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Elinor Wyllys by Susan Fenimore Cooper

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can know so much about what you call HIGH LIFE in Europe,
Julianna, for you have never been there. I am sure at least, that
in this country the sort of liberty you seem to be talking about,
is only common in very LOW LIFE; you will find enough of it even
here, among the most ignorant and worst sort of people," said
Miss Patsey, quietly.

Mrs. Hilson looked provoked. "Well, you are civil, I must say,
Miss Patsey Hubbard; of all the brutal speeches that have been
made me of late, I must say that yours is the worst!"

"I speak the truth, though I speak plainly, Julianna."

"Yes plainly enough; very different from the refinement of Mrs.
Bagman, I can assure you; she would be the last person to come
and tyrannize over me, when I am a victim to my husband's
jealousy. But I have not a creature near me to sympathize with

"Do not say that; your father is down-stairs, grown old with
grief during the last week!"

Mrs. Hilson did not answer.

"You have known me all your life, from the time you were a
child," added Miss Patsey, taking her cousin's passive hand in
her own; "and I ask, if you have ever known me to deceive you by
an untruth?"

"I am sure I don't know," replied her cousin, carelessly.

"Yes, you do know it, Julianna. Trust me, then; do not shut your
ears and your eyes to the truth! You are in a very dangerous
situation; look upon me as your friend; let me stay with you; let
me help you! My only motive is your own good; even if I believed
you really guilty, I should have come to you; but I do not
believe you guilty!"

"I am much obliged to you," said her cousin, lightly. "But I
happen to know myself that I have committed no such high crime
and misdemeanour."

"Yes, you have trifled so far with your reputation, that the
world believes you guilty, Julianna."

"Not fashionable people. I might have gone on for years, enjoying
the friendship of an elegant lady like Mrs. Bagman, and receiving
the polite attentions of a French nobleman, had it not been for
the countrified notions of Pa and Mr. Hilson; and now, I am torn
from my friends, I am calumniated, and the Baron accused of being
an impostor! But the fact is, as Mrs. Bagman says, Mr. Hilson
never has understood me!"

Patsey closed her eyes that night with a heavy heart. She did not
seem to have produced the least impression on Mrs. Hilson.

How few people are aware of the great dangers of that common
foible, vanity! And yet it is the light feather that wings many a
poisoned dart; it is the harlequin leader of a vile crew of
evils. Generally, vanity is looked upon as merely a harmless
weakness, whose only penalty is ridicule; but examine its true
character, and you will find it to be one of the most dangerous,
and at the same time one of the most contemptible failings of
humanity. There is not a vice with which it has not been, time
and again, connected; there is not a virtue that has not been
tainted by its touch. Men are vain of their vices, vain of their
virtues; and although pride and vanity have been declared
incompatible, probably there never lived a proud man, who was not
vain of his very pride. A generous aspect is, however, sometimes
assumed by pride; but vanity is inalterably contemptible in its
selfish littleness, its restless greediness. Who shall tell its
victims--who shall set bounds to its triumphs? Reason is more
easily blinded by vanity than by sophistry; time and again has
vanity misdirected feeling; often has vanity roused the most
violent passions. Many have been enticed on to ruin, step by
step, with the restless lure of vanity, until they became
actually guilty of crimes, attributed to some more sudden, and
stronger impulse. How many people run into extravagance, and
waste their means, merely from vanity! How many young men
commence a career of folly and wickedness, impelled by the
miserable vanity of daring what others dare! How many women have
trifled with their own peace, their own reputation, merely
because vanity led them to receive the first treacherous homage
of criminal admiration, when whispered in the tones of false
sentiment and flattery! The triumphs of vanity would form a
melancholy picture, indeed, but it is one the world will never
pause to look at.

The eldest daughter of Mr. Hubbard, the worthy Longbridge
merchant, without strong passions, without strong temptations,
was completely the victim of puerile vanity. The details of her
folly are too unpleasant to dwell on; but the silly ambition of
playing the fine lady, after the pattern of certain European
novels, themselves chiefly representing the worst members of the
class they claim to depict, was the cause of her ruin. She had so
recklessly trifled with her reputation, that although her
immediate friends did not believe the worst, yet with the world
her character was irretrievably lost. At five-and-twenty she had
already sacrificed her own peace; she had brought shame on her
husband's name, and had filled with the bitterest grief, the
heart of an indulgent father. Happily, her mother was in the
grave, and she had no children to injure by her misconduct.

Patsey Hubbard continued unwearied in her kind endeavours to be
of service to her kinswoman; anxious to awaken her to a sense of
her folly, and to withdraw her from the influence of bad

"It is right that society should discountenance a woman who
behaves as Julianna has done," said she one day, to Mrs. Hubbard,
on returning home; "but, oh, mother, her own family surely,
should never give her up while there is breath in her body!"


"That which you hear, you'll swear you see,
There is such unity in the proofs."
Winter's Tale.

{William Shakespeare, "A Winter's Tale", V.ii.31-32}

WHEN Hazlehurst arrived at the little village in the
neighbourhood of Greatwood, he was so fortunate as to find that
many persons among the older members of the community, had a
perfect recollection of William Stanley, and were ready to
testify, to the best of their knowledge, as to any particulars
that might be of service in the case.

His first inquiry was, for the young man's nurse. He discovered
that she had recently removed into a neighbouring state, with the
son, in whose family she had lived since leaving the Stanleys. As
soon as Harry had accompanied Mrs. Stanley to Greatwood, he set
out in pursuit of this person, from whom he hoped to obtain
important evidence. On arriving at the place where she was now to
be found, he was much disappointed, for her faculties had been so
much impaired by a severe attack of paralysis, that he could
learn but little from her. She seemed to have cherished a warm
affection for the memory of William Stanley, whose loss at sea
she had never doubted. Whenever his name was mentioned she wept,
and she spoke with feeling and respect of the young man's
parents. But her mind was much confused, and it was impossible to
make any use of her testimony in a court of justice.

Thus thrown back upon those who had a less intimate personal
knowledge of the young man, Harry pursued his inquiries among the
families about Greatwood, and the village of Franklin
Cross-Roads. With the exception of a few newcomers, and those who
were too young to recollect eighteen years back, almost everybody
in the neighbourhood had had some acquaintance with William
Stanley. He had been to school with this one; he had sat in
church, in the pew next to that family; he had been the constant
playfellow of A-----; and he had drawn B----- into more than one
scrape. Numerous stories sprang up right and left, as to his
doings when a boy; old scenes were acted over again, and past
events, mere trifles perhaps at the time, but gaining importance
from the actual state of things, were daily brought to light;
there seemed no lack of information connected with the subject.

We must observe, however, before we proceed farther, that
Hazlehurst had no sooner arrived at Greatwood, than he went to
look after the set of the Spectator, to which the volume produced
at the interview had belonged. He found the books in their usual
place on an upper shelf, with others seldom used; every volume
had the double names of Mr. Stanley and his son, but the set was
not complete; there was not only one volume missing, but two were
wanting! Hazlehurst sprang from the steps on which he was
standing, when he made this discovery, and went immediately in
pursuit of Mrs. Stanley, to inquire if she knew which volume was
originally missing. She could not be sure, but she believed it
was the eighth. Such was the fact; the eighth volume was not in
its place, neither was the sixth, that which Mr. Clapp had in his
possession; yet Mrs. Stanley was convinced, that only two years
previously, there had been but one volume lost. Harry tried to
revive his recollection of the time and place, when and where, he
had read that volume, with the portrait of Steele, and Addison's
papers on the Paradise Lost; he should have felt sure it was at
Greatwood, not long before going abroad with Mr. Henley, had it
not been, that he found his brother had the very same edition in
Philadelphia, and he might have read it there. He also
endeavoured to discover when and how the second missing volume
had been removed from its usual place on the shelf. But this was
no easy task; neither the housekeeper--a respectable woman, in
whom Mrs. Stanley and himself had perfect confidence--nor the
servants, could form even a surmise upon the subject. At last
Harry thought he had obtained a clue to everything; he found that
two strangers had been at Greatwood in the month of March, that
year, and had gone over the whole house, representing themselves
as friends of the family. The housekeeper had forgotten their
visit, until Harry's inquiries reminded her of the fact; she then
gave him the name of the young woman who had gone over the house
with these two individuals. This girl was no longer at Greatwood,
but in the neighbouring village; at Mrs. Stanley's request,
however, she came to give a report of the circumstance.

{"Spectator" = Susan Fenimore Cooper has been forgetful; the
sailor, it was stated in Chapter 12, had a copy of Volume three;
Addison's essays on Paradise Lost, that Harry remembered reading,
are in fact contained in Volumes four and five; but we are now
told that it is Volumes six and eight that are missing from the

"It was in March these two strangers were here, you say,
Malvina?" observed Mrs. Stanley.

"Yes, ma'am; it was in March, when the roads were very bad."

"What sort of looking persons were they, and how old should you
have called them?" asked Hazlehurst.

"One was a tall and slim gentleman, with curly hair; the other
looked kind o' rough, he was stout, and had a red face; they
wasn't very young, nor very old."

"Tell us, if you please, all you remember about their visit, just
as it passed," said Harry.

"Well, it happened Mrs. Jones was sick in her room when they
called; they wanted to see the house, saying they knew the family
very well. I asked them to sit down in the hall, while I went to
tell Mrs. Jones; she hadn't any objections, and told me to show
them the rooms they wanted to see. So I took them over the
house--first the parlours, then the other rooms."

"Did they ask to see the bed-rooms?"

"Yes, sir; they went over all the house but the garret; they went
into the kitchen and the pantry."

"Did they stay some time?"

"Yes, sir; Mrs. Jones wondered they staid so long."

"Did they go into the library?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you remember whether they looked at the books?"

"No; they didn't stay more than a minute in the library."

"Are you sure they did not look at any of the books?" repeated

"I am quite sure they didn't, for the room was too dark, and they
only staid half-a-minute. I asked them if I should open the
shutters; but one of them said they didn't care; he said he was
never over-fond of books."

Mrs. Stanley and Harry here exchanged looks of some surprise.

"Did they talk much to each other?--do you remember what they
said?" continued Harry.

"Yes, they talked considerable. I reckon they had been here
before, for they seemed to know a good deal about the house. When
I showed them the south parlour, the gentleman with the red face
said everything looked natural to him, but that room most of all;
then he pointed to the large chair by the fire-place, and said:
'That is where I last saw my father, in that very chair; he was a
good old gentleman, and deserved to have a better son.'"

"Is it possible!" exclaimed Mrs. Stanley.

"But, my dear madam, it was all acting no doubt; they wished to
pass for the characters they have since assumed; it only proves
that the plot has been going on for some time." "Do you remember
anything else that was said?" added Hazlehurst, turning again to
the girl.

"They talked considerable, but I didn't pay much attention. They
inquired when Mr. Hazlehurst was coming home; I said I didn't
know. The one with the curly hair said he guessed they knew more
about the family than I did; and he looked queer when he said

Nothing further was gathered from this girl, who bore an
excellent character for truth and honesty, though rather stupid.
The volume of the Spectator still remained as much a mystery as
ever. Nor did a second conversation with this young woman bring
to light anything new; her answers on both occasions corresponded
exactly; and beyond proving the fact of Clapp's having been over
the house with the sailor, nothing was gained from her report. At
the second conversation, Harry asked if she knew whether these
strangers had remained long in the neighbourhood?

"I saw them the next day at meeting," she replied, "and Jabez
told me he met them walking about the place; that is all I know
about it, sir."

Jabez, one of the men on the farm, was questioned: he had seen
these two strangers walking about the place, looking at the barns
and stables, the same day they had been at the house; but he had
not spoken to them; and this was the amount of his story.

Harry then inquired at the taverns in the neighbourhood; and he
found that two persons, answering to the same description, had
staid a couple of days, about the middle of March, at a small
inn, within half a mile from Greatwood. Their bill had been made
out in the name of "Mr. Clapp and friend." This was satisfactory
as far as it went, and accounted for the sailor's knowledge of
the house; though Mrs. Stanley could not comprehend at first, how
this man should have pointed out so exactly, her husband's
favourite seat. Harry reminded her, however, that Clapp had
passed several years of his youth at Franklin Cross-Roads, in a
lawyer's office, and had very probably been at Greatwood during
Mr. Stanley's life-time.

Hazlehurst had drawn up a regular plan of action for his
inquiries; and after having discovered who could assist him, and
who could not, he portioned off the neighbourhood into several
divisions, intending to devote a day to each--calling at every
house where he hoped to gain information on the subject of
William Stanley.

He set out on horseback early in the morning, for his first day's
circuit, taking a note-book in his pocket, to record facts as he
went along, and first turning his horse's head towards the house
of Mrs. Lawson, who had been a constant playfellow of William
Stanley's, when both were children. This lady was one of a large
family, who had been near neighbours of the Stanleys for years,
and on terms of daily intimacy with them; and she had already
told Harry, one day when she met him in the village, that she
held herself in readiness to answer, to the best of her ability,
any questions about her former playmate, that he might think it
worth while to ask. On knocking at this lady's door, he was so
fortunate as to find Mrs. Lawson at home; and, by especial luck,
Dr. Lewis, a brother of her's, who had removed from that part of
the country, happened just then to be on a visit at his sister's.

After a little preliminary chat, Hazlehurst made known the
particular object of his call.

"Do I remember William Stanley's personal appearance and habits?
Perfectly; quite as well as I do my own brother's," replied the
doctor, to Harry's first inquiry.

"Mrs. Lawson told me that he used to pass half his time at your
father's house, and kindly offered to assist me, as far as lay in
her power; and I look upon myself as doubly fortunate in finding
you here to-day. We wish, of course, to collect as many minute
details as possible, regarding Mr. Stanley's son, as we feel
confident, from evidence already in our power, that this
new-comer is an impostor."

"No doubt of it," replied the doctor; "an extravagant story,
indeed! Nearly eighteen years as still as a mouse, and then
coolly stepping in, and claiming a property worth some hundreds
of thousands. A clear case of conspiracy, without doubt."

"Poor William was no saint, certainly," added Mrs. Lawson; "but
this sailor must be a very bad man."

"Pray, when did you last see young Stanley!" asked Harry, of the

"When he was at home, not long before his father's death. He held
out some promise of reforming, then. Billings, who first led him
into mischief, was not in the neighbourhood at that time, and his
father had hopes of him; but some of his old companions led him
off again."

"He must have been a boy of strange temper, to leave home under
such circumstances; an only son, with such prospects before him."

"Yes, his temper was very unpleasant; but then, Mr. Stanley, the
father, did not know how to manage him."

"He could scarcely have had much sense either, to have been so
easily led astray by a designing young fellow, as that Billings
seems to have been."

"Flattery; flattery did it all," observed the doctor. "Some
people thought young Stanley little more than half-witted; but I
have always maintained that he was not wanting in sense."

"I don't see how you can say so, doctor," observed the sister. "I
am sure it was a settled thing among us children, that he was a
very stupid, disagreeable boy. He never took much interest in our
plays, I remember."

"Not in playing doll-baby, perhaps; but I have had many a holiday
with him that I enjoyed very much, I can tell you. He never had a
fancy for a book, that is true; but otherwise be was not so very
dull as some people make out."

"He had the reputation of being a dull boy, had he?"

"Oh, certainly," said Mrs. Lawson. "at one time, when we were
quite children, we all took arithmetic lessons together, and he
was always at the foot of the class."

"He had no head for figures, perhaps; it is more likely, though,
that he wouldn't learn out of obstinacy; he was as obstinate as a
mule, that I allow."

"What sort of games and plays did he like best?"

"I don't know that he liked one better than another, so long as
he could choose himself," replied Dr. Lewis.

"Was he a strong, active boy?"

"Not particularly active, but a stout, healthy lad."

"Disposed to be tall?"

"Tallish; the last time he was here, he must have measured about
five feet ten."

"Oh, more than that," interposed Mrs. Lawson; "he was taller than
our eldest brother, I know--full six feet one, I should say."

"No, no, Sophia; certainly not more than five feet nine or ten.
Remember, you were a little thing yourself at the time."

"Do you remember the colour of his eyes, Mrs. Lawson?"

"Yes, perfectly; they were blue."

"Brown, I should say," added the doctor.

"No, John, you are quite mistaken; his eyes were blue, Mr.
Hazlehurst--very dark blue."

"I could have taken my oath they were brown," said the doctor.

Hazlehurst looked from one to the other in doubt.

"You were away from home, doctor, more than I was, and probably
do not remember William's face as distinctly as I do. I am quite
confident his eyes were a clear, deep blue."

"Well, I should have called them a light brown."

"Were they large?" asked Harry.

"Of a common size, I think," said the brother.

"Remarkably small, I should say," added the sister.

"What colour was his hair?" asked Harry, giving up the eyes.

"Black," said the doctor.

"Not black, John--dark perhaps, but more of an auburn, like his
father's portrait," said Mrs. Lawson.

"Why, that is black, certainly."

"Oh, no; auburn--a rich, dark auburn."

"There is a greyish cast in that portrait, I think," said Harry.

"Grey, oh, no; Mr. Stanley's hair was in perfect colour when he
died; I remember him distinctly, seeing him as often as I did,"
said the lady. "The hair of the Stanley family is generally
auburn," she added.

"What do you call auburn?" said the doctor.

"A dark, rich brown, like William Stanley's."

"Now I call Mr. Robert Hazlehurst's hair auburn."

"My brother's hair! Why that is sometimes pronounced sandy, and
even red, occasionally," said Harry.

"Not red; Lawson's hair is red."

"Mr. Lawson's hair is more of a flaxen shade," said the wife, a
little quickly.

Despairing of settling the particular shade of the hair, Harry
then inquired if there was any strongly marked peculiarity of
face or person about William Stanley?

Here both agreed that they had never remarked anything of the
kind; it appeared that the young man was made more like the rest
of the world, than became the hero of such a singular career.

"Do you think you should know him, if you were to see him again,
after such a long interval?"

"Well, I don't know," said the doctor; "some people change very
much, from boys to middle-aged manhood, others alter but little."

"I have no doubt that I could tell in a moment, if this person is
William Stanley or an impostor," said Mrs. Lawson. "Think how
much we were together, as children; for ten years of his life, he
was half the time at our house. I am sure if this sailor were
William Stanley, he would have come to see some of us, long

"Did he visit you when he was last at Greatwood?"

"No, he did not come at that time; but I saw him very often in
the village, and riding about."

"Do you remember his stuttering at all?"

"No; I never heard him that I know of; I don't believe he ever

"He did stutter once in a while, Sophia, when he was in a

"I never heard him."

"Young Stanley had one good quality, Mr. Hazlehurst, with all his
faults; he spoke the truth--you could believe what he said."

"My good brother, you are mistaken there, I can assure you. Time
and again have I known him tell falsehoods when he got into a
scrape; many is the time he has coaxed and teased, till he got us
children into mischief--he was a great tease, you know--"

"Not more so than most boys," interposed the doctor.

"And after he had got us into trouble, I remember perfectly, that
he would not acknowledge it was his fault. Oh, no; you could not
by any means depend upon what he said."

"Was he much of a talker?"

"No, rather silent."

"Quite silent:" both brother and sister were in unison here, at

"He was good-looking, you think, Mrs. Lawson?"

"Oh, yes, good-looking, certainly," replied the lady.

"Rather good-looking; but when he was last at home, his features
had grown somewhat coarse, and his expression was altered for the
worse," said the doctor.

"He was free with his money, I believe?"

"Very extravagant," said Mrs. Lawson.

"He didn't care a fig for money, unless it was refused him," said
the doctor.

"Was there anything particular about his teeth?"

"He had fine teeth," said Mrs. Lawson; "but he did not show them

"A good set of teeth, if I remember right," added the doctor.

"His complexion was rather dark, I believe?" said Harry.

"More sallow than dark," said the lady.

"Not so very sallow," said the gentleman.

"You asked just now about his eyes, Mr. Hazlehurst; it strikes me
they were much the colour of yours."

"But mine are grey," said Harry.

"More of a hazel, I think."

"Oh, no; William Stanley's eyes were as different as possible
from Mr. Hazlehurst's, in colour and shape!" exclaimed the lady.

The conversation continued some time longer, but the specimen
just given will suffice to show its character; nothing of
importance was elicited, and not one point decidedly settled,
which had not been already known to Harry. He continued his round
of visits throughout the day, with much the same result. The
memories of the people about Greatwood seemed to be playing at
cross-purposes; and yet there was no doubt, that all those
persons to whom Hazlehurst applied, had known young Stanley for
years; and there was every reason to believe they were well
disposed to give all the evidence in their power.

>From Mrs. Lawson's, Harry went to the house of another
acquaintance, a Captain Johnson; and the following is the amount
of what he gathered here, as it was hastily entered in his

"Eyes grey; hair black; rather stout for his age; sullen temper;
very dull; bad company cause of his ruin; not cold-hearted;
stuttered a little when excited; expression good when a boy, but
much changed when first came home from sea; Billings the cause of
his ruin."

So much for Captain Johnson. The next stopping-place was at a
man's, by the name of Hill, who had been coachman at Mr.
Stanley's for several years; his account follows:

"Hill says: 'Would get in a passion when couldn't have his own
way; have heard him stutter; always in some scrape or other after
first went to college; eyes blue; hair brown; sharp enough when
he pleased, but always heard he hated books; short for his age
when first went to sea, and thin; had grown three or four inches
when he came back; should have thought him five feet eight or
nine, when last saw him; face grown fuller and red, when came

>From Hill's, Harry went to see Mr. Anderson, who had kept the
principal tavern at Franklin Cross-Roads, during William
Stanley's boyhood; but he was not at home.

He then called at Judge Stone's: "Mrs. S. thought him handsome
young man; judge, quite ugly; husband says eyes a greenish
colour; wife thinks were dark brown; height about my own, said
judge; not near so tall, says Mrs. S.: both agreed he was morose
in temper, and dull at learning."

At several other places where Harry called, he found that William
Stanley had been merely known by sight. Others related capital
stories of scrapes, in which they had been implicated with the
boy, but could tell Harry very little to the purpose, where it
came to particular questions. Three individuals pronounced him
tall, four thought he was middle sized, two declared he was
short. Two inferences, however, might be drawn from all that had
been said: William Stanley must have been of an unpleasant
temper; while general evidence pronounced him rather more dull
than most boys. With these two facts at least sufficiently well
established, while his head was filled with contradictory
visions, of hair, eyes, and complexion, of various shades and
colours, Harry returned in the evening, quite jaded and worn-out
with his day's exertions; not the least of which had been, to
reconcile totally opposite accounts on a dozen different points.

Mrs. Stanley was awaiting his return with much anxiety; and while
Harry was drinking an excellent cup of tea--the most refreshing
thing in the world to a person who is fatigued, even in warm
weather--he reported his day's work. His friend seemed to think
the account anything but encouraging; though Harry declared, that
it was well worth the labour and vexation to establish the two
facts, regarding the young man's capacity and temper, in which
respects he certainly differed from the claimant.

"What miserable hypocrites both this man and his lawyer must be!"
exclaimed Mrs. Stanley.

"Hypocrisy figures often enough in courts of justice, ma'am, and
is only too often successful for a time."

"I am afraid, my dear Harry, they will give you a great deal of

"I have no doubt of it," replied Hazlehurst; "but still I hope to
defeat them, and in the end, to punish their vile conspiracy."

"A defeat would he distressing to both Mr. Wyllys and myself; but
to you, my dear young friend, it would be serious indeed!" she
observed, with feeling.

"We shall yet gain the day, I trust," said Harry. "The
consequences of defeat would indeed be very serious to me," he
added. "In such a case I should lose everything, and a little
more, as Paddy would say. I made a deliberate calculation the
other day, and I find, after everything I own has been given up,
that there would still be a debt of some thirty thousand dollars
to pay off."

"It is wise, I suppose, to be prepared for the worst," said Mrs.
Stanley, sadly; "but in such a case, Harry, you must look to your
friends. Remember, that I should consider it a duty to assist
you, in any pecuniary difficulties which might result from a

"You are very good, ma'am; I am grateful for the offer. In case
of our failure, I should certainly apply to my immediate friends,
for I could never bear the thought of being in debt to those
rascals. But if the affair turns out in that way, I must stay at
home and work hard, to clear myself entirely. I am young, and if
we fail to repel this claim, still I shall hope by industry and
prudence, to discharge all obligations before I am many years

"I have never doubted, Harry, that in either case you would do
what is just and honourable; but I mourn that there should be any
danger of such a sacrifice."

"It would be a sacrifice, indeed; including much that I have
valued heretofore--tastes, habits, partialities, prospects,
fortune, hopes--all must undergo a change, all must he

"And hopes are often a precious part of a young man's portion,"
said Mrs. Stanley.

Hazlehurst happened to raise his eyes as she spoke, and, from the
expression of her face, he fancied that she was thinking of Mrs.
Creighton. He changed colour, and remained silent a moment.

"You would be compelled to give up your connexion with Mr.
Henley," she observed, by way of renewing the conversation.

"Yes, of course; I should have to abandon that, I could not
afford it; I should have to devote myself to my profession. I
have no notion, however, of striking my colours to these
land-pirates until after a hard battle, I assure you," he said,
more cheerfully. "Great generals always prepare for a retreat,
and so shall I, but only as the last extremity. Indeed, I think
our affairs look more encouraging just now. It seems next to
impossible, for such a plot to hold together in all its parts; we
shall be able probably, to find out more than one weak point
which will not bear an attack."

"It is certainly important to establish the difference in temper
and capacity, between the claimant and William Stanley," said
Mrs. Stanley.

"Highly important; Ellsworth is hard at work, too, in tracing the
past life of the sailor, and by his last letters, I find he had
written to young Stanley's school-master, and to the family
physician. He had seen the sailor, and in addition to Mr.
Wyllys's remarks upon his gait, which is different from that of
William when a boy, Ellsworth writes, that he was very much
struck with the shape of the man's limbs, so different from those
of the portrait of Mr. Stanley's son, when a lad, which they have
at Wyllys-Roof; he thinks the family physician may help him
there; fortunately, he is still living."

"It is a great pity the nurse's faculties should have failed!"
exclaimed Mrs. Stanley.

"Yes, it's a pity, indeed; her evidence would have been very
important. But we shall do without her, I hope."

"Are you going to Wyllys-Roof again, before the trial?"

"No; I shall have too much to do, here and in Philadelphia. Mr.
Wyllys has kindly asked me, however, to go there, as soon as the
matter is settled, whether for good or for evil."

"I thought I heard you talking over with Mr. de Vaux, some
boating excursion, to take place in August, from Longbridge; has
it been given up?"

"Not given up; but de Vaux very good-naturedly proposed
postponing it, until after my affairs were settled. It is to take
place as soon as I am ready; whether I shall join it with flying
colours, or as a worsted man, time alone can decide."

The mail was just then brought in; as usual there was a letter
for Harry, from Ellsworth.

"Wyllys-Roof, August, 183-.

"Our application to the family physician proves entirely
successful, my dear Hazlehurst; my physiological propensities
were not at fault. I had a letter last evening from Dr. H-----,
who now lives in Baltimore, and he professes himself ready to
swear to the formation of young Stanley's hands and feet, which
he says resembled those of Mr. Stanley, the father, and the three
children, who died before William S. grew up. His account agrees
entirely with the portrait of the boy, as it now exists at
Wyllys-Roof; the arms and hands are long, the fingers slender,
nails elongated; as you well know, Mr. Clapp's client is the very
reverse of this--his hands are short and thick, his fingers what,
in common parlance, would be called dumpy. I was struck with the
fact when I first saw him in the street. Now, what stronger
evidence could we have? A slender lad of seventeen may become a
heavy, corpulent man of forty, but to change the formation of
hands, fingers, and nails, is beyond the reach of even Clapp's
cunning. We are much obliged to the artist, for his accuracy in
representing the hands of the boy exactly as they were. This
testimony I look upon as quite conclusive. As to the Rev. Mr.
G-----, whose pupil young Stanley was for several years, we find
that he is no longer living; but I have obtained the names of
several of the young's man's companions, who will be able to
confirm the fact of his dullness; several of the professors at
the University are also living, and will no doubt be able to
assist us. I have written a dozen letters on these points, but
received no answers as yet. So far so good; we shall succeed, I
trust. Mr. Wyllys bids you not forget to find out if Clapp has
really been at Greatwood, as we suspected. The ladies send you
many kind and encouraging messages. Josephine, as usual,
sympathizes in all our movements. She says: 'Give Mr. Hazlehurst
all sorts of kind greetings from me; anything you please short of
my love, which would not be proper, I suppose.' I had a charming
row on the river last evening, with the ladies. I never managed a
law-suit in such agreeable quarters before.

"Faithfully yours,

"F. E."


"What say you, can you love this gentleman?"
Romeo and Juliet.

{William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet", I.iii.79}

JANE'S strength and spirits were gradually improving. She had
been persuaded to take a daily airing and had consented to see
one or two of the ladies in her room. Mr. Wyllys always passed
half an hour with her, every afternoon; and at length she came
down stairs, and joined the family in the drawing-room, for a
short time in the evening. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hazlehurst, who
came from Philadelphia to pass a day or two with her, found her
much better than they had expected.

Charlie Hubbard returned to the grey cottage, with his portfolio
full of sketches, intending to pass several months at home, in
finishing his pictures of Lake George; the school-room having
been converted into a painting-room for his use. Miss Patsey's
little flock were dispersed for a time; and Charlie was even in
hopes of persuading his mother and sister to accompany him to New
York, where Mary Hubbard, the youngest sister, was now engaged in
giving music lessons. He felt himself quite a rich man, and drew
up a plausible plan for hiring a small house in some cheap
situation, where they might all live together; but Miss Patsey
shook her head, she thought they could not afford it. Still, it
was delightful to her, to listen to plans devised by Charlie's
warm heart; she seemed to love him more than ever, since he had
even sacrificed his moustaches to his mother's prejudice against
such foreign fashions.

"Keep your money, Charles; we can make out very well in the old
cottage; more comfortably than we have ever done before. You will
want all you can make one of these days, when you marry," said
Miss Patsey.

To her surprise, Charlie showed some emotion at this allusion to
his marrying, and remained perfectly silent for an instant,
instead of giving the playful answer that his sister had expected
to hear.

Mrs. Hubbard then observed, that she should not wish to move; she
hoped to end her life in the old grey cottage. They had lived so
long in the neighbourhood of Longbridge, that a new place would
not seem like home to Patsey and herself. Charlie must come to
see them as often as he could; perhaps he would be able to spend
his summers there.

"Well, we shall see, mother; at any rate, Mary and I together, we
shall be able to make your life easy, I trust."

Mrs. Hubbard observed, that although they had been poor for the
last seventeen years, yet they had never really seemed to feel
the weight of poverty; they had met with so much kindness, from
so many relations and friends.

"But kindness from our own children, mother, is the most blessed
of all," said Patsey.

Charlie did not give up his plan, however, but he forbore to
press it for the present, as he was engaged to drive his sister,
Mrs. Clapp, to her own house at Longbridge. Hubbard had kept
aloof from his brother-in-law whenever he could, since the
Stanley suit had been commenced; any allusion to this affair was
painful to him; he had never respected Mr. Clapp, and now
strongly suspected him of unfair dealing. He pitied his sister
Kate from the bottom of his heart; but it seemed pity quite
thrown away. To judge from her conversation, as Charlie was
driving her home, she had implicit confidence in her husband; if
she had at first doubted the identity of the sailor, she had
never for a second supposed, that William himself was not firmly
convinced of it. On the other hand, she began to have some
misgivings as to the character and integrity of Mr. Wyllys, whom
hitherto, all her life long, she had been used to consider as the
model of a gentleman, and an upright man. She soon got up quite a
prejudice against Mrs. Stanley; and as for Hazlehurst, he fell
very low indeed in her estimation.

"You don't know what trouble poor William has with this suit,"
she said to her brother. "I am sometimes afraid it will make him
sick. It does seem very strange, that Mr. Stanley's executors
should be so obstinate in refusing to acknowledge his son. At
first it was natural they should hesitate; I mistrusted this
sailor at first, myself; but now that William has made everything
so clear, they cannot have any excuse for their conduct."

Charlie whipped the flies from his horse, without answering this

"I hope William will come home to-night. He and Mr. Stanley have
gone off together, to get possession of some very important
papers; they received a letter offering these papers, only the
night before last, and William says they will establish Mr.
Stanley's claim, beyond the possibility of a denial. Mr. Wyllys
and Mr. Hazlehurst will feel very badly, I should think, when
they find that after all, they have been keeping their friend's
son from his rights."

"They believe they are doing their duty," said Charlie,

"It seems a strange view of duty, to act as they do."

"Strange views of duty are very common," said Charlie, glad to
take refuge in generalities.

"Common sense and common honesty will help us all to do our
duty," observed Kate.

"No doubt; but both are more uncommon qualities than one would
think, among rational beings," said Charlie.

"Well, you know, Charles, Patsey used to tell us when we were
children, that a plain, honest heart, and plain, good sense were
the best things in the world."

"That is the reason, I suppose, why we love our sister Patsey so
much, because she has so much of those best things in the world,"
said Charlie, warmly. "I never saw a woman like her, for
downright, plain goodness. The older I grow, the better I know
her; and I love you, Kate, for the same reason--you are
straightforward and honest, too," he added, smiling.

"William often laughs at me, though, and says my opinion is not
good for much," said the sister, shaking her head, but smiling
prettily at the same time.

"I am sure no one can complain of your actions, Kate, whatever
your opinions may be," replied Charlie; and whatever might have
been his estimate of Clapp's views, he forbore to utter a
syllable on the subject; for he respected the wife's affection,
and knew that his brother-in-law had at least one good
quality--he was kind and faithful as a husband and father,
according to common-place ideas of faithfulness at least; for he
would any day risk their character and peace, to make a little

The conversation of the young people soon turned upon their
trifling, foolish, unfortunate cousin, Mrs. Hilson; and this was
a subject, upon which both brother and sister agreed entirely.
Before long, they drove up to Mr. Clapp's door, and were received
by the lawyer himself, who had just returned with his client;
this latter individual was also seen lounging in the office. Mr.
Clapp professed himself entirely satisfied with the result of his
journey; and declared that they were now quite ready for Mr.
Hazlehurst--sure of a victory, beyond all doubt.

The time had not been lost by Harry and his friends, however;
they too, thought themselves ready for the trial. As the
important day was drawing near, Mr. Ellsworth was obliged to
leave Wyllys-Roof; he had done all he could at Longbridge, and
there were still various matters to be looked after in
Philadelphia. Mrs. Creighton accompanied her brother, and they
were not to return to Wyllys-Roof until after the important
question was decided. Hazlehurst was then to come with them;
whether defeated or triumphant could not yet be known. Harry's
friends, however, were generally sanguine; and Mrs. Creighton was
full of sympathy, and in excellent spirits.

There remained another affair, which must also be finally settled
in a few weeks. When Mr. Ellsworth returned to Wyllys-Roof, the
appointed three months of probation would have expired, and he
would either remain there as the affianced husband of Elinor, or
leave Longbridge her rejected suitor.

During the past three months, Elinor had taken an important step
in life; she had reached a point in experience, where she had
never stood before. The whole responsibility of deciding upon a
subject, highly important to herself, and to those connected with
her, had been thrown entirely upon her alone. The fate of her
whole life would be much involved in the present decision. During
the last two or three years, or in other words, since she had
first discovered that Harry loved Jane, she had intended to
remain single. It seemed very improbable to her, that any one
would seek to gain her affections, unless with the view of
enjoying the fortune which she had now the reputation of
possessing; it was only natural that she should exaggerate those
personal disadvantages, which had lost the heart of him whom she
had once loved so truly. She had been so much attached to
Hazlehurst, that she shrunk from the idea of ever becoming the
wife of another; and she considered herself as having tacitly
made choice of a single life, which her mother's letter seemed to
suggest. But as she never spoke of her views, or alluded to them,
her grandfather and aunt were ignorant of this intention; and she
soon began to observe with regret that they wished her to marry,
and were indeed anxious that she should accept Mr. Ellsworth.
This was the first occasion of any importance, on which their
wishes and her own had been at variance; it was a new position
for Elinor to be placed in. When Mr. Ellsworth made his proposal,
it was owing to the strong, but affectionate representations of
Mr. Wyllys and Miss Agnes, that he was not immediately rejected.
Elinor was, in fact, the last person to be convinced of his
regard for her; but she had known his character and standing too
well to believe him a mere fortune-hunter; and after he had once
offered himself, could not doubt his sincerity. She mentioned to
Miss Wyllys her previous intention of remaining single.

"Make no rash decision, my love," was the reply at the time. "You
are too reasonable, for me to believe that you will do so; look
at your own position, Elinor; you will be alone in the world,
more so than most women. Your grandfather is advanced in years,
and my health warns me not to expect a long life. I do not wish
to distress you, but to place the truth plainly before you, my
Elinor. You have neither brother nor sister; Jane and Harry, your
intimate companions in childhood, will be separated from you by
ties and duties of their own. What will you do, my child? An
affectionate disposition like yours cannot be happy alone. On the
other hand, here is Mr. Ellsworth, who is certainly attached to
you; a man of excellent character, with every important quality
that can be desired. You say you wish to be reasonable; judge for
yourself what is the wisest course under these circumstances."

Elinor was silent for a moment; at length she spoke.

"It has always been one of your own lessons to me, dearest aunt,
to profit by the past, to improve the present, and leave the
future to Providence. Yet, now, you would have me think of the
future only; and you urge me to marry, while you are single, and
happy, yourself!"

"Yes, my child; but I have had your grandfather and you, to make
me happy and useful. Most single women have near relatives, to
whom they can attach themselves, whom it is a duty and a pleasure
to love and serve; but that is not your case. Elinor, your
grandfather is very anxious you should accept Mr. Ellsworth."

"I know it," said Elinor; "he has told me so himself."

"He is anxious, dear, because from what he knows of Mr. Ellsworth
and yourself, he is convinced you would eventually be happy; he
fears you hesitate from some feeling of girlish romance. Still,
we have neither of us any wish to urge you too far. Appeal to
your own good, common sense, that is all that can be desired; do
not be romantic, dear, for the first time in your life,"
continued her aunt smiling. "I know the wishes of your friends
will have some weight with you; do not let them control you,
however. Judge for yourself, but take time to reflect; accept Mr.
Ellsworth's own proposition--wait some time before you give a
final answer; that is all that your grandfather and myself can

And such had been the decision; three months being the time
appointed. Since then, both Mr. Wyllys and Miss Agnes had
carefully refrained from expressing any farther opinion--they
never even alluded to the subject, but left Elinor to her own
reflections. Such at least was their intention; but their wishes
were well known to her, and very possibly, unconsciously
influenced their conduct and manner, in many daily trifles, in a
way very evident to Elinor. In the mean time, September had come,
and the moment for final decision was at hand. Mr. Ellsworth's
conduct throughout had been very much in his favour; he had been
persevering and marked in his attentions, without annoying by his
pertinacity. Elinor had liked him, in the common sense of the
word, from the first; and the better she knew him, the more cause
she found to respect his principles, and amiable character. And
yet, if left to her own unbiassed judgment, she would probably
have refused him at first, with no other reluctance than that of
wounding for a time the feelings of a man she sincerely esteemed.

The morning that Mrs. Creighton and Mr. Ellsworth left
Wyllys-Roof, Elinor set out to take a stroll in the field, with
no other companion than her friend Bruno. The dog seemed aware
that his mistress was absent and thoughtful, more indifferent
than usual to his caresses and gambols; and, after having made
this observation, the sagacious animal seemed determined not to
annoy her, but walked soberly at her side, or occasionally
trotting on before, he would stop, turn towards her, and sit in
the path, looking at her as she slowly approached. She had left
the house, in order to avoid any intrusion on her thoughts, at a
moment which was an important one to her; for she had determined,
that after one more thorough examination of her own feelings, her
own views, and the circumstances in which she was placed, the
question should be irrevocably settled--whether she were to
became the wife of Mr. Ellsworth, or to remain single. Many
persons may fancy this a very insignificant matter to decide, and
one that required no such serious attention. But to every
individual, that is a highly important point, which must
necessarily affect the whole future course of life; the choice
which involves so intimate and indissoluble a relation, where
every interest in life is identical with one's own, is surely no
trifling concern. It may well be doubted, indeed, if even with
men it be not a matter of higher importance than is commonly
believed; observation, we think, would lead to the opinion, that
a wife's character and conduct have a deeper and more general
effect on the husband's career, for good or for evil, through his
opinions and actions, than the world is aware of. This choice
certainly appeared a much more formidable step to Elinor, when
Mr. Ellsworth was the individual to be accepted or rejected, than
it had when Harry stood in the same position. In one case she had
to reflect, and ponder, and weigh all the different
circumstances; in the other, the natural bent of her affections
had decided the question before it was asked. But Elinor had,
quite lately, settled half-a-dozen similar affairs, with very
little reflection indeed, and without a moment's anxiety or
regret; she had just refused, with polite indifference, several
proposals, from persons whom she had every reason to believe,
cared a great deal for her fortune, and very little for herself.
If thought were more active than feeling, in behalf of Mr.
Ellsworth, still, thought said a great deal in his favour. She
had always liked and respected him; she believed him attached to
her; her nearest friends were anxious she should give a
favourable answer; there could not be a doubt that he possessed
many excellent and desirable qualities. She would not be
romantic, neither would she be unjust to Mr. Ellsworth and
herself; she would not accept him, unless she could do so
frankly, and without reluctance. This, then, was the question to
be decided--could she love Mr. Ellsworth? The free, spontaneous
love, natural to early youth, she had once given to Hazlehurst;
could she now offer to Mr. Ellsworth sincere affection of another
kind, less engrossing at first, less mingled with the charms of
fancy, but often, perhaps on that account, more valuable, more
enduring? Sincere affection of any sort, is that only which
improves with age, gaining strength amid the wear and tear of
life. It was to decide this question clearly, that Elinor had
desired three months' delay. These three months had nearly
passed; when she again met Mr. Ellsworth, in what character
should she receive him?

The precise train of thought pursued by Elinor, during this
morning stroll, we shall not attempt to follow; but that she was
fully aware of the importance of the decision was evident, by the
unusual absence of manner, which seemed to have struck even her
four-footed friend Bruno. She had, indeed, made an important
discovery lately, one which was startling, and even painful to
her. She found that there are moments in life, when each
individual is called upon to think and to act alone. It is a
truth which most of us are forced to feel, as we go through this
world; though, happily, it is but seldom that such hours occur.
In general, the sympathy, the counsel of friends, is of the very
highest value; and yet, there are moments when neither can avail.
At such times, we are forced to look higher, to acknowledge that
human wisdom does not reach far enough to guide us, that our
wounds need a purer balm than any offered by human sympathy.
Until recently, Elinor had always been soothed and supported by
the affection and guidance of her aunt, but she must now depend
upon herself alone. To a young person, called upon for the first
time to take an important step, with no other guide than
individual judgment and conscience, the responsibility of action
may well be startling; even a wise and experienced man will often
pause at such moments, doubtful of the course he shall pursue. It
is an easy matter to settle a question, when passion, feeling,
interest, or prejudice gives the bias; but where these are all
silent, and cool judgment is left alone to decide, the greatest
men feel, to a painful degree, how limited are their powers; the
high responsibility which is attached to free-will rises before
them, and they shrink from the idea of trusting their own welfare
to their own short-sighted reason alone. Most men, at such times,
take refuge in a sort of fatalism; they stand inactive, until
urged in this or that direction by the press of outward
circumstances; or they rush blindly forward, under impatience of
suspense, preferring risk to inaction.

The occasion of our young friend's anxiety and thoughtfulness
was, no doubt, a trifling one to all but herself; the cause of
her hesitation, however, was honourable; the opinions, feelings,
and motives under which she eventually acted, were alike natural
and creditable.


"Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question, in the court?"
Merchant of Venice.

{William Shakespeare, "The Merchant of Venice", IV.i.171-172}

AS the time for the trial approached, the parties collected in
Philadelphia. Harry and his friends were often seen in the
streets, looking busy and thoughtful. Mr. Reed also appeared, and
took up his quarters at one of the great hotels, in company with
Mr. Clapp and his client, who generally received the name of
William Stanley, although he had not yet established a legal
claim to it. There was much curiosity to see this individual, as
the case had immediately attracted general attention in the town,
where the families interested were so well known, and the
singular circumstances of the suit naturally excited additional

After the court opened its session, it became doubtful at one
moment, whether the cause would he tried at that term; but others
which preceded it having been disposed of, the Stanley suit was
at length called.

On one side appeared William Stanley, the plaintiff, with Messrs.
Reed and Clapp as counsel; a number of witnesses had been
summoned by them, and were now present, mingled with the
audience. On the other hand were the defendants, Mr. Wyllys,
Hazlehurst, Ellsworth, and Mr. Grant, a distinguished lawyer of
Philadelphia, appearing more particularly for Mrs. Stanley; they
were also supported by witnesses of their own.

While the preliminary steps were going on, the jury forming, and
the parties interested making their arrangements, the court-room
filled rapidly with the friends of Hazlehurst, and a crowd of
curious spectators. Among the individuals known to us, were
Robert Hazlehurst, Mr. Stryker, and Charlie Hubbard, the young
artist, who found that his want of inches interfered with his
view of the scene, and springing on a bench, he remained there,
and contrived to keep much the same station throughout the trial,
his fine, intelligent countenance following the proceedings with
the liveliest interest: Harry soon perceived him, and the young
men exchanged friendly smiles. Mr. Stryker was looking on with
cold, worldly curiosity; while Robert Hazlehurst watched over his
brother's interest with much anxiety. In one sense the audience
was unequally divided at first, for while Harry had many warm,
personal friends present, the sailor was a stranger to all; the
aspect of things partially changed, however, for among that
portion of the crowd who had no particular sympathies with the
defendants, a number soon took sides with the plaintiff. The
curiosity to see the sailor was very great; at one moment, in the
opening of the trial, all eyes were fixed on him; nor did Harry
escape his share of scrutiny.

It was immediately observed, by those who had known the late Mr.
Stanley, that the plaintiff certainly resembled his family. He
was dressed like a seaman, and appeared quite easy and confident;
seldom absent from court, speaking little, but following the
proceedings attentively. His counsel, Mr. Reed, bore a calm and
business-like aspect. Clapp was flushed, his eye was keen and
restless, though he looked sanguine and hopeful; running his hand
through his dark curls, he would lean back and make an
observation to his client, turn to the right and whisper
something in the ear of Mr. Reed, or bend over his papers,
engrossed in thought.

The defendants, on their side, were certainly three as
respectable men in their appearance, as one would wish to see;
they looked, moved, and spoke like gentlemen; in manner and
expression they were all three perfectly natural; simple, easy,
but firm; like men aware that important interests were at stake,
and prepared to make a good defence. Mr. Grant, their colleague,
was an insignificant-looking man when silent, but he never rose
to speak, without commanding the whole attention of his audience
by the force of his talent.

The judges were-well known to be respectable men, as American
magistrates of the higher grade are usually found to be. In the
appearance of the jury there was nothing remarkable; the foreman
was a shrewd-looking man, his neighbour on the left had an open,
honest countenance, two others showed decidedly stupid faces, and
one had a very obstinate expression, as if the first idea that
entered his head, on any subject whatever, was seldom allowed to
be dislodged.

Such was the appearance of things when the trial commenced.
Leaving the minutiae of the proceedings to the legal report of
Mr. Bernard, understood to be in the press, we shall confine
ourselves to a brief, and very imperfect outline of the speeches,
and the most important points of the testimony; merely
endeavouring to give the reader a general idea of the course of
things, on an occasion so important to Hazlehurst.

Mr. Clapp opened the case in a regular speech. Rising from his
seat, he ran his fingers through his hair, and commenced, much as

"We come before you on this occasion, gentlemen of the jury, to
plead a cause which it is believed is unprecedented, in its
peculiar facts, among the annals of justice in our great and
glorious country. Never, indeed, should I have believed it
possible that an American citizen could, under any circumstances
whatever, have been compelled during so long a period to forego
his just and legal rights; ay, that he could be forced to the
very verge of abandoning those rights--all but forced to forget
them. Yet, such are the facts of the case upon which you are now
to decide. The individual appearing before you this day, claiming
that the strong arm of the law be raised in his behalf, first
presented himself to me, with the very same demand, six years
since; to my shame I confess it, he was driven unaided from my
door--I refused to assist him; he had already carried the same
claim to others, and received from others the same treatment. And
what is this claim, so difficult to establish? Is it some
intricate legal question? Is it some doubtful point of law? Is it
a matter which requires much learning to decide, much wisdom to
fathom? No, gentlemen; it is a claim clearly defined, firmly
established; never yet doubted, never yet denied: it is a claim,
not only recognized in the common-law of every land, protected in
the statute-books of every nation, but it is a claim, gentlemen,
which springs spontaneously from the heart of every human
being--it is the right of a son to his father's inheritance. A
right, dear alike to the son of one of our merchant princes, and
to the son of the porter on our wharves."

"Mr. Clapp paused; he looked about the court, rested his eyes on
his client, ran his fingers through his curls, and then

"Gentlemen; I have told you that it is the right of a son to his
father's inheritance, which we this day call upon you to uphold.
It is more; it is the sacred cause of the orphan that you are to
defend. Yes, gentlemen; at the moment when William Stanley should
have taken possession of the inheritance, which was his by the
threefold title of nature, of law, and of parental bequest, he
was a mere boy, a minor, a wanderer on the deep; one of that
gallant class of men who carry the glorious colours of our great
and happy country into every port, who whiten every sea with
American canvass--he was a roving sailor-boy!"

And setting out from this point, Mr. Clapp made a general
statement of the case, coloured by all the cheap ornaments of
forensic eloquence, and varied by allusions to the glory of the
country, the learning of all judges, particularly American
judges, especially the judges then on the bench; the wisdom of
all juries, particularly American juries, especially the jury
then in the box. He confessed that his client had been guilty of
folly in his boyhood; "but no one, gentlemen, can regret past
misconduct more than Mr. Stanley; no son ever felt more deeply
than himself, regret, that he could not have attended the
death-bed of his father, received his last blessing, and closed
his eyes for the last time!" Mr. Clapp then read parts of Mr.
Stanley's will, gave an outline of his client's wanderings, and
was very particular with names and dates. The sailor's return was
then described in the most pathetic colours. "He brought with
him, gentlemen, nothing but the humble contents of a sailor's
chest, the hard-earned wages of his daily toil; he, who in
justice was the owner of as rich a domain as any in the land!"
The attempts of this poor sailor to obtain his rights were then
represented. "He learned the bitter truth, gentlemen, that a poor
seaman, a foremast hand, with a tarpaulin hat and round-jacket,
stood little chance of being heard, as the accuser of the rich
and the powerful--the men who walked abroad in polished beavers,
and aristocratic broad-cloths." Aristocracy having once been
brought upon the scene, was made to figure largely in several
sentences, and was very roughly handled indeed. To have heard Mr.
Clapp, one would have supposed aristocracy was the most sinful
propensity to which human nature was liable; the only very
criminal quality to which republican nature might he inclined. Of
course the defendants were accused of this heinous sin; this
brilliant passage concluded with a direct allusion to the "very
aristocratic trio before him." Mr. Stanley was declared to be no
aristocrat; he was pronounced thoroughly plebeian in all his
actions and habits. "Like the individual who has now the honour
of addressing you, gentlemen, Mr. Stanley is entirely free, in
all his habits and opinions, from the hateful stain of
aristocracy." He continued, following his client's steps down to
the present time, much as they are already known to the reader.
Then, making a sudden change, he reviewed the conduct of the
defendants as connected with his client.

{"Aristocracy" = Susan Fenimore Cooper was very familiar with
court proceedings in the 1840s. Her father was at this time
involved in a series of generally successful libel suits against
newspapers, which defended themselves by accusing him of being
"aristocratic," a sore point, as he had repeatedly denounced
aristocracy as the worst of all forms of government}

"What were their first steps at the death of Mr. Stanley, the
father? Merely those which were absolutely necessary to secure
themselves; they inquired for the absent son, but they inquired
feebly; had they
waited with greater patience he would have appeared, for the
story of his disinheritance would never have reached him. Whence
did that story proceed from? It is not for me to say; others now
present may be able to account for it more readily. No,
gentlemen, it is a bitter truth, that the conduct of the
executors has been consistent throughout, from the moment they
first took possession of the Stanley estate, until their
appearance in this court; the conduct of the rival legatee has
also been marked by the same consistent spirit of opposition,
from the time of his first interview with Mr. Stanley, after he
had arrived at years of discretion, and knew the value of the
estate he hoped to enjoy; from the moment, I say, when he coolly
ordered the unfortunate sailor to be locked up in Mr. Wyllys's
smoke-house, until the present instant, when his only hope lies
in denying the identity of Mr. Stanley's son." Mr. Clapp dwelt
for some time upon this first interview, and the smoke-house; as
he had previously hinted to Hazlehurst, he laboured to make that
affair "look ugly," to the best of his ability. If the language
of the Longbridge lawyer had been respectful throughout the
preliminary proceedings, his tune in the court-room changed
completely. As he drew towards the close of his speech, he gave
full scope to a burst of virtuous indignation against wickedness
and hypocrisy in general, and particularly against the conduct of
the defendants. He declared himself forced to believe, that both
Mr. Wyllys and Hazlehurst had suspected the existence of William
Stanley from the first--others might have the charity to believe
they had been ignorant of the young man's existence, he only
wished he could still believe such to have been the fact--he had
believed them honestly ignorant of it, until it was no longer
possible for the prejudices of a long-standing friendship and
intimacy to blind his eyes, under the flood of light presented by
proofs as clear as day--proofs which his respected brother, the
senior counsel, and himself, were about to lay before the court.
He wished to be understood, however; he never for one moment had
included in these suspicions--so painful to every candid, upright
mind, but which had recently forced themselves upon him--he
repeated, that in them he had never included the respected lady
who filled the place of step-mother to his client, whose
representative he now saw before him, in the person of a highly
distinguished lawyer of the Philadelphia bar; he did not suppose
that that venerable matron had ever doubted the death of her
husband's son. He knew that excellent lady, had often met her in
the social circle; none admired more than he, the virtues for
which she was distinguished; he had never supposed it possible,
that if aware of the existence of William Stanley, she could have
sat down calmly to enjoy his inheritance. Such a case of
turpitude might not be without example; but he confessed that in
his eyes, it would amount to guilt of so black a dye, that he was
unwilling to accuse human nature of such depravity; it went
beyond the powers of his, Mr. Clapp's, imagination to comprehend.
No, he acquitted Mrs. Stanley of all blame; she had been
influenced and guided by the two gentlemen before him. He had
himself observed, that during all the preliminary proceedings,
the venerable step-mother of his client had shown many symptoms
of doubt and hesitation; it was his firm conviction, it was the
opinion of his client, of his brother counsel, that if left to
her own unbiassed judgment, Mrs. Stanley would immediately have
acknowledged her husband's son, and received him as such. He
appealed to the defendants themselves if this were not true; he
called upon them to deny this assertion if they could--if they
dared! Here Mr. Clapp paused a moment, and looked towards Mr.

The defendants had already spoken together for an instant; Mr.
Ellsworth rose: "The answer which the counsel for the plaintiff
was so anxious to receive, was reserved for its proper place in
the defence. Where so much might be said, he should scarcely be
able to confine himself within the bounds necessary at that
moment. Let the counsel for the plaintiff rest assured, however,
that the answer to that particular question, when given, would
prove, like the general answer of the defence, of a nature that
the interrogator would, doubtless, little relish."

During Mr. Clapp's abusive remarks, and impudent insinuations
against himself and Mr. Wyllys, Hazlehurst, placing one arm on
the table before him, leaned a little, forward, and fixed his eye
steadily, but searchingly, on the face of the speaker. It proved
as Harry had expected; the lawyer looked to the right and left,
he faced the judges, the jurors; he glanced at the audience,
raised his eyes to the ceiling, or threw them upon his papers,
but not once did he meet those of Hazlehurst.

"Gentlemen of the jury; you will observe that the question
remains unanswered!" continued Mr. Clapp, with a triumphant air.
He then contrived to appeal to his brother counsel to declare his
own impressions, and gave Mr. Reed an opportunity of affirming,
that he had believed Mrs. Stanley inclined to acknowledge their
client; he spoke calmly and impressively, in a manner very
different from the hurried, yet whining enunciation, and
flourishing gestures of his colleague.

Mr. Clapp now proceeded to prepare the way for the evidence: he
gave a general idea of its character, expressing beforehand the
firmest conviction of its effect on the court. "I have been
engaged in hundreds of suits, gentlemen; I have been a regular
attendant in courts of law from early boyhood, and never, in the
whole course of my experience, have I met with a case, so
peculiar and so important, supported by a body of evidence so
clear, so decided, so undeniable as that which we shall
immediately lay before you;" and Mr. Clapp sat down, running his
fingers through his curls.

The court here adjourned for an hour. The curiosity of the
audience seemed thoroughly excited; when the judges reassembled,
the room was even more crowded than in the morning.

Before calling up the witnesses, Mr. Reed spoke for five minutes;
his dignified manner was a favourable preparation for the
testimony in the plaintiff's behalf.

The first fact proved, was the resemblance of the plaintiff to
William Stanley; this point was thoroughly investigated, and
settled without difficulty in favour of the plaintiff--some
half-a-dozen witnesses swearing to the identity, according to the
best of their belief. The fact that the defendants themselves had
acknowledged the personal resemblance, was also made to appear;
and Mr. Reed introduced the identity of handwriting to strengthen
the personal identity--several witnesses giving their testimony
on the subject. It seemed indeed, clear, from the whole of this
part of the evidence, that there was no rational ground to doubt
any other difference, either in the personal resemblance or the
handwriting, than what might naturally exist in the same man, at
the ages of eighteen and thirty-seven.

The statement offered to the defendants some months since,
tracing the last career of the plaintiff was now introduced, and
the principal facts legally proved by different witnesses.
Officers and sailors of different vessels in which he had sailed,
were sworn. Among others, Captain -----, of the packet ship ***,
testified to the plaintiff's having sailed in his vessel, under
the name of William Stanley, nine years previously; and it was
very clearly proved, that at different intervals since then, he
had continued to bear the same name, although he had also shipped
under those of Bennet, Williams, and Benson. The statement, as
given already in our pages, was borne out satisfactorily in most
of its important facts by the evidence; although on some points
the counsel for the plaintiffs confessed, that they had not been
able to obtain all the legal proofs they had wished for. After
tracing the plaintiff's steps as a sailor, the fact of his having
been long endeavouring to bring forward the claim he now made,
was examined. Mr. G-----, a highly respectable lawyer of
Baltimore, testified to the fact that several years previously,
the plaintiff had applied to him to undertake the case then
before the court; to speak frankly, this evidence surprised the
defendants, who were scarcely prepared for it. Then came proof of
the different applications to Mr. Clapp, his several visits to
Longbridge, and his presence at Wyllys-Roof six years previously,
when locked up in the out-house by Hazlehurst; Mr. Clapp
repeating at this moment, a very broad insinuation, that the
defendant knew the claims of the individual he had put in
confinement. His willingness to be examined, his ready consent to
an interview with Mr. Wyllys, Mrs. Stanley, and Hazlehurst, the
close examination which he bore at Wyllys-Roof, were brought
forward; and Mr. Clapp managed to introduce most of the important
questions of the defendants at that time, with the accurate
answers of the plaintiff, in his account of that meting.

The court adjourned at this time, and many individuals among the
audience seemed to incline very decidedly towards the plaintiff.
The personal friends of the defendants looked somewhat anxious,
although Mr. Wyllys and Hazlehurst still showed a steady front.
The testimony which we have given so briefly, as much of it has
already appeared in the narrative, occupied the court more than
one day, including the different cross-examinations of several
witnesses, by the defendants: this duty fell to the lot of Mr.
Grant, who carried it on in his usual dry, sarcastic manner, but
was unable to effect any important change in the state of things.

The following morning, the plaintiff's papers were laid before
the court. The volume of the Spectator, and the letters already
produced at Wyllys-Roof, were shown. In addition to these, the
following papers were now brought forward: A letter addressed to
the name of Benson, on board the British sloop-of-war, Ceres;
another directed to William Bennet, on board the Dutch barque
William, when at Batavia, nearly eighteen years since; this
letter was important, as it was evidently written to an American
sailor, and alluded to his having been recently shipwrecked on
the coast of Africa, and taken up by a Dutch vessel. These
documents were all received with great interest, and their
probable authenticity seemed generally admitted. Mr. Reed then
observed: "We shall close our evidence, gentlemen, by laying
before you testimony, sufficient in itself to prove triumphantly
the identity of the plaintiff, when connected with a small
portion only of that which has preceded it."

He drew from his papers an old Russia-leather pocketbook, with
the initials W. S. stamped upon in large Gothic letters.

Mr. Wyllys made an involuntary movement as it was held up for
examination; that very pocket-book, or one exactly like it, had
he given himself to the son of his old friend, the very last time
he saw him. He watched the proceedings at this moment with
intense interest--evident to everybody.

"This pocket-book, gentlemen, is the property of the plaintiff,"
continued Mr. Reed. "The initials of his name, W. S., stamped
upon it, are half-effaced, yet still sufficiently distinct to
tell their story. But the contents of this precious book are of
still greater importance to the interests of my client."

Mr. Reed then opened it and drew from one side a letter, and read
the address, "William Stanley, New York, care of Jonas Thomson,
Master of the ship Dorothy Beck." "This letter, gentlemen of the
jury, is signed John Stanley--it is from the father of William
Stanley, in whose name I now submit it to your examination." The
letter was then read; it corresponded entirely with the
circumstances already known to the reader; its date, nature,
handwriting, all were perfectly correct, and the signature was
sworn to by several witnesses. Mr. Wyllys was evidently moved
when the letter was read; he asked to look at it, and all eyes
were turned on his venerable countenance, as he silently examined
the paper. It was remarked that the hand which held the letter
was not steady, and the features which bent over it betrayed
perceptible agitation. Mr. Wyllys turned to Hazlehurst, as he
finished reading the sheet.

"It is undeniably genuine; the letter of John Stanley to his
son!" he said.

A short consultation succeeded between the defendants. Hazlehurst
wrote a line or two on a slip of paper, and handed it to Mr.
Wyllys, and then to Ellsworth and Mr. Grant.

"Will the counsel for the plaintiff tell us, why these documents
were not produced at the interview with the defendants?" asked
Mr. Ellsworth.

"We had several reasons for not doing so," replied Mr. Clapp.
"Had our client not been received so coldly, and every effort
employed to misunderstand him, we should have produced them
earlier; although it would have been impossible to have shown
them at that meeting, since they were not then in our

"Will the plaintiff state where, and from whom he first received
that pocket-book?" asked Mr. Grant.

Here the counsel for the plaintiff consulted together a moment.
It seemed as if their client was willing to answer the question;
and that Mr. Reed advised his doing so, but Mr. Clapp opposed it.

"The defendants must be aware," he said, "that they had no right
to question his client; Mr. Stanley therefore declined answering;
he had already, at the proper time and place, answered many
inquiries of theirs, in a manner which had, doubtless, appeared
satisfactory to the court, although it had not satisfied the
defendants. Mr. Stanley had lost all hope of answering any
question of the defendants, in a manner SATISFACTORY TO THEM."

Here the defendants were engaged for a moment in making notes.

Mr. Reed proceeded with the contents of the pocket-book. "The
letter of the father to his erring son, is not the only testimony
we shall produce from the pocket-book of my client, gentlemen."

A printed slip of newspaper, soiled, and yellow with age, was
then drawn from one of the pockets, and read by Mr. Reed:
"Married, Wednesday, the 10th, at Trinity Church, New York, by
the Rev. Charles G. Stanley, John Stanley, of Greatwood,
Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth, daughter of the late Myndert Van
Ryssen, of Poughkeepsie."

Again the defendants showed evident interest. Mr. Wyllys passed
his hand over his face, to drive away melancholy recollections of
the past; the present Mrs. Stanley was Miss Van Ryssen, and at
that marriage he had stood by the side of his friends, as the
priest united them.

"Is not that a touching memorial, gentlemen, of the workings of
natural feeling in the heart of a misguided boy? He had left his
father, left his home, left his friends in a fit of reckless
folly, but when he meets with the name of the parent from whom he
is estranged, in an American paper, in a distant land, he cuts
the paragraph from the sheet, and it is carefully preserved among
his precious things, during many succeeding years of hardships,
and of wrongs. But there is another striking fact connected with
that scrap of paper; the individual whose name stands there, as
connected in the closest of human ties with the young man's
father, is the same, whose legal representative I now see before
me, prepared to oppose, by every means in his power, the claim of
the son to the inheritance bequeathed him, with the forgiveness
of his dying father. The simplest language I can choose, will
best express the force of facts so painful. The circumstances are
before you; it rests with you to say, whether tardy justice shall
not at length make some amends for the wrongs of the last
eighteen years."

The defendants here asked to look at the paper; they could find
no fault with it; in texture, colour, accuracy, every point, it
corresponded with what it should be.

Mr. Reed paused an instant, and then continued. "But, gentlemen
of the jury, this old and well-worn pocket-book, the companion of
my client's wanderings, and hard fortunes; the letter from the
father to the son, received as authentic, without an instant's
hesitation, by the defendants themselves; the marriage notice of
the deceased father and the step-mother, now his legal opponent,
are not the only proofs to be drawn from this portion of our

Mr. Reed then opened the pocket-book, and showed that it had
originally contained a number of leaves of blank paper; these
leaves were partially covered with the hand-writing of William
Stanley. The date of his going to sea, and the names of the
vessels he had sailed in, were recorded. Brief, random notes
occurred, of no other importance than that of proving the
authenticity of the pocket-book. A sailor's song was written on
one page; another was half-covered with figures, apparently some
trifling accounts of his own. The date of a particular storm of
unusual severity, was put down, with the latitude and longitude
in which it occurred, the number of hours it lasted, and the
details of the injury done to the vessel. This rude journal, if
such it may be called, was handed to the jury, and also examined
by the defendants.

Mr. Grant took it, observing with his usual set expression, and
caustic manner, that "it was certainly the pocket-book of a
sailor, probably the pocket-book of William Stanley. It was
connected with a singular story, a very singular story indeed;
but, really, there was one fact which made it altogether the most
extraordinary compound of leather and paper, that ever happened
to fall in his way. If he was not mistaken, he had understood
that the plaintiff, among other remarkable adventures, claimed to
have just escaped drowning, by the skin of his teeth, when picked
up on the coast of Africa, in the winter of 181-. His pocket-book
seemed to have borne the shipwreck equally well; it was landed
high and dry in that court-house, without a trace of salt-water
about it. How did the plaintiff manage to preserve it so well? He
should like the receipt, it might prove useful."

{"receipt" = recipe}

Mr. Grant had been looking down very attentively at the
pocket-book while speaking, occasionally holding it up for others
to see, with studied carelessness; as he put the question, he
suddenly raised his eyes, without changing his position, and
fixed them searchingly, with a sort of ironical simplicity, on
Mr. Clapp and his client.

"I can tell him all about it," the plaintiff was heard to say, by
those near him.

There was a moment's consultation between the plaintiff and his
counsel. A juror then expressed a wish to hear the explanation.

Mr. Clapp rose and said: "When Mr. Stanley was picked up by the
'William,' does the counsel for my client's step-mother suppose,
that he was the only remnant of the wreck floating about? If he
does, he happens to be mistaken. Mr. Stanley says there were two
others of the crew picked up at the time he was, with the hope of
restoring life, but they were dead. There were also several
chests, and various other objects brought on board the 'William.'
One of the chests was his client's. The pocket-book was contained
in a tin box, which happened to be wrapped in a piece of old
sail-cloth, and nothing in the box was wet. It contained several
old bank-notes, besides the pocket-book, and they were not wet.
He hoped the counsel for his client's step-mother was satisfied."

Mr. Grant bowed. "Much obliged for the explanation; but he was
still inclined to think, that there must have been some peculiar
process employed with that highly important pocket-book."

Mr. Clapp replied by a short burst of indignation, at the
intolerable insinuations of his opponent, and appealed to the
court to silence them. Mr. Grant was accordingly reminded by the
judge, that unless he had something beyond mere insinuations to
offer, his remarks could not be listened to. Mr. Reed then
related how these papers had been lost by his client, some years
since; they had been left in a box at a boarding-house, during a
voyage he made in the Pacific; the house was burnt down, and Mr.
Stanley had believed his papers lost, until he recently heard
they were in possession of a shipmate, at New Bedford. Mr. Clapp
and himself had gone there, and easily obtained them again from
Robert Stebbins, the man in whose hands they had been since the
fire. The fact of the fire was proved; Stebbins was sworn, and
testified to having saved the box with his own effects, and his
having quite lately returned it to the owner, on first hearing an
account of the suit in which he was engaged. This part of the
testimony was clearly laid before the court by Mr. Reed; and the
evidence for the plaintiffs was closed, with these papers, and
the examination of Stebbins, through whose hands they had come.

The cross-examination of the different witnesses was still
conducted by Mr. Grant; several of the witnesses were made to
contradict each other, and partially to contradict themselves;
but as it was only on points of minor importance, no material
change could be effected in the general appearance of things, in
spite of all Mr. Grant's ingenuity. He kept Stebbins a long time
on the stand; and once or twice this individual seemed a good
deal confused in manner and expression; still nothing important
could be drawn from him, his account of the papers corresponding
sufficiently well with that of the plaintiff.

It was late in the afternoon when the proceedings of the trial
reached this stage, and the court adjourned. Some of Hazlehurst's
friends were uneasy, others were confident of success; Mr.
Stryker declared he thought the sailor had made out a very strong
case, and he predicted that he would gain the suit. It is not to
be supposed that Mrs. Stanley, and the ladies at Wyllys-Roof,
were left in ignorance of what passed in the court-room. Robert
Hazlehurst, at whose house Mrs. Stanley and Miss Wyllys were
staying, made brief notes of the proceedings every few hours, and
sent them to his wife and friends, who despatched them by every
mail to the younger ladies at Wyllys-Roof.

When the court met again, the time for the defendants to be heard
had arrived.

The defence was opened by Hazlehurst; he had had but little
practice at the bar, but, like most educated Americans, it
required but little to fit him for speaking in public. His voice
was good, his manner and appearance were highly in his favour; he
had the best of materials to work with, native ability,
cultivated by a thorough education, and supported by just views
and sound principles. Energy of character and feeling helped him
also; warming as he proceeded, he threw himself fully into his
subject, and went on with a facility surprising to himself, and
far surpassing the most sanguine expectations of his friends. As
for his opponents, they had anticipated very little from him. We
give a sketch of his opening remarks:

"It is the first time, gentlemen," he said, on rising to speak,
"that the individual who now addresses you, has ever appeared in
a high court of justice, as an act of self-defence. I have never
yet been solemnly called upon to account for my past actions by
any fellow-creature. My moral motives have never yet been
publicly impugned. The position in which I now stand, accused of
denying the just rights of another, of wilfully withholding the
parental inheritance from the son of my benefactor, is therefore
as novel to myself in its whole character, as it must appear
remarkable to you in its peculiar circumstances.

"I have already learned, however, during the few years that I
have filled a place on the busy stage of active life, that in the
world to which we belong, Truth herself is compelled to appear on
the defensive, nearly as often, perhaps, as Error. I have no
right therefore to complain. So long as I am included in the same
accusation, so long as I am associated in the same defence with
the venerable man at my side--one, whose honourable career has
furnished to the community represented by this assembly, a noble
model of conduct during three-score years and ten; one whom it
has been the especial object of my endeavours to follow, in my
own path through life--so long, I can have no wish to shrink from
the situation in which I am placed; I can find no room for doubts
or misgivings, as to the wisdom and rectitude of the course I
have adopted.

"That the position, however, in which we stand before you, on the
present occasion, gentlemen, is one that requires explanation, we
readily admit; it is too remarkable in its particulars to escape
the searching inquiry of justice. We appear in this court, the
executors and legatee of Mr. Stanley--his widow, his nearest
friend, and his adopted representative--to deny a claim, just in
itself, advanced in the name of his only son. Such a position
must be either quite untenable, totally unjustifiable, an outrage
upon the common decency of society, or it must stand on the firm
foundation of truth. You will easily believe, that such a
position would never have been taken, under circumstances so
extraordinary, by three individuals, possessing only a common
share of honesty and good sense, unless they had held it to be
one which they could maintain. You will readily admit, that it is
the very last position which a man of clear integrity, good
character, and natural feeling would wish to assume, unless
acting from conscientious motives, and guided by sound reason.

"I have no wish to parade a stoical indifference to the pecuniary
interests at stake to-day; they are such as must seriously affect
my fortunes for years, possibly for life. A cause involving so
large a sum of money, so fine a landed estate, honourably
acquired by the late proprietor, and generously bequeathed to
myself, must necessarily include many interests of a varied
character. Many grateful recollections of the past, many hopes
for the future, have been connected in my mind with the house at
Greatwood; from early boyhood I have been taught to look forward
to it, as a home and a resting-place, when the busiest years of
life shall have passed. These interests, however, although among
the best enjoyments of existence, are of a nature entirely
personal, forgive me, if for a moment I have glanced at them.
But, gentlemen, if I have always valued the bequest of Mr.
Stanley, from its own intrinsic importance, from the many
advantages it has already procured me, from the hopes with which
it is connected, and from the grateful recollection, that to the
friendly affection of my benefactor I owe its possession, yet, I
solemnly affirm, in the hearing of hundreds of witnesses, that
there is no honest occupation, however humble, no labour, however
toilsome, that I would not at this instant cheerfully exchange
for it, rather than retain that inheritance one hour from its
rightful owner, could I believe him to be living.

"No human being, I trust, who knows the principles from which I
have hitherto acted, can show just ground for mistrusting this

"But, fellow-citizens of the jury, to you I am a stranger. There
is not one of your number, as I now scan the faces in your box,
that I recognize as that of an acquaintance. I cannot, therefore,
expect you to believe this assertion, unsupported by evidence of
its truth. I willingly leave vain declamation to those who have
no better weapon to work with; were it in my power to influence
your decision, by volleys of words without meaning, sound without
sense, such as only too often assail the ears of judges and
juries, respect for the honourable office you now fill, would
deter me from following such a course; self-respect would
naturally prevent me from following so closely the example of the
orator who first addressed you on behalf of the plaintiff. I have
often before heard that orator, fellow-citizens of the jury; this
is not the first occasion upon which I have listened with simple
wonder, to a fluency which ever flows undisturbed, undismayed,
whether the obstacles in its way be those of law or justice,
reason or truth. But if I have wondered at a facility so
remarkable, never, for a single instant, have I wished to rival
this supple dexterity. It is an accomplishment one can scarcely
envy. On the other hand, these wholesale supplies of bombastic
declamation form so large a part of the local stock in trade of
the individual to whom I refer, that it would seem almost cruel
to deprive him of them; we have all heard a common expression,
more easily understood than explained, but which would be quite
applicable to the pitiable state of the counsel for the
plaintiff, when deprived of his chief support, his favourite
modes of speech--he would then be reduced, gentlemen, to LESS
THAN NOTHING." Hazlehurst's face was expressive enough as he
uttered these words.

"No, fellow-citizens of the jury, I shall not ask you to believe
a single assertion of my own, unsustained by proof. At the proper
moment, the testimony which we possess in favour of the death of
Mr. Stanley's son, and the facts which have led us to mistrust
the strange story which you have just heard advanced in behalf of
the plaintiff, will be laid before you. At present, suffer me,
for a moment longer, to refer to the leading motives which have
induced us to appear in this court, as defendants, under
circumstances so singular.

"The importance which, as legatee of Mr. Stanley, I attach to his
generous gift has not been denied. But, independently of this,
there are other causes sufficient in themselves to have brought
me into this hall, and these motives I share with the friends
associated in the same defence. If we conceive ourselves to be
justified in refusing the demand of the plaintiff, as a
consequence of this conviction, we must necessarily hold it to be
an imperative duty to repel, by every honest means in our power,
a claim we believe false. This is a case which allows of no
medium course. On one hand, either we, the defendants, are guilty
of an act of the most cruel injustice; or, on the other, the
individual before you, assuming the name of William Stanley, is
an impostor. The opinion of those most intimately connected with
the late Mr. Stanley, is clearly proclaimed, by the stand they
have deliberately taken, after examining the evidence with which
the plaintiff advances his extraordinary claim. This individual
who, from his own account, was content to remain for years in a
state of passive indifference to the same important inheritance,
now claimed so boldly, in defiance of so many obstacles, we
believe to be an impostor; not a single, lingering scruple
prevents my repeating the declaration, that I believe him to be a
bold and daring impostor.

"With this opinion, is it expected that I shall calmly endure
that one, whose only title consists in his cunning and his
audacity, should seize with impunity, property, legally and
justly my own? Is it believed that I shall stand idly by, without
a struggle to defend the name of my deceased benefactor from such
impudent abuse? That I should be content to see the very
hearth-stone of my friend seized, by the grossest cupidity? That
I should surrender the guardianship of his grave to one, with
whom he never had a thought, a feeling, a sympathy in common?--to
one, who would not scruple to sell that grave for a bottle of

"Every feeling revolts at the thought of such a shameful neglect
of duty! No; I acknowledge myself bound, by every obligation, to
oppose to the last extremity, such an audacious invasion of right
and truth. Every feeling of respect and gratitude to the memory
of my benefactor, urges me forward; while all the attachment of
the friend, and all the affection of the widow, revive, and unite
in the defence.

"But, fellow-citizens of the jury, my own personal rights,
sufficient on a common occasion to rouse any man, the duties owed
by each of the defendants to the memory of Mr. Stanley--duties
sacred in the eyes of every right-thinking man, these are not the
only motives which call upon us to oppose the plaintiff, to repel
with all the strength we can command this daring act of piracy.

"There is another duty still more urgent, a consideration of a
still higher character, involved in the course we pursue to-day.
There is one object before us, far surpassing in importance any
to which I have yet alluded; it is one, fellow-citizens of the
jury, in which each individual of your number is as deeply
concerned as ourselves, in which the highest earthly interests of
every human being in this community are included; it is the one
great object for which these walls were raised, this hall opened,
which has placed those honourable men as judges on the seat of
justice, which has called you together, from the less important
pursuit of your daily avocations, to give an impartial opinion in
every case brought before you; it is the high object of
maintaining justice in the community to which we all equally
belong. I am willing to believe, fellow-citizens of the jury,
that you are fully aware of the importance of your own office, of
the dignity of this court, of the necessity of its existence, of
its activity to protect the honest and inoffensive citizen,
against the designing, the unprincipled, and the violent. Such
protection we know to be absolutely binding upon every community
claiming to be civilized; we know that without it no state of
society, at all worthy of the dignity of human nature, at all
worthy of the dignity of freemen, can exist; without active
justice, indeed, the name of Freedom becomes a mere sound of
mockery. I have been taught to hold the opinion, gentlemen, that
if there is one obligation more imperative than any other,
imposed upon an American by the privileges of his birth-right, it
is this very duty of maintaining justice in her full integrity;
of raising his voice in her behalf when she is threatened, of
raising his arm in her defence when she is assailed. To move at
the first clear appeal of justice, is surely one of the chief
duties of every American citizen, of every man blessed with
freedom of speech and freedom of action; and, surely, if this be
a general rule, it would become a double act of moral cowardice,
to desert the post, when those individual rights, confided
especially to my own protection, including interests so important
to myself, are audaciously assailed. If there are circumstances
which partially remove the weight of this obligation, of this
public struggle for justice, from portions of the community, from
the aged, who have already firmly upheld every honourable
principle through a long course of years, and from those who are
confined by their natural position to the narrow but holy circle
of domestic duties; if such be honourable exemptions from bearing
the brunt of the battle, it is only to open the front rank to
every active citizen, laying claim to manliness and honesty. Such
I conceive to be the obligation imposed upon myself, by the
demand of the plaintiff. Upon examination, I can find no
sufficient evidence to support this claim; it becomes therefore,
in my belief, by its very nature, an atrocious outrage alike to
the living and the dead--an insulting violation of natural
justice and the law of the land, sufficient to rouse every
justifiable effort in resistance.

"Whenever attention may be called to a question, of a character
audaciously unprincipled, even when quite independent of personal
advantage and personal feeling, I should still hope that duty as
a man, duty as a freeman, would have sufficient influence over my
actions, to urge me forward in opposition to its unrighteous
demands, just so far as common sense and true principle shall
point the way. Such I conceive to be the character of the present
question; were there no pecuniary interest, no individual feeling
at stake, I should still conceive it a duty to hold on the
present occasion the position in which I now stand.

"The grounds upon which this opinion as to the character of the
case has been formed, the grounds upon which we base our defence,
must now be laid before you."

After this opening, Harry proceeded with an outline of the
testimony for the defence. His statement was very clear and
accurate throughout; but as it contained nothing but what is
already known to the reader, we shall omit this part of his

After he had given a general account of the conduct and views of

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