Stories by American Authors, Volume 1

Part 1 out of 3

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Stories by American Authors VOLUME I







[Illustration: BRANDER MATTHEWS]

Stories by American Authors VOLUME I



Come, now, there may as well be an end of this! Every time I meet your
eyes squarely I detect the question just slipping out of them. If you
had spoken it, or even boldly looked it; if you had shown in your
motions the least sign of a fussy or fidgety concern on my account; if
this were not the evening of my birthday, and you the only friend who
remembered it; if confession were not good for the soul, though harder
than sin to some people, of whom I am one,--well, if all reasons were
not at this instant converged into a focus, and burning me rather
violently in that region where the seat of emotion is supposed to lie, I
should keep my trouble to myself.

Yes, I have fifty times had it on my mind to tell you the whole story.
But who can be certain that his best friend will not smile--or, what is
worse, cherish a kind of charitable pity ever afterwards--when the
external forms of a very serious kind of passion seem trivial,
fantastic, foolish? And the worst of all is that the heroic part which I
imagined I was playing proves to have been almost the reverse. The only
comfort which I can find in my humiliation is that I am capable of
feeling it. There isn't a bit of a paradox in this, as you will see; but
I only mention it, now, to prepare you for, maybe, a little morbid
sensitiveness of my moral nerves.

The documents are all in this portfolio, under my elbow. I had just read
them again completely through, when you were announced. You may examine
them as you like, afterwards: for the present, fill your glass, take
another Cabana, and keep silent until my "ghastly tale" has reached its
most lamentable conclusion.

The beginning of it was at Wampsocket Springs three years ago last
summer. I suppose most unmarried men who have reached, or passed, the
age of thirty--and I was then thirty-three--experience a milder return
of their adolescent warmth, a kind of fainter second spring, since the
first has not fulfilled its promise. Of course, I wasn't clearly
conscious of this at the time: who is? But I had had my youthful passion
and my tragic disappointment, as you know: I had looked far enough into
what Thackeray used to call the cryptic mysteries, to save me from the
Scylla of dissipation, and yet preserved enough of natural nature to
keep me out of the Pharisaic Charybdis. My devotion to my legal studies
had already brought me a mild distinction; the paternal legacy was a
good nest-egg for the incubation of wealth,--in short, I was a fair,
respectable "party," desirable to the humbler mammas, and not to be
despised by the haughty exclusives.

The fashionable hotel at the Springs holds three hundred, and it was
packed. I had meant to lounge there for a fortnight and then finish my
holidays at Long Branch; but eighty, at least, out of the three hundred,
were young and moved lightly in muslin. With my years and experience I
felt so safe, that to walk, talk, or dance with them became simply a
luxury, such as I had never--at least so freely--possessed before. My
name and standing, known to some families, were agreeably exaggerated to
the others, and I enjoyed that supreme satisfaction which a man always
feels when he discovers or imagines that he is popular in society. There
is a kind of premonitory apology implied in my saying this, I am aware.
You must remember that I am culprit and culprit's counsel at the same

You have never been at Wampsocket? Well, the hills sweep around in a
crescent on the northern side and four or five radiating glens
descending from them unite just above the village. The central one
leading to a waterfall (called "Minnehehe" by the irreverent young
people, because there is so little of it), is the fashionable drive and
promenade; but the second ravine on the left, steep, crooked, and
cumbered with bowlders which have tumbled from somewhere and lodged in
the most extraordinary groupings, became my favorite walk of a morning.
There was a footpath in it, well-trodden at first, but gradually fading
out as it became more like a ladder than a path, and I soon discovered
that no other city feet than mine were likely to scale a certain rough
slope which seemed the end of the ravine. With the aid of the tough
laurel-stems I climbed to the top, passed through a cleft as narrow as a
doorway, and presently found myself in a little upper dell, as wild and
sweet and strange as one of the pictures that haunt us on the brink of

There was a pond--no, rather a bowl--of water in the centre; hardly
twenty yards across, yet the sky in it was so pure and far down that the
circle of rocks and summer foliage inclosing it seemed like a little
planetary ring, floating off alone through space. I can't explain the
charm of the spot, nor the selfishness which instantly suggested that I
should keep the discovery to myself. Ten years earlier, I should have
looked around for some fair spirit to be my "minister," but now--

One forenoon--I think it was the third or fourth time I had visited the
place--I was startled to find the dint of a heel in the earth, half-way
up the slope. There had been rain during the night, and the earth was
still moist and soft It was the mark of a woman's boot, only to be
distinguished from that of a walking-stick by its semicircular form. A
little higher, I found the outline of a foot, not so small as to awake
an ecstasy, but with a suggestion of lightness, elasticity, and grace.
If hands were thrust through holes in a boardfence, and nothing of the
attached bodies seen, I can easily imagine that some would attract and
others repel us: with footprints the impression is weaker, of course,
but we cannot escape it. I am not sure whether I wanted to find the
unknown wearer of the boot within my precious personal solitude; I was
afraid I should see her, while passing through the rocky crevice, and
yet was disappointed when I found no one.

But on the flat, warm rock overhanging the tarn--my special throne--lay
some withering wild-flowers, and a book! I looked up and down, right and
left: there was not the slightest sign of another human life than mine.
Then I lay down for a quarter of an hour, and listened; there were only
the noises of bird and squirrel, as before. At last I took up the book,
the flat breadth of which suggested only sketches. There were, indeed,
some tolerable studies of rocks and trees on the first pages; a few not
very striking caricatures, which seemed to have been commenced as
portraits, but recalled no faces I knew; then a number of fragmentary
notes, written in pencil. I found no name, from first to last; only,
under the sketches, a monogram so complicated and laborious that the
initials could hardly be discovered unless one already knew them.

The writing was a woman's, but it had surely taken its character from
certain features of her own: it was clear, firm, individual. It had
nothing of that air of general debility which usually marks the
manuscript of young ladies, yet its firmness was far removed from the
stiff, conventional slope which all Englishwomen seem to acquire in
youth and retain through life. I don't see how any man in my situation
could have helped reading a few lines--if only for the sake of restoring
lost property. But I was drawn on, and on, and finished by reading all:
thence, since no further harm could be done, I re-read, pondering over
certain passages until they stayed with me. Here they are, as I set them
down, that evening, on the back of a legal blank:

"It makes a great deal of difference whether we
wear social forms as bracelets or handcuffs."

"Can we not still be wholly our independent
selves, even while doing, in the main, as others
do? I know two who are so; but they are married."

"The men who admire these bold, dashing
young girls treat them like weaker copies of themselves.
And yet they boast of what they call 'experience!'"

"I wonder if any one felt the exquisite beauty
of the noon as I did, to-day? A faint appreciation
of sunsets and storms is taught us in youth,
and kept alive by novels and flirtations; but the
broad, imperial splendor of this summer noon!--and
myself standing alone in it--yes, utterly

"The men I seek _must_ exist: where are they?
How make an acquaintance, when one obsequiously
bows himself away, as I advance? The fault
is surely not all on my side."

There was much more, intimate enough to inspire me with a keen interest
in the writer, yet not sufficiently so to make my perusal a painful
indiscretion. I yielded to the impulse of the moment, took out my
pencil, and wrote a dozen lines on one of the blank pages. They ran
something in this wise:

"IGNOTUS IGNOTAE!--You have bestowed without
intending it, and I have taken without your
knowledge. Do not regret the accident which has
enriched another. This concealed idyl of the hills
was mine, as I supposed, but I acknowledge your
equal right to it. Shall we share the possession,
or will you banish me?"

There was a frank advance, tempered by a proper caution, I fancied, in
the words I wrote. It was evident that she was unmarried, but outside of
that certainty there lay a vast range of possibilities, some of them
alarming enough. However, if any nearer acquaintance should arise out of
the incident, the next step must be taken by her. Was I one of the men
she sought? I almost imagined so--certainly hoped so.

I laid the book on the rock, as I had found it, bestowed another keen
scrutiny on the lonely landscape, and then descended the ravine. That
evening, I went early to the ladies' parlor, chatted more than usual
with the various damsels whom I knew, and watched with a new interest
those whom I knew not. My mind, involuntarily, had already created a
picture of the unknown. She might be twenty-five, I thought: a
reflective habit of mind would hardly be developed before that age. Tall
and stately, of course; distinctly proud in her bearing, and somewhat
reserved in her manners. Why she should have large dark eyes, with long
dark lashes, I could not tell; but so I seemed to see her. Quite
forgetting that I was (or had meant to be) _Ignotus_, I found myself
staring rather significantly at one or the other of the young ladies, in
whom I discovered some slight general resemblance to the imaginary
character. My fancies, I must confess, played strange pranks with me.
They had been kept in a coop so many years, that now, when I suddenly
turned them loose, their rickety attempts at flight quite bewildered me.

No! there was no use in expecting a sudden discovery. I went to the glen
betimes, next morning: the book was gone, and so were the faded flowers,
but some of the latter were scattered over the top of another rock, a
few yards from mine. Ha! this means that I am not to withdraw, I said
to myself: she makes room for me! But how to surprise her?--for by this
time I was fully resolved to make her acquaintance, even though she
might turn out to be forty, scraggy, and sandy-haired.

I knew no other way so likely as that of visiting the glen at all times
of the day. I even went so far as to write a line of greeting, with a
regret that our visits had not yet coincided, and laid it under a stone
on the top of _her_ rock. The note disappeared, but there was no answer
in its place. Then I suddenly remembered her fondness for the noon
hours, at which time she was "utterly alone." The hotel _table d'hote_
was at one o'clock, her family, doubtless, dined later, in their own
rooms. Why, this gave me, at least, her place in society! The question
of age, to be sure, remained unsettled; but all else was safe.

The next day I took a late and large breakfast and sacrificed my dinner.
Before noon the guests had all straggled back to the hotel from glen and
grove and lane, so bright and hot was the sunshine. Indeed, I could
hardly have supported the reverberation of heat from the sides of the
ravine, but for a fixed belief that I should be successful. While
crossing the narrow meadow upon which it opened, I caught a glimpse of
something white among the thickets higher up. A moment later, it had
vanished, and I quickened my pace, feeling the beginning of an absurd
nervous excitement in my limbs. At the next turn, there it was again!
but only for another moment. I paused, exulting, and wiped my drenched
forehead. "She cannot escape me!" I murmured between the deep draughts
of cooler air I inhaled in the shadow of a rock.

A few hundred steps more brought me to the foot of the steep ascent,
where I had counted on overtaking her. I was too late for that, but the
dry, baked soil had surely been crumbled and dislodged, here and there,
by a rapid foot. I followed, in reckless haste, snatching at the
laurel-branches right and left, and paying little heed to my footing.
About one third of the way up I slipped, fell, caught a bush which
snapped at the root, slid, whirled over, and before I fairly knew what
had happened, I was lying doubled up at the bottom of the slope.

I rose, made two steps forward, and then sat down with a groan of pain;
my left ankle was badly sprained, in addition to various minor scratches
and bruises. There was a revulsion of feeling, of course,--instant,
complete, and hideous. I fairly hated the Unknown. "Fool that I was!" I
exclaimed, in the theatrical manner, dashing the palm of my hand softly
against my brow: "lured to this by the fair traitress! But, no!--not
fair: she shows the artfulness of faded, desperate spinsterhood; she is
all compact of enamel, 'liquid bloom of youth,' and hair-dye!"

There was a fierce comfort in this thought, but it couldn't help me out
of the scrape. I dared not sit still, lest a sun-stroke should be
added, and there was no resource but to hop or crawl down the rugged
path, in the hope of finding a forked sapling from which I could
extemporize a crutch. With endless pain and trouble I reached a thicket,
and was feebly working on a branch with my penknife, when the sound of a
heavy footstep surprised me.

A brown harvest-hand, in straw hat and shirtsleeves, presently appeared.
He grinned when he saw me, and the thick snub of his nose would have
seemed like a sneer at any other time.

"Are you the gentleman that got hurt?" he asked. "Is it pretty tolerable

"Who said I was hurt?" I cried in astonishment.

"One of your town-women fro them hotel--I reckon she was. I was binding
oats, in the field over the ridge; but I haven't lost no time in comin'

While I was stupidly staring at this announcement, he whipped out a big
clasp knife, and in a few minutes fashioned me a practicable crutch.
Then, taking me by the other arm, he set me in motion toward the

Grateful as I was for the man's help, he aggravated me by his ignorance.
When I asked if he knew the lady, he answered: "It's more'n likely _you_
know her better." But where did she come from? Down from the hill, he
guessed, but it might ha' been up the road. How did she look? was she
old or young? what was the color of her eyes? of her hair? There, now, I
was too much for him. When a woman kept one o' them speckled veils over
her face, turned her head away and held her parasol between, how were
you to know her from Adam? I declare to you, I couldn't arrive at one
positive particular. Even when he affirmed that she was tall, he added,
the next instant: "Now I come to think on it, she stepped mighty quick;
so I guess she must ha' been short."

By the time we reached the hotel, I was in a state of fever; opiates and
lotions had their will of me for the rest of the day. I was glad to
escape the worry of questions, and the conventional sympathy expressed
in inflections of the voice which are meant to soothe, and only
exasperate. The next morning, as I lay upon my sofa, restful, patient,
and properly cheerful, the waiter entered with a bouquet of wild

"Who sent them?" I asked.

"I found them outside your door, sir. Maybe there's a card; yes, here's
a bit o' paper."

I opened the twisted slip he handed me, and read: "From your dell--and
mine." I took the flowers; among them were two or three rare and
beautiful varieties, which I had only found in that one spot. Fool,
again! I noiselessly kissed, while pretending to smell them, had them
placed on a stand within reach, and fell into a state of quiet and
agreeable contemplation.

Tell me, yourself, whether any male human being is ever too old for
sentiment, provided that it strikes him at the right time and in the
right way! What did that bunch of wild flowers betoken? Knowledge,
first; then, sympathy; and finally, encouragement, at least. Of course
she had seen my accident, from above; of course she had sent the harvest
laborer to aid me home. It was quite natural she should imagine some
special romantic interest in the lonely dell, on my part, and the gift
took additional value from her conjecture.

Four days afterward there was a hop in the large dining-room of the
hotel. Early in the morning a fresh bouquet had been left at my door. I
was tired of my enforced idleness, eager to discover the fair unknown
(she was again fair, to my fancy!), and I determined to go down,
believing that a cane and a crimson velvet slipper on the left foot
would provoke a glance of sympathy from certain eyes, and thus enable me
to detect them.

The fact was, the sympathy was much too general and effusive. Everybody,
it seemed, came to me with kindly greetings; seats were vacated at my
approach, even fat Mrs. Huxter insisting on my taking her warm place, at
the head of the room. But Bob Leroy--you know him--as gallant a
gentleman as ever lived, put me down at the right point, and kept me
there. He only meant to divert me, yet gave me the only place where I
could quietly inspect all the younger ladies, as dance or supper
brought them near.

One of the dances was an old-fashioned cotillon, and one of the figures,
the "coquette," brought every one, in turn, before me. I received a
pleasant word or two from those whom I knew, and a long, kind, silent
glance from Miss May Danvers. Where had been my eyes? She was tall,
stately, twenty-five, had large dark eyes, and long dark lashes! Again
the changes of the dance brought her near me; I threw (or strove to
throw) unutterable meanings into my eyes, and cast them upon hers. She
seemed startled, looked suddenly away, looked back to me, and--blushed.
I knew her for what is called "a nice girl"--that is, tolerably frank,
gently feminine, and not dangerously intelligent. Was it possible that I
had overlooked so much character and intellect?

As the cotillon closed, she was again in my neighborhood, and her
partner led her in my direction. I was rising painfully from my chair,
when Bob Leroy pushed me down again, whisked another seat from
somewhere, planted it at my side, and there she was!

She knew who was her neighbor, I plainly saw; but instead of turning
toward me, she began to fan herself in a nervous way and to fidget with
the buttons of her gloves. I grew impatient.

"Miss Danvers!" I said, at last.

"Oh!" was all her answer, as she looked at me for a moment. "Where are
your thoughts?" I asked.

Then she turned, with wide, astonished eyes, coloring softly up to the
roots of her hair. My heart gave a sudden leap.

"How can you tell, if I cannot?" she asked.

"May I guess?"

She made a slight inclination of the head, saying nothing. I was then
quite sure.

"The second ravine, to the left of the main drive?"

This time she actually started; her color became deeper, and a leaf of
the ivory fan snapped between her fingers.

"Let there be no more a secret!" I exclaimed. "Your flowers have brought
me your messages; I knew I should find you"--

Full of certainty, I was speaking in a low, impassioned voice. She cut
me short by rising from her seat; I felt that she was both angry and
alarmed. Fisher, of Philadelphia, jostling right and left in his haste,
made his way toward her. She fairly snatched his arm, clung to it with a
warmth I had never seen expressed in a ball-room, and began to whisper
in his ear. It was not five minutes before he came to me, alone, with a
very stern face, bent down, and said:

"If you have discovered our secret, you will keep silent. You are
certainly a gentleman."

I bowed coldly and savagely. There was a draft from the open window; my
ankle became suddenly weary and painful, and I went to bed. Can you
believe that I didn't guess, immediately, what it all meant? In a vague
way, I fancied that I had been premature in my attempt to drop our
mutual incognito, and that Fisher, a rival lover, was jealous of me.
This was rather flattering than otherwise; but when I limped down to the
ladies' parlor, the next day, no Miss Danvers was to be seen. I did not
venture to ask for her; it might seem importunate, and a woman of so
much hidden capacity was evidently not to be wooed in the ordinary way.

So another night passed by; and then, with the morning, came a letter
which made me feel, at the same instant, like a fool and a hero. It had
been dropped in the Wampsocket post-office, was legibly addressed to me,
and delivered with some other letters which had arrived by the night
mail. Here it is; listen!

"NOTO IGNOTA!--Haste is not a gift of the gods,
and you have been impatient, with the usual result,
I was almost prepared for this, and thus am not
wholly disappointed. In a day or two more you
will discover your mistake, which, so far as I can
learn, has done no particular harm. If you wish
to find _me_, there is only one way to seek me;
should I tell you what it is, I should run the risk
of losing you,--that is, I should preclude the
manifestation of a certain quality which I hope to
find in the man who may--or, rather, must--be
my friend. This sounds enigmatical, yet you have
read enough of my nature, as written in these
random notes in my sketch-book, to guess, at least,
how much I require. Only this let me add: mere
guessing is useless.

"Being unknown, I can write freely. If you find
me, I shall be justified; if not, I shall hardly need
to blush, even to myself, over a futile experiment.

"It is possible for me to learn enough of your
life, henceforth, to direct my relation toward you.
This may be the end; if so, I shall know it soon.
I shall also know whether you continue to seek
me. Trusting in your honor as a man, I must ask
you to trust in mine, as a woman."

* * * * *

I _did_ discover my mistake, as the Unknown promised. There had been a
secret betrothal between Fisher and Miss Danvers; and singularly enough,
the momentous question and answer had been given in the very ravine
leading to my upper dell! The two meant to keep the matter to
themselves, but therein, it seems, I thwarted them; there was a little
opposition on the part of their respective families, but all was
amicably settled before I left Wampsocket.

The letter made a very deep impression upon me. What was the one way to
find her? What could it be but the triumph that follows ambitious
toil--the manifestation of all my best qualities, as a man? Be she old
or young, plain or beautiful, I reflected, hers is surely a nature worth
knowing, and its candid intelligence conceals no hazards for me. I have
sought her rashly, blundered, betrayed that I set her lower, in my
thoughts, than her actual self: let me now adopt the opposite course,
seek her openly no longer, go back to my tasks, and, following my own
aims vigorously and cheerfully, restore that respect which she seemed to
be on the point of losing. For, consciously or not, she had communicated
to me a doubt, implied in the very expression of her own strength and
pride. She had meant to address me as an equal, yet, despite herself,
took a stand a little above that which she accorded to me.

I came back to New York earlier than usual, worked steadily at my
profession and with increasing success, and began to accept
opportunities (which I had previously declined) of making myself
personally known to the great, impressible, fickle, tyrannical public.
One or two of my speeches in the hall of the Cooper Institute, on
various occasions--as you may perhaps remember--gave me a good headway
with the party, and were the chief cause of my nomination for the State
office which I still hold. (There, on the table, lies a resignation,
written to-day, but not yet signed. We'll talk of it afterwards.)

Several months passed by, and no further letter reached me. I gave up
much of my time to society, moved familiarly in more than one province
of the kingdom here, and vastly extended my acquaintance, especially
among the women; but not one of them betrayed the mysterious something
or other--really I can't explain precisely what it was!--which I was
looking for. In fact, the more I endeavored quietly to study the sex,
the more confused I became.

At last I was subjected to the usual onslaught from the strong-minded. A
small but formidable committee entered my office one morning and
demanded a categorical declaration of my principles. What my views on
the subject were, I knew very well; they were clear and decided; and
yet, I hesitated to declare them! It wasn't a temptation of Saint
Anthony--that is, turned the other way--and the belligerent attitude of
the dames did not alarm me in the least; but _she!_ What was _her_
position? How could I best please her? It flashed upon my mind, while
Mrs. ---- was making her formal speech, that I had taken no step for
months without a vague, secret reference to _her_. So, I strove to be
courteous, friendly, and agreeably non-committal; begged for further
documents, and promised to reply by letter, in a few days.

I was hardly surprised to find the well-known hand on the envelope of a
letter, shortly afterwards. I held it for a minute in my palm, with an
absurd hope that I might sympathetically feel its character, before
breaking the seal. Then I read it with a great sense of relief.

"I have never assumed to guide a man, except
toward the full exercise of his powers. It is not
opinion in action, but opinion in a state of idleness
or indifference, which repels me. I am
deeply glad that you have gained so much since
you left the country. If, in shaping your course,
you have thought of me, I will frankly say that, _to
that extent_, you have drawn nearer. Am I mistaken
in conjecturing that you wish to know my
relation to the movement concerning which you
were recently interrogated? In this, as in other
instances which may come, I must beg you to consider
me only as a spectator. The more my own
views may seem likely to sway your action, the less
I shall be inclined to declare them. If you find
this cold or unwomanly, remember that it is not

Yes! I felt that I had certainly drawn much nearer to her. And from this
time on, her imaginary face and form became other than they were. She
was twenty-eight--three years older; a very little above the middle
height, but not tall; serene, rather than stately, in her movements;
with a calm, almost grave face, relieved by the sweetness of the full,
firm lips; and finally eyes of pure, limpid gray, such as we fancy
belonged to the Venus of Milo. I found her, thus, much more attractive
than with the dark eyes and lashes--but she did not make her appearance
in the circles which I frequented.

Another year slipped away. As an official personage, my importance
increased, but I was careful not to exaggerate it to myself. Many have
wondered (perhaps you among the rest) at my success, seeing that I
possess no remarkable abilities. If I have any secret, it is simply
this--doing faithfully, with all my might, whatever I undertake. Nine
tenths of our politicians become inflated and careless, after the first
few years, and are easily forgotten when they once lose place. I am a
little surprised, now, that I had so much patience with the Unknown. I
was too important, at least, to be played with; too mature to be
subjected to a longer test; too earnest, as I had proved, to be doubted,
or thrown aside without a further explanation.

Growing tired, at last, of silent waiting, I bethought me of
advertising. A carefully-written "Personal," in which _Ignotus_ informed
_Ignota_ of the necessity of his communicating with her, appeared
simultaneously in the Tribune, Herald, World, and Times. I renewed the
advertisement as the time expired without an answer, and I think it was
about the end of the third week before one came, through the post, as

Ah, yes! I had forgotten. See! my advertisement is pasted on the note,
as a heading or motto for the manuscript lines. I don't know why the
printed slip should give me a particular feeling of humiliation as I
look at it, but such is the fact. What she wrote is all I need read to

"I could not, at first, be certain that this was
meant for me. If I were to explain to you why I
have not written for so long a time, I might give
you one of the few clews which I insist on keeping
in my own hands. In your public capacity,
you have been (so far as a woman may judge) upright,
independent, wholly manly: in your relations
with other men I learn nothing of you that is not
honorable: toward women you are kind, chivalrous,
no doubt, overflowing with the _usual_ social
refinements, but--Here, again, I run hard upon
the absolute necessity of silence. The way to me,
if you care to traverse it, is so simple, so very simple!
Yet, after what I have written, I cannot even
wave my hand in the direction of it, without certain
self-contempt. When I feel free to tell you,
we shall draw apart and remain unknown forever.

"You desire to write? I do not prohibit it. I
have heretofore made no arrangement for hearing
from you, in turn, because I could not discover
that any advantage would accrue from it. But it
seems only fair, I confess, and you dare not think
me capricious. So, three days hence, at six
o'clock in the evening, a trusty messenger of mine
will call at your door. If you have anything to
give her for me, the act of giving it must be the
sign of a compact on your part, that you will allow
her to leave immediately, unquestioned and

You look puzzled, I see: you don't catch the real drift of her words?
Well--that's a melancholy encouragement. Neither did I, at the time: it
was plain that I had disappointed her in some way, and my intercourse
with, or manner toward, women, had something to do with it. In vain I
ran over as much of my later social life as I could recall. There had
been no special attention, nothing to mislead a susceptible heart; on
the other side, certainly no rudeness, no want of "chivalrous" (she used
the word!) respect and attention. What, in the name of all the gods, was
the matter?

In spite of all my efforts to grow clearer, I was obliged to write my
letter in a rather muddled state of mind. I had _so_ much to say!
sixteen folio pages, I was sure, would only suffice for an introduction
to the case; yet, when the creamy vellum lay before me and the moist pen
drew my fingers toward it, I sat stock dumb for half an hour. I wrote,
finally, in a half-desperate mood, without regard to coherency or logic.
Here's a rough draft of a part of the letter, and a single passage from
it will be enough:

"I can conceive of no simpler way to you than
the knowledge of your name and address. I have
drawn airy images of you, but they do not become
incarnate, and I am not sure that I should recognize
you in the brief moment of passing. Your
nature is not of those which are instantly legible.
As an abstract power, it has wrought in my life
and it continually moves my heart with desires
which are unsatisfactory because so vague and
ignorant. Let me offer you, personally, my gratitude,
my earnest friendship: you would laugh if
I were _now_ to offer more."

Stay! here is another fragment, more reckless in tone:

"I want to find the woman whom I can love--who
can love me. But this is a masquerade where
the features are hidden, the voice disguised, even
the hands grotesquely gloved. Come! I will
venture more than I ever thought was possible to
me. You shall know my deepest nature as I myself
seem to know it. Then, give me the commonest
chance of learning yours, through an intercourse
which shall leave both free, should we not
feel the closing of the inevitable bond!"

After I had written that, the pages filled rapidly. When the appointed
hour arrived, a bulky epistle, in a strong linen envelope, sealed with
five wax seals, was waiting on my table. Precisely at six there was an
announcement: the door opened, and a little outside, in the shadow, I
saw an old woman, in a threadbare dress of rusty black.

"Come in!" I said.

"The letter!" answered a husky voice. She stretched out a bony hand,
without moving a step.

"It is for a lady--very important business," said I, taking up the
letter; "are you sure that there is no mistake?"

She drew her hand under the shawl, turned without a word, and moved
toward the hall door.

"Stop!" I cried; "I beg a thousand pardons! Take it--take it! You are
the right messenger!"

She clutched it, and was instantly gone.

Several days passed, and I gradually became so nervous and uneasy that I
was on the point of inserting another "Personal" in the daily papers,
when the answer arrived. It was brief and mysterious; you shall hear
the whole of it.

"I thank you. Your letter is a sacred confidence
which I pray you never to regret. Your
nature is sound and good. You ask no more
than is reasonable, and I have no real right to refuse.
In the one respect which I have hinted, _I_
may have been unskilful or too narrowly cautious:
I must have the certainty of this. Therefore, as a
generous favor, give me six months more! At
the end of that time I will write to you again.
Have patience with these brief lines: another
word might be a word too much."

You notice the change in her tone? The letter gave me the strongest
impression of a new, warm, almost anxious interest on her part. My
fancies, as first at Wampsocket, began to play all sorts of singular
pranks: sometimes she was rich and of an old family, sometimes
moderately poor and obscure, but always the same calm, reposeful face
and clear gray eyes. I ceased looking for her in society, quite sure
that I should not find her, and nursed a wild expectation of suddenly
meeting her, face to face, in the most unlikely places and under
startling circumstances. However, the end of it all was
patience--patience for six months.

There's not much more to tell; but this last letter is hard for me to
read. It came punctually, to a day. I knew it would, and at the last I
began to dread the time, as if a heavy note were falling due, and I had
no funds to meet it. My head was in a whirl when I broke the seal. The
fact in it stared at me blankly, at once, but it was a long time before
the words and sentences became intelligible.

"The stipulated time has come, and our hidden
romance is at an end. Had I taken this resolution
a year ago, it would have saved me many
vain hopes, and you, perhaps, a little uncertainty.
Forgive me, first, if you can, and then hear the

"You wished for a personal interview: _you have
had, not one, but many_. We have met, in society,
talked face to face, discussed the weather, the
opera, toilettes, Queechy, Aurora Floyd, Long
Branch and Newport, and exchanged a weary
amount of fashionable gossip; and you never
guessed that I was governed by any deeper interest!
I have purposely uttered ridiculous platitudes,
and you were as smilingly courteous as if
you enjoyed them: I have let fall remarks whose
hollowness and selfishness could not have escaped
you, and have waited in vain for a word of sharp,
honest, manly reproof. Your manner to me was
unexceptionable, as it was to all other women:
but there lies the source of my disappointment,
of--yes--of my sorrow!

"You appreciate, I cannot doubt, the qualities
in woman which men value in one another--culture,
independence of thought, a high and earnest apprehension
of life; but you know not how to seek
them. It is not true that a mature and unperverted
woman is flattered by receiving only the
general obsequiousness which most men give to
the whole sex. In the man who contradicts and
strives with her, she discovers a truer interest,
a nobler respect. The empty-headed, spindle-shanked
youths who dance admirably, understand
something of billiards, much less of horses, and
still less of navigation, soon grow inexpressibly
wearisome to us; but the men who adopt their
social courtesy, never seeking to arouse, uplift, instruct
us, are a bitter disappointment.

"What would have been the end, had you really
found me? Certainly a sincere, satisfying friendship.
No mysterious magnetic force has drawn
you to me or held you near me, nor has my experiment
inspired me with an interest which cannot
be given up without a personal pang. I am
grieved, for the sake of all men and all women.
Yet, understand me! I mean no slightest reproach.
I esteem and honor you for what you
are. Farewell!"

There. Nothing could be kinder in tone, nothing more humiliating in
substance. I was sore and offended for a few days; but I soon began to
see, and ever more and more clearly, that she was wholly right. I was
sure, also, that any further attempt to correspond with her would be
vain. It all comes of taking society just as we find it, and supposing
that conventional courtesy is the only safe ground on which men and
women can meet.

The fact is--there's no use in hiding it from myself (and I see, by
your face, that the letter cuts into your own conscience)--she is a
free, courageous, independent character, and--I am not.

But who _was_ she?





_Paragraph from the "Illustrated London News," published under the head
of "Obituary of Eminent Persons" in the issue of January 4th, 1879:_


Sir William Beauvoir, Bart., whose lamented death has just occurred at
Brighton, on December 28th, was the head and representative of the
junior branch of the very ancient and honourable family of Beauvoir, and
was the only son of the late General Sir William Beauvoir, Bart., by his
wife Anne, daughter of Colonel Doyle, of Chelsworth Cottage, Suffolk.
He was born in 1805, and was educated at Eton and Trinity Hall,
Cambridge. He was M.P. for Lancashire from 1837 to 1847, and was
appointed a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber in 1843. Sir William married,
in 1826, Henrietta Georgiana, fourth daughter of the Right Honourable
Adolphus Liddell, Q.C., by whom he had two sons, William Beauvoir and
Oliver Liddell Beauvoir. The latter was with his lamented parent when he
died. Of the former nothing has been heard for nearly thirty years,
about which time he left England suddenly for America. It is supposed
that he went to California, shortly after the discovery of gold. Much
forgotten gossip will now in all probability be revived, for the will of
the lamented baronet has been proved, on the 2d inst., and the
personalty sworn under L70,000. The two sons are appointed executors.
The estate in Lancashire is left to the elder, and the rest is divided
equally between the brothers. The doubt as to the career of Sir
William's eldest son must now of course be cleared up.

This family of Beauvoirs is of Norman descent and of great antiquity.
This is the younger branch, founded in the last century by Sir William
Beauvoir, Bart., who was Chief Justice of the Canadas, whence he was
granted the punning arms and motto now borne by his descendants--a
beaver sable rampant on a field gules; motto, "Damno."



_Promises to pay, put forth by William Beauvoir, junior, at various
times in 1848:_

April 10th, 1848.
William Beauvoir, junr.


_The same_.

April 22d, 1848.
William Beauvoir, junr.


_The same._

May 10th, 1848.
William Beauvoir, junr.


_Extract from the "Sunday Satirist," a journal of high-life, published
in London, May 13th, 1848:_

Are not our hereditary lawmakers and the members of our old families the
guardians of the honour of this realm? One would not think so to see the
reckless gait at which some of them go down the road to ruin. The D----e
of D----m and the E----l of B----n and L----d Y----g,--are not these
pretty guardians of a nation's name? _Quis custodiet?_ etc. Guardians,
forsooth, _parce qu'ils se sont donnes la peine de naitre_! Some of the
gentry make the running as well as their betters. Young W----m B----r,
son of old Sir W----m B----r, late M.P. for L----e, is truly a model
young man. He comes of a good old county family--his mother was a
daughter of the Right Honourable A----s L----l, and he himself is old
enough to know better. But we hear of his escapades night after night,
and day after day. He bets all day and he plays all night, and poor
tired nature has to make the best of it. And his poor worn purse gets
the worst of it. He has duns by the score. His I.O.U.'s are held by
every Jew in the city. He is not content with a little gentlemanlike
game of whist or _ecarte_, but he must needs revive for his especial use
and behoof the dangerous and well-nigh forgotten _pharaoh_. As luck
would have it, he had lost as much at this game of brute chance as ever
he would at any game of skill. His judgment of horseflesh is no better
than his luck at cards. He came a cropper over the "Two Thousand
Guineas." The victory of the favorite cost him to the tune of over six
thousand pounds. We learn that he hopes to recoup himself on the Derby,
by backing Shylock for nearly nine thousand pounds; one bet was twelve
hundred guineas.

And this is the sort of man who may be chosen at any time by force of
family interest to make laws for the toiling millions of Great Britain!


_Extract from "Bell's Life" of May 19th, 1848:_


WEDNESDAY.--This day, like its predecessor, opened with a cloudless sky,
and the throng which crowded the avenues leading to the grand scene of
attraction was, as we have elsewhere remarked, incalculable.

* * * * *


The Derby Stakes of 50 sovs. each, h. ft. for three year-olds; colts, 8
st. 7 lb., fillies, 8 st. 2 lb.; the second to receive 100 sovs., and
the winner to pay 100 sovs. towards police, etc.; mile and a half on the
new Derby course; 215 subs.

Lord Clifden's b.c. _Surplice_, by Touchstone.......... 1
Mr. Bowe's b.c. _Springy Jack_, by Hetman.............. 2
Mr. B. Green's br.c. _Shylock_, by Simoon.............. 3
Mr. Payne's b.c. _Glendower_, by Slane............... o
Mr. J.P. Day's b.c. _Nil Desperandum_, by Venison...... o

* * * * *


_Paragraph of Shipping Intelligence from the "Liverpool Courier" of June
21st, 1848:_

The bark _Euterpe_, Captain Riding, belonging to the Transatlantic
Clipper Line of Messrs. Judkins & Cooke, left the Mersey yesterday
afternoon, bound for New York. She took out the usual complement of
steerage passengers. The first officer's cabin is occupied by Professor
Titus Peebles, M.R.C.S., M.R.G.S., lately instructor in metallurgy at
the University of Edinburgh, and Mr. William Beauvoir. Professor
Peebles, we are informed, has an important scientific mission in the
States, and will not return for six months.


_Paragraph from the "N.Y. Herald" of September 9th, 1848:_

While we well know that the record of vice and dissipation can never be
pleasing to the refined tastes of the cultivated denizens of the only
morally pure metropolis on the face of the earth, yet it may be of
interest to those who enjoy the fascinating study of human folly and
frailty to "point a moral or adorn a tale" from the events transpiring
in our very midst. Such as these will view with alarm the sad example
afforded the youth of our city by the dissolute career of a young lump
of aristocratic affectation and patrician profligacy, recently arrived
in this city. This young _gentleman's_ (save the mark!) name is Lord
William F. Beauvoir, the latest scion of a venerable and wealthy English
family. We print the full name of this beautiful exemplar of "haughty
Albion," although he first appeared among our citizens under the alias
of Beaver, by which name he is now generally known, although recorded on
the books of the Astor House by the name which our enterprise first
gives to the public. Lord Beauvoir's career since his arrival here has
been one of unexampled extravagance and mad immorality. His days and
nights have been passed in the gilded palaces of the fickle goddess,
Fortune, in Thomas Street and College Place, where he has squandered
fabulous sums, by some stated to amount to over L78,000 sterling. It is
satisfactory to know that retribution has at last overtaken him. His
enormous income has been exhausted to the ultimate farthing, and at
latest accounts he had quit the city, leaving behind him, it is shrewdly
suspected, a large hotel bill, though no such admission can be extorted
from his last landlord, who is evidently a sycophantic adulator of
British "aristocracy."


_Certificate of deposit, vulgarly known as a pawn-ticket, issued by one
Simpson to William Beauvoir, December 2d, 1848:_

=John Simpson,
Loan Office,
36 Bowery,
New York.=

_Dec. 2nd, 1848_,

_One Gold Hunting-case Watch and_ Dolls. Cts.

_Chain 150 00_

_William Beauvoir_

Not accountable in case of fire, damage, moth, robbery, breakage, &c.
25% per ann. Good for 1 year only.


_Letter from the late John Phoenix, found among the posthumous papers of
the late John P. Squibob, and promptly published in the "San Diego


MY DEAR SQUIB:--I imagine your pathetic inquiry
as to my whereabouts--pathetic, not to say
hypothetic--for I am now where I cannot hear the
dulcet strains of your voice. I am on board ship.
I am half seas over. I am bound for California
by way of the Isthmus. I am going for the gold,
my boy, the gold. In the mean time I am lying
around loose on the deck of this magnificent
vessel, the _Mercy G. Tarbox,_ of Nantucket, bred by
_Noah's Ark_ out of _Pilot-boat,_ dam by _Mudscow_ out
of _Raging Canawl._ The _Mercy G. Tarbox_ is one of
the best boats of Nantucket, and Captain Clearstarch
is one of the best captains all along shore--although,
friend Squibob, I feel sure that you
are about to observe that a captain with a name
like that would give any one the blues. But
don't do it, Squib! Spare me this once.

But as a matter of fact this ultramarine joke of
yours is about east. It was blue on the _Mercy
G.--_mighty blue, too. And it needed the inspiring
hope of the gold I was soon to pick up in nuggets
to stiffen my back-bone to a respectable degree
of rigidity. I was about ready to wilt. But
I discovered two Englishmen on board, and now I
get along all right. We have formed a little temperance
society--just we three, you know--to see
if we cannot, by a course of sampling and severe
study, discover which of the captain's liquors is
most dangerous, so that we can take the pledge
not to touch it. One of them is a chemist or a
metallurgist, or something scientific. The other
is a gentleman.

The chemist or metallurgist or something scientific
is Professor Titus Peebles, who is going out
to prospect for gold. He feels sure that his professional
training will give him the inside track in
the gulches and gold mines. He is a smart chap.
He invented the celebrated "William Riley Baking
Powder"--bound to rise up every time.

And here I must tell you a little circumstance.
As I was coming down to the dock in New York,
to go aboard the _Mercy G.,_ a small boy was walloping
a boy still smaller; so I made peace, and walloped
them both. And then they both began heaving
rocks at me--one of which I caught dexterously
in the dexter hand. Yesterday, as I was
pacing the deck with the professor, I put my hand
in my pocket and found this stone. So I asked the
professor what it was.

He looked at it and said it was gneiss.

"Is it?" said I. "Well, if a small but energetic
youth had taken you on the back of the head
with it, you would not think it so nice!"

And then, O Squib, he set out to explain that he
meant "gneiss," not "nice!" The ignorance of
these English about a joke is really wonderful. It
is easy to see that they have never been brought
up on them. But perhaps there was some excuse
for the professor that day, for he was the president
_pro tem._ of our projected temperance society, and
as such he head been making a quantitative and
qualitative analysis of another kind of quartz.

So much for the chemist or metallurgist or
something scientific. The gentleman and I get on
better. His name is Beaver, which he persists
in spelling Beauvoir. Ridiculous, isn't it? How
easy it is to see that the English have never had
the advantage of a good common-school education--so
few of them can spell. Here's a man don't
know how to spell his own name. And this shows
how the race over there on the little island is degenerating.
It was not so in other days. Shakspere,
for instance, not only knew how to spell his
own name, but--and this is another proof of his
superiority to his contemporaries--he could spell
it in half a dozen different ways.

This Beaver is a clever fellow, and we get on
first rate together. He is going to California for
gold--like the rest of us. But I think he has had his
share--and spent it. At any rate he has not much
now. I have been teaching him poker, and I am
afraid he won't have any soon. I have an idea he
has been going pretty fast--and mostly down hill.
But he has his good points. He is a gentleman
all through, as you can see. Yes, friend Squibob,
even you could see right through him. We are
all going to California together, and I wonder
which one of the three will turn up trumps first--Beaver,
or the chemist, metallurgist or something
scientific, or

Yours respectfully, JOHN PHOENIX.

P.S. You think this a stupid letter, perhaps,
and not interesting. Just reflect on my surroundings.
Besides, the interest will accumulate a good
while before you get the missive. And I don't
know how you ever are to get it, for there is
no post-office near here, and on the Isthmus the
mails are as uncertain as the females are everywhere.
(I am informed that there is no postage on
old jokes--so I let that stand.)


_Extract from the "Bone Gulch Palladium," June 3d, 1850:_

Our readers may remember how frequently we have declared our firm belief
in the future unexampled prosperity of Bone Gulch. We saw it in the
immediate future the metropolis of the Pacific Slope, as it was intended
by nature to be. We pointed out repeatedly that a time would come when
Bone Gulch would be an emporium of the arts and sciences and of the best
society, even more than it is now. We foresaw the time when the best men
from the old cities of the East would come flocking to us, passing with
contempt the puny settlement of Deadhorse. But even we did not so soon
see that members of the aristocracy of the effete monarchies of despotic
Europe would acknowledge the undeniable advantages of Bone Gulch, and
come here to stay permanently and forever. Within the past week we have
received here Hon. William Beaver, one of the first men of Great Britain
and Ireland, a statesman, an orator, a soldier and an extensive
traveller. He has come to Bone Gulch as the best spot on the face of the
everlasting universe. It is needless to say that our prominent citizens
have received him with great cordiality. Bone Gulch is not like
Deadhorse. We know a gentleman when we see one.

Hon. Mr. Beaver is one of nature's noblemen; he is also related to the
Royal Family of England. He is a second cousin of the Queen, and boards
at the Tower of London with her when at home. We are informed that he
has frequently taken the Prince of Wales out for a ride in his

We take great pleasure in congratulating Bone Gulch on its latest
acquisition. And we know Hon. Mr. Beaver is sure to get along all right
here under the best climate in the world and with the noblest men the
sun ever shone on.


_Extract from the Dead Horse "Gazette and Courier of Civilization" of
August 26th, 1850:_


Bonegulch sits in sackcloth and ashes and cools her mammoth cheek in the
breezes of Colorado canyon. The self-styled Emporium of the West has
lost her British darling, Beaver Bill, the big swell who was first
cousin to the Marquis of Buckingham and own grandmother to the Emperor
of China, the man with the biled shirt and low-necked shoes. This curled
darling of the Bonegulch aristocrat-worshippers passed through Deadhorse
yesterday, clean bust. Those who remember how the four-fingered editor
of the Bonegulch "Palladium" pricked up his ears and lifted up his
falsetto crow when this lovely specimen of the British snob first
honored him by striking him for a $ will appreciate the point of the

It is said that the "Palladium" is going to come out, when it makes its
next semi-occasional appearance, in full mourning, with turned rules.
For this festive occasion we offer Brother B. the use of our late
retired Spanish font, which we have discarded for the new and elegant
dress in which we appear to-day, and to which we have elsewhere called
the attention of our readers. It will be a change for the "Palladium's"
eleven unhappy readers, who are getting very tired of the old type cast
for the Concha Mission in 1811, which tries to make up for its lack of
w's by a plentiful superfluity of greaser u's. How are you, Brother

"We don't know a gent when we see him." Oh no(?)!


_Paragraph from "Police Court Notes," in the "New Centreville [late Dead
Horse] Evening Gazette" January 2d, 1858:_


William Beaver, better known ten years ago as "Beaver Bill," is now a
quiet and prosperous agriculturalist in the Steal Valley. He was,
however, a pioneer in the 1849 movement, and a vivid memory of this fact
at times moves him to quit his bucolic labors and come in town for a
real old-fashioned tare. He arrived in New Centreville during Christmas
week; and got married suddenly, but not unexpectedly, yesterday morning.
His friends took it upon themselves to celebrate the joyful occasion,
rare in the experience of at least one of the parties, by getting very
high on Irish Ike's whiskey and serenading the newly-married couple with
fish-horns, horse-fiddles, and other improvised musical instruments. Six
of the participators in this epithalamial serenade, namely, Jose Tanco,
Hiram Scuttles, John P. Jones, Hermann Bumgardner, Jean Durant
("Frenchy"), and Bernard McGinnis ("Big Barney"), were taken in tow by
the police force, assisted by citizens, and locked up over night, to
cool their generous enthusiasm in the gloomy dungeons of Justice
Skinner's calaboose. This morning all were discharged with a reprimand,
except Big Barney and Jose Tanco, who, being still drunk, were allotted
ten days in default of $10. The bridal pair left this noon for the
bridegroom's ranch.


_Extract from "The New York Herald" for June 23d, 1861:_









CHICAGO, June 22, 1861.

Great uneasiness exists all along the Indian frontier. Nearly all the
regular troops have been withdrawn from the West for service in the
South. With the return of the warm weather it seems certain that the red
skins will take advantage of the opportunity thus offered, and
inaugurate a bitter and vindictive fight against the whites. Rumors come
from the agencies that the Indians are leaving in numbers. A feverish
excitement among them has been easily to be detected. Their ponies are
now in good condition, and forage can soon be had in abundance on the
prairie, if it is not already. Everything points toward a sudden and
startling outbreak of hostilities.


ST. PAUL, June 22, 1861.

The Sioux near here are all in a ferment. Experienced Indian fighters
say the signs of a speedy going on the war-path are not to be mistaken.
No one can tell how soon the whole frontier may be in a bloody blaze.
The women and children are rapidly coming in from all exposed
settlements. Nothing overt as yet has transpired, but that the Indians
will collide very soon with the settlers is certain. All the troops have
been withdrawn. In our defenceless state there is no knowing how many
lives may be lost before the regiments of volunteers now organizing can
take the field.






BLACK WING AGENCY, June 22, 1861.

The Indians made a sudden and unexpected attack on the town of Coyote
Hill, forty miles from here, last night, and did much damage before the
surprised settlers rallied and drove them off. The red skins met with
heavy losses. Among the whites killed are a man named William Beaver,
sometimes called Beaver Bill, and his wife. Their child, a beautiful
little girl of two, was carried off by the red rascals. A party has been
made up to pursue them. Owing to their taking their wounded with them,
the trail is very distinct.


_Letter from Mrs. Edgar Saville, in San Francisco, to Mr. Edgar Saville,
in Chicago:_


Monster Variety and Dramatic Combination.


Stage Manager.

_No dates filled except with first-class houses.

Hall owners will please consider silence a polite negative._

SAN FRANCISCO, January 29, 1863.

MY DEAR OLD MAN!--Here we are in our
second week at Frisco and you will be glad to
know playing to steadily increasing biz, having
signed for two weeks more, certain. I didn't like
to mention it when I wrote you last, but things
were very queer after we left Denver, and "Treasury"
was a mockery till we got to Bluefoot
Springs, which is a mining town, where we showed
in the hotel dining-room. Then there was a
strike just before the curtain went up. The house
was mostly miners in red shirts and very exacting.
The sinews were forthcoming very quick my
dear, and after that the ghost walked quite regular.
So now everything is bright, and you wont
have to worry if Chicago doesn't do the right
thing by you.

I don't find this engagement half as disagreeable
as I expected. Of course it aint so very nice
travelling in a combination with variety talent but
they keep to themselves and we regular professionals
make a _happy family_ that Barnum would not
be ashamed of and quite separate and comfortable.
We don't associate with any of them only
with The Unique Mulligans wife, because he beats
her. So when he is on a regular she sleeps with

And talking of liquor dear old man, if you knew
how glad and proud I was to see you writing so
straight and steady and beautiful in your three
last letters. O, Im sure my darling if the boys
thought of the little wife out on the road they
wouldnt plague you so with the Enemy. Tell
Harry Atkinson this from me, he has a good kind
heart but he is the worst of your friends. Every
night when I am dressing I think of you at
Chicago, and pray you may never again go on the
way you did that terrible night at Rochester.
Tell me dear, did you look handsome in Horatio?
You ought to have had Laertes instead of that
duffing Merivale.

And now I have the queerest thing to tell you.
Jardine is going in for Indians and has secured six
very ugly ones. I mean real Indians, not professional.
They are hostile Comanshies or something
who have just laid down their arms. They
had an insurrection in the first year of the War,
when the troops went East, and they killed all the
settlers and ranches and destroyed the canyons
somewhere out in Nevada, and when they were
brought here they had a wee little kid with them
only four or five years old, but _so sweet._ They stole
her and killed her parents and brought her up for
their own in the cunningest little moccasins. She
could not speak a word of English except her own
name which is Nina. She has blue eyes and all
her second teeth. The ladies here made a great
fuss about her and sent her flowers and worsted
afgans, but they did not do anything else for her
and left her to us.

O dear old man you must let me have her!
You never refused me a thing yet and she is so
like our Avonia Marie that my heart almost breaks
when she puts her arms around my neck--_she calls
me mamma already._ I want to have her with us
when we get the little farm--and it must be near,
that little farm of ours--we have waited for it so
long--and something tells me my own old faker
will make his hit soon and be great. You cant
tell how I have loved it and hoped for it and how
real every foot of that farm is to me. And though
I can never see my own darling's face among the
roses it will make me so happy to see this poor
dead mothers pet get red and rosy in the country
air. And till the farm comes we shall always have
enough for her, without your ever having to black
up again as you did for me the winter I was sick
my own poor boy!

Write me yes--you will be glad when you see
her. And now love and regards to Mrs. Barry and
all friends. Tell the Worst of Managers that he
knows where to find his leading juvenile for next
season. Think how funny it would be for us to
play together next year--we havent done it since
'57--the third year we were married. That was
my first season higher than walking--and now I'm
quite an old woman--most thirty dear!

Write me soon a letter like that last one--and
send a kiss to Nina--_our Nina._

Your own girl,


P.S. He has not worried me since.

[Illustration: Nina drew this herself she says it is a horse so that you
can get here soon.]



_Letter from Messrs. Throstlethwaite, Throstlethwaite and Dick,
Solicitors, Lincoln's Inn, London, England, to Messrs. Hitchcock and Van
Rensselaer, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law, 76 Broadway, New York,

January 8, 1879.


GENTLEMEN: On the death of our late client, Sir
William Beauvoir, Bart., and after the reading of
the deceased gentleman's will, drawn up nearly
forty years ago by our Mr. Dick, we were requested
by Oliver Beauvoir, Esq., the second son of the
late Sir William, to assist him in discovering and
communicating with his elder brother, the present
Sir William Beauvoir, of whose domicile we have
little or no information.

After a consultation between Mr. Oliver Beauvoir
and our Mr. Dick, it was seen that the sole
knowledge in our possession amounted substantially
to this: Thirty years ago the elder son of
the late baronet, after indulging in dissipation in
every possible form, much to the sorrow of his respected
parent, who frequently expressed as much
to our Mr. Dick, disappeared, leaving behind him
bills and debts of all descriptions, which we,
under instructions from Sir William, examined,
audited and paid. Sir William Beauvoir would
allow no search to be made for his erring son and
would listen to no mention of his name. Current
gossip declared that he had gone to New York,
where he probably arrived about midsummer,
1848. Mr. Oliver Beauvoir thinks that he crossed
to the States in company with a distinguished
scientific gentleman, Professor Titus Peebles.
Within a year after his departure news came that
he had gone to California with Professor Peebles;
this was about the time gold was discovered in the
States. That the present Sir William Beauvoir
did about this time actually arrive on the Pacific
Coast in company with the distinguished scientific
man above mentioned, we have every reason
to believe: we have even direct evidence on the
subject. A former junior clerk who had left us at
about the same period as the disappearance of the
elder son of our late client, accosted our Mr. Dick
when the latter was in Paris last summer, and informed
him (our Mr. Dick) that he (the former
junior clerk) was now a resident of Nevada and a
member of Congress for that county, and in the
course of conversation he mentioned that he had
seen Professor Peebles and the son of our late
client in San Francisco, nearly thirty years ago.
Other information we have none. It ought not to
be difficult to discover Professor Peebles, whose
scientific attainments have doubtless ere this been
duly recognized by the U.S. government. As
our late client leaves the valuable family estate in
Lancashire to his elder son and divides the remainder
equally between his two sons, you will
readily see why we invoke your assistance in discovering
the present domicile of the late baronet's
elder son, or in default thereof, in placing in our
hands such proof of his death as may be necessary
to establish that lamentable fact in our probate

We have the honour to remain, as ever, your
most humble and obedient servants,


P.S. Our late client's grandson, Mr. William
Beauvoir, the only child of Oliver Beauvoir, Esq.,
is now in the States, in Chicago or Nebraska or
somewhere in the West. We shall be pleased if
you can keep him informed as to the progress of
your investigations. Our Mr. Dick has requested
Mr. Oliver Beauvoir to give his son your address,
and to suggest his calling on you as he passes
through New York on his way home.

T.T.& D.


_Letter from Messrs. Hitchcock and Van Rensselaer, New York, to Messrs.
Pixley and Sutton, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law, 98 California
Street, San Francisco, California._

Law Offices of Hitchcock & Van Rensselaer,
70 Broadway, New York,
P.O. Box 4078.

Jan. 22, 1879.


GENTLEMEN: We have just received from our
London correspondents, Messrs. Throstlethwaite,
Throstlethwaite and Dick, of Lincoln's Inn, London,
the letter, a copy of which is herewith enclosed,
to which we invite your attention. We request that
you will do all in your power to aid us in the
search for the missing Englishman. From the letter
of Messrs. Throstlethwaite, Throstlethwaite and
Dick, it seems extremely probable, not to say certain,
that Mr. Beauvoir arrived in your city about
1849, in company with a distinguished English
scientist, Professor Titus Peebles, whose professional
attainments were such that he is probably
well known, if not in California, at least in some
other of the mining States. The first thing to be
done, therefore, it seems to us, is to ascertain the
whereabouts of the professor, and to interview
him at once. It may be that he has no knowledge
of the present domicile of Mr. William Beauvoir--in
which case we shall rely on you to take such
steps as, in your judgment, will best conduce to a
satisfactory solution of the mystery. In any event,
please look up Professor Peebles, and interview
him at once.

Pray keep us fully informed by telegraph of your
movements. Yr obt serv'ts,



_Telegram from Messrs. Pixley and Sutton, Attorneys and Counsellors at
Law, 98 California Street, San Francisco, California, to Messrs.
Hitchcock and Van Rensselaer, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law, 76
Broadway, New York._

Jan. 30.

Tite Peebles well known frisco not professor
keeps faro bank.

(D.H. 919.)


_Telegram from Messrs. Hitchcock and Van Rensselaer to Messrs. Pixley
and Sutton, in answer to the preceding._

NEW YORK, Jan. 30.

Must be mistake Titus Peebles distinguished

(Free. Answer to D.H.)


_Telegram from Messrs. Pixley and Sutton to Messrs. Hitchcock and Van
Rensselaer. in reply to the preceding._

Jan. 30.

No mistake distinguished faro banker suspected
skin game shall we interview

(D.H. 919.)


_Telegram from Messrs. Hitchcock and Van Rensselaer to Messrs. Pixley
and Sutton, in reply to the preceding._

NEW YORK, Jan. 30.

Must be mistake interview anyway

(Free. Answer to D.H.)


_Telegram from Messrs. Pixley and Sutton to Messrs. Hitchcock and Van
Rensselaer, in reply to the preceding._


Peebles out of town have written him

PIXLEY & SUTTON. (D.H. 919.)


_Letter from Tite W. Peebles, delegate to the California Constitutional
Convention, Sacramento, to Messrs. Pixley and Sutton, 98 California
Street, San Francisco, California._

SACRAMENTO, Feb. 2, '79.

San Francisco.

GENTLEMEN: Your favor of the 31st ult., forwarded
me from San Francisco, has been duly
rec'd, and contents thereof noted.

My time is at present so fully occupied by my
duties as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention
that I can only jot down a brief report of my
recollections on this head. When I return to
S.F., I shall be happy to give you any further information
that may be in my possession.

The person concerning whom you inquire was
my fellow passenger on my first voyage to this
State on board the _Mercy G. Tarbox_, in the latter
part of the year. He was then known as Mr. William
Beauvoir. I was acquainted with his history,
of which the details escape me at this writing.
He was a countryman of mine; a member of an
important county family--Devonian, I believe--and
had left England on account of large gambling
debts, of which he confided to me the exact
figure. I believe they totted up something like

I had at no time a very intimate acquaintance
with Mr. Beauvoir; during our sojourn on the
_Tarbox_, he was the chosen associate of a depraved
and vicious character named Phoenix. I am not
averse from saying that I was then a member of a
profession rather different to my present one,
being, in fact, professor of metallurgy, and I saw
much less, at that period, of Mr. B. than I probably
should now.

Directly we landed at S.F., the object of your
inquiries set out for the gold region, without adequate
preparation, like so many others did at that
time, and, I heard, fared very ill.

I encountered him some six months later; I
have forgotten precisely in what locality, though I
have a faint impression that his then habitat was
some canon or ravine, deriving its name from certain
osseous deposits. Here he had engaged in
the business of gold-mining, without, perhaps,
sufficient grounds for any confident hope of ultimate
success. I have his I.O.U. for the amount
of my fee for assaying several specimens from his
claim, said specimens being all iron pyrites.

This is all I am able to call to mind at present
in the matter of Mr. Beauvoir. I trust his subsequent
career was of a nature better calculated to
be satisfactory to himself; but his mineralogical
knowledge was but superficial; and his character
was sadly deformed by a fatal taste for low associates.

I remain, gentlemen, your very humble and
obd't servant, TITUS W. PEEBLES.


MY DEAR PIX: If you don't feel inclined to
pony up that little sum you are out on the bay
gelding, drop down to my place when I get back
and I'll give you another chance for your life at
the pasteboards. Constitution going through.

Yours, TITE.



_Extract from the New Centreville [late Dead Horse] "Gazette and Courier
of Civilization," December 20th, 1878:_

"Miss Nina Saville appeared last night at the Mendocino
Grand Opera House, in her unrivalled specialty of _Winona
the Child of the Prairies;_ supported by Tompkins and Frobisher's
Grand Stellar Constellation. Although Miss Saville
has long been known as one of the most promising of California's
younger tragediennes, we feel safe in saying that the impression
she produced upon the large and cultured audience
gathered to greet her last night stamped her as one of the
greatest and most phenomenal geniuses of our own or other
times. Her marvellous beauty of form and feature, added to
her wonderful artistic power, and her perfect mastery of the difficult
science of clog-dancing, won her an immediate place in
the hearts of our citizens, and confirmed the belief that California
need no longer look to Europe or Chicago for dramatic
talent of the highest order. The sylph-like beauty, the harmonious
and ever-varying grace, the vivacity and the power of the
young artist who made her maiden effort among us last night,
prove conclusively that the virgin soil of California teems with
yet undiscovered fires of genius. The drama of _Winona, the
Child of the Prairies,_ is a pure, refined, and thoroughly absorbing
entertainment, and has been pronounced by the entire
press of the country equal to if not superior to the fascinating
_Lady of Lyons_. It introduces all the favorites of the company
in new and original characters, and with its original music,
which is a prominent feature, has already received over 200
representations in the principal cities in the country. It abounds
in effective situations, striking tableaux, and a most quaint and
original concert entitled 'The Mule Fling,' which alone is worth
the price of admission. As this is its first presentation in this
city, the theatre will no doubt be crowded, and seats should be
secured early in the day. The drama will be preceded by that
prince of humorists, Mr. Billy Barker, in his humorous sketches
and pictures from life."

We quote the above from our esteemed contemporary, the Mendocino
_Gazette_, at the request of Mr. Zeke Kilburn, Miss Saville's advance
agent, who has still further appealed to us, not only on the ground of
our common humanity, but as the only appreciative and thoroughly
informed critics on the Pacific Slope to "endorse" this rather vivid
expression of opinion. Nothing will give us greater pleasure. Allowing
for the habitual enthusiasm of our northern neighbor, and for the
well-known chaste aridity of Mendocino in respect of female beauty, we
have no doubt that Miss Nina Saville is all that the fancy, peculiarly
opulent and active even for an advance agent, of Mr. Kilburn has painted
her, and is quite such a vision of youth, beauty, and artistic
phenomenality as will make the stars of Paris and Illinois pale their
ineffectual fires.

Miss Saville will appear in her "unrivalled specialty" at Hanks's New
Centreville Opera House, to-morrow night, as may be gathered, in a
general way, from an advertisement in another column.

We should not omit to mention that Mr. Zeke Kilburn, Miss Saville's
advance agent, is a gentleman of imposing presence, elegant manners, and
complete knowledge of his business. This information may be relied upon
as at least authentic, having been derived from Mr. Kilburn himself, to
which we can add, as our own contribution, the statement that Mr.
Kilburn is a gentleman of marked liberality in his ideas of spirituous
refreshments, and of equal originality in his conception of the uses,
objects and personal susceptibilities of the journalistic profession.


_Local Item from the "New Centreville Standard," December 20th, 1878:_

Hon. William Beauvoir has registered at the United States Hotel. Mr.
Beauvoir is a young English gentleman of great wealth, now engaged in
investigating the gigantic resources of this great country. We welcome
him to New Centreville.


_Programme of the performance given in the Centreville Theatre, Dec.
21st, 1878:_


A. Jackson Hanks.....................Sole Proprietor and Manager.


Supporting California's favorite daughter, the young American


Who will appear in Her Unrivalled Specialty,

"Winona, the Child of the Prairie."


Will be presented, with the following phenomenal cast, the accepted
American Drama,


WINONA.................................................... Miss
FLORA MacMADISON..................................... BIDDY
FLAHERTY........................................... OLD AUNT DINAH
(with Song, "Don't Get Weary").............Miss NINA SALLY
HOSKINS............................................. SAVILLE (With
the old-time melody, "Bobbin' Around.") POOR JOE (with
Song)...................................... FRAULINE LINA
BOOBENSTEIN................................. (With stammering song,
"I yoost landet.") SIR EDMOND BENNETT (specially
engaged)................E.C. GRAINGER WALTON
TRAVERS.........................................G.W. PARSONS GIPSY
JOE..................................................M. ISAACS
'ANNIBAL 'ORACE 'IGGINS................................BILLY BARKER
TOMMY TIPPER.....................................Miss MAMIE SMITH
PETE, the Man on the Dock................................SI HANCOCK
Mrs. MALONE, the Old Woman in the Little House.... Mrs. K.Y. BOOTH
ROBERT BENNETT (aged five)......................Little ANNIE WATSON

Act I.--The Old Home. Act II.--Alone in the World. Act III.--The
Frozen Gulf: THE GREAT ICEBERG SENSATION. Act IV.--Wedding Bells.

"Winona, the Child of the Prairie," will be preceded by


In which the great BILLY BARKER will appear in one of his most
outrageously funny bits.

New Slocum

Music by Professor Kiddoo's Silver Bugle Brass Band and Philharmonic

Chickway's Grand Piano, lent by Schmidt, 2 Opera House Block.


Pop Williams, the only legitimate Bill-Poster in New Centreville.

(New Centreville Standard Print.)


_Extract from the New Centreville [late Dead Horse] "Gazette and Courier
of Civilization," Dec. 24th, 1878:_

A little while ago, in noting the arrival of Miss Nina Saville of the
New Centreville Opera House we quoted rather extensively from our
esteemed contemporary, the Mendocino _Times_ and commented upon the
quotation. Shortly afterwards, it may also be remembered, we made a very
direct and decided apology for the sceptical levity which inspired those
remarks, and expressed our hearty sympathy with the honest, if somewhat
effusive, enthusiasm with which the dramatic critic of Mendocino greeted
the sweet and dainty little girl who threw over the dull, weary old
business of the stage "sensation" the charm of a fresh and childlike
beauty and originality, as rare and delicate as those strange,
unreasonable little glimmers of spring sunsets that now and then light
up for a brief moment the dull skies of winter evenings, and seem to
have strayed into ungrateful January out of sheer pity for the sad

Mendocino noticed the facts that form the basis of the above
meteorological simile, and we believe we gave Mendocino full credit for
it at the time. We refer to the matter at this date only because in our
remarks of a few days ago we had occasion to mention the fact of the
existence of Mr. Zeke Kilburn, an advance agent, who called upon us at
the time, to endeavor to induce us, by means apparently calculated more
closely for the latitude of Mendocino, to extend to Miss Saville, before
her appearance, the critical approbation which we gladly extended after.
This little item of interest we alluded to at the time, and furthermore
intimated, with some vagueness, that there existed in Kilburn's
character a certain misdirected zeal combined with a too keen artistic
appreciation, are apt to be rather dangerous stock-in trade for an
advance agent.

It was twenty seven minutes past two o'clock yesterday afternoon. The
chaste white mystery of Shigo Mountain was already taking on a faint,
almost imperceptible, hint of pink, like the warm cheek of a girl who
hears a voice and anticipates a blush. Yet the rays of the afternoon sun
rested with undiminished radiance on the empty pork-barrel in front of
McMullin's shebang. A small and vagrant infant, whose associations with
empty barrels were doubtless hitherto connected solely with dreams of
saccharine dissipation, approached the bunghole with precocious caution,
and retired with celerity and a certain acquisition of experience. An
unattached goat, a martyr to the radical theory of personal
investigation, followed in the footsteps of infantile humanity, retired
with even greater promptitude, and was fain to stay its stomach on a
presumably empty rend-rock can, afterward going into seclusion behind
McMullin's horse-shed, before the diuretic effect of tin flavored with
blasting-powder could be observed by the attentive eye of science.

Mr. Kilburn emerged from the hostlery without Mr. McMullin. Mr. Kilburn,
as we have before stated at his own request, is a gentleman of imposing
presence. It is well that we made this statement when we did, for it is
hard to judge of the imposing quality in a gentleman's presence when
that gentleman is suspended from the arm of another gentleman by the
collar of the first gentleman's coat. The gentleman in the rear of Mr.
Kilburn was Mr. William Beauvoir, a young Englishman in a check suit.
Mr. Beauvoir is not avowedly a man of imposing presence; he wears a seal
ring, and he is generally a scion of an effete oligarchy, but he has,
since his introduction into this community, behaved himself, to use the
adjectivial adverb of Mr. McMullin, _white_, and he has a very
remarkable biceps. These qualities may hereafter enhance his popularity
in New Centreville.

Mr. Beauvoir's movements, at twenty-seven minutes past two yesterday
afternoon, were few and simple. He doubled Mr. Kilburn up, after the
fashion of an ordinary jack-knife, and placed him in the barrel,
wedge-extremity first, remarking, as he did so, "She is, is she?" He
then rammed Mr. Kilburn carefully home, and put the cover on.

We learn to-day that Mr. Kilburn has resumed his professional duties on
the road.


_Account of the same event from the New Centreville "Standard" December
24th, 1878:_

It seems strange that even the holy influences which radiate from this
joyous season cannot keep some men from getting into unseemly wrangles.
It was only yesterday that our local saw a street row here in the quiet
avenues of our peaceful city--a street row recalling the riotous scenes
which took place here before Dead Horse experienced a change of heart
and became New Centreville. Our local succeeded in gathering all the
particulars of the affray, and the following statement is reliable. It
seems that Mr. Kilburn, the gentlemanly and affable advance agent of the
Nina Saville Dramatic Company, now performing at Andy Hanks' Opera House
to big houses, was brutally assaulted by a ruffianly young Englishman,
named Beauvoir, for no cause whatever. We say for no cause, as it is
obvious that Mr. Kilburn, as the agent of the troupe, could have said
nothing against Miss Saville which an outsider, not to say a foreigner
like Mr. Beauvoir, had any call to resent. Mr. Kilburn is a gentleman
unaccustomed to rough-and-tumble encounters, while his adversary has
doubtless associated more with pugilists than gentlemen--at least any
one would think so from his actions yesterday. Beauvoir hustled Mr.
Kilburn out of Mr. McMullin's, where the unprovoked assault began, and
violently shook him across the new plank sidewalk. The person by the
name of Clark, whom Judge Jones for some reason now permits to edit the
moribund but once respectable _Gazette_, caught the eye of the congenial
Beauvoir, and, true to the ungentlemanly instincts of his base nature,
pointed to a barrel in the street. The brutal Englishman took the hint
and thrust Mr. Kilburn forcibly into the barrel, leaving the vicinity
before Mr. Kilburn, emerging from his close quarters, had fully
recovered. What the ruffianly Beauvoir's motive may have been for this
wanton assault it is impossible to say; but it is obvious to all why
this fellow Clark sought to injure Mr. Kilburn, a gentleman whose many
good qualities he of course fails to appreciate. Mr. Kilburn,
recognizing the acknowledged merits of our job-office, had given us the
contract for all the printing he needed in New Centreville.


_Advertisement from the New York "Clipper" Dec. 21st, 1878:_


Ladies and Gentlemen of the Company will assemble for rehearsal, at
Emerson's Opera House, San Francisco, on Wednesday, Dec 27th, 12 M
sharp. Band at 11. J.B. WINSTON EDWIN R. MACK--Managers. Emerson's
Opera House, San Francisco, Dec. 10th, 1878. Protean Artist wanted.
Would like to hear from Nina Saville. 12-11.


_Letter from Nina Saville to William Beauvoir._

NEW CENTREVILLE, December 26, 1878.

My Dear Mr. Beauvoir--I was very sorry to
receive your letter of yesterday--_very_ sorry--because
there can be only one answer that I can
make--and you might well have spared me the
pain of saying the word--No. You ask me if I love
you. If I did--do you think it would be true
love in me to tell you so, when I know what it
would cost you? Oh indeed you must never
marry _me_! In your own country you would
never have heard of me--never seen me--surely
never written me such a letter to tell me that you
love me and want to marry me. It is not that I
am ashamed of my business or of the folks around
me, or ashamed that I am only the charity child
of two poor players, who lived and died working
for the bread for their mouths and mine. I am
proud of them--yes, proud of what they did and
suffered for one poorer than themselves--a little
foundling out of an Indian camp. But I know
the difference between you and me. You are a
great man at home--you have never told me how
great--but I know your father is a rich lord, and I
suppose you are. It is not that I think _you_ care
for that, or think less of me because I was born
different from you. I know how good--how
kind--how _respectful_ you have always been to
me--_my lord_--and I shall never forget it--for a girl
in my position knows well enough how you might
have been otherwise. Oh believe me--_my true
friend_--I am never going to forget all you have
done for me--and how good it has been to have
you near me--a man so different from most others.
I don't mean only the kind things you have
done--the books and the thoughts and the ways
you have taught me to enjoy--and all the trouble
you have taken to make me something better than
the stupid little girl I was when you found me--but
a great deal more than that--the consideration
you have had for me and for what I hold best in the
world. I had never met a _gentleman_ before--and
now the first one I meet--he is my _friend_. That is
a great deal.

Only think of it! You have been following me
around now for three months, and I have been
weak enough to allow it. I am going to do the
right thing now. You may think it hard in me _if
you really mean what you say,_ but even if everything
else were right, I would not marry you--because
of your rank. I do not know how things are at
your home--but something tells me it would be
wrong and that your family would have a right to
hate you and never forgive you. Professionals
cannot go in your society. And that is even if I
loved you--and I do not love you--I do not love
you--_I do not love you_--now I have written it you
will believe it.

So now it is ended--I am going back to the line
I was first in--variety--and with a new name. So
you can never find me--I entreat you--I beg of
you--not to look for me. If you only put your
mind to it--you will find it so easy to forget me--for
I will not do you the wrong to think that you
did not mean what you wrote in your letter or


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