof were in this distress, Miss Agnes
had received the parting visit of the Taylors. The porticos of
Colonnade Manor rose before closed windows; the house was
abandoned for the winter; while Mr. Taylor and Miss Adeline were
engaged in putting the finishing touch to the elegance of No.
five hundred and -----, Broadway, preparatory to the display of
the winter.

Mr. Taylor was getting at home in New York. The atmosphere of a
large town, thoroughly commercial, was just fitted to his nature.
He had certainly every reason to be satisfied with the rapidity
with which he had mounted towards the top of the Wall-Street
ladder. He was already cheek-by-jowl with certain heavy men of
the place; he walked down Broadway of a morning with "Mr. A. of
the Ocean," and up again of an afternoon with "Mr. B. of the
Hoboken;" he knew something of most of the great men of the
commercial world; and as for the rest of the community, he cared
little enough for them or their interests. His house was as
handsome and as finely furnished as he could wish, his children
were as expensively dressed, as expensively schooled, as any in
the land. He had become accustomed to the first burst of luxury,
and began already to look upon a hundred things as necessaries,
of the uses of which he had been ignorant five years before. He
thought New York a commercial paradise; not only the place to
make a fortune, but the very spot to spend it in. He wondered at
Mr. Hubbard; who could be satisfied to retire from business so
early, and was content to live at Longbridge, the village where
he was born. Mr. Taylor looked upon himself as already a great
man, but he intended to be a greater man still, by a million, or

About a week after the Taylors arrived in town, they gave a
party--quite a small affair, very sociable, some eighty or ninety
people only. The following morning, Mrs. Taylor, fatigued with
the toils and cares of gaiety, went to her own room to refresh
herself by darning more stockings than usual; while Mr. Taylor,
who had laboured hard the evening before by endeavouring to be
very 'affable' to some twenty new acquaintances, sought the
relief of his counting-house. As he walked down Broadway, his
thoughts were divided between two subjects. He had purchased some
lots the previous week, which proved so indifferent a bargain,
that he was anxious to persuade a particular friend to take them
off his hands. He had also just received letter from his son,
lately Tom Taylor, now T. Tallman Taylor, Esquire. The young man
had made very heavy demands upon his father's banker lately. Mr.
Taylor was perfectly satisfied that his son should spend his
money freely, and had given him a very liberal allowance, that he
might be enabled to cut a figure among his countrymen in Paris.
But his progress in acquiring habits of extravagance had become
of late rather more rapid than was desirable. As he was to
return, however, in the course of a few weeks, his father hoped
that he would be able to play the dandy in New York at less cost
than in Paris.

Mr. Taylor's meditations were interrupted by Mrs. Hilson, who
stopped to speak to him as he passed; she wished to inquire if
Miss Adeline were at home, as she was anxious to see her, having
a piece of news to communicate. Having given a satisfactory
answer, the merchant pursued his course towards the regions of
commerce, at one extremity of Broadway, and the city-lady went
her way towards the regions of fashion in the opposite direction.

Mrs. Hilson had already returned to her suite of apartments, and
her intimate friend, Mrs. Bagman. At the boarding-house she
patronised; and every morning between the hours of twelve and
three, she might be seen at the window of the drawing-room, if it
rained, or flitting up and down Broadway if the sun shone,
generally attended by Captain Kockney, the long {sic} Englishman,
whom she took great pleasure in showing off to the public. On the
present occasion she was alone however, and fortunate enough to
find Miss Adeline and the French furniture visible, for it was
the first time she had been in the new house. The rose-coloured
damask, and the pea-green satin of the two drawing-rooms was much
admired, and many compliments were lavished upon the gilt clocks,
the Sevres vases, &c., when Mrs. Hilson remembered she had a
piece of news to share with Miss Taylor.

"And such news--so unexpected to us all; you will be so
surprised! The engagement between Miss Wyllys and Mr. Hazlehurst
is actually broken off!"

Adeline was not so much astonished as Mrs. Hilson supposed she
would be.

"I am very quick at seeing such things," she said. "I was sure it
would come to that; though Miss Wyllys did not seem to suspect
anything herself. But no wonder--an engagement of two years is
too long for anybody. I am sure that in two years I should get
tired of the handsomest beau in New York."

The ladies had each their surmises as to which of the parties had
taken the first step, and what was probably the cause; but
although Miss Taylor had a pretty correct idea of the state of
things, she did not express her opinion on the subject very
decidedly. Mrs. Hilson soon made her curtsey, expressing the hope
that they should see each other very often during the winter; a
hope which Miss Adeline was determined not to gratify, for Mrs.
Hilson's standing was not sufficiently fashionable to satisfy
her. The visitor had no sooner left the room, than she ran up
stairs to put on her last Paris hat, and her handsomest cashmere,
and then hurried off to Barclay-Street to enjoy a confidential
meeting with Jane.

The young ladies were closeted together for an hour. We have no
authority for revealing what passed, and can only observe that
Jane returned to the drawing-room with a heightened colour, and
there was a certain expression of mystery still lingering about
Miss Adeline's face.

"Have you any commands for Boston, Mrs. Graham?" the young lady
inquired in her usual flippant manner. "I think I shall go there
next week, to pay a short visit to a friend of mine; I wish I
could hear of an escort."

Mrs. Graham thanked her civilly, but declined the offer of her

"Have you really made up your mind to go to Boston?" asked Jane.

"Why, not positively. It depends, as I said before, upon my
finding an escort. I have six pressing invitations from different
quarters, most of them acquaintances that I made last summer at
Saratoga; and I have been hesitating between Albany, Boston, or
Baltimore. I am determined to go somewhere to spend the next
three weeks, till the gaiety begins in earnest, and Tallman comes

"Is your brother expected so soon?" asked Mrs. Graham.

"Yes, he must have sailed now. We heard from him last night; he
will be here next month, I hope, just in time for the first great
parties. What would you advise me to do, Jane, to get rid of the
time until then?"

"I had much rather you would stay at home; if you go, I shall
miss you very much."

"But then we shall have the pleasure of corresponding--I like the
excitement of receiving a good long letter, full of nonsense,
above all things."

"You must not forget to let me know which way you are really
going," said Jane. "I will write, though I can't promise you a
long letter; I never wrote a long letter in my life."

"Well, you must write, at any rate, I shall see you half-a-dozen
times between this and Monday. I rather think I shall decide upon
Boston. Miss Lawrence says there are some delightful young
gentlemen there, and has promised to give me a ball. If I go, I
shall try hard to bring Miss Lawrence back with me. Mind, Jane,
you don't make too many conquests while I am gone. You must
reserve yourself for the one I have recommended to you. Oh,
by-the-bye, Mrs. Graham, I forgot to tell you the news; I am
astonished you have not heard it already."

"Pray, what is it?" asked Mrs. Graham.

"It seems the engagement between Miss Wyllys and Mr. Hazlehurst
has been broken off."

"You are mistaken, surely! We have heard nothing of it, and it is
highly improbable. If there be such a story, let me beg you will
not mention it again, Miss Taylor!"

"Oh, there is no mistake, I'm quite sure. I have heard it three
times already this morning, from Longbridge people; first Mrs.
Hilson told me, and then I met John Bibbs, and Edward Tibbs, who
said the same thing. Mrs. George Wyllys, it seems, contradicted
the engagement openly; Miss Hubbard heard her, and wrote it to
her sister."

"How grieved I should be if this story were to prove true; you
surely never remarked anything, Jane?"

"Elinor seemed to me just as usual; but Adeline thinks there has
been some change," said Jane, a little embarrassed.

"Oh, yes, give me credit for being quick-sighted; I suspected
something the first time I saw them together after Mr. Hazlehurst
came back."

"It is what none of their other friends appear to have done, Miss
Taylor," said Mrs. Graham, a little severely.

"I dare say not; but I am very quick at seeing such things. If
Jane has any mysteries, she had better not pretend to keep them
from me. But it is no wonder that the engagement was broken
off--I don't believe in long engagements. We must not let Jane
drag matters on at that rate when her turn comes;" and then
kissing her friend tenderly, and making a curtsey to Mrs. Graham,
without remarking the disapproving expression of that lady's
face, the lively Adeline left the mother and daughter alone.

"I dislike that Miss Taylor, excessively, Jane," observed her
mother, "she is very disagreeable to me; I wish you would find
some better companion while we are in New York. There are the
Howards, and de Vaux's--very amiable, pleasant girls, and for a
great many reasons far better associates for you."

"But I don't know them so well. Adeline is a great belle, mamma,
as much so as any girl in town."

"She is not at all to my taste, I confess. Your father, too,
dislikes the Taylors very much. The way in which she spoke of
this story about Elinor's engagement was really unfeeling. Not
that I believe it; but breaking off an engagement without good
reason, is no such trifle in my opinion, as it seems to be in
that of Miss Taylor."

Jane looked quite agitated; she blushed so much that her mother
would probably have remarked it, had she not been, at the moment,
stooping over her little invalid boy, who was lying on the sofa
near her.

"Miss Taylor has no claim whatever upon you, that I can see,"
continued Mrs. Graham. "It is true she was kind to you when you
were ill with the whooping-cough at school; but so were your
other companions--and I am sure she has not been half so
considerate and good to you as Elinor, and yet you seem to prefer
Miss Adeline now."

Poor Jane looked down, and coloured still more.

"Adeline would do anything for me, mother," she said, in a low
voice; "You don't know how much she is attached to me; I can't
help liking her," and Jane began to shed a few tears.

"Foolish child!" said her mother, beginning to relent, as she
usually did on such occasions, "I don't wish you to be uncivil to
her; but I should like you to be more with Kate Howard, and Anne
de Vaux;" and the conversation ended, as several others of the
same description had done, by leaving things precisely as they
were before. Mrs. Graham, indeed, looked upon herself as having
showed much decision on the occasion, and acted as a watchful
mother, by having made these objections, fruitless as they proved
to be.

The report that the engagement between Elinor and Harry had been
broken off, was soon known to be correct. It caused some surprise
to all who knew them, and much regret to their friends. Mrs.
Stanley, who felt a warm interest in both Harry and Elinor, was
grieved and disappointed. The Grahams, and Mrs. Robert
Hazlehurst, felt very unpleasantly when the cause of the rupture
came to be suspected. Mrs. Graham was, however, relieved by
finding that there was no understanding between Harry and her
daughter--thus far at least all was right; no explanation had
taken place between them, and Jane even assured her mother that
when in Paris, she had had no idea that Hazlehurst was attached
to her. Still there were many blushes whenever the subject was
alluded to, there were confidential meetings with Adeline, and
other symptoms which left little doubt to her friends that Jane's
feelings were interested. Mrs. Graham was obliged to console
herself with the idea, that the mischief had, at least, been
unintentional on the part of her daughter.

Harry, himself, was much mortified by the reception of Elinor's
note, which, by showing the full consequence of his conduct, made
it appear more culpable in his own eyes than he had yet been
willing to believe it. He even wrote a second time, begging
Elinor to re-consider her decision. Full as his fancy was of
Jane, yet his regard, one might say his affection, for Elinor,
was too well-founded, and of too long standing, for him to endure
quietly the idea of having trifled with her. She remained firm,
however; her second answer was as decided as the first. Harry's
self-reproach was sincere, at least, and he had never before felt
so much dissatisfied with himself.

He was less eager than one might suppose, to profit by his
newly-acquired liberty. He was in no hurry to offer Jane the
attentions which had so lately been Elinor's due. It is true that
his position was rather awkward; it is not every faithless swain
who is obliged to play the lover to two different individuals,
within so short a period, before the same witnesses. At length,
after doing penance for a while, by encouraging humiliating
reflections, some fear of a rival carried Hazlehurst on to New
York, in his new character of Jane's admirer. The first meeting
was rather awkward, and Harry was obliged to call up all his
good-breeding and cleverness, to make it pass off without leaving
an unpleasant impression. "Ce n'est que le premier pas qui
coute," however, as everybody knows. The sight of Jane's lovely
face, with a brighter colour than usual, and a few half-timid and
embarrassed glances from her beautiful dark eyes, had a
surprising effect in soothing Harry's conscience, and convincing
his reason that after all he had not acted so unwisely. He soon
showed himself very much in earnest in seeking Jane's favour;
though he persuaded himself that he must always do justice to
Elinor's excellence. "She is just the woman for a friend," he
observed to himself, "and friends I trust we shall be, when the
past is forgotten. But Jane, with her transcendant {sic} beauty,
her gentle helplessness, is the very creature that fancy would
paint for a wife!"

{"Ce n'est que le premier...." = it's only the first step that
hurts (French)}


"Be patient, gentle Nell, forget this grief."
Henry VI.

{William Shakespeare, "2 Henry VI", II.iv.26}

THE Wyllyses remained later than they had intended in the
country. Elinor, indeed, proposed to her aunt that they should
pass the winter at Wyllys-Roof, but Miss Agnes and her
grandfather were unwilling to do so. The variety of a life in
town would be preferable for her sake to the quiet monotony of a
country winter. They knew she had too much sense to wish to play
the victim; but it was only natural to believe, that in a
solitary country life, painful recollections would force
themselves upon her oftener than among her friends in town, where
she would he obliged to think less of herself, and more of

It had been a great relief to her to find, that Jane had not
acted as unworthily as Miss Agnes had at first feared; in spite
of what she herself had overheard at Miss Hubbard's party, Elinor
threw off all suspicion of her cousin, as soon as she learned
that Jane denied any previous knowledge of the change in Harry's
feelings. Hazlehurst, himself, had said in his letter that she
was blameless.

"Then," she exclaimed, "I shall at least be able to love Jane as
before!" She immediately sat down, and wrote her cousin a short,
but affectionate letter, containing only a slight allusion to
what had passed. Jane's answer, of course, avoided wounding her
feelings, and their intercourse was resumed.

"The time will come, I trust," she thought, "when Harry, too,
will be a friend again." But she felt the hour had not yet
arrived. She could not so soon forget the past. It was no easy
task, suddenly to change the whole current of feeling which had
filled her mind during the last two years. In spite of her
earnest resolutions, during the first few weeks, thoughts and
feelings of the past would recur too often. For some time Elinor
was very unhappy; she felt that the strongest and deepest
affections of her heart had been neglected, rejected,
undervalued, by one whose opinion she had learned to prize too
highly. She wept and blushed to think how much she had become
attached to Harry, since she had looked upon him as her affianced
husband. She could not but feel herself free from all reproach
towards him; it was he who, unsought by her, had wished to draw a
closer tie between them. He had succeeded but too well, and then
he had forgotten her. The temptation which had proved too strong
for him, would not have deserved the name, had the case been
reversed, had she been exposed to it. And yet she did not
reproach him; men think so much of beauty, and she was so very
plain! It was but natural at such a moment, that she should be
oppressed by an over-wrought humility. She accused herself of
vanity, for having at one time believed it possible Harry could
love one like herself. But how happy was Jane!

Her efforts to struggle against low spirits were the greater, for
the sake of her aunt and her grandfather. She made it a duty to
neglect no regular task, and much of her time was occupied as
usual; but the feelings which she carried about to her
employment, were very different from what they had been
heretofore. It was her first taste of sorrow; well might her aunt
deeply reproach Hazlehurst for his versatile conduct towards her
beloved child. Elinor flattered herself that Miss Agnes knew not
half of what she felt. In general she succeeded in being quite
calm, and attentive to others; she was always sweet-tempered, and
unrepining. But she could not read, herself, the expression of
her own countenance, so tenderly watched by her aunt. She was not
aware that the musical tones of her voice were no longer
cheerful; that instead of the gay, easy conversation in which she
used to bear her part, she was now at times absent, often silent;
she whose graceful wit and youthful spirits had been until lately
the joy of her family. Mr. Wyllys's indignation against
Hazlehurst would have been boundless, if he could have seen him
at such moments, as was often now the case, sitting by the side
of Jane, admiring the length of her eye-lashes, the pearly
smoothness of her complexion, and the bright colour of her lips,
as she uttered some very common-place remark. Such had now become
Hazlehurst's daily pleasure, his daily habit.

["versatile" = inconstant, fickle}

Miss Agnes purposely left to her niece, this year, all the
arrangements for their removal to town; and Elinor was obliged to
be very busy. It happened too, quite opportunely, perhaps, that
just at that time Mrs. George Wyllys was coming over oftener than
usual, to consult her father-in-law and Miss Agnes. Against Mr.
Wyllys's advice, she had to withdraw her eldest boy from the
school where he had been first placed, and now a new choice was
to be made. Mr. Wyllys recommended a small establishment in their
own neighbourhood, recently opened by Miss Patsey's brother; he
thought it equally good with the one she had in view, and with
the additional advantage of more moderate terms, and a smaller
number of boys. But Mrs. Wyllys had a great deal to say on the
opposite side of the question; the low price was an objection in
her eyes.

"There, my dear sir, you must allow me to differ from you. I have
always intended to devote a large portion of my means to the
education of my children; economy in such a case, I cannot look
upon as economy at all."

"Certainly, Harriet, you are perfectly right to secure to your
children every advantage in your power. But this is not a case in
point. Thomas Hubbard, you know, was a principal in the very
school which you have in view, and only withdrew last spring on
account of ill health. He still continues the same system, and
has the same masters, with the advantage of only four boys
besides Evert, to occupy his attention."

This was too plain to be contradicted. "But in my opinion, sir, a
large school is very much to be preferred for a boy. I have
thought a great deal on the subject, since Evert has been of an
age to leave me."

"But what are your reasons for preferring a large school to a
small one?"

"I think it a better preparation for their entrance into life.
And then they have the advantage of choosing their intimates from
a larger number of boys; Evert's disposition will make it
particularly desirable for him. I am sure, if he were shut up
with two or three boys only, he would find it so dull that he
would be disgusted."

"Well, my dear, I view the matter in a different light," replied
Mr. Wyllys, who would never allow himself to be silenced, or
forced to advise anything against his conscience; though many men
would have been worried into it by such a woman. Unfortunately,
Mrs. Wyllys was the only guardian of her children, and Mr. Wyllys
was often obliged to see his daughter-in-law act in a manner that
he thought ill-judged; but though very good-natured, he could
never be talked into being a party to such plans. "It is
precisely on account of Evert's high spirits that I should like a
small school for him. He would be less likely to get himself and
others into scrapes; he would be more under his master's eye."

"I think, sir, from the conversation I had with Mr. Stone, he is
just the man to obtain an influence over Evert."

"You would like Hubbard still better, if you knew him."

"I doubt it very much, sir; I am sick of the very name of
Hubbard. Those Longbridge Hubbards are enough to spoil a

"Well, Harriet," said Mr. Wyllys, "you seem to have made up your
mind; so have I; now what is to be done?"

"Of course, sir, your opinion has great weight with me; you know
I am always guided by you."

"Then the matter is settled, and Evert goes to Hubbard's."

Mr. Wyllys thought he had succeeded, on this occasion, in gaining
his point, by taking his daughter-in-law at her word; but the
very next morning she drove over to Wyllys-Roof, with a new view
of the subject; and it was not until after half-a-dozen more
conversations, that the matter was finally settled, by Mr. Wyllys
refusing to give any more advice; when his daughter-in-law, of
her own accord, determined to send her boy to Mr. Hubbard's
school. It must be confessed that some women, endowed too with
certain good qualities, are very trying, and possess a most
vexatious vein of caprice. In the mean time the child was taken
sick; he was ill for several weeks, and Elinor assisted in
nursing him.

Independently of these consultations, and cares about her little
cousin, there were other claims upon Elinor's attention at this
time, and those the least romantic in the world. Within the last
few weeks, all the men of Longbridge seemed to have their heads
full of a new rail-road, one of the first that were made in this
country. All the property Elinor had inherited from her father
was in this village, and so placed as to have its value very much
increased by this intended piece of internal improvement. Mr.
Hubbard was one of those most interested in the project, which
was of some importance to Mr. Wyllys, also. The gentlemen had
many meetings on the subject, and Elinor was obliged to hear a
great deal that was going on; which houses were to be pulled
down, which streets widened, what engineer was to be employed,
where the rails were to come from, at what time they hoped to get
the act through the Assembly. Mr. Taylor, of course, was not the
man to allow anything approaching to speculation, to take place
in his neighbourhood without having something to do with it
himself. He came over to Longbridge expressly to help matters on;
and as Colonnade Manor was shut up, Mr. Wyllys, always hospitably
inclined, asked him to his own house for a day or two. With such
a spirit under their roof, little else was heard of besides
stocks and lots, wharves and stores. Elinor's property was known
to be much interested in the affair, and Mr. Hubbard and Mr.
Taylor thought it necessary to congratulate her. Mr. Taylor,
indeed, would have been much shocked had he known how very little
she cared about the matter.

{"a new rail-road" = The Camden and (Perth) Amboy line crossed
New Jersey in 1833, and the Philadelphia and Columbia (Penn.)
line opened in 1834}

"We shall have to consult you, Miss Elinor, in our proceedings,"
said Mr. Hubbard, as they were sitting at the dinner-table;
perhaps you don't know it, but you will be one of our
stockholders, and much interested in our success, I assure you."

"My grandfather tried last night to give me some notions on the
subject, Mr. Hubbard; but I am afraid he was not very

"Oh, I don't know that," said Mr. Wyllys; "I shall make quite a
business woman of you, yet, Nelly." In fact, her grandfather had
taken the moment to assure Elinor that it was high time she
should have some just ideas on such subjects, and insisted on her
listening to all his explanations, and doing her best to
comprehend them. Elinor tried to be a docile pupil, and really
acquired some useful information, which may appear singular to
romantic young ladies, who set up for broken-hearted; as her only
object, however, was to gratify her grandfather, we hope she will
be forgiven for anything so much out of character in a heroine.

"It is a beautiful speculation, Miss Wyllys," observed Mr.
Taylor. "I suppose you know enough about these things, to be glad
to hear that in a year or two, you will probably realize two
hundred per cent. on your lots in Water-Street, where the depot
is to be built."

"It all sounds very grandly, certainly," said Elinor, smiling.

"We shall make a fortune for you, Miss Elinor," added Mr.
Hubbard. "You will be the great lady of Longbridge."

"I dare say, Nelly, you will find some way of spending the money;
young ladies know very well how to get rid of it, let it come
ever so fast."

"Yes, sir, my daughters are very expert at that; Emmeline thinks
nothing of giving fifty dollars for a flimsy pocket-handkerchief,
and as much for a flighty-looking hat. But I've no objections;
I'll tell you in confidence, that is what we make our money for,
Miss Elinor--for our children to spend," added Mr. Hubbard,
smiling good-naturedly. "I dare say you will find a right use for
some of yours. It will be in good hands, and I hope you may long
enjoy it," said he, making a bow to Elinor, as he drank off a
glass of Madeira.

{"fifty dollars for a flimsy pocket-handkerchief" = this remark
by Mr. Hubbard reflects James Fenimore Cooper's little-known
novelette, "The Autobiography of a Pocket-Handkerchief" (1843),
as do many aspects of the greedy and ostentatious Taylor family
whom Emmeline Hubbard seeks to emulate}

Mr. Taylor, though he joined in the toast with some "affable"
remark, as usual, could not help regretting that so much money,
and consequently the power of making so much more, should not be
in the hands of one who could turn it to better account than Miss
Elinor Wyllys. He had a very poor opinion of Mr. Wyllys's
money-making abilities, and thought him very "unenterprising."
That gentleman, on the contrary, when brought in closer contact
with Mr. Taylor, began to have a clearer insight into his
character, and while he found him uncommonly clever, discovered
that several of his propositions betrayed anything but high
principles. He began to believe that Mr. Graham's dislike was not

Mr. Hubbard, in the mean time, who had known Elinor from a child,
was thinking how he could say something agreeable about love and
beaux, supposed always to be pleasant subjects to young ladies.
He felt some doubts about hinting at Hazlehurst, for he thought
he had heard the engagement was broken off. Happily for Elinor,
the party rose from table before anything had suggested itself.

At length Mrs. Wyllys's boy recovered, and was sent off to
school; and this rail-road matter was also satisfactorily
settled. As there was nothing more to detain the family in the
country, the Wyllyses went to Philadelphia, and took possession
of their lodgings for the winter.


"Had you not lately an intent, speak truly,
To go to Paris?"

{William Shakespeare, "All's Well That Ends Well", I.iii.218-219}

MISS TAYLOR paid her visit to Miss Lawrence. One morning at
breakfast she informed her parents that she intended to make an
excursion to Boston. "Whom was she going to see?" asked her
father. "Miss Lawrence, a young lady who had passed three days at
the Springs, at the hotel where they stayed, and with whom she
had become very intimate." "How long was she going to be absent?"
inquired her mother. "She thought of remaining a fortnight;
perhaps three weeks, if she found it very pleasant. Mr. Powell,
the young gentleman who was to be her escort, had been introduced
to her the evening previous at a ball, and she thought him
sufficiently fashionable in his appearance, to have the honour of
taking charge of herself and her baggage." Her father observed
that he would bring a supply of money for her, when he came home
to dinner; her mother offered to look over her stockings.
Everything thus settled, the next morning Mr. Taylor and Miss
Adeline drove to the East-River wharf, where the Boston boat lay:
here they met with a slight difficulty; the gentleman engaged as
an escort could not be found; something had interfered with his
journey. Nothing was easier than to pick up another, however. Mr.
Taylor looked about him, saw a face he knew slightly, and
remembered the name that belonged to it.

"Good morning, sir; are you going to Boston, Mr. Hopkins?"

Mr. Hopkins bowed, and declared that he was going to Boston.

"I have a daughter on board, sir; and the young gentleman who was
to be her escort is not here; will you be so good as to look
after her?"

Mr. Hopkins would be very happy to take charge of Miss Taylor.
But Adeline was almost in despair when she saw him. How could one
of the most dashing belles in New York, consent to sit, in view
of all the passengers, side-by-side with such a fat, rusty,
snuffy, little old gentleman, who more green spectacles, and had
a red silk handkerchief spread on his knee? Suppose he should ask
her to walk, how could she pace up and down the promenade-deck
arm-in-arm with such a figure? She, Adeline Taylor, whose
travelling dress was faultless, and who had expected to have a
charming flirtation with Albert Powell! What could she do? The
fates, and the warning bell, decided the question; it was too
late to look out for some better-looking escort. Mr. Taylor had
hardly time to shake hands with his daughter, and jump on the
wharf, ere the whizzing of the steam had ceased, and the plashing
of the wheels was heard. Adeline sank on a bench beside the rusty
old gentleman for a moment, but soon fled to the ladies' cabin
for refuge.

During the whole jaunt, the fat, snuffy Mr. Hopkins was kind and
good-natured to Adeline, whenever she would allow him. He thought
she must be lonely, and she had been obliged to confess that she
knew no one on board; so the old gentleman held it incumbent on
him to be sociable. He took some pea-nuts out of his pocket, and
offered her a handful; he gave her a couple of newspapers to
read; asked her questions about her family, brothers and sisters,
and seemed to look upon her as a school-girl. He was not the
least impressed with her elegance and finery, and quite unaware
of her belle-ship; he even once called her "my dear." Then, the
red silk handkerchief was always either on his knee, or in his
hand! It would he difficult to say whether Adeline would have
survived the mortification of such an escort, had it not been for
two circumstances, which changed the current of her thoughts.
There were several elegantly dressed young ladies on board, and
she soon succeeded in getting up an intimacy with two of them;
they exchanged cards and invitations to each other's houses, and
through the same means Adeline was introduced to a couple of
beaux. Between breakfast and dinner, these new bosom-friends and
herself were inseparable, but, unfortunately, they were only
going half-way. The grief of separation was, however, somewhat
assuaged with Miss Taylor by sea-sickness, which, as every one
knows, is very destructive to sentiment and sensibility. As long
as they were tossing about near Point Judith, the snuffy old
gentleman, who was not in the least sea-sick himself, was very
faithful in his inquiries after Adeline, and proposed several
remedies to her, through the stewardess. At length they reached
Boston. As they drove to the door of Miss Lawrence's father, Mr.
Hopkins asked "how long she intended to remain in Boston?" "About
a fortnight," Adeline replied.

{"Point Judith" = prominent cape on the coast of Rhode Island,
south of Narragansett}

"I shall be going back to New York about the same time, my dear,
and if you have not got some one more to your taste, I'll take
care of you on your way home, with pleasure," said the fat old
gentleman, sprinkling a handful of snuff on Miss Taylor's grey
silk, and brandishing the red handkerchief at the same time.

Adeline's thanks were very faintly uttered; but gratitude is not
a fashionable virtue. It was fortunately so dark that the rusty
old gentleman could scarcely be seen as he took leave of the
elegant Miss Taylor at Mr. Lawrence's door, and thus the young
lady's mortification was over.

At the end of the three weeks, Adeline returned home, bringing
glowing accounts of the delights of Boston, and talking a great
deal about several "delightful young gentlemen," and occasionally
mentioning a certain Theodore St. Leger. She had heard that the
Boston people were all BLUE; but it must be a calumny to say so,
for she had had a very lively time--plenty of fun and flirtation.
Miss Lawrence returned with her, and of course a party was given
in her honour; there were some eighty persons present, all free
from the shackles of matrimony, apparently to give the Boston
young lady an opportunity of meeting a representation of her
peers, the marriageable portion only of the New York community.
The evening was pronounced delightful by Miss Lawrence; but all
the guests were not of the same opinion.

{"BLUE" = literary or learned, from "blue-stocking"}

"What an absurd custom it is, to have these young people
parties," said Harry Hazlehurst, who was on one of his frequent
visits to New York at the time, and was sitting in Mrs. Graham's
drawing-room, with that lady, Jane, and Mrs. Stanley.

"I agree with you; it is a bad plan," observed Mrs. Stanley.

"The first of the kind that I went to, after we came home, made
me feel ashamed of myself; though Dr. Van Horne, I suppose, would
accuse me of high-treason for saying so."

"But most young people seem to enjoy them," said Mrs. Graham.

"It is paying us but a poor compliment to say so. One would think
the young people were afraid to laugh and talk before their
fathers and mothers. I really felt the other night as if we were
a party of children turned into the nursery to play, and eat
sugar-plums together, and make as much noise as we pleased,
without disturbing our elders. It is a custom that appears to me
as unnatural as it is puerile. I hope you don't like it," he
added, turning to Jane.

"I care very little about it."

"I am glad, at least, you do not defend it."

"There are a few families you know, Harry, who never give those
kind of parties," observed Mrs. Stanley.

Hazlehurst's conscience felt a twinge, for he knew she was
thinking of Elinor, whom Miss Wyllys had never allowed to give
these UNMARRIED parties; though she went to other houses, when

"Miss Taylor had collected a tribe of Europeans of all sorts,
last night; half-a-dozen Englishmen, and a vulgar Frenchman,"
observed Harry, by way of changing the conversation. "I was
surprised when my friend Townsend told me he was invited; he did
not know the Taylors, and only arrived a week since."

"Adeline invited him on purpose; Miss Lawrence is very fond of
foreigners, and you know Mr. Taylor calls on all the strangers
who arrive," said Jane.

Harry's lip curled a little.

"How disagreeable that Captain Kockney is," continued Jane.

"More than disagreeable," replied Harry. "I should not have used
so soft a word. I was not a little amused, by-the-bye, to see how
the fellow cooled off when Townsend and Ellery came in. Your low
set of English have such a thorough awe of those a few degrees
above them."

"That Mr. Kockney is so very forward and vulgar," said Mrs.
Graham, "that I wonder anybody can endure him. I was disgusted
with his manner on board the steamboat from Longbridge, the other

"He is beneath notice," said Harry.

"I am not sure, either, that I like your friend, Mr. Ellery,

"Ellery is no friend of mine; but, pray, don't name him in the
same breath with that Kockney."

"Oh, no, Mr. Ellery is a gentleman, evidently; but I don't like
his manners, there is something affected about him."

"Certainly, he knows how to play the coxcomb, and condescends to
do so quite too often. But I hope you like Townsend; he is really
a fine fellow."

"Mr. Townsend has very different manners."

"Yes, he has the best English manner; quite natural, and not
afraid to be civil. It is only the best of the English who are
quite free from nonsense. Ellery aims at effect, half the time;
Townsend has too much sense to do so."

"Well, I really wonder," said Jane, "how Mrs. Hilson can endure
that Captain Kockney."

"The silly little soul knows no better."

"To be sure, she is quite as ridiculous as he is."

"She is really very silly," said Mrs. Stanley. "It is a pity that
good, worthy Mr. Hubbard should have daughters so little like
himself, and so much like their mother."

"She is very pretty, though, and dresses very well," said Jane.
"Would you believe it, mamma, the other day, when she called at
Adeline's she wore a collar precisely like the prettiest of those
I brought from Paris."

"Does she visit a great deal at Mrs. Taylor's?" inquired her

"Oh, no; Adeline can't endure her. But she cannot get rid of her
entirely, because they meet in the country. Adeline would like to
drop the acquaintance altogether, but she says Mrs. Hilson won't
let her, because Mrs. Taylor's is the only fashionable house
where she visits."

"These Taylors have really done wonders in the last few years,"
said Mrs. Stanley, smiling.

"They have been quite as persevering, I dare say, as Mrs. Hilson
can be. They are a very vulgar, pushing family," observed Mrs.

Jane coloured, and Harry feared she would shed a tear or two. She
was quite agitated. "Dear Jane," he thought," what an
affectionate heart she has!" By way of consoling her, probably,
and at the same time obtaining a better view of her downcast
face, he took a seat beside her. He even refrained from making an
observation which he had in petto, upon the volatile character
and manners of Miss Taylor, reserving it for the future;
determining that when they were man and wife, Jane should have
the full benefit of his opinion of her friend.

{"in petto" = in mind}

Let it not be supposed that Harry was too sure of success, in
thus looking forward to his marriage with Jane as no very
improbable event. Since he had appeared in the family as her
suitor, her manner had been encouraging. There were blushes and
moments of embarrassment which looked very favourably; and had he
been obliged to proclaim all his hopes, he would have confessed
that the same flattering signs had been observed by him in Paris,
and had contributed not a little to increase the warmth of his
own feelings. There was now a rival in the field, and one by no
means to be despised; but, although young de Vaux was
good-looking, agreeable, and very much in love, Jane did not seem
disposed to smile upon him. To do her justice, she was no
coquette; she was too indolent by nature, to labour very hard to
secure several conquests at the same time. Miss Graham was very
much admired, however, and was generally proclaimed the beauty of
the season; while Harry soon began to feel the vanity of the
favoured man.

But if she were a beauty, Adeline was a belle; a pretty, and a
rich belle, moreover, and Miss Taylor's train of admirers was
much larger than that of Miss Graham. So numerous indeed were her
followers, that she was seldom seen alone. If she visited, it was
with an attendant beau; if she were walking in Broadway, she had
generally one on each side of her; and at a party she was always
talking to half-a-dozen young men at a time. Miss Adeline was,
undeniably, a very popular belle. But all this homage was
sometimes attended with difficulties: one morning she wrote an
urgent note to her friend Jane, requesting that she would come to
see her, for she was unwell herself, and wanted advice in a
momentous affair.

The sympathising Jane had no sooner appeared, than Adeline
exclaimed, {sic}

"I am so perplexed, that I really don't know what to do! You must
decide for me."

"How can I help you? What is the matter?" inquired Jane.

"Why you know to-night is Mrs. Thompson's great ball, and I am
going, of course; though I have a very bad cold."

"Yes, you are really quite hoarse."

"No wonder! I have been so pestered by serenades for the last
fortnight, that I have not had one good night's rest. I had to
get up and show myself at the window, until I caught one cold
after another."

"Perhaps you had better not go to-night."

"You may be sure I shan't stay at home unless I have to keep my
bed; I am already engaged for five dances. But just look at the

Jane turned her eyes towards the table, which was covered with

"How beautiful they are!" she exclaimed, going to look at them.
"One, two, four, six bouquets!--Where did they all come from?"

"Don't ask me; I am sick of the very sight of flowers!"

"This, with the variegated camellias, is beautiful!"

"Yes, it's pretty enough; but what shall I do with it?"

"Why, take it to the party this evening, of course."

"No, indeed; it came from Mr. Howard, and I can't endure him."

"Which have you chosen, then?"

"That is the very question; I don't know how to settle it."

"Take this one with the passion-flower."

"No, that I shan't; for it was sent just to spite me. Mr. Grant
sent it--and I told him last night that I hated passion flowers,
and everything else that is sentimental. What shall I do?--It is
so provoking!"

"Suppose you put them all in water, and go without any."

"My dear Jane, how you talk! That's what I never did in my life.
Go to a ball without a bouquet!--I can't think of such a thing!"

"We can untie them, and make up one ourselves, taking the
prettiest flowers from each."

"That won't do, either; for it's only the gardeners that can do
up these things decently. I wouldn't, for the world, carry one
that looked as if I had made it up myself."

"Well," said Jane, in despair, "I really don't know what else to

"I do believe the young gentlemen have leagued together to
provoke me! And this is not all, there are three more in water

"You might take the first that came; perhaps that would be the
best plan."

"Would you have me take this ridiculous-looking thing, with only
one camellia in it! No, indeed;" and for a moment the two young
ladies sat down by the centre-table, looking despondingly at each
other and at the flowers.

"If I could only take the one I like best, it would be the
easiest thing in the world; but, you know, all the other
gentlemen would be offended then."

"Which do you like best?" asked Jane.

"Why this one, with the white camellias; it came from Theodore
St. Leger; he told me he would send one with white flowers only."
Adeline's colour rose a little as she spoke, and as that was not
a common occurrence with her, it looked suspicious.

"Did Mr. St. Leger dance with you last night?"

"Why, no, child, he never dances; I didn't see him dance, all the
time we were in Boston."

"I thought you liked him," said Jane, with innocent surprise.

"I like him well enough, after a fashion; as well as one can like
a man who never dances, and don't talk much. He is very stupid,
sometimes, and dresses very badly too."

"Is he handsome?" asked Jane.

"No, he is as ugly as he can be; I really think he looks just a
little like that old Mr. Hopkins, his uncle."

"What in the world makes you like him then?"

"I am sure I don't know. But don't fancy I really care about the
man. He is going back to Boston next week, and I don't suppose I
shall ever see him again; but I thought I would take his bouquet,
to-night, because he was so polite to me; and he will be there.
Oh, my dear Jane, talking of Boston, I have hit upon an idea!"

"Well, what is it?"

"I saw a girl at a party there--by-the-bye, it was Theodore St.
Leger's sister--who had her dress trimmed with natural flowers;
that's just the thing for me!" cried Adeline, clapping her hands.
The difficulty thus happily removed, the young ladies ran up
stairs, to determine more fully upon trimming a certain white
crape with the eight bouquets, divided for the purpose. The white
one, the offering of Mr. St. Leger, was reserved for the place of
honour, in Adeline's hand.


"Thy young and innocent heart,
How is it beating? Has it no regrets?
Discoverest thou no weakness lurking there?"

{Samuel Rogers (English poet, 1763-1855), "Italy: The Nun" lines

SISTERS' children, though bearing different names, and classed by
the world in different families, are generally much more alike
than those of brothers; they are apt to have more habits, tastes,
and feelings in common. And the reason is evident; it is usually
the mother who controls the internal family policy, who gives the
colouring to what may be called the family atmosphere. The father
may pass a statute once in a while, but the common-law which
regulates the every-day proceedings of the little community flows
from the mother; and we all know that the character is moulded
rather by daily practice in trifles, than by a few isolated
actions of greater importance in themselves. The aims and views
which people carry with them through life, generally spring up
from seeds received in the nursery, or at the family fire-side.
Even with men this is the case. The father may inculcate this or
that political creed into his son, he may direct his choice to
this or that profession; but the manner in which the youth
carries out his political principles, the way in which he fills
his profession, will depend on the impulses and motives
cultivated in childhood, and early youth; for it is then that the
character receives its bias. The mother's influence and example
are often to be traced in those minute shades of taste and
opinion, which are the foundation of our partialities, or our
dislikes; and, of course, the daughters of a family, from being
more constantly subject to this influence, imbibe a larger share
of it. It is immaterial whether the mother be aware of the
importance of her duties, of the weight of this responsibility,
or not; for good or for evil, the effect will still be felt,
though varying, of course, in different circumstances.

Elinor had not seen her cousin, Mary Van Alstyne, her mother's
niece, for several years, and she now met her in Philadelphia
with great pleasure. Miss Van Alstyne was some five or six years
older than herself; this difference in years had, indeed, been
the chief reason why they had never yet been very intimate. But
the same distance which separates girls of twelve and eighteen,
is, of course, less thought of at twenty and six-and-twenty, when
both are fairly launched into the world. Mary Van Alstyne and
Elinor found much to like in each other on a closer acquaintance;
and Miss Wyllys observing that the two cousins suited each other
so well, drew them together as much as possible, in order that
Elinor might have some one to fill the empty places of her former
companions, Jane and Harry.

Mrs. Robert Hazlehurst was a near neighbour of the Wyllyses in
Philadelphia; but Elinor had too much dread of meeting Harry, to
go there often; and it was only when she knew that he was in New
York, that she went to his brother's. The change in their
position was too recent to allow of her seeing him with
composure; their family connexion, and the intimate terms upon
which they had hitherto lived, only made their present
estrangement much more awkward than usual. Elinor tried to think
it fortunate that he should now be so often in New York.

The first time he was in Philadelphia after the Wyllyses were
settled there for the winter, Elinor escaped seeing him. As she
came in one morning from a ride with her grandfather, she found
his card on the table. It told the whole story of what had
passed; for she could not remember his having ever left a card at
their house before; he had been as much at home there as herself,
until the last six weeks. The sight of it caused her a very
painful feeling, and did away all the good effect of the pleasant
ride she had just taken on the banks of the Schuylkill. As she
walked slowly up-stairs to change her habit, her eyes filled with
tears; and had she been endowed with the proper degree of romance
for a regular heroine, she would probably have passed the morning
in hysterical sobs. But as she had quite as much good sense, as
fancy and feeling, she was by no means romantic; she had never
fainted but once in her life; and although it must be confessed

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