Part 8 out of 8
Mr. Hardinge listened attentively, and then he left the room, telling Lucy
he would be back in a few minutes. It might have been an awkward situation
for most young ladies, thus to be left alone with a prisoner in gaol; but
Lucy was so much accustomed to the intimacy that bound us together, I do
not think its peculiarities struck her at the moment. When her father went
out of the room, she was in deep thought, nor did she appear to rouse
herself from it, until he had been gone some little time. Lucy was seated,
but I had risen to see Mr. Hardinge to the door of the room, and was
walking slowly back and forth. The dear girl arose, came to me, took one
of my hands in both her own, and looked anxiously into my face, for some
little time, ere she spoke.
"Miles," she said, "I will say no more of the pearls, no more of my own
money, and will prevent all allusion to Rupert's appearing in your behalf,
if you will accept the bail I can provide for you. I know a gentleman who
will accept my word as his surety, who is rich enough to be received, and
who is under a deep obligation to you, for I have often heard him say as
much. You may not know how ready he will be to oblige you, but I do; and I
now ask you to give me your word; you will not refuse his assistance, even
though he should be an utter stranger to you?"
"How is it possible, Lucy, that you can have any knowledge of such a
"Oh! you cannot imagine what a woman of business I am becoming! You would
not refuse me for your bail, were I a man and of age, Miles?"
"Certainly not--feeling as I do towards you, Lucy, I would sooner receive
such a favour from you, than from any human being. But you are not a man,
thank God, nor of age."
"Then promise me the small favour of accepting this service from the
person I shall send to you. It would break all our hearts to think you
were remaining here in gaol, while we are living in luxury. I will not
relinquish your hand, till you give me a promise."
"That look is sufficient, Lucy; I promise all you can ask."
So intense had the feelings of the dear girl become, that she burst into
tears, the moment her mind was relieved, and covered her face with both
hands. It was but a passing burst of feeling, and a radiant smile soon
chased every trace of sorrow from her sweet, sweet countenance.
"Now, Miles, I am certain we shall soon have you out of this horrid
place," she cried; "and before the execution they tell us of, can issue,
as they call it, we shall have time to make some proper arrangement for
you. I shall be of age, by that time; and I can at least become your
creditor, instead of that odious Mr. Daggett. You would not hesitate to
owe me money, Miles, in preference to him?"
"Dearest Lucy, there is nothing I would not be willing to owe to you, and
that in preference to any other living creature, not even excepting your
revered and beloved father."
Lucy looked deeply gratified; and I saw another of those inexplicable
smiles lurking around her lovely mouth, which almost tempted me to demand
an explanation of its meaning. Ere there was time for this, however, her
countenance became very, very sad, and she turned her tearful eyes
"Miles, I fear I understood your allusion, when you spoke of Rupert's
money," she said. "I feared poor, sainted Grace would do this; and _I_
knew you would strip yourself of every dollar to comply with her wishes. I
wonder the idea never occurred to me before; but it is so hard to think
ill of a brother! I ask no questions, for I see you are determined not to
answer them--perhaps have given a pledge to your sister to that effect:
but we cannot live under this disgrace; and the day I am twenty-one, this
grievous, grievous wrong must be repaired. I know that Grace's fortune had
accumulated to more than twenty thousand dollars; and that is a sum
sufficient to pay all you owe, and to leave you enough to begin the
"Even were what you fancy true, do you think I would consent to rob _you_,
to pay Rupert's debts?"
"Talk not of robbery. I could not exist under the degradation of thinking
any of us had your money, while debt and imprisonment thus hung over you.
There is but one thing that can possibly prevent my paying you back
Grace's fortune, the day I am of age, as you will see, Miles."
Again that inexplicable smile passed over Lucy's face, and I was resolved
to ask its meaning, when the approaching footstep of Mr. Hardinge
"Mr. Harrison is not in," cried the divine, as he entered the room; "but I
left a note for him, telling him that his old acquaintance, Captain
Wallingford, had pressing need of his services. He has gone to Greenwich,
to his country place, but will be back in the course of the day, and I
have desired he will come to Wall street, the instant he can. I would not
blazon your misfortunes, Miles; but the moment he arrives, you shall hear
from him. He is an old school-fellow of mine, and will be prompt to oblige
me. Now, Miss Lucy, I am about to release you from prison. I saw a certain
Mr. Drewett walking in the direction of Wall-street, and had the charity
to tell him you would be at home in ten minutes."
Lucy arose with an alacrity I could hardly forgive. The colour deepened on
her face, and I thought she even hurried her father away, in a manner that
was scarcely sufficiently reserved. Ere they left the room, however, the
dear girl took an opportunity to say, in a low voice, "Remember, Miles, I
hold you strictly to your promise: in one hour, you shall be free."
"She half-enclosed me in her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace;
And bending back her head, looked up
And gazed upon my face."
I saw no one for the next two hours. A window of the parlour, where I was
permitted to remain, overlooked the _soi-disant_ park--or rather
_Manhattan_-disant--and it was not long before I caught a glimpse of my
mate and Neb, lying off and on, or blockading the jail, lest I should be
secretly carried to parts unknown, or some other great evil should
approach me from without. What these two honest and affectionate fellows
meant by thus maintaining their post, I did not know, it is true; but such
was my conjecture. At length Neb disappeared, and was absent an hour. When
he retained, he had a coil of rope over his shoulder, when the two took a
station at a safe distance from my prison, and began to measure off
fathoms, to cut, knot and splice. I was amused with their diligence, which
made no abatement until it was interrupted by myself. Of the manner in
which that was effected I shall have occasion to speak presently.
About two hours after I was left by Lucy and her father, a keeper came to
announce another visitor. I was expecting my own attorney or Mr. Harrison;
but the reader will judge of my surprise when Andrew Drewett entered the
room. He was accompanied by the jailer, who held a letter in his hand, and
who astounded me by saying--
"Captain Wallingford, I have instructions here to open the door for
you--bail has been entered."
The jailer disappeared.
"And this I owe to you, Mr. Drewett!"
"I wish I could say as much, with all my heart, my dear sir," Andrew
replied, taking my hand, and giving it a warm, cordial shake; "but it
would not be strictly true. After saving my life, I should not have
suffered you to lie in jail for want of so small a favour as giving bail
for your appearance in court, certainly; but would, and will, gladly be
your special bail, at the proper time. Let the credit fall, however, only
where it is due. Miss Hardinge asked me to obtain your release, and her
wishes are second only to my own gratitude."
This was said in a frank, manly manner; and I wondered I had never viewed
Andrew Drewett in a light so favourable before. He had improved in person,
bore himself like a gentleman I now thought, and was every way a pleasing,
well-mannered, well-dressed, and intelligent-looking young man. I could do
all justice to him but pardon him Lucy's preference.
"Lucy can never forget our childish intimacy," I said, a little confused.
"She left me, declaring an intention to do something of the sort; though I
confess I was not exactly prepared for this. You are a man to be envied,
Mr. Drewett, if any man on earth is!"
Andrew looked embarrassed. He glanced at me, coloured, turned his look out
at the window, then, by a vast effort, seemed to regain his self-command.
"I believe I understand you, Wallingford," he said. "You mean, in being
engaged to Lucy Hardinge?"
"I can mean nothing else--all I hear--all I have seen--this last act, in
particular, tells me as much."
"All have then told you wrong. I am not so fortunate as to possess the
affections of Miss Hardinge; and no man will gain her hand who does not
first obtain her heart; ay, and her whole heart, too."
I was astounded! What! Lucy not engaged to Drewett; not loving him, by his
own admission; not likely to love him! I believe Andrew had no difficulty
in comprehending my feelings in part, for he seemed disposed to continue
the subject; and, what was infinitely to his credit, to continue it in a
way that should leave no unpleasant uncertainty hanging about the real
position of the dear girl.
"It is only quite lately," he said, "that I have seen the great injustice
that I and my family have unconsciously committed towards Miss Hardinge.
As you are an old--a _very_ old friend of hers, I will be explicit with
you, and endeavour, in some small degree, to excuse myself; though I feel
that it can never be done fully. You tell me, that you have heard I was
engaged to Miss Hardinge?"
"Unquestionably: I think it was the opinion of her own father; though he
must have believed the promise conditional, as Lucy never would marry
without his approbation."
"Mr. Hardinge has then been strangely misled. It is true, Mr. Wallingford,
that I have long admired Miss Hardinge, and that I offered myself years
ago. I was refused from the first. But, Lucy had the frankness to own that
she was free to dispose of her hand; and I persevered contrary to her
advice, her wishes, and I may say her entreaties. I think she esteems me;
and I know she has a strong regard for my mother, who is almost as fond of
her as I am myself. This esteem and regard I hoped might ripen into love,
and my presumption has brought its own punishment, It is now about six
months--I remember it was shortly after we heard of your probable
loss--that I had a final conversation with her on the subject, when I
became convinced my prospects were hopeless. Since that time, I have
endeavoured to conquer my passion; for love unrequited, I suppose you
know, will not last for ever; and I have so far succeeded, as to tell you
all this without feeling the pain it would once have cost me. Still, I
retain the deepest respect for Miss Hardinge; and a single encouraging
look would even now recall me. I am of opinion, however, she intends never
to marry. But, let us quit this place, which has no longer any claim
I was in a state scarcely to know what. I did. It was comparatively little
to me to learn I was free myself, after so unexpectedly learning that Lucy
was also free. Lucy--whom I had for years supposed to be irrevocably
engaged; and whom I had continued to love, even against hope Andrew
Drewett, I fancied, had never loved as I did, or he would not have made
the speech he did; or, his love for Lucy had not been a part of his
existence from boyhood, as mine had certainly been. While all these
thoughts were passing through my mind, I gave a few directions, took
Drewett's arm, and hurried out of the gaol.
I confess that I respired more freely when I found myself in the open
air. My companion took my direction, and I led him to the spot where
Marble and Neb were still at work on their rope. Great was their surprise
on seeing me at large; and I thought the mate looked a little
disappointed, though he comprehended the matter at once, as soon as he
"If you had only waited till night, Miles," Marble said, shaking his head
as one menaces, "Neb and I would have shown that bloody gaol a seaman's
fashion of quitting it. I'm almost sorry the occasion is lost, for it
would have done their stomachs good to wake up at two bells, and find
their cage empty. I've half a mind to ask you to go back, boy!"
"But I've no mind to comply with the request; so do me the favour to have
my bag carried back to our lodgings, where I intend to swing my hammock,
again, to-night.--Mr. Drewett, I must hasten to thank her to whom I owe my
freedom;--will you accompany me?"
Andrew excused himself; and receiving my thanks, once more we parted with
a hearty shake of the hands. I then hastened towards Wall street, and
knocked at Lucy's door; (there were knockers to good houses in New York,
in 1804, a vile nuisance having been since well gotten rid of,) and I
knocked at Lucy's door, scarce conscious of the manner in which I had got
there. It was near the dinner-hour, and the footman was demurring about
admitting a sailor-man, who hardly knew what he said, when a little scream
from Chloe, who happened to see me, soon disposed of my claim for
"Masser Mile!--Masser Mile!--I _so_ grad--dat feller, Neb, say you come
home--Oh! Masser Mile, now I know dat de rascal at Clawbonny get
This speech, confident as it was, a little cooled my ardour by reminding
me I was a beggar, in the figurative meaning of the word. Chloe led the
way, however, and I was soon in the drawing-room, and in the presence of
the youthful mistress of the house. How gloriously beautiful did Lucy then
appear! She had dressed for dinner, as usual, but it was in the simplest
and neatest manner. Her face was radiant with the pleasure of seeing me
where I was, and excitement had deepened the colour on her cheeks, which
were never pale, except with emotions. As for her eyes, I can only
describe _them_ by the homely phrase, that "they danced for joy."
"Now, Miles," she said, holding out both hands to meet me, "_this_ is
redeeming your pledge, and behaving as you should. Andrew Drewett was
delighted with an opportunity of doing something for the man who saved his
life, and my only fear was of your obstinacy."
"After all I have heard from Andrew Drewett, beloved Lucy, you never need
fear anything from my obstinacy hereafter. He not only has released my
body from prison but he has released my spirits from the weight of a
mountain, by honestly confessing you do not love him."
The play of roseate light on an autumnal sky at evening, is not more
beautiful, than the changing tints that passed over Lucy's beautiful face.
She did not speak, at first; but so intent, so inquiring was her look,
while at the same time, it was so timid and modest, that I scarce needed
the question that she finally succeeded in asking.
"What _is_ it, you wish to say, Miles?" at length came from her in
"To ask to be permitted to keep these hands for ever. Not one, Lucy; one
will not satisfy a love like mine, a love that has got to be interwoven
with my being, from having formed a part of my very existence from
boyhood; yes, I ask for _both_."
"You have them both, dear, _dear_ Miles, and can keep them as long as you
Even while this was in the course of utterance, the hands were snatched
from me to be applied to their owner's face, and the dear girl burst into
a flood of tears. I folded her in my arms, seated myself at her side on a
sofa, and am not ashamed to say that we wept together. I shall not reveal
all that passed during the next quarter of an hour, nor am I quite certain
that I could were I to make the attempt, but I well recollect my arm was
around Lucy's slender waist, at the end of that brief period. What was
said was not very coherent, nor do I know that anybody would care to hear,
or read it.
"Why have you so long delayed to tell me this, Miles?" Lucy at length
inquired, a little reproachfully. "You who have had so many opportunities,
and might have known how it would have been received! How much misery and
suffering it would have saved us both!"
"For that which it has caused _you_, dearest, I shall never forgive
myself; but as for that _I_ have endured, it is only too well merited. But
I thought you loved Drewett; everybody said you were to marry him; even
your own father believed and told me as much--"
"Poor, dear papa!--He little knew my heart. One thing, however, he did
that would have prevented my ever marrying any one, Miles, so long as
"Heaven for ever bless him for that, as well as for all his other good
deeds? What was it, Lucy?'
"When we heard of the supposed loss of your ship, he believed it, but I
did not. Why I did not believe what all around me thought was true, is
more than I can explain, unless Providence humanely sustained me by hope.
But when my father thought you dead, in conversing of all your good
qualities, Miles,--and he loved you almost as well as his daughter"--
"God bless him, dear old gentleman!--but what did he tell you, Lucy?"
"You will never learn, if you thus interrupt me, Miles," Lucy answered,
smiling saucily in my face, though she permitted me still to hold both her
hands, as if I had taken possession of them literally with an intent to
keep them, blushing at the same time as much with happiness, I thought, as
with the innate modesty of her nature. "Have a little patience, and I will
tell you. When my father thought you dead, he told me the manner in which
you had confessed to him the preference you felt for me; and _do_ you,
_can_ you think, after I was thus put in possession of such a secret, I
could listen to Andrew Drewett, or to any one else?"
I shall not reveal what followed this speech; but I may say that, in the
course of the next ten minutes, Lucy mildly reproached me again for having
so long delayed my declaration.
"I knew you so well, Miles," she continued, smiling--as for blushing, that
she did nearly the whole of the remainder of the day--"I know you so well,
Miles, that I am afraid I should have made the declaration myself, had you
not found your tongue. Silly fellow! how _could_ you suppose I would ever
love any but you?--see here!"
She drew the locket I had given her from her dress, and placed it in my
hands, still warm from lying near her heart! I had no choice, but to kiss
Lucy again, or to kiss this locket; and I did both, by way of leaving no
further grounds for self-reproach. I say, kiss her again, for, to own the
truth, I had already done so many times in that interview.
At length, Chloe put her head in at the door, having taken the precaution
first to give a gentle tap, to inquire if dinner should be served. Lucy
dined at four, and it was now drawing toward five.
"Has my father come in?" demanded the young mistress of her attendant.
"Not yet, Miss Lucy; but he nebber t'ink much of dinner, Miss Lucy, ma'am;
and masser Mile been _so_ long a sailor, dat I t'ink he _must_ be hungry.
I hear dat he hab berry hard time, dis v'y'ge, Miss Lucy--too hard for old
masser and missus son!"
"Ay, you have seen Neb, if the truth were told, Miss Chloe," I cried; "and
he has been charming your ear with Othello-tales, of his risks and
hardships, to make you love him."
I cannot say that Chloe actually blushed, or, if she did, the spectators
were none the wiser for the weakness. But dark as was the skin of this
honest-hearted girl, she had most affectionate feelings, and even her
features could betray the emotions she entertained.
"De feller!" she exclaimed.--"What Miss Lucy please order? Shall 'e cook
"We will have dinner," Lucy answered, with a smile Chloe's eyes dancing
with a sort of wild delight. "Tell John to serve it. Mr. Hardinge will be
home soon, in all probability. We shall be only us three, at table."
The mentioning of the table caused me to cast an eye at my dress; and the
sight of my mate's attire, neat and in truth becoming as it was, to one
who had no reason to be ashamed of his figure, caused me to recollect my
poverty, and to feel one twinge at the distance that the world might fancy
its own opinions placed between us. As for birth, my own family was too
respectable, and my education had been too good, to leave me now any very
keen regrets on such a subject, in a state of society like ours; but there
was truly a wide chasm between the heiress of Mrs. Bradfort and a
penniless mate of a ship. Lucy understood me; and, slipping her arm
through mine, she walked into the library, saying archly, as she drew me
"It is a very easy thing, Miles, to get skirts made to your round-about."
"No doubt, Lucy; but, with whose money? I have been in such a tumult of
happiness, as to have forgotten that I am a beggar; that I am not a
suitable match for you! Had I only Clawbonny, I should feel less
humiliated. With Clawbonny I could feel myself entitled to some portion of
the world's consideration."
We were in the library by this time. Lucy looked at me a moment, intently;
and I could see she was pained at my allusion. Taking a little key from a
cabinet where she kept it, she opened a small drawer, and showed me the
identical gold pieces that had once been in my possession, and which I had
returned to her, after my first voyage to sea. I perceived that the pearls
she had obtained under Grace's bequest, as well as those which were my own
property, if I could be said to own anything, were kept in the same place.
Holding the gold in the palm of a little hand that was as soft as velvet
and as white as ivory, she said--
"You once took _all_ I had, Miles, and this without pretending to more
than a brother's love; why should you hesitate to do it again, now you say
you wish to become my husband?"
"Precious creature! I believe you will cure me of even my silly pride."
Then taking up the pearls, I threw them on her neck, where they hung in a
long chain, rivalling the skin with which they came in contact--"There--I
have said these pearls should be an offering to my wife, and I now make
it; though I scarce know how they are to be kept from the grasp
Lucy kissed the pearls--I knew she did not do it on account of any love
for them--and tears came into her eyes. I believe she had long waited to
receive this gift, in the precise character in which it was now received.
"Thank you, dear Miles," she said. "You see how freely I accept _your_
gifts; and why should you hesitate to receive mine? As for this Mr.
Daggett, it will be easy enough to get rid of his claim. I shall be of age
before he can bring his cause to trial, as I learn; then nothing will be
easier than for Miles Wailingford to pay all his debts; for by that time,
all that is now mine will be yours. No--no--this Mr. Daggett shall not
easily rob me of this precious gift."
"Rupert"--I said, by way of getting her answer.
"Rupert will not influence my conduct, any further than I shall insist on
returning every dollar he has received from you, in the name of our
sainted Grace. But I hear my father's voice, and speaking to some other
person. I had hoped we should dine alone!"
The door of the library opened, and Mr. Hardinge entered, followed by a
grave-looking, elderly man, of respectable mien, and a manner that denoted
one accustomed to deal with matters of weight. I knew this person at once
to be Richard Harrison, then one of the most distinguished lawyers of
America, and the gentleman to whom I had been carried by John Wallingford,
when the latter pressed me to make my will. Mr. Harrison shook me
cordially by the hand, after saluting Lucy, whom he knew intimately. I saw
at once that something unusual was working in his mind. This highly
respectable advocate was a man of method and of great coolness of manner
in the management of affairs, and he proceeded to business at once, using
very little circumlocution.
"I have been surprised to hear that my worthy client and friend, Mr. John
Wailingford, is dead," he observed. "I do not know how his decease should
have escaped my notice in the papers, unless it were owing to a pretty
severe illness I suffered myself about the time it occurred. My good
friend, Mr. Hardinge, told it to me for the first time, only half an
"It is true, sir," I answered. "I understand my kinsman died eight months
"And he held your bond for forty thousand dollars at the time he died?"
"I regret to say he did; a bond secured by a mortgage on my paternal
place, Clawbonny, which has since been sold, by virtue of the power
contained in the clauses, under the statute, and sold for a song; less
than a fourth of its value."
"And you have been arrested, at the suit of the administrator, for the
balance due on the bond?"
"I have, sir; and am liberated on general bail, only within an hour or
"Well, sir, all these proceedings can be, and _must_ be set aside. I have
already given instructions to prepare an application to the chancellor for
an injunction, and, unless your kinsman's administrator is a great dunce,
you will be in peaceable possession of Clawbonny, again, in less than a
month--if a moderately sensible man, in less than twenty-four hours."
"You would not raise hopes that are idle, Mr. Harrison; yet I do not
understand how all this well can be!"
"Your kinsman, Mr. John Wallingford, who was a much esteemed client of
mine, made a will, which will I drew myself, and which will being left in
my possession for that purpose, I now put in your hands as his sole
executor. By that will, you will perceive that he especially forgives you
the debt of forty thousand dollars, and releases the claim under the
mortgage. But this is not all. After giving some small legacies to a few
of his female relatives, he has left you the residuary legatee, and I know
enough of his affairs to be certain that you will receive an addition to
your estate of more than two hundred thousand dollars. John Wallingford
was a character, but he was a money-making character; had he lived twenty
years longer, he would have been one of the richest men in the state. He
had laid an excellent foundation, but he died too soon to rear the golden
What a change of circumstances was here! I was not only virtually released
from debt, but had Clawbonny restored to me, and was master of all I had
ever owned, my earnings and the money invested in the Dawn excepted. This
last was irretrievably gone, it was true, but, in its place I had the
ample legacy of John Wallingford as a compensation. This legacy consisted
of a large sum in the three per cents, which then sold at about sixty, but
were subsequently paid off at par, of good bank and insurance stocks,
bonds and mortgages, and a valuable and productive real property in the
western part of the State, with several buildings in town. In a word, I
was even richer than Lucy, and no longer need consider myself as one
living on her generosity. It is not difficult to believe I was made
supremely happy by this news, and I looked to Lucy for sympathy. As for
the dear girl herself, I do believe she felt anything but pleasure, at
this new accession of riches; for she had a deep satisfaction in thinking
that it was in her power to prove to me how completely I possessed her
confidence, by placing all she had in my hands. Nevertheless, she loved
Clawbonny as well as I did myself, and my restoration to the throne of my
fathers was a subject of mutual delight.
Mr. Harrison went on to say that he had ascertained Daggett was in town,
to conduct the expected arrangement with me, on the subject of my
personals, and that he had already sent a messenger to his attorney, to
let the existence of the will be known. He had, consequently, strong hopes
of arranging matters, in the course of the next twenty-four hours. We were
still at table, in effect, when the messenger came to let us know an
interview was appointed at the office of this eminent counsel, and we all
adjourned to that place, Lucy excepted, as soon as the cloth was removed;
for, in that day, cloths were always removed. At the office, we found Mr.
Daggett, whom I now saw for the first time, and his legal adviser, already
waiting for us. One glance sufficed to let us into the secret of the
consternation both were in, for the lawer had committed himself in the
course of the proceedings he had had an agency in conducting, almost as
much as his client.
"This is strange news to us, Mr. Harrison," the attorney commenced;
"though your character and reputation, I will confess, make it look
serious. Is there no mistake in the matter, sir?"
"None whatever, Mr. Meekly. If you will have the goodness to read this
will, sir, you will perceive that the facts have been truly laid before
your client; and, as to the authenticity of the document, I can only say,
it was not only drawn up by myself, under precise instructions from Mr.
Wallingford,--which instructions I still possess, in his own
hand-writing,--but the will was copied by my client, as well as signed and
sealed in my presence, as one of the witnesses. So far as relates to the
personals, this will would be valid, though not signed by the testator,
supposing no other will to exist. But, I flatter myself, you will find
everything correct as to forms."
Mr. Meekly read the will aloud, from beginning to end, and, in returning
it to me, he cast a very give-it-up-sort of look at Daggett. The latter
inquired, with some anxiety,--
"Is there any schedule of the property accompanying the will?"
"There is, sir," returned Mr. Harrison; "and directions on it where to
find the certificates of stock, and all the other evidences of debts--such
as bonds and mortgages. Of the last, several are in my own possession. I
presume the bond of this Mr. Wallingford was kept by the testator himself,
as a sort of family thing."
"Well, sir, you will find that none of the stock has been touched; and I
confess this bond, with a few notes given in Genessee, is all that I have
been able to find. We have been surprised at discovering the assets to be
"So much the better for you, Mr. Daggett. Knowing what I do, I shall only
give up the assets I hold to the executor and heir. Your letters of
administration will be set aside, as a matter of course, even should you
presume to oppose us,--which I should hardly think advisable."
"We shall not attempt it, Mr. Harrison," Meekly said, hastily; "and we
expect equal liberality from your client."
So much for having a first-rate lawyer and a man of character on my side.
Daggett gave the whole thing up, on the spot,--re-conveying to me
Clawbonny before he quitted, though the sale would unquestionably be set
aside, and subsequently was set aside, by means of an amicable suit. A
great deal remained to be done, however; and I was obliged to tear myself
away from Lucy, in order to do it. Probate of the will was to be made in
the distant county of Genessee--and distant it was from New York, in 1804!
The journey that could be made, to day, in about thirty hours, took me ten
days: and I spent near a month in going through the necessary forms, and
in otherwise settling my affairs at the west, as that part of the State
was then called. The time, however, was not wasted below. Mr. Hardinge
took charge of everything at Clawbonny, and Lucy's welcome
letters,--three of which reached me weekly,--informed me that everything
was re-established in the house, on the farm, and at the mill. The
Wallingford was set running again, and all the oxen, cows, horses, hogs,
&c., &c., were living in their old haunts. The negroes were reinstated,
and Clawbonny was itself again! The only chants made wore for the better;
the occasion having been improved, to paint and new-vamp the house, which
Mr. Daggett's parsimony had prevented him from defacing by modern
alterations. In a word, 'Masser Mile' was alone wanting to make all at the
farm happy. Chloe had communicated her engagement to 'Miss Lucy,' and it
was understood Neb and his master were to be married about the same time.
As for Moses, he had gone up to Willow Cove, on a leave of absence. A
letter received from him, which now lies before me, will give a better
account of his proceedings and feelings than I can write myself. It was in
the following words, viz.:
"_Willow Cove, Sept. 18th_, 1804.
"Dear Sir, and my dear Miles--Here I have been, moored head and starn,
these ten days, as comfortable as heart could wish, in the bosom of my
family. The old woman was right down glad to see me, and she cried like
an alligator, when she heard my story. As for Kitty, she cried, and she
laughed in the bargain; but that young Bright, whom you may remember we
fell in with, in our cruise after old Van Tassel, has fairly hauled
alongside of my niece, and she does little but laugh from morning to
night. It's bloody hard to lose a niece in this way, just as a man finds
her, but mother says I shall gain a nephew by the trade.
"Now, for old Van Tassel. The Lord will never suffer rogues to prosper
in the long run. Mother found the old rascal's receipt, given to my
father for the money, years and years ago, and sending for a Hudson
lawyer, they made the miserly cheat off with his hatches, and hoist out
cargo enough to square the yards. So mother considers the thing as
settled at last; but I shall always regard the account as open until I
have threshed the gentleman to my heart's content. The old woman got the
cash in hard dollars, not understanding paper, and I wasn't in the house
ten minutes, before the good old soul roused a stocking out of a
drawer, and began to count out the pieces to pay me off. So you see,
Miles, I've stepped into my estate again, as well as yourself. As for
your offer to pay me wages for the whole of last v'y'ge"--this word
Marble could only spell as he pronounced it--"it's generous, and that's
a good deal in these bloody dishonest times, but I'll not touch a
copper. When a ship's lost, the wages are lost with her, and that's law
and reason. It would be hard on a marchant to have to pay wages for work
done on board a craft that's at the bottom of the ocean; so no more on
that p'int, which we'll consider settled.
"I am delighted to learn you are to be married as soon as you get back
to Clawbonny. Was I in your place, and saw such a nice young woman
beckoning me into port, I'd not be long in the offing. Thank you,
heartily, for the invitation to be one of the bride's-maids, which is an
office, my dear Miles, I covet, and shall glory in. I wish you to drop
me a line as to the rigging proper for the occasion, for I would wish to
be dressed as much like the rest of the bride's-maids as possible;
uniformity being always desirable in such matters. A wedding is a
wedding, and should be dealt with as a wedding; so, waiting for further
orders, I remain your friend and old ship-mate to command,
"Moses Van Dusen Marble."
I do not affirm that the spelling of this letter was quite as accurate as
that given in this copy, but the epistle was legible, and evidently gave
Marble a great deal of trouble. As for the letters of dear Lucy, I forbear
to copy any. They were like herself, however; ingenuous, truthful,
affectionate and feminine. Among other things, she informed me that our
union was to take place in St. Michael's; that I was to meet her at the
rectory, and that we might proceed to Clawbonny from the church-door. She
had invited Rupert and Emily to be present, but the health of the last
would prevent their accepting the invitation. Major, or general, Merton,
as he was universally called in New York, had the gout, and could not be
there; and I was asked if it would not be advisable under all the
circumstances, to have the affair as private as possible. My answer
conveyed a cheerful compliance, and a week after that was despatched, I
left the Genessee country, having successfully completed all my business.
No one opposed me, and so far from being regarded as an intruder, the
world thought me the proper heir of my cousin.
"I calmed her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride;
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous bride."
By arrangement, I stopped at the Willow Cove, to pick up Marble. I found
the honest fellow happy as the day was long; but telling fearfully long
and wonderful yarns of his adventures, to the whole country round. My old
mate was substantially a man of truth; but he did love to astonish
"know-nothings." He appears to have succeeded surprisingly well, for the
Dutchmen of that neighbourhood still recount anecdotes, of the
achievements and sufferings of Captain Marvel, as they usually call him,
though they have long ceased to think the country belongs to the United
Moses was glad to see me; and, after passing a night in the cottage of his
mother, we proceeded towards Clawbonny, in a conveyance that had been sent
to Willow Cove to meet me. It was a carriage of my own, one of my own
negroes acting as driver. I knew the old team, and will acknowledge that
tears forced themselves to, my eyes as I thus saw myself, as it might be,
reinstated in my own. The same feeling came powerfully over me, as we
drove to the summit of an elevation in the road, that commanded a view of
the vale and buildings of Clawbonny. What a moment was that in my
existence! I cannot say that I was born to wealth, even as wealth was
counted among us sixty years since, but I was born to a competency. Until
I lost my ship, I had never known the humiliating sensations of poverty;
and the feeling that passed over my heart, when I first heard that
Clawbonny was sold, has left an impression that will last for life. I
looked at the houses, as I passed them in the streets, and remembered that
I was houseless. I did not pass a shop in which clothes were exposed,
without remembering that, were my debts paid, I should literally be
without a coat to my back. Now, I had my own once more; and there stood
the home of my ancestors for generations, looking comfortable and
respectable, in the midst of a most inviting scene of rural quiet and
loveliness. The very fields seemed to welcome me beneath its roof! There
is no use in attempting to conceal what happened; and I will honestly
The road made a considerable circuit to descend the hill, while a
foot-path led down the declivity, by a shorter cut, which was always taken
by pedestrians. Making an incoherent excuse to Moses, and telling him to
wait for me at the foot of the hill, I sprang out of the carriage, leaped
a fence, and I may add, leaped out of sight, in order to conceal my
emotion. I was no sooner lost to view, than, seating myself on a fragment
of rock, I wept like a child. How long I sat there is more than I can say;
but the manner in which I was recalled from this paroxysm of feeling will
not soon be forgotten. A little hand was laid on my forehead, and a soft
voice uttered the word "Miles!" so near me, that, at the next instant, I
held Lucy in my arms. The dear girl had walked to the hill, as she
afterwards admitted, in the expectation of seeing me pass on to Clawbonny;
and, comprehending my feelings and my behaviour, could not deny herself
the exquisite gratification of sharing in my emotions.
"It is a blessed restoration to your rights, dear Miles," Lucy at length
said, smiling through her tears. "Your letters have told me that you are
rich; but I would rather you had Clawbonny, and not a cent besides, than,
without this place, you had the riches of the wealthiest man in the
country. Yours it should have been, at all events, could my means have
"And this, Lucy, without my becoming your husband, do you mean?"
Lucy blushed brightly; though I cannot say the sincere, ingenuous girl
ever looked embarrassed in avowing her preference for me. After a moment's
pause, she smiled, and answered my question.
"I have not doubted of the result, since my father gave me an account of
your feelings towards me," she said, "and that, you will remember, was
before Mr. Daggett had his sale. Women have more confidence in the
affections than men, I fear; at least, with us they are more engrossing
concerns than with you--for we live for them altogether, whereas you have
the world constantly to occupy your thoughts. I have never supposed Miles
Wallingford would become the husband of any but Lucy Hardinge, except on
one occasion, and then only for a very short period; and, ever since I
have thought on such subjects at all, I have _known_ that Lucy Hardinge
would never--_could_ never be the wife of any one but Miles Wallingford."
"And that one exception, dearest,--that 'very short period?' Having
confessed so much, I am eager to know all."
Lucy became thoughtful, and she moved the grass at her feet with the end
of her parasol, ere she replied.
"The one exception was Emily Merton; and the short period terminated when
I saw you together, in your own house. When I first saw Emily Merton, I
thought her more worthy of your love than I could possibly be; and I
fancied it impossible that you could have lived so long in a ship
together, without discovering each other's merits. But, when I was placed
with you both, under the same roof, I soon ascertained that, while your
imagination had been a little led aside, your heart was always true
"Is this possible, Lucy! Are women really so much more discriminating, so
much more accurate in their opinions, than us men? While I was ready to
hang myself for jealousy of Andrew Drewett, did you really know that my
heart was entirely yours?"
"I was not without misgivings, Miles, and sometimes those that were keenly
painful; but, on the whole, I will not say I felt my power, but that I
felt we were dear to each other."
"Did you never suppose, as your excellent father has done, that we were
too much like brother and sister, to become lovers--too much accustomed
to be dear to each other as children, to submit to passion? For that which
I feel for you, Lucy, I do not pretend to dignify with the name of esteem,
and respect, and affection--it is a passion, that will form the misery, or
happiness of my life."
Lucy smiled archly, and again the end of her parasol played with the grass
that grew around the rock on which we were seated.
"How could I think this for you," she said, "when I had a contrary
experience of my own constantly present, Miles? I saw that you thought
there was some difference of condition between us, (silly fellow!) and I
felt persuaded you had only your own diffidence to overcome, to tell your
"And knowing and seeing all this, cruel Lucy, why did you suffer years of
cruel, cruel doubt to hang over me?"
"Was it a woman's part to speak, Miles? I endeavoured to act
naturally,--believe I did act naturally,--and I left the rest to God.
Blessed be his mercy, I am rewarded!"
I folded Lucy to my heart, and, passing a moment of sweet sympathy in the
embrace, we both began to talk of other things, as if mutually conscious
that our feelings were too high-wrought for the place in which we were. I
inquired as to the condition of things at Clawbonny, and was gratified
with the report. Everybody expected me. I had no tenantry to come forth to
meet me,--nor were American tenants much addicted to such practices, even
when they were to be found: though the miserable sophistry on the subject
of landlord and tenant,--one of the most useful and humanizing relations
of civilized life,--did not then exist among us, that I am sorry to find
is now getting into vogue. In that day, it was not thought 'liberty' to
violate the fair covenants of a lease; and attempts to cheat a landed
proprietor out of his rights were _called_ cheating, as they ought to
be--and they were called nothing else.
In that day, a lease in perpetuity was thought a more advantageous bargain
for the tenant, than a lease for a year, or a term of years; and men did
not begin to reason as if one indulgence gave birth to a right, to demand
more. In that day, paying rent in chickens, and wood, and work, was not
fancied to be a remnant of feudality, but it was regarded as a favour
conferred on him who had the privilege: and even now, nine countrymen in
ten endeavour to pay their debts in everything they can, before they
resort to the purse. In that day, the audacious sophism of calling land a
monopoly, in a country that probably possesses more than a hundred acres
for every living soul within its limits, was not broached: and, in that
day, knots of men did not set themselves up as special representatives of
the whole community, and interpret the laws in their own favour, as if
they were the first principles of the entire republic. But my pen is
running away with me, and I must return to Lucy. A crisis is at hand; and
we are about to see the laws triumphant, or acts of aggression that will
far outdo all that has hitherto rested on the American name, as connected
with a want of faith in pecuniary transactions.
Should I ever continue these adventures, occasions may offer to draw
certain pictures of the signs of the times; signs that have an ominous
aspect as regards real liberty, by substituting the most fearful of all
tyrannies, the spurious, in its place. God alone knows for what we are
reserved; but one thing is certain--there must be a serious movement
backward, or the nation is lost.
I had no tenantry to come out and meet me; but there were the blacks. It
is true, the law was on the point of liberating these slaves, leaving a
few of the younger to serve for a term of years, that should requite their
owners for the care of their infancies and their educations; but this law
could not effect an immediate change in the condition of the Clawbonnys.
The old ones did not wish to quit me, and never did; while it took years
to loosen the tie which bound the younger portion of them to me and mine.
At this hour, near twenty of them are living round me, in cottages of
mine; and the service of my kitchen is entirely conducted by them. Lucy
prepared me for a reception by these children of Africa, even the outcasts
having united with the rest to do honour to their young master. Honour is
not the word; there was too much _heart_ in the affair for so cold a term;
the negro, whatever may be his faults, almost always possessing an
At length, I remembered Marble, and, taking leave of Lucy, who would not
let me accompany her home, I threw myself down the path, and found my
mate cogitating in the carnage, at the foot of the hill.
"Well, Miles, you seem to value this land of yours, as a seaman does his
ship," cried Moses, before I had time to apologize for having kept him so
long waiting. "Howsomever, I can enter into the feelin', and a blessed one
it is, to get a respondentia bond off of land that belonged to a feller's
grandfather. Next thing to being a bloody hermit, I hold, is to belong to
nobody in a crowded world; and I would not part with one kiss from little
Kitty, or one wrinkle of my mother's, for all the desert islands in the
ocean. Come, sit down now, my lad--why, you look as red as a rose-bud, and
as if you had been running up and down hill the whole time you've
"It is sharp work to come down such a hill as this on a trot. Well, here I
am at your side; what would you wish to know?"
"Why, lad, I've been thinkin', since you were away, of the duties of a
bride's-maid,"--to his dying day, Moses always insisted he had acted in
this capacity at my wedding;--"for the time draws near, and I wouldn't
wish to discredit you, on such a festivity. In the first place, how am I
to be dressed? I've got the posy you mentioned in your letter, stowed away
safe in my trunk. Kitty made it for me last week, and a good-looking posy
it was, the last time I saw it."
"Did you think of the breeches?"
"Ay, ay--I have them, too, and what is more I've had them bent. Somehow or
other, Miles, running under bare poles does not seem to agree with my
build. If there's time, I should like to have a couple of bonnets fitted
to the articles."
"Those would be gaiters, Moses, and I never heard of a bride's-maid in
breeches and gaiters. No, you'll be obliged to come out like
"Well, I care less for the dress than I do for the behaviour. Shall I be
obliged to kiss Miss Lucy?"
"No, not exactly Miss Lucy, but Mrs. Bride--I believe it would not be a
lawful marriage without that."
"Heaven forbid that I should lay a straw in the way of your happiness, my
dear boy; but you'll make a signal for the proper time to clear ship,
then--you know I always carry a quid."
I promised not to desert him in his need, and Moses became materially
easier in his mind. I do not wish the reader to suppose my mate fancied he
was to act in the character of a woman at my nuptials, but simply that he
was to act in the character of a bride's-maid. The difficulties which
beset him will be best explained by his last remark on this occasion, and
with which I shall close this discourse. "Had I been brought up in a
decent family," he said, "instead of having been set afloat on a
tombstone, matrimony wouldn't have been such unknown seas to me. But, you
know how it is, Miles, with a fellow that has no relations. He may laugh,
and sing, and make as much noise as he pleases, and try to make others
think he's in good company the whole time; but, after all, he's nothing
but a sort of bloody hermit, that's travelling through life, all the same
as if he was left with a few pigs on a desert island. Make-believe is much
made use of in this world, but it won't hold out to the last. Now of all
mortal beings that I ever met with, you've fallen in with her that has
least of it. There's some make-believe about you, Miles, as when you
looked so bloody unconcerned all the time you were ready to die of love,
as I now l'arn, for the young woman you're about to marry: and mother has
a little of it, dear old soul, when she says she's perfectly satisfied
with the son the Lord has given her, for I'm not so blasted virtuous but I
might be better; and little Kitty has lots of it when she pretends she
would as soon have one kiss from me as two from young Bright; but, as for
Lucy Hardinge, I will say that I never saw any more make-believe about
her, than was becoming in a young woman."
This speech proved that Moses was a man of observation. Others might have
drawn seemingly nicer shades of character, but this sincerity of feeling,
truth of conduct, and singleness of purpose, formed the distinguishing
traits of Lucy's virtues. I was excessively gratified at finding that
Marble rightly appreciated one who was so very, very dear to me, and took
care to let him know as much, as soon as he had made his speech.
We were met by the negroes, at the distance of half a mile from the
house. Neb acted as master of the ceremonies, or, commodore would be the
better word, for he actually carried a bit of swallow-tail bunting that
was borrowed from the sloop, and there was just as much of ocean in the
symbols used, as comported with the honours manifested to a seaman. Old
Cupid carried the Wallingford's ensign, and a sort of _harlequinade_ had
been made out of marlinspikes, serving mallets, sail-maker's palms, and
fids. The whole was crowned with a plug of tobacco, though I never used
the weed, except in segars. Neb had seen processions in town, as well as
in foreign countries, and he took care that the present should do himself
no discredit. It is true, that he spoke to me of it afterwards as a
"nigger procession," and affected to hold it cheap; but I could see that
the fellow was as much pleased with the conceits he had got up for the
occasion, as he was mortified at the failure of the whole thing. The
failure happened in this wise: no sooner did I approach near enough to the
elder blacks to have my features fairly recognised, than the women began
to blubber, and the men to toss their arms and shout "Masser Mile,"
"Masser Mile;" thereby throwing everything into confusion, at once placing
feeling uppermost, at the expense of 'law and order.'
To descend from the stilts that seemed indispensable to do credit to Neb's
imagination, the manner in which I was received by these simple-minded
beings was infinitely touching. All the old ones shook hands with me,
while the younger of both sexes kept more aloof, until I went to each in
succession, and went through the ceremony of my own accord. As for the
boys, they rolled over on the grass, while the little girls kept making
curtsies, and repeating "welcome home to Clawbonny, Masser Mile." My heart
was full, and I question if any European landlord ever got so warm a
reception from his tenantry, as I received from my slaves.
And welcome I was indeed to Clawbonny, and most welcome was Clawbonny to
me! In 1804, New York had still some New York feeling left in the State.
Strangers had not completely overrun her as has since happened; and New
York names were honoured; New York feelings had some place among us; life,
homes, firesides, and the graves of our fathers, not yet being treated as
so many incidents in some new speculation. Men then loved the paternal
roof, and gardens, lawns, orchards and church-yards, were regarded as
something other than levels for rail-roads and canals, streets for
villages, or public promenades to be called batteries, or parks, as might
happen to suit aldermanic ambition, or editorial privilege.
Mr. Hardinge met me at the gate of the little lawn, took me in his arms,
and blessed me aloud. We entered the house in silence, when the good old
man immediately set about showing me, by ocular proof, that everything was
restored as effectually as I was restored myself. Venus accompanied us,
relating how dirty she had found this room, how much injured that, and
otherwise abusing the Daggetts, to my heart's content. Their reign had
been short, however; and a Wallingford was once more master of the five
structures of Clawbonny. I meditated a sixth, even that day, religiously
preserving every stone that had been already laid, however, in my mind's
The next day was that named by Lucy as the one in which she would unite
herself to me for ever. No secret was made of the affair; but notice had
been duly given that all at Clawbonny might be present. I left home at ten
in the morning, in a very handsome carriage that had been built for the
occasion, accompanied by Moses attired as a bride's-maid. It is true his
dumpy, square-built frame, rather caricatured the shorts and silk
stockings; and, as we sat side by side in this guise, I saw his eye
roaming from his own limbs to mine. The peculiarity of Moses's toilette
was that which all may observe in men of his stamp, who come out in full
dress. The clothes a good deal more than fit them. Everything is as tight
as the skin; and the wearer is ordinarily about as awkward in his
movements and sensations, as if he had gone into society, in _puris
naturalibus_. That Moses felt the embarrassment of this novel attire, was
sufficiently apparent by his looks and movements, to say nothing of
"Miles, I do suppose," he remarked, as we trotted along, "that them that
haven't had the advantage of being brought up at home never get a fair
growth. Now, here's these legs of mine; there's plenty of them, but they
ought to have been put in a stretcher when I was a youngster, instead of
being left to run about a hospital. Well, I'll sail under bare poles,
this once, to oblige you, bride-maid fashion; but this is the first and
last time I do such a thing. Don't forget to make the signal when I'm to
kiss Miss Lucy."
My thoughts were not exactly in the vein to enjoy the embarrassment of
Moses, and I silenced him by promising all he asked. We were not elegant
enough to meet at the church, but I proceeded at once to the little
rectory, where I found the good divine and my lovely bride had just
completed their arrangements. And lovely, indeed, was Lucy, in her simple
but beautiful bridal attire! She was unattended, had none of those gay
appliances about her that her condition might have rendered proper, and
which her fortune would so easily have commanded. Yet it was impossible to
be in her presence without feeling the influence of her virgin mien and
simple elegance. Her dress was a spotless but exquisitely fine India
muslin, well made and accurately fitting; and her dark glossy hair was
embellished only by one comb ornamented with pearls, and wearing the usual
veil. As for her feet and hands, they were more like those of a fairy than
of one human; while her countenance was filled with all the heartfelt
tenderness of her honest nature. Around her ivory throat, and over her
polished shoulders, hung my own necklace of pearls, strung as they had
been on board the Crisis, giving her bust an air of affluent decoration,
while it told a long story of distant adventure and of well-requited
We had no bride's-maids, (Marble excepted), no groom's-men, no other
attendants than those of our respective households. No person had been
asked to be present, for we felt that our best friends were with us, when
we had these dependants around us. At one time, I had thought of paying
Drewett the compliment of desiring him to be a groom's-man; but Lucy set
the project at rest, by quaintly asking me how I should like to have been
_his_ attendant, with the same bride. As for Rupert, I never inquired how
he satisfied the scruples of his father, though the old gentleman made
many apologies to me for his absence. I was heartily rejoiced, indeed, he
did not appear; and, I think, Lucy was so also.
The moment I appeared in the little drawing-room of the rectory, which
Lucy's money and taste had converted into a very pretty but simple room,
my "bright and beauteous bride" arose, and extended to me her long-loved
hand. The act itself, natural and usual as it was, was performed in a way
to denote the frankness and tenderness of her character. Her colour went
and came a little, but she said nothing. Without resuming her seat, she
quietly placed an arm in mine, and turned to her father, as much as to say
we were ready. Mr. Hardinge led the way to the church, which was but a
step from the rectory, and, in a minute or two, all stood ranged before
the altar, with the divine in the chancel. The ceremony commenced
immediately, and in less than five minutes I folded Lucy in my arms, as my
wife. We had gone into the vestry-room for this part of the affair, and
there it was that we received the congratulations of those humble,
dark-coloured beings, who then formed so material a portion of nearly
every American family of any means.
"I wish you great joy and ebbery sort of happiness, Masser Mile," said old
Venus, kissing my hand, though I insisted it should be my face, as had
often been her practice twenty years before. "Ah! dis was a blessed day to
_old_ masser and missus, could dey saw it, _but._ And I won't speak of
anoder blessed saint dat be in heaven. And you too, _my_ dear young
missus; now, we all so grad it be _you,_ for we did t'ink, a one time,
_dat_ would nebber come to pass."
Lucy laid her own little white velvet-like hand, with the wedding ring on
its fourth finger, into the middle of Venus's hard and horny palm, in the
sweetest manner possible; reminding all around her that she was an old
friend, and that she knew all the good qualities of every one who pressed
forward to greet her, and to wish her happiness.
As soon as this part of the ceremony was over, we repaired to the rectory,
where Lucy changed her wedding robe, for what I fancied was one of the
prettiest demi-toilette dresses I ever saw. I know I am now speaking like
an old fellow, whose thoughts revert to the happier scenes of youth with a
species of dotage, but it is not often a man has an opportunity of
pourtraying such a bride and wife as Lucy Hardinge. On this occasion she
removed the comb and veil, as not harmonizing with the dress in which she
reappeared, but the necklace was worn throughout the whole of that
blessed day. As soon as my bride was ready, Mr. Hardinge, Lucy, Moses and
myself, entered the carriage, and drove over to Clawbonny. Thither all
Lucy's wardrobe had been sent, an hour before, under Chloe's
superintendence, who had barely returned to the church in time to witness
One of the most precious moments of my life, was that in which I folded
Lucy in my arms and welcomed her to the old place as its mistress.
"We came very near losing it, love," I whispered; "but it is now ours,
unitedly, and we will be in no hurry to turn our backs on it."
This was in a tete-a-tete, in the family room, whither I had led Lucy,
feeling that this little ceremony was due to my wife. Everything around us
recalled former scenes, and tears were in the eyes of my bride as she
gently extricated herself from my arms.
"Let us sit down a moment, Miles, and consult on family affairs, now we
_are_ here," she said, smiling. "It may be early to begin, but such old
acquaintances have no need of time to discover each other's wishes and
good and bad qualities. I agree with you, heart and mind, in saying we
will never turn our backs on Clawbonny--dear, dear Clawbonny, where we
were children together, Miles; where we knew so well, and loved so well,
our departed Grace,--and, I hope and trust, it will ever be our principal
residence. The country-house I inherit from Mrs. Bradfort is better suited
to modern tastes and habits, perhaps, but it can never be one half so dear
to either of us. I would not speak to you on this subject before, Miles,
because I wished first to give you a husband's just control over me and
mine, in giving you my hand; but, now, I may and will suggest what has
been passing in my mind on this subject. Riversedge"--so was Mrs.
Bradfort's country-house called--"is a good residence, and is sufficiently
well furnished for any respectable family. Rupert and Emily must live
somewhere, and I feel certain it cannot long be in Broadway. Now, I have
thought I would reserve Riversedge for their future use. They can take it
immediately, as a summer residence; for I prize one hour passed here more
than twenty-four hours passed there."
"What, rebel!--Even should I choose to dwell in your West-Chester house?"
"You will be here, Miles; and it is on your account that Clawbonny is so
dear to me. The place is yours,--I am yours,--and all your possessions
should go together."
"Thank you, dearest. But will Rupert be able to keep up a town and country
"The first, not long, for a certainty; how long, you know better than I.
When I have been your wife half-a-dozen years, perhaps you will think me
worthy of knowing the secret of the money he actually has."
This was said pleasantly; but it was not said without anxiety. I reflected
on the conditions of my secresy. Grace wished to keep the facts from Lucy,
lest the noble-hearted sister should awaken a feeling in the brother that
might prevent her bequest from being carried into effect. Then, she did
not think Lucy would ever become my wife, and circumstances were changed,
while there was no longer a reason for concealing the truth from the
present applicant, at least. I communicated all that had passed on the
subject to my-deeply-interested listener. Lucy received the facts with
sorrow, though they were no more than she had expected to learn.
"I should be covered with shame, were I to hear this from any other than
you, Miles," she answered, after a thoughtful pause; "but I know your
nature too well, not to feel certain that the sacrifice scarce cost you a
thought, and that you regretted Rupert's self-forgetfulness more than the
loss of the money. I confess this revelation has changed all my plans for
the future, so far as they were connected with my brother."
"In what manner, dearest? Let nothing that has happened to me influence
"In so much as it affects my views of Rupert's character, it must, Miles.
I had intended to divide Mrs. Bradford's fortune equally with my brother.
Had I married any man but you, I should have made this a condition of our
union; but _you_ I know so well, and so well know I could trust, that I
have found a deep satisfaction in placing myself, as it might be, in your
power. I know that all my personal property is already yours, without
reserve, and that I can make no disposition of the real, even after I come
of age, without your consent. But I had that faith in you, as to believe
you would let me do as I pleased."
"Have it still, love. I have neither need, nor wish, to interfere."
"No, Miles; it would be madness to give property to one of such a
character. If you approve, I will make Rupert and Emily a moderate
quarterly allowance, with which, having the use of my country-place, they
may live respectably. Further than that, I should consider it wrong
It is scarcely necessary to say how much I approved of this decision, or
the applause I lavished on the warm-hearted donor. The sum was fixed at
two thousand dollars a year, before we left the room; and the result was
communicated to Rupert by Lucy herself, in a letter written the very
Our wedding-dinner was a modest, but a supremely happy meal; and in the
evening, the blacks had a ball in a large laundry, that stood a little
apart, and which was well enough suited to such a scene. Our quiet and
simple festivities endured for several days; the "uner" of Neb and Chloe
taking place very soon after our own marriage, and coming in good time to
furnish an excuse for dancing the week fairly out.
Marble got into trowsers the day after the ceremony, and then he entered
into the frolic with all his heart. On the whole, he was relieved from
being a bride's-maid,--a sufficiently pleasant thing,--but having got
along so well with Lucy, he volunteered to act in the same capacity to
Chloe. The offer was refused, however, in the following
"No, Misser Marble; colour is colour," returned Chloe. "You's white, and
we's black. Mattermony is a berry solemn occerpashun; and there mustn't be
no improper jokes at my uner with Neb Clawbonny."
"This disease is beyond my practice: yet I have known those which have
walked in their sleep, who have died holily in their beds."
The honeymoon was passed at Clawbonny, and many, many other honeymoons
that have since succeeded it. I never saw a man more delighted than Mr.
Hardinge was, at finding me actually his son-in-law. I really believed he
loved me more than he did Rupert, though he lived and died in ignorance of
his own son's true character. It would have been cruel to undeceive him;
and nothing particular ever occurred to bring about an _eclaircissement_.
Rupert's want of principle was a negative, rather than an active quality,
and was only rendered of account by his vanity and selfishness.
Self-indulgence was all he aimed at, and he was much too self-indulgent
and shrewd to become an active rogue. He would have spent Lucy's and my
joint fortunes, had they been put at his control; but, as they never were,
he was fain to limit his expenditures to such sums as we saw fit to give
him, with certain extra allowances extorted by his debts. Our intercourse
was very much restricted to visits of ceremony, at least on my part;
though Lucy saw him oftener; and no allusion was ever made to the past. I
called him "Mr. Hardinge" and he called me "Mr. Wallingford." "Rupert"
and "Miles" were done with for ever, between us. I may as well dispose of
the history of this person and his wife, at once; for I confess it gives
me pain to speak of them, even at this distance of time.
Rupert lived but four years, after my marriage to his sister. As soon as
he found it necessary to give up the Broadway house, he accepted the use
of Riversedge and his sister's $2000 a-year, with gratitude, and managed
to get along on that sum, apparently, down to the hour of his death. It is
true, that I paid his debts, without Lucy's knowledge, twice in that short
period; and I really think he was sensible of his errors, to a certain
extent, before his eyes were closed. He left one child, a daughter, who
survived him only a few months. Major Merton's complaints had carried him
off previously to this. Between this old officer and myself, there had
ever existed a species of cordiality; and I do believe he sometimes
remembered his various obligations to me and Marble, in a proper temper.
Like most officials of free governments, he left little or nothing behind
him; so that Mrs. Hardinge was totally dependent on her late husband's
friends for a support, during her widowhood. Emily was one of those
semi-worldly characters, that are not absolutely wanting in good
qualities, while there is always more or less of a certain disagreeable
sort of calculation in all they do. Rupert's personal advantages and
agreeable manners had first attracted her; and believing him to be Mrs.
Bradfort's heir, she had gladly married him. I think she lived a
disappointed woman, after her father's death; and I was not sorry when she
let us know that she was about to "change her condition," as it is termed
in widow's parlance, by marrying an elderly man, who possessed the means
of giving her all that money can bestow. With this second, or, according
to Venus's nomenclature, _step_-husband, she went to Europe, and there
remained, dying only three years ago, an amply endowed widow. We kept up a
civil sort of intercourse with her to the last, actually passing a few
weeks with her, some fifteen years since, in a house, half-barn,
half-castle, that she called a palace, on one of the unrivalled lakes of
Italy. As _la Signora Montiera,_ (Montier) she was sufficiently respected,
finishing her career as a dowager of good reputation, and who loved the
"pomps and vanities of this wicked world." I endeavoured, in this last
meeting, to bring to her mind divers incidents of her early life, but with
a singular want of success. They had actually passed, so far as her memory
was concerned, into the great gulf of time, keeping company with her sins,
and appeared to be entirely forgot. Nevertheless, la Signora was disposed
to treat me and view me with consideration, as soon as she found me living
in credit, with money, horses, and carriages at command, and to forget
that I had been only a skip-master. She listened smilingly, and with
patience, to what, I dare say, were my prolix narratives, though her own
recollections were so singularly impaired. She did remember something
about the wheelbarrow and the canal in Hyde Park; but as for the voyage
across the Pacific, most of the incidents had passed out of her mind. To
do her honour, Lucy wore the pearls, on an occasion in which she gave a
little _festa_ to her neighbours; and I ascertained she did remember them.
She even hinted to one of her guests, in my hearing, that they had been
intended for _her_ originally; but "we cannot command the impulses of the
heart, you know, _cara mia_," she added, with a very self-complacent sort
of a sigh.
What of all this? The _ci-devant_ Emily was no more than a summary of the
feelings, interests, and passions of millions, living and dying in a
narrow circle erected by her own vanities, and embellished by her own
contracted notions of what is the end and aim of human existence, and
within a sphere that _she_ fancied respectable and refined.
As for the race of the Clawbonnys, all the elderly members of this
extensive family lived and died in my service; or, it might be better to
say, I lived in theirs. Venus saw several repetitions of her own charms in
the offspring of Neb and Chloe, though she pertinaciously insisted to the
last, that Cupid, as a step-husband, had no legitimate connection with any
of the glistening, thick-lipped, chubby set. But, even closer family ties
than those which bound my slaves to me, are broken by the pressure of
human institutions. The conscript fathers of New York had long before
determined that domestic slavery should not continue within their borders;
and, one by one, these younger dependants dropped off, to seek their
fortunes in town, or in other portions of the State; until few were left
beside Neb, his consort, and their immediate descendants. Some of these
last still cling to me; the parents having instilled into the children, in
virtue of their example and daily discourse, feelings that set at naught
the innovations of a changeable state of society. With them, Clawbonny is
still Clawbonny; and I and mine remain a race apart in their perception of
things. I gave Neb and Chloe their freedom-papers, the day the faithful
couple were married, and at once relieved their posterity from the
servitude of eight-and-twenty, and five-and-twenty years, according to
sex, that might otherwise have hung over all their elder children, until
the law, by a general sweep, manumitted everybody. These papers Neb put in
the bottom of his tobacco-box, not wishing to do any discredit to a gift
from me; and there I accidentally saw them, in rags, seventeen years
later, not having been opened, or seen by a soul, as I firmly believe, in
all that time. It is true, the subsequent legislation of the State
rendered all this of no moment; but the procedure showed the character and
disposition of the man, demonstrating his resolution to stick by me to the
last. He has had no intention to free _me_, whatever may have been my
plans for himself and his race.
I never had more than one conversation with either Neb or his wife, on the
subject of wages, and then I discovered how tender a thing it was, with
the fellow, to place him on a level with the other hired people of my farm
"I won'er what I done, Masser Mile, dat you want to pay me wages, like a
hired man!" said Neb, half-disposed to resent, and half-disposed to grieve
at the proposal. "I was born in de family, and it seem to me dat quite
enough; but, if dat isn't enough, I went to sea wid you, Masser Mile, de
fuss day you go, and I go ebbery time since."
These words, uttered a little reproachfully, disposed of the matter. From
that hour to this, the subject of wages has never been broached between
us. When Neb wants clothes he goes and gets them, and they are charged to
"Masser Mile;" when he wants money he comes and gets it, never manifesting
the least shame or reluctance, but asking for all he has need of, like a
man. Chloe does the same with Lucy, whom she regards, in addition to her
having the honour to be my wife, as a sort of substitute for "Miss Grace."
With this honest couple, Mr. and Mrs. Miles Wallingford, of Clawbonny, and
Riversedge; and Union Place, are still nothing but "Masser Mile" and "Miss
Lucy;"--and I once saw an English traveller take out her note-book, and
write something very funny, I dare say, when she heard Chloe thus address
the mother of three fine children, who were hanging around her knee, and
calling her by that, the most endearing of all appellations. Chloe was
indifferent to the note of the traveller, however, still calling her
mistress "Miss Lucy," though the last is now a grandmother.
As for the children of the house of Nebuchadnezzar, truth compels me to
say, that they have been largely influenced by the spirit of the age, and
that they look on the relation that existed for more than a century,
between the Wallingfords and the Clawbonnys, with eyes somewhat different
from those of their parents. They have begun to migrate; and I am not
sorry to see them go. Notwithstanding, the tie will not be wholly broken,
so long as any of the older stock remain, tradition leaving many of its
traces among them. Not one has ever left my rule without my consent; and I
have procured places for them all, as ambition, or curiosity, has carried
them into the world.
As for this new spirit of the age that is doing so much among us, I am not
twaddler enough to complain of all change, for I know that many of these
changes have had the most beneficial effects. I am far from thinking that
domestic slavery, as it once existed at Clawbonny, is a picture of
domestic slavery as it existed throughout the land; but I do believe that
the institution, as it was formerly known in New York, was quite as much
to the disadvantage of the white man, as to that of the black. There was
always something of the patriarchal character in one of our households,
previously to the change in the laws; and the relation of master and
slave, in old, permanent families, in which plenty was no stranger, had
ever more or less of that which was respectable and endearing. It is not
so much in relation to the abolition spirit, (if it would only confine its
exertions to communities over which it may happen to possess some right of
control,) that I feel alarmed as in reference to a certain spirit, which
appears to think there always must be more and more change, and that in
connection with any specific interest, whatever may have been its
advancement under previous _regimes_; nothing in social life being fully
developed, according to the creed of these movement philosophers. Now, in
my view of the matter, the two most dangerous of all parties in a state,
are that which sets up conservatism as its standard, and that which sets
up progress: the one is for preserving things of which it would be better
to be rid, while the other crushes all that is necessary and useful in its
headlong course. I now speak of these opposing principles, as they are
marshalled in _parties_, opposition giving pertinacity and violence to
each. No sane man can doubt that, in the progress of events, much is
produced that ought to be retained, and much generated that it would be
wiser to reject. He, alone, is the safe and wise legislator, who knows
how, and when, to make the proper distinctions. As for conservatism,
Lafayette once characterized it excellently well, in one of his happiest
hits in the tribune. "Gentlemen talk of the just medium (_juste milieu_)"
he said, "as if it embraced a clear political creed. We all know what the
just medium is, as relates to any particular question; it is simply the
truth, as it is connected with that question. But when gentlemen say, that
they belong to the _juste milieu_, as a _party_, and that they intend to
steer a middle course in all the public events of the day, they remind me
of a case like this--A man of exaggerated notions lays down the
proposition that four and four make ten; another of more discretion and
better arithmetic combats this idea, by maintaining that four and four
make only eight; whereupon, your gentleman of the _juste milieu_, finds
himself obliged to say, 'Messieurs, you are equally in the wrong; the
truth never lies in extremes, and four and four make nine.'"
What is true of conservatism, as a principle, is still more true as to the
movement; for it often happens in morals, as well as in physics, that the
remedy is worse than the disease. The great evil of Europe, in connection
with interests of this nature, arises from facts that have little or no
influence here. There, radical changes have been made, the very base of
the social edifice having been altered, while much of the ancient
architecture remains in the superstructure. Where this is the case, some
errors may be pardoned in the artisans who are for reducing the whole to
the simplicity of a single order. But, among ourselves, the man who can
see no end to anything earthly, ever maintaining that the best always lies
beyond, if he live long enough to succeed, may live long enough to
discover that truth is always on an eminence, and that the downward course
is only too easy to those who rush in so headlong a manner at its goal, as
to suffer the impetus of the ascent to carry them past the apex. A social
fact cannot be carried out to demonstration like a problem in Euclid, the
ramifications being so infinite as to reduce the results to something very
like a conclusion from a multitude of interests.
It is next incumbent to speak of Marble. He passed an entire month at
Clawbonny, during which time he and Neb rigged the Grace and Lucy, seven
different ways, coming back to that in which they found her, as the only
rig in which she would sail; no bad illustration, by the way, of what is
too often the winding up of experiments in overdone political movements.
Moses tried shooting, which he had heard belonged to a country life; and
he had a sort of design to set up as a fourth or fifth class country
gentleman; but his legs were too short to clamber over high rail-fences
with any comfort, and he gave up the amusement in despair. In the course
of a trial of ten days, he brought in three robins, a small squirrel, and
a crow; maintaining that he had also wounded a pigeon, and frightened a
whole flock of quails. I have often bagged ten brace of woodcocks of a
morning, in the shooting-grounds of Clawbonny, and as many quails in
Six weeks after our marriage, Lucy and I paid Willow Cove a visit, where
we passed a very pleasant week. To my surprise, I received a visit from
Squire Van Tassel, who seemed to bear no malice. Marble made peace with
him, as soon as he paid back the amount of his father's bond, principal
and interest, though he always spoke of him contemptuously to me in
private. I must confess I was astonished at the seemingly forgiving temper
of the old usurer; but I was then too young to understand that there are
two principles that govern men's conduct as regards their associations;
the one proceeding from humility and Christian forgiveness, and the other
from an indifference to what is right. I am afraid the last produces more
of what is called a forgiving temper than the first; men being often
called vindictive, when they are merely honest.
Marble lost his mother about a twelvemonth after we returned from our
unfortunate voyage in the Dawn. A month or two earlier, he lost his niece,
little Kitty, by a marriage with the son of 'neighbour Bright.' After
this, he passed much of his time at Clawbonny, making occasional visits to
us, in Chamber street, in the winter. I say in Chamber street, as trade
soon drove us out of Lucy's town residence in Wall street. The lot on
which the last once stood is still her property, and is a small fortune of
itself. I purchased and built in Chamber street, in 1805, making an
excellent investment. In 1825, we went into Bleecker street, a mile higher
up town, in order to keep in the _beau quartier;_ and I took advantage of
the scarcity of money and low prices of 1839, to take up new ground in
Union Place, very nearly a league from the point where Lucy commenced as a
house-keeper in the good and growing town of Manhattan.
After Marble found himself an orphan again, he complained that he was
little better off than a 'bloody hermit' at Willow Cove, and began to talk
about seeing the world. All of a sudden, he made his appearance at
Clawbonny, bag and baggage, and announced an intention to look for a
mate's berth, in some East Indiaman. I heard his story, kept him a day or
two with me, while I superintended the masons who were building _my_
addition to the house, which was then nearly-completed, and then we
proceeded to town in company. I took Moses to the ship-yards, and carried
him on board a vessel that was just receiving her spars, (she was coppered
and copper-fastened, A. No. 1, of live-oak frame, and southern pine decks,
&c.,) asking him how he liked her. He hoped she had a good name. "Why, she
is called the Smudge," I answered. "I hope you fancy it." Moses jerked a
finger over his shoulder, as much as to say he understood me, and inquired
where I intended to send the craft. "To Canton, with you for master." I
saw that my old mate was touched with this proof of confidence, and that
his self-esteem had so much risen with the discovery of his origin that he
made no objections to the trust. I did not intend to go regularly into
commerce, but I kept the Smudge running many years, always under Marble,
and made a vast deal of money by her. Once she went to Europe, Lucy and I
going in her as passengers. This was after the death of my dear old
guardian, who made such an end, as became his virtuous and Christian life.
We, that is Lucy and I, remained abroad several years, returning home in
the Smudge, on the last voyage she ever made as belonging to me. Neb had
often been out in the ship, just to vary the scene; and he came to Havre
in her, as a matter of course, when 'Masser Mile,' 'Miss Lucy,' and their
two 'young Massers,' and two 'young Missuses,' were ready to come home. I
was a good deal shocked at meeting my old friend, Moses, on this
occasion, for he was breaking up fast, being now hard on upon seventy; a
time of life when most seamen are unfit for their calling. Moses, however,
had held on, with a determination to convey us all back to Clawbonny.
Three days after we had sailed, the man of stone had to give up, and take
to his berth. I saw that his days were numbered, and felt it to be a duty
to let him know his real situation. It was an unpleasant office, but
became less so by the resigned and manly manner in which the invalid heard
me. It was only when I ceased speaking, that he made an attempt to reply.
"I have known that the v'y'ge of life was pretty near up, Miles," he then
answered, "for many a day. When the timbers complain and the new
tree-nails hit only decayed wood, it is time to think of breaking up the
hull for the craft's copper, and old iron. I've pretty much worn out the
Smudge, and the Smudge has pretty much worn out me. I shall never see
Ameriky, and I now give up charge of the craft to you. She is your own,
and nobody can take better care of her. I own I should like to be cased in
something that once belonged to her. There's the bulk-head that was taken
down, to alter the state-rooms for your family--it would make as
comfortable a coffin as a body could want."
I promised the old man all should be done, as he desired. After a short
pause, it struck me the present might be a favourable moment to say a ward
on the subject of the future. Marble was never a vicious man, nor could he
be called a particularly wicked man, as the world goes. He was thoroughly
honest, after making a few allowances for the peculiar opinions of seamen,
and his sins were principally those of omission. But, of religious
instruction he had literally known none, in early life. That which he had
picked up in his subsequent career, was not of the most orthodox
character. I had often thought Marble was well disposed on such subjects,
but opportunity was always wanting to improve this hopeful disposition.
Accordingly, I now spoke plainly to him, and I could see his still keen
eyes turned wistfully towards me, more than once, as he listened with an
"Ay, ay, Miles," he answered, when I was through, "this may all be true
enough, but it's rather late in the day for me to go to school. I've heard
most of it before, in one shape or another, but it always came so much in
scraps and fragments, that before I could bend one idee on to another, so
as to make any useful gear of the whole, some of the pieces have slipped
through my fingers. Hows'ever, I've been hard at work at the good book, the
whole of this v'y'ge, and you know it's been a long one; and I must say
that I've picked up a good deal that seems to me to be of the right
quality. Now I always thought it was one of the foolishest things a man
could do, to forgive one's enemies, my rule having been to return
broadside for broadside, as you must pretty well know; but, I now see that
it is more like a kind natur' to pardon, than to revenge."
"My dear Moses, this is a very hopeful frame of mind; carry out this
feeling in all things, leaning on the Saviour alone for your support, and
your dying hour may well be the happiest of your life."
"There's that bloody Smudge, notwithstanding; I hardly think it will be
expected of me to look upon him as anything but a 'long-shore pirate, and
a fellow to be disposed of in the shortest way possible. As for old Van
Tassel, he's gone to square the yards in a part of the univarse where all
his tricks will be known; and I hold it to be onreasonable to carry spite
ag'in a man beyond the grave. I rather think I have altogether forgiven
him; though, to speak the truth, he desarved a rope's-ending."
I understood Marble much better than he understood himself. He felt the
sublime beauty of the Christian morality, but, at the same time, he felt
there were certain notions so rooted in his own heart, that it exceeded
his power to extract them. As for Smudge, his mind had its misgivings
concerning the propriety of his own act, and, with the quickness of his
nature, sought to protest itself against its own suggestions, by making an
exception of that wretch, as against the general mandates of God. Van
Tassel he probably could, in a manner, pardon, the mischief having been in
a measure repaired; though it was a forgiveness that was strangely
tinctured with his own deep contempt for the meanness of the transgressor.
Our conversation lasted a long time. At length Lucy joined in it, when I
thought it wisest to leave the old tar in the hands of one so well fitted
by nature and education to be the instrument, under the providence of God,
of bringing him to a more healthful view of his condition. I had the ship
to take care of, and this was a good excuse for not interfering much with
what passed between the dying man and her who might almost be termed his
ministering angel. I overheard many of their conferences, and was present
at some of their prayers, as were my sons and daughters; being thus
enabled to understand the progress that was made, and the character of the
It was an admirable sight, truly, to see that still lovely woman, using
all the persuasion of her gentle rhetoric, all the eloquence of her warm
feelings and just mind, devoting herself for days and days, to the labour
of leading such a spirit as that of Marble's to entertain just and humble
view's of his own relation to the Creator and his Son, the Saviour of men.
I will not say that complete success crowned the pious efforts of the
single-hearted woman it was my blessed fortune to call my wife: this,
perhaps, was not to be expected. It required a power exceeding hers to
guide the human heart at seventy, after a seaman's life, to a full
repentance of its sins; but, by the grace of God, so much seemed to be
accomplished, as to give us all reason to hope that the seed had taken
root, and that the plant might grow under the guidance of that Spirit in
whose likeness the most lowly of the race has been created.
The passage was long, but very tranquil, and there was ample time for all
that has been related. The ship was still to the eastward of the Grand
Banks, when Marble ceased to converse much; though it is evident his
thoughts were intently musing. He fell away fast, and I began to look
forward to his final departure, as an event that might occur at any hour.
He did not seem to suffer, but his hold of life gradually gave way, and
the spirit was about to take its departure, purely on account of the
decayed condition of the earthly tenement in which it had so long dwelt,
as the stork finally deserts the tottering chimney.
About a week after this change, my son Miles came to me on deck, and
informed me his dear mother desired to see me in the cabin. On going
below, I was met by Lucy, with a face that denoted how solemn she felt
was the character of the intelligence she had to communicate.
"The moment is at hand, dear Miles," she said.--"Our old friend is about
to be called away."
I felt a pang at this speech, though I had long expected the result. Many
of the earlier and more adventurous years of my life passed rapidly in
review before me, and I found the image of the dying man blended with
nearly all. Whatever may have been his peculiarities, to me he had always
been true. From the hour when I first shipped, as a runaway boy, on board
the John, down to that hour, Moses Marble had proved himself a firm and
disinterested friend to Miles Wallingford.
"Is he conscious?" I asked, anxiously. "When I last saw him, I thought his
mind wandered a little."
"Perhaps it did; but he is now more collected, if not entirely so. There
is reason to think he has at length felt some of the influence of the
Redeemer's sacrifice. For the last week, the proofs of this have been
No more passed between Lucy and me, on the subject, at that time; but I
entered the cabin in which the cot of Marble had been slung. It was a
spacious, airy room, for a ship; one that had been expressly fitted by my
orders, for the convenience of Lucy and her two daughters, but which those
dear, self-denying creatures had early and cheerfully given up to the
possession of their old friend.
As yet, I have not particularly spoken of these two girls, the eldest of
whom was named Grace, and the youngest Lucy. At that time, the first was
just fifteen, while her sister was two years younger. By a singular
coincidence, Grace resembled the women of my family most; while the
latter, the dear, ingenuous, frank, pretty little thing, had so much
likeness to her mother, when at the same time of life, that I often caught
her in my arms, and kissed her, as she uttered some honest sentiment, or
laughed joyously and melodiously, as had been the practice of her who bore
her, twenty years before. On those occasions, Lucy would smile, and
sometimes a slight blush would suffuse her face; for I could see she well
understood the impulse which would so suddenly carry me off to the days of
my boyhood and boyish affection.
On the present solemn occasion both the girls were in the cabin,
struggling to be calm, and doing all that lay in their power to solace the
dying man. Grace, the oldest, was the most active and efficient, of
course, her tender years inducing diffidence in her sister; still, that
little image of her mother could not be kept entirely in the back-ground,
when the heart and the desire to be useful were urging her to come out of
herself, in order to share in her sister's duties.
I found Marble quite sensible, and the anxious manner in which he slowly
examined all the interested faces that were now gathered about his bed,
proved how accurately he noted the present and the absent. Twice did he go
over us all, ere he spoke in the husky tones that usually precede death--
"Call Neb," he said--"took leave of my mates, and of all the rest of the
men, yesterday; but I consider Neb as one of the family, Miles, and left
him for the last."
This I knew to be true, though I purposely absented myself from a scene
that I well understood would have to be repeated in my case. Neb was
summoned accordingly, not a syllable being uttered among us, until the
black stood just without the circle of my own wife and children. Moses
watched the arrangement jealously, and it seems he was dissatisfied at
seeing his old shipmate keeping so much aloof at that solemn and
"You are but a nigger, I know, Neb," the old seaman got out, "but your
heart would do honour to a king. It's next to Miles's, and that's as much
as can be said of any man's. Come nearer, boy; none here will grudge you
Little Lucy drew back in an instant, and fairly pulled Neb into the place
she herself had just before occupied.
"Bless you for that, young 'un," said Marble. "I didn't know your mother
when she was of your age, but I can see that one cat-block is not more
like another than you are like what she was at your age; keep that
likeness up, my dear, and then your father will be as happy and fortunate
in his darter as he has been in his wife. Well, nobody desarves his luck
better than Miles--Providential luck, I mean, my dear madam Wallingford,"
interpreting a sorrowful expression of Lucy's eyes aright; "for, thanks to
your teaching, I now understand there is a divine director of all our
fortins, whether ashore, or afloat, black or white."
"There is not a sparrow falls, Captain Marble," said the gentle, earnest
voice of my wife, "that he does not note it."
"Yes, so I understand it, now, though once I thought little of such
things. Thus, when we were wracked in the Dawn, Neb, it was by God's will,
and with a design, like, to bring us three all on to our present fortin,
and present frame of mind; should I ever use the word luck, ag'in, which I
may be likely enough to do from habit, you are all to understand I mean
what I call Providential luck. Yes, madam Wallingford, I comprehend it
parfectly, and shall never forget _your_ kindness, which has been to me
the best turn of Providential luck that has ever happened. I've sent for
you, Neb, to have a parting word, and to give you the advice of an old man
before I quit this world altogether."
Neb began to twist his fingers, and I could see tears glistening in his
eyes; for his attachment to Marble was of very long standing and of proof.
When men have gone through, together, as much as we three had experienced
in company, indeed, the most trifling griefs of everyday life get to
appear so insignificant, that our connection seems to be one of a nature
altogether stronger than the commoner ties.
"Yes, sah, Cap'in Marble, sah; what please to be your wish, sah?" asked
the negro, struggling to subdue his grief.
"To say a few words of advice, Neb, to take leave of my friends, and then
to be struck off the shipping articles of life. Old age and hard sarvice,
Neb, has made me veer cable to the better end. The stopper is working
loose, and a few more surges will leave the hulk adrift. The case is
different with you, who are in your prime,--and a prime chap be you, on a
yard or at the wheel. My parting advice to you, Neb, is, to hold out as
you've begun. I don't say you're without failin's, (what nigger is?) but
you're a good fellow, and as sartain to be found in your place as the
pumps. In the first place, you're a married man; and, though your wife is
only a negress, she's your wife, and you must stick to her through thick
and thin. Take your master as an example, and obsarve how he loves and
cherishes your mistress," [here Lucy pressed, gently, closer to my side;]
"and then, as to your children, bring 'em up according' to the advice of
Madam Wallingford. You can never sail under better instructions than hern,
as I know, by experience. Be particular to make that Hector of yours knock
off from swearing: he's begun, and what's begun in sin is pretty sartain
to have an indin'. Talk to him, first, and, if that won't do, rope's-end
it out of him. There's great vartue in ratlin stuff, among boys. As for
yourself, Neb, hold on as you have begun, and the Lord will have marcy on
you, before the v'y'ge is up."
Here Marble ceased from exhaustion; though he made a sign to Neb not to
move, as he had more to say. After resting a little, he felt under his
pillow, whence he produced a very old tobacco-box, fumbled about until he
had opened it, took a small bite, and shut the box again. All this was
done very slowly, and with the uncertain, feeble movements of a dying man.
When the lid was replaced, Marble held the box towards Neb, and resumed
"Use that for my sake, Neb," he said. "It is full of excellent tobacco,
and the box has the scent of thirty years in it--that being the time it
has sailed in my company. That box has been in nine fights, seven wracks,
and has seen more boat-sarvice than most London watermen, or any
Whitehaller of 'em all. Among other explites, it has been round the world
four times, besides having run the Straits of Magellan in the dark, as
might be; as your master and you know as well as I do. Take that box,
therefore, lad, and be particular, always, to put none but the best of
pig-tail in it--for it's used to that only. And now, Neb, a word about a
little duty you're to do for me, when you get in. Ask your master, first,
for leave, and then go up to Willow Cove, and carry my blessin' to Kitty
and her children. It's easy done, if a man sets about it in the right
spirit. All you have to do is to go up to the Cove, and say that I prayed
to God to bless 'em all, before I died. Do you think you can
"I try, Cap'in Marble, sah--yes, sah, I try all I can, dough I'm no
"Perhaps you had better confide this office to me," said the musical
voice of my wife.
Marble was pleased, and he seemed every way disposed to accept the offer.
"I didn't like to trouble you so much," he answered, "though I feel
grateful for the offer. Well, then, Neb, you may leave the blessin'
unsaid, as your mistress is so kind--hold on a bit: you can give it to
Chloe and her little family; all but Hector, I mean--but not to him,
unless he knocks off swearing! As soon as he does that, why let him have
his share. Now, Neb, give me your hand. Good bye, boy: you've been true to
me, and God bless you for it. You are but a nigger, I know; but there's
One in whose eyes your soul is as precious as that of many a prince
Neb shook hands with his old commander, broke out of the circle, rushed
into the steerage, and blubbered like a baby. In the meantime Marble
paused to recover his own self-possession, which had been a little
disturbed by the feeling manifested by the black. As soon as he felt
himself a little composed, he hunted about his cot until he found two
small paper boxes, each of which contained a very pretty ring, that it
seemed he had purchased for this express purpose when last in port. These
rings he gave to my daughters, who received the presents sobbing, though
with strong natural exhibitions of the friendly sentiments they
entertained for him.
"Your father and I have gone through many hardships and trials together,"
he said, "and I love you all even more than I love my own relations. I
hope this is not wrong, madam Wallingford, for it's out of my power to
help it. I've already given my keep-sakes to the boys, and to your
parents, and I hope all of you will sometimes remember the poor old
sea-dog that God, in his wisdom, threw like a waif in your way, that he
might be benefited by your society. There's your polar star, young 'uns,"
pointing to my wife. "Keep God in mind always, and give to this righteous
woman the second place in your hearts; not that I say a word, or think
anything ag'in your father, who's a glorious fellow in his way, but, a'ter
all, young women should copy a'ter their mothers, when they've such a
mother as your'n, the best of fathers fallin' far astern, in gentleness and
The girls wept freely, and Marble, after waiting a few minutes took a
solemn leave of all my children, desiring everybody but Lucy and myself
to quit the cabin. An hour passed in discourse with us two, during which
Moses frequently exhorted me to give ear to the pious counsels of my wife,
for he manifested much anxiety for the future welfare of my soul.
"I've generalized a great deal over that affair of Smudge, the whole of
this v'y'ge," he continued, "and I've had sore misgivings consarning the
explite. Madam Wallingford, however, has eased my mind on that score, by
showing me how to lay the burthen of this, with all the rest of the load
of my sins, on the love of Christ. I am resigned to go, Miles, for it is
time, and I'm getting to be useless. It's wicked to wish to run a ship
after her frame has worked loose, and nothing now fastens me to life but
you. I own it's hard to part, and my mind has had some weakness on the
matter. However, Miles, my dear boy, for boy you are still in my eyes,
there is comfort in looking ahead. Go by your wife's rules, and when the
v'y'ge is up, we shall all find ourselves in the same haven."
"It gives me much happiness, Moses, to find you in this frame of mind," I
answered. "Since you must quit us, you will not leave one behind of the
name of Wallingford, that will not rejoice at this prospect for the
future. As for your sins, God has both the power and the will to lighten
you of their weight, when he finds you disposed to penitence, and to make
use of the mediation of his blessed Son. If there is anything you desire
to have done, hereafter, this is a very proper time to let me know it."
"I've made a will, Miles, and you'll find it in my desk. There are some
trifles given to you and yourn, but you want not gold, and the rest all
goes to Kitty and her children. There is a p'int, however, on which my
mind is very ondetarmined, and I will now lay it before you. Don't you
think it more becoming for a seaman to be buried in blue water, than to be
tuck'd up in a church-yard? I do not like tombstones, having had too much
of them in 'arly youth, and feel as if I want sea-room. What is your
"Decide for yourself. Your wishes will be our law."
"Then roll me up in my cot, and launch me overboard, in the old way. I
have sometimes thought it might be well to lie at my mother's side; but
she'll excuse an old tar for preferring blue water to one of your country
After this, I had several interviews with the old man, though he said
nothing more on the subject of his interment, that of his property, or
that of his departure. Lucy read the bible to him, two or three times
every day, and she prayed with him often. On one occasion, I heard a low,
sweet voice, near his cot, and taking a look, ascertained it was my little
pet, my daughter Lucy, then only thirteen, reading a second time a chapter
that her mother had gone through, only an hour before, with some of her
own remarks. The comments were wanting now, but the voice had the same
gentle earnestness, the same sweet modulations, and the same impressive
distinctness as that of the mother!
Marble lived until we had passed within the Gulf-Stream, dying easily and
without a groan, with all my family, Neb and the first-mate, assembled
near his cot. The only thing that marked his end was a look of singular
significance that he cast on my wife, not a minute before he breathed his
last. There he lay, the mere vestige of the robust hardy seaman I had once
known, a child in physical powers, and about to make the last great
change. Material as were the alterations in the man, from what he had been
when in his pride, I thought the spiritual or intellectual part of his
being was less to be recognised than the bodily. Certainly that look was
full of resignation and hope; and we had reason to believe that this rude
but honest creature was spared long enough to complete the primary object
of his existence.
In obedience to his own earnest request, though sorely against the
feelings of my wife and daughters, I buried the body of my old friend in
the ocean, six days before we made the land.
And now it remains only to speak of Lucy. I have deferred this agreeable
duty to the last, passing over long years that were pregnant with many
changes, in order to conclude with this delightful theme.
The first few years of my married life were years of bliss to me. I lived
under a constant sense of happiness; a happiness that man can derive only
from a union with a woman of whom his reason and principles as much
approve, as his tastes and passion cherish. I do not mean to be
understood that the years which have succeeded were a whit less happy;
for, in a certain sense, they have been more so, and have gone on
increasing in happiness down to the present hour, but because time and use
finally so far accustomed me to this intimate connection with purity,
virtue, female disinterestedness and feminine delicacy, that I should have
missed them, as things incorporated with my very existence, had I been
suddenly deprived of my wife, quite as much as in the first years of my
married life, I enjoyed them as things hitherto unknown to me.
As I ride over the fields of Clawbonny, even at this day, I recall with
tranquil delight, and I trust with humble gratitude, the manner in which
those blessed early years of our marriage passed. That was the period when
every thought of mine was truly shared by Lucy. She accompanied me in my
daily rides or drives, and listened to every suggestion that fell from my
lips, with kind interest and the most indulgent attention, rendering me
back thought for thought, feeling for feeling, laugh for laugh; and,
occasionally, tear for tear. Not an emotion could become aroused in my
breast that it did not meet with its reflection in her's; or a sense of
the ludicrous be awakened, that her keen but chastened humour did not
increase its effect by sympathy. Those were the years in which were
planned and executed the largest improvements for the buildings,
pleasure-grounds, and fields of Clawbonny. We built extensively, not only
out-houses and stables better suited to our present means, and more
enlarged mode of living, than those which existed in my father's time,
but, as has been stated before, we added to the dwelling, preserving its
pleasing confusion and irregularity of architecture. After passing the
first summer which succeeded our marriage in this manner, I told Lucy it
was time to stop building and improving my own place, in order that some
attention might be bestowed on that she had inherited from Mrs. Bradfort,
and which was also old family property.
"Do not think of it, Miles," she said. "Keep Riversedge in good order, and
no more. Rupert," who was then living, and in possession, "will see that
nothing goes to waste; but Clawbonny, dear Clawbonny, is the true home of
a Wallingford--and I am now a Wallingford, you will remember. Should this
precious boy of ours live to become a man, and marry, the old West-Chester
property can be used by him, until we are ready to give him up
This plan has not been literally carried out; for Miles, my eldest son,
lives with us at Clawbonny, in the summer; and his noisy boys are at this
moment playing a game of ball in a field that has been expressly devoted
to their amusements.
The period which succeeded the first half-dozen years of my union with
Lucy, was not less happy than the first had been; though it assumed a new
character. Our children then came into the account, not as mere
playthings, and little beings to be most tenderly loved and cared for, but
as creatures that possess the image of God in their souls, and whose
future characters, in a measure, depended on our instruction. The manner
in which Lucy governed her children, and led them by gentle means to
virtue and truth, has always been a subject of the deepest admiration and
gratitude with me. Her rule has been truly one of love. I do not know that
I ever heard her voice raised in anger, to any human being, much less to
her own offspring; but whenever reproof has come, it has come in the
language of interest and affection, more or less qualified by severity, as
circumstances may have required. The result has been all that our fondest
hopes could have led us to anticipate.
When we travelled, it was with all our young people, and a new era of
happiness, heightened by the strongest domestic affection, opened on us.
All who have seen the world have experienced the manner in which our
intellectual existences, as it might be, expand; but no one, who has not
experienced it, can tell the deep, heartfelt satisfaction there is, in
receiving this enlargement of the moral creature, in close association
with those we love most on earth. The manner in which Lucy enjoyed all she
saw and learned, on our first visit to the other hemisphere; her youngest
child--all four of our children were born within the first eight years of
our marriage--her youngest child was then long past its infancy, and she
had leisure to enjoy herself, in increasing the happiness of her
offspring. She had improved her mind by reading; and her historical lore,
in particular, was always ready to be produced for the common advantage.
There was no ostentation in this; but everything was produced just as if
each had a right to its use. Then it was, I felt the immense importance of
having a companion, in an intellectual sense, in a wife. Lucy had always
been intelligent; but I never fully understood her superiority in this
respect, until we travelled together, amid the teeming recollections and
scenes of the old world. That America is the greatest country of ancient
or modern times, I shall not deny. Everybody says it; and what everybody
says, must be true. Nevertheless, I will venture to hint, that, _caeteris
paribus_, and where there is the disposition to think at all, the
intellectual existence of every American who goes to Europe, is more than
doubled in its intensity. This is the country of action, not of thought,
or speculation. Men _follow_ out their facts to results, instead of
_reasoning_ them out. Then, the multiplicity of objects and events that
exist in the old countries to quicken the powers of the mind, has no
parallel here. It is owing to this want of the present and the past, which
causes the American, the moment he becomes speculative, to run into the
future. That future promises much, and, in a degree, may justify the
weakness. Let us take heed, however, that it do not lead to
After all, I have found Lucy the most dear to me, and the most valuable
companion, since we have both passed the age of fifty. Air is not more
transparent, than her pure mind, and I ever turn to it for counsel,
sympathy, and support, with a confidence and reliance that experience
could alone justify. As we draw nearer to the close of life, I find my
wife gradually loosening the ties of this world, her love for her husband
and children excepted, and fastening her looks on a future world. In thus
accomplishing, with a truth and nature that are unerringly accurate, the
great end of her being, nothing repulsive, nothing that is in the least
tinctured with bigotry, and nothing that is even alienated from the
affections, or her duties in life, is mingled with her devotion. My
family, like its female head, has ever been deeply impressed by religion;
but it is religion in its most pleasing aspect; religion that has no taint
of puritanism, and in which sin and innocent gaiety are never confounded
It is the most cheerful family of my acquaintance; and this, I must
implicitly believe, solely because, in addition to the bounties it enjoys,
under the blessing of God, it draws the just distinction between those
things that the word of God has prohibited, and those which come from the
excited and exaggerated feelings of a class of theologians, who,
constantly preaching the doctrine of faith, have regulated their moral
discipline solely, as if, in their hearts, they placed all their reliance
on the efficacy of a school of good works that has had its existence in
their own diseased imaginations. I feel the deepest gratitude to Lucy for
having enstilled the most profound sense of their duties into our
children, while they remain totally free from cant, and from those
exaggerations and professions which so many mistake for piety of purer
Some of my readers may feel a curiosity to know how time has treated us
elderly people, for elderly we have certainly become. As for myself, I
enjoy a green old age, and I believe look at least ten years younger than
I am. This, I attribute to temperance and exercise. Lucy was positively an
attractive woman until turned of fifty, retaining even a good deal of her
bloom down to that period of life. I think her handsome still; and old
Neb, when in a flattering humour, is apt to speak of either of my
daughters as his "handsome young missus," and of my wife as his "handsome
And why should not Lucy Hardinge continue to retain many vestiges of those
charms which rendered her so lovely in youth? Ingenuous, pure of mind,
sincere, truthful, placid and just, the soul could scarcely fail to
communicate some of its blessed properties to that countenance which even
now so sensitively reflects its best impulses. I repeat, Lucy is still
handsome, and in my eyes even her charming daughters are less fair. That
she has so long been, and is still my wife, forms not only the delight but
the pride of my life. It is a blessing, for which, I am not ashamed to
say, I daily render thanks to God, on my knees.