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Daisy's Necklace - And What Came of It
by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
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In this sunny mood he turned his way homeward. He passed Mrs. Snarle on the stairs with a smile; he heard Daisy singing in the sitting-room; and he sat himself down in the yellow light which streamed through the window of his bedroom, making a hundred golden fancies on the worn carpet:

"The shadows of the coming flowers! The phantoms of forget-me-nots, And roses red and sweet!"

His eyes made pictures; his fancy inverted the hour-glass of his life, and the old sands ran back! He floated down the stream of time, instead of onward.

The sunshine grew deeper and broader, and filled the little room. Then it became condensed and brighter. Gradually it moulded itself into form, and little Bell, in her golden ringlets, stood at the side of Mortimer. Her white hand touched his shoulder, and he looked up—not in surprise, but with tenderness—with the air of a man who can gaze with unclouded eyes into the spiritual world and lose himself.

"I knew you were near," he said, dreamily. "I thought you would come. You have something to tell me. What is it, my little Bell? Thus you stood at my side, thus you looked into my eyes, the day on which I told Daisy that I loved her. Thus you come to me whenever the current of my life changes, to love and advise me. What is it, Bell—dainty little Bell?"

A sunny lip rested on his for a moment.

"Be strong!" said little Bell.

A cloud of sunlight floated around Mortimer, slipped down at his feet, and lost itself in the orange stream which flooded the window.

"He is dreaming of Bell," said Daisy, as she bent over him—"dreaming of lost Bell!"

And she closed the door after her softly.

Then Mortimer's vision of sister Bell was a dream? Perhaps it was not. Perhaps this real world is linked more closely to the invisible sphere than in our guesses. It may be an angel's hand which touches our cheek, when we think that it is only the breeze. ?Quien sabe? Who can say that in sleep we do not touch hands with the spirits of another world—the angels of hereafter? And what may death be but an intellectual dream!—Who knows?

Nobody knows. "But," suggests the gentle reader, "suppose you dispense with your Hamlet-like philosophy, and go on with your story, like the pleasant author that you are, instead of putting us to sleep, as you have your hero."

Reader, the hint was merited.



IX.

"My eyes make pictures when they are shut."

COLERIDGE.

IX.

DAISY AND THE NECKLACE.

Our petite Heroine—How she talked to the Poets—The Morocco Case—Daisy's Eyes make Pictures—Tears, idle Tears!

Mortimer was still sleeping an "azure-lidded sleep," as Keats has it, when Daisy again came softly to the door.

A pretty little woman was Daisy Snarle.

She had one of those faces which you sometimes pass in the street and remember afterward, ever connecting it with some exquisite picture, or, if you happen to be in a poetical mood, a dainty bit of music. That face was very sweet in the coquettish red and white "kiss-me-quick" which used to shade it sunny mornings, when Daisy went to market—a very beautiful face when she looked up earnestly—a very holy face when she sat thoughtfully in her room at twilight. Her hair was dark chestnut, and she wore it in one heavy braid over her forehead. Her eyes were so gentle and saucy by turns that I could never tell whether they were gray or hazel; but her smile was frank, her laugh musical, and her whole presence so purely womanly, that one could not but be better for knowing her. Yet Daisy was not faultless. She had a wild little will of her own—none the worse for that, however. She could put her foot down—and a sweet little foot it was!—a temptation of a foot, cased in a tight boot—high in the instep, and arched like the proud neck of an Arabian mare, or the eye-brows of a Georgian girl. And then the heel of said boot!—But I daren't trust myself further.

Daisy stood looking at Mortimer with her fond, thoughtful eyes. Soon she grew tired of this, and, placing a stool by his chair, sat down and commenced sewing. From time to time she looked up from her work and smiled quietly.

"How he sleeps!" said Daisy, with a low laugh. "Will he be cross if I disturb him?"—and she laughed again. "I wonder," she said, at length, "if a tiny song would awaken him?"

So she sang in a gentle voice those touching lines of Barry Cornwall, commencing with—

"Touch us gently, Father Time! As we glide adown the stream."

She sang them bewitchingly. The music must have stolen into Mortimer's dream, for he slept a quieter sleep than before. Miss Daisy did not like that, and pouted quite prettily, and shook her finger at him.

"O, how tiresome you are!" she said. Then she sewed for ten minutes quite steadily.

"I guess I'll arrange your books, Rip Van Winkle! and when you wake up, a half century hence, you won't know them, they'll be in such good order!"

And facetious Miss Daisy broke out in such a wild, merry laugh, that an early robin, perched on a tree beside the window, ceased chirping, and listened to her.

Her fingers grew very busy with Mortimer's books. Having dusted them carefully, she commenced to place them in an old black-walnut book-case, which must have had an antique look fifty years ago. And Daisy went on laughing and talking to herself in a most comical manner.

"Here, Mr. Theocritus!" she cried, taking up that venerable poet, and placing him upside down, "I'll just set you on your head for absorbing all that stupid boy's attention one live-long evening, when I wanted to chat with him."

An author is supposed to know everything about his characters; but I cannot tell why Daisy placed Mortimer's poet in such an uncomfortable position, unless she thought that the blood might run into the head of Mr. Theocritus, and cause him to be taken off with a brain fever!

"And you, Mr. Byron," Daisy continued, "you're a very wicked young fellow! and I won't let you sit next to Mrs. Hemans!" so she placed Plutarch between them. "But you and Shelly," Daisy said, resting her hand on Keats, "you are different sort of persons; you are too earnest and beautiful to be impure; and you shall sit side by side between L. E. L. and our own Alice Cary. And Chatterton! poor boy Chatterton! I'll place you in that shadowy corner of the book-case, where the sunshine never comes!"

So Daisy made merry or sad, as the case might be, over her lover's few volumes; and when she had arranged them to suit her capricious self, she kissed her hand to Tom Hood, and locked them all—poets, romancers, and historians—in the black, sombre old book-case.

Our friend Daisy was in one of those playful, half-childish moods, which came upon her not unfrequently.

Now she looked around the room for some other piece of useful mischief to do. She would turn over Mortimer's papers. Ah, what made her blush and laugh so prettily then? It was only a sheet of note-paper, on which Mortimer, in a dreamy moment, had written her name innumerable times—for know, good world, that true love takes the silliest ways to express itself.

Now she was curious.

She stood thoughtfully, with a small morocco case in her hand. The reader has seen it once in Flint's office. An undefined feeling stole over her; and it was some time before she thought of opening the case. She did so, however, and took from it a pearl necklace of rare design and workmanship. The necklace was in three parts, linked together by exquisitely carved clasps, from the largest of which hung a



composed of smaller and more costly pearls.

"How beautiful!" and she grew more thoughtful. Something within her recognized the jewels. It was not her sight, it was not her touch, but an intuitive something which is finer and subtler than either.

"I have seen this somewhere—somewhere," she said; "but where?"

And she closed her eyes, as if the sunlight blinded some timid memory that was stealing through her brain. Her fancy painted pictures of strange places and things. Now she saw a country-house, among cool, quiet trees; then a man dying—some one she loved—but who? Now she was in a large city, and heard the rumbling of wheels and confused voices. Now the snow was coming down, flake after flake, and everything was white; then it was night—dark, stormy, and dreadful—and she was cold, bitter cold! Some one had left her in the white, clinging snow, and she was freezing!

Daisy opened her eyes. The snow and wind were gone, and April's sunny breath blew shadows through the open window. The house, the death, the storm—how were they connected with the string of pearls? And Daisy held the necklace on her finger-tips and wondered.

"Somewhere, somewhere—but where?"

Daisy could not tell where.

"I may have seen one like it," Daisy thought. "Perhaps this was Bell's, and these stones may have rested many a time on her little neck. I wish I had known Bell!"

With this she placed the necklace in the case again, and tears gathered in her eyes, she knew not why.

"Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean."

She laid the box in the place where she had found it, and thought she would not speak to Mortimer of the necklace; he might be displeased to have her touch it.

Her gaiety had given place to sadness, and when she knelt by Mortimer's chair she could not help sobbing. Mortimer awoke and bent over her.

"What, weeping, Daisy?"



X.

Full knee-deep lies the winter snow, And the winter winds are wearily sighing: Toll ye the church-bell sad and slow, And tread softly and speak low, For the old year lies a-dying. Old year, you must not die: You came to us so readily, You lived with us so steadily, Old year you must not die. He lieth still: he doth not move: He will not see the dawn of day, He hath no other life above. He gave me a friend and a true love, And the new year will take 'em away. Old year, you must not go: So long as you have been with us, Such joy as you have seen with us, Old year, you shall not go. He frothed his bumpers to the brim: A jollier year we shall not see; But though his eyes are waxing dim, And though his foes speak ill of him, He was a friend to me. Old year, you shall not die: We did so laugh and cry with you, I've half a mind to die with you, Old year, if you must die.

ALFRED TENNYSON.

X.

ST. AGNES' EVE.

The Old Year—St. Agnes—Keats' Poem—The Circlet of Pearls—A Cloud—The Promise—Mrs. Snarle continues her Knitting.

The Old Year had just gone by—the dear, sad Old Year! He died in the blustering wind, out in the cold! He lay down in the shadows, moaned, and died! Something has gone with thee, Old Year, which will never come again: kind words, sweet smiles, warm lips—ah, no, they will never come again! Hold them near your heart for love of us, Old Year! They came with you, they went with you! Kyrie eleyson!

"I wish you could tarry with us," said Mortimer. "You were kind to us, merry and sad with us." And he repeated the lines,

"Old year, you shall not die: We did so laugh and cry with you, I've half a mind to die with you, Old year, if you must die."

"To-night, Daisy, will be St. Agnes' Eve, and if I sell my prose sketch to Filberty's Magazine, I'll be in a good humor to read you Keats' poem."

Since leaving Mr. Flint's employ, Mortimer had entirely supported himself with his pen. His piquant paragraphs and touching verses over the signature of "Il Penseroso," had attracted some attention; and he found but little difficulty in disposing of his articles, at starving prices, it is true; but he bore up, seeing a brighter time ahead. He had been so occupied in writing short stories and essays, that his romance, which lacked but one chapter of completion, was still unfinished.

Filberty's Magazine paid him so generously for the "prose article," that he could afford to devote himself to a task which did not promise immediate profit. He completed the novel at sundown that day; and after supper Daisy reminded him of his promise to read Keats' "Eve of St. Agnes."

"I sometimes think," said Mortimer, as good Mrs. Snarle seated herself in a low rocking-chair, preparatory to a dose, while Daisy sat on a stool at his feet, "I sometimes think that this poem is the most exquisite definition of one phase of poetry in our language. Musical rhythm, imperial words, gorgeous color and luxurious conceit, seem to have culminated in it. And the story itself is so touching that it would be poetical even if narrated in the plainest prose. How surpassingly beautiful is it, then, worked out with all the richness of that sweetest poet, who, in intricate verbal music and dreamy imagery, stands almost alone!"

Mrs. Snarle's head was inclined on one side, and the whole pose of her form was one of profound attention.

She was fast asleep.

The busy knitting-needles were placid in her motionless fingers; and Pinky, the kitten, was 'spinning a yarn' on her own account from the ball in Mrs. Snarle's lap.

"Who was St. Agnes?" asked Daisy.

"She was a saint who suffered martyrdom for her religious views during the persecution of the Christians in the reign of the Emperor Diocletian. But let us read the poem, which will make her more immortal than her heroism."

Mortimer opened the book, and his voice touched the verse with new music for Daisy's ears. Now his tones would be low and sad, as he read of the old Beadsman, who told his beads in the cold night air,

"While his frosted breath, Like pious incense from a censer old, Seemed taking flight for heaven."

Then his voice grew as tender as a lover's, when he came to the place where Porphyro, concealed, beholds Madeline as she disrobes:

"Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees; Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one; Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees."

"How few poets know how to handle color!" said Mortimer. "Azure, red, orange, and all poetic hues are mixed up in their pictures like a shattered rain-bow! But how artist-like is Keats! His famous window scene has not been surpassed:

"A casement high and triple-arched there was, All garlanded with carven imageries Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass, And diamonded with panes of quaint device, Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes, As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings; And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries, And twilight saints and dim emblazonings, A shielded 'scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens and kings.

"Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast, As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon: Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together pressed, And on her silver cross soft amethyst, And on her hair a glory, like a saint: She seemed a splendid angel, newly dressed, Save wings, for heaven!"

"Is it not exquisite?" asked Mortimer, looking in Daisy's face.

She nodded assent.

Mortimer fixed his eyes on a pearl necklace which gently clasped the girl's neck, and started. The cross undulated on her bosom, which rose and fell like two full white roses in the wind.

"Where did you get that?" and Mortimer laid his hand on her arm nervously.

"It was a freak," said Daisy, blushing. "Are you angry?"

"Not angry, Daisy."

"But you look so."

"Do I? I am not. I grow unhappy when I see that necklace."

"It was Bell's, then?"

"Yes—no—don't ask me, Daisy."

"Why?"

A shadow came over Mortimer's face.

That morning Daisy had been tempted to open the morocco case, and a desire to clasp the white necklace on her neck became irresistible. Something drew her to it, and the same feeling of mystery and longing which stole on her when she first held the circlet in her hand while Mortimer was sleeping, overpowered her. Almost unconsciously she fastened the gold clasp, and when the little cross sunk down on her bosom, her heart grew lighter, and she went over the house singing like a canary. She wore it the whole day, pausing at times in her household duties to admire the pearls. After a while she forgot its existence, and her intention to replace it before Mortimer returned.

When Mortimer's eye caught sight of the necklace, Daisy was much embarrassed, for she could, in no intelligible way, account for having taken it. Mortimer was equally pained. He had unwillingly become possessed of the ornament, and saw no means by which he could return it to Mr. Flint without acknowledging that he had also taken the check. He dreaded to make so humiliating a confession, and, perhaps, he stood a little in fear of Mr. Flint's anger. The circumstance had caused him many moments of anxiety, and an unpleasant thought came to him, as he saw the purloined necklace on Daisy's innocent bosom.

"But you are angry?" said Daisy, looking up with dimmed eyes.

"No, pet."

"Then you will kiss me?" said Daisy, in a most winning way.

Mortimer did what most every one would have done "in the premises"—an act which was quite sufficient to make one break that part of the commandment which refers to envy. Surely a man would be inhuman not to, having once seen Daisy Snarle!

"I am not angry, but pained; I cannot tell you why. I wish you to promise me something."

"I will. What is it?"

"That you will not doubt me, whatever may occur in connection with this necklace—that you will love me, though I may be unable to explain condemning circumstances, or dispel the doubts of others."

"I promise that. But how strange," thought Daisy. "I am sorry that I was so childish as to take the necklace. Put it away, Mortimer, and forget that I did so."

Mortimer's cheerfulness returned, and he commenced reading the poem at the place where he had interrupted himself. Just as he finished the last verse, telling how, ages long ago,

"The lovers fled away into the storm,"

Mrs. Snarle awoke with a jerk, and went to knitting as though she had been doing nothing else the whole evening—a harmless subterfuge peculiar to old people.



XI.

Of making many books there is no end.

ECCLESIASTES XII., 12.

XI.

MORTIMER HAS AN INTERVIEW WITH THE GREAT PUBLISHER, AND MR. FLINT MAKES A DISCOVERY.

H. H. Hardwill, Publisher—Criminal Literature—Alliterative Titles—Goldwood—Poor Authors—A Heaven for them in the Perspective—Flint's Discovery, and the Horns of his Dilemma.

Mortimer looked up and read the sign—"H. H. Hardwill, Publisher." His heart half-failed him, and he stood looking in the large, book-filled window, with that romance which was to startle the literary world folded quietly under his arm, like any common paper. What kind of a man is Mr. Hardwill? he thought. Is he a large man, with a heavy watch-chain, or a thin, sky-rockety piece of humanity, dressed in black, and tipped off with red hair? Was he a cold, cast-iron man, like Flint? or a simple, sorrowful one, like Snarle that was? But this last idea melted of itself. How could the famous publisher resemble the poor, unobtrusive Snarle? He, Mr. Hardwill, who received notes from the great Hiawatha, and hob-nobbed with Knickerbocker Irving; he, who owned a phial of yellow sand, which had been taken from a scorching desert with an unpronounceable name, and presented to him by the Oriental Bayard; he, who chatted with genial Mr. Sparrow-grass—God bless him!—(Sparrow-grass,) and joked with Orpheus Stoddard,—he like simple Snarle? Pooh!

"Is Mr. Hardwill in?" asked Mortimer. He came near adding, "the great publisher."

The clerk, to whom his eyes looked, said he believed he was, and went on calling off from a slip of paper:

"'Murdered Milkmaid,' two copies; 'Bloody Hatchet,' twelve copies; 'The Seducer's Victim,' thirty copies; 'The Young Mother,' five copies; 'The Deranged Daughter,' seven copies; 'Hifiluten and other poems,' one copy."

"Can I speak with him?" ventured Mortimer, as the clerk, who was calling off the criminal literature, paused for breath.

"'The Merry Maniacs,' ten copies—Yes, sir; but he's engaged. Wait awhile," continued the clerk, as Mortimer turned to go. "'The Wizard of Wehawkin,' six copies; 'The Phantom of Philadelphia,' twelve copies, etc., etc."

So our author seated himself on a case of books, and looked at the wall of volumes which encompassed him. Somehow or another, it suggested the Great Wall of China and the Cordilleras. He could give no reason why. No more can I. Perhaps he felt that light literature, paradoxical as it may seem, is always heavy, and so his mind ran on the prodigious freaks of man and nature.

After the clerk had finished calling off from the slip of paper, that promising young gentleman suddenly discovered that Mr. Hardwill was not engaged, and offered to conduct our friend into his august presence. Mortimer gathered up his heart, as it were, and his loosened manuscript at the same moment—"Her heart and morning broke together!"—and followed the clerk through an avenue of literature, to a snug inner office—that literary Sebastopol, which is forever being stormed by seedy poets and their allies, historians, romancers, and strong-minded Eves.

Could it be possible?

Was that middle-sized, dark-eyed, light-haired, pleasant-looking man the Napoleon of publishers? However, there was something shrewd in his dark eye, or rather eyes—for he had two of them—and a certain expression of the mouth, which seemed full of dealings with the world.

"Is this Mr. Hardwill?" asked Mortimer.

"Yes, sir. Will you be seated?"

"I have a romance," commenced Mortimer, with hesitation, "which I would offer you for publication. I have written it carefully, and I think it possesses several new features——"

Here his voice broke down, for he felt those dark, scrutinizing eyes in his face; besides, the intense attention with which he was listened to disconcerted him. Mr. Hardwill came to his relief.

"What is the title of your book?"

"It is called 'Goldwood.'"

"That is not happy."

"No?"

"No," said Mr. Hardwill, "it should be something striking—something to catch the eye in an advertisement. For instance, the—the——"

"Frantic Father," suggested Mortimer, quietly; and he gazed at the carpet to keep from smiling.

Mr. Hardwill eyed him, and displayed his white teeth. There was a little satire in our author's remark which pleased Mr. H., who could not be hired to read the spasmodic books which he published. It was policy in him to cater for that largest class of readers whose tastes are morbid or inflamed, and he did so.

Mortimer had thrown aside his timidity. He gave a concise sketch of the plot, touching here and there on some supposed-to-be felicitous incident, and grew so autorially eloquent over his romance, that the careful Mr. Hardwill requested Mortimer to leave his manuscript with him, saying:

"I cannot give you much hope. I have more books ready for press than I can well attend to. If you will call on me the latter part of next week, you shall have my decision."

With these words, spoken in an off-hand, business-like way, Mr. Hardwill made a bow, which said, as kindly as such a thing can be said, "You needn't stay any longer."

Mortimer returned his bland smile frankly, and retired, though he would fain have called Mr. Hardwill's attention to that delightful and exciting scene in which Mr. Adine St. Clair meets Arabella Clementina after an estrangement of two weeks! but he didn't. He again threaded his way through the labyrinth of literature, and the last sound which fell on his ear, as he turned from the book-store into the street, was,

"'The Ruined Cigar Girl,' twenty copies!"

"What on earth could anybody want of a 'Ruined Cigar Girl,' or a 'Young Mother?'" and Mortimer laughed outright.

The wand of Prospero is neither more cunning nor more powerful than the pen of a well bred author. It creates something out of nothing, (more frequently nothing out of something), changes time, place, and human nature; it lifts up the blue roofing of ocean, and gives you a glimpse of fish-life; and deeper still, shows you the coral forests of the Naiads, and their aquatic palaces. It draws back the curtain of cloud-land, and feeds your fancy with forms that never have been, and never will be; summons spirits from the air, and gives melodious voices to all vernal things.

Pleasant magician that waves this wand! what curious people are walking in the chambers of your brain! What dreams are yours, and what cruel cuts this real world sometimes gives you! You have no right to be here, poor devil! You are somewhat misplanted; you belong to some sphere between earth and heaven, and not very near either. That such a place is provided for you I am certain. There it is that all your books will run through countless editions; there it is you can afford to hire some one to write your autograph for besieging admirers, and feed, as you should,

"On the roses, and lay in the lilies of life."

But I was speaking of pen-magic. It is not my present mood to do anything fantastical in that way. I only wish to give you a sight of Mr. Flint, as he appeared one afternoon some months after Mortimer had left his office. He was standing in that inner-room of his counting-house to which I have introduced the reader. I change my mind—he was not standing. He had just thrown himself into a chair, in which he did not seem at all easy.

I take peculiar delight in placing Mr. Flint in uncomfortable positions.

He was surprised, alarmed, and angry. He missed the forged check and the morocco case which he had watched so many years. That they had been purloined, he could not doubt, and his keen thought fell on Mortimer. The loss of the check troubled him; he liked to look at it occasionally, for Snarle's sake; but the necklace—that gave him strange alarm.

"Snake!" he hissed, "you have crawled into my affairs, and I'll tread on you—tread on you and kill you! You stole the check to save Snarle's name; and the necklace—why did you steal that? Was it valuable? Yes, that is it. I'll grind you in the dust. I'll put you in a prison, and let your brainless father look at you through the bars!"

This humane idea caused Mr. Flint to rub his dry hands, and chuckle violently.

"But"—here Mr. Flint's countenance fell. "If I do this, won't Walters ruin me with that unfortunate letter? O, I was a fool to write it; yet he would have murdered me if I had not."

And Mr. Flint thought and thought.

To obtain the letter was impossible. Walters might have left the city; even if he had not, there was a method in his madness which Flint knew he could not circumvent. He could not lose such a chance of crushing Mortimer as presented itself; and yet to attempt it while Walters had possession of the letter was unwise.

Mr. Flint was in a brown study.

He walked up and down his sanctum solemnly, neglecting to watch Tim and the book-keeper who had succeeded Mortimer. An half hour passed, and still he continued his walk and reverie, without any visible intention of stopping. His face lights up; he rubs his knuckles with ecstacy. He has got it! got it at last. He will have Mortimer arrested; he will have Mortimer's name suppressed, or give the newspapers a fictitious one. This will shield him from Walters, whose heart he will wring some of these days. Ah! that will be revenge.

It may strike the ingenious reader as strange that Mortimer, having charge of Flint & Snarle's books, never came across his father's name. This would have been the case, and somewhat interfered with our novel, if Mortimer, when he applied for a clerkship with the firm, had not given Mr. Flint all the particulars of his life. For reasons best known to himself, Mr. Flint took every opportunity to strengthen Mortimer in the belief of his father's death, and every precaution to keep Walters from meeting him. Once, indeed, they stood face to face in the office; but, taking into consideration the number of years they had been separated, and the circumstances under which they met, it would have been most strange if a recognition had taken place. As to Mr. Snarle, being profoundly ignorant of Mortimer's early history, he could throw no light on Mortimer's mind; and everything worked to Flint's satisfaction. Every circumstance seemed to mould itself to his will.

There is an evil spirit, and a very powerful one, that holds the wires which move some of us puppets. The good are made to take the humblest seats in the world's Synagogue, and the wily and the evil-hearted are clothed in purple, fed on honey, and throned in the highest places. There will be a surprising revolution some of these times.

As Mr. Sparrow-grass would say, a revolution is "a good thing to have in the country."



XII.

Why, true, her heart was all humanity, Her soul all God's; in spirit and in form, Like fair. Her cheek had the pale, pearly pink Of sea-shells, the world's sweetest tint, as though She lived, one-half might deem, on roses sopped In silver dew; she spoke as with the voice Of spheral harmony which greets the soul, When, at the hour of death, the saved one knows His sister angel's near: her eye was as The golden pane the setting sun doth just Imblaze, which shows, till heaven comes down again, All other lights but grades of gloom; her dark, Long rolling locks were as a stream the slave Might search for gold, and searching find.

FESTUS.

XII.

WHAT DAISY DID.

The Arrest—Doubt and Love—Daisy and the Necklace—The Search—The heart of Daisy Snarle.

In an upper room of a miserable, dingy house which faced the spot where the old Brewery used to stand, Edward Walters sat one January evening reading the Express. There was one paragraph among the city items which he had read several times, and each reading seemed to strengthen a determination which had, at the first perusal, grown up with him.

"Right or wrong, I'll do it!"

With which words he folded the paper, and placed it in his pocket.

Daisy, too, read the paragraph that night, and the blood rushed into her cheeks, then left them very pale.

It was simply a police report—such as you read over your morning coffee, without thinking how many hearts may be broken by the sight of that little cluster of worn-out type. A young man, no name given, recently a clerk in the house of Messrs. Flint & Snarle, had been arrested on the charge of stealing a case of jewels from his employers.

Daisy, with dry eyes, read it again and again. Dark doubt and trusting love were at conflict for a moment; for doubt had pride for its ally, and love was only love. But the woman conquered. Mortimer, who had been arrested early in the forenoon, found means to send Daisy a note, in which he simply said—"I am charged with stealing the necklace, but I am as guiltless of the crime as you, Daisy."

Mrs. Snarle came in the room while our little heroine held the note in her hand.

"Mother," said Daisy, averting her head, "Mortimer will not come home to-night."

With this she threw the note into the fire, and left Mrs. Snarle alone, before the good lady asked any questions.

"That's very odd!" soliloquized Mrs. Snarle, briefly.

"You tell me that you are innocent," said Daisy, looking at a small portrait of Mortimer which hung over the fire-place—"I do not question, I only believe you!"

And then Daisy did a very strange thing, and yet it was very like Daisy. She untied the brown ribbon which bound her dark lengths of hair, allowing them to fall over her shoulders; then she braided the string of pearls with her tresses, and brought the whole in a beautiful band over her forehead. And she looked like a little queen with this coronal of jet and pearl shading her brows.

Daisy next picked the jewel-case to pieces, and threw the minute shreds into the street. This was scarcely done, when the door-bell rang impatiently.

The girl peeped from the window.

The two men at the door-step were not to be mistaken. Daisy's fingers trembled as she undid the fastenings of the door.

"We have orders to search this house, miss," said one of the officers, touching the vizor of his cap respectfully.

Daisy choked down a sob, and led them with an unnatural calmness from room to room.

Every place in the little house was investigated, but in vain; no necklace was to be found. Yet twice the breath of one of the searchers fell on the pearls in Daisy's hair. The two officers left the house in evident chagrin.

When they had gone, the girl sat on the stairs and sobbed.

Happily for her wishes, Mrs. Snarle had been absent during the search; and thus far had been kept in ignorance of Mortimer's disgrace. But Daisy could not hope to keep it a secret from her long, for they both would probably be summoned as witnesses in open court. The thought of giving evidence against Mortimer went through Daisy's heart like an intense pain. It terrified her, and her warm little heart was floating on tears all day.

The cloud which had fallen on her seemed to have no silver lining; all was cold, black and sunless. But there is no mortal wound to which some unseen angel does not bring a balm—

"There are gains for all our losses!"

Daisy remembered Mortimer's words: "Promise that you will not doubt me, whatever may occur in connection with this necklace—that you will love me, though I may be unable to explain condemning circumstances, or dispel the doubts of others"—and the words came to her freighted with such hope and tenderness, that her sleep that night was deep and refreshing. Doubt had folded its wings in the heart of Daisy Snarle.



XIII.

LUDWICK.—Now here's a man half ruined by ill luck, As true a man as breathes the summer air.

LAUNCELOT.—Ill luck, erratic jade! but yesterday She might have made him king!

OLD PLAY.

XIII.

IN THE TOMBS.

The Author's Summer Residence—The Egyptian Prison—Without and Within—A Picture—Sunshine in Shadow—Joe Wilkes and his unique Proposal—Gloomy Prospects—The face at the cell-window.

There is not a pleasanter place in the world for a summer residence than Blackwell's Island! The chief edifices are substantial, and the grounds are laid out with exceeding care. The water-scape is delightfully invigorating, and the sojourners at this watering-place are not of that transient class which one finds at Nahant, Newport, and other pet resorts. Indeed, it is usual to spend from six to eight months on the "Island," and one has the advantage of contracting friendships which are not severed at the first approach of the "cold term"—for the particulars of which "cold term," see that funny old savant of Brooklyn Heights, who has a facetious way of telling us that it has been raining, after the shower is over.—Bless him!

Such institutions as "Blackwell's Island" are godsends to the literati. A poor devil of an author, who has a refined taste for suburban air, but whose finances preclude his dreaming of Nahant, has only to mix himself up in a street fight, or some other interesting city episode, to be entitled to a country-seat at the expense of his grateful admirers! Owing to a little oversight on his part, the author of this veracious history took a passage for "Blackwell's Island" a trifle earlier in the season than he had anticipated; and it is at that delightful region these pages are indited.

But the Tombs—heaven save us from that!

There are many pleasanter places in New-York than the Tombs; for that clumsy piece of Egyptian architecture—its dingy marble walls, its nail-studded doors and sickening atmosphere—is uncommonly disagreeable as a dwelling. Many startling tragedies have been enacted there—scenes of eternal farewells and lawful murders. I could not count on my fingers the number of men who have entered its iron gates full of life, and come out cold, still and dreadful!

It was here that Mortimer was brought.

Within, all was sombre and repulsive. Without, there was hum of voices, and the frosty rails which ran in front of the prison creaked dismally as the heavy freight cars passed over them; but these sounds of life were not heard inside.

The cell of Mortimer and its occupants, the morning after his arrest, presented a scene of gloomy picturesqueness.

Through a grated window, some six feet from the stone floor, a strip of sunshine came and went, falling on Mortimer, who leaned thoughtfully against the damp wall. The room, if we may call it one, was devoid of furniture, with the exception of a low iron bedstead, whose straw-stuffed mattress and ragged coverlid suggested anything but sleep. Daisy Snarle was standing with downcast eyes near the door which a few minutes before had closed on its creaking hinges, and outside of which the jailor stood listening.

The long, dark lashes were resting on her cheek; the pearls of the necklace, which gleamed here and there in the queenly braid, looked whiter by contrast with Daisy's chestnut hair. In one hand she had gathered the folds of her shawl, the other hung negligently at her side. From beneath the skirt of her simple dress, peeped one of the loveliest feet ever seen, and her whole attitude was unconsciously exquisite. She had just ceased speaking, and the faintest possible tinge of crimson was on her cheeks.

"Daisy, you are one of God's good angels, or you would never have come to me in this repulsive place."

Daisy's eyes were still bent on the floor.

"Speak to me again, Daisy," said Mortimer, taking her hand. "Your voice gives me heart, and your words make me forget everything but you."

Daisy lifted her dreamy hands, and said, softly:—"They could not find it."

"Could not find what, Daisy?"

"The necklace," said Daisy, smiling.

"No," she continued, in a low, musical voice, "they searched in all the rooms, in all the trunks—turned over your papers and mother's work-basket—but they could not find it."

And Daisy smiled again.

"Where was it, Daisy?"

"Here!"

And Daisy, smiling all the while, lifted Mortimer's hand in hers, and placed it on the braid of hair.

Mortimer started.

"O, Daisy! Daisy! why did you do that?"

The little foot tapped gently on the stone floor.

"Because," said Daisy, dropping her eyes, "because, when I read your note yesterday, I doubted you for a moment: but when I looked at the portrait in your room, I believed you; and I hid the necklace in my hair, and came to ask your pardon."

"Let any misfortune come to me, darling!" said Mortimer, touched with this ingenious act, "let come what will, I am strong! As sure as little Bell looks down from Heaven, you do not wear a stolen necklace. How it came into my hands I cannot tell, without wronging the dead. But, Daisy, it was imprudent for you to run this risk."

"Oh, no; they hunted for something hidden, and could not see what was before their eyes," replied Daisy, giving a quick, low laugh, and then she grew thoughtful again.

"But if they had seen it, Daisy?"

"Well."

"You would have been implicated in this unhappy affair to your certain ruin, without benefiting me. You must leave the necklace here."

"But I won't!"

This time the pretty little foot was set firmly on the flagging.

The jailor, who had been an attentive listener to the foregoing conversation, thrust his hands into the capacious pockets of his overcoat with the bearing of a man who is completely satisfied.

"I knowed it," he said, emphatically; "the boy is misfortunate somehow, and the young girl's a trump—she is. Lord help 'em! But time's up, and I must stop their talk."

With this the man tapped on the door. Mortimer held Daisy in his arms for a moment, and then sat down on the bed.

Daisy was gone, and it seemed as if the sunlight had gone with her, the cell grew so gloomy to the prisoner.

"Young man," said the jailor, with a solemn look, "the young lady is very unprudent to go circumventing round with that necklace twisted up on the top ov her skull—she is."

Mortimer groaned.

"You heard all, then, and you will betray us!"

"Part ov what you say is true," returned the man, bluntly, "and part isn't. I heard yer talk, but my name isn't Joe Wilkes ef I blow on yer!"

Mortimer looked at the ruddy, honest face of Joe Wilkes, and gave him his hand.

"I believe you, my good man."

That individual appeared to be turning something over in his mind which refused to be turned over.

"Them keys, young man," he said at length, drawing forth from his pocket a bunch weighing some four pounds, "opens the door at the end ov the passage, and this one opens the street gate; now jist take that bit ov wood and bang me on one side ov my hed—not savagely, you know, but jist enough to flatten me, and make me look stunned—like——"

At this novel proposition Mortimer broke into a loud laugh, but Mr. Wilkes was in earnest, and insisted on being "flattened."

"I couldn't think of it, Mr. Wilkes!" cried Mortimer, weak with laughter; "I couldn't strike you systematically; I should be certain to demolish your head."

And Mr. Wilkes retired, perforce, with the air of an injured man.

Mortimer sat on the edge of the bed reflecting on the strange chain of circumstances which had placed him in his present position, and boldly facing the fact of how little chance he had of escaping Mr. Flint's malice. The excitement attending his arrest had passed away, and the reality of his utter helplessness came full upon him. For himself he dreaded little, for no punishment for a supposed crime, however disgraceful, could make him guilty; but a prolonged imprisonment would leave Daisy and Mrs. Snarle without means of support. This caused him more anxiety than the thought of any suffering attendant on his conviction.

More than this troubled him. It was Daisy's devotion. He had, indeed, wished her to believe him innocent, but his generous mind revolted at holding her to promises made in happier moments. He could not make Daisy his wife while a blemish remained on his honor; and the circumstances relative to the forged check, with which the reader is conversant, he could not think of revealing, for Snarle's dying words haunted him strangely.

While Mortimer was thus meditating, two hands grasped the iron bars of the window, which was directly opposite the bed, and a moment afterwards a man's head threw a shadow into the cell.

Mortimer, absorbed in thought, had failed to notice it.

The first expression of the face was that of mere curiosity; this was followed by a startled look, and then an intense emotion distorted the features. The face grew deathly pale, and the eyeballs glowed into the cell, more resembling those of a wild-cat than a human being's.

A deep groan came from the window, and the head disappeared instantaneously.

Mortimer looked up and glanced around the narrow room suspiciously, and then smiled to think how his fancy had cheated him.

The face was Edward Walters.



XIV.

Where more is meant than meets the ear.

IL PENSEROSO.

XIV.

A CLOUD WITH A SILVER LINING.

The Strange Visit—The Lawyer—Walter and Mr. Flint—The Clouds—A Strip of Sunshine—Mortimer.

About two hours after the incident related at the close of our last chapter, Edward Walters stepped from the door of Mrs. Snarle's house, waving his hand kindly to Daisy, who stood on the steps, and watched him till he turned out of Marion-street.

But we must turn back a little.

After leaving the Tombs, our friend went in search of Mortimer's residence, actuated by an impulse which he neither attempted to control nor understand—an impulse like that which had prompted him to visit the prison. He was led into the little parlor by Mrs. Snarle, to whom he represented himself as one deeply interested in the misfortunes of Mortimer, and desirous of assisting him. His own astonishment surpassed that of Mrs. Snarle, when he found her entirely ignorant of the arrest. While he was speaking, and Mrs. Snarle—who stood with her hand on the back of a chair, from which she had just risen—was regarding him with a vacant stare, Daisy stepped into the room, without knowing that it was occupied.

Edward Walters ceased speaking, and fixed his eyes on what, to him, seemed an apparition. He had seen that pale, pensive face in his dreams for years. It had followed him out to sea, and in far lands where he sought to avoid it. He arose from the sofa, and approached Daisy with hesitating steps, as if he were afraid she would vanish into thin air before he reached her. Daisy shrunk from him, and looked inquiringly at her mother. Walters laid his hand on the girl's arm.

"Sometimes," he said, looking her full in the eyes—"sometimes the mind wanders back to childhood, and we have visions of pleasant fields and familiar places. Something we had forgotten comes back to us in shadow—voices, faces, incidents! Did you ever see a snow-storm in your thought?"

Daisy started as if in sudden pain.

Walters watched the effect of his question with unconcealed emotion.

"Yes," said Daisy, lifting up her eyes wonderingly.

"I knew it," said the man, abstractedly, taking Daisy's hand.

The girl drew back in fear, and Mrs. Snarle stepped between them.

"My words seem strange, lady; but I knew her when she was a babe."

And he turned his frank face to Daisy.

"What do you know of me?" cried Daisy, grasping his arm eagerly.

"Everything."

"O, sir, do not deal in mystery! If you know aught of this child's life, in mercy speak!" and Mrs. Snarle caught his hand.

"I can tell nothing now."

And with this he abruptly put on his hat, strode into the hall and out of the front door, waving his hand to Daisy, who, as we have said, stood on the steps, and watched him till he was out of sight.

We will leave Mrs. Snarle and Daisy to their astonishment, and follow on the quick foot-steps of our marine friend, to whom that day seemed crowded with wonderful events.

It did not take long for Walters to reach Wall-street, where he disappeared in one of those many law offices which fringe that somewhat suspected and much-abused locality. On the door through which Mr. Walters passed was a tin sign, bearing, in gilt letters,



What transpired between him and that gentleman we will leave to the surmises of the reader. After being closeted for an hour in a room whose only furniture consisted of one or two green baize-covered tables, piled with papers, and a book-case crowded with solid-looking volumes, our friend turned his thoughtful face toward the office of Messrs. Flint & Snarle.

Mr. Flint looked up from his writing, and found Edward Walters quietly seated beside him. They had not met since the interview we described at Mr. Flint's house; and the captain's presence at the present time was not a thing to be desired by Mr. Flint. The visit looked ominous. Whatever doubts he entertained respecting its object were immediately dispelled.

"I read the arrest in yesterday's paper," said Walters.

Flint, with an effort, went on writing.

"And this morning I visited the boy in his cell."

"Well!" cried Flint, nervously.

"And I found my son, John Flint!"

Mr. Flint found himself cornered, and, like a rat or any small animal, he grew cowardly desperate.

"You found a thief, sir—a miserable thief."

We will do Mr. Flint the justice to say that he considered Mortimer in that light.

"I am not sure of that," was the calm reply. "A man may be in prison, and yet be no felon; and I should doubt the guilt of any man whom you persecuted. But I did not come here to quarrel. The boy is my son, and he must be released."

"Must be, Mr. Walters!"

"I think I said so."

Flint regarded him with his cold, cynical smile.

"John Flint, there is nothing I would not do to serve the boy. There is nothing I will not do to crush you if you persist in convicting him. I do not know that he is innocent—I do not know that he is worthy of my love. I only know that he is my child."

There was an agony in the tone with which these words were spoken that was music to Mr. Flint. He smiled that undertaker's smile of his.

"The law must take its course," he said. "It is impossible to stop that."

"Not so. The examination takes place this afternoon. If you do not appear against him, Mortimer will be discharged. You have forgotten that I have the letter."

"Stop!" cried Flint, as Walters turned to the door, and he assumed his usual, fawning, hypocritical air.

"If I do as you wish, what then?"

"You shall have the letter."

"What assurance have I of that?"

"My word."

"Is that all?" said Flint. "Would you take mine, in such a case?"

"No," replied Walters, with delightful candor. "Your word is worthless. Mine was never broken. Do we understand each other?"

"Yes."

"There must be another stipulation."

"What is it?"

"You are not to mention my name to Mortimer. He does not know of my existence."

"I shall not be likely to meet him," returned Flint, a little surprised. "I thought you had seen him."

"I did—through the bars of his cell."

And Mr. Flint was left alone in no enviable state of mind. So absorbed was he in his disappointment, that Tim several times that afternoon whistled snatches from "Poor Dog Tray," with impunity.

The twilight came stealing into the room in which Mrs. Snarle and Daisy were sitting. The food on the supper table remained untouched. Neither of them had spoken for the last half hour; the twilight grew denser and denser, and the shadows on their faces deepened. Daisy had told her mother all—the search of the officers for the necklace, her visit to the Tombs, and Mortimer's protestation of innocence. Mrs. Snarle never doubted it for a moment; but she saw how strong their evidence might be against him.

"God only knows how it will end, Daisy."

"As God wills it, mother!"

As these words were said, a shadow fell across the entry, and a pair of arms was thrown tenderly around Daisy's neck.

"Mortimer!"



XV.

QUIN.—Is all our company here?

MID-SUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM.

XV.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES.

A Picture—The Lawyer's Note—Mr. Hardwill once more—The Scene at the Law Office—Mr. Flint Hors du Combat—Face to Face.

"Mortimer!"

That was all Daisy said.

The candles were lighted, the dim, sad twilight driven out of the room, and a happy trio sat around the supper table. Mrs. Snarle smoothed her silk apron complacently; Daisy's eyes and smiles were full of silent happiness; and Mortimer, in watching the variations of her face, all so charming, forgot the misfortunes which had so recently threatened him.

Daisy gave Mortimer an account of the unknown's strange visit; and, inexplicable to himself, Mortimer connected it in some way with his unexpected release.

Soon after Mrs. Snarle had retired, the lovers sat in the little room, which was only lighted by a pleasant fire in the grate. Wavering fingers of flame drew grotesque pictures on the papered walls; then a thin puff of smoke would break the enchantment, and the fire-light tracery fled into the shadows of the room.

It was a delicate picture.

Mortimer was sitting at Daisy's feet, playing with the fingers of a very diminutive and dainty hand; Daisy was bending over him; and as the glow from the fire came and went in their eyes, one could see that a long brown tress of Daisy's hair rested on Mortimer's.

What if their lips touched?

"O!" cried Daisy, drawing back, "a note was left here this afternoon, while you were in——"

"The Tombs," finished Mortimer, smiling.

"Yes," replied Daisy. "I was afraid to open it, though."

"Were you?"

"Yes," she said, laughing. "I thought it might be from that charming young lady whom you assisted to cross Broadway last month; and of whom you speak so pleasantly when I am the least bit out of humor."

And the girl looked at him quizzically with her impudent eyes.

Mortimer, by kneeling close to the fire, was enabled to read the note.

"That is strange—read it, Daisy."

Daisy read:

"SIR,—By calling at my office, No. —— Wall-street, to-morrow, at 4 P. M., you will learn something of importance. It is necessary that Mrs. Snarle and her daughter should accompany you.

"Respectfully, "J. C. BURBANK, "Attorney at Law."

About the same hour that evening, Mr. Flint received a communication of similar import, after reading which, he said:

"Hum!" and thrust the note into his vest-pocket.

Hum, indeed, Mr. Flint. There was something in store for you.

The next morning Mortimer bethought himself of his "Romance," and directed his steps toward the sanctum of Mr. Hardwill.

He found that gentleman talking with three new geniuses in pantelets, who were attempting to convince the great Pub of his mistake in refusing to "bring out" a pregnant-looking manuscript which the authoress was holding in her hand with a tenderness that was touching to behold.

When they had retired, Mr. Hardwill extended his hand to Mortimer.

"Sharp young man," he said, displaying his white teeth. "You didn't wish to appear anxious about your book; I was on the point of sending for you. You were to have called on me three days since. Well, sir, I like the story."

Mortimer bowed.

"Did you read it all, sir?"

"I? Not a line of it," returned Mr. Hardwill. "I never look at anything but the size of the manuscript."

"Then you buy by the weight," said Mortimer, smiling.

"Not precisely. I never publish anything of less than four hundred pages. As to weight, I sometimes find a MS. of the right size altogether too heavy; but yours is not, my reader says."

"Your reader, sir?"

"Yes, I am a mere business man," quoth Mr. Hardwill, explanatorily. "I seldom read my publications. I merely sell them—sometimes I don't do that. I have a reader who looks over sizeable MSS., and I abide by his judgment."

"Ah!"

"He is a man of fine scholarship and literary attainments."

Mr. Hardwill might have added—"and has the sway of 'The Morning Rabid' and 'The Evening Twilight,'" but he did not.

Arrangements were made to publish "Goldwood," with the euphonious and "striking title" of "Picklebeet Papers." Now, whether "Picklebeet" was a vegetable in vinegar, or the name of some charming country-place, I cannot say; but "Picklebeet," whatever it was, had as much to do with the contents of the book as the biography of my reader's grandmother.

On what terms the "Picklebeet Papers" were published, concern neither the reader nor myself; but, while remarking, en passant, that the book, owing to some extraordinary freak on the part of the public, never went to a "second edition," we will fix the hands of the city clock to suit ourselves.

It is 4 P. M.

Without further preamble, we will lead the reader (mine, not Mr. Hardwill's) to Mr. Burbank's law office, at which place the threads of our story become somewhat disentangled. We are not sorry at this, (we doubt if the reader is,) for there is a satisfaction in rounding off a plot—in coming to the last page, where the author can write "FINIS"—which no one but a scribbler may know. But this pleasure is not a little touched with regret, as he sweeps the carefully-moved images from the chess-board of his brain, and tells you in those five letters that the game is finished.

The personages in the law office are not strangers to us, if we except the lawyer.

Mrs. Snarle and Daisy, with their veils down, are sitting in the back part of the room, and Mortimer stands behind them, speaking in a low voice to Daisy.

Edward Walters is seated at a desk, the screen around which prevents him from being observed by the first-described group.

Mr. Burbank, a dark-eyed, large-mouthed man, occupies a table in the centre of the apartment, near which is a chair for Mr. Flint, who has not yet made his appearance.

This was the position of the parties on Mr. Flint's entrance.

The merchant gave the lawyer three bony fingers, bestowed a stiff, surprised bow on Mortimer, and glanced suspiciously around him, evidently not liking the company he was in.

Mr. Flint glanced inquiringly at the lawyer.

"As all the parties concerned in this meeting are present," commenced the devotee of Blackstone, "I will at once proceed to business. You are too much of a business man, Mr. Flint, to require a prelude to interrogations which will explain themselves."

Mr. Flint looked very doubtful.

The lawyer ran his fingers through a crop of shaggy hair with professional dignity.

"It is something over twenty years since your brother, Henry Flint, died, is it not?"

The merchant nodded.

"He left no heirs—I believe," continued the lawyer, with a delightful appearance of hesitation.

"He left one child," said Flint, nervously. Mr. Flint did not like the turn which the conversation was taking.

"Ah, yes! A daughter, if I remember correctly. Let me see, Maude Flint was the name."

(This slight dialogue caused Daisy's breath to come and go quickly.)

"Maude Flint!" she whispered hastily to Mortimer. "Listen! M. F.,—the initials in the necklace!"

"I drew up the will at the time," said Mr. Burbank, thoughtfully; "but my memory has been tasked with more important things."

He turned abruptly to Mr. Flint.

"What became of this child—Maude?"

"Died," returned Flint, briefly, with an uncomfortable air.

"And the property——?"

"Came to me—the child having no other relative," said Flint, rallying.

The lawyer was silent for a moment.

"Now, Mr. Flint, suppose I should tell you that your brother's child is still living, what would you say?"

"I should say, sir," cried the startled merchant, springing to his feet, "I should say, sir, that it was a lie! I see through it all. This is a miserable conspiracy to force money from me. Your plot, sir, is transparent, and I see that snaky individual crawling at the bottom of it." He pointed at Mortimer. "But it won't do!" he thundered, "it won't do!"

"Of course it won't for you to get in a passion. The man who gets into a passion," continued Mr. Burbank, philosophically, "never acts with judgment. And what is the use, Mr. Flint? I am acquainted with all the circumstances of the child's disappearance; indeed, I have a full account of them in your own handwriting."

Mr. Flint turned white.

"This letter, which I shall give you by and by," said the man of law, "divulges a plot of villainy which heaven happily thought fit to prostrate; and I'll prove the truth of what I say."

And the lawyer motioned for Daisy to approach him.

She did so, mechanically.

"This lady," said Mr. Burbank, smiling blandly, "is my first witness. Will you raise your veil?"

Daisy complied with the request, and looked Mr. Flint in the face. Flint turned his eyes on her with such earnestness that she shrunk back. Then he staggered to a chair, and exclaimed involuntarily:

"So help me God, it is Henry's child!"

Edward Walters rested his hands on the desk, and looked over the baize screen.

Mortimer stepped to Daisy's side.

"This necklace," he said, in a trembling voice, "I return to the owner. It was my misfortune to take it by mistake, and it is happiness to return it to one who does not require any proof of my innocence."

Daisy pressed his hand.

"Let me go!" exclaimed Mr. Flint.

"Presently, Mr. Flint. You must first witness the denouement of our little drama."

With this the lawyer turned to Mortimer, and handed him a paper.

"What this fails to explain relative to your father, you must seek from his own lips."

"My father!—his lips!"—repeated Mortimer, bewildered.

He opened the paper.

"My father! where is he?"

"Mortimer!" cried Walters, pushing aside the screen.

And they stood face to face.



XVI.

Our revels now are ended: these our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind!

SHAKESPEARE.

XVI.

THE OLD HOUSE BY THE SEA.

Clap-Trap—John Flint—The Old House by the Sea—Joe Wilkes—Strephon and Chloe—Tim Enjoying Himself—Edward Walters and Little Bell—A Last Word.

It is an artistic little weakness we scribblers have of seducing our dramatis personae into tableaux vivants, and deserting them abruptly. In a story of this kind, which depends rather on action than fine writing for interest, this species of autorial clap-trap is very effective, if cleverly done. So we will make no excuse for leaving nuestros amigos at the lawyer's office, and drawing a green curtain, as it were, on the actors of this humble comedy.

Some six years are supposed to have elapsed since the drop-scene fell on our last act.

From this out our story is rather a pantomime than a play. We give pictures and figures, instead of dialogues and soliloquies. Will the reader follow us?

I.

Time has not touched Mr. Flint gently. His hair is grayer, his step more feeble, and his eyes have a lack-lustre look. His cravat is whiter and stiffer, if possible, than ever; and he looks more religious. God grant that he is so. But we doubt it. For to such as he, nor April, with its purple-mouthed violets, nor red ripe summer, with its wealth of roses, nor the rich fruit-harvest of autumnal suns, bring wisdom's goodness. The various months teach him no lesson. Let him go. He came like a shadow into our plot, so let him depart. He is not a myth, however, but flesh and blood mortality; and though we have only outlined his weakness—his love of gold, his cold, intriguing spirit—yet the sketch is such that, if he looks at it, he will have the felicity of seeing himself as others see him!

II.

It is a day in June, an hour before sunset. The lanes leading to an old house situated between Ivyton and the sea, are fringed with pink peach blossoms, and the air is freighted with their odors. The violets, with dew in their azure eyes, peep from every possible nook; and those sweet peris of the summer wood, wild roses, are grouping everywhere. Surely Titania has been in this spot, breathing exquisite beauty upon the flowers, or, perhaps, Flora's dainty self. The blue-bells, these yellow-chaliced butter-cups, are fit haunts for fairies, and, perchance, wild Puck, or Prospero's good Ariel has been slumbering in them. But let us draw near to the fine old house which stands in this new Eden. It was here that we first met the little castle-builders—the child Bell and Mortimer. The place is not changed much. The same emerald waves break on the white beach; the same cherry-trees are spreading their green tresses, and the simple church-yard sleeps, as it used, in sunshine and shadow.

The house has been newly painted, and the fresh green blinds make one feel a sense of shade and coolness. The garden in front has been re-made with a careful eye to its old beauties. The white pebbled walks, the strawberry and clover beds, the globes of pansies, and the clambering honeysuckle vines, are all as they were years ago. Even the groups of wild roses, by the door, bud and bloom as if the autumn winds had never beaten them down.

We shall accuse the reader with having a bad memory, if he does not recognise Joe Wilkes in the stalwart form and honest face of the gardener, who occupies himself with tying up a refractory vine, which persists in running wild over the new summer-house. It is he, indeed—the whilome jailor of the Tombs, who has laid aside his ponderous prison-keys, and taken up the shovel and the hoe.

III.

Two persons are standing at the "round window," where Bell and her brother used to linger, dreamily, in the twilights of long ago. The rays of the setting sun glance over the waves, and fall on the faces of Mortimer and Daisy—Daisy Snarle no more, but little Maude Walters. Their honey-moon has been of six years' duration, and to such as they, that sweet moon of tenderness never wanes, but runs from full to full—never new and never old! Strephon woos Chloe as of yore. The lover, as in some antique picture, is ever kneeling at the feet of his mistress, and she, through the gathering of years, looks down on him with the olden tenderness and the April blushes of womanhood! To such as they, life plays on a dulcimer. The golden age is not dead to them. They see the shepherd Daphnis seated on the slopes of AEtna, and hear him pipe to the nymph Eschenais. This "bank-note world," to them, is Arcady, and their lives are sweet and simple as pastoral hymns!

But we, the author of this MS., are growing pastoral ourselves, and Heaven forbid that we should venture into a field which one of our poets has recently brought into disrepute by his indifferent blank verse.

Mortimer, leaning on the sill of the window, is looking at Daisy, who stands a little in the background, with that kissable white hand of hers shading the sun from as dangerous a pair of black eyes as ever looked "no" when they meant "yes." She is watching a speck of a boat, which is dancing up and down on the waves like a cork. Mortimer has just brought a telescope to bear on the distant object, and we, with that lack of good-breeding which has characterized all romancers from time immemorial, will look over his shoulder. The delighted occupant of the boat is that audacious fellow, Tim, who has taken a trip up to Ivyton from the great city, to spend a week with "Mr. Mortimer." It may be well to say that Tim—Timothy Jones, Esq., Mr. Reader—has ceased to have a proclivity for the "machine;" and now-a-days, the City Hall alarm bell never disturbs his equanimity. Indeed, he is so metamorphosed by time and a respectable tailor, that the gentle reader stands in some danger of not recognizing him at all. Hence the above formal introduction. Just notice the set of those cream-colored pants, falling without a wrinkle over those mirror-like patent leathers, and the graceful curve of that Shanghai over the hips! Just notice! And more than all, that incipient moustache, which only the utmost perseverance on the part of Tim and Mr. Phalon has coaxed out into mundane existence!

The writer of this veritable history has a great mind to drown Tim for his impudence; but as that young gentleman has a good situation in a Front-street commission-house, he refrains, for a capsize a mile from land would considerably interfere with Young America's prospects.

IV.

CAPTAIN EDWARD WALTERS sits on the door-step of the old house; and through a curtain of honeysuckle vines, which he draws aside, is watching the fawn-like motions of

"A six years loss to Paradise!"

Is it little Bell come back again? It is very like her. Walters thinks so, as the child runs from flower to flower like a golden-belted bee, and a mist comes over his fine eyes, and he can scarcely see his grandchild for tears.

His lips move, and perhaps he is saying: "Little Bell! Little Bell!"

And he thinks of the angel whom he left years ago, playing on the partarre, in front of the gate. He hears her clear, crystal laugh, and sees her golden ringlets floating among the flowers, and cannot tell if they be curls or sunshine!

The child in the garden resembles the dead Bell as one white lily does another. She has the same wavy tresses, shading the same dreamy eyes, with their longing, languid expression. Her form has the abandon of childhood, with a certain shadow of dignity that is charming. She is very fragile and spiritual; and it seems to us as if Heaven, in moulding the child, had hesitated whether to make her an Angel or a Flower, and so gave her the better parts of each!

Let us take one more look at her sweet young face—

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever! Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing."

Little Bell holds an armful of lilacs against her bosom; and, with her eyes running over with childish merriment, trips toward the house; but two arms stretching out from the vines catch her. She utters a pretty scream, and then sits quietly on Walters' knee. He kisses her laughingly; but his face grows serious as his eyes fall on a string of almond-shaped pearls which encircle the child's delicate neck; on the innocent white bosom lies a



It is DAISY'S NECKLACE; that is WHAT CAME OF IT; and here, gentle reader, is

THE END OF THE CHAIN.



EPILOGUE.

DON SEBASTIAN.—You have no plot.

FABRICIO.—But such characters! and every one is as true as truth: copied right off from nature.

DON SEBASTIAN.—Badly done, sir Poet.

LOPE DE VEGA.

EPILOGUE.

"What a mournful glory falls upon the October woods! It seems as if a broken rain-bow were strained through a sieve of gray clouds, and sprinkled over the crisp leaves. Ochre, vermillion, dappled russet, and all rare tintings! And then the wind that rushes so gloriously through the woodlands, bearing with it a rich, earthy smell, and scattering the purple wealth, the hoarded gold of the autumnal days! Pleasant Forest, with your oaken harps! Pleasant little Town, lying quietly in sunshine and moonlight—how sad I was to leave ye! Pleasant River, that stealest up from the sea, past the fort and into the old weather-beaten seaport town—crawling lazily among the rotting piers of deserted wharves, then gliding off through the shaky bridge, squirming and curveting into a world of greenery, like a great serpent with an emerald back! And the girls! Village belles, rustic flirts—eyes, lips, shady curls, white hands, little feet, enchanting pouts—ah, me!

"Pleasant it was when woods were green, And winds were soft and low—"

This rhapsodical soliloquy was interrupted one fine October morning, two days after my return from the sea-side, by a voice there was no mistaking. It was Barescythe, who startled Mrs. Muggins with the following pertinent inquiry:

"Prolific producer of sea-prodigies, is Ralph at home?"

I could not see Mrs. Muggins' face, for that good soul was standing at the foot of the stairs; but I knew her feelings were injured, and I hastened out of my room to prevent any verbal combat that might ensue.

MRS. MUGGINS, (after a long silence, and with some asperity)—"What, sir?"

BARESCYTHE, (petulantly)—"Is Ralph in, Sycorax?"

What reply the "relick" of Joshua Muggins might have made to this interrogation, is only to be imagined; for I immediately "discovered" myself, to use a theatrical phrase, and led my solemn friend from hostile ground.

"My dear Barry," said I, after greeting him cordially, "you shouldn't—"

"Shouldn't what?"

"Call Mrs. Muggins names."

"Sycorax? She deserved it. Women are Cleopatras until they are thirty, then they are old witches with broomstick propensities! Don't interrupt me. Don't speak to me."

I choked down a panegyric on Woman, for I knew that Barry was thinking of a cold, heartless piece of femininity that, years and years ago, forgot her troth to an honest man, and ran away with a moustache and twenty-four gilt buttons. I could never see why he regretted it, for Mrs. Captain Mary O'Donehugh never stopped growing till she could turn down a two hundred weight; and she looks anything but interesting, with her long file of little O'Donehughs—nascent captains and middies in the bud!

I knew that Barescythe was not in a mood to be critically just, yet, for the sake of turning his thoughts into different channels, I glanced significantly at the MS. under his arm.

"My Novel," I ventured.

"Like the man in the play," said Barescythe, "the world should ask somebody to write it down an ass!"

With which, he threw the manuscript on the table before me.

His remark was uttered with such an air of logic, that I nodded assent, for I never disagree with logicians.

"The world is wide-mouthed, long-eared, and stupid—it will probably like that affair of yours, though I doubt if the book sells."

And Barry pointed to the curled up novel on the table.

I bowed with, "I hope it will."

"The world," he continued, "that gave Milton L10 for Paradise Lost, ought surely to be in ecstacies over DAISY'S NECKLACE."

"Barry," said I, somewhat nettled, "is it my good nature, or your lack of it, that seduces you into saying such disagreeable things?"

"Neither, Ralph, for I no more lack good nature than you possess it. But we won't quarrel. I am sore because the day of great books has gone by! Once we could boast of giant minds: we have only pigmies now."

"But let them speak, Barry. There may be some among us that are not for a day. Who foresaw in the strolling player, in the wild, thoughtless Will Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, the Dramatist of all time? Your pet Homer was a mendicant. Legions of our best poets were not acknowledged, until the brain that thought, was worn out, the hand that toiled, cold, and the lips that murmured, patient forever!

'So angels walked unknown on earth, But when they flew were recognized!'

What if my poor story is stale and flat beside the chef-d'oeuvre of Sir Walter Scott's genius? Barry, there is a little bird in our New-England woods known only by its pleasant chirp; yet who would break its amber bill because the nightingales in eastern lands warble so deliciously?"

Barry laughed.

"There you come, Ralph, with your bird-conceits! You flap the wings of some thread-bare metaphor in my face, and I cannot see for the feathers! You are not a man to argue with. Poetical men never are: they make up in sentiment what they lack in sense; and very often it happens that a bit of poetry is more than a match for a piece of logic. 'No more of that, Hal, an' thou lovest me.' Your book is a miserable one. All your voluble ingenuity cannot controvert that."

Barry's better nature had slipped out of him for a moment into the sunshine, like a turtle's head; but it slipped back again, and the speech that commenced with a laugh ended with a snarl.

"It shows," he said, rumpling the manuscript with a careless hand, "a want of Art. The construction of the tale is crude: the characters are all old friends with new names—broken down stage-horses with new harnesses—and the prose throughout is uneven. How can it be otherwise, since it is only an intolerable echo of Hood, Dickens, and Charles Reade? Your want of artistic genius is shown in taking three chapters to elaborate "little Bell," who has no kind of influence in working out the plot, and who dies conveniently at Chapter III. Your imitative proclivities are prominent in the chapter headed 'A Few Specimens of Humanity.' Was ever anything more like the author of 'The Old Curiosity Shop?' Your short, jerky sentences are modeled after Reade's 'Peg Woffington,' and 'Christie Johnstone,' or any of Dumas' thefts. As to the plot, that is altogether too improbable and silly for serious criticism. And then the title, 'Daisy's Necklace'—'Betsy's Garter!'"

"Ah, Barry, this is only Fadladeen and Feramorz over again! Do you remember that after all the strictures of the eastern savant, Feramorz turned out to be not only a Poet but a Prince? I could take you to be 'Blackwood' slashing an American book, rather than a Yankee editor looking over a friend's virgin novel. You are like all critics, Barry. They ignore what might please them greatly if they had not their critical behavior on, and grow savage over that part of an author which they should speedily forget—like a dog on a country highway, that turns up his cold nose at the delicate hedge-blossoms, and growls over a decayed bone! So you find nothing to admire in my sixteen chapters?"

"Not much."

"Then say a good word for that little."

"There are some lines, Ralph, some whole paragraphs, may be, that would be very fine in a poem; but in an every-day novel they are strikingly out of place. Your jewels, (heart-jewels I suppose you call 'em,) seem to me like diamonds on the bosom of a calicoed and untidy chambermaid. That sentimental chapter with 'The Dead Hope' caption, is quite as good as your blank verse, and I would wager a copy of Griswold's 'Poets of America,' against a doubtful three-cent piece, that you wrote it in rhyme—it's not very difficult, you know, to turn your poetry into prose. You needn't stare. In a word, your book is as tame as a sick kitten—I hate kittens: there's something diabolical in a yellow cat!"

I nipped a smile in the bud, and said, quietly:

"I intended to write a tame, simple domestic story. The facts are garnered from my own experience, and—"

"Garnered from your maternal grandparent, Ralph! Very much I believe it. Very much anybody will. It's a wonder to me that you didn't call the book 'Heart-life by an Anatomy'!"

"I will acknowledge, Barescythe, that I have not done my best in this affair. 'Yet consider,' as Fabricio says in the play, ''twas done at a sitting: a single sitting, by all the saints! I will do better when I have those pistoles, and may use time.' Local tales of this school have been popular. I wrote mine to sell."

"But it won't."

"Why?"

"Let's see. How many 'sunsets' have you in the book?"

"Not many, I think."

"That was an oversight. There should be one at the end of each chapter—twenty 'sunsets' at least. Then you have no seduction."

"A seduction?" horrified.

"Of course. What modern novel is complete without one? It gives a spicy flavor to the story. People of propriety like it. Prim ladies of an uncertain age always 'dote' on the gallant, gay Lothario, and wish that he wasn't so very wicked!"

And Barry raised his eye-brows, and broke out in such a clear, bell-like, canorous laugh—so contagious in its merriment, that I joined him; and I fancied I heard Mrs. Muggins beating a hasty retreat down the front stairs. It seems improbable to me that Mrs. Muggins had been listening at the key-hole of my door—respectable Mrs. Muggins.

"Then, sir," said Barry, re-assuming his mock-serious air, "there should be a dreadful duel, in which the hero is shot in his hyacinthine curls, falls mortally wounded, dripping all over with gory blood, and is borne to his ladye-love on a shutter! You have none of these fine points. Then the names of your characters are absurdly commonplace. Mortimer Walters should be Montaldo St. Clare: Daisy Snarle, (how plebeian!) should be Gertrude Flemming: John Flint, Clarence Lester, and so on to the end of the text. How Mrs. Mac Elegant will turn up her celestial nose at a book written all about common people!"

"Mrs. Mac Elegant be shot!" I exclaimed. I used to be sweet on Mrs. Mac Elegant, and Barescythe has a disagreeable way of referring to that delicate fact. "It was not for such as she I wrote. I sought to touch that finer pulse of humanity which throbs the wide world over. The sequel will prove whether or not I have failed."

Barry laughed at my ill-concealed chagrin.

"Barry," said I, carelessly, meditating a bit of revenge, and unfolding at the same time a copy of the 'Morning Glory,' "did you write the book criticisms in to-day's paper?"

"Yes," returned Barry, coloring slightly.

"They are very fine."

Barry's blood went up to his forehead.

"So consistent," I continued, "with what you have been saying. I have neither read 'The Scavenger's Daughter,' nor 'The Life of Obadiah Zecariah Jinkings;' but, judging from the opinion here expressed, I take them to be immortal works. I could never be led to think so by reading the extracts you have made from the volumes, for the prose is badly constructed. Indeed, Barry, here's a sentence which lacks a personal pronoun and a verb."

"I see what you are aiming at," replied Barescythe, sharply. "You twit me with praising these books so extravagantly. I grant you that worse trash was never in type, (DAISY is not printed yet, you know,) but will you allow me to ask you a question?"

"Si usted gusta, my dear fellow."

"Do you think that Gabriel Ravel, at Niblo's, turns spasmodic summersets on a chalked rope for the sake of any peculiar pleasure derived therefrom?"

"Why, Barry, I can scarcely imagine anything more unpleasant than to be turned upside down, fifteen feet from maternal earth, with an undeniable chance of breaking one's neck, on a four-inch rope. But why do you ask?"

"M. Ravel distorts himself for a salary, and no questions asked. I do the same. I throw literary summersets for a golden consideration. It is a very simple arrangement"—here Barescythe drew a diagram on the palm of his hand—"Messrs. Printem & Sellem (my thumb) give us, 'The Morning Glory,' (my forefinger) costly advertisements, and I, Barescythe, (the little finger) am expected to laud all the books they publish."

Out of respect to Barescythe, I restrained my laughter.

He went on, with a ruthful face:

"Here is 'The Life of Jinkings'—the life of a puppy!—an individual of whom nobody ever heard till now, a very clever, harmless, good man in his way, no doubt,—the big gun of a little village, but no more worthy of a biography than a printer's devil!"

With which words, Barescythe hit an imaginary Mr. Jinkings in the stomach with evident satisfaction.

"Yet I am called upon to tell the world that this individual, this what do you call him?—Jinkings—is one of the luminaries of the age, a mental Hercules, a new Prometheus—the clown! Why on earth did his friends want to resurrectionize the insipid incidents of this man's milk-and-water existence! If he made a speech on the introduction of a 'Town-pump,' or delivered an essay at the 'Bell Tavern'—it was very kind of him, to be sure: but why not bury his bad English with him in the country church-yard? I wish they had, for I am expected to say that ten thousand copies of the 'work' have been sold, when I know that only five hundred were printed; or else Messrs. Printem & Sellem withdraw their advertisements, in which case my occupation's gone! And this 'Scavenger's Daughter'—a book written by a sentimental schoolgirl, and smelling of bread-and-butter—see how I have plastered it all over with panegyric!"

"And so, Barry," I said, with some malice, "you wantingly abuse my book, because I cannot injure you pecuniarily."

"Perhaps I do," growled Barescythe. "It is a relief to say an honest thing now and then; but wait, Ralph, till I start The Weekly Critique, then look out for honest, slashing criticism. No longer hedged in by the interests and timidity of 'the proprietors,' I shall handle books for themselves, and not their advertisements—

'Friendly to all, save caitiffs foul and wrong, But stern to guard the Holy Land of Song.'"

"What a comment is this on American criticism! O, Barry, it is such men as you, with fine taste and fine talent, who bring literature into disrepute. Your genius gives you responsible places in the world of letters, and how you wrong the trust!"

"Thank you," returned Barescythe, coldly, "you blend flattery and insult so ingeniously, that I hesitate whether to give you the assurance of my distinguished consideration, or knock you down."

"Either you please, Barry. I have spoken quite as honestly, if not so bluntly as you; and I regret that I have so little to say in favor of your inconsistent criticism. I am sorry you dislike my novel, but—"

I looked toward the chair in which Barescythe had been sitting.

He was gone.

I was not surprised, for Barry does few things "after the manner of men," and a ceremonious departure is something he never dreams of. I sat and thought of what had been said. I wondered if we were the dregs of time, the worthless leaves of trees that had borne their fruit—if there were none among us,

"Like some of the simple great ones gone Forever and ever by!"

And lastly, I wondered if any of our city papers had such a critical appendage as T. J. Barescythe.

?

* * * * *

It is pleasant to have your friend Mr. Smith pat you patronisingly on the back, and say, "My dear fellow, when is your book coming out?"

Of course, you send Mrs. Smith a copy after that—and all Mrs. Smith's relations.

"DAISY'S NECKLACE" is nearly ready. The following advertisement, which I cut from "The Evening Looking Glass" of last Thursday, illustrates the manner in which "my publishers," Messrs. Printem & Sellem, make their literary announcements:

"We have in Press, and shall publish in the course of a few days, a New Work of rare merit, entitled

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