"The bravest are the tenderest."
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Works of ROBERT NEILSON STEPHENS
An Enemy to the King (Twenty-sixth Thousand)
The Continental Dragoon (Seventeenth Thousand)
The Road to Paris (Sixteenth Thousand)
A Gentleman Player (Thirty-fifth Thousand)
Philip Winwood (Fiftieth Thousand)
L.C. Page and Company, Publishers (Incorporated) 212 Summer St., Boston, Mass.
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A Sketch of the Domestic History of an American Captain in the War of Independence; Embracing Events that Occurred between and during the Years 1763 and 1786, in New York and London: written by His Enemy in War, Herbert Russell, Lieutenant in the Loyalist Forces.
Presented Anew by
Robert Neilson Stephens
Author of A Gentleman Player, An Enemy to the King, The Continental Dragoon, The Road to Paris, etc.
Illustrated by E. W. D. Hamilton
Boston: L.C. Page & Company (Incorporated)
I. PHILIP'S ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK
II. THE FARINGFIELDS
III. WHEREIN 'TIS SHOWN THAT BOYS ARE BUT BOYS
IV. HOW PHILIP AND I BEHAVED AS RIVALS IN LOVE
V. WE HEAR STARTLING NEWS, WHICH BRINGS ABOUT A FAMILY "SCENE"
VI. NED COMES BACK, WITH AN INTERESTING TALE OF A FORTUNATE IRISHMAN
VII. ENEMIES IN WAR
VIII. I MEET AN OLD FRIEND IN THE DARK
IX. PHILIP'S ADVENTURES—CAPTAIN FALCONER COMES TO TOWN
X. A FINE PROJECT
XI. WINWOOD COMES TO SEE HIS WIFE
XII. THEIR INTERVIEW
XIII. WHEREIN CAPTAIN WINWOOD DECLINES A PROMOTION
XIV. THE BAD SHILLING TURNS UP ONCE MORE IN QUEEN STREET
XV. IN WHICH THERE IS A FLIGHT BY SEA, AND A DUEL BY MOONLIGHT
XVI. FOLLOWS THE FORTUNES OF MADGE AND NED
XVII. I HEAR AGAIN FROM WINWOOD
XVIII. PHILIP COMES AT LAST TO LONDON
XIX. WE MEET A PLAY-ACTRESS THERE
XX. WE INTRUDE UPON A GENTLEMAN AT A COFFEE-HOUSE
XXI. THE LAST, AND MOST EVENTFUL, OF THE HISTORY
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
CAPTAIN PHILIP WINWOOD Frontispiece
"OUR MOTIONS, AS WE TOUCHED OUR LIPS WITH THEM, WERE SO IN UNISON THAT MARGARET LAUGHED"
"SHE WAS INDEED THE TOAST OF THE ARMY"
"'HE IS A—AN ACQUAINTANCE'"
"HE FINALLY DREW BACK TO GIVE HER A MORE EFFECTUAL BLOW"
"IT WAS PHILIP'S CUSTOM, AT THIS TIME, TO ATTEND FIRST NIGHTS AT THE PLAYHOUSES"
Philip's Arrival in New York.
'Tis not the practice of writers to choose for biography men who have made no more noise in the world than Captain Winwood has; nor the act of gentlemen, in ordinary cases, to publish such private matters as this recital will present. But I consider, on the one hand, that Winwood's history contains as much of interest, and as good an example of manly virtues, as will be found in the life of many a hero more renowned; and, on the other, that his story has been so partially known, and so distorted, it becomes indeed the duty of a gentleman, when that gentleman was his nearest friend, to put forth that story truly, and so give the lie for ever to the detractors of a brave and kindly man.
There was a saying in the American army, proceeding first from Major Harry Lee, of their famous Light Horse, that Captain Winwood was in America, in the smaller way his modesty permitted, what the Chevalier Bayard was in France, and Sir Philip Sidney in England. This has been received more than once (such is the malice of conscious inferiority) with derisive smiles or supercilious sneers; and not only by certain of his own countrymen, but even in my presence, when my friendship for Winwood, though I had been his rival in love and his enemy in war, was not less known than was my quickness to take offence and avenge it. I dealt with one such case, at the hour of dawn, in a glade near the Bowery lane, a little way out of New York. And I might have continued to vindicate my friend's character so: either with pistols, as at Weehawken across the Hudson, soon after the war, I vindicated the motives of us Englishmen of American birth who stood for the king in the war of Independence; or with rapiers, as I defended the name of our admired enemy, Washington, against a certain defamer, one morning in Hyde Park, after I had come to London. But it has occurred to me that I can better serve Winwood's reputation by the spilling of ink with a quill than of blood with a sword or pistol. This consideration, which is far from a desire to compete with the young gentlemen who strive for farthings and fame, in Grub Street, is my apology for profaning with my unskilled hand the implement ennobled by the use of a Johnson and a Goldsmith, a Fielding and an Addison.
My acquaintance with the Captain's life, from the vantage of an eye-witness and comrade, goes back to the time when all of us concerned were children; to the very day, in truth, when Philip, a pale and slender lad of eleven years, first set foot in New York, and first set eye on Margaret Faringfield.
As I think of it, it seems but yesterday, and myself a boy again: but it was, in fact, in the year 1763; and late in the afternoon of a sunny Summer day. I remember well how thick and heavy the green leaves hung upon the trees that thrust their branches out over the garden walls and fences of our quiet street.
Tired from a day's play, or perchance lazy from the heat, I sprawled upon the front step of our house, which was next the residence of the Faringfields, in what was then called Queen Street. I believe the name of that, as of many another in New York, has been changed since the war, having savoured too much of royalty for republican taste. The Faringfield house, like the family, was one of the finest in New York; and there were in that young city greater mansions than one would have thought to find in a little colonial seaport—a rural-looking provincial place, truly, which has been likened to a Dutch town almost wholly transformed into the semblance of some secondary English town, or into a tiny, far-off imitation of London. It lacked, of course, the grand, gray churches, the palaces and historic places, that tell of what a past has been London's; but it lacked, too, the begriming smoke and fog that are too much of London's present. Indeed, never had any town a clearer sky, or brighter sunshine, than are New York's.
From the Summer power of this sunshine, our part of Queen Street was sheltered by the trees of gardens and open spaces; maple, oak, chestnut, linden, locust, willow, what not? There was a garden, wherein the breeze sighed all day, between our house and the Faringfield mansion, to which it pertained. That vast house, of red and yellow brick, was two stories and a garret high, and had a doubly-sloping roof pierced with dormer windows. The mansion's lower windows and wide front door were framed with carved wood-work, painted white. Its garden gate, like its front door, opened directly to the street; and in the garden gateway, as I lounged on our front step that Summer evening, Madge Faringfield stood, running her fingers through the thick white and brown hair of her huge dog at her side.
The dog's head was almost on a level with hers, for she was then but eight years old, a very bright and pretty child. She turned her quick glance down the street as she stood; and saw me lying so lazy; and at once her gray eyes took on a teasing and deriding light, and I felt I was in for some ironical, quizzing speech or other. But just then her look fell upon something farther down the way, toward Hanover Square, and lingered in a half-amused kind of curiosity. I directed my own gaze to see what possessed hers, and this is what we both beheld together, little guessing what the years to come should bring to make that moment memorable in our minds.
A thin but well-formed boy of eleven; with a pleasant, kindly face, somewhat too white, in which there was a look—as there was evidence in his walk also—of his being tired from prolonged exertion or endurance. He was decently, though not expensively, clad in black cloth, his three-cornered felt hat, wide-skirted coat, and ill-fitting knee-breeches, being all of the same solemn hue. I was to perceive later that his clothes were old and carefully mended. His gray silk stockings ill accorded with his poor shoes, of which the buckles were of steel. He carried in one hand a large, ancient travelling-bag, so heavy that it strained his muscles and dragged him down, thus partly explaining the fatigued look in his face; and in his other hand a basket, from the open top of which there appeared, thrust out, the head of a live gray kitten.
This pretty animal's look of strangeness to its surroundings, as it gazed about with curiosity, would alone have proclaimed that it was arrived from travel; had not the baggage and appearance of its bearer told the same story. The boy, also, kept an alert eye forward as he advanced up the street, but it was soon evident that he gazed in search of some particular object. This object, as the lad finally satisfied himself by scanning it and its neighbours twice over, proved to be the house immediately opposite ours. It was one of a row of small, old brick residences, with Dutch gable ends toward the street. Having made sure of its identity, and having reddened a little at the gaze of Madge and me, the young stranger set down his bag with perceptible signs of physical relief, and, keeping in his grasp the basket with the cat, knocked with a seemingly forced boldness—as if he were conscious of timidity to be overcome—upon the door.
At that, Madge Faringfield could not help laughing aloud.
It was a light, rippling, little laugh, entirely good-natured, lasting but a moment. But it sufficed to make the boy turn and look at her and blush again, as if he were hurt but bore no resentment.
Then I, who knew what it was to be wounded by a girl's laugh, especially Madge's, thought it time to explain, and called out to the lad:
"There's nobody at home there."
The boy gazed at me at a loss; then, plainly reluctant to believe me, he once more inspected the blank, closed front of the house, for denial or confirmation of my word. When he next looked back at me, the expression of inquiring helplessness and vague alarm on his face, as if the earth were giving way beneath his feet, was half comical, half pitiful to see.
"It is Mr. Aitken's house, is it not?" he asked, in a tone low and civil, though it seemed to betray a rapid beating of the heart after a sudden sinking thereof.
"It was," I replied, "but he has gone back to England, and that house is empty."
The lad's dismay now became complete, yet it appeared in no other way than in the forlorn expression of his sharp, pale countenance, and in the unconscious appeal with which his blue eyes surveyed Madge and me in turn. But in a few moments he collected himself, as if for the necessary dealing with some unexpected castastrophe, and asked me, a little huskily still:
"When will he come home?"
"Never, to this house, I think. Another customs officer has come over in his place, but this one lodges at the King's Arms, because he's a bachelor."
The lad cast a final hopeless glance at the house, and then mechanically took a folded letter from an inner pocket, and dismally regarded the name on the back.
"I had a letter for him," he said, presently, looking again across the street at me and Madge, for the curious Miss Faringfield had walked down from her gateway to my side, that she might view the stranger better. And now she spoke, in her fearless, good-humoured, somewhat forward way:
"If you will give the letter to me, my father will send it to Mr. Aitken in London."
"Thank you, but that would be of no use," said the lad, with a disconsolate smile.
"Why not?" cried Madge promptly, and started forthwith skipping across the dusty street. I followed, and in a moment we two were quite close to the newcomer.
"You're tired," said Madge, not waiting for his answer. "Why don't you sit down?" And she pointed to the steps of the vacant house.
"Thank you," said the lad, but with a bow, and a gesture that meant he would not sit while a lady stood, albeit the lady's age was but eight years.
Madge, pleased at this, smiled, and perched herself on the upper step. Waiting to be assured that I preferred standing, the newcomer then seated himself on his own travelling-bag, an involuntary sigh of comfort showing how welcome was this rest.
"Did you come to visit in New York?" at once began the inquisitive Madge.
"Yes, I—I came to see Mr. Aitken," was the hesitating and dubious answer.
"And so you'll have to go back home without seeing him?"
"I don't very well see how I can go back," said the boy slowly.
"Oh, then you will visit some one else, or stay at the tavern?" Madge went on.
"I don't know any one else here," was the reply, "and I can't stay at the tavern."
"Why, then, what will you do?"
"I don't know—yet," the lad answered, looking the picture of loneliness.
"Where do you live?" I put in.
"I did live in Philadelphia, but I left there the other day by the stage-coach, and arrived just now in New York by the boat."
"And why can't you go back there?" I continued.
"Why, because,—I had just money enough left to pay my way to New York; and even if I should walk back, I've no place there to go back to, and no one at all—now—" He broke off here, his voice faltering; and his blue eyes filled with moisture. But he made a swallow, and checked the tears, and sat gently stroking the head of his kitten.
For a little time none of us spoke, while I stood staring somewhat abashed at the lad's evident emotion. Madge studied his countenance intently, and doubtless used her imagination to suppose little Tom—her younger and favourite brother—in this stranger's place. Whatever it was that impelled her, she suddenly said to him, "Wait here," and turning, ran back across the street, and disappeared through the garden gate.
Instead of following her, the dog went up to the new boy's cat and sniffed at its nose, causing it to whisk back its head and gaze spellbound. To show his peaceful mind, the dog wagged his tail, and by degrees so won the kitten's confidence that it presently put forth its face again and exchanged sniffs.
"I should think you'd have a dog, instead of a cat," said I, considering the stranger's sex.
He answered nothing to this, but looked quite affectionately at his pet. I set it down as odd that so manly a lad should so openly show liking for a cat. The conduct of the animal in its making acquaintance with the dog; the good-humoured assurance of the one, and the cautious coyness of the other; amused us till presently Madge's voice was heard; and then we saw her coming from the garden, speaking to her father, who walked bareheaded beside her. Behind, at a little distance, came Madge's mother and little Tom. All four stopped at the gateway, and looked curiously toward us.
"Come over here, boy," called Madge, and heeded not the reproof her mother instantly gave her in an undertone for her forwardness. For any one of his children but Madge, reproof would have come from her father also; in all save where she was concerned, he was a singularly correct and dignified man, to the point of stiffness and austerity. His wife, a pretty, vain, inoffensive woman, was always chiding her children for their smaller faults, and never seeing the traits that might lead to graver ones.
Mr. and Mrs. Faringfield awaited the effect of Madge's invitation, or rather command, adding nothing to it. The boy's colour showed his diffidence, under the scrutiny of so many coldly inquiring eyes; but after a moment he rose, and I, with greater quickness, seized his bag by the handle and started across the street with it. He called out a surprised and grateful "Thank you," and followed me. I was speedily glad I had not undertaken to carry the bag as far as he had done; 'twas all I could do to bear it.
"How is this, lad?" said Mr. Faringfield, when the boy, with hat off, stood before him. The tone was stern enough, a stranger would have thought, though it was indeed a kindly one for Madge's father. "You have come from Philadelphia to visit Mr. Aitken? Is he your relation?"
"No, sir; he was a friend of my father's before my father came to America," replied the lad, in a low, respectful voice.
"Yet your father did not know he was gone back to England? How is that?"
"My father is dead, sir; he died six years ago."
"Oh, I see," replied Mr. Faringfield, a little taken down from his severity. "And the letter my little girl tells me of?"
"If you please, my mother wrote it, sir," said the boy, looking at the letter in his hand, his voice trembling a little. He seemed to think, from the manner of the Faringfields, that he was obliged to give a full account of himself, and so went on. "She didn't know what else to do about me, sir, as there was no one in Philadelphia—that is, I mean, she remembered what a friend Mr. Aitken was to my father—they were both of Oxford, sir; Magdalen college. And so at last she thought of sending me to him, that he might get me a place or something; and she wrote the letter to tell him who I was; and she saw to it that I should have money enough to come to New York,—"
"But I don't understand," interrupted Mr. Faringfield, frowning his disapproval of something. "What made it necessary for her to dispose of you? Was she going to marry again?"
"She was going to die, sir," replied the boy, in a reserved tone which, despite his bashfulness, both showed his own hurt, and rebuked his elder's thoughtless question.
"Poor boy!" whispered Mrs. Faringfield, grasping her little Tom's hand.
"Oh," said her husband, slowly, slightly awed from his sternness. "I beg your pardon, my lad. I am very sorry, indeed. Your being here, then, means that you are now an orphan?"
"Yes, sir," was the boy's only answer, and he lowered his eyes toward his kitten, and so sad and lonely an expression came into his face that no wonder Mrs. Faringfield whispered again, "Poor lad," and even Madge and little Tom looked solemn.
"Well, boy, something must be done about you, that's certain," said Mr. Faringfield. "You have no money, my daughter says. Spent all you had for cakes and kickshaws in the towns where the stage-coach stopped, I'll warrant."
The boy smiled. "The riding made me hungry sir," said he. "I'd have saved my extra shilling if I'd known how it was going to be."
"But is there nothing coming to you in Philadelphia? Did your mother leave nothing?"
"Everything was sold at auction to pay our debts—it took the books and our furniture and all, to do that."
"We kept a book-shop, sir. My father left it to us. He was a bookseller, but he was a gentleman and an Oxford man."
"And he didn't make a fortune at the book trade, eh?"
"No, sir. I've heard people say he would rather read his books than sell them."
"From your studious look I should say you took after him."
"I do like to read, sir," the lad admitted quietly, smiling again.
Here Madge put in, with the very belated query:
"What's your name?"
"Philip Winwood," the boy answered, looking at her pleasantly.
"Well, Master Winwood," said Madge's father, "we shall have to take you in overnight, at least, and then see what's to be done."
At this Mrs. Faringfield said hastily, with a touch of alarm:
"But, my dear, is it quite safe? The child might—might have the measles or something, you know."
Madge tittered openly, and Philip Winwood looked puzzled. Mr. Faringfield answered:
"One can see he is a healthy lad, and cleanly, though he is tired and dusty from his journey. He may occupy the end garret room. 'Tis an odd travelling companion you carry, my boy. Did you bring the cat from Philadelphia?"
"Yes, sir; my mother was fond of it, and I didn't like to leave it behind."
The kitten drew back from the stately gentleman's attempt to tap its nose with his finger, and evinced a desire to make the acquaintance of his wife, toward whom it put forth its head as far as possible out of its basket, beginning the while to purr.
"Look, mamma, it wants to come to you," cried little Tom, delighted.
"Cats and dogs always make friends quicker with handsome people," said Philip Winwood, with no other intent than merely to utter a fact, of which those who observe the lower animals are well aware.
"There, my dear," said Mr. Faringfield, "there's a compliment for you at my expense."
The lady, who had laughed to conceal her pleasure at so innocent a tribute, now freely caressed the kitten; of which she had been shy before, as if it also might have the measles.
"Well, Philip," she said, a moment later, "come in, and feel that you are at home. You'll have just time to wash, and brush the dust off, before supper. He shall occupy the second spare chamber, William," she added, turning to her husband. "How could you think of sending so nice and good-looking a lad to the garret? Leave your travelling-bag here, child; the servants shall carry it in for you."
"This is so kind of you, ma'am, and sir," said Philip, with a lump in his throat; and able to speak his gratitude the less, because he felt it the more.
"I am the one you ought to thank," said Madge archly, thus calling forth a reproving "Margaret!" from her mother, and an embarrassed smile—part amusement, part thanks, part admiration—from Philip. The smile so pleased Madge, that she gave one in return and then actually dropped her eyes.
I saw with a pang that the newcomer was already in love with her, and I knew that the novelty of his adoration would make her oblivious of my existence for at least a week to come. But I bore him no malice, and as the Faringfields turned toward the rear veranda of the house, I said:
"Come and play with me whenever you like. That's where I live, next door. My name is Herbert Russell, but they call me Bert, for short."
"Thank you," said Winwood, and was just about to go down the garden walk between Madge and little Tom, when the whole party was stopped by a faint boo-hooing, in a soft and timid voice, a short distance up the street.
"'Tis Fanny," cried Mrs. Faringfield, affrightedly, and ran out from the garden to the street.
"Ned has been bullying her," said Madge, anger suddenly firing her pretty face. And she, too, was in the street in a moment, followed by all of us, Philip Winwood joining with a ready boyish curiosity and interest in what concerned his new acquaintances.
Sure enough, it was Fanny Faringfield, Madge's younger sister, coming along the street, her knuckles in her eyes, the tears streaming down her face; and behind her, with his fists in his coat pockets, and his cruel, sneering laugh on his bold, handsome face, came Ned, the eldest of the four Faringfield young ones. He and Fanny were returning from a children's afternoon tea-party at the Wilmots' house in William Street, from which entertainment Madge had stayed away because she had had another quarrel with Ned, whom she, with her self-love and high spirit, had early learned to hate for his hectoring and domineering nature. I shared Madge's feeling there, and was usually at daggers drawn with Ned Faringfield; for I never would take any man's browbeating. Doubtless my own quickness of temper was somewhat to blame. I know that it got me into many fights, and had, in fact, kept me too from that afternoon's tea, I being then not on speaking terms with one of the Wilmot boys. As for Madge's detestation of Ned, she made up for it by her love of little Tom, who then and always deserved it. Tom was a true, kind, honest, manly fellow, from his cradle to that sad night outside the Kingsbridge tavern. Madge loved Fanny too, but less wholly. As for Fanny, dear girl, she loved them all, even Ned, to whom she rendered homage and obedience; and to save whom from their father's hard wrath, she now, at sight of us all issuing from the gateway, suddenly stopped crying and tried to look as if nothing were the matter.
Ned, seeing his father, paled and hesitated; but the next moment came swaggering on, his face showing a curious succession of fear, defiance, cringing, and a crafty hope of lying out of his offence.
It was, of course, the very thing Fanny did to shield him, that certainly betrayed him; and when I knew from her sudden change of conduct that he was indeed to blame, I would gladly have attacked him, despite that he was twelve years old and I but ten. But I dared not move in the presence of our elders, and moreover I saw at once Ned's father would deal with him to our complete satisfaction.
"Go to your room, sir," said Mr. Faringfield, in his sternest tone, looking his anger out of eyes as hard as steel. This meant for Master Ned no supper, and probably much worse.
"Please, sir, I didn't do anything," answered Ned, with ill-feigned surprise. "She fell and hurt her arm."
Fanny did not deny this, but she was no liar, and could not confirm it. So she looked to the ground, and clasped her left wrist with her right hand. But in this latter movement she again exposed her brother by the very means she took to protect him; for quick-seeing Madge, observing the action, gently but firmly unclasped the younger sister's hand, and so disclosed the telltale marks of Ned's fingers upon the delicate wrist, by squeezing or wrenching which that tyrant had evinced his brotherly superiority.
At sight of this, Mrs. Faringfield gave a low cry of horror and maternal pity, and fell to caressing the bruised wrist; and Madge, raising her arm girl-wise, began to rain blows on her brother, which fell wherever they might, but where none of them could hurt. Her father, without reproving her, drew her quietly back, and with a countenance a shade darker than before, pointed out the way for Ned toward the veranda leading to the rear hall-door.
With a vindictive look, and pouting lips, Ned turned his steps down the walk. Just then he noticed Philip Winwood, who had viewed every detail of the scene with wonder, and who now regarded Ned with a kind of vaguely disliking curiosity, such as one bestows on some sinister-looking strange animal. Philip's look was, of course, unconscious, but none the less clearly to be read for that. Ned Faringfield, pausing on his way, stared at the unknown lad, with an expression of insolent inquiry. Not daring to stay for questions, but observing the valise, he seemed to become aware that the newcomer was an already accepted guest of the house; and he thereupon surveyed Philip a moment, inwardly measuring him as a possible comrade or antagonist, but affecting a kind of disdain. A look from his father ended Ned's inspection, and sent him hastily toward his imprisonment, whither he went with no one's pity but Fanny's—for his mother had become afraid of him, and little Tom took his likes and dislikes from his sister Madge.
And so they went in to supper, disappearing from my sight behind the corner of the parlour wing as they mounted the rear veranda: Mr. and Mrs. Faringfield first, the mother leading Fanny by the wounded wrist; the big dog next, wagging his tail for no particular reason; and then Philip Winwood, with his cat in his basket, Madge at one side of him and pretending an interest in the kitten while from beneath her lashes she alertly watched the boy himself, little Tom on the other side holding Philip's hand. I stood at the gateway, looking after; and with all my young infatuation for Madge, I had no feeling but one of liking, for this quiet, strange lad, with the pale, kind face. And I would to God I might see those three still walking together, as when children, through this life that has dealt so strangely with them all since that Summer evening.
Having shown how Philip Winwood came among us, I ought to tell at once, though of course I learned it from him afterwards, all that need be known of his previous life. His father, after leaving Oxford and studying medicine in Edinburgh, had married a lady of the latter city, and emigrated to Philadelphia to practise as a physician. But whether 'twas that the Quaker metropolis was overstocked with doctors even then, or for other reasons, there was little call for Doctor Winwood's ministrations. Moreover, he was of so book-loving a disposition that if he happened to have sat down to a favourite volume, and a request came for his services, it irked him exceedingly to respond. This being noticed and getting abroad, did not help him in his profession.
The birth of Philip adding to the doctor's expenses, it soon came about that, in the land where he had hoped to make a new fortune, he parted with the last of what fortune he had originally possessed. Then occurred to him the ingenious thought of turning bookseller, a business which, far from requiring that he should ever absent himself from his precious volumes, demanded rather that he should always be among them. But the stock that he laid in, turned out to comprise rather such works as a gentleman of learning would choose for company, than such as the people of Philadelphia preferred to read. Furthermore, when some would-be purchaser appeared, it often happened that the book he offered to buy was one for which the erudite dealer had acquired so strong an affection that he would not let it change owners. Nor did his wife much endeavour to turn him from this untradesmanlike course. Besides being a gentle and affectionate woman, she had that admiration for learning which, like excessive warmth of heart and certain other traits, I have observed to be common between the Scotch (she was of Edinburgh, as I have said) and the best of the Americans.
Such was Philip's father, and when he died of some trouble of the heart, there was nothing for his widow to do but continue the business. She did this with more success than the doctor had had, though many a time it smote her heart to sell some book of those that her husband had loved, and to the backs of which she had become attached for his sake and through years of acquaintance. But the necessities of her little boy and herself cried out, and so did the debt her husband had accumulated as tangible result of his business career. By providing books of a less scholarly, more popular character, such as novels, sermons, plays, comic ballads, religious poems, and the like; as well as by working with her needle, and sometimes copying legal and other documents, Mrs. Winwood managed to keep the kettle boiling. And in the bookselling and the copying, she soon came to have the aid of Philip.
The boy, too, loved books passionately, finding in them consolation for the deprivations incidental to his poverty. But, being keenly sympathetic, he had a better sense of his mother's necessities than his father had shown, and to the amelioration of her condition and his own, he sacrificed his love of books so far as to be, when occasion offered, an uncomplaining seller of those he liked, and a dealer in those he did not like. His tastes were, however, broader than his father's, and he joyfully lost himself in the novels and plays his father would have disdained.
He read, indeed, everything he could put his hands on, that had, to his mind, reason, or wit, or sense, or beauty. Many years later, when we were in London, his scholarly yet modest exposition of a certain subject eliciting the praise of a group in a Pall Mall tavern, and he being asked "What university he was of," he answered, with a playful smile, "My father's bookshop." It was, indeed, his main school of book-learning. But, as I afterward told him, he had studied in the university of life also. However, I am now writing of his boyhood in Philadelphia; and of that there is only this left to be said.
In catering to his mind, he did not neglect bodily skill either. His early reading of Plutarch and other warlike works had filled him with desire to emulate the heroes of battle. An old copy of Saviolo's book on honour and fence, written in the reign of Elizabeth, or James, I forget which, had in some manner found its way to his father's shelves; and from this Philip secretly obtained some correct ideas of swordsmanship. Putting them in practice one day in the shop, with a stick, when he thought no one was looking, he suddenly heard a cry of "bravo" from the street door, and saw he was observed by a Frenchman, who had recently set up in Philadelphia as a teacher of fencing, dancing, and riding. This expert, far from allowing Philip to be abashed, complimented and encouraged him; entered the shop, and made friends with him. The lad, being himself as likable as he found the lively foreigner interesting, became in time something of a comrade to the fencing master. The end of this was that, in real or pretended return for the loan of Saviolo's book, the Frenchman gave Philip a course of instruction and practice in each of his three arts.
To these the boy added, without need of a teacher, the ability to shoot, both with gun and with pistol. I suppose it was from being so much with his mother, between whom and himself there must have existed the most complete devotion, that notwithstanding his manly and scholarly accomplishments, his heart, becoming neither tough like the sportsman's nor dry like the bookworm's, remained as tender as a girl's—or rather as a girl's is commonly supposed to be. His mother's death, due to some inward ailment of which the nature was a problem to the doctors, left him saddened but too young to be embittered. And this was the Philip Winwood—grave and shy from having been deprived too much of the company of other boys, but with certain mental and bodily advantages of which too much of that company would have deprived him—who was taken into the house of the Faringfields in the Summer of 1763.
The footing on which he should remain there was settled the very morning after his arrival. Mr. Faringfield, a rigid and prudent man, but never a stingy one, made employment for him as a kind of messenger or under clerk in his warehouse. The boy fell gratefully into the new life, passing his days in and about the little counting-room that looked out on Mr. Faringfield's wharf on the East River. He found it dull work, the copying of invoices, the writing of letters to merchants in other parts of the world, the counting of articles of cargo, and often the bearing a hand in loading or unloading some schooner or dray; but as beggars should not be choosers, so beneficiaries should not be complainers, and Philip kept his feelings to himself.
Mr. Faringfield was an exacting master, whose rule was that his men should never be idle, even at times when there seemed nothing to do. If no task was at hand, they should seek one; and if none could be found, he was like to manufacture one. Thus was Phil denied the pleasure of brightening or diversifying his day with reading, for which he could have found time enough. He tried to be interested in his work, and he in part succeeded, somewhat by good-fellowship with the jesting, singing, swearing wharfmen and sailors, somewhat by dwelling often on the thought that he was filling his small place in a great commerce which touched so distant shores, and so many countries, of the world. He used to watch the vessels sail, on the few and far-between days when there were departures, and wish, with inward sighs, that he might sail with them. A longing to see the great world, the Europe of history, the Britain of his ancestors, had been implanted in him by his reading, before he had come to New York, and the desire was but intensified by his daily contact with the one end of a trade whose other end lay beyond the ocean.
Outside of the hours of business, Philip's place was that of a member of the Faringfield household, where, save in the one respect that after his first night it was indeed the garret room that fell to him, he was on terms of equality with the children. Ned alone, of them all, affected toward him the manner of a superior to a dependent. Whatever were Philip's feelings regarding this attitude of the elder son, he kept them locked within, and had no more to say to Master Ned than absolute civility required. With the two girls and little Tom, and with me, he was, evenings and Sundays, the pleasantest playfellow in the world.
Ungrudgingly he gave up to us, once we had made the overtures, the time he would perhaps rather have spent over his books; for he had brought a few of these from Philadelphia, a fact which accounted for the exceeding heaviness of his travelling bag, and he had access, of course, to those on Mr. Faringfield's shelves. His compliance with our demands was the more kind, as I afterward began to see, for that his day's work often left him quite tired out. Of this we never thought; we were full of the spirits pent up all day at school, Madge and Fanny being then learners at the feet of a Boston maiden lady in our street, while I yawned and idled my hours away on the hard benches of a Dutch schoolmaster near the Broadway, under whom Ned Faringfield also was a student. But fresh as we were, and tired as Philip was, he was always ready for a romp in our back yard, or a game of hide-and-seek in the Faringfields' gardens, or a chase all the way over to the Bowling Green, or all the way up to the Common where the town ended and the Bowery lane began.
But it soon came out that Phil's books were not neglected, either. The speed with which his candles burnt down, and required renewal, told of nocturnal studies in his garret. As these did not perceptibly interfere with his activity the next day, they were viewed by Mr. Faringfield rather with commendation than otherwise, and so were allowed to continue. My mother thought it a sin that no one interfered to prevent the boy's injuring his health; but when she said this to Phil himself, he only smiled and answered that if his reading did cost him anything of health, 'twas only fair a man should pay something for his pleasures.
My mother's interest in the matter arose from a real liking. She saw much of Philip, for he and the three younger Faringfields were as often about our house as about their own. Ours was not nearly as fine; 'twas a white-painted wooden house, like those in New England, but roomy enough for its three only occupants, my mother and me and the maid. We were not rich, but neither were we of the poorest. My father, the predecessor of Mr. Aitken in the customs office, had left sufficient money in the English funds at his death, to keep us in the decent circumstances we enjoyed, and there was yet a special fund reserved for my education. So we could be neighbourly with the Faringfields, and were so; and so all of us children, including Philip, were as much at home in the one house as in the other.
One day, in the Fall of that year of Philip's arrival, we young ones were playing puss-in-a-corner in the large garden—half orchard, half vegetable plantation—that formed the rear of the Faringfields' grounds. It was after Phil's working hours, and a pleasant, cool, windy evening. The maple leaves were yellowing, the oak leaves turning red. I remember how the wind moved the apple-tree boughs, and the yellow corn-stalks waiting to be cut and stacked as fodder. (When I speak of corn, I do not use the word in the English sense, of grain in general, but in the American sense, meaning maize, of which there are two kinds, the sweet kind being most delicious to eat, as either kind is a beautiful sight when standing in the field, the tall stalks waving their many arms in the breeze.) We were all laughing, and running from tree to tree, when in from the front garden came Ned, his face wearing its familiar cruel, bullying, spoil-sport smile.
The wind blowing out Madge's brown hair as she ran, I suppose put him in mind of what to do. For all at once, clapping his hand to his mouth, and imitating the bellowing war-whoop of an Indian, he rushed upon us in that character, caught hold of Madge's hair, and made off as if to drag her away by it. She, screaming, tried to resist, but of course could not get into an attitude for doing so while he pulled her so fast. The end of it was, that she lost her balance and fell, thus tearing her hair from his grasp.
I, being some distance away, picked up an apple and flung it at the persecutor's head, which I missed by half an inch. Before I could follow the apple, Philip had taken the work out of my hands.
"You are a savage," said Phil, in a low voice, but with a fiery eye, confronting Ned at close quarters.
"And what are you?" replied young Faringfield promptly. "You're a beggar, that's what you are! A beggar that my father took in."
For a moment or two Phil regarded his insulter in amazed silence; then answered:
"If only you weren't her brother!"
Here Madge spoke up, from the ground on which she sat:
"Oh, don't let that stop you, Phil!"
"I sha'n't," said Phil, with sudden decision, and the next instant the astounded Ned was recoiling from a solid blow between the eyes.
Of course he immediately returned the compliment in kind, and as Ned was a strong fellow, Phil had all he could do to hold his own in the ensuing scuffle. How long this might have lasted, I don't know, had not Fanny run between, with complete disregard of her own safety, calling out:
"Oh, Phil, you mustn't hurt Ned!"
Her interposition being aided on the other side by little Tom, who seized Ned's coat-tails and strove to pull him away from injuring Philip, the two combatants, their boyish belligerence perhaps having had enough for the time, separated, both panting.
"I'll have it out with you yet!" said Master Ned, short-windedly, adjusting his coat, and glaring savagely.
"All right!" said Phil, equally out of breath. Ned then left the field, with a look of contempt for the company.
After that, things went on in the old pleasant manner, except that Ned, without any overt act to precipitate a fight, habitually treated Phil with a most annoying air of scorn and derision. This, though endured silently, was certainly most exasperating.
But it had not to be endured much of the time, for Ned had grown more and more to disdain our society, and to cultivate companions superior to us in years and knowledge of the world. They were, indeed, a smart, trick-playing, swearing set, who aped their elders in drinking, dicing, card-gambling, and even in wenching. Their zest in this imitation was the greater for being necessarily exercised in secret corners, and for their freshness to the vices they affected.
I do not say I was too good for this company and their practices; or that Philip was either. Indeed we had more than a mere glimpse of both, for boys, no matter how studious or how aspiring in the long run, will see what life they can; will seek the taste of forbidden fruit, and will go looking for temptations to yield to. Indeed, the higher a boy's intelligence, the more eager may be his curiosity for, his first enjoyment of, the sins as well as the other pleasures. What banished us—Philip and me—from Ned's particular set was, first, Ned's enmity toward us; second, our attachment to a clan of boys equally bent on playing the rake in secret, though of better information and manners than Ned's comrades could boast of; third, Phil's fondness for books, and mine for him; and finally, our love for Madge.
This last remained unaltered in both of us. As for Madge, as I had predicted to myself, she had gradually restored me to my old place in her consideration as the novelty of Philip's newer devotion had worn off. We seemed now to be equals in her esteem. At one time Phil would apparently stand uppermost there, at another I appeared to be preferred. But this alternating superiority was usually due to casual circumstance. Sometimes, I suppose, it owed itself to caprice; sometimes, doubtless, to deep design unsuspected by either of us. Boys are not men until they are well grown; but women are women from their first compliment. On the whole, as I have said, Phil and I were very even rivals.
It was sometime in the winter—Philip's first winter with the Faringfields—that the next outbreak came, between him and Master Edward. If ever the broad mansion of the Faringfields looked warm and welcoming, it was in midwinter. The great front doorway, with its fanlight above, and its panel windows at each side, through which the light shone during the long evenings, and with its broad stone steps and out-curving iron railings, had then its most hospitable aspect. One evening that it looked particularly inviting to me, was when Ned and the two girls and I were returning with our skates from an afternoon spent on Beekman's pond. Large flakes were falling softly on snow already laid. Darkness had caught up with us on the way home, and when we came in sight of the cheery light enframing the Faringfields' wide front door, and showing also from the windows at one side, I was not sorry I was to eat supper with them that evening, my mother having gone sleighing to visit the Murrays at Incledon, with whom she was to pass the night. As we neared the door, tired and hungry, whom should we see coming toward it from the other direction but Philip Winwood. He had worked over the usual time at the warehouse. Before the girls or I could exchange halloes with Phil, we were all startled to hear Ned call out to him, in a tone even more imperious than the words:
"Here, you, come and take my skates, and carry them in, and tell mother I've stopped at Jack Van Cortlandt's house a minute."
And he stood waiting for Phil to do his bidding. The rest of us halted, also; while Phil stopped where he was, looking as if he could not have heard aright.
"Come, are you deaf?" cried Ned, impatiently. "Do as you're bid, and be quick about it."
Now, of course, there was nothing wrong in merely asking a comrade, as one does ask a comrade such things, to carry in one's skates while one stopped on the way. No one was ever readier than Phil to do such little offices, or great ones either. Indeed, it is the American way to do favours, even when not requested, and even to inferiors. I have seen an American gentleman of wealth go in the most natural manner to the assistance of his own servant in a task that seemed to overtax the latter, and think nothing of it. But in the case I am relating; apart from the fact that I, being nearer than Phil, was the proper one of whom to ask the favour; the phrase and manner were those of a master to a servant; a rough master and a stupid servant, moreover. And so Philip, after a moment, merely laughed, and went on his way toward the door.
At this Master Ned stepped forward with the spirit of chastisement in his eyes, his skates held back as if he meant to strike Phil with their sharp blades. But it happened that Philip had by now mounted the first door-step, and thus stood higher than his would-be assailant. So Master Ned stopped just out of Philip's reach, and said insolently:
"'Tis time you were taught your place, young fellow. You're one of my father's servants, that's all; so take in my skates, or I'll show you."
"You're wrong there," said Phil, with forced quietness. "A clerk or messenger, in business, is not a personal servant."
"Take in these skates, or I'll brain you with 'em!" cried Ned, to that.
"Come on and brain!" cried Phil.
"By G——d, I will that!" replied Ned, and made to swing the skates around by the straps. But his arm was, at that instant, caught in a powerful grip, and, turning about in surprise, he looked into the hard, cold eyes of his father, who had come up unseen, having stayed; at the warehouse even later than Phil.
"If any blows are struck here, you sha'n't be the one to strike them, sir," he said to Ned. "What's this I hear, of servants? I'll teach you once for all, young man, that in my house Philip is your equal. Go to your room and think of that till it becomes fixed in your mind."
To go without supper, with such an appetite, on such a cold night, was indeed a dreary end for such a day's sport. I, who knew how chilled and starved Ned must be, really pitied him.
But instead of slinking off with a whimper, he for the first time in his life showed signs of revolt.
"What if I don't choose to go to my room?" he answered, impudently, to our utmost amazement. "You may prefer an outside upstart over your son, if you like, but you can't always make your son a prisoner by the ordering."
Mr. Faringfield showed little of the astonishment and paternal wrath he doubtless felt. He gazed coldly at his defiant offspring a moment; then took a step toward him. But Ned, with the agility of boyhood, turned and ran, looking back as he went, and stopping only when he was at a safe distance.
"Come back," called his father, not risking his dignity in a doubtful pursuit, but using such a tone that few would dare to disobey the command.
"Suppose I don't choose to come back," answered Ned, to whose head the very devil had now certainly mounted. "Maybe there's other places to go to, where one doesn't have to stand by and see an upstart beggar preferred to himself, and put in his place, and fed on the best while he's lying hungry in his dark room."
"If there's another place for you, I'd advise you to find it," said Mr. Faringfield, after a moment's reflection.
"Oh, I'll find it," was the reply; and then came what Master Ned knew would be the crowning taunt and insult to his father. "If it comes to the worst, I know how I can get to England, where I'd rather be, anyway."
There was a reason why Mr. Faringfield's face turned dark as a thunder-cloud at this. You must know, first, that in him alone was embodied the third generation of colonial Faringfields. The founder of the American branch of the family, having gone pretty nearly to the dogs at home, and got into close quarters with the law, received from his people the alternative of emigrating to Virginia or suffering justice to take its course. Tossing up his last sixpence, he indifferently observed, on its coming down, that it lay in favour of Virginia. So he chose emigration, and was shipped off, upon condition that if he ever again set foot in England he should be forthwith turned over to the merciless law. His relations, as he perceived, cherished the hope that he would die of a fever likely to be caught on the piece of marshy land in Virginia which they, in a belief that it was worthless, had made over to him. Pondering on this on the voyage, and perhaps having had his fill of the flesh and the devil, he resolved to disappoint his family. And, to make short a very long story of resolution and toil, he did so, becoming at last one of the richest tobacco-planters in the province.
He might now have returned to England with safety; but his resentment against the people who had exiled him when they might have compounded with justice otherwise, extended even to their country, which he no longer called his, and he abode still by the condition of his emigration. He married a woman who had her own special reasons for inimical feelings toward the English authorities, which any one may infer who is familiar with one phase (though this was not as large a phase as English writers seem to think) of the peopling of Virginia. Although she turned over a new leaf in the province, and seems to have been a model wife and parent, she yet retained a sore heart against the mother country. The feeling of these two was early inculcated into the minds of their children, and their eldest son, in whom it amounted almost to a mania, transmitted it on to his own successor, our Mr. Faringfield of Queen Street.
The second Faringfield (father of ours), being taken with a desire for the civilities and refinements of a town life, moved from Virginia to New York, married there a very worthy lady of Dutch patroon descent, and, retaining his Virginia plantation, gradually extended his business, so that he died a general merchant, with a European and a West Indian trade, and with vessels of his own. He it was that built the big Faringfield house in Queen Street. He was of an aspiring mind, for one in trade, and had even a leaning toward book-knowledge and the ornaments of life. He was, moreover, an exceedingly proud man, as if a haughty way were needful to a man of business and an American, in order to check the contempt with which he might be treated as either. His large business, his pride, his unreasonable hatred of England (which he never saw), and a very fine and imposing appearance, he passed down to our Mr. Faringfield, by whom all these inheritances were increased. This gentleman, sensible of the injustice of an inherited dislike not confirmed by experience, took occasion of some business to make a visit to England, shortly after his father's death. I believe he called upon his English cousins, now some degrees removed, and, finding them in their generation ignorant that there were any American Faringfields, was so coldly received by them, as well as by the men with whom his business brought him in contact, that he returned more deeply fixed in his dislike, and with a determination that no Faringfield under his control should ever again breathe the air of the mother island. He even chose a wife of French, rather than English, descent; though, indeed, the De Lanceys, notwithstanding they were Americans of Huguenot origin, were very good Englishmen, as the issue proved when the separation came.
Miss De Lancey, however, at that time, had no views or feelings as between the colonies and England; or if she had any, scarcely knew what they were. She was a pretty, innocent, small-minded woman; with no very large heart either, I fancy; and without force of character; sometimes a little shrewish when vexed, and occasionally given to prolonged whining complaints, which often won the point with her husband, as a persistent mosquito will drive a man from a field whence a giant's blows would not move him. She heard Mr. Faringfield's tirades against England, with neither disagreement nor assent; and she let him do what he could to instil his own antagonism into the children. How he succeeded, or failed, will appear in time. I have told enough to show why Master Ned's threatening boast, of knowing how to get to England, struck his father like a blow in the face.
I looked to see Mr. Faringfield now stride forth at all risk and inflict upon Master Ned some chastisement inconceivable; and Ned himself took a backward step or two. But his father, after a moment of dark glowering, merely answered, though in a voice somewhat unsteady with anger:
"To England or the devil, my fine lad, before ever you enter my door, until you change your tune!"
Whereupon he motioned the rest of us children to follow him into the house, leaving his eldest son to turn and trudge defiantly off into the darkness. From Ned's manner of doing this, I knew that he was sure of shelter for that night, at least. Noah, the old black servant, having seen his master through the panel windows, had already opened the door; and so we went in to the warm, candle-lit hall, Mr. Faringfield's agitation now perfectly under control, and his anger showing not at all upon his surface of habitual sternness.
As for the others, Phil walked in a kind of deep, troubled study, into which he had been thrown by Ned's words regarding him; I was awed into breathless silence and a mouse-like tread; and kind little Fanny went gently sobbing with sorrow and fear for her unhappy brother—a sorrow and fear not shared in the least degree by her sister Madge, whose face showed triumphant approval of her father's course and of the outcome.
Wherein 'tis Shown that Boys Are but Boys.
The Faringfield house, as I have said, was flanked by garden space on either side. It was on the Eastern side of the street, and so faced West, the next house Southward being ours. The wide hall that we entered ran straight back to a door opening from a wooden veranda that looked toward the rear garden. At the right of this hall, as you went in, a broad oak stairway invited you to the sleeping floor above. But before you came to this stairway, you passed a door that gave into the great parlour, which ran the whole length of the hall, and, being used only on occasions of festivity or ceremony, was now closed and dark. At the left of the hall, the first door led to the smaller parlour, as wide but not as long as the great one, and in daily use as the chief living-room of the house. Its windows were those through which the candle-light within had welcomed us from the frosty, snowy air that evening. Behind this parlour, and reached either directly from it, or by a second door at the left side of the hall, was the library, so-called although a single case of eight shelves sufficed to hold all the books it contained. Yet Philip said there was a world in those books. The room was a small and singularly cosy one, and here, when Mr. Faringfield was not occupied at the mahogany desk, we children might play at chess, draughts, cards, and other games. From this room, one went back into the dining-room, another apartment endeared to me by countless pleasant memories. Its two windows looked Southward across the side grounds (for the hall and great parlour came not so far back) to our house and garden. Behind the dining-room, and separating it from the kitchen and pantry, was a passage with a back stairway and with a bench of washing-basins, easily supplied with water from a cistern below, and from the kettle in the adjacent kitchen. To this place we youngsters now hastened, to put ourselves to rights for supper. The house was carpeted throughout. The great parlour was panelled in wood, white and gold. The other chief rooms were wainscoted in oak; and as to their upper walls, some were bright with French paper, while some shone white with smooth plaster; their ceilings and borders were decorated with arabesque woodwork. There were tiled fireplaces, with carved mantels, white, like the rectangular window-frames and panelled doors. Well, well, 'twas but a house like countless others, and why should I so closely describe it?—save that I love the memory of it, and fain would linger upon its commonest details.
Mighty snug was the dining-room that evening, with its oaken sideboard, its prints and portraits on the wall, its sputtering fire, and its well-filled table lighted from a candelabrum in the centre. The sharp odour of the burning pine was keen to the nostrils, and mingled with it was the smell of the fried ham. There was the softer fragrance of the corn meal mush or porridge, served with milk, and soft was the taste of it also. We had sausage cakes, too, and pancakes to be eaten either with butter or with the syrup of the maple-tree; and jam, and jelly, and fruit butter. These things seem homely fare, no doubt, but there was a skill of cookery in the fat old negress, Hannah—a skill consisting much in the plentiful use of salt and pepper at proper stages—that would have given homelier fare a relish to more fastidious tongues. I miss in the wholesome but limited and unseasoned diet of the English the variety and savouriness of American food (I mean the food of the well-to-do in the large towns), which includes all the English and Scotch dishes, corrected of their insipidity, besides countless dishes French, German, and Dutch, and many native to the soil, all improved and diversified by the surprising genius for cookery which, in so few generations, the negro race has come to exhibit. I was a busy lad at that meal; a speechless one, consequently, and for some minutes so engrossed in the business of my jaws that I did not heed the unwonted silence of the rest. Then suddenly it came upon me as something embarrassing and painful that Mr. and Mrs. Faringfield, who usually conversed at meals, had nothing to say, and that Philip Winwood sat gloomy and taciturn, merely going through a hollow form of eating. As for Fanny, she was the picture of childish sorrow, though now tearless. Only Madge and little Tom, who had found some joke between themselves, occasionally spluttered with suppressed laughter, smiling meanwhile knowingly at each other.
Of course this depression was due to the absence of Ned, regarding the cause of which his mother was still in the dark. Not missing him until we children had filed in to supper after tidying up, she had then remarked that he was not yet in.
"He will not be home to supper," Mr. Faringfield had replied, in a tone that forbade questioning until the pair should be alone, and motioning his wife to be seated at the table. After that he had once or twice essayed to talk upon casual subjects, as if nothing had happened, but he had perceived that the attempt was hopeless while Mrs. Faringfield remained in her state of deferred curiosity and vague alarm, and so he had desisted.
After supper, which the lady's impatience made shorter than my appetite would have dictated, the husband and wife went into the small parlour, closing the door upon us children in the library. Here I managed to make a pleasant evening, in games with Madge and little Tom upon the floor. But Philip, though he came in as was his wont, was not to be lured into our play or our talk. He did not even read, but sat silent and pondering, in no cheerful mood. I, not reading him as Madge did, knew not what the matter was, and accused him of having vapours, like a girl. He looked at me heedlessly, in reply, as if he scarce heard. But Madge, apparently, divined his feeling, and at times respected it, for then she spoke low, and skilfully won me back from my efforts to enliven him. At other times, his way seemed to irritate her, and she hinted that he was foolish, and then she was extraordinarily smiling and adorable to me (always, I now suspect, with the corner of her eye upon him) as if to draw him back to his usual good-fellowship by that method. But 'twas in vain. I left at bedtime, wondering what change had come over him.
That night, I learned afterward, Philip slept little, debating sorrowfully in his mind. He kept his window slightly open at night, in all weather; and open also that night was one of the windows of Mr. and Mrs. Faringfield's great chamber below. A sound that reached him in the small hours, of Mrs. Faringfield whimpering and weeping, decided him. And the next morning, after another silent meal, he contrived to fall into Mr. Faringfield's company on the way to the warehouse, which they had almost reached ere Phil, very down in the mouth and perturbed, got up his courage to his unpleasant task and blundered out in a boyish, frightened way:
"If you please, sir, I wished to tell you—I've made up my mind to leave—and thank you very much for all your kindness!"
Mr. Faringfield stared from under his gathered brows, and asked Phil to repeat the strange thing he had said.
"Leave what, sir?" he queried sharply, when Phil had done so.
"Leave your warehouse, sir; and your house; and New York."
"What do you mean, my boy?"
And Phil, thankful that Mr. Faringfield had paused to have the talk out ere they should come among the men at the warehouse, explained at first in vague terms, but finally in the explicit language to which his benefactor's questions forced him, that he seemed, in Master Ned's mind, to be standing in Ned's way; that he would not for the world appear to supplant any man's son, much less the son of one who had been so kind to him; that he had unintentionally been the cause of Ned's departure the evening before; and that he hoped his going would bring Ned back from the absence which caused his mother grief. "And I wouldn't stay in New York after leaving you, sir," he said, "for 'twould look as if you and I had disagreed."
To all this Mr. Faringfield replied briefly that Ned was a foolish boy, and would soon enough come back, glad of what welcome he might get; and that, as for Philip's going away, it was simply not to be heard of. But Phil persisted, conceding only that he should remain at the warehouse for an hour that morning and complete a task he had left unfinished. Mr. Faringfield still refused to have it that Phil should go at all.
When Philip had done his hour's work, he went in to his employer's office to say good-bye.
"Tut, tut," said Mr. Faringfield, looking annoyed at the interruption, "there's no occasion for goodbyes. But look you, lad. I don't mind your taking the day off, to put yourself into a reasonable state of mind. Go home, and enjoy a holiday, and come back to your work to-morrow, fresh and cheerful. Now, now, boy, I won't hear any more. Only do as I bid you." And he assumed a chilling reserve that indeed froze all further possible discussion.
"But I do say good-bye, sir, and mean it," said Phil, tremulously. "And I thank you from my heart for all you've done for me."
And so, with a lump in his throat, Phil hastened home, and sped up the stairs unseen, like a ghost; and had all his things out on his bed for packing, when suddenly Madge, who had been astonished to hear him moving about, from her mother's room below, flung open his door and looked in upon him, all amazed.
"Why, Phil, what are you doing home at this hour? What are you putting your things into your valise for?"
"Oh, nothing," said Phil, very downcast.
"Why, it looks as if—you were going away somewhere."
Phil made a brief answer; and then there was a long talk, all the while he continued to pack his goods, in his perturbation stowing things together in strange juxtaposition. The end of it was that Madge, after vowing that if he went she would never speak to him again, and would hate him for ever, indignantly left him to himself. Phil went on packing, in all the outward calmness he could muster, though I'll wager with a very pouting and dismal countenance. At last, his possessions being bestowed, and the bag fastened with much physical exertion, he left it on the bed, and slipped down-stairs to find his one remaining piece of property. Philip's cat had waxed plump in the Faringfield household, Master Ned always deterred from harming it by the knowledge that if aught ill befell it, the finger of accusation would point instantly and surely at him.
Phil was returning up the stairs, his pet under his arm, when Mistress Madge reappeared before him, with magic unexpectedness, from a doorway opening on a landing. As she stood in his way there, he stopped, and the two faced each other.
"Well," said she, with sarcastic bitterness, "I suppose you've decided where you're going to."
"Not yet," he replied. He had thought vaguely of Philadelphia or Boston, either of which he now had means of reaching, having saved most of his small salary at the warehouse, for he was not a bound apprentice.
"I make no doubt," she went on, "'twill be the farthest place you can find."
Phil gave her a reproachful look, and asked where her mother and the children were, that he might bid them good-bye. He wondered, indeed, that Madge had not told her mother of his resolve, for, from that lady's not seeking him at once, he knew that she was still unaware of it. He little guessed that 'twas the girl's own power over him she wished to test, and that she would not enlist her mother's persuasions but as a last resource.
"I don't know," she replied carelessly.
"I shall look for them," said Philip, and turned to go down-stairs again.
But (though how could a boy imagine it?) Miss Faringfield would not have it that his yielding should be due to her mother, if it could be achieved as a victory for herself. So she stopped him with a sudden tremulous "Oh, Phil!" and, raising her forearm to the door-post, hid her face against it, and wept as if her heart would break.
Philip had never before known her to shed a tear, and this new spectacle, in a second's time, took all the firmness out of him.
"Why, Madge, I didn't know—don't cry, Madgie—"
She turned swiftly, without looking up, and her face, still in a shower of tears, found hiding no longer against the door-post, but against Phil's breast.
"Don't cry, Madgie dear,—I sha'n't go!"
She raised her wet face, joy sparkling where the lines had not yet lost the shape of grief; and Phil never thought to ask himself how much of her pleasure was for his not going, and how much for the evidence given of her feminine power. He had presently another thing to consider, a not very palatable dose to swallow—the returning to the warehouse and telling Mr. Faringfield of his change of mind. He did this awkwardly enough, no doubt, but manfully enough, I'll take my oath, though he always said he felt never so tamed and small and ludicrous in his life, before or after.
And that scene upon the landing is the last picture, but one, I have to present of childhood days, ere I hasten, over the period that brought us all into our twenties and to strange, eventful times. The one remaining sketch is of an unkempt, bedraggled figure that I saw at the back hall door of the Faringfields one snowy night a week later, when, for some reason or other, I was out late in our back garden. This person, instead of knocking at the door, very cautiously tried it to see if it would open, and, finding it locked, stood timidly back and gazed at it in a quandary. Suspecting mischief, I went to the paling fence that separated our ground from the Faringfields', and called out, "Who's that?"
"Hallo, Bert!" came in a very conciliating tone, low-spoken; and then, as with a sudden thought, "Come over here, will you?"
I crossed the fence, and was in a moment at the side of Master Ned, who looked exceedingly the worse for wear, in face, figure, and clothes.
"Look here," said he, speaking rapidly, so as to prevent my touching the subject of his return, "I want to sneak in, and up-stairs to bed, without the old man seeing me. I don't just like to meet him till to-morrow. But I can't sneak in, for the door's locked, and Noah would be sure to tell dad. You knock, and when they let you in, pretend you came to play with the kids; and whisper Fanny to slip out and open the door for me."
I entered readily into the strategy, as a boy will, glad of Ned's return for the sake of Phil, who I knew was ill at ease for Ned's absence being in some sense due to himself.
Old Noah admitted me at my knock, locked the door after me, and sent me into the smaller parlour, where the whole family happened to be. When I whispered my message to Fanny, she turned so many colours, and made so precipitately for the entrance hall, that her father was put on the alert. He followed her quietly out, just in time to see a very shivering, humble, shamefaced youth step in from the snowy outer night. The sight of his father turned Ned cold and stiff upon the threshold; but all the father did was to put on a grim look of contempt, and say:
"Well, sir, I suppose you've changed your tune."
"Yes, sir," said the penitent, meekly, and there being now no reason for secrecy he shambled after his father into the parlour. There, after his mother's embrace, he grinned sheepishly upon us all. Fanny was quite rejoiced, and so was little Tom till the novelty wore off; while Madge greeted the prodigal good-humouredly enough, and one could read Phil's relief and forgiveness on his smiling face. Master Ned, grateful for an easier ordeal than he had feared, made no exception against Phil in the somewhat sickly amiability he had for all, and we thought that here were reconciliation and the assurance of future peace.
Ned's home-coming brought trouble in its train, as indeed did his every reappearance afterward. It came out that he and another boy—the one in whose house he had found refuge on the night of his running away—had started off for the North to lead the lives of hunters and trappers, a career so inviting that they could not wait to provide a sufficient equipment. They travelled afoot by the Albany post-road, soliciting food at farmhouses, passing their nights in barns; and got as far as Tarrytown, ere either one in his pride would admit to the other, through chattering teeth, that he had had his fill of snow and hunger and the raw winds of the Hudson River. So footsore, leg-weary, empty, and frozen were they on their way back, that they helped themselves to one of Jacob Post's horses, near the Philipse manor-house; and not daring to ride into town on this beast, thoughtlessly turned it loose in the Bowery lane, never thinking how certainly it and they could be traced—for they had been noticed at Van Cortlandt's, again at Kingsbridge, and again at the Blue Bell tavern. After receiving its liberty, the horse had been seen once, galloping toward Turtle Bay, and never again.
So, a few days after Ned's reentrance into the bosom of his family, there came to the house a constable, of our own town, with a deputy sent by the sheriff of Westchester County, wanting Master Edward Faringfield.
Frightened and disgraced, his mother sent for her husband; and for the sake of the family name, Mr. Faringfield adjusted matters by the payment of twice or thrice what the horse was worth. Thus the would-be hunter and trapper escaped the discomfort and shame of jail; though by his father's sentence he underwent a fortnight's detention on bread and water in his bedroom.
That was the first fright and humiliation that Master Ned brought on his people; and he brought so many of these in after years, that the time came when his parents, and all, were rather glad than sorry each time he packed off again, and shuddered rather than rejoiced when, after an absence, he turned up safe and healthy as ever, with his old hangdog smile beneath which lurked a look half-defiant, half-injured. As he grew older, and the boy in him made room for the man, there was less of the smile, less injury, more defiance.
I do not remember how many years it was after Philip's coming to New York, that our Dutch schoolmaster went the way of all flesh, and there came in his place, to conduct a school for boys only and in more advanced studies, a pedagogue from Philadelphia, named Cornelius. He was of American birth, but of European parentage, whether German or Dutch I never knew. Certainly he had learning, and much more than was due alone to his having gone through the college at Princeton in New Jersey. He was in the early twenties, tall and robust, with a large round face, and with these peculiarities: that his hair, eyebrows, and lashes were perfectly white, his eyes of a singularly mild blue, his skin of a pinkish tint; that he was given to blushing whenever he met women or strangers, and that he spoke with pedantic preciseness, in a wondrously low voice. But despite his bashfulness, there was a great deal in the man, and when an emergency rose he never lacked resource.
He it was to whom my education, and Ned Faringfield's, was entrusted, while the girls and little Tom still strove with the rudiments in the dame-school. He it was that carried us to the portals of college; and I carried Philip Winwood thither with me, by studying my lessons with him in the evenings. In many things he was far beyond Mr. Cornelius's highest teaching; but there had been lapses in his information, and these he filled up, and regulated his knowledge as well, through accompanying me in my progress. And he continued so to accompany me, making better use of my books than ever I made, as I went through the King's College; and that is the way in which Phil Winwood got his stock of learning eked out, and put in due shape and order.
It happened that Philip's taste fastened upon one subject of which there was scarce anything to be learned by keeping pace with my studies, but upon which much was to be had from books in the college library, of which I obtained the use for him. It was a strange subject for a youth to take up at that time, or any time since, and in that colonial country—architecture. Yet 'twas just like Phil Winwood to be interested in something that all around him neglected or knew nothing about. What hope an American could have in the pursuit of an art, for which the very rare demands in his country were supplied from Europe, and which indeed languished the world over, I could not see.
"Very well, then," said Phil, "'twill be worth while trying to waken this sleeping art, and to find a place for it in this out-of-the-way country. I wouldn't presume to attempt new forms, to be sure; but one might revive some old ones, and maybe try new arrangements of them."
"Then you think you'll really be an architect?" I asked.
"Why, if it's possible. 'Faith, I'm not so young any more that I still want to be a soldier, or a sailor either. One thing, 'twill take years of study; I'll have to go to Europe for that."
"First of all."
"What will Mr. Faringfield say to that?"
"He will not mind it so much in my case. I'm not of the Faringfield blood."
"Egad," said I, "there's some of the Faringfield blood hankers for a sight of London."
We were young men now, and she would not let us call her Madge any more. What I had said was true. She had not grown up without hearing and reading much of the great world beyond the sea, and wishing she might have her taste of its pleasures. She first showed a sense of her deprivation—for it was a deprivation for a rich man's daughter—when she finished at the dame-school and we boys entered college. Then she hinted, very cautiously, that her and Fanny's education was being neglected, and mentioned certain other New York gentlemen's daughters, who had been sent to England to boarding-schools.
Delicately as she did this, the thought that his favourite child could harbour a wish that involved going to England, was a blow to Mr. Faringfield. He hastened to remove all cause of complaint on the score of defective education. He arranged that the music teacher, who gave the girls their lessons in singing and in playing upon the harpsichord and guitar, should teach them four days a week instead of two. He engaged Mr. Cornelius to become an inmate of his house and to give them tuition out of his regular school hours. He paid a French widow to instruct them in their pronunciation, their book-French and grammar being acquired under Mr. Cornelius's teaching. And so, poor girls, they got only additional work for Margaret's pains. But both of them were docile, Fanny because it was her nature to be so, Margaret because she had taken it into her head to become an accomplished lady. We never guessed her dreams and ambitions in those years, and to this day I often wonder at what hour in her girlhood the set design took possession of her, that design which dominated all her actions when we so little guessed its existence. Besides these three instructors, the girls had their dancing-master, an Englishman who pretended to impart not only the best-approved steps of a London assembly-room, but its manners and graces as well.
So much for the education of the girls, Philip, and myself. Ned Faringfield's was interrupted by his expulsion from King's for gross misconduct; and was terminated by his disgrace at Yale College (whither his father had sent him in vain hope that he might behave better away from home and more self-dependent) for beating a smaller student whom he had cheated at a clandestine game of cards. His home-coming on this occasion was followed by his being packed off to Virginia to play at superintending his father's tobacco plantations. Neglecting this business to go shooting on the frontier, he got a Scotch Presbyterian mountaineer's daughter into trouble; and when he turned up again at the door in Queen Street, he was still shaky with recollections of the mob of riflemen that had chased him out of Virginia. That piece of sport cost his father a pretty penny, and resulted in a place being got for Ned with a merchant who was Mr. Faringfield's correspondent in the Barbadoes. So to the tropics the young gentleman was shipped, with sighs of relief at his embarkation, and—I have no doubt—with unuttered prayers that he might not show his face in Queen Street for a long time to come. Already he had got the name, in the family, of "the bad shilling," for his always coming back unlooked for.
How different was his younger brother!—no longer "little Tom" (though of but middle height and slim build), but always gay-hearted, affectionate, innocent, and a gentleman. He was a handsome lad, without and within—yes, "lad" I must call him, for, though he came to manly years, he always seemed a boy to me. He followed in our steps, in his time, through Mr. Cornelius's school, and into King's College, too, but the coming of the war cut short his studies there.
It must have been in the year 1772—I remember Margaret spoke of her being seventeen years old, in which case I was nineteen—when I got (and speedily forgot) my first glimpse of Margaret's inmost mind. We were at the play—for New York had had a playhouse ever since Mr. Hallam had brought thither his company, with whom the great Garrick had first appeared in London. I cannot recall what the piece was that night; but I know it must have been a decent one, or Margaret would not have been allowed to see it; and that it purported to set forth true scenes of fashionable life in London. At one side of Margaret her mother sat, at the other was myself, and I think I was that time their only escort.
"What a fright!" said Margaret in my ear, as one of the actresses came upon the stage with an affected gait, and a look of thinking herself mighty fine and irresistible. "'Tis a slander, this."
"Of whom?" I asked.
"Of the fine ladies these poor things pretend to represent."
"How do you know?" I retorted, for I was somewhat taken with the actresses, and thought to avenge them by bringing her down a peg or two. "Have you seen so much of London fine ladies?"
"No, poor me!" she said sorrowfully, without a bit of anger, so that I was softened in a trice. "But the ladies of New York, even, are no such tawdry make-believes as this.—Heaven knows, I would give ten years of life for a sight of the fine world of London!"
She was looking so divine at that moment, that I could not but whisper:
"You would see nothing finer there than yourself."
"Do you think so?" she quickly asked, flashing her eyes upon me in a strange way that called for a serious answer.
"'Tis the God's truth," I said, earnestly.
For a moment she was silent; then she whispered:
"What a silly whimsy of my father, his hatred of England! Does he imagine none of us is really ever to see the world?—That reminds me, don't forget the Town and Country Magazine to-morrow."
I had once come upon a copy of that publication, which reflected the high life of England, perhaps too much on its scandalous side; and had shown it to Margaret. Immediately she had got me to subscribe for it, and to pass each number clandestinely to her. I, delighted to do her a favour, and to have a secret with her, complied joyously; and obtained for her as many novels and plays as I could, as well.
Little I fancied what bee I thus helped to keep buzzing in her pretty head, which she now carried with all the alternate imperiousness and graciousness of confident and proven beauty. Little I divined of feminine dreams of conquest in larger fields; or foresaw of dangerous fruit to grow from seed planted with thoughtlessness. To my mind, nothing of harm or evil could ensue from anything done, or thought, in our happy little group. To my eyes, the future could be only radiant and triumphant. For I was still but a lad at heart, and to think as I did, or to be thoughtless as I was, is the way of youth.
How Philip and I Behaved as Rivals in Love.
I was always impatient, and restless to settle uncertainties. One fine morning in the Spring of 1773, Philip and I were breaking the Sabbath by practising with the foils in our back garden. Spite of all the lessons I had taken from an English fencing-master in the town, Phil was still my superior in the gentlemanly art. After a bout, on this sunshiny morning, we rested upon a wooden bench, in the midst of a world of white and pink and green, for the apple and cherry blossoms were out, and the leaves were in their first freshness. The air was full of the odour of lilacs and honeysuckles. Suddenly the matter that was in my mind came out.
"I wish you'd tell me something, Phil—though 'tis none of my business,—"
"Why, man, you're welcome to anything I know."
"Then, is there aught between Margaret and you—any agreement or understanding, I mean?"
Phil smiled, comprehending me thoroughly.
"No, there's nothing. I'm glad you asked. It shows there's no promise between her and you, either."
"I thought you and I ought to settle it between ourselves about—Margaret. Because if we both go on letting time pass, each waiting to see what t'other will do, some other man will slip in, and carry off the prize, and there will both of us be, out in the cold."
"Oh, there's little fear of that," said Phil.
"Why, the fellows are all coming after her. She's far the finest girl in town."
"But you see how she treats them, all alike; looks down on them all, even while she's pleasant to them; and doesn't lead any one of them on a step further than the rest."
"Ay, but in time—she's eighteen now, you know."
"Why, did you ever try to imagine her regarding any one of them as a husband; as a companion to live with day after day, and to agree with, and look up to, and yield to, as a wife does? Just fancy Margaret accommodating herself to the everlasting company of Phil Van Cortlandt, or Jack Cruger, or Bob Livingstone, or Harry Colden, or Fred Philipse, or Billy Skinner, or any of them."
"I know," said I; "but many a girl has taken a man that other men couldn't see anything in."
"Ay, the women have a way of their own of judging men; or perhaps they make the best of what they can get. But you may depend on't, Margaret has too clear a sight, and too bright a mind, and thinks too well of herself, to mate with an uncouth cub, or a stupid dolt, or a girlish fop, or any of these that hang about her."
'Twas not Phil's way to speak ill of people, but when one considered men in comparison with Margaret, they looked indeed very crude and unworthy.
"You know," he added, "how soon she tires of any one's society."
"But," said I, dubiously, "if none of them has a chance, how is it with us?"
"Why, 'tis well-proved that she doesn't tire of us. For years and years, she has had us about her every day, and has been content with our society. That shows she could endure us to be always near her."
It was true, indeed. And I should explain here that, as things were in America then, and with Mr. Faringfield and Margaret, neither of us was entirely ineligible to the hand of so rich and important a man's daughter; although the town would not have likened our chances to those of a De Lancey, a Livingstone, or a Philipse. I ought to have said before, that Philip was now of promising fortune. He had risen in the employ of Mr. Faringfield, but, more than that, he had invested some years' savings in one of that merchant's shipping ventures, and had reinvested the profits, always upon his benefactor's advice, until now his independence was a certain thing. If he indeed tried architecture and it failed him as a means of livelihood, he might at any time fall back upon his means and his experience as a merchant adventurer. As for me, I also was a beneficiary of Mr. Faringfield's mercantile transactions by sea, my mother, at his hint, having drawn out some money from the English funds, and risked it with him. Furthermore, I had obtained a subordinate post in the customs office, with a promise of sometime succeeding to my father's old place, and the certainty of remaining in his Majesty's service during good behaviour. This meant for life, for I had now learned how to govern my conduct, having schooled myself, for the sake of my mother's peace of mind, to keep out of trouble, often against my natural impulses. Thus both Phil and I might aspire to Margaret; and, moreover, 'twas like that her father would provide well for her if she found a husband to his approval. It did not then occur to me that my employment in the English service might be against me in Mr. Faringfield's eyes.
"Then," said I, reaching the main point at last, "as you think we are endurable to her—which of us shall it be?"
"Why, that question is for her to settle," said Phil, with a smile half-amused, half-surprised.
"But she will have to be asked. So which of us—?"
"I don't think it matters," he replied. "If she prefers one of us, she will take him and refuse the other, whether he ask first or last."
"But suppose she likes us equally. In that case, might not the first asker win, merely for his being first?"
"I think it scarce possible but that in her heart she must favour one above all others, though she may not know it yet."
"But it seems to me—"
"'Faith, Bert, do as you like, I sha'n't say nay, or think nay. If you ask her, and she accepts you, I shall be sure you are the choice of her heart. But as for me, I have often thought of the matter, and this is what I've come to: not to speak to her of it, until by some hint or act she shows her preference."
"But the lady must not make the first step."
"Not by proposal or direct word, of course—though I'll wager there have been exceptions to that; but I've read, and believe from what I've seen, that 'tis oftenest the lady that gives the first hint. No doubt, she has already made sure of the gentleman's feelings, by signs he doesn't know of. If a man didn't receive some leading on from a woman, how would he dare tell her his mind?—for if he loves her he must dread her refusal, or scorn, beyond all things. However that be, I've seen, in companies, and at the play, and even in church, how girls contrive to show their partiality to the fellows they prefer. Why, we've both had it happen to us, when we were too young for the fancy to last. And 'tis the same, I'll wager, when the girls are women, and the stronger feeling has come, the kind that lasts. Be sure a girl as clever as Margaret will find a way of showing it, if she has set her mind on either of us. And so, I'm resolved to wait for some sign from her before I speak."
He went on to explain that this course would prolong, to the unfortunate one, the possession of the pleasures of hope. It would save him, and Margaret, from the very unpleasant incident of a rejection. Such a refusal must always leave behind it a certain bitterness in the memory, that will touch what friendship remains between the two people concerned. And I know Philip's wish that, though he might not be her choice, his old friendship with her might continue perfectly unmarred, was what influenced him to avoid a possible scene of refusal.
"Then I shall do as you do," said I, "and if I see any sign, either in my favour or yours, be sure I'll tell you."
"I was just about to propose that," said Phil; and we resumed our fencing.
There was, in our plan, nothing to hinder either of us from putting his best foot forward, as the saying is, and making himself as agreeable to the young lady as he could. Indeed that was the quickest way to call forth the indication how her affections stood. I don't think Phil took any pains to appear in a better light than usual. It was his habit to be always himself, sincere, gentle, considerate, and never thrusting forward. He had acquired with his growth a playful humour with which to trim his conversation, but which never went to tiresome lengths. This was all the more taking for his quiet manner, which held one where noise and effort failed. But I exerted myself to be mighty gallant, and to show my admiration and wit in every opportune way.
I considered that Phil and I were evenly matched in the rivalry; for when a young fellow loves a girl, be she ever so divine, and though he feel in his heart that she is too good for him, yet he will believe it is in him to win her grace. If he think his self-known attractions will not suffice, he will trust to some possible hidden merits, unperceived by himself and the world, but which will manifest themselves to her sight in a magical manner vouchsafed to lovers. Or at worst, if he admit himself to be mean and unlikely, he will put reliance upon woman's caprice, which, as we all know, often makes strange selections. As for me, I took myself to be quite a conquering fellow.
In looks, 'twas my opinion that Philip and I were equally gifted. Phil was of a graceful, slender figure; within an inch of six feet, I should say; with a longish face, narrowing from the forehead downward, very distinctly outlined, the nose a little curved, the mouth still as delicate as a boy's. Indeed he always retained something boyish in his look, for all his studiousness and thoughtfulness, and all that came later. He was not as pale as in boyhood, the sea breezes that swept in from the bay, past the wharves, having given him some ruddiness. His eyes, I have said, were blue, almost of a colour with Margaret's. I was an inch or two shorter than Phil, my build was more heavy and full, my face more of an equal width, my nose a little upturned so as to give me an impudent look, my eyes a darkish brown.
That I was not Phil's match in sense, learning, talents, self-command, and modesty, did not occur to me as lessening my chances with a woman. If I lacked real wit, I had pertness; and I thought I had a manner of dashing boldness, that must do one-half the business with any girl, while my converse trick of softening my voice and eyes to her on occasion, would do the other half.