Home as Found
James Fenimore Cooper
Part 8 out of 9
be glad to know what the lucky circumstance was, which prevented
what, to me, might have proved so great a calamity."
"Why, ma'am, I said to myself, what does a woman do, who marries? She
vows to quit all else to go with her husband, and to love him before
father and mother, and all other living beings on earth--is it not
so, Miss Eve?"
"I believe it is so, indeed, Nanny--nay, I am quite certain it is
so," Eve answered, the colour deepening on her cheek, as she gave
this opinion to her old nurse, with the inward consciousness that she
had just experienced some of the happiest moments of her life,
through the admission of a passion that thus overshadowed all the
natural affections. "It is, truly? as you say."
"Well, ma'am, I investigated my feelings, I believe they call it, and
after a proper trial, I found that I loved you so much better than
any one else, that I could not, in conscience, make the vows."
"Dearest Nanny! my kind, good, faithful old nurse! let me hold you in
my arms: and, I, selfish, thoughtless, heartless girl, would forget
the circumstance that would be most likely to keep us together, for
the remainder of our lives! Hist! there is a tap at the door It is
Mrs. Bloomfield; I know her light step. Admit her, my kind Ann, and
leave us together."
The bright searching eye of Mrs. Bloomfield was riveted on her young
friend, as she advanced into the room; and her smile, usually so gay
and sometimes ironical, was now thoughtful and kind.
"Well, Miss Effingham," she cried, in a manner that her looks
contradicted, "am I to condole with you," or to congratulate?--For a
more sudden, or miraculous change did I never before witness in a
young lady, though whether it be for the better or the worse----These
are ominous words, too--for 'better or worse, for richer or
"You are in fine spirits this evening, my dear Mrs. Bloomfield, and
appear to have entered into the gaieties of the Fun of Fire, with all
"Might, will be a homely, but an expressive word. Your Templeton Fun
of Fire is fiery fun, for it has cost us something like a general
conflagration. Mrs. Hawker has been near a downfall, like your great
namesake, by a serpent's coming too near her dress; one barn, I hear,
has actually been in a blaze, and Sir George Templemore's heart is in
cinders. Mr. John Effingham has been telling me that he should not
have been a bachelor, had there been two Mrs. Bloomfields in the
world, and Mr. Powis looks like a rafter dugout of Herculaneum,
nothing but coal."
"And what occasions this pleasantry?" asked Eve, so composed in
manner that her friend was momentarily deceived.
Mrs. Bloomfield took a seat on the sofa, by the side of our heroine,
and regarding her steadily for near a minute, she continued--
"Hypocrisy and Eve Effingham can have little in common, and my ears
must have deceived me."
"Your ears, dear Mrs. Bloomfield!"
"My ears, dear Miss Effingham. I very well know the character of an
eaves-dropper, but if gentlemen will make passionate declarations in
the walk of a garden, with nothing but a little shrubbery between his
ardent declarations and the curiosity of those who may happen to be
passing, they must expect to be overheard."
Eve's colour had gradually increased as her friend proceeded; and
when the other ceased speaking, as bright a bloom glowed on her
countenance, as had shone there when she first entered the room.
"May I ask the meaning of all this?" she said, with an effort to
"Certainly, my dear; and you shall also know the _feelings_ that
prompt it, as well as the meaning," returned Mrs. Bloomfield, kindly
taking Eve's hand in a way to show that she did not mean to trifle
further on a subject that was of so much moment to her young friend.
"Mr. John Effingham and myself were star-gazing at a point where two
walks approach each other, just as you and Mr. Powis were passing in
the adjoining path. Without absolutely stepping our ears, it was
quite impossible not to hear a portion of your conversation. We both
tried to behave honourably; for I coughed, and your kinsman actually
hemmed, but we were unheeded."
"Coughed and hemmed!" repeated Eve, in greater confusion than ever.
"There must be some mistake, dear Mrs. Bloomfield, as I remember to
have heard no such signals."
"Quite likely, my love, for there was a time when I too had ears for
only one voice; but you can have affidavits to the fact, _a la mode
de New England_, if you require them. Do not mistake my motive,
nevertheless, Miss Effingham, which is any thing but vulgar
curiosity"--here Mrs. Bloomfield looked so kind and friendly, that
Eve took both her hands and pressed them to her heart--"you are
motherless; without even a single female connexion of a suitable age
to consult with on such an occasion, and fathers after all are but
"Mine is as kind, and delicate, and tender, as any woman can be, Mrs.
"I believe it all, though he may not be quite as quick-sighted, in an
affair of this nature.--Am I at liberty to speak to you as if I were
an elder sister?"
"Speak, Mrs. Bloomfield, as frankly as you please, but leave me the
mistress of my answers."
"It is, then, as I suspected," said Mrs. Bloomfield, in a sort of
musing manner; "the men have been won over, and this young creature
has absolutely been left without a protector in the most important
moment of her life!"
"Mrs. Bloomfield!--What does this mean?--What _can_ it mean?"
"It means merely general principles, child; that your father and
cousin have been parties concerned, instead of vigilant sentinels;
and, with all their pretended care, that you have been left to grope
your way in the darkness of female uncertainty, with one of the most
pleasing young men in the country constantly before you, to help the
It is a dreadful moment, when we are taught to doubt the worth of
those we love; and Eve became pale as death, as she listened to the
words of her friend. Once before, on the occasion of Paul's return to
England, she had felt a pang of that sort, though reflection, and a
calm revision of all his acts and words since they first met in
Germany, had enabled her to get the better of indecision, and when
she first saw him on the mountain, nearly every unpleasant
apprehension and distrust had been dissipated by an effort of pure
reason. His own explanations had cleared up the unpleasant affair,
and, from that moment, she had regarded him altogether with the eyes
of a confiding partiality. The speech of Mrs. Bloomfield now sounded
like words of doom to her, and, for an instant, her friend was
frightened with the effects of her own imperfect communication. Until
that moment Mrs. Bloomfield had formed no just idea of the extent to
which the feelings of Eve were interested in Paul, for she had but an
imperfect knowledge of their early association in Europe, and she
sincerely repented having introduced the subject at all. It was too
late to retreat, however, and, first folding Eve in her arms, and
kissing her cold forehead, she hastened to repair a part, at least,
of the mischief she had done.
"My words have been too strong, I fear," she said, "but such is my
general horror of the manner in which the young of our sex, in this
country, are abandoned to the schemes of the designing and selfish of
the other, that I am, perhaps, too sensitive when I see any one that
I love thus exposed. You are known, my dear, to be one of the richest
heiresses of the country; and, I blush to say that no accounts of
European society that we have, make fortune-hunting a more regular
occupation there, than it has got to be here."
The paleness left Eve's face, and a look of slight displeasure
"Mr. Powis is no fortune-hunter, Mrs. Bloomfield," she said,
steadily; "his whole conduct for three years has been opposed to such
a character; and, then, though not absolutely rich, perhaps, he has a
gentleman's income, and is removed from the necessity of being
reduced to such an act of baseness."
"I perceive my error, but it is now too late to retreat. I do not say
that Mr. Powis is a fortune-hunter, but there are circumstances
connected with his history, that you ought at least to know, and that
immediately. I have chosen to speak to you, rather than to speak to
your father, because I thought you might like a female confidant on
such occasion, in preference even to your excellent natural
protector. The idea of. Mrs. Hawker occurred to me, on account of her
age; but I did not feel authorised to communicate to her a secret of
which I had myself become so accidentally possessed,'
"I appreciate your motive fully, dearest Mrs. Bloomfield," said Eve,
smiling with all her native sweetness, and greatly relieved, for she
now began to think that too keen a sensitiveness on the subject of
Paul had unnecessarily alarmed her, "and beg there may be no reserves
between us. If you know a reason why Mr. Powis should not be received
as a suitor, I entreat you to mention it."
"Is he Mr. Powis at all?"
Again Eve smiled, to Mrs. Bloomfield's great, surprise, for, as the
latter had put the question with sincere reluctance, she was
astonished at the coolness with which it was received.
"He is not Mr. Powis, legally perhaps, though he might be, but that
he dislikes the publicity of an application to the legislature. His
paternal name is Assheton."
"You know his history, then!"
"There has been no reserve on the part of Mr. Powis; least of all,
Mrs. Bloomfield appeared perplexed, even distressed; and there was a
brief space, during which her mind was undecided as to the course she
ought to take. That she had committed an error by attempting a
consultation, in a matter of the heart, with one of her own sex,
after the affections were engaged, she discovered when it was too
late; but she prized Eve's friendship too much, and had too just a
sense of what was due to herself, to leave the affair where it was,
or without clearing up her own unasked agency in it.
"I rejoice to learn this," she said, as soon as her doubts had ended,
"for frankness, while it is one of the safest, is one of the most
beautiful traits in human character; but beautiful though it be, it
is one that the other sex uses least to our own."
"Is our own too ready to use it to the other?"
"Perhaps not: it might be better for both parties, were there less
deception practised during the period of courtship, generally: but as
this is hopeless, and might, destroy some of the most pleasing
illusions of life, we will not enter into a treatise on the frauds of
Cupid, Now to my own confessions, which I make all the more
willingly, because I know they are uttered to the ear of one of a
forgiving temperament, and who is disposed to view even my follies
The kind but painful smile of Eve, assured the speaker she was not
mistaken, and she continued, after taking time to read the expression
of the countenance of her young friend--
"In common with all of New-York, that town of babbling misses, who
prattle as water flows, without consciousness or effort, and of
whiskered masters, who fancy Broadway the world, and the flirtations
of miniature drawing-rooms, human nature, I believed, on your return
from Europe, that an accepted suitor followed in your train, in the
person of Sir George Templemore."
"Nothing in my deportment, or in that of Sir George, or in that of
any of my family, could justly have given rise to such a notion,"
said Eve, quickly.
"Justly! What has justice, or truth, or even probability, to do with
a report, of which love and matrimony are the themes? Do you not know
_society_ better than to fancy this improbability, child?"
"I know that our own sex would better consult their own dignity and
respectability, my dear Mrs. Bloomfield, if they talked less of such
matters; and that they would be more apt to acquire the habits of
good taste, not to say of good principles, if they confined their
strictures more to things and sentiments than they do, and meddled
less with persons."
"And pray, is there no tittle-tattle, no scandal, no commenting on
one's neighbours, in other civilized nations besides this?"
"Unquestionably; though I believe, as a rule, it is every where
thought to be inherently vulgar, and a proof of low associations."
"In that, we are perfectly of a mind; for, if there be any thing that
betrays a consciousness of inferiority, it is our rendering others of
so much obvious importance to ourselves, as to make them the subjects
of our constant conversation. We may speak of virtues, for therein we
pay an homage to that which is good; but when we come to dwell on
personal faults, it is rather a proof that we have a silent
conviction of the superiority of the subject of our comments to
ourselves, either in character, talents, social position, or
something else that is deemed essential, than of our distaste for his
failings. Who, for instance, talks scandal of his grocer, or of his
shoemaker? No, no, our pride forbids this; we always make our betters
the subject of our strictures by preference, taking up with our
equals only when we can get none of a higher class."
"This quite reconciles me to having been given to Sir George
Templemore, by the world of New-York," said Eve, smiling.
"And well it may, for they who have prattled of your engagement, have
done so principally because they are incapable of maintaining a
conversation on any thing else. But, all this time, I fear I stand
accused in your mind, of having given advice unasked, and of feeling
an alarm in an affair that affected others, instead of myself, which
is the very sin that we lay at the door of our worthy Manhattanese.
In common with all around me, then, I fancied Sir George Templemore
an accepted lover, and, by habit, had gotten to associate you
together in my pictures. Oh my arrival here, however, I will confess
that Mr. Powis, whom, you will remember, I had never seen before,
struck me as much the most dangerous man.--Shall I own all my
"Even to the smallest shade."
"Well, then, I confess to having supposed that, while the excellent
father believed you were in a fair way to become Lady Templemore, the
equally excellent daughter thought the other suitor, infinitely the
most agreeable person."
"What! in contempt of a betrothal?"
"Of course I, at once, ascribed that part of the report to the usual
embellishments. We do not like to be deceived in our calculations, or
to discover that even our gossip has misled us. In pure resentment at
my own previous delusion, I began to criticise this Mr. Powis--"
"Criticise, Mrs. Bloomfield!"
"To find fault with him, my dear; to try to think he was not just the
handsomest and most engaging young man I had ever seen; to imagine
what he ought to be, in place of what he was; and among other things,
to inquire _who_ he was?"
"You did not think proper to ask that question of any of _us_," said
"I did not; for I discovered by instinct, or intuition, or
conjecture--they mean pretty much the same thing, I believe--that
there was a mystery about him; something that even his Templeton
friends did not quite understand, and a lucky thought occurred of
making my inquiries of another person."
"They were answered satisfactorily," said Eve, looking up at her
friend, with the artless confidence that marks her sex, when the
affections have gotten the mastery of reason.
"_Cosi, cosi_. Bloomfield has a brother who is in the Navy, as you
know, and I happened to remember that he had once spoken of an
officer of the name of Powis, who had performed a clever thing in the
West Indies, when they were employed together against the pirates. I
wrote to him one of my usual letters, that are compounded of all
things in nature and art, and took an occasion to allude to a certain
Mr. Paul Powis, with a general remark that he had formerly served,
together with a particular inquiry if he knew any thing about him.
All this, no doubt, you think very officious; but believe me, dear
Eve, where there was as much interest as I felt and feel in you, it
was very natural."
"So far from entertaining resentment, I am grateful for your concern,
especially as I know it was manifested cautiously, and without any
unpleasant allusions to third persons."
"In that respect I believe I did pretty well. Tom Bloomfield--I beg
his pardon, Captain Bloomfield, for so he calls himself, at present--
knows Mr. Powis well; or, rather _did_ know him, for they have not
met for years, and he speaks of his personal qualities and
professional merit highly, but takes occasion to remark that there
was some mystery connected with his birth, as, before he joined the
service he understood he was called Assheton, and at a later day,
Powis, and this without any public law, or public avowal of a motive.
Now, it struck me that Eve Effingham ought not to be permitted to
form a connection with a man so unpleasantly situated, without being
apprised of the fact. I was waiting for a proper occasion to do this
ungrateful office myself, when accident made me acquainted with what
has passed this evening, and perceiving that there was no time to
lose, I came hither, more led by interest in you, my dear, perhaps,
than by discretion."
"I thank you sincerely for this kind concern in my welfare, dear Mrs.
Bloomfield, and give you full credit for the motive. Will you permit
me to inquire how much you know of that which passed this evening?"
"Simply that Mr. Powis is desperately in love, a declaration that I
take it is always dangerous to the peace of mind of a young woman,
when it comes from a very engaging young man."
"And my part of the dialogue--" Eve blushed to the eyes as she asked
this question, though she made a great effort to appear calm--"my
"There was too much of woman in me--of true, genuine, loyal, native
woman, Miss Effingham, to listen to that had there been an
opportunity. We were but a moment near enough to hear any thing,
though that moment sufficed to let us know the state of feelings of
the gentleman. I ask no confidences, my dear Eve, and now that I have
made my explanations, lame though they be, I will kiss you and repair
to the drawing-room, where we shall both be soon missed. Forgive me,
if I have seemed impertinent in my interference, and continue to
ascribe it to its true motive."
"Stop, Mrs. Bloomfield, I entreat, for a single moment; I wish to say
a word before we part. As you have been accidentally made acquainted
with Mr. Powis's sentiments towards me, it is no more than just that
you should know the nature of mine towards him----"
Eve paused involuntarily, for, though she had commenced her
explanation, with a firm intention to do justice to Paul, the
bashfulness of her sex held her tongue tied, at the very moment her
desire to speak was the strongest. An effort conquered the weakness,
and the warm-hearted, generous-minded girl succeeded in commanding
"I cannot allow you to go away with the impression, that there is a
shade of any sort on the conduct of Mr. Powis," she said. "So far
from desiring to profit by the accidents that have placed it in his
power to render us such essential service, he has never spoken of his
love until this evening, and then under circumstances in which
feeling, naturally, perhaps I might say uncontrollably, got the
"I believe it all, for I feel certain Eve Effingham would not bestow
her heart heedlessly."
"Heart, my dear; and now I insist on the subject's being dropped, at
least, for the present. Your decision is probably not yet made--you
are not yet an hour in possession of your suitor's secret, and
prudence demands deliberation. I shall hope to see you in the
drawing-room, and until then, adieu."
Mrs. Bloomfield signed for silence, and quitted the room with the
same light tread as that with which she had entered it.
"To show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very
age and body of the time, his form and pressure."
When Mrs. Bloomfield entered the drawing-room, she found nearly the
whole party assembled. The Fun of Fire had ceased, and the rockets no
longer gleamed athwart the sky; but the blaze of artificial light
within, was more than a substitute for that which had so lately
Mr. Effingham and Paul were conversing by themselves, in a window-
seat, while John Effingham, Mrs. Hawker, and Mr. Howel were in an
animated discussion on a sofa; Mr. Wenham had also joined the party,
and was occupied with Captain Ducie, though not so much so as to
prevent occasional glances at the trio just mentioned. Sir George
Templemore and Grace Van Cortlandt were walking together in the great
hall, and were visible through the open door, as they passed and
"I am glad of your appearance among us, Mrs. Bloomfield," said John
Effingham, "for, certainly more Anglo-mania never existed than that
which my good friend Howel manifests this evening, and I have hopes
that your eloquence may persuade him out of some of those notions, on
which my logic has fallen like seed scattered by the way-side."
"I can have little hopes of success where Mr. John Effingham has
"I am far from being certain of that; for, somehow Howel has taken up
the notion that I have gotten a grudge against England, and he
listens to all I say with distrust and distaste."
"Mr. John uses strong language habitually, ma'am," cried Mr. Howel,
"and you will make some allowances for a vocabulary that has no very
mild terms in it; though, to be frank, I do confess that he seems
prejudiced on the subject of that great nation."
"What is the point in immediate controversy, gentlemen?" asked Mrs.
Bloomfield, taking a seat.
"Why here is a review of a late American work, ma'am, and I insist
that the author is skinned alive, whereas, Mr. John insists that the
reviewer exposes only his own rage, the work having a national
character, and running counter to the reviewer's feelings and
"Nay, I protest against this statement of the case, for I affirm that
the reviewer exposes a great deal more than his rage, since his
imbecility, ignorance, and dishonesty, are quite as apparent as any
"I have read the article," said Mrs. Bloomfield, after glancing her
eye at the periodical, "and I must say that I take sides with Mr.
John Effingham in his opinion of its character."
"But do you not perceive, ma'am, that this is the idol of the
nobility and gentry; the work that is more in favour with people of
consequence in England than any other. Bishops are said to write for
"I know it is a work expressly established to sustain one of the most
factitious political systems that ever existed, and that it
sacrifices every high quality to attain its end."
"Mrs. Bloomfield, you amaze me! The first writers of Great Britain
figure in its pages."
"That I much question, in the first place; but even if it were so, it
would be but a shallow mystification. Although a man of character
might write one article in a work of this nature, it does not follow
that a man of no character does not write the next. The principles of
the communications of a periodical are as different as their
"But the editor is a pledge for all.--The editor of this review is an
eminent writer himself."
"An eminent writer may be a very great knave, in the first place, and
one fact is worth a thousand conjectures in such a matter. But we do
not know that there is any responsible editor to works of this nature
at all, for there is no name given in the title-page, and nothing is
more common than vague declarations of a want of this very
responsibility. But if I can prove to you that this article _cannot_
have been written by a man of common honesty, Mr. Howel, what will
you then say to the responsibility of your editor?"
"In that case I shall be compelled to admit that he had no connexion
"Any thing in preference to giving up the beloved idol!" said John
Effingham laughing. "Why not add at once, that he is as great a knave
as the writer himself? I am glad, however, that Tom Howel has fallen
into such good hands, Mrs. Bloomfield, and I devoutly pray you may
not spare him."
We have said that Mrs. Bloomfield had a rapid perception of things
and principles, that amounted almost to intuition. She had read the
article in question, and, as she glanced her eyes through its pages,
had detected its fallacies and falsehoods, in almost every sentence.
Indeed, they had not been put together with ordinary skill, the
writer having evidently presumed on the easiness of the class of
readers who generally swallowed his round assertions, and were so
clumsily done that any one who had not the faith to move mountains
would have seen through most of them without difficulty. But Mr.
Howel belonged to another school, and he was so much accustomed to
shut his eyes to palpable mystification mentioned by Mrs. Bloomfield,
that a lie, which, advanced in most works, would have carried no
weight with it, advanced in this particular periodical became
elevated to the dignity of truth.
Mrs. Bloomfield turned to an article on America, in the periodical in
question, and read from it several disparaging expressions concerning
Mr. Howel's native country, one of which was, "The American's first
plaything is the rattle-snake's tail."
"Now, what do you think of this assertion in particular, Mr. Howel?"
she asked, reading the words we have just quoted.
"Oh! that is said in mere pleasantry--it is only wit."
"Well, then, what do you think of it as wit?"
"Well, well, it may not be of a very pure water, but the best of men
are unequal at all times, and more especially in their wit."
"Here," continued Mrs. Bloomfield, pointing to another paragraph, "is
a positive statement or misstatement, which makes the cost of the
'civil department of the United States Government,' about six times
more than it really is."
"Our government is so extremely mean, that I ascribe that error to
"Well," continued the lady, smiling, "here the reviewer asserts that
Congress passed a law _limiting_ the size of certain ships, in order
to please the democracy; and that the Executive privately evaded this
law, and built vessels of a much greater size; whereas the provision
of the law is just the contrary, or that the ships should not be
_less_ than of seventy-four guns; a piece of information, by the way,
that I obtained from Mr. Powis."
"Ignorance, ma'am; a stranger cannot be supposed to know all the laws
of a foreign country."
"Then why make bold and false assertions about them, that are
intended to discredit the country? Here is another assertion--'ten
thousand of the men that fought at Waterloo would have marched
through North America?' Do you believe that, Mr. Howel?"
"But that is merely an opinion, Mrs. Bloomfield; any man may be wrong
in his opinion."
"Very true, but it is an opinion uttered in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight; and after the battles of
Bunker Hill, Cowpens, Plattsburg, Saratoga, and New-Orleans! And,
moreover, after it had been proved that something very like ten
thousand of the identical men who fought at Waterloo, could not march
even ten miles into the country."
"Well, well, all this shows that the reviewer is sometimes mistaken."
"Your pardon Mr. Howel; I think it shows, according to your own
admission, that his wit, or rather its wit, for there is no _his_
about it--that its wit is of a very indifferent quality as witticisms
even; that it is ignorant of what it pretends to know; and that its
opinions are no better than its knowledge: all of which, when fairly
established against one who, by his very pursuit, professes to know
more than other people, is very much like making it appear
"This is going back eight or ten years--let us look more particularly
at the article about which the discussion commences."
Mrs. Bloomfield now sent to the library for the work reviewed, and
opening the review she read some of its strictures; and then turning
to the corresponding passages in the work itself, she pointed out the
unfairness of the quotations, the omissions of the context, and, in
several flagrant instances, witticisms of the reviewer, that were
purchased at the expense of the English language. She next showed
several of those audacious assertions, for which the particular
periodical was so remarkable, leaving no doubt with any candid
person, that they were purchased at the expense of truth.
"But here is an instance that will scarce admit of cavilling or
objection on your part, Mr. Howel," she continued; "do me the favour
to read the passage in the review."
Mr. Howel complied, and when he had done, he looked expectingly at
"The effect of the reviewer's statement is to make it appear that the
author has contradicted himself, is it not?"
"Certainly, nothing can be plainer."
"According to your favourite reviewer, who accuses him of it, in
terms. Now let us look at the fact. Here is the passage in the work
itself. In the first place you will remark that this sentence, which
contains the alleged contradiction, is mutilated; the part which is
omitted, giving a directly contrary meaning to it, from that it bears
under the reviewer's scissors."
"It has some such appearance, I do confess."
"Here you perceive that the closing sentence of the same paragraph,
and which refers directly to the point at issue, is displaced, made
to appear as belonging to a separate paragraph, and as conveying a
different meaning from what the author has actually expressed."
"Upon my word, I do not know but you are right!"
"Well, Mr. Howel, we have had wit of no very pure water, ignorance as
relates to facts, and mistakes as regards very positive assertions.
In what category, as Captain Truck would say, do you place this?"
"Why does not the author reviewed expose this?"
"Why does not a gentleman wrangle with a detected pick-pocket?"
"It is literary swindling," said John Effingham, "and the man who did
it, is inherently a knave."
"I think both these facts quite beyond dispute," observed Mrs.
Bloomfield, laying down Mr. Howel's favourite review with an air of
cool contempt; "and I must say I did not think it necessary to prove
the general character of the work, at this late date, to any American
of ordinary intelligence; much less to a sensible man, like Mr.
"But, ma'am, there may be much truth and justice in the rest of its
remarks," returned the pertinacious Mr. Howel, "although it has
fallen into these mistakes."
"Were you ever on a jury, Howel?" asked John Effingham, in his
"Often; and on grand juries, too."
"Well, did the judge never tell you, when a witness is detected in
lying on one point, that his testimony is valueless on all others?"
"Very true; but this is a review, and not testimony."
"The distinction is certainly a very good one," resumed Mrs.
Bloomfield, laughing, "as nothing, in general, can be less like
honest testimony than a review!"
"But I think, my dear ma'am, you will allow that all this is
excessively biting and severe--I can't say I ever read any thing
sharper in my life."
"It strikes me, Mr. Howel, as being nothing but epithets, the
cheapest and most contemptible of all species of abuse. Were two men,
in your presence, to call each other such names, I think it would
excite nothing but disgust in your mind. When the thought is clear
and poignant, there is little need to have recourse to mere epithets;
indeed, men never use the latter, except when there is a deficiency
of the first."
"Well, well, my friends," cried Mr. Howel, as he walked away towards
Grace and Sir George, "this is a different thing from what I at first
thought it, but still I think you undervalue the periodical."
"I hope this little lesson will cool some of Mr. Howel's faith in
foreign morality," observed Mrs. Bloomfield, as soon as the gentleman
named was out of hearing; "a more credulous and devout worshipper of
the idol, I have never before met."
"The school is diminishing, but it is still large. Men like Tom
Howel, who have thought in one direction all their lives, are not
easily brought to change their notions, especially when the
admiration which proceeds from distance, distance 'that lends
enchantment to the view,' is at the bottom of their faith. Had this
very article been written and printed round the corner of the street
in which he lives, Howel would be the first to say that it was the
production of a fellow without talents or principles, and was
unworthy of a second thought."
"I still think he will be a wiser, if not a better man, by the
exposure of its frauds."
"Not he. If you will excuse a homely and a coarse simile, 'he will
return like a dog to his vomit, or the sow to its wallowing in the
mire.' I never knew one of that school thoroughly cured, until he
became himself the subject of attack, or, by a close personal
communication, was made to feel the superciliousness of European
superiority. It is only a week since I had a discussion with him on
the subject of the humanity and the relish for liberty in his beloved
model; and when I cited the instance of the employment of the
tomahawk, in the wars between England and this country, he actually
affirmed that the Indian savages killed no women and children, but
the wives and offspring of their enemies; and when I told him that
the English, like most other people, cared very little for any
liberty but their own, he coolly affirmed that their own was the only
liberty worth caring for!"
"Oh yes," put in young Mr. Wenham, who had overheard the latter
portion of the conversation, "Mr. Howel is so thoroughly English,
that he actually denies that America is the most civilized country in
the world, or that we speak our language better than any nation was
ever before known to speak its own language."
"This is so manifest an act of treason," said Mrs. Bloomfield,
endeavouring to look grave, for Mr. Wenham was any thing but accurate
in the use of words himself, commonly pronouncing "been," "ben,"
"does," "dooze," "nothing," "nawthing," "few," "foo," &c. &c. &c.,
"that, certainly, Mr. Howel should be arraigned at the bar of public
opinion for the outrage."
"It is commonly admitted, even by our enemies, that our mode of
speaking is the very best in the world, which, I suppose, is the real
reason why our literature has so rapidly reached the top of the
"And is that the fact?" asked Mrs. Bloomfield, with a curiosity that
was not in the least feigned.
"I believe no one denies _that. You_ will sustain me in this, I
fancy, Mr. Dodge?"
The editor of the Active Inquirer had approached, and was just in
time to catch the subject in discussion. Now the modes of speech of
these two persons, while they had a great deal in common, had also a
great deal that was not in common. Mr. Wenham was a native of New-
York, and his dialect was a mixture that is getting to be
sufficiently general, partaking equally of the Doric of New England,
the Dutch cross, and the old English root; whereas, Mr. Dodge spoke
the pure, unalloyed Tuscan of his province, rigidly adhering to all
its sounds and significations. "Dissipation," he contended, meant
"drunkenness;" "ugly," "vicious;" "clever," "good-natured;" and
"humbly," (homely) "ugly." In addition to this finesse in
significations, he had a variety of pronunciations that often put
strangers at fault, and to which he adhered with a pertinacity that
obtained some of its force from the fact, that it exceeded his power
to get rid of them. Notwithstanding all these little peculiarities,
peculiarities as respects every one but those who dwelt in his own
province, Mr. Dodge had also taken up the notion of his superiority
on the subject of language, and always treated the matter as one that
was placed quite beyond dispute, by its publicity and truth.
"The progress of American Literature," returned the editor, "is
really astonishing the four quarters of the world. I believe it is
very generally admitted, now, that our pulpit and bar are at the very
summit of these two professions. Then we have much the best poets of
the age, while eleven of our novelists surpass any of all other
countries. The American Philosophical Society is, I believe,
generally considered the most acute learned body now extant, unless,
indeed, the New-York Historical Society may compete with it, for that
honour. Some persons give the palm to one, and some to the other;
though I myself think it would be difficult to decide between them.
Then to what a pass has the drama risen of late years! Genius is
getting to be quite a drug in America!"
"You have forgotten to speak of the press, in particular," put in the
complacent Mr. Wenham. "I think we may more safely pride ourselves on
the high character of the press, than any thing else."
"Why, to tell you the truth, sir," answered Steadfast, taking the
other by the arm, and leading him so slowly away, that a part of what
followed was heard by the two amused listeners, "modesty is so
infallibly the companion of merit, that _we_ who are engaged in that
high pursuit do not like to say any thing in our own favour. You
never detect a newspaper in the weakness of extolling itself; but,
between ourselves, I may say, after a close examination of the
condition of the press in other countries, I have come to the
conclusion, that, for talents, taste, candour, philosophy, genius,
honesty, and truth, the press of the United States stands at the
Here Mr. Dodge passed so far from the listeners, that the rest of the
speech became inaudible, though from the well-established modesty of
the man and the editor, there can be little doubt of the manner in
which he concluded the sentence.
"It is said in Europe," observed Johr Effingham, his fine face
expressing the cool sarcasm in which he was so apt to indulge, "that
there are _la vieille_ and _la Jeune France_. I think we have now had
pretty fair specimens of _old_ and _young_ America; the first
distrusting every thing native, even to a potatoe: and the second
distrusting nothing, and least of all, itself."
"There appears to be a sort of pendulum-uneasiness in mankind," said
Mrs. Bloomfield, "that keeps opinion always vibrating around the
centre of truth, for I think it the rarest thing in the world to find
man or woman who has not a disposition, as soon as an error is
abandoned, to fly off into its opposite extreme. From believing we
had nothing worthy of a thought, there is a set springing up who
appear to have jumped to the conclusion that we have every thing."
"Ay, this is _one_ of the reasons that all the rest of the world
laugh at us."
"Laugh at us, Mr. Effingham! Even _I_ had supposed the American name
had, at last, got to be in good credit in other parts of the world."
"Then even _you_, my dear Mrs. Bloomfield, are notably mistaken.
Europe, it is true, is beginning to give us credit for not being
quite as bad as she once thought us; but we are far, very far, from
being yet admitted to the ordinary level of nations, as respects
"Surely they give us credit for energy, enterprize, activity----"
"Qualities that they prettily term, rapacity, cunning, and swindling!
I am far, very far, however, from giving credit to all that it suits
the interests and prejudices of Europe, especially of our venerable
kinswoman, Old England, to circulate and think to the prejudice of
this country, which, in my poor judgment, has as much substantial
merit to boast of as any nation on earth; though, in getting rid of a
set of ancient vices and follies, it has not had the sagacity to
discover that it is fast falling into pretty tolerable--or if you
like it better--intolerable substitutes."
"What then do _you_ deem our greatest error--our weakest point?"
"Provincialisms, with their train of narrow prejudices, and a
disposition to set up mediocrity as perfection, under the double
influence of an ignorance that unavoidably arises from a want of
models, and of the irresistible tendency to mediocrity, in a nation
where the common mind so imperiously rules."
"But does not the common mind rule every where? Is not public opinion
always stronger than law?"
"In a certain sense, both these positions may be true. But in a
nation like this, without a capital, one _that is all provinces_, in
which intelligence and tastes are scattered, this common mind wants
the usual direction, and derives its impulses from the force of
numbers, rather than from the force of knowledge. Hence the fact,
that the public opinion never or seldom rises to absolute truth. I
grant you that _as_ a mediocrity, it is well; much better than common
even; but it is still a mediocrity."
"I see the justice of your remark, and I suppose we are to ascribe
the general use of superlatives, which is so very obvious, to these
"Unquestionably; men have gotten to be afraid to speak the truth,
when that truth is a little beyond the common comprehension; and thus
it is that you see the fulsome flattery that all the public servants,
as they call themselves, resort to, in order to increase their
popularity, instead of telling the wholesome facts that are needed."
"And what is to be the result?"
"Heaven knows. While America is so much in advance of other nations,
in a freedom from prejudices of the old school, it is fast
substituting a set of prejudices of its own, that are not without
serious dangers. We may live through it, and the ills of society may
correct themselves, though there is one fact that men aces more evil
than any thing I could have feared."
"You mean the political struggle between money and numbers, that has
so seriously manifested itself of late!" exclaimed the quick-minded
and intelligent Mrs. Bloomfield.
"_That_ has its dangers; but there is still another evil of greater
magnitude. I allude to the very general disposition to confine
political discussions to political men. Thus, the private citizen,
who should presume to discuss a political question, would be deemed
fair game for all who thought differently from himself. He would be
injured in his pocket, reputation, domestic happiness, if possible;
for, in this respect, America is much the most intolerant nation I
have ever visited. In all other countries, in which discussion is
permitted at all, there is at least the _appearance_ of fair play,
whatever may be done covertly; but here, it seems to be sufficient to
justify falsehood, frauds, nay, barefaced rascality, to establish
that the injured party has had the audacity to meddle with public
questions, not being what the public chooses to call a public man. It
is scarcely necessary to say that, when such an opinion gets to be
effective, it must entirely defeat the real intentions of a popular
"Now you mention it," said Mrs. Bloomfield, "I think I have witnessed
instances of what you mean."
"Witnessed, dear Mrs. Bloomfield! Instances are to be seen as often
as a man is found freeman enough to have an opinion independent of
party. It is not for connecting himself with party that a man is
denounced in this country, but for daring to connect himself with
truth. Party will bear with party, but party will not bear with
truth. It is in politics as in war, regiments or individuals may
desert, and they will be received by their late enemies with open
arms, the honour of a soldier seldom reaching to the pass of refusing
succour of any sort; but both sides will turn and fire on the
countrymen who wish merely to defend their homes and firesides."
"You draw disagreeable pictures of human nature, Mr. Effingham."
"Merely because they are true, Mrs. Bloomfield. Man is worse than the
beasts, merely because he has a code of right and wrong, which he
never respects. They talk of the variation of the compass, and even
pretend to calculate its changes, though no one can explain the
principle that causes the attraction or its vagaries at all. So it is
with men; they pretend to look always at the right, though their eyes
are constantly directed obliquely; and it is a certain calculation to
allow of a pretty wide variation--but here comes Miss Effingham,
singularly well attired, and more beautiful than I have ever before
The two exchanged quick glances, and then, as if fearful of betraying
to each other their thoughts, they moved towards our heroine, to do
the honours of the reception.
"Haply, when I shall wed, That lord, whose hand must take
my plight, shall carry Half my love with him, half my care and
As no man could be more gracefully or delicately polite than John
Effingham, when the humour seized him, Mrs. Bloomfield was struck
with the kind and gentleman-like manner with which he met his young
kinswoman on this trying occasion, and the affectionate tones of his
voice, and the winning expression of his eye, as he addressed her.
Eve herself was not unobservant of these peculiarities, nor was she
slow in comprehending the reason. She perceived at once that he was
acquainted with the state of things between her and Paul. As she well
knew the womanly fidelity of Mrs. Bloomfield, she rightly enough
conjectured that the long observation of her cousin, coupled with the
few words accidentally overheard that evening had even made him
better acquainted with the true condition of her feelings, than was
the case with the friend with whom she had so lately been conversing
on the subject.
Still Eve was not embarrassed by the conviction that her secret was
betrayed to so many persons. Her attachment to Paul was not the
impulse of girlish caprice, but the warm affection of a woman, that
had grown with time, was sanctioned by her reason, and which, if it
was tinctured with the more glowing imagination and ample faith of
youth, was also sustained by her principles and her sense of right.
She knew that both her father and cousin esteemed the man of her own
choice, nor did she believe the little cloud that, hung over his
birth could do more than have a temporary influence on his own
sensitive feelings. She met John Effingham, therefore, with a frank
composure, returned the kind pressure of his hand, with a smile such
as a daughter might bestow on an affectionate parent, and turned to
salute the remainder of the party, with that lady-like ease which had
got to be a part of her nature.
"There goes one of the most attractive pictures that humanity can
offer," said John Effingham to Mrs. Bloomfield, as Eve walked away;
"a young, timid, modest, sensitive girl, so strong in her principles,
so conscious of rectitude, so pure of thought, and so warm in her
affections, that she views her selection of a husband, as others view
their acts of duty and religious faith. With her love has no shame,
as it has no weakness."
"Eve Effingham is as faultless as comports with womanhood; and yet I
confess ignorance of my own sex, if she receive Mr. Powis as calmly
as she received her cousin."
"Perhaps not, for in that case, she could scarcely feel the passion.
You perceive that he avoids oppressing her with his notice, and that
the meeting passes off without embarrassment. I do believe there is
an elevating principle in love, that, by causing us to wish to be
worthy of the object most prized, produces the desired effects by
stimulating exertion. There, now, are two as perfect beings as one
ordinarily meets with, each oppressed by a sense of his or her
unworthiness to be the choice of the other."
"Does love, then, teach humility; successful love too?"
"Does it not? It would be hardly fair to press this matter on you, a
married woman; for, by the pandects of American society, a man may
philosophize on love, prattle about it, trifle on the subject, and
even analyze the passion with, a miss in her teens, and yet he shall
not allude to it, in a discourse with a matron. Well, _chacun a son
gout_; we are, indeed, a little peculiar in our usages, and have
promoted a good deal of village coquetry, and the flirtations of the
may-pole, to the drawing-room."
"Is it not better that such follies should be confined to youth, than
that they should invade the sanctity of married life, as I understand
is too much the case elsewhere?"
"Perhaps so; though I confess it is easier to dispose of a straight-
forward proposition from a mother, a father, or a commissioned
friend, than to get rid of a young lady, who, _propria persona_,
angles on her own account. While abroad, I had a dozen proposals--"
"Proposals!" exclaimed Mrs. Bloomfield, holding up both hands, and
shaking her head incredulously.
"Proposals! Why not, ma'am?--am I more than fifty? am I not
reasonably youthful for that period of life, and have I not six or
eight thousand a year--"
"Eighteen, or you are much scandalized."
"Well, eighteen, if you will," coolly returned the other, in whose
eyes money was no merit, for he was born to a fortune, and always
treated it as a means, and not as the end of life; "every dollar is a
magnet, after one has turned forty. Do you suppose that a single man,
of tolerable person, well-born, and with a hundred thousand francs of
_rentes_, could entirely escape proposals from the ladies in Europe?"
"This is so revolting to all our American notions, that, though I
have often heard of such things, I have always found it difficult to
"And is it more revolting for the friends of young ladies to look out
for them, on such occasions, than that the young ladies should take
the affair into their own hands, as is practised quite as openly,
"It is well you are a confirmed bachelor, or declarations like these
would mar your fortunes. I will admit that the school is not as
retiring and diffident as formerly; for we are all ready enough to
say that no times are egual to our own times; but I shall strenuously
protest against your interpretation of the nature and artlessness of
an American girl."
"Artlessness!" repeated John Effingham, with a slight lifting of the
eye-brows; "we live in an age when new dictionaries and vocabularies
are necessary to understand each other's meaning. It is artlessness,
with a vengeance, to beset an old fellow of fifty, as one would
besiege a town. Hist!--Ned is retiring with his daughter, my dear
Mrs. Bloomfield, and it will not be long before I shall be summoned
to a family council. Well, we will keep the secret until it is
John Effingham was right, for his two cousins left the room together,
and retired to the library, but in a way to attract no particular
attention, except in those who were enlightened on the subject of
what had already passed that evening. When they were alone, Mr.
Effingham turned the key, and then he gave a free vent to his
Between Eve and her parent, there had always existed a confidence
exceeding that which it is common to find between father and
daughter. In one sense, they had been all in all to each other, and
Eve had never hesitated about pouring those feelings into his breast,
which, had she possessed another parent, would more naturally have
been confided to the affection of a mother. When their eyes first
met, therefore, they were mutually beaming with an expression of
confidence and love, such as might, in a measure, have been expected
between two of the gentler sex. Mr Effingham folded his child to his
heart, pressed her there tenderly for near a minute in silence, and
then kissing her burning cheek he permitted her to look up.
"This answers all my fondest hopes, Eve"--he exclaimed; "fulfils my
most cherished wishes for thy sake."
"Yes, my love, I have long secretly prayed that such might be your
good fortune; for, of all the youths we have met, at home or abroad,
Paul Powis is the one to whom I can consign you with the most
confidence that he will cherish and love you as you deserve to be
cherished and loved!"
"Dearest father, nothing but this was wanting to complete my perfect
Mr. Effingham kissed his daughter again, and he was then enabled to
pursue the conversation with greater composure.
"Powis and I have had a full explanation," he said, "though in order
to obtain it, I have been obliged to give him strong encouragement"
"Nay, my love, your delicacy and feelings nave been sufficiently
respected, but he has so much diffidence of himself, and permits the
unpleasant circumstances connected with his birth to weigh so much on
his mind, that I have been compelled to tell him, what I am sure you
will approve, that we disregard family connections, and look only to
the merit of the individual."
"I hope, father, nothing was said to give Mr. Powis reason to suppose
we did not deem him every way our equal."
"Certainly not. He is a gentleman, and I can claim to be no more.
There is but one thing in which connections ought to influence an
American marriage, where the parties are suited to each other in the
main requisites, and that is to ascertain that neither should be
carried, necessarily, into associations for which their habits have
given them too much and too good tastes to enter into. A _woman_,
especially, ought never to be transplanted from a polished to
an unpolished circle; for, when this is the case, if really a
lady, there will be a dangerous clog on her affection for her
husband. This one great point assured, I see no other about which a
parent need feel concern."
"Powis, unhappily, has no connections in this country; or none with
whom he has any communications; and those he has in England are of a
class to do him credit."
"We have been conversing of this, and he has manifested so much
proper feeling that it has even raised him in my esteem. I knew his
father's family, and must have known his father, I think, though
there were two or three Asshetons of the name of John. It is a highly
respectable family of the middle states, and belonged formerly to the
colonial aristocracy. Jack Effingham's mother was an Assheton."
"Of the same blood, do you think, sir? I remembered this when Mr.
Powis mentioned his father's name, and intended to question cousin
Jack on the subject."
"Now you speak of it, Eve, there _must_ be a relationship
between them. Do you suppose that our kinsman is acquainted with the
fact that Paul is, in truth, an Assheton?"
Eve told her father that she had never spoken with their relative on
the subject, at all.
Then ring the bell and we will ascertain at once how far my
conjecture is true. You can have no false delicacy, my child, about
letting your engagement be known to one as near and as dear to us, as
"Yes, engagement," returned the smiling parent, "for such I already
deem it. I have ventured, in your behalf, to plight your troth to
Paul Powis, or what is almost equal to it; and in return I can give
you back as many protestations of unequalled fidelity, and eternal
constancy, as any reasonable girl can ask."
Eve gazed at her lather in a way to show that reproach was mingled
with fondness, for she felt that, in this instance, too much of the
precipitation of the other sex had been manifested in her affairs;
still, superior to coquetry and affectation, and much too warm in her
attachments to be seriously hurt, she kissed the hand she held, shook
her head reproachfully, even while she smiled, and did as had been
"You have, indeed, rendered it important to us to know more of Mr.
Powis, my beloved father," she said, as she returned to her seat,
"though I could wish matters had not proceeded quite so fast."
"Nay, all I promised was conditional, and dependent on yourself. You
have nothing to do, if I have said too much, but to refuse to ratify
the treaty made by your negotiator."
"You propose an impossibility,", said Eve, taking the hand, again,
that she had so lately relinquished, and pressing it warmly between
her own; "the negotiator is too much revered, has too strong a right
to command, and is too much confided in to be thus dishonoured.
Father, I _will_, I _do_, ratify all you _have_, all you _can_
promise in my behalf."
"Even, if I annul the treaty, darling?"
"Even, in that case, father. I will marry none without your consent,
and have so absolute a confidence in your tender care of me, that I
do not even hesitate to say, I will marry him to whom you contract
"Bless you, bless you, Eve; I do believe you, for such have I ever
found you, since thought has had any control over your actions.
Desire Mr. John Effingham to come hither"--then, as the servant
closed the door, he continued,--"and such I believe you will continue
to be until your dying day."
"Nay, reckless, careless father, you forget that you yourself have
been instrumental in transferring my duty and obedience to another.
What if this sea-monster should prove a tyrant, throw off the mask,
and show himself in his real colours? Are you prepared, then,
thoughtless, precipitate, parent"--Eve kissed Mr, Effingham's cheek
with childish playfulness, as she spoke, her heart swelling with
happiness the whole time, "to preach obedience where obedience would
then be due?"
"Hush, precious--I hear the step of Jack; he must not catch us
fooling in this manner."
Eve rose; and when her kinsman entered the room, she held out her
hand kindly to him, though it was with an averted face and a tearful
"It is time I was summoned," said John Effingham, after he had drawn
the blushing girl to him and kissed her forehead, "for what between
_tete a tetes_ with young fellows, and _tete a tetes_ with
old fellows, this evening, I began to think myself neglected. I hope
I am still in time to render my decided disapprobation available?"
"Cousin Jack!" exclaimed Eve, with a look of reproachful mockery,
"_you_ are the last person who ought to speak of disapprobation,
for you have done little else but sing the praises of the applicant,
since you first met him."
"Is it even so? then, like others, I must submit to the consequences
of my own precipitation and false conclusions. Am I summoned to
inquire how many thousands a year I shall add to the establishment of
the new couple? As I hate business, say five at once: and when the
papers are ready, I will sign them, without reading,"
"Most generous cynic," cried Eve, "I would I dared, now, to ask a
"Ask it without scruple, young lady, for this is the day of your
independence and power. I am mistaken in the man, if Powis do not
prove to be the captain of his own ship, in the end."
"Well, then, in whose behalf is this liberality really meant; mine,
or that of the gentleman?"
"Fairly enough put," said John Effingham, laughing, again drawing Eve
towards him and saluting her cheek; "for if I were on the rack, I
could scarcely say which I love best, although you have the
consolation of knowing, pert one, that you get the most kisses."
"I am almost in the same state of feeling myself, John, for a son of
my own could scarcely be dearer to me than Paul."
"I see, indeed, that I _must_ marry," said Eve hastily, dashing
the tears of delight from her eyes, for what could give more delight
than to hear the praises of her beloved, "if I wish to retain my
place in your affections. But, father, we forget the question you
were to put to cousin Jack."
"True, love. John, your mother was an Assheton?"
"Assuredly, Ned; you are not to learn my pedigree at this time of
day, I trust."
"We are anxious to make out a relationship between you and Paul; can
it not be done?"
"I would give half my fortune, Eve consenting, were it so!--What
reason is there for supposing it probable, or even possible?"
"You know that he bears the name of his friend, and adopted parent,
while that of his family is really Assheton."
"Assheton!" exclaimed the other, in a way to show that this was the
first he had ever heard of the fact.
"Certainly; and as there is but one family of this name, which is a
little peculiar in the spelling--for here it is spelt by Paul
himself, on this card--we have thought that he must be a relation of
yours. I hope we are not to be disappointed."
"Assheton!--It is, as you say, an unusual name; nor is there more
than one family that bears it in this country, to my knowledge. Can
it be possible that Powis is truly an Assheton?"
"Out of all doubt," Eve eagerly exclaimed; "we have it from his own
mouth. His father was an Assheton, and his mother was--"
"Who!" demanded John Effingham, with a vehemence that startled his
"Nay, that is more than I can tell you, for he did not mention the
family name of his mother; as she was a sister of Lady Dunluce,
however, who is the wife of General Ducie, the father of our guest,
it is probable her name was Dunluce."
"I remember no relative that has made such a marriage, or who _can_
have made such a marriage; and yet do I personally and intimately
know every Assheton in the country."
Mr. Effingham and his daughter looked at each other, for it at once
struck them all painfully, that there must be Asshetons of another
"Were it not for the peculiar manner in which this name is spelled,"
said Mr. Effingham, "I could suppose that there are Asshetons of whom
we know nothing, but it is difficult to believe that there can be
such persons of a respectable family of whom we never heard, for
Powis said his relatives were of the Middle States--"
"And that his mother was called Dunluce?" demanded John Effingham
earnestly, for he too appeared to wish to discover an affinity
between himself and Paul.
"Nay, father, this I think he did not say; though it is quite
probable; for the title of his aunt is an ancient barony, and those
ancient baronies usually became the family name."
"In this you must be mistaken, Eve, since he mentioned that the right
was derived through his mother's mother, who was an Englishwoman."
"Why not send for him at once, and put the question?" said the
simple-minded Mr. Effingham; "next to having him for my own son, it
would give me pleasure, John, to learn that he was lawfully entitled
to that which I know you have done in his behalf."
"That is impossible," returned John Effingham. "I am an only child,
and as for cousins through my mother, there are so many who stand in
an equal degree of affinity to me, that no one in particular can be
my heir-at-law. If there were, I am an Effingham; my estate came from
Effinghams, and to an Effingham it should descend in despite of all
the Asshetons in America."
"Paul Powis included!" exclaimed Eve, raising a finger reproachfully.
"True, to him I have left a legacy; but it was to a Powis, and not to
"And yet he declares himself legally an Assheton, and not a Powis."
"Say no more of this, Eve; it is unpleasant to me. I hate the name of
Assheton, though it was my mother's, and could wish never to hear it
Eve and her father were mute, for their kinsman, usually so proud and
self-restrained, spoke with suppressed emotion, and it was plain
that, for some hidden cause, he felt even more than he expressed. The
idea that there should be any thing about Paul that could render him
an object of dislike to one as dear to her as her cousin, was
inexpressibly painful to the former, and she regretted that the
subject had ever been introduced. Not so with her father. Simple,
direct, and full of truth, Mr. Effingham rightly enough believed that
mysteries in a family could lead to no good, and he repeated his
proposal of sending for Paul, and having the matter cleared up at
"You are too reasonable, Jack," he concluded, "to let an antipathy
against a name that was your mother's, interfere with your sense of
right. I know that some unpleasant questions arose concerning your
succession to my aunt's fortune, but that was all settled in your
favour twenty years ago, and I had thought to your entire
"Unhappily, family quarrels are ever the most bitter, and usually
they are the least reconcileable," returned John Effingham,
evasively.--"I would that this young man's name were any thing but
Assheton! I do not wish to see Eve plighting her faith at the altar,
to any one bearing that, accursed name!"
"I shall plight my faith, if ever it be done, dear cousin John, to
the man, and not to his name."
"No, no--he must keep the appellation of Powis by which we have all
learned to love him, and to which he has done so much credit."
"This is very strange, Jack, for a man who is usually as discreet and
as well regulated as yourself. I again propose that we send for Paul,
and ascertain precisely to what branch of this so-much-disliked
family he really belongs."
"No, father, if you love me, not now!" cried Eve, arresting Mr.
Effingham's hand as it touched the bell-cord; "it would appear
distrustful, and even cruel, were we to enter into such an inquiry so
soon. Powis might think we valued his family, more than we do
"Eve is right, Ned; but I will not sleep without learning all. There
is an unfinished examination of the papers left by poor Monday, and I
will take an occasion to summon Paul to its completion, when an
opportunity will offer to renew the subject of his own history; for
it was at the other investigation that he first spoke frankly to me,
"Do so, cousin Jack, and let it be at once," said Eve earnestly. "I
can trust you with Powis alone, for I know how much you respect and
esteem him in your heart. See, it is already ten."
"But, he will naturally wish to spend the close of an evening like
this engaged in investigating something very different from Mr.
Monday's tale," returned her cousin; the smile with which he spoke
chasing away the look of chilled aversion that had so lately darkened
his noble features.
"No, not to-night," answered the blushing Eve. "I have confessed
weakness enough for one day. Tomorrow, if you will--if he will,--but
not to-night. I shall retire with Mrs. Hawker, who already complains
of fatigue; and you will send for Powis, to meet you in your own
room, without unnecessary delay."
Eve kissed John Effingham coaxingly, and as they walked together out
of the library, she pointed towards the door that led to the
chambers. Her cousin laughingly complied, and when in his own room,
he sent a message to Paul to join him.
"Now, indeed, may I call you a kinsman," said John Effingham, rising
to receive the young man, towards whom he advanced, with extended
hands, in his most winning manner. "Eve's frankness and your own
discernment have made us a happy family!"
"If any thing could add to the felicity of being acceptable to Miss
Effingham," returned Paul, struggling to command his feelings, "it is
the manner in which her father and yourself have received my poor
"Well, we will now speak of it no more. I saw from the first which
way things were tending, and it was my plain-dealing that opened the
eyes of Templemore to the impossibility of his ever succeeding, by
which means his heart has been kept from breaking."
"Oh! Mr. Effingham, Templemore never loved-Eve Effingham! I thought
so once, and he thought so, too; but it could not have been a love
"It certainly differed in the essential circumstance of reciprocity,
which, in itself, singularly qualifies the passion, so far as
duration is concerned. Templemore did not exactly know the reason why
he preferred Eve; but, having seen so much of the society in which he
lived, I was enabled to detect the cause. Accustomed to an elaborate
sophistication, the singular union of refinement and nature caught
his fancy; for the English seldom see the last separated from
vulgarity; and when it is found, softened by a high intelligence and
polished manners, it has usually great attractions for the _biases_."
"He is fortunate in having so readily found a substitute for Eve
"This change is not unnatural, neither. In the first place, I, with
this truth-telling 'tongue, destroyed all hope, before he had
committed himself by a declaration; and then Grace Van Cortlandt
possesses the great attraction of nature, in a degree quite equal to
that of her cousin. Besides, Templemore, though a gentleman, and a
brave man, and a worthy one, is not remarkable for qualities of a
very extraordinary kind. He will be as happy as is usual for an
Englishman of his class to be, and he has no particular right to
expect more. I sent for you, however, less to talk of love, than to
trace its unhappy consequences in this affair, revealed by the papers
of poor Monday. It is time we acquitted ourselves of that trust. Do
me the favour to open the dressing-case that stands on the toilet-
table; you will find in it the key that belongs to the bureau, where
I have placed the secretary that contains the papers."
Paul did as desired. The dressing-case was complicated and large,
having several compartments, none of which were fastened. In the
first opened, he saw a miniature of a female so beautiful, that his
eve rested on it, as it might be, by a fascination.--Notwithstanding
some difference produced by the fashions of different periods, the
resemblance to the object of his love, was obvious at a glance. Borne
away by the pleasure of the discovery, and actually believing that he
saw a picture of Eve, drawn in a dress that did not in a great degree
vary from the present attire, fashion having undergone no very
striking revolution in the last twenty years, he exclaimed--
"This is indeed a treasure, Mr. Effingham, and most sincerely do I
envy you its possession. It is like, and yet, in some particulars, it
is unlike--it scarcely does Miss Effingham justice about the nose and
John Effingham started when he saw the miniature in Paul's hand, but
recovering himself, he smiled at the eager delusion of his young
friend, and said with perfect composure--
"It is not Eve, but her mother. The two features you have named in
the former came from my family; but in all the others, the likeness
is almost identical."
"This then is Mrs. Effingham!" murmured Paul, gazing on the face of
the mother of his love, with a respectful melancholy, and an interest
that was rather heightened than lessened by a knowledge of the truth.
"She died young, sir?"
"Quite; she can scarcely be said to have become an angel too soon,
for she was always one."
This was said with a feeling that did not escape Paul, though it
surprised him. There were six or seven miniature-cases in the
compartment of the dressing-box, and supposing that the one which lay
uppermost belonged to the miniature in his hand, he raised it, and
opened the lid with a view to replace the picture of Eve's mother,
with a species of pious reverence. Instead of finding an empty case,
however, another miniature met his eye. The exclamation that now
escaped the young man was one of delight and surprise.
"That must be my grandmother, with whom you are in such raptures, at
present," said John Effingham, laughing--"I was comparing it
yesterday with the picture of Eve, which is in the Russia-leather
case, that you will find somewhere there. I do not wonder, however,
at your admiration, for she was a beauty in her day, and no woman is
fool enough to be painted after she grows ugly."
"Not so--not so--Mr. Effingham! This is the miniature I lost in the
Montauk, and which I had given up as booty to the Arabs. It has,
doubtless, found its way into your state-room, and has been put among
your effects by your man, through mistake. It is very precious to me,
for it is nearly every memorial I possess of my own mother!"
"Your mother!" exclaimed John Effingham rising. "I think there must
be some mistake, for I examined all those pictures this very morning,
and it is the first time they have been opened since our arrival from
Europe. It cannot be the missing picture."
"Mine it is certainly; in that I cannot be mistaken!"
"It would be odd indeed, if one of my grandmothers, for both are
there, should prove to be your mother.--Powis, will you have the
goodness to let me see the picture you mean."
Paul brought the miniature and a light, placing both before the eyes
of his friend.
"That!" exclaimed John Effingham, his voice sounding harsh and
unnatural to the listener,--"that picture like _your_ mother!"
"It is her miniature--_the_ miniature that was transmitted to
me, from those who had charge of my childhood. I cannot be mistaken
as to the countenance, or the dress."
"And your father's name was Assheton?"
"Certainly--John Assheton, of the Asshetons of Pennsylvania."
John Effingham groaned aloud; when Paul stepped back equally shocked
and surprised, he saw that the face of his friend was almost livid,
and that the hand which held the picture shook like the aspen.
"Are you unwell, dear Mr. Effingham?"
"No--no--'tis impossible! This lady never had a child. Powis, you
have been deceived by some fancied, or some real resemblance. This
picture is mine, and has not been out of my possession these five and
"Pardon me, sir, it is the picture of my mother, and no other; the
very picture lost in the Montauk."
The gaze that John Effingham cast upon the young man was ghastly; and
Paul was about to ring the bell, but a gesture of denial prevented
"See," said John Effingham, hoarsely, as he touched a spring in the
setting, and exposed to view the initials of two names interwoven
with hair--"is this, too, yours?"
Paul looked surprised and disappointed.
"That certainly settles the question; my miniature had no such
addition; and yet I believe that sweet and pensive countenance to be
the face of my own beloved mother, and of no one else."
John Effingham struggled to appear calm; and, replacing the pictures,
he took the key from the dressing case, and, opening the bureau, he
took out the secretary. This he signed for Powis, who had the key, to
open; throwing himself into a chair, though every thing was done
mechanically, as if his mind and body had little or no connection
with each other.
"Some accidental resemblance has deceived you as to the miniature,"
he said, while Paul was looking for the proper number among the
letters of Mr. Monday. "No--no--that _cannot_ be the picture of
your mother. She left no child. Assheton did you say, was the name of
"Assheton--John Assheton--about that, at least, there can have been
no mistake. This is the num her at which we left off--will you, sir,
or shall I, read?"
The other made a sign for Paul to read; looking, at the same time, as
if it were impossible for him to discharge that duty himself.
"This is a letter from the woman who appears to have been entrusted
with the child, to the man Dowse," said Paul, first glancing his eyes
over the page,--"it appears to be little else but gossip--ha!--what
is this, I see?"
John Effingham raised himself in his chair, and he sat gazing at
Paul, as one gazes who expects some extraordinary developement,
though of what nature he knew not.
"This is a singular passage," Paul continued--"so much so as to need
elucidation. 'I have taken the child with me to get the picture from
the jeweller, who has mended the ring, and the little urchin knew it
at a glance.'"
"What is there remarkable in that? Others beside ourselves have had
pictures;-and this child knows its own better than you."
"Mr. Effingham, such a thing occurred to myself! It is one of those
early events of which I still retain, have ever retained, a vivid
recollection. Though little more than an infant at the time, well do
I recollect to have been taken in this manner to a jeweller's, and
the delight I felt at recovering my mother's picture, that which is
now lost, after it had not been seen for a month or two."
"Paul Blunt--Powis--Assheton "--said John Effingham, speaking so
hoarsely as to be nearly unintelligible, "remain here a few minutes--
I will rejoin you."
John Effingham arose, and, notwithstanding he rallied all his powers,
it was with extreme difficulty he succeeded in reaching the door,
steadily rejecting the offered assistance of Paul, who was at a loss
what to think of so much agitation in a man usually so self-possessed
and tranquil. When out of the room, John Effingham did better, and he
proceeded to the library, followed by his own man, whom he had
ordered to accompany him with a light.
"Desire Captain Ducie to give me the favour of his company for a
moment," he then said, motioning to the servant to withdraw. "You
will not be needed any longer."
It was but a minute before Captain Ducie stood before him. This
gentleman was instantly struck with the pallid look, and general
agitation of the person he had come to meet, and he expressed an
apprehension that he was suddenly taken ill. But a motion of the hand
forbade his touching the bell-cord, and he waited in silent wonder at
the scene which he had been so unexpectedly called to witness.
"A glass of that water, if you please, Captain Ducie," said John
Effingham, endeavouring to smile with gentleman-like courtesy, as he
made the request, though the effort, caused his countenance to appear
ghastly again. A little recovered by this beverage, he said more
"You are the cousin of Powis, Captain Ducie."
"We are sisters' children, sir."
"And your mother is"
"Lady Dunluce--a peeress in her own right."
"But, what--her family name?"
"Her own family name has been sunk in that of my father, the Ducies
claiming to be as old and as honourable a family, as that from which
my mother inherits her rank. Indeed the Dunluce barony has gone
through so many names, by means of females, that I believe there is
no intention to revive the original appellation of the family which
was first summoned."
"You mistake, me--your mother--when she married--was--"
"I thank you, sir, and will trouble you no longer," returned John
Effingham, rising and struggling to make his manner second the
courtesy of his words--"I have troubled you, abruptly--incoherently I
Captain Ducie stepped hastily forward, and was just in time to
prevent the other from falling senseless on the floor, by receiving
him in his own arms.
"What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, That he should weep for
The next morning, Paul and Eve were alone in that library which had
long been the scene of the confidential communications of the
Effingham family. Eve had been weeping, nor were Paul's eyes entirely
free from the signs of his having given way to strong sensations.
Still happiness beamed in the countenance of each, and the timid but
affectionate glances with which our heroine returned the fond,
admiring look of her lover, were any thing but distrustful of their
future felicity. Her hand was in his, and it was often raised to his
lips, as they pursued the conversation.
"This is so wonderful," exclaimed Eve, after one of the frequent
musing pauses in which both indulged "that I can scarcely believe
myself awake. That you Blunt, Powis, Assheton, should, after all,
prove an Effingham!
"And I, who have so long thought myself an orphan, should find a
living father, and he a man like Mr. John Effingham!"
I have long thought that something heavy lay at the honest heart of
cousin Jack--you will excuse me Powis, but I shall need time to learn
to call him by a name of greater respect."
"Call him always so, love, for I am certain it would pain him to meet
with any change in you. He _is_ your cousin Jack"
"Nay, he may some day unexpectedly become _my_ father too, as he
has so wonderfully become yours," rejoined Eve, glancing archly at
the glowing face of the delighted young man; "and then cousin Jack
might prove too familiar and disrespectful a term."
"So much stronger does your claim to him appear than mine, that I
think, when that blessed day shall arrive, Eve, it will convert him
into _my_ cousin Jack, instead of your father. But call _him_
as you may, why do you still insist on calling _me_ Powis?"
"That name will ever be precious in my eyes! You abridge me of my
rights, in denying me a change of name. Half the young ladies of the
country marry for the novelty of being called Mrs. Somebody else,
instead of the Misses they were, while I am condemned to remain Eve
Effingham for life."
"If you object to the appellation, I can continue to call myself
Powis. This has been done so long now as almost to legalize the act."
"Indeed, no--you are an Effingham, and as an Effingham ought you to
be known. What a happy lot is mine! Spared even the pain of parting
with my old friends, at the great occurrence of my life, and finding
my married home the same as the home of my childhood!"
"I owe every thing to you, Eve, name, happiness, and even a home."
"I know not that. Now that it is known that you are the great-
grandson of Edward Effingham, I think your chance of possessing the
Wigwam would be quite equal to my own, even were we to look different
ways in quest of married happiness. An arrangement of that nature
would not be difficult to make, as John Effingham might easily
compensate a daughter for the loss of her house and lands by means of
those money-yielding stocks and bonds, of which he possesses so
"I view it differently. _You_ were Mr.--my father's heir--how
strangely the word father sounds in unaccustomed ears!--But you were
my father's chosen heir, and I shall owe to you, dearest, in addition
to the treasures of your heart and faith, my fortune."
"Are you so very certain of this, ingrate?--Did not Mr. John
Effingham--cousin Jack--adopt you as his son even before he knew of
the natural tie that actually exists between you?"
"True, for I perceive that you have been made acquainted with most of
that which has passed. But I hope, that in telling you his own offer,
Mr.--that my father did not forget to tell you of the terms on which
it was accepted?"
"He did you ample justice, or he informed me that you stipulated
there should be no altering of wills, but that the unworthy heir
already chosen, should still remain the heir."
"And to this Mr--"
"Cousin Jack," said Eve, laughing, for the laugh comes easy to the
"To this cousin Jack assented?"
"Most true, again. The will would not have been altered, for your
interests were already cared for."
"And at the expense of yours, dearest? Eve!"
"It would have been at the expense of my better feelings, Paul, had
it not been so. However, that will can never do either harm or good
to any, now."
"I trust it will remain unchanged, beloved, that I may owe as much to
you as possible."
Eve looked kindly at her betrothed, blushed even deeper than the
bloom which happiness had left on her cheek, and smiled like one who
knew more than she cared to express.
"What secret meaning is concealed behind the look of portentous
"It means, Powis, that I have done a deed that is almost criminal. I
have destroyed a will."
"Not my father's!"
"Even so--but it was done in his presence, and if not absolutely with
his consent, with his knowledge. When he informed me of your superior
rights, I insisted on its being done, at once, so, should any
accident occur, you will be heir at law, as a matter of course.
Cousin Jack affected reluctance, but I believe he slept more sweetly,
for the consciousness that this act of justice had been done."
"I fear he slept little, as it was; it was long past midnight before
I left him, and the agitation of his spirits was such as to appear
awful in the eyes of a son!"
"And the promised explanation is to come, to renew his distress! Why
make it at all? is it not enough that we are certain that you are his
child? and for that, have we not the solemn assurance, the
declaration of almost a dying man!"
"There should be no shade left over my mother's fame. Faults there
have been, somewhere, but it is painful, oh! how painful! for a child
to think evil of a mother."
"On this head you are already assured. Your own previous knowledge,
and John Effingham's distinct declarations, make your mother
"Beyond question; but this sacrifice must be made to my mother's
spirit. It is now nine; the breakfast-bell will soon ring, and then
we are promised the whole of the melancholy tale. Pray with me, Eve,
that it may be such as will not wound the ear of a son!"
Eve took the hand of Paul within both of hers, and kissed it with a
sort of holy hope, that in its exhibition caused neither blush nor
shame. Indeed so bound together were these young hearts, so ample and
confiding had been the confessions of both, and so pure was their
love, that neither regarded such a manifestation of feeling,
differently from what an acknowledgement of a dependence on any other
sacred principle would have been esteemed. The bell now summoned them
to the breakfast-table, and Eve, yielding to her sex's timidity,
desired Paul to precede her a few minutes, that the sanctity of their
confidence might not be weakened by the observation of profane eyes.
The meal was silent; the discovery of the previous night, which had
been made known to all in the house, by the declarations of John
Effingham as soon as he was restored to his senses, Captain Ducie
having innocently collected those within hearing to his succour,
causing a sort of moral suspense that weighed on the vivacity if not
on the comforts of the whole party, the lovers alone excepted.
As profound happiness is seldom talkative, the meal was a silent one,
then; and when it was ended, they who had no tie of blood with the
parties most concerned with the revelations of the approaching
interview, delicately separated, making employments and engagements
that left the family at perfect liberty; while those who had been
previously notified that their presence would be acceptable, silently
repaired to the dressing-room of John Effingham. The latter party was
composed of Mr. Effingham, Paul, and Eve, only. The first passed into
his cousin's bed-room, where he had a private conference that lasted
half an hour. At the end of that time, the two others were summoned
to join him.
John Effingham was a strong-minded and a proud man, his governing
fault being the self-reliance that indisposed him to throw himself on
a greater power, for the support, guidance, and counsel, that all
need. To humiliation before God, however, he was not unused, and of
late years it had got to be frequent with him, and it was only in
connexion with his fellow-creatures that his repugnance to admitting
even of an equality existed. He felt how much more just, intuitive,
conscientious even, were his own views than those of mankind, in
general; and he seldom deigned to consult with any as to the opinions
he ought to entertain, or as to the conduct he ought to pursue. It is
scarcely necessary to say, that such a being was one of strong and
engrossing passions, the impulses frequently proving too imperious
for the affections, or even for principles. The scene that he was now
compelled to go through, was consequently one of sore mortification
and self-abasement; and yet, feeling its justice no less than its
necessity, and having made up his mind to discharge what had now
become a duty, his very pride of character led him to do it manfully,
and with no uncalled-for reserves. It was a painful and humiliating
task, notwithstanding; and it required all the self-command, all the
sense of right, and all the clear perception of consequences, that
one so quick to discriminate could not avoid perceiving, to enable
him to go through it with the required steadiness and connexion.
John Effingham received Paul and Eve, seated in an easy chair; for,
while he could not be said to be ill, it was evident that his very
frame had been shaken by the events and emotions of the few preceding
hours. He gave a hand to each, and, drawing Eve affectionately to
him, he imprinted a kiss on a cheek that was burning, though it paled
and reddened in quick succession, the heralds of the tumultuous
thoughts within. The look he gave Paul was kind and welcome, while a
hectic spot glowed on each cheek, betraying that his presence excited
pain as well as pleasure. A long pause succeeded this meeting, when
John Effingham broke the silence.
"There can now be no manner of question, my dear Paul," he said,
smiling affectionately but sadly as he looked at the young man,
"about your being my son. The letter written by John Assheton to your
mother, after the separation of your parents, would settle that
important point, had not the names, and the other facts that have
come to our knowledge, already convinced me of the precious truth;
for precious and very dear to me is the knowledge that I am the
father of so worthy a child. You must prepare yourself to hear things
that it will not be pleasant for a son to listen--"
"No, no--cousin Jack--_dear_ cousin Jack!" cried Eve, throwing
herself precipitately into her kinsman's arms, "we will hear nothing
of the sort. It is sufficient that you are Paul's father, and we wish
to know no more--will hear no more."
"This is like yourself, Eve, but it will not answer what I conceive
to be the dictates of duty. Paul had two parents; and not the
slightest suspicion ought to rest on one of them, in order to spare
the feelings of the other. In showing me this kindness you are
treating Paul inconsiderately."
"I beg, dear sir, you will not think too much of me, but entirely
consult your own judgment--your own sense of--in short, dear father,
that you will consider yourself before your son."
"I thank you, my children--what a word, and what a novel sensation is
this, for me, Ned!--I feel all your kindness, but if you would
consult my peace of mind, and wish me to regain my self-respect, you
will allow me to disburthen my soul of the weight that oppresses it.
This is strong language; but, while I have no confessions of
deliberate criminality, or of positive vice to make, I feel it to be
hardly too strong for the facts. My tale will be very short, and I
crave your patience, Ned, while I expose my former weakness to these
young people." Here John Effingham paused, as if to recollect
himself; then he proceeded with a seriousness of manner that caused
every syllable he uttered to tell on the ears of his listeners. "It
is well known to your father, Eve, though it will probably be new to
you," he said, "that I felt a passion for your sainted mother, such
as few men ever experience for any of your sex. Your father and
myself were suitors for her favour at the same time, though I can
scarcely say, Edward, that any feeling of rivalry entered into the
"You do me no more than justice, John, for if the affection of my
beloved Eve could cause me grief, it was because it brought you
"I had the additional mortification of approving of the choice she
made; for, certainly, as respected her own happiness, your mother did
more wisely in confiding it to the regulated, mild, and manly virtues
of your father, than in placing her hopes on one as eccentric and
violent as myself."
"This is injustice, John. You may have been positive, and a little
stern, at times, but never violent, and least of all with a woman."
"Call it what you will, it unfitted me to make one so meek, gentle,
and yet high-souled, as entirely happy as she deserved to be, and as
you did make her, while she remained on earth. I had the courage to
stay and learn that your father was accepted, (though the marriage
was deferred two years in consideration for my feelings,) and then
with a heart, in which mortified pride, wounded love, a resentment
that was aimed rather against myself than against your parents, I
quitted home, with a desperate determination never to rejoin my
family again. This resolution I did not own to myself, even, but it
lurked in my intentions unowned, festering like a mortal disease; and
it caused me, when I burst away from the scene of happiness of which
I had been a compelled witness, to change my name, and to make
several inconsistent and extravagant arrangements to abandon my
native country even."
"Poor John!" exclaimed his cousin, involuntarily, "this would have
been a sad blot on our felicity, had we known it!"
"I was certain of that, even when most writhing under the blow you
had so unintentionally inflicted, Ned; but the passions are
tyrannical and inconsistent masters. I took my mother's name, changed
my servant, and avoided those parts of the country where I was known.
At this time, I feared for my own reason, and the thought crossed my
mind, that by making a sudden marriage I might supplant the old
passion, which was so near destroying me, by some of that gentler
affection which seemed to render you so blest, Edward."
"Nay, John, this was, itself, a temporary tottering of the reasoning
"It was simply the effect of passions, over which reason had never
been taught to exercise a sufficient influence. Chance brought me
acquainted with Miss Warrender, in one of the southern states, and
she promised, as I fancied, to realize all my wild schemes of
happiness and resentment."
"I fear I must confess it, Edward, though it were anger against
myself. I first made Miss Warrender's acquaintance as John Assheton,
and some months had passed before I determined to try the fearful
experiment I have mentioned. She was young, beautiful, well-born,
virtuous and good; if she had a fault, it was her high spirit--not
high temper, but she was high-souled and proud."
"Thank God, for this!" burst from the inmost soul of Paul, with
"You have little to apprehend, my son, on the subject of your
mother's character; if not perfect, she was wanting in no womanly
virtue, and might, nay ought to have made any reasonable man happy.
My offer was accepted, for I found her heart disengaged. Miss
Warrender was not affluent, and, in addition to the other
unjustifiable motives that influenced me, I thought there would be a
satisfaction in believing that I had been chosen for myself, rather
than for my wealth. Indeed, I had got to be distrustful and
ungenerous, and then I disliked the confession of the weakness that
had induced me to change my name. The simple, I might almost say,
loose laws of this country, on the subject of marriage, removed all
necessity for explanations, there being no bans nor license
necessary, and the Christian name only being used in the ceremony. We
were married, therefore, but I was not so unmindful of the rights of
others, as to neglect to procure a certificate, under a promise of
secrecy, in my own name. By going to the place where the ceremony was
performed, you will also find the marriage of John Effingham and
Mildred Warrender duly registered in the books of the church to which
the officiating clergyman belonged. So far, I did what justice
required, though, with a motiveless infatuation for which I can now
hardly account, which _cannot_ be accounted for, except by
ascribing it to the inconsistent cruelty of passion, I concealed my
real name from her with whom there should have been no concealment. I
fancied, I tried to fancy I was no impostor, as I was of the family I
represented myself to be, by the mother's side; and. I wished to
believe that my peace would easily be made when I avowed myself to be
the man I really was. I had found Miss Warrender and her sister
living with a well-intentioned but weak aunt, and with no male
relative to make those inquiries which would so naturally have
suggested themselves to persons of ordinary worldly prudence. It is
true, I had become known to them under favourable circumstances, and
they had good reason to believe me an Assheton from some accidental
evidence that I possessed, which unanswerably proved my affinity to
that family, without, betraying my true name. But there is so little
distrust in this country, that, by keeping at a distance from the
places in which I was personally known, a life might have passed
"This was all wrong, dear cousin Jack," said Eve, taking his hand and
affectionately kissing it, while her face kindled with a sense of her
sex's rights, "and I should be unfaithful to my womanhood were I to
say otherwise. You had entered into the most solemn of all human
contracts, and evil is the omen when such an engagement is veiled by
any untruth. But, still, one would think you might have been happy
with a virtuous and affectionate wife!"
"Alas! it is but a hopeless experiment to marry one, while the heart
is still yearning towards another. Confidence came too late; for,
discovering my unhappiness, Mildred extorted a tardy confession from
me; a confession of all but the concealment of the true name; and
justly wounded at the deception of which she had been the dupe, and
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