Home as Found
James Fenimore Cooper
Part 3 out of 9
The morning was devoted to looking at the quarter of the town which
is devoted to business, a party having been made for that express
purpose under the auspices of John Effingham. As the weather was very
cold, although the distances were not great, the carriages were
ordered, and they all set off about noon.
Grace had given up expecting a look of admiration from Eve in behalf
of any of the lions of New-York, her cousin having found it necessary
to tell her, that, in a comparative sense at least, little was to be
said in behalf of these provincial wonders. Even Mademoiselle
Viefville, now that the freshness, of her feelings were abated, had
dropped quietly down into a natural way of speaking of these things;
and Grace, who was quick-witted, soon discovered that when she did
make any allusions to similar objects in Europe, it was always to
those that existed in some country town. A silent convention existed,
therefore, to speak no more on such subjects; or if any thing was
said, it arose incidentally and as inseparable from the regular
thread of the discourse.
When in Wall street, the carriages stopped and the gentlemen
alighted. The severity of the weather kept the ladies in the chariot,
where Grace endeavoured to explain things as well as she could to her
"What are all these people running after, so intently?" inquired
Mademoiselle Viefville, the conversation being in French, but which
we shall render freely into English, for the sake of the general
"Dollars, I believe, Mademoiselle; am I right, Grace?"
"I believe you are," returned Grace, laughing, "though I know little
more of this part of the town than yourself."
"_Quelle foule_! Is that building filled with dollars, into which the
gentlemen are now entering? Its steps are crowded."
"That is the _Bourse_, Mademoiselle, and it ought to be well lined,
by the manner in which some who frequent it live. Cousin Jack and Sir
George are going into the crowd, I see."
We will leave the ladies in their seats, a few minutes, and accompany
the gentlemen on their way into the Exchange.
"I shall now show you, Sir George Templemore," said John Effingham,
"what is peculiar to this country, and what, if properly improved, it
is truly worth a journey across the ocean to see. You have been at
the Royal Exchange in London, and at the _Bourse_ of Paris, but you
have never witnessed a scene like that which I am about to introduce
you to. In Paris, you have beheld the unpleasant spectacle of women
gambling publicly in the funds; but it was in driblets, compared to
what you will see here."
While speaking, John Effingham led the way upstairs into the office
of one of the most considerable auctioneers. The walls were lined
with maps, some representing houses, some lots, some streets, some
"This is the focus of what Aristabulus Bragg calls the town trade,"
said John Effingham, when fairly confronted with all these wonders.
"Here, then, you may suit yourself with any species of real estate
that heart can desire. If a villa is wanted, there are a dozen. Of
farms, a hundred are in market; that is merely half-a-dozen streets;
and here are towns, of dimensions and value to suit purchasers."
"Explain this; it exceeds comprehension."
"It is simply what it professes to be. Mr. Hammer, do us the favour
to step this way. Are you selling to-day?"
"Not much, sir. Only a hundred or two lots on this island, and some
six or eight farms, with one western village."
"Can you tell us the history of this particular piece of property,
"With great pleasure, Mr. Effingham; we know you to have means, and
hope you may be induced to purchase. This was the farm of old Volkert
Van Brunt, five years since, off of which he and his family had made
a livelihood for more than a century, by selling milk. Two years
since, the sons sold it to Peter Feeler for a hundred an acre; or for
the total sum of five thousand dollars. The next spring Mr. Feeler
sold it to John Search, as keen a one as we have, for twenty-five
thousand. Search sold it, at private sale, to Nathan Rise for fifty
thousand, the next week, and Rise had parted with it, to a company,
before the purchase, for a hundred and twelve thousand cash. The map
ought to be taken down, for it is now eight months since we sold it
out in lots, at auction, for the gross sum of three hundred thousand
dollars. As we have received our commission, we look at that land as
out of the market, for a time."
"Have you other property, sir, that affords the same wonderful
history of a rapid advance in value?" asked the baronet.
"These walls are covered with maps of estates in the same
predicament. Some have risen two or three thousand per cent. within
five years, and some only a few hundred. There is no calculating in
the matter, for it is all fancy."
"And on what is this enormous increase in value founded?--Does the
town extend to these fields?"
"It goes much farther, sir; that is to say, on paper. In the way of
houses, it is still some miles short of them. A good deal depends on
what you _call_ a thing, in this market. Now, if old Volkert Van
Brunt's property had been still called a farm, it would have brought
a farm price; but, as soon as it was surveyed into lots and mapped--"
"Yes, sir; brought into visible lines, with feet and inches. As soon
as it was properly mapped, it rose to its just value. We have a good
deal of the bottom of the sea that brings fair prices in consequence
of being well mapped."
Here the gentlemen expressed their sense of the auctioneer's
politeness, and retired.
"We will now go into the sales-room," said John Effingham, "where you
shall judge of the spirit, or _energy_, as it is termed, which, at
this moment, actuates this great nation."
Descending, they entered a crowd, where scores were eagerly bidding
against each other, in the fearful delusion of growing rich by
pushing a fancied value to a point still higher. One was purchasing
ragged rocks, another the bottom of rivers, a third a bog, and all on
the credit of maps. Our two observers remained some time silent
spectators of the scene.
"When I first entered that room," said John Effingham, as they left
the place, "it appeared to me to be filled with maniacs. Now, that I
have been in it several times, the impression is not much altered."
"And all those persons are hazarding their means of subsistence on
the imaginary estimate mentioned by the auctioneer?"
"They are gambling as recklessly as he who places his substance on
the cast of the die. So completely has the mania seized every one,
that the obvious truth, a truth which is as apparent as any other law
of nature, that nothing can be sustained without a foundation, is
completely overlooked, and he who should now proclaim, in this
building, principles that bitter experience will cause every man to
feel, within the next few years, would be happy if he escaped being
stoned. I have witnessed many similar excesses in the way of
speculations; but never an instance as gross, as wide-spread, and as
alarming as this."
"You apprehend serious consequences, then, from the reaction?"
"In that particular, we are better off than older nations, the youth
and real stamina of the country averting much of the danger; but I
anticipate a terrible blow, and that the day is not remote when this
town will awake to a sense of its illusion. What you see here is but
a small part of the extravagance that exists, for it pervades the
whole community, in one shape or another. Extravagant issues of
paper-money, inconsiderate credits that commence in Europe; and
extend throughout the land, and false notions as to the value of
their possessions, in men who five years since had nothing, has
completely destroyed the usual balance of things, and money has got
to be so completely the end of life, that few think of it as a means.
The history of the world, probably, cannot furnish a parallel
instance, of an extensive country that is so absolutely under this
malign influence, as is the fact with our own at this present
instant. All principles are swallowed up in the absorbing desire for
gain; national honour, permanent security, the ordinary rules of
society, law, the constitution, and every thing that is usually so
dear to men, are forgotten, or are perverted, in order to sustain
this unnatural condition of things."
"This is not only extraordinary, but it is fearful!"
"It is both. The entire community is in the situation of a man who is
in the incipient stages of an exhilarating intoxication, and who
keeps pouring down glass after glass, in the idle notion that he is
merely sustaining nature in her ordinary functions. This wide-spread
infatuation extends from the coast to the extremest frontiers of the
west; for, while there is a justifiable foundation for a good deal of
this fancied prosperity, the true is so interwoven with the false,
that none but the most observant can draw the distinction, and, as
usual, the false predominates."
"By your account, sir, the tulip mania of Holland was trifling
compared to this?"
"That was the same in principle as our own, but insignificant in
extent. Could I lead you through these streets, and let you into the
secret of the interests, hopes, infatuations and follies that prevail
in the human breast, you, as a calm spectator, would be astonished at
the manner in which your own species can be deluded. But let us move,
and something may still occur to offer an example."
"Mr. Effingham--I beg pardon--Mr. Effingham," said a very
gentlemanly-looking merchant, who was walking about the hall of the
exchange, "what do you think now of our French quarrel?"
"I have told you, Mr. Bale, all I have to say on that subject. When
in France, I wrote you that it was not the intention of the French
government to comply with the treaty; you have since seen this
opinion justified in the result; you have the declaration of the
French minister of state, that, without an apology from this
government, the money will not be paid; and I have given it as my
opinion, that the vane on yonder steeple will not turn more readily
than all this policy will be abandoned, should any thing occur in
Europe to render it necessary, or could the French ministry believe
it possible for this country to fight for a principle. These are my
opinions, in all their phases, and you may compare them with facts
and judge for yourself."
"It is all General Jackson, sir--all that monster's doings. But for
his message, Mr. Effingham, we should have had the money long ago."
"But for his message, or some equally decided step, Mr. Bale, you
would never have it."
"Ah, my dear sir, I know your intentions, but I fear you are
prejudiced against that excellent man, the King of France! Prejudice,
Mr. Effingham, is a sad innovator on justice."
Here Mr. Bale shook his head, laughed, and disappeared in the crowd,
perfectly satisfied that John Effingham was a prejudiced man, and
that he, himself, was only liberal and just.
"Now, that is a man who wants for neither abilities nor honesty, and
yet he permits his interests, and the influence of this very
speculating mania, to overshadow all his sense of right, facts plain
as noon-day, and the only principles that can rule a country in
"He apprehends war, and has no desire to believe even facts, so long
as they serve to increase the danger."
"Precisely so; for even prudence gets to be a perverted quality, when
men are living under an infatuation like that which now exists. These
men live like the fool who says there is no death."
Here the gentlemen rejoined the ladies, and the carriages drove
through a succession of narrow and crooked streets, that were lined
with warehouses filled with the products of the civilized world.
"Very much of all this is a part of the same lamentable illusion,"
said John Effingham, as the carriages made their way slowly through
the encumbered streets. "The man who sells his inland lots at a
profit, secured by credit, fancies himself enriched, and he extends
his manner of living in proportion; the boy from the country becomes
a merchant, or what is here called a merchant, and obtains a credit
in Europe a hundred times exceeding his means, and caters to these
fancied wants; and thus is every avenue of society thronged with
adventurers, the ephemera of the same wide-spread spirit of reckless
folly. Millions in value pass out of these streets, that go to feed
the vanity of those who fancy themselves wealthy, because they hold
some ideal pledges for the payment of advances in price like those
mentioned by the auctioneer, and which have some such security for
the eventual payment, as one can find in _calling_ a thing, that is
really worth a dollar, worth a hundred."
"Are the effects of this state of things apparent in your ordinary
"In every thing. The desire to grow suddenly rich has seized on all
classes. Even women and clergymen are infected, and we exist under
the active control of the most corrupting of all influences--'the
love of money.' I should despair of the country altogether, did I not
feel certain that the disease is too violent to last, and entertain a
hope that the season of calm reflection and of repentance, that is to
follow, will be in proportion to its causes."
After taking this view of the town, the party returned to Hudson
Square, where the baronet dined, it being his intention to go to
Washington on the following day. The leave-taking in the evening was
kind and friendly; Mr. Effingham, who had a sincere regard for his
late fellow-traveller, cordially inviting him to visit him in the
mountains in June.
As Sir George took his leave, the bells began to ring for a fire. In
New-York one gets so accustomed to these alarms, that near an hour
had passed before any of the Effingham family began to reflect on the
long continuance of the cries. A servant was then sent out to
ascertain the reason, and his report made the matter more serious
We believe that, in the frequency of these calamities, the question
lies between Constantinople and New-York. It is a common occurrence
for twenty or thirty buildings to be burnt down, in the latter place,
and for the residents of the same ward to remain in ignorance of the
circumstance, until enlightened on the fact by the daily prints; the
constant repetition of the alarms hardening the ear and the feelings
against the appeal. A fire of greater extent than common, had
occurred only a night or two previously to this; and a rumour now
prevailed, that the severity of the weather, and the condition of the
hoses and engines, rendered the present danger double. On hearing
this intelligence, the Messrs. Effinghams wrapped themselves up in
their over-coats, and went together into the streets.
"This seems something more than usual, Ned," said John Effingham,
glancing his eye upward at the lurid vault, athwart which gleams of
fiery light began to shine; "the danger is not distant, and it seems
Following the direction of the current, they soon found the scene of
the conflagration, which was in the very heart of those masses of
warehouses, or stores, that John Effingham had commented on, so
lately. A short street of high buildings was already completely in
flames, and the danger of approaching the enemy, added to the frozen
condition of the apparatus, the exhaustion of the firemen from their
previous efforts, and the intense coldness of the night, conspired to
make the aspect of things in the highest degree alarming.
The firemen of New-York have that superiority over those of other
places, that the veteran soldier obtains over the recruit. But the
best troops can be appalled, and, on this memorable occasion, these
celebrated firemen, from a variety of causes, became for a time,
little more than passive spectators of the terrible scene.
There was an hour or two when all attempts at checking the
conflagration seemed really hopeless, and even the boldest and the
most persevering scarcely knew which way to turn, to be useful. A
failure of water, the numerous points that required resistance, the
conflagration extending in all directions from a common centre, by
means of numberless irregular and narrow streets, and the
impossibility of withstanding the intense heat, in the choked
passages, soon added despair to the other horrors of the scene.
They who stood the fiery masses, were freezing on one side with the
Greenland cold of the night, while their bodies were almost blistered
with the fierce flames on the other. There was something frightful in
this contest of the elements, nature appearing to condense the heat
within its narrowest possible limits, as if purposely to increase its
fierceness. The effects were awful; for entire buildings would seem
to dissolve at their touch, as the forked flames enveloped them in
sheets of fire.
Every one being afoot, within sound of the alarm, though all the more
vulgar cries had ceased, as men would deem it mockery to cry murder
in a battle, Sir George Templemore met his friends, on the margin of
this sea of fire. It was now drawing towards morning, and the
conflagration was at its height, having already laid waste a nucleus
of _blocks_, and it was extending by many lines, in every possible
"Here is a fearful admonition for those who set their hearts on
riches," observed Sir George Templemore, recalling the conversation
of the previous day. "What, indeed, are the designs of man, as
compared with the will of Providence!"
"I foresee that this is _le commencement de la fin_," returned John
Effingham. "The destruction is already so great, as to threaten to
bring down with it the usual safe-guards against such losses, and one
pin knocked out of so frail and delicate a fabric, the whole will
become loose, and fall to pieces."
"Will nothing be done to arrest the flames?"
"As men recover from the panic, their plans will improve and their
energies will revive. The wider streets are already reducing the fire
within more certain limits, and they speak of a favourable change of
wind. It is thought five hundred buildings have already been
consumed, in scarcely half a dozen hours."
That Exchange, which had so lately resembled a bustling temple of
Mammon, was already a dark and sheeted ruin, its marble walls being
cracked, defaced, tottering, or fallen. It lay on the confines of the
ruin, and our party was enabled to take their position near it, to
observe the scene. All in their immediate vicinity was assuming the
stillness of desolation, while the flushes of fierce light in the
distance marked the progress of the conflagration. Those who knew the
localities, now began to speak of the natural or accidental barriers,
such as the water, the slips, and the broader streets, as the only
probable means of arresting the destruction. The crackling of the
flames grew distant fast, and the cries of the firemen were now
At this period in the frightful scene, a party of seamen arrived,
bearing powder, in readiness to blow up various buildings, in the
streets that possessed of themselves, no sufficient barriers to the
advance of the flame. Led by their officers, these gallant fellows,
carrying in their arms the means of destruction, moved up steadily to
the verge of the torrents of fire, and planted their kegs; laying
their trains with the hardy indifference that practice can alone
create, and with an intelligence that did infinite credit to their
coolness. This deliberate courage was rewarded with complete success,
and house crumbled to pieces after house under the dull explosions,
happily without an accident.
From this time the flames became less ungovernable, though the day
dawned and advanced, and another night succeeded, before they could
be said to be got fairly under. Weeks, and even months passed,
however, ere the smouldering ruins ceased to send up smoke, the
fierce element continuing to burn, like a slumbering volcano, as it
might be in the bowels of the earth.
The day that succeeded this disaster, was memorable for the rebuke it
gave the rapacious longing for wealth. Men who had set their hearts
on gold, and who prided themselves on their possession, and on that
only, were made to feel its insanity; and they who had walked abroad
as gods, so lately, began to experience how utterly insignificant are
the merely rich, when stripped of their possessions. Eight hundred
buildings containing fabrics of every kind, and the raw material in
various forms, had been destroyed, as it were in the twinkling of an
A faint voice was heard from the pulpit, and there was a moment when
those who remembered a better state of things, began to fancy that
principles would once more assert their ascendency, and that the
community would, in a measure, be purified. But this expectation
ended in disappointment, the infatuation being too wide-spread and
corrupting, to be stopped by even this check, and the rebuke was
reserved for a form that seems to depend on a law of nature, that of
causing a vice to bring with it its own infallible punishment.
"First, tell me, have you ever been at Pisa."
The conflagration alluded to, rather than described, in the
proceeding chapter, threw a gloom over the gaieties of New-York, if
that ever could be properly called gay, which was little more than a
strife in prodigality and parade, and leaves us little more to say of
the events of the winter. Eve regretted very little the interruption
to scenes in which she had found no pleasure, however much she
lamented the cause; and she and Grace passed the remainder of the
season quietly, cultivating the friendship of such women as Mrs.
Hawker and Mrs. Bloomfield, and devoting hours to the improvement of
their minds and tastes, without ever again venturing however, within
the hallowed precincts of such rooms as those of Mrs. Legend.
One consequence of a state of rapacious infatuation, like that which
we have just related, is the intensity of selfishness which smothers
all recollection of the past, and all just anticipations of the
future, by condensing life, with its motives and enjoyments, into the
present moment. Captain Truck, therefore, was soon forgotten, and the
literati, as that worthy seaman had termed the associates of Mrs.
Legend, remained just as vapid, as conceited, as ignorant, as
imitative, as dependent, and as provincial as ever.
As the season advanced, our heroine began to look with longings
towards the country. The town life of an American offers little to
one accustomed to a town life in older and more permanently regulated
communities; and Eve was already heartily weary of crowded and noisy
balls, (for a few were still given;) _belles_, the struggles of an
uninstructed taste, and a representation in which extravagance was so
seldom relieved by the elegance and convenience of a condition of
society, in which more attention is paid to the fitness of things.
The American spring is the least pleasant of its four seasons, its
character being truly that of "winter lingering in the lap of May."
Mr. Effingham, who the reader will probably suspect, by this time, to
be a descendant of a family of the same name, that we have had
occasion to introduce into another work, had sent orders to have his
country residence prepared for the reception of our party; and it was
with a feeling of delight that Eve stepped on board a steam-boat to
escape from a town that, while it contains so much that is worthy of
any capital, contains so much more that is unfit for any place, in
order to breathe the pure air, and to enjoy the tranquil pleasare of
the country. Sir George Templemore had returned from his southern
journey, and made one of the party, by express arrangement.
"Now, Eve," said Grace Van Cortlandt, as the boat glided along the
wharves, "if it were any person but you, I should feel confident of
having something to show that _would_ extort admiration."
"You are safe enough, in that respect, for a more imposing object in
its way, than this very vessel, eye of mine, never beheld. It is
positively the only thing that deserves the name of magnificent I
have yet seen, since our return,--unless, indeed, it may be
"I am glad, dear coz, there is this one magnificent object, then, to
satisfy a taste so fastidious."
As Grace's little foot moved, and her voice betrayed vexation, the
whole party smiled; for the whole party, while it felt the justice of
Eve's observation, saw the real feeling that was at the bottom of her
cousin's remark. Sir George, however, though he could not conceal
from himself the truth of what had been said by the one party, and
the weakness betrayed by the other had too much sympathy for the
provincial patriotism of one so young and beautiful, not to come to
"You should remember, Miss Van Cortlandt," he said, "that Miss
Effingham has not had the advantage yet of seeing the Delaware,
Philadelphia, the noble bays of the south, nor so much that is to be
found out of the single town of New-York."
"Very true, and I hope yet to see her a sincere penitent for all her
unpatriotic admissions against her own country. _You_ have seen the
Capitol, Sir George Templemore; is it not, truly, one of the finest
edifices of the world?"
"You will except St. Peter's, surely, my child," observed Mr.
Effingham, smiling, for he saw that the baronet was embarrassed to
give a ready answer.
"And the Cathedral at Milan," said Eve, laughing.
"_Et le Louvre_!" cried Mademoiselle Viefville, who had some such
admiration for every thing Parisian, as Eve had for every thing
"And, most especially, the north-east corner of the south-west end of
the north-west wing of Versailles," said John Effingham, in his usual
"I see you are all against me," Grace rejoined, "but I hope, one day,
to be able to ascertain for myself the comparative merits of things.
As nature makes rivers, I hope the Hudson, at least, will not be
found unworthy of your admiration, gentlemen and ladies."
"You are safe enough, there, Grace," observed Mr Effingham; "for few
rivers, perhaps no river, offers so great and so pleasing a variety,
in so short a distance, as this."
It was a lovely, bland morning, in the last week of May; and the
atmosphere was already getting the soft hues of summer, or assuming
the hazy and solemn calm that renders the season so quiet and soothing,
after the fiercer strife of the elements. Under such a sky, the
Palisadoes, in particular, appeared well; for, though wanting in the
terrific grandeur of an Alpine nature, and perhaps disproportioned
to the scenery they adorned, they were bold and peculiar.
The great velocity of the boat added to the charm of the passage, the
scene scarce finding time to pall on the eye; for, no sooner was one
object examined in its outlines, than it was succeeded by another.
"An extraordinary taste is afflicting this country, in the way of
architecture," said Mr. Effingham, as they stood gazing at the
eastern shore; "nothing but a Grecian temple being now deemed a
suitable residence for a man, in these classical times. Yonder is a
structure, for instance, of beautiful proportions, and, at this
distance, apparently of a precious material, and yet it seems better
suited to heathen worship than to domestic comfort."
"The malady has infected, the whole nation," returned his cousin,
"like the spirit of speculation. We are passing from one extreme to
the other, in this, as in other things. One such temple, well placed
in a wood, might be a pleasant object enough, but to see a river
lined with them, with children trundling hoops before their doors,
beef carried into their kitchens, and smoke issuing, moreover, from
those unclassical objects chimnies, is too much even of a high taste;
one might as well live in a fever. Mr. Aristabulus Bragg, who is a
wag in his way, informs me that there is one town in the interior
that has actually a market-house on the plan of the Parthenon!"
"_Il Cupo di Bove_ would be a more suitable model for such a
structure," said Eve, smiling. "But I think I have heard that the
classical taste of our architects is any thing but rigid."
"This _was_ the case, rather than _is_" returned John Effingham, "as
witness all these temples. The country has made a quick and a great
_pas, en avant_, in the way of the fine arts, and the fact shows what
might be done with so ready a people, under a suitable direction. The
stranger who comes among us is apt to hold the art of the nation
cheap, but, as all things are comparative, let him inquire into its
state ten years since, and look at it to-day. The fault just now, is
perhaps to consult the books too rigidly, and to trust too little to
invention; for no architecture, and especially no domestic
architecture, can ever be above serious reproach, until climate, the
uses of the edifice, and the situation, are respected as leading
considerations. Nothing can be uglier, _per se_, than a Swiss
cottage, or any thing more beautiful under its precise circumstances.
As regards these mushroom temples, which are the offspring of Mammon,
let them be dedicated to whom they may, I should exactly reverse the
opinion, and say, that while nothing can be much more beautiful, _per
se_, nothing can be in worse taste, than to put them where they are."
"We shall have an opportunity of seeing what Mr. John Effingham can
do in the way of architecture," said Grace, who loved to revenge some
of her fancied wrongs, by turning the tables on her assailant, "for I
understand he has been improving on the original labours of that
notorious Palladio, Master Hiram Doolittle!"
The whole party laughed, and every eye was turned on the gentleman
alluded to, expecting his answer.
"You will remember, good people," answered the accused by
implication, "that my plans were handed over to me from my great
predecessor, and that they were originally of the composite order.
If, therefore, the house should turn out to be a little complex and
mixed, you will do me the justice to remember this important fact. At
all events, I have consulted comfort; and that I would maintain, in
the face of Vitruvius himself, is a _sine qua non_ in domestic
"I took a run into Connecticut the other day," said Sir George
Templemore, "and, at a place called New Haven, I saw the commencement
of a taste that bids fair to make a most remarkable town. It is true,
you cannot expect structures of much pretension in the way of cost
and magnitude in this country, but, so far as fitness and forms are
concerned, if what I hear be true, and the next fifty years do as
much in proportion for that little city, as I understand has been
done in the last five, it will be altogether a wonder in its way.
There are some abortions, it is true, but there are also some little
The baronet was rewarded for this opinion, by a smile from Grace, and
the conversation changed. As the boat approached the mountains, Eve
became excited, a very American state of the system by the way, and
Grace still more anxious.
"The view of that bluff is Italian;" said our heroine, pointing down
the river at a noble headland of rock, that loomed grandly in the
soft haze of the tranquil atmosphere. "One seldom sees a finer or a
softer outline on the shores of the Mediterranean itself."
"But the Highlands, Eve!" whispered the uneasy Grace. "We are
entering the mountains."
The river narrowed suddenly, and the scenery became bolder, but
neither Eve nor her father expressed the rapture that Grace expected.
"I must confess, Jack," said the mild, thoughtful Mr. Effingham,
"that these rocks strike my eyes as much less imposing than formerly.
The passage is fine, beyond question, but it is hardly grand
"You never uttered a juster opinion, Ned, though after your eye loses
some of the forms of the Swiss and Italian lakes, and of the shores
of Italy, you will think better of these. The Highlands are
remarkable for their surprises, rather than for their grandeur, as we
shall presently see. As to the latter, it is an affair of feet and
inches, and is capable of arithmetical demonstration. We have often
been on lakes, beneath beetling cliffs of from three to six thousand
feet in height; whereas, here, the greatest elevation is materially
less than two. But, Sir George Templemore, and you, Miss Effingham,
do me the favour to combine your cunning, and tell me whence this
stream cometh, and whither we are to go?"
The boat had now approached a point where the river was narrowed to a
width not much exceeding a quarter of a mile, and in the direction in
which it was steering, the water seemed to become still more
contracted until they were lost in a sort of bay, that appeared to be
closed by high hills, through which, however, there were traces of
something like a passage.
"The land in that direction looks as if it had a ravine-like
entrance," said the baronet; "and yet it is scarcely possible that a
stream like this can flow there!"
"If the Hudson truly passes through those mountains," said Eve, "I
will concede all in its favour that you can ask, Grace."
"Where else can it pass?" demanded Grace, exultingly.
"Sure enough--I see no other place, and that seems insufficient."
The two strangers to the river now looked curiously around them, in
every direction. Behind them was a broad and lake-like basin, through
which they had just passed; on the left, a barrier of precipitous
hills, the elevation of which was scarcely less than a thousand feet;
on their right, a high but broken country, studded with villas, farm-
houses, and hamlets; and in their front the deep but equivocal bay
"I see no escape!" cried the baronet, gaily, "unless indeed, it be by
A sudden and broad sheer of the boat caused him to turn to the left,
and then they whirled round an angle of the precipice, and found
themselves in a reach of the river, between steep declivities,
running at right angles to their former course.
"This is one of the surprises of which I spoke," said John Effingham,
"and which render the highlands so _unique_; for, while the Rhine is
very sinuous, it has nothing like this."
The other travellers agreed in extolling this and many similar
features of the scenery, and Grace was delighted; for, warm-hearted,
affectionate, and true, Grace loved her country like a relative or a
friend, and took an honest pride in hearing its praises. The
patriotism of Eve, if a word of a meaning so lofty can be applied to
feelings of this nature, was more discriminating from necessity, her
tastes having been formed in a higher school, and her means of
comparison being so much more ample. At West Point they stopped for
the night, and here every body was in honest raptures; Grace, who had
often visited the place before, being actually the least so of the
"Now, Eve, I know that you _do_ love your country," she said, as she
slipped an arm affectionately through that of her cousin. "This is
feeling and speaking like an American girl, and as Eve Effingham
Eve laughed, but she had discovered that the provincial feeling was
so strong in Grace, that its discussion would probably do no good.
She dwelt, therefore, with sincere eloquence on the beauties of the
place, and for the first time since they had met, her cousin felt as
if there was no longer any point of dissension between them.
The following morning was the first of June, and it was another of
those drowsy, dreamy days, that so much aid a landscape. The party
embarked in the first boat that came up, and as they entered Newburgh
bay, the triumph of the river was established. This is a spot, in
sooth, that has few equals in any region, though Eve still insisted
that the excellence of the view was in its softness rather than in
its grandeur. The country-houses, or boxes, for few could claim to be
much more, were neat, well placed, and exceedingly numerous. The
heights around the town of Newburgh, in particular, were fairly
dotted with them, though Mr. Effingham shook his head as he saw one
Grecian temple appear after another.
"As we recede from the influence of the vulgar architects," he said,
"we find imitation taking the place of instruction. Many of these
buildings are obviously disproportioned, and then, like vulgar
pretension of any sort, Grecian architecture produces less pleasure
than even Dutch."
"I am surprised at discovering how little of a Dutch character
remains in this state," said the baronet; "I can scarcely trace that
people in any thing, and yet, I believe, they had the moulding of
your society, having carried the colony through its infancy."
"When you know us better, you will be surprised at discovering how
little of any thing remains a dozen years," returned John Effingham.
"Our towns pass away in generations like their people, and even the
names of a place undergo periodical mutations, as well as every thing
else. It is getting to be a predominant feeling in the American
nature, I fear, to love change."
"But, cousin Jack, do you not overlook causes, in your censure. That
a nation advancing as fast as this in wealth and numbers, should
desire better structures than its fathers had either the means or the
taste to build, and that names should change with persons, are both
things quite in rule."
"All very true, though it does not account for the peculiarity I
mean. Take Templeton, for instance; this little place has not
essentially increased in numbers, within my memory, and yet fully
one-half its names are new. When he reaches his own home, your father
will not know even the names of one-half his neighbours. Not only
will he meet with new faces, but he will find new feelings, new
opinions in the place of traditions that he may love, an indifference
to every thing but the present moment, and even those who may have
better feelings, and a wish to cherish all that belongs to the holier
sentiments of man, afraid to utter them, lest they meet with no
"No cats, as Mr. Bragg would say."
"Jack is one who never paints _en beau_," said Mr. Effingham. "I
should be very sorry to believe that a dozen short years can have
made all these essential changes in my neighbourhood."
"A dozen years, Ned! You name an age. Speak of three or four, if you
wish to find any thing in America where you left it! The whole
country is in such a constant state of mutation, that I can only
liken it to that game of children, in which as one quits his corner,
another runs into it, and he that finds no corner to get into, is the
laughing-stock of the others. Fancy that dwelling the residence of
one man from childhood to old age; let him then quit it for a year or
two, and on his return he would find another in possession, who would
treat him as an impertinent intruder, because he had been absent two
years. An American 'always,' in the way of usages, extends no further
back than eighteen months. In short, every thing is condensed into
the present moment; and services, character, for evil as well as good
unhappily, and all other things, cease to have weight, except as they
influence the interests of the day."
"This is the colouring of a professed cynic," observed Mr. Effingham,
"But the law, Mr. John Effingham," eagerly inquired the
baronet--"surely the law would not permit a stranger to intrude in
this manner on the rights of an owner."
"The law-_books_ would do him that friendly office, perhaps, but what
is a precept in the face of practices so ruthless. '_Les absents out
toujours tort_,' is a maxim of peculiar application in America."
"Property is as secure in this country as in any other, Sir George;
and you will make allowances for the humours of the present
"Well, well, Ned; I hope you will find every thing _couleur de rose_,
as you appear to expect. You will get quiet possession of your house,
it is true, for I have put a Cerberus in it, that is quite equal to
his task, difficult as it may be, and who has quite as much relish
for a bill of costs, as any squatter can have for a trespass; but
without some such guardian of your rights, I would not answer for it,
that you would not be compelled to sleep in the highway."
"I trust Sir George Templemore knows how to make allowances for Mr.
John Effingham's pictures," cried Grace, unable to refrain from
expressing her discontent any longer.
A laugh succeeded, and the beauties of the river again attracted
their attention. As the boat continued to ascend, Mr. Effingham
triumphantly affirmed that the appearance of things more than
equalled his expectations, while both Eve and the baronet declared
that a succession of lovelier landscapes could hardly be presented to
"Whited sepulchres!" muttered John Effingham--"all outside. Wait
until you get a view of the deformity within."
As the boat approached Albany, Eve expressed her satisfaction in
still stronger terms; and Grace was made perfectly happy, by hearing
her and Sir George declare that the place entirely exceeded their
"I am glad to find, Eve, that you are so fast recovering your
American feelings," said her beautiful cousin, after one of those
expressions of agreeable disappointment, as they were seated at a
late dinner, in an inn. "You have at last found words to praise the
exterior of Albany; and I hope, by the time we return, you will be
disposed to see New-York with different eyes."
"I expected to see a capital in New-York, Grace, and in this I have
been grievously disappointed. Instead of finding the tastes, tone,
conveniences, architecture, streets, churches, shops, and society of
a capital, I found a huge expansion of common-place things, a
commercial town, and the most mixed and the least regulated society,
that I had ever met with. Expecting so much, where so little was
found, disappointment was natural. But in Albany, although a
political capital, I knew the nature of the government too well, to
expect more than a provincial town; and in this respect, I have found
one much above the level of similar places in other parts of the
world. I acknowledge that Albany has as much exceeded my expectations
in one sense, as New-York has fallen short of them in another."
"In this simple fact, Sir George Templemore," said Mr. Effingham,
"you may read the real condition of the country. In all that requires
something more than usual, a deficiency; in all that is deemed an
average, better than common. The tendency is to raise every thing
that is elsewhere degraded to a respectable height, when there
commences an attraction of gravitation that draws all towards the
centre; a little closer too than could be wished perhaps."
"Ay, ay, Ned; this is very pretty, with your attractions and
gravitations; but wait and judge for yourself of this average, of
which you now speak so complacently.
"Nay, John, I borrowed the image from you; if it be not accurate, I
shall hold you responsible for its defects."
"They tell me," said Eve, "that all American villages are the towns
in miniature; children dressed in hoops and wigs. Is this so, Grace?"
"A little; there is too much desire to imitate the towns, perhaps,
and possibly too little feeling for country life."
"This is a very natural consequence, after all, of people's living
entirely in such places," observed Sir George Templemore. "One sees
much of this on the continent of Europe, because the country
population is purely a country population; and less of it in England,
perhaps, because those who are at the head of society, consider town
and country as very distinct things."
"_La campagne est vraiment delicieuse en Amerique_," exclaimed
Mademoiselle Viefville, in whose eyes the whole country was little
more than _campagne_.
The next morning, our travellers proceeded by the way of Schenectady,
whence they ascended the beautiful valley of the Mohawk, by means of
a canal-boat, the cars that now rattle along its length not having
commenced their active flights, at that time. With the scenery, every
one was delighted; for while it differed essentially from that the
party had passed through the previous day, it was scarcely less
At a point where the necessary route diverged from the direction of
the canal, carriages of Mr. Effingham's were in readiness to receive
the travellers, and here they were also favoured by the presence of
Mr. Bragg, who fancied such an attention might be agreeable to the
young ladies, as well as to his employer.
"Tell me, where is fancy bred--
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?"
SONG IN SHAKSPEARE.
The travellers were several hours ascending into the mountains, by a
country road that could scarcely be surpassed by a French wheel-track
of the same sort, for Mademoiselle Viefville protested, twenty times
in the course of the morning, that it was a thousand pities Mr.
Effingham had not the privilege of the _corvee_, that he might cause
the approach to his _terres_ to be kept in better condition. At
length they reached the summit, a point where the waters began to
flow south, when the road became tolerably level. From this time
their progress became more rapid, and they continued to advance two
or three hours longer at a steady pace.
Aristabulus now informed his companions that, in obedience to
instructions from John Effingham, he had ordered the coachmen to take
a road that led a little from the direct line of their journey, and
that they had now been travelling for some time on the more ancient
route to Templeton.
"I was aware of this," said Mr. Effingham, "though ignorant of the
reason. We are on the great western turnpike."
"Certainly, sir, and all according to Mr. John's request. There would
have been a great saving in distance, and agreeably to my notion, in
horse-flesh, had we quietly gone down the banks of the lake."
"Jack will explain his own meaning," returned Mr. Effingham, "and he
has stopped the other carriage, and alighted with Sir George,--a
hint, I fancy, that we are to follow their example."
Sure enough, the second carriage was now stopped, and Sir George
hastened to open its door.
"Mr. John Effingham, who acts as cicerone," cried the baronet,
"insists that every one shall put _pied a terre_ at this precise
spot, keeping the important reason still a secret, in the recesses of
his own bosom."
The ladies complied, and the carriages were ordered to proceed with
the domestics, leaving the rest of the travellers by themselves,
apparently in the heart of a forest.
"It is to be hoped, Mademoiselle, there are no banditti in America,"
said Eve, as they looked around them at the novel situation in which
they were placed, apparently by a pure caprice of her cousin.
"_Ou des sauvages_," returned the governess, who, in spite of her
ordinary intelligence and great good sense, had several times that
day cast uneasy and stolen glances into the bits of dark wood they
had occasionally passed.
"I will ensure your purses and your scalps, _mesdames_," cried John
Effingham gaily, "on condition that you will follow me implicitly;
and by way of pledge for my faith, I solicit the honour of supporting
Mademoiselle Viefville on this unworthy arm."
The governess laughingly accepted the conditions, Eve took the arm of
her father, and Sir George offered his to Grace; Aristabulus, to his
surprise, being left to walk entirely alone. It struck him, however,
as so singularly improper that a young lady should be supported on
such an occasion by her own father, that he frankly and gallantly
proposed to Mr. Effingham to relieve him of his burthen, an offer
that was declined with quite as much distinctness as it was made.
"I suppose cousin Jack has a meaning to his melodrama," said Eve, as
they entered the forest, "and I dare say, dearest father, that you
are behind the scenes, though I perceive determined secrecy in your
"John may have a cave to show us, or some tree of extraordinary
height; such things existing in the country."
"We are very confiding, Mademoiselle, for I detect treachery in every
face around us. Even Miss Van Cortlandt has the air of a conspirator,
and seems to be in league with something or somebody. Pray Heaven, it
be not with wolves."
"_Des loups_!" exclaimed Mademoiselle Viefville, stopping short, with
a mien so alarmed as to excite a general laugh--"_est ce qu'il y a
des loups et des sangliers dans cette foret_?"
"No, Mademoiselle," returned her companion--"this is only barbarous
America, and not civilized France. Were we in _le departement de la
Seine_, we might apprehend some such dangers, but being merely in the
mountains of Otsego, we are reasonably safe."
"_Je l'espere_," murmured the governess, as she reluctantly and
distrustfully proceeded, glancing her eyes incessantly to the right
and left. The path now became steep and rather difficult; so much so,
indeed, as to indispose them all to conversation. It led beneath the
branches of lofty pines, though there existed, on every side of them,
proofs of the ravages man had committed in that noble forest. At
length they were compelled to stop for breath, after having ascended
considerably above the road they had left.
"I ought to have said that the spot where we entered on this path, is
memorable in the family history," observed John Effingham, to
Eve--"for it was the precise spot where one of our predecessors
lodged a shot in the shoulder of another."
"Then I know precisely where we are!" cried our heroine, "though I
cannot yet imagine why we are led into this forest, unless it be to
visit some spot hallowed by a deed of Natty Bumppo's!"
"Time will solve this mystery, as well as all others. Let us
Again they ascended, and, after a few more minutes of trial, they
reached a sort of table-land, and drew near an opening in the trees,
where a small circle had evidently been cleared of its wood, though
it was quite small and untilled. Eve looked curiously about her, as
did all the others to whom the place was novel, and she was lost in
"There seems to be a void beyond us," said the baronet--- "I rather
think Mr. John Effingham has led us to the verge of a view."
At this suggestion the party moved on in a body, and were well
rewarded for the toil of the ascent, by a _coup d'oeil_ that was
almost Swiss in character and beauty.
"Now do I know where we are," exclaimed Eve, clasping her hands in
rapture--"this is the 'Vision,' and yonder, indeed, is our blessed
The whole artifice of the surprise was exposed, and after the first
bursts of pleasure had subsided, all to whom the scene was novel
felt, that they would not have missed this _piquante_ introduction to
the valley of the Susquehannah, on any account. That the reader may
understand the cause of so much delight, and why John Effingham had
prepared this scene for his friends, we shall stop to give a short
description of the objects that first met the eyes of the travellers.
It is known that they were in a small open spot in a forest, and on
the verge of a precipitous mountain. The trees encircled them on
every side but one, and on that lay the panorama, although the tops
of tall pines, that grew in lines almost parallel to the declivity,
rose nearly to a level with the eye. Hundreds of feet beneath them,
directly in front, and stretching leagues to the right, was a lake
embedded in woods and hills. On the side next the travellers, a
fringe of forest broke the line of water; tree tops that intercepted
the view of the shores; and on the other, high broken hills, or low
mountains rather, that were covered with farms, beautifully relieved
by patches of wood, in a way to resemble the scenery of a vast park,
or a royal pleasure ground, limited the landscape. High valleys lay
among these uplands, and in every direction comfortable dwellings
dotted the fields. The contrast between the dark hues of the
evergreens, with which all the heights near the water were shaded,
was in soft contrast to the livelier green of the other foliage,
while the meadows and pastures were luxuriant with a verdure
unsurpassed by that of England. Bays and points added to the
exquisite outline of the glassy lake on this shore, while one of the
former withdrew towards the north-west, in a way to leave the eye
doubtful whether it was the termination of the transparent sheet or
not. Towards the south, bold, varied, but cultivated hills, also
bounded the view, all teeming with the fruits of human labour, and
yet all relieved by pieces of wood, in the way already mentioned, so
as to give the entire region the character of park scenery. A wide,
deep, even valley, commenced at the southern end of the lake, or
nearly opposite to the stand of our travellers, and stretched away
south, until concealed by a curvature in the ranges of the mountains.
Like all the mountain-tops, this valley was verdant, peopled, wooded
in places, though less abundantly than the hills, and teeming with
the signs of life. Roads wound through its peaceful retreats, and
might be traced working their way along the glens, and up the weary
ascents of the mountains, for miles, in every direction.
At the northern termination of this lovely valley, and immediately on
the margin of the lake, lay the village of Templeton, immediately
under the eyes of the party. The distance, in an air line, from their
stand to the centre of the dwellings, could not be much less than a
mile, but the air was so pure, and the day so calm, that it did not
seem so far. The children and even the dogs were seen running about
the streets, while the shrill cries of boys at their gambols,
ascended distinctly to the ear.
As this was the Templeton of the Pioneers, and the progress of
society during half a century is connected with the circumstance, we
shall give the reader a more accurate notion of its present state,
than can be obtained from incidental allusions. We undertake the
office more readily because this is not one of those places that
shoot up in a day, under the unnatural efforts of speculation, or
which, favoured by peculiar advantages in the way of trade, becomes a
precocious city, while the stumps still stand in its streets; but a
sober county town, that has advanced steadily, _pari passu_ with the
surrounding country, and offers a fair specimen of the more regular
advancement of the whole nation, in its progress towards
The appearance of Templeton, as seen from the height where it is now
exhibited to the reader, was generally beautiful and map-like. There
might be a dozen streets, principally crossing each other at right-
angles, though sufficiently relieved from this precise delineation,
to prevent a starched formality. Perhaps the greater part of the
buildings were painted white, as is usual in the smaller American
towns; though a better taste was growing in the place, and many of
the dwellings had the graver and chaster hues of the grey stones of
which they were built. A general air of neatness and comfort pervaded
the place, it being as unlike a continental European town, south of
the Rhine, in this respect, as possible, if indeed we except the
picturesque bourgs of Switzerland. In England, Templeton would be
termed a small market-town, so far as size was concerned; in France,
a large _bourg_; while in America it was, in common parlance, and
legal appellation, styled a village.
Of the dwellings of the place, fully twenty were of a quality that
denoted ease in the condition of their occupants, and bespoke the
habits of those accustomed to live in a manner superior to the _oi
polloi_ of the human race. Of these, some six or eight had small
lawns, carriage sweeps, and the other similar appliances of houses
that were not deemed unworthy of the honour of bearing names of their
own. No less than five little steeples, towers, or belfries, for
neither word is exactly suitable to the architectural prodigies we
wish to describe, rose above the roofs, denoting the sites of the
same number of places of worship; an American village usually
exhibiting as many of these proofs of liberty of conscience--
_caprices of conscience_ would perhaps be a better term--as dollars
and cents will by any process render attainable. Several light
carriages, such as were suitable to a mountainous country, were
passing to and fro in the streets; and, here and there, a single-
horse vehicle was fastened before the door of a shop, or a lawyer's
office, denoting the presence of some customer, or client, from among
the adjacent hills.
Templeton was not sufficiently a thoroughfare to possess one of those
monstrosities, a modern American tavern, or a structure whose roof
should overtop that of all its neighbours. Still its inns were of
respectable size, well piazzaed, to use a word of our own invention,
and quite enough frequented.
Near the centre of the place, in grounds of rather limited extent,
still stood that model of the composite order, which owed its
existence to the combined knowledge and taste, in the remoter ages of
the region, of Mr. Richard Jones and Mr. Hiram Doolittle. We will not
say that it had been modernized, for the very reverse was the effect,
in appearance at least; but, it had since undergone material changes,
under the more instructed intelligence of John Effingham.
This building was so conspicuous by position and size, that as soon
as they had taken in glimpses of the entire landscape, which was not
done without constant murmurs of pleasure, every eye became fastened
on it, as the focus of interest. A long and common silence denoted
how general was this feeling, and the whole party took seats on
stumps and fallen trees before a syllable was uttered, after the
building had attracted their gaze. Aristabulus alone permitted his
look to wander, and he was curiously examining the countenance of Mr.
Effingham, near whom he sate, with a longing to discover whether the
expression was that of approbation, or of disapprobation, of the
fruits of his cousin's genius.
"Mr. John Effingham has considerably regenerated and revivified, not
to say transmogrified, the old dwelling," he said, cautiously using
terms that might have his own opinion of the changes doubtful. "The
work of his hand has excited some speculation, a good deal of
inquiry, and a little conversation, throughout the country. It has
almost produced an excitement!"
"As my house came to me from my father," said Mr. Effingham, across
whose mild and handsome face a smile was gradually stealing, "I knew
its history, and when called on for an explanation of its
singularities, could refer all to the composite order. But, you,
Jack, have supplanted all this, by a style of your own, for which I
shall be compelled to consult the authorities for explanations."
"Do you dislike my taste, Ned?--To my eye, now, the structure has no
bad appearance from this spot!"
"Fitness and comfort are indispensable requisites for domestic
architecture, to use your own argument. Are you quite sure that
yonder castellated roof, for instance, is quite suited to the deep
snows of these mountains?"
John Effingham whistled, and endeavoured to look unconcerned, for he
well knew that the very first winter had demonstrated the
unsuitableness of his plans for such a climate. He had actually felt
disposed to cause the whole to be altered privately, at his own
expense; but, besides feeling certain his cousin would resent a
liberty that inferred his indisposition to pay for his own buildings,
he had a reluctance to admit, in the face of the whole country, that
he had made so capital a mistake, in a branch of art in which he
prided himself rather more than common; almost as much as his
predecessor in the occupation, Mr. Richard Jones.
"If you are not pleased with your own dwelling, Ned," he answered,
"you can have, at least, the consolation of looking at some of your
neighbours' houses, and of perceiving that they are a great deal
worse off. Of all abortions of this sort, to my taste, a Grecian
abortion is the worst--mine is only Gothic, and that too, in a style
so modest, that I should think it might pass unmolested."
It was so unusual to see John Effingham on the defensive, that the
whole party smiled, while Aristabulus who stood in salutary fear of
his caustic tongue, both smiled and wondered.
"Nay, do not mistake me, John," returned the proprietor of the
edifice under discussion--"it is not your _taste_ that I call in
question, but your provision against the seasons. In the way of mere
outward show, I really think you deserve high praise, for you have
transformed a very ugly dwelling into one that is almost handsome, in
despite of proportions and the necessity of regulating the
alterations by prescribed limits. Still, I think, there is a little
of the composite left about even the exterior."
"I hope, cousin Jack, you have not innovated on the interior," cried
Eve; "for I think I shall remember that, and nothing is more pleasant
than the _cattism_ of seeing objects that you remember in childhood--
pleasant, I mean, to those whom the mania of mutation has not
"Do not be alarmed, Miss Effingham," replied her kinsman, with a
pettishness of manner that was altogether extraordinary, in a man
whose mien, in common, was so singularly composed and masculine; "you
will find all that you knew, when a kitten, in its proper place. I
could not rake together, again, the ashes of Queen Dido, which were
scattered to the four winds of Heaven, I fear; nor could I discover a
reasonably good bust of Homer; but respectable substitutes are
provided, and some of them have the great merit of puzzling all
beholders to tell to whom they belong, which I believe was the great
characteristic of most of Mr. Jones's invention."
"I am glad to see, cousin Jack, that you have, at least, managed to
give a very respectable 'cloud-colour' to the whole house."
"Ay, it lay between that and an invisible green," the gentleman
answered, losing his momentary spleen in his natural love of the
ludicrous--"but finding that the latter would be only too conspicuous
in the droughts that sometimes prevail in this climate, I settled
down into the yellowish drab, that is, indeed, not unlike some of the
richer volumes of the clouds."
"On the whole, I think you are fairly entitled, as Steadfast Dodge,
Esquire, would say, to 'the meed of our thanks.'"
"What a lovely spot!" exclaimed Mr. Effingham, who had already ceased
to think of his own dwelling, and whose eye was roaming over the soft
landscape, athwart which the lustre of a June noontide was throwing
its richest glories. "This is truly a place where one might fancy
repose and content were to be found for the evening of a troubled
"Indeed, I have seldom looked upon a more bewitching scene," answered
the baronet. "The lakes of Cumberland will scarce compete with this!"
"Or that of Brienz, or Lungeren, or Nemi," said Eve, smiling in a way
that the other understood to be a hit at his nationality.
"_C'est charmant!_" murmured Mademoiselle Viefville. "_On pense a
l'eternite, dans une telle calme!_"
"The farm you can see lying near yonder wood, Mr. Effingham," coolly
observed Aristabulus, "sold last spring for thirty dollars the acre,
and was bought for twenty, the summer-before!"
"_Chacun a son gout!_" said Eve.
"And yet, I fear, this glorious scene is marred by the envy,
rapacity, uncharitableness, and all the other evil passions of man!"
continued the more philosophical Mr. Effingham. "Perhaps, it were
better as it was so lately, when it lay in the solitude and peace of
the wilderness, the resort of birds and beasts."
"Who prey on each other, dearest father, just as the worst of our own
species prey on their fellows."
"True, child--true. And yet, I never gaze on one of these scenes of
holy calm, without wishing that the great tabernacle of nature might
be tenanted only by those who have a feeling for its perfection."
"Do you see the lady," said Aristabulus, "that is just coming out on
the lawn, in front of the 'Wig-wam?'" for that was the name John
Effingham had seen fit to give the altered and amended abode. "Here,
Miss Effingham, more in a line with the top of the pine beneath us."
"I see the person you mean; she seems to be looking in this
"You are quite right, miss; she knows that we are to stop on the
Vision, and no doubt sees us. That lady is your father's cook, Miss
Effingham, and is thinking of the late breakfast that has been
ordered to be in readiness against our arrival."
Eve concealed her amusement, for, by this time, she had discovered
that Mr. Bragg had a way peculiar to himself, or at least to his
class, of using many of the commoner words of the English language.
It would perhaps be expecting too much of Sir George Templemore, not
to expect him to smile, on such an occasion.
"Ah!" exclaimed Aristabulus, pointing towards the lake, across which
several skiffs were stealing, some in one direction, and some in
another, "there is a boat out, that I think must contain the poet."
"Poet!" repeated John Effingham. "Have we reached that pass at
"Lord, Mr. John Effingham, you must have very contracted notions of
the place, if you think a poet a great novelty in it. Why, sir, we
have caravans of wild beasts, nearly every summer!"
"This is, indeed, a step in advance, of which I was ignorant. Here
then, in a region, that so lately was tenanted by beasts of prey,
beasts are already brought as curiosities. You perceive the state of
the country in this fact, Sir George Templemore."
"I do indeed; but I should like to hear from Mr Bragg, what sort of
animals are in these caravans?"
"All sorts, from monkeys to elephants. The last had a rhinoceros."
"Rhinoceros!--Why there was but one, lately, in all Europe. Neither
the Zoological Gardens, nor the _Jardin des Plantes_, had a
rhinoceros! I never saw but one, and that was in a caravan at Rome,
that travelled between St. Petersburgh and Naples."
"Well, sir, we have rhinoceroses here;--and monkeys, and zebras, and
poets, and painters, and congressmen, and bishops, and governors, and
all other sorts of creatures."
"And who may the particular poet be, Mr. Bragg," Eve asked, "who
honours Templeton, with his presence just at this moment?"
"That is more than I can tell you, miss, for, though some eight or
ten of us have done little else than try to discover his name for the
last week, we have not got even as far as that one fact. He and the
gentleman who travels with him, are both uncommonly close on such
matters, though I think we have some as good catechisers in
Templeton, as can be found any where within fifty miles of us!"
"There is another gentleman with him--do you suspect them both of
"Oh, no, Miss, the other is the waiter of the poet; that we know, as
he serves him at dinner, and otherwise superintends his concerns;
such as brushing his clothes, and keeping his room in order."
"This is being in luck for a poet, for they are of a class that are a
little apt to neglect the decencies. May I ask why you suspect the
master of being a poet, if the man be so assiduous?"
"Why, what else can he be? In the first place, Miss Effingham, he has
"That is a reason in point," said John Effingham "very few poets
"Then he is out on the lake half his time, gazing up at the 'Silent
Pine,' or conversing with the 'Speaking Rocks,' or drinking at the
"All suspicious, certainly; especially the dialogue with the rocks;
though not absolutely conclusive."
"But, Mr. John Effingham, the man does not take his food like other
people. He rises early, and is out on the water, or up in the forest,
all the morning, and then returns to eat his breakfast in the middle
of the forenoon; he goes into the woods again, or on the lake, and
comes back to dinner, just as I take my tea."
"This settles the matter. Any man who presumes to do all this, Mr.
Bragg, deserves to be called by some harder name, even, than that of
a poet. Pray, sir, how long has this eccentric person been a resident
"Hist--there he is, as I am a sinner; and it was not he and the other
gentlemen that were in the boat."
The rebuked manner of Aristabulus, and the dropping of his voice,
induced the whole party to look in the direction of his eye, and,
sure enough, a gentleman approached them, in the dress a man of the
world is apt to assume in the country, an attire of itself that was
sufficient to attract comment in a place where the general desire was
to be as much like town as possible, though it was sufficiently neat
and simple. He came from the forest, along the table-land that
crowned the mountain for some distance, following one of the foot-
paths that the admirers of the beautiful landscape have made all over
that pleasant wood. As he came out into the cleared spot, seeing it
already in possession of a party, he bowed, and was passing on, with
a delicacy that Mr. Bragg would be apt to deem eccentric, when
suddenly stopping, he gave a look of intense and eager interest at
the whole party, smiled, advanced rapidly nearer, and discovered his
"I ought not to be surprised," he said, as he advanced so near as to
render doubt any longer impossible, "for I knew you were expected,
and indeed waited for your arrival, and yet this meeting has been so
unexpected as to leave me scarcely in possession of my faculties."
It is needless to dwell upon the warmth and number of the greetings.
To the surprise of Mr. Bragg, his poet was not only known, but
evidently much esteemed by all the party, with the exception of Miss
Van Cortlandt, to whom he was cordially presented by the name of Mr.
Powis. Eve managed, by an effort of womanly pride, to suppress the
violence of her emotions, and the meeting passed off as one of mutual
surprise and pleasure, without any exhibition of unusual feeling to
"We ought to express our wonder at finding you here before us, my
dear young friend," said Mr. Effingham, still holding Paul's hand
affectionately between his own; "and, even now, that my own eyes
assure me of the fact, I can hardly believe you would arrive at New-
York, and quit it, without giving us the satisfaction of seeing you."
"In that, sir, you are not wrong; certainly nothing could have
deprived me of that pleasure, but the knowledge that it would not
have been agreeable to yourselves. My sudden appearance here,
however, will be without mystery, when I tell you that I returned
from England, by the way of Quebec, the Great Lakes, and the Falls,
having been induced by my friend Ducie to take that route, in
consequence of his ship's being sent to the St. Lawrence. A desire
for novelty, and particularly a desire to see the celebrated
cataract, which is almost _the_ lion of America, did the rest."
"We are glad to have you with us on any terms, and I take it as
particularly kind, that you did not pass my door. You have been here
"Quite a week. On reaching Utica I diverged from the great route to
see this place, not anticipating the pleasure of meeting you here so
early; but hearing you were expected, I determined to remain, with a
hope, which I rejoice to find was not vain, that you would not be
sorry to see an old fellow-traveller again."
Mr. Effingham pressed his hands warmly again, before he relinquished
them; an assurance of welcome that Paul received with thrilling
"I have been in Templeton almost long enough," the young man resumed,
laughing, "to set up as a candidate for the public favour, if I
rightly understand the claims of a denizen. By what I can gather from
casual remarks, the old proverb that 'the new broom sweeps clean'
applies with singular fidelity throughout all this region.
"Have you a copy of your last ode, or a spare epigram, in your
pocket?" inquired John Effingham.
Paul looked surprised, and Aristabulus, for a novelty, was a little
dashed. Paul looked surprised, as a matter of course, for, although
he had been a little annoyed by the curiosity that is apt to haunt a
village imagination, since his arrival in Templeton, he did not in
the least suspect that his love of a beautiful nature had been
imputed to devotion to the muses. Perceiving, however, by the smiles
of those around him, that there was more meant than was expressed, he
had the tact to permit the explanation to come from the person who
had put the question, if it were proper it should come at all.
"We will defer the great pleasure that is in reserve," continued John
Effingham, "to another time. At present, it strikes me that the lady
of the lawn is getting to be impatient, and the _dejeuner a la
fourchette_, that I have had the precaution to order, is probably
waiting our appearance. It must be eaten, though under the penalty of
being thought moon-struck rhymers by the whole State. Come, Ned; if
you are sufficiently satisfied with looking at the Wigwam in a
bird's-eye view, we will descend and put its beauties to the severer
test of a close examination."
This proposal was readily accepted, though all tore themselves from
that lovely spot with reluctance, and not until they had paused to
take another look.
"Fancy the shores of this lake lined with villas." said Eve, "church-
towers raising their dark heads among these hills; each mountain
crowned with a castle, or a crumbling ruin, and all the other
accessories of an old state of society, and what would then be the
charms of the view!"
"Less than they are to-day, Miss Effingham," said Paul Powis; "for
though poetry requires--you all smile, is it forbidden to touch on
"Not at all, so it be done in wholesome rhymes," returned the
baronet. "You ought to know that you are expected even to speak in
Paul ceased, and the whole party walked away from the place, laughing
"It is the spot, I came to seek, My father's ancient burial place--
"It is the spot--I know it well, Of which our old traditions tell."
From the day after their arrival in New-York, or that on which the
account of the arrests by the English cruiser had appeared in the
journals, little had been said by any of our party concerning Paul
Powis, or of the extraordinary manner in which he had left the
packet, at the very moment she was about to enter her haven. It is
true that Mr. Dodge, arrived at Dodgeopolis, had dilated on the
subject in his hebdomadal, with divers additions and conjectures of
his own, and this, too, in a way to attract, a good deal of attention
in the interior; but, it being a rule with those who are supposed to
dwell at the fountain of foreign intelligence, not to receive any
thing from those who ought not to be better informed than themselves,
the Effinghams and their friends had never heard of his account of
While all thought the incident of the sudden return extraordinary, no
one felt disposed to judge the young man harshly. The gentlemen knew
that military censure, however unpleasant, did not always imply moral
unworthiness; and as for the ladies, they retained too lively a sense
of his skill and gallantry, to wish to imagine evil on grounds so
slight and vague. Still, it had been impossible altogether to prevent
the obtrusion of disagreeable surmises, and all now sincerely
rejoiced at seeing their late companion once more among them,
seemingly in a state of mind that announced neither guilt nor
On quitting the mountain, Mr. Effingham, who had a tender regard for
Grace, offered her his arm as he would have given it to a second
daughter, leaving Eve to the care of John Effingham. Sir George
attended to Mademoiselle Viefville, and Paul walked by the side of
our heroine and her cousin, leaving Aristabulus to be what he himself
called a "miscellaneous companion;" or, in other words, to thrust
himself into either set, as inclination or accident might induce. Of
course the parties conversed as they walked, though those in advance
would occasionally pause to say a word to those in the rear; and, as
they descended, one or two changes occurred to which we may have
occasion to allude.
"I trust you have had pleasant passages," said John Effingham to
Paul, as soon as they were separated in the manner just mentioned.
"Three trips across the Atlantic in so short a time would be hard
duty to a landsman, though you, as a sailor, will probably think less
"In this respect I have been fortunate; the Foam, as we know from
experience, being a good traveller, and Ducie is altogether a fine
fellow and an agreeable messmate. You know I had him for a companion
both going and coming."
This was said naturally; and, while it explained so little directly,
it removed all unpleasant uncertainty, by assuring his listeners that
he had been on good terms at least, with the person who had seemed to
be his pursuer. John Effingham, too, well understood that no one
messed with the commander of a vessel of war, in his own ship, who
was, in any way, thought to be an unfit associate.
"You have made a material circuit to reach us, the distance by Quebec
being nearly a fourth more than the direct road."
"Ducie desired it so strongly, that I did not like to deny him.
Indeed, he made it a point, at first, to obtain permission to land me
at New-York, where he had found me, as he said; but to this I would
not listen, as I feared it might interfere with his promotion, of
which he stood so good a chance, in consequence of his success in the
affair of the money. By keeping constantly before the eyes of his
superiors, on duty of interest, I thought his success would be more
"And has his government thought his perseverance in the chase worthy
of such a reward?"
"Indeed it has. He is now a post, and all owing to his good luck and
judgment in that affair; though in his country, rank in private life
does no harm to one in public life."
Eve liked the emphasis that Paul laid on "his country," and she
thought the whole remark was made in a spirit that an Englishman
would not be apt to betray.
"Has it ever occurred to you," continued John Effingham, "that our
sudden and unexpected separation, has caused a grave neglect of duty
in me, if not in both of us?"
Paul looked surprised, and, by his manner, he demanded an
"You may remember the sealed package of poor Mr. Monday, that we were
to open together on our arrival in New-York, and on the contents of
which, we were taught to believe depended the settling of some
important private rights. I gave that package to you, at the moment
it was received, and, in the hurry of leaving us, you overlooked the
"All very true, and to my shame I confess that, until this instant,
the affair has been quite forgotten by me. I had so much to occupy my
mind while in England, that it was not likely to be remembered, and
then the packet itself has scarce been in my possession since the day
I left you,"
"It is not lost, I trust!" said John Effingham quickly.
"Surely not--it is safe, beyond a question, in the writing-desk in
which I deposited it. But the moment we got to Portsmouth, Ducie and
myself proceeded to London together, and, as soon as he had got
through at the Admiralty, we went into Yorkshire, where we remained,
much occupied with private matters of great importance to us both,
while his ship was docked; and then it became necessary to make
sundry visits to our relations--"
"Relations!" repeated Eve involuntarily, though she did not cease to
reproach herself for the indiscretion, during the rest of the walk.
"Relations--" returned Paul, smiling. "Captain Ducie and myself are
cousins-german, and we made pilgrimages together, to sundry family
shrines. This duty occupied us until a few days before we sailed for
Quebec. On reaching our haven, I left the ship to visit the great
lakes and Niagara, leaving most of my effects with Ducie, who has
promised to bring them on with himself, when he followed on my track,
as he expected soon to do, on his way to the West Indies, where he is
to find a frigate. He owed me this attention, as he insisted, on
account of having induced me to go so far out of my way, with so much
luggage, to oblige him. The packet is, unluckily, left behind with
the other things."
"And do you expect Captain Ducie to arrive in this country soon?--The
affair of the packet ought not to be neglected much longer, for a
promise to a dying man is doubly binding, as it appeals to all our
generosity. Rather than neglect the matter much longer, I would
prefer sending a special messenger to Quebec."
"That will be quite unnecessary, as, indeed, it would be useless.
Ducie left Quebec yesterday, and has sent his and my effects direct
to New-York, under the care of his own steward. The writing-case,
containing other papers that are of interest to us both, he has
promised not to lose sight of, but it will accompany him on the same
tour, as that I have just made; for, he wishes to avail himself of
this opportunity to see Niagara and the lakes, also: he is now on my
track, and will notify me by letter of the day he will be in Utica,
in order that we may meet on the line of the canal, near this place,
and proceed to New-York, in company."
His companions listened to this brief statement with an intense
interest, with which the packet of poor Mr. Monday, however, had very
little connection. John Effingham called to his cousin, and, in a few
words, stated the circumstances as they had just been related to
himself, without adverting to the papers of Mr. Monday, which was an
affair that he had hitherto kept to himself.
"It will be no more than a return of civility, if we invite Captain
Ducie to diverge from his road, and pass a few days with us, in the
mountains," he added. "At what precise time do you expect him to
"Within the fortnight. I feel certain he would be glad to pay his
respects to this party, for he often expressed his sincere regrets at
having been employed on a service that exposed the ladies to so much
peril and delay."
"Captain Ducie is a near kinsman of Mr. Powis, dear father," added
Eve, in a way to show her parent, that the invitation would be
agreeable to herself, for Mr. Effingham was so attentive to the
wishes of his daughter, as never to ask a guest to his house, that he
thought would prove disagreeable to its mistress.
"I shall do myself the pleasure to write to Captain Ducie, this
evening, urging him to honour us with his company," returned Mr.
Effingham. "We expect other friends in a few days, and I hope he will
not find his time heavy on his hands, while in exile among us. Mr.
Powis will enclose my note in one of his letters, and will, I trust,
second the request by his own solicitations."
Paul made his acknowledgments, and the whole party proceeded, though
the interruption caused such a change in the _figure_ of the
promenade, as to leave the young man the immediate escort of Eve. The
party, by this time, had not only reached the highway, but it had
again diverged from it, to follow the line of an old and abandoned
wheel-track, that descended the mountain, along the side of the
declivity, by a wilder and more perilous direction than suited a
modern enterprise; it having been one of those little calculated and
rude roads, that the first settlers of a country are apt to make,
before there are time and means to investigate and finish to
advantage. Although much more difficult and dangerous than its
successor, as a highway, this relic of the infant condition of the
country was by far the most retired and beautiful; and pedestrians
continued to use it, as a common foot-path to the Vision. The seasons
had narrowed its surface, and the second growth had nearly covered it
with their branches, shading it like an arbour; and Eve expressed her
delight with its wildness and boldness, mingled, as both were, with
so pleasant a seclusion, as they descended along a path as safe and
convenient as a French _allee_. Glimpses were constantly obtained of
the lake and the village, while they proceeded; and altogether, they
who were strangers to the scenery, were loud in its praises.
"Most persons, who see this valley for the first time," observed
Aristabulus, "find something to say in its favour; for my part, I
consider it as rather curious myself."
"Curious!" exclaimed Paul; "that gentleman is, at least, singular in
the choice of his expressions."
"You have met him before to-day," said Eve, laughing, for Eve was now
in a humour to laugh at trifles. "This we know, since he had prepared
us to meet a poet, where we only find an old friend."
"Only, Miss Effingham!--Do you estimate poets so high, and old
friends so low?"
"This extraordinary person, Mr. Aristabulus Bragg, really deranges
all one's notions and opinions in such a manner, as to destroy even
the usual signification of words, I believe. He seems so much in, and
yet so much out of his place; is both so _ruse_, and so unpractised;
so unfit for what he is, and so ready at every thing, that I scarcely
know how to apply terms in any matter with which he has the smallest
connection. I fear he has persecuted you since your arrival in
"Not at all; I am so much acquainted with men of his cast, that I
have acquired a tact in managing them. Perceiving that he was
disposed to suspect me of a disposition to 'poetize the lake,' to use
his own term, I took care to drop a couple of lines, roughly written
off, like a hasty and imperfect effusion, where I felt sure he would
find them, and have been living for a whole week on the fame
"You do indulge in such tastes, then?" said Eve smiling a little
"I am as innocent of such an ambition, as of wishing to marry the
heiress of the British throne, which, I believe, just now, is the
goal of all the Icaruses of our own time. I am merely a rank
plagiarist--for the rhyme, on the fame of which I have rioted for a
glorious week, was two lines of Pope's, an author so effectually
forgotten in these palmy days of literature, in which all knowledge
seems so condensed into the productions of the last few years, that a
man might almost pass off an entire classic for his own, without the
fear of detection. It was merely the first couplet of the Essay on
Man, which, fortunately, having an allusion to the 'pride of Kings,'
would pass for original, as well as excellent, in nineteen villages
in twenty in America, in these piping times of ultra-republicanism.
No doubt Mr. Bragg thought a eulogy on the 'people' was to come next,
to be succeeded by a glorious picture of Templeton and its environs."
"I do not know that I ought to admit these hits at liberty from a
foreigner," said Eve, pretending to look graver than she felt; for
never before, in her life, had our heroine so strong a consciousness
of happiness, as she had experienced that very morning.
"Foreigner, Miss Effingham!--And why a foreigner?"
"Nay, you know your own pretended cosmopolitism; and ought not the
cousin of Captain Ducie to be an Englishman?"
"I shall not answer for the _ought_, the simple fact being a
sufficient reply to the question. The cousin of Captain Ducie is
_not_ an Englishman; nor, as I see you suspect, has he ever served a
day in the British navy, or in any other navy than that of his native
"This is indeed taking us by surprise, and that most agreeably,"
returned Eve, looking up at him with undisguised pleasure, while a
bright glow crimsoned her face. "We could not but feel an interest in
one who had so effectually served us; and both my father and Mr. John
"Cousin Jack--" interrupted the smiling Paul.
"Cousin Jack, then, if you dislike the formality I used; both my
father and cousin Jack examined the American navy registers for your
name, without success, as I understood, and the inference that
followed was fair enough, I believe you will admit."
"Had they looked at a register of a few years' date, they would have
met with better luck. I have quitted the service, and am a sailor
only in recollections. For the last few years, like yourselves, I
have been a traveller by land as well as by water."
Eve said no more, though every syllable that the young man uttered
was received by attentive ears, and retained with a scrupulous
fidelity of memory. They walked some distance in silence, until they
reached the grounds of a house that was beautifully placed on the
side of the mountain, near a lovely wood of pines. Crossing these
grounds, until they reached a terrace in front of the dwelling, the
village of Templeton lay directly in their front, perhaps a hundred
feet beneath them, and yet so near, as to render the minutest object
distinct. Here they all stopped to take a more distinct view of a
place that had so much interest with most of the party.
"I hope you are sufficiently acquainted with the localities to act as
cicerone," said Mr. Effingham to Paul. "In a visit of a week to this
village, you have scarcely overlooked the Wigwam."
"Perhaps I ought to hesitate, or rather ought to blush to own it,"
answered the young man, discharging the latter obligation by
colouring to his temples; "but curiosity has proved so much stronger
than manners, that I have been induced to trespass so far on the
politeness of this gentleman, as to gain an admission to your
dwelling, in and about which more of my time has been passed than has
probably proved agreeable to its inmates."
"I hope the gentleman will not speak of it," said Aristabulus. "In
this country, we live pretty much in common, and with me it is a
rule, when a gentleman drops in, whether stranger or neighbour, to
show him the civility to ask him to take off his hat."
"It appears to me," said Eve, willing to change the conversation,
"that Templeton has an unusual number of steeples; for what purpose
can so small a place possibly require so many buildings of that
"All in behalf of orthodoxy, Miss Eve," returned Aristabulus, who
conceived himself to be the proper person to answer such
interrogatories. "There is a shade of opinion beneath every one of
"Do you mean, sir, that there are as many shades of faith in
Templeton, as I now see buildings that have the appearance of being
devoted to religious purposes?"
"Double the number, Miss, and some to spare, in the bargain; for you
see but five meeting-houses, and the county-buildings, and we reckon
seven regular hostile denominations in the village, besides the
diversities of sentiment on trifles. This edifice that you perceive
here, in a line with the chimneys of the first house, is New St.
Paul's, Mr. Grant's old church, as orthodox a house, in its way, as
there is in the diocese, as you may see by the windows. This is a
gaining concern, though there has been some falling off of late, in
consequence of the clergyman's having caught a bad cold, which has
made him a little hoarse; but I dare say he will get over it, and the
church ought not to be abandoned on that account, serious as the
matter undoubtedly is, for the moment. A few of us are determined to
back up New St. Paul's in this crisis, and I make it a point to go
there myself, quite half the time."
"I am glad we have so much of your company," said Mr. Effingham "for
that is our own church, and in it my daughter was baptized. But, do
you divide your religious opinions in halves, Mr. Bragg?"
"In as many parts, Mr. Effingham, as there are denominations in the
neighbourhood, giving a decided preference to New St. Paul's,
notwithstanding, under the peculiar circumstances, particularly to
the windows. The dark, gloomy-looking building, Miss, off in the
distance, yonder, is the Methodist affair, of which not much need be
said; Methodism flourishing but little among us since the
introduction of the New Lights, who have fairly managed to out-excite
them, on every plan they can invent. I believe, however, they stick
pretty much to the old doctrine, which, no doubt, is one great reason
of their present apathetic state; for the people do love novelties."
"Pray, sir, what building is this nearly in a line with New St.
Paul's, and which resembles it a little, in colour and form?"
"Windows excepted; it has two rows of regular square-topped windows,
Miss, as you may observe. That is the First Presbyterian, or the old
standard; a very good house, and a pretty good faith, too, as times
go. I make it a point to attend there, at least once every fortnight;
for change is agreeable to the nature of man. I will say, Miss, that
my preference, so far as I have any, however, is for New St. Paul's,
and I have experienced considerable regrets, that these Presbyterians
have gained a material advantage over us, in a very essential point,
"I am sorry to hear this, Mr. Bragg; for, being an Episcopalian
myself, and having great reliance on the antiquity and purity of my
church, I should be sorry to find it put in the wrong by any other."
"I fear we must give that point up, notwithstanding, for these
Presbyterians have entirely outwitted the church people in that
"And what is the point in which we have been so signally worsted?"
"Why, Miss, their new bell weighs quite a hundred more than that of
New St. Paul's, and has altogether the best sound. I know very well
that this advantage will not avail them any thing to boast of, in the
last great account; but it makes a surprising difference in the state
of probation. You see the yellowish looking building across the
valley, with a heavy wall around it, and a belfry? That, in its
regular character, is the county court-house, and gaol; but, in the
way of religion, it is used pretty much miscellaneously."
"Do you mean, really, sir, that divine service is ever actually
performed in it, or that persons of all denominations are
occasionally tried there?"
"It would be truer to say that all denominations occasionally try the
court-house," said Aristabulus, simpering; "for I believe it has been
used in this way by every shade of religion short of the Jews. The
Gothic tower in wood, is the building of the Universalists; and the
Grecian edifice, that is not yet painted, the Baptists. The Quakers,
I believe, worship chiefly at home, and the different shades of the
Presbyterians meet, in different rooms, in private houses, about the
"Are there then shades of difference in the denominations, as well as
all these denominations?" asked Eve, in unfeigned surprise; "and
this, too, in a population so small?"
"This is a free county, Miss Eve, and freedom loves variety. 'Many
men, many minds.'"
"Quite true, sir," said Paul; "but here are many minds among few men.
Nor is this all; agreeably to your own account, some of these men do
not exactly know their own minds. But, can you explain to us what
essential points are involved in all these shades of opinion?"
"It would require a life, sir, to understand the half of them. Some
say that excitement is religion, and others, that it is contentment.
One set cries up practice, and another cries out against it. This man
maintains that he will be saved if he does good, and that man affirms
that if he only does good, he will be damned; a little evil is
necessary to salvation, with one shade of opinion, while another
thinks a man is never so near conversion as when he is deepest in
"Subdivision is the order of the day," added John Effingham; "every
county is to be subdivided that there may be more county towns, and
county offices; every religion decimated, that there may be a greater
variety and a better quality of saints."
Aristabulus nodded his head, and he would have winked, could he have
presumed to take such a liberty with a man he held as much in
habitual awe, as John Effingham.
"_Monsieur_," inquired Mademoiselle Viefville, "is there no _eglise_,
no _veritable eglise_, in Templeton?"
"Oh, yes, Madame, several," returned Aristabulus, who would as soon
think of admitting that he did not understand the meaning of
_veritable eglise_, as one of the sects he had been describing would
think of admitting that it was not infallible in its interpretation
of Christianity--"several; but they are not be seen from this
"How much more picturesque would it be, and even christian-like in
appearance, at least," said Paul, could these good people consent to
unite in worshipping God!--and how much does it bring into strong
relief, the feebleness and ignorance of man, when you see him
splitting hairs about doctrines, under which he has been told, in
terms as plain as language can make it, that he is simply required to
believe in the goodness and power of a Being whose nature and
agencies exceed his comprehension."
"All very true," cried John Effingham, "but what would become of
liberty of conscience in such a case? Most men, now-a-days,
understand by faith, a firm reliance on their own opinions!"
"In that case, too," put in Aristabulus, "we should want this
handsome display of churches to adorn our village. There is good
comes of it; for any man would be more likely to invest in a place
that has five churches, than in a place with but one. As it is,
Templeton has as beautiful a set of churches as any village I know."
"Say, rather, sir, a set of castors; for a stronger resemblance to
vinegar-cruets and mustard-pots, than is borne by these architectural
prodigies, eye never beheld."
"It is, nevertheless, a beautiful thing, to see the high pointed roof
of the house of God, crowning an assemblage of houses, as one finds
it in other countries," said Eve, "instead of a pile of tavern, as is
too much the case in this dear home of ours."
When this remark was uttered, they descended the step that led from
the terrace, and proceeded towards the village. On reaching the gate
of the Wigwam, the whole party stood confronted with that offspring
of John Effingham's taste; for so great had been his improvements on
the original production of Hiram Doolittle, that externally, at
least, that distinguished architect could no longer have recognized
the fruits of his own talents.
"This is carrying out to the full, John, the conceits of the
composite order," observed Mr. Effingham, drily.
"I shall be sorry, Ned, if you dislike your house, as it is amended
"Dear cousin Jack," cried Eve, "it is an odd jumble of the Grecian
and Gothic. One would like to know your authorities for such a
"What do you think of the _facade_ of the cathedral of Milan, Miss,"
laying emphasis on the last words, in imitation of the manner of Mr.
Bragg. "Is it such a novelty to see the two styles blended; or is
architecture so pure in America, that you think I have committed the
"Nay, nothing that is out of rule ought to strike one, in a country
where imitation governs in all things immaterial, and originality
unsettles all things sacred and dear."
"By way of punishment for that bold speech, I wish I had left the old
rookery in the state I found it, that its beauties might have greeted
your eyes, instead of this uncouth pile, which seems so much to
offend them. Mademoiselle Viefville, permit me to ask how you like
"_Mais, c'est un petit chateau_"
"_Un chateau, Effinghamise,_" said Eve, laughing.
"_Effinghamise si vous voulez, ma chere; pourtant c'est un chateau_."
"The general opinion in this part of the country is," said
Aristabulus, "that Mr. John Effingham has altered the building on the
plan of some edifice of Europe, though I forget the name of the
particular temple; it is not, however, the Parthenon, nor the temple
"I hope, at least," said Mr. Effingham, leading the way up a little
lawn, "it will not turn out to be the Temple of the Winds."
"Nay, I'll come; if I lose a scruple of this sport, let me be oiled
to death with melancholy."--SHAKSPEARE.
The progress of society in America, has been distinguished by several
peculiarities that do not so properly belong to the more regular and
methodical advances of civilization in other parts of the world. On
the one hand, the arts of life, like Minerva, who was struck out of
the intellectual being of her father at a blow, have started full-
grown into existence, as the legitimate inheritance of the colonists,
while, on the other, every thing tends towards settling down into a
medium, as regards quality, a consequence of the community-character
of the institutions. Every thing she had seen that day, had struck
Eve as partaking of this mixed nature, in which, while nothing was
vulgar, little even approached to that high standard, that her
European education had taught her to esteem perfect. In the Wigwam,
however, as her father's cousin had seen fit to name the family
dwelling, there was more of keeping, and a closer attention to the
many little things she had been accustomed to consider essential to
comfort and elegance, and she was better satisfied with her future
home, than with most she had seen since her return to America.
As we have described the interior of this house, in another work,
little remains to be said on the subject, at present; for, while John
Effingham had completely altered its external appearance, its
internal was not much changed. It is true, the cloud-coloured
covering had disappeared, as had that stoop also, the columns of
which were so nobly upheld by their super-structure; the former
having given place to a less obtrusive roof, that was regularly
embattled, and the latter having been swallowed up by a small
entrance tower, that the new architect had contrived to attach to the
building with quite as much advantage to it, in the way of comfort,
as in the way of appearance. In truth, the Wigwam had none of the
more familiar features of a modern American dwelling of its class.
There was not a column about it, whether Grecian, Roman, or Egyptian;
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