Home as Found
James Fenimore Cooper
Part 9 out of 9
yielding to the impulses of a high and generous spirit, she announced
to me that she was unwilling to continue the wife of any man on such
terms. We parted, and I hastened into the south-western states, where
I passed the next twelvemonth in travelling, hurrying from place to
place, in the vain hope of obtaining peace of mind. I plunged into
the prairies, and most of the time mentioned was lost to me as
respects the world, in the company of hunters and trappers."
"This, then, explains your knowledge of that section of the country,"
exclaimed Mr. Effingham, "for which I have never been able to
account! We thought you among your old friends in Carolina, all that
"No one knew where I had secreted myself, for I passed under another
feigned name, and had no servant, even. I had, however, sent an
address to Mildred, where a letter would find me; for, I had begun to
feel a sincere affection for her, though it might not have amounted
to passion, and looked forward to being reunited, when her wounded
feelings had time to regain their tranquillity. The obligations of
wedlock are too serious to be lightly thrown aside, and I felt
persuaded that neither of us would be satisfied in the end, without
discharging the duties of the state into which we had entered."
"And why did you not hasten to your poor wife, cousin Jack," Eve
innocently demanded, "as soon as you returned to the settlements?"
"Alas! my-dear girl, I found letters at St. Louis announcing her
death. Nothing was said of any child, nor did I in the least suspect
that I was about to become a father. When Mildred died, I thought all
the ties, all the obligations, all the traces of my ill-judged
marriage were extinct; and the course taken by her relations, of
whom, in this country, there remained very few, left me no
inclination to proclaim it. By observing silence, I continued to pass
as a bachelor, of course; though had there been any apparent reason
for avowing what had occurred, I think no one who knows me, can
suppose I would have shrunk from doing so."
"May I inquire, my dear sir," Paul asked, with a timidity of manner
that betrayed how tenderly he felt it necessary to touch on the
subject at all--"may I inquire, my dear sir, what course was taken by
my mother's relatives?"
"I never knew Mr. Warrender, my wife's brother, but he had the
reputation of being a haughty and exacting man. His letters were not
friendly; scarcely tolerable; for he affected to believe I had given
a false address at the west, when I was residing in the middle
states, and he threw out hints that to me were then inexplicable, but
which the letters left with me, by Paul, have sufficiently explained.
I thought him cruel and unfeeling at the time, but he had an excuse
for his conduct."
"Which was, sir--?" Paul eagerly inquired.
"I perceive by the letters you have given me, my son, that your
mother's family had imbibed the opinion, that I was John Assheton, of
Lancaster, a man of singular humours, who had made an unfortunate
marriage in Spain, and whose wife, I believe, is still living in
Paris, though lost to herself and her friends. My kinsman lived
retired, and never recovered the blow. As he was one of the only
persons of the name, who could have married your mother, her
relatives appear to have taken up the idea that he had been guilty of
bigamy, and of course that Paul was illegitimate. Mr. Warrender, by
his letters, appears even to have had an interview with this person,
and, on mentioning his wife, was rudely repulsed from the house. It
was a proud family, and Mildred being dead, the concealment of the
birth of her child was resorted to, as a means of averting a fancied
disgrace. As for myself, I call the all-seeing eye of God to witness,
that the thought of my being a parent never crossed my mind, until I
learned that a John Assheton was the father of Paul, and that the
miniature of Mildred Warrender, that I received at the period of our
engagement, was the likeness of his mother. The simple declaration of
Captain Ducie concerning the family name of his mother, removed all
"But, cousin Jack, did not the mention of Lady Dunluce, of the
Ducies, and of Paul's connections, excite curiosity?"
"Concerning what, dear? I could have no curiosity about a child of
whose existence I was ignorant. I did know that the Warrenders had
pretensions to both rank and fortune in England, but never heard the
title, and cared nothing about money that would not probably, be
Mildred's. Of General Ducie I never even heard, as he married after
my separation, and subsequently to the receipt of my brother-in-law's
letters, I wished to forget the existence of the family. I went to
Europe, and remained abroad seven years and as this was at a time
when the continent was closed against the English, I was not in a way
to hear any thing on the subject. On my return, my wife's aunt was
dead; the last of my wife's brothers was dead; her sister must then
have been Mrs. Ducie; no one mentioned the Warrenders, all traces of
whom were nearly lost in this country, and to me the subject was too
painful to be either sought or dwelt on. It is a curious fact, that,
in 1829, during our late visit to the old world, I ascended the Nile
with General Ducie for a travelling companion. We met at Alexandria,
and wont to the cataracts and returned in company, He knew me as John
Effingham, an American traveller of fortune, if of no particular
merit, and I knew him as an agreeable English general officer. He had
the reserve of an Englishman of rank, and seldom spoke of his family,
and it was only on our return, that I found he had letters from his
wife, Lady Dunluce; but little did I dream that Lady Dunluce was
Mabel Warrender. How often are we on the very verge of important
information, and yet live on in ignorance and obscurity! The Ducies
appear finally to have arrived at the opinion that the marriage was
legal, and that no reproach rests on the birth of Paul, by the
inquiries made concerning the eccentric John Assheton."
"They fancied, in common with my uncle Warrender, for a long time,
that the John Assheton whom you have mentioned, sir," said Paul, "was
my father. But. some accidental information, at a late day, convinced
them of their error, and then they naturally enough supposed that it
was the only other John Assheton that could be heard of, who passes,
and probably with sufficient reason, for a bachelor. This latter
gentleman I have myself always supposed to be my father, though he
has treated two or three letters I have written to him, with the
indifference with which one would be apt to treat the pretensions of
an impostor. Pride has prevented me from attempting to renew the
"It is John Assheton of Bristol, my mother's brother's son, as
inveterate a bachelor as is to be found in the Union" said John
Effingham, smiling, in spite of the grave subject and deep emotions
that had so lately been uppermost in his thoughts. "He must have
supposed your letters were an attempt at mystification on the part of
some of his jocular associates, and I am surprised that he thought it
necessary to answer them at all."
"He did answer but one, and that reply certainly had something of the
character you suggest, sir. I freely forgive him, now I understand
the truth, though his apparent contempt gave me many a bitter pang at
the time. I saw Mr. Assheton once in public, and observed him well,
for, strange as it is, I have been thought to resemble him."
"Why strange? Jack Assheton and myself have, or rather had a strong
family likeness to each other, and, though the thought is new to me,
I can now easily trace this resemblance to myself. It is rather an
Assheton than an Effingham look, though the latter is not wanting."
"These explanations are very clear and satisfactory," observed Mr.
Effingham, "and leave little doubt that Paul is the child of John
Effingham and Mildred Warrender; but they would be beyond all cavil,
were the infancy of the boy placed in an equally plain point of view,
and could the reasons be known why the Warrenders abandoned him to
the care of those who yielded him up to Mr. Powis."
"I see but little obscurity in that," returned John Effingham. "Paul
is unquestionably the child referred to in the papers left by poor
Monday, to the care of whose mother he was intrusted, until, in his
fourth year, she yielded him to Mr. Powis, to get rid of trouble and
expense, while she kept the annuity granted by Lady Dunluce. The
names appear in the concluding letters; and had we read the latter
through at first, we should earlier have arrived at, the same
conclusion, Could we find the man called Dowse, who appears to have
instigated the fraud, and who married Mrs. Monday, the whole thing
would be explained."
"Of this I am aware," said Paul, for he and John Effingham had
perused the remainder of the Monday papers together, after the
fainting fit of the latter, as soon as his strength would admit; "and
Captain Truck is now searching for an old passenger of his, who I
think will furnish the clue. Should we get this evidence, it would
settle all legal questions."
"Such questions will never be raised," said John Effingham, holding
out his hand affectionately to his son; "you possess the marriage
certificate given to your mother, and I avow myself to have been the
person therein styled John Assheton. This fact I have endorsed on the
back of the certificate; while here is another given to me in my
proper name, with the endorsement made by the clergyman that I passed
by another name, at the ceremony."
"Such a man, cousin Jack, was unworthy of his cloth!" said Eve with
"I do not think so, my child. He was innocent of the original
deception; this certificate was given after the death of my wife, and
might do good, whereas it could do no harm. The clergyman in question
is now a bishop, and is still living. He may give evidence if
necessary, to the legality of the marriage."
"And the clergyman by whom I was baptized is also alive," cried Paul,
"and has never lost sight of me He was, in part, in the confidence of
my mother' family, and even after I was adopted by Mr. Powis he kept
me in view as one of his little Christians as he termed me. It was no
less a person than Dr.----."
"This alone would make out the connection and identity," said Mr.
Effingham, "without the aid of the Monday witnesses. The whole
obscurity has arisen from John's change of name, and his ignorance of
the fact that his wife had a child. The Ducies appear to have had
plausible reasons, too, for distrusting the legality of the marriage;
but all is now clear, and as a large estate is concerned, we will
take care that no further obscurity shall rest over the affair."
"The part connected with the estate is already secured," said John
Effingham, looking at Eve with a smile. "An American can always make
a will, and one that contains but a single bequest is soon written.
Mine is executed, and Paul Effingham, my son by my marriage with
Mildred Warrender, and lately known in the United States' Navy as
Paul Powis, is duly declared my heir. This will suffice for all legal
purposes, though we shall have large draughts of gossip to swallow."
"Who has given cause for it?"
"He who commenced one of the most sacred of his earthly duties, with
an unjustifiable deception. The wisest way to meet it, will be to
make our avowals of the relationship as open as possible."
"I see no necessity, John, of entering into details," said Mr.
Effingham; "you were married young, and lost your wife within a year
of your marriage. She was a Miss Warrender, and the sister of Lady
Dunluce; Paul and Ducie are declared cousins, and the former proves
to be your son, of whose existence you were ignorant. No one will
presume to question any of us, and it really strikes me that all
rational people ought to be satisfied with this simple account of the
"Father!" exclaimed Eve, with her pretty little hands raised in the
attitude of surprise, "in what capital even, in what part of the
world, would such a naked account appease curiosity? Much less will
it suffice here, where every human being, gentle or simple, learned
or ignorant, refined or vulgar, fancies himself a constitutional
judge of all the acts of all his fellow-creatures?"
"We have at least the consolation of knowing that no revelations will
make the matter any worse, or any better," said Paul, "as the gossips
would tell their own tale, in every case, though its falsehood were
as apparent as the noon-day sun. A gossip is essentially a liar, and
truth is the last ingredient that is deemed necessary to his other
qualifications; indeed, a well authenticated fact is a death-blow to
a gossip. I hope, my dear sir, you will say no more than that I am
your son, a circumstance much too precious to me to be omitted."
John Effingham looked affectionately at the noble young man, whom he
had so long esteemed and admired; and the tears forced themselves to
his eyes, as he felt the supreme happiness that can alone gladden a
"For my part, I care not: I say little; but when the time comes,
there shall be smiles."--NYM.
Although Paul Effingham was right, and Eve Effingham was also right,
in their opinions of the art of gossiping, they both forgot one
qualifying circumstance, that, arising from different causes,
produces the same effect, equally in a capital and in a province. In
the first, marvels form a nine days' wonder from the hurry of events;
in the latter, from the hurry of talking. When it was announced in
Templeton that Mr. John Effingham had discovered a son in Mr. Powis,
as that son had conjectured, every thing but the truth was rumoured
and believed, in connection with the circumstance. Of course it
excited a good deal of a natural and justifiable curiosity and
surprise in the trained and intelligent, for John Effingham had
passed for a confirmed bachelor; but they were generally content to
suffer a family to have feelings and incidents that were not to be
paraded before a neighbourhood. Having some notions themselves of the
delicacy and sanctity of the domestic affections, they were willing
to respect the same sentiments in others. But these few excepted, the
village was in a tumult of surmises, reports, contradictions,
confirmations, rebutters, and sur-rebutters, for a fortnight. Several
village _elegants_, whose notions of life were obtained in the
valley in which they were born, and who had turned up their noses at
the quiet, reserved, gentleman-like Paul, because he did not happen
to suit their tastes, were disposed to resent his claim to be his
father's son, as if it were an injustice done to their rights; such
commentators on men and things uniformly bringing every thing down to
the standard of serf. Then the approaching marriages at the Wigwam
had to run the gauntlet, not only of village and county criticisms,
but that of the mighty Emporium itself, as it is the fashion to call
the confused and tasteless collection of flaring red brick houses,
marten-box churches, and colossal taverns, that stands on the island
of Manhattan; the discussion of marriages being a topic of never-
ending interest in that well regulated social organization, after the
subjects of dollars, lots, and wines, have been duly exhausted. Sir
George Templemore was transformed into the Honourable Lord George
Templemore, and Paul's relationship to Lady Dunluce was converted, as
usual, into his being the heir apparent of a Duchy of that name;
Eve's preference for a nobleman, as a matter of course, to the
_aristocratical_ tastes imbibed during a residence in foreign
countries; Eve, the intellectual, feminine, instructed Eve, whose
European associations, while they had taught her to prize the
refinement, grace, _retenue_, and tone of an advanced condition
of society, had also taught her to despise its mere covering and
glitter! But, as there is no protection against falsehood, so is
there no reasoning with ignorance.
A sacred few, at the head of whom were Mr. Steadfast Dodge and Mrs.
Widow-Bewitched Abbott, treated the matter as one of greater gravity,
and as possessing an engrossing interest for the entire community.
"For my part, Mr. Dodge," said Mrs. Abbott, in one of their frequent
conferences, about a fortnight after the _eclaircissement_ of
the last chapter, "I do not believe that Paul Powis is Paul Effingham
at all. You say that you knew him by the name of Blunt when he was a
"Certainly, ma'am. He passed universally by that name formerly, and
it may be considered as at least extraordinary that he should have
had so many aliases. The truth of the matter is, Mrs. Abbott, if
truth could be come at, which I always contend is very difficult in
the present state of the world--"
"You never said a juster thing, Mr. Dodge!" interrupted the lady,
feelings impetuous as hers seldom waiting for the completion of a
sentence, "I never can get hold of the truth of any thing now; you
may remember you insinuated that Mr. John Effingham himself was to be
married to Eve, and, lo and behold! it turns out to be his son!"
"The lady may have changed her mind, Mrs. Abbott: she gets the same
estate with a younger man."
"She's monstrous disagreeable, and I'm sure it will be a relief to
the whole village when she is married, let it be to the father, or to
the son. Now, do you know, Mr. Dodge, I have been in a desperate
taking about one thing, and that is to find that, bony fie-dy, the
two old Effinghams are not actually brothers! I knew that they
_called_ each other cousin Jack and cousin Ned, and that Eve
affected to call her uncle _cousin_ Jack, but then she has so
many affectations, and the people are so foreign, that I looked upon
all that as mere pretence; I said to myself a neighbourhood _ought_
to know better about a man's family than he _can_ know himself,
and the neighbourhood all declared they were brothers; and yet
it turns out, after all, that they are only cousins!"
"Yes, I do believe that, for once, the family was right in that
matter, and the public mistaken."
"Well, I should like to know who has a better right to be mistaken
than the public, Mr. Dodge. This is a free country, and if the people
can't sometimes be wrong, what is the mighty use of their freedom? We
are all sinful wretches, at the best, and it is vain to look for any
thing but vice from sinners."
"Nay, my dear Mrs. Abbott, you are too hard on yourself, for every
body allows that _you_ are as exemplary as you are devoted to
your religious duties."
"Oh! I was not speaking particularly of myself, sir; I am no egotist
in such things, and wish to leave my own imperfections to the charity
of my friends and neighbours. But, do you think, Mr. Dodge, that a
marriage between Paul Effingham, for so I suppose he must be-called,
and Eve Effingham, will be legal? Can't it be set aside, and if that
should be the case, wouldn't the fortune go to the public?"
"It _ought_ to be so, my dear ma'am, and I trust the day is not
distant when it will be so. The people are beginning to understand
their rights, and another century will not pass, before they will
enforce them by the necessary penal statutes. We have got matters so
now, that a man can no longer indulge in the aristocratic and selfish
desire to make a will, and, take my word for it, we shall not stop
until we bring every thing to the proper standard."
The reader is not to suppose from his language that Mr. Dodge was an
agrarian, or that he looked forward to a division of property, at
some future day; for, possessing in his own person already, more than
what could possibly fall to an individual share, he had not the
smallest desire to lessen its amount by a general division. In point
of fact he did not know his own meaning, except as he felt envy of
all above him, in which, in truth, was to be found the whole secret
of his principles, his impulses, and his doctrines. Any thing that
would pull down those whom education, habits, fortune, or tastes, had
placed in positions more conspicuous than his own, was, in his eyes,
reasonable and just--as any thing that would serve him, in person,
the same ill turn, would have been tyranny and oppression. The
institutions of America, like every thing human, have their bad as
well as their good side; and while we firmly believe in the relative
superiority of the latter, as compared with other systems, we should
fail of accomplishing the end set before us in this work, did we not
exhibit, in strong colours, one of the most prominent consequences
that has attended the entire destruction of factitious personal
distinctions in the country, which has certainly aided in bringing
out in bolder relief than common, the prevalent disposition in man to
covet that which is the possession of another, and to decry merits
that are unattainable.
"Well, I rejoice to hear this," returned Mrs. Abbott, whose
principles were of the same loose school as those of her companion,
"for I think no one should have rights but those who have experienced
religion, if you would keep vital religion in a country. There goes
that old sea-lion, Truck, and his fishing associate, the commodore,
with their lines and poles, as usual, Mr. Dodge; I beg you will call
to them, for I long to hear what the first can have to say about his
beloved Effinghams, now?"
Mr. Dodge complied, and the navigator of the ocean and the navigator
of the lake, were soon seated in Mrs. Abbott's little parlour, which
might be styled the focus of gossip, near those who were so lately
its sole occupants.
"This is wonderful news, gentlemen," commenced Mrs. Abbott, as soon
as the bustle of the entrance had subsided. "Mr. Powis is Mr.
Effingham, and it seems that Miss Effingham is to become Mrs.
Effingham. Miracles will never cease, and I look upon this as one of
the most surprising of my time."
"Just so, ma'am," said the commodore, winking his eye, and giving the
usual flourish with a hand; "your time has not been that of a day
neither, and Mr. Powis has reason to rejoice that he is the hero of
such a history. For my part, I could not have been more astonished,
were I to bring up the sogdollager with a trout-hook, having a cheese
paring for the bait."
"I understand," continued the lady, "that there are doubts after all,
whether this miracle be really a true miracle. It is hinted that Mr.
Powis is neither Mr. Effingham nor Mr. Powis, but that he is actually
a Mr. Blunt. Do you happen to know any thing of the matter, Captain
"I have been introduced to him, ma'am, by all three names, and I
consider him as an acquaintance in each character. I can assure you,
moreover, that he is A, No. 1, on whichever tack you take him; a man
who carries a weather helm in the midst of his enemies."
"Well, I do not consider it a very great recommendation for one to
have enemies, at all. Now, I dare say, Mr. Dodge, _you_ have not
an enemy on earth!"
"I should be sorry to think that I had, Mrs. Abbott. I am every man's
friend, particularly the poor man's friend, and I should suppose that
every man _ought_ to be my friend. I hold the whole human family
to be brethren, and that they ought to live together as such."
"Very true, sir; quite true--we _are_ all sinners, and ought to
look favourably on each other's failings. It is no business of mine--
I say it is no business of ours, Mr. Dodge, who Miss Eve Effingham
marries; but were she _my_ daughter, I do think I should not
like her to have three family names, and to keep her own in the
"The Effinghams hold their heads very much up, though it is not easy
to see _why_; but so they do, and the more names the better,
perhaps, for such people," returned the editor. "For my part, I treat
them with condescension, just as I do every body else; for it is a
rule with me, Captain Truck, to make use of the same deportment to a
king on his throne, as I would to a beggar in the street."
"Merely to show that you do not feel yourself to be above your
betters. We have many such philosophers in this country."
"Just so," said the commodore.
"I wish I knew," resumed Mrs. Abbott; for there existed in her head,
as well as in that of Mr. Dodge, such a total confusion on the
subject of deportment, that neither saw nor felt the cool sarcasm of
the old sailor; "I wish I knew, now, whether Eve Effingham has really
been regenerated! What is your opinion, commodore?"
"Re-what, ma'am," said the commodore, who was not conscious of ever
having heard the word before; for, in his Sabbaths on the water,
where he often worshipped God devoutly in his heart, the language of
the professedly pious was never heard; "I can only say she is as
pretty a skiff as floats, but I can tell you nothing about
resuscitation--indeed, I never heard of her having been drowned."
"Ah, Mrs. Abbott, the very best friends of the Effinghams will not
maintain that they are pious. I do not wish to be invidious, or to
say unneighbourly things; but were I upon oath, I could testify to a
great many things, which would unqualifiedly show, that none of them
have ever experienced."
"Now, Mr. Dodge, you know how much I dislike scandal," the widow-
bewitched cried affectedly, "and I cannot tolerate such a sweeping
charge. I insist on the proofs of what you say, in which, no doubt,
these gentlemen will join me."
By proofs, Mrs. Abbott meant allegations.
"Well, ma'am, since you insist on my _proving_ what I have said,
you shall not be disappointed. In the first place, then, they _read_
their family prayers out of a book."
"Ay, ay," put in the captain; "but that merely shows they have some
education; it is done every where."
"Your pardon, sir; no people but the Catholics and the church people
commit this impiety. The idea of _reading_ to the Deity, Mrs.
Abbott, is particularly shocking to a pious soul."
"As if the Lord stood in need of letters! _That_ is very bad, I
allow; for at _family_ prayers, a form becomes mockery."
"Yes, ma'am; but what do you think of cards?"
"Cards!" exclaimed Mrs. Abbott, holding up her pious hands, in holy
"Even so; foul paste-board, marked with kings and queens," said the
captain. Why this is worse than a common sin, being unqualifiedly
"I confess I did not expect-this! I had heard that Eve Effingham was
guilty of indiscretions, but I did not think she was so lost to
virtue, as to touch a card. Oh! Eve Effingham; Eve Effingham, for
what is your poor diseased soul destined!"
"She dances, too, I suppose you know that," continued Mr. Dodge, who
finding his popularity a little on the wane, had joined the meeting
himself, a few weeks before, and who did not fail to manifest the
zeal of a new convert.
"Dances!" repeated Mrs. Abbott, in holy horror.
"Real fi diddle de di!" echoed Captain Truck.
"Just so," put in the commodore; "I have seen it with my own eyes.
But, Mrs. Abbott, I feel bound to tell you that your own daughter--"
"Biansy-Alzumy-Anne!" exclaimed the mother in alarm.
"Just so; my-aunty-all-suit-me-anne, if that is her name. Do you
know, ma'am, that I have seen your own blessed daughter, my-aunty-
Anne, do a worse thing, even, than dancing!"
"Commodore, you are awful! What _could_ a child of mine do that
is worse than dancing?"
"Why, ma'am, if you _will_ hear all, it is my duty to tell you.
I saw aunty-Anne (the commodore was really ignorant of the girl's
name) jump a skipping-rope, yesterday morning, between the hours of
seven and eight. As I hope ever to see the sogdollager, again, ma'am,
"And do you this as bad as dancing?"
"Much worse, ma'am, to my notion. It is jumping about without music,
and without any grace, either, particularly as it was performed by
"You are given to light jokes. Jumping the skipping-rope is not
forbidden in the bible."
"Just so; nor is dancing, if I know any thing about it; nor, for that
"But waste of time is; a sinful waste of time; and evil-passions, and
"Just so. My-aunty-Anne was going to the pump for water--I dare say
you sent her--and she was misspending her time; and as for evil
passions, she did not enjoy the hop, until she and your neighbour's
daughter had pulled each other's hair for the rope, as if they had
been two she-dragons. Take my word for it, ma'am, it wanted for
nothing to make it sin of the purest water, but a cracked fiddle."
While the commodore was holding Mrs. Abbott at bay, in this manner,
Captain Truck, who had given him a wink to that effect, was employed
in playing off a practical joke at the expense of the widow. It was
one of the standing amusements of these worthies, who had gotten to
be sworn friends and constant associates, after they had caught as
many fish as they wished, to retire to the favourite spring, light,
the one his cigar, the other his pipe, mix their grog, and then
relieve their ennui, when tired of discussing men and things, by
playing cards on a particular stump. Now, it happens that the captain
had the identical pack which had been used on all such occasions in
his pocket, as was evident in the fact that the cards were nearly as
distinctly marked on their backs, as on their faces. These cards he
showed secretly to his companion, and when the attention of Mrs.
Abbott was altogether engaged in expecting the terrible announcement
of her daughter's errors, the captain slipped them, kings, queens and
knaves, high, low, jack and the game, without regard to rank, into
the lady's work-basket. As soon as this feat was successfully
performed, a sign was given to the commodore that the conspiracy was
effected, and that disputant in theology gradually began to give
ground, while he continued to maintain that jumping the rope was a
sin, though it might be one of a nominal class. There is little
doubt, had he possessed a smattering of phrases, a greater command of
biblical learning, and more zeal, that the fisherman might have
established a new shade of the Christian faith; for, while mankind
still persevere in disregarding the plainest mandates of God, as
respects humility, the charities, and obedience, nothing seems to
afford them more delight than to add to the catalogue of the offences
against his divine supremacy. It was perhaps lucky for the commodore,
who was capital at casting a pickerel line, but who usually settled
his polemics with the fist, when hard pushed, that Captain Truck
found leisure to come to the rescue.
"I'm amazed, ma'am," said the honest packet-master, "that a woman of
your sanctity should deny that jumping the rope is a sin, for I hold
that point to have been settled by all our people, these fifty years.
You will admit that the rope cannot be well-jumped without levity."
"Levity, Captain Truck! I hope you do not insinuate that a daughter
of mine discovers levity?"
"Certainly, ma'am; she is called the best rope jumper in the village,
I hear; and levity, or lightness of carriage, is the great requisite
for skill in the art. Then there are 'vain repetitions' in doing the
same thing over and over so often, and 'vain repetitions' are
forbidden even in our prayers. I can call both father and mother to
testify to that fact."
"Well, this is news to me! I must speak to the minister about it."
"Of the two, the skipping-rope is rather more sinful than dancing,
for the music makes the latter easy; whereas, one has to force the
spirit to enter into the other. Commodore, our hour has come, and we
must make sail. May I ask the favour, Mrs. Abbott, of a bit of thread
to fasten this hook afresh?"
The widow-bewitched turned to her basket, and raising a piece of
calico, to look for the thread "high, low, jack and the game," stared
her in the face. When she bent her eyes towards her guests, she
perceived all three gazing at the cards, with as much apparent
surprise and curiosity, as if two of them knew nothing of their
"Awful!" exclaimed Mrs. Abbott, shaking both hands,--"awful--awful--
awful! The powers of darkness have been at work here!"
"They seem to have been pretty much occupied, too," observed the
captain, "for a better thumbed pack I never yet found in the
forecastle of a ship."
"Awful--awful--awful!--This is equal to the forty days in the
wilderness, Mr. Dodge."
"It is a trying cross, ma'am."
"To my notion, now," said the captain, "those cards are not worse
than the skipping-rope, though I allow that they might have been
But Mrs. Abbott was not disposed to view the matter so lightly. She
saw the hand of the devil in the affair, and fancied it was a new
trial offered to her widowed condition.
"Are these actually cards!" she cried, like one who distrusted the
evidence of her senses.
"Just so, ma'am," kindly answered the commodore; "This is the ace of
spades, a famous fellow to hold when you have the lead; and this is
the Jack, which counts one, you know, when spades are trumps. I never
saw a more thorough-working pack in my life."
"Or a more thoroughly worked pack," added the captain, in a condoling
manner. "Well, we are not all perfect, and I hope Mrs. Abbott will
cheer up and look at this matter in a gayer point of view. For myself
I hold that a skipping-rope is worse than the Jack of spades, Sundays
or week days. Commodore, we shall see no pickerel to-day, unless we
tear ourselves from this good company."
Here the two wags took their leave, and retreated to the skiff; the
captain, who foresaw an occasion to use them, considerately offering
to relieve Mrs. Abbott from the presence of the odious cards,
intimating that he would conscientiously see them fairly sunk in the
deepest part of the lake.
When the two worthies were at a reasonable distance from the shore,
the commodore suddenly ceased rowing, made a flourish with his hand,
and incontinently began to laugh, as if his mirth had suddenly broken
through all restraint. Captain Truck, who had been lighting a cigar,
commenced smoking, and, seldom indulging in boisterous merriment, he
responded with his eyes, shaking his head from time to time, with
great satisfaction, as thoughts more ludicrous than common came over
"Harkee, commodore," he said, blowing the smoke upward, and watching
it with his eye until it floated away in a little cloud, "neither of
us is a chicken. You have studied life on the fresh water, and I have
studied life on the salt. I do not say which produces the best
scholars, but I know that both make better Christians than the jack-
"Just so. I tell them in the village that little is gained in the end
by following the blind; that is my doctrine, sir."
"And a very good doctrine it would prove, I make no doubt, were you
to enter into it a little more fully--"
"Well, sir, I can explain--"
"Not another syllable is necessary. I know what you mean as well as
if I said it myself, and, moreover, short sermons are always the
best. You mean that a pilot ought to know where he is steering, which
is perfectly sound doctrine. My own experience tells me, that if you
press a sturgeon's nose with your foot, it will spring up as soon as
it is loosened. Now the jack-screw will heave a great strain, no
doubt; but the moment it is let up, down comes all that rests on it,
again. This Mr. Dodge, I suppose you know, has been a passenger with
me once or twice?"
"I have heard as much--they say he was tigerish in the fight with the
niggers--quite an out-and-outer."
"Ay, I hear he tells some such story himself; but harkee, commodore,
I wish to do justice to all men, and I find there is very little of
it inland, hereaway. The hero of that day is about to marry your
beautiful Miss Effingham; other men did their duty too, as, for
instance, was the case with Mr. John Effingham; but Paul Blunt-Powis-
Effingham finished the job. As for Mr. Steadfast Dodge, sir, I say
nothing, unless it be to add that he was nowhere near _me_ in
that transaction; and if any man felt like an alligator in Lent, on
that occasion, it was your humble servant."
"Which means that he was not nigh the enemy, I'll swear before a
"And no fear of perjury. Any one who saw Mr. John Effingham and Mr.
Powis on that day, might have sworn that they were father and son,
and any one who _did not see_ Mr. Dodge might have said at once,
that he did not belong to their family. That is all, sir; I never
disparage a passenger, and, therefore, shall say no more than merely
to add, that Mr. Dodge is no warrior."
"They say he has experienced religion, lately, as they call it."
"It is high time, sir, for he had experienced sin quite long enough,
according to my notion. I hear that the man goes up and down the
country disparaging those whose shoe-ties he is unworthy to unloose,
and that he has published some letters in his journal, that are as
false as his heart; but let him beware, lest the world should see,
some rainy day, an extract from a certain log-book belonging to a
ship called the Montauk. I am rejoiced at this marriage after all,
commodore, or marriages rather, for I understand that Mr. Paul
Effingham and Sir George Templemore intend to make a double bowline
of it to-morrow morning. All is arranged, and as soon as my eyes have
witnessed that blessed sight, I shall trip for New-York again."
"It is clearly made out then, that the young gentleman is Mr. John
"As clear as the north-star in a bright night. The fellow who spoke
to me at the Fun of Fire has put us in a way to remove the last
doubt, if there were any doubt. Mr. Effingham himself, who is so
cool-headed and cautious, says there is now sufficient proof to make
it good in any court in America, That point may be set down as
settled, and, for my part, I rejoice it is so, since Mr. John
Effingham has so long passed for an old bachelor, that it is a credit
to the corps to find one of them the father of so noble a son."
Here the commodore dropped his anchor, and the two friends began to
fish. For an hour neither talked much, but having obtained the
necessary stock of perch, they landed at the favourite spring, and
prepared a fry. While seated on the grass, alternating be tween the
potations of punch, and the mastication of fish, these worthies again
renewed the dialogue in their usual discursive, philosophical, and
"We are citizens of a surprisingly great country, commodore,"
commenced Mr. Truck, after one of his heaviest draughts; "every body
says it, from Maine to Florida, and what every body says must be
"Just so, sir. I sometimes wonder how so great a country ever came to
produce so little a man as myself."
"A good cow may have a bad calf, and that explains the matter. Have
you many as virtuous and pious women in this part of the world, as
"The hills and valleys are filled with them. You mean persons who
have got so much religion that they have no room for any thing else?"
"I shall mourn to my dying day, that you were not brought up to the
sea! If you discover so much of the right material on fresh-water,
what would you have been on salt? The people who suck in nutriment
from a brain and a conscience like those of Mr. Dodge, too,
commodore, must get, in time, to be surprisingly clear-sighted."
"Just so; his readers soon overreach themselves. But it's of no great
consequence, sir; the people of this part of the world keep nothing
long enough to do much good, or much harm."
"Fond of change, ha?"
"Like unlucky fishermen, always ready to shift the ground. I don't
believe, sir, that in all this region you can find a dozen graves of
sons, that lie near their fathers. Every body seems to have a mortal
aversion to stability,"
"It is hard to love such a country, commodore!"
"Sir, I never try to love it. God has given me a pretty sheet of
water, that suits my fancy and wants, a beautiful sky, fine green
mountains, and I am satisfied. One may love God, in such a temple,
though he love nothing else."
"Well, I suppose if you love nothing, nothing loves you, and no
injustice is done."
"Just, so, sir. Self has got to be the idol, though in the general
scramble a man is sometimes puzzled to know whether he is himself, or
one of the neighbours."
"I wish I knew your political sentiments, commodore; you have been
communicative on all subjects but that, and I have taken up the
notion that you are a true philosopher."
"I hold myself to be but a babe in swaddling-clothes compared to
yourself, sir; but such as my poor opinions are, you are welcome to
them. In the first place, then, sir, I have lived long enough on this
water to know that every man is a lover of liberty in his own person,
and that he has a secret distaste for it in the persons of other
people. Then, sir, I have got to understand that patriotism means
bread and cheese, and that opposition is every man for himself."
"If the truth were known, I believe, commodore, you have buoyed out
"Just so. After being pulled about by the salt of the land, and using
my freeman's privileges at their command, until I got tired of so
much liberty, sir, I have resigned, and retired to private life,
doing most of my own thinking out here on the Otsego-Water, like a
poor slave as I am."
"You ought to be chosen the next President!"
"I owe my present emancipation, sir, to the sogdollager. I first
began to reason about such a man as this Mr. Dodge, who has thrust
himself and his ignorance together into the village, lately, as an
expounder of truth, and a ray of light to the blind. Well, sir, I
said to myself, if this man be the man I know him to be as a man, can
he be any thing better as an editor?"
"That was a home question put to yourself, commodore; how did you
"The answer was satisfactory, sir, to myself, whatever it might be to
other people. I stopped his paper, and set up for myself. Just about
that time the sogdollager nibbled, and instead of trying to be a
great man, over the shoulders of the patriots and sages of the land,
I endeavoured to immortalize myself by hooking him. I go to the
elections now, for that I feel to be a duty, but instead of allowing
a man like this Mr. Dodge to tell me how to vote, I vote for the man
in public that I would trust in private."
"Excellent! I honour you more and more every minute I pass in your
society. We will now drink to the future happiness of those who will
become brides and bridegrooms to-morrow. If all men were as
philosophical and as learned as you, commodore, the human race would
be in a fairer way than they are to-day."
"Just so; I drink to them with all my heart. Is it not surprising,
sir, that people like Mrs. Abbott and Mr. Dodge should have it in
their power to injure such as those whose happiness we have just had
the honour of commemorating in advance?"
"Why, commodore, a fly may bite an elephant, if he can find a weak
spot in his hide. I do not altogether understand the history of the
marriage of John Effingham, myself; but we see the issue of it has
been a fine son. Now I hold that when a man fairly marries, he is
bound to own it, the same as any other crime; for he owes it to those
who have not been as guilty as himself, to show the world that he no
longer belongs to them."
"Just so; but we have flies in this part of the world that will bite
through the toughest hide."
"That comes from there being no quarter-deck in your social ship,
commodore. Now aboard of a well-regulated packet, all the thinking is
done aft; they who are desirous of knowing whereabouts the vessel is,
being compelled to wait till the observations are taken, or to sit
down in their ignorance. The whole difficulty comes from the fact
that sensible people live so far apart in this quarter of the world,
that fools have more room than should fall to their share. You
understand me, commodore?"
"Just so," said the commodore, laughing, and winking. "Well, it is
fortunate that there are some people who are not quite as weak-minded
as some other people. I take it, Captain Truck, that you will be
present at the wedding?"
The captain now winked in his turn, looked around him to make sure no
one was listening, and laying a finger on his nose, he answered, in a
much lower key than was usual for him--
"You can keep a secret, I know, commodore. Now what I have to say is
not to be told to Mrs. Abbott, in order that it may be repeated and
multiplied, but is to be kept as snug as your bait, in the bait-box."
"You know your man, sir."
"Well then, about ten minutes before the clock strikes nine, to-
morrow morning, do you slip into the gallery of New St. Paul's, and
you shall see beauty and modesty, when 'unadorned, adorned the most.'
"Just so," and the hand was flourished even more than usual.
"It does not become us bachelors to be too lenient to matrimony, but
I should be an unhappy man, were I not to witness the marriage of
Paul Powis to Eve Effingham."
Here both the worthies, "freshened the nip," as Captain Truck called
it, and then the conversation soon got to be too philosophical and
contemplative for this unpretending record of events and ideas.
"Then plainly know, my heart's dear love is set On the fair
daughter of rich Capulet; As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine;
And all combined, save what thou must confine By holy marriage."
ROMEO AND JULIET.
The morning chosen for the nuptials of Eve and Grace arrived, and all
the inmates of the Wigwam were early afoot, though the utmost care
had been taken to prevent the intelligence of the approaching
ceremony from getting into the village. They little knew, however,
how closely they were watched; the mean artifices that were resorted
to by some who called themselves their neighbours, to tamper with
servants, to obtain food for conjecture, and to justify to themselves
their exaggerations, falsehoods, and frauds. The news did leak out,
as will presently be seen, and through a channel that may cause the
reader, who is unacquainted with some of the peculiarities of
American life, a little surprise.
We have frequently alluded to Annette, the _femme de chambre_
that had followed Eve from Europe, although we have had no occasion
to dwell on her character, which was that of a woman of her class, as
they are well known to exist in France. Annette was young, had
bright, sparkling black eyes, was well made, and had the usual
tournure and manner of a Parisian grisette. As it is the besetting
weakness of all provincial habits to mistake graces for grace,
flourishes for elegance, and exaggeration for merit, Annette soon
acquired a reputation in her circle, as a woman of more than usual
claims to distinction. Her attire was in the height of the fashion,
being of Eve's cast-off clothes, and of the best materials, and
attire is also a point that is not without its influence on those who
are unaccustomed to the world.
As the double ceremony was to take place before breakfast, Annette
was early employed about the person of her young mistress, adorning
it in the bridal robes. While she worked at her usual employment, the
attendant appeared unusually agitated, and several times pins were
badly pointed, and new arrangements had to supersede or to supply the
deficiencies of her mistakes. Eve was always a model of patience, and
she bore with these little oversights with a quiet that would have
given Paul an additional pledge of her admirable self-command, as
well as of a sweetness of temper that, in truth, raised her almost
above the commoner feelings of mortality.
"_Vous etes un peu agitee, ce matin, ma bonne Annette_," she
merely observed, when her maid had committed a blunder more material
"_J'espere que Mademoiselle a ete contente de moi, jusqu' a
present_," returned Annette, vexed with her own awkwardness, and
speaking in the manner in which it is usual to announce an intention
to quit a service.
"Certainly, Annette, you have conducted yourself well, and are very
expert in your _metier_. But why do you ask this question, just
at this moment?"
"_Parceque_--because--with mademoiselle's permission, I intended
to ask for my _conge_."
"_Conge_! Do you think of quitting me, Annette?"
"It would make me happier than anything else to die in the service of
mademoiselle, but we are all subject to our destiny"--the
conversation was in French--"and mine compels me to cease my services
as a _femme de chambre_."
"This is a sudden, and for one in a strange country, an extraordinary
resolution. May I ask, Annette, what you propose to do?"
Here, the woman gave herself certain airs, endeavoured to blush, did
look at the carpet with a studied modesty that might have deceived
one who did not know the genus, and announced her intention to get
married, too, at the end of the present month.
"Married!" repeated Eve--"surely not to old Pierre, Annette!"
"Pierre, Mademoiselle! I shall not condescend to look at Pierre.
_Je vais me marier avec un avocat_."
"_Oui, Mademoiselle_. I will marry myself with Monsieur
Aristabule Bragg, if Mademoiselle shall permit."
Eve was perfectly mute with astonishment, notwithstanding the proofs
she had often seen of the wide range that the ambition of an American
of a certain class allows itself. Of course, she remembered the
conversation on the Point, and it would not have been in nature, had
not a mistress who had been so lately wooed, felt some surprise at
finding her discarded suitor so soon seeking consolation in the
smiles of her own maid. Still her surprise was less than that which
the reader will probably experience at this announcement; for, as has
just been said, she had seen too much of the active and pliant
enterprise of the lover, to feel much wonder at any of his moral
_tours de force_. Even Eve, however, was not perfectly acquainted
with the views and policy that had led Aristabulus to seek this
consummation to his matrimonial schemes, which must be explained
explicitly, in order that they may be properly understood.
Mr. Bragg had no notion of any distinctions in the world, beyond
those which came from money, and political success. For the first he
had a practical deference that was as profound as his wishes for its
enjoyments; and for the last he felt precisely the sort of reverence,
that one educated under a feudal system, would feel for a feudal
lord. The first, after several unsuccessful efforts, he had found
unattainable by means of matrimony, and he turned his thoughts
towards Annette, whom he had for some months held in reserve, in the
event of his failing with Eve and Grace, for on both these heiresses
had he entertained designs, as a _pis aller_. Annette was a
dress-maker of approved taste, her person was sufficiently
attractive, her broken English gave piquancy to thoughts of no great
depth, she was of a suitable age, and he had made her proposals and
been accepted, as soon as it was ascertained that Eve and Grace were
irretrievably lost to him. Of course, the Parisienne did not hesitate
an instant about becoming the wife of _un avocat;_ for,
agreeably to her habits, matrimony was a legitimate means of
bettering her condition in life. The plan was soon arranged. They
were to be married as soon as Annette's month's notice had expired,
and then they were to emigrate to the far west, where Mr. Bragg
proposed to practise law, or keep school, or to go to Congress, or to
turn trader, or to saw lumber, or, in short, to turn his hand to any
thing that offered; while Annette was to help along with the _menage_,
by making dresses, and teaching French; the latter occupation
promising to be somewhat peripatetic, the population being
scattered, and few of the dwellers in the interior deeming it
necessary to take more than a quarter's instruction in any of the
higher branches of education; the object being to _study_, as it
is called, and not to _know_. Aristabulus, who was filled with
_go-aheadism_, would have shortened the delay, but this Annette
positively resisted; her _esprit de corps_ as a servant, and all
her notions of justice, repudiating the notion that the connexion
which had existed so long between Eve and herself, was to be cut off
at a moment's warning. So diametrically were the ideas of the
_fiances_ opposed to each other, on this point, that at one time it
threatened a rupture, Mr. Bragg asserting the natural independence of
man to a degree that would have rendered him independent of all
obligations that were not effectually enacted by the law, and Annette
maintaining the dignity of a European _femme de chambre,_ whose
sense of propriety demanded that she should not quit her place
without giving a month's warning. The affair was happily decided by
Aristabulus's receiving a commission to tend a store, in the absence
of its owner; Mr. Effingham, on a hint from his daughter, having
profited by the annual expiration of the engagement, to bring their
connexion to an end.
This termination to the passion of Mr. Bragg would have afforded Eve
a good deal of amusement at any other moment; but a bride cannot be
expected to give too much of her attention to the felicity and
prospects of those who have no natural or acquired claims to her
affection. The cousins met, attired for the ceremony, in Mr.
Effingham's room, where he soon came in person, to lead them to the
drawing-room. It is seldom that two more lovely young women are
brought together on similar occasions. As Mr. Effingham stood between
them, holding a hand of each, his moistened eyes turned from one to
the other in honest pride, and in an admiration that even his
tenderness could not restrain. The _toilettes_ were as simple as
the marriage ceremony will permit; for it was intended that there
should be no unnecessary parade; and, perhaps, the delicate beauty of
each of the brides was rendered the more attractive by this
simplicity, as it has often been justly remarked, that the fair of
this country are more winning in dress of a less conventional
character, than when in the elaborate and regulated attire of
ceremonies. As might have been expected, there was most of soul and
feeling in Eve's countenance, though Grace wore an air of charming
modesty and nature. Both were unaffected, simple and graceful, and we
may add that both trembled as Mr. Effingham took their hands.
"This is a pleasing and yet a painful hour," said that kind and
excellent man; "one in which I gain a son, and lose a daughter."
"And _I_, dearest uncle," exclaimed Grace, whose feelings
trembled on her eye-lids, like the dew ready to drop from the leaf,
"have _I_ no connexion with your feelings?"
"You are the daughter that I lose, my child, for Eve will still
remain with me. But Templemore has promised to be grateful, and I
will trust his word."
Mr. Effingham then embraced with fervour both the charming young
women, who stood apparelled for the most important event of their
lives, lovely in their youth, beauty, innocence, and modesty; and
taking an arm of each, he led them below. John Effingham, the two
bridegrooms, Captain Ducie, Mr. and Mrs. Bloomfield, Mrs. Hawker,
Captain Truck, Mademoiselle Viefville, Annette, and Ann Sidley, were
all assembled in the drawing-room, ready to receive them; and as soon
as shawls were thrown around Eve and Grace, in order to conceal the
wedding dresses, the whole party proceeded to the church.
The distance between the Wigwam and New St. Paul's was very trifling,
the solemn pines of the church-yard blending, from many points, with
the gayer trees in the grounds of the former; and as the buildings in
this part of the village were few, the whole of the bridal train
entered the tower, unobserved by the eyes of the curious. The
clergyman was waiting in the chancel, and as each of the young men
led the object of his choice immediately to the altar, the double
ceremony began without delay. At this instant Mr. Aristabulus Dodge
and Mrs. Abbot advanced from the rear of the gallery, and coolly took
their seats in its front. Neither belonged to this particular church,
though, having discovered that the marriages were to take place that
morning by means of Annette, they had no scruples on the score of
delicacy about thrusting themselves forward on the occasion; for, to
the latest moment, that publicity-principle which appeared to be
interwoven with their very natures, induced them to think that
nothing was so sacred as to be placed beyond the reach of curiosity.
They entered the church, because the church they held to be a public
place, precisely on the principle that others of their class conceive
if a gate be blown open by accident, it removes all the moral
defences against trespassers, as it removes the physical.
The solemn language of the prayers and vows proceeded none the less
for the presence of these unwelcome intruders; for, at that grave
moment, all other thoughts were hushed in those that more properly
belonged to the scene. When the clergyman made the usual appeal to
know if any man could give a reason why those who stood before him
should not be united in holy wedlock, Mrs. Abbott nudged Mr. Dodge,
and, in the fulness of her discontent, eagerly inquired in a whisper,
if it were not possible to raise some valid objection. Could she have
had her pious wish, the simple, unpretending, meek, and _church_-going
Eve, should never be married. But the editor was not a man to act
openly in any thing, his particular province lying in insinuations
and innuendoes. As a hint would not now be available, he determined
to postpone his revenge to a future day. We say revenge, for
Steadfast was of the class that consider any happiness, or
advantage, in which they are not ample participators, wrongs done to
That is a wise regulation of the church, which makes the marriage
ceremony brief, for the intensity of the feelings it often creates
would frequently become too powerful to be suppressed, were it
unnecessarily prolonged. Mr. Effingham gave away both the brides, the
one in the quality of parent, the other in that of guardian, and
neither of the bridegrooms got the ring on the wrong finger. This is
all we have to of the immediate scene at the altar. As soon as the
benediction was pronounced, and the brides were released from the
first embraces of their husbands, Mr. Effingham, without even kissing
Eve, threw the shawls over their shoulders, and, taking an arm of
each, he led them rapidly from the church, for he felt reluctant to
suffer the holy feelings that were uppermost in his heart to be the
spectacle of rude and obtrusive observers. At the door, he
relinquished Eve to Paul, and Grace to Sir George, with a silent
pressure of the hand of each, and signed for them to proceed towards
the Wigwam. He was obeyed, and in less than half an hour from the
time they had left the drawing-room, the whole party was again
assembled in it.
What a change had been produced in the situation of so many, in that
"Father!" Eve whispered, while Mr. Effingham folded her to his heart,
the unbidden tears falling from both their eyes--"I am still thine!"
"It would break my heart to think otherwise, darling. No, no--I have
not lost a daughter, but have gained a son."
"And what place am I to occupy in this scene of fondness?" inquired
John Effingham, who had considerately paid his compliments to Grace
first, that she might not feel forgotten at such a moment, and who
had so managed that, she was now receiving the congratulations of the
rest of the party; "am I to lose both son and daughter?"
Eve, smiling sweetly through her tears, raised herself from her own
father's arms, and was received in those of her husband's parent.
After he had fondly kissed her forehead several times, without
withdrawing from his bosom, she parted the rich hair on his forehead,
passing her hand down his face, like an infant, and said softly--
"I believe this must be my rank and estimation still Paul shall make
no difference in our feeling; we will love each other as we have ever
"Paul can be nothing new between you and me. You have always been a
second father in my eyes, and in my heart, too, dear--dear cousin
John Effingham pressed the beautiful, ardent, blushing girl to his
bosom again; and as he did so, both felt, notwithstanding their
language, that a new and dearer tie than ever bound them together.
Eve now received the compliments of the rest of the party, when the
two brides retired to change the dresses in which they had appeared
at the altar, for their more ordinary attire.
In her own dressing-room, Eve found Ann Sidley, waiting with
impatience to pour out her feelings, the honest and affectionate
creature being much too sensitive to open the floodgates of her
emotions in the presence of third parties.
"Ma'am--Miss Eve--Mrs. Effingham!" she exclaimed as soon as her young
mistress entered, afraid of saying too much, now that her nursling
had become a married woman.
"My kind and good Nanny!" said Eve, taking her old nurse in her arms,
their tears mingling in silence for near a minute. "You have seen
your child enter on the last of her great earthly engagements, Nanny,
and I know you pray that they may prove happy."
"I do--I do--I do--ma'am--madam--Miss Eve--what am I to call you in
"Call me Miss Eve, as you have done since my childhood, dearest
Nanny received this permission with delight, and twenty times that
morning she availed herself of the permission; and she continued to
use the term until, two years later, she danced a miniature Eve on
her knee, as she had done its mother before her, when matronly rank
began silently to assert its rights, and our present bride became
"I shall not quit you, ma'am, now that you are married?" Ann Sidley
timidly asked; for, although she could scarcely think such an event
within the bounds of probability, and Eve had already more than once
assured her of the contrary with her own tongue, still did she love
to have assurance made doubly sure. "I hope nothing will ever happen
to make me quit you, ma'am?"
"Nothing of that sort, with my consent, ever shall happen, my
excellent Nanny. And now that Annette is about to get married, I
shall have more than the usual necessity for your services."
"And Mamerzelle, ma'am?" inquired Nanny, with sparkling eyes; "I
suppose she, too, will return to her own country, now you know every
thing, and have no farther occasion for her?"
"Mademoiselle Viefville will return to France in the autumn, but it
will be with us all; for my dear father, cousin Jack, my husband--"
Eve blushed as she pronounced the novel word--"and myself, not
forgetting you my old nurse, will all sail for England, with Sir
George and Lady Templemore, on our way to Italy, the first week in
"I care not, ma'am, so that I go with you. I would rather we did not
live in a country where I cannot understand all that the people say
to you, but wherever you are will be my earthly paradise."
Eve kissed the true-hearted woman, and, Annette entering, she changed
The two brides met at the head of the great stairs, on their way back
to the drawing-room. Eve was a little in advance, but, with a half-
concealed smile, she gave way to Grace, curtsying gravely, and
"It does not become _me_ to precede Lady Templemore--I, who am
only Mrs. Paul Effingham."
"Nay, dear Eve, I am not so weak as you imagine. Do you not think I
should have married him had he not been a baronet?"
"Templemore, my dear coz, is a man any woman might love, and I
believe, as firmly as I hope it sincerely, that he will make you
"And yet there is one woman who would not love him, Eve!"
Eve looked steadily at her cousin for a moment, was startled, and
then she felt gratified that Sir George had been so honest, for the
frankness and manliness of his avowal was a pledge of the good faith
and sincerity of his character. She took her cousin affectionately by
the hand, and said--
"Grace, this confidence is the highest compliment you can pay me, and
it merits a return. That Sir George Templemore may have had a passing
inclination for one who so little deserved it, is possibly true--but
my affections were another's before I knew him."
"You never would have married Templemore, Eve; he says himself, now,
that you are quite too continental, as he calls it, to like an
"Then I shall take the first good occasion to undeceive him; for I do
_like_ an Englishman, and he is the identical man."
As few women are jealous on their wedding-day, Grace took this in
good part, and they descended the stairs together, side by side,
reflecting each other's happiness, in their timid but conscious
smiles. In the great hall, they were met by the bridegrooms, and each
taking the arm of him who had now become of so vast importance to
her, they paced the room to and fro, until summoned to the _dejeuner
a la fourchette_, which had been prepared under the especial
superintendence of Mademoiselle Viefville, after the manner
of her country.
Wedding-days, like all formally prepared festivals, are apt to go off
a little heavily. Such, however, was not the case with this, for
every appearance of premeditation and preparation vanished with this
meal. It is true the family did not quit the grounds, but, with this
exception, ease and tranquil happiness reigned throughout. Captain
Truck was alone disposed to be sentimental, and, more than once, as
he looked about him, he expressed his doubts whether he had pursued
the right course to attain happiness,
"I find myself in a solitary category," he said, at the dinner-
table, in the evening. "Mrs. Hawker, and both the Messrs.
Effinghams, _have been_ married; every body else _is_ married, and I
believe I must take refuge in saying that I _will be_ married, if I
can now persuade any one to have me. Even Mr. Powis, my right-hand
man, in all that African affair, has deserted me, and left me like a
single dead pine in one of your clearings, or a jewel-block dangling
at a yard-arm, without a sheave. Mrs. Bride--" the captain styled
Eve thus, throughout the day, to the utter neglect of the claims of
Lady Templemore--"Mrs. Bride, we will consider my forlorn condition
more philosophically, when I shall have the honour to take you, and
so many of this blessed party, back again to Europe, where I found
you. Under your advice I think I might even yet venture."
"And I am overlooked entirely," cried Mr. Howel, who had been invited
to make one at the wedding-feast; "what is to become of me, Captain
Truck, if this marrying mania go any further?"
"I have long had a plan for your welfare, my dear sir, that I will
take this opportunity to divulge; I propose, ladies and gentlemen,
that we enlist Mr. Howel in our project for this autumn, and that we
carry him with us to Europe. I shall be proud to have the honour of
introducing him to his old friend, the island of Great Britain."
"Ah! that is a happiness, I fear, that is not in reserve for me!"
said Mr. Howel, shaking his head. "I have thought of these things, in
my time, but age will now defeat any such hopes."
"Age, Tom Howel!" said John Effingham; "you are but fifty, like Ned
and myself. We were all boys together, forty years ago, and yet you
find us, who have so lately returned, ready to take a fresh
departure. Pluck up heart; there may be a steam-boat ready to bring
you back, by the time you wish to return."
"Never," said Captain Truck, positively. "Ladies and gentlemen, it is
morally impossible that the Atlantic should ever be navigated by
steamers. That doctrine I shall maintain to my dying day; but what
need of a steamer, when we have packets like palaces?"
"I did not know, captain, that you entertained so hearty a respect
for Great Britain--it is encouraging, really, to find so generous a
feeling toward the old island in one of her descendants. Sir George
and Lady Templemore, permit me to drink to your lasting felicity."
"Ay--ay--I entertain no ill-will to England, though her tobacco laws
are none of the genteelest. But my wish to export you, Mr. Howel, is
less from a desire to show you England, than to let you perceive that
there are other countries in Europe--"
"Other countries!--Surely you do not suppose I am so ignorant of
geography, as to believe that there are no other countries in
Europe--no such places as Hanover, Brunswick, and Brunswick
Lunenberg, and Denmark; the sister of old George the Third married
the king of that country; and Wurtemberg, the king of which married
the Princess Royal--"
"And Mecklenburg-Strelitz," added John Effingham, gravely, "a
princess of which actually married George the Third _propria
persona_, as well as by proxy. Nothing can be plainer than your
geography, Howel; but, in addition to these particular regions, our
worthy friend the captain wishes you to know also, that there are
such places as France, and Austria, and Russia, and Italy; though the
latter can scarcely repay a man for the trouble of visiting it."
"You have guessed my motive, Mr. John Effingham, and expressed it
much more discreetly than I could possibly have done," cried the
captain. "If Mr. Howel will do me the honour to take passage with me,
going and coming, I shall consider the pleasure of his remarks on men
and things, as one of the greatest advantages I ever possessed."
"I do not know but I might be induced to venture as far as England,
but not a foot farther."
"_Pas a Paris!_" exclaimed Mademoiselle Viefville, who wondered
why any rational being would take the trouble to cross the Atlantic,
merely to see _Ce melancolique Londres;_ "you will go to _Paris_,
for my sake, Monsieur Howel?"
"For your sake, indeed, Mam'selle, I would do any thing, but hardly
for my own. I confess I have thought of this, and I will think of it
farther. I should like to see the King of England and the House of
Lords, I confess, before I die."
"Ay, and the Tower, and the Boar's-Head at East-Cheap, and the statue
of the Duke of Wellington, and London Bridge, and Richmond Hill, and
Bow Street, and Somerset House, and Oxford Road, and Bartlemy Fair,
and Hungerford Market, and Charing-Cross--_old_ Charing-Cross,
Tom Howel!"--added John Effingham, with a good-natured nod of the
"A wonderful nation!" cried Mr. Howel, whose eyes sparkled as the
other proceeded in his enumeration of wonders. "I do not think, after
all, that I can die in peace, without seeing _some_ of these
things--_all_ would be too much for me. How far is the Isle of
Dogs, now, from St. Catherine's Docks, captain?"
"Oh! but a few cables' lengths. If you will only stick to the ship
until she is fairly docked, I will promise you a sight of the Isle of
Dogs before you land, even. But then you must promise me to carry out
"No fear of me; I neither smoke nor chew, and it does not surprise me
that a nation as polished as the English should have this antipathy
to tobacco. And one might really see the Isle of Dogs before landing?
It _is_ a wonderful country! Mrs. Bloomfield, will you ever be
able to die tranquilly without seeing England?"
"I hope, sir, whenever that event shall arrive, that it may be met
tranquilly, let what may happen previously. I do confess, in common
with Mrs. Effingham, a longing desire to see Italy; a wish that I
believe she entertains from her actual knowledge, and which I
entertain from my anticipations."
"Now, this really surprises me. What _can_ Italy possess to
repay one for the trouble of travelling so far?"
"I trust, cousin Jack," said Eve, colouring at the sound of her own
voice, for on that day of supreme happiness and intense emotions, she
had got to be so sensitive as to be less self-possessed than common,
"that our friend Mr. Wenham will not be forgotten, but that he may be
invited to join the party."
This representative of _la jeune Amerique_ was also present at
the dinner, out of regard to his deceased father, who was a very old
friend of Mr. Effingham's, and, being so favourably noticed by the
bride, he did not fail to reply.
"I believe an American has little to learn from any nation but his
own," observed Mr. Wenham, with the complacency of the school to
which he belonged, "although one might wish that all of this country
should travel, in order that the rest of the world might have the
benefit of the intercourse."
"It is a thousand pities," said John Effingham, "that one of our
universities, for instance, was not ambulant. Old Yale was so, in its
infancy; but unlike most other creatures, it went about with greater
ease to itself when a child, than it can move in manhood."
"Mr. John Effingham loves to be facetious," said Mr. Wenham with
dignity; for, while he was as credulous as could be wished, on the
subject of American superiority, he was not quite as blind as the
votaries of the Anglo-American school, who usually yield the control
of all their faculties and common sense to their masters, on the
points connected with their besetting weaknesses. "Every body is
agreed, I believe, that the American imparts more than he receives,
in his intercourse with Europeans."
The smiles of the more experienced of this young man's listeners were
well-bred and concealed, and the conversation turned to other
subjects. It was easy to raise the laugh on such an occasion, and
contrary to the usage of the Wigwam, where the men usually left the
table with the other sex, Captain Truck, John Effingham, Mr.
Bloomfield, and Mr. Howel, made what is called a night of it. Much
delicious claret was consumed, and the honest captain was permitted
to enjoy his cigar. About midnight he swore he had half a mind to
write a letter to Mrs. Hawker, with an offer of his hand; as for his
heart, that she well knew she had possessed for a long time.
The next day, about the hour when the house was tranquil, from the
circumstance that most of its inmates were abroad on their several
avocations of boating, riding, shopping, or walking, Eve was in the
library, her father having left it, a few minutes before, to mount
his horse. She was seated at a table, writing a letter to an aged
relative of her own sex, to communicate the circumstance of her
marriage. The door was half open, and Paul appeared at it
unexpectedly, coming in search of his young bride. His step had been
so light, and so intently was our heroine engaged with her letter,
that his approach was unnoticed, though it had now been a long time
that the ear of Eve had learned to know his tread, and her heart to
beat at its welcome sound. Perhaps a beautiful woman is never so
winningly lovely as when, in her neat morning attire, she seems fresh
and sweet as the new-born day. Eve had paid a little more attention
to her toilette than usual even, admitting just enough of a properly
selected jewelry, a style of ornament, that so singularly denotes the
refinement of a gentlewoman, when used understandingly, and which so
infallibly betrays vulgarity under other circumstances, while her
attire had rather more than its customary finish, though it was
impossible not to perceive, at a glance, that she was in an undress.
The Parisian skill of Annette, on which Mr. Bragg based so many of
his hopes of future fortune, had cut and fitted the robe to her
faultlessly beautiful person, with a tact, or it might be truer to
say a contact, so perfect, that it even left more charms to be
imagined than it displayed, though the outline of the whole figure
was that of the most lovely womanhood. But, notwithstanding the
exquisite modelling of the whole form, the almost fairy lightness of
the full, swelling, but small foot, about which nothing seemed lean
and attenuated, the exquisite hand that appeared from among the
ruffles of the dress, Paul stood longest in nearly breathless
admiration of the countenance of his "bright and blooming bride."
Perhaps there is no sentiment so touchingly endearing to a man, as
that which comes over him as he contemplates the beauty, confiding
faith, holy purity and truth that shine in the countenance of a
young, unpractised, innocent woman, when she has so far overcome her
natural timidity as to pour out her tenderness in his behalf, and to
submit to the strongest impulses of her nature. Such was now the fact
with Eve. She was writing of her husband, and, though her expressions
were restrained by taste and education, they partook of her
unutterable fondness and devotion. The tears stood in her eyes, the
pen trembled in her hand, and she shaded her face as if to conceal
the weakness from herself. Paul was alarmed, he knew not why, but Eve
in tears was a sight painful to him. In a moment he was at her side,
with an arm placed gently around her waist, and he drew her fondly
towards his bosom.
"Eve--dearest Eve!" he said--"what mean these tears?"
The serene eye, the radiant blush, and the meek tenderness that
rewarded his own burst of feeling, reassured the young husband, and,
deferring to the sensitive modesty of so young a bride, he released
hold, retaining only a hand.
"It is happiness, Powis--nothing but excess of happiness, which makes
us women weaker, I fear, than even sorrow."
Paul kissed her hands, regarded her with an intensity of admiration,
before which the eyes of Eve rose and fell, as if dazzled while
meeting his looks, and yet unwilling to lose them; and then he
reverted to the motive which had brought him to the library.
"My father--_your_ father, that is now--"
"Cousin Jack, if you will, has just made me a present, which is
second only to the greater gift I received from your own excellent
parent, yesterday, at the altar. See, dearest Eve, he has bestowed
this lovely image of yourself on me; lovely, though still so far from
the truth. And here is the miniature of my poor mother, also, to
supply the place of the one carried away by the Arabs."
Eve gazed long and wistfully at the beautiful features of this image
of her husband's mother. She traced in them that pensive thought,
that winning kindness, that had first softened her heart towards
Paul, and her lips trembled as she pressed the insensible glass
"She must have been very handsome, Eve, and there is a look of
melancholy tenderness in the face, that would seem almost to predict
an unhappy blighting of the affections."
"And yet this young, ingenuous, faithful woman entered on the solemn
engagement we have just made, Paul, with as many reasonable hopes of
a bright future as we ourselves!"
"Not so, Eve--confidence and holy truth were wanting at the nuptials
of my parents. When there is deception at the commencement of such a
contract, it is not difficult to predict the end."
"I do not think, Paul, you ever deceived; that noble heart of yours
is too generous!"
"If any thing can make a man worthy of such a love, dearest, it is
the perfect and absorbing confidence with which your sex throw
themselves on the justice and faith of ours. Did that spotless heart
ever entertain a doubt of the worth of any living being on which It
had set its affections?"
"Of itself, often, and they say self-love lies at the bottom of all
"You are the last person to hold this doctrine, beloved, for those
who live most in your confidence declare that all traces of self are
lost in your very nature."
"Most in my confidence! My father--- my dear, kind father, has then
been betraying his besetting weakness, by extolling the gift he has
"Your kind, excellent father, knows too well the total want of
necessity for any such thing. If the truth must be confessed, I have
been passing a quarter of an hour with worthy Ann Sidley."
"Nanny--dear old Nanny!--and you have been weak enough, traitor, to
listen to the eulogiums of a nurse on her child!"
"All praise of thee, my blessed Eve, is grateful to my ears, and who
can speak more understandingly of those domestic qualities which lie
at the root of domestic bliss, than those who have seen you in your
most intimate life, from childhood down to the moment when you have
assumed the duties of a wife?"
"Paul, Paul, thou art beside thyself; too much learning hath made
"I am not mad, most beloved and beautiful Eve, but blessed to a
degree that might indeed upset a stronger reason."
"We will now talk of other things," said Eve, raising his hand to her
lips in respectful affection, and looking gratefully up into his fond
and eloquent eyes; "I hope the feeling of which you so lately spoke
has subsided, and that you no longer feel yourself a stranger in the
dwelling of your own family."
"Now that I can claim a right through you, I confess that my
conscience is getting to be easier on this point. Have you been yet
told of the arrangement that the older heads meditate in reference to
our future means?"
"I would not listen to my dear father when he wished to introduce the
subject, for I found that it was a project that made distinctions
between Paul Effingham and Eve Effingham, two that I wish,
henceforth, to consider as one in all things."
"In this, darling, you may do yourself injustice as well as me. But
perhaps you may not wish _me_ to speak on the subject, neither."
"What would my lord?"
"Then listen, and the tale is soon told. We are each other's natural
heirs. Of the name and blood of Effingham, neither has a relative
nearer than the other, for, though but cousins in the third degree,
our family is so small as to render the husband, in this case, the
natural heir of the wife, and the wife the natural heir of the
husband. Now your father proposes that his estates be valued, and
that my father settle on you a sum of equal amount, which his wealth,
will fully enable him to do, and that I become the possessor in
reversion, of the lands that would otherwise have been yours."
"You possess me, my heart, my affections, my duty; of what account is
money after this!"
"I perceive that you are so much and so truly woman, Eve, that we
must arrange all this without consulting you at all."
"Can I be in safer hands? A father that has always been too indulgent
of my unreasonable wishes--a second parent that has only contributed
too much to spoil me in the same thoughtless manner--and a----"
"Husband," added Paul, perceiving that Eve hesitated at pronouncing
to his face a name so novel though so endearing, "who will strive to
do more than either in the same way."
"Husband," she added, looking up into his face with a smile innocent
as that of an infant, while the crimson tinge covered her forehead,
"if the formidable word must be uttered, who is doing all he can to
increase a self-esteem that is already so much greater than it ought
A light tap at the door caused Eve to start and look embarrassed,
like one detected in a fault, and Paul to release the hand that he
had continued to hold during the brief dialogue.
"Sir--ma'am"--said the timid, meek voice of Ann Sidley, as she held
the door ajar, without presuming to look into the room; "Miss Eve--
"Enter, my good Nanny," said Eve, recovering her self-composure in a
moment, the presence of her nurse always appearing to her as no more
than a duplication of herself. "What is your wish?"
"I hope I am not unreasonable, but I knew that Mr. Effingham was
alone with you, here, and I wished--that is, ma'am,--Miss Eve--Sir--"
"Speak your wishes, my good old nurse--am I not your own child, and
is not this your own child's"--again Eve hesitated, blushed, and
smiled, ere she pronounced the formidable word--"husband."
"Yes, ma'am; and God be praised that it is so. I dreamt, it is now
four years, Miss Eve; we were then travelling among the Denmarkers,
and I dreamt that you were married to a great prince--"
"But your dream has not come true, my good Nanny, and you see by this
fact that it is not always safe to trust in dreams."
"Ma'am, I do not esteem princes by the kingdoms and crowns, but by
their qualities--and if Mr. Powis be not a prince, who is?"
"That, indeed, changes the matter," said the gratified young wife;
"and I believe, after all, dear Nanny, that I must become a convert
to your theory of dreams."
"While I must always deny it, good Mrs Sidley, if this is a specimen
of its truth," said Paul, laughing. "But, perhaps this prince proved
unworthy of Miss Eve, after all?"
"Not he, sir; he made her a most kind and affectionate husband; not
humouring all her idle wishes, if Miss Eve could have had such
wishes, but cherishing her, and counselling her, and protecting her,
showing as much tenderness for her as her own father, and as much
love for her as I had myself."
"In which case, my worthy nurse, he proved an invaluable husband,"
said Eve, with glistening eyes--"and I trust, too, that he was
considerate and friendly to you?"
"He took me by the hand, the morning after the marriage, and said,
Faithful Ann Sidley, you have nursed and attended my beloved when a
child, and as a young lady; and I now entreat you will continue to
wait on and serve her as a wife to your dying day. He did, indeed,
ma'am; and I think I can now hear the very words he spoke so kindly.
The dream, so far, has come good."
"My faithful Ann," said Paul, smiling, and taking the hand of the
nurse, "you have been all that is good and true to my best beloved,
as a child, and as a young lady; and now I earnestly entreat you to
continue to wait on her, and to serve her as _my_ wife, to your
Nanny clapped her hands with a scream of delight, and bursting into
tears, she exclaimed, as she hurried from the room,
"It has all come true--it has all come true!"
A pause of several minutes succeeded this burst of superstitious but
"All who live near you appear to think you the common centre of their
affections," Paul resumed; when his swelling heart permitted him to
"We have hitherto been a family of love--God grant it may always
Another delicious silence, which lasted still longer than the other,
followed. Eve then looked up into her husband's face with a gentle
curiosity, and observed--
"You have told me a great deal, Powis--explained all but one little
thing, that, at the time, caused me great pain. Why did Ducie, when
you were about to quit the Montauk together, so unceremoniously stop
you, as you were about to get into the boat first; is the etiquette
of a man-of-war so rigid as to justify so much rudeness, I had almost
"The etiquette of a vessel of war is rigid certainly, and wisely so.
But what you fancied rudeness, was in truth a compliment. Among us
sailors, it is the inferior who goes first _into_ a boat, and
who _quits_ it last."
"So much, then, for forming a judgment, ignorantly! I believe it is
always safer to have no opinion, than to form one without a perfect
knowledge of all the accompanying circumstances."
"Let us adhere to this safe rule through life, dearest, and we may
find its benefits. An absolute confidence, caution in drawing
conclusions, and a just reliance on each other, may keep us as happy
to the end of our married life, as we are at this blessed moment,
when it is commencing under auspices so favourable as to seem almost
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