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Elinor Wyllys - Vol. I
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{This e-text was prepared from the first edition of Susan Fenimore Cooper's "Elinor Wyllys: or, The Young Folk of Longbridge" (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1846). "Elinor Wyllys" was also published in England (London: Richard Bentley, 1845), but has otherwise not been reprinted.



ELINOR WYLLYS: OR, THE YOUNG FOLK OF LONGBRIDGE. A TALE.

BY AMABEL PENFEATHER.

{Pseudonym of Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894), daughter of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)}



"Familiar matter of today; Some natural sorrow, loss or pain, That has been, and may be again." WORDSWORTH

{William Wordsworth (English poet, 1770-1850), "The Solitary Reaper" lines 22-24}



IN TWO VOLUMES, VOL. I.

EDITED BY J. FENIMORE COOPER



EDITOR'S PREFACE.

THERE is so much of mystification resorted to, at the present time, in the publication of books, that it has become proper that the editor of Elinor Wyllys should explain what has been his own connection with this particular work.

The writer of this book is a valued female friend, who had a right to ask, and did ask, its editor's advice and assistance, in presenting it to the public. This advice and assistance have been cheerfully afforded, though neither has properly extended to the literary character of the work. As the author has not wished to appear, the name of the editor has been used in obtaining the copy-right, and his assistance given in forwarding and returning proof-sheets. Over a few of the last, the editor has cast an eye; but, believing the author of the book to be fully competent herself, to superintend her own work, as it has gone through the press, this supervision on the part of the editor has been very slight.

The editor has great confidence in the principles, taste, and intelligence of the real author of Elinor Wyllys. She has seen much of that portion of the world with which a lady becomes acquainted, and has seen that much under the most favorable circumstances. As usually happens in such cases, her book will be found free from exaggerations of every sort; and will be more likely to be well received by persons of her own class, than by those who are less familiar with its advantages. Imagination, feeling, sound principles, and good taste, are all to be found in this book, though in what degree, the public will necessarily decide for itself.

J. FENIMORE COOPER.

Philadelphia, Oct. 8, 1845.



PREFACE

IT will be well, perhaps, that the reader bear in mind, while running over the following pages, that many passing observations, many trifles, which naturally find their way into any sketch of social life, refer chiefly to things and notions in favour some ten years since; a period which is certainly not beyond the memory of man, but very possibly beyond the clear recollection of some young lady reader, just within her teens. New opinions, new ideas, new fashions have appeared among us since then, and made their way perceptibly. Twenty years' possession constitutes a legal title, if we may believe the lawyers; but a single season is often sufficient for a new fancy—fancies of a serious nature too, sometimes—to take full possession of the public mind, and assume arbitrary control of the premises for the time being, at least.

It will be more honest to confess, at once, before the reader undertakes the first chapter, that the tale now before him is a first appearance in print—a first appearance, too, of one who, even now that the formidable step is taken, feels little disposed to envy the honours of authorship. Writing may be a very pleasant pastime; but printing seems to have many disagreeable consequences attending every stage of the process; and yet, after all, reading is often the most irksome task of the three. In this last case, however, the remedy is generally easy; one may throw aside the volume, and abuse the author. If there are books which MUST be read, stupid or not, owing to the claim of some great name on the binding, the present story is not one of the number; and perhaps the perfect liberty enjoyed by the reader under such circumstances—to like or dislike independent of critics, to cut every leaf, or skip a dozen chapters at a time without fear of reproach—will incline him to an amiable mood. It is to be hoped so; it will be unfortunate if, among many agreeable summer excursions both on terra firma and in the regions of fancy, the hour passed at Longbridge should prove a tedious one: in such a case the fault will belong entirely to the writer of the narrative, for there are certainly some very pleasant and very worthy people among the good folk of Longbridge.

————-, August, 1845.



ELINOR WYLLYS.

CHAPTER I,

"Enter the house, pr'ythee."— ROGERS.

{Samuel Rogers (English poet, 1763-1855), "Italy: Genevra" line 19. Samuel Rogers befriended James Fenimore Cooper and his family during their visits to England in 1826-33}

HAD there been a predecessor of Mr. Downing in the country, some five-and-twenty year since, to criticise Wyllys-Roof, the home of our friend Elinor, his good taste would no doubt have suggested many improvements, not only in the house itself, but also in the grounds which surrounded it. The building had been erected long before the first Tudor cottage was transported, Loretto-like, across the Atlantic, and was even anterior to the days of Grecian porticoes. It was a comfortable, sensible-looking place, however, such as were planned some eighty or a hundred years since, by men who had fortune enough to do as they pleased, and education enough to be quite superior to all pretension. The house was a low, irregular, wooden building, of ample size for the tastes and habits of its inmates, with broad piazzas, which not only increased its dimensions, but added greatly to the comfort and pleasure of the family by whom it was occupied.

{"Downing" = Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852), noted American rural architect and landscape gardener; "Loretto-like" = after Loreto, in Italy, where, according to tradition, a brick Holy House was miraculously conveyed through the air by angels in 1294}

The grounds were of the simplest kind. The lawn which surrounded the house was merely a better sort of meadow, from which the stones and briars had been removed with more care than usual, and which, on account of its position, received the attention of one additional mowing in the course of the summer. A fine wood, of a natural growth, approached quite near to the house on the northern side, partially sheltering it in that direction, while an avenue of weeping elms led from the gate to the principal entrance, and a row of locusts, planted at equal distances, lined the low, rude stone wall which shut out the highway. One piazza was shaded by noble willows, while another was faced by a row of cherry trees, flanked by peach and pear. Fruit trees, although so common and so lavish of their blessings in this climate, are often gathered about American country-houses, instead of being confined to gardens devoted to the purpose, as in Europe; a habit which pleasantly reminds us that civilization has made a recent conquest over the wilderness in this new world, and that our forefathers, only a few generations back, preferred the trees of the orchard to those of the forest, even for ornament. Fruit trees are indeed beautiful objects when gay with the blossoms of spring, or rich with the offerings of summer, and, mingled with others, are always desirable about a dwelling as simple and unpretending in its character as Wyllys-Roof. Beneath the windows were roses and other flowering shrubs; and these, with a few scattered natives of the soil—elm, hickory, sycamore, and tulip trees—farther from the house, were the only attempts at embellishment that had been made. The garden, surrounded by a white paling, was thought an ornamental object, and lay within full view of the drawing-room windows; and yet it was but a mixture of the useful and the beautiful, in which the former largely predominated. As a kitchen-garden it was certainly excellent; but the narrow flower-borders, which surrounded the ample beds of melons and strawberries, asparagus and cauliflowers, would have appeared meanly furnished in the eyes of a flower-fancier of the present day. There was not a hybrid among them, nor a single blossom but what bore a plain, honest name; and although there were lilies and roses, pinks and violets in abundance, they would probably have been all rooted out by your exclusive, fashionable gardener of the last summer, for they were the commonest varieties only. There were but two walks on the lawn; one of these was gravelled, and led to the garden-gate; the other was a common foot-path leading to the river, where the gentlemen of the family kept their boats, and where the cattle, who often grazed on the lawn, went to drink. The grounds were bounded on one side by a broad river, on the other by a sufficiently well-travelled highway. What particular river and highway these were, through what particular state and county they ran, we do not think it incumbent on us to reveal. It may easily be inferred, however, that Wyllys-Roof belonged to one of the older parts of the country, at no great distance from the seaboard, for the trees that shaded the house were of a growth that could not have been reached by any new plantation in a western settlement.

{"particular state..." = Longbridge, we learn, has steamboat connections to New York City, while steamboat connections to Philadelphia are from nearby Upper Lewiston; in the course of the story, one of the first railroads in America comes through town; this suggests, if anywhere, New Jersey. Judicial matters take place in Philadelphia, which would seem to place Longbridge in Pennsylvania. It is not clear, however, that the author had any specific location in mind}

The interior arrangements of Wyllys-Roof corresponded very naturally with the appearance of things outside. The ceilings were low, and the apartments small and numerous; much room had been thrown into broad, airy passages, while closets and cupboards abounded. The whole of the lower floor had originally been wainscoted, but Miss Agnes Wyllys was answerable for several innovations in the principal rooms. When Mr. Wyllys decided to make his country-place a permanent residence, his daughter, who was at the head of his establishment, fancied that the furniture they had brought from their house in town could not be advantageously disposed of, without cutting folding-doors between the drawing-rooms. It was fortunate that a couple of adjoining rooms admitted of this arrangement, for at that day, two drawing-rooms of equal size, united by wide folding-doors, were considered a necessary of life to all American families "on hospitable thought intent." It seems to have been only very recently that any other arrangement has been found possible, an important discovery, which, like many others that have preceded it, was probably the happy effect of necessity, that mother of invention. Mr. Wyllys having cut through the partition, was next persuaded to take down the wainscoting, and put up in its place a French paper, very pretty in its way, certainly, but we fear that Miss Agnes had no better reason to give for these changes than the fact that she was doing as her neighbours had done before her. Miss Wyllys was, however, little influenced in general by mere fashion, and on more important matters could think for herself; this little weakness in favour of the folding-doors may therefore be forgiven, and justly ascribed to the character of the age in which she lived and gave tea-parties.

{"on hospitable thought intent" = John Milton (English poet, 1608-1674), "Paradise Lost", Book V, line 332}

For several years after they removed permanently to Wyllys-Roof, the family, strictly speaking, consisted of Mr. Wyllys, his unmarried daughter, and the usual domestics, only. They were seldom alone, however; they had generally some friend or relative with them, and in summer the house was often filled to overflowing, during the whole season, with parties of friends, or the different branches of a large family connection; for the Wyllyses had their full share of that free spirit of hospitality which seems characteristic of all classes of Americans. After a time, however, another member was received into the family. This was the orphan daughter of Mr. Wyllys's eldest son, an engaging little girl, to whom her grandfather and aunt were called upon to fill the place of the father and mother she had lost. The little orphan was too young, at the time, to be aware, either of the great affliction which had befallen her, or of her happy lot in being committed to such kind guardians, in merely exchanging one home for another.

The arrival of the little Elinor at Wyllys-Roof was the only important event in the family for some ten or twelve years; the Wyllyses were not much given to change, and during that period things about them remained much as they have just been described. We defer presenting the family more especially to the reader's notice until our young friend Elinor had reached her seventeenth birth-day, an event which was duly celebrated. There was to be a little party on the occasion, Miss Agnes having invited some half-dozen families of the neighbourhood to pass the evening at Wyllys-Roof.

The weather was very warm, as usual at the last of August; and as the expected guests were late in making their appearance, Mr. Wyllys had undertaken in the mean time to beat his daughter at a game of chess. Elinor, mounted on a footstool, was intent on arranging a sprig of clematis to the best advantage, in the beautiful dark hair of her cousin Jane Graham, who was standing for that purpose before a mirror. A good-looking youth, whom we introduce without farther ceremony as Harry Hazlehurst, was watching the chess-players with some interest. There were also two ladies sitting on a sofa, and as both happened at the time to be inmates of Wyllys-Roof, we may as well mention that the elderly gentlewoman in a cap was Mrs. Stanley, the widow of a connection from whom young Hazlehurst had inherited a large property. Her neighbour, a very pretty woman, neither young nor old, was Mrs. George Wyllys, their host's daughter-in-law, and, as her mourning-dress bespoke her, also a widow. This lady was now on a visit to Wyllys-Roof with her young children, whom, as she frequently observed, she wished to be as much as possible under the influence of their father's family.

Mr. Wyllys's game was interrupted for a moment, just as he was about to make a very good move; a servant came to let him know that a drunken man had been found under a fence near the house. The fellow, according to Thomas's story, could not be roused enough to give a straight account of himself, nor could he be made to move.

"Is it any one you know, Thomas?" asked Mr. Wyllys.

"No, sir, it's no one from hereabouts. I shouldn't wonder if he was a sailor, by the looks of his trowsers and jacket. I guess it is some loafer on his way to Longbridge."

What could be done with him? was the question. The ladies did not seem to like the idea of having a drunken man, whom no one knew, brought into the house at night.

"I dare say it is the same person I heard asking the way to Wyllys-Roof this morning, when we stopped at the turnpike-gate," observed Mrs. Stanley. "He looked at the time as if he had been drinking."

Elinor suggested that possibly it might be some old sailor, who fancied he had a claim upon Mr. Wyllys's kindness—Mr. George Wyllys having died a commander in the navy.

Harry volunteered to go out and take a look at him, and the party in the drawing-room awaited the result of this reconnoitring {sic}. At the end of five minutes Hazlehurst returned with his report.

"As far as I can judge by the help of moonlight and a lantern, it is no very prepossessing personage. He swore at me roundly for disturbing him, and I take it the fellow is really a sailor. I asked him what he wanted at Wyllys-Roof, but we could not make anything out of him. To keep him from mischief, we locked him up in one of the out-houses. It is to be hoped in the morning he will be sober enough to tell his errand."

The matter thus settled, nothing farther was thought of it at the time, and in another moment the game of chess was won, and the flower secured in a becoming position. Mrs. Stanley had been watching Elinor's movements with a smile.

"You are an expert hair-dresser; the flowers are much prettier as you have arranged them," said the lady to her young friend.

"Is it not a great improvement? They looked heavy as Jane had arranged them before—I have taken out more than half," replied Elinor.

Mrs. George Wyllys looked up from the newspaper she was reading, and suggested a change.

"I think the clematis would look better on the other side."

"Do you really think so, Aunt Harriet? I flattered myself I had been very successful: it strikes me that it looks very well."

"What is it that looks so well, ladies?" said Mr. Wyllys, rising from the chess-table and drawing near the young people. "The flower? Yes, the flower and the face are both very pretty, my dear. What is it? a honeysuckle?"

"No indeed, grandpapa," answered Elinor, "it is a clematis—this is a honeysuckle, a monthly honeysuckle, which Jane had twisted with it; but to my fancy the clematis is prettier alone, especially as it is so precious—the very last one we could find."

"Why don't you put the honeysuckle in your own hair, Nelly? it is a very pretty flower. Being queen of the evening, you should certainly wear one yourself."

"Oh, I never wear flowers, grandpapa; I cannot make them look well in my hair. This bouquet must proclaim my dignity to-night."

"It is pretty enough, certainly, my child, for any dignity—"

"Is it not rather large?" said Harry. "Why, Elinor, you have smothered my humble offering in a whole wilderness of sweets!"

"Not quite as bad as that," said Elinor, smiling—"I only put with yours, a few Aunt Agnes and Miss Patsey gave me—look at Jane's if you wish to see a bouquet of a reasonably fashionable size."

"Bouquets are worn very large this summer," said Jane Graham, in a languid tone, resting her beautiful eyes on the bunch in her hand.

"Fashion even in flowers!" exclaimed Mr. Wyllys.

"So it would seem," replied Elinor, smiling.

"And, pray," said Harry, taking a rose from a vase near him, "if a friend were to offer a flower for your belt, since you will not place one in your hair, would fashion permit it to be worn?"

"I don't believe it would, Nelly," said her grandfather.

Elinor looked just a little embarrassed, and a little pleased.

"Thank you," she said, taking the rose Harry offered; and while securing it in her sash, she felt that she coloured. But the flush was scarcely observed on a cheek as dark as hers.

"Well, Agnes, it is high time your friends came, unless they expect a rout," said Mr. Wyllys, stepping towards a window to look out. "Who are we to have?"

{"rout" = a large evening party}

"Your new neighbours, sir, the Taylors; your old friends, the Hubbards, Van Hornes, Bernards—"

"I hope you will like the Taylors, Agnes; but I don't know much about them. I am glad you thought of asking them this evening, for he brought me a letter, you remember, from New York."

{"letter" = a letter of introduction}

"As there is a young lady in the family, and a son just grown up, I thought they might like to dance," replied Miss Agnes. She then turned to Mrs. Stanley, and asked that lady, who lived in New York, if she knew anything of these new neighbours of theirs.

"I never heard of them," replied Mrs. Stanley. "But they may be very important people, and make a great deal of noise, for all that; as I only see my old friends, and live so quietly myself, I don't even know the names of half the people who pass for fashionable."

"I never suspected our new neighbours of being fashionable," replied Mr. Wyllys; "but I hope they will turn out pleasant, sensible people, for your sake, ladies; and, then, if Taylor is a chess-player, that will leave nothing farther to be desired."

"Here comes somebody, at last!" exclaimed Mrs. George Wyllys, hearing a carriage. "The Van Hornes, I suppose."

"I beg your pardon," said Hazlehurst, who was standing near the window, "that is the Taylor equipage; why the 'tastiness' of the Taylor barouche is visible even by moonlight."

{"barouche" = four-wheeled carriage with room for four passengers inside}

The party in the carriage, consisting of father and mother, son and daughter, soon alighted, and appeared in the drawing-room. They were introduced by Mr. Wyllys, and received politely by his daughter and her niece.

"I am gratified, sir," said the tall and thin Mr. Taylor, with a pompous tone, "in having so early an opportunity of making our ladies mutually acquainted."

"We shall hope to see your family often, Mr. Taylor," replied his host. "You must not forget that we are near neighbours; and we country folk think a great deal of neighbourhood, I assure you."

"Yes; of course the restraints of society must be much greater in a city, than in a more sparsely settled section."

"I hope your new purchase suits you on farther examination. The farm is certainly a very good one; but the house, I should think, must want repairs."

"It does, sir; I calculate to build, however, next year. The present dwelling is much too small."

"The house might suit us, I think," observed Mrs. Taylor, who, with Miss Agnes, had taken a seat, while the young people were standing, chatting, near them. "If husband would put up a back-building, we should have room enough."

Miss Wyllys remarked, that even a small addition, often increased very much the convenience of a house.

"Certainly, madam; but I apprehend, if I had added wings and a back-building to the premises, as I first intended, Mrs. Taylor would still have found the house not sufficiently spacious. Now our young ladies and gentlemen are growing up, we must have, more room for company."

"Well," added his wife, "I expect to see a good deal of tea and dinner company, next summer, with the house as it is."

"The young people will be much obliged to you for your kind intentions, Mrs. Taylor; ours is not a very gay neighbourhood," said Miss Wyllys.

"So I should conclude," remarked Mr. Taylor.

"I don't know, Agnes," said her father; "if you include Longbridge in the neighbourhood, I think we may call ourselves a gay set."

"True, sir," said Miss Agnes; "but as we seldom go there ourselves in the evening, it had not struck me in that light. But very possibly, Mrs. Taylor and her young ladies may be more enterprising than Elinor and myself."

"Four miles, madam," interposed Mr. Taylor, "with a good vehicle and good horses, is no great distance. Longbridge seems to be in a very flourishing condition, sir;" turning to Mr. Wyllys.

"Yes, the place is looking up; they are very busy just now. They are building a good deal, this summer."

"I observed several tasty mansions, in what may be called the suburbs; in particular a brick edifice, being erected, I understand, by Joseph P. Hubbard."

"The brick house near the bridge? Yes, it will be the largest about here. Hubbard is building it more to please his daughters than himself, I fancy."

"It promises a great display of taste—I observe he has reserved half his lot, in front of the mansion, for a park."

"Hem—Yes, there will be just half an acre in it. Does Hubbard call it a park?" asked Mr. Wyllys, with an amused expression about his eyes.

"I applied the term myself," replied the knowing Mr. Taylor. "I was altogether much pleased with the appearance of your village, sir. It has a lively business for such a small place—things really look quite citified there. If I had seen Mr. Hubbard's mansion, before concluding my bargain for my present location, I think I should have made him an offer."

"I am very glad you did not, husband. I was brought up on a farm, Miss Wyllys, and I am very happy that we have got in the open country. Besides, Mr. Hubbard's house will be too large for comfort."

"Ha, ha!" faintly laughed Mr. Taylor; "you seem to like room out of doors better than within, Mrs. Taylor."

At this moment two persons walked quietly into the room, and were received very kindly by Miss Wyllys and Elinor. One was a woman of about forty, plainly, but neatly dressed, with a pleasing face, remarkable for a simple expression of common sense and goodness. Her manners corresponded perfectly with her appearance; they were quiet and pleasant. The lad who accompanied her was a boy of sixteen, small, and slightly made, with good features, and an uncommonly spirited and intelligent countenance. They might very naturally have been taken for mother and son; but they were, in fact, brother and sister.

"Well, Charlie, my lad," said Mr. Wyllys, placing a hand on the boy's shoulder, "I hear the important matter is at last under full consideration."

"Yes, sir; my friends have all but consented; even sister Patsey is coming round. It will be all settled next week, I hope."

"I wish you joy of your success, Charlie," cried Hazlehurst.

"Not yet, if you please, Mr. Hazlehurst," said Miss Patsey Hubbard, smiling good-naturedly. "It is only a conditional consent, Charles, you must remember." Then turning to Mr. Wyllys, she added—"All our friends seem to agree with you, sir, and Miss Wyllys: my uncles think Charles ought to show what he has done to some experienced painters, and have their opinions. We feel very anxious on the subject."

"Remember to persevere, young man, if you once begin," said Mr. Wyllys.

"No danger but I shall, sir," said the boy rather proudly.

"I fear, Charles, that half the fault of your obstinacy is thrown upon my shoulders," said Elinor. "Those Lives of the Painters were an unfortunate present; they seem quite to have turned your head; I am afraid Miss Patsey will not soon forgive me."

{"Lives of the Painters" = probably Giorgio Vasari (Italian writer, 1511-1574), "Lives of the Most Excellent Architects, Painters and Sculptors" (1550, rev. 1568), a famous and often reprinted series of biographies of Italian artists, also frequently cited as "Lives of the Artists."}

"I can't thank you enough for them, Miss Elinor—you don't know what pleasure I have had with them."



CHAPTER II.

"We'll measure them a measure, and begone."

{William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet", I.iv.10}

The arrival of guests again called the ladies away; they were followed by others, until the drawing-room was half-filled with the young people of the neighbourhood, and their parents. Mrs. Stanley was soon talking with Patsey Hubbard, whom she liked particularly. The tall and thin Mrs. Bernard, and her friend, the short and fat Mrs. Van Horne, were regretting with Mrs. George Wyllys, that she should think the air of Longbridge did not agree with her children; and lamenting that she should not remain at Wyllys-Roof until November, according to her first intention. Charlie was deep in a volume of fine engravings. Young Taylor was standing; in a corner, looking handsome, but awkward, and out of place. Mr. Taylor, the father, was aiming at making himself 'affable' to everybody he knew; he liked to be called the 'affable' Mr. Taylor. The last of the party to arrive, were Mr. and Mrs. Clapp; a couple, who were by no means equally liked by their hosts. The husband was a Longbridge lawyer, whose views and manners were not much admired at Wyllys-Roof; and he would probably never have found his way there, had he not married one of their old friends and favourites, Kate Hubbard, a younger sister of Miss Patsey's—one who from childhood had always been welcome among them. William Cassius Clapp had curly hair, bright black eyes, and pink cheeks—and, consequently, was generally thought an Adonis: his wife was a diminutive little creature, quite pretty, and very amiable; a sort of mixture of Miss Patsey and Charlie, without the more striking qualities of either. Some of her friends had thought her thrown away upon Clapp; but she seemed perfectly satisfied after five years' experience, and evidently believed her husband superior in every way to the common run of men. Holding it to be gross injustice towards the individuals whom we bring before the reader, to excite a prejudice against them in the very first chapter, we shall leave all the party to speak and act for themselves; merely endeavouring to fill the part of a 'faithful chronicler,' ourselves.

Mr. Taylor had been looking, with a mixed expression of surprise and curiosity, at the person he had heard addressed as Miss Patsey Hubbard, when the lady remarked his manner, and, smiling quietly, she bowed to him. The bow was returned; and Mr. Taylor crossed the room, to renew an acquaintance with the woman, who, three-and-twenty years before, had refused to become his wife. Mr. Pompey Taylor had, however, risen too much in the world, since then—according to his own estimation, at least—he had become too rich and too prosperous, not to look back with great equanimity, on what he now considered as a very trifling occurrence. While he was addressing Miss Patsey in his most polished manner, just marked with an extra-touch of 'affability,' for her especial benefit, he could not but wonder that her countenance should still wear the same placid, contented air as of old; it seemed, indeed, as if this expression had only been confirmed by time and trials. He began to think the accounts he had occasionally heard, of his old flame, must have been incorrect; it was scarcely possible she should look so calm, and even cheerful, if her father, the Presbyterian minister, had actually left her not only penniless, but burdened with the support of a bed-ridden step-mother, and a house full of younger brothers and sisters. We leave him to satisfy his curiosity as well as he could.

When was there ever an evening too warm for young people to dance! Elinor's friends had not been in the room half an hour, before they discovered that they were just the right number to make a quadrille agreeable. They were enough to form a double set; and, while they were dancing, the elder part of the company were sitting in groups near the windows, to catch the evening air, and talking over neighbourly matters, or looking on at their young friends.

"Don't you think Elinor very graceful?" exclaimed Mrs. Van Horne to her friend, Mrs. Bernard. "I like to watch her, while she is dancing; her movements are all so pleasing and easy, never, in the least, exaggerated—but, it is in her very nature; she has always been the same, from a little creature."

"Yes," replied Mrs. Bernard; "but it is a pity her face should be so ugly; for she has rather a pretty figure—"

"Do you think her really ugly? She does not strike me, as so very plain—there is nothing repulsive in her face. I have known girls called pretty, who had something far nearer coarseness in their features. It is true, I have been accustomed to see her from the time she was four years old; and, I know, she is always thought very plain by strangers."

"Why, my dear Mrs. Van Horne, she has not one feature that can be called good; and her eye-brows are so heavy, and her complexion is so thick and dark, too!"

"Yes, it is true, she is very dark; and that is a pity; if she were only fairer, her features would appear to greater advantage."

"Just look at her now," said Mrs. Bernard, "as she is standing by her cousin, Jane Graham, who is dancing with your son. Was there ever a greater contrast?"

"But Jane is so remarkably pretty—"

"Certainly, she is a perfect little beauty; and that is one reason, perhaps, why Elinor strikes us as so plain; she is so much with her cousin—"

"Well," said Mrs. Van Horne, "if you are going to quarrel so much, with my little friend's face, we had better find something else to talk about; for she is a very great favourite of mine."

"And justly—I dare say.—But, I am a great admirer of beauty, you know; and I cannot keep my eyes off Jane's lovely face."

The conversation then turned upon the Hubbards.

"Charlie, it seems, is actually going to be a painter," observed Mrs. Bernard. "Miss Patsey tells me, he is so bent on it, that she thinks there is no use in opposing it any longer; though, Mr. Clapp says, it is a wretched plan."

"I hope Charles may succeed; he is a fine boy; and I shall be very sorry, for Patsey's sake, if he turns out badly. She is very anxious about him, I know."

"They have been so fortunate, with the rest of the family, that, I hope, they will be able to keep Charlie straight. I see Miss Patsey is talking to Mrs. Taylor; they are old friends, perhaps. Do you know anything about these Taylors?"

"Nothing but what my husband told me. He is a merchant in New York, and very rich;—made his money quite lately; and the business-men think a good deal of him."

"He seems to have a great deal to say for himself. Have you called on Mrs. Taylor?"

"We were there yesterday. She is a quiet, plain woman. The young man is good-looking, but very shy and awkward. The daughter seems very lively."

"Yes, and she is quite pretty, too. She will be a belle, I dare say."

"I hope Mrs. Taylor will send her younger children to Patsey's school."

"I wish she may; it will be a good thing for Miss Patsey, and make up her dozen. You know, she will not take more than twelve, as she keeps the largest room in the house for her mother."

"How kind and faithful Patsey has been to her step-mother! Just as she is, though, to everybody else; and she does it all in such a quiet, consistent way. I am glad to see her here to-night—she enjoys a little society, once in a while; and yet no one can persuade her to go out, except Miss Wyllys."

"She has come in honour of her pupil's birthday, I suppose. You know, Elinor Wyllys was her first scholar. By-the-bye, do you know what I heard, the other day? They say, in Longbridge, that Mr. Hazlehurst is engaged to one of the young ladies here; though, to which, my informant did not say."

"There is no truth in it, you may be sure—they are too much like brother and sister, to think of it. Besides, Mr. Hazlehurst is going abroad, shortly."

"I did not know that. Where is he going?"

"He told my son, yesterday, that he was going to Europe, for two years, to take care of his brother, Mr. Robert Hazlehurst, who has never recovered from the fall he had last winter; and the physicians have ordered him to travel."

At that moment the ladies were joined by Miss Agnes.

"I hear, Miss Wyllys," said Mrs. Bernard, "that Mr. Hazlehurst is going to Europe. He will be very much missed, at Longbridge."

"Yes, we shall miss him, here, very much," replied Miss Wyllys; "Harry has been with us more than ever, this summer. But, his brother is not in a state to travel alone, nor fit to take care of his wife and children, who go with him; and, although the plan is a sudden one, and interferes with Harry's law-studies, yet his friends all think a visit to Europe may be a great advantage to him."

The ladies agreed that it was a very good arrangement, and some inquiries were made as to Mr. Robert Hazlehurst's health; and a discussion of bruises and falls, nerves and dyspepsia, followed.

Soon after, the quadrille broke up.

"Well, Miss Jane," cried Mrs. Bernard, as several young people drew near, "I hear that your sister, Mrs. Robert Hazlehurst, is going to Europe; if I were you, I would not be left behind."

"I should like to go very well," said the beauty, in a languid tone; "but, I shall be at school, in New York, next winter."

"Oh, that is a pity! I am sure, you could learn all you want to know, much better, in Paris. Don't you think she ought to go, Mr. Hazlehurst?"

"Certainly, ma'am; everybody should go to Paris, if they have a chance."

"Miss Jane would be such a charming addition to your party.—Two young people together, you would enjoy yourselves more, and make it pleasanter for your friends."

Young Hazlehurst made a civil bow to the lady; but he looked as if he had an opinion of his own on the subject, for comical expression crossed his face at the moment. Jane had turned in another direction, and was slowly lisping an answer to a very animated question of Miss Adeline Taylor's.

"Yes; I was at Mrs. G——-'s school, last year; and, I am going there again."

"Well, I positively think I must go there, too, for my last winter. Mrs. G——-'s school is all the fashion, now. All the young ladies she turns out, are very lively. Miss Hubbard, the great belle, was there, you know, before she came out. Don't you think it would be an excellent plan, Mr. Hazlehurst, for your cousin and me to be chums? I declare, I wish you were going, too, Miss Wyllys."

"Thank you. I have never been to school, in my life; and it is rather late, to begin now."

"Never been to school! What dull times you must have had at home! You don't know what fine fun we have, at school; it is next to going into company. I wouldn't stay at home, for the world. Why didn't you go?"

"Well, I really don't know why. Perhaps, I should have wished to go, if I had thought it as pleasant as you seem to do, Miss Taylor."

"And pray, if I may ask, what made it so very pleasant?" asked Harry Hazlehurst. "I should like to be initiated into the delights of a young ladies' boarding-school. Of course, they must be very different from the rude enjoyments of collegians."

"Oh! it would take me a year, to tell you all about it."

"I shall be most happy to listen all the evening. But, let me find you a chair, before you commence; you must be tired of standing," said Harry, with a view to taking a seat himself.

"Me? Oh, no; I never sit down, at a party; I always stand. You lose half the fun, by sitting down." And, having secured Harry's attention, the half-fledged belle turned to another youth, within hailing distance. "Now, what do you think Mr. Hazlehurst has given me to do, for the next hour, Mr. Van Horne?"

"I am sure, I don't know. Is it something very difficult? Listening to his pretty speeches, perhaps," said the other.

"Oh dear, no! I don't believe Mr. Hazlehurst can make a tender speech; I don't believe he has got any heart," said Miss Adeline, looking an attempt at archness.

"And, pray, what makes you think so, Miss Taylor? Do you judge from my savage expression?"

"Well, perhaps, you have one;" said the young lady, looking up bewitchingly. "I suspect, though, you take very good care of it,"

"But this is not fair; you are abusing me, instead of giving us the delights of your school, as you promised."

"Oh, I had forgotten that. But, I should think, you might guess what fun we have—a set of wild girls together."

"How should I know anything about it? Pray, be more explicit."

"Well, in the first place, we make a point of getting up an excitement, at least once a week."

"Like our unruly spirits at college, you break the windows, and roll cannon-balls, I suppose."

"How you talk! No, indeed. Our last excitement was about the coat of our Professor of Mathematics. It was such a quizzical cut, we told Mrs. A., it was morally impossible for us to attend to the lesson, and study the problems, as long as the man wore it."

"It was unpardonable, in a professor of mathematics, to wear a coat that was not cut according to rule."

"Now wasn't it? Well, you may be sure, we can always pitch upon something for an excitement, whenever we're in the humour for it. And then, we have secrets to tell about our beaux—and we quiz the new scholars—and we eat candy—and we torment Mrs. A——-; but, I shan't tell you any more, now; for I must go out on the piazza, and have a walk—it looks so sweet, out there. You shall have the rest of the story, if you'll come."

And away tripped the young lady, followed, of course, by the gentlemen.

Mr. Taylor, who had been moving about the room, making himself popular by a very bland smile, and, what he considered very courtly manners, still had time to keep one eye upon his son, who after an awkward fashion, seemed devoting himself to one or two of the ladies, and the other, upon his daughter. "Adeline will make herself conspicuous," thought the gratified father.

"Liny seems to enjoy herself," was the observation of her mother, who had been sitting quietly at her daughter's elbow, listening to the conversation just related.

"Two conquests!" thought the young lady herself.

"A lively girl!" was the opinion of young Van Horne.

"Fair game!" said Harry to himself.

While some of the young people were flirting, others dancing, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Clapp, whose acquaintance had commenced on board a steamboat that very morning, were walking together up and down the hall, which they had pretty much to themselves. They touched on business, which was pronounced very active; and on politics, which were declared to be particularly dull, just then: Mr. Clapp, indeed, thought the people much too quiet—shamefully blind to their own interests, which always demanded what he called a state of healthful excitement—meaning an unreasonable excitement upon any subject whatever. There can be no doubt that Mr. Clapp honestly believed such a state of agitation far more conducive than quiet to his own interest; for he was quite a fluent speaker, and very ambitious of a seat in the State Assembly. He belonged to that school of republicanism, which so completely identifies the individual with the mass, that it cannot conceive of any independent opinions, tastes, or principles; and, very possibly, he persuaded himself the good of the nation, as well as his personal advantage, required a fresh brand to be thrown upon the Longbridge council-fire. Having exchanged opinions with Mr. Clapp upon politics and the market, Mr. Taylor proceeded to make some observations and inquiries about the company; he evidently felt some curiosity regarding his new neighbours, while his companion seemed well disposed to give him all the information he desired.

"Mr. Wyllys is a man of large property, I conclude," said the merchant.

Mr. Clapp named the number of thousands usually given to their host; the amount was much lower than Mr. Taylor had supposed. He had already discovered that Mr. Wyllys was highly respected by the Longbridge community in general, and he had taken it for granted that he must be the richest man in the neighbourhood; but he now found that this was far from being the case. Mr. Wyllys, though in easy circumstances, could not command half as much money as several business men about him.

"THERE is a good fortune for you," said Mr. Clapp; "the lady on the sofa; her property does not lie here, though. The real estate is mostly in Carolina and Philadelphia. Did you see the young gentleman who has just gone out on the piazza with your daughter—Mr. Hazlehurst? At the demise of the widow, it all goes to him; but in the mean time he has only two thousand a year—it will be full twenty, altogether, if well managed," said Mr. Clapp, running his fingers through the black locks which his wife thought so handsome.

{"fortune" = short for a woman of fortune; an heiress}

"Mrs. Stanley is the old lady's name, is it not? The young gentleman is her grandson, I conclude."

"Not at all; only a nephew by marriage," replied the lawyer, pulling up his collar. "He may feel much obliged to Mr. Stanley for feathering his nest so well. But Hazlehurst is a very good fellow; I always liked him from the time he was a little shaver."

"The testator had no children of his own to inherit, I suppose," remarked Mr. Taylor.

"No sir; the only child of the first wife died just before his father—the lady in the other room had no family. Mr. Stanley had not a single near relation in the world; he bequeathed fifty thousand dollars to an Orphan Asylum, and left his widow a life-estate in one-half the remainder; which, at her death, goes in a lump, real estate and personals, to young Hazlehurst, who is the son of an old friend, and a nephew by marriage."

{"personals" = personal property}

"Some four hundred thousand dollars, I think you said; that would make a fine capital for a young man to open business with!"

"But show me the young man who, with four hundred thousand to begin with, will not spend it instead of making more! No, sir; give me a man with small means and a sharp wit for his stock in trade, rather than a hundred thousand down; ten to one the first winds up the better man by a good round sum. I should not wonder at all to find myself a richer man than Harry Hazlehurst by the time I am fifty."

"What splendid operations he might engage in, though!"

"If he wanted to, he could not touch the money now; it is all in the widow's hands until he is five-and-twenty, excepting the allowance of two thousand a year which she gives him, now he is of age."

After a little more conversation of the same nature—in which the Van Hornes and the Bernards came in for their share of the appraisal, Mr. Clapp concluded by the offer of an introduction.

"Shall I introduce Mrs. Stanley to you? I am very well acquainted. I was raised in the same part of the country she came from. She is a very agreeable lady in conversation."

Mr. Taylor had not the least objection to make the acquaintance of any human being enjoying an estate of four hundred thousand dollars. He assented, and following Mr. Clapp into the drawing-room, the introduction took place without farther preface. Mrs. Stanley had been conversing with Miss Patsey and Elinor; she was rather taken by surprise when Mr. Clapp, advancing before her, said, with a flourish, "Mr. Taylor, Mrs. Stanley." Both the gentlemen were received by her with as much quiet coolness as was consistent with civility to her friend's guests. She had lately been often annoyed by Mr. Clapp's officious attentions, and was at a loss to account for them, until she remembered he might be wishing to obtain a share in the management of her affairs.

Having succeeded in bringing about the introduction, Mr. Clapp turned to Elinor.

"I hear strange stories in Longbridge about you, Miss Wyllys," said Mr. Clapp.

There was as yet no individual in the little world known to Elinor, more trying to her temper than the husband of her friend, Kate Hubbard. There was a smirking impertinence in Mr. Clapp's manner, of which it seemed impossible for him to divest himself, for it was often most conspicuous when he wished to make himself most agreeable; and no wonder this was the case, for it was a quality natural to him. The simple feeling of genuine respect and deference, so grateful to the heart where sincerely felt, was one he had never had the happiness to know. On the present occasion Elinor was not a little provoked with him, and something of the feeling might have been traced in her expression. We have heard of brilliant black eyes, that never appeared more beautiful than when flashing with passion. Those of our friend Elinor were small and grey; indignation, therefore, may not have been so becoming to them.

"Scarcely worth remembering, I fancy," she replied; and then made some observation about Mrs. Hubbard, to turn the conversation. The raillery and pleasantry of a man with no more tact, or true delicacy, than William Cassius Clapp, was more than even Elinor's sweet temper could have borne.

Mr. Wyllys had taken a seat near Mrs. Taylor.

"We have not seen all your young people yet, I believe, Mrs. Taylor."

"Oh, no, sir—I have six at home, besides the two here. Thomas and Adeline are my eldest; the rest are hardly old enough to go out; to parties—though Pompey is nearly fifteen."

"You must bring Mr. Pompey, too, next time. Your eldest son tells me he has just left Yale."

"He graduated last month. I want him to stay at home now until winter, and then go into business. But his father has taken a nation of having him go to Europe for six months. Thomas does not care so much about it; but husband has a great opinion of a European journey—he talks some of going himself. Some young men go a whaling to see the world; but Mr. Taylor thinks Thomas had better have a chance to go to Paris."

"He will probably find Paris the pleasantest trip of the two," said Mr. Wyllys, smiling. "Young Hazlehurst is going abroad, too; he sails next week, with his brother. What is the name of Harry's packet, Nelly?" asked her grandfather, taking the young girl's hand affectionately, as she passed.

Elinor named the vessel; and, from Mrs. Taylor's answer, it appeared, the young men were to sail in the same ship.

"I am glad to hear that your grandson is going to France, sir; it will be more sociable, for Thomas to have somebody he knows, in Paris."

"They will probably meet there. Harry is not my grandson, however."

"I beg your pardon; but, I understood, that the pretty young lady, with the white flower in her hair, and the young gentleman talking to my daughter Adeline, were your grandchildren."

"Oh, no; Miss Graham is my great-niece; and, as for Harry, if I remember right, he is no relation at all; though, we call him cousin. I have a house full of little grandchildren, here, just now, from Baltimore; but they are too young to be out of the nursery, at this hour. Does Miss Taylor sing?"

"No, sir; Adeline performs on the piano; but she has not any voice for music; which, I am very sorry for, as I like to hear young people sing."

"Perhaps, then, you would like to hear my grand-daughter; she sings me a song every evening, after tea," said Mr. Wyllys, who, indeed, seemed to think something was wanting to an evening, in his own house, unless Elinor gave him a little music, of which he was passionately fond; though, like most American gentlemen, of his age, he had no knowledge of the art, and no other guide than a good ear, and good natural taste. Elinor's voice was a full, sweet contralto, which had been cultivated under the best masters in Philadelphia; and, as she never attempted what she could not perform with ease and grace, her music always gave pleasure. One or two of the other ladies followed her, at the piano—Mary Van Horne, and a friend who had come with her; but their performance was very indifferent. It was rarely that one heard anything approaching to really good amateur music, in this country, fifteen years ago, at the date of Elinor's seventeenth birthday.

A light supper, and a Virginia reel, concluded the evening; when the party broke up.

"I hope you are jealous, Elinor," said Harry Hazlehurst, as he returned into the house, after having attended Miss Adeline Taylor to the carriage.

"Jealous!—Of what, pray?"

"Of the heart and affections of your humble servant, to be sure.—You must have observed the snare that Miss Taylor laid for them."

"Nonsense.—Good night!" and Elinor accompanied her aunt and cousin up stairs.



CHAPTER III.

"Her playmate from her youth." ROGERS.

{Samuel Rogers (English poet, 1763-1855), "Italy: Genevra" line 55}

ELINOR had been in her room for some minutes, and was standing in thought, before an open window, when she turned toward a little table near her, and, opening a Bible, drew from it a letter. She raised it to her lips, and, moving toward a light unfolded the sheet. Tears soon blinded her sight; she was much agitated; then, becoming calmer, she continued to read. It was a letter of some length, and every line seemed deeply interesting to the reader. Once she paused, as if struck by some new thought, and then, again, she read with some anxiety. She had just finished the last words, when her door opened, and Miss Agnes entered the room.

"Be calm, my dear child," said her aunt; "it is indeed a precious letter, and one which we both value highly; your feelings are only natural, dearest; but do not indulge them to excess." Miss Wyllys, by her gentle, caressing manner, succeeded in calming Elinor, when, urging her not to sit up later, she left her niece for the night.

When Miss Agnes was gone, Elinor fell on her knees, with the letter still in her hand. She remained some time, apparently in prayer, and then rising calmly, she folded the sheet, and laid it on the Bible; and, before her head touched her pillow, the letter was again removed, and placed beneath it.

We have not the slightest wish to beguile the reader into believing that Elinor had a mysterious lover, or a clandestine correspondence; and we shall at once mention, that this letter was one written years previously, by the mother she had lost; and her good aunt, according to the direction, had placed it in her niece's hands, on the morning of her seventeenth birthday.

When Mr. Wyllys went down to breakfast, the next morning, he inquired if their drunken visiter {sic—the Cooper family's usual spelling of the word}, of the previous night, had shown himself again.

"I have just been out, sir, to look after him," said Harry, "and the fellow does not seem to have liked his night's lodgings. He broke jail, and was off before any of the men were up this morning; they found the door open, and the staple off—he must have kicked his way out; which could easily he done, as the lock was old."

Elinor suggested that it was, perhaps, some one who was ashamed of the situation in which he had been found.

"More probably he was too much accustomed to a lock-up house, to find it pleasant. But if he really had any business here, we shall hear of him again, no doubt," said Mr. Wyllys. The affair thus disposed of, the conversation took another turn.

Mr. Wyllys, Elinor's grandfather, was decidedly a clever man. He had held a high position, in his profession, until he withdrew from it, and had, at one time, honourably distinguished himself as a politician. He was well educated, and well read; his library, at Wyllys-Roof, was, indeed, one of the best in the country. Moreover, Mr. Wyllys was a philosopher, a member of the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia; and the papers he read, before that honourable association, were generally much admired by his audience. It is even probable that Mr. Wyllys believed himself endowed with a good stock of observation and experience in human nature; but, in spite of all these advantages, we cannot help thinking that, although well-versed in natural philosophy, this excellent gentleman proved himself quite ignorant of boy and girl nature. Even his daughter, Miss Agnes, feared her father had been unwise and imprudent on an occasion which she considered of great importance.

A great deal might be said in favour of Harry Hazlehurst. Few young men, of his age, were more promising in character and abilities. He was clever, and good-tempered; and, with all the temptations of an easy fortune within his reach, he had always shown himself firm in principles. There was one trait in his character, however, which had already more than once brought him into boyish scrapes, and which threatened, if not corrected, to be injurious to his career through life. He was naturally high-spirited; and, having been indulged by his mother, and seldom controlled by his male guardian, a brother some ten years older than himself, Harry was rather disposed to be self-willed, and cherished some false notions regarding independence of character. His friends hoped, however, that as he grew older, he would become wiser. Something of this feeling had been mixed up with the motives which had lately led him to take a decided step for the future.

>From a boy, Harry had been more or less the companion and play-fellow of Elinor Wyllys and Jane Graham, whom he looked upon as cousins, owing to a near family connexion. He had always felt very differently, however, towards the two girls. Jane, a little beauty from her birth, had been an indolent and peevish child, often annoying Harry by selfish interference with their plans and amusements. Elinor, on the contrary, had always been a favourite playmate. She was an intelligent, generous child, of an uncommonly fine temper and happy disposition. As for her plain face, the boy seldom remembered it. They were both gay, clever children, who suited each other remarkably well, in all their little ways and fancies. Now, within the last year, it had struck Harry that his brother Robert and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Hazlehurst, were very desirous of making a match between Jane Graham and himself. He had overheard some trifling remark on the subject, and had suffered an afternoon's very stupid teasing and joking, about Jane, from a talkative old bachelor relation. This was quite sufficient to rouse the spirit of independence, in a youth of his years and disposition. When, at length, he heard a proposition that Jane should accompany them abroad, he went so far as to look upon it as something very like manoeuvring {sic}. HE was not a man to be led by others, in the choice of a wife. Jane might be a beauty—no doubt she was—but he had no such extravagant admiration for mere beauty. There was Elinor, for instance; she was a very different girl, though without any beauty; she was just the kind of person he liked. She was so warm-hearted and generous in her feelings—without a bit of nonsense; she was so clever—could catch a thought in a moment, and always understood and enjoyed a good thing. Then her manners, too, were charming, so simple and natural; while Jane had no manners at all. Then, everybody said she was remarkably graceful, in a perfectly natural way;—how well she rode! Jane was even afraid to mount. And how pleasantly Elinor sang—and he was so fond of music. Jane would do very well to sit and look at all day long; but, for walking, talking, riding, singing—ay, for thinking and feeling, Elinor would make precisely such a companion as a man of sense would wish for. By dint of dwelling on Elinor's good qualities, and on what he fancied the plans of his brother and sister-in-law, he came to the conclusion that the only thing to be done, under the circumstances, by a man of any character—by a man who had an opinion of his own, was to go immediately to Mr. Wyllys, and request his permission to address Elinor.

Harry was a great favourite with his uncle—from a child the young man had always given this title to Mr. Wyllys—and he had more than once expressed to his daughter, a wish that Hazlehurst and Elinor might, some years thence, take a fancy for each other. In the mean time he seemed to look upon them as children, and left matters to take care of themselves. Harry's proposal was, therefore, quite unexpected at the moment, and took him by surprise; he seemed to think Hazlehurst decidedly too young, at present—he had not yet acquired his profession. This little difficulty in the opening of the affair, merely served to rouse Harry's eloquence; and as his youth was really the only objection against him, he succeeded, before long, in obtaining Mr. Wyllys's cheerful consent to his endeavouring, during the next two months, to interest Elinor in his behalf.

Miss Agnes, when informed of what had passed, was quite startled; she thought both parties too young to take so decided a step. But her father had given his formal consent, and she could not seriously oppose it; especially when she remembered that she, also, had more than once indulged the idea that some five or six years later, Harry would make a very good husband for her adopted daughter.

No one in the family was more surprised at Harry's advances than Elinor herself. They had been so much together, ever since she could remember, and had always been such good friends, in an open, brother-and-sisterly way, that even in the last year or two, when indistinct ideas of love and matrimony had occasionally, like distant events, cast their shadows before, Harry had never once presented himself to her fancy in the light of a suitor. It required a day or two for her to comprehend the full meaning of Harry's proceedings; she could say neither yes, nor no. This hesitation, very much increased Hazlehurst's perseverance; but her aunt, who looked on anxiously, had stipulated that nothing decided should be required of her, until Harry left them.

In the mean time, a day or two had been sufficient for Mr. Wyllys to become not only reconciled to the idea, but so well pleased with the appearance of things, that he amused himself with looking on at Harry in his new character of a lover; and generally once a day, had some little joke at the expense of Elinor's embarrassment. But now, the two months had passed; Harry was to sail the next week for France—and Elinor, the morning after her birth-day, was to give a decided answer.

It was no longer very difficult to foresee that this answer would be favourable. In fact, Harry, who was thoroughly gentlemanly by nature and habit, had made his attentions just what they ought to have been under the circumstances; and, with the full approbation of her own friends, and all Harry's good qualities appearing in their best light, the two months had proved sufficient to direct Elinor's childish affection for him into another and a deeper channel. The letter she had received on the night of her birth-day, caused a moment's indecision when, the next morning, after breakfast, as Mrs. Stanley and Mrs. George Wyllys left the room, her grandfather playfully asked her "what they should do with Harry?"

But she scarcely knew in what shape to express the thought that arose in her mind, and the feeling merely gave an additional touch of embarrassment to her manner, which was only looked upon as quite natural at the moment.

"I shall think myself very badly treated, Elinor," said Harry, observing her hesitation, "if you turn me off like a common acquaintance, after we have been the best friends in the world for nobody knows how long."

"Well, Nelly," said her grandfather, "what is it, my child? Shall we tell Harry to go to Paris and cultivate his moustaches, and forget everything else?"

"Oh, no;" said Elinor, smiling as she held out her hand to Hazlehurst, though without looking up: "pray, don't come back a dandy!"

The affair was settled. The young people parted with the understanding that when Hazlehurst returned from Europe, and had acquired his profession, they were to be married; and Harry went to Philadelphia, to join his brother, and make the last arrangements for their voyage.

Jane, too, left Elinor a few days later; and Miss Wyllys, who had charge of her—as Mr. and Mrs. Graham lived in Charleston—placed her at one of the fashionable boarding schools of New York. Miss Adeline Taylor had, in the mean time, informed her parents that she had changed her mind as to the school which was to have the honour of completing her education: she should NOT return to Mrs. A——-'s, but go to Mrs. G——-'s, which was a more fashionable establishment. Not that she had anything to complain of at Mrs. A——-'s; but she thought the young ladies at Mrs. G——-'s dressed more elegantly, and besides, she felt the impossibility of remaining separated from Jane Graham, her new bosom friend. These two young ladies had met twice previously to the evening they had passed together at Wyllys-Roof; Adeline had upon one occasion been in the same boat with Jane, going and coming, between New York and Longbridge, and she had already done all in her power towards getting up a desperate intimacy. Her mother, as a matter of course, did not interfere with the young lady's preference for Mrs. G——-'s school—why should she? It was Adeline's affair; she belonged to the submissive class of American parents, who think it an act of cruelty to influence or control their children, even long before they have arrived at years of discretion. As for Mr. Taylor, he had discovered that the daughters of several fashionable families were at Mrs. G——-'s, and was perfectly satisfied with the change; all he had to do was, to make out the cheques in one name instead of another. Adeline managed the whole affair herself; and having at last been to a young party, for which she had been waiting, and having satisfied some lingering scruples as to the colours of the silk dresses which composed the winter uniform of the school, and which she at first thought frightfully unbecoming to her particular style of beauty, Miss Taylor one morning presented herself at Mrs. G——-'s door, and was regularly admitted as one of the young band in fashionable training under that lady's roof. Jane, it is true, did not show quite as much rapture at the meeting as Adeline could have wished; but, then, Miss Taylor had already discovered that this last bosom-friend was of a calmer disposition than the dozen who had preceded her.

Harry had not been a day in Philadelphia, before he announced to his brother, his engagement with Elinor; for he was much too frank by nature to have any taste for unnecessary mystery.

"I have a piece of news for you, Robert," he said, as he entered the drawing-room before dinner, and found his brother lying on a sofa.

"Good news, I hope," replied Mr. Robert Hazlehurst.

"May I not have my share of it?" asked Mrs. Hazlehurst, whom Harry had not observed.

"Certainly; it is a piece of good fortune to your humble servant, in which I hope you will both be interested."

"Why, really, Harry," said his sister-in-law, "there is a touch of importance, with a dash of self-complacency and mystery in your expression, that look a little lover-like. Have you come to announce that you are determined to offer yourself to some belle or other before we sail?"

"The deed is already done," said Harry, colouring a little; as much, perhaps, from a mischievous satisfaction in the disappointment he foresaw, as from any other feeling.

"No!" said his brother, turning towards him with some anxiety. "Offered yourself—and accepted, then; or, of course, you would not mention it."

"Pray, tell us, Harry, who is to be our new sister," said Mrs. Hazlehurst, kindly, and with some interest.

"I have half a mind to tease you," he replied, smiling.

"I never should guess," said Mrs. Hazlehurst. "I had no idea you were attached to any one—had you, Robert?"

"Not I! It must be somebody at Longbridge—he has been there more than half his time lately. Come, tell us, Harry, like a man; who is it?" asked Robert Hazlehurst, naturally feeling interested in his younger brother's choice.

"No one precisely at Longbridge," said Harry, smiling.

"Who can it be?—And actually engaged?" added Mrs. Hazlehurst, who saw that Harry would not explain himself without being questioned.

"Engaged, very decidedly, and positively, I am happy to say. Is there anything so very wonderful in my having declared an attachment to Elinor; I am sure I have liked her better than any one else all my life."

"Engaged to Elinor!" exclaimed Robert Hazlehurst, much relieved. "I am delighted to hear it. It is a wiser step than one would always expect from a young gentleman of your years."

"Engaged to Elinor! I wish you joy with all my heart," repeated his sister-in-law. "It had not occurred to me to think of any one so near and dear to us already; you could not have done better, Harry," she added, with a perfectly frank, open smile.

To tell the truth, Hazlehurst was not a little surprised, and rather mortified by this decided approbation—since it proved he had been unjust, and that he had deceived himself as to what he had supposed the wishes of his brother, and the plans of his sister-in-law. He did not, however, for an instant, regret the step he had taken; his regard for Elinor was too sincere to allow of any other feeling than that of satisfaction, in remembering their engagement. But it had now become a matter of indifference whether Jane were to join the European party or not.

On the appointed day, the Hazlehursts sailed. They went abroad with more advantages than many others, for they carried with them good sense, good principles, and a good education, and were well prepared to enjoy the wide field of observation that lay before them. There was every reason to hope, from the encouraging opinions of his physicians, that Mr. Robert Hazlehurst's health would be entirely restored by travelling; his wife looked forward to the excursion with much pleasure, and Harry was delighted with the plan. They had an old family friend in Paris, an excellent woman, who was in every way qualified to redeem the promises she had given, of soon making them feel at home in France. Madame de Bessieres was the widow of a distinguished emigre, and had passed a long exile with her husband in America. They had been for years near neighbours of Mr. Wyllys, and this gentleman had had it in his power, at different times, to render services of some importance to his French friends. Madame de Bessieres and her family were grateful for these acts of kindness: she had known the young people at Wyllys-Roof, and felt an interest in them all; for their own sakes, as well as from a sincere respect and regard for Mr. Wyllys and his daughter, this lady was anxious to show the Hazlehursts every friendly attention in her power. Under these agreeable auspices, the party left home, expecting to be absent for a couple of years.



CHAPTER IV.

"Farewell, my lord! Good wishes, praise, and prayers, Shall Suffolk ever have of Margaret." Henry VI.

{William Shakespeare, "1 Henry VI", V.iii.173-174}

THE arrival of letters from Harry, often accompanied by something pretty or useful, as a souvenir for herself, were the principal events of the next winter, to Elinor. Several months of the cold weather were passed, as usual, by Mr. Wyllys and his family, in Philadelphia; and Miss Agnes thought it time that her niece should make her appearance in society. But Elinor found less pleasure, than most girls, in the gay world. She was seldom appreciated, in mixed company; she was too young, at that time, and too modest, for her intelligence to be generally known or cared for; while her personal appearance exposed her to be entirely overlooked and neglected by strangers; it had indeed occasionally been the cause of mortifications, more deeply felt by Miss Agnes, than by Elinor herself. People talk so lightly, in what is called general society; heartless remarks are uttered with so much careless indifference on all sides, that it was not surprising some unkind observations should have reached her ear. It was not until the season that she had been introduced into a larger circle, that Elinor became better aware of her disadvantages in this respect. She had been so tenderly loved and watched over by her grandfather and aunt; she was so generally liked by those who had been hitherto her companions, that she had not been aware of all the consequences of her position. She knew that her appearance was not attractive, while her young friends were more or less pretty; still, she had thought but little on the subject, until her introduction into a larger circle led her to remark the great importance which the world attaches to mere beauty, in women, at least. But, with this reflection, came also the gratifying recollection of Harry's regard for her; and it served indeed to increase very much her attachment to him, by giving it an additional feeling of gratitude.

Harry's letters were kind and affectionate, and Elinor thought them very amusing. It was impossible that an intelligent, well-educated young man, suddenly transported from the New, to the Old World, should not find a great deal to say; and Harry told his adventures very agreeably. His letters to Elinor were almost as straight-forward and matter-of-fact, as they might have been if she had already become his wife. His brother's health was improving; so much so, that they were talking of leaving Mrs. Hazlehurst, and her children, in Paris, while Harry and the invalid made a six weeks' excursion to England. Madame de Bessieres had been all kindness, and they were delighted with the society they met at her house. "Madame de Bessieres remembers you perfectly," said Harry, in one of his letters, "and as she is sure, under Aunt Agnes' care, you must have grown up with all the good and agreeable qualities that she loved you for when a child, she agrees with your humble servant, in thinking him a very lucky fellow, and very prudent, in having secured you before he left home. She is really a most excellent and charming woman, as kind as possible to Louisa. Her American friends have every reason to be satisfied with her recollections of them, especially Mr. Wyllys and Aunt Agnes, whom she evidently appreciates. Her nephew, young de Guivres, and I, are very good friends already, and often take a gallop together in the Bois de Boulogne. It is a settled thing, Elinor, dear, that I am to bring you to France, one of these days; that is to say, if you have no objections; which, of course, you will not have. Tom Taylor is here still, and his progressive steps in civilization are quite amusing, to a looker-on; every time I see him, I am struck with some new change—some fresh growth in elegance. I was going to say, that he will turn out a regular dandy; but he would have to go to London for that; he will prove rather a sort of second-rate petit-maitre a la Parisienne; which is entirely a different creature. It would do your heart good to see Robert; he eats like a ploughman, if ploughmen ever devour poulets a la Marengo, or ortolans a la Provencale. I wish I could give as good an account of Creighton, who arrived in the last packet; poor fellow, he has not revived at all, and, I fear, will never be better. His wife is with him; as pretty and agreeable as ever. I hope Bruno behaves well, and remembers that it is now his chief duty to devote himself to your service."

{"petit-maitre a la Parisienne" = a ridiculously pretentious dandy, Parisian-style; "poulets a la Marengo" = chicken Marengo, a recipe supposedly invented by Napoleon's chef after the Battle of Marengo in 1800; "ortolans a la Provencale" = ortolans (a variety of bunting) in the style of southern France (Provence) (French)}

This was the last letter Elinor received in Philadelphia, for early in the spring the family returned to the country. She was never happier than at Wyllys-Roof, and resumed with delight occupations and amusements, which would have appeared very insipid to many elegant belles whom she left behind her—since the mornings were to be passed without visiting or shopping, the evenings without parties or flirtations. In a quiet country house, with no other young person in the family, there was of course, at Wyllys-Roof, very little excitement—that necessary ingredient of life to many people; and yet, Elinor had never passed a tedious day there. On the longest summer morning, or winter evening, she always found enough to occupy her time and attention.

To her, Wyllys-Roof was home; and that is a word of a broader and more varied meaning in the country than in a town. The cares, the sympathies of a country home, embrace a wide circle, and bring with them pleasures of their own. People know enough of all their neighbours, to take part in any interesting event that may befall them; we are sorry to hear that A., the shoemaker, is going to move away; we are glad to find that B., the butcher, has made money enough to build a new house. One has some acquaintance with everybody, from the clergyman to the loafer; few are the faces that one does not know. Even the four-footed animals of the neighbourhood are not strangers: this is the Doctor's Newfoundland dog; that is some old lady's tortoise-shell cat. One knows the horses, as well as the little urchins who ride them to water; the cows, and those who milk them. And then, country-folks are nature's freeholders; they enjoy a full portion of the earth, the air, the sky, with the thousand charms an ever-merciful Creator has lavished on them. Every inanimate object—this hill, that wood, the brook, the bridge, C.'s farm-house, and D.'s barn—to the very highway, as far as eye can reach, all form pleasing parts of a country home. In a city, on the contrary, we live surrounded by strangers. Home is entirely restricted to our own fire-side. One knows a neighbour's card, perhaps, but not his face. There may have been a funeral or a wedding next-door, and we learn it only from the morning paper. Then, even if a fixture oneself, how is it possible for human sensibilities to cling very closely to the row of brick houses opposite, which are predestined to be burned or pulled down in a few years? Nor can one be supposed to look with much pleasure at the omnibus horses, or half-starved pigs that may belong to one's street. No doubt, that with hearts warm and true, we may have a FIRESIDE in town; but HOME with its thousand pleasant accessories—HOME, in its fullest meaning, belongs especially to the country.

Elinor was a country girl, born and bred. Though banished from Chesnut {sic} Street, she would have been well satisfied with the usual occupations of a country life, varied only by quiet walks with her aunt, rides with her grandfather, chatty meetings with a few young companions, or long visits from old friends, whose names and faces had been familiar to her all her life. The first few weeks after her return to Wyllys-Roof, she had, of course, more than usual to see and hear. Elinor had been absent from home but a few months; yet, even in that short space, she found changes had occurred in the neighbourhood—varied, as usual—some of a sad, some of a pleasant nature. Miss Agnes and her niece found one place vacant among those whom they were in the habit of seeing often; the father of a family who lived within sight of their own windows, had died suddenly, and left a widow and children to struggle with the world: but they were neither friendless nor repining, and submitted with humble resignation to their severe affliction, prepared to meet with faith and hope the additional cares and toils allotted to them. One of Elinor's young friends, too, was lying on a sick-bed at Longbridge—a beautiful girl of her own age wasted by consumption; but she was calm and peaceful, though without hope this side the grave. We shall scarcely forgive ourselves for making even a distant allusion to one portion of Elinor's pleasures and labours, although more especially connected with home; since none could perform their religious duties with less ostentation, with more single-hearted sincerity—none could more carefully follow the precept, to "give with simplicity," than Miss Wyllys, and the niece she had educated.

{"Chesnut Street" = Chestnut Street, a fashionable street in Philadelphia}

Of course, the ladies had immediately resumed their intercourse with their old friends; and they had many neighbourly visits to pay. Not your formal, fashionable morning calls, lasting just three minutes, when you are so unfortunate as to find at home the individual you are paying off; no, indeed; good, honest visits of nearly an hour's length, giving time to exchange many kindly inquiries as to the health of all the members of the family, the condition of the garden, and promises of the crops; and even occasionally allowing Mr. Wyllys to take a look at some addition to the live-stock, in the shape of calves, colts, or pigs. Then, Mrs. Bernard had just moved into a new house, whose comforts and conveniences must certainly be shown by herself, and appreciated by her friends. Then, Elinor had to kiss, and make acquaintance with several tiny pieces of humanity, in white frocks and lace caps—little creatures born during the past winter; of course, the finest babies one could wish to see, and the delight of their parents' hearts. Then, Alida Van Horne was going to be married; as Elinor was to be her bridesmaid, a great deal of talking and consulting took place on the occasion, as matter of course. But, although her time was fully occupied in many different ways, no day was too pleasant or too busy for more than one thought to be given to Harry Hazlehurst.



CHAPTER V.

"Anch' io son pittore!" CORREGGIO.

{"Anch' io son pittore" = "I too, am a painter!" (Italian). Antonio Allegri da Correggio (Italian painter, 1494-1534), exclamation on viewing Raphael's "St. Cecilia" at Bologna (1525)}

THERE was one subject, in which the family at Wyllys-Roof felt particularly interested just then, and that was, Charlie Hubbard's picture. This piece was to decide finally the question, whether Charlie should be an artist, or a merchant's clerk; a question which he himself considered all important, and which caused much anxiety to his friends.

The house in which the Hubbards lived was a grey, wooden cottage, of the smallest size; curious gossips had, indeed, often wondered how it had ever been made to contain a large family; but some houses, like certain purses, possess capabilities of expansion, quite independent of their apparent size, and connected by mysterious sympathies with the heads and hearts of their owners. This cottage belonged to the most ancient and primitive style of American architecture; what may be called the comfortable, common sense order—far superior, one might suppose to either Corinthian or Composite, for a farm-house. The roof was low, and unequally divided, stretching, on one side, with a long, curving slope, over the southern front; which was scarce seven feet high: towards the road the building was a little more elevated, for a dormer-window gave it the dignity of a story and a half. Not only the roof, but the walls—we have classical authority for wooden walls—were covered with rounded shingles, long since grey, and in spots, moss-grown. Twice the cottage had escaped a more brilliant exterior; upon one occasion it had been inhabited by an ambitious family, who talked of a coat of red paint; fortunately, they moved away, before concluding a bargain with the painter. Again, when the Hubbards took possession of the 'old grey house,' a committee of ladies actually drove over from Longbridge, with the intention of having it whitewashed; but, the experienced old negro engaged to clean generally, gave it as his opinion, that the shingles were not worth the compliment. The windows were very small; more than half the glass was of the old, blue bull's-eye pattern, no longer to be found at modern glaziers, and each heavy window-shutter had a half-moon cut in its upper panel, to let in the daylight. When we add, that there was a low porch before the door, with a sweet-briar on one side, and a snowball on the other, the reader will have a correct idea of the house inhabited by our friends, the Hubbards.

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