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

Elinor Wyllys by Susan Fenimore Cooper

Part 3 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download Elinor Wyllys pdf
File size: 0.7 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.

moment's silence, turned to Harry and said:

"Hazlehurst, I have a confession to make; but I dare say you will
not give me much credit for frankness--you have very probably
guessed already what I have to tell."

"I certainly have had some suspicions of my own for the last few
days; but I may be mistaken; I am not very good at guessing."

"I can have no motive," continued Mr. Ellsworth, "in concealing
from you my regard for Miss Wyllys, and I hope you will wish me

"Certainly," replied Harry; who was evidently somewhat prepared
for the disclosure.

"It is now some time since I have been attached to her, but it is
only lately that I have been able to urge my suit as I could
wish. The better I know Elinor Wyllys, the more anxious I am for
success. I never met with a woman of a more lovely character."

"You only do her justice."

"There is something about her that is peculiar; different from
the common-place set of young ladies one meets with every day;
and yet she is perfectly feminine and womanly."

And Mr. Ellsworth here ran over various good qualities of
Elinor's. It is impossible to say, whether Harry smiled or not,
at this lover-like warmth: if he did, it was too dark for his
friend to observe it.

"In a situation like mine, with a daughter to educate, the choice
of a wife is particularly important. Of course I feel much
anxiety as to the decision of a woman like Miss Wyllys, one whose
good opinion is worth the wooing: and yet, if I do not deceive
myself, her manner is not discouraging."

"Is she aware of your feelings?" asked Harry.

"Yes; I have only proposed in form quite lately, however, a day
or two after you arrived. Miss Wyllys scarcely seemed prepared
for my declaration, although I thought I had spoken sufficiently
distinctly to be understood, some time since. She wished for time
to consider: I was willing to wait as long as she pleased; with
the hope of eventually succeeding. Her friends are quite well
disposed towards me, think. Mr. Wyllys's manner to me has always
been gratifying, and I hope her aunt is in my favour. To speak
frankly, there have been times when I have felt much encouraged
as regards Miss Wyllys herself. You will not think me a coxcomb,
Hazlehurst, for opening my heart to you in this way."

"Certainly not; you honour me by your confidence."

"I should like to have your honest opinion as to my future
prospects; for, of course, one can never feel sure until
everything is settled. Josephine is hardly a fair judge--she is
very sanguine; but like myself she is interested in the affair."

"Mrs. Creighton has so much discernment, that I should think she
could not be easily deceived. If my kinswoman knows your views, I
should say that you have reason to be encouraged by her manner.
There is nothing like coquetry about her; I am convinced she
thinks highly of you."

"Thank you; it gives me great pleasure to hear you say so. The
question must now be decided before long. I was only prevented
from explaining myself earlier, by the fear of speaking too soon.
For though I have known Miss Wyllys some time, yet we have seldom
met. I dare say you are surprised that I did not declare myself
sooner; I am inclined to think you would have managed an affair
of the kind more expeditiously; for you are more rapid in most of
your movements than myself. But although I might imagine love at
first sight, I never could fancy a declaration worth hearing, the
first day."

"Do you insinuate that such is the practice of your humble
servant?" asked Hazlehurst, smiling.

"Oh, no; but I was afraid you might disapprove of my
deliberation. My chief hope rests upon Miss Wyllys's good sense
and the wishes of her friends, who, I think, are evidently
favourable to me. She has no silly, high-flown notions; she is
now of an age--three or four-and-twenty I think--to take a
reasonable view of the world; and I hope she will find the
sincere affection of a respectable man, whose habits and position
resemble her own, sufficient for her."

"You wish, I suppose, to hear me repeat, that such will
undoubtedly be the result," said Harry, smiling again.

"Perhaps I do," replied Mr. Ellsworth, in the same tone. "I
suppose you are discerning enough to be aware that I have a rival
in Mr. Stryker."

"Stryker attentive to Elinor? It has not struck me; I had fancied
him rather an admirer of Mrs. Creighton's."

"Of Josephine? Oh, no; she can't endure him, they are quarrelling
half the time when together. No, it is very evident that Stryker
is courting Miss Wyllys's favour. But I confess I feel encouraged
by her conduct towards him; there is a quiet civility in it,
which speaks anything but very decided approbation."

"I know Elinor too well, not to feel assured she must despise a
man of Stryker's character," said Harry, with some indignation.
"He can't appreciate her; it can be nothing more, on his part,
than downright fortune-hunting."

"No doubt; there you mention another motive I have, for not being
too hasty in my declaration to Miss Wyllys. I could wish to
convince her that my attachment is sincere."

"Certainly. I forget twenty times a day that she is now a
fortune, until I see some fellow, like William Hunter, or
Stryker, paying their court to her. I have never been accustomed
to consider her in that light, of old. In fact I had no idea of
her reputation as an heiress, until I found it so well
established when I arrived here. But Saratoga is just the place
to make such discoveries. I was quite behind the age in every
respect, it seems; for although it did not require much
penetration to find out your secret, Ellsworth, yet I was taken
entirely by surprise. You never made any allusion to anything of
the kind, in your letters to me."

"It was so seldom that I met Miss Wyllys, that for a time my mind
was undecided. But, of course, I should have written you word, if
anything had been finally settled; even if you had not come to
look after me in propria persona."

Having reached their hotel, the gentlemen parted. Mr. Ellsworth
would, in all probability, have been less communicative with his
friend Hazlehurst, on the subject of their recent conversation,
had he been aware of the state of things which formerly existed
between Elinor and himself. He had only heard some vague stories
of an engagement between them, but had always supposed it mere
gossip, from having seen Harry's attention to Jane, when they
were all in Paris together; while he knew, on the other hand,
that Hazlehurst had always been on the most intimate terms with
the Wyllyses, as a family connexion. He was aware that Harry had
been very much in love with Miss Graham, for he had remarked it
himself; and he supposed that if there had ever been any
foundation for the report of an engagement with Elinor, it had
probably been a mere childish caprice, soon broken, and which had
left no lasting impression on either party.


"Nor have these eyes, by greener hills
Been soothed, in all my wanderings."

{William Wordsworth (English poet, 1770-1850), "Yarrow Visited,
September 1814" lines 11-12}

CHARLIE HUBBARD had been at Lake George for some days; and it was
a settled thing, that after he had established himself there, and
fixed upon a point for his picture, his friends from Saratoga
were to pay him a visit. Accordingly, the Wyllyses, with a party
large enough to fill a coach, set out for the excursion, leaving
Mrs. Stanley, Jane, her sister, Mrs. Hazlehurst, and their
children, at the Springs. The weather was fine, and they set out
gaily, with pleasant prospects before them.

Charlie was very glad to see them, and as he had already been
some time on the ground, he thought himself qualified to play
cicerone. Most of the party had a relish for natural scenery, and
of course they were prepared to enjoy very much, a visit to such
a lovely spot. Robert Hazlehurst, it is true, was indifferent to
everything of the kind; he acknowledged himself a thorough
utilitarian in taste, and avowed his preference for a muddy
canal, running between fields, well covered with corn and
pumpkins, turnips and potatoes, rather than the wildest lake,
dotted with useless islands, and surrounded with inaccessible
Alps; but as he frankly confessed his want of taste, and assured
his friends that he accompanied them only for the sake of their
society, they were bound to overlook the defect. Mr. Stryker also
said a great deal about his indifference towards les ormeaux, les
rameaux, et les hameaux, affecting much more than he felt, and
affirming that the only lakes he liked, were the ponds of the
Tuileries, and the parks of London; the only trees, those of the
Boulevards; and as for villages, he could never endure one, not
even the Big Village of Washington. He only came, he said,
because he must follow the ladies, and was particularly anxious
to give Mrs. Creighton an opportunity of finishing his education,
and--to fish. Some of the party were: sorry he had joined them;
but Mrs. Creighton had asked him.

{"cicerone" = guide (Italian); "les ormeaux, les rameaux, et les
hameaux..." = elms, branches, and hamlets (French)}

"Are Mrs. Hilson and her sister still at Saratoga?" inquired
Charlie Hubbard of Hazlehurst, the evening they arrived at

{"Caldwell" = village at the southern end of Lake George in New
York State; the village has since been renamed Lake George}

"I believe so; they were there the day before, yesterday, for
Mrs. Hilson asked me to a pic-nic, at Barkydt's {sic} --but I was
engaged. I think I saw Miss Hubbard in the street, yesterday."

{"Barkydt's" = Barhydt's Pond, a "little ear-shaped
lake...surrounded by pyramidal firs, pines and evergreens," once
famous for its trout fishing, owned by Jacobus Barhydt (often
spelled Barhyte). A pleasure spot two miles east of Saratoga
Springs, it was, in the 1830s, the site of a popular tavern and
restaurant. Jacobus Barhydt died in 1840, and the property was
dispersed; to be reassembled in 1881 by New York banker Spencer
Trask as a summer estate After many changes, it is now owned by
the Corporation of Yaddo, and run as a world-famous summer center
for creative artists and writers}

"Had they the same party with them still?"

"Yes; it seemed to be very much the same party."

Hubbard looked mortified; but he was soon busy answering
inquiries as to the projected movements for the next day.

The following morning the whole party set out, in two skiffs, to
pass the day on the lake. Under Charlie's guidance, they rowed
about among the islands, now coasting the shores, now crossing
from one point to another, wherever the views were finest;
generally keeping near enough, as they moved leisurely along, for
conversation between the two boats.

"How beautifully clear the water is!" exclaimed Elinor.

"The water in the Swiss lakes is limpid I suppose, Charlie, like
most mountain streams?" observed Mr. Wyllys.

"It is clear, sir; and in the heart of the Alps it has a very
peculiar colour--a blueish tinge--from the glaciers, like molten
lapis lazuli; entirely different from the deep, ultra-marine blue
of the Mediterranean."

"Have you any views of the Swiss lakes?" asked Elinor."

"Yes; I can show you several--and, as usual, there is a
difference in their colouring: from Lugarn; a little bit of lapis
lazuli, lying like a jewel, in the green pastures, half way up
the Alps, just below the ice and snow, to the reedy lake of
Morat, on the plains of Neufchatel, more like an agate," added
Charlie, smiling.

"We shall hope to see them, when we pass through New York," said
Elinor, listening with interest.

"I will show them to you with great pleasure, faute de mieux,
Miss Elinor; but I hope you will one day see the originals."

{"faute de mieux" = for want of something better (French)}

"In the mean time, however, we shall be very glad to enjoy your
pictures. Have you any Italian views?"

"Yes, quite a number; wherever I went, I made sketches at least;
though I have not yet had time to finish them all as pictures. In
my boxes there are Venetian lagoons, and Dutch canals; a view of
the Seine, in the heart of Paris, and the Thames, at London; the
dirty, famous Tiber, classic Arno, and classic Avon."

"You make our eyes water, Charlie, with such a catalogue," said
Mr. Wyllys. "You must certainly get up an exhibition, and add
several of your American pictures to those you have just brought

"I really hope you will do so," said Elinor. "The transparent
amber-like water of the Canada, and the emerald colour of
Niagara, would appear finely in such a collection."

{"Canada" = from the context, probably Trenton Falls on the West
Canada Creek, a major tourist attraction during the 19th century}

"I shall never dare attempt Niagara," exclaimed Charlie. "All the
beauties of all the other waters in the world are united there.
It will not do to go beyond the rapids; I should be lost if I but
ventured to the edge of the whirlpool itself."

"I have no doubt you will try it yet," said Harry.

The young artist shook his head. "I am sometimes disposed to
throw aside the brush in disgust, at the temerity of man, which
can attempt to copy even what is most noble, in the magnificent
variety, and the simple grandeur of nature."

"You have been sufficiently successful in what you have attempted
hitherto," said Harry. "I saw your view of Lake Ontario, in
Philadelphia, just after I arrived; and I can never forget the
impression it produced on me. Of all your pictures that I have
seen, that is my favourite."

"It is indeed a noble picture," said Mr. Wyllys.

"And few men but yourself, Charlie, could have given so deep an
interest to a broad field of water, with only a strip of
common-place shore in the fore-ground, and a bank of clouds in
the distance. A common painter would have thrown in some
prettiness of art, that would have ruined it; but you have given
it a simple dignity that is really wonderful!" said Hazlehurst.

"You mortify me," said Charlie; "it is so much inferior to what I
could wish."

"Captain C-----," continued Harry, "who was stationed at Oswego
for several years, told me he should have known your picture
without the name, for a view of one of the great lakes; there was
so much truth in the colour and movement of the water; so much
that was different from the Ocean."

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is cruel in you to flatter a poor young
artist at this rate," said Charlie.

"If it is criticism you want," said Hazlehurst, "I can give you a
dose. You were very severely handled in my presence, a day or two
since, and on the very subject of your picture of Lake Ontario."

"Pray, let me hear the criticism; it will sober me."

"What was the fault?" said Elinor; "what was wanting?"

"A few houses and a steamboat, to make it lively."

"You are making up a good story, Mr. Hazlehurst," said Mrs.
Creighton, laughing.

"I give you the critic's words verbatim. I really looked at the
young lady in astonishment, that she should see nothing but a
want of liveliness in a picture, which most of us feel to be
sublime. But Miss D----- had an old grudge against you, for not
having made her papa's villa sufficiently prominent in your view
of Hell-Gate."

"But, such a villa!" said Hubbard. "One of the ugliest within ten
miles of New York. It is possible, sometimes, by keeping at a
distance, concealing defects, and partially revealing columns
through verdure, to make one of our Grecian-temple houses appear
to advantage in a landscape; but, really, Mr. D-----'s villa was
such a jumble, so entirely out of all just proportion, that I
could do nothing with it; and was glad to find that I could put a
grove between the spectator and the building: anybody but its
inmates would have preferred the trees."

"Not at all; Miss D----- thought the absence of the portico, with
its tall, pipe-stem columns, the row of dormer windows on the
roof, and the non-descript belvidere crowning all, a loss to the

{"belvidere" = as used here, a raised turret on top of a house

"The miserable architecture of this country is an obstacle to a
landscape painter, quite too serious to be trifled with, I can
assure you," said Charlie.

"It must be confessed," said Mr. Ellsworth, "that the order of
things has been reversed here. Architecture is usually called the
parent of the fine arts; but with us she is the youngest of the
family, and as yet the worst endowed. We had respectable
pictures, long before we had a single building in a really good
style; and now that we have some noble paintings and statuary,
architecture still lags behind. What a noise they made in New
York, only a few years since, about St. Thomas's Church!"

{St. Thomas's Church" = St. Thomas Episcopal Church was erected
at the corner of Broadway and Houston Street, in New York City,
in 1826, in the Gothic style which was only beginning to replace
the Greek Revival. Susan Fenimore Cooper shared her father's
dislike of Greek Revival houses that imitated Grecian temples,
and his love of the Gothic}

"Yes," said Mr. Stryker; "the curse of the genius of
architecture, which Jefferson said had fallen upon this country,
has not yet been removed."

"Some of the most ludicrous objects I have ever laid my eyes on,"
said Hazlehurst, "have been pretending houses, and, I am sorry to
say, churches too, in the interior of the country; chiefly in the
would-be Corinthian and Composite styles. They set every rule of
good taste and good sense at defiance, and look, withal, so
unconscious of their absurdity, that the effect is as thoroughly
ridiculous, as if it had been the object of the architect to make
them so."

"For reason good," observed Mr. Wyllys; "because they are wanting
in simplicity and full of pretension; and pretension is the root
of all absurdity."

They had now reached the spot Charlie had selected for his
picture; the young artist pointed it out to Miss Wyllys, who was
in the other boat.

"This is the spot I have chosen," he said, "and I hope you will
agree with me in liking the position; it commands some of the
finest points on the lake: that is the Black mountain in the

His friends admired his choice, acknowledging that the view was
one of the most beautiful they had seen.

"It must be difficult to choose, where every view is charming,"
said Elinor. "How beautiful those little islands are; so much
variety, and all so pleasing!"

"You will see hundreds of them, Miss Wyllys, when you have been
over the lake," said Hubbard.

"There are just three hundred and sixty-five, marm," added one of
the boatmen, the guide of the party; "one for every day in

"This must be May-day island," said Elinor, pointing to an islet
quite near them. "This one, half wood, half meadow, which shows
so many flowers."

"May-day island it shall be for the next six weeks," said
Charlie, smiling. "I have chosen it for another view."

"Well, good people!" exclaimed Robert Hazlehurst, from the other
boat; "you may be feasting on the beauties of nature; but some of
us have more substantial appetites! Miss Wyllys is a little
fatigued, Mr. Stryker all impatient to get out his handsome
fishing-rod, and your humble servant very hungry, indeed!"

As they had been loitering about for several hours, it was agreed
that they should now land, and prepare to lunch.

"We will put into port at May-day island," said Charlie; "I have
been there several times, and there is a pretty, grassy bank,
where we may spread a table-cloth."

They soon reached the little island pointed out by Elinor, and
having landed with their baskets of provisions, the meal was
prepared, and only waiting for the fish which Mr. Stryker had
promised to catch, and for a supply of salt which one of the
boatmen had gone for, to a farm-house on the shore; this
necessary having been forgotten, when the provisions were laid
in. There never was a pic-nic yet, where nothing was forgotten.

Mr. Stryker soon prepared himself for action; he was a famous
fisherman, and quite as proud of his rod as of his reputation,
which were both Dublin-made, he said, and, therefore, perfect in
their way. Mr. Wyllys and Mrs. Creighton admired the apparatus
contained in his ebony walking-stick, to the owner's full
satisfaction: he had a great deal to say about its perfections,
the beauty of his flies, the excellence of his hooks and lines,
and so forth; and the ladies in general, Mrs. Creighton
especially, listened as flatteringly as the gentleman could
desire. As he was to supply the perch for luncheon, however, he
was obliged to begin his labours; and taking a boat, he rowed off
a stone's throw from the shore. In turning a little point, he was
surprised, by coming suddenly upon a brother fisherman: in a
rough, leaky boat, with a common old rod in his hand, sat our
acquaintance, Mr. Hopkins, wearing the usual rusty coat; his red
silk handkerchief spread on his knee, an open snuff-box on one
side of him, a dirty tin pail on the other. The party on shore
were not a little amused by the contrast in the appearance,
manners, and equipments of the two fishermen; the fastidious Mr.
Stryker, so complete, from his grey blouse to his fishing-basket;
the old merchant, quite independent of everything like fashion,
whether alone on Lake George, or among the crowd in Wall-Street.
Charlie, who did not know him, said that he had met the same
individual on the lake, at all hours, and in all weathers, during
the past week; he seemed devoted to fishing, heart and soul,
having left the St. Legers at Saratoga, and come on to Lake
George immediately, to enjoy his favourite pastime. It was a
pleasure to see how honestly and earnestly he was engaged in his
pursuit: as for Mr. Stryker, we strongly suspect that his fancy
for fishing was an acquired taste, like most of those he
cherished; we very much doubt whether he would ever have been a
follower of Izaak Walton, had there not been a fashionable
accoutrement for brothers of the rod, at the present day.

{"Isaak Walton" = Isaak Walton (1593-1683), author of "The
Compleat Angler"}

Several of the ladies also fished for half an hour; Mrs.
Creighton begging for a seat in Mr. Stryker's boat, that she
might profit by his instructions. While they were out, a small
incident occurred, which amused the spectators not a little. Mrs.
Creighton had risen, to look at a fish playing about Mr.
Stryker's line, when she accidentally dropped a light shawl,
which fell from her arm into the water; an involuntary movement
she made as it fell, also threw a basket of her companion's flies
overboard, at the same instant: he had just been showing them

"Oh, Mr. Stryker, my shawl!" exclaimed the lady.

But the fashionable fisherman was already catching eagerly at his
own precious flies; he succeeded in regaining the basket, and
then, bethinking him of his reputation for gallantry, turned to
Mrs. Creighton, to rescue the shawl; but he had the mortification
to see old Mr. Hopkins already stretching out an arm with the
cachemere, which he had caught almost as soon as it touched the
water, and now offered to its fair owner, with the good-natured
hope that it had not been injured, as it was hardly wet. The lady
received it very graciously, and bestowed a very sweet smile on
the old merchant; while Mr. Stryker, quite nettled at his own
flagrant misdemeanour, had to face a frown from the charming
widow. It was decidedly an unlucky hour for Mr. Stryker: he only
succeeded in catching a solitary perch; while Mr. Hopkins, who
had been invited to join the party, contributed a fine mess. The
fault, however, was all thrown on the sunshine; and Mr. Hopkins
confessed that he had not had much sport since the clouds had
broken away, earlier in the morning. Everybody seemed very ready
for luncheon, when hailed from the island, for that purpose. The
meal was quite a merry one; Mrs. Creighton was the life of the
party, saying a great many clever, amusing things. She looked
charmingly, too, in a little cap, whose straw-coloured ribbons
were particularly becoming to her brown complexion. Mr. Stryker
gradually recovered from the double mortification, of the shawl,
and the solitary perch, and soon began talking over different
fishing excursions, with his friend A-----, in Ireland, and his
friend B-----, in Germany. The rest of the party were all
cheerful and good-humoured. Mr. Ellsworth was quite devoted to
Elinor, as usual, of late. Mary Van Alstyne amused herself with
looking on at Mrs. Creighton's efforts to charm Harry, pique Mr.
Stryker, and flatter Mr. Wyllys into admiring her; nor did she
disdain to throw away several arch smiles on Mr. Hopkins. "She
seems successful in all her attempts," thought Mary. Harry was
quite attentive to her; and it was evident that Mr. Stryker's
admiration had very much increased since they had been together
at the Springs. He had set out for Saratoga, with the firm
determination to play the suitor to Elinor; he resolved that he
would not fall in love with the pretty widow; but a clever
coquette and a man of the world, are adversaries well matched;
and, as usual in such encounters, feminine art and feminine
flattery seemed likely to carry the day. Mr. Stryker, in spite of
himself, often forgot to be properly attentive to Elinor, who
appeared to great disadvantage in his eyes, when placed in
constant contrast with Mrs. Creighton. He scarcely regretted now,
his little prospect of favour with the heiress, for the poorer
widow had completely fascinated him by her graceful flatteries,
the piquancy of her wit, and her worldliness, which, with Mr.
Stryker, passed for her wisdom. Even Mary Van Alstyne, though
prejudiced against her, was obliged to confess, as she watched
Mrs. Creighton, that she admired her. The lady had thrown herself
on the grass in a graceful position; excited by admiration, she
had a brilliant colour; her dress was always studiously
fashionable and becoming, in its minutest details; her amusing
remarks flowed freely from a conscience under no other restraints
than those of policy or good-breeding; and her manner, though
always studied for effect, was particularly well studied and
agreeable. Her companions thought her charming. Elinor, at the
same moment, was standing by her side, in a simple dress, with no
attempt to disguise a plain face under finery, and in a perfectly
quiet position, which was graceful without her knowing it. Her
whole manner, indeed, was always natural; its simplicity was its
great charm, for one felt confident that her grace and sweetness,
her ease and quiet dignity, flowed readily from her character
itself. Whether these ideas occurred to any of the party besides
Miss Van Alstyne, we cannot say; it is certain, however, that
Mrs. Creighton was all prepared for observation, Elinor, as
usual, quite regardless of it.

"We must carry off some flowers from May-day island," said Mr.
Ellsworth, preparing to gather a bouquet for Elinor. He had soon
succeeded in collecting quite a pretty bunch, composed of wild
roses, blue hare-bells, the white blossoms of the wild clematis,
the delicate pink clusters of the Alleghany vine, and the
broad-leaved rose-raspberry, with several other varieties.

{"Alleghany vine" = a flowering wild vine, which had been a
favorite of Susan Fenimore Cooper's paternal grandmother
Elizabeth Fenimore Cooper}

Mr. Stryker offered a bouquet to Mrs. Creighton.

"It is really quite pretty; but to make it complete, I must have
one of those scarlet lobelias, on the next island; they are the
first I have seen this season. Mr. Hazlehurst, do be
good-natured, and step into that boat, and bring me one."

"I can do that without the boat, Mrs. Creighton, here is a
bridge," replied Harry, springing on the trunk of a dead tree,
which nearly reached the islet she had pointed out; catching the
branch of an oak on the opposite shore, he swung himself across.
The flowers were soon gathered; and, after a little difficulty in
reaching the dead tree, he returned to the ladies, just as they
were about to embark again. Perhaps he had caught a spark of the
spirit of coquetry from Mrs. Creighton, and resented her flirting
so much with Mr. Stryker; for he did not give her all the flowers
he had gathered, but offered a few to each lady as she entered
the boat.

"Thank you, Mr. Hazlehurst, very gallantly done," said Mrs.
Creighton, placing one of the lobelias, with a sprig of Mr.
Stryker's, in her belt.

As they rowed leisurely along, Charlie Hubbard pointed out some
of the localities to Miss Wyllys and Robert Hazlehurst.

"These mountains are very different in their character, Mr.
Hubbard, from those you have recently been sketching in Italy and
Switzerland," observed Mr. Ellsworth.

"Entirely different; their forms are much less bold and decided."

"Yes; all the mountains in this country, east of the Mississippi,
partake, more or less, of the same character; forming rounded
ridges, seldom broken into those abrupt, ragged peaks, common in
other parts of the world."

"But the elevation of these mountains is much less than that of
the Alps, or high Apennines," observed Mr. Wyllys; "do not the
mountains in Europe, of the same height, resemble these in

"No, sir, I think not," replied Ellsworth. "They are generally
more bold and barren; often mere masses of naked rock. I am no
geologist, but it strikes me that the whole surface of the earth,
in this part of the world, differs in character from that of the
eastern continent; on one hand, the mountains are less abrupt and
decided in their forms with us; and on the other, the plains are
less monotonous here. If our mountains are not grand, the general
surface of the country seems more varied, more uneven; there is
not so large a proportion of dead level in this country as in
France, Germany, Russia, for instance; we have much of what we
call a rolling country--even the prairies, which are the plains
of this region, show the same swelling surface."

"The variety of character in the landscape of different
countries, must be a great charm to one of your profession,
Hubbard," observed Harry. "A landscape painter must enjoy
travelling more than any other man; nothing is lost upon
you--every time you look about you there is something new to
observe. How you must have enjoyed the change from the general
aspect of this country--fresh, full of life and motion, yet
half-finished in the details--to old Italy, where the scenery and
atmosphere are in perfect harmony with the luxurious repose of a
great antiquity!"

"I did indeed enjoy the change beyond expression!" exclaimed
Charlie. "I have often felt thankful, in the best sense of the
word, that I have been enabled to see those great countries,
Italy and Switzerland; it has furnished me with materials for
thought and delight, during a whole lifetime."

"It would be a good plan to get you appointed painting attache to
the Legation, Hubbard," said Harry. "As you have seen the south
of Europe, would you not like to take a look at the northern

"Not much," replied Charlie. "I should have nothing but ice to
paint there, for half the year."

"Well, I suppose there is something selfish in my wish to carry
you to the North Pole; but when I was in Brazil, I had a very
disinterested desire that you should see the Bay of Rio."

"Is it really so beautiful?" asked Elinor.

"Yes; finer even than Naples, as regards scenery; though it
wants, of course, all the charm of recollection which belongs to
the old world."

"You must forget everything like fine scenery when you go to St.
Petersburg," said Robert Hazlehurst.

"Not at all; I hope to take a trip to the Crimea while I am in
Russia. I shall do my best to ingratiate myself with the owner of
some fine villa on the Black Sea."

"And have you really made up your mind to be a regular
diplomatist?" asked Mr. Wyllys.

"For a time, sir; so long as I can serve under Mr. Henley, or a
man like him."

"I used to see a good deal of Henley, some twenty years since,"
observed Mr. Wyllys. "I should think him particularly well fitted
for his duties."

"I have the highest respect for him," replied Harry.

"He is a good model for an American diplomatist," added Robert
Hazlehurst. "A man of ability, good education, and just
principles, with simple, gentlemanly manners; always manly in his
tone, and firm as a rock on all essential points."

"But those are only a small portion of the qualifications of a
diplomatist," said Mr. Stryker. "According to the most approved
models, the largest half should be cunning."

"Mr. Henley is particularly clear-sighted--not easily deceived
either by himself or by others; and that is all that American
diplomacy requires," said Harry. "I am proud to say that our
government does not give us any dirty work to do; we have chiefly
to act on the defensive."

"Set a thief to catch a thief," said Mr. Stryker, with his usual
dry manner. "I don't believe in the full success of your virtuous
diplomatist. How is a man to know all the turnings and windings
of the road that leads to treaties, unless he has gone over it

"But an honest man, if he is really clear-headed and firm, has no
need of these turnings and windings; he goes more directly to the
point, and saves a vast deal of time and principle, by taking a
more honourable road."

"Suppose a man has to make black look white, I should like to see
your honourable diplomatist manage such a job," said Mr. Stryker.

"But our government has never yet had such jobs to manage. We
have never yet made a demand from a foreign power that we have
not believed just. Intrigue is unpardonable in American
diplomacy, for it is gratuitous; a man need not resort to it,
unless his own taste inclines him that way. It is an honourable
distinction of our government, AS A GOVERNMENT, that it has never
committed a single act of injustice against any other power,
either by open force, or underhand manoeuvres. We have been
wronged sometimes, and omitted to demand justice as firmly as we
might have done; but there is, probably, no other government
among the great powers of Christendom, that has been so free from
OFFENSIVE guilt, during the last sixty years, as that of this

{This was, of course, before the Mexican-American War, which the
Cooper family viewed with considerable misgivings. James Fenimore
Cooper was incensed that the United States did not pursue with
greater vigor American claims against France for damages caused
to American shipping during the Napoleonic wars}

It was evident that Mr. Stryker was not in the least convinced by
Harry's defence of honest diplomacy.

"The ladies must find great fault with Washington diplomacy," he
added, turning to Mrs. Creighton and Elinor: "they are never
employed; not a single fair American has ever figured among les
belles diplomats of European saloons, I believe."

"Perhaps the ladies in this country would not condescend to be
employed," said Elinor.

"Don't say so, Miss Wyllys!" exclaimed Mrs. Creighton, laughing;
"I should delight in having some delicate mission to manage: when
Mr. Stryker gets into the cabinet, he may send me as special
envoy to any country where I can find a French milliner."

"You had better go to Russia with Mr. Henley and Mr. Hazlehurst;
I have not the least doubt but they would find your finesse of
great service," said the gentleman.

Mrs. Creighton blushed; and Harry coloured, too.

"The very idea of such an ally would frighten Mr. Henley out of
his wits," said the lady, recovering herself; "he is an
incorrigible old bachelor; that, you must allow, is a great fault
of his, Mr. Hazlehurst."

"If he be incorrigible," said Harry.

"But that is not clear," said Mr. Stryker to the lady; "he is a
great admirer of yours."

"Come, a truce to diplomacy, Josephine; I am going to beg Miss
Wyllys for a song," said Ellsworth.

Elinor sang very readily, and very sweetly; the Swiss airs
sounded charmingly among the hills; and she was accompanied by
Mary Van Alstyne, while Charlie, with the two Hazlehursts, made
up a respectable second for several songs.

Some gathering clouds at length warned the party to turn inn-ward

"It is to be hoped the shower won't reach us, for your sake,
ladies," said Robert Hazlehurst.

"I hope not, for the sake of my bibi!" said Mrs. Creighton. "It
is the prettiest little hat I have had these three years; it
would be distressing to have it spoilt before it has lost its

{"bibi" = a stylish hat of the 1830s}

"There is no danger, marm," said one of the boatmen, with a
good-natured gravity, that made Mrs. Creighton smile. "Them 'ere
kind of clouds often goes over the lake, without coming up this

And so it proved; the party reached the hotel safely, all
agreeing that they had had a very pleasant day, and were not at
all more tired than was desirable after such an excursion.


"............................. Sebastian are you?
If spirits can assume both form and suit,
You come to fright us!"

{William Shakespeare, "Twelfh Night", V.i.221, 235-236}

ON their return to Saratoga, the Wyllyses and Hazlehursts found
startling intelligence awaiting them. Letters had just arrived
for Harry, for Mrs. Stanley, and for Mr. Wyllys, all of a similar
nature, and all of a character that was astounding to those who
received them. They could scarcely credit their senses as they
read the fact, that the executors of the late John William
Stanley, Esquire, were called upon to account for all past
proceedings, to William Stanley, his son and heir. Hazlehurst was
also summoned to resign that portion of the property of which he
had taken possession two years since, when he had reached the age
of twenty-five.

The letters were all written by Mr. Clapp, Charlie Hubbard's
brother-in-law, who announced himself as the attorney of William
Stanley, Esquire.

"Here are the letters addressed to myself," said Mrs. Stanley,
who had immediately sent for Mr. Wyllys and Hazlehurst, as soon
as they returned from Lake George: she had not yet recovered from
the first agitation caused by this extraordinary disclosure.
"This is the letter purporting to come from my husband's son, and
this is from the lawyer," she added, extending both to
Hazlehurst. Harry read them aloud. The first ran as follows:


"I have not the honour of being acquainted with you, as my late
father was not married to you when I went to sea, not long before
his death. But I make no doubt that you will not refuse me my
rights, now that I step forward to demand them, after leaving
others to enjoy them for nearly eighteen years. Things look
different to a man near forty, and to a young chap of twenty; I
have been thinking of claiming my property for some time, but was
told by lawyers that there was too many difficulties in the way,
owing partly to my own fault, partly to the fault of others. As
long as I was a youngster, I didn't care for anything but having
my own way--I snapped my fingers at all the world; but now I am
tired of a sea-faring life, and have had hardships enough for one
man: since there is a handsome property mine, by right, I am
resolved to claim it, through thick and thin. I have left off the
bottle, and intend to do my best to be respectable for the rest
of my days. I make no doubt but we shall be able to come to some
agreement; nor would I object to a compromise for the past,
though my lawyers advise me to make no such offer. I shall be
pleased, Madam, to pay my respects to you, that we may settle our
affairs at a personal meeting, if it suits you to do so.

"Your obedient servant, and step-son,


"Can that be my husband's son!" exclaimed Mrs. Stanley, in an
agitated voice, as Harry finished reading the letter, and handed
it to Mr. Wyllys.

"It will take more than this to convince me," said Mr. Wyllys,
who had been listening attentively. The handwriting was then
carefully examined by Mrs. Stanley and Mr. Wyllys, and both were
compelled to admit that it was at least a good imitation of that
of William Stanley.

"A most extraordinary proceeding in either case!" exclaimed
Harry, pacing the room.

Mr. Clapp's letter was then read: it began with the following


"I regret that I am compelled by the interests of my client, Mr.
William Stanley, Esquire, to address a lady I respect so highly,
upon a subject that must necessarily prove distressing to her, in
many different ways."

Then followed a brief statement of his first acquaintance with
Mr. Stanley; his refusing to have anything to do with the affair;
his subsequent conviction that the ragged sailor was the
individual he represented himself to be; his reluctance to
proceed, &c., &c. But since he was now convinced, by the
strongest proofs, of the justice of Mr. Stanley's demand, and had
at length undertaken to assist him with his advice, he was,
therefore, compelled by duty to give the regular legal notice,
that Mrs. Stanley, as executrix, would be required to account for
her proceedings since her husband's death. His client, he said,
would much prefer an amicable arrangement, but, if necessary,
would proceed to law immediately. He wished to know what course
Mrs. Stanley was disposed to take, as his client's steps would
necessarily be guided by her own, and those of Mr. Wyllys and Mr.
Hazlehurst. He concluded with a civil hope that the case might be
privately adjusted.

"Clapp all over," said Harry, as he finished reading the letter.

"A most bare-faced imposition, depend upon it!" exclaimed Mr.
Wyllys, with strong indignation.

Mrs. Stanley was listening with anxious eagerness for the opinion
of the two gentlemen.

"I am strongly disposed to mistrust anything that comes through
Clapp's hands," said Harry, pacing the room thoughtfully, with
the letters in his hand. "Still, I think it behooves us, sir, to
act with deliberation; the idea that it is not impossible that
this individual should be the son of Mr. Stanley, must not be
forgotten--that possibility alone would make me sift the matter
to the bottom at once."

"Certainly; it must be looked into immediately."

"What has the lawyer written to you?" asked Mrs. Stanley.

The letters to Mr. Wyllys and Harry were then read aloud; they
were almost identical in their contents with that to Mrs.
Stanley. The tone of each was civil and respectful; though each
contained a technical legal notice, that they would be required
to surrender to William Stanley, the property of his late father,
according to the will of the said John William Stanley; which the
said William, his son, had hitherto neglected to claim, though
legally entitled to it.

"There: is certainly an air of confidence about those letters of
Clapp's," said Harry, "as if he felt himself on a firm foothold.
It is very extraordinary!"

"Of course: he would never move in such a case, without some
plausible proof," said Mr. Wyllys.

"But how could he get any proof whatever, on this occasion?" said
Mrs. Stanley. "For these eighteen years, nearly, William Stanley
has been lying at the bottom of the ocean. We have believed so,
at least."

"Proofs have been manufactured by lawyers before now," said Mr.
Wyllys. "Do you suppose that if William Stanley had been living,
we never should have heard one trace of him during eighteen
years?--at a time, too, when his father's death had left him a
large property."

"What sort of a man is this Mr. Clapp?" asked Mrs. Stanley. "His
manners and appearance, whenever I have accidentally seen him
with the Hubbards, struck me as very unpleasant: but is it
possible he can be so utterly devoid of all principle, as
wilfully to countenance an impostor?"

"He is a man whom I do not believe to possess one just
principle!" said Mr. Wyllys. "Within the last year or two, I have
lost all confidence in his honesty, from facts known to me."

"I have always had a poor opinion of him, but I have never had
much to do with him," said Harry; "still, I should not have
thought him capable of entering into a conspiracy so atrocious as
this must be, if the story be not true."

"He would do any dirty work whatever, for money. I KNOW the man,"
said Mr. Wyllys, with emphasis.

"It is possible he may be deceived himself," observed Mrs.

"Very improbable," replied Mr. Wyllys, shaking his head.

"A shrewd, cunning, quick-witted fellow, as I remember him, would
not be likely to undertake such a case, unless he had some
prospect of success," said Harry, pacing the room again. "He must
know perfectly well that it is make or break with him. If he does
not succeed, he will be utterly ruined."

"He will give us trouble, no doubt," said Mr. Wyllys. "He must
have got the means of putting together a plausible story. And yet
his audacity confounds me!"

"Eighteen years, is it not, since William Stanley's death?" asked
Harry, turning to Mrs. Stanley.

"It will be eighteen years next October, since he sailed. I was
married in November; and from that time we have never heard
anything from the poor boy, excepting the report that the
Jefferson, the ship in which he sailed, had been shipwrecked on
the coast of Africa, the following winter, and all hands lost.
That report reached us not long before my husband's death, and
caused him to word his will in the way it is now expressed;
giving to the son of his kinsman and old friend, half his
property, in case his son's death should be confirmed. The report
WAS confirmed, some months later, by the arrival of an American
vessel, which had ridden out the storm that wrecked the
Jefferson: she saw the wreck itself, sent a boat to examine it,
but could find no one living; although several bodies were picked
up, with the hope of reviving them. But you have heard the whole
sad story before, Harry."

"Certainly; I merely wished to hear the facts again, ma'am, from
your own lips, lest I might have forgotten some important point."

"Although you were quite a child at the time, Harry," said Mr.
Wyllys, "eight or ten I believe, still, I should think you must
remember the anxiety to discover the real fate of William
Stanley. I have numbers of letters in my hands, answers to those
I had written with the hope of learning something more positive
on the subject. We sent several agents, at different times, to
the principal sea-ports, to make inquiries among the sailors; it
all resulted in confirming the first story, the loss of the
Jefferson, and all on board. Every year, of course, made the
point more certain."

"Still, we cannot say that is not impossible {sic} he should have
escaped," observed Harry.

"Why should he have waited eighteen years, before he appeared to
claim his property?--and why should he not come directly to his
father's executors, instead of seeking out such a fellow as
Clapp? It bears on the very face every appearance of a gross
imposture. Surely, Harry, you do not think there is a shade of
probability as to the truth of this story?"

"Only a possibility, sir; almost everything is against it, and
yet I shall not rest satisfied without going to the bottom of the

"That, you may be sure, we shall be forced to do. Clapp will give
us trouble enough, I warrant; he will leave no stone unturned
that a dirty lawyer can move. It will be vexatious, but there
cannot be a doubt as to the result."

"You encourage me," said Mrs. Stanley; "and yet the idea of
entering into a suit of this kind is very painful!"

"If it be a conspiracy, there is no treatment too bad for those
who have put the plot together!" exclaimed Harry. "What a
double-dyed villain Clapp must be!"

"He will end his career in the State-Prison," said Mr. Wyllys.

"The Hubbards, too; that is another disagreeable part of the
business," said Harry.

"I am truly sorry for them," replied Mr. Wyllys. "It will give
them great pain."

"What steps shall we first take, sir?" inquired Harry.

"We must look into the matter immediately, of course, and find
out upon what grounds they are at work."

"I am utterly at a loss to comprehend it!" exclaimed Mrs.
Stanley. "Such a piece of bare-faced audacity!"

"Clapp must rest all his hope of success on our want of positive
proof as to the death of William Stanley," observed Harry. "But
his having dared to bring forward an individual to personate the
dead man, is really a height of impudence that I should never
have conceived of."

"If I did not know him to be an incarnation of cunning, I should
think he had lost his senses," replied Mr. Wyllys; "but happily
for honest men, rogues generally overreach themselves; after they
have spread their nets, made the mesh as intricate as possible,
they almost invariably fall into their own snare. Such will,
undoubtedly, be the result in this case."

"Had you not better return to Longbridge at once," said Mrs.
Stanley, "in order to inquire into the matter?"

"Certainly; we had better all be on the spot; though I am
confident we shall unmask the rogues very speedily. You were
already pledged to return with us, Mrs. Stanley; and I shall be
glad to see you at Wyllys-Roof, again, Harry."

"Thank you, sir; you are very good," replied Hazlehurst, with
something more than the common meaning in the words; for he
coloured a little on remembering the occurrences of his last
visit to Longbridge, more than three years since.

"We shall find it difficult," continued Mr. Wyllys, "to get an
insight into Clapp's views and plans. He will, no doubt, be very
wary in all he does; though voluble as ever in what he says. I
know his policy of old; he reverses the saying of the cunning
Italian, volto sciolto, bocca stretta."

{"volto sciolto, bocca stretta" = open countenance, tight lips

"But his first step has not been a cautious one," observed Harry.
"It is singular he should have allowed his client to write to
Mrs. Stanley. Do you remember William Stanley's handwriting
distinctly?" he added, again handing the letter to Mr. Wyllys.

"Yes; and it must be confessed this hand resembles his; they must
have got possession of some of young Stanley's handwriting."

"But how could they possibly have done so?" said Mrs. Stanley.

"That is what we must try to find out, my dear madam."

"He must have been very confident that it was a good imitation,"
said Hazlehurst; "for, of course, he knew you must possess
letters of William Stanley's. I don't remember to have seen
anything but his signature, myself."

"Yes; it is a good imitation--very good; of course Clapp was
aware of it, or the letter would never have been sent."

"William was very like his father in appearance, though not in
character," observed Mrs. Stanley, thoughtfully. "He was very
like him."

"Should this man look like my poor husband, I might have some
misgivings," said Mrs. Stanley. "We must remember at least, my
dear Mr. Wyllys, that it is not impossible that William may be

"Only one of the most improbable circumstances you could name, my
dear friend. I wish to see the man, however, myself; for I have
little doubt that I shall be able at once to discover the
imposture, entirely to our own satisfaction at least--and that is
the most important point."

"Should the case present an appearance of truth, sufficient to
satisfy a jury, though we ourselves were not convinced, it would
still prove a very serious thing to you, my dear Harry," observed
Mrs. Stanley.

"No doubt: very serious to Hazlehurst, and a loss to all three.
But I cannot conceive it possible that such a daring imposture
can succeed so far. We shall be obliged, however, to proceed with
prudence, in order to counteract the cunning of Clapp."

After a conversation of some length between the friends, it was
agreed that Hazlehurst should answer the letters, in the name of
Mrs. Stanley and Mr. Wyllys, as well as his own. It was also
decided that they should return to Longbridge immediately, and
not take any decided steps until they had seen the individual
purporting to be William Stanley. The bare possibility that Mr.
Stanley's son might be living, determined Mrs. Stanley and
Hazlehurst to pursue this course; although Mr. Wyllys, who had
not a doubt on the subject from the first, had felt no scruple in
considering the claimant as an impostor. We give Harry's letter
to Mr. Clapp.

"Saratoga, June, 18--.


"The letters addressed by you to Mrs. Stanley, Mr. Wyllys and
myself, of the date of last Tuesday, have just reached us. I
shall not dwell on the amazement which we naturally felt in
receiving a communication so extraordinary, which calls upon us
to credit the existence of an individual, whom we have every
reason to believe has lain for nearly eighteen years at the
bottom of the deep: it will be sufficient that I declare, what
you are probably already prepared to hear, that we see no cause
for changing our past opinions on this subject. We believe
to-day, as we have believed for years, that William Stanley was
drowned in the wreck of the Jefferson, during the winter of 181-.
We can command to-day, the same proofs which produced conviction
at the time when this question was first carefully examined. We
have learned no new fact to change the character of these proofs.

"The nature of the case is such, however, as to admit the
possibility--and it is a bare possibility only--of the existence
of William Stanley. It is not necessarily impossible that he may
have escaped from the wreck of the Jefferson; although the weight
of probability against such an escape, has more than a
hundred-fold the force of that which would favour a contrary
supposition. Such being the circumstances, Mr. Stanley's
executors, and his legatee, actuated by the same motives which
have constantly guided them since his death, are prepared in the
present instance to discharge their duty, at whatever cost it may
be. They are prepared to receive and examine any proofs, in the
possession of yourself and your client, as to the identity of the
individual purporting to be William Stanley, only son of the late
John William Stanley, of ----- county, Pennsylvania. They demand
these proofs. But, they are also prepared, sir, to pursue with
the full force of justice, and the law of the land, any
individual who shall attempt to advance a false claim to the name
and inheritance of the dead. This matter, once touched, must be
entirely laid bare: were duty out of the question, indignation
alone would be sufficient to urge them, at any cost of time and
vexation, to unmask one who, if not William Stanley, must be a
miserable impostor--to unravel what must either prove an
extraordinary combination of circumstances, or a base conspiracy.

"Prepared, then, to pursue either course, as justice shall
dictate, Mrs. Stanley and Mr. Wyllys, executors of the late Mr.
Stanley, and myself, his legatee, demand: First, an interview
with the individual claiming to be William Stanley. Secondly,
whatever proofs of the identity of the claimant you may have in
your possession. And we here pledge ourselves to acknowledge the
justice of the claim advanced, if the evidence shall prove
sufficient to establish it; or in the event of a want of truth
and consistency in the evidence supporting this remarkable claim,
we shall hold it a duty to bring to legal punishment, those whom
we must then believe the guilty parties connected with it.

"Mrs. Stanley and Mr. Wyllys wish you, sir, to understand this
letter as an answer to those addressed by you to themselves. They
are on the point of returning to Longbridge, where I shall also
join them; and we request that your farther communications to us,
on this subject, may be addressed to Wyllys-Roof.


This letter was written, and approved by Mrs. Stanley and Mr.
Wyllys, before the consultation broke up; it was also signed by
them, as well as by Harry.

The amazement of Miss Wyllys and Elinor, on hearing the purport
of Mr. Clapp's letters, was boundless. Had they seen William
Stanley rise from the ground before them, they could scarcely
have been more astonished; not a shadow of doubt as to his death
in the Jefferson, had crossed their minds for years. Like their
friends, they believed it a plot of Mr. Clapp's; and yet his
daring to take so bold a step seemed all but incredible.

When some hours' consideration had made the idea rather more
familiar to the minds of our friends, they began to look at the
consequences, and they clearly saw many difficulties and
vexations before the matter could be even favourably settled; but
if this client of Mr. Clapp's were to succeed in establishing a
legal claim to the Stanley estate, the result would produce much
inconvenience to Mrs. Stanley, still greater difficulties to Mr.
Wyllys, while Harry would be entirely ruined in a pecuniary
sense; since the small property he had inherited from his father,
would not suffice to meet half the arrears he would be obliged to
discharge, in restoring his share of the Stanley estate to
another. Hazlehurst had decided, from the instant the claim was
laid before him, that the only question with himself would regard
his own opinion on the subject; the point must first be clearly
settled to his own judgment. He would see the man who claimed to
be the son of his benefactor, he would examine the matter as
impartially as he could, and then determine for himself. Had he
any good reason whatever for believing this individual to be
William Stanley, he would instantly resign the property to him,
at every cost.

All probability was, however, thus far, against the identity of
the claimant; and unless Hazlehurst could believe in his good
faith and honesty, every inch of the ground should be disputed to
the best of his ability. Mr. Wyllys was very confident of
defeating one whom he seriously believed an impostor: it was a
dirty, disagreeable job to undertake, but he was sanguine as to
the result. Mrs. Stanley was at first quite overcome by agitation
and astonishment; she had some doubts and anxieties; misgivings
would occasionally cross her mind, in spite of herself, in spite
of Mr. Wyllys's opinion; and the bare idea of opposing one who
might possibly be her husband's son, affected all her feelings.
Like Hazlehurst, she was very desirous to examine farther into
the matter, without delay; scarcely knowing yet what to hope and
what to fear.

Ellsworth and Mrs. Creighton soon learned the extraordinary
summons which Harry had received; he informed them of the facts

"The man is an impostor, depend upon it, Mr. Hazlehurst!"
exclaimed Mrs. Creighton, with much warmth.

"I have little doubt of it," replied Harry; "for I do not see how
he can well be anything else."

"You know, Hazlehurst, that I am entirely at your service in any
way you please," said Ellsworth.

"Thank you, Ellsworth; I have a habit of looking to you in any
difficulty, as you know already."

"But I cannot conceive that it should be at all a difficult
matter to unravel so coarse a plot as this must be!" cried Mrs.
Creighton. "What possible foundation can these men have for their
story? Tell me all about it, Mr. Hazlehurst, pray!" continued the
lady, who had been standing when Harry entered the room, prepared
to accompany her brother and himself to Miss Wyllys's room. "Sit
down, I beg, and tell me at once all you choose to trust me
with," she continued, taking a seat on the sofa.

Harry followed her example. "You are only likely to hear a great
deal too much of it I fear, if you permit Ellsworth and myself to
talk the matter over before you." He then proceeded to give some
of the most important facts, as far as he knew them himself, at
least. Judging from this account, Mr. Ellsworth pronounced
himself decidedly inclined to think with Mr. Wyllys, that this
claim was a fabrication of Clapp's. Mrs. Creighton was very warm
in the expression of her indignation and her sympathy. After a
long and animated conversation, Mr. Ellsworth proposed that they
should join the Wyllyses: his sister professed herself quite
ready to do so; and, accompanied by Harry, they went to the usual
rendezvous of their party, at Congress Hall.

Robert Hazlehurst had already left Saratoga with his family,
having returned from Lake George for that purpose, a day earlier
than his friends; and when Mrs. Creighton and the two gentlemen
entered Miss Wyllys's parlour, they only found there the Wyllyses
themselves and Mary Van Alstyne, all of whom had already heard of
Harry's threatened difficulties. Neither Miss Agnes nor Elinor
had seen him since he had received the letters, and they both
cordially expressed their good wishes in his behalf; for they
both seemed inclined to Mr. Wyllys's opinion of the new claimant.

"We have every reason to wish that the truth may soon be
discovered," said Miss Agnes.

"I am sorry you should have such a painful, vexatious task before
you," said Elinor, frankly offering her hand to Harry.

"Have you no sympathies for this new sailor cousin of yours, Miss
Wyllys?--I must say I have a very poor opinion of him myself,"
said Mrs. Creighton.

"Whoever he be, I hope he will only receive what is justly his
due," replied Elinor.

"I am happy, Miss Wyllys, that you seem favourably inclined
towards Hazlehurst," said Mr. Ellsworth. "On the present occasion
I consider him not only as a friend but as a client, and that is
the dearest tie we lawyers are supposed to feel."

"One would naturally incline rather more to a client of yours ex
officio, Mr. Ellsworth, than to one of Mr. Clapp's, that very
disagreeable brother-in-law of Miss Patsey Hubbard's," said Mary
Van Alstyne, smiling.

It was soon decided that the party should break up the next day.
The Wyllyses, with Mrs. Stanley and Mary Van Alstyne, were to
return to Longbridge. Mrs. Creighton and Mr. Ellsworth were
obliged to pay their long deferred visit to Nahant, the gentleman
having some business of importance in the neighbourhood; but it
was expected that they also should join the family at Wyllys-Roof
as early as possible. Jane was to return to New York with her
sister-in-law, Mrs. St. Leger, leaving Miss Emma Taylor flirting
at Saratoga, under the charge of a fashionable chaperon; while
Mr. Hopkins was still fishing at Lake George.


"'Whence this delay?--Along the crowded street
A funeral comes, and with unusual pomp.'"

{Samuel Rogers (English poet, 1763-1855), "Italy: A Funeral"
lines 1-2}

IT is a common remark, that important events seldom occur singly;
and they seem indeed often to follow each other with startling
rapidity, like the sharpest flashes of lightning and the loudest
peals of thunder from the dark clouds of a summer shower. On
arriving in New York, the Wyllyses found that Tallman Taylor had
been taken suddenly and dangerously ill, during the previous
night, the consequence of a stroke of the sun; having exposed
himself imprudently, by crossing the bay to Staten-Island for a
dinner party, in an open boat, when the thermometer stood at 95
{degrees} in the shade. He was believed in imminent danger, and
was too ill to recognize his wife when she arrived. Miss Wyllys
and Elinor remained in town, at the urgent request of Jane, who
was in great distress; while Mr. Wyllys returned home with Mrs.
Stanley and Mary Van Alstyne.

{Susan's father, James Fenimore Cooper, twice suffered from
sunstroke, in 1823 and 1825, while sailing a small boat near New
York City, and she later wrote of the attacks of delirium that

After twenty-four hours of high delirium, the physicians
succeeded in subduing the worst symptoms; but the attack took the
character of a bilious fever, and the patient's recovery was
thought very doubtful from the first. Poor Jane sat listlessly in
the sick-room, looking on and weeping, unheeded by her husband,
who would allow no one but his mother to come near him, not even
his wife or his sisters; he would not, indeed, permit his mother
to leave his sight for a moment, his eyes following every
movement of her's with the feverish restlessness of disease, and
the helpless dependence of a child. Jane mourned and wept;
Adeline had at least the merit of activity, and made herself
useful as an assistant nurse, in preparing whatever was needed by
her brother. These two young women, who had been so often
together in brilliant scenes of gaiety, were now, for the first
time, united under a roof of sorrow and suffering.

"That lovely young creature is a perfect picture of helpless
grief!" thought one of the physicians, as he looked at Jane.

For a week, Tallman Taylor continued in the same state.
Occasionally, as he talked with the wild incoherency of delirium,
he uttered sentences painful to hear, as they recalled deeds of
folly and vice; words passed his lips which were distressing to
all present, but which sunk deep into the heart of the sick man's
mother. At length he fell into a stupor, and after lingering for
a day or two in that state, he expired, without having fully
recovered his consciousness for a moment. The handsome, reckless,
dashing son of the rich merchant lay on his bier; a career of
selfish enjoyment and guilty folly was suddenly closed by the

Miss Agnes's heart sunk within her as she stood, silent, beside
the coffin of Jane's husband, remembering how lately she had seen
the young man, full of life and vigour, thoughtlessly devoting
the best energies of body and soul to culpable self-indulgence.
It is melancholy indeed, to record such a close to such a life;
and yet it is an event repeated in the gay world with every year
that passes. It is to be feared there were companions of Tallman
Taylor's, pursuing the same course of wicked folly, which had
been so suddenly interrupted before their eyes, who yet never
gave one serious thought to the subject: if they paused, it was
only for a moment, while they followed their friend to the grave;
from thence hurrying again to the same ungrateful, reckless abuse
of life, and its highest blessings.

Jane was doubly afflicted at this moment; her baby sickened soon
after its return to town, and died only a few days after her
husband; the young father and his infant boy were laid in the
same grave.

Jane herself was ill for a time, and when she partially
recovered, was very anxious to accompany Miss Agnes and Elinor to
Wyllys-Roof--a spot where she had passed so many peaceful hours,
that she longed again to seek shelter there. She had loved her
husband, as far as it was in her nature to love; but her
attachments were never very strong or very tender, and Tallman
Taylor's neglect and unkindness during the past year, had in some
measure chilled her first feelings for him. She now, however,
looked upon herself as the most afflicted of human beings; the
death of her baby had indeed touched the keenest chord in her
bosom--she wept over it bitterly.

Adeline thought more seriously at the time of her brother's death
than she had ever done before: and even Emma Taylor's spirits
were sobered for a moment. Mr. Taylor, the father, no doubt felt
the loss of his eldest son, though far less than many parents
would have done; he was not so much overwhelmed by grief, but
what he could order a very handsome funeral, and project an
expensive marble monument--a FASHIONABLE TOMB-STONE of Italian
marble. He was soon able to resume all his usual pursuits, and
even the tenor of his thoughts seemed little changed, for his
mind was as much occupied as usual with Wall-Street affairs,
carrying out old plans, or laying new schemes of profit. He had
now been a rich man for several years, yet he was in fact less
happy than when he began his career, and had everything to look
forward to. Still he continued the pursuits of business, for
without the exciting fears and hopes of loss and gain, life would
have appeared a monotonous scene to him; leisure could only prove
a burthen, for it would be merely idleness, since he had no
tastes to make it either pleasant or useful. His schemes of late
had not been so brilliantly successful as at the commencement of
his course of speculation; fortune seemed coquetting with her old
favourite; he had recently made several investments which had
proved but indifferent in their results. Not that he had met with
serious losses; on the contrary, he was still a gainer at the
game of speculation; but the amount was very trifling. He had
rapidly advanced to a certain distance on the road to wealth, but
it now seemed as if he could not pass that point; the brilliant
dreams in which he had indulged were only half realized. There
seemed no good way of accounting for this pause in his career,
but such was the fact; he was just as shrewd and calculating,
just as enterprising now as he had been ten years before, but
certainly he was not so successful.

On commencing an examination of his son's affairs, he found that
Tallman Taylor's extravagance and folly had left his widow and
child worse than penniless, for he had died heavily in debt.
Returning one afternoon from Wall-Street, Mr. Taylor talked over
this matter with his wife. Of all Tallman Taylor's surviving
friends, his mother was the one who most deeply felt his death;
she was heart-stricken, and shed bitter tears over the young man.

"There is nothing left, Hester, for the child or her mother,"
said the merchant, sitting down in a rocking-chair in his wife's
room. "All gone; all wasted; five times the capital I had to
begin with. I have just made an investment, of which I shall give
the profits to Tallman's lady; four lots that were offered to me
last week; if that turns out well, I shall go on, and it may
perhaps make up a pretty property for the child, in time."

"Oh, husband, don't talk to me about such things now; I can't
think of anything but my poor boy's death!"

"It was an unexpected calamity, Hester," said the father, with
one natural look of sorrow; "but we cannot always escape trouble
in this world."

"I feel as if we had not done our duty by him!" said the poor

"Why not?-he was very handsomely set up in business,"
remonstrated Mt. Taylor.

"I was not thinking of money," replied his wife, shaking her
head. "But it seems as if we only took him away from my
brother's, in the country, just to throw him in the way of
temptation as he was growing up, and let him run wild, and do
everything he took a fancy to."

"We did no more than other parents, in taking him home with us,
to give him a better education than he could have got at your

"Husband, husband!--it is but a poor education that don't teach a
child to do what is right! I feel as if we had never taught him
what we ought to. I did not know he had got so many bad ways
until lately; and now that I do know it, my heart is broken!"

"Tallman was not so bad as you make him out. He was no worse than
a dozen other young gentlemen I could name at this very minute."

"Oh; I would give everything we are worth to bring him back!--but
it is too late--too late!"

"No use in talking now, Hester."

"We ought to have taken more pains with him. He didn't know the
danger he was in, and we did, or we ought to have known it.
Taking a young man of a sudden, from a quiet, minister's family
in the country, like my brother's, and giving him all the money
he wanted, and turning him out into temptation.--Oh, it's

"All the pains in the world, Hester, won't help a young man,
unless he chooses himself. What could I do, or you either? Didn't
we send him to school and to college?--didn't we give him an
opportunity of beginning life with a fine property, and married
to one of the handsomest girls in the country, daughter of one of
the best families, too? What more can you do for a young man? He
must do the rest himself; you can't expect to keep him tied to
your apron-string all his life."

"Oh, no; but husband, while he was young we ought to have taken
more pains to teach him not to think so much about the ways of
the world. There are other things besides getting money and
spending money, to do; it seems to me now as if money had only
helped my poor boy to his ruin!"

"Your notions are too gloomy, Mrs. Taylor. Such calamities will
happen, and we should not let them weigh us down too much."

"If I was to live a hundred years longer, I never could feel as I
did before our son's death. Oh, to think what a beautiful,
innocent child he was twenty years ago, this time!"

"You shouldn't let your mind run so much on him that's gone. It's
unjust to the living."

The poor woman made no answer, but wept bitterly for some time.

"It's my only comfort now," she said, at length, "to think that
we have learned wisdom by what's passed. As long as I live, day
and night, I shall labour to teach our younger children not to
set their hearts upon the world; not to think so much about

"Well, I must say, Hester, if you think all poor people are
saints, I calculate you make a mistake."

"I don't say that, husband; but it seems to me that we have never
yet thought enough of the temptations of riches, more especially
to young people, to young men--above all, when it comes so sudden
as it did to our poor boy. What good did money ever do him?--it
only brought him into trouble!"

"Because Tallman didn't make the most of his opportunities, that
is no reason why another should not. If I had wasted money as he
did, before I could afford it, I never should have made a fortune
either. The other boys will do better, I reckon; they will look
more to business than he did, and turn out rich men themselves."

"It isn't the money!--it isn't the money I am thinking of!"
exclaimed the poor mother, almost in despair at her husband's
blindness to her feelings.

"What is it then you take so much to heart?"

"It's remembering that we never warned our poor child; we put him
in the way of temptation, where he only learned to think
everything of the world and its ways; we didn't take pains enough
to do our duty, as parents, by him!"

"Well, Hester, I must say you are a very unreasonable lady!"
exclaimed Mr. Taylor, who was getting impatient under his wife's
observations. "One would think it was all my fault; do you mean
to say it was wrong in me to grow rich?"

"I am afraid it would have been better for us, and for our
children, if you hadn't made so much money," replied the wife.
"The happiest time of our life was the first ten years after we
were married, when we had enough to be comfortable, and we didn't
care so much about show. I am sure money hasn't made me happy; I
don't believe it can make anybody happy!"

Mr. Taylor listened in amazement; but his straightforward, quiet
wife, had been for several years gradually coming to the opinion
she had just expressed, and the death of her eldest son had
affected her deeply. The merchant, finding that he was not very
good at consolation, soon changed the conversation; giving up the
hope of lessening the mother's grief, or of bringing her to what
he considered more rational views of the all-importance of

As soon as Jane felt equal to the exertion, she accompanied Miss
Agnes and Elinor to Wyllys-Roof. During the three years of her
married life she had never been there, having passed most of the
time either at Charleston or New Orleans. Many changes had
occurred in that short period; changes of outward circumstances,
and of secret feeling. Her last visit to Wyllys-Roof had taken
place just after her return from France, when she was tacitly
engaged to young Taylor; at a moment when she had been more gay,
more brilliantly handsome than at any other period of her life.
Now, she returned there, a weeping, mourning widow, wretchedly
depressed in spirits, and feeble in health. She was still very
lovely, however; the elevated style of her beauty was such, that
it appeared finer under the shadow of grief, than in the sunshine
of gaiety; and it is only beauty of the very highest order which
will bear this test. Her deep mourning dress was in harmony with
her whole appearance and expression; and it was not possible to
see her at this moment, without being struck by her exceeding
loveliness. Jane was only seen by the family, however, and one or
two very intimate friends; she remained entirely in the privacy
of her own room, where Elinor was generally at her side,
endeavouring to soothe her cousin's grief, by the gentle balm of
sympathy and affection.


"Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon the particulars
of my life."

"What manner of man, an't please your majesty!"
Henry IV.

{William Shakespeare, "1 Henry IV", II.iv.375-376, 420-421}

HAZLEHURST's affairs had not remained stationary, in the mean
time; Mrs. Stanley and himself were already at Wyllys-Roof, when
Miss Wyllys and Elinor returned home, accompanied by the widowed
Jane. The ladies had received frequent intelligence of the
progress of his affairs, from Mr. Wyllys's letters; still there
were many details to be explained when the party was re-united,
as several important steps had been taken while they were in New
York. Mr. Clapp was no longer the only counsel employed by the
claimant; associated with the Longbridge attorney, now appeared
the name of Mr. Reed, a lawyer of highly respectable standing in
New York, a brother-in-law of Judge Bernard's, and a man of a
character far superior to that of Mr. Clapp. He was slightly
acquainted with Mr. Wyllys, and had written very civil letters,
stating that he held the proofs advanced by his client, to be
quite decisive as to his identity, and he proposed an amicable
meeting, with the hope that Mr. Stanley's claim might be
acknowledged without farther difficulty. That Mr. Reed should
have taken the case into his hands, astonished Hazlehurst and his
friends; so long as Clapp managed the affair, they felt little
doubt as to its beings a coarse plot of his own; but they had now
become impatient to inquire more closely into the matter. Mrs.
Stanley was growing very uneasy; Hazlehurst was anxious to
proceed farther as soon as possible; but Mr. Wyllys was still
nearly as sanguine as ever. All parties seemed to desire a
personal interview; Mr. Reed offered to accompany his client to
Wyllys-Roof, to wait on Mrs. Stanley; and a day had been
appointed for the meeting, which was to take place as soon as
Harry's opponent, who had been absent from Longbridge, should
return. The morning fixed for the interview, happened to be that
succeeding the arrival of the ladies; and it will be easily
imagined that every member of the family looked forward to the
moment with most anxious interest. Perhaps they were not aware
themselves, how gradually doubts had arisen and increased, in
their own minds, since the first disclosure made by Mr. Clapp.

"Harry and myself have both seen this man at last, Agnes," said
Mr. Wyllys to his daughter, just after she had returned home,
when alone with Elinor and herself. "Where do you suppose Harry
saw him yesterday? At church, with Mr. Reed. And this morning I
caught a glimpse of him, standing on the steps of Clapp's

"Indeed!" exclaimed Miss Wyllys, who, as well as Elinor, was
listening eagerly. How did he look?--what kind of man did he

"He looked like a sailor. I only saw him for a moment, however;
for he was coming out of the office, and walked down the street,
in an opposite direction from me. I must confess that his face
had something of a Stanley look."

"Is it possible!"

"Yes; so far as I could see him, he struck me as looking like the
Stanleys; but, in another important point, he does not resemble
them at all. You remember the peculiar gait of the family?--they
all had it, more or less; anybody who knew them well must have
remarked it often--but this man had nothing of the kind; he
walked like a sailor."

"I know what you mean; it was a peculiar motion in walking, well
known to all their friends--a long, slow step."

"Precisely; this man had nothing of it, whatever--he had the
sailor swing, for I watched his movements expressly. William
Stanley, as a boy, walked just like his father; for I have often
pointed it out to Mr. Stanley, myself."

"That mast be an important point, I should suppose; and yet,
grandpapa, you think he looks like my uncle Stanley?" said

"So I should say, from the glimpse I had of him."

"What did Harry think of him?" asked Miss Wyllys.

"Hazlehurst did not see his face, for he sat before him in
church. He said, that if he had not been told who it was, he
should have pronounced him, from his general appearance and
manner, a common-looking, sea-faring man, who was not accustomed
to the service of the Church; for he did not seem to understand
when he should kneel, and when he should rise."

"But William Stanley ought to have known it perfectly," observed
Elinor; "for he must have gone to church constantly, with his
family, as a child, until he went to sea, and could scarcely have
forgotten the service entirely, I should think."

"Certainly, my dear; that is another point which we have noted in
our favour. On the other hand, however, I have just been
carefully comparing the hand-writing of Clapp's client, with that
of William Stanley, and there is a very remarkable resemblance
between them. As far as the hand-writing goes, I must confess,
that I should have admitted it at once, as identical, under
ordinary circumstances."

"And the personal likeness, too, struck you, it seems," added
Miss Agnes.

"It did; so far, at least, as I could judge from seeing him only
a moment, and with his hat on. To-morrow we shall be able, I
trust, to make up our minds more decidedly on other important

"It is very singular that he should not be afraid of an
interview!" exclaimed Elinor.

"Well, I don't know that, my child; having once advanced this
claim, he must be prepared for examination, you know, under any
circumstances. It is altogether a singular case, however, whether
he be the impostor we think him, or the individual he claims to
be. Truth is certainly more strange than fiction sometimes. Would
you like to see the statement Mr. Reed sent us, when we applied
for some account of his client's past movements?"

Miss Agnes and Elinor were both anxious to see it.

"Here it is--short you see--in Clapp's hand-writing, but signed
by himself. There is nothing in it that may not possibly be true;
but I fancy that we shall be able to pick some holes in it,

"Did he make no difficulty about sending it to you?" asked Miss

"No, he seemed to give it readily; Mr. Reed sent it to us a day
or two since."

Miss Wyllys received the letter from her father, inviting Elinor
to read it over her shoulder, at the same moment. It was
endorsed, in Clapp's hand, "STATEMENT OF MR. STANLEY, PREPARED AT

"July 1st, 183-.

"I left home, as everybody knows, because I would have my own way
in everything. It was against my best interests to be sure, but
boys don't think at such times, about anything but having their
own will. I suppose that every person connected with my deceased
father knows, that my first voyage was made to Russia, in the
year 18--, in the ship Dorothy Beck, Jonas Thomson, Master. I was
only fourteen years old at the time. My father had taken to heart
my going off, and when I came back from Russia he was on the
look-out, wrote to me and sent me money, and as soon as he heard
we were in port he came after me. Well, I went back with the old
gentleman; but we had a quarrel on the road, and I put about
again and went to New Bedford, where I shipped in a whaler. We
were out only eighteen months, and brought in a full cargo. This
time I went home of my own accord, and I staid a great part of
one summer. I did think some of quitting the seas; but after a
while things didn't work well, and one of my old shipmates coming
up into the country to see me, I went off with him. This time I
shipped in the Thomas Jefferson, for China. This was in the year
1814, during the last war, when I was about eighteen. Most
people, who know anything about William Stanley, think that was
the last of him, that he never set foot on American ground again;
but they are mistaken, as he himself will take the pains to show.
So far I have told nothing but what everybody knows, but now I am
going to give a short account of what has happened, since my
friends heard from me. Well; the Jefferson sailed, on her voyage
to China, in October; she was wrecked on the coast of Africa in
December, and it was reported that all hands were lost: so they
were, all but one, and that one was William Stanley. I was picked
up by a Dutchman, the barque William, bound to Batavia. I kept
with the Dutchman for a while, until he went back to Holland.
After I had cut adrift from him, I fell in with some Americans,
and got some old papers; in one of them I saw my father's second
marriage. I knew the name of the lady he had married, but I had
never spoken to her. The very next day, one of the men I was
with, who came from the same part of the country, told me of my
father's death, and said it was the common talk about the
neighbourhood, that I was disinherited. This made me very angry;
though I wasn't much surprised, after what had passed. I was
looking out for a homeward-bound American, to go back, and see
how matters stood, when one night that I was drunk, I was carried
off by an English officer, who made out I was a runaway. For five
years I was kept in different English men-of-war, in the East
Indies; at the end of that time I was put on board the Ceres,
sloop of war, and I made out to desert from her at last, and got
on board an American. I then came home; and here, the first man
that I met on shore was Billings, the chap who first persuaded me
to go to sea: he knew all about my father's family, and told me
it was true I was cut off without a cent, and that Harry
Hazlehurst had been adopted by my father. This made me so mad,
that I went straight to New Bedford, and shipped in the Sally
Andrews, for a whaling voyage. Just before we were to have come
home, I exchanged into another whaler, as second-mate, for a year
longer. Then I sailed in a Havre liner, as foremast hand, for a
while. I found out about this time, that the executors of my
father's estate had been advertising for me shortly after his
death, while I was in the East Indies; and I went to a lawyer in
Baltimore, where I happened to be, and consulted him about
claiming the property; but he wouldn't believe a word I said,
because I was half-drunk at the time, and told me that I should
get in trouble if I didn't keep my mouth shut. Well, I cruized
about for a while longer, when at last I went to Longbridge, with
some shipmates. I had been there often before, as a lad, and I
had some notion of having a talk with Mr. Wyllys, my father's
executor; I went to his house one day, but I didn't see him. One
of my shipmates who knew something of my story, and had been a
client of Mr. Clapp's, advised me to consult him. I went to his
office, but he sent me off like the Baltimore lawyer, because be
thought I was drunk. Three years after that I got back to
Longbridge again, with a shipmate; but it did me no good, for I
got drinking, and had a fit of the horrors. That fit sobered me,
though, in the end; it was the worst I had ever had; I should
have hanged myself, and there would have been an end of William
Stanley and his hard rubs, if it hadn't been for the doctor--I
never knew his name, but Mr. Clapp says it was Dr. Van Horne.
After this bad fit, they coaxed me into shipping in a temperance
whaler. While I was in the Pacific, in this ship, nigh three
years, and out of the reach of drink, I had time to think what a
fool I had been all my life, for wasting my opportunities. I
thought there must be some way of getting back my father's
property; Mr. Clapp had said, that if I was really the man I
pretended to be, I must have some papers to make it out; but if I
hadn't any papers, he couldn't help me, even if I was William
Stanley forty times over. It is true, I couldn't show him any
documents that time, for I didn't have them with me at
Longbridge; but I made up my mind, while I was out on my last
voyage, that as soon as I got home, I would give up drinking, get
my papers together, and set about doing my best to get back my
father's property. We came home last February; I went to work, I
kept sober, got my things together, put money by for a lawyer's
fee, and then went straight to Longbridge again. I went to Mr.
Clapp's office, and first I handed him the money, and then I gave
him my papers. I went to him, because he had treated me better
than any other lawyer, and told me if I was William Stanley, and
could prove it, he could help me better than any other man, for
he knew all about my father's will. Well, he hadn't expected ever
to see me again; but he heard my story all out this time, read
the documents, and at last believed me, and undertook the case.
The rest is known to the executors and legatee by this time; and
it is to be hoped, that after enjoying my father's estate for
nigh twenty years, they will now make it over to his son.

"Dictated to W. C. Clapp, by the undersigned,


{"Dutchman" = a ship trading between the Netherlands and the
Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia), of which Batavia (now
Jakarta) was the capital}

"Are these facts, so far as they are known to you, all true?"
asked Miss Agnes, as she finished the paper. "I mean the earlier
part of the statement, which refers to William Stanley's
movements before he sailed in the Jefferson?"

"Yes; that part of the story is correct, so far as it goes."

"How extraordinary!" exclaimed Elinor.

"What does Harry think of this paper?"

"Both he and Mrs. Stanley are more disposed to listen to the
story than I am; however, we are to meet this individual
to-morrow, and shall be able then, I hope, to see our way more

"Do you find any glaring inconsistency in the latter part of the
account?" continued Miss Agnes.

"Nothing impossible, certainly; but the improbability of William
Stanley's never applying to his father's executors, until he
appeared, so late in the day, as Mr. Clapp's client, is still
just as striking as ever in my eyes. Mr. Reed accounts for it, by
the singular character of the man himself, and the strange, loose
notions sailors get on most subjects; but that is far from
satisfying my mind."

"Mrs. Stanley is evidently much perplexed," observed Miss Wyllys;
"she always feels any trouble acutely, and this startling
application is enough to cause her the most serious anxiety,
under every point of view."

"Certainly; I am glad you have come home, on her account--she is
becoming painfully anxious. It is a very serious matter, too, for
Hazlehurst; he confessed to me yesterday, that he had some

"What a change it would make in all his views and prospects for
life!" exclaimed Miss Wyllys.

"A change, indeed, which he would feel at every turn. But we are
not yet so badly off as that. We shall give this individual a
thorough, searching examination, and it is my firm opinion that
he will not bear it. In the mean time we have agents at work,
endeavouring to trace this man's past career; and very possibly
we may soon discover in that way, some inconsistency in his

"The interview is for to-morrow, you say," added Miss Agnes.

"To-morrow morning. It is to be considered as a visit to Mrs.
Stanley; Mr. Reed and Clapp will come with him. He has engaged to
bring a portion of his papers, and to answer any questions of
ours, that would not injure him in case of an ultimate trial by
law: after the interview, we are to declare within a given time
whether we acknowledge the claim, or whether we are prepared to
dispute it."

"If you do carry it into a court of justice, when will the trial
take place?" asked Miss Agnes.

"Probably in the autumn; they have already given notice, that
they will bring it on as soon as possible, if we reject their

"Harry will not go abroad then, with Mr. Henley."

"No; not so soon at least as he intended. So goes the world;
Hazlehurst's career suddenly stopped, by an obstacle we never
dreamed of, at this late day. That poor young Taylor in his
grave, too! How is Jane?"

"Very feeble, and much depressed."

"Poor girl--a heavy blow to her--that was a sweet baby that she
lost. I am glad to see the other child looks well. Jane's
affairs, too, are in a bad way, they tell me."

Miss Agnes shook her head, and her father soon after left her.

Hazlehurst was, of course, much occupied, having many things to
attend to, connected in different ways with the important
question under consideration: there were old papers to be
examined, letters to be written, letters to be read, and the
family seldom saw him, except at his meals. It was evident,
however, that all Mr. Wyllys's displeasure against him, was fast
disappearing under the influence of the strong interest now
aroused in his favour. Miss Agnes had also resumed entirely, her
former manner towards him. Elinor was quite unembarrassed, and
frankly expressed her interest in his affairs; in fact, all
parties appeared so much engrossed by this important topic, that
no one seemed to have time to remember the unpleasant
circumstances of Harry's last visit to Wyllys-Roof. To judge from
his manner, and something in his expression, if any one
occasionally thought of the past, it was Hazlehurst himself; he
seemed grateful for his present kind reception, and conscious
that he had forfeited all claim to the friendly place in which he
had been reinstated. Once or twice, he betrayed momentary feeling
and embarrassment, as some allusion to past scenes was
accidentally made by others, in the course of conversation.

The family were sitting together after tea, enjoying the summer
evening twilight, after a long business consultation between the
gentlemen. Harry seemed still engrossed by his own meditations;
what was their particular nature at that moment, we cannot say;
but he certainly had enough to think of in various ways. Harry's
friends left him in undivided possession of the corner, where he
was sitting, alone; and Mr. Wyllys, after a quiet, general
conversation with the ladies, asked Elinor for a song. At her
grandfather's request, she sang a pleasing, new air, she had just
received, and his old favourite, Robin Adair. Fortunately, it did
not occur to her, that the last time she had sung that song at
Wyllys-Roof, with Hazlehurst as part of her audience, was the
evening before their rupture; she appeared to have forgotten the
fact, for no nervous feeling affected her voice, though her tones
were lower than usual, as she did not wish to disturb Jane, who
was in a distant part of the house. A letter from Mr. Reed was
brought in, and drew Harry into the circle again; it was
connected with the next day's interview, and after reading it,
Mr. Wyllys made some remarks upon the difference in the tone and
manner of the communications they had received from Clapp, and
from Mr. Reed; the last writing like a gentleman, the first like
a pettifogger.

"I am glad, at least, that you will have a gentleman to deal

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest