Home as Found
James Fenimore Cooper
Part 7 out of 9
like acknowledging its blemishes."
"I am aware it has that appearance, and yet the fact is otherwise.
The cure is as certain with the Englishman as with the American; and
with the German as with either. It depends on a general law which
causes us all to over-estimate by-gone pleasures and distant scenes,
and to undervalue those of the present moment. You know I have always
maintained there is no real philosopher short of fifty, nor any taste
worth possessing that is a dozen years old."
Here Mr. Effingham rang the bell, and desired Pierre to request Miss
Van Cortlandt to join him in the library. Grace entered blushing and
shy, but with a countenance beaming with inward peace. Her uncle
regarded her a moment intently, and a tear glistened in his eye,
again, as he tenderly kissed her burning cheek.
"God bless you, love," he said--"'tis a fearful change for your sex,
and yet you all enter into it radiant with hope, and noble in your
confidence. Take her, Templemore," giving her hand to the baronet,
"and deal kindly by her. You will not desert us entirely I trust I
shall see you both once more in the Wigwam before I die."
"Uncle--uncle--" burst from Grace, as, drowned in tears, she threw
herself into Mr. Effingham's arms; "I am an ungrateful girl, thus to
abandon all my natural friends. I have acted wrong----"
"Wrong, dearest Miss Van Cortlandt!"
"Selfishly, then, Sir George Templemore," the simple-hearted girl
ingenuously added, scarcely knowing how much her words implied--
"Perhaps this matter night be reconsidered."
"I am afraid little would be gained by that, my love," returned the
smiling uncle, wiping his eyes at the same instant. "The second
thoughts of ladies usually confirm the first, in such matters. God
bless you, Grace;--Templemore, may Heaven have you, too, in its holy
keeping. Remember what I have said, and to-morrow we will converse
further on the subject. Does Eve know of this, my niece?"
The colour went and came rapidly in Grace's cheek, and she looked to
the floor, abashed.
"We ought then to send for her," resumed Mr. Effingham, again
reaching towards the bell.
"Uncle--" and Grace hurriedly interposed, in time to save the string
from being pulled. "Could I keep such an important secret from my
"I find that I am the last in the secret, as is generally the case
with old fellows, and I believe I am even now _de trop_."
Mr. Effingham kissed Grace again affectionately, and, although she
strenuously endeavoured to detain him, he left the room.
"We must follow," said Grace, hastily wiping her eyes, and rubbing
the traces of tears from her cheeks--"Excuse me, Sir George
Templemore; will you open----"
He did, though it was not the door, but his arms. Grace seemed like
one that was rendered giddy by standing on a precipice, but when she
fell, the young baronet was at hand to receive her. Instead of
quitting the library that instant, the bell had announced the
appearance of the supper-tray, before she remembered that she had so
earnestly intended to do so.
"This day, no man thinks He has business at his house."
KING HENRY VIII.
The warm weather, which was always a little behind that of the lower
counties, had now set in among the mountains, and the season had
advanced into the first week in July. "Independence Day," as the
fourth of that month is termed by the Americans, arrived; and the
wits of Templeton were taxed, as usual, in order that the festival
might be celebrated with the customary intellectual and moral treat.
The morning commenced with a parade of the two or three uniformed
companies of the vicinity, much gingerbread and spruce-beer were
consumed in the streets, no light potations of whiskey were swallowed
in the groceries, and a great variety of drinks, some of which bore
very ambitious names, shared the same fate in the taverns.
Mademoiselle Viefville had been told that this was the great American
_fete_; the festival of the nation; and she appeared that morning in
gay ribands, and with her bright, animated face, covered with smiles
for the occasion. To her surprise, however, no one seemed to respond
to her feelings; and as the party rose from the breakfast-table, she
took an opportunity to ask an explanation of Eve, in a little
"_Est-ce que je me suis trompee, ma chere_?" demanded the lively
Frenchwoman. "Is not this _la celebration de votre independance_?"
"You are not mistaken, my dear Mademoiselle Viefville, and great
preparations are made to do it honour. I understand there is to be a
military parade, an oration, a dinner, and fire-works."
"_Monsieur votre pere----?_"
"_Monsieur mon pere_ is not much given to rejoicings, and he takes
this annual joy, much as a valetudinarian takes his morning draught."
"_Et Monsieur Jean Effingham----?_"
"Is always a philosopher; you are to expect no antics from him."
"_Mais ces jeunes gens, Monsieur Bragg, Monsieur Dodge, et Monsieur
"_Se rejouissent en Americains._ I presume you are aware that Mr.
Powis has declared himself to be an American?"
Mademoiselle Viefville looked towards the streets, along which divers
tall, sombre-looking countrymen, with faces more lugubrious than
those of the mutes of a funeral, were sauntering, with a desperate
air of enjoyment; and she shrugged her shoulders, as she muttered to
herself, "_que ces Americains sont droles!_"
At a later hour, however, Eve surprised her father, and indeed most
of the Americans of the party, by proposing that the ladies should
walk out into the street, and witness the fete.
"My child, this is a strange proposition to come from a young lady of
twenty," said her father.
"Why strange, dear sir?--We always mingled in the village fetes in
"_Certainement_" cried the delighted Mademoiselle Viefville; "_c'est
de rigueur, meme_"
"And it is _de rigueur_, here, Mademoiselle, for young ladies to keep
out of them," put in John Effingham. "I should be very sorry to see
either of you three ladies in the streets of Templeton to-day."
Why so, cousin Jack? Have we any thing to fear from the rudeness of
our countrymen? I have always understood, on the contrary, that in no
other part of the world is woman so uniformly treated with respect
and kindness, as in this very republic of ours; and yet, by all these
ominous faces, I perceive that it will not do for her to trust
herself in the streets of a village on a _festa_"
"You are not altogether wrong, in what you now say, Miss Effingham,
nor are you wholly right. Woman, as a whole, is well treated in
America; and yet it will not do for a _lady_ to mingle in scenes like
these, as ladies may and do mingle with them in Europe."
"I have heard this difference accounted for," said Paul Powis, "by
the fact that women have no legal rank in this country. In those
nations where the station of a lady is protected by legal ordinances,
it is said she may descend with impunity; but, in this, where all are
equal before the law, so many misunderstand the real merits of their
position, that she is obliged to keep aloof from any collisions with
those who might be disposed to mistake their own claims."
"But I wish for no collisions, no associations, Mr. Powis, but simply
to pass through the streets, with my cousin and Mademoiselle
Viefville, to enjoy the sight of the rustic sports, as one would do
in France, or Italy, or even in republican Switzerland, if you insist
on a republican example."
"Rustic sports!" repeated Aristabulus with a frightened look--"the
people will not bear to hear their sports called rustic, Miss
"Surely, sir,"--Eve never spoke to Mr. Bragg, now, without using a
repelling politeness--"surely, sir, the people of these mountains
will hardly pretend that their sports are those of a capital."
"I merely mean, ma'am, that the _term_ would be monstrously
unpopular; nor do I see why the sports in a city"--Aristabulus was
much too peculiar in his notions, to call any place that had a mayor
and aldermen a town,--"should not be just as rustic as those of a
village. The contrary supposition violates the principle of
"And do _you_ decide against us, dear sir?" Eve added looking at Mr.
"Without stopping to examine causes, my child. I shall say that I
think you had better all remain at home."
"_Voila, Mademoiselle Viefville, une fete Americaine!"_
A shrug of the shoulders was the significant reply.
"Nay, my daughter, you are not entirely excluded from the
festivities; all gallantry has not quite deserted the land."
"A young lady shall walk _alone_ with a young gentleman--shall ride
alone with him--shall drive out alone with him--shall not move
_without_ him, _dans le monde, mais_, she shall not walk in the
crowd, to look at _une fete avec son pere!_" exclaimed Mademoiselle
Viefville, in her imperfect English. "_Je desespere vraiment_, to
understand some _habitudes Americaines!_"
"Well, Mademoiselle, that you may not think us altogether barbarians,
you shall, at least, have the benefit of the oration."
"You may well call it _the_ oration, Ned; for, I believe one, or,
certainly one skeleton, has served some thousand orators annually,
any time these sixty years."
"Of this skeleton, then, the ladies shall have the benefit. The
procession is about to form, I hear; and by getting ready
immediately, we shall be just in time to obtain good seats."
Mademoiselle Viefville was delighted; for, after trying the theatres,
the churches, sundry balls, the opera, and all the admirable gaieties
of New-York, she had reluctantly come to the conclusion that America
was a very good country _pour s'ennuyer_, and for very little else;
but here was the promise of a novelty. The ladies completed their
preparations, and, accordingly, attended by all the gentlemen, made
their appearance in the assembly, at the appointed hour.
The orator, who, as usual, was a lawyer, was already in possession of
the pulpit, for one of the village churches had been selected as the
scene of the ceremonies. He was a young man, who had recently been
called to the bar, it being as much in rule for the legal tyro to
take off the wire-edge of his wit in a Fourth of July oration, as it
was formerly for a Mousquetaire to prove his spirit in a duel. The
academy which, formerly, was a servant of all work to the public,
being equally used for education, balls, preaching, town-meetings,
and caucuses, had shared the fate of most American edifices in wood,
having lived its hour and been burned; and the collection of people,
whom we have formerly had occasion to describe, appeared to have also
vanished from the earth, for nothing could be less alike in exterior,
at least, than those who had assembled under the ministry of Mr.
Grant, and their successors, who were now collected to listen to the
wisdom of Mr. Writ. Such a thing as a coat of two generations was no
longer to be seen; the latest fashion, or what was thought to be the
latest fashion, being as rigidly respected by the young farmer, or
the young mechanic, as by the more admitted bucks, the law student,
and the village shop-boy. All the red cloaks had long since been laid
aside to give place to imitation merino shawls, or, in cases of
unusual moderation and sobriety, to mantles of silk. As Eve glanced
her eye around her, she perceived Tuscan hats, bonnets of gay colours
and flowers, and dresses of French chintzes, where fifty years ago
would have been seen even men's woollen hats, and homely English
calicoes. It is true that the change among the men was not quite as
striking, for their attire admits of less variety; but the black
stock had superseded the check handkerchief and the bandanna; gloves
had taken the places of mittens; and the coarse and clownish shoe of
"cow-hide" was supplanted by the calf-skin boot.
"Where are your peasants, your rustics, your milk and dairy
maids--_the people_, in short"--whispered Sir George Templemore to
Mrs. Bloomfield, as they took their seats; "or is this occasion
thought to be too intellectual for them, and the present assembly
composed only of the _elite_?"
"These _are_ the people, and a pretty fair sample, too, of their
appearance and deportment. Most of these men are what you in England
would call operatives, and the women are their wives, daughters, and
The baronet said nothing at the moment, but he sat looking around him
with a curious eye for some time, when he again addressed his
"I see the truth of what you say, as regards the men, for a critical
eye can discover the proofs of their occupations; but, surely, you
must be mistaken as respects your own sex; there is too much delicacy
of form and feature for the class you mean."
"Nevertheless, I have said naught but truth."
"But look at the hands and the feet, dear Mrs. Bloomfield. Those are
French gloves, too, or I am mistaken."
"I will not positively affirm that the French gloves actually belong
to the dairy-maids, though I have known even this prodigy; but, rely
on it, you see here the proper female counterparts of the men, and
singularly delicate and pretty females are they, for persons of their
class. This is what you call democratic coarseness and vulgarity,
Miss Effingham tells me, in England."
Sir George smiled, but, as what it is the fashion of me country to
call 'the exercises,' just then began, he made no other answer.
These exercises commenced with instrumental music, certainly the
weakest side of American civilization. That of the occasion of which
we write, had three essential faults, all of which are sufficiently
general to be termed characteristic, in a national point of view. In
the first place, the instruments themselves were bad; in the next
place, they were assorted without any regard to harmony; and, in the
last place, their owners did not know how to use them. As in certain
American _cities_--the word is well applied here--she is esteemed the
greatest belle who can contrive to utter her nursery sentiments in
the loudest voice, so in Templeton, was he considered the ablest
musician who could give the greatest _eclat_ to a false note. In a
word, clamour was the one thing needful, and as regards time, that
great regulator of all harmonies, Paul Powis whispered to the captain
that the air they had just been listening to, resembled what the
sailors call a 'round robin;' or a particular mode of signing
complaints practised by seamen, in which the nicest observer cannot
tell which is the beginning, or which the end.
It required all the Parisian breeding of Mademoiselle Viefville to
preserve her gravity during this overture, though she kept her bright
animated, French-looking eyes, roaming over the assembly, with an air
of delight that, as Mr. Bragg would say, made her very popular. No
one else in the party from the Wigwam, Captain Truck excepted, dared
look up, but each kept his or her eyes riveted on the floor, as if in
silent enjoyment of the harmonies. As for the honest old seaman,
there was as much melody in the howling of a gale to his
unsophisticated ears, as in any thing else, and he saw no difference
between this feat of the Templeton band and the sighings of old
Boreas; and, to say the truth, our nautical critic was not so much
out of the way.
Of the oration it is scarcely necessary to say much, for if human
nature is the same in all ages, and under all circumstances, so is a
fourth of July oration. There were the usual allusions to Greece and
Rome, between the republics of which and that of this country there
exists some such affinity as is to be found between a horse-chestnut
and a chestnut-horse; or that, of mere words: and a long catalogue of
national glories that might very well have sufficed for all the
republics, both of antiquity and of our own time. But when the orator
came to speak of the American character, and particularly of the
intelligence of the nation, he was most felicitous, and made the
largest investments in popularity. According to his account of the
matter, no other people possessed a tithe of the knowledge, or a
hundredth part of the honesty and virtue of the very community he was
addressing; and after labouring for ten minutes to convince his
hearers that they already knew every thing, he wasted several more in
trying to persuade them to undertake further acquisitions of the same
"How much better all this might be made," said Paul Powis, as the
party returned towards the Wigwam, when the 'exercises' were ended,
"by substituting a little plain instruction on the real nature and
obligations of the institutions, for so much unmeaning rhapsody.
Nothing has struck me with more surprise and pain, than to find how
far, or it might be better to say, how high, ignorance reaches on
such subjects, and how few men, in a country where all depends on the
institutions, have clear notions concerning their own condition."
"Certainly this is not the opinion we usually entertain of
ourselves," observed John Effingham. "And yet it ought to be. I am
far from underrating the ordinary information of the country, which,
as an average information, is superior to that of almost every other
people; nor am I one of those who, according to the popular European
notion, fancy the Americans less gifted than common in intellect;
there can be but one truth in any thing, however, and it falls to the
lot of very few, any where, to master it. The Americans, moreover,
are a people of facts and practices, paying but little attention to
principles, and giving themselves the very minimum of time for
investigations that lie beyond the reach of the common mind; and it
follows that they know little of that which does not present itself
in their every-day transactions. As regards the practice of the
institutions, it is regulated here, as elsewhere, by party, and party
is never an honest or a disinterested expounder."
"Are you, then, more than in the common dilemma," asked Sir George,
"or worse off than your neighbours?"
"We are worse off than our neighbours for the simple reason that it
is the intention of the American system, which has been deliberately
framed, and which is moreover the result of a bargain, to carry out
its theory in practice; whereas, in countries where the institutions
are the results of time and accidents, _improvement_ is only obtained
by _innovations_. Party invariably assails and weakens power. When
power is the possession of a few, the many gain by party; but when
power is the legal right of the many, the few gain by party. Now, as
party has no ally as strong as ignorance and prejudice, a right
understanding of the principles of a government is of far more
importance in a popular government, than in any other. In place of
the eternal eulogies on facts, that one hears on all public occasions
in this country, I would substitute some plain and clear expositions
of principles; or, indeed, I might say, of facts as they are
connected with principles."
"_Mais, la musique, Monsieur_," interrupted Mademoiselle Viefville,
in a way so droll as to raise a general smile, "_qu'en pensez-vous?_"
"That it is music, my dear Mademoiselle, in neither fact nor
"It only proves that a people can be free, Mademoiselle," observed
Mrs. Bloomfield, "and enjoy fourth of July orations, without having
very correct notions of harmony or time. But do our rejoicings end
here, Miss Effingham?"
"Not at all--there is still something in reserve for the day, and all
who honour it. I am told the evening, which promises to be
sufficiently sombre, is to terminate with a fete that is peculiar to
Templeton, and which is called 'The Fun of Fire.'"
"It is an ominous name, and ought to be a brilliant ceremony."
As this was uttered, the whole party entered the Wigwam.
"The Fun of Fire" took place, as a matter of course, at a later hour.
When night had set in, every body appeared in the main street of the
village, a part of which, from its width and form, was particularly
adapted to the sports of the evening. The females were mostly at the
windows, or on such elevated stands as favoured their view, and the
party from the Wigwam occupied a large balcony that topped the piazza
of one of the principal inns of the place.
The sports of the night commenced with rockets, of which a few, that
did as much credit to the climate as to the state of the pyrotechnics
of the village, were thrown up, as soon as the darkness had become
sufficiently dense to lend them brilliancy. Then followed wheels,
crackers and serpents, all of the most primitive kind, if, indeed,
there be any thing primitive in such amusements. The "Fun of Fire"
was to close the rejoicings, and it was certainly worth all the other
sports of that day, united, the gingerbread and spruce beer included.
A blazing ball cast from a shop-door, was the signal for the
commencement of the Fun. It was merely a ball of rope-yarn, or of
some other similar material, saturated with turpentine, and it burned
with a bright, fierce flame until consumed. As the first of these
fiery meteors sailed into the street, a common shout from the boys,
apprentices, and young men, proclaimed that the fun was at hand. It
was followed by several more, and in a few minutes the entire area
was gleaming with glancing light. The whole of the amusement
consisted in tossing the fire-balls with boldness, and in avoiding
them with dexterity, something like competition soon entering into
the business of the scene.
The effect was singularly beautiful. Groups of dark objects became
suddenly illuminated, and here a portion of the throng might be seen
beneath a brightness like that produced by a bonfire, while all the
back-ground of persons and faces were gliding about in a darkness
that almost swallowed up a human figure. Suddenly all this would be
changed; the brightness would pass away, and a ball alighting in a
spot that had seemed abandoned to gloom, it would be found peopled
with merry countenances, and active forms. The constant changes from
brightness to deep darkness, with all the varying gleams of light and
shadow, made the beauty of the scene, which soon extorted admiration
from all in the balcony."
"_Mais, c'est charmant_!" exclaimed Mademoiselle Vielville, who was
enchanted at discovering something like gaiety and pleasure among the
"_tristes Americains_," and who had never even suspected them of
being capable of so much apparent enjoyment.
"These are the prettiest village sports I have ever witnessed," said
Eve, "though a little dangerous, one would think. There is something
refreshing, as the magazine writers term it, to find one of these
miniature towns of ours condescending to be gay and happy in a
village fashion. If I were to bring my strongest objection to
American country life, it would be its ambitious desire to ape the
towns, converting the ease and _abandon_ of a village, into the
formality and stiffness that render children in the clothes of grown
people so absurdly ludicrous."
"What!" exclaimed John Effingham; "do you fancy it possible to reduce
a free-man so low, as to deprive him of his stilts! No, no, young
lady; you are now in a country where if you have two rows of flounces
on your frock, your maid will make it a point to have three, by way
of maintaining the equilibrium. This is the noble ambition of
"Annette's foible is a love of flounces, cousin Jack, and you have
drawn that image from your eye, instead of your imagination. It is a
French, as well as an American ambition, if ambition it be."
"Let it be drawn whence it may, it is true. Have you not remarked,
Sir George Templemore, that the Americans will not even bear the
ascendency of a capital? Formerly, Philadelphia, then the largest
town in the country, was the political capital; but it was too much
for any one community to enjoy the united consideration that belongs
to extent and politics; and so the honest public went to work to make
a capital, that should have nothing else in its favour, but the naked
fact that it was the seat of government, and I think it will be
generally allowed, that they have succeeded to admiration. I fancy
Mr. Dodge will admit that it would be quite intolerable, that country
should not be town, and town country."
"This is a land of equal rights, Mr. John Effingham, and I confess
that I see no claims that New-York possesses, which does not equally
belong to Templeton."
"Do you hold, sir," inquired Captain Truck, "that a ship is a brig,
and a brig a ship."
"The case is different; Templeton _is_ a town, is it not, Mr. John
"_A_ town, Mr. Dodge, but not town. The difference is essential."
"I do not see it, sir. Now, New-York, to my notion is not a _town_,
but a _city_."
"Ah! This is the critical acumen of the editor! But you should be
indulgent, Mr. Dodge, to us laymen, who pick up our phrases by merely
wandering about the world; or in the nursery perhaps, while you, of
the favoured few, by living in the condensation of a province, obtain
a precision and accuracy to which we can lay no claim."
The darkness prevented the editor of the Active Inquirer from
detecting the general smile, and he remained in happy ignorance of
the feeling that produced it. To say the truth, not the smallest of
the besetting vices of Mr. Dodge had their foundation in a provincial
education, and in provincial notions; the invariable tendency of both
being to persuade their subject that he is always right, while all
opposed to him in opinion are wrong. That well-known line of Pope, in
which the poet asks, "what can we reason, but from what we know?"
contains the principle of half our foibles and faults, and perhaps
explains fully that proportion of those of Mr. Dodge, to say nothing
of those of no small number of his countrymen. There are limits to
the knowledge, and tastes, and habits of every man, and, as each is
regulated by the opportunities of the individual, it follows of
necessity, that no one can have a standard much above his own
experience. That an isolated and remote people should be a provincial
people, or, in other words, a people of narrow and peculiar practices
and opinions, is as unavoidable as that study should make a scholar;
though in the case of America, the great motive for surprise is to be
found in the fact that causes so very obvious should produce so
little effect. When compared with the bulk of other nations, the
Americans, though so remote and insulated, are scarcely provincial,
for it is only when the highest standard of this nation is compared
with the highest standard of other nations, that we detect the great
deficiency that actually exists. That a moral foundation so broad
should uphold a moral superstructure so narrow, is owing to the
circumstance that the popular sentiment rules, and as every thing is
referred to a body of judges that, in the nature of things, must be
of very limited and superficial attainments, it cannot be a matter of
wonder to the reflecting, that the decision shares in the qualities
of the tribunal. In America, the gross mistake has been made of
supposing, that, because the mass rules in a political sense, it has
a right to be listened to and obeyed in all other matters, a
practical deduction that can only lead, under the most favourable
exercise of power, to a very humble mediocrity. It is to be hoped,
that time, and a greater concentration of taste, liberality, and
knowledge than can well distinguish a young and scattered population,
will repair this evil, and that our children will reap the harvest of
the broad fields of intelligence that have been sowed by ourselves.
In the mean time, the present generation must endure that which
cannot easily be cured; and, among its other evils, it will have to
submit to a great deal of very questionable information, not a few
false principles, and an unpleasant degree of intolerant and narrow
bigotry, that are propagated by such apostles of liberty and learning
as Steadfast Dodge, Esquire.
We have written in vain, if it now be necessary to point out a
multitude of things in which that professed instructor and Mentor of
the public, the editor of the Active Inquirer, had made a false
estimate of himself, as well as of his fellow-creatures. That such a
man should be ignorant, is to be expected, as he had never been
instructed; that he was self-sufficient was owing to his ignorance,
which oftener induces vanity than modesty; that he was intolerant and
bigoted, follows as a legitimate effect of his provincial and
contracted habits; that he was a hypocrite, came from his homage of
the people; and that one thus constituted, should be permitted,
periodically, to pour out his vapidity, folly, malice, envy, and
ignorance, on his fellow-creatures, in the columns of a newspaper,
was owing to a state of society in which the truth of the wholesome
adage "that what is every man's business is nobody's business," is
exemplified not only daily, but hourly, in a hundred other interests
of equal magnitude, as well as to a capital mistake, that leads the
community to fancy that whatever is done in their time, is done for
As the "Fun of Fire" had, by this time, exhibited most of its
beauties, the party belonging to the Wigwam left the balcony, and,
the evening proving mild, they walked into the grounds of the
building, where they naturally broke into groups, conversing on the
incidents of the day, or of such other matters as came uppermost.
Occasionally, gleams of light were thrown across them from a fire-
ball; or a rocket's starry train was still seen drawn in the air,
resembling the wake of a ship at night, as it wades through the
Gentle Octavia, Let your best love draw
to that point, which seeks But to preserve it.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
We shall not say it was an accident that brought Paul and Eve side by
side, and a little separated from the others; for a secret sympathy
had certainly exercised its influence over both, and probably
contributed as much as any thing else towards bringing about the
circumstance. Although the Wigwam stood in the centre of the village,
its grounds covered several acres, and were intersected with winding
walks, and ornamented with shrubbery, in the well-known English
style, improvements also of John Effingham; for, while the climate
and forests of America offer so many inducements to encourage
landscape gardening, it is the branch of art that, of all the other
ornamental arts, is perhaps the least known in this country. It is
true, time had not yet brought the labours of the projector to
perfection, in this instance; but enough had been done to afford very
extensive, varied, and pleasing walks. The grounds were broken, and
John Effingham had turned the irregularities to good account, by
planting and leading paths among them, to the great amusement of the
lookers-on, however, who, like true disciples of the Manhattanese
economy, had already begun to calculate the cost of what they termed
grading the lawns, it being with them as much a matter of course to
bring pleasure grounds down to a mathematical surface, as to bring a
rail-road route down to the proper level.
Through these paths, and among the irregularities, groves, and
shrubberies, just mentioned, the party began to stroll; one group
taking a direction eastward, another south, and a third westward, in
a way soon to break them up into five or six different divisions.
These several portions of the company ere long got to move in
opposite directions, by taking the various paths, and while they
frequently met, they did not often re-unite. As has been already
intimated, Eve and Paul were alone, for the first time in their
lives, under circumstances that admitted of an uninterrupted
confidential conversation. Instead of profiting immediately, however,
by this unusual occurrence, as many of our readers may anticipate,
the young man continued the discourse, in which the whole party had
been engaged when they entered the gate that communicated with the
"I know not whether you felt the same embarrassment as myself, to-
day, Miss Effingham," he said, "when the orator was dilating on the
glories of the republic, and on the high honours that accompany the
American name. Certainly, though a pretty extensive traveller, I have
never yet been able to discover that it is any advantage abroad to be
one of the 'fourteen millions of freemen.'"
"Are we to attribute the mystery that so long hung over your birth-
place, to this fact," Eve asked, a little pointedly.
"If I have made any seeming mystery, as to the place of my birth, it
has been involuntary on my part, Miss Effingham, so far as you, at
least, have been concerned. I may not have thought myself authorized
to introduce my own history into our little discussions, but I am not
conscious of aiming at any unusual concealments. At Vienna, and in
Switzerland, we met as travellers; and now that you appear disposed
to accuse me of concealment, I may retort, and say that, neither you
nor your father ever expressly stated in my presence that you were
"Was that necessary, Mr. Powis?"
"Perhaps not; and I am wrong to draw a comparison between my own
insignificance, and the eclat that attended you and your movements."
"Nay," interrupted Eve, "do not misconceive me. My father felt an
interest in you, quite naturally, after what had occurred on the lake
of Lucerne, and I believe he was desirous of making you out a
countryman,--a pleasure that he has at length received."
"To own the truth, I was never quite certain, until my last visit to
England, on which side of the Atlantic I was actually born, and to
this uncertainty, perhaps, may be attributed some of that
cosmopolitism to which I made so many high pretensions in our late
"Not know where you were born!" exclaimed Eve, with an involuntary
haste, that she immediately repented.
"This, no doubt, sounds odd to you, Miss Effingham, who have always
been the pride and solace of a most affectionate father, but it has
never been my good fortune to know either parent. My mother, who was
the sister of Ducie's mother, died at my birth, and the loss of my
father even preceded hers. I may be said to have been born an
Eve, for the first time in her life, had taken his arm, and the young
man felt the gentle pressure of her little hand, as she permitted
this expression of sympathy to escape her, at a moment she found so
intensely interesting to herself.
"It was, indeed, a misfortune, Mr. Powis, and I fear you were put
into the navy through the want of those who would feel a natural
concern in your welfare."
"The navy was my own choice; partly, I think, from a certain love of
adventure, and quite as much, perhaps, with a wish to settle the
question of my birth-place, practically at least, by enlisting in the
service of the one that I first knew, and certainly best loved."
"But of that birth-place, I understand there is now no doubt?" said
Eve, with more interest than she was herself conscious of betraying.
"None whatever; I am a native of Philadelphia; that point was
conclusively settled in my late visit to my aunt, Lady Dunluce, who
was present at my birth."
"Is Lady Dunluce also an American?"
"She is; never having quitted the country until after her marriage to
Colonel Ducie. She was a younger sister of my mother's, and,
notwithstanding some jealousies and a little coldness that I trust
have now disappeared, I am of opinion she loved her; though one can
hardly answer for the durability of the family ties in a country
where the institutions and habits are as artificial as in England."
"Do you think there is less family affection, then, in England than
"I will not exactly say as much, though I am of opinion that neither
country is remarkable in that way. In England, among the higher
classes, it is impossible that the feelings should not be weakened by
so many adverse interests. When a brother knows that nothing stands
between himself and rank and wealth, but the claims of one who was
born a twelvemonth earlier than himself, he gets to feel more like a
rival than a kinsman, and the temptation to envy or dislike, or even
hatred, sometimes becomes stronger than the duty to love."
"And yet the English, themselves, say that the services rendered by
the elder to the younger brother, and the gratitude of the younger to
the elder, are so many additional ties."
"It would be contrary to all the known laws of feeling, and all
experience, if this were so. The younger applies to the elder for aid
in preference to a stranger, because he thinks he has a claim; and
what man who fancies he has a claim, is disposed to believe justice
is fully done him; or who that is required to discharge a duty,
imagines he has not done more than could be properly asked?"
"I fear your opinion of men is none of the best, Mr. Powis!"
"There may be exceptions, but such I believe to be the common fate of
humanity. The moment a duty is created, a disposition to think it
easily discharged follows; and of all sentiments, that of a continued
and exacting gratitude is the most oppressive. I fear more brothers
are aided, through family pride, than through natural affection."
"What, then, loosens the tie among ourselves, where no law of
"That which loosens every thing. A love of change that has grown up
with the migratory habits of the people; and which, perhaps, is, in
some measure, fostered by the institutions. Here is Mr. Bragg to
confirm what I say, and we may hear his sentiments on this subject."
As Aristabulus, with whom walked Mr. Dodge, just at that moment came
out of the shrubbery, and took the same direction with themselves,
Powis put the question, as one addresses an acquaintance in a room.
"Rotation in feelings, sir," returned Mr. Bragg, "is human nature, as
rotation in office is natural justice. Some of our people are of
opinion that it might be useful could the whole of society be made
periodically to change places, in order that every one might know how
his neighbour lives."
"You are, then, an Agrarian, Mr. Bragg?"
"As far from it as possible; nor do I believe you will find such an
animal in this county. Where property is concerned, we are a people
that never let go, as long as we can hold on, sir; but, beyond this
we like lively changes. Now, Miss Effingham, every body thinks
frequent changes of religious instructors in particular, necessary.
There can be no vital piety without, keeping the flame alive with
"I confess, sir, that my own reasoning would lead to a directly
contrary conclusion, and that there can be no vital piety, as you
term it, _with_ excitement."
Mr. Bragg looked at Mr. Dodge, and Mr. Dodge looked at Mr. Bragg.
Then each shrugged his shoulders, and the former continued the
"That may be the case in France, Miss Effingham," he said, "but, in
America, we look to excitement as the great purifier. We should as
soon expect the air in the bottom of a well to be elastic, as that
the moral atmosphere shall be clear and salutary, without the breezes
of excitement. For my part, Mr. Dodge, I think no man should be a
judge, in the same court, more than ten years at a time, and a priest
gets to be rather common-place and flat after five. There are men
that may hold out a little longer, I acknowledge; but to keep real,
vital, soul-saving regeneration stirring, a change should take place
as often as once in five years, in a parish; that is my opinion, at
"But, sir," rejoined Eve, "as the laws of religion are immutable, the
modes by which it is known universal, and the promises, mediation,
and obligations are every where the same, I do not see what you
propose to gain by so many changes."
"Why, Miss Effingham, we change the dishes at table, and no family of
my acquaintance, more than this of your honourable father's; and I am
surprised to find you opposed to the system."
"Our religion, sir," answered Eve, gravely, "is a duty, and rests on
revelation and obedience; while our diet may, very innocently, be a
matter of mere taste, even of caprice, if you will."
"Well, I confess I see no great difference, the main object in this
life being to stir people up, and to go ahead. I presume you know,
Miss Eve, that many people think that we ought to change our own
parson, if we expect a blessing on the congregation."
"I should sooner expect a curse would follow an act of so much
heartlessness, sir. Our clergyman has been with us since his entrance
into the duties of his holy office; and it will be difficult to
suppose that the Divine favour would follow the commission of so
selfish and capricious a step, with a motive no better than the
desire for novelty."
"You quite mistake the object, Miss Eve, which is to stir the people
up; a hopeless thing, I fear, so long as they always sit under the
"I have been taught to believe that piety is increased, Mr. Bragg, by
the aid of the Holy Spirit's sustaining and supporting us in our good
desires; and I cannot persuade myself that the Deity finds it
necessary to save a soul, by the means of any of those human agencies
by which men sack towns, turn an election, or incite a mob. I hear
that extraordinary scenes are witnessed in this country, in some of
the other sects; but I trust never to see the day, when the
apostolic, reverend, and sober church, in which I have been nurtured,
shall attempt to advance the workings of that Divine power, by a
profane, human hurrah."
All this was Greek to Messrs. Dodge and Bragg, who, in furthering
their objects, were so accustomed to "stirring people up," that they
had quite forgotten that the more a man was in "an excitement," the
less he had to do with reason. The exaggerated religious sects, which
first peopled America, have had a strong influence in transmitting to
their posterity false notions on such subjects; for while the old
world is accustomed to see Christianity used as an ally of
government, and perverted from its one great end to be the instrument
of ambition, cupidity, and selfishness, the new world has been fated
to witness the reaction of such abuses, and to run into nearly as
many errors in the opposite extreme. The two persons just mentioned,
had been educated in the provincial school of religious notions, that
is so much in favour, in a portion of this country; and they were
striking examples of the truth of the adage, that "what is bred in
the bone will be seen in the flesh," for their common character,
common in this particular at least, was a queer mixture of the most
narrow superstitions and prejudices, that existed under the garb of
religious training, and of unjustifiable frauds, meannesses, and even
vices. Mr. Bragg was a better man than Mr. Dodge, for he had more
self-reliance, and was more manly; but, on the score of religion, he
had the same contradictory excesses, and there was a common point, in
the way of vulgar vice, towards which each tended, simply for the
want of breeding and tastes, as infallibly as the needle points to
the pole. Cards were often introduced in Mr. Effingham's drawing-
room, and there was one apartment expressly devoted to a billiard-
table; and many was the secret fling, and biting gibe, that these
pious devotees passed between themselves, on the subject of so
flagrant an instance of immorality, in a family of so high moral
pretensions; the two worthies not unfrequently concluding their
comments by repairing to some secret room in a tavern, where, after
carefully locking the door, and drawing the curtains, they would
order brandy, and pass a refreshing hour in endeavouring to relieve
each other of the labour of carrying their odd sixpences, by means of
little shoemaker's loo.
On the present occasion, however, the earnestness of Eve produced a
pacifying effect on their consciences, for, as our heroine never
raised her sweet voice above the tones of a gentlewoman, its very
mildness and softness gave force to her expressions. Had John
Effingham uttered the sentiments to which they had just listened it
is probable Mr. Bragg would have attempted an answer; but, under the
circumstances, he preferred making his bow, and diverging into the
first path that offered, followed by his companion. Eve and Paul
continued their circuit of the grounds, as if no interruption had
"This disposition to change is getting to be universal in the
country," remarked the latter, as soon as Aristabulus and his friend
had left them, "and I consider it one of the worst signs of the
times; more especially since it has become so common to connect it
with what it is the fashion to call excitement."
"To return to the subject which these gentlemen interrupted," said
Eve, "that of the family ties; I have always heard England quoted as
one of the strongest instances of a nation in which this tie is
slight, beyond its aristocratical influence; and I should be sorry to
suppose that we are following in the footsteps of our good-mother, in
this respect at least."
"Has Mademoiselle Viefville never made any remark on this subject?"
"Mademoiselle Viefville, though observant, is discreet. That she
believes the standard of the affections as high in this as in her own
country, I do not think; for, like most Europeans, she believes the
Americans to be a passionless people, who are more bound up in the
interests of gain, than in any other of the concerns of life."
"She does not know us!" said Paul so earnestly as to cause Eve to
start at the deep energy with which he spoke. "The passions lie as
deep, and run in currents as strong here, as in any other part of the
world, though, there not being as many factitious causes to dam them,
they less seldom break through the bounds of propriety."
For near a minute the two paced the walk in silence, and Eve began to
wish that some one of the party would again join them, that a
conversation which she felt was getting to be awkward, might be
interrupted. But no one crossed their path again, and without
rudeness, or affectation, she saw no means of effecting her object.
Paul was too much occupied with his own feelings to observe his
companion's embarrassment, and, after the short pause mentioned, he
naturally pursued the subject, though in a less emphatic manner than
"It was an old, and a favourite theory, with the Europeans," he said,
with a sort of bitter irony, "that all the animals of this hemisphere
have less gifted natures than those of the other; nor is it a theory
of which they are yet entirely rid. The Indian was supposed to be
passionless, because he had self-command; and what in the European
would be thought exhibiting the feelings of a noble nature, in him
has been represented as ferocity and revenge; Miss Effingham, you and
I have seen Europe, have stood in the presence of its wisest, its
noblest and its best; and what have they to boast beyond the
immediate results of their factitious and laboured political systems,
that is denied to the American--or rather would be denied to the
American, had the latter the manliness and mental independence, to be
equal to his fortunes?"
"Which, you think he is not."
"How can a people be even independent that imports its thoughts, as
it does its wares,--that has not the spirit to invent even its own
"Something should be allowed to habit, and to the influence of time.
England, herself, probably has inherited some of her false notions,
from the Saxons and Normans."
"That is not only possible, but probable; but England, in thinking of
Russia, France, Turkey, or Egypt, when induced to think wrong, yields
to an English, and not to an American interest. Her errors are at
least requited, in a degree, by serving her own ends, whereas ours
are made, too often, to oppose our most obvious interests. We are
never independent unless when stimulated by some strong and pressing
moneyed concern, and not often then beyond the plainest of its
effects.--Here is one, apparently, who does not belong to our party."
Paul interrupted himself, in consequence of their meeting a stranger
in the walk, who moved with the indecision of one uncertain whether
to advance or to recede. Rockets frequently fell into the grounds,
and there had been one or two inroads of boys, which had been
tolerated on account of the occasion; but this intruder was a man in
the decline of life, of the condition of a warm tradesman seemingly,
and he clearly had no connection with sky-rockets, as his eyes were
turned inquiringly on the persons of those who passed him, from time
to time, none of whom had he stopped, however, until he now placed
himself before Paul and Eve, in a way to denote a desire to speak.
"The young people are making a merry night of it," he said, keeping a
hand in each coat-pocket, while he unceremoniously occupied the
centre of the narrow walk, as if determined to compel a parley.
Although sufficiently acquainted with the unceremonious habits of the
people of the country to feel no surprise at this intrusion, Paul was
vexed at having his tete a tete with Eve so rudely broken; and he
answered with more of the hauteur of the quarterdeck than he might
otherwise have done, by saying coldly--
"Perhaps, sir, it is your wish to see Mr. Effingham--or--" hesitating
an instant, as he scanned the stranger's appearance--"some of his
people. The first will soon pass this spot, and you will find most of
the latter on the lawn, watching the rockets."
The man regarded Paul a moment, and then he removed his hat
"Please, sir, can you inform me if a gentleman called Captain Truck--
one that sails the packets between New-York and England, is staying
at the Wigwam at present."
Paul told him that the captain was walking with Mr. Effingham, and
that the next pair that approached would be they. The stranger fell
back, keeping his hat respectfully in his hand, and the two passed.
"That man has been an English servant, but has been a little spoiled
by the reaction of an excessive liberty to do as he pleases. The
'please, sir,' and the attitude can hardly be mistaken, while the
_nonchalance_ of his manner '_a nous aborder_' sufficiently betrays
the second edition of his education."
"I am curious to know what this person can want with our excellent
captain--it can scarcely be one of the Montauk's crew!"
"I will answer for it, that the fellow has not enough seamanship
about him to whip a rope," said Paul, laughing; "for if there be two
temporal pursuits that have less affinity than any two others, they
are those of the pantry and the tar-bucket. I think it will be seen
that this man has been an English servant, and he has probably been a
passenger on board some ship commanded by our honest old friend."
Eve and Paul now turned, and they met Mr. Effingham and the captain
just as the two latter reached the spot where the stranger still
"This is Captain Truck, the gentleman for whom you inquired," said
The stranger looked hard at the captain, and the captain looked hard
at the stranger, the obscurity rendering a pretty close scrutiny
necessary, to enable either to distinguish features. The examination
seemed to be mutually unsatisfactory, for each retired a little, like
a man who had not found a face that he knew.
"There must be two Captain Trucks, then, in the trade," said the
stranger; "this is not the gentleman I used to know."
"I think you are as right in the latter part of your remark, friend,
as you are wrong in the first," returned the captain. "Know you, I do
not, and yet there are no more two Captain Trucks in the English
trade, than there are two Miss Eve Effinghams, or two Mrs. Hawkers in
the universe. I am John Truck, and no other man of that name ever
sailed a ship between New York and England, in my day, at least."
"Did you ever command the Dawn, sir?"
"The Dawn! That I did; and the Regulus, and the Manhattan, and the
Wilful Girl, and the Deborah-Angelina, and the Sukey and Katy, which,
my dear young lady, I may say, was my first love. She was only a
fore-and-after, carrying no standing topsail, even, and we named her
after two of the river girls, who were flyers, in their way; at
least, I thought so then; though a man by sailing a packet comes to
alter his notions about men and things, or, for that matter, about
women and things, too. I got into a category, in that schooner, that
I never expect to see equalled; for I was driven ashore to windward
in her, which is gibberish to you, my dear young lady, but which Mr.
Powis will very well understand, though he may not be able to explain
"I certainly know what you mean," said Paul, "though I confess I am
in a category, as well as the schooner, so far as knowing how it
could have happened."
"The Sukey and Katy ran away with me, that's the upshot of it. Since
that time I have never consented to command a vessel that was called
after _two_ of our river young women, for I do believe that one of
them is as much as a common mariner can manage. You see, Mr.
Effingham, we were running along a weather-shore, as close in as we
could get, to be in the eddy, when a squall struck her a-beam, and
she luffed right on to the beach. No helping it. Helm hard up, peak
down, head sheets to windward, and main sheet flying, but it was all
too late; away she went plump ashore to windward. But for that
accident, I think I might have married."
"And what connexion could you find between matrimony and this
accident, captain?" demanded the laughing Eve.
"There was an admonition in it, my dear young lady, that I thought
was not to be disregarded. I tried the Wilful Girl next, and she was
thrown on her beam-ends with me; after which I renounced all female
names, and took to the Egyptian."
"Certainly, Regulus, who was a great snake-killer, they tell me, in
that part of the world. But I never saw my way quite clear as
bachelor, until I got the Dawn. Did you know that ship, friend?"
"I believe, sir, I made two passages in her while you commanded her."
"Nothing more likely; we carried lots of your countrymen, though
mostly forward of the gangways. I commanded the Dawn more than twenty
"It is all of that time since I crossed with you, sir; you may
remember that we fell in with a wreck, ten days after we sailed, and
took off her crew and two passengers. Three or four of the latter had
died with their sufferings, and several of the people."
"All this seems but as yesterday! The wreck was a Charleston ship
that had started a butt."
"Yes, sir--yes, sir--that is just it--she had started, _but_ could
not get in. That is just what they said at the time. I am David,
sir--I should think you _cannot_ have forgotten David."
The honest captain was very willing to gratify the other's harmless
self-importance, though, to tell the truth, he retained no more
personal knowledge of the David of the Dawn, than he had of David,
King of the Jews.
"Oh, David!" he cried, cordially--"are _you_ David? Well, I did not
expect to see you again in this world, though I never doubted where
we should be, hereafter I hope you are very well, David; what sort of
weather have you made of it since we parted? If I recollect aright,
you worked your passage;--never at sea before."
"I beg your pardon, sir; I never was at sea before the _first_ time,
it is true; but I did not belong to the crew. I was a passenger."
"I remember, now, you were in the steerage," returned the captain,
who saw daylight ahead.
"Not at all, sir, but in the cabin."
"Cabin!" echoed the captain, who perceived none of the requisites of
a cabin-passenger in the other--"Oh! I understand, in the pantry?"
"Exactly so, sir. You may remember my master--he had the left-hand
state-room to himself, and I slept next to the scuttle-butt. You
recollect master, sir?"
"Out of doubt, and a very good fellow he was. I hope you live with
"Lord bless you, sir, he is dead!"
"Oh! I recollect hearing of it, at the time. Well, David. I hope if
ever we cross again, we shall be ship-mates once more. We were
beginners, then, but we have ships worth living in, now.--Good
"Do you remember Dowse, sir, that we got from the wreck?" continued
the other, unwilling to give up his gossip so soon. "He was a dark
man, that had had the small-pox badly. I think, sir, you will
recollect _him_, for he was a hard man in other particulars, besides
"Somewhat flinty about the soul; I remember the man well; and so,
David, good night; you will come and see me, if you are ever in town.
Good night, David."
David was now compelled to leave the place, for Captain Truck, who
perceived that the whole party was getting together again, in
consequence of the halt, felt the propriety of dismissing his
visiter, of whom, his master, and Dowse, he retained just as much
recollection as one retains of a common stage-coach companion after
twenty years. The appearance of Mr. Howel, who just at that moment
approached them, aided the manoeuvre, and, in a few minutes the
different groups were again in motion, though some slight changes had
taken place in the distribution of the parties.
"How silver sweet sound lovers' tongues at night, Like softest
music to attending ears!"
ROMEO AND JULIET.
"A poor matter, this of the fire-works," said Mr. Howel, who, with an
old bachelor's want of tact, had joined Eve and Paul in their walk.
"The English would laugh at them famously, I dare say. Have you heard
Sir George allude to them at all, Miss Eve?"
"It would be great affectation for an Englishman to deride the fire-
works of any _dry_ climate," said Eve laughing; "and I dare say, if
Sir George Templemore has been silent on the subject, it is because
he is conscious he knows little about it."
"Well, that is odd! I should think England the very first country in
the world for fire-works. I hear, Miss Eve, that, on the whole, the
baronet is rather pleased with us; and I must say that he is getting
to be very popular in Templeton."
"Nothing is easier than for an Englishman to become popular in
America," observed Paul, "especially if his condition in life be
above that of the vulgar. He has only to declare himself pleased with
America; or, to be sincerely hated, to declare himself displeased."
"And in what does America differ from any other country, in this
respect?" asked Eve, quickly.
"Not much, certainly; love induces love, and dislike, dislike. There
is nothing new in all this; but the people of other countries, having
more confidence in themselves, do not so sensitively inquire what
others think of them. I believe this contains the whole difference."
"But Sir George does _rather_ like us?" inquired Mr. Howel, with
"He likes some of us particularly well," returned Eve. "Do you not
know that my cousin Grace is to become Mrs.--I beg her pardon--Lady
Templemore, very shortly?"
"Good God!--Is that possible--Lady Templemore!--Lady Grace
"Not Lady Grace Templemore, but Grace, Lady Templemore, and graceful
Lady Templemore in the bargain."
"And this honour, my dear Miss Eve, they tell me you refused!"
"They tell you wrong then, sir," answered the young lady, a little
startled with the suddenness and _brusquerie_ of the remark, and yet
prompt to do justice to all concerned. "Sir George Templemore never
did me the honour to propose _to_ me, or _for_ me, and consequently
he _could_ not be refused."
"It is very extraordinary!--I hear you were actually acquainted in
"We were, Mr. Howel, actually acquainted in Europe, but I knew
hundreds of persons in Europe, who have never dreamed of asking me to
"This is very strange--quite unlooked for--to marry Miss Van
Cortlandt! Is Mr. John Effingham in the grounds?"
Eve made no answer, but Paul hurriedly observed--"You will find him
in the next walk, I think, by returning a short distance, and taking
the first path to the left."
Mr. Howel did as told, and was soon out of sight.
"That is a most earnest believer in English superiority, and, one may
say, by his strong desire to give you an English husband, Miss
Effingham, in English merit."
"It is the weak spot in the character of a very honest man. They tell
me such instances were much more frequent in this country thirty
years since, than they are to-day."
"I can easily believe it, for I think I remember some characters of
the sort, myself. I have heard those who are older than I am, draw a
distinction like this between the state of feeling that prevailed
forty years ago, and that which prevails to-day; they say that,
formerly, England absolutely and despotically thought for America, in
all but those cases in which the interests of the two nations
conflicted; and I have even heard competent judges affirm, that so
powerful was the influence of habit, and so successful the schemes of
the political managers of the mother country, that even many of those
who fought for the independence of America, actually doubted of the
propriety of their acts, as Luther is known to have had fits of
despondency concerning the justness of the reformation he was
producing; while, latterly, the leaning towards England is less the
result of a simple mental dependence,--though of that there still
remains a disgraceful amount--than of calculation, and a desire in a
certain class to defeat the dominion of the mass, and to establish
that of a few in its stead."
"It would, indeed, be a strange consummation of the history of this
country, to find it becoming monarchical!"
"There are a few monarchists no doubt springing up in the country,
though almost entirely in a class that only knows the world through
the imagination and by means of books; but the disposition, in our
time, is to aristocracy, and not to monarchy. Most men that get to be
rich, discover that they are no happier for their possessions;
perhaps every man who has not been trained and prepared to use his
means properly, is in this category, as our friend the captain would
call it, and then they begin to long for some other untried
advantages. The example of the rest of the world is before our own
wealthy, and, _faute d'imagination_, they imitate because they cannot
invent. Exclusive political power is also a great ally in the
accumulation of money, and a portion have the sagacity to see it;
though I suspect more pine for the vanities of the exclusive classes,
than for the substance. Your sex, Miss Effingham, as a whole, is not
above this latter weakness, as I think you must have observed in your
intercourse with those you met abroad."
"I met with some instances of weakness, in this way," said Eve, with
reserve, and with the pride of a woman, "though not more, I think,
than among the men; and seldom, in either case, among those whom we
are accustomed to consider people of condition at home. The self-
respect and the habits of the latter, generally preserved them from
betraying this feebleness of character, if indeed they felt it."
"The Americans abroad may be divided into two great classes; those
who go for improvement in the sciences or the arts, and those who go
for mere amusement. As a whole, the former have struck me as being
singularly respectable, equally removed from an apish servility and a
swaggering pretension of superiority; while, I fear, a majority of
the latter have a disagreeable direction towards the vanities."
"I will not affirm the contrary," said Eve, "for frivolity and
pleasure are only too closely associated in ordinary minds. The
number of those who prize the elegancies of life, for their intrinsic
value, is every where small, I should think; and I question if Europe
is much better off than ourselves, in this respect."
"This may be true, and yet one can only regret that, in a case where
so much depends on example, the tone of our people was not more
assimilated to their facts. I do not know whether you were struck
with the same peculiarity, but, whenever I felt in the mood to hear
high monarchical and aristocratical doctrines blindly promulgated, I
used to go to the nearest American Legation."
"I have heard this fact commented on," Eve answered, "and even by
foreigners, and I confess it has always struck me as singular. Why
should the agent of a republic make a parade of his anti-republican
"That there are exceptions, I will allow; but, after the experience
of many years, I honestly think that such is the rule. I might
distrust my own opinion, or my own knowledge; but others, with
opportunities equal to my own, have come to the same conclusion. I
have just received a letter from Europe, complaining that an American
Envoy Extraordinary, who would as soon think of denouncing himself,
as utter the same sentiments openly at home, has given an opinion
against the utility of the vote by ballot; and this, too, under
circumstances that might naturally be thought to produce a practical
"_Tant pis_. To me all this is inexplicable!"
"It has its solution, Miss Effingham, like any other problem. In
ordinary times, extraordinary men seldom become prominent, power
passing into the hands of clever managers. Now, the very vanity, and
the petty desires, that betray themselves in glittering uniforms,
puerile affectations, and feeble imitations of other systems,
probably induce more than half of those who fill the foreign missions
to apply for them, and it is no more than we ought to expect that the
real disposition should betray itself, when there was no longer any
necessity for hypocrisy."
"But I should think this necessity for hypocrisy would never cease!
Can it be possible that a people, as much attached to their
institutions as the great mass of the American nation is known to be,
will tolerate such a base abandonment of all they cherish!"
"How are they to know any thing about it? It is a startling fact,
that there is a man at this instant, who has not a single claim to
such a confidence, either in the way of mind, principles, manners, or
attainments, filling a public trust abroad, who, on all occasions
except those which he thinks will come directly before the American
people, not only proclaims himself opposed to the great principles of
the institutions but who, in a recent controversy with a foreign
nation, actually took sides against his own country, informing that
of the opposing nation, that the administration at home would not be
supported by the legislative part of the government!"
"And why is not this publicly exposed?"
"_Cui bono_! The presses that have no direct interest in the matter,
would treat the affair with indifference or levity, while a few would
mystify the truth. It is quite impossible for any man in a private
station to make the truth available in any country, in a matter of
public interest; and those in public stations seldom or never attempt
it, unless they see a direct party end to be obtained. This is the
reason that we see so much infidelity to the principles of the
institutions, among the public agents abroad, for they very well know
that no one will be able to expose them. In addition to this motive,
there is so strong a desire in that portion of the community which is
considered the highest, to effect a radical change in these very
institutions, that infidelity to them, in their eyes, would be a
merit, rather than an offence."
"Surely, surely, other nations are not treated in this cavalier
"Certainly not. The foreign agent of a prince, who should whisper a
syllable against his master, would be recalled with disgrace; but the
servant of the people is differently situated, since there are so
many to be persuaded of his guilt. I could always get along with all
the attacks that the Europeans are so fond of making on the American
system, but those which they quoted from the mouths of our own
"Why do not our travellers expose this?"
"Most of them see too little to know anything of it. They dine at a
diplomatic table, see a star or two, fancy themselves obliged, and
puff elegancies that have no existence, except in their own brains.
Some think with the unfaithful, and see no harm in the infidelity.
Others calculate the injury to themselves, and no small portion would
fancy it a greater proof of patriotism to turn a sentence in favour
of the comparative 'energies' and 'superior intelligence' of their
own people, than to point out this or any other disgraceful fact, did
they even possess the opportunities to discover it. Though no one
thinks more highly of these qualities in the Americans, considered in
connexion with practical things, than myself, no one probably gives
them less credit for their ability to distinguish between appearances
and reality, in matters of principle."
"It is probable that were we nearer to the rest of the world, these
abuses would not exist, for it is certain they are not so openly
practised at home. I am glad, however, to find that, even while you
felt some uncertainty concerning your own birth-place, you took so
much interest in us, as to identify yourself in feeling, at least,
with the nation."
"There was one moment when I was really afraid that the truth would
show I was actually born an Englishman--"
"Afraid!" interrupted Eve; "that is a strong word to apply to so
great and glorious a people."
"We cannot always account for our prejudices, and perhaps this was
one of mine; and, now that I know that to be an Englishman is not the
greatest possible merit in your eyes, Miss Effingham, it is in no
"In my eyes, Mr. Powis! I do not remember to have expressed any
partiality for, or any prejudice against the English: so far as I can
speak of my own feelings, I regard the English the same as any other
"In words you have not certainly; but acts speak louder than words."
"You are disposed to be mysterious to-night. What act of mine has
declared _pro_ or _con_ in this important affair."
"You have at least done what, I fear, few of your countrywomen would
have the moral courage and self-denial to do, and especially those
who are accustomed to living abroad--refused to be the wife of an
English baronet of a good estate and respectable family."
"Mr. Powis," said Eve, gravely, "this is an injustice to Sir George
Templemore, that my sense of right will not permit to go
uncontradicted, as well as an injustice to my sex and me. As I told
Mr. Howel, in your presence, that gentleman has never proposed for
me, and of course cannot have been refused. Nor can I suppose that
any American gentlewoman can deem so paltry a thing as a baronetcy,
an inducement to forget her self-respect."
"I fully appreciate your generous modesty, Miss Effingham; but you
cannot expect that I, to whom Templemore's admiration gave so much
uneasiness, not to say pain, am to understand you, as Mr. Howel has
probably done, too broadly. Although Sir George may not have
positively proposed, his readiness to do so, on the least
encouragement, was too obvious to be overlooked by a near observer."
Eve was ready to gasp for breath, so completely by surprise was she
taken, by the calm, earnest, and yet respectful manner, in which Paul
confessed his jealousy. There was a tremor in his voice, too, usually
so clear and even, that touched her heart, for feeling responds to
feeling, as the echo answers sound, when there exists a real sympathy
between the sexes. She felt the necessity of saying something, and
yet they had walked some distance, ere it was in her power to utter a
"I fear my presumption has offended you, Miss Effingham," said Paul,
speaking more like a corrected child, than the lion-hearted young man
he had proved himself.
There was deep homage in the emotion he betrayed, and Eve, although
she could barely distinguish his features, was not slow in
discovering this proof of the extent of her power over his feelings.
"Do not call it presumption," she said; "for, one who has done so
much for us all, can surely claim some right to take an interest in
those he has so well served. As for Sir George Templemore, you have
probably mistaken the feeling created by our common adventures for
one of more importance. He is warmly and sincerely attached to my
cousin, Grace Van Cortlandt."
"That he is so now, I fully believe; but that a very different magnet
first kept him from the Canadas, I am sure.--We treated each other
generously, Miss Effingham, and had no concealments, during that long
and anxious night, when all expected that the day would dawn on our
captivity. Templemore is too manly and honest to deny his former
desire to obtain you for a wife, and I think even he would admit that
it depended entirely on yourself to be so, or not."
"This is an act of self-humiliation that he is not called onto
perform," Eve hurriedly replied; "such allusions, now, are worse than
useless, and they might pain my cousin, were she to hear them."
"I am mistaken in my friend's character, if he leave his betrothed in
any doubt, on this subject. Five minutes of perfect frankness now,
might obviate years of distrust, hereafter."
And would you Mr. Powis, avow a former weakness of this sort, to the
woman you had finally selected for your wife?"
"I ought not to quote myself for authority, for or against such a
course, since I have never loved but one, and her with a passion too
single and too ardent ever to admit of competition. Miss Effingham,
there would be something worse than affectation--it would be trifling
with one who is sacred in my eyes, were I now to refrain from
speaking explicitly, although what I am about to say is forced from
me by circumstances, rather than voluntary, and is almost uttered
without a definite object. Have I your permission to proceed?'
"You can scarcely need a permission, being the master of your own
secrets, Mr. Powis."
Paul, like all men agitated by strong passion, was inconsistent, and
far from just; and Eve felt the truth of this, even while her mind
was ingeniously framing excuses for his weaknesses. Still, the
impression that she was about to listen to a declaration that
possibly ought never to be made, weighed upon her, and caused her to
speak with more coldness than she actually felt. As she continued
silent, however, the young man saw that it had become indispensably
necessary to be explicit.
"I shall not detain you, Miss Effingham, perhaps vex you," he said,
"with the history of those early impressions, which have gradually
grown upon me, until they have become interwoven with my very
existence. We met, as you know, at Vienna, for the first time. An
Austrian of rank, to whom I had become known through some fortunate
circumstances, introduced me into the best society of that capital,
in which I found you the admiration of all who knew you. My first
feeling was that of exultation, at seeing a young countrywoman--you
were then almost a child, Miss Effingham--the greatest attraction of
a capital celebrated for the beauty and grace of its women----"
"Your national partialities have made you an unjust judge towards
others, Mr. Powis." Eve interrupted him by saying, though the
earnestness and passion with which the young man uttered his
feelings, made music to her ears: "what had a young, frightened,
half-educated American girl to boast of, when put in competition with
the finished women of Austria?"
"Her surpassing beauty, her unconscious superiority, her attainments,
her trembling simplicity and modesty and her meek purity of mind. All
these did you possess, not only in my eyes, but in those of others;
for these are subjects on which I dwelt too fondly to be mistaken."
A rocket passed near them at the moment, and, while both were too
much occupied by the discourse to heed the interruption, its
transient light enabled Paul to see the flushed cheeks and tearful
eyes of Eve, as the latter were turned on him, in a grateful
pleasure, that his ardent praises extorted from her, in despite of
all her struggles for self-command.
"We will leave to others this comparison, Mr. Powis," she said, "and
confine ourselves to less doubtful subjects."
"If I am then to speak only of that which is beyond all question, I
shall speak chiefly of my long cherished, devoted, unceasing love. I
adored you at Vienna, Miss Effingham, though it was at a distance, as
one might worship the sun; for, while your excellent father admitted
me to his society, and I even think honoured me with some portion of
his esteem, I had but little opportunity to ascertain the value of
the jewel that was contained in so beautiful a casket; but when we
met the following summer in Switzerland, I first began truly to love.
Then I learned the justness of thought, the beautiful candour, the
perfectly feminine delicacy of your mind; and, although I will not
say that these qualities were not enhanced in the eyes of so young a
man, by the extreme beauty of their possessor, I will say that, as
weighed against each other, I could a thousand times prefer the
former to the latter, unequalled as the latter almost is, even among
your own beautiful sex."
"This is presenting flattery in its most seductive form, Powis."
"Perhaps my incoherent and abrupt manner of explaining myself
deserves a rebuke; though nothing can be farther from my intentions
than to seem to flatter or in any manner to exaggerate. I intend
merely to give a faithful history of the state of my feelings, and of
the progress of my love."
Eve smiled faintly, but very sweetly, as Paul would have thought, had
the obscurity permitted more than a dim view of her lovely
"Ought I to listen to such praises, Mr. Powis," she asked; "praises
which only contribute to a self-esteem that is too great already?"
"No one but yourself would say this; but your question does, indeed,
remind me of the indiscretion that I have fallen into, by losing that
command of my feelings, in which I have so long exulted. No man
should make a woman the confidant of his attachment, until he is
fully prepared to accompany the declaration with an offer of his
hand;--and such is not my condition."
Eve made no dramatic start, assumed no look of affected surprise, or
of wounded dignity; but she turned on her lover, her serene eyes,
with an expression of concern so eloquent, and of a wonder so
natural, that, could he have seen it, it would probably have
overcome every difficulty on the spot, and produced the usual
offer, notwithstanding the difficulty that he seemed to think
"And yet," he continued, "I have now said so much, involuntarily as
it has been, that I feel it not only due to you, but in some measure
to myself, to add that the fondest wish of my heart, the end and aim
of all my day-dreams, as well as of my most sober thoughts for the
future, centre in the common wish to obtain you for a wife."
The eye of Eve fell, and the expression of her countenance changed,
while a slight but uncontrollable tremor ran through her frame. After
a short pause, she summoned all her resolution, and in a voice, the
firmness of which surprised even herself, she asked--
"Powis, to what does all this tend?"
"Well may you ask that question, Miss Effingham! You have every right
to put it, and the answer, at least, shall add no further cause of
self-reproach. Give me, I entreat you, but a minute to collect my
thoughts, and I will endeavour to acquit myself of an imperious duty,
in a manner more manly and coherent, than I fear has been observed
for the last ten minutes."
They walked a short distance in profound silence, Eve still under the
influence of astonishment, in which an uncertain and indefinite dread
of, she scarce knew what, began to mingle; and Paul, endeavouring to
quiet the tumult that had been so suddenly aroused within him. The
latter then spoke:
"Circumstances have always deprived me of the happiness of
experiencing the tenderness and sympathy of your sex, Miss Effingham,
and have thrown me more exclusively among the colder and ruder
spirits of my own. My mother died at the time of my birth, thus
cutting me off, at once, from one of the dearest of earthly ties. I
am not certain that I do not exaggerate the loss in consequence of
the privations I have suffered; but, from the hour when I first
learned to feel, I have had a yearning for the tender, patient,
endearing, disinterested love of a mother. You, too, suffered a
similar loss, at an early period, if I have been correctly
A sob--a stifled, but painful sob, escaped Eve; and, inexpressibly
shocked, Paul ceased dwelling on his own sources of sorrow, to attend
to those he had so unintentionally disturbed.
"I have been selfish, dearest Miss Effingham," he exclaimed--"have
overtaxed your patience--have annoyed you with griefs and losses that
have no interest for you, which can have no interest, with one happy
and blessed as yourself."
"No, no, no, Powis--you are unjust to both. I, too, lost my mother
when a mere child, and never knew her love and tenderness. Proceed; I
am calmer, and earnestly intreat you to forget my weakness, and to
Paul did proceed, but this brief interruption in which they had
mingled their sorrows for a common misfortune, struck a new chord of
feeling, and removed a mountain of reserve and distance, that might
otherwise have obstructed their growing confidence.
"Cut off in this manner, from my nearest and dearest natural friend,"
Paul continued, "I was thrown, an infant, into the care of hirelings;
and, in this at least, my fortune was still more cruel than your own;
for the excellent woman who has been so happy as to have had the
charge of your infancy, had nearly the love of a natural mother,
however she may have been wanting in the attainments of one of your
own condition in life."
"But we had both of us, our fathers, Mr. Powis. To me, my excellent,
high principled, affectionate--nay tender father, has been every
thing. Without him, I should have been truly miserable; and with him,
notwithstanding these rebellious tears, tears that I must ascribe to
the infection of your own grief, I have been truly blest."
"Mr. Effingham deserves this from you, but I never knew my father,
you will remember."
"I am an unworthy confidant, to have forgotten this so soon. Poor
Powis, you were, indeed, unhappy!"
"He had parted from my mother before my birth and either died soon
after, or has never deemed his child of sufficient worth to make him
the subject of interest sufficient to excite a single inquiry into
"Then he never knew that child!" burst from Eve, with a fervour and
frankness, that set all reserves, whether of womanly training, or of
natural timidity, at defiance.
"Miss Effingham!--dearest Miss Effingham--Eve, my own Eve, what am I
to infer from this generous warmth! Do not mislead me! I can bear my
solitary misery, can brave the sufferings of an isolated existence;
but I could not live under the disappointments of such a hope, a hope
fairly quickened by a clear expression from your lips."
"You teach me the importance of caution, Powis, and we will now
return to your history, and to that confidence of which I shall not
again prove a faithless repository. For the present at least, I beg
that you will forget all else."
"A command so kindly--so encouragingly given--do I offend, dearest
Miss Effingham?" Eve, for the second time in her life, placed her own
light arm and beautiful hand, through the arm of Paul, discovering a
bewitching but modest reliance on his worth and truth, by the very
manner in which she did this simple and every-day act, while she said
"You forget the substance of the command, at the very moment you
would have me suppose you most disposed to obey it."
"Well, then, Miss Effingham, you shall be more implicitly minded.
_Why_ my father left my mother so soon after their union, I never
knew. It would seem that they lived together but a few months, though
I have the proud consolation of knowing that my mother was blameless.
For years I suffered the misery of doubt on a point that is ever the
most tender with man, a distrust of his own mother; but all this has
been happily, blessedly, cleared up, during my late visit to England.
It is true that Lady Dunluce was my mother's sister, and as such
might have been lenient to her failings; but a letter from my father,
that was written only a month before my mother's death, leaves no
doubt not only of her blamelessness as a wife, but bears ample
testimony to the sweetness of her disposition. This letter is a
precious document for a son to possess, Miss Effingham!"
Eve made no answer; but Paul fancied that he felt another gentle
pressure of the hand, which, until then, had rested so lightly on his
own arm, that he scarcely dared to move the latter, lest he might
lose the precious consciousness of its presence.
"I have other letters from my father to my mother," the young man
continued, "but none that are so cheering to my heart as this. From
their general tone, I cannot persuade myself that he ever truly loved
her. It is a cruel thing, Miss Effingham, for a man to deceive a
woman on a point like that!"
"Cruel, indeed," said Eve, firmly. "Death itself were preferable to
such a delusion."
"I think my father deceived himself as well as my mother; for there
is a strange incoherence and a want of distinctness in some of his
letters, that caused feelings, keen as mine naturally were on such a
subject, to distrust his affection from the first."
"Was your mother rich?" Eve asked innocently; for, an heiress
herself, her vigilance had early been directed to that great motive
of deception and dishonesty.
"Not in the least. She had little besides her high lineage, and her
beauty. I have her picture, which sufficiently proves the latter;
had, I ought rather to say, for it was her miniature, of which I was
robbed by the Arabs, as you may remember, and I have not seen it
since. In the way of money, my mother had barely the competency of a
gentlewoman; nothing more."
The pressure on Paul was more palpable, as spoke of the miniature;
and he ventured to touch his companion's arm, in order to give it a
surer hold of his own.
"Mr. Powis was not mercenary, then, and it is a great deal," said
Eve, speaking as if she were scarcely conscious that she spoke at
"Mr. Powis!--He was every thing that was noble and disinterested. A
more generous, or a less selfish man, never existed than Francis
"I thought you never knew your father personally!" exclaimed Eve in
"Nor did I. But, you are in an error, in supposing that my father's
name was Powis, when it was Assheton."
Paul then explained the manner in which he had been adopted while
still a child, by a gentleman called Powis, whose name he had taken,
on finding himself deserted by his own natural parent, and to whose
fortune he had succeeded, on the death of his voluntary protector.
"I bore the name of Assheton until Mr. Powis took me to France, when
he advised me to assume his own, which I did the more readily, as he
thought he had ascertained that my father was dead, and that he had
bequeathed the whole of a very considerable estate to his nephews and
nieces, making no allusion to me in his will, and seemingly anxious
even to deny his marriage; at least, he passed among his
acquaintances for a bachelor to his dying day."
"There is something so unusual and inexplicable in all this, Mr.
Powis, that it strikes me you have been to blame, in not inquiring
more closely into the circumstances than, by your own account I
should think had been done."
"For a long time, for many bitter years, I was afraid to inquire,
lest I should learn something injurious to a mother's name. Then
there was the arduous and confined service of my profession, which
kept me in distant seas: and the last journey and painful
indisposition of my excellent benefactor, prevented even the wish to
inquire after my own family. The offended pride of Mr. Powis, who was
justly hurt at the cavalier manner in which my father's relatives met
his advances, aided in alienating me from that portion of my
relatives, and put a stop to all additional proffers of intercourse
from me. They even affected to doubt the fact that my father had ever
"But of that you had proof?" Eve earnestly asked.
"Unanswerable. My aunt Dunluce was present at the ceremony, and I
possess the certificate given to my mother by the clergyman who
officiated. Is it not strange, Miss Effingham, that with all these
circumstances in favour of my legitimacy, even Lady Dunluce and her
family, until lately, had doubts of the fact."
"That is indeed unaccountable, your aunt having witnessed the
"Very true; but some circumstances, a little aided perhaps by the
strong desire of her husband, General Ducie, to obtain the revival of
a barony that was in abeyance, and of which she would be the only
heir, assuming that my rights were invalid, inclined her to believe
that my father was already married, when he entered into the solemn
contract with my mother. But from that curse too, I have been happily
"Poor Powis!" said Eve, with a sympathy that her voice expressed more
clearly even than her words; "you have, indeed, suffered cruelly, for
one so young."
"I have learned to bear it, dearest Miss Effingham, and have stood so
long a solitary and isolated being, one in whom none have taken any
"Nay, say not that--_we_, at least, have always felt an interest in
you--have always esteemed you, and now have learned to--"
"Love you," said Eve, with a steadiness that afterwards astonished
herself; but she felt that a being so placed, was entitled to be
treated with a frankness different from the reserve that it is usual
for her sex to observe on similar occasions.
"Love!" cried Paul, dropping her arm. "Miss Effingham!--Eve--but that
"I mean my dear father--cousin Jack--myself."
"Such a feeling will not heal a wound like mine. A love that is
shared with even such men as your excellent father, and your worthy
cousin, will not make me happy. But, why should I, unowned, bearing a
name to which I have no legal title, and virtually without relatives,
aspire to one like you!"
The windings of the path had brought them near a window of the house,
whence a stream of strong light gleamed upon the sweet countenance of
Eve, as raising her eyes to those of her companion, with a face
bathed in tears, and flushed with natural feeling and modesty, the
struggle between which even heightened her loveliness, she smiled an
encouragement that it was impossible to misconstrue.
"Can I believe my senses! Will _you_--_do_ you--_can_ you listen to
the suit of one like me?" the young man exclaimed, as he hurried his
companion past the window, lest some interruption might destroy his
"Is there any sufficient reason why I should not, Powis?"
"Nothing but my unfortunate situation in respect to my family, my
comparative poverty, and my general unworthiness."
"Your unfortunate situation in respect to your relatives would, if
any thing, be a new and dearer tie with us; your comparative poverty
is merely comparative, and can be of no account, where there is
sufficient already; and as for your general unworthiness, I fear it
will find more than an offset, in that of the girl you have so rashly
chosen from the rest of the world."
"Eve--dearest Eve--" said Paul, seizing both her hands, and stopping
her at the entrance of some shrubbery, that densely shaded the path,
and where the little light that fell from the stars enabled him still
to trace her features--"you will not leave me in doubt on a subject
of this nature--am I really so blessed?"
"If accepting the faith and affection of a heart that is wholly
yours, Powis, can mate you happy, your sorrows will be at an end--"
"But your father?" said the young man, almost breathless in his
eagerness to know all.
"Is here to confirm what his daughter has just declared," said Mr.
Effingham, coming out of the shrubbery beyond them, and laying a hand
kindly on Paul's shoulder. "To find that you so well understand each
other, Powis, removes from my mind one of the greatest anxieties I
have ever experienced. My cousin John, as he was bound to do, has
made me acquainted with all you have, told him of your past life, and
there remains nothing further to be revealed. We have known you for
years, and receive you into our family with as free a welcome as we
could receive any precious boon from Providence."
"Mr. Effingham!--dear sir," said Paul, almost gasping between
surprise and rapture--"this is indeed beyond all my hopes--and this
generous frankness too, in your lovely daughter--"
Paul's hands had been transferred to those of the father, he knew not
how; but releasing them hurriedly, he now turned in quest of Eve
again, and found she had fled. In the short interval between the
address of her father and the words of Paul, she had found means to
disappear, leaving the gentlemen together. The young man would have
followed, but the cooler head of Mr. Effingham perceiving that the
occasion was favourable to a private conversation with his accepted
son-in-law, and quite as unfavourable to one, or at least to a very
rational one, between the lovers, he quietly took the young man's
arm, and led him towards a more private walk. There half an hour of
confidential discourse calmed the feelings of both, and rendered Paul
Powis one of the happiest of human beings.
"You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo, Before you visit
him, to make inquiry Of his behaviour."
Ann Sidley was engaged among the dresses of Eve, as she loved to be,
although Annette held her taste in too low estimation ever to permit
her to apply a needle, or even to fit a robe to the beautiful form
that was to wear it, when our heroine glided into the room and sunk
upon a sofa. Eve was too much absorbed with her own feelings to
observe the presence of her quiet unobtrusive old nurse, and too much
accustomed to her care and sympathy to heed it, had it been seen. For
a moment she remained, her face still suffused with blushes, her
hands lying before her folded, her eyes fixed on the ceiling, and
then the pent emotions found an outlet in a flood of tears.
Poor Ann could not have felt more shocked, had she heard of any
unexpected calamity, than she was at this sudden outbreaking of
feeling in her child. She went to her, and bent over her with the
solicitude of a mother, as she inquired into the causes of her
"Tell me, Miss Eve, and it will relieve your mind," said the faithful
woman; "your dear mother had such feelings sometimes, and I never
dared to question her about them; but you are my own child, and
nothing can grieve you without grieving me."
The eyes of Eve were brilliant, her face continued to be suffused,
and the smile which she gave through her tears was so bright, as to
leave her poor attendant in deep perplexity as to the cause of a gush
of feeling that was very unusual in one of the other's regulated
"It is not grief, dear Nanny,"--Eve at length murmured--"any thing
but that! I am not unhappy. Oh! no; as far from unhappiness as
"God be praised it is so, ma'am! I was afraid that this affair of the
English gentleman and Miss Grace might not prove agreeable to you,
for he has not behaved as handsomely as he might, in that
"And why not, my poor Nanny?--I have neither claim, nor the wish to
possess a claim, on Sir George Templemore. His selection of my cousin
has given me sincere satisfaction, rather than pain; were he a
countryman of our own, I should say unalloyed satisfaction, for I
firmly believe he will strive to make her happy."
Nanny now looked at her young mistress, then at the floor; at her
young mistress again, and afterwards at a rocket that was sailing
athwart the sky. Her eyes, however, returned to those of Eve, and
encouraged by the bright beam of happiness that was glowing in the
countenance she so much loved, she ventured to say--
"If Mr. Powis were a more presuming gentleman than he is, ma'am--"
"You mean a less modest, Nanny," said Eve, perceiving that her nurse
"Yes, ma'am--one that thought more of himself, and less of other
people, is what I wish to say."
"And were this the case?"
"I might think _he_ would find the heart to say what I know he
"And did he find the heart to say what you know he feels, what does
Ann Sidley think should be my answer?"
"Oh, ma'am, I know it would be just as it ought to be. I cannot
repeat what ladies say on such occasions, but I know that it is what
makes the hearts of the gentlemen leap for joy."
There are occasions in which woman can hardly dispense with the
sympathy of woman. Eve loved her father most tenderly, had more than
the usual confidence in him, for she had never known a mother; but
had the present conversation been with him, notwithstanding all her
reliance on his affection, her nature would have shrunk from pouring
out her feelings as freely as she might have done with her other
parent, had not death deprived her of such a blessing. Between our
heroine and Ann Sidley, on the other hand, there existed a confidence
of a nature so peculiar, as to require a word of explanation before
we exhibit its effects. In all that related to physical wants, Ann
had been a mother, or even more than a mother to Eve, and this alone
had induced great personal dependence in the one, and a sort of
supervisory care in the other, that had brought her to fancy she was
responsible for the bodily health and well-doing of her charge. But
this was not all. Nanny had been the repository of Eve's childish
griefs, the confidant of her girlish secrets; and though the years of
the latter soon caused her to be placed under the management of those
who were better qualified to store her mind, this communication never
ceased; the high-toned and educated young woman reverting with
unabated affection, and a reliance that nothing could shake, to the
long-tried tenderness of the being who had watched over her infancy.
The effect of such an intimacy was often amusing; the one party
bringing to the conferences, a mind filled with the knowledge suited
to her sex and station, habits that had been formed in the best
circles of christendom, and tastes that had been acquired in schools
of high reputation; and the other, little more than her single-
hearted love, a fidelity that ennobled her nature, and a simplicity
that betokened perfect purity of thought Nor was this extraordinary
confidence without its advantages to Eve; for, thrown so early among
the artificial and calculating, it served to keep her own
ingenuousness of character active, and prevented that cold, selfish,
and unattractive sophistication, that mere women of fashion are apt
to fall into, from their isolated and factitious mode of existence.
When Eve, therefore, put the questions to her nurse, that have
already been mentioned, it was more with a real wish to know how the
latter would view a choice on which her own mind was so fully made
up, than any silly trifling on a subject that engrossed so much of
her best affections.
"But you have not told me, dear Nanny," she continued, "what _you_
would have that answer be. Ought I, for instance, ever to quit my
"What necessity would there be for that, ma'am? Mr. Powis has no home
of his own; and, for that matter, scarcely any country----"
"How can you know this, Nanny?" demanded Eve, with the jealous
sensitiveness of a young love.
"Why, Miss Eve, his man says this much, and he has lived with him
long enough to know it, if he had a home. Now, I seldom sleep without
looking back at the day, and often have my thoughts turned to Sir
George Temple more and Mr. Powis; and when I have remembered that the
first had a house and a home, and that the last had neither, it has
always seemed to me that _he_ ought to be the one."
"And then, in all this matter, you have thought of convenience, and
what might be agreeable to others, rather than of me."
"Nay, dearest Nanny, forgive me; I know your last thought, in every
thing, is for yourself. But surely, the mere circumstance that he had
no home ought not to be a sufficient reason for selecting any man,
for a husband. With most women it would be an objection."
"I pretend to know very little of these feelings, Miss Eve. I have
been wooed, I acknowledge; and once I do think I might have been
tempted to marry, had it not been for a particular circumstance."
"You! You marry, Ann Sidley!" exclaimed Eve, to whom the bare idea
seemed as odd and unnatural, as that her own father should forget her
mother, and take a second wife. "This is altogether new, and I should
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