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Elinor Wyllys - Vol. II
by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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efforts made by the executors, to obtain accounts of Mr. Stanley's son, by advertisements to sailors and shipmasters, in all the great ports of the country, repeated during five years; many letters and communications were also produced, all strengthening the report of the young man's death. An agent had been employed by Mrs. Stanley, for one year, with no other object than that of searching for intelligence of her step-son; the man himself was dead, but his letters were read, and sworn to by his wife. Only once had the executors obtained a faint hope of the young man's existence; the second-mate of a whaler reported that he had known a William Stanley, a foremast hand, in the Pacific; but eventually it appeared, that the man alluded to was much older than Mr. Stanley's son, and his name was SANLEY. Nothing could be more clearly proved, than the efforts of the executors to obtain accurate intelligence as to the young man's fate; and it was also evident from the reports received, that they could have had no good reason to doubt his death. The next points examined, included the person and conduct of the plaintiff. The bad character of the plaintiff was made to appear in the course of this examination; "a character which seems at least to have always clung to that individual, under the various names it has pleased him to assume at different times," observed Mr. Ellsworth. It was clearly shown that he was considered a man of no principles, even among his comrades. The personal identity was fully examined; this part of the testimony excited intense interest among the audience, while even the court seemed to listen with increased attention. The opinions of the different witnesses on this point were not disputed; the general resemblance of the plaintiff to the Stanleys was not denied; the similarity of handwriting was also admitted; but Mr. Ellsworth argued, that such resemblances, among persons who were in no way related to each other, were not uncommon; probably every individual in that court-room had been told fifty times, that he was like A., B., or C. Occasionally, such resemblances were really very marked indeed. He then cited the instance of a man who was hanged in England, on this very ground of personal identity, sworn to by many individuals; and yet, a year after, it was discovered that the real criminal was living; and these two men, so strikingly alike, had never even seen each other, nor were they in any manner related to each other. But who could say whether the plaintiff were actually so much like William Stanley? It was not certain that any individual in that room had seen the young man for eighteen years; but one of the defendants had any distinct recollection of him, even at that time; the colour of the hair, and a general resemblance in complexion and features, might well be the amount of all that could be advanced in favour of the likeness; the plaintiff resembled the Stanleys, father and son; but probably a hundred other men might be picked up in the country, in whom the same resemblance might be found—men who laid no claim to the name or estate of Mr. Stanley. Similarity of handwriting was not uncommon either; and here some dozen notes and letters were produced, and proved to a certain degree that this assertion was correct; in several cases the resemblance was very great; and Mr. Ellsworth maintained, that with the documents in the possession of the sailor, undeniably written by young Stanley, any common writer, devoid of honesty, might have moulded his hand by practice to an imitation of it, sufficient for forgery. So much for the resemblance; he would now point out the difference between the plaintiff and William Stanley in two points, which, if clearly proved, must convince the jury that identity was utterly impossible, a pure fiction, a gross deception. He then produced the portrait of William Stanley; after acknowledging that there was some general resemblance, he suddenly showed the difference in the formation of the hands, fingers, and nails, between the boy and the plaintiff. This difference was indeed striking, for Ellsworth took a moment to point it out, when the sailor was in court, and engaged in putting a piece of tobacco in his mouth, and his hands were in full view. For a second he seemed out of countenance, but he soon resumed the confident look he had worn throughout. Mr. Ellsworth entered very minutely into this fact, showing that painters usually gave a correct idea of the hand, when it was introduced in a portrait; and the impossibility of the natural formation of the hand being entirely changed, either by time or hard work, was proved by the testimony of anatomists. The family physician of the late Mr. Stanley was an important witness at this stage of the trial; he swore to the fidelity of the portrait, and confirmed the fact of the particular formation of William Stanley's limbs when a boy; he thought it very improbable that a lad of his frame and constitution would ever become as heavy and robust as the plaintiff. He was asked by a juror if he thought this impossible? "No; he could not say it was impossible." The difference in gait was then examined.

{"spoken the Jefferson" = passed and communicated with}

"There is yet another point to be examined," said Ellsworth, "similar in nature, but still more decided in its bearing." He then brought forward all the testimony that had been collected, as to the temper and capacity of William Stanley; it was clearly proved, chiefly by the young man's tutors and companions, that he was morose and stubborn in disposition, and dull in intellect. So far this point was easily settled; but it was difficult to place the opposite facts, of the cleverness and better temper of the plaintiff, as clearly before the court as they had appeared to the defendants. Any one who had seen him under the same circumstances as Mr. Wyllys and Hazlehurst, during the last three months, would have been convinced of this difference; but in the court-room it was not so easy to place the matter beyond dispute, although two witnesses gave their opinions on this point, under oath, and Ellsworth did all he could, by attracting attention to the plaintiff, to his manner and expression; but he was not quite satisfied with the result of his own endeavours.

"Let us now look at the conduct of this individual; we shall find it, I think, quite inconsistent with that any man of plain, good sense, would have supposed the most easy and natural course under the circumstances; while, on the other hand, it is entirely consistent throughout, in being strongly marked with the stamp of improbability, in its general aspect, and in its details." After a review of the plaintiff's course, as it stood in his own statement, he proceeded to investigate his conduct during the last three months, maintaining, that had he really been William Stanley, he would have presented himself long since to Mr. Wyllys, unsupported by Mr. Clapp; he would not have found it necessary to visit Greatwood, and examine the house and place so thoroughly, before submitting to an examination; he would not have waited to be examined, he would voluntarily have told his own story in a manner to produce undeniable conviction. For instance, but a few weeks since, when, if we may believe his story, that pocket-book came into his possession again, had he gone to Mr. Wyllys, shown it, and merely told him accurately, from whom, when, and where he had first received it, he would have been immediately recognized as the individual he claims to be. Had he been William Stanley, he could have told those simple facts, he would have told them; while they were facts which it was impossible that an impostor should know, since they were confined entirely to Mr. Wyllys and his friend's son—Mr. Wyllys himself having given the pocket-book to William Stanley when they were alone together. He appealed to every man there present, what would have been his own conduct under such circumstances? As to the readiness of Mr. Wyllys to receive William Stanley, could he believe him living, it was proved by the past conduct of the executors, their anxiety to obtain a correct account of the young man's fate, their hopes at first, their regrets at last, when hope had died away. Ellsworth closed his speech by observing, that after this review of the circumstances, considering the striking differences pointed out in person, temper, and capacity, from those of William Stanley, the irreconciliable difference in the gait and formation of the limbs, and the unnatural conduct of the plaintiff throughout, had Mr. Wyllys received this man as William Stanley, the son of his deceased friend, it would have been a gross neglect of duty on his part.

There now remained but one act to complete the defence. It was concluded by Mr. Grant, who went over the whole case in a speech, in his usual well-known manner, learned and close in its reasoning, caustic and severe in its remarks on the opposite party. His general view was chiefly legal; occasionally, however, he introduced short and impressive remarks on the general aspect of the case, and the particular character of the most suspicious facts presented by the plaintiff; he was severe upon Mr. Clapp, showing a shrewd and thorough knowledge of the man, and the legal species to which he belonged. The Longbridge lawyer put on an increase of vulgar nonchalance for the occasion, but he was unable to conceal entirely his uneasiness under the sharp and well-aimed hits of one, so much his superior in standing and real ability. Mr. Grant dwelt particularly upon the suspicious appearance of the facts connected with the volume of the Spectator, and the pocket-book, both of which he admitted to have belonged to William Stanley originally; and he seemed to manage the difference in temper and capacity more effectually than Mr. Ellsworth had done. His speech was listened to with the closest attention during several hours; after having reviewed the testimony on both sides and finished his legal survey of the ground, he concluded as follows:

"Gentlemen of the jury; the facts of this case are before you, so far at least as we could reach them; there are doubtless others behind the curtain which might prove highly important in assisting your decision. You have followed me over the dull track of the law wherever it led us near this case, and I thank you for the patience you have shown. The subject is now fully before you, and I conceive that you will agree with me that in the present case, the counsel for the plaintiff have undertaken a task of no ordinary difficulty. It seems a task by no means enviable under any of its different aspects; but really, in the whole course of my experience at the bar, it has never yet fallen to my lot to witness so startling a feat of legal legerdemain, as that attempted in this court-room by the counsel for the plaintiff. I conceive, gentlemen, that they are engaged in a task seldom attempted since the days of wizards and necromancers—they have undertaken to raise a ghost!"

It was now time for the plaintiff's lawyers to close the trial. Mr. Clapp wished to speak again, but Mr. Reed took the case entirely in his own hands; he was evidently firmly convinced of the identity of his client with William Stanley, and the natural indignation he felt at the accusations of the defendants, and the treatment the sailor had received from the executors, gave unusual warmth to his manner, which was generally calm; it was remarked that he had never made a stronger speech than on that occasion. He did not dispute the honesty of the opinions of Mr. Wyllys and Hazlehurst, but he conceived they had no right to hold such opinions after examining the testimony in behalf of the plaintiff. He conceived that the defendant attached an importance altogether puerile to mere common probability, every-day probability; how many facts, now proved as clearly as human evidence can prove, have worn at first an improbable aspect to many minds! How many legal cases of an improbable nature might be cited! He would only allude to a few; and here he went over several remarkable cases on record.

"And yet he would even engage to answer the objections against his client on this very ground of probability; much had been said about the volume of the Spectator, but Mr. Hazlehurst could not swear to having read it at Greatwood four years since; while it appeared on cross-examination that his brother had the same edition of that book in Philadelphia, and that Mr. H. was in the habit of reading his brother's books; it also appeared that other volumes had been lost from the house at Greatwood in the course of the last four years. He held it then to be clearly probable; first, that Mr. H. had not read that identical volume shown at the interview, but one belonging to his brother; secondly, that the same volume had not been lost within the last four years; that others had been lost was certain, but that this volume had been in the possession of his client for nearly twenty years was PROBABLE." He went on in the same way to prove the probability of his client's gait having been changed, like that of other sailors, by a life at sea; that his whole body had become heavier and coarser from twenty years' hard work, and change of habits. He here made Dr. B., the physician who had testified on this subject, appear in a ridiculous light, by quoting some unfortunately obscure remarks he had made under cross-examination.

"Then, as to his client's temper, he hoped it had improved with age, but he thought that point had not been as clearly settled as his best friends could wish; still, it was by no means IMPROBABLE that it had improved under the salutary restraints of greater intercourse with the world. Who has not known persons whose tempers have become better under such circumstances? As to the capacity of his client, that had also PROBABLY been roused into greater activity by the same circumstances. Who has not heard of striking instances in which boys have been pronounced stupid by their masters and playfellows, and yet the same lads have afterwards turned out even brilliant geniuses?" He mentioned several instances of this kind. He went over the most striking features of the whole case in this manner, but we are necessarily compelled to abridge his remarks. "He accepted this ground of probability fully and entirely; the conduct of his client had been thought unnatural; he conceived that the very same stubborn, morose disposition, which the defendants had laboured so hard to fasten upon William Stanley, would account in the most PROBABLE manner for all that had been unusual in the conduct of his client. The same boy who at fifteen had so recklessly exchanged a pleasant home and brilliant prospects for a sailor's hardships, might very naturally have continued to feel and to act as the plaintiff had done."

He then brought together all the points in favour of the sailor, "The resemblance between the plaintiff and William Stanley had been called trifling by the counsel for the defendants; he considered it a remarkably strong resemblance, since it included not only acknowledged personal likeness, but also similarity of handwriting, of age, of occupation, the possession of documents admitted to be authentic by the defendants themselves, with knowledge of past events, persons, and places, such as would be natural in William Stanley but quite beyond the reach of a common stranger. He conceived that the great number of different points in his client's favour was a far stronger ground for the truth of his claim, than any one fact, however striking, standing alone. He held that this mass of evidence, both positive and circumstantial, could be accounted for in no other way at all probable, than by admitting the identity of his client. He conceived it also probable that any unprejudiced man would take the same view of this case; a case singular in its first aspect, though not more singular than hundreds of others on record, and entirely within the bounds of possibility in every fact, while it assumed greater probability the farther it was examined." He then adverted to several points merely legal, and finally concluded by a strong appeal in behalf of the plaintiff.

The judge rose to make his charge; it was strictly legal and impartial, chiefly reminding the jury that they were to decide entirely from the facts which had been placed before them; if they thought the evidence to which they listened sufficient to prove legally the identity of the plaintiff as William Stanley, they must give a verdict in his favour; if they held that evidence to be incomplete and insufficient, according to the legal views which must be their guide, they must pronounce a verdict in favour of the defendants: concluding with explaining one or two legal points, and an injunction to weigh the whole evidence impartially, the judge took his seat.

The jury rose; marshalled by constables and headed by their foreman, they turned from the box and left the court-room to consider their verdict.

Another cause was called. The parties interested, their friends, and the crowd of curious spectators poured from the building, discussing as they moved along the probable result, which could scarcely be known until the next morning, for it was late on the fourth night that the trial closed.



CHAPTER XIX. {XLII}

"Tout est perdu fors l'honneur!" Francois I.

{"Tout est perdu fors l'honneur" = all is lost but honor (French). Francis I of France (1494-1547), letter to his mother, 1525; by 1840 a proverbial expression}

HAZLEHURST'S friends, fully aware of the importance of the cause to his interests, had followed the trial with great anxiety. Mrs. Stanley, Mrs. Robert Hazlehurst, Miss Wyllys, and Mrs. Creighton were regularly informed of the events which had passed whenever the court adjourned. The young ladies at Wyllys-Roof, Elinor, Jane, and Mary Van Alstyne were obliged to wait longer for information; they had received, however, regular reports of the proceedings by every mail; they had learned that the trial had closed, and were now waiting most anxiously for the final decision of the jury.

"I had no idea the trial would last so long; had you?" observed Mary Van Alstyne, as the three friends were sitting together waiting for that day's mail, which must at length bring them the important news.

"Yes; grandpapa told me that it might possibly last a week."

"I don't see why they cannot decide it sooner," said Jane; "anybody might know that sailor could not be William Stanley. Poor Harry! what trouble he has had with the man ever since he came home!"

At that moment carriage-wheels were heard approaching; Elinor ran to the window.

"They are coming!" she cried; and in another instant she was on the piazza, followed by Mary and Jane. Two carriages were approaching the door.

"Here they are—all our friends!" exclaimed Mary Van Alstyne, as she recognized in the first open wagon Mr. Wyllys and Ellsworth, and in the barouche behind, the ladies, including Mrs. Creighton; while Harry himself sat at the side of the coachman.

Elinor was on the last step of the piazza, looking eagerly towards the faces of her friends as they advanced.

"Grandpapa!" she exclaimed, looking all anxious curiosity, as the wagon stopped.

Mr. Wyllys smiled, but not triumphantly.

Ellsworth shook his head as he sprang from the wagon and took her hand.

"Can it be possible!—Is the suit lost?" she again exclaimed.

"Only too possible!" replied Mr. Ellsworth. "The jury have given a verdict for the plaintiff, in spite of our best endeavours."

Elinor turned towards Harry, and offered him both her hands. Hazlehurst received them with feeling, with emotion.

"I can't acknowledge that I am such a poor forlorn fellow as one might fancy," he said, smiling, "while I have still such kind and warm friends."

Elinor blushing to find herself between the two gentlemen, advanced to receive the kiss of her aunt and Mrs. Stanley. The countenance of the latter lady showed evident traces of the painful feelings she had experienced at the decision. Mrs. Creighton too looked a little disturbed; though graceful as ever in her manner, she was not easy; it was clear that she had been much disappointed by Harry's defeat.

"I am grieved to hear the bad news, Mr. Hazlehurst!" said Mary Van Alstyne.

"Poor Harry—I am so sorry for you!" exclaimed Jane, looking very lovely as she raised her eyes to her kinsman's face.

"Ellsworth, can't you manage to lose all you are worth and a little more?" said Harry, smiling, after having thanked the ladies for their kind reception.

"As I could not keep your property for you with the best will in the world, no doubt I could get rid of my own too," replied his friend.

When the whole party assembled in the drawing-room, nothing was talked of for a while but the trial. It appeared that the jury had been fifteen hours considering their verdict. The doors of the court-room had been crowded by people curious to learn the decision of the case, and when the jury entered the court with their verdict there was a rush forward to hear it.

"Verdict for the plaintiff—" was announced by the clerk in a loud voice, in the usual official manner.

"Clapp was standing near me at the moment," said Harry, "there was a flash of triumph in his face as he turned towards me. The sailor actually looked bewildered for an instant, but he soon appeared very well satisfied. As for myself, I honestly declare that I expected such would be the result."

"It was too late to write to you, my child," said Mr. Wyllys; "we only heard the verdict in time to prepare for leaving town in the morning's boat. And now, Nelly, you must give us some consolation in the shape of a good dinner."

It was very evident that although everybody endeavoured to wear a cheerful face, the defeat had been much felt by Mrs. Stanley, Mr. Wyllys, and Ellsworth. Hazlehurst himself really appeared better prepared for the misfortune than any of the party; in fact he conceived Mrs. Stanley's position to be more painful than his own, though so much less critical in a pecuniary view. Mrs. Creighton was certainly neither so gay, nor so easy as usual in her manner; one might have fancied that she felt herself in an unpleasant and rather an awkward position—a very unusual thing for that lady. It might have struck an observer that she wished to appear as amiable as ever to Harry, but she did not succeed entirely in concealing that her interest in him was materially diminished, now that he was no longer Mr. Stanley's heir. It was only by trifling shades of manner, however, that this was betrayed; perhaps no one of the circle at Wyllys-Roof remarked it; perhaps it was not lost upon Hazlehurst; there seemed to be an occasional expression in his eye which said so.

After the party had separated to prepare for dinner, Elinor joined her aunt, and learned many farther particulars of the trial.

"Is there no hope, Aunt?—can nothing be done—no new trial?"

"I am afraid not. The gentlemen are to hold several consultations on that point, however, but they seem to agree that little can be done. Both your grandfather and Harry were determined to go on if there were the least probability of success; but Mr. Grant, Mr. Ellsworth, and several other gentlemen say they can give them no grounds for encouragement; the trial was perfectly regular, and they think an appeal for a new trial would be rejected; and even if it were granted, they see no reason to hope for a different verdict."

"And yet there cannot be a doubt, Aunt, to us at least, that this man is an impostor!" exclaimed Elinor.

"No, not to us certainly; but it was not possible to place the proofs of this as clearly before the court as they have appeared to us. Harry says he was afraid from the beginning that this would be the case."

"How well he bears it!" exclaimed Elinor. "And Mrs. Stanley, she can scarcely speak on the subject!"

"She feels it most keenly. Would you believe it, my child, when we arrived on board the boat this morning, we found Mr. Clapp and this man already there; and at a moment when Mrs. Stanley and I were sitting alone together, the gentlemen having left us, and Mrs. Creighton being with another party, they came and walked up and down before us. Mr. Clapp took off his hat, and running his hand through his hair, as he does so often, he said in a loud voice: "Well, Mr. Stanley, when do you go to Greatwood?" Happily, Harry saw us from the other side of the deck, and he instantly joined us. Of course we did not mention to him what had passed; and although Mr. Clapp was noisy and vulgar, yet he did not come so near us again."

"What a miserable man he is!" exclaimed Elinor. "And is it possible that sailor is going to take possession of my uncle Stanley's house immediately?"

"I do not know, my child. Everything has been left in the hands of Robert Hazlehurst and Mr. Grant, by our friends."

Already had Elinor's mind been busy with planning relief for Hazlehurst; if he were now worse than penniless, she was rich—it would be in her power to assist him. The point itself had been long since settled by her, but the manner in which it was to be done was now to be considered. She was determined at least that her old playfellow should have the use of any sum he might require, under the circumstances that would be the easiest and most acceptable to himself. Her grandfather must make the offer; they would either wait until he returned from the cruise in the Petrel, or possibly it would be better to write to him while absent.

Elinor had, perhaps, been more disappointed by the verdict than any one, for she had been very sanguine as to the result; she had not conceived it possible that such gross injustice could triumph.

But, alas, how imperfect is merely human justice in its best form! It is a humiliating reflection for the human race, that Justice, one of the highest attributes of Truth, should have so little power among men; that when guided by human reason alone she should so often err!

To guard faithfully the general purity of Justice, to watch that her arm is neither crippled by violence nor palsied by fear, that her hands are not polluted by bribery, nor her ears assailed by flattery, is all that human means can do; but wo {sic} to the society where this duty is neglected, for disgrace and general corruption are then inevitable.

It was a day of movement at Wyllys-Roof; after the arrival of the party from Philadelphia there were constant communications with their neighbours at Broadlawn, as the long talked of cruise of the Petrel had been only postponed for Harry's return, and young de Vaux was now all impatience to be off. When Elinor went down for dinner she found Ellsworth and Harry on the piazza playing with Bruno, the fine Newfoundland dog which Hazlehurst had given her when he first went abroad.

"He is a noble creature!" exclaimed Ellsworth.

"I am making friends with Bruno again, you see," said Harry as Elinor drew near. "What would you say if I coaxed him off to the Petrel with me to-morrow?"

"You are very welcome to his company for the voyage, if you can persuade him to go. Down Bruno, down my good friend," she said, as the dog bounded towards her; "I wish you would remember that a thin white dress must be treated with some respect. Are you really going to-morrow?" she added, turning to Harry.

"Yes; we are under sailing orders. I have just been over to look at the Petrel, and everything is ready. De Vaux has only been waiting for me—the rest of the party has been collected for some days. I found Smith the conchologist, and Stryker, at Broadlawn."

"Has your course been finally settled?" asked Ellsworth.

"Yes; we are to circumnavigate Long-Island."

"You will have an agreeable cruise, I dare say, with a pleasant set of messmates; Hubert de Vaux is a good fellow himself, and Stryker is in his element on such occasions."

"We are to have Charlie Hubbard too, and Harman Van Horne."

"How long will you be gone?" said Elinor.

"Some ten days, or a fortnight at the very farthest."

"Can we see anything of Mr. de Vaux's boat from here?" asked Mrs. Creighton, stepping on the piazza.

"Only her masts; in this direction, near the grove," replied Harry. "She is a schooner, and a beautiful craft, too."

"Miss Wyllys, you should coax Mr. de Vaux to give the ladies a pic-nic when he returns," said Mrs. Creighton.

"No doubt he would be happy to do so, if you were to express the wish," said Elinor.

"Unfortunately I shall not be here. Wyllys-Roof is a dangerous place, one always stays here too long; but I cannot positively afford more than a day or two at present; I have promised to be in town on Thursday."

Elinor expressed her regrets very hospitably; and they were soon after summoned to dinner.

In the evening, Hubert de Vaux and the gentlemen from Broadlawn, engaged for the cruise, walked in. Charlie Hubbard was there too; he had remained in Philadelphia during the whole trial, and had just returned home that morning.

"And so you are positively going to-morrow," said Mr. Wyllys to young de Vaux.

"Positively; at six in the morning."

"Is it part of your plan, to stow yourselves away at night in the Petrel?"

"The Petrel's cabin is not to be despised, I assure you, sir. It has six as good berths as those of any North-River sloop that ever carried passengers in days of yore. But we shall only sleep on board occasionally, for the fun of the thing."

{"North-River sloop" = the Hudson River was also called the North River, and before steamboats, passengers travelled between New York and Albany by what were known as Hudson River or North River sloops}

"At what places do you intend to put into port?"

"We are going to shoot for a day or two on Long-Island; and we shall let the Yankees have a sight of the Petrel, at New Haven, Sachem's-Head, and Nantucket."

{"Sachem's Head" = Sachem Head harbor is about 10 miles east of New Haven, Connecticut}

"I have no doubt you will have a pleasant excursion."

"Our only difficulty at present seems the prospect of too much comfort," said Charlie. "Mrs. de Vaux expressed some fears of a famine at Longbridge in consequence of this cruise, we carry off such a stock of provisions."

"Not a bit too much; people always want twice as much on a party of pleasure as at other times," said Hubert de Vaux.

The plan of the cruise was talked over in all its details, and the whole party seemed pleased with the idea. Young Van Horne, now a practising physician in New York, was delighted with the prospect of a week's liberty; Mr. Smith, the conchologist, hoped to pick up some precious univalve or bivalve; Charlie talked of taking a sketch of Cape Cod; Harry declared he was determined to enjoy the trip, as the last holiday he could allow himself for a long time; and Mr. Stryker promised himself the best of chowders, a sea-dish in which he professed himself to be a great connoisseur. Mrs. Creighton indeed declared, that he looked upon that season as lost, in which he could not make some improvement in his celebrated receipt for chowder. Whether it was that this lady's gaiety and coquetry instinctively revived in the company of so many gentlemen, or whether she felt afraid of Mr. Stryker's keen, worldly scrutiny, her manner in the evening resumed entirely its wonted appearance; she was witty, graceful, piquant, and flattering as ever, and quite as much so with Hazlehurst as with any.

"What do you say to a game of chess, Mrs. Creighton?" asked Mr. Wyllys.

"With pleasure, sir; I am always at your service. Not that it is very pleasant to be beaten so often, but I really think I improve under your instructions. You are so much interested yourself that you inspire others."

"You must allow me, Mrs. Creighton, to suggest something for your improvement," said Mr. Stryker.

"And what is it, pray?"

"You talk too much; you make yourself too agreeable to your adversary—that is not fair."

"Oh, it is only a ruse de guerre; and Mr. Wyllys beats me nine games out of ten, in spite of my chattering."

{"ruse de guerre" = military strategem (French)}

"No doubt; but if you could make up your mind to be less charming for half an hour, you might have the honours of the game oftener."

"I must gain the battle my own way, Mr. Stryker, or not at all."

"I leave you to your fate, then," said the gentleman, turning away.

Charlie, Elinor, Harry, and Jane were quietly talking together; Jane having now resumed her place in the family circle. They were speaking of Charlie's sketches, and the young widow asked if he ever painted portraits now; Miss Wyllys {sic} wished to have her's taken, before she left them to return to her parents.

{"Miss Wyllys" = should read Jane (or Mrs. Taylor); Elinor Wyllys is an orphan}

"You do paint portraits," said Elinor; "I have seen those of your mother and Miss Patsey."

Charlie changed colour, and hastily denied any claim to be called a portrait-painter.

"Yet it would be pleasant," said Elinor, "to have a picture of my cousin painted by you."

Jane observed she should like to have Elinor's, by the same hand.

"Oh, my portrait would not be worth having," said Elinor, smiling; "certainly not if taken by an honest artist."

"You will both, I hope, fare better from the hands of Mr. I——- or Mr. S——-," said Charlie, with some little embarrassment.

Mr. Ellsworth, who had been standing near the group, now asked Elinor to sing.

"What will you have?" she replied, taking a seat at the piano.

"Anything you please."

"Pray then give us Robin Adair, Miss Elinor," said Charlie.

Elinor sang the well-known song with greater sweetness than usual—she was decidedly in good voice; both Charlie and Harry listened with great pleasure as they stood by her side; Jane was also sitting near the piano, and seemed more interested in the music than usual; it was a song which the young widow had so often heard, in what she now looked back to as the happy days of her girlhood. More than one individual in the room thought it charming to listen to Elinor and look at Jane, at the same instant. Several of the gentlemen then sang, and the party broke up cheerfully.

Little was it thought, that never again could the same circle be re-united at Wyllys-Roof; all who crossed the threshold that night were not to return.



CHAPTER XX. {XLIII}

"I pr'ythee hear me speak!" Richard III.

{William Shakespeare, "Richard III", IV.iv.180}

HAZLEHURST had gone out with his friends, and continued walking on the piazza, first with Charlie and then with Ellsworth; at length Mrs. Stanley called him from the window to say good-bye, as she did not expect to see him again before the cruise; the other ladies also wished him a pleasant excursion at the same moment.

"Good fishing and no musquitoes {sic}—which, I take it, is all that is desirable on such an occasion," said Mrs. Creighton, smiling brightly but carelessly, as she offered her hand.

"Thank you; I suppose you have no commands for Cape Cod?"

"None at all, I believe, unless you can bring us the true Yankee receipt for chowder, which Mr. Stryker was explaining this evening."

"You will be off so early to-morrow that we shall scarcely see you, Harry," said Miss Wyllys. "You must come back to us, however, and fall into the old habit of considering Wyllys-Roof as home, whenever you please," she added kindly.

Harry's thanks were expressed with feeling.

"And in the mean time I hope you will have a pleasant cruise," said Elinor. "Fair winds and better prospects attend you!"—and as she raised her eyes, Harry observed they had filled with tears when she made this allusion to his difficulties. Perhaps Ellsworth made the same remark, and appreciated her kindness; for when Elinor turned to wish him good-night we strongly suspect that his countenance said so; there could be no doubt at least, that she blushed at the time, though pale but a moment before.

After the ladies had gone, Mr. Wyllys and Ellsworth went off together, and Harry returned to the piazza.

It was perhaps inconsiderate in Hazlehurst to continue walking so late, for the sound of his footsteps fell regularly on the stillness of the night, long after the family had gone to rest, and may possibly have disturbed some of his friends; but many busy thoughts of the past and the future crowded on his mind, while pacing that familiar spot, the piazza of Wyllys-Roof. It is time that these thoughts should be partially revealed to the reader, and for that purpose we must pause a moment, in order to look backward.

Long since, Harry's heart had warmed again towards his old playfellow, Elinor. As soon as the first novelty of a life at Rio had worn off, Harry, whose affections were strong, began to miss his old friends; the more so, since Mr. Henley, although his principles and talents entirely commanded his secretary's esteem, was not a pleasant companion in every-day life. Hazlehurst soon began to contrast the minister's formal, old bachelor establishment with the pleasant house of his friend Ellsworth, where Mrs. Creighton did the honours charmingly, and with the cheerful home of his brother, where his sister-in-law always received him kindly: still oftener be compared the cold, stately atmosphere which seemed to fill Mr. Henley's house, with the pleasant, genial spirit which prevailed at Wyllys-Roof, where everything excellent wore so amiable an aspect. Until lately he had always been so closely connected with the family there, that he accused himself of not having done full justice to all their worth. He took a pleasure in dwelling on Mr. Wyllys's high moral character, so happily tempered by the benevolence of cheerful old age; he remembered the quiet, unpretending virtues of Miss Wyllys, always mingled with unvarying kindness to himself; and could he forget Elinor, whose whole character was so engaging; uniting strength of principle and intelligence, with a disposition so lovely, so endearing? A place in this family had been his, his for life, and he had trifled with it, rejected it; worse than that—well he knew that the best place in Elinor's generous heart had once been wholly his; he had applied for it, he had won it; and what return had he made for her warmest affections? He had trifled with her; the world said he had jilted her, jilted the true-hearted Elinor, his friend and companion from childhood! Knowing her as well as he did, he had treated her as if she were a mere ball-room coquette; he had forgotten her as soon as if it had been a mere holiday fancy of a boy of fifteen. He had been completely infatuated, dazzled, blinded by a beautiful face. That it was sheer infatuation was now evident; for, absent from both Elinor and Jane, all feeling for the latter seemed to have vanished like a dream. It is said that love without hope cannot live: the question must be settled by those who have suffered most frequently from the wounds of Cupid; but it seems evident, at least from Harry's experience, that love which has fed plentifully upon hopes for some months, when suddenly put upon a change of diet, and receiving a large dose of mortification to boot, falls immediately into a rapid decline. The recollection of his fancy for Jane was now unpleasant under every aspect, but where it was connected with Elinor he soon began to consider it as particularly painful. He regretted that he had engaged Elinor in the hasty, boyish manner he had done, before going abroad; had he not taken this step, the momentary mortification of a refusal by Jane would have been the only evil; Elinor would not have suffered, and all might have gone well. Gradually the idea gained upon him, that it was not impossible to repair the past. His conduct had been unpardonable, no doubt; yet, perhaps it might be forgiven. But even if Elinor could forget his inexcusable fickleness, would her friends ever consent to risk her future peace with one who had so recklessly trifled with her already? Mr. Wyllys had been deeply indignant at his conduct; his whole manner had changed, there had been a cold civility in it when they had met, which Harry had felt keenly—it amounted almost to contempt. Miss Wyllys, too, was no longer the kind, indulgent Aunt Agnes of his boyhood; there was a very decided coldness and reserve in her whole expression, which it seemed all but impossible to overcome. He wished, however, that he had it in his power to make advances towards a reconciliation; he was prepared for merited coldness at first, but he would willingly submit to it as a just penance, if he could but hope eventually to regain his position with Elinor. Such a wife as Elinor would be, was worth a serious struggle to obtain. Then, at other moments, this idea appeared preposterous to him; how could the Wyllyses ever forgive him after so keen an insult, so cruel a blow? No, it was a dream; he would not indulge in it any longer; he would not think of marrying; he would turn out an old bachelor diplomatist, like Mr. Henley. It is not to be supposed that Mrs. Creighton was entirely forgotten in these reveries of Harry's, which formed occasional interludes to his diplomatic labours while at Rio. On the contrary she was remembered quite frequently; and every one who knew her must always think of the pretty widow as a charming woman; clever, graceful, gay, and well-bred. Nor had Hazlehurst been blind to her peculiarly flattering manner towards himself. The lady was his friend Ellsworth's sister, which was another claim; she was generally admired too, and this alone, with some men, would have given her a decided advantage: since we are revealing Harry's foibles, however, we must do him the justice to say, that he was not one of the class referred to. When he liked, he liked honestly, for good reasons of his own. At the time he left home with Mr. Henley, he had not been able to decide entirely to his own satisfaction, whether Mrs. Creighton really had any partiality for him or not; he waited with a little interest and a little curiosity, to know what she would do after he left Philadelphia. News soon reached him that the lady was gay and charming as ever, much admired, and taking much pleasure in admiration, as usual. He had known Mrs. Creighton from a girl; she was a year or two older than himself, and had been a married woman while he was still a boy, and he had been long aware of her reputation as a coquette; this had no doubt put him on his guard. As had occasionally remarked her conduct himself; and having been so intimate with women of very different character—his brother's wife, Miss Wyllys, and Elinor—he knew very well that all women were not coquettes; he had received a higher standard of female delicacy and female truth than many young men. So long, therefore, as he believed Mrs. Creighton a decided flirt, he was in little danger from her: the lady, however, was no common coquette—cleverness, tact, good taste, gave her very great advantages; she was generally admired, and Hazlehurst expected daily to hear that she was married.

He had become very tired of Rio Janeiro, and very desirous of returning home, long before Mr. Henley was recalled to exchange the court of Brazil for that of St. Petersburgh. Sincere respect for Mr. Henley had alone kept him at Rio; and when he arrived at Norfolk, he was still undecided whether he should continue in the legation or not. He found that all his friends were at Saratoga, and he hastened there; he was anxious to see the Wyllyses, anxious to see Elinor, and yet he dreaded the first meeting—he had already determined to be guided entirely in his future steps by their manner towards himself; if they did not absolutely shun him, he would make an effort for a complete reconciliation. He knew Elinor was unmarried; he had never heard of any engagement, and he might then hope to regain all he had lost. He arrived, he was received kindly, and the sight of Elinor's plain face did not change his determination; on the contrary, he found her just what he remembered her, just what he had always known her to be—everything that was naturally feminine and amiable. But if Elinor were still herself, Harry soon found that her position had very materially altered of late; she was now an heiress, it seemed. What a contemptible interpretation might be placed on his advances under such circumstances! Then came the discovery of Mr. Ellsworth's views and hopes; and his friend was evidently sanguine of success. Thus everything was changed; he was compelled to remain in the back-ground, to avoid carefully any interference with his friend.

There appeared no reason to doubt that Elinor would, ere long, marry Ellsworth; she herself certainly liked him, and her friends very evidently favoured his suit. On the other hand, Mrs. Creighton seemed particularly well pleased with his own return; she was certainly very charming, and it was by no means an unpleasant task to play cavalier to his friend's sister. Still he looked on with great interest, as Ellsworth pursued his courtship; and he often found himself making observations upon Elinor's movements. "Now she will do this"—"I am sure she thinks that"—"I know her better than Ellsworth"—"She can't endure Stryker"—and other remarks of the kind, which kept his attention fixed upon his old playfellow; the more closely he observed her the more he saw to love and admire; for their former long intimacy had given him a key to her character, and greater knowledge of the world enabled him fully to appreciate her purity of principle, her native grace and modesty, the generous tone of her mind, the unaffected sweetness of her disposition. It appeared strange and unpleasant to him, that he must now draw back and see her engrossed by Ellsworth, when she had so long been his own favourite companion; still he had no right to complain, it was his own fault that matters were so much changed. As for Mrs. Creighton, Harry could not satisfy himself with regard to her real feelings; there were times when he thought she was attached to him, but just as it began to appear clear that she was not merely coquetting, just as he began to inquire if he could ever offer himself to a woman whom he admired very much, but whom he did not entirely respect, the pretty widow would run off; apparently in spite of herself, into some very evident flirtation with Stryker, with de Vaux, with Mr. Wyllys, in fact with any man who came in her way. Generally he felt relieved by these caprices, since they left perfect liberty of action to himself; occasionally he was vexed with her coquetry, vexed with himself for admiring her in spite of it all. Had Harry never known Mrs. Creighton previously, he would doubtless have fallen very decidedly in love with her in a short time; but he had known her too long, and half mistrusted her; had he never known Elinor so thoroughly, he would not have understood Mrs. Creighton. He involuntarily compared the two together; both were particularly clever, well-bred, and graceful; but Harry felt that one was ingenuous, amiable, and natural, while he knew that the other was worldly, bright, but cold, and interested in all her views and actions. Elinor's charm lay in the perfect confidence one reposed in the firmness of her principles, the strength of her affections, softened as they were by feminine grace of mind and person. Mrs. Creighton fascinated by the brilliant gloss of the world, the perfection of art, inspired by the natural instincts of a clever, educated coquette. There had been moments when Hazlehurst was all but deceived into believing himself unjust towards Mrs. Creighton, so charmingly piquant, so gracefully flattering was her manner; but he owed his eventual escape to the only talisman which can ever save a young man, or an old one either, from the wiles of a pretty, artful coquette; he carried about with him the reflection of a purer model of womanly virtue, one gradually formed from boyhood upon Elinor's mould, and which at last had entirely filled his mind and his heart.

Since the commencement of the Stanley suit, Hazlehurst had become quite disgusted with Mrs. Creighton's conduct; art may reach a great way, but it can never cover the whole ground, and the pretty widow involuntarily betrayed too many variations of manner, graduated by Harry's varying prospects; his eyes were completely opened; he was ashamed of himself for having been half-persuaded that she was attached to him. How different had been Elinor's conduct! she had shown throughout a warm, unwavering interest in his difficulties, always more frankly expressed in his least encouraging moments; indeed she had sometimes blushed, from the fear that her sympathy might he mistaken for something more than friendly regard for her kinsman. Harry saw it all; he understood the conduct of both, and he felt Elinor's kindness deeply; he was no longer ungrateful, and he longed to tell her so. True, she would ere long become his friend's wife, but might he not, under the circumstances, be permitted first to declare his feelings? It would, perhaps, be only a just atonement for the past—only what was due to Elinor. Harry tried to persuade himself into this view of the case, as he looked up towards her window, invoking a blessing on her gentle head.

Hazlehurst's reflections, while on the piazza, had commenced with his pecuniary difficulties, and the consequences of his late defeat, but they gradually centered on Elinor in a very lover-like manner, much in the shape we have given them. But at length the moon went down behind the wood, and those whose rooms were on that side of the house found that the sound of his footsteps had ceased; and nothing farther disturbed the stillness of the night.

"Did you see the Petrel this morning, grandpapa?" said Elinor, as she was pouring out the coffee at the breakfast-table.

"No, I did not, my child; I took it for granted they were off before sun-rise, and did not look for them."

"They were behind their time; they were in sight from my window about an hour since."

"Some of the youngsters have been lazy, I suppose; I hope Harry was not the delinquent."

"I heard him pass my door quite early," observed Miss Agnes.

"When I saw them," said Elinor, "they had drawn off from the wharf, and were lying in the river, as if they were waiting for something that had been forgotten; the boat looked beautifully, for there was very little air, and she lay motionless on the water, with her sails half-furled."

"Perhaps they stopped for Mr. Hubbard to make a sketch," said Ellsworth to Elinor.

"Hardly, I should think; time and tide, you know; wait for no man—not even to be sketched."

"But Hazlehurst told me his friend Hubbard had promised to immortalize the Petrel and her crew by a picture; perhaps he chose the moment of departure; you say she appeared to great advantage then."

"I should think he would prefer waiting for some more striking moment. Who knows what adventures they may meet with! Mr. de Vaux expects to win a race; perhaps they may catch a whale, or see the sea-serpent."

"No doubt Mr. Stryker would try to catch the monster, if they were to meet with him; his fishing ambition is boundless," said Mrs. Creighton.

"But there is no fashionable apparatus for catching sea-serpents," observed Elinor; "and Mr. Stryker's ambition is all fashionable."

"Stryker is not much of an Izaak Walton, certainly," remarked Ellsworth. "He calls it murder, to catch a trout with a common rod and a natural fly. He will scarcely be the man to bring in the sea-serpent; he would go after it though, in a moment, if a regular European sportsman were to propose it to him."

"I almost wonder we have not yet had an English yacht over here, whale-hunting, or sea-serpent-hunting," said Mrs. Creighton; "they are so fond of novelty and wild-goose chasing of any kind."

"It would make a lion of a dandy, at once," said Ellsworth, "if he could catch the sea-serpent."

{"lion" = social celebrity}

"A single fin would be glory enough for one lion," said Elinor; remember how many yards there are of him."

"If Stryker should catch a slice of the serpent, no doubt he will throw it into his chowder-pot, and add it to the receipt," said Mr. Wyllys.

"Well, Miss Wyllys, I think you and I might engage to eat all the monsters he catches, as Beatrice did Benedict's slain," said Mrs. Creighton.

{"Beatrice and Benedict..." = characters in Shakespeare's play "Much Ado about Nothing"}

"Do you intend to make up with Stryker, a la Beatrice?" asked the lady's brother. "It is some time now that you have carried on the war of wit with him."

"No, indeed; I have no such intentions. I leave him entirely to Miss Wyllys; all but his chowder, which I like now and then," said the lady, carelessly.

"I am sorry you will not be here, Mrs. Creighton, for the pic-nic to the ladies, which de Vaux is to give when he comes back," said Mr. Wyllys; "Mr. Stryker will give us a fine chowder, no doubt."

"Thank you, sir; I should enjoy the party exceedingly. I must not think too much of it, or I might be tempted to break my engagement with the Ramsays."

"Have you really decided to go so soon?—I was in hopes we should be able to keep you much longer," said Miss Wyllys.

"I should be delighted to stay; but in addition to my visit to the Ramsays, who are going to town expressly for me, I must also pick up my little niece."

Miss Wyllys then made some inquiries about Mr. Ellsworth's little girl.

"She was very well and happy, with her cousins, when I heard from my eldest sister, a day or two since," he replied. "She has been with me very little this summer; I hope we shall be able to make some pleasanter arrangement for the future," he added, with a half-glance at Elinor.

"My brother has a very poor opinion of my abilities, Miss Wyllys; because I have no children of my own, he fancies that I cannot manage his little girl."

"I am much obliged to you, Josephine, for what you have done for her, as you very well know."

"Oh, yes; you are much obliged to me, and so forth; but you think Mary is in better hands with Mrs. Ellis, and so do I; I cannot keep the little thing in very good order, I acknowledge."

"It must be difficult not to spoil her, Mrs. Creighton," remarked Mr. Wyllys. "She is a very pretty and engaging child—just the size and age for a pet."

"That is the misfortune; she is so pretty that Frank thinks I make a little doll of her; that I dress her too much. I believe he thinks I wear too many flowers and ribbons myself; he has become very fastidious in his taste about such matters lately; he wishes his daughter to dress with elegant simplicity; now I have a decided fancy for elegant ornament."

"He must be very bold, Mrs. Creighton, if he proposes any alteration to you."

"I agree with you, entirely," said the lady, laughing; "for the last year or two I have been even less successful in suiting him than of old. He seems to have some very superior model in his mind's eye. But it is rather annoying to have one's taste in dress criticised, after having been accustomed to hear it commended and consulted, ever since I was fifteen."

"You must tolerate my less brilliant notions for the sake of variety," said her brother, smiling.

"I shall hope to make over Mary's wardrobe to some other direction, before she grows up," said Mrs. Creighton; "for you and I would certainly quarrel over it."

The party rose from table. Elinor felt a touch of nervousness come upon her, as she remarked that Mr. Ellsworth seemed to be watching her movements; while his face had worn rather a pre-occupied expression all the morning, seeming to threaten something important.

The day was very pleasant; and as Mr. Wyllys had some business at certain mills on Chewattan Lake, he proposed a ride on horseback to his friends, offering a seat in his old-fashioned chair to any lady who chose to take it.

{"chair" = a light, one-horse carriage}

Mrs. Creighton accepted the offer very readily.

"I have not been in any carriage so rustic and farmer-like these twenty years," she said.

"I shall be happy to drive you, if you can be satisfied with a sober old whip like myself, and a sober old pony like Timo."

"It is settled then; you ride I suppose, Miss Wyllys."

Elinor assented; Mary Van Alstyne was also to go on horseback. Mr. Ellsworth thought that he would have preferred escorting one lady instead of two on that occasion. He seemed destined that morning to discover, that a lover's course is not only impeded by important obstacles, but often obstructed by things trifling in themselves. Before the chair and horses appeared at the door, there was an arrival from Longbridge. Mr. Taylor and his daughter, Miss Emma, had come from New York the previous evening, and now appeared at Wyllys-Roof; the merchant had come over with the double object of blessing his grandchild, and taking his share in a speculation then going on in the neighbourhood. The Taylors had been asked to Wyllys-Roof, at any time when they wished to see Jane, and they had now come for twenty-four hours, in accordance with the invitation. At first Mr. Ellsworth supposed the ride to Chewattan Lake must be abandoned, but it was only deferred for an hour. Miss Emma Taylor, ever ready for an enterprise of liveliness, had no sooner embraced her sister-in-law, and learned that some of the family had proposed riding, than she immediately expressed a great desire to join them. Mary Van Alstyne very readily gave up her horse and habit to the young lady; and Mr. Ellsworth walked over to Broadlawn, to invite Bob de Vaux, a boy of sixteen, to be her especial escort. He thought this a very clever manoeuvre of his own. While these arrangements were going on, and the Taylors were taking some refreshment, Mr. Taylor had found time to express his regrets at the result of the law-suit.

"I was much disposed, however, to anticipate such a verdict," he observed; "Mr. Clapp is a very talented lawyer for so young a man; this cause, which has attracted so much attention, will probably make his fortune at the bar. But I was fearful, sir, from the beginning, that neither yourself nor your friend, Mr. Hazlehurst, was fully aware of Mr. Clapp's abilities."

"I do not conceive, however, that the cause was won by Mr. Clapp's legal acumen," observed Mr. Wyllys, drily.

"Perhaps not; still, I understand that he succeeded in making out a very strong case in behalf of his client."

"Of that there is no doubt."

"And the less foundation he had to work on, the greater his talents must appear," said Mr. Taylor, with a look, which expressed both admiration for Mr. Clapp, and the suspicion that he had been assisting an impostor.

"The kind of talent you refer to is not of a very enviable character, I think," said Mr. Wyllys.

"I don't know that, my dear sir," added Mr. Taylor, as he drank off a glass of wine; "it is a talent which has gained a fine property at least. I regret, however, that my friend, Mr. Hazlehurst, should have suffered so heavy a loss."

Mr. Wyllys bowed; and well aware that his own views of the case and those of Mr. Taylor would not agree, he changed the conversation.

"You will find your old place much changed," observed Miss Wyllys to the merchant.

"Yes, madam; I understand considerable alterations have been made at my former mansion. I had almost forgotten this morning that the estate was no longer mine, and was half-inclined to enter the gate as we passed it."

"I am delighted, pa, that it is not yours any longer!" exclaimed Miss Emma, with a liveliness which accorded particularly ill with her deep mourning-dress. "We shall have ten times more fun at Rockaway; Colonnade Manor was the stupidest place in creation; we were often a whole day without seeing a beau!"

At length, Miss Emma having declared herself more than sufficiently rested, she put on the habit; and the chair and horses were brought to the door. Mr. Taylor was to set out shortly after, in another direction, to go over the manufactory in which he was about to become interested.

All agreed that the day was delightful. There was a fine air, the dust had been laid by a shower, and as the road led through several woods, they had not too much sun. For a while the four equestrians kept together, and common-place matters only were talked over; the Petrel was not forgotten. Miss Emma Taylor declared she would have gone along, if she had been on the spot when they sailed. Bob de Vaux said his brother Hubert had offered to take him, but he did not care to go; he had rather ride than sail, any day.

"Here's for a gallop then!" exclaimed the young lady, and off the two set at a rapid pace.

"How does that flirtation come on?" asked Miss Emma, when they lessened their pace at some distance in advance of the rest of the party.

"All settled, I believe," replied the youth.

"What, actually engaged? I have been quite exercised about all your doings over here, this summer; you must have had a lively time, three or four flirtations all going on at once. But, do you know I am bent on spiting Mr. Ellsworth this morning. He meant to have a tete-a-tete, I know, and only asked YOU just to get rid of ME. But he shan't have a moment's peace to pay for it; let's turn round and go back again at full speed."

Bob de Vaux had not the least objections; he liked motion and mischief almost as much as did the lively belle; they both enjoyed the joke exceedingly, and succeeded in provoking Mr. Ellsworth not a little. Miss Emma and her companion were in high glee at their success; they would first ride half a mile by the side of the others, then gallop off to a distance, and at a signal from the young lady, suddenly facing about they would return, just in time, as Miss Emma thought, to cut short any tender speech.

"That young lady seems to have gone twice over every foot of the road," innocently observed Mr. Wyllys, little aware of her object.

"What a restless creature it is!" replied Mrs. Creighton; "she must worry her horse as much as she annoys her rational companions."

"Miss Taylor is a perfect rattle," remarked Mr. Ellsworth. "Quite inferior to her sister, Mrs. Hunter, I should say."

{"a rattle" = a chatterbox}

"Her excess of spirits will wear itself out one of these days, I dare say," replied Elinor.

"It is to be hoped so," said the gentleman, drily.

When they reached the lake they dismounted, and passed half an hour at a farm-house, to rest, and lunch upon iced milk and dew-berries, which the farmer's wife kindly offered them. Mrs. Creighton professed herself rather disappointed with Chewattan Lake; the shores were quite low, there was only one good hill, and one pretty, projecting point, with a fine group of elms standing in graceful relief against the sky; she thought Mr. Hubbard's painting had flattered nature. Mr. Ellsworth would not allow that Charlie ever flattered; but remarked that it was his peculiar merit, to throw a charm about the simplest water scene; and his last view of Chewattan Lake was certainly one of his happiest pictures.

{"dew-berries" = blackberries; "happiest" = most successful}

On their way home, Miss Emma and her companion again commenced their quizzing system. Towards the end of the ride, however, the young lady relaxed a little in her vigilance; when they reached a turnpike-gate, about two miles from Wyllys-Roof, she suddenly proposed to Bob de Vaux to run a race with Elinor and Mr. Ellsworth.

"What do you say to it, Miss Wyllys?"

"Excuse me; I had much rather not."

"Oh, but you don't know what I mean. Now, you and Mr. Ellsworth go cantering and trotting along, in such a sober, Darby and Joan fashion, that I am sure Mr. de Vaux and I can turn off here, take this by-road, which you know comes in nearly opposite your gate, and although it is twice as far round, I bet you a pair of gloves we are at Wyllys-Roof before you."

{"Darby and Joan fashion" = like an old married couple}

"Done!" exclaimed Mr. Ellsworth, delighted with the idea; and off the young lady gallopped {sic} with her companion.

It is not to be supposed that the gentleman allowed the half-hour that followed to pass unimproved. He could speak at last, and he admired Elinor too sincerely, not to express himself in terms both warm and respectful. Although Elinor had been for some time fully prepared for this declaration, yet she did not receive it without betraying feeling and embarrassment. Emotion in woman, at such moments, or in connexion with similar subjects, is generally traced to one cause alone; and yet half the time it should rather be attributed to some other source. Anxiety, modesty, mere nervousness, or even vexation at this very misinterpretation, often raise the colour, and make the voice falter. Elinor had fully made up her mind, and she felt that a frank explanation was due to Mr. Ellsworth, but her regard for him was too sincere not to make the moment a painful one to her. He was rejected; but rejected with so much consideration, so much modesty and feeling, so much good sense, that the very act only increased his regret. He was much disappointed, for he had been a hopeful suitor. Elinor had always liked him, and he had thought her manner encouraging; Mr. Wyllys and Miss Agnes had not concealed their approbation; and Mrs. Creighton had often told him she had no doubt of his success. He was more than mortified, however, by the refusal, he was pained. Elinor repeated assurances of respect and friendship, and regret that she felt herself unable to return his regard as it deserved. She even alluded to his generosity in overlooking her want of personal attractions; she said she had, on that account, been slow to believe that he had any serious object in view. At the time he had first proposed, through her grandfather, she herself had wished to prevent his going any farther, but her friends had desired her to defer the answer; he himself had begged her to do so, and named the time fixed—she had reluctantly consented to this arrangement; and, although the more she knew of Mr. Ellsworth, the more highly she esteemed and respected him, yet the result had been what she first foresaw; she could not conscientiously offer him the full attachment he had a right to expect from a wife.

Mr. Ellsworth rode on in silence for a moment.

"Is it then true, Miss Wyllys, that I must give up all idea of obtaining a more indulgent hearing, at some future day?"

"Judge for yourself if I am capricious, Mr. Ellsworth. Do not imagine that I have lightly rejected the regard of a man whom I esteem so highly as yourself. I could scarcely name another in my whole acquaintance, for whom I should have hesitated so long; but—" Elinor paused, suddenly became very red, and then deadly pale.

"But—what would you say, Miss Wyllys?—go on, I entreat!" exclaimed Mr. Ellsworth.

It was a moment before Elinor rallied. She then continued, in a low voice, and in an agitated, hesitating manner:

"Mr. Ellsworth, I shall speak with perfect frankness; your kindness and forbearance deserve it. When I consented to wait so long before giving you a final answer, it was chiefly that I might discover if I could regain entire command over feelings which have not always been my own. I am afraid you are not aware of this. The feeling itself to which I allude is changed; but be it weakness or not, it has left traces for life. I was willing to make an experiment in favour of one who deserved the full confidence of my friends and myself; but the trial has not succeeded; if I know myself, it can never succeed—I shall never marry."

And then after a moment's silence she gently continued, in a calmer tone:

"But you will soon forget all this, I trust. You will find elsewhere some one more worthy of you; one who can better repay your kindness."

Mr. Ellsworth chafed a little under this suggestion; though not so much as a more passionate man might have done.

"To forget one of so much womanly excellence as yourself, Miss Wyllys, is not the easy task you seem to suppose."

Elinor could have sighed and smiled as the thought recurred to her, that Harry had not found it very difficult to forget her. They had now reached the gate, on their way home, and turning towards her companion as they entered, she said:

"I hope, indeed, you will always remember that you have very sincere friends at Wyllys-Roof, Mr. Ellsworth; believe me, friends capable of appreciating your merits, and aware of what is their due."

Mr. Ellsworth thanked her, but he looked very evidently disturbed. When they reached the piazza he helped Elinor from her horse, perhaps more carefully than usual; Miss Emma Taylor and her cavalier had already arrived; and the young lady immediately attacked Mr. Ellsworth, bidding him remember his bet. When Mrs. Creighton stepped from the chair, she looked for her brother and Elinor, a little curious to discover if anything decisive had passed, but both had already entered the house.

Mr. Wyllys learned in the course of the day, from Ellsworth himself, that he had been rejected; he was very much disappointed, and more disposed to find fault with Elinor than he had ever been before.

"I am afraid you have not acted wisely, Elinor," said her grandfather; words more like a reproof than any that Elinor could remember to have heard fall from his lips, addressed to herself.

Miss Agnes also evidently regretted her niece's decision; but she said nothing on the subject. As for Mrs. Creighton, she thought it all easy to be understood.

"You may say what you please, Frank, about Miss Wyllys, but you will never persuade me she is not a coquette."

But this Mr. Ellsworth would by no means allow.

Elinor laid her head on her pillow that night with the unpleasant reflection, that four persons under the same roof were reproaching her for the step she had taken that day. But she herself knew that she had acted conscientiously.



CHAPTER XXI. {XLIV}

"Such news, my lord, as grieves me to unfold." Henry IV. {sic}

{William Shakespeare, "Richard III", II.iv.39}

THE Petrel was a very pretty little schooner, pronounced a crack craft by the knowing ones. She sat so buoyantly on the water when motionless, and glided along so gracefully when under way, that even landsmen and landswomen must have admired her. Let it not be supposed that the word landswomen is here used unadvisedly: although the Navy Department is decidedly ungallant in its general character, and seldom allows ladies to appear on board ship, excepting at a collation or a ball, yet it is well known that in some of the smaller sea-port towns, the female portion of the population are so much interested in nautical matters, and give so much time and attention to the subject, that they are looked upon as very good judges of spars and rigging; and it is even affirmed, that some of these charming young "salts" are quite capable of examining a midshipman on points of seamanship. If fame has not belied them, such are the accomplishments of the belles of Norfolk and Pensacola; while the wives and daughters of the whalers at Nantucket, are said to have also a critical eye for the cut of a jib and the shape of a hull. Hubert de Vaux hoped they had, for he thought it a pity that the Petrel's beauties should be thrown away.

On the morning they sailed, when Elinor had watched the boat as she lay in the river, they had been waiting for Bruno. Harry wished to carry the dog with him; but after following Hazlehurst to the boat, he had returned home again; he was, however, enticed on board, and they hoisted sail, and slowly moved out of sight.

In spite of some little delay, the Petrel made a very good day's work. That night and the following the party slept on board, and seemed very well satisfied with their quarters; they intended to run out of sight of land before the end of their cruise, but as yet they had landed every few hours for fresh water, vegetables, milk, &c.; as it did not enter at all into their calculations to be put on a short allowance of anything desirable. On the afternoon of the third day, the Petrel reached the wharf of a country place on Long-Island, where the party landed, according to a previous invitation, and joined some friends for a couple of days' shooting, which proved a pleasant variety in the excursion; the sport was pronounced good, and the gentlemen made the most of it. Mr. Stryker, however, complained that the pomp and circumstance of sporting was wanted in this country.

"So long as we have the important items of good guns, good marksmen, and real wild-game, we need not find fault," said Harry.

Many lamentations succeeded, however, upon the rapid disappearance of game from all parts of the country.

"There I have the best of it," said Mr. Stryker to his host. "In the next twenty years you may expect to find your occupation gone; but I shall at least have fishing in abundance all my days; though at times I am not quite so sure of the brook-trout."

"I don't think Jonathan will be able to exterminate all the trout in the land," said Hazlehurst, although he is a shamefully wasteful fellow; but I really think there is some danger for the oysters; if the population increases, and continues to eat them, in the same proportion they do now, I am afraid Jonathan of the next generation will devour the whole species."

"Jonathan" = the American (from "Brother Jonathan")}

>From Glen-Cove the Petrel made a reach across the Sound to Sachem's-Head, where Mr. Stryker enjoyed to perfection the luxuries of clam-soup, lobster-salad, and chowder.

Their next port was Nantucket. They happened to arrive there just before a thunder-shower, and Charlie Hubbard was much struck with the wild, desolate look of the island. He pointed out to Hazlehurst the fine variety of neutral tints to be traced in the waves, in the low sand-banks, and the dark sky forming the back-ground. Nantucket is a barren spot, indeed, all but bare of vegetation; scarcely a shrub will grow there, and even the tough beach-grass is often swept away in large tracts; while the forms of the sand-hills vary with every storm. The town itself, however, is a busy, lively little spot—one of the most nautical in feeling and character to be found on the globe. The chief interests of the inhabitants centre in the ocean; and even the very ornaments of their houses are spoils of the deep, shells and fish-bones from distant latitudes, and sailor's fancy-work in various materials, all connected in some way with the sea. Charlie made a sketch of the island, and determined to return there and paint a picture of some size. The next day, which was Sunday, they remained at Nantucket; there is a pretty little church in the town, and Charlie, Harry, and Mr. Smith attended service there; the rest of the gentlemen preferring to idle away the morning in a less praiseworthy manner.

One of young de Vaux's crew was taken sick here, and he was obliged to secure another man before leaving the island; it was easy to do so, however, as one who was waiting for a passage to New York soon offered, and the matter was settled.

Early on Monday morning they again made sail, for Martha's Vineyard; from thence the Petrel's head was to be turned southward, and after coasting the eastern shore of Long-Island, they expected to return to the wharf at Broadlawn, as fast as the winds would carry them. The Vineyard, owing to a more sheltered position, bears a different aspect from the barren sands of Nantucket; parts of the island are well wooded. Choosing a pleasant bay known to their pilot, where a rude wharf had been built, the party landed and prepared to dine, and pass some hours there. They were no sooner on shore than Mr. Stryker made his arrangements for fishing; having secured bait, Dr. Van Horne and himself, with one of the men, took the Petrel's boat and rowed off from shore, changing their ground occasionally, until they had turned the point which formed the bay on one side, and were no longer in sight. De Vaux and Smith took their guns and went into the wood; Charlie brought out his sketchbook, and was soon engaged in taking some tints, in watercolours, from a heavy bank of clouds which had been slowly rising in the west for several hours. Hazlehurst was lying on the grass near him, with a spy-glass, watching a couple of sloops in the distance: turning his head accidentally towards the spot where they were commencing preparations for dinner, Harry saw one of the men, the new recruit, whom he had not yet remarked, looking at him closely. It struck Hazlehurst that he had met this man before; the sailor saw that he was observed, and after a moment's hesitation he approached, touching his hat with the common salutation of a seaman, and looking as if he wished to speak, but scarcely knew how to begin.

"Have you anything to say to me, my friend?—It strikes me I have seen your face somewhere lately."

"If you are Mr. Hazlehurst, I guess, sir, you seed me not long since," replied the man, a little embarrassed.

It suddenly flashed upon Harry's mind, that it was during the Stanley trial that he had seen this person; yes, he could not be mistaken, he was one of the witnesses for the plaintiff on that occasion. Hazlehurst gave him a keen look; the fellow faltered a little, but begged Harry to step aside for a moment, as he wished to speak alone with him. They moved to the adjoining bank, within the edge of the wood, and a conversation followed of some consequence to Hazlehurst, certainly. After a few prefatory remarks, this man offered to make important revelations, upon condition that he should be screened from justice—being considered as state's evidence—and rewarded by Harry for volunteering his services; to which Hazlehurst readily agreed.

We shall tell his story for him, rather as it appeared at a later day, than in the precise words in which it was first given at Martha's Vineyard. By his disclosures, the villany {sic} of Clapp and his client were placed beyond a doubt; and he himself was good authority, for he was Robert Stebbins, the witness who had sworn to having returned the pocket-book and the accompanying documents to the plaintiff, as their rightful owner; he now confessed that he had perjured himself for a heavy bribe, but stood ready to turn state's evidence, and reveal all he knew of the plot. Those papers had actually been placed in his care thirteen years since by his own brother, Jonathan Stebbins, who had died of small-pox in an hospital at Marseilles. This brother had been a favourite companion of William Stanley's from his first voyage; they had shipped together in the Jefferson, and before sailing, Stanley had placed a package of papers and other articles, for safe-keeping, in an old chest of Stebbins's, which was left with the sailor's mother in Massachusetts. They were wrecked in the Jefferson on the coast of Africa, as had been already reported; but they were not drowned, they both succeeded in reaching the shore, having lashed themselves to the same spar. It was a desert, sandy coast, and they were almost starved after having reached the land; their only shelter was a small cave in a low ledge of rocks near the beach; they fed upon half-putrid shell-fish thrown upon the sands by the gale, and they drank from the pools of rain-water that had formed on the rock during the storm; for they had saved nothing from the wreck but a sealed bottle, containing their protections as American sailors, some money in an old glove, and a few other papers. William Stanley had been ill before the gale, and he had not strength to bear up against these hardships; he declined rapidly, and aware that he could not live, the young man charged his companion, if he ever returned to America, to seek his family, relate the circumstances of his death, and show the papers in the bottle—an old letter to himself, and within it the notice of his father's marriage, which he had cut from a paper, obtained from an American vessel spoken on the voyage—and also the package left on shore in the old chest, as these documents would be considered testimonials of his veracity. He farther charged Stebbins to say that he asked his father's forgiveness, acknowledging that he died repenting of his past misconduct. The third day after the gale the young man expired, and Stebbins buried him in the sand near the cave. The survivor had a hard struggle for life; the rain-water had soon dried away, and he set out at night in search of a spring to relieve his thirst, still keeping in sight of the shore. As the morning sun rose, when all but exhausted, he discovered on the beach several objects from the wreck, which had drifted in that direction, the wind having changed after the gale. He found a keg of spirits and some half-spoiled biscuit, and by these means his life was prolonged. He made a bag of his shirt, bound a few things on his back, and buried others in the sand, to return to if necessary, and then continued to follow the shore northward, in search of some spring or stream. Fortunately, he soon came to a woody tract which promised water, and climbing a tree he watched the wild animals, hoping to discover where they drank; at length, following a flock of antelopes, he came suddenly upon the bank of a stream of some size; and to his unspeakable joy, saw on the opposite bank a party of white men, the first human beings he had beheld since Stanley's death; they proved to be Swedes belonging to a ship in the offing; and immediately took him into their boat. The vessel was bound to Stockholm, where she carried young Stanley's shipmate; from there he went to St. Petersburgh, where he met with the brother who related his story to Hazlehurst, and both soon after enlisted in the Russian navy. They were sent to the Black Sea, and kept there and in the Mediterranean for five years, until the elder brother, Jonathan Stebbins, died of small-pox in a hospital at Marseilles, having never returned to America since the wreck of the Jefferson. Before his death, however, he left all his effects and William Stanley's papers to his brother. This man, Robert Stebbins, seemed to have paid very little attention to the documents; it was by mere chance that he preserved the old letter, and the marriage notice within it, for he confessed that he had torn up the protection, once when he wanted a bit of paper: he had never known William Stanley himself, the inquiries about the young man had ceased before he returned to America, and he had attached no importance whatever to these papers. He had left them where they had first been placed, in the old sea-chest at his mother's house, near New Bedford, while he led the usual wandering life of a sailor. He told Harry that he had at last quite forgotten this package, until he accidentally fell in with a man calling himself William Stanley, at a low tavern, only some five or six years since, and, to his amazement, heard him declare he had been wrecked in the Jefferson.

{"protection" = a paper testifying to the American citizenship of a seaman, carried to protect him against being forced into the British Navy as an Englishman. Stebbins' survival reflects descriptions of a shipwreck on the Atlantic coast of North Africa in James Fenimore Cooper's "Homeward Bound" (1838)}

"The fellow was half-drunk," said Stebbins; "but I knew his yarn was a lie all the time, for I had sailed with him in another ship, at the time my brother Jonathan was wrecked in the Jefferson. He shipped then under the name of Benson, but I knew his real name was Edward Hopgood—"

"Edward Hopgood!" exclaimed Harry, passing his hand over his forehead—" surely I have heard that name before. Wait a moment," he added, to Stebbins; while he endeavoured to recollect why that name, singular in itself, had a familiar sound to him. At length his eye brightened, the whole matter became more clear; he recollected when a mere child, a year or two before Mr. Stanley's death, while staying at Greatwood during a vacation, to have heard of the bad conduct of a young man named Edward Hopgood, a lawyer's clerk in the adjoining village, who had committed forgery and then run away. The circumstances had occurred while Harry was at Greatwood, and had been so much talked of in a quiet, country neighbourhood, as to make a decided impression on himself, child as he was. Harry also remembered to have heard Mr. Stanley tell Mr. Wyllys that this Hopgood was very distantly related to himself, through the mother, who had made a very bad connexion; adding, that this lad had been at Greatwood, and would have been assisted by himself, had he not behaved very badly, and done so much to injure his own son that he had been forbidden the house. Harry farther remembered, that Clapp had belonged to the same office from which this Hopgood had run away. There was, however, one point which he did not understand; he thought he had since heard that this Hopgood had turned actor, and died long since of yellow-fever, at New Orleans. Still, he felt convinced that there was a good foundation for Stebbins's story, and he hoped soon to unravel the whole plot, from the clue thus placed in his hands.

"Go on," said Harry, after this pause. "You say this man, whom you knew to be Hopgood, called himself William Stanley. What became of him?"

"It is the same chap that hoisted your colours, Mr. Hazlehurst; him that the jury gave the verdict to in Philadelphia."

"Yes; I knew it must be the same individual before you spoke," said Harry, with a view to keep his informant accurate. "But how did you know that his name was Hopgood? for you say he had shipped under another."

"I knew it because he had told me so himself. He told me how he had run away from a lawyer's office in Pennsylvany, gone to New Orleans and turned play-actor a while, then shammed dead, and had his name printed in the papers among them that died of yellow-fever. He told me all that in his first voyage, when we were shipmates, and that was just the time that my brother Jonathan was wrecked in the Jefferson."

"When you afterwards heard him say he was William Stanley, did you tell him you knew his real name?"

"Yes; I told him I knew he lied; for my brother had buried Stanley with his own hands, and that I had his papers at home. Then he told me, he was only laughing at the green-horns."

"Did you mention to any one at the time that you knew this man was not William Stanley?"

"No, sir, for I didn't speak to him until we were alone; and we parted company next morning, for I went to sea."

"When did you next see Hopgood?"

"Well, I didn't fall in with him again for a long while, until this last spring. When I came home from a voyage to China in the Mandarin, last May, I went to my mother's, near New Bedford, and then I found a chap had been to see her in the winter, and persuaded her to give him all the papers in the old chest, that had belonged to William Stanley, making out he was one of the young man's relations. It was that lawyer Clapp; and Hopgood had put him on the track of them 'ere papers."

"What were the documents in your chest?"

"Most of what they had to show came from me: to be sure, Hopgood had got some letters and papers, written to himself of late years under the name of William Stanley; but all they had before the wreck of the Jefferson came from me."

"Were there any books among the articles in your possession?"

"No, sir; nothing but the pocket-book."

"Are you quite sure? Was there not one book with William Stanley's name in it?"

"Not one; that 'ere book they had in court didn't come from me; how they got it I don't know," replied Stebbins positively; who, it seemed, knew nothing of the volume of the Spectator.

"Where did you next meet Hopgood?"

"Well, I was mad when I found he had got them papers; but the lawyer had left a message with my mother, saying if I came home, she was to tell me I'd hear something to my advantage by applying to him. So I went after him to the place where he lives; and sure enough there was Hopgood, and he and Clapp as thick as can be together. I guess they'd have liked it better if I had never showed myself again: but they got round me, and told me how it was all settled, and if I would only lend a hand, and keep quiet about Hopgood, and speak for them once in a while, they would enter into an agreement to give me enough to make a skipper of me at once. Them 'ere lawyers they can make black look like white—and so I agreed to it at last."

Hazlehurst strongly suspected that less persuasion had been necessary than the man wished him to believe.

"Did they tell you all their plan?"

"Pretty much all; they said it was easy to make people believe Hopgood was William Stanley, for he looked so much like the young man, that he had been asked if that wasn't his name. He said it was that first gave him the notion of passing off for William Stanley—that, and knowing all about the family, and the young man himself. He said Stanley had no near relations who would be likely to remember him; there was only one old gentleman they was afraid of, but they calculated they knew enough to puzzle him too. Hopgood had been practising after Stanley's handwriting; he was pretty good at that trade when he was a shaver," said Stebbins, with a look which showed he knew the story of the forgery. "He was bred a lawyer, and them 'ere lawyers are good at all sorts of tricks. Clapp and him had made out a story from my papers and what they know'd before, and got it all ready in a letter; they agreed that from the time of the wreck, they had better keep pretty straight to Hopgood's real life; and so they did."

"They seem to have laid all their plans before you."

"Well, they couldn't help it, for they wanted me to tell them all I heard from my brother; but I told 'em to speak first. They made out that Hopgood had a right to the property; for they said that old Mr. Stanley had no family to leave it to, that you was a stranger, and that Hopgood was a relation."

"This Hopgood, who first helped to corrupt William Stanley, even if he had actually been a near relation, would have been the last human being to whom Mr. Stanley would have left his property," said Harry, coolly. "But go on with your story; why did they not show the pocket-book before the trial?"

"They settled it so, because they thought it would look better before the jury."

"Why did you change your own mind so soon after the trial? You should have come to me before."

"Hopgood and I had a quarrel only three days ago, when he was drunk; he swore they could have done without me, and I swore I'd be revenged. Then that fellow, Clapp, wouldn't pay me on the spot according to agreement, as soon as they had gained the cause. I had kept my part, and he hadn't lifted a finger yet for me; nor he wouldn't if he could help it, for all he had given me his word. I know him from more than one thing that came out; he is one of your fellows who sham gentlemen, with a fine coat to his back; but I wouldn't trust him with a sixpence out of sight; no, nor out of arm's length," and Stebbins went on, swearing roundly at Clapp and Hopgood, until Harry interrupted him.

"I know them 'ere lawyers, they think they can cheat Jack any day; but I won't trust him an hour longer! I know your real gentleman from your tricky sham at a minute's warning, though their coats be both cut off the same piece of broadcloth. I haven't served under Uncle Sam's officers for nothing. Now I'll trust you, Mr. Hazlehurst, as long as it suits you; I'd no more have talked to Clapp without having his name down in black and white, as I have to you, than I'd be shot."

"The agreement I have made shall be strictly kept," replied Harry, coldly. "Had you come to me before the trial, you would have had the same reward, without the crime of perjury."

"Well, that 'ere perjury made me feel uncomfortable; and what with having sworn vengeance on Clapp and Hopgood, I made up my mind to go straight back to Philadelphy, and turn state's evidence. I was waiting for a chance to get to New York when I saw you on the wharf at Nantucket, and I knew you in a minute."

The conversation was here interrupted by a call from the beach, which attracted Harry's attention, after having been so much engrossed during the disclosures of Stebbins, as to be quite regardless of what was going on about him. It was de Vaux who had called—he now approached.

"I couldn't think where that fellow, Stebbins, had got to; if you have nothing for him to do here, Hazlehurst, he is wanted yonder."

Harry and the sailor accordingly parted. After exchanging a few words to conclude their agreement, they both returned to the beach.

The Petrel seemed to be getting under way again; Smith and de Vaux, who had just returned from the wood with their guns, and Charlie, who had just left his sketching apparels, were standing together looking on when Harry joined them.

"I didn't know what had become of you," said Charlie. "What a long yarn that fellow seemed to be telling you!"

"It was well worth hearing," said Harry, with a significant look at his friend.

"Really? I had some hope it might prove so from the man's look," added Charlie, comprehending at once the drift of the conversation, though he had little idea of its complete success in unravelling the plot

"You shall hear it before long," added Harry.

"When you please; in the mean time I wish you joy of any good news!"

"But what are you about here, de Vaux? I thought we were to remain on the island till sun-set."

"So we shall; but it seems that fellow, Black Bob, has forgot the vegetables I ordered him to bring from Nantucket; we have discovered a house with something like a garden on the opposite point, and I am going to send Bob with the boy Sam on a foraging expedition; I dare say they will find potatoes and onions at least. That is the spot; do you see the apple-trees? With the glass I saw a woman moving about, and milk-pans drying in the sun."

"Why don't you send the boat?"

"Stryker hasn't come back yet, and there is wind enough to carry the Petrel over and back again in half an hour."

"Smith and I are going as commanding officers; and you will have a much better dinner for our exertions, no doubt," said Charlie.

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