[To “Voices from 19th-Century America”]

The Token, for 1836

The Token, edited by Samuel Goodrich, was one of many gift annuals available to early 19th-century readers. These lavishly bound, lushly illustrated collections of poetry and prose were intended as Christmas and New Year’s gifts—reminding us that in early 19th-century America, New Year’s was a gift-giving holiday. Gift books were published both for children and for adults, though the audiences often overlapped: some pieces by Goodrich appearing in The Token were reprinted in his works for children, including Robert Merry’s Museum. Goodrich saw in The Token a chance to promote American writers and engravers. He succeeded very well, especially with the writers, who included John Neal, Catharine Sedgwick, N. P. Willis, Lydia Sigourney, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and—in retrospect, most significant—Nathaniel Hawthorne. The first volume of The Token appeared in 1828; the last was published in 1842. Almost always, it was a decorative volume, with a handsome binding, fulsome end papers, and contents that were—well—decorative. Scenic views and scenic ladies were staples in the poetry; the prose tended to be lightly humorous and delicately edifying. Most of what appeared in The Token was innocuous.

The volume for 1836 contains the usual mixture of sentiment and eccentricity, 360 pages wrapped in floral-patterned fabric end papers and tucked between richly tooled leather covers. The pages are gilded on all exposed sides, and the text is embellished by 12 engravings, two of which are reproduced here.

Lovely and gentle women abound: the heroine of Catharine Sedgwick’s “New Year’s Day” sets an unattainable standard for patience and helpfulness and patience and sweetness and patience and good works, as she gives perfect, handmade gifts to her family (just how does she manage to produce everything from a book of drawings for a child to copy, to “several pairs of fine woolen hose which she had knit [for her father] … in her intervals of leisure”?), persuades a businessman not to raise the rent on a poor woman’s home (in an early example of the hazards of gentrification, the woman’s business has increased the value of the property), hostesses a day-long party (with an unforeseeable number of guests), and deals sweetly (and patiently!) with her father’s refusal to let her see the man she loves.

Marriage is explored in several works: tenderly in Lydia Sigourney’s “The Bride,” humorously in John Neal’s “The Young Phrenologist,” financially in “Wealth and Fashion,” and bizarrely in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Wedding Knell.” Each, in its way, has something of interest to say about marriage and relationships. (Neal’s piece opens with a wonderful satire of the “terrible revelation” scene in sentimental stories.)

Armchair travelers could take the scenic route through Grenville Mellen’s 20-page “Pilgrimage to the White Mountains” (not transcribed). Yearners after spiritual sustenance could look to “Life Beyond the Mountains.” Admirers of the republic’s democratic impulses—a theme which editor Samuel Goodrich explored often in his works for children—had their beliefs reinforced by “Wealth and Fashion,” a guilty pleasure of a story about love and money. Self-references abound: the first poem assures the lovely lady gracing the engraved title page that she will inspire browsers to buy the book; “Life Beyond the Mountains” wonders what spiritual matters have to do in The Token; in “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Hawthorne refers to an incident in “The Wedding Knell”—also in this volume.

Hawthorne has three pieces in this work, odd little gothic-drops in a bag of sentiment and morality mixed. Readers got expression and repression in “The May-Pole of Merry Mount,” the deathlessness of agony and of love in “The Wedding Knell,” and the complexity of guilt in “The Minister’s Black Veil.” Did fans of Neal, Sigourney, and Eliza Leslie enjoy these stories? It’s difficult to know. Did those pleased by Hawthorne’s contributions also appreciate the softer poetry and prose? It’s possible: 19th-century readers could be aesthetic and sentimental all in the same heartbeat.

Reviewers of the volume weren’t consistent in their views of the contents, describing the written portion as “an insipid sorting of trash” and as “of a higher order of merit than usually characterizes our annuals.” One reviewer trumpeted the discovery of an incident of plagiarism, claiming that “Life; its Seasons” bears too close a resemblance to a piece that had appeared in the Boston Pearl in 1834. The subject probably has been standard since writing was developed.

Selections here include Hawthorne’s contributions, and samples from the rest of the volume; the entire table of contents for the text, however, appears here, though not broken into the two pages it takes in the original. Unfortunately, scanning all the illustrations would have damaged the book, so only two are included. Quick snapshots of all are linked from the complete table of contents at this site.


http://www.merrycoz.org/voices/token/1836/36TOKEN.xhtml
Selections from The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, edited by Samuel Goodrich (Boston: Charles Bowen, 1836)

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[presentation page]

presentation page
Drawn by G. L. Brown      Engraved by E. Gallaudet

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[“fancy title page”: engraved title page]

THE
TOKEN
AND
ATLANTIC SOUVENIR.

portrait of a girl
F. Alexander    Jno. Cheney

BOSTON
CHARLES BOWEN
1836

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[printed title page]

THE TOKEN
AND
ATLANTIC SOUVENIR.
A
CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S PRESENT.

EDITED BY S. G. GOODRICH.

BOSTON.
PUBLISHED BY CHARLES BOWEN.
MDCCCXXXVI.

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[copyright page]

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-five, by Charles Bowen, in the Clerk’s Office of the district Court of Massachusetts.

BOSTON:
Samuel N. Dickinson, Printer,
52, Washington street.

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[p. iii]

PREFACE.

From the commencement of the Token in 1828, it has been the desire of the proprietors to render the work as little dependent, as possible, upon foreign art. The literary department has been sustained for nine years, by American writers; and in the other departments nothing has been borrowed from European artists, with the exception of designs for the engravings. A part of the prints have been unavoidably copied from the productions of foreign painters; yet a preference has always been given to the works of our own artists, and no volume has appeared, that was not embellished with several copies of American pictures.

The rapid advance that has recently been made here, in the various arts, particularly that of painting, together with the interest manifested by the community, in the productions of our countrymen, have induced the proprietor this year, to introduce no other engravings than those from original paintings or drawings by American artists. The present volume, therefore, is not only considerably enlarged, but it is wholly an American production. It is the first annual, and the only highly embellished book, issued from the American press, which could claim entire independence of foreign aid.

In accomplishing his design, the publisher has encountered difficulties, which the public can in part appreciate. Amid the multiplied productions of the pencil, there are very few suited to the purposes of an annual. Of the thousands of fine pictures painted every year in Europe, there are probably not a dozen that would prove decidedly popular in a work of this kind. In this country the artists being few, and restricting ourselves to the productions of American painters, it is plain that our choice is confined within very narrow limits. We have, in the present volume, used our best endeavors, yet as it must come into comparison with those of England, where selections may be made, alike from the numerous productions of living artists, and the exhaustless treasures of the past, accumulated

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in the halls, castles, palaces and galleries throughout Europe, it might be wise to bespeak some favor in behalf of our work on the ground of its American character. If we were driven to this plea, we hope it might not be without avail—and that if further apology were needed, it might be found in the difficulties which usually beset a first attempt. Should this attempt be approved by the public, it is our design to continue the work upon its present basis, and doubt not that with the advancing arts, we shall be able year by year, to make nearer and yet nearer approaches to perfection.

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[contents]

CONTENTS.

To *** … 9

New Year’s Day—By Miss Sedgwick … 11

Anna’s Picture—By Florence … 32

The Fair Pilgrim—By William L. Stone … 33

Spring—By J. G. Percival … 53

The Bride—By Mrs. Sigourney … 55

I will Forget Thee—By B. B. Thatcher … 57

To One I Love … 59

Perils on the Deep—By A. D. Woodbridge … 60

The Panther Scene—From the Pioneers [James Fenimore Cooper] … 61

The First Frost of Autumn—By S. G. Goodrich … 68

Wealth and Fashion … 71

Euthanasia—By C. C. … 104

Dante’s Beatrice—By the Author of ‘The Affianced One’ … 105

The Wedding Knell—By the Author of ‘Sights from a Steeple’ [Nathaniel Hawthorne] … 113

To a Lady—By R. … 124

Life beyond the Mountains … 125

The Magic Spinning Wheel—By J. K. Paulding … 129

The Wreck at Sea—By H. F. Gould … 151

To **** … 153

The Painter Boy … 154

The Indian Weed Sprite … 155

The Young Phrenologist—By John Neal … 156

Gratitude … 170

The Young Mother—By Mrs. Sigourney … 171

Horrors of a Head Dress-By a Nervous Man … 172

The Lost Wager—By a Bachelor … 186

The Spirit of Poesy—By I. McLellan … 187

A Pilgrimage to the White Mountains—By Grenville Mellen … 190

The Wandering Pole—By H. F. Gould … 218

The Conquerors of Spain—By L. H. Sigourney … 221

The Three Sceptres—By Mrs. S. J. Hale … 224

Youth Recalled—By J. G. Percival … 227

The Emigrant’s Adventure—By Mrs. S. J. Hale … 229

The Last of the Household—By Grenville Mellen … 234

Blanche and Isabel—By H. F. Gould … 237

The Muse and the Album—By J. L. Gray … 270

A Vision—By J. G. Percival … 276

I’ll think of that—By Grenville Mellen … 277

Life; its Seasons—By C. W. Everett … 281

The May Pole of Merry Mount—By the Author of ‘The Gentle Boy’ [Nathaniel Hawthorne] … 283

Early Days—By I. McLellan … 298

The Pilot Boy … 301

The Minister’s Black Veil—By the Author of ‘Sights from a Steeple’ [Nathaniel Hawthorne] … 302

I Love you, Flowers—By J. H. Mifflin … 320

Hunters of the Prairie … 321

Constance Allerton—By Miss Leslie … 323

The Spy … 359

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[p. 9]

THE TOKEN.

_______

TO **** ******
IN THE TITLE PAGE.

It is not for thine ample curls,

Where glowing sunset ever lingers—

It is not for the simple pearls,

Thou ’st placed there with thy rosy fingers—

It is not for thy banded hair—

Or snowy brow I ask thine aid—

These, these are gifts that thou mayst share,

With many a fair and favored maid.

No, Necromancer, not for these,

I seek to claim thy sense of duty—

The envied power, thou know’st to please,

Belongs to Truth, and not to Beauty:

For truth is like yon level lake,

That mirrors Heaven within its breast,

While yet the bordering features take

A holier aspect in their rest—

As if the rocks, and hills, and flowers,

Of earth were but a part of Heaven—

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p. 10

And all aside from beauty, powers

Like these, to such as thou, are given.

For there is truth upon thy brow,

That mirrors forth a world of love,

Within a form of earth—so thou

Hast caught enchantment from above.

And prithee with thy wand attend—

Be thou the guardian of our book—

Go with thy semblance, and befriend

These pages ever with thy look.

’Twill turn aside the critic’s curses,

And change his gathered gall to honey—

Convert to gold our leaden verses,

And turn our rhymes to ready money.

So prithee go—for thy sweet sake,

The grisly bachelor will buy—

For thee my lady’s purse will quake,

And e’en the miser’s strings untie.

I’d rather have thee for a muse,

Than any gray old mountain maid—

I trust to thee, and those who choose,

May go to Helicon for aid.

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[p. 11]

NEW YEAR’S DAY.
BY MISS SEDGWICK.

‘Say, to be just, and kind, and wise,

There solid, self-enjoyment lies.’

‘I wish I could find a solution for one mystery,’ said Mary Moore to her mother, as during the last your of the last night of 1834 they sat together, not over the inspiring embers of a nutwood fire, as in good old times, but within the circumambient atmosphere of a grate glowing with Schuylkill coals.

‘Is there but one mystery in life that puzzles you, Mary?’ asked her mother.

‘One more than all others, and that is, why Lizzy Percival is so tormented.’

‘Lizzy tormented? she seems to me the happiest girl of all our acquaintance.’

‘Mother! Did she not begin with the greatest of all earthly plagues—a step-mother?’

‘A step-mother, my dear child, is not of course a plague.’

‘But Lizzy’s was, you know, mother.’

‘A plague to herself, undoubtedly, but the greatest of all blessings to Lizzy.’

‘A blessing to Lizzy! what do you mean, mother?’

‘I mean that the trials of Lizzy’s childhood and youth developed and strengthened her virtue; Lizzy’s matchless sweetness of temper, was acquired, or at least

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perfected, by the continual discipline which it required to endure patiently the exactions and indolence of her step-mother. In short, Mary, Lizzy has been made far better by her relation with her step-mother. She has overcome evil, and not been overcome by it. I wish, my dear Mary, you could realize that it is not the circumstances in which we are placed, but the temper in which we meet them; the fruit we reap from them that make them either fortunate or unfortunate for us.’

‘Well, mother, I suppose if I were as old, and as wise, and above all, as good as you are, I should think as you do, but in the meantime, (an endless meantime!) I must account such a step-mother as Lizzy Percival’s the first and chiefest of all miseries. And then when it pleased kind Heaven to reward Lizzy’s virtue by the removal of this gracious lady, you know she left behind her half a dozen little pledges, to whom poor Lizzy has been obliged to devote and sacrifice herself.’

‘And this devotion and self-sacrifice has made her the exemplary and lovely creature she is. Her youth, instead of being wasted in frivolity has been most profitably employed. Duty is now happiness to her, and she is rewarded a thousand fold, for all her exertions by the improvement of her character, and the devoted love of her little brothers and sisters.’

‘Well, mother, you are very ingenious, but I think it will puzzle you to prove, that there is more profit than loss to Lizzy in being thwarted in her affections. Never was there a truer, deeper, or better merited love than Lizzy’s for Harry Stuart; never any thing more unreasonable, nor more obstinate than Mr. Percival’s opposition to their engagement, and if I were Lizzy—’ she hesitated, and her mother finished the sentence.

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‘You would take the matter into your own hands.’

‘I do not say that, but I certainly would not submit implicitly, as she does, toiling on and on for that regiment of children, and trying, while she is sacrificing her happiness to appear perfectly cheerful, and what provokes me more than all, being so the greater part of her time in spite of every thing.’

‘Ah! Mary, a kind disposition, a gentle temper, an approving conscience, and occupation for every moment of a most useful life, must make Lizzy happy, even though the current of true-love does not run smooth.’

‘But Lizzy does flag sometimes; I have seen her very sad.’

‘For any length of time?’

‘Oh, no! because she has always something or other to do.’

‘True, Mary, it is your idlers who make the most of misery, and create it when it is not ready made to their hands. Lizzy will finally have the reward of her virtue; her father will relent.’

‘Never—never, mother. You hope against hope. Mr. Percival is as proud and obstinate as all the Montagues and Capulets together. He is one of the infallibles. He prides himself on never changing a resolve, nor even an opinion; on never unsaying what he has once said, and you know he not only said, but swore, and that in Lizzy’s presence too, that she should never marry a son of Gilbert Stuart.’

‘Yes, I know. But continual dropping wears the rock, and the sun, if it were to shine long enough, would melt polar ice. Mr. Percival’s heart may be hardened by self-will, but he cannot forever resist the

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continued unintermitting influence of such goodness as Lizzy’s. He is not naturally hard hearted. His heart is soft enough, if you can penetrate the crust of pride that overlays it.’

‘Oh, mother, you mistake, it is all crust.’

‘No, Mary. The human heart is mingled of many elements, and not, as you young people think, formed of a single one, good or evil.’

——

The scene changes to Mr. Percival’s house. The clock is on the stroke of twelve. A lovely young creature, not looking the victim of sentiment, but with a clear, serene brow, her eye, not ‘blue and sunken,’ but full, bright and hazle, and lips and cheeks as glowing as Hebe’s, is busied with a single handmaid in preparing new year’s gifts for a bevy of children. Lizzy Percival’s maid Madeline, a German girl, had persuaded her young mistress to arrange the gifts after the fashion of her father-land, and accordingly a fine tree of respectable growth had been purchased in market, and though when it entered the house it looked much like the theatrical presentation of ‘Birnam woods coming to Dunsinane,’ the mistress and maid had contrived, with infinite ingenuity, to elude the eyes of the young Arguses, and to plant it in the library, which adjoined the drawing room, without its being seen by one of them.

Never did Christmas tree bear more multifarious fruit,—for St. Nicholas, that most benign of all the saints of the Calendar, had, through the hands of many a ministering priest and priestess, showered his gifts. The sturdiest branch drooped with its burden of books, chess-men, puzzles, &c., for Julius, a stripling of thirteen. Dolls,

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birds, beasts, and boxes were hung on the lesser limbs. A regiment of soldiers had alighted on one bough, and Noah’s ark was anchored to another, and to all the slender branches were attached cherries, plumbs, strawberries and peaches as tempting, and at least as sweet, as the fruits of paradise.

Nothing remained to be done, but to label each bough. Miss Percival was writing the names, and Madeline walking round and round the tree, her mind, as the smile on her lip, and the tear in her eye indicated, divided between the present pleasure and recollections of by-gone festivals in the land of her home,—when both were startled by the ringing of the door-bell.

‘It is very late,’ said Miss Percival, with a look at Madeline which expressed, it is very odd that any one should ring at this hour. ‘Close the blinds, Madeline,’ she added, for the first time observing they were open. The ring was repeated, and as at first, very gently.

‘Whoever it is, is afraid of being heard,’ said Madeline, ‘but,’ bristling up with a coward’s show of courage, ‘there ’s nothing to fear, Miss Lizzy,’ she added, ‘and if you ’ll just come with me into the entry, I ’ll find out before I open the door who it is.’

‘You hold the lamp, Madeline, and I will open the door,’ replied Lizzy, who had a good deal more moral courage than her domestic.

‘Oh, no! that would shame me too much, dear Miss Lizzy.’

‘But I am not afraid, Madeline;’ so giving Madeline the lamp, she sprang forward, and with her hand on the bolt, asked in a tone that might have converted an enemy into a friend, ‘who is there?’

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p. 16

A voice, low, anxious, and thrilling, answered, ‘Lizzy!’

Now indeed her cheek paled, and her hand trembled, and Madeline, naturally inferring that these signals betokened fear, said, ‘Shall I scream to your father?’

‘Oh! no, no!; not for the world; stand back, wait one moment;’ and while she hesitated whether she might turn the bolt, an earnest, irresistible entreaty from without prevailed. ‘For Heaven’s sake open the door, Lizzy; I will not enter; I will not even speak to you.’ The bolt was turned, and Lizzy said with the frankness that characterized her, ‘if I might ask you in, you know I would, Harry.’ Stuart seized her hand, slipped into a note, and impressed with his lips the thanks that, true to the letter of his promise, he dared not speak, and then hastily retreated, and the door was reclosed.

‘It was Mr. Stuart, Madeline.’

‘Yes, Miss Lizzy, I saw it was; but I promise you I shall not tell.’

‘No, do not, Madeline, for I shall tell papa, who is the only person that has a right to know.’

‘You are quite different from other young ladies,’ said Madeline, with an expression of honest wonder. But not entirely different was Lizzy, for she forgot to finish the little that remained undone, and hastily dismissing Madeline, she hurried to her own apartment, and opened the twisted note Stuart had given her. It enveloped a ring, and contained the following in pencil: ‘Dearest Lizzy—I have been walking before your window for the last hour, watching your kind preparations for those who are every day blest with the brightest and softest of all lights—the light of your countenance.

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Your very happy face has made me sad; for my selfish thoughts tell me this happiness is quite independent of me. Shame—shame to me! There is my Lizzy, I have said, giving gifts, and receiving them, making others happy, and made happy herself, and bestowing no thought on me! I have wrapped up this little ring, on which is an enamelled forget-me-not, and bade it speak to your heart, the cravings of mine. Forget me not, dear Lizzy! The ring is indeed too true an emblem of the endless circle of my sorrows. No beam of light is there in the parting—none in the dawning year for me.’

Lizzy read and re-read the note—very like all lovers’ notes—but, as she thought, peculiar and most peculiarly heart-breaking. The ring she put on her finger, and went to bed, holding it in the palm of her other hand, and before morning she had dreamed out a very pretty romance with a right pleasant and fitting conclusion. The morning came, New Year’s morning with its early greetings, its pleasant bustle, its noisy joys, and to Lizzy its cares; for there is no play-day in the Calendar of an American mistress of a family, be she old or young. Lizzy the genius loci was the dispenser-general of the bounties of the season. The children waked her at dawn with their kisses and their cries of ‘Happy New Year, sister.’ The servants besieged her door with their earnest taps and their heart-felt good wishes, and each received a gift and a kind word to grace it.

After breakfast the library door was opened, and the land of promise revealed to the little expectants. Then what exclamations of surprise! what bursts of joy, and what a rush as each sprang forward to pluck his own fruit from the laden tree! Each we said, but little Ella,

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the youngling of the flock, clung to Lizzy and leading her to the extremity of the room uncovered a basket, containing various souvenirs, saying, ‘Papa said we might all div something to the one we loved best, and so we dived this to you, sister.’

And now in the happy group around the tree, was apparent the blossoming of that fruit which their sister had planted and nurtured in their hearts. ‘Thank you, sister,’ said Julius, taking from his branch a nice book, filled with copies for him to draw after; ‘how much pains you have taken to do this for me! how much time and trouble you have spent upon it; I hope I shall never feel tired of doing any thing for you![’]

‘O, sister Lizzy!’ exclaimed little Sue, ‘I did not know when I spilt all your beads that you was knitting this bag for me; but you was so good natured that I was as sorry as ever I could be!’

‘Sister, sister, did you paint these soldiers?’ cried Hal; ‘kiss me, you are the best sister that ever lived.’

‘O, Anne, your doll is dressed just like mine; sister has even worked their pocket handkerchiefs. But you have a paint-box, I ’m glad of that!’

‘And you have an embroidered apron, and I am glad of that! O papa! does not sister do every thing for us?’

‘She does, my dear children,’ said Mr. Percival, who, though not of the melting order, was affected even to tears by this little home scene. ‘Come here to me, Lizzy,’ he said, drawing her aside, and putting his arm around her, ‘tell me, dear good child, what shall I give you.’

Lizzy hid her blushing face for a moment on her father’s bosom, and then courageously drawing back her

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head and raising her hand and pointing to her ring, she replied, ‘give me leave, Sir, to wear this gift from Harry Stuart!’

Mr. Percival’s brow clouded. ‘How is this Lizzy? did I not long ago command you to dismiss him from your thoughts?’

‘Yes, papa, but I could not obey you.’

‘Nonsense, nonsense, Lizzy.’

‘I tried, Sir, indeed I did, but the more I tried the more I could not!’

‘And so by way of aiding your efforts you wish to keep this gewgaw with a forget-me-not engraven on it?’

‘With your leave, Sir, I would wear it. It will make no difference papa. Harry has engraved the forget-me-not on my heart. There it is cut in, as the engravers say.’

Lizzy’s frankness and perseverance astonished her father, there was something kindred to his own spirit in it. He felt it to be so, and this it was perhaps, that mitigated his displeasure as he paced the room, his hands behind him, as was his wont, when perplexed.—‘I must not be fooled out of my resolution,’ he thought, ‘it was very presuming of Harry Stuart to give this ring to Lizzy when he knows my determination is invincible.’ He turned to claim the ring, when Madeline, who a few minutes before entered with a little paquet directed to him, caught his eye. He opened it, and found it contained a pair of slippers, Lizzy’s new year’s gift to him, beautifully wrought by her own hands. This was not all, there were several pairs of fine woolen hose which she had knit for him, in her intervals of leisure. They were just such as he liked,

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just such as he could not buy, just such as nobody but Lizzy could knit, at least so he thought, and thanking and kissing her, he said, ‘well, well, Lizzy, wear the ring to-day, and after that’—

‘I may still wear it, papa?’

‘I’ll consider of it my child.’

‘C’est le premier pas qui coûte,’ thought Lizzy, and with a light heart and joyous face, she bounded away to perform her next duty. Lizzy’s duties were so blended with pleasure, that she no more separated them, than the naked eye separates the twisted ray of light.

‘Come with me Madeline,’ she said. Madeline followed, marvelling at the young lady who, even in her love passages, dared to walk in light. These humbled persons are prompt to discern truth and rectitude, and to imbibe its influence from their superiors in station!

in a few minutes Lizzy and her maiden were on their way to the Sixth Avenue, where lived a certain widow Carey, who, with her four children, had long been blessed with Lizzy’s friendship. This young lady not contenting herself with setting down her father’s name as a subscriber to the Widow’s Society, literally and most religiously obeyed the command which recognises the first duty of the rich to the poor, and ‘visited the widow and the orphan,’ and not only lightened their burdens, but partook their happiness. The poor feel a sympathy in their joys more than the relief that is vouchsafed to their miseries, for that always reminds them of the superior condition of the bestower. Madeline carried on her arm a basket containing substantial gifts for the Careys, prepared by Lizzy’s own hands, and an abund-

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ance of toys for the children, contributed by the little Percivals from their last year’s stores.

The young Careys were all at the window, one head over another’s shoulder when Miss Percival appeared, and answered with smiles and nods to their out-break of clamorous joy and shouts of ‘I knew you would come Miss Lizzy.’ ‘I told mother you would come.’

‘And did I say she would not?’ said the mother, while her tears and smiles seemed contending which should most effectively express her gratitude.

Lizzy had no time to lose, and she hastily dispensed her gifts; one little urchin was taught to guide, by most mysterious magnetic attraction, a stately goose through such a pond as might be contained within the bounds of a wash-basin. His brother was shown how to set up a little village, a pretty mimicry of the building of Chicago, or any other of our wilderness towns that grow up like Jonah’s gourd, and the two little girls, miniature women, were seated at a stand to arrange their tea-set, and gossip with their pretty new-dressed dolls.

Lizzy, as she paused for a moment to look at them, was a fit personation of the saint of a child’s festival; she was not herself too far beyond the precincts of childhood to feel the glow of its pleasures, and they were now reflected in her sparkling eye and dimpled cheek. She looked to the good mother for her sympathy, but her back was turned, and she seemed in earnest conversation with Madeline, whose eyes, as she listened, were filled with tears. ‘Why, what is the matter, Mrs. Carey?’ asked Lizzy, advancing and laying her hand on Mrs. Carey’s shoulder.

‘Ah! Miss Lizzy, it’s being thankless to a gracious

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Providence to spake of trouble just now, and to you. These flannel petticoats and frocks,’ she took up the bundle Madeline had just put down, ‘will carry my children warm and dacent through the winter. God bless you, Miss Lizzy!’

‘But what is it troubles you, Mrs. Carey?’

‘There’s no use in clouding your sunshine, Miss Lizzy, this day above all other.’

‘But perhaps I can drive away the clouds, so tell me all, and quickly, because you know I must be at home and dressed before twelve o’clock.’

Mrs. Carey did not require urging, her heart was full, and there was a power in Lizzy’s touch that swelled the waters to overflowing. Her story was a very short one. When the collector had come for her rent the preceding evening, he had told her that she must give up the room she occupied at the close of the week, unless she could pay double the rent she now paid, as that had been offered by one of her neighbors. Mrs. Carey thought this a very hard case, as she had herself increased the value of the property by keeping thread, needles, and similar commodities to supply the neighbors, and gracing her window with candies that attracted customers from a school in the vicinity. She could afford, she said, to pay an advance, but double the rent, she could not, and where she should go, and how get bread for her children, she knew not, and now she cried so bitterly that the little objects of her motherly fears forsook their toys and gathered around her. Lizzy’s smiles, too, were changed to tears, but she soon cleared them away, for she was not a person to rest satisfied with pouring out a little bootless salt water.

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‘Who is your landlord, Mrs. Carey?’ she asked.

Mrs. Carey did not know his name, she knew only that he lived at a certain number which she mentioned, in Leonard Street.

‘I will stop there as I go down,’ said Lizzy, [‘]let Johnny put on his hat and coat and go with me, and if your landlord is not cross and crusty, and hard an cold as marble, I will send you back good news by Johnny.’

‘Hard and cold as marble his heart must be, Miss Lizzy, if you cannot soften it.’

Lizzy, after dismissing Madeline with domestic orders, rung at a door in Leonard Street, and no informing door-plate telling the proprietor’s name, she asked for the master of the house, and was ushered into the drawing-room, and received by an elderly gentleman, who laid aside the newspaper he was reading, and gave her a chair so courteously that she was emboldened to proceed at once to business. She told the name of the tenant in whose behalf she was speaking, and her distress at the communication she had received from his agent the preceding evening.

The gentleman said he knew nothing of the matter, that he confided the management of his rents to a trust-worthy person, who took good care of his concerns, and never abused his tenants.

Lizzy then, with a clearness and judiciousness that astonished her auditor, stated Mrs. Carey’s circumstances, and the seeming hardships of virtually ejecting her from a tenement of which she had enhanced the value by certain moral influences, for she was sure that it was Mrs. Carey’s good humor, kind tempered voice, and zeal in the service of her customers, that had attracted

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custom to her little shop, and made it observed and coveted by her neighbors. Having laid a firm foundation in reason (the best mode of addressing a sensible man) she proceeded to her superstructure. She described Mrs. Carey, she spoke with a tremulous voice of her past trials, of her persevering and as yet successful exertions to keep her little family independent of public charities; she described the children, dwelt on the industry of these busy little bees, and the plans and the hopes of the mother, till her auditor felt much like one, who from the shore, sees a little boat’s hardy company forcing their way against the current, and longs to put in his oar to help them.

‘She shan’t budge a foot my dear,’ said he, ‘not one foot;’ he rung the bell, wiped his eyes, cleared his voice and ordered his servant, who opened the door, to bring his writing desk. The writing desk was brought, and he wrote, signed and sealed a promise to the widow Carey, to retain her as a tenant on the terms on which she had hitherto rented his apartment, so long as she regularly paid her rent.

‘And now,’ said he, explaining the document, and giving it into Lizzy’s hands, ‘tell me my dear young lady who you are, that come forth on New Year’s morning on such an errand, when all the girls in the city are frizzing and rigging to receive their beaux. Will you tell me your name, my dear?’

‘Elizabeth Percival, Sir.’

‘Percival!—William Percival’s daughter—William Percival who lives at the corner of Broadway and —— Street.’

‘Yes Sir,’ she replied, smiling at the stranger’s earnestness.

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p. 25

‘Extraordinary!—most extraordinary!’ he exclaimed, and added as if thinking aloud, ‘I can understand now—he should’—

‘Good morning, Sir,’ said Lizzy, ‘I wish you as happy a New Year as your kindness had made for others,’ and she was turning away with the suspicion that her host was under the influence of a sudden hallucination, when he seized her hand. ‘Stop my dear child,’ he said, ‘one moment—never mind, you may go now—I think—don’t promise—but I think I shall see you again to-day. It is good—did you not say so?—to make people happy on the New Year. Good bye, my dear child—God bless you.’

Lizzy gave the precious paper into Johnny’s hands, and carefully noting the number of the house, she hurried homeward, resolved, at the first convenient opportunity, to ascertain the name of its singular and interesting proprietor. There was something in his countenance that, together with his prompt and most kind answer to her petition, made a deep impression on her heart.

But she had no time now to speculate on her new acquaintance, it was not far from twelve o’clock, and that, as we all know, is the hour when the general rush of winter begins on New Year’s day.

Lizzy’s toilet was soon despatched. We wish all young ladies would, like her, take advantage of the period of freshness, bloom, roundness, and cheerfulness, and not waste time and art in vieing with (and only obscuring) the inimitable adornments of nature. Sure we are in all the visiting rounds of this great city, no lovelier group was seen, than that in Mr. Perci-

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p. 26

val’s drawing-room, our friend Lizzy, the mother-sister, presiding over it.

From all that appeared to offer the customary salutations of the season, Lizzy’s thoughts often turned to him that did not come, that could not, must not, but she indulged a hope natural to the young and good (and therefore happy) that all would yet be well, and she met the greetings of the day with a face lighted with smiles, and a spirit of cheerfulness befitting them. Mr. Percival’s family being one of the oldest in the city, one of the most extended in its connections, and one of the few who have been residents here for several generations, their visiters were innumerable, and a continual stream poured in and poured out, emitting in its passage the stereotyped sayings of the season, such as

‘Many returns of this happy season to you Miss Percival—may you live a thousand years, and as much longer as you desire!’

‘A fine old custom this, Miss Percival, transmitted by our Dutch ancestors!’

This staple remark was made and often reiterated by some profane interloper who had not a drop of the good old Dutch blood running in his veins; alas for the fallen dynasty!

‘A custom peculiar to New York and Albany, they have tried to introduce it in our other cities, but it is impossible to transplant old usages, and make them thrive in a new soil.’

‘Charming custom!’ exclaims an elderly friend, kissing Lizzy’s offered cheek, and heartily smacking the children all round, ‘it gives us old fellows privileges.’

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p. 27

‘Uncommonly fine day,’ Miss Percival, much pleasanter than last New Year’s, but not quite so pleasant as the year before.’

‘What a happy anniversary for the children! a lovely group here Miss Percival, and the prettiest table (looking at that on which the toys were spread) that I have yet seen.’

‘I guess why,’ replied little Sue, casting a side-long glance at the speaker through her dark eye-lashes—‘nobody but us has a sister Lizzy.’

‘Do you keep a list of your visiters, Miss Elizabeth.’

‘In my memory, Sir.’

‘Ah, you should not trust to that, you should have the documents to show. Mrs. M., last year, had two hundred on her list, and Mrs. H. one hundred and eighty, exclusing of married men!’ Lizzy was quite too young to make any sage reflections of the proteus shapes of vanity. She laughed and said she cared only for the names she could remember.

‘What a splendid set-out has Mrs. T.’ exclaimed an enthusiastic lover of the fine arts that minister to eating and drinking, ‘oysters, sandwiches, chocolate, coffee, wines and whiskey-punch.’

‘Whiskey-punch! I thought’ Lizzy ventured modestly to say, ‘was banished from all refined society.’

‘Shockingly vulgar to be sure—mais, chacun á son goût.’

‘Mrs. L. has a most refined entertainment, champagne and cakes, upon my word, nothing but champagne and cakes!’

‘Ah, but you should have seen the refreshment at the Miss C.’s, quite foreign and elegant, (this opinion

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judicially delivered by a youth who had been once over the ocean, on a six week’s agency to Birmingham,) soup, patées de fois gras, mareschino, &c. &c.’

‘Is my cousin well to-day?’ asked Lizzy, ‘I hear she does not receive her friends.’

‘ “Tie up the knocker, John, she said
Say to my friends, I’m sick, I’m dead.’

but, between ourselves, my dear Lizzy, the draperies to the drawing-room curtains are not completed—that’s all.’

While some practiced and ultra fashionable visiters were merely bowing in, and bowing out, some other young gentlemen more ambitious, or more gifted, or more at leisure than the rest, made flights into the region of original remark. One admired Miss Percival’s boquet, commented on the triumphs of man’s (especially that rare individual Florist Thorburn’s) art over the elements, and noted some very pretty analogies between the flowers and the children. Another lauded the weather, and said that nature had, last of all the publishers, come out with her annual, and the gentlemen had found it ‘a book of beauty.’

The morning wore on. Mr. Percival returned to his home, having made a few visits to old friends, and claiming as to the rest his age’s right of exemption. He sat down and pleased himself with observing his daughter’s graceful reception of her guests. Her cordiality to humble friends, her modest and quiet demeanor to the class technically ycleped beaux, and her respectful and even deferential manner (a grace, we are sorry to say, not universal among our young ladies) to her

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p. 29

elders. In proportion as Mr. Percival’s heart overflowed with approbation and love for his daughter, he was restless and dejected. The ring had revealed her unchanged affection for Harry Stuart, and he began to perceive that there was a moral impossibility in her withdrawing that affection in compliance with his will. He felt too that his absolute will was no reason why she should. Harry Stuart, if man could, deserved her, and he was obliged in his secret heart to acknowledge himself the only obstacle to their happiness—happiness so rational! so well merited!

These were most uncomfortable reflections to a father essentially good hearted, though sometimes the slave (and victim as well as slave) of a violent temper. It was no wonder that he exclaimed in reply to a passing remark ‘that this was a charming anniversary, so many new friendships begun, so many old ones revived.’

‘Pshaw, Sir, that is mere talk, you may as well attempt to mend broken glass with patent cement, as broken friendships with a New Year’s visit.’

‘O! Percival, my dear friend,’ interposed a contemporary, ‘you are wrong. I have known at least half a dozen terrible breaches healed on New Year’s day. Depend on’t these eminences from which we can look forward and backward—these mile stones in life which mark our progress, are of essential service in our moral training. One does not like when he surveys his journey to its end to bear on with him the burden of an old enmity.’

‘It is a heavy burden,’ murmured Mr. Percival, in an under tone. Lizzy caught the words, and sighed as she made their just application.

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‘Mr. Percival,’ said a servant, ‘there ’s a gentleman wishes to speak with you in the library.’

‘Show him into the drawing-room.’

‘He says his business is private, Sir.’

‘This is no day for business of any sort,’ grumbled Mr. Percival, as he left the room, in no very auspicious humor for his visiter.

The morning verged to the dinner hour. Miss Percival’s last lagging visiters had come and gone, but not among them had appeared, as she had hoped from his intimation, the kind landlord who had so graciously granted her the boon she asked, and whose manner had excited her curiosity. ‘There was something in his face,’ she thought, ‘that impressed me like a familiar friend, and yet I am sure I never saw him before—heigho! this new yearing after all, is tedious when we see every body but the one we wish most to see—I wonder if papa will let me continue to wear this ring, if he should’—Her meditation, like many a one, more or less interesting, was broken off by the ringing of the dinner-bell. Her father did not answer to its call. The children forsook their toys and became clamorous. The bell was re-run. Still he came not. Lizzy sent a servant to enquire how much longer the dinner must wait. The servant returned with a face smiling all over and full of meaning, but what it meant Lizzy could not divine, and before he could deliver his answer, the library door was thrown open, and within, and standing beside her father, she saw the landlord her morning friend, and behind them Harry Stuart. All their eyes were directed towards her, and never did eyes of old or young look more kindly.

‘Come here, my dear child,’ said her father. Lizzy

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obeyed. ‘Keep your ring Lizzy, and give Harry Stuart your hand, as far as my leave goes, it’s his for life.’

‘What can this mean?’ thought Lizzy, confounded, and not restored to her senses by her lover seizing her hand and pressing it to his lips in the presence of a stranger. Her father interpreted and replied to the embarrassment and amazement expressed in her countenance.

‘This gentleman is Harry Stuart’s father, Lizzy! We were once friends, and are again, thank God. I have been a fool, and he has been —— foolish. Now look up boldly, my girl, and give him a kiss, and I’ll explain the whys and wherefores afterwards.’

The story afterwards most frankly told, was very like the stories of most quarrels among honest men. It had originated in mutual mistakes, and been aggravated and protracted by suspicion and pride, till the morning of the New Year, when conscience was awakened by the thrilling voice of that anniversary, and all the good feelings stirred by the charities of the season, and when Lizzy like a dove of peace was guided by Providence to the presence of Harry Stuart’ s father, and fairly made a perch on his heart. After a little reflection, he obeyed the impulse the sight of her sweet face, and the revelation of her character had given him, and availing himself of the privileges of the day, he sought an interview with Mr. Percival. Mutual explanations and mutual concessions followed, and when nothing more remained to be explained for forgiven, Harry Stuart was sent for, and Lizzy admitted to the library, and the day ended with the general acknowledgement that this was to these reconciled friends, and united lovers, the happiest of all happy New Years.

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[p. 32]

ANNA’S PICTURE.

’Tis but a pencil sketch, yet lovely still,

And true as lovely! The rich mouth is there,

The simple parting of the sun-brown hair,

The large and lustrous eyes, all eloquent,

With their unchildlike, earnest look of thought,

And the transparent fairness of the forehead!

It is all Anna, save the faint rose shade,

That trembles on her cheek, but, in her lips,

Deepens to crimson, and the tinge of gold,

Revelling like a sun beam ’mid her hair,

While in those eyes, which wear the self-same hue

Of glossy brown, it melts to tender smiles!

I would the picture could, those colors, wear;

For, in their contrast, half her beauty lies.

Her long, silk lashes, drooping on her cheek,

Their chesnut richness and the rose-tints warm,

Are brightened by each other’s loveliness.

I would this little sketch those colors wore;

But I’ve another portrait of the child,

Wrought by a hand more powerful and true,

A portrait, that will never fade, a hand,

Whose angel-skill is perfect and undying!

There the brown hair, on blue-veined temples, rests,

Just as it did on Anna’s; the sweet lips

Are as like hers, as hers are like a rosebud!

And the clear beaming eyes, the color wear,

With which her own are radiant. It is true;

For, long ago, before our darling left us,

Love drew her picture, in my ‘heart of hearts,’

And Memory preserves it beautiful!

Florence.

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[p. 55]

THE BRIDE.
BY MRS. SIGOURNEY.

I came, but she was gone.

There lay her lute,

Just as she touch’d it last, at the soft hour

Of summer twilight, when the woodbine cups

Filling with deeper fragrance, fondly press’d

Thro’ the rais’d casement, uttering tender thanks

To her who train’d them. On her favorite seat

Still lay her work-box open, and the book

That last she read, and careless near its page

A note, whose cover her slight pen had trac’d

With lines unconscious, while her lover spake

That dialect, which brings forgetfulness

Of all beside. It was the pleasant home

Where from her childhood she had been the star

Of hope and joy.

I came, and she was gone.

But this I knew, for I remember’d well

Her parting look, when from the altar led,

With silvery veil, but slightly swept aside,

How the young rose leaf deepen’d on her cheek,

And on her brow a solemn beauty sat,

Like one who gives a priceless gift away.

And there was silence. Mid that stranger throng,

Even strangers, and the hard of heart, did draw

Their breath supprest, to see the mother’s lip

Turn ghastly pale, and the tall stately sire

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Bow with a secret sorrow, as he gave

His darling to an untried guardianship,

And to a far-off clime. Perchance his thought

Travers’d the moss-grown prairies, and the shores

Of the cold lakes,—or those o’erhanging cliffs

And mighty mountain tops, that rose to bar

Her log rear’d mansion from the anxious eye

Of kindred and of friend.

Even triflers felt

How strong and beautiful is woman’s love,—

That taking in its hand the joys of home,—

The tenderest melodies of tuneful years,—

Yea, and its own life also, lays them all

Meek and unblenching on a mortal’s breast,

Reserving nought, save that unspoken hope

Which hath its root in God.

Mock not with mirth

A scene like this,—ye laughter-loving ones,—

Hence with the hackney’d jest.—The dancer’s heel—

What doth it here?

Joy, serious and sublime,—

Such as doth nerve the energies of prayer,

Should swell the bosom, when a maiden’s hand

Fresh from its young flower-gathering girdeth on

That harness, which the minister of death

Alone unlooseth,—and whose power doth aid

Or mar the journey of the soul to Heaven.

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[p. 57]

I WILL FORGET THEE.
BY B. B. THATCHER.

I will forget thee;—veteran soldiers said

Of the old Traitor of the Army, they

Would bury the one limb which the British bled

In battle for his country,—in the way

The brave are buried,—fitly,—and expose

The remnant of the faithless rascal for the crows.

And so shall I forget thee; that is, try

Most lustily to do so;—I will tell

Thy virtues o’er—ah, witch!—I can’t deny

Thou hast or hadst them; it were very well,—

Quite soothing,—could I make thee worse than sin

In ugliness, (thou darling,) both outside and in.

But since thou wilt not be so, e’en to please

Thy quondam crony, and I must confess,

Thy charms are multifold enough to tease

The life out from me,—and thy cunning face

Delightful,—and thy feet as much so,—and

No Indian ivory like thy dainty little hand;

Why then—I must forget thee. Once to night,

I’ll tell thy virtues o’er, and swell the dear

List fondly, and dwell on them with delight,

In dreams, as usual; and perchance a tear

Or so may soothe me when I wake to dim

Remembrance—as the warriors would have wept for him,

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p. 58

The Scoundrel of the Story,—and pell-mell,

Poured a few vollies o’er the limb,—and told

The leg-end of his labors,—and a bell

Also;—then I will venture to be bold,

And take a last look at thee, (as a kind

Of corpse)—quite coldly,—and just kiss thee till I find

I can forget thee; and devote an hour

To walking in a grave-yard; and a line procure,

To extend the neck up neatly in a bower,

Where we as lovers loitered,—(but be sure

’T is found out in due season, to prevent,

In mercy to thy nerves, a horrid accident,)—

Tho’ not till I have sent thee a small note,

Three-cornered, in rose paper, with a seal

Significant, in doves and daggers, that I dote

In death upon thee; then I will appeal

To thy best feelings—(hast thou any better?)

And beg thee to inform me of my fate by letter:

And that will be the end on’t,—not of me,—

By no means,—but of it; by which I mean,

Merely, that having buried by the free

Flow of my passion, all the good, I ween,

There was about thee, and my honor showed

By strangling,—or almost,—(which is the better mode,)

I ’ll straightway marry thy rich rival, (hang her!)

And take medicine, and money, and go thin

To Italy, and so push on for Padang or

Smyrna, and return accomplished, and at Lynn

Open a shoe-store, dearest;—all to fret thee

With a fine frenzy of philosophy—and forget thee!

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[p. 68]

THE FIRST FROST OF AUTUMN.
BY S. G. GOODRICH.

At evening it rose in the hollow glade,

Where wild-flowers blushed mid silence and shade;

Where, hid from the gaze of the garish noon,

They were slily wooed by the quivering moon.

It rose, for the guardian zephyrs had flown,

And left the valley that night alone:

No sigh was borne from the leafy hill,

No murmur came from the lapsing rill;

The boughs of the willow in silence wept,

And the aspen leaves in that sabbath slept.

The valley dreamed, and the fairy lute

Of the whispering reed by the brook was mute.

The slender rush o’er the glassy rill,

Like a marble shaft, was erect and still,

And no airy sylph o’er the mirror wave,

A dimpling trace of its footstep gave.

The moon shone down, but the shadows deep

Of the pensile flowers, they were hushed in sleep.

The pulse was still in that vale of bloom,

And the Spirit rose from its marshy tomb.

It rose o’er the breast of a silver spring,

Where the mist at morn shook its snowy wing,

And robed like the dew, when it woos the flowers,

It stole away to their secret bowers.

With a lover’s sigh, and a zephyr’s breath,

It whispered bliss, but its work was death.

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p. 69

It kissed the lip of a rose asleep,

And left it there on its stem to weep—

It froze the drop on a lily’s leaf,

And the shivering blossom was bowed in grief.

O’er the daisy it breathed, and the withered flower

Fell blackened and scathed in its lonely bower;

It stooped to the violets, blooming around,

And kissed the buds as they slept on the ground.

They slept, but no morrow could waken their bloom,

And shrouded by moonlight, they lay in their tomb.

The lover of pleasure no sigh bestows,

O’er the grave of his victim—the bourne of its woes.

The faded, forgotten, in ruin decay—

Their memories pass with their fragrance away—

And the frost Spirit went, like the lover light,

In search of fresh beauty and bloom that night.

Its wing was plumed by the moon’s cold ray,

And noiseless it flew o’er the hills away—

It flew, yet its dallying fingers played,

With a thrilling touch, through the maple’s shade;

It toyed with the leaves of the sturdy oak,

It sighed o’er the aspen, and whispering spoke

To the bending sumach, that stooped to throw

Its chequering shade o’er a brook below;

It kissed the leaves of the beech, and breathed

O’er the arching elm, with its ivy wreathed:

It climbed to the ash on the mountain’s height,

It flew to the meadow, and hovering light

O’er leafy forest and fragrant dell,

It bound them all in its silvery spell.

Each spreading bough heard the whispered bliss,

And gave its cheek to the gallant’s kiss—

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p. 70

Tho’ giving, the leaves with resistance shook,

As if disdaining the joy they took.

Who dreamed that the morning’s light would speak,

And show that kiss on the blushing cheek?

For in silence the fairy work went through,

And no croning [sic] owl of the scandal knew—

No watch-dog broke from his slumbers light,

To tell the tale to the listening night.

But that which in secret is darkly done,

Is oft displayed by the morrow’s sun;

And thus the leaves in the light revealed,

With their glowing hues what the night concealed.

The sweet, frail flowers that once welcomed the morn,

Now drooped in their bowers, all shrivelled and lorn;

But the hardier trees shook their leaves in the blast,

To’ tell-tale colors were over them cast.

The maple blushed deep as a maiden’s cheek,

And the oak confessed what it would not speak.

The beech stood mute, but a purple hue

O’er its glossy robe was a witness true;

The elm and the ivy with varying dyes,

Protesting their innocence looked to the skies;

And the sumach roughed deeper, as stooping to look,

It glanced at the colors that flared in the brook.

The delicate aspen grew nervous and pale,

As the tittering forest seemed full of the tale;

And the lofty ash, tho’ it tossed up its bough,

With a puritan air on the mountain’s brow,

Bore a yellow tinge on its leafy fold,

And the hidden revel was gaily told!

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[p. 71]

WEALTH AND FASHION.

‘I muse the mystery was not made a science,

It is liberally profest! * * * *

This is the creature had the art born with her,

Toils not to learn it, but doth practise it

Out of most exquisite nature.’

Ben Johnson.

‘What a pity it is,’ said Caroline, throwing aside her book, ‘we are born under a republican government!’

‘Upon my word,’ said her brother Horace, ‘that is a patriotic observation for an American.’

‘O, I know,’ replied the sister, ‘that it is not a popular one; we must all join in the cry of liberty and equality, and bless our stars that we have neither Kings nor Emperors to rule over us, and that our first audible squeak was republican. If we don’t join in the shout, and hang our hats on hickory trees or liberty poles, we are considered unnatural monsters. For my part, I am tired of it, and I am determined to say what I think. I hate republicanism; I hate liberty and equality; and I don’t hesitate to declare, that I am for a monarchy. You may laugh, but I would say it at the stake.’

‘Bravo!’ exclaimed Horace; ‘why, you have almost run yourself out of breath, Cara, you deserve to be prime minister to the king.’

‘You mistake me,’ replied she, with dignity. ‘I have no wish to mingle in political broils, not even if I could be as renowned as Pitt or Fox; but I must say, I think our equality is odious. What do you think? To-day,

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p. 72

the new chamber-maid put her head into the door, and said, “Caroline! your marm wants you.” ’

‘Excellent!’ said Horace, clapping his hands, and laughing; ‘I suppose, if ours were a monarchical government, she would have bent one knee to the ground, or saluted your little foot, before she spoke.’

‘No, Horace, you know there are no such forms as those, except in the papal dominions. I believe his holiness the Pope, requires such a ceremony.’

‘Perhaps you would like to be a Pope?’

‘No! I am no Roman Catholic.’

‘May I ask your highness, what you would like to be?’

‘I should like,’ said she, glancing at the glass, ‘I should like to be a Countess.’

‘You are moderate in your ambition; a Countess, now a days, is the fag end of nobility.’

‘O! but it sounds to delightfully …… The young Countess Caroline!’

‘If sound is all, you shall have that pleasure; we will call you the young Countess Caroline!’

‘That would be mere burlesque, Horace, and would make me ridiculous.’

‘True,’ replied Horace; ‘nothing can be more inconsistent for us than aiming at titles.’

‘For us, I grant you,’ replied Caroline; ‘but if they were hereditary, if we had been born to them, if they came to us through belted knights and high-born dames, then we might be proud to wear them. I never shall cease to regret that I was not born under a monarchy.’

‘You seem to forget,’ said Horace, ‘that all are not lords and ladies in the royal dominions. Suppose your

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p. 73

first squeak, as you call it, should have been among the plebeians; suppose it should have been your lot to crouch and bend, or be trodden under foot by some titled personage, whom in your heart you despised; what then?’

‘You may easily suppose, that I did not mean to take those chances. No, I meant to be born among the higher ranks.’

‘Your own reason must tell you, that all cannot be born among the higher ranks, for then the lower ones would be wanting, which constitute the comparison. Now, Caroline, we come to the very point. Is it not better to be born under a government, in which there is neither extreme of high or low; where one man cannot be raised pre-eminently over another; and where our nobility consists of talent and virtue.’

‘That sounds very patriotic, brother,’ said Caroline, with a laugh; ‘but I am inclined to think, that wealth constitutes our nobility, and the right of abusing each other, our liberty.’

‘You are as fond of aphorisms as ever Lavater was,’ replied Horace, good-humoredly; ‘but they are not always true.’

‘I will just ask you,’ returned she, ‘if our rich men, who ride in their own carriages, who have fine houses, and who count by millions, are not our great men?’

‘They have all the greatness that money can buy; but this is a very limited one.’

‘In my opinion,’ said Caroline, ‘money is power.’

‘You mistake,’ returned Horace; ‘money may buy a temporary power, but talent is power itself; and when united to virtue, a God-like power, one before which the

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mere man of millions quails. No, give me talent, health, and unwavering principle, and I will not ask for wealth, but I will carve my own way; and depend upon it, wealth will be honorably mine.’

‘Well, Horace, I am sure I heartily wish you that possession of all together, talent, principle, and wealth. Really, without flattery, the two first you have; and the last, according to your own idea, will come when you beckon to it. Now I can tell you, that I feel as determined as you do, to “carve my own way.” I see you smile, but I have always believed we could accomplish what we steadily will. Depend upon it, the time is not distant, when you shall see me in possession of all the rank that any one can obtain in our plebeian country.’



Such were the sentiments of the brother and sister; both perhaps unusually endowed with talent. Horace had just received his diploma as attorney at law, Caroline had entered her eighteenth year, and was a belle in her own circle. There is many a young lady, who throws aside an English novel, with the same desire as our heroine had, of being a Duchess or a Countess, or perhaps a maid of honor; and at last centres her ambition in attaining what she considers the aristocracy of our country, wealth and fashion.

It is said, ‘education makes the character;’ and in support of this doctrine, that admirable line of the poet’s is again quoted for the five thousand and fiftieth time: ‘Just as the twig is bent, the tree ’s inclined.’ Mr. and Mrs. Warner had given birth to a forest of little twigs, and certainly had tried to bend them all one way, that is, to make them virtuous and contented. But, under

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the same gentle discipline, nothing could be more different than the dispositions of the two oldest girls, Caroline and Frances.

Mrs. Warner was a plain unassuming woman, with no higher ambition than her means afforded. Some sacrifices had been made, to send their eldest son, Horace, to college, with the belief, that, to give him a good education, was qualifying him to assist in the advancement of his brothers. He had as yet fully realized their expectations. He had not thought it necessary, while at college, to engage in any rebellion to prove his spirit and independence, but had trod the path of duty with undeviating step, had had one of the first parts awarded to him, and received an honorable degree, instead of being suspended or expelled. He had prosecuted his professional studies with diligence, and was now known as attorney at law.

Frances, or Fanny, as she was familiarly called, relieved her mother from many of her domestic cares; the other children were still too young to bear much part in the busy scenes of life.

Among Horace’s college friends, was a young man by the name of Benson. He had there been his chum, and was now his partner in business. They occupied the same office, and were bound together by the strongest ties of friendship. His association had hitherto been chiefly confined to the young men. In answer to Horace’s commendations of his friend, Caroline constantly replied, ‘he may be all you say, but nobody knows him, he is in no society.’ When she met him, however, at a splendid ball, given by one who stood first in his profession, her heart became a little softened towards him and in

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issuing invitations for a party, one was sent to Mr. Benson. To her astonishment, an answer was returned ‘declining the honor.’ ‘I am very glad,’ said Caroline, a little piqued, ‘it would have been an awkward thing; he does not visit in our circle.’

‘No,’ replied Horace, ‘he does not, at present, visit in any circle, he is devoted to business.’

‘How I detest a drone!’ said she, pettishly.

‘If you mean to apply that epithet to my friend, you are greatly mistaken.’

‘True, I ought to have said a drudge.’

Not long after, Caroline again met Benson in a circle which she considered fashionable. She had no longer any objection to admitting him to her society, and even exerted herself to appear amiable and charming.

‘You certainly did not overrate your friend,’ said she one day to her brother; ‘he is one of the most agreeable men I ever met with. I wish he was a more fashionable man.’

‘I don’t know what you mean,’ said Horace; ‘he certainly dresses remarkably well.’

‘His dress is well enough; I don’t mean that.’

‘His manners are easy, and those of a gentleman.’

‘Yes, all that is very well, but I mean, that I wish it was the fashion to invite and notice him.’

By degrees, Caroline ceased to cavil at Mr. Benson’s standing in society. She had talent enough to appreciate him, and all her powers of captivation were exerted to enslave him.

What does a man devoted to business know of female character! He was entirely satisfied that Miss Warner

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was ‘perfect and peerless, and made of every creature’s best.’ In a very few months he was completely in love, and at the end of another, had offered himself.

Caroline consulted her brother. His encomiums as usual were warm. ‘I know Benson perfectly,’ said he, ‘he is a man of honorable principle and first rate talent.’

‘Do you think he will ever be rich?’

‘I think he is too fine a fellow,’ said Horace, with feeling, ‘to be sacrificed to a woman whose first question is, “Will he ever be rich?” ’

‘Let us understand each other,’ said Caroline. ‘I like Benson. I even prefer him to any one I know. You say I am ambitious, I admit it is so; then my object must be to marry ambitiously. there is no sin in this; and I never will marry any an that is not distinguished, or able to make himself so. if Benson were rich, I should not hesitate; if I were sure he would be rich, I should hesitate no longer, because with wealth, he could command any rank in society.’

‘I do not enter into these cold calculations,’ returned Horace; ‘if ever I fall in love, it will be with a woman whose heart and not whose head is at work. However, you ask the question, and I will answer it. I do think that, in time, he will not only be rich, but be one of our most distinguished men.’

It is difficult to say how much this opinion influenced the young calculator, but her answer was by no means such as to throw Benson into despair. In a short time, he was the acknowledged lover of Caroline, with the full and free consent of her parents, the warm-hearted approbation of her brother, and the silent, though feeling acquiescence of her sister.

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Might it not seem that in such an union there were materials enough for happiness? But when is ambition satisfied! Benson was neither rich, nor a man of fashion; and after the first excitement of being engaged was over, Caroline grew listless and languid. Sometimes she was vexed that he did not devote his time to her, rather than to his profession; and sometimes she secretly murmured at her own rashness in forming an engagement upon such an uncertain basis, and was ready to mourn that beauty and talents like hers, should be doomed to such an unworthy lot. For a long time, Benson was too entirely shielded by the uprightness of his own mind to suspect the tumult of her thoughts. Gradually, however, unpleasant reflections forced themselves upon him; he even suspected there might be something a little worldly in her character; but if so, what a proof she had given him of her attachment! She had taken him without fortune, and was willing to wait till a competence could be acquired.

One year passed away, and the winter of the second arrived. Caroline’s discontent seemed to increase; she became even fretful at times, but there was a dignity and elevation in Benson’s character which always checked the first ebullitions of spleen, and he saw much less of it, than her own family. Horace became seriously alarmed; he feared that he might have made his friend’s, as well as his sister’s future misery, in promoting a match, that he began to think, was not suited to either. At this crisis, Caroline received an invitation to pass a few weeks with a relation at New York. Horace warmly seconded her wish to accept it, for he considered that her affection wanted such a test. A pleasant party of

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friends were going on, and the lovers parted with mutual protestations of fidelity.

A short residence with her cousins, the Ellisons, convinced her, they were among the êlite, and stood on the very pinnacle of fashion.

We trust our readers have already discovered that Caroline had a reflecting mind. She immediately began to investigate and analyze the causes of their exaltation. In the first place, it was not beauty; for Mrs. Ellison, without her French hat, blond veil, and diamond ear-rings, was almost plain. It certainly could not be high birth, for ‘her parents were nobody;’ the conclusion was obvious; it was her wealth, her elegant house, her stylish parties, and superb carriage. Here, then, she concluded she had found the primum mobile of American aristocracy, and with this conviction came all the horrors of her own lot; at the best, a competency with Benson!

One morning, Caroline went to an auction with Mrs. Ellison; fashionable ladies in New York, condescend to buy bargains, as well as in London. She was struck with the amount and magnitude of her purchases. ‘Have you no fear,’ said Caroline, as they were returning home, ‘that Mr. Ellison will think you extravagant?’

‘It is nothing to him,’ said the lady; ‘I buy all out of my own allowance.’

‘Is it possible,’ said Caroline, ‘that you have regular pin money?’

‘You may call it pin money, if you please,’ said Mrs. Ellison. ‘I have a stated sum for my own expenses; I should be perfectly wretched if I had to go to Mr. Ellison for every farthing I wanted to spend; never marry without such a stipulation.’ Caroline thought of

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Benson; the recollection of him came over her like an east wish, and she turned blue and cold.

At first, Caroline was noticed as Mrs. Ellison’s friend, but her beauty soon attracted observation, and she quickly caught whatever was stylish in those with whom she associated. People ceased to inquire whether she was ‘any body.’ Many a distinguished lady of fashion, whose name had hitherto met her ear in faint echoes, now left her card for Miss Warner, and solicited her company at her soirées. ‘O,’ thought Caroline, ‘if ever the time arrives when I can give soirées!’ and again the image of Benson came over her, and again she turned blue and cold. It may be easily supposed, under such circumstances, that she strove to banish him from her mind; she ceased to write home, and hardly deigned to answer the letters she received.

‘Miss Warner,’ said Mr. Ellison, one morning at the breakfast table, ‘I have a special embassy to you.’

‘What is it?’ she enquired.

‘I suppose you have discovered that you are quite the glass and mould of fashion.’

Mrs. Ellison colored, though her guest did not. ‘I would thank you for an egg,’ said she. Mr. Ellison handed his lady the egg, and then continued; ‘You may now, Miss Warner, certainly be styled the reigning belle.’

‘Which do you think the best way of eating eggs?’ enquired the fair mistress of the mansion; ‘for my part, notwithstanding Major Hamilton pronounces breaking them into a glass vulgar, I shall take the liberty;’ and she knocked it so violently with her spoon, that had she not been a lady, it might have appeared as if she were relieving some excess of feeling.

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‘Well, now for your embassy,’ said Caroline, with a bewitching smile.

‘Let us have it by all means,’ said Mrs. Ellison, with a forced laugh. ‘ “To the fairest of the fair,” I suppose.’

‘You appear a little discomposed, my dear,’ retorted Mr. Ellison.

‘I do detest flattery,’ replied the lady; she might have added, when it was not addressed to herself. Alas, how does the petty rivalship of beauty and fashion, degrade the character and ruffle the temper.

‘Nevertheless, I must accomplish my embassy,’ said Mr. Ellison, ‘if it does happen to be surcharged with flattery. Mr. Burrell called on me yesterday, and after the warmest encomiums on Miss Warner’s beauty, wit, and sweetness, asked me if she was disengaged. I told him I presumed so. Am I right?’ Caroline colored, but gave an assenting bow.

‘What was the meaning of that report I heard about your being engaged?’ asked Mrs. Ellison, as Caroline thought, very ill-naturedly.

‘I am not answerable for reports,’ replied she, blushing still deeper.

‘Never mind, Miss Warner,’ said the gentleman, ‘married ladies always think the right of flirtation belongs exclusively to themselves.’

‘Not exclusively,’ said the lady, ‘at least their amiable partners share in the right.’ The husband and wife looked any thing but amiable now; and Caroline, who was an apt disciple in such a school, sat wondering what would come next.

Mr. Ellison first broke the silence. ‘Mr. Burrell,’ said he, ‘requests permission to call on you this evening,

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and that you will have the goodness to see him alone. The truth is, he means to offer himself, and you must be prepared with an answer.’

‘Mr. Burrell!’ exclaimed she, with affected astonishment, ‘he is old enough to be my father!’

‘Your grandfather, I should think,’ said the gentleman.

‘No matter,’ said Mrs. Ellison; ‘he is as rich as Crœsus.’

‘Is he thought a man of fashion?’ asked Caroline.

‘Whoever becomes Mrs. Burrell,’ said Mr. Ellison, ‘will have the most splendid house, carriages, furniture, et cetera, in the city; she will have every thing but a young and agreeable husband.’

‘Is he thought liberal?’ said Caroline.

‘That is not his general character, but probably a young wife will make him so.’

Evening found Caroline equipped for the interview. Mr. Burrell came at the appointed hour. Notwithstanding his peruke, whiskers and teeth were of the best workmanship, the man of sixty stood revealed.

His manner of making love certainly did not disgrace his years, as it was quite in the old fashioned style; he called her ‘his lovely girl, his adorable charmer.’ She in return, was all artlessness, and acknowledged that he had interested her from the first moment of her introduction. She did not think it necessary to add, that she had previously heard of his overflowing coffers.

That evening would have decided the fate of Caroline, had she not determined to stipulate for pin money. Though titles could not be introduced into America, she saw no reason why this excellent English custom should not be adopted; she, therefore, after whispering the

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yielding state of her mind, begged him to wait for a more decisive answer, till she had written to her dear parents.

The next day the following letter was despatched to her brother:

‘Dear Horace,

‘Though you and I were born in the same era, there can be nothing more different than our vocations. You labor in yours, I in mine; we can be no judges of each other’s conduct, it behoves us then then to be mutually candid.

‘You got me into a scrape, now for heaven’s sake help me out of it. I do not accuse you of making the match between Benson and me, but certainly you were instrumental to it. Do you remember I prophesied that the time would arrive when you would see me possessing all the rank we could attain in the country? That time is near; there is no obstacle but Benson. You must break the matter to him as well as you can. Save his feelings, but be decisive, for I never will marry him. Another thing you must do, is to prepare my father and mother for a new match; and tell them that like a dutiful child, I am waiting for their consent. All this you can do much better than I can; I am sure you will do it well, but do manage it so that I may never set eyes on Benson again. I say nothing of Fanny, because I can manage her myself; I shall tell her I have acted from principle, and then the good child will say, “you have done perfectly right.”

‘After all, Horace, this is a troublesome world; my visit here has not been too pleasant. Mrs. Ellison hates me, because I am handsomer than she is, and because

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her caro sposo thinks so; but that is not the worst of it, I am over head and ears in —; but I forgot I was writing to you, Horace.

‘A letter will accompany this from Mr. Burrell, asking my parents’ consent. I have a secret for your ears only, he is two years older than his intended father-in-law. How ridiculous! I shall insist upon his kneeling and asking his papa’s and mama’s blessing. Do, dear Horace, write me immediately, and don’t be severe on the frailties of your poor sister.’

Caroline had intended to delay giving an answer to her lover, till she had secured the article of pin-money, but he was too ‘wary to be kept’ in suspense, and she soon found that now or never, was his motto. She therefore permitted him to announce the engagement. Many remarks were made upon her mercenary motives; and it was said to have excited even twelve days of wonder.

At length a letter arrived, and even Caroline’s nerves were a little agitated at the sight of her brother’s handwriting; she broke the seal and read:

‘My dear Caroline,

‘Your long silence had prepared us for some change in your feelings, but I had not anticipated such a total dereliction from just and upright principle. You beg me not to be severe, I feel no disposition to say any thing unkind. I am sick, sick at heart, to see one so young, made in God’s own image, so heartless. But I forgot my resolution, not to speak harshly; why should I? It is you who are the sufferer; it is you who are debarred from the highest and noblest privilege of our nature, a generous and disinterested attachment. If it were not

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too late, I might strive to touch your reason; but perhaps it is best that it should be as it is; virtue is formed by discipline, and He who knows our deficiencies can best tell what degree is necessary for us. All is arranged here; you can return when you please, without any fear of meeting Benson. Our parents feel great disappointment, but they do not perfectly mistake her character, but I leave you to find out its excellence, for, with the only trait you comprehend, gentleness, she unites high-souled resolution.

‘There is one sentence in your letter left unfinished, which fills me with apprehension. You say “I am over head and ears in —” and then break off, as if unwilling to proceed. You cannot mean over head and ears in love, for you are no hypocrite; can it be in debt? If you have thoughtlessly involved yourself in expense, do not let it have any influence in forming this connection. I promise you that you shall be extricated from all embarrassment, without its being known; I know that I have more than sufficient for the purpose. Write to me openly and fearlessly, it is not too late to retract.’

Such was the purport of the letter. Caroline shed a few natural tears as she folded it up.

Horace had discovered one part of the truth; she was in debt, far beyond her means to discharge. It was utterly impossible that she should dress in the style of Mrs. Ellison, with her limited means, without running in debt. There were bills at the dress-makers, milliners, and jewellers. Since her engagement, these were unimportant, they were all ready to wait till she returned Mrs. Burrell. Her lover wished to accompany

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her home, but some remains of feeling prevented her accepting his offer. She was received by her family with unchanged affection. It had been a general agreement, that Benson should not visit there till after Caroline’s marriage and departure. She was by that means saved from the mortification of meeting him.

When Horace first communicated to him the purport of Caroline’s letter, he received the intelligence with strong emotion; in a short time, however, he grew collected and calm.

‘There is more,’ said he, ‘to mortify my self-love in this affair, than my affection. I have felt almost from the first, that we were neither of us satisfied with each other. Often have I sought refuge with Frances, when wearied with the caprices of her sister, and I candidly acknowledge that I have sometimes wished my good genius had directed me to her in the first place.’

‘My dear fellow,’ said Horace, squeezing his hand, ‘let us drop this subject entirely, when Caroline goes to New York, you will visit us as usual.’

A new scene was now enacting in the quiet mansion of Mr. Warner. He had made his daughter a present sufficient to amply furnish her wardrobe; beyond that was not in his power. Her apartment was crowded with silks, satins, shawls and French flowers; not a chair nor a table but was loaded with articles of this nature. It was a season of triumph for Caroline; never before had she indulged the exuberance of her really elegant taste, not even on her late visit at New York, where her debts remained unpaid. Once or twice it occurred to her that she would reserve a few hundreds to discharge them;

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but when is vanity satisfied? there was still something more to purchase, and the whole was soon appropriated.

Frances looked on with a feeling of wonder and regret; there was much in the whole affair she could not comprehend. She felt impatient to behold the man who could rival Benson, and she once expressed the feeling to her sister. Caroline laughed scornfully; there was no hypocrisy in her character. Had this trait arisen from principle, it might have been a redeeming point; but it rather proceeded from want of feeling; she could not comprehend that what was immaterial to her, would shock others.

‘Do you really think, Fanny,’ said she, ‘that I am going to marry Burrell for his beauty or his talents? No, my sweet one, it is for his goods and chattels. How I wish he could be translated like Elijah, I am sure he is as venerable, and let his mantle of gold fall on me.’ It was a favorite source of drollery with Caroline to apply Scripture passages ludicrously. ‘But why do you look so serious? I verily believe you envy me my Methuselah.’

‘I do not at present envy you any thing you are to possess,’ said Frances, quietly; ‘of all misery, I can imagine, the greatest is giving the hand without the heart.’

‘There are many ideas,’ replied Caroline, ‘that read well in a novel, which are not fit for real life. Do you really think one half of the matches that take place are from affection? No, no, Fanny; once in a very, very great while, the heart and hand are joined together; but when they are, it is like the Siamese twins, a prodigy. Now a truce to sentiment, I want your opinion about

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these satins; which will look best with diamonds, the white or amber?’

‘White looks well with every thing. Are you going to purchase diamonds?’

‘I purchase diamonds! Why you dear innocent soul, my father’s whole income would not buy me a pair of diamond ear-rings. No, Burrell desired that he might furnish my bridal jewels; of course they will be diamonds. Mrs. Ellison’s are superb, but mine will undoubtedly be more so; Burrell’s income is much larger than Ellison’s. He has not made me a present worth speaking of, since we were engaged, and I have no doubt he means to put all his strength into my diamonds. I perceive you do not enter into my splendid prospects. I forgive you; it is human nature. Never mind, Fanny, when I get settled, I will send for you, and you will have much greater advantages for making a match than I had.’

‘I thank you, but I am sure diamonds would not add to my happiness.’

‘You think so now, because you know nothing of their importance in the world.’

‘I hope I never shall know.’

‘You are deceiving yourself, if you suppose all this indifference arises from principle. It is ignorance, pure ignorance.’

‘Then let me enjoy it,’ said Frances, smiling, ‘there are some subjects on which it is folly to be wise.’

‘You cannot expect me, however, to introduce you to the circle in which I shall move, without you are willing to conform to it.’

‘Caroline,’ said Frances, firmly, ‘you must not suppose because I have been silent, that I have not my own

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views and opinions of the plan you are pursuing. God only knows how it will terminate; but I would not exchange situations with you, for all this world can give. And now let us drop the subject.’

‘With all my heart, I am sure we shall never agree upon it. Have you seen Benson lately?’

‘Not since you returned.’

‘Did he take my dismissal of him much in dudgeon?’

‘He made an observation that perhaps you will not like to hear repeated.’

‘O yes, I shall, pray tell me what it was.’

‘He said, “that when we ceased to esteem, it was easy to cease to love.”’

‘Nonsense, that was all pique, but I really think, Fanny, you and he would make an excellent match. Perhaps, however, you would not choose to take up with my cast off garments.’

‘O,’ replied she, good humoredly, ‘you know I have always been accustomed to them.’

‘That is true, you took them as fast as I outgrew them; that was mamma’s economy; how odious all these details are. I do really think it had an effect on your character; wearing old clothes all your life!’

At length Mr. Burrell arrived; his equipage was splendid. He told Caroline, ‘her house wanted only its lovely mistress to render it complete.’ In the eyes of Horace and Frances, he was any thing but attractive; but the one most interested, seemed perfectly satisfied.

The wedding evening arrived, and still no jewels had been presented. Caroline arrayed herself in her bridal dress, and arranged her hair for the splendid tiara of diamonds, which was to far surpass Mrs. Ellison’s.

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Radiant in smiles, she descended to the parlor, to meet her lover tete-á-tete, before the hour appointed for the ceremony arrived. He was the most admiring, the most enraptured of men, and thanking his fair mistress for her attention to his request in permitting him to furnish her wedding jewels, placed a package in her hand. She only waited to express her thanks, and flew to her room to examine and adorn herself with her treasures. She found Frances quietly folding up her dresses and putting the apartment in order. ‘They have come! I have got them!’ she exclaimed, ‘give me a pair of scissors, a knife, any thing,’ and she began pulling upon the knot with her slender fingers, and white teeth. At length the package was unfastened, and the little red morocco case appeared before her; for a moment she hesitated, then hastily opened it! it fell from her hand, and she threw herself back, as if in the act of fainting. Frances flew to assist her. ‘Stand off!’ exclaimed Caroline, ‘I want breath.’ The struggle was for a moment doubtful, but happily a burst of tears relieved her. It was long and violent, but at length her words found utterance. ‘A wretch! a monster! an old super-annuated fool! it is not too late yet,’ and she began to tear off the orange blossoms from her glossy ringlets.

‘You are distracted,’ said her sister, ‘what does all this mean?’

‘Look,’ she exclaimed, spurning, with her white satin shoe, the case that lay on the carpet. Frances picked it up; it contained a pair of pearl ear-rings and a pin, neither remarkable for their richness or beauty.

‘They are very pretty,’ said Frances, ‘shall I put them into your ears?’ Another burst of tears followed.

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‘You will render yourself unfit to be seen; and what will Mr. Burrell think!’

‘I care not what he thinks.’ Violent passion soon relieves itself. Caroline began to reflect upon his house, his equipage, his fashion and wealth, and grew calmer; but with a tact for which she was remarkable, she determined to wear no ear-rings that evening. Composing her countenance, and again arranging her orange blossoms, she descended to the admiring bridegroom.

‘It is all in vain,’ said she, ‘to try, I cannot wear the ear-rings; I must have my ears prepared for them.’ Her flushed cheeks and swollen eyes bore testimony to the pain she had suffered in trying to force them through her ears. Her lover assured her she wanted no ornaments in his eyes, and that he had never fancied ear-rings.

‘There is a style of dress, however,’ said Caroline, ‘that is consistent with one’s rank in life. I hope I shall always dress in such a manner as to do you honor.’

‘Sweet creature,’ exclaimed the bridegroom, kissing her hand.

‘I have always thought,’ said Caroline, making a last effort to effect her purpose, ‘that a husband must save himself much trouble, by appropriating a sum to his wife’s dress. I am told that pin-money is coming quite into fashion.’

‘Indeed!’ exclaimed the bridegroom.

‘Don’t you agree with me?’ asked the fair bride.

‘Talk not of pin-money. Is not my heart, my hand, my fortune, at your disposal?’

Caroline turned away with disgust, and sad misgivings came over her. In one hour the ceremony had passed, and bridal visitors began to throng. Perhaps, among

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them all, there was not one less happy than the beautiful bride; the two great objects for which she had as yet been toiling were still unaccomplished, pin-money and diamonds.

The evening went off just as such evenings usually do. Caroline stood in the midst of her bridemaids, resplendent in external loveliness. The orange flowers, so lately torn with indignation from her hair, were carefully replaced, and trembled with every motion of her head; the veil de noce hung in graceful folds to the border of her white satin garment; all was in fine taste, all complete, except ear-rings, necklace, and bracelets; alas, these were wanting!

The next morning at ten, the equipage was at the door; the bride took leave of her family, and was handed into her carriage by the alert bridegroom; the coach with its four bays and out-rider, disappeared, like Cinderella’s equipage, and all at Mr. Warner’s returned to its usual state of domestic quiet.

It is said by some sensible person, that we become more acquainted with people in three days travel, than a year’s stationary residence.

The first day, the new married couple were very conversable. The bridegroom described his house and furniture, told how much he gave for every article, and they rolled smoothly on. The second day’s conversation flagged a little. Caroline began to complain of being ‘shut up,’ and how tedious it was to journey, and at last proposed letting down the green shades, which had been closed at the express desire of the gentleman, who was much troubled with an inflammation in his eyes. ‘Certainly, my love, if you desire it,’ said he, but without

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making any movement to assist her efforts. After some time she accomplished her purpose, let down the shade and the window, and, putting her head out, declared ‘it was delightful to breathe the fresh air.’ ‘O not the window, my love,’ said Mr. Burrell, gently drawing her towards him, and pulling it up. ‘I cannot permit you to endanger your precious health, the air is very cold; you don’t consider it is the third of November,’ and he wrapped his wadded silk coat round him. ‘I am not the least afraid of taking cold,’ said she, ‘I must have it down. I shall die to ride so shut up.’ ‘To be honest,’ replied he, ‘if you are not afraid, I am.’

‘O that is quite another affair,’ said Caroline; ‘vous êtes le maitre. I suppose I have nothing to do but obey.’

It seemed as if the bridegroom thought the same, for in a few moments he said ‘this light is insupportable,’ and he drew up the shade.

‘Good gracious!’ exclaimed the bride, ‘am I to ride all day to-day, shut up, as I was yesterday?’

‘Perhaps you will take a little nap, my love, I always sleep a great deal when I ride.’

‘I am not so fortunate,’ returned she.

‘Every thing depends upon the carriage in which you travel. I had this built on purpose for my comfort.’

‘So it seems,’ replied Caroline.

‘It is finished in the most thorough manner, it cost nearly three thousand dollars, my horses cost twenty-five hundred more; there is not, perhaps, a handsomer team in New York. You travelled in a very different style from this when you went on and returned last fall, and this spring.’

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‘Very different,’ said Caroline, and she thought of the gay and animated party in the stage-coach, and the pleasant variety on board the steam-boat; and, notwithstanding the style in which she was travelling, heartily wished she could exchange the mode.

‘Pray try to get a little nap, my love; nothing shortens the way like sleep,’ and the bridegroom drew from one of the pockets of the carriage, a travelling cap, took off his hat, put on the cap, and leant back. In a very short time, he gave evident signs of being asleep. Nothing could have been less interesting to a young bride, than her present contemplations. There is a relaxation of the muscles in sleep, by no means favorable to age; the falling under lip, the strongly marked lines of the countenance, the drooping corners of the mouth, the eminent risk of losing his balance, first on one side, then on the other; the danger, too, that Caroline’s French hat incurred, by his sudden inclinations towards her; all this was not calculated to improve the already ruffled temper of the young lady. At length her bonnet received so rude a shock, that she hastily moved to the front, and left him the sole possessor of the back seat.

‘And I am to pass my life with this being!’ thought she. ‘Where Benson in his place, how animated, how pleasant would be his conversation! After all there is nothing like mind; nothing, at least, but wealth and fashion. Thank heaven! I have secured these, and these will command every thing. Pray heaven this may be the last journey we shall take together.’

Uninteresting as was Burrell’s conversation, still it was less vexatious than her thoughts. Her own family circle, composed of beings so unlike the one before

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her, rose to her view; her brother Horace, so intellectual, so manly, and high-souled; Frances so gentle and disinterested, and Benson, who wanted nothing but rank, to make him peerless; Benson, who had loved her with such discriminating affection, who had appreciated the powers of her mind, powers that now were totally incomprehensible to the being who sat nodding and reeling opposite. It was insupportable, she could not endure it, and hastily again letting down the green shade and the window, she once more breathed the fresh air. The stone walls and leafless trees, were more agreeable to her sight, than her companion within, and resting her chin on the window, she gazed on every object, as the carriage rapidly passed, till a sudden jolt awoke her husband. He uttered an exclamation of astonishment. ‘The window down, the air blowing upon me, and I asleep!’

‘Upon my word,’ said Caroline, ‘I could endure my prison no longer, and I thought as you had accommodated yourself, I would take the same liberty.’

‘I probably shall have to thank you for an attack of the rheumatism, Mrs. Burrell,’ said the bridegroom, for the first time calling her by her new name.

‘And I have already to thank you for a fit of the head ache, Mr. Burrell,’ replied Caroline.

The air and light were again excluded, and the new married couple, who felt that they had mutual wrongs, did not attempt any conversation. Every little while, the gentleman rubbed the shoulder which had been exposed to the air, with an expression of pain, and the lady did not forget, occasionally, to press her hand to her forehead, and smell of her Cologne bottle.

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Such was the second day of the journey, and the third of the bridals! Of the following day, there is but little to recount; it was one of selfish accommodation on his side, of vexation and ennui on her’s. [sic]

Caroline was not ill-tempered, she was only heartless, and when they got into the carriage the fourth morning, an observation of his restored her animation and good humor.

‘To-night, my love,’ said he, ‘we shall spend in our own house; and I believe I may venture to say, that I have the handsomest house, the handsomest carriage, and the handsomest wife in the city. We shall have every body calling, you had better fix a day for the wedding visits, that they may be in style.’

‘O certainly; it will be my wish to do credit to your taste.’

‘That there is no doubt of.’

‘I hope you liked my wedding dress?’

‘Very much.’

‘It was very costly,’ said Caroline, assuming with her usual tact, his style of calculation. ‘I paid two dollars a yard for the satin, and seventy dollars for the blond veil.’

‘Every thing should be consistent,’ said he, ‘your dress, and my house.’

‘Yes,’ said Caroline, ‘I suppose—perhaps—you will choose I should wear diamonds.’

‘Certainly, if you have them.’

‘I have not,’ replied she; ‘my father could not afford to give them to me.’ The ice was broken, and she continued, ‘but you can, and of course, will.’

‘I prefer pearls,’ said he.

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‘Pearls are very well for half dress, but no lady of fortune or fashion, now a days, appears in full dress without diamonds. How beautiful Mrs. Ellison’s are!’

‘I never observed them.’

‘They are exquisite. I was one day praising them to Mr. Ellison, after I was engaged to you, and he said—but I won’t tell you, you will think me vain.’

‘O yes, do tell me, I insist upon it.’

‘Well, then, he said you had the handsomest house, the handsomest carriage, and would have the handsomest wife in the city, but his had the handsomest diamonds.’

‘Perhaps he will find he is mistaken,’ said Mr. Burrell, looking significantly.

When they entered New York, and the wheels of the carriage rattled over the pavements, Caroline forgot her tedious journey, her disgust at her companion, and her ennui. The house was as splendid as her husband had described it; it was furnished in the best taste, and adorned with beautiful specimens of statuary. Thus far, wealth possessed the power that she ascribed to it, and thus far she was satisfied.

‘Shall I fix on next Wednesday, my dear,’ said Caroline, ‘for the wedding visits?’

‘Next Wednesday? I see no objection.’

‘I hear Mrs. Ellison is determined, on that occasion, to eclipse every one.’

‘She shall not eclipse my wife,’ said Mr. Burrell, proudly.

‘Her diamonds will throw my pearl ear-rings and pin, quite into the shade.’

‘My wife shall wear diamonds more costly than Mr. Ellison’s,’ said the bridegroom, with dignity.

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The diamonds were purchased, they were larger, more costly, and more brilliant than Mrs. Ellison’s; and Caroline had obtained one of the objects for which she married.

There is no happiness without alloy. Caroline appeared in her drawing-room, ready for company; a tiara of diamonds sparkled on her brow, a string of them encircled her white neck and arms, and a dazzling cross hung upon her breast. Her husband met her as she approached him, reflecting a thousand colors from her brilliant ornaments.

‘How superb!’ he exclaimed. ‘I long to hear what Ellison will say to my diamonds.’

‘Yours!’ said Caroline; ‘I thought they were a present to me!’

‘You shall wear them, my love, but they cost a great many thousand dollars; they are property.’

‘After all, then,’ thought Caroline, ‘they are only lent to me!’

That evening was one of triumph; all the fashion and beauty of the city were congregated. Caroline saw her diamonds reflected from mirrors on every side, but still the thought obtruded, ‘they are not mine.’

Invitations poured in; she was the evening and morning star of fashion. ‘At length,’ she wrote to Horace, ‘I have accomplished my object; all the rank that one can obtain in this country, I possess; I hold in my hand the key-stone of the arch,—Wealth and Fashion.’

Caroline, however, had too much intellect to be long blind to the degree of estimation in which she was held. She soon perceived that her husband was laughed

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at, and that she was pitied rather than envied. It was true she had all the outward signs of homage, but every thing about her was mockery. There is no tyranny like that of the weak. Burrell regarded her only as an appendage to himself; she found him selfish, ostentatious and mean. In vain she strove to obtain the ultimatum of her desires, pin-money. Like herself, he considered wealth power, and not a particle would he trust out of his hands; this was a source of constant altercation.

After the novelty of showing a handsome wife was over, Burrell began to feel the want of his bachelor habits; he liked whist-clubs and supper- parties, better than soirées and pic-nics. The privation of his company was no annoyance to his wife; but when he no longer entered into her mode of visiting, or her amusements, he thought them unnecessary, and complained of so much useless expense. Every thing, in his view, was useless, except what contributed to his pleasure. Caroline had gone on accumulating debts without looking forward to any payment. Those incurred before her marriage were still unsettled; the same trades-people were happy to supply her to any amount; and as a request for money always produced a scene, she acquired the constant habit of running up bills.

Where now were her brilliant prospects? She was either alone, or in a crowded circle, or what was still worse, tete-à-tete with Burrell. Among all the circle of fashion, she possessed not one real friend. Mrs. Ellison was as heartless as Caroline, without her talents. Often her thoughts reverted to her own home, the abode of her childhood, and she felt that in the depths and fullness of domestic love, there was even more power than wealth

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can bestow. In one of those fits of musing, which occur to every rational mind, a letter was brought to Caroline; she opened it, and found it was from Horace, informing her ‘that the favorite wish of his heart was now accomplished; Benson was, after all that had passed, to become his brother, and that the day was appointed for the marriage to take place between him and Frances.’

‘My predictions,’ he added, ‘with regard to him are fast fulfilling; he is attaining eminence in his profession. I am commissioned by my parents as well as the parties, to request that you and Mr. Burrell will come on to the nuptials. They are to be private and without show, but it is pleasant for families to congregate on these occasions. You need have no apprehension about Benson; he views your former engagement with him much in the same light as you do, one most happily set aside.’ Caroline read the letter with a feeling of vexation. ‘It is only two years,’ said she, ‘since he professed to be attached to me; what inconsistent creatures men are; at least I have been uniform in my conduct.’

There was still, however, a pleasure in the idea of going in style to the humble nuptials of her sister. When Mr. Burrell entered, she informed him of the invitation.

‘Go, and welcome,’ said he, ‘but don’t ask me.’

‘Shall I travel with two horses or four?’ asked the lady.

‘O, four by all means; the stage coach is the best way of travelling.’

‘You surely do not mean to let your wife go in the public stage?’

‘Why not, it was the way in which you were accustomed to travel before we became acquainted.’

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‘Mr. Burrell,’ said the lady, ‘it would be disgraceful to you to suffer me to travel in that manner.’

‘Then stay at home; the carriage and horses, I suppose, you will allow are mine; I had the carriage built for my own convenience; I am going a journey [sic] next month, and shall want it. It is much better for you to go in the style of your family.’

‘This is intolerable,’ said Caroline, with a vehemence that sometimes overcame her usual tact; ‘to be the wife of a man that is worth millions, and derive no advantage from his wealth.’

‘Is it no advantage, madam, to live in a house like this? to visit in the first circles, and to wear diamonds when you please?’

‘None,’ said she, the truth forcing its way, ‘compared to what I relinquished.’

‘And pray, madam, what did you relinquish?’

‘What you, had you lavished upon me all the wealth, to which, as your wife, I am entitled, could never have procured me, self-approbation.’

We sometimes from habit, or want of thought, rely too much upon the obtuseness of minds that we estimate lowly. This was the case with Caroline. She in several instances had suffered her disgust or indignation to vent itself in words, of which she did not realize the strength. The undisciplined prepare scorpion whips for themselves. Her ill-disguised contempt and aversion first broke down the common barriers of forbearance, and when her husband became convinced that she had no affection for him, he heartily repaid her aversion. Scenes of accusation and retort followed. Burrell assured her she had full permission to return to her boasted home, and

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remain there as long as she pleased. Caroline replied, that it was the first wish of her heart, but as his wife, she was entitled to a suitable maintenance. It would be painful and useless to detail the low altercations that followed, before a paltry pittance was granted. It may easily be imagined in what manner they parted, and with what sensations she returned to her early home. In one sense she had accomplished all for which she had panted, wealth, fashion, and diamonds; and her present allowance she was at liberty to dignify by the name of pin-money.

The morning before her departure, she gave orders to a servant to desire her creditors to send in their bills to Mr. Burrell, the ensuing week. His rage may easily be imagined, when they poured in upon him; but after consulting gentlemen of the law, he concluded to pay them.

Caroline arrived in season to witness the nuptials of her sister. What a contrast to her own! For the first time, she felt, that if there is a paradise on earth, it is formed by mutual affection. How could she help comparing Benson, in all the grace of youthful intellect and manly beauty, to Burrell! The thought was agony, and unable to command her tears, she flew to her room. Horace followed her, and begged for admission.

‘My dear brother,’ said she, ‘I return to you an altered creature. I detest the very sound of wealth and fashion, and I perfectly despise my own folly in supposing there could be happiness in either. I only wish now to forget all that has passed, and I hope you will forget it too.’

‘No, Caroline, I cannot forget it, nor do I wish you to forget the past. If we rightly remember our errors,

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they become eventually sources of improvement. An author has observed, “that in every one’s life there have been thousands of feelings, each of which, if strongly seized upon, and made the subject of reflection, would have shown us what our character was, and what it was likely to become.” In the early aspirations of your mind, you may read your history thus far; do not, therefore, strive to banish wholesome reflection, but convert it to its best purposes, moral discipline.’

‘I am sure,’ said Caroline, ‘I have had enough of discipline since I married, and I don’t see that I am at all the better for it.’

‘There is no magical power in discipline that compels us to improve,’ said Horace, ‘but it is our own fault if we do not accept improvement from lessons of suffering and disappointment.’

‘I have learnt nothing by it,’ again repeated Caroline.

‘I think you have; you have learnt that wealth and fashion can, in themselves alone, confer no happiness; and that the only nobility in our land, worth possessing, is derived from talent and virtue.’

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[p. 113]

THE WEDDING KNELL.

BY THE AUTHOR OF ‘SIGHTS FROM A STEEPLE.[’]

There is a certain church in the city of New York, which I have always regarded with peculiar interest, on account of a marriage there solemnized, under very singular circumstances, in my grandmother’s girlhood. That venerable lady chanced to be a spectator of the scene, and ever after made it her favorite narrative. Whether the edifice now standing on the same site be the identical one to which she referred, I am not antiquarian enough to know; nor would it be worth while to correct myself, perhaps, of an agreeable error, by reading the date of its erection on the tablet over the door. It is a stately church, surrounded by an inclosure of the loveliest green, within which appear urns, pillars, obelisks, and other forms of monumental marble, the tributes of private affection, or more splendid memorials of historic dust. With such a place, though the tumult of the city rolls beneath its tower, one would be willing to connect some legendary interest.

The marriage might be considered as the result of an early engagement, though there had been two intermediate weddings on the lady’s part, and forty years of celibacy on that of the gentleman. At sixty-five, Mr. Ellenwood was a shy, but not quite a secluded man; selfish, like all men who brood over their own hearts, yet manifesting, on rare occasions, a vein of generous sentiment; a scholar, throughout life, though always

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an indolent one, because his studies had no definite object, either of public advantage or personal ambition; a gentleman, high-bred and fastidiously delicate, yet sometimes requiring a considerable relaxation, in his behalf, of the common rules of society. In truth, there were so many anomalies in his character, and, though shrinking with diseased sensibility from public notice, it had been his fatality so often to become the topic of the day, by some wild eccentricity of conduct, that people searched his lineage for an hereditary taint of insanity. But there was no need of this. His caprices had their origin in a mind that lacked the support of an engrossing purpose, and in feelings that preyed upon themselves, for want of other food. If he were mad, it was the consequence, and not the cause, of an aimless and abortive life.

The widow was as complete a contrast to her third bridegroom, in every thing but age, as can well be conceived. Compelled to relinquish her first engagement, she had been united to a man of twice her own years, to whom she became an exemplary wife, and by whose death she was left in possession of a splendid fortune. A southern gentleman considerably younger than herself, succeeded to her hand, and carried her to Charleston, where, after many uncomfortable years, she found herself again a widow. It would have been singular, if any uncommon delicacy of feeling had survived through such a life as Mrs. Dabney’s; it could not but be crushed and killed by her early disappointment, the cold duty of her first marriage, the dislocation of the heart’s principles, consequent on a second union, and the unkindness of her southern husband, which had inevitably driven her

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to connect the idea of his death with that of her comfort. To be brief, she was that wisest, but unloveliest variety of woman, a philosopher, bearing troubles of the heart with equanimity, dispensing with all that should have been her happiness, and making the best of what remained. Sage in most matters, the widow was perhaps the more amiable, for the one frailty that made her ridiculous. Being childless, she could not remain beautiful by proxy, in the person of a daughter; she therefore refused to grow old and ugly, on any consideration; she struggled with time, and held fast her roses in spite of him, till the venerable thief appeared to have relinquished the spoil, as not worth the trouble of acquiring it.

The approaching marriage of this woman of the world, with such an unworldly man as Mr. Ellenwood, was announced soon after Mrs. Dabney’s return to her native city. Superficial observers, and deeper ones, seemed to concur, in supposing that the lady must have borne no inactive part, in arranging the affair; there were considerations of expediency, which she would be far more likely to appreciate than Mr. Ellenwood; and there was just the specious phantom of sentiment and romance, in this late union of two early lovers, which sometimes makes a fool of a woman, who has lost her true feelings among the accidents of life. All the wonder was, how the gentleman, with his lack of worldly wisdom, and agonizing consciousness of ridicule, could have been induced to take a measure, at once so prudent and so laughable. But while people talked, the wedding day arrived. The ceremony was to be solem-

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nized according to the Episcopalian forms, and in open church, with a degree of publicity that attracted many spectators, who occupied the front seats of the galleries, and the pews near the altar and along the broad aisle. It had been arranged, or possibly it was the custom of the day, that the parties should proceed separately to church. By some accident, the bridegroom was a little less punctual than the widow and her bridal attendants; with whose arrival, after this tedious, but necessary preface, the action of our tale may be said to commence.

The clumsy wheels of several old fashioned coaches were heard, and the gentlemen and ladies, composing the bridal party, came through the church door, with the sudden and gladsome effect of a burst of sunshine. The whole group, except the principal figure, was made up of youth and gaiety. As they streamed up the broad aisle, while the pews and pillars seemed to brighten on either side, their steps were as buoyant as if they mistook the church for a ball-room, and were ready to dance hand in hand to the altar. So brilliant was the spectacle, that few took notice of a singular phenomenon that had marked its entrance. At the moment when the bride’s foot touched the threshold, the bell swung heavily in the tower above her, and sent forth its deepest knell. The vibrations died away and returned, with prolonged solemnity, as she entered the body of the church.

‘Good heavens! what an omen,’ whispered a young lady to her love.

‘On my honor,’ replied the gentleman, ‘I believe the bell has the good taste to toll of its own accord. What

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has she to do with weddings? If you, dearest Julia, were approaching the altar, the bell would ring out its merriest peal. It has only a funeral knell for her.’

The bride, and most of her company, had been too much occupied with the bustle of entrance, to hear the first boding stroke of the bell, or at least to reflect on the singularity of such a welcome to the altar. They therefore continued to advance, with undiminished gaiety. The gorgeous dresses of the time, the crimson velvet coats, the gold-laced hats, the hoop-petticoats, the silk, satin, brocade and embroidery, the buckles, canes and swords, all displayed to the best advantage on persons suited to such finery, made the group appear more like a bright colored picture, than any thing real. But by what perversity of taste, had the artist represented his principal figure as so wrinkled and decayed, while yet he had decked her out in the brightest splendor of attire, as if the loveliest maiden had suddenly withered into age, and become a moral to the beautiful around her! On they went, however, and had glittered along about a third of the aisle, when another stroke of the bell seemed to fill the church with a visible gloom, dimming and obscuring the bright pageant, till it shone forth again as from a mist.

This time the party wavered, stopt, and huddled closer together, while a slight scream was heard from some of the ladies, and a confused whispering among the gentlemen. Thus tossing to and fro, they might have been fancifully compared to a splendid bunch of flowers, suddenly shaken by a puff of wind, which threatened to scatter the leaves of an old, brown, withered rose, on the same stalk with two dewy buds; such being the

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emblem of the widow between her fair young bridemaids. But her heroism was admirable. She had started with an irrepressible shudder, as if the stroke of the bell had fallen directly on her heart; then, recovering herself, while her attendants were yet in dismay, she took the lead, and paced calmly up the aisle. The bell continued to swing, stroke, and vibrate, with the same doleful regularity, as when a corpse is on its way to the tomb.

‘My young friends here have their nerves a little shaken,’ said the widow, with a smile, to the clergyman at the altar. ‘But so many weddings have been ushered in with the merriest peal of the bells, and yet turned out unhappily, that I shall hope for better fortune under such different auspices.’

‘Madam,’ answered the rector, in great perplexity, ‘this strange occurrence brings to my mind a marriage sermon of the famous Bishop Taylor, wherein he mingles so many thoughts of mortality and future woe, that, to speak somewhat after his own rich style, he seems to hang the bridal chamber in black, and cut the wedding garment out of a coffin pall. And it has been the custom of diverse nations to infuse something of sadness into their marriage ceremonies; so to keep death in mind, while contracting that engagement which is life’s chiefest business. Thus we may draw a sad but profitable moral from this funeral knell.’

But, though the clergyman might have given his moral even a keener point, he did not fail to despatch an attendant to inquire into the mystery, and stop those sounds, so dismally appropriate to such a marriage. A brief space elapsed, during which the silence was broken only by whispers, and a few suppressed titterings, among

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the wedding party and the spectators, who, after the first shock, were disposed to draw an ill natured merriment from the affair. The young have less charity for aged follies, than the old for those of youth. The widow’s glance was observed to wander, for an instant, towards a window of the church, as if searching for the time-worn marble that she had dedicated to her first husband; then her eyelids dropt over their faded orbs, and her thoughts were drawn irresistibly to another grave. Two buried men, with a voice at her ear and a cry afar off, were calling her to lie down beside them. Perhaps, with momentary truth of feeling, she thought how much happier had been her fate, if, after years of bliss, the bell were now tolling for her funeral, and she were followed to the grave by the old affection of her earliest lover, long her husband. But why had she returned to him, when their cold hearts shrank from each other’s embrace?

Still the death-bell tolled so mournfully, that the sunshine seemed to fade in the air. A whisper, communicated from those who stood nearest the windows, now spread through the church; a hearse, with a train of several coaches, was creeping along the street, conveying some dead man to the church-yard, while the bride awaited a living one at the altar. Immediately after, the footsteps of the bridegroom and his friends were heard at the door. The widow looked down the aisle, and clenched the arm of one of her bridemaids in her bony hand, with such unconscious violence, that the fair girl trembled.

‘You frighten me, my dear madam!’ cried she. ‘For heaven’s sake, what is the matter?’

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‘Nothing, my dear, nothing,’ said the widow; then, whispering close to her ear,—‘There is a foolish fancy, that I cannot get rid of. I am expecting my bridegroom to come into the church, with my two first husbands for groomsmen!’

‘Look, look!’ screamed the bridemaid. ‘What is here? The funeral!’

As she spoke, a dark procession paced into the church. First came an old man and woman, like chief mourners at a funeral, attired from head to foot in the deepest black, all but their pale features and hoary hair; he leaning on a staff, and supporting her decrepit form with his nerveless arm. Behind, appeared another, and another pair, as aged, as black, and mournful as the first. As they drew near, the widow recognized in every face some trait of former friends, long forgotten, but now returning, as if from their old graves, to warn her to prepare a shroud, or, with purpose almost as unwelcome, to exhibit their wrinkles and infirmity, and claim her as their companion by the tokens of her own decay. Many a merry night had she danced with them, in youth. And now, in joyless age, she felt that some withered partner should request her hand, and all unite in a dance of death, to the music of the funeral bell.

While these aged mourners were passing up the aisle, it was observed, that, from pew to pew, the spectators shuddered with irrepressible awe, as some object, hitherto concealed by the intervening figures, came full in sight. Many turned away their faces; others kept a fixed and rigid stare; and a young girl giggled hysterically, and fainted with the laughter on her lips. When the spectral procession approached the altar, each couple separated,

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and slowly diverged, till, in the centre, appeared a form, that had been worthily ushered in with all this gloomy pomp, the death-knell, and the funeral. It was the bridegroom in his shroud!

No garb but that of the grave could have befitted such a death-like aspect; the eyes, indeed, had the wild gleam of a sepulchral lamp; all else was fixed in the stern calmness which old men wear in the coffin. The corpse stood motionless, but addressed the widow in accents that seemed to melt into the clang of the bell, which fell heavily on the air while he spoke.

‘Come, my bride!’ said those pale lips, ‘The hearse is ready. The sexton stands waiting for us at the door of the tomb. Let us be married; and then to our coffins!’

How shall the widow’s horror be represented! It gave her the ghastliness of a dead man’s bride. Her youthful friends stood apart, shuddering at the mourners, the shrouded bridegroom, and herself; the whole scene expressed, by the strongest imagery, the vain struggle of the gilded vanities of this world, when opposed to age, infirmity, sorrow, and death. The awe-struck silence was first broken by the clergyman.

‘Mr[.] Ellenwood,’ said he, soothingly, yet with somewhat of authority, ‘you are not well. Your mind has been agitated by the unusual circumstances in which you are placed. The ceremony must be deferred. As an old friend, let me entreat you to return home.’

‘Home! yes; but not without my bride,’ answered he, in the same hollow accents. ‘You deem this mockery; perhaps madness. Had I bedizened my aged and broken frame with scarlet and embroidery—had I forced my withered lips to smile at my dead heart—that might

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have been mockery, or madness. But now, let young and old declare, which of us has come hither without a wedding garment, the bridegroom, or the bride!’

He stept forward at a ghostly pace, and stood beside the widow, contrasting the awful simplicity of his shroud with the glare and glitter in which she had arrayed herself for this unhappy scene. None, that beheld them, could deny the terrible strength of the moral which his disordered intellect had contrived to draw.

‘Cruel! cruel!’ groaned the heart-stricken bride.

‘Cruel?’ repeated he; then losing his death-like composure in a wild bitterness,—‘Heaven judge, which of us has been cruel to the other! In youth, you deprived me of my happiness, my hopes, my aims; you took away all the substance of my life, and made it a dream, without reality enough even to grieve at—with only a pervading gloom, through which I walked wearily, and cared not whither. But after forty years, when I have built my tomb, and would not give up the thought of resting there—no, not for such a life as we once pictured—you call me to the altar. At your summons I am here. But other husbands have enjoyed your youth, your beauty, your warmth of heart, and all that could be termed your life. What is there for me but your decay and death? And therefore I have bidden these funeral friends, and bespoken the sexton’s deepest knell, and am come, in my shroud, to wed you, as with a burial service, that we may join our hands at the door of the sepulchre, and enter it together.’

It was not frenzy; it was not merely the drunkenness of strong emotion, in a heart unused to it, that now wrought upon the bride. The stern lesson of the day

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had done its work; her worldliness was gone. She seized the bridegroom’s hand.

‘Yes!’ cried she. ‘Let us wed, even at the door of the sepulchre! My life is gone in vanity and emptiness. But at its close, there is one true feeling. It has made me what I was in youth; it makes me worthy of you. Time is no more for both of us. Let us wed for eternity!’

With a long and deep regard, the bridegroom looked into her eyes, while a tear was gathering in his own. How strange that gush of human feeling from the frozen bosom of a corpse! He wiped away the tear, even with his shroud.

‘Beloved of my youth,’ said he, ‘I have been wild. The despair of my whole lifetime had returned at once, and maddened me. Forgive; and be forgiven. Yes; it is evening with us now; and we have realized none of our morning dreams of happiness. But let us join our hands before the altar, as lovers, whom adverse circumstances have separated through life, yet who meet again as they are leaving it, and find their earthly affection changed into something holy as religion. And what is time, to the married of eternity?’

Amid the tears of many, and a swell of exalted sentiment, in those who felt aright, was solemnized the union of two immortal souls. The train of withered mourners, the hoary bridegroom in his shroud, the pale features of the aged bride, and the death-bell tolling through the whole, till its deep voice overpowered the marriage words, all marked the funeral of earthly hopes. But as the ceremony proceeded, the organ, as if stirred by the sympathies of this impressive scene, poured forth an anthem, first mingling with the dismal knell, then

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rising to a loftier strain, till the soul looked down upon its woe. And when the awful rite was finished, and with cold hand in cold hand, the Married of Eternity withdrew, the organ’s peal of solemn triumph drowned the Wedding Knell.

_____

TO A LADY,
WITH A SILVER FLOWER CLASP, WHICH SHE HAD LOST.

Thy silver clasp—with all its flowers

Destined to bloom a few bright hours,

And then to others give a place,

Of fresher hue and brighter grace—

That silver clasp, an emblem true,

Of one as fair, as false as you—

’T is thine—and thou wilt let it feel

Thy bosom’s beat. It will not steal,

From close communion with thy heart,

But lessons in its practised art:

For in thy bosom’s clasp to-day,

Love, friendship, bloom—to fade away.

To-morrow shows another flower

Clasped in thy memory—for an hour!

Another day, another bloom,

To fade and follow to the tomb.

So let it be—and take the clasp

Back to thy fickle bosom’s grasp—

Changling to all, it may be true,

To one so like itself—to you.

R.......

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[p. 125]

LIFE BEYOND THE MOUNTAINS.

Many works have been issued from the press with at least part of this title. Life in London: Life in France: Life in Italy: Life in the West, and Life in the Wilderness: but for our own title, Life beyond the Mountains, we clam the right of originality. Who has not asked himself this question, where is its? in what unexplored region?

The Indian exclaims, ‘Our father dwell beyond the mountains.’ The Christian says, ‘Faith looks over the icy mountains.’ The weary, care-worn pilgrim who has lengthened out his three-score and ten, and has seen friend after friend depart, fixes his languid eye on this untried region, this land of promise.

The mother, who has hardly beheld her infant cherub ere it has taken flight, or with a more heart-rending pang has given up one scarcely less innocent, though mature in virtue and loveliness, seeks her consolation in that life that is to restore her beloved ones to her embrace.

But what has this existence to do with an annual? What with the Token, that comes out with its gilded pages, its finished engravings, its love and minstrelsy blended with touches of moral truth? Have the bright eyes that gaze on that, aught in common with this far distant land? Have lips, on which linger the smiles of youth and hope, have creatures, redolent with life, aught to do with this shadowy existence? Yes, they are

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called; they must go with their plans unaccomplished, the bridal wreath unwove, and the flowers so joyously trodden under foot, scattered over the turf that covers them. Is there one human being, gifted with reason, that does not at times, inquire what is this hereafter which must inevitably come?

Does not the thought force its way in the wakeful stillness of the night? Comes it not in the beam of day, as we walk forth amidst hills and valleys? as we gaze on the mighty cataract or the peaceful lake? the oak that spreads its broad branches, the humble flower, not less skillful in workmanship, though more minute? From animal life to the half vegetating polypus, all connect the mind with the great Artificer, whose dwelling is beyond ‘the everlasting hills.’

Why then is this subject kept far out of sight? why is it deemed unfit for an annual? why is it mentioned to the ear of the young with diffidence, as if it were an omen of evil?

Have they enough of existence here? would they wish when they lay it down, to sleep in dust and oblivion? O, no! human nature shudders at the thought; the veriest wretch would compound for years of suffering, rather than give up one particle of life. Shall the young and innocent then call this an unwelcome subject? Even so, because there is a portal we must pass, from which we shrink. It is death: and we talk of death as if it were the termination of life, instead of the beginning.

‘In this misguiding world, they picture death
A fearful tyrant—O, believe it not,
It is an angel, beautiful as light,

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That watches o’er the sorrowing spirit here,
And when its weary pilgrimage is done,
Unbars the gates of everlasting life,
And vanishes forever.’

Many of our gloomy views we derive from false representations. Even the Psalmist, touched with instinctive horror, says, we walk through the dark valley of death; but by means of a clearer revelation, a new light has arisen: there is now, to the virtuous, no dark valley; when the last pang is over—the last swoon passed—then, and then only, life truly begins.

But there is one question that haunts the mind. If they yet live, why is there no one of all the lovely and beloved that comes to set us at rest, and tell us what is their existence. It were a sufficient reply, that God has willed it otherwise; but he has given us reasoning faculties, and it is our duty to use them, and to this inquiry there are many answers.

We know we cannot lay down life, till we have thrown aside this mortal coil; if spirits revisit earth, and who shall say that they do not? they have with us no mutual communication of sense: they may be round about us, but we must have material evidence or we cannot realize it. If they were permitted to return again with bodily organs, why should this change take place? why might not present existence be perpetual? The answer is apparent. Earth would no longer be able to sustain her inhabitants; one generation makes room for another: they come to claim their birthright, immortality, receive their passport, and pass on.

Let us ask ourselves in what does the fear of death consist: is it in the last mortal struggle? there is

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scarcely any one who has lived to the age of thirty, that has not suffered much more than death. Consciousness is often lost to the individual, long after the paroxysms continue, and how often the sleep of death is as tranquil as the sleep of childhood. Is it the doubt of a future existence? Let us not rest with these undefined doubts: let us hunt them from their lurking places: let us pursue them to their existence. If we believe that Christ has arisen, there can be no doubts: but let us also bring to our aid reason and natural evidence: let us draw proofs from the structure of our minds; while the animal nature reaches its perfection and decays, the mind is yet fresh and vigorous; let us draw proofs from the mental capacities so far beyond our present use of time and sense. These all speak of immortality, all point to our home, to Life beyond the Mountains!

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[p. 156]

THE YOUNG PHRENOLOGIST.

BY JOHN NEAL.

The mysterious veil has been lifted! There lie the blighted roses—there the bridal wreath—trampled and torn!

Afar and apart from all the rest of the world, the playfellows of her youth, the innocent, the childish, and the happy—the happy they know not why, and they care not wherefore, the childish who are innocent, and the innocent who are childish—sat a pale, dark eyed girl, with disordered hair, a night robe gathered up about her bosom, both elbows on the lid of an open secretary, over which trailed a magnificent shawl, and her slippered foot on a wreath of white roses—bridal roses—with a faint blush colored tinge at the core.

It was long after midnight; and the low harmonious wind stole through the chamber, toying with the snowy drapery of the large open window, as with a veil it would lift if it knew how, playing with the shadows of a night taper before a superb mirror, and filling the whole house with the sultry breath of orange flowers, lavishing their golden dust by star light upon the trembling air.

The stars faded; the warm passionate breathing of the orange blossoms died away, and the tears that gathered slowly underneath her white palms, fell drop after drop, like the dew from overcharged flowers, among a handful of scattered pearls, and the fragments of two or three torn ostrich feathers lying about over the floor, like a shower of mingled hail stones and half melted snow flakes.

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Not a murmur was to be heard from her pale parted lips; not so much as a hurried breath. Grief and consternation were there; unspeakable terror and blighted love; but no fierceness, no flashing of the eyes, no trembling of the mouth; nothing but resignation, piety, untold sorrow, and the dead apathy of a broken hearted girl, who has never been at a play, nor read a book to be ashamed of, and who has therefore no language wherewith to tell her sorrows, whatever they may be.

She was a wife; ‘wooed an’ married an’ aw,’ and her husband was a Phrenologist! Ay, a Phrenologist! and she, poor thing, never knew a word of it, till the secret broke suddenly from his lips, while he was asleep, the very night after her marriage. No wonder she was half frightened to death.

She had often read of such people, at the north; she had even heard it whispered about a month before, that a live Phrenologist had passed through New Orleans one morning before the people were up, on his way to the Columbia River, the South Pole, or the Upper Missouri, she could not for her life remember which. And now, only think of it!—that Edward, her own dear, dear Edward, whom she loved so passionately, so distractedly, that he should be a Phrenologist; and nothing but a Phrenologist after all! Oh it was too much—‘much too much.’

Her heart died away within her, on making the discovery. She tried to drown her thoughts in sleep; she tried to pray. But she could not; his very breathing disturbed her. He breathed like a Phrenologist! And so after considering the matter all over anew, weighing all the consequences, and imagining all sorts of excuses for one

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so young, so handsome, and so good natured—they are so easily led astray you know—she determined to slip away the moment he began to breathe naturally, and write a letter to her mother; to have one more look at her bridal paraphernalia, the roses, and the jewels, and the ostrich feathers, and then to be governed by circumstances.

Having made up her mind, she held her breath, till satisfied he was asleep, she then withdrew so quietly as not to disturb him, thrust her little naked feet into a pair of stray slippers, and stole off to another chamber, where she had hardly seated herself, and began at the very top of a page, ‘O my dear mother!’—when her tears blinded her, and she was obliged to stop. That beloved parent! Oh, what a blow it would be to her! And then, too, there was her father, her poor dear father! it would be the death of him! To have married at Phrenologist! to be the wife, the companion of a Phrenologist! Oh it was dreadful to think of!

Why it was only a few months before, but the other day, as it were, that she had seen it stated in a newspaper that Phrenology was Materialism! If so, she had married not only a Phrenologist but a Materialist. Merciful Heaven! that her own dear Edward, the hope of her young heart, the handsomest fellow in all New Orleans, and the best dancer, should be a Materialist! Only to think of it! But then what was a Materialist! And down she sat again, to write a long letter to her father, instead of her mother, beginning with, ‘Oh my poor father!’

At this moment while reaching forward to dip her pen for another paragraph, her finger happened to touch

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p. 159

a small ivory knob, and a secret drawer flew open with a loud report. Up she jumped! and took one peep—just one peep—and what do you think she saw? Why, as true as you are sitting in that chair, it was full of little children’s heads, with the faces of old men about three quarters of an inch long! They were not exactly babies heads—they appeared very much like plaster of Paris—and yet she had her misgivings. Poor soul! how could she help it?

But her trials were not to end here. Having read the History of Blue Beard in the original, and Little Red Riding Hood in a capital translation, by a late President of the United States, whereby the dangers of unhallowed curiosity were painted to the life, with a view to Sabbath schools, and a new edition of Mother Goose, the unhappy wife lost no time in trying to restore the drawer to its original hiding place; but the more she tried, the further she appeared from her object—she pushed and panted, and panted and pushed—but all to no purpose. The drawer would not move; there it stuck; and there she was obliged to stand, with the five-and-forty little monsters all staring at her, as if they enjoyed her perplexity. Oh, what would become of her! Another effort—another! and her little finger touched another ivory knob, and another drawer started open! to the sound of low music, with a running accompaniment of bells, puppy dogs and pop guns; enough to alarm the whole neighborhood, she thought, as she ran off to a far corner of the chamber and stopped her ears, and stood crouching and trembling till the beat of her young heart grew audible, expecting every moment to see the door fly open, and the bridegroom of twenty-four hours pursuing

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her, in a flowered-calico-dressing-gown, with a night lamp in one hand, and a knife or a scull in the other. Poor thing! he had not slept so soundly for a twelve-month before.

At last the impertinent little hubbub died away; and after unstopping her ears, and looking well at the door, she ventured to steal towards the desk a tip-toe—determined to have one more peep if she died for it. One peep!—and a smothered scream!—and down she dropped into a chair, literally gasping for breath. Would you believe it! the very first thing she saw, was a miniature of herself, with the hair wiped off, and the bare ivory scull, written all over with unutterably strange characters. There was no bearing this. The beautiful hair she had been so proud of, and so celebrated for! the very hair he had fondled so affectionately, not a month before, interweaving white roses and pearls, and chains of gold, with every undulating mass, when all the time—oh the wretch!—could it be possible!—maybe he was only looking her head as a Phrenologist, all the time he sat there by the sofa pretending to play with her hair. It was only the very night before their marriage, her little sister, who had been left to take care of her, fast asleep on the other end of the sofa, and she herself pretending to be asleep, just to see what he would do. O, flesh and blood could n’t bear it! And so up she jumped, and tearing away the pearls, huge orient pearls, from a tiara of ostrich feathers, that she had worn the night before, and left upon that very sofa, she scattered them both far and wide over the floor; and then happening to look up and see the faded bridal wreath, now twenty-four hours old, which had been put aside so reverentially,

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p. 161

by her dear Edward—wet as it was with tears and warm with kisses—she tore it away, flung it to the floor, and trampled on it! And then, dropping into a chair, and covering her face with her hands, the poor girl began to weep as if her heart would break; though without rocking to and fro, as they do in story books, or breathing hard, or stamping, or dashing away her tears with an imperial movement of the head, or sopping her face with a pocket handkerchief, as they do on the stage. No, there was nothing of this; no pettish upgathering of a shawl about her, no tearing of her dishevelled hair; but quietly and with a feeling of bitter self-reproach, there she sat in the solitude of her bridal chamber, literally bleeding at the heart. And what if her husband was a Materialist, or even a Phrenologist, was that a reason for tearing her bridal wreath, and trampling it under foot? She stooped with a feeling of shame and sorrow to save what there was left of it. Was that a reason for scattering a bandeau of pearls, that were worth five thousand dollars, every cent of it? and for spoiling four superb ostrich feathers? And here she stretched forth her hand to the magnificent shawl that hung over a chair, half covering the secretary and trailing along the floor, the only thing she had not dishonored, with a determination to be more wary for the future, Phrenologist or no Phrenologist.

But as her hand approached the shawl, it slipped away, and before she recovered from her astonishment, the shadow of a man started up at her elbow, and took the shape of her husband! Ay, and in that abominable flowered-calico-dressing-gown, too, just as she had been thinking of him, with a night lamp in one hand, and

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a—she never stopped to see what, in the other, as she flung away from him, shaking her fingers and crying ‘Don’t touch me! You’re a Phrenologist; you know you are!’ No wonder! they blushed and tingled as if she had been playing with a lighted thunderbolt.

‘Why, Nelly! what on earth is the matter with you! How long have you been here?’

‘And how long have you been here? I should like to know that before I answer you,’ said she, dropping into a chair all out of breath, and covering her face with her hands.

‘Ever since the running down of that alarm watch.’

‘What alarm watch, Edward?’

‘That;’ pointing to the open drawer.

‘That an alarm watch! why it sounded to me like a cannonade. You have no idea how it frightened me; if I hadn’t known what it was, or rather what had set it a-going, I should have thought the world was coming to an end—or somebody breaking into the house.’

‘Umph!’

‘Oh, but I have been so angry with you; do do n’t know.’

‘Umph.’

‘And now I am so ashamed of myself, you can’t think.’

‘Umph!’

Umph!—and is that all you have to say, when you find me sitting here at this time of night, all alone by myself, and sobbing as if my very heart would break?’

‘Yes, dear, for the present, umph! But answer me one question, will you?’

She bowed, without uncovering her face or looking up and a beautiful shoulder glimmered for a minute

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underneath a mass of wayward hair, that she disengaged in recovering her position.

‘You called me a Phrenologist, I believe.’

She bowed.

‘A Materialist?’

‘Oh Lud! then you were here all the time!’

‘A Yankee, perhaps?’

‘A Yankee!—Heaven forbid!’

‘Well, then, there ’s my hand; I forgive you.’

‘Why Ned!—what do you mean by that? I always had an idea that you were proud of being a Yankee.[’]

‘And so I am. God knows that I am! And that I have reason for it, my dear girl! my beloved wife! But you are of the South, and you have all the passionate feelings, and let me add, all the prejudices of the South toward Yankees.’

‘But we have never considered you as a Yankee, Edward—never entirely as a New Englander.’

‘And why not? I was born there, and brought up there, and I always have insisted, I do now insist, and I always shall insist on being so considered by every body, friend or foe.’

‘Then why should you care whether I called you a Yankee or not, when I believed myself alone?’

‘Because, dear, your southern prejudices are a part of yourself; and so long as you did not call me a Yankee, or a Down Easter, I know there was nothing unforgivable, said or meant. Are we friends now?’—stooping to kiss her, and pointing to the chamber door, with one hand, as he adjusted the stray mass of redundant hair with the other.

‘Lord! what a fumbler you are!’ disengaging herself, jumping up and running off toward another door. On

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the way, she trod upon the pearls, and stopped; and her eyes filled with tears! ‘Oh, Edward, Edward! can you forgive me!’ she cried. ‘You must have thought me possessed!’

‘Possessed?—umph.’

‘I do wish you would leave off that nasty word; I hate it.’

‘Any thing, dear, if you will give up that word nasty.’

‘Will you though!’ jumping up and clapping her hands; ‘will you! “sartin true, black and blue;” there ’s a dear little husband!’

‘Umph!’

‘Will you give up Materialism?[’]

‘With all my heart.’

‘And Phrenology?’

‘And Phrenology? Why, yes, if you say so, after you know what Phrenology is.’

‘I know what it is now.’—humming the air, ‘Too late for my peace.’ ‘And I do n’t want to know any thing more.’

‘And what is it?’

‘What is what?’

‘Why Phrenology, to be sure; what is Phrenology?[’]

‘Why, Phrenology is Materialism,’ tapping the floor with her toe, and speaking with considerable emphasis.

‘Umph. And what is Materialism?’

‘Why,’ folding her arms, and stooping so as to hide her feet with her dress, for she caught the wandering of his eye, and began to think seriously of escape; ‘why, Materialism is Phrenology, to be sure; what else can it be?’

‘And who says so?’

‘The Christian Examiner.’

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‘Whew!—nay, nay, my dear girl, one word before we part, you to your chamber, I hope, and I to—where shall I betake myself?’

‘Where you please.’

‘Had n’t I better lie down here on the sofa?’

‘O, certainly! by all means!’ running off.

‘You ’ll be wandering this way in your sleep, maybe.’

‘Not while you are here, I promise you.’

‘Nay, nay; one word, I beseech you. Do you see this paper? I want you to read this, before you decide against Phrenology.’

‘I can’t read it; its [sic] all Hebrew to me; what ’s the meaning of all these figures? and all these words of four-and-twenty syllables a piece? I should really be glad to know.’

‘It is your Horoscope, my love.’

‘My—what!’

‘A Phrenological estimate of your character, before marriage. Do you know, my dear, that you are indebted to Phrenology for a husband?’

‘Really!’ dropping a profound courtesy; ‘and you mean that I shall now be indebted to a husband for Phrenology, hey?’

‘Pretty much. Now let me read it to you; and that you may see whether I read it fairly or not, suppose you look over me,’ drawing her to him.

‘Proceed—the stars are fading, the air blows cooler, and I begin to feel sleepy.’

He reads:

‘Firmness—moderate.

‘Conscientiousness—full.

‘Approbativeness—large.’

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‘Approbativeness indeed! I should like to know what that means!’

‘you ought to know, my dear. I means love of approbation. In women, or in men who resemble to women, it may become what is called—may I whisper it?—vanity.’

‘Umph! as you say, and that I have large?’

‘Umph!’

‘Proceed.’

‘Destructiveness—very large,’ glancing at the torn ostrich feathers and scattered pearls.

‘Marvellousness—large; and—’

‘No, no; stop there, if you please; I do n’t see how that can be; I do n’t believe in ghosts.’

‘No, but you do in the Christian Examiner.’

‘Very true. Proceed.’

‘Self esteem—deficient.’

‘Deficient! why every body tells me I am the vainest creature alive!’

‘That may be, nevertheless; nay, for that very reason, with more self-esteem, or self-respect, you would be far less anxious about the opinion of others.’

‘Hope—moderate,’ laying his hand on hope.

‘Ideality—full.’

‘Not full-ish, hay?’

‘Inhabitiveness—moderate.’

‘Lord! how you do skip about! You ’ve been all over my head now three or four times! What is the meaning of Inhabitiveness?’

‘No wonder you ask! Had it been large, my love, you would n’t be here now.’

‘Where should I be, pray?’

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‘In your own room.’

‘Why Edward!’ jumping away, and trying to escape ‘what are you laughing at?’

‘At a little mistake of yours, my dear, that ’s all. But hear me through.’

‘Well! Proceed!’

‘Comparison—fair.

‘Causality—full, quite full. Now, my dear, that character was drawn for you before marriage. All that I have seen of you, or heard of you, confirms it in every particular; and it is upon this I ground my hope—’

‘What hope, Edward?’

‘The hope of your turning out a reasonable woman after all, and perhaps a Phrenologist.’

‘Wretch! But what is meant by comparison?’

‘Comparison, my dear, is the distinguishing power of superior minds. It is that quality which detects differences, where the multitude see only resemblances, and resemblances where they see only differences.’

‘And that you say is large with me.’

‘No, my dear, not large, but fair.’

‘Well, if you are done with me now, I ’ll go to bed. But first, what is that great bump your hand is on now?’

‘Philoprogenitiveness, my dear.’

‘Philo-pro—Phi-lo—what?’

‘Phi-lo-pro-gen-i-tive-ness.’

‘And what does all that mean?’

‘A love of children; the instinct of a—stop! stop! do n’t break your neck!—of a—of a mother for her offspring.’

‘Oh!—is that all?’

‘To be sure it is.’

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‘And how did you say it was with me?’

‘Large—very large!’

‘Well! of all the impudence I ever heard of! Give me that paper!’

‘For what purpose?’

‘That you ’ll see presently,’ trying to snatch it; ‘come, come, hand it here!’

‘No, my love; not till I know what you want it for. I would n’t have that paper destroyed for,’ flourishing it in the air, and speaking with decided emphasis; ‘for ever-so-much!’

‘Would n’t you, indeed! Nor I neither, let me tell you,’ imitating his flourish, and speaking with a still more decided emphasis; ‘no! not for a great deal more than ever-so-much! no, no, I want it for another purpose entirely.’

‘And for what purpose, dear?’

‘To read off your character from it. So! you begin to feel frightened, hey?’

‘Not much; only a leetle kind o’, as we say Down East. There![’] handing the paper, and stretching himself at his whole length on the sofa. ‘And I hope you begin to feel a leetle kind o’, too.’

‘Kind o’! kind o’ what?’

‘And now that you may have a good opportunity of seeing for yourself, and of satisfying yourself, allow me to—’ offering his head for her examination.

‘No, no, if you please, not so. I do n’t like that way of studying Phrenology. Come now, be quiet!’—beginning to read from the paper.

‘Audacity—unparalleled! And here lies the organ, you perceive,’ laying her hand on his mouth. ‘Pho!

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you ’re very much mistaken if you think I put it here to be kissed. Be quiet, I say!

‘Self-complacency—very large—prodigious! Be quiet, will ye!

‘Obstinacy—unspeakable!

‘Language—ditto! And here lies the organ, according to all the best authorities,’ covering his eyes with both her hands. ‘You know you never could be persuaded to talk French, nor any thing else with your lips, worth hearing.

‘Ambition—frightful, inordinate, unsupportable.

‘Captiousness—fair, what you call full-ish, may be?

‘Modesty—wanting.

‘Yankeeism—unequalled.

‘Piety—so, so.

‘Fibativeness—umph! as you say. And all the rest of the developments in proportion! There!—there ’s a character for you! That was your horoscope as you call it, the first day I ever set eyes on you; and I must say,’ escaping to the door, and stopping there, and looking over her shoulder, and mimicing [sic] his manner, ‘I must say, I ’ve been nothing, I ’ve heard nothing, and I can imagine nothing since, to alter my opinion—ha! ha! ha!’

‘The baggage! Whew!—ew!—ew!—what a witch it is! But I must after her, and have an explanation with her, and put a stop to these tantrums.’

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[p. 224]

THE THREE SCEPTRES.
A VISION.
BY MRS. S. J. HALE.

‘Bring forth the sceptres of command!’—

That awful voice I heard— ‘And let the subject nations stand!’—

The waiting world appeared.

Then drew the sceptre-bearers nigh;

Old Asia, first, crept cowering by;

Then Europe, with her troubled eye,

Then young America;

Each placed her sceptre, passed, and then,

Unveiled before the sons of men,

A sword, a crosier, and a pen

Upon the altar lay.

Again the voice uprose, and loud

Like battle-cry it came,

And wildly, from that heaving crowd,

Echoed the shout—‘For Fame!’

Brother ’gainst brother fiercely stood,

The earth was graves, the seas were blood,—

Kingdoms were crushed, as wasting flood

Had swept o’er crumbling clay;

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Till ’mid the din a dove appeared!

The gentle tone of ‘peace’ was heard—

I looked, and with that blessed word

The sword had passed away.

Then like a storm of ashes hurled

From the volcano’s height,

A thick, dark cloud rolled o’er the world,

Blotting mind’s heavenly light;

And men sunk down in utter dread,

Mailed warriors weak as infant’s tread,

And monarchs, with uncovered head,

Stooped low the cowl before;

And superstition’s iron reign

Has scared the heart and shrunk the brain—

Ha!—thought’s strong grasp has rent the chain;—

The crosier’s sway is o’er!

Pure as the light on altar glows,

Lit up by prophet’s prayer,

A small, soft, steady light arose

On earth, on sea, on air;

It shines as shed from seraph’s wings,

Withering all vile, old, useless things—

Like scorched flax from the grasp of kings

The reins of empire sever;

It burns from craft his mask of night;

Intemperance blasts with perfect light,

And shows the Ethiop’s soul is white—

‘The pen—the pen forever!’

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Thus rang the voice;—its trumpet tone

Burst like a swelling river;

From land to land went sounding on

‘The pen—the pen forever!’

I saw earth’s joyous millions move,

Justice their shield, the banner love—

While freedom’s eagle, high above,

Soared with unslumbering eye;

Cool springs gushed forth ’mid arid sands,

Bright flowers sprung up in desert lands,

And bonds of peace, from angel hands,

Were linking earth and sky.

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[p. 281]

LIFE; ITS SEASONS.
BY C. W. EVERETT.

Life hath its Spring-time! childhood’s morn,

When pure is young affection’s ray;

Gay are the flowers without a torn;

And bright the hues of opening day:

Wild music lingers in its bowers—

Grateful the fragrance of its flowers—

And all betokens bliss:

Hope weaves her wild, enchanting song,

And sings, at every path along,

That all shall be like this!

Time’s rapid footsteps never stay,—

Life’s golden Spring-time speeds away!

Life hath its Summer! ardent now

Is manhood’s toil, ambition’s sway;

Hope lighteth still the fevered brow,

And sweetly sings the coming day:

Fond are Affection’s whispers, bland,

And warm is Friendship’s proferred hand—

Summer’s horizon fair;

But ah! anon a cloud is seen,—

Dark and more dark its threat’ning mien,—

A tempest gathers there!

Sunlight and storm are o’er at last—

Life’s fitful Summer-time is past!

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Life hath its Autumn! where have fled

Those flattering promises of Spring?

Alas! like withered roses, dead,

Around no sweet perfume they fling:

Hope hath been false as she was fair—

The smile hath fled, and gathering care,

And woe around are cast:

Gloomy is life’s late lovely bower,

Here falls a leaf—there fades a flower—

And chill the dreary blast!

The showers of ruin fall around—

Life’s withered foliage strews the ground!

Life hath its Winter! snowy age,

When manhood’s noblest vigors fail;

Heavy becomes life’s checquered page,

Cold is the wintry, piercing gale:

The faltering step—the trembling limb,

The flagging pulse—the eye-ball dim—

Alike deliverance crave:

Fainter—yet fainter—hark! the breath!—

O haste thee tyrant, angel, Death!

Welcome the frightful grave!

’T is finished! Life’s short journey’s done,

The sun hath set—the Seasons run!

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[p. 283]

THE MAY-POLE OF MERRY MOUNT.
BY THE AUTHOR OF THE GENTLE BOY.

There is an admirable foundation for a philosophic romance, in the curious history of the early settlement of Mount Wallaston, or Merry Mount. In the slight sketch here attempted, the facts, recorded on the grave pages of our New England annalists, have wrought themselves, almost spontaneously, into a sort of allegory. The masques, mummeries, and festive customs, described in the text, are in accordance with the manners of the age. Authority, on these points may be found in Strutt’s Book of English Sports and Pastimes.

Bright were the days at Merry mount, when the May-Pole was the banner-staff of that gay colony! They who reared it, should their banner be triumphant, were to pour sun-shine over New England’s rugged hills, and scatter flower-seeds throughout the soil. Jollity and gloom were contending for an empire. Midsummer eve had come, bringing deep verdure to the forest, and roses in her lap, of a more vivid hue than the tender buds of Spring. But May, or her mirthful spirit, dwelt all the year round at Merry Mount, sporting, with the Summer months, and revelling with Autumn, and basking in the glow of Winter’s fireside. Through a world of toil and care, she flitted with a dreamlike smile, and came hither to find a home among the lightsome hearts of Merry Mount.

Never had the May-Pole been so gaily decked as at sunset on mid-summer eve. This venerated emblem

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was a pine tree, which had preserved the slender grace of youth, while it equalled the loftiest height of the old wood monarchs. From its top streamed a silken banner, colored like the rainbow. Down nearly to the ground, the pole was dressed with birchen boughs, and others of the liveliest green, and some with silvery leaves, fastened by ribbons that fluttered in fantastic knots of twenty different colors, but no sad ones. Garden flowers, and blossoms of the wilderness, laughed gladly forth amid the verdure, so fresh and dewy, that they must have grown by magic on that happy pine tree. Where this green and flowery splendor terminated, the shaft of the May-Pole was stained with the seven brilliant hues of the banner at its top. On the lowest green bough hung an abundant wreath of roses, some that had been gathered in the sunniest spots of the forest, and others, of still richer blush, which the colonists had reared from English seed. Oh, people of the Golden Age, the chief of your husbandry, was to raise flowers!

But what was the wild throng that stood hand in hand about the May-Pole? It could not be, that the Fauns and Nymphs, when driven from their classic groves and homes of ancient fable, had sought refuge, as all the persecuted did, in the fresh woods of the West. These were Gothic monsters, though perhaps of Grecian ancestry. On the shoulders of a comely youth, uprose the head and branching antlers of a stag; a second, human in all other points, had the grim visage of a wolf; a third, still with the trunk and limbs of a mortal man, showed the beard and horns of a venerable he-goat. There was the likeness of a bear erect, brute in all but his hind legs, which were adorned with pink silk stock-

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ings. And here again, almost as wondrous, stood a real bear of the dark forest, lending each of his fore paws to the grasp of a human hand, and as ready for the dance as any in that circle. This inferior nature rose half-way, to meet his companions as they stooped. Other faces wore the similitude of man or woman, but distorted or extravagant, with red noses pendulous before their mouths, which seemed of awful depth, and stretched from ear to ear in an eternal fit of laughter. Here might be seen the Salvage Man, well known in heraldry, hairy as a baboon, and girdled with green leaves. By his side, a nobler figure, but still a counterfeit, appeared an Indian hunter, with feathery crest and wampum belt. Many of this strange company wore fools-caps, and had little bells appended to their garments, tinkling with a silvery sound, responsive to the inaudible music of their gleesome spirits. Some youths and maidens were of soberer garb, yet well maintained their places in the irregular throng, by the expression of wild revelry upon their features. Such were the colonists of Merry Mount, as they stood in the broad smile of sunset, round their venerated May-Pole.

Had a wanderer, bewildered in the melancholy forest, heard their mirth, and stolen a half- affrighted glance, he might have fancied them the crew of Comus, some already transformed to brutes, some midway between man and beast, and the others rioting in the flow of tipsey jollity that foreran the change. But a band of Puritans, who watched the scene, invisible themselves, compared the masques to those devils and ruined souls, with whom their superstition people the black wilderness.

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Within the ring of monsters, appeared the two airiest forms, that had ever trodden on any more solid footing than a purple and golden cloud. One was a youth, in glistening apparel, with a scarf of the rainbow pattern crosswise on his breast. His right hand half a gilded staff, the ensign of high dignity among the revellous, and his left grasped the slender fingers of a fair maiden, not less gaily decorated than himself. Bright roses glowed in contrast with the dark and glossy curls of each, and were scattered round their feet, or had sprung up spontaneously there. Behind this lightsome couple, so close to the May-Pole that its boughs shaded his jovial face, stood the figure of an English priest, canonically dressed, yet decked with flowers, in Heathen fashion, and wearing a chaplet of the native vine leaves of his holy garb, he seemed the wildest monster there and the very Comus of the crew.

‘Votaries of the May-Pole,’ cried the flower-decked priest, ‘merrily, all day long, have the woods echoed to your mirth. But be this your merriest hour, my hearts! Lo, here stand the Lord and Lady of the May, whom I, a clerk of Oxford, and high priest of Merry Mount, am presently to join in holy matrimony. Up with your nimble spirits, ye morrice-dancers, green-men, and glee-maidens, bears and wolves, and horned gentlemen! Come; a chorus now, rich with the old mirth of Merry England, and the wilder glee of this fresh forest; and then a dance, to show the youthful pair what life is made of, and how airily they should go through it! All ye that love the May-Pole, lend your voices to the nuptial song of the Lord and Lady of the May!’

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This wedlock was more serious than most affairs of Merry mount, where jest and delusion, trick and fantasy, kept up a continual carnival. The Lord and Lady of the May, though their titles must be laid down at sunset, were really and truly to be partners for the dance of life, beginning the measure that same bright eve. The wreath of roses, that hung from the lowest green bough of the May-Pole, had been twined for them, and would be thrown over both their heads, in symbol of their flowery union. When the priest had spoken, therefore, a riotous uproar burst from the rout of monstrous figures.

‘Begin you the stave, reverend Sir,’ cried they all; and never did the woods ring to such a merry peal, as we of the May-Pole shall send up!’

Immediately a prelude of pipe, cittern, and viol, touched with practised minstrelsy, began to play from a neighboring thicket, in such a mirthful cadence, that the boughs of the May-Pole quivered to the sound. But the May Lord, he of the gilded staff, chancing to look into his Lady’s eyes, was wonderstruck at the almost pensive glance that met his own.

‘Edith, sweet Lady of the May,’ whispered he, reproachfully, ‘is your wreath of roses a garland to hang above our graves, that you look so sad? Oh, Edith, this is our golden time! Tarnish it not by any pensive shadow of the mind; for it may be, that nothing of futurity will be brighter than the mere remembrance of what is now passing.’

‘That was the very thought that saddened me! How came it in your mind too?’ said Edith, in a still lower tone than he; for it was high treason to be sad at Merry

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Mount. ‘Therefore do I sigh amid this festive music. And besides, dear Edgar, I struggle as with a dream, and fancy that these shapes of our jovial friends are visionary, and their mirth unreal, and that we are not true Lord and Lady of the May. What is the mystery in my heart?’

Just then, as if a spell had loosened them, down came a little shower of withering rose leaves from the May-Pole. Alas, for the young lovers! No sooner had their hearts glowed with real passion, than they were sensible of something vague and unsubstantial in their former pleasures, and felt a dreary presentiment of inevitable change. From the moment that they truly loved, they had subjected themselves to earth’s doom of care, and sorrow, and troubled joy, and had no more a home at Merry mount. That was Edith’s mystery. Now leave we the priest to marry them, and the masquers to sport round the May-Pole, till the last sunbeam be withdrawn from its summit, and the shadows of the forest mingle gloomily in the dance. Meanwhile, we may discover who these gay people were.

Two hundred years ago, and more, the old world and its inhabitants became mutually weary of each other. Men voyaged by thousands to the West; some to barter glass beads, and such like jewels, for the furs of the Indian hunter; some to conquer virgin empires; and one stern band to pray. But none of these motives had much weight with the colonists of Merry Mount. Their leaders were men who had sported so long with life, that when Thought and Wisdom came, even these unwelcome guests were led astray, by the crowd of vanities which they should have put to flight. Erring

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Thought and perverted Wisdom were made to put on masques, and play the fool. The men of whom we speak, after losing the heart’s fresh gaiety, imagined a wild philosophy of pleasure, and came hither to act out their latest day-dream. They gathered followers from all that giddy tribe, whose whole life is like the festal days of soberer men. In their train were minstrels, not unknown in London streets; wandering players, whose theatres had been the halls of noblemen; mummeries, rope-dancers, and mountebanks, who would long be missed at wakes, church-ales, and fairs; in a word, mirth-makers of every sort, such as abounded in that age, but now began to be discountenanced by the rapid growth of Puritanism. Light had their footsteps been on land, and as lightly they came across the sea. Many had been maddened by their previous troubles into a gay despair; others were as madly gay in the flush of youth, like the May Lord and his Lady; but whatever might be the quality of their mirth, old and young were gay at Merry Mount. The young deemed themselves happy. The elder spirits, if they knew that mirth was but the counterfeit of happiness, yet followed the false shadow wilfully, because at least her garments glittered brightest. Sworn triflers of a life-time, they would not venture among the sober truths of life, not even to be truly blest.

All the hereditary pastimes of Old England were transplanted hither. The King of Christmas was duly crowned, and the Lord of Misrule bore potent sway. On the eve of Saint John, the felled whole acres of the forest to make bonfires, and danced by the blaze all night, crowned with garlands, and throwing flowers into

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the flame. At harvest time, though their crop was of the smallest, they made an image with the sheaves of Indian corn, and wreathed it with autumnal garlands, and bore it home triumphantly. But what chiefly characterized the colonists of Merry Mount, was their veneration for the May-Pole. It has made their true history a poet’s tale. Spring decked the hallowed emblem with young blossoms and fresh green boughs; Summer brought roses of the deepest blush, and the perfected foliage of the forest; Autumn enriched it with that red and yellow gorgeousness, which converts each wild-wood leaf into a painted flower; and Winter silvered it with sleet, and hung it round with icicles, till it flashed in the cold sunshine, itself a frozen sunbeam. Thus each alternate season did homage to the May-Pole, and paid it a tribute of its own richest splendor. Its votaries danced round it, once, at least, in every month; sometimes they called it their religion, or their altar; but always, it was the banner-staff of Merry Mount.

Unfortunately, there were men in the new world, of a sterner faith than these May-Pole worshippers. Not far from Merry Mount was a settlement of Puritans, most dismal wretches, who said their prayers before daylight, and then wrought in the forest or the cornfield, till evening made it prayer time again. Their weapons were always at hand, to shoot down the straggling savage. When they met in conclave, it was never to keep up the old English mirth, but to hear sermons three hours long, or to proclaim bounties on the heads of wolves and the scalps of Indians. Their festivals were fast-days, and their chief pastime the singing of psalms. Woe to the youth or maiden, who did but dream

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of a dance! The selectman nodded to the constable; and there sat the light-heeled reprobate in the stocks; or if he danced, it was round the whipping-post, which might be termed the Puritan May-Pole.

A party of these grim Puritans, toiling through the difficult woods, each with a horse-load of iron armor to burthen his footsteps, would sometimes draw near the sunny precincts of Merry Mount. There were the silken colonists, sporting round their May-Pole; perhaps teaching a bear to dance, or striving to communicate their mirth to the grave Indian; or masquerading in the skins of deer and wolves, which they had hunted for that especial purpose. Often, the whole colony were playing at blindman’s buff, magistrates and all with their eyes bandaged, except a single scape-goat, whom the blinded sinners pursued by the tinkling of the bells at his garments. Once, it is said, they were seen following a flower-decked corpse, with merriment and festive music, to his grave. But did the dead man laugh? In their quietest times, they sang ballads and told tales, for the edification of their pious visiters; or perplexed them with juggling tricks; or grinned at them through horse-collars; and when sport itself grew wearisome, they made game of their own stupidity, and began an yawning match. At the very least of these enormities, the men of iron shook their heads and frowned so darkly, that the revellers looked up, imagining that a momentary cloud had overcast the sunshine, which was to be perpetual there. On the other hand, the Puritans affirmed, that, when a psalm was pealing from their place of worship, the echo, which the forest sent them back, seemed often the chorus of a jolly

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catch, closing with a roar of laughter. Who but the fiend, and his fond slaves, the crew of Merry Mount, had thus disturbed them! In due time, a feud arose, stern and bitter on one side, and as serious on the other as any thing could be, among such light spirits as had sworn allegiance to the May-Pole. The future complexion of New England was involved in this important quarrel. Should the grisly saints establish their jurisdiction over the gay sinners, then would their spirits darken all the clime and make it a land of clouded visages, of hard toil, of sermon and psalm, forever. But should the banner-staff of Merry Mount be fortunate, sunshine would break upon the hills, and flowers would beautify the forest, and late posterity do homage to the May-Pole!

After these authentic passages from history, we return to the nuptials of the Lord and Lady of the May. Alas! we have delayed too long, and must darken our tale too suddenly. As we glanced again at the May-Pole, a solitary sun-beam is fading from the summit, and leaves only a faint golden tinge, blended with the hues of the rain bow [sic] banner. Even that dim light is now withdrawn, relinquishing the whole domain of Merry Mount to the evening gloom, which has rushed so instantaneously from the black surrounding woods. But some of these black shadows have rushed forth in human shape.

Yes: with the setting sun, the last day of mirth had passed from Merry Mount. The ring of gay masquers was disordered and broken; the stag lowered his antlers in dismay; the wolf grew weaker than a lamb; the bells of the morrice dancers tinkled with tremulous affright. The Puritans had played a characteristic part

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in the May-Pole mummeries. Their darksome figures were intermixed with the wild shapes of their foes, and made the scene a picture of the moment, when waking thoughts start up amid the scattered fantasies of a dream. The leader of the hostile party stood in the centre of the circle, while the rout of monsters cowered around him, like evil spirits in the presence of a dread magician. No fantastic foolery could look him in the face. So stern was the energy of his aspect, that the whole man, visage, frame, and soul, seemed wrought of iron, gifted with life and thought, yet all of one substance with his head-piece and breast-plate. It was the Puritan of Puritans; it was Endicott himself!

‘Stand off, priest of Baal!’ said he, with a grim frown, and laying no reverent hand upon the surplice. ‘I know thee, Claxton!* Thou art the man, who couldst not abide the rule even of thine own corrupted church, and hast come hither to preach iniquity, and to give example of it in thy life. But now shall it be seen that the Lord hath sanctified this wilderness for his peculiar people. Woe unto them that would defile it! And first for this flower-decked abomination, the altar of thy worship!’

And with his keen sword, Endicott assaulted the hallowed May-Pole. Nor long did it resist his arm. It groaned with a dismal sound; it showered leaves and rose-buds upon the remorseless enthusiast; and finally, with all its green boughs, and ribbons, and flowers, sym-

* Did Governor Endicott speak less positively, we should suspect a mistake here. The Reverend Mr. Claxton, though an eccentric, is not known to have been an immoral man. We rather doubt his identity with the priest of Merry Mount.

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bolic of departed pleasures, down fell the banner-staff of Merry Mount. As it sank, tradition says, the evening sky grew darker, and the woods threw forth a more sombre shadow.

‘There,’ cried Endicott, looking triumphantly on his work, ‘there lies the only May-Pole in New-England! The thought is strong within me, that, by its fall, is shadowed forth the fate of light and idle mirth-makers, amongst us and our posterity. Amen, saith John Endicott!’

‘Amen!’ echoed his followers.

But the votaries of the May-Pole gave one groan for their idol. At the sound, the Puritan leader glanced at the crew of Comus, each a figure of broad mirth, yet, at this moment, strangely expressive of sorrow and dismay.

‘Valiant captain,’ quoth Peter Palfrey, the Ancient of the band, ‘what order shall be taken with the prisoners?’

‘I thought not to repent me of cutting down a May-Pole,’ replied Endicott, ‘yet now I could find in my heart to plant it again, and give each of these bestial pagans one other dance round their idol. It would have served rarely for a whipping-post!’

‘But there are pine trees enow,’ suggested the lieutenant.

‘True, good Ancient,’ said the leader. ‘Wherefore, bind the heathen crew, and bestow on them a small matter of stripes apiece, as earnest of our future justice. Set some of the rogues in the stocks to rest themselves, so soon as Providence shall bring us to one of our own well-ordered settlements, where such accommodations may be found. Further penalties, such as branding and cropping of ears, shall be thought of hereafter.’

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‘How many stripes for the priest?’ inquired Ancient Palfrey.

‘None as yet,’ answered Endicott, bending his iron frown upon the culprit. ‘It must be for the Great and General Court to determine, whether stripes and long imprisonment, and other grievous penalty, may atone for his transgressions. Let him look to himself! For such as violate our civil order, it may be permitted us to show mercy. But woe to the wretch that troubleth our religion!’

‘And this dancing bear,’ resumed the officer. ‘Must he share the stripes of his fellows?’

‘Shoot him through the head!’ said the energetic Puritan. ‘I suspect witchcraft in the beast.’

‘Here be a couple of shining ones,’ continued Peter Palfrey, pointing his weapon at the Lord and Lady of the May. ‘They seem to be of high station among these mis-doers. Methinks their dignity will not be fitted with less than a double share of stripes.’

Endicott rested on his sword, and closely surveyed the dress and aspect of the hapless pair. There they stood, pale, downcast, and apprehensive. Yet there was an air of mutual support, and of pure affection, seeking aid and giving it, that showed them to be man and wife, with the sanction of a priest upon their love. The youth, in the peril of the moment, had dropped his gilded staff, and thrown his arm about the Lady of the May, who leaned against his breast, too lightly to burthen him, but with weight enough to express that their destinies were linked together, for good or evil. They looked first at leach other, and then into the grim captain’s face. There they stood, in the first hour of

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wedlock, while the idle pleasures, of which their companions were the emblems, had given place to the sternest cares of life, personified by the dark Puritans. But never had their youthful beauty seemed so pure and high, as when its glow was chastened by adversity.

‘Youth,’ said Endicott, ‘ye stand in an evil case, thou and thy maiden wife. Make ready presently; for I am minded that ye shall both have a token to remember your wedding-day!’

‘Stern man,’ exclaimed the May Lord, ‘how can I move thee? Were the means at hand, I would resist to the death. Being powerless, I entreat! Do with me as thou wilt; but let Edith go untouched!’

‘Not so,’ replied the unmitigable zealot. ‘We are not wont to show an idle courtesy to that sex, which requireth the stricter discipline. What sayest thou maid? Shall thy silken bridegroom suffer thy share of the penalty, besides his own?’

‘Be it death,’ said Edith, ‘and lay it all on me!’

Truly, as Endicott had said, the poor lovers stood in a woeful case. Their foes were triumphant, their friends captive and abased, their home desolate, the benighted wilderness around them, and a rigorous destiny, in the shape of the Puritan leader, their only guide. Yet the deepening twilight could not altogether conceal, that the iron man was softened; he smiled, at the fair spectacle of early love; he almost sighed, for the inevitable blight of early hopes.

‘The troubles of life have come hastily on this young couple,’ observed Endicott. ‘We will see how they comport themselves under their present trials, ere we burthen them with greater. If, among the spoil, there

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be any garments of a more decent fashion, let them be put upon this May Lord and his Lady, instead of their glistening vanities. Look to it, some of you.’

‘And shall not the youth’s hair be cut?’ asked Peter Palfrey, looking with abhorrence at the love-lock and long glossy curls of the young man.

‘Crop it forthwith, and that in the true pumpkin shell fashion,’ answered the captain. ‘Then bring them along with us, but more gently than their fellows. There be qualities in the youth, which may make him valiant to fight, and sober to toil, and pious to pray; and in the maiden, that may fit her to become a mother in our Israel, bringing up babes in better nurture than her own hath been. Nor think ye, young ones, that they are the happiest, even in our lifetime of a moment, who misspend it in dancing round a May-Pole!’

And Endicott, the severest Puritan of all who laid the rock-foundation of New England, lifted the wreath of roses from the ruin of the May-Pole, and threw it, with his own gauntleted hand, over the heads of the Lord and Lady of the May. It was a deed of prophecy. As the moral gloom of the world overpowers all systematic gaiety, even so was their home of wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest. They returned to it no more. But, as their flowery garland was wreathed of the brightest roses that had grown there, so, in the tie that united them, were intertwined all the purest and best of their early joys. They went heavenward, supporting each other along the difficult path which it was their lot to tread, and never wasted one regretful thought on the vanities of Merry Mount.

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[p. 302]

THE MINISTER’S BLACK VEIL.
A PARABLE.*
BY THE AUTHOR OF ‘SIGHTS FROM A STEEPLE.’

The sexton stood in the porch of Milford meeting-house, pulling lustily at the bell-rope. The old people of the village came stooping along the street. Children, with bright faces, tript merrily beside their parents, or mimicked a graver gait, in the conscious dignity of their sunday clothes. Spruce bachelors looked sidelong at the pretty maidens, and fancied that the sabbath sunshine made them prettier than on week-days. When the throng had mostly streamed into the porch, the sexton began to toll the bell, keeping his eye on the Reverend Mr. Hooper’s door. The first glimpse of the clergyman’s figure was the signal for the bell to cease its summons.

‘But what has good Parson Hooper got upon his face?’ cried the sexton in astonishment.

All within hearing immediately turned about, and beheld the semblance of Mr. Hooper, pacing slowly his meditative way towards the meeting-house. With one

* Another clergyman in New-England, Mr. Joseph Moody, of York, Maine, who died about eighty years since, made himself remarkable by the same eccentricity that is here related of the Reverend Mr. Hooper. In his case, however, the symbol had a different import. In early life he had accidentally killed a beloved friend; and from that day till the hour of his own death, he hid his face from men.

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accord they started, expressing more wonder than if some strange minister were coming to dust the cushions of Mr. Hooper’s pulpit.

‘Are you sure it is our parson?’ inquired Goodman Gray of the sexton.

‘Of a certainty it is good Mr. Hooper,’ replied the sexton. ‘He was to have exchanged pulpits with Parson Shute of Westbury; but Parson Shute sent to excuse himself yesterday, being to preach a funeral sermon.’

The cause of so much amazement may appear sufficiently slight. Mr. Hooper, a gentlemanly person of about thirty, though still a bachelor, was dressed with due clerical neatness, as if a careful wife had starched his band, and brushed the weekly dust from his Sunday’s garb. There was but one thing remarkable in his appearance. Swathed about his forehead, and hanging down over his face, so low as to be shaken by his breath, Mr. Hooper had on a black veil. On a nearer view, it seemed to consist of two folds of crape, which entirely concealed his features, except the mouth and chin, but probably did not intercept his sight, farther than to give a darkened aspect to all living an inanimate things. With this gloomy shade before him, good Mrs. Hooper walked onward, at a slow and quiet pace, stooping somewhat and looking on the ground, as is customary with abstracted men, yet nodding kindly to those of his parishioners who still waited on the meeting-house steps. But so wonder-struck were they, that his greeting hardly met with a return.

‘I can’t really feel as if good Mr. Hooper’s face was behind that piece of crape,’ said the sexton.

‘I don’t like it,’ muttered an old woman, as she hob-

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bled into the meeting-house. ‘He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face.’

‘Our parson has gone mad!’ cried Goodman Gray, following him across the threshold.

A rumor of some unaccountable phenomenon had preceded Mr. Hooper into the meeting-house, and set all the congregation astir. Few could refrain from twisting their heads towards the door; many stood upright, and turned directly about; while several little boys clambered upon the seats, and came down again with a terrible racket. There was a general bustle, a rustling of the women’s gowns and shuffling of the men’s feet, greatly at variance with that hushed repose which should attend the entrance of the minister. But Mr. Hooper appeared not to notice the perturbation of his people. He entered with an almost noiseless step, bent his head mildly to the pews on each side, and bowed as he passed his oldest parishioner, a white-haired great-grandsire, who occupied an arm-chair in the centre of the aisle. It was strange to observe, how slowly this venerable man became conscious of something singular in the appearance of his pastor. He seemed not fully to partake of the prevailing wonder, till Mr. Hooper had ascended the stairs, and showed himself in the pulpit, face to face with his congregation, except for the black veil. That mysterious emblem was never once withdrawn. It shook with his measured breath as he gave out the psalm; it threw its obscurity between him and the holy page, as he read the Scriptures; and while he prayed, the veil lay heavily on his uplifted countenance. Did he seek to hide it from the dread Being whom he was addressing?

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Such was the effect of this simple piece of crape, that more than one woman of delicate nerves was forced to leave the meeting-house. Yet perhaps the pale-faced congregation was almost as fearful a sight to the minister, as his black veil to them.

Mr. Hooper had the reputation of a good preacher, but not an energetic one: he strove to win his people heaven-ward, by mild persuasive influences, rather than to drive them thither, by the thunders of the Word. The sermon which he now delivered, was marked by the same characteristics of style and manner, as the general series of his pulpit oratory. But there was something, either in the sentiment of the discourse itself, or in the imagination of the auditors, which made it greatly the most powerful effort that they had ever heard from their pastor’s lips. It was tinged, rather more darkly than usual, with the gentle gloom of Mr. Hooper’s temperament. The subject had reference to secret sin, and those sad mysteries which we hide from our nearest and dearest, and would fain conceal from our own consciousness, even forgetting that the Omniscient can detect them. A subtle power was breathed into his words. Each member ogf the congregation, the most innocent girl, and the man of hardened breast, felt as if the preacher had crept upon them, behind his awful veil, and discovered their hoarded iniquity of deed or thought. Many spread their clasped hands on their bosoms. There was nothing terrible in what Mr. Hooper said; at least, no violence; and yet, with every tremor of his melancholy voice, the hearers quaked. An unsought pathos came hand in hand with awe. So sensible were the audience of some unwonted attribute in their minister, that they longed for a breath of wind to

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blow aside the veil, almost believing that a stranger’s visage would be discovered, though the form, gesture, and voice were those of Mr. Hooper.

At the close of the services, the people hurried out with indecorous confusion, eager to communicate their pent-up amazement, and conscious of lighter spirits, the moment they lost sight of the black veil. Some gathered in little circles, huddled closely together, with their mouths all whispering in the centre; some went homeward alone, wrapt in silent meditation; some talked loudly, and profaned the Sabbath-day with ostentatious laughter. A few shook their sagacious heads, intimating that they could penetrate the mystery; while one or two affirmed that there was no mystery at all, but only that Mr. Hooper’s eyes were so weakened by the midnight lamp, as to require a shade. After a brief interval, forth came good Mr. Hooper also, in the rear of his flock. Turning his veiled face from one group to another, he paid due reverence to the hoary heads, saluted the middle-aged with kind dignity, as their friend and spiritual guide, greeted the young with mingled authority and love, and laid his hands on the little children’s heads to bless them. Such was always his custom on the Sabbath-day. Strange and bewildered looks repaid him for his courtesy. None, as on former occasions, aspired to the honor of walking by their pastor’s side. Old Squire Saunders, doubtless by an accidental lapse of memory, neglected to invite Mr. Hooper to his table, where the good clergyman had been wont to bless the food, almost every Sunday since his settlement. He returned, therefore, to the parsonage, and, at the moment of closing the door, was observed to look back upon the people, all of whom had their eyes

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fixed upon the minister. A sad smile gleamed faintly from beneath the black veil, and flickered about his mouth, glimmering as he disappeared.

‘How strange,’ said a lady, ‘that a simple black veil, such as any woman might wear on her bonnet, should become such a terrible thing on Mr. Hooper’s face!’

‘Something must surely be amiss with Mr. Hooper’s intellects,’ observed her husband, the physician of the village. ‘But the strangest part of the affair is the effect of this vagary, even on a sober-minded man like myself. The black veil, though it covers only our pastor’s face, throws its influence over his whole person, and makes him ghost-like from head to foot. Do you not feel it so?’

‘Truly do I,’ replied the lady; ‘and I would not be alone with him for the world. I wonder he is not afraid to be alone with himself!’

‘Men sometimes are so,’ said her husband.

The afternoon service was attended with similar circumstances. At its conclusion, the bell tolled for the funeral of a young lady. The relatives and friends were assembled in the house, and the more distant acquaintances stood about the door, speaking of the good qualities of the deceased, when their talk was interrupted by the appearance of Mr. Hooper, still covered with his black veil. It was now an appropriate emblem. The clergyman stepped into the room where the corpse was laid, and bent over the coffin, to take a last farewell of his deceased parishioner. As he stooped, the veil hung straight down from his forehead, so that, if her eye-lids had not been closed for ever, the dead maiden might have seen his face. Could Mr. Hooper be fearful of her glance, that he so hastily caught back the black veil? A person, who

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watched the interview between the dead and living, scrupled not to affirm, that, at the instant when the clergyman’s features were disclosed, the corpse had slightly shuddered, rustling the shroud and muslin cap, though the countenance retained the composure of death. A superstitious old woman was the only witness of this prodigy. From the coffin, Mr. Hooper passed into the chamber of the mourners, and thence to the head of the staircase, to make the funeral prayer. It was a tender and heart-dissolving prayer, full of sorrow, yet so imbued with celestial hopes, that the music of a heavenly harp, swept by the fingers of the dead, seemed faintly to be heard among the saddest accents of the minister. The people trembled, though they but darkly understood him, when he prayed that they, and himself, and all of mortal race, might be ready, as he trusted this young maiden had been, for the dreadful hour that should snatch the veil from their faces. The bearers went heavily forth, and the mourners followed, saddening all the street, with the dead before them, and Mr. Hooper in his black veil behind.

‘Why do you look back?’ said one in the procession to his partner.

‘I had a fancy,’ replied she, ‘that the minister and the maiden’s spirit were walking hand in hand.’

‘And so had I, at the same moment,’ said the other.

That night, the handsomest couple in Milford village were to be joined in wedlock. Though reckoned a melancholy man, Mr. Hooper had a placid cheerfulness for such occasions, which often excited a sympathetic smile, where livelier merriment would have been thrown away. There was no quality of his disposition which

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made him more beloved than this. The company at the wedding awaited his arrival with impatience, trusting that the strange awe, which had gathered over him throughout the day, would now be dispelled. But such was not the result. When Mr. Hooper came, the first thing that their eyes rested on was the same horrible black veil, which had added deeper gloom to the funeral, and could portend nothing but evil to the wedding. Such was its immediate effect on the guests, that a cloud seemed to have rolled duskily from beneath the black crape, and dimmed the light of the candles. The bridal pair stood up before the minister. But the bride’s cold fingers quivered in the tremulous hand of the bridegroom, and her death-like paleness caused a whisper, that the maiden who had been buried a few hours before, was come from her grave to be married. If ever another wedding were so dismal, it was that famous one, where they tolled the wedding-knell. After performing the ceremony, Mr. Hooper raised a glass of wine to his lips, wishing happiness to the new-married couple, in a strain of mild pleasantry that ought to have brightened the features of the guests, like a cheerful gleam from the hearth. At that instant, catching a glimpse of his figure in the looking-glass, the black veil involved his own spirit in the horror with which it overwhelmed all others. His frame shuddered—his lips grew white—he spilt the untasted wine upon the carpet—and rushed forth into the darkness. For the Earth, too, had on her Black Veil.

The next day, the whole village of Milford talked of little else than Parson Hooper’s black veil. That, and the mystery concealed behind it, supplied a topic for

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discussion between acquaintances meeting in the street, and good women gossiping at their open windows. It was the first item of news that the tavern-keeper told to his guests. The children babbled of it on their way to school. One imitative little imp covered his face with an old black handkerchief, thereby so affrighting his playmate, that the panic seized himself, and he well nigh lost his wits by his own waggery.

It was remarkable, that, of all the busy-bodies and impertinent people in the parish, not one ventured to put the plain question to Mr. Hooper, wherefore he did this thing. Hitherto, whenever there appeared the slightest call for such interference, he had never lacked advisers, nor shown himself averse to be guided by their judgment. If he erred at all, it was by so painful a degree of self-distrust, that even the mildest censure would lead him to consider an indifferent action as a crime. Yet, though so well acquainted with this amiable weakness, no individual among his parishioners chose to make the black veil a subject of friendly remonstrance. There was a feeling of dread, neither plainly confessed nor carefully concealed, which caused each to shift the responsibility upon another, till at length it was found expedient to send a deputation of the church, in order to deal with Mr. Hooper about the mystery, before it should grow into a scandal. Never did an embassy so ill discharge its duties. The minister received them with friendly courtesy, but became silent, after they were seated, leaving to his visiters the whole burthen of introducing their important business. The topic, it might be supposed, was obvious enough. there was the black veil, swathed round Mr. Hooper’s forehead, and concealing every feature above his placid mouth, on

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which, at times, they could perceive the glimmering of a melancholy smile. But that piece of crape, to their imagination, seemed to hang down before his heart, the symbol of a fearful secret between him and them. Were the veil but cast aside, they might speak freely of it, but not till then. Thus they sat a considerable time, speechless, confused, and shrinking uneasily from Mr. Hooper’s eye, which they felt to be fixed upon them with an invisible glance. Finally, the deputies returned abashed to their constituents. pronouncing the matter too weighty to be handled, except by a council of the churches, if, indeed, it might not require a general synod.

But there was one person in the village, unappalled by the awe with which the black veil had impressed all beside herself. When the deputies returned without an explanation, or even venturing to demand one, she, with the calm energy of her character, determined to chase away the strange cloud that appeared to be settling round Mr. Hooper, every moment more darkly than before. As his plighted wife, it should be her privilege to know what the black veil concealed. At the minister’s first visit, therefore, she entered upon the subject, with a direct simplicity, which made the task easier both for him and her. After he had seated himself, she fixed her eyes steadfastly upon the veil, but could discern nothing of the dreadful gloom that had so overawed the multitude: it was but a double fold of crape, hanging down from his forehead to his mouth, and slightly stirring with his breath.

‘No,’ said she aloud, and smiling, ‘there is nothing terrible in this piece of crape, except that it hides a face which I am always glad to look upon. Come, good sir,

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let the sun shine from behind the cloud. First lay aside your black veil: then tell me why you put it on.’

Mr. Hooper’s smile glimmered faintly.

‘There is an hour to come,’ said he, ‘when all of us shall cast aside our veils. Take it not amiss, beloved friend, if I wear this piece of crape, till then.’

‘Your words are a mystery too,’ returned the young lady. ‘Take away the veil from them, at least.’

‘Elizabeth, I will,’ said he, ‘so far as my vow may suffer me. Know, then, this veil is a type and a symbol, and I am bound to wear it ever, both in light and darkness, in solitude and before the gaze of multitudes, and as with strangers, so with my familiar friends. No mortal eye will see it withdrawn. This dismal shade must separate me from the world: even you, Elizabeth, can never come behind it!’

‘What grievous affliction hath befallen you,’ she earnestly inquired, ‘that you should thus darken your eyes for ever?’

‘If it be a sign of mourning,’ replied Mr. Hooper, ‘I, perhaps, like most other mortals, have sorrows dark enough to be typified by a black veil.’

‘But what if the world will not believe that it is the type of an innocent sorrow?’ urged Elizabeth. ‘Beloved and respected as you are, there may be whispers, that you hide your face under the consciousness of secret sin. For the sake of your holy office, do away this scandal!’

The color rose into her cheeks, as she intimated the nature of the rumors that were already abroad in the village. But Mr. Hooper’s mildness did not forsake him. He even smiled again—that same sad smile, which always

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appeared like a faint glimmering of light, proceeding from the obscurity beneath the veil.

‘If I hide my face for sorrow, there is cause enough,’ he merely replied; ‘and if I cover it for secret sin, what mortal might not do the same?’

And with this gentle, but unconquerable obstinacy, did he resist all her entreaties. At length Elizabeth sat silent. For a few moments she appeared lost in thought, considering, probably, what new methods might be tried, to withdraw her lover from so dark a fantasy, which, if it had no other meaning, was perhaps a symptom of mental disease. Though of a firmer character than his own, the tears rolled down her cheeks. But, in an instant, as it were, a new feeling took the place of sorrow: her eyes were fixed insensibly on the black veil, when, like a sudden twilight in the air, its terrors fell around her. She arose, and stood trembling before him.

‘And do you feel it then at last?’ said he mournfully.

She made no reply, but covered her eyes with her hand, and turned to leave the room. He rushed forward and caught her arm.

‘Have patience with me, Elizabeth!’ cried he passionately. ‘Do not desert me, though this veil must be between us here on earth. Be mine, and hereafter there shall be no veil over my face, no darkness between our souls! It is but a mortal veil—it is not for eternity! Oh! you know not how lonely I am, and how frightened to be alone behind my black veil. Do not leave me in this miserable obscurity for ever!’

‘Lift the veil but once, and look me in the face,’ said she.

‘Never! It cannot be!’ replied Mr. Hooper.

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‘Then, farewell!’ said Elizabeth.

She withdrew her arm from his grasp, and slowly departed, pausing at the door, to give one long, shuddering gaze, that seemed almost to penetrate the mystery of the black veil. But, even amid his grief, Mr. Hooper smiled to think that only a material emblem had separated him from happiness, though the horrors which it shadowed forth, must be drawn darkly between the fondest of lovers.

From that time no attempts were made to remove Mr. Hooper’s black veil, or, by a direct appeal, to discover the secret which it was supposed to hide. By persons who claimed a superiority to popular prejudice, it was reckoned merely an eccentric whim, such as often mingles with the sober actions of men otherwise rational, and tinges them all with its own semblance of insanity. But with the multitude, good Mr. Hooper was irreparably a bug-bear. He could not walk the street with any peace of mind, so conscious was he that the gentle and timid would turn aside to avoid him, and that others would make it a point of hardihood to throw themselves in his way. The impertinence of the latter class compelled him to give up his customary walk, at sunset, to the burial ground; for when he leaned pensively over the gate, there would always be faces behind the grave-stones, peeping at his black veil. A fable went the rounds, that the stare of the dead people drove him thence. It grieved him, to the very depth of his kind heart, to observe how the children fled from his approach, breaking up their merriest sports, while his melancholy figure was yet afar off. Their instinctive dread caused him to feel, more strongly than aught else, that a preternatural horror was

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interwoven with the threads of the black crape. In truth, his own antipathy to the veil was known to be so great, that he never willingly passed before a mirror, nor stooped to drink at a still fountain, lest, in its peaceful bosom, he should be affrighted by himself. This was what gave plausibility to the whispers, that Mr. Hooper’s conscience tortured him for some great crime, too horrible to be entirely concealed, or otherwise than so obscurely intimated. Thus, from beneath the black veil, there rolled a cloud into the sunshine, an ambiguity of sin or sorrow, which enveloped the poor minister, so that love or sympathy could never reach him. It was said, that ghost and fiend consorted with him there. With self-shudderings and outward terrors, he walked continually in its shadow, groping darkly within his own soul, or gazing through a medium that saddened the whole world. Even the lawless wind, it was believed, respected his dreadful secret, and never blew aside the veil. But still good Mr. Hooper sadly smiled, at the pale visages of the worldly throng as he passed by.

Among all its bad influences, the black veil had the one desirable effect, of making its wearer a very efficient clergyman. By the aid of his mysterious emblem—for there was no other apparent cause—he became a man of artful power, over souls that were in agony for sin. His converts always regarded him with a dread peculiar to themselves, affirming, though but figuratively, that, before he brought them to celestial light, they had been with him behind the black veil. Its gloom, indeed, enabled him to sympathize with all dark affections. Dying sinners cried aloud for Mr. Hooper, and would not yield their breath till he appeared; though ever, as he stooped to

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whisper consolation, they shuddered at the veiled face so near their own. Such were the terrors of the black veil, even when death had bared his visage! Strangers came long distances to attend service at his church, with the mere idle purpose of gazing at his figure, because it was forbidden them to behold his face. But many were made to quake ere they departed! Once, during Governor Belcher’s administration, Mr. Hooper was appointed to preach the election sermon. Covered with his black veil, he stood before the chief magistrate, the council, and the representatives, and wrought so deep an impression, that the legislative measures of that year, were characterized by all the gloom and piety of our earliest ancestral sway.

In this manner Mr. Hooper spent a long life, irreproachable in outward act, yet shrouded in dismal suspicions; kind and loving, though unloved, and dimly feared; a man apart from men, shunned in their health and joy, but ever summoned to their aid in mortal anguish. As years wore on, shedding their snows above his sable veil, he acquired a name throughout the New-England churches, and they called him Father Hooper. Nearly all his parishioners, who were of mature age when he was settled, had been borne away by many a funeral: he had one congregation in the church, and a more crowded one in the church-yard; and having wrought so late into the evening, and done his work so well, it was now good Father Hooper’s turn to rest.

Several persons were visible by the shaded candle-light, in the death-chamber of the old clergyman. Natural connections he had none. But there was the decorously grave, though unmoved physician, seeking only to

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mitigate the last pangs of the patient whom he could not save. There were the deacons, and other eminently pious members of his church. There, also, was the Reverend Mr. Clark, of Westbury, a young and zealous divine, who had ridden in haste to pray by the bed-side of the expiring minister. There was the nurse, no hired handmaiden of death, but one whose calm affection had endured thus long, in secresy, in solitude, amid the chill of age, and would not perish, even at the dying hour. Who, but Elizabeth! And there lay the hoary head of good Father Hooper upon the death-pillow, with the black veil still swathed about his brow and reaching down over his face, so that each more difficult gasp of his faint breath caused it to stir. All through life that piece of crape had hung between him and the world: it had separated him from cheerful brotherhood and woman’s love, and kept him in that saddest of all prisons, his own heart; and still it lay upon his face, as if to deepen the gloom of his darksome chamber, and shade him from the sunshine of eternity.

For some time previous, his mind had been confused, wavering doubtfully between the past and the present, and hovering forward, as it were, at intervals, into the indistinctness of the world to come. There had been feverish turns, which tossed him from side to side, and wore away what little strength he had. But in his most convulsive struggles, and in the wildest vagaries of his intellect, when no other thought retained its sober influence, he still showed an awful solicitude lest the black veil should slip aside. Even if his bewildered soul could have forgotten, there was a faithful woman at his

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pillow, who, with averted eyes, would have covered that aged face, which she had last beheld in the comeliness of manhood. At length the death-stricken old man lay quietly in the torpor of mental and bodily exhaustion, with an imperceptible pulse, and breath that grew fainter and fainter, except when a long, deep, and irregular inspiration seemed to prelude the flight of his spirit.

The minister of Westbury approached the bedside.

‘Venerable Father Hooper,’ said he, ‘the moment of your release is at hand. Are you ready for the lifting of the veil, that shuts in time from eternity?’

Father Hooper at first replied merely by a feeble motion of his head; then, apprehensive, perhaps, that his meaning might be doubtful, he exerted himself to speak.

‘Yes,’ said he, in faint accents, ‘my soul hath a patient weariness until that veil be lifted.’

‘And is it fitting,’ resumed the Reverend Mr. Clark, ‘that a man so given to prayer, of such a blameless example, holy in deed and thought, so far as mortal judgment may pronounce; is it fitting that a father in the church should leave a shadow on his memory, that may seem to blacken a life so pure? I pray you, my venerable brother, let not this thing be! Suffer us to be gladdened by your triumphant aspect, as you go to your reward. Before the veil of eternity be lifted, let me cast aside this black veil from your face!’

And thus speaking, the Reverend Mr. Clark bent forward to reveal the mystery of so many years. But, exerting a sudden energy, that made all the beholders stand aghast, Father Hooper snatched both his hands

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from beneath the bed-clothes, and pressed them strongly on the black veil, resolute to struggle, if the minister of Westbury would contend with a dying man.

‘Never!’ cried the veiled clergyman. ‘On earth, never!’

‘Dark old man!’ exclaimed the affrighted minister, ‘with what horrible crime upon your soul are you now passing to the judgment?’

Father Hooper’s breath heaved; it rattled in his throat; but, with a mighty effort, grasping forward with his hands, he caught hold of life, and held it back till he should speak. He even raised himself in bed; and there he sat, shivering with the arms of death around him, while the black veil hung down, awful, at that last moment, in the gathered terrors of a life-time. And yet the faint, sad smile, so often there, now seemed to glimmer from its obscurity, and linger on Father Hooper’s lips.

‘Why do you tremble at me alone?’ cried he, turning his veiled face round the circle of pale spectators. ‘Tremble also at each other! Have men avoided me, and women shown no pity, and children screamed and fled, only for my black veil? What, but the mystery which it obscurely typifies, has made this piece of crape so awful? when the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend; the lover to his best-beloved; when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a black veil!’

While his auditors shrank from one another, in mutual

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affright, Father Hooper fell back upon his pillow, a veiled corpse, with a faint smile lingering on the lips. Still veiled, they laid him in his coffin, and a veiled corpse they bore him to the grave. The grass of many years has sprung up and withered on that grave, the burial-stone is moss-grown, and good Mr. Hooper’s face is dust; but awful is the thought, that it mouldered beneath the black veil!

_____

I LOVE YOU, FLOWERS.
BY J. H. MIFFLIN.

I love you, flowers—I love you, flowers,

You sweetly breathe to me,

The fragrance of deserted hours,

I never more may see.

I love you flowers—I love you flowers;

For, oh, my heart perceives

The color of its happiest hours,

Reflected on your leaves.

I love you, flowers—I love you flowers—

With you was shared her love,

Which far too fervent to be hours,

Has all returned above.

Your fragrance and your beauty give

Fit emblems of her bloom;

Alas! the moment that you live,

Is transient as her doom!

Copyright 1999-2018, Pat Pflieger
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