Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Elinor Wyllys by Susan Fenimore Cooper

Part 5 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

she had wept during the last few weeks, yet it was always in
spite of herself, at moments when the tears were forced from her
by some sudden recollection of the past, or some distressing
glimpse of the future. On the present occasion, instead of
encouraging solitary grief, she returned to the drawing-room, and
read aloud to her aunt, who was busy with her needle.

But Harry's second visit to Philadelphia was not to pass without
their meeting. Mr. Wyllys, Miss Agnes, and Elinor were spending
the evening at the house of a friend, when, to the surprise and
regret of all parties, Hazlehurst walked in with one of the young
men of the family, with whom he was intimate. It was the first
time they had met since the alarm on the piazza at Wyllys-Roof.
Poor Elinor, at the first glance, when the door opened, turned
deadly pale, as she always did when agitated. Harry, as he
crossed the room to make his bow to the lady of the house, felt
excessively uncomfortable; when he turned, not a little
embarrassed, towards the rest of the party, he received a slight
and cool movement of recognition from Mr. Wyllys, who was
standing at a corner of the fire-place. Miss Agnes made an effort
to say good evening, in her usual tone; and Harry replied that he
was very glad to find they were to be in Philadelphia for the
winter, words which were as far from the truth as possible.
Elinor would have given much to look and speak as calmly as her
aunt; but she could only bow in silence, for at the moment she
dared not trust her voice. The lady of the house, who knew very
well how to account for a meeting which seemed very ceremonious
between near connexions, who had always been so intimate, did her
best to make matters go off well; and her son, who was also in
the secret, rattled away to Elinor to the best of his ability.
But there was a very perceptible touch of cool disapprobation in
Mr. Wyllys's manner, and a something that was not quite natural,
in the tones of Miss Agnes's voice. Harry felt as if he were
doing penance, and he felt, moreover, as if he richly deserved
it. But the worst was to come. There was another lady present, a
New Yorker, who had lately seen Hazlehurst very often with the
Grahams, in his character of Jane's admirer, and she innocently
asked him when he was going to return to New York. "In a day or
two," he replied. "You will not leave the post vacant very long,
I dare say," observed the lady. Harry's answer was not very
distinctly heard, and he coloured as much as it is in the power
of man to do. The lady happily observed how much he was annoyed,
and changed the conversation. Hazlehurst was not in a mood to pay
a long visit: he soon rose to take leave. Elinor, in the mean
time, made a great effort for self-command. She knew that she was
the injured party, and yet she felt superior to all the
littleness of resentment--she acquitted Harry and Jane of all
intentional trifling with her feelings. The gentle, quiet dignity
of her manner gradually expressed what was passing in her mind.
As Harry passed near her, and bowed, collecting all her
self-possession, she wished him good-evening, with a calm, sweet

It was now Hazlehurst's turn to be much the most embarrassed of
the two; he bowed, and muttered something about calling, in a
voice much less clear than her's had been; then fairly giving up
the matter in despair, he quitted the ground with another bow. On
leaving the house, he walked rapidly down Walnut-Street, very
much dissatisfied with himself, and out of humour with his
friend, for having brought him into such an awkward scene.

The next day, when Elinor thought over what had passed, she felt
relieved that the first meeting, which she had so much dreaded,
was over; although she knew it must he a long time before she
could see Jane and Harry with perfect composure; she knew there
must be other unpleasant moments in store for her. There was no
danger but that Elinor would do all in her power to subdue her
feelings for Harry, and yet she sometimes reproached herself with
having done too little; her interest in him was still too strong.
She shrunk sensitively from longer encouraging any weakness for
him; it had now become a want of delicacy to do so, it would soon
be almost sinful. She knew that if she did not succeed in the
endeavour it would be her own fault only; for her whole education
had taught her that there was no passion, of whatever nature, too
strong to be conquered by reason and religion, when their aid was
honestly sought.

Miss Agnes, on the contrary, who knew how unexpectedly, and how
deeply, Elinor's feelings had been wounded, was fearful that her
adopted child was making too great an effort for self-control;
with a girl of her principles and disposition there was danger of
this. Elinor, since the first day or two, had sensitively avoided
every approach to the subject when conversing with her aunt. Miss
Agnes knew that time alone could teach her the lesson of
forgetfulness, and she now dreaded some reaction; although
admiring Elinor's courage and resolution, she wished her
occasionally to give a more natural vent to her feelings. It
struck her that the time for one open conversation on the subject
had come, and the result proved that her opinion was correct.
Elinor threw off a constraint that was not natural to her
character, and which had been kept up from an exaggerated sense
of duty. She now spoke with perfect frankness, nothing was
concealed; grief, regrets, struggles, all were confided to her
aunt, whose sympathy was grateful to her, while the advice given
with kindness and good sense, was of real service.

Many young people who knew Miss Wyllys, would have smiled at the
idea of her being a good counsellor on such an occasion, for her
own life, though useful and happy, had been quite uneventful. The
death of her mother, and the marriage of her brothers and sister,
had left her, when still a young and pretty woman, the only
companion and solace of her father. These duties were soon
increased by the charge of her orphan niece, and her time and
attention had since then seemed engrossed by these cares and
pleasures. Miss Wyllys was actually never known to have had a
regular suitor. Whether she might not have had her share of
declared admirers had she chosen to be encouraging, we cannot
say; it is a subject upon which we have no authorities.

Of course Miss Agnes could not be expected to know anything about
love, beyond what she had learned from books, or from
observation. She was, nevertheless, a much better adviser than
many a younger and more experienced friend. Where the head and
the heart are both in the right place, instinct soon teaches us
how to sympathize with our fellows in all troubles that really
belong to our nature.

It appeared to Elinor as if, in future, there would be an
additional tie between her aunt and herself; for she looked
forward to leading a single life, hoping to pass her days like
Miss Agnes, in that sphere of contented usefulness which seemed
allotted to her.

When Elinor had returned to her own room, after the conversation
to which we have alluded, she went to a writing-desk, and drew
from it a letter. It was the same she had received on her
seventeenth birth-day. It was from her mother. During the
lingering illness which caused her death, Mrs. Wyllys, deeply
anxious for the welfare of her orphan daughter, had written
several of these letters, adapted to her child's capacity at
different ages, and placed them in the hands of Miss Agnes, with
the request they might be given to Elinor at the dates marked on
the envelope of each. They had proved a precious legacy for the
young girl, and a guide to Miss Agnes in her education; for the
aunt had never forgotten that she was the mother's representative
only; Elinor having always been taught to give the first place to
her parent's memory. It seemed, indeed, as if her mother's spirit
had never ceased to linger near her, exerting its silent
influence. The letter to which Elinor attached so high a value is
given below.

"Wyllys-Roof, August 13th, 18--.


"You will not receive this letter until you have reached the age
of womanhood, years after your mother has been laid in her grave.

"To separate from you, my darling child, has cost your mother a
bitter pang. There is no severer trial of faith to a Christian
woman, than to leave her little ones behind her, in a world
exposed to evil and sorrow; and yet, although so near death
myself, it is my wish that you may live, dearest, to taste all
that is good in life. Few mothers are blessed in death, as I am,
with the power of leaving their orphans to such kind and
judicious guardians as your grandfather and aunt; should they be
spared, you will scarcely feel the loss of your parents. Oh, how
fervent is my prayer that they may live to guard, to cherish you!
And when the task they have so piously assumed is fully
completed, may they long enjoy the fruits of their cares!

"It is with singular feelings that I write to you as a woman, my
child, and appeal to thoughts and sentiments, of which you are at
this moment so utterly unconscious; sitting, as you now are, at
my feet, amid your playthings, too busy with a doll, to notice
the tears that fall upon these last lines I shall ever have it in
my power to address to you. But the hope that this letter may,
one day, long after I have left you, be a tie between us, my
Elinor, is grateful to your mother's heart, and urges me to
continue my task. I have a double object in writing these
letters; I wish to be remembered by you, dear, and I wish to
serve you.

"During the last few months, since my health has failed, and
since you, my child, have been the chief object of interest to me
in this world, I have often endeavoured to pass over in my mind,
the next dozen years, that I might fancy my child, what I trust
she will then be, qualified in every essential point to act for
herself, in the position to which she belongs. I trust that when
this, my last letter, is placed in your hands, you will already
have learned to feel and acknowledge the important truths that I
have endeavoured to impress on you, in those you have previously
received. You are already convinced, I trust, that without a
religious foundation, any superstructure whatever must be
comparatively worthless. I should he miserable, indeed, at this
moment, if I could not hope that sincere, single-hearted piety
will be the chief influence of your life; without it, you could
never know true happiness, or even peace. Rest assured, my child,
that while it sweetens every blessing, it soothes under every
evil. Many have given the same testimony when they stood, like
your mother, within the shadow of death. I have every reason, my
beloved daughter, to hope that under the guidance of an humble,
sincere Christian, like your aunt, you also will arrive at the
same blessed conviction; I know that so long as she lives, her
example, her prayers, her vigilance will never be wanting. I have
every reason to believe that you will be led to seek that which
is never earnestly sought in vain.

"I must be brief, dear child, lest my strength should fail. From
the many thoughts that crowd upon me, I can only select a few,
which my own experience has taught me to value as important. In
the first place, let me warn you never to forget the difference
between Christian education, and all others. Remember that
Christian education has for its foundation the heart-felt
conviction of the weakness of human nature; for a being bearing
the name of a Christian to lose sight of this truth, is the
grossest of all inconsistencies. The great and the learned among
those who are merely philosophers, preach, as though to know what
is good, and to practise it, were equally easy to mankind. But
the Christian alone knows that he must look beyond himself for
guidance, and for support. He knows only too well, that there are
times when the practice of some plain and evident duty, costs his
feeble nature a severe struggle--in no instance will he dare
trust his own strength alone. He knows that even in those cases
where duly is also a pleasure, he must still be watchful and
humble, lest he fall. One would think this truth so obvious, from
daily observation, as to be undeniable; but it is now the fashion
to laud human nature, to paint flattering pictures only. Humility
is thought debasing; but Truth alone is honourable, and Humility
is Truth. You will find the actions of those who acknowledge this
truth, more honourable to the human race, than the deeds of those
who deny it. The true dignity of human nature consists, not in
shutting our eyes to the evil, but in restraining it; which, with
our Maker's help, we may all do, for the blessing of our Creator
is still within our reach, still vouchsafed to the humble
Christian. If such be your views, my daughter, you will be
prepared to find difficulties in acquiring and practising those
virtues which it is the duty of life to cultivate; you will be
prepared to meet those difficulties with the sincere humility of
a Christian, and with Christian exertion.

"My child, love the Truth, and the Truth only.

"Cultivate daily a pious, thankful, humble disposition.

"Love those near you heartily; live for them as well as for

"Eschew all envy, and petty jealousies, and rivalries; there is
perhaps no other evil that so often poisons our daily blessings.

"Cultivate your judgment. Never forget the difference between
things of importance and trifles; yet remember that trifles have
also their value. Never lose sight of the difference between form
and spirit; yet remember that in this material world, the two
should seldom be put asunder. The true substance will naturally
have its shadow also.

"Cultivate a sweet, frank, cheerful temper, for your own sake,
and for the sake of those you love.

"Cultivate your abilities in every way that comes naturally
within your reach; it is seldom worth while for a woman to do
more than this. In all you learn, aim at giving pleasure to
others, aim at being useful to them, as well as at improving your
own faculties.

"Enjoy thankfully all the blessings of life; and they are

"There is one subject, of some importance to you individually, my
child, which I have not yet alluded to in either of my letters; I
have purposely deferred it until you will be better fitted to
understand me. You will have one personal evil to contend
against, my dear Elinor; your face will be plain, your features
will be homely, darling. It is a weakness, my child, and yet I
regret you should suffer from this disadvantage; rest assured,
that in every little mortification to which you may be exposed,
your mother, had she lived, would have felt with you. I trust
that this will be the first time your attention will be seriously
fixed upon the subject, and that as a child you will scarcely
have thought upon it. Let us then, dear, look upon the matter
together for a moment, calmly and steadily; we will not blind
ourselves to the advantages of beauty, neither will we exaggerate
the evils of a want of it. You will soon discover, from your own
observation, that beauty in women, as in children, is delightful
in itself; it throws a charm over the words and actions of the
favoured person. In a worldly sense it is also a woman's power;
where other qualifications are equal, you may often observe that
beauty alone confers a striking superiority. In some respects its
advantages are even greater than are usually allowed, in others
again they are far less. Were we to judge by the space it fills
in general observation, and in conversation, we should believe it
the one all-important qualification in women, that nothing else
can be compared with it. But to adopt this opinion would be
grossly to exaggerate its importance. Nor can we believe, on the
other hand, what some prudent writers for the young have
affirmed, that the superiority of beauty is only momentary; that
the eyes tire of a beautiful face which they see daily, that in
all cases it vanishes with early youth. No, my child, I do not
wish you to believe this, for I cannot believe it myself. For
years, the beauty of my sister Elizabeth has been a daily source
of pleasure to me, and I doubt not to others also. My aunt, Mrs.
Graham, though past fifty, is still a handsome woman, and her
appearance must be pleasing to every one who meets her; while, on
the contrary, people still amuse themselves at the expense of
Miss Townley, whose face is strikingly plain. Hundreds of
examples might be cited to prove that the charm of beauty does
not generally vanish so soon, that one does not tire of it so
easily. And then if a woman lose her beauty entirely, still the
reputation of having once possessed it, gives her a sort of
advantage in the eyes of the world. If mere notoriety be an
advantage, and in the opinion of the worldly it is so, the
superiority of beauty over ugliness lasts longer than life; many
women are remembered, who had nothing but beauty to recommend
them to the notice of posterity. But observe, my child, that if
these advantages are evident, they are chiefly of a worldly
nature. A beautiful woman may receive general admiration, and
that homage which gratifies vanity, but she must depend on other
qualities if she wish to be respected, if she wish to be loved
through life. I hope, my child, you will always be superior to
that miserable vanity which thirsts for common admiration, which
is flattered by every offering, however low, however trivial. I
trust that the mere applause of the world will have no influence
upon your heart or your understanding. Remember what it is that
we call the world--it is a ground governed by a compromise
between the weaknesses of the good among us, and the virtues of
the bad; the largest portion of vanity and folly--sometimes even
vice--mingled with the least portion of purity and wisdom that a
community bearing a Christian name will tolerate. You, I trust,
will learn to seek a higher standard.

"If borne in a right spirit, my dear Elinor, the very want of
beauty, or of any other earthly good, may be the means of giving
you the benefit of far higher blessings. If it make you more free
from vanity, from selfishness, it will make you far happier, even
in daily life. It may dispose you to enjoy more thankfully those
blessings actually in your possession, and to make a better use
of them.

"Under this and every other disadvantage, my child, remember two
things: to give the evil its just importance only, and to make a
right use of it.

"I trust that your temper will be such, that you will not for a
moment feel any inclination to repine that others should enjoy a
blessing denied to you, my love. Refrain even from wishing for
that which Providence has withheld; if you have a right faith,
you will be cheerful and contented; if you are really humble, you
will be truly thankful.

"Do all in your power, my Elinor, towards making your home,
wherever it may be, a happy one; it is our natural shelter from
the world. If in public you meet with indifference and neglect,
you can surely preserve the respect of those who know you; and
the affection of your friends may always be gained by those
quiet, simple virtues, within the reach of every one.

"In one way, my dearest child, the want of beauty may affect your
whole career in life--it will very probably be the cause of your
remaining single. If I thought you would be united to a husband
worthy of your respect and affection, I should wish you to marry;
for such has been my own lot in life--I have been happy as a wife
and a mother. But I am well aware that this wish may be a
weakness; the blessings of Providence are not reserved for this
or that particular sphere. The duties and sorrows of married life
are often the heaviest that our nature knows. Other cares and
other pleasures may be reserved for you, my child. In every
civilized Christian community there have always been numbers of
single women; and where they have been properly educated, as a
class they have been respectable--never more so than at the
present day. They often discharge many of the most amiable and
praiseworthy duties of life. Understand me, my child; I do not
wish to urge your remaining single; that is a point which every
woman must decide for herself, when arrived at years of
discretion; but I would have you view a single life with
sufficient favour to follow it cheerfully, rather than to
sacrifice yourself by becoming the wife of a man whom you cannot
sincerely respect. Enter life prepared to follow, with unwavering
faith in Providence, and with thankfulness, whichever course may
be allotted to you. If you remain single, remember that your
peace is more in your own hands than if married--much more will
depend solely on the views and dispositions you encourage. As
appearance has generally so much influence over men, and marriage
is therefore a less probable event to you than to others, my
love, let your mother caution you to watch your feelings with
double care; be slow to believe any man attached to you, unless
you have the strongest proof of it.

"Whatever be your position, never lose sight, even on trifling
occasions, of common sense, and good-feeling. Remember, in any
case, to guard carefully against the peculiar temptations of your
lot, to bear patiently its evils, and to enjoy thankfully its
peculiar blessings.

"There are many things that I should still wish to say to you, my
beloved daughter; and yet I know that the cautions I give may be
unnecessary, while other evils, which I have never feared, may
befall you. My inability to guide you as I wish, my darling
child, directs us both to a higher source of wisdom and love. Let
us both, at all times, implicitly place our trust where it can
never fail, though blessings be not bestowed in the way we fond
creatures would choose."

[Here followed a sentence, in words too solemn to be transferred
to pages as light as these.]

"Love your aunt, your second mother, truly and gratefully. She
has already bestowed on you many proofs of kindness, and she has
always been a faithful friend to your father, and to your mother.
Love the memory of your parents, my child; think of us
sometimes--think of your father--think of your mother. Honour
their memory by a recollection of their instructions, by a
well-spent life. Since your birth, my child, I have scarcely had
a hope or a fear, unconnected with you; if I were to ask to live,
it would be only for your sake, my darling daughter.

"Your mother's tenderest blessing rests upon you, my beloved
Elinor, through life!


This letter had been often read and studied by Elinor, with the
gratitude and respect it deserved, as a legacy from her mother;
but lately she had been disposed to enter more fully into the
feelings by which it had been dictated. Every word which applied
to her present situation, sunk deeply into her heart.


"Merrily, merrily dance the bells;
Swiftly glides the sleigh!"
Newspaper Verses.

{source not located}

EARLY in December, a new glazed card was to be seen on most of
the fashionable tables in New York. It was of the particular tint
most in favour that season, whether bluish or pinkish we dare not
affirm, for fear of committing a serious anachronism, which might
at once destroy, with many persons, all claim to a knowledge of
the arcana of fashionable life. Having no authorities at hand to
consult, the point must be left to the greater research of the
critical reader. This card bore the name of T. TALLMAN TAYLOR;
but whether in Roman or Italic characters we dare not say, for
the same reason which has just been frankly confessed. It was,
however, a highly fashionable bit of pasteboard, as became the
representative of a personage who returned to New York, claiming
the honours of fashion himself. This was no less a person than
the Son of Mr. Pompey Taylor. But the T. Tallman Taylor, whose
whole appearance was pronounced unexceptionable by the New York
belles, from the points of his boots to the cut of his
moustaches, was a very different individual from the
good-looking, but awkward, ungainly youth, introduced to the
reader two or three years since, at Wyllys-Roof. He had, in the
mean time, learned how to stand, how to sit, how to walk, how to
talk in a drawing-room. He had learned what to do with his cane
and his hat, how to manage his pocket-handkerchief and his
gloves; branches of knowledge which an American who sets about
acquiring them, usually learns quite rapidly. He was also very
much improved in riding and dancing, and was said to fence well.
These, with the addition of a much better French accent, were the
principal changes perceptible to the ladies, who pronounced them
all for the better. Among the young men he was soon found to be
an excellent judge of Chateau Margaux and Rudesheimer; some also
thought him knowing in horse-flesh, while others doubted his
qualifications in that respect. His father, moreover, soon
discovered that he had become an adept in the art of spending
money; among his intimates, cards, and the billiard-table, with
other practices of that description, were hinted at, as the way
in which he got rid of his dollars. But as these were subjects
not mentioned in general society, it was as yet the initiated
only, who were aware of young Taylor's Paris habits of this kind.

{"Chateau Margaux and Rudesheimer" = two famous wines}

His father had, of late years, learned to set too high a value
upon the world, and everything worldly, not to be much gratified
by the change that had taken place in his son. As for Adeline,
she gloried in his six-feet and his black moustaches, his Paris
waistcoat and London boots; while his honest-hearted mother would
have loved him just as much under any other metamorphosis he had
chosen to assume. Such as he was, young Taylor soon became quite
a favourite beau with the New Yorkers, and was invited to most
houses. He proved himself quite a ladies' man; no lazy, grumbling
dandy, but a smiling, assiduous beau. He had not been in New York
a month, before he was known to have sent a number of bouquets to
different belles, and was supposed to have given more than one
serenade to his sister's friend, Miss Hunter.

The last day of December, all New York was set in motion by a
fall of snow, sufficient to allow of pretty good sleighing for
four-and-twenty hours. Like such occasions in general, it became
a sort of holiday. And really, the novelty, the general movement,
the bustle and gaiety, the eagerness to enjoy the pleasure while
it lasts, always render such scenes very enlivening. Every
vehicle with runners, and every animal bearing the name of a
horse, are put in requisition for the day. The dashing sleighs
crowded with gaily dressed people, the smiling faces and flying
feathers of the ladies, the rich cloths and furs, the bright
colours of the equipages, and the inspiriting music of the merry
bells, give to Broadway, at such times, quite a carnival look.
The clear, bracing air disposes people to be cheerful; even the
horses feel the spirit of the moment; they prance their heads
proudly, and shake the bells about their necks, as if delighted
with the ease and rapidity of their motion; sympathizing
foot-passengers stop to give their friends a nod, and follow
their rapid course with good-natured smiles. Young people and
children are collected for a frolic, and family parties hurry off
to drink coffee and mulled wine, to eat plum-cake and waffles at
the neighbouring country-houses. It is altogether a gay, cheerful
sight, enjoyed with all the more zest from its uncertainty.

Hazlehurst was delighted, as he went to his window, the morning
in question, to find the roofs and pavements covered with snow.
For several years he had had no sleighing, and he promised
himself a very pleasant day. Mrs. Stanley was going to remain
quietly at home. He sent to a livery-stable to secure a good
horse and a pretty cutter for himself and immediately after
breakfast hurried off to Mrs. Graham's lodgings, with the hope of
obtaining Jane as a companion. "And who knows," thought he, "what
may happen before evening."

He had just reached Mrs. Graham's door, when a very dashing
sleigh, drawn by four fine horses, drew up from the opposite
direction. Young Taylor was in the coachman's seat; Miss Hunter,
Adeline, and a quiet-looking young man, whom we shall introduce
as Theodore St. Leger, were in the sleigh. Miss Adeline threw off
her over-cloak, and as she gave her hand to Mr. St. Leger, to
jump from the sleigh, called out to Harry in her usual shrill
voice, {sic}

"Good morning, Mr. Hazlehurst, you are exact at the rendez-vous,
for of course you got my note. But you ought to have brought a
lady with you; you mustn't run away with Jane; she is to be of
our party in the sleigh, do you hear?" continued the young lady,
trying hard to look pretty and positive, at the same time. "I
hope you didn't mean to ask her to go with you."

"Yes, I did," replied Harry, rather stoutly. "Miss Graham told me
the other day, she quite longed for sleighing, and made something
very like a promise to go with me if we had any snow."

"Oh, but not to-day; I must have her in the sleigh with me! Now,
Jane, dear," continued the young lady, tripping into the
drawing-room followed by her brother and Harry, "put on your hat
at once, that's a good girl; we wouldn't miss having you for the

Harry had often been provoked with Adeline's constant
appropriation of Jane to herself, when they were together; and he
determined, if he could prevent it, she should not succeed this

"Miss Taylor is very decided," he said, "but so am I. And I think
you must remember you were pledged to me for the first sleighing,
if we were so fortunate as to have any."

"It's no such thing, I'm sure;--is it, Jane?"

"Pray, remember we are two to one, Miss Graham," said young
Taylor, on the other side, in an insinuating voice.

"But we can all go together," said Jane, blushing, and scarcely
knowing what to do.

"If Mrs. Graham were here," added Harry, "I think she would
certainly trust you with me. I have a very good horse, one that I
have driven all along, and he is perfectly safe."

"So are ours, all four of them," said Adeline; "and I'm sure
there must be more safety with four safe horses, than with one!"

"Perfectly safe, Miss Graham, I assure you," added young Taylor.
"Of course I should not press you unless I felt sure you would
run no risk."

"Pshaw!" said Adeline. "Why should we stand here, talking about
the risk and danger, like so many old grey-beards. Put on your
hat, dear, that's a darling, without any more palaver. Anne
Hunter and Mr. St. Leger are waiting for us at the door; you know
we are going to Bloomingdale, to lunch, at Mrs. Hunter's. We
shall have a charming time; and Mr. Hazlehurst is going with us
too. Of course you got my note," she added, turning to Harry.

{"Bloomingdale" = a fashionable and still rural area of Manhattan
Island, though a part of New York City}

"No, I did not; but I should have been obliged to decline your
invitation, Miss Taylor," said Hazlehurst, bowing a little
stiffly. "I have made arrangements for going on Long Island."

"Oh, that's a pity; I am really sorry, for I wanted you to be of
our party; only I couldn't have you run away with my friend Jane.
Silence gives consent, Jane. You didn't answer my note, this

"Perhaps I had better not go at all," said Jane, not a little
perplexed. "Mamma is not at home, and will not know what has
become of me."

"Nonsense, child; Mrs. Graham will know you are in very good
hands. You have been out with me a hundred times before, and you
surely don't think there is any more danger because Tallman is of
the party."

"I hope not," added young Taylor, in an insinuating manner; "I'm
a first-rate whip, Miss Graham."

"Now, just tell the truth; didn't you mean to go with me, before
Mr. Hazlehurst came in?" said Adeline--"no fibbing, mind."

"I only received your note ten minutes since," replied Jane; "but
I did think of going with you."

"I should like to know why you hesitate, then. First come, first
served. Now, the best thing you can do, Mr. Hazlehurst, is to
change your mind, and ask one of the Miss Howards, and join our
party, too. I really wish you would!"

"You are very good," said Harry, coldly; "but I must beg you to
excuse me."

Jane allowed herself to be shawled and cloaked by young Taylor,
and the affair was settled. But Harry thought she did not seem
quite satisfied with herself, for she changed colour several
times, and he even remarked that her fingers trembled as she tied
the strings of her hat. This rather softened his feelings towards
her; but he still felt extremely provoked with the meddling
Adeline, and her officious brother. As he did not wish to play
the worsted man, however, he tried to put a good face on the
matter, and accompanied the party down-stairs, helped the ladies
into the sleigh, wished them a pleasant drive, and went off
himself, at a rapid pace, towards the Long-Island ferry.

He was exceedingly out of humour with Adeline, and reproached
Jane not a little for allowing herself to be so often guided by
her trifling friend. The occurrence of the morning, hastened his
determination to bring matters to a conclusion. That very evening
should decide the point. He must have been more than modest to
have doubted the result; Jane's manner he had long thought just
what he could wish from one so little demonstrative as herself.
Hubert de Vaux, it is true, had been very assiduous of late, but
Jane had never given him any sign of preference, sufficient to
excite Harry's jealousy. Mr. Graham was expected every day from
Charleston, to pass the remainder of the winter with his family;
as he had already given one daughter to the elder Hazlehurst, and
no serious objection could be raised against Harry, his prospects
were very promising. Before long, the gentle, lovely Jane would
be his own; his would be the enviable lot, of carrying off the
beautiful prize.

Hazlehurst had time to make these reflections, and disperse his
ill-humour, before he reached the wharf at Brooklyn. Here he met
Charlie Hubbard, whom he had not seen for some time, not, indeed,
since his rupture with the Wyllyses. Charlie's greeting was not
quite as warm as usual; he did not seem as much pleased at this
unexpected meeting, and the offer of a seat in Harry's cutter, as
one might have supposed. Hazlehurst was so cordial, however, and
urged the young painter so much to take a turn with him on the
Island, that, after a little hesitation, Hubbard accepted.

"Come, Charlie; I am sure you haven't any very good reason for
not making the most of the snow, like the rest of us."

"Perhaps not," said Charlie; and he took his seat with Harry.

Hubbard gave a good account of himself and his family. He had
received several orders; and his pet picture of the moment was
going on finely. His youngest sister was in town, taking music
lessons, to fit her for her future occupation; and he had just
sent Miss Patsey a pair of globes for her school, as a New Year's
gift; the most expensive present, by-the-bye, Charlie had ever
made in his life.

"I feel quite rich," said the young man, "since I pocketed a
hundred a-piece for my two views of Nahant. To be sure, I never
expect to make a fortune; if I can earn enough to support my
mother and sister, and paint only such pictures as I please, that
is all I want of the good things of this world."

"It's all very well to say so now, Charlie, that you have
received your two hundred; but wait till you are the great Mr.
Hubbard, and expect two thousand for your last view of

"That day will never come, to me, or to any other man, perhaps,
in this country," replied young Hubbard. "I go to work with my
eyes open, as you well know. My uncles have talked the matter
over with me a hundred times, if they have once; they have showed
me what I could do if I took to making money, and what I could
not do if I took to painting. They have offered to help me on;
Mr. Taylor would take me into his counting-house, to-morrow; and
Hilson offers to make me an auctioneer. But I have chosen my
profession, and I shall abide by it. I have no wish for wealth. I
should never be tempted to sell my soul for money--no, nor my
good name, or my independence: for I do not feel willing to
barter even my time and tastes for riches. I can honestly say,
money has no charms for me. A comfortable subsistence, in a very
moderate way, is all I should ask for."

"I know it, Hubbard, and I honour your decision," said
Hazlehurst, warmly. "It is impossible, however, but that genius
like yours should make its way; and I hope you may meet with all
the success you deserve, even though it bring you more money than
you wish for: one of these days when there is a Mrs. Hubbard, you
may want more than you require now."

A shade of feeling passed over the young artist's fine face, as
Harry carelessly uttered these words; it seemed to spring from
some painful thought. It was unobserved by Hazlehurst, however,
who was not looking at his companion at the moment. Charlie was
soon roused by Harry's inquiries as to his plans for travelling
in Europe. The young men then spent a pleasant hour in discussing
different works of the great masters, which Hubbard, as yet, knew
only from engravings and books. Surrounded by snow and ice, they
talked over the atmospheres of Italy and Greece.


"Happy New-Year!"

THE streets had been cleared of the snow for New-Year's day, by a
thaw, and a hard shower in the night. The sun rose bright and
clear; and, as usual, early in the morning, that is to say
morning in its fashionable sense, the greater part of the male
population of the town were in motion, hurrying in all directions
towards the houses of their female friends and relatives. It
appeared as if the women had suddenly deserted the city, and the
men were running about, half-distracted, in pursuit of them.
After the markets and churches were closed, few indeed were the
females to be seen in the streets; while, on the contrary, troops
of men of all ages, were hurrying over the side-walks of
Broadway, usually enlivened by the gay dresses and bright faces
of the ladies. There were young men running a race against time,
carrying lists in their hands with an impossible number of visits
to be paid during the day; there were boys taking their first
steps in this yearly course of gallantry; there were elderly men
walking more leisurely from one favoured house to another. All,
but a few grumblers here and there, looked smiling and
good-humoured. As the black-coated troop hastened hither and
thither, they jostled one another, now nodding, now shaking
hands; here, old friends passing without seeing each other;
there, a couple of strangers salute one another in the warmest
manner. The doors of the houses seemed to open of themselves; men
were going in, men were coming out. The negroes looked more
lustrous and light-hearted than ever; the Paddies, cleaner and
more bothered; the regular Knickerbockers, to the manner born,
were, of course, in their element.

{"visits" = for men to make short calls at as many homes as
possible on New Year's Day was an old New York City custom;
"Paddies" = Irish; "Knickerbockers" = traditional term for native
New Yorkers}

We have heard nice calculations as to the precise number of
calls, that an able-bodied, well-trained New-Year's visiter can
accomplish between midnight and midnight; allowing, of course, a
couple of hours for the toilette, and a moment to snatch a
mouthful at breakfast and dinner: it is affirmed, however, that
as great generals have passed days of battle without food, so
your chivalrous Knickerbocker should be willing to forego, on
such an occasion, even a sight of the roast turkey and
cranberries. Allowing the individual, however, something to
sustain nature, that he may be the better enabled to perform his
duties, it is supposed that a beau, in good visiting condition,
should pay his court in not more than three hundred, nor less
than fifty drawing-rooms. But, then, to do this, a man must have
method; he must draw up his plan of action before-hand; he must
portion out his districts, as they lie on each side of that
longest of streets, Broadway; he must not only study the map of
the city closely, but he must possess an accurate knowledge of
the localities; he must remember that some houses have stoops of
twelve steps, that some drawing-rooms are not on the first floor.
He must NOT allow himself to be enticed into any flirtation
whatever, beyond a glance or a smile; he must NOT indulge the
hope of calling twice upon the sweet creature he most admires; he
must NOT be tempted to sink, even for a moment, upon the most
comfortable of ottomans or divans; he must NOT return home to
re-adjust his locks, to change either boots, gloves, or
handkerchief. We have heard it asserted, that owing to some
unfortunate weakness of this kind, many a promising youth,
unaccustomed, probably, to the hardships of such visiting, has
been distanced in the gallant race of the day, by more methodical
men--by men who were actually encumbered with over-shoes and

It is amusing to watch the hurried steps of some experienced
visiter without doors; the decision of his movements, the
correctness of his calculation in passing out of one house into
another; and one is sure to know a raw recruit, by his anxious,
perplexed manner and expression.

The scene within doors is quite as amusing as it is without.
Everything wears a holiday look; it is evidently no common
morning reception; the ladies' dresses look gayer and fresher,
their smiles brighter than usual; the house, the furniture, and
the inmates, all wear their most agreeable aspect. The salver of
refreshments speaks at once the occasion; for there, in the midst
of richer cakes, stands the basket of homely "New-Years'
cookies," bequeathed to their descendants by the worthy vrows of
New-Amsterdam. The visiters appear, first singly, then in
parties. Here comes a favourite partner of the young ladies,
there a mere bowing acquaintance of the master of the house. This
is an old family friend, that a neighbour who has never been in
the house before; here is a near relative, there a passing
stranger. The grey-haired old gentleman who has the arm-chair
wheeled out for him, announces his fiftieth visiting anniversary;
the buckish youth, his grandson, has already made his bow, and
off again; so {sic} finish his gallant duties. Now we have a five
minutes visit from a declared lover; and who follows him? One who
advances slowly and steadily, with a half-inquiring look; the
lady of the house sees him, gives a glance of surprise, is
gratified, accepts the offered hand immediately. That is a
reconciliation; old friendship broken off, now renewed, a
misunderstanding forgotten--that is one of the pleasantest visits
of the day. All come, bow, look, and speak their friendly
good-wishes, and are off again to make room for others.

{"New Years' cookies" = the Dutch in New York had special recipes
for cakes and "cookies" for each major holiday, such as New
Year's Day; vrows" = wives, in old Dutch New York}

Long may this pleasant, cheerful, good-natured, lively custom be
perpetuated among us! As long as the side-walks of Manhattan and
the canals of Amsterdam last, so long may Santa Claus bring his
Christmas gifts to the little folk; and so long may the gallant
Knickerbockers pay to their female friends the homage of a
PERSONAL visit at New-Year's. Cards on every other day in the
year, if necessary; but, on New Year's, carry your good wishes in
person. Should not, indeed, a custom so pleasant spread
throughout the whole country, like crackers, waffles, Dutch
blood, and many other good things brought originally from

On the particular New-Year's day at which we have arrived in our
narrative, an individual of the reader's acquaintance, instead of
joining the busy throng of visiters, was seen turning his steps
through a bye-street, towards the Battery. He walked slowly
through Greenwich-Street, apparently busy with thoughts of his
own, and entering the Battery-Gate he continued for some time
pacing the paved walk near the water.

"There is a fellow who seems to have nothing to do to-day," said
a young man to his companion, as they were hurrying across the
Battery from one end of State-Street to the other. "I should like
to hire him as proxy, to show himself in a score or two of houses
in my place. I should hand him over half my list at once, if I
thought the ladies would submit to the exchange; he looks like a
presentable chap, too."

"Why, it is actually Harry Hazlehurst! What can he be doing,
moping about in that fashion?"

"Hazlehurst, is it? Oh, ho!--you have heard the hubbub they have
had at the Graham's, I suppose?"

"Not I--What is it?"

"There was quite a scene there, yesterday; my sister had the news
from Adeline Taylor, a great friend of her's; so it comes very

"I thought all was going on there as smoothly as possible. I
expected an invitation to the wedding before long."

"To be sure; so did everybody. But it seems the beauty has ideas
of her own. In the first place she refused Hazlehurst, rather to
the astonishment of himself and all his friends, I believe."

"Refused Hazlehurst!--You don't say so!"

"And that is only half the story. She took the same opportunity,
while weeping and trembling, to confide to her mamma that her
heart had been for some time, how long I cannot tell you
precisely, the property of Tall. Taylor."

"What, Tallman Taylor? That is news, indeed--I never should have
dreamt of such a thing."

"Miss Adeline Taylor is the authority. It seems the affair has
been going on, no one knows how long, and Miss Taylor has had the
management of it. These girls are sly minxes; they are not to be
trusted, half of them."

"And what says Taylor to all this?"

"What does he say? Why he is in a sort of ecstasy of despair, I
suppose; for the Grahams won't hear of the match. It was no news
to him; they have been engaged, I tell you, for months,"

At that moment the two young men entered the door of a house in
State-Street. Although their story was, upon the whole, correct;
yet, we happen to be still better informed on the subject, and
shall proceed to account, in our own way, for Hazlehurst's
solitary walk.

When Miss Adeline and her party had returned from sleighing,
Harry went to Mrs. Graham's, and finding Jane alone, he
immediately seized the moment to explain himself, beginning by a
lover-like remonstrance upon her having joined the Taylors,
instead of going with him as she had already promised to do. Jane
was excessively embarrassed. As Harry proceeded, she became more
and more agitated. Her manner was so confused, that it was some
time before Hazlehurst could understand that she wished to refuse
him. Had she not actually wept, and looked frightened and
distressed, he might have given a very different interpretation
to her embarrassment. At length, in answer to a decided question
of his, she confessed her attachment to another person; and,
never was lover more surprised by such an acknowledgement.
Pained, and mortified, and astonished as Harry was, the name of
"Hubert de Vaux!" passed his lips before he was aware he had

"Oh, no; no;" said Jane. "I never cared at all for Mr. de Vaux."

Harry's astonishment increased. He could scarcely believe that he
had heard her correctly. To whom could she possibly be attached?

"Oh, I wish I had some one here to advise me! Adeline may say
what she pleases, I cannot conceal it any longer."

Harry listened in amazement.

"Is it possible," he said, at length, "that there is some
difficulty, some embarrassment, that prevents your acting as you
would wish? My dear Jane, confide in me. You cannot doubt that I
love you, that I have long loved you;" and Harry then ran over a
variation of his first declaration. But Jane's trouble seemed
only to increase.

"Oh, stop, Harry; don't talk in that way," she said; "I ought to
have told you before. I wished to tell you when you first came on
to New York, but Adeline said we should risk everything by it."

"What can you possibly risk? What is it you wish to tell me?"

"I was very sorry when you broke with Elinor--I never can have
any other feeling for you than I have always had: I have been for
some time, almost-----engaged--to--to--Mr. Taylor--"

"You-----engaged to Mr. Taylor!"

"No-----not engaged-----only I have not refused him--We know
father and mother dislike Mr. Taylor's family so much--"

It was but natural that Harry should feel indignant at having
been deceived by the under-current of plotting that had been
going on; that he should feel mortified, ashamed of himself, and
disappointed, at the same time; vexed with Jane, and almost
furious against the meddling, officious Adeline, and her
presuming brother. From a long acquaintance with Jane's
character, it flashed upon his mind in a moment, that she must
have been misguided, and gradually led on by others. But the
mischief was done; it was evident that at present, at least, she
cared no more for him than she had always done; while, on the
contrary, young Taylor had insinuated himself into her
affections. He could not endure to think, that while Jane was
indifferent to himself, his successful rival should be one whom
he so much disliked. Yet, such was the fact. It was infatuation
on the part of Jane, no doubt; and yet how often these deceptions
have all the bad effects of realities! He had been silent for
some minutes, while the tears were streaming freely from Jane's
beautiful eyes.

"Oh, if I had not been so afraid that father would never give his
consent, I should not have waited so long. If I only knew what to
do now?"

Harry came to a magnanimous resolution. "I forgive you, Jane," he
said, "the pain you have caused, since I cannot but think that it
is not the fruit of your own suggestions. You could not
deliberately have trifled with me in this way; I owe it, no
doubt, to the goodness of Miss Taylor," he added, bitterly. Jane
made no answer, but continued to weep. Harry felt some compassion
for her, in spite of her unjustifiable conduct towards himself.
In the course of half an hour, she had fallen very much in his
estimation; but he determined to return good for evil, by urging
her to take the only step now in her power--the only one proper
under the circumstances. He begged her, as she valued her future
peace, to reveal everything to her mother; and to be guided in
future by Mrs. Graham. But Jane seemed terrified at the idea.

"Oh," said she, "father will be so angry! And we expect him every
day: Mother, too, I know, will think I have behaved very badly to

It is probable she might not have had the courage to follow his
advice, had not Mrs. Graham accidentally entered the room at the
moment. Her attention was immediately attracted to the unusual
expression of Harry's face, and the tearful, woe-begone look of
her daughter, which she could in no way account for. Harry,
merely answering her inquiries by a bow, arose and left the room,
leaving the mother and daughter together.

Poor Mrs. Graham was little aware of what awaited her. She could
not be called a woman of very high principles, but she had more
feeling, and, of course, more experience than Jane. When she
discovered the true state of things, she was very much shocked.
She had never had the least idea of what had been going on around
her; far from it, indeed, she had never for a moment doubted
that, before long, her daughter would become the wife of young

Little by little she gathered the whole truth from the weeping
Jane. It appeared that the two or three meetings which had taken
place between Jane and young Taylor, just before he sailed, had
been sufficient for him to fancy himself in love with her. He
made a confidante of his sister Adeline, who, as one of the older
class in her boarding-school, considered all love-affairs as
belonging to her prerogative. Her friend, Miss Hunter, was a
regular graduate of the Court of Love, according to the code--not
of Toulouse--but of a certain class of school-girls in New-York.
This young lady had gone through the proper training from her
cradle, having been teased and plagued about beaux and lovers,
before she could walk alone. She had had several love-affairs of
her own before she was fifteen. "All for love," was her motto;
and it was a love which included general flirtation as the spice
of unmarried life, and matrimony with any individual whatever,
possessing a three-story house in Broadway, as the one great
object of existence. Adeline had, of course, profited by such
companionship; and, at the time her brother confessed himself in
love with Miss Graham, after having met once on board a
steamboat, and once at an evening party, she was fully equal to
take the management of the whole affair into her own hands. It is
true, young Taylor had entered into a boyish engagement at
college; but that was thought no obstacle whatever. She delighted
in passing her brother's compliments over to Jane; in reporting
to him her friend's blushes and smiles. With this state of
things, young Taylor sailed for Europe; but Adeline gloried too
much in her capacity of confidante, to allow the matter to drop:
not a letter was written but contained some allusion to the
important subject. In the course of the year she had talked Jane
into quite a favourable state of feeling towards her brother; he
would probably himself have forgotten the affair, had not Miss
Graham arrived in Paris at the moment she did.

They saw each other, of course, and the feelings which Adeline
had been encouraging during the last year, and which otherwise
would have amounted to nothing at all, now took a serious turn.
Young Taylor was very handsome, and astonishingly improved in
appearance and manners. Jane, herself, was in the height of her
beauty, and the young man had soon fallen really in love with
her. Unfortunately, just at the moment that he became attentive
to her, Mrs. Robert Hazlehurst, who was confined to the house
that winter, had confided Jane to the care of Mrs. Howard, the
lady who had brought her from America. Young Taylor soon found
out that he was rather disliked by Mr. and Mrs. Hazlehurst, and
preferred securing Jane's favour, if possible, without attracting
the attention of her friends. Adeline, on her part, had
discovered that her own family were no favourites with Mr. and
Mrs. Graham; of course she recommended the proper degree of
mystery, under the name of prudence. Young Taylor left Paris for
England, about the time that Harry returned from his eastern
journey; but before parting from Jane, he explained himself; and
if he had not been accepted, he had certainly not been refused.
Thus matters stood when the whole party returned home. Mr. Graham
was known to be a violent, passionate man, and as he had taken no
pains to conceal his dislike to Tallman Taylor's father, the
young people had every reason to believe that he would refuse his
consent. The idea of a clandestine marriage had once occurred to
Adeline, but never with any serious intention of proposing it.
Had she done so, she would not have been listened to. Jane had
not lived so much with Miss Wyllys and Elinor, without deriving
some good from such association; besides, she did not think the
step necessary. She believed that Mr. Graham would give his
consent after a while; and young Taylor was obliged to submit for
the present. As for his college engagement, he had paid it no
more attention than if it had never taken place; it had been long
since forgotten, on his part.

Little by little, Mrs. Graham gathered most of these facts from
her daughter, whose weeping eyes and pale face would have
delighted Adeline, as being just what was proper in a heroine of
romance, on such an important occasion. But Adeline could not
enjoy the sight of all the misery which was the fruit of her two
years' labours, for Mrs. Graham insisted that Jane should see
none of the family until her father had arrived; and knew the
state of things.

Harry Hazlehurst, although not quite as well informed as the
reader, knew essentially how matters stood. He knew at least,
that Jane and young Taylor were all but pledged to each other; he
knew what had been Adeline's conduct--what had been his own
treatment; and as he walked slowly from one end of the Battery to
the other, his reflections were anything but flattering to
himself, or to any of the parties concerned. He blamed Mrs.
Graham for her want of maternal caution and foresight; he blamed
his brother, and sister-in-law, for their blindness in Paris;
Jane, for her weakness, and want of sincerity to himself;
Adeline, for such unjustifiable management and manoeuvring; and
young Taylor, for what he called his "presumption and puppyism."
And to think that he, Harry Hazlehurst, who prided himself upon
being clear-sighted, had been so completely deceived by others,
and what was worse, by himself! He was obliged to remember how
sure he had felt himself of Jane; it was humiliating to think
what a silly part he had been playing. Then came a twinge or two,
from the consciousness that he had deserved it all, from his
conduct to Elinor. He tried to persuade himself that regret that
Jane should fall into hands he fancied so unworthy of her--that
she should be sacrificed to a mere second-rate sort of dandy,
like young Taylor, was his strongest feeling at the time. But he
was mistaken: there was a good deal of the lover in his
recollection of Jane's transcendant {sic} beauty. He hoped that
she would yet be saved from the worst--from becoming the wife of
Tallman Taylor. He felt convinced that Mr. Graham would refuse
his consent to the marriage.

The next day, Harry returned to Philadelphia. The astonishment of
all those interested in himself and Jane, at this rupture, was
very great. If Mrs. Stanley had been grieved at Harry's
difficulties, Mrs. Robert Hazlehurst was made quite unhappy by
her sister's conduct. She reproached herself severely for her
blindness; for not having taken as much care of Jane as she ought
to have done under the circumstances. Like all her family, she
disliked young Taylor; who, in fact, had nothing to recommend him
but his handsome face, and his father's money. Miss Wyllys, too,
was much pained by the conduct of one who had been so often under
her care--one, in whose welfare she was so warmly interested. She
received the news in a note from Mrs. Hazlehurst, who preferred
giving it in that form; and as Miss Wyllys was alone with Elinor,
she immediately handed the billet to her niece.

It must be confessed that Elinor's heart gave one bound at this
unexpected news. She was more moved by it than any one; more
astonished that Jane should have refused Harry; that she should
have preferred to him that silly Tallman Taylor; more shocked at
the double-dealing that had been going on; and more pained that
Jane, who had been to her as a sister, should have been so easily
misled. Another thought intruded, too--Harry would be free again!
But the idea had hardly suggested itself, before she repelled it.
She soon felt convinced that Mr. Graham would break off the
engagement between his daughter and Mr. Taylor, and that after a
while her cousin's eyes would he opened to Harry's merits, which
were numberless in her eyes. Miss Agnes strongly encouraged this
opinion; and Elinor fully determined that her aunt's counsels,
her mother's letter, and her own experience, should not be thrown
away; she would watch more carefully than ever against every
fancy that would be likely to endanger anew the tranquillity she
had in some measure regained.


"The bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set,
May'st hear the merry din."

{Samuel Taylor Coleridge (English poet, 1772-1834), "Rime of the
Ancient Mariner" (I) lines 5-8}

THE events of the next two months surprised Jane's friends in
Philadelphia, almost as much as her rejection of Harry had done.
Mrs. Hazlehurst, of course, knew what was going on in her
father's house, and from time to time informed Miss Wyllys and
Elinor of what passed. Elinor had written to Jane, but it was a
long time before she received an answer; her cousin appeared
engrossed by her own affairs; as this was common with Jane at all
times, it was but natural that she should be so, at a moment
which was of so much importance to herself. Mr. Graham arrived at
the time appointed; and, of course, he was very much displeased
by the news which awaited him. He would not hear of Jane's
marrying young Taylor, whose advances he received as coldly as
possible, and even forbade his daughter's seeing any of the
Taylor family. Jane was very much distressed, and very much
frightened. As for Miss Taylor, her indignation was so great,
that she determined to pay no respect to Mr. Graham's hostility;
she wrote to Jane a long letter, much in her usual style, giving
very pathetic accounts of Tallman's despair. This letter Jane had
not the moral courage to show to either of her parents; she soon
received another, with a note from young Taylor himself. As she
was reading them one morning, her father unexpectedly entered the
room, and was thrown into a great passion by the discovery. His
temper was violent, and he was subject to fits of passion which
terrified his children; although, in other respects, by no means
an unkind parent. Upon this occasion, Jane was frightened into
hysterics, and afterwards, owing to the agitation which had been
preying on her mind for some months, she was thrown into a low
nervous fever. During the four or five weeks that she was ill,
every morning Miss Taylor called to inquire after her friend,
although she was not admitted. By this conduct, Mrs. Graham's
heart, which was of no stern material, was much softened. At
length she went to the drawing-room to see Miss Taylor, for a
moment. Adeline improved the time so well, that she placed
herself and her brother better with Mrs. Graham than they had
ever yet been. Jane's illness increased; her parents became
seriously alarmed, and Mr. Graham expressed something like regret
that he had been so hasty. His wife often remembered his words
during her daughter's tedious convalescence, which was
interrupted by a relapse. In short, matters began to look less
discouraging for young Taylor's suit. There could be no doubt, at
least, that he was very much in love with Jane: Hazlehurst was
quite mistaken in supposing that the perfection of her profile,
the beautiful shape of her head, the delicacy of her complexion,
or other numberless beauties, could only be appreciated by one
whose taste was as refined as his own: they had produced quite as
deep an effect on young Taylor. During Jane's illness, he had
shown the proper degree of distress and anxiety, all of which was
reported in the most pathetic manner to Mrs. Graham, and
whispered to Jane by Adeline, who, having once been received
again into the house, kept her footing there and managed an
occasional interview with her friend. In short, as we all know,
tyrannical parents are very rare in America; the fault in family
discipline lies in the opposite direction.

His daughter's pale face, his wife's weakness, and Adeline's good
management, and improvement of every concession, at length worked
a change in Mr. Graham. At the proper moment, Tallman Taylor
renewed his offer in the warmest and most flattering terms;
supported by his father, and his father's hundreds of thousands,
he this time received a more favourable answer. Mr. Graham was
one of those men, who have no very high opinion of women; he did
not wish to make his daughter miserable for life; and he thought
she had too little character to conquer the fancy that had filled
her mind, and made her ill. Then, young Taylor was rich, and she
could throw away money on those knick-knacks and frippery, to
which, according to Mr. Graham, women attach such exorbitant
value. If she did not marry him, she would fancy herself a
victim, and miserable; if she did marry him, she would fancy
herself happy: that seemed to him the amount of the matter, and
with these views he at length gave a reluctant consent. Mrs.
Graham had already given hers; Tallman Taylor was certainly not
the son-in-law she would have chosen; but she was farther from
being dissatisfied, than many of her friends thought she would be
under the circumstances. Neither the story of his college
engagement, nor the unpleasant rumours respecting his Paris
career, had reached Mr. or Mrs. Graham; the first was known only
to Adeline and Jane, the last to a few male intimates. The news,
very naturally, caused a good deal of sensation among Jane's
friends in Philadelphia; it was really distressing to Mrs. Robert
Hazlehurst, who looked upon her sister as thrown away, and
reproached herself more than ever for having allowed Jane to go
out so often in Paris with their thoughtless friends, the
Howards. She could not endure to think of young Taylor, as
actually her brother-in-law, the husband of her beautiful sister.
She had not supposed that the matter would be settled in this
way; she had believed her father's opposition too strong to be

As for Harry, he, of course, soon heard the news from his
brother. How much of love and of mortification were still
lingering in his mind, we cannot precisely affirm. His feelings
for Jane had certainly altered very much since the discovery of
the double-dealing that had been going on; but weak as she had
proved herself, she was still much too lovely, much too
well-bred, at least, to be bestowed upon one whom he disliked as
much as Tallman Taylor. There seemed to be something of the dog
in the manger, connected with his regret for Jane's fate, since
he had already decided that if she were ever free again, he would
not repeat his offer; she had shown herself to have so little
character, that he would not allow himself to be again influenced
by her beauty, surpassing as it was. In fact, Harry had
determined to give up all idea of love and matrimony, for the
present, at least. He went into society less than of old, and
gave himself up very much to his profession, or other literary
pursuits in which he had become engaged. He had been admitted to
the bar, and had entered into a partnership with his travelling
companion, Mr. Ellsworth; much of his time was now passed at his
brother's house, or at that of his friend. He liked his
sister-in-law, and he found Ellsworth's sister, Mrs. Creighton,
who was at the head of her brother's establishment, a very
agreeable woman; she was very pretty, too, and very clever. The
Wyllyses were already in the country, when the news of Jane's
engagement reached them; the winter had broken up early, and, as
usual, at the first signs of spring they had returned to
Wyllys-Roof. Of course, they regretted Jane's partiality for
Tallman Taylor; to Elinor it appeared almost as unaccountable as
her insensibility to Harry's merits. Mrs. George Wyllys was loud
in her declamations against it; next to the Hubbards, she looked
upon the Taylors as the most disagreeable family of her
acquaintance. She had a great deal to say about the dull, prosy
mother, the insufferable father, the dandy son, and the rattling,
bellish daughter. Miss Patsey, also, had her moments of wonder;
but she wondered in silence; she did not appear to have any
higher opinion of the son, than she had formerly entertained of
the father. With these exceptions, the community of Longbridge in
general, who had known Jane from her childhood, approved highly
of the connexion; both parties were young, handsome, and they
would be rich, all which looked very well at a distance.

Three months of courtship passed over; Jane recovered entirely,
and was as blooming and lovely as ever; young Taylor was all
devotion. The satisfaction of his family at this connexion with
the Grahams was very great; it gratified Mr. Taylor's wishes in
every way. It is true, Miss Graham would not have much fortune
herself, but Tallman had enough to begin life handsomely. He
hoped the marriage would take place soon, as he wished his son,
whom he had made his partner, to take more interest in the
business than he had yet done. In every respect but money, Jane
was just what he would have wished for a daughter-in-law; she was
fashionable, she was beautiful, and the position of her family
gratified his vanity. As for the plain, good-hearted Mrs. Taylor,
she already loved Jane as a daughter; and to her it appeared the
most natural thing in the world, that Tallman should marry his
sister's friend. Adeline, herself, was of course enchanted.

The wedding took place in June. Thanks to Miss Taylor's influence
with the bride, it proved quite a brilliant affair. The ceremony
was performed in the evening, and immediately afterwards the
newly-married couple received the compliments and congratulations
of their friends. Jane was attended, on the occasion, by six of
her young companions; and as many young men, with white favours
in their button-holes, were very busy all the evening, playing
masters of ceremonies, escorting all the ladies as they arrived,
from the door to the spot where the bride was stationed. Jane
looked surpassingly beautiful; it was the general remark, that
she had never appeared more lovely: the ladies pronounced her
dress perfect, and the gentlemen admired her face quite as much.
All agreed that a handsomer couple had not been seen for some
time. It was, indeed, a pretty sight--the beautiful bride, the
centre of a circle of her young friends, all, like herself, in
white, and in full dress; pretty creatures themselves, wearing
pretty ornaments of flowers and lace, pearls and embroidery. We
say they were pretty; there was one exception, however, for
Elinor was there, and many remarks were made on her appearance.

"What a pity that Miss Wyllys should be so plain," observed Mrs.
Creighton, whose husband had been a connexion of the Grahams. "It
is the first time I have seen her for several years, and really I
had forgotten how very plain she is."

"Plain, why she is downright ugly!" exclaimed the youth to whom
she was talking. "It is a sin to be as ugly as that. No wonder
Hazlehurst was frightened out of the engagement; I am only
surprised he ever got into the scrape!"

"But Miss Wyllys is very clever and agreeable, I understand."

"Is she?"--was the careless reply. "I see Hazlehurst is here this

"Yes, he came on with his sister-in-law, Mrs. Robert Hazlehurst,
and myself."

"Well, he has a fine opportunity of comparing his two lady-loves
together. Upon my word, I never saw a greater contrast. I wish
Miss Wyllys had not accepted the invitation, though; she is
enough to frighten one away from the whole set--and the rest are
very pretty girls, the whole of them."

"Can you point out Mr. Taylor?--Not the groom; I have seen him,
of course; but his father."

"Don't you know the boss? It is that tall, stiff-looking man,
talking to Mrs. Stanley. You see he is trying to look very

"Yes--that is he, is it? Much the sort of man I should have
supposed him. And now, which is Mrs. Taylor?"

"Mrs. Taylor--let me see; there she is, in grey satin and
diamonds. I never saw her but once before in my life. She is a
very quiet sort of a body, and keeps out of sight most of the

"Very different from her daughter then, for Miss Taylor always
put herself en evidence, I believe. If one don't see her, they
are sure to hear her."

"To be sure, Miss Taylor is all life and spirits. She is the most
lively, animated girl I ever knew. By-the-bye, I think it an odd
fancy in Hazlehurst to show himself here to-night; for there was
a great fuss last winter, at the blowup--all the town was talking
about it."

"He is a very near connexion, you know; I suppose his absence
would have been more remarked than his being here. Besides, if he
was in love once, he has had time to get over it, in the last six
months. He does not look much as if he wore the willow still."

{"wore the willow" = grieved for the loss of a loved one}

"Hazlehurst is very clever, I am told; I don't know him much,

"Oh, yes--very clever. But I am not a fair judge, perhaps; he is
my brother's friend, and I may be prejudiced in his favour. How
very warm it is! can't we find a seat near a window?"

The gentleman offered his arm with alacrity, and the speakers
moved away.

The seats they had left were taken by Mrs. de Vaux and Colonel
Stryker: the lady, a middle-aged woman, fashionably dressed; the
gentleman, rather more than middle-aged in his appearance, and
decidedly less so in his dress and manners.

"Young Taylor is a handsome fellow, and looks the bride-groom
very well!" exclaimed Mr. Stryker. "How these Taylors have pushed
upwards; I never heard of them before I went to Europe this last
time, five or six years ago."

"That is just about the moment they first burst upon the horizon.
Mr. Taylor seems determined to make up for lost time. He is very
disagreeable to us ladies; but the gentlemen like him on account
of his cleverness; they say he is a genius in all business

"To judge by his expression, the man seems ambitious of 'les
succes de salon,' also. Where did he import his manners from, I
wonder?--they have a sort of bright, new look, as if he had not
yet worn the gloss off."

{"les succes de salon" = drawing-room victories (French)}

"Don't laugh at him;--he gives excellent dinners."

"Does he? Can't you introduce me, immediately? 'Ici l'ont fait
noces et festins.' I seem to smell the turtle-soup, already."

{"Ici l'ont...." = wedding feasts and banquets given here

"I doubt whether you taste it, nevertheless, until next autumn.
Everybody is going out of town; they say that is the only
drawback to the satisfaction of the Taylors at this wedding."

"What is the drawback, pray?"

"They cannot have as many grand parties as they are entitled to,
on account of the season."

"That must be distressing, indeed, to the brides-maids.
By-the-bye, I see Miss Wyllys is one of them. She is going to
turn out a fortune, I hear;--do you know her?"

"From a child. Last year no one dreamed of her being a fortune;
but within the last few months, Mr. de Vaux tells me, she has
inherited a very handsome property from one of her mother's
family; and, in addition to it, some new rail-road, or something
of that kind, has raised the value of what she owned before."

"What is the amount, do you know?"

"Upwards of two hundred thousand, Mr. de Vaux thinks."

"Miss Wyllys is certainly no beauty; but, do you know, I think
there is something decidedly distinguished in her appearance and
manner! I was only introduced the other day; I did not happen to
know the Wyllyses."

"I have known them all my life, and like them all very much. I
rather wonder, though, at Miss Elinor's being here as
bride's-maid. But it is a reconciliation, I suppose. Perhaps she
and young Hazlehurst will make up again, and we may be invited to
another wedding, before long."

"Perhaps so. How long does it take a young lady to resent an
infidelity? A calendar month, I suppose; or, in extreme cases, a
year and a day. By-the-bye, the pretty widow, Mrs. Creighton, has
thrown off her weeds, I see."

"Yes, she has come out again, armed for conquest, I suppose. What
a flirt she is! And as artful as she is pretty, Mr. Stryker. But
perhaps you are one of her admirers," continued the lady,

"Of course, it is impossible not to admire her; but I am afraid
of her," said Mr. Stryker, shrugging his shoulders. "I am
horribly afraid of all pretty widows."

"Mr. Hazlehurst does not seem afraid of her."

"Not a bit--he is there half his time; but then he is young and
venturesome. We old campaigners are more wary."

"He is an old friend of her brother's, I believe; is Mr.
Ellsworth here?"

"Yes, there he is, talking to Miss Wyllys. Perhaps he may
interfere with your prediction about her and my friend

"Possibly; but a-propos of weddings; why don't you marry,
yourself, Mr. Stryker? You have been a delightful beau now, for
how many years?" asked the lady, mischievously.

"Oh, these five lustres, I suppose; for I began early," replied
Mr. Stryker, who had too much worldly wisdom, not to make a merit
of frankness, where he could not help it.

{"lustre" = a period of five years}

"Six, you mean," said Mrs. de Vaux, laughing.

"No, five, honestly counted. I don't know exactly how old I may
be; but the other day I heard a fellow say, 'Stryker can't be
more than five-and-forty;' and I dare say be was right."

"Well, allowing you are only five-and-forty, don't you mean to
marry, one of these days?"


"Don't you think it time to look about you?"

"High time; but who will have me?" continued Mr. Stryker, with
great complacency of manner.

"Oh, half the young ladies in the room, I dare say; excepting, of
course, those who have refused you already," said Mrs. de Vaux,
mischievously; for it was suspected that Mr. Stryker had met with
several rebuffs. This lady and gentleman in spite of their
smiling countenances and friendly manners, owed each other a
grudge, of old standing. Who does not know that where the spirit
of littleness and vanity is all-powerful, these petty trials and
triumphs are too often the chief spring of action; as was the
case with Mr. Stryker and Mrs. de Vaux. Happy they, who have good
principle and good feeling enough, to cast off folly on so small
a scale!

"Tell me what is your taste, and I will look out for you,"
continued Mrs. de Vaux.

"How kind you are!--you don't include Miss de Vaux, of course;
for she can't endure me. Like all modest men, I require only nine
hundred and ninety-nine perfections in my wife. But then I insist
chiefly on two essentials: she must have money, and she must not
have brothers and sisters; I have an invincible antipathy to
collaterals, whether of blood or connexion."

"Miss Wyllys is the very person for you. Quite a fortune now,
they say; and an orphan, without brother or sister; all you
require. Then, you like her appearance, you say; though she is
plain, she is clever, too, and amiable."

"Of course; all young ladies are amiable, are they not?"

"I only know of one objection--she is too good for you."

"Goodness is not to be despised in a wife. I shall require it
from the future Mrs. Stryker; though not very particular about
the rest of the world. I am much obliged to you, Mrs. de Vaux,
for the suggestion; I'll think of it," said Mr. Stryker,
deliberately crossing one leg over the other, to make himself

"You, who know everybody, Mr. Stryker," said the lady, "pray,
tell me, who is that bright-faced young man, or rather, boy,
standing near Mr. Wyllys and Mrs. Stanley?"

"You wish to mortify me--I never saw the lad before."

"I can answer your question, Mrs. de Vaux," observed Harry, who
had just approached, and made his bow; "that is my friend,
Charlie Hubbard, the artist. Don't you remember the fine view of
Lake Ontario, that was so much admired at the Exhibition, this

"Certainly. Is that the young man?--He looks like a genius."

"Rather as a genius should look; your great lions are often very
tame-looking animals," observed Mr. Stryker.

"Hubbard's face only does him justice, however; he is full of
talent," said Harry.

"I Some of his pictures are certainly very fine," observed Mrs.
de Vaux.

"I never saw water like his," continued Hazlehurst; "such
variety, and always true to nature. He almost persuades one to
believe all he says about water: he maintains that it has more
variety of expression than any other inanimate object, and has,
withal, an independent character of its own; he says it is second
only to the human countenance."

"He seems quite an enthusiast," said Mrs. de Vaux.

"Won't he take it all out in talk?" asked Mr. Stryker, drily.

"Look at his view of Hell-Gate on a cloudy evening, and say so if
you can!" exclaimed Harry, warmly.

{"Hell-Gate" = a narrow channel in New York City's East River}

"Well, after all, he says no more for water, than has been said
by the poets of all nature, from the time of the first pastoral;
they tell us that the sun will make a bare old mountain smile,
and the wind will throw the finest forest into a fuss."

"I defy you to prove any fuss upon Charlie's works!"

"Perhaps not--Where is his study? I should like to see what he
has done. Is his pencil always amphibious?"

"Yes; I believe he has never yet painted a landscape, without its
portion of water. If you wish to see his study, you must go soon;
he sails for Italy next month."

"If his partiality for water is really honest, it may help him on
in his profession. Has he a good execution?--that is

"Decidedly good; and he improves every day. Execution is really
all-important to Hubbard; for there can be no doubt that he
possesses all an artist's conception."

"I suspect though, his notion about expressive water is not
original. It appears to me, some German or other calls water,
'the eyes of a landscape.'"

"Very possibly; but Charlie Hubbard is not the man to steal other
people's ideas, and pass them off for his own."

"You make a point of always believing the worst of everybody, Mr.
Stryker," said Mrs. de Vaux.

"I wish I could help it." said the gentleman, raising his

"Suppose, Mr. Hazlehurst, you take him to Mr. Hubbard's studio,
and force him to admire that fine picture of Lake Ontario. I
should like to see it again, myself; and Mr. de Vaux has been
talking of carrying us all to Mr. Hubbard's, some time."

Harry professed himself quite at Mrs. de Vaux's service. Mrs.
Stanley, he said, was going to see his friend's pictures the very
next day. A party was soon arranged, the hour fixed, and
everything settled, before supper was announced. As Mrs. de Vaux
and Mr. Stryker moved towards the door, they were followed by
Mrs. Creighton and Harry.

"Who was the young man you were talking with at supper,
Josephine?" asked Mr. Ellsworth, as he stepped into the carriage
after Mrs. Creighton and Harry, in driving away from the wedding.

"Which do you mean?"

"A mere boy--one of the groomsmen, by the white favours in his

"Oh, that was the groom's brother, Mr. Pompey Taylor, the
younger, a very simple, and rather an awkward young gentleman. I
had the honour of making the acquaintance of all the family, in
the course of the evening. I was quite amused with Mr. Taylor,
the father; he really seems to have as great a relish for the
vanities of life, as any young girl of fifteen."

"Because they are quite as new to him," said Hazlehurst.

"That is difficult to believe of a clever, calculating man of
fifty," observed Mr. Ellsworth.

"All clever men of fifty are not quite free from nonsense, take
my word for it," said the lady.

"I appeal to Mr. Hazlehurst, who knows Mr. Taylor; as for myself,
I am convinced by the man's manner this evening."

"You are certainly correct in your opinion, Mrs. Creighton. Mr.
Taylor is, no doubt, a clever man; and yet he takes delight in
every piece of finery about his house. He is more possessed with
the spirit of sheer ostentation, than any man I ever met with."

"Ah, you want to save the credit of your sex, by setting him down
as an exception!--that is not fair, Mr. Hazlehurst."

It was a pity that the pretty smile which the lady bestowed on
her brother's friend was entirely thrown away; but the lamp-light
happened to be little more than darkness visible.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest