Part 7 out of 7
saying he stood greatly in need of five hundred dollars, and that
immediately on its receipt he would start for home. Inconsistent as
it seemed with his general character, the elder Mr. Graham was
generous with his money, lavishing upon his son all that he asked
for, and the money was accordingly sent without a moment's hesitation.
And now Harry's besetting sin, _secrecy_, came again in action, and
instead of manfully telling Helena the truth, he left her privately,
stealing away at night, and quieting his conscience by promising
himself to reveal all in a letter, which was actually written, but as
at the time of its arrival Helena was at home, and the postmaster
knew of no such person, it was at last sent to Washington with
thousands of its companions. The reader already knows how 'Lena's
young mother watched for her recreant husband's coming until life and
hope died out together, and it is only necessary to repeat that part
of the story which relates to Harry, who on his return home found his
father much worse than he expected. At his bedside, ministering to
his wants, was a young, dashing widow, who prided herself upon being
Lady Bellmont. On his death-bed her father had committed her to the
guardianship of Mr. Graham, who, strictly honorable in all his
dealings, had held his trust until the time of her marriage with a
Unfortunately, as it proved for Harry, and fortunately for Sir
Arthur, who had nothing in common with his wife, the latter died
within two years after his marriage, leaving his widow and infant son
again to the care of Mr. Graham, with whom Lady Bellmont, as she was
pleased to call herself, lived at intervals, swaying him whichever
way she listed, and influencing him as he had never been influenced
before. The secret of this was, that the old man had his eye upon
her vast possessions, which he destined for his son, who, ignorant of
the honor intended him, had presumed to marry according to the
promptings of his heart.
Scarcely was the first greeting over, ere his father at once made
known his plans, to which Harry listened with mingled pain and
amazement. "Lucy--Lady Bellmont!" said he, "why, she's a mother--a
widow--beside being ten years my senior."
"Three years," interrupted his father. "She is twenty-five, you
twenty-two, and then as to her being a widow and a mother, the
immensity of her wealth atones for that. She is much sought after,
but I think she prefers you. She will make you a good wife, and I am
resolved to see the union consummated ere I die."
"Never sir, never," answered Harry, in a more decided manner than he
had before assumed toward his father. "It is utterly impossible."
Mr. Graham was too much exhausted to urge the matter at that time,
but he continued at intervals to harass Harry, until the very sight
of Lucy Bellmont became hateful to him. It was not so, however, with
the son, the Durward of our story. He was a fine little fellow, whom
every one loved, and for hours would Harry amuse himself with him,
while his thoughts were with his own wife and child, the latter of
whom was to be so strangely connected with the fortunes of the boy at
his side. For weeks his father lingered, each day seeming an age to
Harry, who, though he did not wish to hasten his father's death,
still longed to be away. Twice had he written without obtaining an
answer, and he was about making up his mind to start, at all events,
when his father suddenly died, leaving him the sole heir of all his
princely fortune, and with his latest breath enjoining it upon him to
marry Lucy Bellmont, who, after the funeral was over, adverted to it,
saying, in her softest tones, "I hope you don't feel obliged to
fulfill your father's request."
"Of course not," was Harry's short answer, as he went on with his
preparations for his journey, anticipating the happiness he should
experience in making Helena the mistress of his luxurious home.
But alas for human hopes. The very morning on which he was intending
to start, he was seized with a fever, which kept him confined to his
bed until the spring was far advanced. Sooner than he was able he
started for Springfield in quest of Helena, learning from the woman
whom he had left in charge, that she was dead, and her baby too! The
shock was too much for him in his weak state, and for two weeks he
was again confined to a sick-bed, sincerely mourning the untimely end
of one whom he had truly loved, and whose death his own foolish
conduct had hastened.
Soon after their marriage her portrait had been taken by the best
artist in the town, and this he determined to procure as a memento of
the few happy days he had spent with Helena. But the cottage where
he left her was now occupied by strangers, and after many inquiries,
he learned that the portrait, together with some of the furniture,
had been sold to pay the rent, which became due soon after his
departure. His next thought was to visit her parents, but from this
his natural timidity shrank. They would reproach him, he thought,
with the death of their daughter, whom he had so deeply wronged, and
not possessing sufficient courage to meet them face to face, he again
started for home, bearing a sad heart, which scarcely again felt a
thrill of joy until the morning when he first met with 'Lena, whose
exact resemblance to her mother so startled him as to arouse the
jealousy of his wife.
It would be both needless and tiresome to enumerate the many ways and
means by which Lucy Bellmont sought to ensnare him. Suffice it to
say, that she at last succeeded, and he married her, finding in the
companionship of her son more real pleasure than he ever experienced
in her society. After a time Mrs. Graham, growing weary of
Charleston, where her haughty, overbearing manner made her unpopular,
besought her husband to remove, which he finally did, going to
Louisville, where he remained until the time of his removal to
Woodlawn. Fully believing what the old nurse had told him of the
death of his wife and child, he had no idea of the existence of the
latter, though often in the stillness of night the remembrance of the
little girl whom Durward had pointed out to him in the cars, arose
before him, haunting him with visions of the past, but it was not
until he met her at Maple Grove that he entertained a thought of her
being his daughter.
From that time his whole being seemed changed, for there was now an
object for which to live. Carefully had he guarded from his wife a
knowledge of his first marriage, for he dreaded her sneering
reproaches, and he could not hear his beloved Helena's name breathed
lightly by one so greatly her inferior. When he saw 'Lena, however,
his first impulse was to clasp her in his arms and compel his wife to
own her, but day after day went by, and he still delayed, hoping for
a more favorable opportunity, which never came. Had he found her in
less favorable circumstances, he might have done differently, but
seeing only the brightest side of her life, he believed her
comparatively happy. She was well educated, accomplished, and
beautiful, and so he waited, secure in the fact that he was near to
see that no harm should befall her. Once it occurred to him that
possibly he might die suddenly, thus leaving his relationship to her
a secret forever, and acting upon this thought, he immediately made
his will, bequeathing all to 'Lena, whom he acknowledged to be his
daughter, adding an explanation of the whole affair, together with a
most touching letter to his child, who would never see it until he
This done, he felt greatly relieved, and each day found some good
excuse for still keeping it from his wife, who worried him
incessantly concerning his evident preference for 'Lena. Many and
many a time he resolved to tell her all, but as often postponed the
matter, until, with the broad Atlantic between them, he ventured to
write what he could not tell her verbally and, strange to say, the
effect upon his wife was far different from what he had expected.
She did not faint, for there was no one by to see her, neither did
she rave, for there was no one to hear her, but with her usual
inconsistency, she blamed her husband for not telling her before.
Then came other thoughts of a different nature. _She_ had helped to
impair 'Lena's reputation, and if disgrace attached to her, it would
also fall upon her own family. Consequently, as we have seen, she
set herself at work to atone, as far as possible, for her conduct.
Her husband had given her permission to wait, if she chose, until his
return, ere she made the affair public, and as she dreaded the
remarks it would necessarily call forth, she resolved to do so. He
had advised her to tell 'Lena, but she was gone--no one knew whither,
and nervously she waited for some tidings of the wanderer. She was
willing to receive 'Lena, but not the grandmother, _she_ was voted an
intolerable nuisance, who should never darken the doors of
Meantime, Mr. Graham had again crossed the ocean, landing in New
York, from whence he started for home, meeting, as we have seen, with
a detention in Canandaigua, where he accidentally fell in with Uncle
Timothy, who, being minus quite a little sum of money on account of
his transgression, was lamenting his ill fortune to one of his
acquaintances, and threatening to give up tavern keeping if the Maine
law wasn't repealed.
"Here," said he, "it has cost me up'ards of fifty dollars, and I'll
bet I hain't sold mor'n a barrel, besides what wine that Kentucky
chap has bought for his gal, and I suppose they call that nothin',
bein' it's for sickness. Why, good Lord, the hull on't was for
medicine, or chimistry, or mechanics!"
This reminded his friend to inquire after the sick lady, whose name
he did not remember.
"It's 'Lena," answered Uncle Timothy, "'Lena Rivers that dandified
chap calls her, and it's plaguy curis to me what she's a runnin' away
for, and he a streakin' it through the country arter her; there's
mischief summers, so I tell 'em, but that's no consarn of mine so
long as he pays down regular."
Mr. Graham's curiosity was instantly aroused, and the moment he could
speak to Uncle Timothy alone, he asked what he meant by the sick lady.
In his own peculiar dialect, Uncle Timothy told all he knew, adding,
"A relation of yourn, mebby?"
"Yes, yes," said Mr. Graham. "Is it far to Laurel Hill?"
"Better'n a dozen miles! Was you goin' out there?"
Mr. Graham replied in the affirmative, at the same time asking if he
could procure a horse and carriage there.
Uncle Timothy never let an opportunity pass for turning a penny, and
now nudging Mr. Graham with his elbow, he said, "Them liv'ry
scamps'll charge you tew dollars, at the lowest calkerlation. I'm
going right out, and will take you for six shillin'. What do you
Mr. Graham's thoughts were not very complimentary to the shrewd
Yankee, but keeping his opinion to himself, he replied that he would
go, suggesting that they should start immediately.
"In less than five minits. You jest set down while I go to the store
arter some jimcracks for the old woman," said Uncle Timothy, starting
up the street, which was the last Mr. Graham saw of him for three
At the end of that time, the little man came stubbing down the walk,
making many apologies, and saying "he got so engaged about the darned
'liquor law,' and the putty-heads that made it, that he'd no idee
'twas so late."
On their way home he still continued to discourse on his favorite
topic, lamenting that he had voted for the present governor,
announcing his intention of "jinin' the _Hindews_ the fust time they
met at Suckerport," a village at the foot of Honeoye lake, and
stopping every man whom he knew to belong to that order, to ask if
they took a _fee_, and if "there was any bedivelment of _gridirons_
and _goats_, such as the Masons and Odd Fellers had!" Being
repeatedly assured that the fee was only a dollar, and that the
initiatory process was not very painful, he concluded "to go it,
provided they'd promise to run him for constable. Office is the hull
any of the scallywags jine 'em for, and I may as well go in for a
sheer," said he, thinking if he could not have the privilege of
selling liquor, he would at least secure the right of arresting those
who drank it!
In this way his progress homeward was not very rapid, and the clock
had struck ten long ere they reached the inn, which they found still
and dark, save the light which was kept burning in 'Lena's room.
"That's her chamber--the young gal's--where you see the candle," said
Uncle Timothy, as they drew up before the huge walls of the tavern.
"I guess you won't want to disturb her to-night."
"Certainly not," answered Mr. Graham, adding, as he felt a twinge of
his inveterate habit of secrecy, "If you'd just as lief, you need not
speak of me to the young gentleman; I wish to take him by
There was no particular necessity for this caution, for Uncle Timothy
was too much absorbed in his loss to think of anything else, and when
his wife asked "who it was that he lighted up to bed," he replied, "A
chap that wanted to come out this way, and so rid with me."
Mr. Graham was very tired, and now scarcely had his head pressed the
pillow ere he was asleep, dreaming of 'Lena, whose presence was to
shed such a halo of sunlight over his hitherto cheerless home. The
ringing of the bell next morning failed to arouse him, but when Mrs.
Aldergrass, noticing his absence from the table, inquired for him,
Uncle Timothy answered, "Never mind, let him sleep--tuckered out,
mebby--and you know we allus have a sixpence more for an extra meal!"
About eight Mr. Graham arose, and after a more than usually careful
toilet, he sat down to collect his scattered thoughts, for now that
the interview was so near, his ideas seemed suddenly to forsake him.
From the window he saw Durward depart for his walk, watching him
until he disappeared in the dim shadow of the woods.
"I will wait until his return, and let him tell her," thought he, but
when a half hour or more went by and Durward did not come, he
concluded to go down and ask to see her by himself.
In order to do this, it was necessary for him to pass 'Lena's room,
the door of which was ajar. She was awake, and hearing his step,
thought it was Mrs. Aldergrass, and called to her. A thrill of
exquisite delight ran through his frame at the sound of her voice,
and for an instant he debated the propriety of going to her at once.
A second call decided him, and in a moment he was at her bedside,
clasping her in his arms, and exclaiming, "My precious 'Lena! My
_daughter_! Has nothing ever told you that I am your father, the
husband of your angel mother, who lives again in her child--_my_
For a moment 'Lena's brain grew dizzy, and she had well-nigh fainted,
when the sound of Mr. Graham's voice brought her back to
consciousness. Pressing his lips to her white brow, he said, "Speak
to me my daughter. Say that you receive me as your father for such I
With lightning rapidity 'Lena's thoughts traversed the past, whose
dark mystery was now made plain, and as the thought that it might be
so--that it was so--flashed upon her, she clasped her hands together,
exclaiming, "My father! Is it true? You are not deceiving me?"
"Deceive you, darling?--no," said he. "I am your father, and Helena
Nichols was my wife."
"Why then did you leave her? Why have you so long left me
unacknowledged?" asked 'Lena.
Mr. Graham groaned bitterly. The hardest part was yet to come, but
he met it manfully, telling her the whole story, sparing not himself
in the least, and ending by asking if, after all this, she could
forgive and love him as her father.
Raising herself in bed, 'Lena wound her arms around his neck, and
laying her face against his, wept like a little child. He felt that
he was sufficiently answered, and holding her closer to his bosom, he
pushed back the clustering curls, kissing her again and again, while
he said aloud, "I have your answer, dearest one; we will never be
So absorbed was he in his newly-recovered treasure, that he did not
observe the fiery eye, the glittering teeth, and clenched first of
Durward Bellmont, who had returned from his walk, and who, in coming
up to his, room, had recognized the tones of his father's voice.
Recoiling backward a step or two, he was just in time to see 'Lena as
she threw herself into Mr. Graham's, arms--in time to hear the tender
words of endearment lavished upon her by his father. Staggering
backward, he caught at the banister to keep from falling, while a
moan of anguish came from his ashen lips. Alone in his room, he grew
calmer, though his heart still quivered with unutterable agony as he
strode up and down the room, exclaiming, as he had once done before,
"I would far rather see her dead than thus--my lost, lost 'Lena!"
Then, in the deep bitterness of his spirit, he cursed his father,
whom he believed to be far more guilty than she. "I cannot meet
him," thought he; "there is murder at my heart, and I must away ere
he knows of my presence."
Suiting the action to the word, he hastened down the stairs, glancing
back once, and seeing 'Lena reclining upon his father's arm, while
her eyes were raised to his with a sweet, confiding smile, which told
of perfect happiness.
"Thank God that I am unarmed, else he could not live," thought he,
hurrying into the bar-room, where he placed in Uncle Timothy's hands
double the sum due for himself and 'Lena, and then, without a word of
explanation, he walked away.
He was a good pedestrian, and preferring solitude in his present
state of feeling, he determined to go on foot to Canandaigua, a
distance of little more than a dozen miles. Meantime, Mr. Graham was
learning from 'Lena the cause of her being there, and though she, as
far as possible, softened the fact of his having been accessory to
her misfortunes, he felt it none the less keenly, and would
frequently interrupt her with the exclamation that it was the result
of his cowardice--his despicable habit of secrecy. When she spoke of
the curl which his wife had burned, he seemed deeply affected,
groaning aloud as he hid his face in his hands,
"And _she_ found it--she burned it," said he; "and it was all I had
left of my Helena. I cut it from her head on the morning of my
departure, when she lay sleeping, little dreaming of my cruel
desertion. But," he added, "I can bear it better now that I have
you, her living image, for what she was when last I saw her, you are
Their conversation then turned upon Durward, and with the tact he so
well knew how to employ, Mr. Graham drew from his blushing daughter a
confession of the love she bore him.
"He is worthy of you," said he, while 'Lena, without seeming to heed
the remark, said, "I have not seen him yet, but I am expecting him
every moment, for he was to visit me this morning."
At this juncture Mrs. Aldergrass, who had been at one of her
neighbors', came in, appearing greatly surprised at the sight of the
stranger, whom 'Lena quietly introduced as "her father," while Mr.
Graham colored painfully as Mrs. Aldergrass, curtsying very low,
hoped _Mr. Rivers_ was well!
"Let it go so," whispered 'Lena, as she saw her father about to speak.
Mr. Graham complied, and then observing how anxiously his daughter's
eyes sought the doorway, whenever a footstep was heard, he asked Mrs.
Aldergrass for Mr. Bellmont, saying they would like to see him, if he
Quickly going downstairs, Mrs. Aldergrass soon came back, announcing
that "he'd paid his bill and gone off."
"Gone!" said Mr. Graham. "There must be some mistake. I will go
down and inquire."
With his hand in his pocket grasping the purse containing the gold,
Uncle Timothy told all he knew, adding, that "'twan't noways likely
but he'd come back agin, for he'd left things in his room to the
vally of five or six dollars."
Upon reflection, Mr. Graham concluded so, too, and returning to
'Lena, he sat by her all day, soothing her with assurances that
Durward would surely come back, as there was no possible reason for
his leaving them so abruptly. As the day wore away and the night
came on he seemed less sure, while even Uncle Timothy began to
fidget, and when in the evening a young pettifogger, who had recently
hung out his shingle on Laurel Hill, came in, he asked him, in a low
tone, "if, under the present governor, they _hung_ folks on
circumstantial evidence alone."
"Unquestionably, for that is sometimes the best kind of evidence,"
answered the sprig of the law, taking out some little ivory tablets
and making a charge against Uncle Timothy for professional advice!
"But if one of my boarders, who has lots of money, goes off in broad
daylight and is never heard of agin, would that be any sign he was
murdered--by the landlord?" continued Uncle Timothy, beginning to
think there might be a worse law than the Maine liquor law.
"That depends upon the previous character of the landlord," answered
the lawyer, making another entry, while Uncle Timothy, brightening
up, exclaimed, "I shall stand the racket, then, for my character is
In the morning Mr. Graham announced his intention of going in quest
of Durward, and with a magnanimity quite praiseworthy, Uncle Timothy
offered his _hoss_ and wagon "for nothin', provided Mr. Graham would
leave his watch as a guaranty against _his_ runnin' off!"
Just as Mr. Graham was about to start, a horseman rode up, saying he
had come from Canandaigua at the request of a Mr. Bellmont, who
wished him to bring letters for Mr. Graham and Miss Rivers.
"And where is Mr. Bellmont?" asked Mr. Graham, to which the man
replied, that he took the six o'clock train the night before, saying,
further, that his manner was so strange as to induce a suspicion of
insanity on the part of those who saw him.
Taking the package, Mr. Graham repaired to 'Lena's room, giving her
her letter, and then reading his, which was full of bitterness,
denouncing him as a villain and cautioning him, as he valued his
life, never again to cross the track of his outraged step-son.
"You have robbed me," he wrote, "of all I hold most dear, and while I
do not censure her the less, I blame you the more, for you are older
in experience, older in years, and ten-fold older in sin, and I know
you must have used every art your foul nature could suggest, ere you
won my lost 'Lena from the path of rectitude."
In the utmost astonishment Mr. Graham looked up at 'Lena, who had
fainted. It was long ere she returned to consciousness, and then her
fainting fit was followed by another more severe, if possible, than
the first, while in speechless agony Mr. Graham hung over her.
"I killed the mother, and now I am killing the child," thought he.
But at last 'Lena seemed better, and taking from the pillow the
crumpled note, she passed it toward her father, bidding him read it.
It was as follows;
"MY LOST 'LENA: By this title it seems appropriate for me to call
you, for you are more surely lost to me than you would be were this
summer sun shining upon your grave. And, 'Lena, believe me when I
say I would rather, far rather, see you dead than the guilty thing
you are, for then your memory would be to me as a holy, blessed
influence, leading me on to a better world, where I could hope to
greet you as my spirit bride. But now, alas! how dark the cloud
which shrouds you from my sight.
"Oh, 'Lena, 'Lena, how could you deceive me thus, when I thought you
so pure and innocent, when even now, I would willingly lay down my
life could that save you from ruin.
"Do you ask what I mean? I have only to refer you to what this
morning took place between you and the vile man I once called father,
and whom I believed to be the soul of truth and honor. With a heart
full of tenderness toward you, I was hastening to your side, when a
scene met my view which stilled the beatings of my pulse and curdled
the very blood in my veins, I saw you throw your arms around _his_
neck--the husband of _my_ mother. I saw you lay your head upon his
bosom. I heard him as he called you _dearest_, and said you would
never be parted again!
"You know all that has passed heretofore, and can you wonder that my
worst fears are now confirmed? God knows how I struggled against
those doubts, which were nearly removed, when, by the evidence of my
own eyesight, uncertainty was made sure.
"And now, my once loved, but erring 'Lena, farewell. I am going
away--whither, I know not, care not, so that I never hear your name
coupled with disgrace. Another reason why I go, is that the hot
blood of the south burns too fiercely in my veins to suffer me to
meet your destroyer and not raise my hand against him. When this
reaches you, I shall be far away. But what matters it to you? And
yet, 'Lena, there will come a time when you'll remember one who, had
you remained true to yourself, would have devoted his life to make
you happy, for I know I am not indifferent to you. I have lead it in
your speaking eye, and in the childlike confidence with which you
would yield to _me_ when no one else could control your wild ravings.
"But enough of this. Time hastens, and I must say farewell--farewell
forever--my _lost, lost_ 'Lena!
Gradually as Mr. Graham read, he felt a glow of indignation at
Durward's hastiness. "Rash boy! he might at least have spoken with
me," said he, as he finished the letter, but 'Lena would hear no word
of censure against him. She did not blame him. She saw it all,
understood it all, and as she recalled the contents of his letter,
her own heart sadly echoed, "_lost forever_."
As well as he was able, Mr. Graham tried to comfort her, but in spite
of his endeavors, there was still at her heart the same dull, heavy
pain, and most anxiously Mr. Graham watched her, waiting impatiently
for the time when she would be able to start for home, as he hoped a
change of place and scene would do much toward restoring both her
health and spirits. Soon after his arrival at Laurel Hill, Mr.
Graham had written to Mr. Livingstone, telling him what he had before
told his wife, and adding, "Of course, my _daughter's_ home will in
future be with me, at Woodlawn, where I shall be happy to see
yourself and family at any time."
This part of the letter he showed to 'Lena, who, after reading it,
seemed for a long time absorbed in thought.
"What is it, darling? Of what are you thinking?" Mr. Graham asked,
at length, and 'Lena, taking the hand which he had laid gently upon
her forehead, replied, "I am thinking of poor grandmother. She is
not happy, now, at Maple Grove. She will be more unhappy should I
leave her, and if you please, I would rather stay there with her. I
can see you every day."
"Do you suppose me cruel enough to separate you from your
grandmother?" interrupted Mr. Graham. "No, no, I am not quite so bad
as that. Woodlawn is large--there are rooms enough--and grandma
shall have her choice, provided it is a reasonable one."
"And your wife--Mrs. Graham? What will she say?" timidly inquired
'Lena, involuntarily shrinking from the very thought of coming in
contact with the little lady who had so recently come up before her
in the new and formidable aspect of _stepmother_!
Mr. Graham did not know himself what she would say, neither did he
care. The fault of his youth once confessed, he felt himself a new
man, able to cope with almost anything, and if in the future his wife
objected to what he knew to be right, it would do her no good, for
henceforth he was to rule his own house. Some such thoughts passed
through his mind, but it would not be proper, he knew, to express
himself thus to 'Lena, so he laughingly replied, "Oh, we'll fix that,
At the time he wrote to Mr. Livingstone, he had also sent a letter to
his wife, announcing his safe return from Europe, and saying that he
should be at home as soon as 'Lena's health would admit of her
traveling. Not wishing to alarm her unnecessarily, he merely said of
Durward, that he had found him at Laurel Hill. To this letter Mrs.
Graham replied immediately, and with a far better grace than her
husband had expected. Very frankly she confessed the unkind part she
had acted toward 'Lena, and while she said she was sorry, she also
spoke of the reaction which had taken place in the minds of Lena's
friends, who, she said, would gladly welcome her back,
The continued absence of Durward was now the only drawback to 'Lena's
happiness, and with a comparatively light heart, she began to
anticipate her journey home. Most liberally did Mr. Graham pay for
both himself and 'Lena, and Uncle Timothy, as he counted the shining
coin, dropping it upon the table to make sure it was not _bogus_,
felt quite reconciled to his recent loss of fifty dollars. Jerry,
the driver, was also generously rewarded for his kindness to the
stranger-girl, and just before he left, Mr. Graham offered to make
him his chief overseer, if he would accompany him to Kentucky.
"You are just the man I want," said he, "and I know you'll like it.
What do you say?"
For the sake of occasionally seeing 'Lena, whom he considered as
something more than mortal, Jerry would gladly have gone, but he was
a staunch abolitionist, dyed in the wool, and scratching his head, he
replied, "I'm obleeged to you, but I b'lieve I'd rather drive
_hosses_ than _niggers_!"
"Mebby you could run one on 'em off, and so make a little sumthin',"
slyly whispered Uncle Timothy, his eyes always on the main chance,
but it was no part of Jerry's creed to make anything, and as 'Lena at
that moment appeared, he beat a precipitate retreat, going out behind
the church, where he watched the departure of his southern friends,
saying afterward, to Mrs. Aldergrass, who chided him for his conduct,
that "he never could bid nobody good-bye, he was so darned
EXCITEMENT AT MAPLE GROVE.
"'Lena been gone four weeks and father never stirred a peg after her!
That is smart, I must say. Why didn't you let me know it before!"
exclaimed John Jr., as he one morning unexpectedly made his
appearance at Maple grove.
During his absence Carrie had been his only correspondent, and for
some reason or other she delayed telling him of 'Lena's flight until
quite recently. Instantly forgetting his resolution of not returning
for a year, he came home with headlong haste, determining to start
immediately after his cousin.
"I reckon if you knew all that has been said about her, you wouldn't
feel quite so anxious to get her back," said Carrie. "For my part, I
feel quite relieved at her absence."
"Shut up your head," roared John 'Jr. "'Lena is no more guilty than
_you_. By George, I most cried when I heard how nobly she worked to
save Anna from old Baldhead. And this is her reward! Gracious
Peter! I sometimes wish there wasn't a woman in the world!"
"If they'd all marry you, there wouldn't be long!" retorted Carrie.
"You've said it now, haven't you?" answered John Jr., while his
father suggested that they stop quarreling, adding, as an apology for
his own neglect, that Durward had gone after 'Lena, who was probably
at Mr. Everett's, and that he himself had advertised in all the
"Just like Bellmont! He's a fine fellow and deserves 'Lena, if
anybody does," exclaimed John Jr., while Carrie chimed in, "Pshaw!
I've no idea he's gone for her. Why, they've hardly spoken for
several months, and besides that, Mrs. Graham will never suffer him
to marry one of so low origin."
"The deary me!" said John Jr., mimicking his sister's manner, "how
much lower is her origin than yours?"
Carrie's reply was prevented by the appearance of her grandmother,
who, hearing that John Jr. was there, had hobbled in to see him.
Perfectly rational on all other subjects, Mrs. Nichols still
persisted in saying of 'Lena, that she had killed her, and now, when
her first greeting with John Jr. was over, she whispered in his ear,
"Have they told you 'Lena was dead? She is--I killed her--it says so
here," and she handed him the almost worn-out note which she
constantly carried with her. Rough as he seemed at times, there was
in John Jr.'s nature many a tender spot, and when he saw the look of
childish imbecility on his grandmother's face, he pressed his strong
arm around her, and a tear actually dropped upon her gray hair as he
told her 'Lena was not dead--he was going to find her and bring her
home. At that moment old Caesar, who had been to the post-office,
returned, bringing Mr. Graham's letter, which had just arrived.
"That's Mr. Graham's handwriting," said Carrie; glancing at the
superscription. "Perhaps _he_ knows something of 'Lena!" and she
looked meaningly at her mother, who, with a peculiar twist of her
mouth, replied, "Very likely."
"You are right. He _does_ know something of her," said Mr.
Livingstone, as he finished reading the letter. "She is with him at
a little village called Laurel Hill, somewhere in New York."
"There! I told you so. Poor Mrs. Graham. It will kill her. I must
go and see her immediately," exclaimed Mrs. Livingstone, settling
herself back quite composedly in her chair, while Carrie, turning to
her brother, asked "what he thought of 'Lena now."
"Just what I always did," he replied. "There's fraud somewhere.
Will you let me see that, sir?" advancing toward his father, who,
placing the letter in his hand, walked to the window to hide the
varied emotions of his face.
Rapidly John Jr. perused it, comprehending the whole then, when it
was finished, he seized his hat, and throwing it up in the air,
shouted, "Hurrah! Hurrah for _Miss 'Lena Rivers Graham_, daughter of
the Honorable Harry Rivers Graham. I was never so glad in my life.
Hurrah!" and again the hat went up, upsetting in its descent a costly
vase, the fragments of which followed in the direction of the hat, as
the young man capered about the room, perfectly insane with joy.
"Is the boy crazy?" asked Mrs. Livingstone, catching him by the coat
as he passed her, while Carrie attempted to snatch the letter from
"Crazy?--yes," said he. "Who do you think 'Lena's father is? No
less a person than Mr. Graham himself. Now taunt her again, Cad,
with her low origin, if you like. She isn't coming here to live any
more. She's going to Woodlawn. She'll marry Durward, while you'll
be a cross, dried-up old maid, eh, Cad?" and he chucked her under the
chin, while she began to cry, bidding him let her alone.
"What do you mean?" interposed Mrs. Livingstone, trembling lest it
might be true.
"I will read the letter and you can judge for yourself," replied John.
Both Carrie and her mother were too much astonished to utter a
syllable, while, in their hearts, each hoped it would prove untrue.
Bending forward, grandma had listened eagerly, her dim eye lighting
up as she occasionally caught the meaning of what she heard; but she
could not understand it at once, and turning to her son, she said,
"What is it, John? what does it mean?"
As well as they could, Mr. Livingstone and John Jr. explained it to
her, and when at length she comprehended it, in her own peculiar way
she exclaimed, "Thank God that 'Leny is a lady, at last--as good as
the biggest on 'em. Oh, I wish Helleny had lived to know who her
husband was. Poor critter! Mebby he'll give me money to go back and
see the old place, once more, afore I die."
"If he don't I will," said Mr. Livingstone, upon which his wife, who
had not spoken before, wondered "where he'd get it."
By this time Carrie had comforted herself with the assurance that as
'Lena was now Durward's sister, he would not, of course, marry her,
and determining to make the best of it, she replied to her brother,
who rallied her on her crestfallen looks, that he was greatly
mistaken, for "she was as pleased as any one at 'Lena's good fortune,
but it did not follow that she must make a fool of herself, as some
The closing part of this remark was lost on John Jr., who had left
the room. In the first excitement, he had thought "how glad Nellie
will be," and acting, as he generally did, upon impulse, he now
ordered his horse, and dashing off at full speed, as usual, surprised
Nellie, first, with his sudden appearance, second, with his
announcement of 'Lena's parentage, and third, by an offer of himself!
"It's your destiny," said he, "and it's of no use to resist. What
did poor little Meb die for, if it wasn't to make room for you. So
you may as well say yes first as last. I'm odd, I know, but you can
fix me over. I'll do exactly what you wish me to. Say yes, Nellie,
won't you ?"
And Nellie did say yes, wondering, the while, it ever before woman
had such wooing. We think not, for never was there another John Jr.
"I have had happiness enough for one day," said he, kissing her
blushing cheek and hurrying away.
As if every hitherto neglected duty were now suddenly remembered, he
went straight from Mr. Douglass's to the marble factory, where he
ordered a costly stone for the little grave on the sunny slope, as
yet unmarked save by the tall grass and rank weeds which grew above
"What inscription will you have?" asked the engraver. John Jr.
thought for a moment, and then replied; "Simply 'Mabel.' Nothing
more or less; that tells the whole story," and involuntarily
murmuring to himself, "Poor little Meb, I wish she knew how happy I
am," he started for home, where he was somewhat surprised to find
She had also received a letter from her husband, and deeming secrecy
no longer advisable, had come over to Maple Grove, where, to her
great satisfaction, she found that the news had preceded her.
Feeling sure that Mrs. Graham must feel greatly annoyed, both Carrie
and her mother began, at first, to act the part of consolers, telling
her it might not be true, after all, for perhaps it was a ruse of Mr.
Graham's to cover some deep-laid, scheme. But for once in her life
Mrs. Graham did well, and to their astonishment, replied, "Oh, I hope
not, for you do not know how I long for the society of a daughter,
and as Mr. Graham's child I shall gladly welcome 'Lena home, trying,
if possible, to overlook the vulgarity of her family friends!"
Though wincing terribly, neither Mrs. Livingstone nor her daughter
were to be outgeneraled. If Mrs. Graham could so soon change her
tactics, so could they, and for the next half hour they lauded 'Lena
to the skies. They had always liked her--particularly Mrs.
Livingstone--who said, "If allowed to speak my mind, Mrs. Graham, I
must say that I have felt a good deal pained by those reports which
you put in circulation."
"_I_ put reports in circulation!" retorted Mrs. Graham. "What do you
mean? It was yourself, madam, as I can prove by the whole
The war of words was growing sharper and more personal, when John
Jr.'s appearance put an end to it, and the two ladies, thinking they
might as well be friends as enemies, introduced another topic of
conversation, soon after which Mrs. Graham took her leave. Pausing
in the doorway, she said, "Would it afford you any gratification to
be at Woodlawn when 'Lena arrives?"
Knowing that, under the circumstances, it would look better, Mrs.
Livingstone said "yes," while Carrie, thinking Durward would be
there, made a similar reply, saying "she was exceedingly anxious to
see her cousin."
"Very well. I will let you know when I expect her," said Mrs.
Graham, curtsying herself from the room.
"Spell _Toady_, Cad," whispered John Jr., and with more than her
usual quickness, Carrie replied, by doing as he desired.
"That'll do," said he, as he walked off to the back yard, where he
found the younger portion of the blacks engaged in a rather novel
employment for them.
The news of 'Lena's good fortune had reached the kitchen, causing
much excitement, for she was a favorite there.
"'Clar for't," said Aunt Milly, "we orto have a bonfire. It won't
hurt nothin' on the brick pavement."
Accordingly, as it was now dark, the children were set at work
gathering blocks, chips, sticks, dried twigs, and leaves, and by the
time John Jr. appeared, they had collected quite a pile. Not knowing
how he would like it, they all took to their heels, except Thomas
Jefferson, who, having some of his mother's spirit, stood his ground,
replying, when asked what they were about, that they were "gwine to
celebrate Miss 'Lena." Taking in the whole fun at once, John Jr.
called out, "Good! come back here, you scapegraces."
Scarcely had he uttered these words, when from behind the lye-leach,
the smoke-house and the trees, emerged the little darkies, their eyes
and ivories shining with the expected frolic. Taught by John Jr.,
they hurrahed at the top of their voices when the flames burst up,
and one little fellow, not yet able to talk plain, made his bare,
shining legs fly like drumsticks as he shouted, "Huyah for Miss 'Leny
"Bellmont, too, say," whispered John Jr., as he saw Carrie on the
"_Bellmont, too, say_," yelled the youngster, leaping so high as to
lose his balance.
Rolling over the green-sward like a ball, he landed at the feet of
Carrie, who, spurning him as she would a toad, went back to the
parlor, where for more than an hour she cried from pure vexation.
ARRIVAL AT WOODLAWN.
It was a warm September night at Woodlawn. The windows were open,
and through the richly-wrought curtains the balmy air of evening was
stealing, mingling its delicious perfume of flowers without with the
odor of those which drooped from the many costly vases which adorned
the handsome parlors. Lamps were burning, casting a mellow light
over the gorgeous furniture, while in robes of snowy white the
mistress of the mansion flitted from room to room, a little nervous,
a little fidgety, and, without meaning to be so, a little cross. For
more than two hours she had waited for her husband, delaying the
supper, which the cook, quite as anxious as herself, pronounced
spoiled by the delay.
According to promise the party from Maple Grove had arrived, with the
exception of John Jr., who had generously remained with his
grandmother, she having been purposely omitted in the invitation.
From the first, Mrs. Graham had decided that Mrs. Nichols should
never live at Woodlawn, and she thought it proper to have it
understood at once. Accordingly, as she was conducting Mrs.
Livingstone and Carrie to 'Lena's room, she casually remarked, "I've
made no provision for Mrs. Nichols, except as an occasional visitor,
for of course she will remain with her son. She is undoubtedly much
attached to your family, and will be happier there!"
"_This_ 'Lena's!" interrupted Carrie, ere her mother had time to
reply. "It's the very best chamber in the house--Brussels carpets,
marble and rosewood furniture, damask curtains. Why, she'll hardly
know how to act," she continued, half unconsciously, as she gazed
around the elegant apartment, which, with one of her unaccountable
freaks, Mrs. Graham had fitted up with the utmost taste.
"Yes, this is Lena's," said Mrs. Graham, complacently. "Will it
compare at all with her chamber at Maple Grove? I do not wish it to
Carrie bit her lip, while her mother very coolly replied, "Ye-es, on
the whole _quite_ as good, perhaps better, as some of the furniture
"Have I told you," continued Mrs. Graham, bent on tormenting
them,--"have I told you that we are to spend the winter in New
Orleans, where 'Lena will of course be the reigning belle? You ought
to be there, dear," laying her hand on Carrie's shoulder. "It would
be so gratifying to you to witness the sensation she will create!"
"Spiteful old thing--she tries to insult us," thought Carrie, her
heart swelling with bitterness toward the ever-hated 'Lena, whose
future life seemed so bright and joyous.
The sound of wheels was now heard, and the ladies reached the lower
hall just as the carriage, which had been sent to the station at
Midway, drove up at a side door. Carrie's first thought was for
Durward, and shading her eyes with her hand, she looked anxiously
out. But only Mr. Graham alighted, gently lifting out his daughter,
who was still an invalid.
"Mighty careful of her," thought Mrs. Livingstone, as in his arms he
bore her up the marble steps.
Depositing her in their midst, and placing his arm around her, he
said, turning to his wife, "Lucy, this is my daughter. Will you
receive and love her as such, for my sake?"
In a moment 'Lena's soft, white hand lay in the fat, chubby one of
Mrs. Graham, who kissed her pale cheek, calling her "'Lena," and
saying "she was welcome to Woodlawn."
Mrs. Livingstone and Carrie now pressed forward, overwhelming her
with caresses, telling her how badly they had felt at her absence,
chiding her for running away, calling her a _naughty puss_, and
perfectly bewildering her with their new mode of conduct. Mr.
Livingstone's turn came next, but he neither kissed nor caressed her,
for that was not in keeping with his nature, but very, very tenderly
he looked into her eyes, as he said, "You know, 'Lena, that I am
glad--most glad for you."
Unostentatious as was this greeting, 'Lena felt that there was more
sincerity in it than all that had gone before, and the tears gushed
forth involuntarily. Mentally styling her, the one "a baby," and the
other "a fool," Mrs. Livingstone and Carrie returned to the parlor,
while Mrs. Graham, calling a servant, bade her show 'Lena to her room.
"Hadn't you better go up and assist your cousin," whispered Mrs.
Livingstone to Carrie, who forthwith departed, knocking at the door,
an act of politeness she had never before thought it necessary to
offer 'Lena. But she was an _heiress_, now, fully, yes, more than
equal, and that made a vast difference.
"I came to see if I could render you any service," she said in answer
to 'Lena's look of inquiry.
"No I thank you," returned 'Lena, beginning to get an inkling of the
truth. "You know I'm accustomed to waiting upon myself, and if I
want anything, Drusa can assist me. I've only to change my soiled
dress and smooth my hair," she continued, as she shook out her long
and now rather rough tresses.
"What handsome hair you've got," said Carrie, taking one of the curls
in her hand. "I'd forgotten it was so beautiful. Hasn't it improved
during your absence?"
"A course of fever is not usually very beneficial to one's hair, I
believe," answered 'Lena, as she proceeded to brush and arrange her
wavy locks, which really had lost some of their luster.
Foiled in her attempt at toadyism, Carrie took another tack. Looking
'Lena in the face, she said, ^What is it? I can't make it out,
but--but somehow you've changed, you don't look so--so----"
"So _well_ you would say, I suppose," returned 'Lena, laughingly,
"I've grown thin, but I hope to improve by and by."
Drusa glanced at the two girls as they stood side by side, and her
large eyes sparkled as she thought her young mistress "a heap the
best lookin' _now_."
By this time Carrie had thought to ask for Durward. Instantly 'Lena
turned whiter, if possible, than she was before, and in an unsteady
voice she replied, that "she did not know."
"Not know!" repeated Carrie, her own countenance brightening visibly.
"Haven't you seen him? Wasn't he at that funny, out-of-the-way
place, where you were?"
"Yes, but he left before I saw him," returned 'Lena, her manner
plainly indicating that there was something wrong.
Carrie's spirits rose. There was a chance for her, and on their way
downstairs she laughed and chatted so familiarly, that 'Lena wondered
if it could be the same haughty girl who had seldom spoken to her
except to repulse or command her. The supper-bell rang just as they
reached the parlor, and Mr. Graham, taking 'Lena on his arm, led the
way to the dining-room, where the entire silver tea-set had been
brought out, in honor of the occasion.
"Hasn't 'Lena changed, mother?" said Carrie, feeling hateful, and
knowing no better way of showing it "Hasn't her sickness changed her?"
"It has made her grow _old_; that's all the difference I perceive,"
returned Mrs. Livingstone, satisfied that she'd said the thing which
she knew would most annoy herself.
"How old are you, dear?" asked Mrs. Graham, leaning across the table.
"Eighteen," was 'Lena's answer, to which Mrs. Graham replied, "I
thought so. Three years younger than Carrie, I believe."
"Two, only two," interrupted Mrs. Livingstone, while Carrie
exclaimed, "Horrors! How old do you take me to be?"
Adroitly changing the conversation, Mrs. Graham made no reply, and
soon after they rose from the table. Scarcely had they returned to
the parlor, when John Jr. was announced. "He had," he said, "got his
grandmother to sleep and put her to bed, and now he had come to pay
his respects to _Miss Graham_!"
Catching her in his arms, he exclaimed, "Little girl! I'm as much
delighted with your good fortune as I should b had it happened to
myself. But where is Bellmont?" he continued, looking about the room.
Mr. Graham replied she that was was not there.
"Not here?" repeated John Jr. "What have you done with him, 'Lena?"
Lifting her eyes, full of tears, to her cousin's face, 'Lena said,
softly, "Please don't talk about it now."
"There's something wrong," thought John Jr. "I'll bet I'll have to
shoot that dog yet."
'Lena longed to pour out her troubles to some one, and knowing she
could confide in John Jr., she soon found an opportunity of
whispering to him, "Come tomorrow, and I will tell you all about it."
Between ten and eleven the company departed, Mrs. Livingstone and
Carrie taking a most affectionate leave of 'Lena, urging her not to
fail of coming over the next day, as they should be expecting her.
The ludicrous expression of John Jr.'s face was a sufficient
interpretation of his thoughts, as whispering aside to 'Lena, he
said, "I can't do it justice if I try!"
The next morning Mr. Graham got out his carriage to carry 'Lena to
Maple Grove, asking his wife to accompany them. But she excused
herself, on the plea of a headache, and they set off without her.
The meeting between 'Lena and her grandmother was affecting, and
Carrie, in order to sustain the character she had assumed, walked to
the window, to hide her emotions, probably--at least John Jr. thought
so, for with the utmost gravity he passed her his silk pocket
handkerchief! When the first transports of her interview with 'Lena
were over, Mrs. Nichols fastened herself upon Mr. Graham, while John
Jr. invited 'Lena to the garden, where he claimed from her the
promised story, which she told him unreservedly.
"Oh, that's nothing, compared with my experience," said John Jr.,
plucking at the rich, purple grapes which hung in heavy clusters
above his head. "That's easily settled. I'll go after Durward
myself, and bring him back, either dead or alive--the latter if
possible, the former if necessary. So cheer up. I've faith to
believe that you and Durward will be married about the same time that
Nellie and I are. We are engaged--did I tell you?"
Involuntarily 'Lena's eyes wandered in the direction of the sunny
slope and the little grave, as yet but nine months made.
"I know what you think," said John Jr. rather testily, "but hang me
if I can help it. Meb was never intended for me, except by mother.
I suppose there is in the world somebody for whom she was made, but
it wasn't I, and that's the reason she died. I am sorry as anybody,
and every night in my life I think of poor Meb, who loved me so well,
and who met with so poor a return. I've bought her some gravestones,
though," he continued, as if that were an ample atonement for the
While they were thus occupied, Mr. Graham was discussing with Mrs.
Nichols the propriety of her removing to Woodlawn.
"I shan't live long to trouble anybody," said she when asked if she
would like to go, "and I'm nothin' without 'Leny."
So it was arranged that she should go with him, and when 'Lena
returned to the house, she found her grandmother in her chamber,
packing up, preparatory to her departure.
"We'll have to come agin," said she, "for I've as much as two loads."
"Don't take them," interposed 'Lena. "You won't need them, and
nothing will harm them here."
After a little, grandma was persuaded, and her last charge to Mrs.
Livingstone and Carrie was, "that they keep the dum niggers from her
Habit with Mrs. Nichols was everything. She had lived at Maple Grove
for years, and every niche and corner of her room she understood.
She knew the blacks and they knew her, and ere she was half-way to
Woodlawn, she began to wish she had not started. Politely, but
coldly, Mrs. Graham received her, saying "I thought, perhaps, you
would return with them to _spend the day_!" laying great emphasis on
the last words, as if that, of course, was to be the limit of her
visit Grandma understood it, and it strengthened her resolution of
not remaining long.
"Miss Graham don't want to be pestered with me," said she to 'Lena,
the first time they were alone, "and I don't mean that she shall be.
'Tilda is used to me, and she don't mind it now, so I shall go back
afore long. You can come to see me every day, and once in a while
I'll come here."
That afternoon a heavy rain came on, and Mrs. Graham remarked to Mrs.
Nichols that "she hoped she was not homesick, as there was every
probability of her being obliged to _stay over night_!" adding, by
way of comfort, that "she was going to Frankfort the next day to make
purchases for 'Lena, and would take her home."
Accordingly, the next morning Mrs. Livingstone was not very agreeably
surprised by the return of her mother-in-law, who, Mrs. Graham said,
"was so home-sick they couldn't keep her."
That night when Mrs. Graham, who was naturally generous, returned
from the city, she left at Maple Grove a large bundle for grandma,
consisting of dresses, aprons, caps, and the like, which she had
purchased as a sort or peace-offering, or reward, rather, for her
having decamped so quietly from Woodlawn. But the poor old lady did
not live to wear them. Both her mind and body were greatly impaired,
and for two or three years she had been failing gradually. There was
no particular disease, but a general breaking up of the springs of
life, and a few weeks after 'Lena's arrival at Woodlawn,, they made
another grave on the sunny slope, and Mabel no longer slept alone.
From place to place and from scene to scene Durward had hurried,
caring nothing except to forget, if possible, the past, and knowing
not where he was going, until he at last found himself in Richmond,
Virginia. This was his mother's birthplace, and as several of her
more distant relatives were still living here, he determined to stop
for awhile, hoping that new objects and new scenes would have some
power to rouse him from the lethargy into which he had fallen.
Constantly in terror lest he should hear of 'Lena's disgrace, which
he felt sure would be published to the world, he had, since his
departure from Laurel Hill, resolutely refrained from looking in a
newspaper, until one morning some weeks after his arrival at Richmond.
Entering a reading-room, he caught up the Cincinnati Gazette, and
after assuring himself by a hasty glance that it did not contain what
he so much dreaded to see, he sat down to read it, paying no
attention to the date, which was three or four weeks back.
Accidentally he cast his eye over the list of arrivals at the Burnet
House, seeing among them the names of "Mr. H. R. Graham, and Miss L.
R. Graham, Woodford county, Kentucky!"
"_Audacious_! How dare they be so bold!" he exclaimed, springing to
his feet and tearing the paper in fragments, which he scattered upon
"Considerable kind of uppish, 'pears to me," said a strange voice,
having in its tone the nasal twang peculiar to a certain class of
Looking up, Durward saw before him a young man in whose style of
dress and freckled face we at once recognize Joel Slocum. Wearying
of Cincinnati, as he had before done with Lexington, he had traveled
at last to Virginia. Remembering to have heard that his
grandmother's aunt had married, died, and left a daughter in
Richmond, he determined, if possible, to find some trace of her.
Accordingly, he had come on to that city, making it the theater of
his daguerrean operations. These alone not being sufficient to
support him, he had latterly turned his attention to _literary
pursuits_, being at present engaged in manufacturing a book after the
Sam Slick order, which, to use his own expression, "he expected would
have a thunderin' sale."
In order to sustain the new character which he had assumed, he came
every day to the reading-room, tumbling over books and papers,
generally carrying one of the former in his hand, affecting an utter
disregard of his personal appearance, daubing his fingers with ink,
wiping them on the pocket of his coat, and doing numerous other
things which he fancied would stamp him a distinguished person.
On the morning of which we have spoken, Joel's attention was
attracted toward Durward, whose daguerreotype he had seen at Maple
Grove, and though he did not recognize the original, he fancied he
might have met him before, and was about making his acquaintance,
when Durward's action drew from him the remark we have mentioned.
Thinking him to be some impertinent fellow, Durward paid him no
attention, and was about leaving, when, hitching his chair a little
nearer, Joel said, "Be you from Virginny?"
"From York state?"
"Mebby, then, you are from Kentucky?"
"Be you from Kentucky?"
"Do you know Mr. Graham's folks?"
"Yes," said Durward, trembling lest the next should be something
concerning his stepfather--but it was not.
Settling himself a little further back in the chair, Joel continued:
"Wall, I calkerlate that I'm some relation to Miss Graham. Be you
'quainted with her?"
Durward knew that a relationship with _Mrs_. Graham also implied a
relationship with himself, and feeling a little curious as well as
somewhat amused, he replied, "Related to Mrs. Graham! Pray how?"
"Why, you see," said Joel, "that my grandmarm's aunt--she was younger
than grandmarm, and was her aunt tew. Wall, she went off to Virginia
to teach music, and so married a nabob--know what that is, I s'pose;
she had one gal and died, and this gal was never heard from until I
took it into my head to look her up, and I've found out that she was
_Lucy Temple_. She married an Englishman, first--then a man from
South Carolina, who is now livin' in Kentucky, between Versailles and
"What was your grandmother's aunt's name?" asked Durward.
"Susan Howard," returned Joel. "The Howards were a stuck-up set,
grandmarm and all--not a bit like t'other side of the family. My
mother's name was Scovandyke----"
"And yours?" interrupted Durward.
"Is Joel Slocum, of Slocumville, Massachusetts, at your service,"
said the young man, rising up and going through a most wonderful bow,
which he always used on great occasions.
In a moment Durward knew who he was, and greatly amused, he said,
"Can you tell me, Mr. Slocum, what relation this Lucy Temple, your
great-great-aunt's daughter, would be to you?"
"My third cousin, of course," answered Joel. "I figgered that out
with a slate and pencil."
"And her son, if she had one?"
"Would be my fourth cousin; no great connection, to be sure--but
enough to brag on, if they happened to be smart!"
"Supposing I tell you what I am Lucy Temple's son?" said Durward, to
which Joel, not the least suspicious, replied, "Wall, s'posin' you
du, 'twon't make it so."
"But I _am_, really and truly," continued Durward. "Her first
husband was a Bellmont, and I am Durward Bellmont, your fourth
cousin, it seems."
"_Jehosiphat_! If this ain't curis," exclaimed Joel, grasping
Durward's hand. "How _do_ you du, and how is your marm. And do you
know Helleny Rivers?"
Durward's brow darkened as he replied in the affirmative, while Joel
continued: "We are from the same town, and used to think a sight of
each other, but when I seen her in Kentucky, I thought she'd got to
be mighty toppin'. Mebby, though, 'twas only my notion."
Durward did not answer, and after a little his companion said, "I
suppose you know I sometimes take pictures for a livin'. I'm goin'
to my office now, and if you'll come with me I'll take yourn for
nothin', bein' you're related."
Mechanically, and because he had nothing else to do, Durward followed
the young man to his "office," which was a dingy, cheerless apartment
in the fourth story of a crazy old building. On the table in the
center of the room were several likenesses, which he carelessly
examined. Coming at last to a larger and richer case, he opened it,
but instantly it dropped from his hand, while an exclamation of
surprise escaped his lips.
"What's the row, old feller," asked Joel, coming forward and picking
up the picture which Durward had recognized as 'Lena Rivers.
"How came you by it?" said Durward eagerly, and with a knowing wink,
Joel replied, "I know, and that's enough."
"But I must know, too. It is of the utmost importance that I know,"
said Durward, and after a moment's reflection, Joel answered "Wall,
I don't s'pose it'll do any hurt if I tell you. When I was a boy I
had a hankerin' for 'Leny, and I didn't get over it after I was
grown, either, so a year or two ago I thought I'd go to Kentuck and
see her. Knowin' how tickled she and Mrs. Nichols would be with a
picter of their old home in the mountains, I took it for 'em and
started. In Albany I went to see a family that used to live in
Slocumville. The woman was a gal with 'Leny's mother, and thought a
sight of her. Wall, in the chamber where they put me to sleep, was
an old portrait, which looked so much like 'Leny that in the mornin'
I asked whose it was, and if you b'lieve me, 'twas 'Leny's mother!
You know she married, or thought she married, a southern rascal, who
got her portrait taken and then run off, and the picter, which in its
day was an expensive one, was sold to pay up. A few years afterward,
Miss Rice, the woman I was tellin' you about, came acrost it, and
bought it for a little or nothin' to remember Helleny Nichols by.
Thinks to me, nothin' can please 'Leny better than a daguerreotype of
her mother, so I out with my apparatus and took it. But when I come
to see that they were as nigh alike as two peas, I hated to give it
up, for I thought it would be almost as good as lookin' at 'Leny. So
I kept it myself, but I don't want her to know it, for she'd be mad."
"Did you ever take a copy of this for any one?" asked Durward, a
faint light beginning to dawn upon him.
"What a feller to hang on," answered Joel, "but bein' I've started,
I'll go it and tell the hull. One morning when I was in Lexington, a
gentleman came in, calling himself Mr. Graham, and saying he wanted a
copy of an old mountain house which he had seen at Mr. Livingstone's.
Whilst I was gettin' it ready, he happened to come acrost this one,
and what is the queerest of all, he like to fainted away. I had to
throw water in his face and everything. Bimeby he cum to, and says
he, 'Where did you get that?' I told him all about it, and then,
layin' his head on the table, he groaned orfully, wipin' off the
thumpinest great drops of sweat and kissin' the picter as if he was
"'Mebby you knew Helleny Nichols?' says I.
"'Knew her, yes,' says he, jumpin' up and walkin' the room as fast.
"All to once he grew calm, just as though nothin' had happened, and
says he, 'I must have that or one jest like it.'
"At first I hesitated, for I felt kinder mean always about keepin'
it, and I didn't want 'Leny to know I'd got it. I told him so, and
he said nobody but himself should ever see it. So I took a smaller
one, leavin' off the lower part of the body, as the dress is
old-fashioned, you see. He was as tickled as a boy with a new top,
and actually forgot to take the other one of the mountain house.
Some months after, I came across him in Cincinnati. His wife was
with him, and I thought then that she looked like Aunt Nancy. Wall,
he went with me to my office, and said he wanted another
daguerreotype, as he'd lost the first one. Now I'm, pretty good at
figgerin', and I've thought that matter over until I've come to this
conclusion--_that man_--was--'Lena's father--the husband or something
of Helleny Nichols! But what ails you? Are you faintin', too," he
exclaimed, as he saw the death-like whiteness which had settled upon
Durward's face and around his mouth.
"Tell me more, everything you know," gasped Durward.
"I have told you all I know for certain," said Joel. "The rest is
only guess-work, but it looks plaguy reasonable. 'Leny's father,
I've heard was from South Car'lina----"
"So was Mr. Graham," said Durward, more to himself than to Joel, who
continued, "And he's your step-father, ain't he--the husband of Lucy
Temple, my cousin?"
Durward nodded, and as a customer just then came in, he arose to go,
telling Joel he would see him again. Alone in his room, he sat down
to think of the strange story he had heard. Gradually as he thought,
his mind went back to the time when Mr. Graham first came home from
Springfield. He was a little boy, then, five or six years of age,
but he now remembered many things calculated to prove what he
scarcely yet dared to hope. He recalled Mr. Graham's preparations to
return, when he was taken suddenly ill. He knew that immediately
atter his recovery he had gone northward. He remembered how sad he
had seemed after his return, neglecting to play with him as had been
his wont, and when to this he added Joel's story, together with the
singularity of his father's conduct towards 'Lena, he could not fail
to be convinced.
"She _is_ innocent, thank heaven! I see it all now. Fool that I was
to be so hasty," he exclaimed, his whole being seemed to undergo a
sudden change as the joyous conviction flashed upon him.
In his excitement he forgot his promise of again seeing Joel Slocum,
and ere the sun-setting he was far on his road home. Occasionally he
felt a lingering doubt, as he wondered what possible motive his
father could have had for concealment, but these wore away as the
distance between himself and Kentucky diminished. As the train
paused at one of the stations, he was greatly surprised at seeing
John Jr. among the crowd gathered at the depot.
"Livingstone, Livingstone, how came you here?" shouted Durward,
leaning from the open window.
The cars were already in motion, but at the risk of his life John Jr.
bounded upon the platform, and was soon seated by the side of Durward.
"You are a great one, ain't you?" said he. "Here I've been looking
for you all over Christendom, to tell you the news. You've got a new
sister. Did you know it?"
"'_Lena_! Is it true? _Is_ it 'Lena?" said Durward, and John
replied by relating the particulars as far as he knew them, and
ending by asking Durward if "he didn't think he was sold!"
"Don't talk," answered Durward. "I want to think, for I was never so
happy in my life."
"Nor I either," returned John Jr. "So if you please you needn't
speak to _me_, as I wish to think, too."
But John Jr. could not long keep still, he must tell his companion of
his engagement with Nellie--and he did, falling asleep soon after,
and leaving Durward to his own reflections.
We hope the reader does not expect us to describe the meeting between
Durward and 'Lena, for we have not the least, or, at the most, only a
faint idea of what took place. We only know that it occurred in the
summer-house at the foot of the garden, whither 'Lena had fled at the
first intimation of his arrival, and that on her return to the house,
after an interview of two whole hours, there were on her cheeks
traces of tears, which the expression of her face said were not tears
"How do you like my daughter?" asked Mr. Graham, mischievously, at
the same time laying his arm proudly about her neck.
"So well that I have asked her to become my wife, and she has
promised to do so, provided we obtain your consent," answered
Durward, himself throwing an arm around the blushing girl, who tried
to escape, but he would not let her, holding her fast until his
father's answer was given.
Then turning to Mrs. Graham, he said, "Now, mother, we will hear you."
Kind and affectionate as she tried to be toward 'Lena, Mrs. Graham
had not yet fully conquered her olden prejudice, and had the matter
been left wholly with herself, she would, perhaps, have chosen for
her son a bride in whose veins _no plebeian blood_ was flowing; but
she well knew that her objections would have no weight, and she
answered, that "she should not oppose him."
"Then it is settled," said he, "and four weeks from to-night I shall
claim 'Lena for my own."
"No, not so soon after grandma's death," 'Lena said, and Durward
"If grandma could speak, she would tell you not to wait!" but 'Lena
was decided, and the most she would promise was, that in the spring
she would think about it!
"Six months," said Durward, "I'll never wait so long!" but he forbore
pressing her further on the subject, knowing that he should have her
in the house with him, which would in a great measure relieve the
tedium of waiting.
During the autumn, his devotion to 'Lena furnished Carrie with a
subject for many ill-natured remarks concerning newly-engaged people.
"I declare," said she, one evening after the departure of Durward,
'Lena, and Nellie, who had been spending the day at Maple Grove, "I'm
perfectly disgusted, and if this is a specimen, I hope I shall never
"Don't give yourself a moment's uneasiness," retorted John Jr., "I've
not the least idea that such a calamity will ever befall you, and
years hence my grandchildren will read on some gravestone, 'Sacred to
the memory of Miss Caroline Livingstone, aged 70. In single
blessedness she lived--and in the same did die!'"
"You think you are cunning, don't you," returned Carrie, more angry
than she was willing to admit.
She had received the news of Durward's engagement much better than
could have been expected, and after a little she took to quoting and
cousining 'Lena, while John Jr. seldom let an opportunity pass of
hinting at the very recent date Of her admiration for Miss Graham.
Almost every day for several weeks after Durward's return, he looked
for a visit from Joel Slocum, who did not make his appearance until
some time toward the last of November. Then he came, claiming, and
_proving_, his relationship with Mrs. Graham, who was terribly
annoyed, and who, it was rumored, _hired_ him to leave!
During the winter, nothing of importance occurred, if we except the
fact that a part of Mabel's fortune, which was supposed to have been
lost, was found to be good, and that John Jr. one day unexpectedly
found himself to be the lawful heir of fifty thousand dollars. Upon
Mrs. Livingstone this circumstance produced a rather novel effect,
renewing, in its original force, all her old affection for Mabel, who
was now "our dear little Meb." Many were the comparisons drawn
between Mrs. John Jr. No. 1, and Mrs. John Jr. No. 2, that was to be,
the former being pronounced far more lady-like and accomplished than
the latter, who, during her frequent visits at Maple Grove,
continually startled her mother-in-law elect by her loud, ringing
laugh, for Nellie was very happy. Her influence, too, over John Jr.
became ere long, perceptible in his quiet, gentle manner, and his
abstinence from the rude speeches which heretofore had seemed a part
of his nature.
Mrs. Graham had proposed spending the winter in New Orleans, but to
this Durward objected. He wanted 'Lena all to himself, he said, and
as she seemed perfectly satisfied to remain where she was, the
project was given up, Mrs. Graham contenting herself with
anticipating the splendid entertainment she would give at the
wedding, which was to take place about the last of March. Toward the
first of January the preparations began, and if Carrie had never
before felt a pang of envy, she did now, when she saw the elegant
trousseau which Mr. Graham ordered for his daughter. But all such
feelings must be concealed, and almost every day she rode over to
Woodlawn, admiring this, going into ecstasies over that, and
patronizingly giving her advice on all subjects, while all the time
her heart was swelling with bitter disappointment. Having always
felt so sure of securing Durward, she had invariably treated other
gentlemen with such cool indifference that she was a favorite with
but few, and as she considered these few her inferiors, she had more
than once feared lest John Jr.'s prediction concerning the
_lettering_ on her tombstone should prove true!
"Anything but that," said she, dashing away her tears, as she thought
how 'Lena had supplanted her in the affections of the only person she
could ever love,
"Old Marster Atherton done want to see you in the parlor," said
Corinda, putting her head in at the door.
Since his unfortunate affair with Anna, the captain had avoided Maple
Grove, but feeling lonely at Sunnyside, he had come over this morning
to call. Finding Mrs. Livingstone absent, he had asked for Carrie,
who was so unusually gracious that he wondered he had never before
discovered how greatly superior to her sister she was! All his
favorite pieces were sung to him, and then, with the patience of a
martyr, the young lady seated herself at the backgammon board,
playing game after game, until she could scarcely tell her men from
his. On his way home the captain fell into a curious train of
reflections, while Carrie, when asked by Corinda, if "old marster was
done gone," sharply reprimanded the girl, telling her "it was very
impolite to call anybody _old_, particularly one so young as Captain
The next day the captain came again, and the next, and the next,
until at last his former intimacy at Maple Grove seemed to be
re-established. And all this time no one had an inkling of the true
state of things, not even John Jr., who never dreamed it possible for
his haughty sister, to grace Sunnyside as its mistress. "But
stranger things than that had happened and were happening every day,"
Carrie reasoned, as she sat alone in her room, revolving the
propriety of answering "Yes" to a note which the captain had that
morning placed in her hand at parting. She looked at herself in the
mirror. Her face was very fair, and as yet untouched by a single
mark or line. She thought of him, _bald_, _wrinkled_, _fat_ and
"I'll never do it," she exclaimed. "Better live single all my days."
At this moment, the carriage of Mrs. Graham drew up, and from it
alighted 'Lena, richly clad. The sight of her produced a reaction,
and Carrie thought again. Captain Atherton was generous to a fault.
He was able and willing to grant her slightest wish, and as his wife,
she could compete with, if not outdo, 'Lena in the splendor of her
surroundings. The pen was resumed, and Carrie wrote the words which
sealed her destiny for life. This done, nothing could move her, and
though her father entreated, her mother scolded, and John Jr.
_swore_, it made no difference. "She was old enough to choose for
herself," she said, "and she had done so."
When Mrs. Livingstone became convinced that her daughter was in
earnest, she gave up the contest, taking sides with her. Like
Durward, Captain Atherton was in a hurry, and it was decided that the
wedding should take place a week before the time appointed for that
of her cousin. Determining not to be outdone by Mrs. Graham, Mrs.
Livingstone launched forth on a large scale, and there commenced
between the two houses a species of rivalry extremely amusing to a
looker on. Did Mrs. Graham purchase for 'Lena a costly silk, Mrs.
Livingstone forthwith secured a piece of similar quality, but
different pattern, for Carrie. Did Mrs. Graham order forty dollars'
worth of confectionery, Mrs. Livingstone immediately increased her
order to fifty dollars. And when it was known that Mrs. Graham had
engaged a Louisville French cook at two dollars per day, Mrs.
Livingstone sent to Cincinnati, offering three for one!
Carrie had decided upon a tour to Europe, and the captain had given
his consent, when it was reported that Durward and 'Lena were also
intending to sail for Liverpool. In this dilemma there was no
alternative save a trip to California or the Sandwich Islands! The
former was chosen, Captain Atherton offering to defray Mrs.
Livingstone's expenses if she would accompany them. This plan Carrie
warmly seconded, for she knew her mother's presence would greatly
relieve her from the society of her husband, which was _not_ as
agreeable to her as it ought to have been. But Mr. Livingstone
refused to let his wife go, unless Anna came home and stayed with him
while she was gone.
He accordingly wrote to Anna, inviting her and Malcolm to be present
at Carrie's wedding, purposely omitting the name of the bridegroom;
and three days before the appointed time they came. It was dark when
they arrived, and as they were not expected that night, they entered
the house before any one was aware of their presence. John Jr.
chanced to be in the hall, and the moment he saw Anna, he caught her
in his arms, shouting so uproariously that his father and mother at
once hastened to the spot.
"Will you forgive me, father ?" Anna said, and Mr. Livingstone
replied by clasping her to his bosom, while he extended his hand to
"Where's Carrie?" Anna said, and John Jr. replied, "In the parlor,
with her future spouse. Shall I introduce you?"
So saying, he dragged her into the parlor, where she then recoiled in
terror as she saw Captain Atherton.
"Oh, Carrie!" she exclaimed. "It cannot be----that I see you again!"
she added, as she met her sister's warning look.
Another moment and they were in each other's arms weeping bitterly,
the one that her sister should thus throw herself away, and the
other, because she was wretched. It was but for an instant, however,
and then Carrie was herself again. Playfully presenting Anna to the
Captain, she said, "Ain't I good to take up with what you left!"
But no one smiled at this joke--the captain, least of all, and as
Carrie glanced from him to Malcolm, she felt that her sister had made
a happy choice. The next day 'Lena came, overjoyed to meet Anna, who
more than any one else, rejoiced in her good fortune.
"You deserve it all," she said, when they were alone, "and if Carrie
had one tithe of your happiness in store I should be satisfied."
But Carrie asked for no sympathy. "It was no one's business whom she
married," she said; and so one pleasant night in the early spring,
they decked her in her bridal robes, and then, white, cold, and
feelingless as a marble statue, she laid her hand in Captain
Atherton's, and took upon her the vows which made her his forever. A
few days after the ceremony, Carrie began to urge their immediate
departure for California.
"There was no need of further delay," she said. "No one cared to see
'Lena married. Weddings were stupid things, anyway, and her mother
could just as well go one time as another."
At first Mrs. Livingstone hesitated, but when Carrie burst into a
passionate fit of weeping, declaring "she'd kill herself if she had
to stay much longer at Sunnyside and be petted by _that old fool_,"
she consented, and one week from the day of the marriage they
started. In Carrie's eyes there was already a look of weary sadness,
which said that the bitter tears were constantly welling up, while on
her brow a shadow was resting, as if Sunnyside were a greater burden
than she could bear. Alas, for a union without love! It seldom
fails to end in misery, and thus poor Carrie found it. Her husband
was proud of her, and, had she permitted, would have loved her after
his fashion, but his affectionate advances were invariably repulsed,
until at last he treated her with a cold politeness, far more
endurable than his fawning attentions had been. She was welcome to
go her own way, and he went his, each having in San Francisco their
own suite of rooms, and setting up, as it were, a separate
establishment. In this way they got on quite comfortably for a few
weeks, at the end of which time Carrie took it into her capricious
head to return to Maple Grove. She would never go back to Sunnyside,
she said. And without a word of opposition the captain paid his
bills, and started for Kentucky, where he left his wife at Maple
Grove, she giving as a reason that "ma could not spare her yet."
Far different from this were the future prospects of Durward and
'Lena, who with perfect love in their hearts were married, a week
after the departure of Captain Atherton for California. Very proudly
Durward looked down upon her as he placed the first husband's kiss on
her brow, and in the soft brown eyes, brimming with tears, which she
raised to his face, there was a world of tenderness, telling that
theirs was a union of hearts as well as hands.
The next night a small party assembled at the house of Mr. Douglass,
in Frankfort, where Nellie was transformed into Nellie Livingstone.
Perhaps it was the remembrance of the young girl to whom his vows had
once before been plighted, that made John Jr. appear for a time as if
he were in a dream. But the moment they rallied him upon the
strangeness of his manner, he brightened up, saying that he was
trying to get used to thinking that Nellie was really his. It had
been decided that he should accompany Durward and 'Lena to Europe,
and a day or two after his marriage he asked Mr. Everett to go too.
Anna's eyes fairly danced with joy, as she awaited Malcolm's reply.
But much as he would like to go, he could not afford it, and so he
frankly said, kissing away the big tear which rolled down Anna's
With a smile John Jr. placed a sealed package in his sister's hand,
saying to Malcolm, "I have anticipated this and provided for it. I
suppose you are aware that Mabel willed me all her property, which
contrary to our expectations, has proved to be considerable. I know
I do not deserve a cent of it, but as she had no nearer relative than
Mr. Douglass, I have concluded to use it for the comfort of his
daughter and for the good of others. I want you and Anna to join us,
and I've given her such a sum as will bear your expenses, and leave
you more than you can earn dickering at law for three or four years.
So, puss," turning to Anna, "it's all settled. Now hurrah for the
sunny skies of France and Italy, I've talked with father about it,
and he's willing to stay alone for the sake of having you go. Oh,
don't thank me," he continued, as he saw them about to speak. "It's
poor little Meb to whom you are indebted. She loved Anna, and would
willingly have her money used for this purpose."
After a little reflection Malcolm concluded to accept John's offer,
and a happier party never stepped on board a steamer than that which,
on the 15th of April, sailed for Europe, which they reached in
safety, being at the last accounts in Paris, where they were enjoying
A few words more, and our story is told. Just as Mr. Livingstone was
getting tolerably well suited with his bachelor life, he was one
morning surprised by the return of his wife and daughter, the latter
of whom, as we have before stated, took up her abode at Maple Grove.
Almost every day the old captain rides over to see her, but he
generally carries back a longer face than he brings. The bald spot
on his head is growing larger, and to her dismay Carrie has
discovered a "crow track" in the corner of her eye. Frequently,
after a war of words with her mother, she announces her intention of
returning to Sunnyside, but a sight of the captain is sufficient to
banish all such thoughts. And thus she lives, that most wretched of
all beings, an unloving and unloved wife.
During the absence of their children, Mr. and Mrs. Graham remain at
Woodlawn, which, as it is the property of Durward, will be his own
and 'Lena's home.
Jerry Langley has changed his occupation of driver for that of a
brakeman on the railroad between Canandaigua and Niagara Falls.
In conclusion we will say of our old friend, Uncle Timothy, that he
joined "the _Hindews_" as proposed, was nominated for constable, and,
sure of success, bought an old gig for the better transportation of
himself over the town. But alas for human hopes--if funded upon
politics--the whole American ticket was defeated at Laurel Hill,
since which time he has gone over to the Republicans, to whom he has
sworn eternal allegiance.