Part 3 out of 5
condemn the spirit from which you are now acting. It would exclude
others, many of whom, in moral character, are far superior to
yourself from enjoying the pleasant, health-imparting recreation of
a visit to the Springs, because it hurts your self-importance to be
brought into brief contact with them."
"I can't understand what you mean by speaking of these kind of
people as superior in moral character to us," Mrs. Ludlow remarked.
"I said some of them. And, in this, I mean what I say. Wealth and
station in society do not give moral tone. They are altogether
extraneous, and too frequently exercise a deteriorating influence
upon the character. There is Thomas, the porter in my store--a
plain, poor man, of limited education; yet possessing high moral
qualities, that I would give much to call my own. This man's
character I esteem far above that of many in society to whom no one
thinks of objecting. There are hundreds and thousands of humble and
unassuming persons like him, far superior in the high moral
qualities of mind to the mass of self-esteeming exclusives, who
think the very air around them tainted by their breath. Do you
suppose that I would enjoy less the pleasures of a few weeks at
Saratoga, because Thomas was there? I would, rather, be gratified to
see him enjoying a brief relaxation, if his duties at the store
could be remitted in my absence."
There was so much of the appearance of truth in what Mr. Ludlow
said, combined with a decided tone and manner, that neither his wife
or daughters ventured a reply. But they had no affection for the
truth he uttered, and of course it made no salutary impression on
"What shall we do, Ma?" asked Adeline, as they sat with their
mother, on the next afternoon. "We must go somewhere this summer,
and Pa seems in earnest about not letting us visit London."
"I don't know, I am sure, child," was the reply.
"I can't think of going to Saratoga," said Emily, in a positive
"The Emmersons are going," Adeline remarked.
"How do you know?" asked Emily, in a tone of surprise.
"Victorine told me so this morning."
"Yes. I met her at Mrs. Lemmington's and she said that they were all
going next week."
"I don't understand that," said Emily, musingly.
"It was only last week that Victorine told me that they were done
going to Saratoga; that the place had become too common. It had been
settled, she said, that they were to go out in the next steamer."
"Mr. Emmerson, I believe, would not consent, and so, rather than not
go anywhere, they concluded to visit Saratoga, especially as the
Lesters, and Milfords, and Luptons are going."
"Are they all going?" asked Emily, in renewed surprise.
"So Victorine said."
"Well, I declare! there is no kind of dependence to be placed in
people now-a-days. They all told me that they could not think of
going to such a vulgar place as Saratoga again."
Then, after a pause, Emily resumed,
"As it will never do to stay at home, we will have to go somewhere.
What do you think of the Virginia Springs, Ma?"
"I think that I am not going there, to be jolted half to death in a
stage coach by the way."
"Where, then, shall we go?"
"I don't know, unless to Saratoga."
"Victorine said," remarked Adeline, "that a large number of
distinguished visiters were to be there, and that it was thought the
season would be the gayest spent for some time."
"I suppose we will have to go, then," said Emily.
"I am ready," responded Adeline."
"And so am I," said Florence.
That evening Mr. Ludlow was graver and more silent than usual. After
tea, as he felt no inclination to join in the general conversation
about the sayings and doings of distinguished and fashionable
individuals, he took a newspaper, and endeavored to become
interested in its contents. But he tried in vain. There was
something upon his mind that absorbed his attention at the same time
that it oppressed his feelings. From a deep reverie he was at length
roused by Emily, who said--
"So, Pa, you are determined not to let us go out in the next
"Don't talk to me on that subject any more, if you please," replied
Mr. Ludlow, much worried at the remark.
"Well, that's all given up now," continued Emily, "and we've made up
our minds to go to Saratoga. How soon will you be able to go with
"Not just now," was the brief, evasive reply.
"We don't want to go until next week."
"I am not sure that I can go even then."
"O, but we must go then, Pa."
"You cannot go without me," said Mr. Ludlow, in a grave tone.
"Of course not," replied Emily and Adeline at the same moment.
"Suppose, then, I cannot leave the city next week?"
"But you can surely."
"I am afraid not. Business matters press upon me, and will, I fear,
engage my exclusive attention for several weeks to come."
"O, but indeed you must lay aside business," said Mrs. Ludlow. "It
will never do for us to stay at home, you knows during the season
when everybody is away."
"I shall be very sorry if circumstances arise to prevent you having
your regular summer recreation," was replied, in a serious, even sad
tone. "But, I trust my wife and daughters will acquiesce with
"Indeed, indeed, Pa! We never can stay at home," said Emily, with a
distressed look. "How would it appear? What would people say if we
were to remain in the city during all the summer?"
"I don't know, Emily, that you should consider that as having any
relation to the matter. What have other people to do with matters
which concerns us alone?"
"You talk very strangely of late, Mr. Ludlow," said his wife.
"Perhaps I have reason for so doing," he responded, a shadow
flitting across his face.
An embarrassing silence ensued, which was broken, at last, by Mr.
"Perhaps," he began, "there may occur no better time than the
present, to apprise you all of a matter that must, sooner or later,
become known to you. We will have to make an effort to reduce our
expenses--and it seems to me that this matter of going to the
Springs, which will cost some three or four hundred dollars, might
as well be dispensed with. Business is in a worse condition than I
have ever known it; and I am sustaining, almost daily, losses that
are becoming alarming. Within the last six weeks I have lost, beyond
hope, at least twenty thousand dollars. How much more will go I am
unable to say. But there are large sums due me that may follow the
course of that already gone. Under these circumstances, I am driven
to the necessity of prudence in all my expenditures."
"But three or four hundred are not much, Pa," Emily urged, in a
husky voice, and with dimmed eyes. For the fear of not being able to
go somewhere, was terrible to her. None but vulgar people staid at
home during the summer season.
"It is too large a sum to throw away now. So I think you had all
better conclude at once not to go from home this summer," said Mr.
A gush of tears from Emily and Adeline followed this annunciation,
accompanied by a look of decided disapprobation from the mother. Mr.
Ludlow felt deeply tried, and for some moments his resolution
wavered; but reason came to his aid, and he remained firm. He was
accounted a very rich merchant. In good times, he had entered into
business, and prosecuted it with great energy. The consequence was,
that he had accumulated money rapidly. The social elevation
consequent upon this, was too much for his wife. Her good sense
could not survive it. She not only became impressed with the idea,
that, because she was richer, she was better than others, but that
only such customs were to be tolerated in "good society," as were
different from prevalent usages in the mass. Into this idea her two
eldest daughters were thoroughly inducted. Mr. Ludlow, immersed in
business, thought little about such matters, and suffered himself to
be led into almost anything that his wife and daughters proposed.
But Mrs. Ludlow's brother--Uncle Joseph, as he was called--a
bachelor, and a man of strong common sense, steadily opposed his
sister in her false notions, but with little good effect. Necessity
at last called into proper activity the good sense of Mr. Ludlow,
and he commenced the opposition that has just been noticed. After
reflecting some time upon the matter, he resolved not to assent to
his family leaving home at all during the summer.
All except Florence were exceedingly distressed at this. She
acquiesced with gentleness and patience, although she had much
desired to spend a few weeks at Saratoga. But Mrs. Ludlow, Emily,
and Adeline, closed up the front part of the house, and gave
directions to the servants not to answer the door bell, nor to do
anything that would give the least suspicion that the family were in
town. Then ensconcing themselves in the back buildings of their
dwelling, they waited in gloomy indolence for the "out of the city"
season to pass away; consoling themselves with the idea, that if
they were not permitted to join the fashionables at the Springs, it
would at lest be supposed that they had gone some where into the
country, and thus they hoped to escape the terrible penalty of
losing _caste_ for not conforming to an indispensable rule of high
Mr. Ludlow was compelled to submit to all this, and he did so
without much opposition; but it all determined him to commence a
steady opposition to the false principles which prompted such absurd
observances. As to Uncle Joseph, he was indignant, and failing to
gain admittance by way of the front door after one or two trials,
determined not to go near his sister and nieces, a promise which he
kept for a few weeks, at least.
Meantime, every thing was passing off pleasantly at Saratoga. Among
the distinguished and undistinguished visitors there, was Mary
Jones, and her father, a man of both wealth and worth,
notwithstanding he was only a watchmaker and jeweller. Mary was a
girl of no ordinary character. With beauty of person far exceeding
that of the Misses Ludlow, she had a well cultivated mind, and was
far more really and truly accomplished than they were. Necessarily,
therefore, she attracted attention at the Springs; and this had been
one cause of Emily's objection to her.
A day or two after her arrival at Saratoga, she was sitting near a
window of the public parlor of one of the hotels, when a young man,
named Armand, whom she had seen there several times before, during
the watering season, in company with Emily Ludlow, with whose family
he appeared to be on intimate terms came up to her and introduced
"Pardon me, Miss Jones," said he, "but not seeing any of the Miss
Ludlows here, I presumed that you might be able to inform me whether
they intend visiting Saratoga or not, this season, and, therefore, I
have broken through all formalities in addressing you. You are well
acquainted with Florence, I believe?"
"Very well, sir," Mary replied.
"Then perhaps you can answer my question?"
"I believe I can, sir. I saw Florence several times within the last
week or two; and she says that they shall not visit any of the
Springs this season."
"Indeed! And how comes that?"
"I believe the reason is no secret," Mary replied, utterly
unconscious that any one could be ashamed of a right motive, and
that an economical one. "Florence tells me that her father has met
with many heavy losses in business; and that they think it best not
to incur any unnecessary expenses. I admire such a course in them."
"And so do I, most sincerely," replied Mr. Armand. Then, after
thinking for a moment, he added--
"I will return to the city in the next boat. All of their friends
being away, they must feel exceedingly lonesome."
"It will certainly be a kind act, Mr. Armand, and one, the motive
for which they cannot but highly appreciate," said Mary, with an
inward glow of admiration.
It was about eleven o'clock on the next day that Mr. Armand pulled
the bell at the door of Mr. Ludlow's beautiful dwelling, and then
waited with a feeling of impatience for the servant to answer the
summons. But he waited in vain. No servant came. He rang again, and
again waited long enough for a servant to come half a dozen times.
Then he looked up at the house and saw that all the shutters were
closed; and down upon the marble steps, and perceived that they were
covered with dust and dirt; and on the bell-handle, and noted its
loss of brightness.
"Miss Jones must have been mistaken," he said to himself, as he gave
the bell a third pull, and then waited, but in vain, for the
hall-door to be swung open.
"Who can it be?" asked Emily, a good deal disturbed, as the bell
rang violently for the third time, and in company with Adeline, went
softly into the parlor to take a peep through one of the shutters.
"Mr. Armand, as I live!" she ejaculated, in a low, husky whisper,
turning pale. "I would not have _him_ know that we are in town for
And then she stole away quietly, with her heart leaping and
fluttering in her bosom, lest he should instinctively perceive her
Finding that admission was not to be obtained, Mr. Armand concluded
that the family had gone to some other watering place, and turned
away irresolute as to his future course. As he was passing down
Broadway, he met Uncle Joseph.
"So the Ludlows are all out of town," he said.
"So they are not!" replied Uncle Joseph, rather crustily, for he had
just been thinking over their strange conduct, and it irritated him.
"Why, I have been ringing there for a quarter of an hour, and no one
came to the door; and the house is all shut up."
"Yes; and if you had ringing for a quarter of a century, it would
all have been the same."
"I can't understand you," said Mr. Armand.
"Why, the truth is, Mr. Ludlow cannot go to the Springs with them
this season, and they are so afraid that it will become known that
they are burying themselves in the back part of the house, and
denying all visiters."
"Why so? I cannot comprehend it."
"All fashionable people, you know, are expected to go to the
sea-shore or the Springs; and my sister and her two eldest daughters
are so silly, as to fear that they will lose _caste_, if it is known
that they could not go this season. Do you understand now?"
"Well, that's the plain A B C of the case. But it provokes me out of
all patience with them."
"It's a strange idea, certainly," said Mr. Armand, in momentary
abstraction of thought; and then bidding Uncle Joseph good morning,
he walked hastily along, his mind in a state of fermentation.
The truth was, Mr. Armand had become much attached to Emily Ludlow,
for she was a girl of imposing appearance and winning manners. But
this staggered him. If she were such a slave to fashion and
observance, she was not the woman for his wife. As he reflected upon
the matter, and reviewed his intercourse with her, he could remember
many things in her conversation and conduct that he did not like. He
could distinctly detect a degree of self-estimation consequent upon
her station in society, that did not meet his approbation--because
it indicated a weakness of mind that he had no wish to have in a
wife. The wealth of her father he had not regarded, nor did now
regard, for he was himself possessor of an independence.
Two days after, he was again at Saratoga. The brief interview that
had passed between him and Mary Jones was a sufficient introduction
for him; and, taking advantage of it, he threw himself in her way
frequently, and the more he saw of her, the more did he admire her
winning gentleness, sweet temper, and good sense. When he returned
to New York, he was more than half in love with her.
"Mr. Armand has not been to see us once this fall," said Adeline,
one evening in October. They were sitting in a handsomely furnished
parlor in a neat dwelling, comfortable and commodious, but not so
splendid as the one they had occupied a few months previous. Mr.
Ludlow's affairs had become so embarrassed, that he determined, in
spite of the opposition of his family, to reduce his expenses. This
resolution he carried out amid tears and remonstrances--for he could
not do it in any other way.
"Who could expect him to come _here?_" Emily replied, to the remark
of her sister. "Not I, certainly."
"I don't believe that would make any difference with him," Florence
ventured to say, for it was little that she could say, that did not
meet with opposition.
"Why don't you?" asked Adeline.
"Because Mary Jones--"
"Mary Jones again!" ejaculated Emily. "I believe you don't think of
anybody but Mary Jones. I'm surprised that Ma lets you visit that
"As good people as I am visit her," replied Florence. "I've seen
those there who would be welcome here."
"What do you mean?"
"If you had waited until I had finished my sentence, you would have
known before now. Mary Jones lives in a house no better than this,
and Mr. Armand goes to see her."
"I don't believe it!" said Emily, with emphasis.
"Just as you like about that. Seeing is believing, they say, and as
I have seen him there, I can do no less than believe he was there."
"When did you see him there?" Emily now asked with eager interest,
while her face grew pale.
"I saw him there last evening--and he sat conversing with Mary in a
way that showed them to be no strangers to each other."
A long, embarrassed, and painful silence followed this announcement.
At last, Emily got up and went off to her chamber, where she threw
herself upon her bed and burst into tears. After these ceased to
flow, and her mind had become, in some degree, tranquillized, her
thoughts became busy. She remembered that Mr. Armand had called,
while they were hiding away in fear lest it should be known that
they were not on a fashionable visit to some watering place--how he
had rung and rung repeatedly, as if under the idea that they were
there, and how his countenance expressed disappointment as she
caught a glimpse of it through the closed shutters. With all this
came, also, the idea that he might have discovered that they were at
home, and have despised the principle from which they acted, in thus
shutting themselves up, and denying all visiters. This thought was
exceedingly painful. It was evident to her, that it was not their
changed circumstances that kept him away--for had he not visited
Uncle Joseph came in a few evenings afterwards, and during his visit
the following conversation took place.
"Mr. Armand visits Mary Jones, I am told," Adeline remarked, as an
opportunity for saying so occurred.
"He does? Well, she is a good girl--one in a thousand," replied
"She is only a watchmaker's daughter," said Emily, with an
"And you are only a merchant's daughter. Pray, what is the
"Why, a good deal of difference!"
"Well state it."
"Mr. Jones is nothing but a mechanic."
"Who thinks of associating with mechanics?"
"There may be some who refuse to do so; but upon what grounds do
they assume a superiority?"
"Because they are really above them."
"But in what respect?"
"They are better and more esteemed in society."
"As to their being better, that is only an assumption. But I see I
must bring the matter right home. Would you be really any worse,
were your father a mechanic?"
"The question is not a fair one. You suppose an impossible case."
"Not so impossible as you might imagine. You are the daughter of a
"Brother, why will you talk so? I am out of all patience with you!"
said Mrs. Ludlow, angrily.
"And yet, no one knows better than you, that I speak only the truth.
No one knows better than you, that Mr. Ludlow served many years at
the trade of a shoemaker. And that, consequently, these high-minded
young ladies, who sneer at mechanics, are themselves a shoemaker's
daughters--a fact that is just as well known abroad as anything else
relating to the family. And now, Misses Emily and Adeline, I hope
you will hereafter find it in your hearts to be a little more
tolerant of mechanics daughters."
And thus saying, Uncle Joseph rose, and bidding them good night,
left them to their own reflections, which were not of the most
pleasant character, especially as the mother could not deny the
allegation he had made.
During the next summer, Mr. Ludlow, whose business was no longer
embarrassed, and who had become satisfied that, although he should
sink a large proportion of a handsome fortune, he would still have a
competence left, and that well secured--proposed to visit Saratoga,
as usual. There was not a dissenting voice--no objecting on the
score of meeting vulgar people there. The painful fact disclosed by
Uncle Joseph, of their plebeian origin, and the marriage of Mr.
Armand--whose station in society was not to be questioned--with Mary
Jones, the watchmaker's daughter, had softened and subdued their
tone of feeling, and caused them to set up a new standard of
estimation. The old one would not do, for, judged by that, they
would have to hide their diminished heads. Their conduct at the
Springs was far less objectionable than it had been heretofore,
partaking of the modest and retiring in deportment, rather than the
assuming, the arrogant, and the self-sufficient. Mrs. Armand was
there, with her sister, moving in the first circles; and Emily
Ludlow and her sister Adeline felt honored rather than humiliated by
an association with them. It is to be hoped they will yet make
"I AM hopeless!" said the young man, in a voice that was painfully
desponding. "Utterly hopeless! Heaven knows I have tried hard to get
employment! But no one has need of my service. The pittance doled
out by your father, and which comes with a sense of humiliation that
is absolutely heart-crushing, is scarcely sufficient to provide this
miserable abode, and keep hunger from our door. But for your sake, I
would not touch a shilling of his money if I starved."
"Hush, dear Edward!" returned the gentle girl, who had left father,
mother, and a pleasant home, to share the lot of him she loved; and
she laid a finger on his lips, while she drew her arm around him.
"Agnes," said the young man, "I cannot endure this life much longer.
The native independence of my character revolts at our present
condition. Months have elapsed, and yet the ability I possess finds
no employment. In this country every avenue is crowded."
The room in which they were overlooked the sea.
"But there is another land, where, if what we hear be true, ability
finds employment and talent a sure reward." And, as Agnes said this,
in a voice of encouragement, she pointed from the window towards the
expansive waters that stretched far away towards the south and west.
"America!" The word was uttered in a quick, earnest voice.
"Agnes, I thank you for this suggestion! Return to the pleasant home
you left for one who cannot procure for you even the plainest
comforts of life, and I will cross the ocean to seek a better
fortune in that land of promise. The separation, painful to both,
will not, I trust, be long."
"Edward," replied the young wife with enthusiasm, as she drew her
arm more tightly about his neck, "I will never leave thee nor
forsake thee! Where thou goest I will go, and where thou liest I
will lie. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."
"Would you forsake all," said Edward, in surprise, "and go far away
with me into a strange land?"
"It will be no stranger to me than it will be to you, Edward."
"No, no, Agnes! I will not think of that," said Edward Marvel, in a
positive, voice. "If I go to that land of promise, it must first be
"Alone!" A shadow fell over the face of Agnes. "Alone! It cannot--it
must not be!"
"But think, Agnes. If I go alone, it will cost me but a small sum to
live until I find some business, which may not be for weeks, or even
months after I arrive in the New World."
"What if you were to be sick?" The frame of Agnes slightly quivered
as she made this suggestion.
"We will not think of that."
"I cannot help thinking of it, Edward. Therefore entreat me not to
leave thee, nor to return from following after thee. Where thou
goest, I will go."
Marvel's countenance became more serious.
"Agnes," said the young man, after he had reflected for some time,
"let us think no more about this. I cannot take you far away to this
strange country. We will go back to London. Perhaps another trial
there may be more successful."
After a feeble opposition on the part of Agnes, it was finally
agreed that Edward should go once more to London, while she made a
brief visit to her parents. If he found employment, she was to join
him immediately; if not successful, they were then to talk further
of the journey to America.
With painful reluctance, Agnes went back to her father's house, the
door of which ever stood open to receive her; and she went back
alone. The pride of her husband would not permit him to cross the
threshold of a dwelling where his presence was not a welcome one. In
eager suspense, she waited for a whole week ere a letter came from
Edward. The tone of this letter was as cheerful and as hopeful as it
was possible for the young man to write. But, as yet, he had found
no employment. A week elapsed before another came. It opened in
"MY DEAR, DEAR AGNES! Hopeless of doing anything here, I have turned
my thoughts once more to the land of promise; and, when you receive
this, I will be on my journey thitherward. Brief, very brief, I
trust, will be our separation. The moment I obtain employment, I
will send for you, and then our re-union will take place with a
fulness of delight such as we have not yet experienced."
Long, tender, and hopeful was the letter; but it brought a burden of
grief and heart-sickness to the tender young creature, who felt
almost as if she had been deserted by the one who was dear to her as
her own life.
Only a few days had Edward Marvel been at sea, when he became
seriously indisposed, and, for the remaining part of the voyage, was
so ill as to be unable to rise from his berth. He had embarked in a
packet ship from Liverpool bound for New York, where he arrived, at
the expiration of five weeks. Then he was removed to the sick wards
of the hospital on Staten Island, and it was the opinion of the
physicians there that he would die.
"Have you friends in this country?" inquired a nurse who was
attending the young man. This question was asked on the day after he
had become an inmate of the hospital.
"None," was the feebly uttered reply.
"You are very ill," said the nurse.
The sick man looked anxiously into the face of his attendant.
"You have friends in England?"
"Have you any communication to make to them?"
Marvel closed his eyes, and remained for some time silent.
"If you will get me a pen and some paper, I will write a few lines,"
said he at length.
"I'm afraid you are too weak for the effort," replied the nurse.
"Let me try," was briefly answered.
The attendant left the room.
"Is there any one in your part of the house named Marvel?" asked a
physician, meeting the nurse soon after she had left the sick man's
room. "There's a young woman down in the office inquiring for a
person of that name."
"Marvel--Marvel?" the nurse shook her head.
"Are you certain?" remarked the physician.
"I'm certain there is no one by that name for whom any here would
make inquiries. There's a young Englishman who came over in the last
packet, whose name is something like that you mention. But he has no
friends in this country."
The physician passed on without further remark.
Soon after, the nurse returned to Marvel with the writing materials
for which he had asked. She drew a table to the side of his bed, and
supported him as he leaned over and tried, with an unsteady hand, to
"Have you a wife at home?" asked the nurse; her eyes had rested on
the first words he wrote.
"Yes," sighed the young man, as the pen dropped from his fingers,
and he leaned back heavily, exhausted by even the slight effort he
"Your name is Marvel?"
"A young woman was here just now inquiring if we had a patient by
"By my name?" There was a slight indication of surprise.
Marvel closed his eyes, and did not speak for some moments.
"Did you see her?" he asked at length, evincing some interest.
"Did she find the one for whom she was seeking?"
"There is no person here, except yourself, whose name came near to
the one she mentioned. As you said you had no friends in this
country, we did not suppose that you were meant."
"No, no." And the sick man shook his head slowly. "There is none to
ask for me. Did you say it was a young woman?" he inquired, soon
after. His mind dwelt on the occurrence.
"Yes. A young woman with a fair complexion and deep blue eyes."
Marvel looked up quickly into the face of the attendant, while a
flush came into his cheeks.
"She was a slender young girl, with light hair, and her face was
pale, as from trouble."
"Agnes! Agnes!" exclaimed Marvel, rising up. "But, no, no," he
added, mournfully, sinking back again upon the bed; "that cannot be.
I left her far away over the wide ocean."
"Will you write?" said the nurse after some moments.
The invalid, without unclosing his eyes, slowly shook his head. A
little while the attendant lingered in his room, and then retired.
"Dear, dear Agnes!" murmured Edward Marvel, closing his eyes, and
letting his thoughts go, swift-winged, across the billow sea. "Shall
I never look on your sweet face again? Never feel your light arms
about my neck, or your breath warm on my cheek? Oh, that I had never
left you! Heaven give thee strength to bear the trouble in store!"
For many minutes he lay thus, alone, with his eyes closed, in sad
self-communion. Then he heard the door open and close softly; but he
did not look up. His thoughts were far, far away. Light feet
approached quickly; but he scarcely heeded them. A form bent over
him; but his eyes remained shut, nor did he open them until warm
lips were pressed against his own, and a low voice, thrilling
through his whole being, said--
"Agnes!" was his quick response, while his arms were thrown eagerly
around the neck of his wife, "Agnes! Agnes! Have I awakened from a
Yes, it was indeed her of whom he had been thinking. The moment she
received his letter, informing her that he had left for the United
States, she resolved to follow him in the next steamer that sailed.
This purpose she immediately avowed to her parents. At first, they
would not listen to her; but, finding that she would, most probably,
elude their vigilance, and get away in spite of all efforts to
prevent her, they deemed it more wise and prudent to provide her
with everything necessary for the voyage, and to place her in the
care of the captain of the steamship in which she was to go. In New
York they had friends, to whom they gave her letters fully
explanatory of her mission, and earnestly commending her to their
care and protection.
Two weeks before the ship in which Edward Marvel sailed reached her
destination, Agnes was in New York. Before her departure, she had
sought, but in vain, to discover the name of the vessel in which her
husband had embarked. On arriving in the New World, she was
therefore uncertain whether he had preceded her in a steamer, or was
still lingering on the way.
The friends to whom Agnes brought letters received her with great
kindness, and gave her all the advice and assistance needed under
the circumstances. But two weeks went by without a word of
intelligence on the one subject that absorbed all her thoughts.
Sadly was her health beginning to suffer. Sunken eyes and pale
cheeks attested the weight of suffering that was on her.
One day it was announced that a Liverpool packet had arrived with
the ship fever on board, and that several of the passengers had been
removed to the hospital.
A thrill of fear went through the heart of the anxious wife. It was
soon ascertained that Marvel had been a passenger on board of this
vessel; but, from some cause, nothing in regard to him beyond this
fact could she learn. Against all persuasion, she started for the
hospital, her heart oppressed with a fearful presentiment that he
was either dead or struggling in the grasp of a fatal malady. On
making inquiry at the hospital, she was told the one she sought was
not there, and she was about returning to the city, when the truth
reached her ears.
"Is he very ill?" she asked, struggling to compose herself.
"Yes, he is extremely ill," was the reply. "And it might not be well
for you, under the circumstances, to see him at present."
"Not well for his wife to see him?" returned Agnes. Tears sprung to
her eyes at the thought of not being permitted to come near in his
extremity. "Do not say that. Oh, take me to him! I will save his
"You must be very calm," said the nurse; for it was with her she was
talking. "The least excitement may be fatal."
"Oh, I will be calm and prudent." Yet, even while she spoke, her
frame quivered with excitement.
But she controlled herself when the moment of meeting came, and,
though her unexpected appearance produced a shock, it was salutary
rather than injurious.
"My dear, dear Agnes!" said Edward Marvel, a month from this time,
as they sat alone in the chamber of a pleasant house in New York, "I
owe you my life. But for your prompt resolution to follow me across
the sea, I would, in all probability, now be sleeping the sleep of
death. Oh, what would I not suffer for your sake!"
As Marvel uttered the last sentence, a troubled expression flitted
over his countenance. Agnes gazed tenderly into his face, and
"Why this look of doubt and anxiety?"
"Need I answer the question?" returned the young man. "It is, thus
far, no better with me than when we left our old home. Though health
is coming back through every fibre, and my heart is filled with an
eager desire to relieve these kind friends of the burden of our
support, yet no prospect opens."
No cloud came stealing darkly over the face of the young wife. The
sunshine, so far from being dimmed, was brighter.
"Let not your heart be troubled," said she, with a beautiful smile.
"All will come out right."
"Right, Agnes? It is not right for me thus to depend on strangers."
"You need depend but a little while longer. I have already made warm
friends here, and, through them, secured for you employment. A good
place awaits you so soon as strength to fill it comes back to your
"Angel!" exclaimed the young man, overcome with emotion at so
unexpected a declaration.
"No, not an angel," calmly replied Agnes, "only a wife. And now,
dear Edward," she added, "never again, in any extremity, think for a
moment of meeting trials or enduring privations alone. Having taken
a wife, you cannot move safely on your journey unless she moves by
"Angel! Yes, you are my good angel," repeated Edward.
"Call me what you will," said Agnes, with a sweet smile, as she
brushed, with her delicate hand, the hair from his temples; "but let
me be your wife. I ask no better name, no higher station."
NOT GREAT, BUT HAPPY.
How pure and sweet is the love of young hearts! How little does it
contain of earth--how much of heaven! No selfish passions mar its
beauty. Its tenderness, its pathos, its devotion, who does not
remember, even when the sere leaves of autumn are rustling beneath
his feet? How little does it regard the cold and calculating
objections of worldly-mindedness. They are heard but as a passing
murmur. The deep, unswerving confidence of young love, what a
blessed thing it is! Heart answers to heart without an unequal
throb. The world around is bright and beautiful: the atmosphere is
filled with spring's most delicious perfumes.
From this dream--why should we call it a dream?--Is it not a blessed
reality?--Is not young, fervent love, true love? Alas! this is an
evil world, and man's heart is evil. From this dream there is too
often a tearful awaking. Often, too often, hearts are suddenly torn
asunder, and wounds are made that never heal, or, healing, leave
hard, disfiguring scars. But this is not always so. Pure love
sometimes finds its own sweet reward. I will relate one precious
The Baron Holbein, after having passed ten years of active life in a
large metropolitan city of Europe, retired to his estate in a
beautiful and fertile valley, far away from the gay circle of
fashion--far away from the sounds of political rancor with which he
had been too long familiar--far away from the strife of selfish men
and contending interests. He had an only child, Nina, just fifteen
years of age. For her sake, as well as to indulge his love of quiet
and nature, he had retired from the world. Her mother had been with
the angels for some years. Without her wise counsels and watchful
care, the father feared to leave his innocent-minded child exposed
to the temptations that must gather around her in a large city.
For a time Nina missed her young companions, and pined to be with
them. The old castle was lonely, and the villagers did not interest
her. Her father urged her to go among the peasantry, and, as an
inducement, placed a considerable sum of money at her command, to be
used as she might see best in works of benevolence. Nina's heart was
warm, and her impulses generous. The idea pleased her, and she acted
upon it. She soon found employment enough both for her time and the
money placed at her disposal. Among the villagers was a woman named
Blanche Delebarre, a widow, whose only son had been from home since
his tenth year, under the care of an uncle, who had offered to
educate him, and fit him for a life of higher usefulness than that
of a mere peasant. There was a gentleness about this woman, and
something that marked her as superior to her class. Yet she was an
humble villager, dependent upon the labor of her own hands, and
claimed no higher station.
Nina became acquainted with Blanche soon after the commencement of
her residence at the castle. When she communicated to her the wishes
of her father, and mentioned the money that had been placed at her
disposal, the woman took her hand and said, while a beautiful light
beamed from her countenance--
"It is more blessed to give than to receive, my child. Happy are
they who have the power to confer benefits, and who do so with
willing hearts. I fear, however, that you will find your task a
difficult one. Everywhere are the idle and undeserving, and these
are more apt to force themselves forward as objects of benevolence
than the truly needy and meritorious. As I know every one in the
village, perhaps I may be able to guide you to such objects as
"My good mother," replied Nina, "I will confide in your judgment. I
will make you my almoner."
"No, my dear young lady, it will be better for you to dispense with
your own hands. I will merely aid you to make a wise dispensation."
"I am ready to begin. Show me but the way."
"Do you see that company of children on the green?" said Blanche.
"Yes. And a wild company they are."
"For hours each day they assemble as you see them, and spend their
time in idle sports. Sometimes they disagree and quarrel. That is
worse than idleness. Now, come here. Do you see that little cottage
yonder on the hill-side, with vines clustering around the door?"
"An aged mother and her daughter reside there. The labor of the
daughter's hands provides food and raiment for both. These children
need instruction, and Jennet Fleury is fully qualified to impart it.
Their parents cannot, or will not, pay to send them to school, and
Jennet must receive some return for her labors, whatever they be."
"I see it all," cried Nina with animation. "There must be a school
in the village. Jennet shall be the teacher."
"If this can be done, it will be a great blessing," said Blanche.
"It shall be done. Let us go over to that sweet little cottage at
once and see Jennet."
The good Blanche Delebarre made no objection. In a little while they
entered the cottage. Every thing was homely, but neat and clean.
Jennet was busy at her reel when they entered. She knew the lady of
Castle Holbein, and arose up quickly and in some confusion. But she
soon recovered herself, and welcomed, with a low courtesy, the
visitors who had come to grace her humble abode. When the object of
this visit was made known, Jennet replied that the condition of the
village children had often pained her, and that she had more than
once prayed that some way would open by which they could receive
instruction. She readily accepted the proposal of Nina to become
their teacher, and wished to receive no more for the service than
what she could now earn by reeling silk.
It did not take long to get the proposed school in operation. The
parents were willing to send their children, the teacher was willing
to receive them, and the young lady patroness was willing to meet
Nina said nothing to her father of what she was doing. She wished to
surprise him some day, after every thing was going on prosperously.
But a matter of so much interest to the neighborhood could not
remain a secret. The school had not been in operation two days
before the baron heard all about it. But he said nothing to his
daughter. He wished to leave her the pleasure which he knew she
desired, that of telling him herself.
At the end of a month Nina presented her father with an account of
what she had done with the money he had placed in her hands. The
expenditure had been moderate enough, but the good done was far
beyond the baron's anticipations. Thirty children were receiving
daily instructions; nurses had been employed, and medicines bought
for the sick; needy persons, who had no employment, were set to work
in making up clothing for children, who, for want of such as was
suitable, could not attend the school. Besides, many other things
had been done. The account was looked over by the Baron Holbein, and
each item noted with sincere pleasure. He warmly commended Nina for
what she had done; he praised the prudence with which she had
managed what she had undertaken; and begged her to persevere in the
For the space of more than a year did Nina submit to her father, for
approval, every month an accurate statement of what she had done,
with a minute account of all the moneys expended. But after that
time she failed to render this account, although she received the
usual supply, and was as actively engaged as before in works of
benevolence among the poor peasantry. The father often wondered at
this, but did not inquire the cause. He had never asked an account:
to render it had been a voluntary act, and he could not, therefore,
ask why it was withheld. He noticed, however, a change in Nina. She
was more thoughtful, and conversed less openly than before. If he
looked at her intently, her eyes would sink to the floor, and the
color deepen on her cheek. She remained longer in her own room,
alone, than she had done since their removal to the castle. Every
day she went out, and almost always took the direction of Blanche
Delebarre's cottage, where she spent several hours.
Intelligence of his daughter's good deeds did not, so often as
before, reach the old baron's ears; and yet Nina drew as much money
as before, and had twice asked to have the sum doubled. The father
could not understand the meaning of all this. He did not believe
that any thing was wrong--he had too much confidence in Nina--but he
was puzzled. We will briefly apprise the reader of the cause of this
One day--it was nearly a year from the time Nina had become a
constant visitor at Blanche Delebarre's--the young lady sat reading
a book in the matron's cottage. She was alone--Blanche having gone
out to visit a sick neighbor at Nina's request. A form suddenly
darkened the door, and some one entered hurriedly. Nina raised her
eyes, and met the gaze of a youthful strange, who had paused and
stood looking at her with surprise and admiration. With more
confusion, but with not less of wonder and admiration, did Nina
return the stranger's gaze.
"Is not this the cottage of Blanche Delebarre?" asked he, after a
moment's pause. His voice was low and musical.
"It is," replied Nina. "She has gone to visit a sick neighbor, but
will return shortly."
"Is my mother well?" asked the youth.
Nina rose to her feet. This, then, was Pierre Delebarre, of whom his
mother had so often spoke. The heart of the maiden fluttered.
"The good Blanche is well," was her simple reply. "I will go and say
to her that her son has come home. It will make her heart glad."
"My dear young lady, no!" said Pierre. "Do not disturb my mother in
her good work. Let her come home and meet me here--the surprise will
add to the pleasure. Sit down again. Pardon my rudeness--but are not
you the young lady from the castle, of whom my mother so often
writes to me as the good angel of the village? I am sure you must
be, or you would not be alone in my mother's cottage."
Nina's blushes deepened, but she answered without disguise that she
was from the castle.
A full half hour passed before Blanche returned. The young and
artless couple did not talk of love with their lips during that
time, but their eyes beamed with a mutual passion. When the mother
entered, so much were they interested in each other, that they did
not hear her approaching footstep. She surprised them leaning toward
each other in earnest conversation.
The joy of the mother's heart was great on meeting her son. He was
wonderfully improved since she last saw him--had grown several
inches, and had about him the air of one born of gentle blood,
rather than the air of a peasant. Nina staid only a very short time
after Blanche returned, and then hurried away from the cottage.
The brief interview held with young Pierre sealed the maiden's fate.
She knew nothing of love before the beautiful youth stood before
her--her heart was as pure as an infant's--she was artlessness
itself. She had heard him so often spoken of by his mother, that she
had learned to think of Pierre as the kindest and best of youths.
She saw him, for the first time, as one to love. His face, his
tones, the air of refinement and intelligence that was about him,
all conspired to win her young affections. But of the true nature of
her feelings, Nina was as yet ignorant. She did not think of love.
She did not, therefore, hesitate as to the propriety of continuing
her visits at the cottage of Blanche Delebarre, nor did she feel any
reserve in the presence of Pierre. Not until the enamored youth
presumed to whisper the passion her presence had awakened in his
bosom, did she fully understand the cause of the delight she always
felt while by his side.
After Pierre had been home a few weeks, he ventured to explain to
his mother the cause of his unexpected and unannounced return. He
had disagreed with his uucle, who, in a passion, had reminded him
of his dependence. This the high-spirited youth could not bear,
and he left his uncle's house within twenty-four hours, with a fixed
resolution never to return. He had come back to the village, resolved,
he said, to lead a peasant's life of toil, rather than live with a relative
who could so far forget himself as to remind him of his dependence.
Poor Blanche was deeply grieved. All her fond hopes for her son were
at an end. She looked at his small, delicate hands and slender pro-
portions, and wept when she thought of a peasant's life of hard
A very long time did not pass before Nina made a proposition to
Blanche, that relieved, in some measure, the painful depression
under which she labored. It was this. Pierre had, from a child,
exhibited a decided talent for painting. This talent had been
cultivated by the uncle, and Pierre was, already, quite a
respectable artist. But he needed at least a year's study of the old
masters, and more accurate instruction than he had yet received,
before he would be able to adopt the painter's calling as one by
which he could take an independent position in society as a man.
Understanding this fully, Nina said that Pierre must go to Florence,
and remain there a year, in order to perfect himself in the art, and
that she would claim the privilege of bearing all the expense. For a
time, the young man's proud spirit shrunk from an acceptance of this
generous offer; but Nina and the mother overruled all his
objections, and almost forced him to go.
It may readily be understood, now, why Nina ceased to render
accurate accounts of her charitable expenditures to her father. The
baron entertained not the slightest suspicion of the real state of
affairs, until about a year afterward, when a fine looking youth
presented himself one day, and boldly preferred a claim to his
daughter's hand. The old man was astounded.
"Who, pray, are you," he said, "that presume to make such a demand?"
"I am the son of a peasant," replied Pierre, bowing, and casting his
eyes to the ground, "and you may think it presumption, indeed, for
me to aspire to the hand of your noble daughter. But a peasant's
love is as pure as the love of a prince; and a peasant's heart may
beat with as high emotions."
"Young man," returned the baron, angrily, "your assurance deserves
punishment. But go--never dare cross my threshold again! You ask an
impossibility. When my daughter weds, she will not think of stooping
to a presumptuous peasant. Go, sir!"
Pierre retired, overwhelmed with confusion. He had been weak enough
to hope that the Baron Holbein would at least consider his suit, and
give him some chance of showing himself worthy of his daughter's
hand. But this repulse dashed every hope the earth.
As soon as he parted with the young man, the father sent a servant
for Nina. She was not in her chamber--nor in the house. It was
nearly two hours before she came home. When she entered the presence
of her father, he saw, by her countenance, that all was not right
"Who was the youth that came here some hours ago?" he asked,
Nina looked up with a frightened air, but did not answer.
"Did you know that he was coming?" said the father.
The maiden's eyes drooped to the ground, and her lips remained
"A base-born peasant! to dare--"
"Oh, father! he is not base! His heart is noble," replied Nina,
speaking from a sudden impulse.
"He confessed himself the son of a peasant! Who is he?"
"He is the son of Blanche Delebarre," returned Nina, timidly. "He
has just returned from Florence, an artist of high merit. There is
nothing base about him, father!"
"The son of a peasant, and an artist, to dare approach me and claim
the hand of my child! And worse, that child to so far forget her
birth and position as to favor the suit! Madness! And this is your
good Blanche!--your guide in all works of benevolence! She shall be
punished for this base betrayal of the confidence I have reposed in
Nina fell upon her knees before her father, and with tears and
earnest entreaties pleaded for the mother of Pierre; but the old man
was wild and mad with anger. He uttered passionate maledictions on
the head of Blanche and her presumptuous son, and positively forbade
Nina again leaving the castle on any pretext whatever, under the
penalty of never being permitted to return.
Had so broad an interdiction not been made, there would have been
some glimmer of light in Nina's dark horizon; she would have hoped
for some change--would have, at least, been blessed with short, even
if stolen, interviews with Pierre. But not to leave the castle on
any pretext--not to see Pierre again! This was robbing life of every
charm. For more than a year she had loved the young man with an
affection to which every day added tenderness and fervor. Could this
be blotted out in an instant by a word of command? No! That love
must burn on the same.
The Baron Holbein loved his daughter; she was the bright spot in
life. To make her happy, he would sacrifice almost anything. A
residence of many years in the world had shown him its pretensions,
its heartlessness, the worth of all its titles and distinctions. He
did not value them too highly. But, when a peasant approached and
asked the hand of his daughter, the old man's pride, that was
smouldering in the ashes, burned up with a sudden blaze. He could
hardly find words to express his indignation. It took but a few days
for this indignation to burn low. Not that he felt more favorable to
the peasant--but, less angry with his daughter. It is not certain
that time would not have done something favorable for the lovers in
the baron's mind. But they could not wait for time. Nina, from the
violence and decision displayed by her father, felt hopeless of any
change, and sought an early opportunity to steal away from the
castle and meet Pierre, notwithstanding the positive commands that
had been issued on the subject. The young man, in the thoughtless
enthusiasm of youth, urged their flight.
"I am master of my art," he said, with a proud air. "We can live in
Florence, where I have many friends."
The youth did not find it hard to bring the confiding, artless girl
into his wishes. In less than a month the baron missed his child. A
letter explained all. She had been wedded to the young peasant, and
they had left for Florence. The letter contained this clause, signed
by both Pierre and Nina:--
"When our father will forgive us, and permit our return, we shall be
truly happy--but not till then."
The indignant old man saw nothing but impertinent assurance in this.
He tore up the letter, and trampled it under his feet, in a rage. He
swore to renounce his child forever!
For the Baron Holbein, the next twelve months were the saddest of
his life. Too deeply was the image of his child impressed upon his
heart, for passion to efface it. As the first ebullitions subsided,
and the atmosphere of his mind grew clear again, the sweet face of
his child was before him, and her tender eyes looking into his own.
As the months passed away, he grew more and more restless and
unhappy. There was an aching void in bosom. Night after night he
would dream of his child, and awake in the morning and sigh that the
dream was not reality. But pride was strong--he would not
countenance her disobedience.
More than a year had passed away, and not one word had come from his
absent one, who grew dearer to his heart every day. Once or twice he
had seen the name of Pierre Delebarre in the journals, as a young
artist residing Florence, who was destined, to become eminent. The
pleasure these announcements gave him was greater than he would
confess, even to himself.
One day he was sitting in his library endeavoring to banish the
images that haunted him too continually, when two of his servants
entered, bearing a large square box in their arms, marked for the
Baron Holbein. When the box was opened, it was found to contain a
large picture, enveloped in a cloth. This was removed and placed
against the wall, and the servants retired with the box. The baron,
with unsteady hands, and a heart beating rapidly, commenced removing
the cloth that still held the picture from view. In a few moments a
family group was before him. There sat Nina, his lovely, loving and
beloved child, as perfect, almost, as if the blood were glowing in
her veins. Her eyes were bent fondly upon a sleeping cherub that lay
in her arms. By her side sat Pierre, gazing upon her face in silent
joy. For only a single instant did the old man gaze upon this scene,
before the tears were gushing over his cheeks and falling to the
floor like rain. This wild storm of feeling soon subsided, and, in
the sweet calm that followed, the father gazed with unspeakable
tenderness for a long time upon the face of his lovely child, and
with a new and sweeter feeling upon the babe that lay, the
impersonation of innocence, in her arms. While in this state of
mind, he saw, for the first time, written on the bottom of the
picture--"NOT GREAT, BUT HAPPY."
A week from the day on which the picture was received, the Baron
Holbein entered Florence. On inquiring for Pierre Delebarre, he
found that every one knew the young artist.
"Come," said one, "let me go with you to the exhibition, and show
you his picture that has taken the prize. It is a noble production.
All Florence is alive with its praise."
The baron went to the exhibition. The first picture that met his
eyes on entering the door was a counterpart of the one he had
received, but larger, and, in the admirable lights in which it was
arranged, looked even more like life.
"Isn't it a grand production?" said the baron's conductor.
"My sweet, sweet child!" murmured the old man, in a low thrilling
voice. Then turning, he said, abruptly--
"Show me where I can find this Pierre Delebarre."
"With pleasure. His house is near at hand," said his companion.
A few minutes walk brought them to the artist's dwelling.
"That is an humble roof," said the man, pointing to where Pierre
lived, "but it contains a noble man." He turned away, and the baron
entered alone. He did not pause to summon any one, but walked in
through the open door. All was silent. Through a neat vestibule, in
which were rare flowers, and pictures upon the wall, he passed into
a small apartment, and through that to the door of an inner chamber
It was half open. He looked in. Was it another picture? No, it was
in very truth his child; and her babe lay in her arms, as he had
just seen it, and Pierre sat before her looking tenderly in her
face. He could restrain himself no longer. Opening the door, he
stepped hurriedly forward, and, throwing his arms around the group,
said in broken voice--"God bless you, my children!"
The tears that were shed; the smiles that beamed from glad faces;
the tender words that were spoken, and repeated again and again; why
need we tell of all these? Or why relate how happy the old man was
when the dove that had flown from her nest came back with her mate
by her side The dark year had passed, and there was sunshine again
in his dwelling, brighter sunshine than before. Pierre never painted
so good a picture again as the one that took the prize--that was his
The Young Baron Holbein has an immense picture gallery, and is a
munificient patron of the arts. There is one composition on his
walls he prizes above all the rest. The wealth of India could not
purchase it. It is the same that took the prize when he was but a
babe and lay in his mother's arms. The mother who held him so
tenderly, and the father who gazed so lovingly upon her pure young
brow have passed away, but they live before him daily, and he feels
their gentle presence ever about him for good.
THE MARRIED SISTERS.
"COME, William, a single day, out of three hundred and sixty-five,
is not much,"
"True, Henry Thorne. Nor is the single drop of water, that first
finds its way through the dyke, much; and yet, the first drop but
makes room for a small stream to follow, and then comes a flood. No,
no, Henry, I cannot go with you, to-day; and if you will be governed
by a friend's advice, you will not neglect your work for the fancied
pleasures of a sporting party."
"All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy, We were not made to be
delving forever with tools in close rooms. The fresh air is good for
us. Come, William, you will feel better for a little recreation. You
look pale from confinement. Come; I cannot go without you."
"Henry Thorne," said his friend, William Moreland, with an air more
serious than that at first assumed, "let me in turn urge you to
"It is in vain, William," his friend said, interrupting him.
"I trust not, Henry. Surely, my early friend and companion is not
deaf to reason."
"No, not to right reason."
"Well, listen to me. As I said at first, it is not the loss of a
simple day, though even this is a serious waste of time, that I now
take into consideration. It is the danger of forming a habit of
idleness. It is a mistake, that a day of idle pleasure recreates the
mind and body, and makes us return and necessary employments with
renewed delight. My own experience is, that a day thus spent, causes
us to resume our labors with reluctance, and makes irksome what
before was pleasant. Is it not your own?"
"Well, I don't know; I can't altogether say that it is; indeed, I
never thought about it."
"Henry, the worst of all kinds of deception is self-deception.
Don't, let me, beg of you, attempt to deceive yourself in a matter
so important. I am sure you have experienced this reluctance to
resuming work after a day of pleasure. It is a universal experience.
And now that we are on this subject, I will add, that I have
observed in you an increasing desire to get away from work. You make
many excuses and they seem to you to be good ones. Can you tell me
how many days you have been out of the shop in the last three
"No, I cannot," was the reply, made in a tone indicating a slight
degree of irritation.
"Well, I can, Henry."
"How many is it, then?"
"It is true, for I kept the count."
"Indeed, then, you are mistaken. I was only out a gunning three
times, and a fishing twice."
"And that makes five times. But don't you remember the day you were
made sick by fatigue?"
"Yes, true, but that is only six."
"And the day you went up the mountain with the party?"
"And the twice you staid away because it stormed?"
"But, William, that has nothing to do with the matter. If it stormed
so violently that I couldn't come to the shop, that surely is not to
be set down to the account of pleasure-taking."
"And yet, Henry, I was here, and so were all the workmen but
yourself. If there had not been in your mind a reluctance to coming
to the shop, I am sure the storm would not have kept you away. I am
plain with you, because I am your friend, and you know it. Now, it
is this increasing reluctance on your part, that alarms me. Do not,
then, add fuel to a flame, that, if thus nourished, will consume
"Don't make excuses, Henry. Think of the aggregate of ten lost days.
You can earn a dollar and a half a day, easily, and do earn it
whenever you work steadily. Ten days in three months is fifteen
dollars. All last winter, Ellen went without a cloak, because you
could not afford to buy one for her; now the money that you could
have earned in the time wasted in the last three months, would have
bought her a very comfortable one--and you know that it is already
October, and winter will soon be again upon us. Sixty dollars a year
buys a great many comforts for a poor man."
Henry Thorne remained silent for some moments. He felt the force of
William Moreland's reasoning; but his own inclinations were stronger
than his friend's arguments. He wanted to go with two or three
companions a gunning, and even the vision of his young wife
shrinking in the keen winter wind, was not sufficient to conquer
"I will go this once, William," said he, at length, with a long
inspiration; "and then I will quit it. I see and acknowledge the
force of what you say; I never viewed the matter so seriously
"This once may confirm a habit now too strongly fixed," urged his
companion. "Stop now, while your mind is rationally convinced that
it is wrong to waste your time, when it is so much needed for the
sake of making comfortable and happy one who loves you, and has cast
her lot in life with yours. Think of Ellen, and be a man."
"Come, Harry!" said a loud, cheerful voice at the shop door; "we are
waiting for you!"
"Ay, ay," responded Henry Thorne. "Good morning, William! I am
pledged for to-day. But after this, I will swear off!" And so
saying, he hurried away.
Henry Thorne and William Moreland were workmen in a large
manufacturing establishment in one of our thriving inland towns.
They had married sisters, and thus a friendship that had long
existed, was confirmed by closer ties of interest.
They had been married about two years, at the time of their
introduction to the reader, and, already, Moreland could perceive
that his earnings brought many more comforts for his little family
than did Henry's. The difference was not to be accounted for in the
days the other spent in pleasure taking, although their aggregate
loss was no mean item to be taken from a poor man's purse. It was to
be found, mainly, in a disposition to spend, rather than to save; to
pay away for trifles that were not really needed, very small sums,
whose united amounts in a few weeks would rise to dollars. But, when
there was added to this constant check upon his prosperity the
frequent recurrence of a lost day, no wonder that Ellen had less of
good and comfortable clothing than her sister Jane, and that her
house was far less neatly furnished.
All this had been observed, with pain, by William Moreland and his
wife, but, until the conversation recorded in the opening of this
story, no word or remonstrance or warning had been ventured upon by
the former. The spirit in which Moreland's words were received,
encouraged him to hope that he might exercise a salutary control
over Henry, if he persevered, and he resolved that he would extend
thus far towards him the offices of a true friend.
After dinner on the day during which her husband was absent, Ellen
called in to see Jane, and sit the afternoon with her. They were
only sisters, and had always loved each other much. During their
conversation, Jane said, in allusion to the season:
"It begins to feel a little chilly to-day, as if winter were coming.
And, by the way, you are going to get a cloak this fall, Ellen, are
"Indeed, I can hardly tell, Jane," Ellen replied, in a serious tone;
"Henry's earnings, somehow or other, don't seem to go far with us;
and yet I try to be as prudent as I can. We have but a few dollars
laid by, and both of us want warm underclothing. Henry must have a
coat and pair of pantaloons to look decent this winter; so I must
try and do without the cloak, I suppose."
"I am sorry for that. But keep a good heart about it, sister. Next
fall, you will surely be able to get a comfortable one; and you
shall have mine as often as you want it, this winter. I can't go out
much, you know; our dear little Ellen, your namesake, is too young
to leave often."
"You are very kind, Jane," said Ellen, and her voice slightly
A silence of some moments ensued, and then the subject of
conversation was changed to one more cheerful.
That evening, just about nightfall, Henry Thorne came home, much
fatigued, bringing with him half a dozen squirrels and a single wild
"There, Ellen, is something to make a nice pie for us to-morrow,"
said he, tossing his game bag upon the table.
"You look tired, Henry," said his wife, tenderly; "I wouldn't go out
any more this fall, if I were you."
"I don't intend going out any more, Ellen," was replied, "I'm sick
"You don't know how glad I am to hear you say so! Somehow, I always
feel troubled and uneasy when you are out gunning or fishing, as if
you were not doing right."
"You shall not feel so any more, Ellen," said Thorne: "I've been
thinking all the afternoon about your cloak. Cold weather is coming,
and we haven't a dollar laid by for anything. How I am to get the
cloak, I do not see, and yet I cannot bear the thought of your going
all this winter again without one."
"O, never mind that, dear," said Ellen, in a cheerful tone, her face
brightening up. "We can't afford it this fall, and so that's
settled. But I can have Jane's whenever I want it, she says; and you
know she is so kind and willing to lend me anything that she has. I
don't like to wear her things; but then I shall not want the cloak
Henry Thorne sighed at the thoughts his wife's words stirred in his
"I don't know how it is," he at length said, despondingly; "William
can't work any faster than I can, nor earn more a week, and yet he
and Jane have every thing comfortable, and are saving money into the
bargain, while we want many things that they have, and are not a
One of the reasons for this, to her husband so unaccountable,
trembled on Ellen's tongue, but she could not make up her mind to
reprove him; and so bore in silence, and with some pain, what she
felt as a reflection upon her want of frugality in managing
Let us advance the characters we have introduced, a year in their
life's pilgrimage, and see if there are any fruits of these good
"Where is Thorne, this morning?" asked the owner of the shop,
speaking to Moreland, one morning, an hour after all the workmen had
"I do not know, really," replied Moreland. "I saw him yesterday,
when he was well."
"He's off gunning, I suppose, again. If so, it is the tenth day he
has lost in idleness during the last two months. I am afraid I shall
have to get a hand in his place, upon whom I can place more
dependence. I shall be sorry to do this for your sake, and for the
sake of his wife. But I do not like such an example to the workmen
and apprentices; and besides being away from the shop often
disappoints a job."
"I could not blame you, sir," Moreland said; "and yet, I do hope you
will bear with him for the sake of Ellen. I think if you would talk
with him it would do him good."
"But, why don't you talk to him, William?"
"I have talked to him frequently, but he has got so that he won't
bear it any longer from me."
"Nor would he bear it from me, either, I fear, William."
Just at that moment the subject of the conversation came in.
"You are late this morning, Henry," said the owner of the shop to
him, in the presence of the other workmen.
"It's only a few minutes past the time," was replied, moodily.
"It's more than an hour past."
"Well, if it is, I can make it up."
"That is not the right way, Henry. Lost time is never made up."
Thorne did not understand the general truth intended to be
expressed, but supposed, at once, that the master of the shop meant
to intimate that he would wrong him out of the lost hour,
notwithstanding he had promised to make it up. He therefore turned
an angry look upon him, and said--
"Do you mean to say that I would cheat you, sir?"
The employer was a hasty man, and tenacious of his dignity as a
master. He invariably discharged a journeyman who was in the least
degree disrespectful in his language or manner towards him before
the other workmen. Acting under the impulse that at once prompted
him, he said:
"You are discharged;" and instantly turned away.
As quickly did Henry Thorne turn and leave the shop. He took his way
homeward, but he paused and lingered as he drew nearer and nearer
his little cottage, for troubled thoughts had now taken the place of
angry feelings. At length he was at the door, and lifting slowly the
latch, he entered.
"Henry!" said Ellen, with a look and tone of surprise. Her face was
paler and more care-worn than it was a year before; and its calm
expression had changed into a troubled one. She had a babe upon her
lap, her first and only one. The room in which she sat, so far from
indicating circumstances improved by the passage of a year, was far
less tidy and comfortable; and her own attire, though neat, was
faded and unseasonable. Her husband replied not to her inquiring
look, and surprised ejaculation, but seated himself in a chair, and
burying his face in his hands, remained silent, until, unable to
endure the suspense, Ellen went to him, and taking his hand, asked,
so earnestly, and so tenderly, what it was that troubled him, that
he could not resist her appeal.
"I am discharged!" said he, with bitter emphasis. "And there is no
other establishment in the town, nor within fifty miles!"
"O, Henry! how did that happen?"
"I hardly know myself, Ellen, for it all seems like a dream. When I
left home this morning, I did not go directly to the shop; I wanted
to see a man at the upper end of the town, and when I got back it
was an hour later than usual. Old Ballard took me to task before all
the shop, and intimated that I was not disposed to act honestly
towards him. This I cannot bear from any one; I answered him in
anger, and was discharged on the spot. And now, what we are to do,
heaven only knows! Winter is almost upon us, and we have not five
dollars in the world."
"But something will turn up for us, Henry, I know it will," said
Ellen, trying to smile encouragingly, although her heart was heavy
in her bosom.
Her husband shook his head, doubtingly, and then all was gloomy and
oppressive silence. For nearly an hour, no word was spoken by
either. Each mind was busy with painful thoughts, and one with
fearful forebodings of evil. At the end of that time, the husband
took up his hat and went out. For a long, long time after, Ellen sat
in dreamy, sad abstraction, holding her babe to her breast. From
this state, a sense of duty roused her, and laying her infant on the
bed,--for they had not yet been able to spare money for a
cradle,--she began to busy herself in her domestic duties. This
brought some little relief.
About eleven o'clock Jane came in with her usual cheerful, almost
happy face, bringing in her hand a stout bundle. Her countenance
changed in its expression to one of concern, the moment her eyes
rested upon her sister's face, and she laid her bundle on a chair
quickly, as if she half desired to keep it out of Ellen's sight.
"What is the matter, Ellen?" she asked, with tender concern, the
moment she had closed the door.
Ellen could not reply; her heart was too full. But she leaned her
head upon her sister's shoulder, and, for the first time since she
had heard the sad news of the morning, burst into tears. Jane was
surprised, and filled with anxious concern. She waited until this
ebullition of feeling in some degree abated, and then said, in a
tone still more tender than that in which she had first spoken,--
"Ellen, dear sister! tell me what has happened?"
"I am foolish, sister," at length, said Ellen, looking up, and
endeavoring to dry her tears. "But I cannot help it. Henry was
discharged from the shop this morning; and now, what are we to do?
We have nothing ahead, and I am afraid he will not be able to get
anything to do here, or within many miles of the village."
"That is bad, Ellen," replied Jane, while a shadow fell upon her
face, but a few moments before so glowing and happy. And that was
nearly all she could say; for she did not wish to offer false
consolation, and she could think of no genuine words of comfort.
After a while, each grew more composed and less reserved; and then
the whole matter was talked over, and all that Jane could say, that
seemed likely to soothe and give hope to Ellen's mind, was said with
earnestness and affection.
"What have you there?" at length asked Ellen, glancing towards the
chair upon which Jane had laid her bundle.
Jane paused a moment, as if in self-communion, and then said--
"Only a pair of blankets, and a couple of calico dresses that I have
been out buying."
"Let me look at them," said Ellen, in as cheerful a voice as she
A large heavy pair of blankets, for which Jane had paid five
dollars, were now unrolled, and a couple of handsome chintz dresses,
of dark rich colors, suitable for the winter season, displayed. It
was with difficulty that Ellen could restrain a sigh, as she looked
at these comfortable things, and thought of how much she needed, and
of how little she had to hope for. Jane felt that such thoughts must
pass through her sister's mind, and she also felt much pained that
she had undesignedly thus added, by contrast, to Ellen's unhappy
feelings. When she returned home, she put away her new dresses and
her blankets. She had no heart to look at them, no heart to enjoy
her own good things, while the sister she so much loved was denied
like present comforts, and, worse than all, weighed down with a
heart-sickening dread of the future.
We will not linger to contrast, in a series of domestic pictures,
the effects of industry and idleness on the two married sisters and
their families,--effects, the causes of which, neither aided
materially in producing. Such contrasts, though useful, cannot but
be painful to the mind, and we would, a thousand times, rather give
pleasure than pain. But one more striking contrast we will give, as
requisite to show the tendency of good or bad principles, united
with good or bad habits.
Unable to get any employment in the village, Thorne, hearing that
steady work could be obtained in Charleston, South Carolina, sold
off a portion of his scanty effects, by which he received money
enough to remove there with his wife and child. Thus were the
sisters separated; and in that separation, gradually estranged from
the tender and lively affection that presence and constant
intercourse had kept burning with undiminished brightness. Each
became more and more absorbed, every day, in increasing cares and
duties; yet to one those cares and duties were painful, and to the
other full of delight.
Ten years from the day on which they parted in tears, Ellen sat,
near the close of day, in a meanly furnished room, in one of the
southern cities, watching, with a troubled countenance, the restless
slumber of her husband. Her face was very thin and pale, and it had
a fixed and strongly marked expression of suffering. Two children, a
boy and a girl, the one about six, and the other a little over ten
years of age, were seated listlessly on the floor, which was
uncarpeted. They seemed to have no heart to play. Even the
elasticity of childhood had departed from them. From the appearance
of Thorne, it was plain that he was very sick; and from all the
indications the room in which he lay, afforded, it was plain that
want and suffering were its inmates. The habit of idleness he had
suffered to creep at a slow but steady pace upon him. Idleness
brought intemperance, and intemperance, reacting upon idleness,
completed his ruin, and reduced his family to poverty in its most
appalling form. Now he was sick with a southern fever, and his
miserable dwelling afforded him no cordial, nor his wife and
children the healthy food that nature required.
"Mother!" said the little boy, getting up from the floor, where he
had been sitting for half an hour, as still as if he were sleeping,
and coming to Ellen's side, he looked up earnestly and imploringly
in her face.
"What, my child?" the mother said, stooping down and kissing his
forehead, while she parted with her fingers the golden hair that
fell in tangled masses over it.
"Can't I have a piece of bread, mother?"
Ellen did not reply, but rose slowly and went to the closet, from
which she took part of a loaf, and cutting a slice from it, handed
it to her hungry boy. It was her last loaf, and all their money was
gone. The little fellow took it, and breaking a piece off for his
sister, gave it to her; the two children then sat down side by side,
and ate in silence the morsel that was sweet to them.
With an instinctive feeling, that from nowhere but above could she
look for aid and comfort, did Ellen lift her heart, and pray that
she might not be forsaken in her extremity. And then she thought of
her sister Jane, from whom she had not heard for a long, long time,
and her heart yearned towards her with an eager and yearning desire
to see her face once more.
And now let us look in upon Jane and her family. Her husband, by
saving where Thorne spent in foolish trifles, and working when
Thorne was idle, gradually laid by enough to purchase a little farm,
upon which he had removed, and there industry and frugality brought
its sure rewards. They had three children: little Ellen had grown to
a lively, rosy-cheeked, merry-faced girl of eleven years; and
George, who had followed Ellen, was in his seventh year, and after
him came the baby, now just completing the twelfth month of its
innocent, happy life. It was in the season when the farmers' toil is
rewarded, and William Moreland was among those whose labor had met
an ample return.
How different was the scene, in his well established cottage, full
to the brim of plenty and comfort, to that which was passing at the
same hour of the day, a few weeks before, in the sad abode of Ellen,
herself its saddest inmate.
The table was spread for the evening meal, always eaten before the
sun hid his bright face, and George and Ellen, although the supper
was not yet brought in, had taken their places; and Moreland, too,
had drawn up with the baby on his knee, which he was amusing with an
apple from a well filled basket, the product of his own orchard.
A hesitating rap drew the attention of the tidy maiden who assisted
Mrs. Moreland in her duties.
"It is the poor old blind man," she said, in a tone of compassion,
as she opened the door.
"Here is a shilling for him, Sally," said Moreland, handing her a
piece of money. "The Lord has blessed us with plenty, and something
to spare for his needy children."
The liberal meal upon the table, the mother sat down with the rest,
and as she looked around upon each happy face, her heart blessed the
hour that she had given her hand to William Moreland. Just as the
meal was finished, a neighbor stopped at the door and said:
"Here's a letter for Mrs. Moreland; I saw it in the post-office, and
brought it over for her, as I was coming this way."
"Come in, come in," said Moreland, with a hearty welcome in his
"No, I thank you, I can't stop now. Good evening," replied the
"Good evening," responded Moreland, turning from the door, and
handing the letter to Jane.
"It must be from Ellen," Mrs. Moreland remarked, as she broke the
seal. "It is a long time since we heard from then; I wonder how they
She soon knew; for on opening the letter she read thus:--
SAVANNAH, September, 18--.
MY DEAR SISTER JANE:--Henry has just died. I am left here without a
dollar, and know not where to get bread for myself and two children.
I dare not tell you all I have suffered since I parted from you.
My heart is too full; I cannot write. Heaven only knows what I shall
do! Forgive me, sister, for troubling you; I have not done so
before, because I did not wish to give you pain, and I only do so
now, from an impulse that I cannot resist.
Jane handed the letter to her husband, and sat down in a chair, her
senses bewildered, and her heart sick.
"We have enough for Ellen, and her children, too, Jane," said
Moreland, folding the letter after he had read it. "We must send for
them at once. Poor Ellen! I fear she has suffered much."
"You are good, kind and noble-hearted, William!" exclaimed Jane,
bursting into tears.
"I don't know that I am any better than anybody else, Jane. But I
can't bear to see others suffering, and never will, if I can afford
relief. And surely, if industry brought no other reward, the power
it gives us to benefit and relieve others, is enough to make us ever
In one month from the time Ellen's letter was received, she, with
her children, were inmates of Moreland's cottage. Gradually the
light returned to her eye, and something of the former glow of
health and contentment to her cheek. Her children in a few weeks,
were as gay and happy as any. The delight that glowed in the heart
of William Moreland, as he saw this pleasing change, was a double
reward for the little he had sacrificed in making them happy. Nor
did Ellen fall, with her children, an entire burden upon her sister
and her husband;--her activity and willingness found enough to do
that needed doing. Jane often used to say to her husband--
"I don't know which is the gainer over the other, I or Ellen; for I
am sure I can't see how we could do without her."
THERE are two classes in the world: one acts from impulse, and the
other from reason; one consults the heart, and the other the head.
Persons belonging to the former class are very much liked by the
majority of those who come in contact with them: while those of the
latter class make many enemies in their course through life. Still,
the world owes as much to the latter as to the former--perhaps a
great deal more.
Mr. Archibald May belonged to the former class; he was known as a
good-hearted man. He uttered the word "no" with great difficulty;
and was never known to have deliberately said that to another which
he knew would hurt his feelings. If any one about him acted wrong,
he could not find it in his heart to wound him by calling his
attention to the fact. On one occasion, a clerk was detected in
purloining money; but it was all hushed up, and when Mr. May
dismissed him, he gave him a certificate of good character.
"How could you do so?" asked a neighbor, to whom he mentioned the
"How could I help doing it? The young man had a chance of getting a
good place. It would have been cruel in me to have refused to aid
him. A character was required, and I could do no less than give it.
Poor, silly fellow! I am sure I wish him well. I always liked him."
"Suppose he robs his present employer?"
"He won't do that, I'm certain. He is too much ashamed of his
conduct while in my store. It is a lesson to him. And, at any rate,
I do not think a man should be hunted down for a single fault."
"No: of course not. But, when you endorse a man's character, you
lead others to place confidence in him; a confidence that may be
betrayed under very aggravated circumstances."
"Better that many suffer, than that one innocent man should be
condemned and cast off."
"But there is no question about guilt or innocence. It was fully
proved that this young man robbed you."
"Suppose it was. No doubt the temptation was very strong. I don't
believe he will ever be guilty of such a thing again."
"You have the best evidence in the world that he will, in the fact
that he has taken your money."
"O no, not at all. It doesn't follow, by any means, that a fault
like this will be repeated. He was terribly mortified about it. That
has cured him, I am certain."
"I wouldn't trust to it."
"You are too uncharitable," replied Mr. May. "For my part, I always
look upon the best side of a man's character. There is good in every
one. Some have their weaknesses--some are even led astray at times;
but none are altogether bad. If a man falls, help him up, and start
him once more fair in the world--who can say that he will again
trip? Not I. The fact is, we are too hard with each other. If you
brand your fellow with infamy for one little act of indiscretion,
or, say crime, what hope is there for him."
"You go rather too far, Mr. May," the neighbor said, "in your
condemnation of the world. No doubt there are many who are really
uncharitable in their denunciations of their fellow man for a single
fault. But, on the other side, I am inclined to think, that there
are just as many who are equally uncharitable, in loosely passing
by, out of spurious kindness, what should mark a man with just
suspicion, and cause a withholding of confidence. Look at the case
now before us. You feel unwilling to keep a young man about you,
because he has betrayed your trust, and yet, out of kind feelings,
you give him a good character, and enable him to get a situation
where he may seriously wrong an unsuspecting man."
"But I am sure he will not do so."
"But what is your guarantee?"
"The impression that my act has evidently made upon him. If I had,
besides hushing up the whole matter, kept him still in my store, he
might again have been tempted. But the comparatively light
punishment of dismissing him with a good character, will prove a
salutary check upon him."
"Don't you believe it."
"I will believe it, until I see evidence to the contrary. You are
too suspicious--too uncharitable, my good friend. I am always
inclined to think the best of every one. Give the poor fellow
another chance for his life, say I."
"I hope it may all turn out right."
"I am sure it will," returned Mr. May. "Many and many a young man is
driven to ruin by having all confidence withdrawn from him, after
his first error. Depend upon it, such a course is not right."
"I perfectly agree with you, Mr. May, that we should not utterly
condemn and cast off a man for a single fault. But, it is one thing
to bear with a fault, and encourage a failing brother man to better
courses, and another to give an individual whom we know to be
dishonest, a certificate of good character."
"Yes, but I am not so sure the young man we are speaking about is
"Didn't he rob you?"
"Don't say rob. That is too hard a word. He did take a little from
me; but it wasn't much, and there were peculiar circumstances."
"Are you sure that under other peculiar circumstances, he would not
have taken much more from you?"
"I don't believe he would."