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Elinor Wyllys - Vol. II
by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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"Holloa, there, Bob—Sam!—tumble on board; mind you bring all the garden-stuff they can spare. You Bob, see if you can pick up half you contrived to forget, sir, at Nantucket. You deserve to be made to swim across for it," said de Vaux.

"Never could swim a stroke in my born days, sir," muttered Black Bob.

"There isn't much choice of sa'ace at Nantucket, anyway," added the boy Sam.

{"sa'ace" = sauce, a slang term for vegetables}

"Here we go," said Charlie, jumping lightly on board, followed by Smith.

"It is possible you may find some melons, Hubbard; don't forget to ask for them," said de Vaux.

"Ay, ay, sir," replied Charlie, nodding as the Petrel moved off. The boy was steering, while Black Bob and the gentlemen tended the sails; and the little schooner glided gracefully on her way, with a light breeze, sufficiently favourable.

Harry went to take a look at Charlie's sketch, which he found just as the young artist had left it—spirited and true to nature as usual, but only half-finished. De Vaux looked into the chowder pot, where all seemed to be going on well. He then joined Harry, and the young men continued walking together near the shanty, where preparations for dinner were going on under the charge of Stebbins and the acting steward of the cruise.

"It is nearly time Stryker made his appearance with the fish," said Harry.

"If the sport is good, we shan't see him this hour yet," replied de Vaux. "He will only come back in time to put the finishing stroke to the chowder."

"If he waits too long he will have a shower," observed Harry, pointing eastward, where dark clouds were beginning to appear above the wood.

"Not under an hour I think," said de Vaux. "He will take care of himself at any rate—trust to Stryker for that," They turned to look at the Petrel. Some ten or fifteen minutes had passed since she left the little wharf, and she was already near her destination; the point on which the farm-house stood being scarcely more than a mile distant, in a direct line, and a single tack having proved sufficient to carry her there.

"The wind seems to be falling," said Harry, holding up his hand to feel the air. "It is to be hoped they will make a quick bargain, or they may keep your potatoes too late to be boiled for to-day's dinner."

De Vaux took up the glass to look after their movements.

"They have made the point, handsomely," he said; "and there is a woman coming down to the shore, and a boy, too."

The friends agreed that there seemed every prospect of a successful negotiation; for a woman was seen going towards the garden with a basket, and Sam, the boy, had landed. Before long a basket was carried down from the house; while Sam and the woman were still busy in the garden.

"They had better be off as soon as they can," said de Vaux, "for the wind is certainly falling."

"There is a shower coming up over the island, Captain de Vaux," said Stebbins, touching his hat.

"Coming, sure enough!—look yonder!"—exclaimed Harry, pointing eastward, where heavy clouds were now seen rising rapidly over the wood.

"We shall have a shower, and something of a squall, I guess," added Stebbins.

There could not indeed be much doubt of the fact, for a heavy shower now seemed advancing, with the sudden rapidity not unusual after very warm weather; the position of the bay, and a wooded bank having concealed its approach until close at hand.

"We shall have a dead calm in ten minutes," said de Vaux; "I wish the Petrel was off."

But still there seemed something going on in the garden; the woman and Sam were very busy, and Charlie and Smith had joined them.

"They must see the shower coming up by this time!" exclaimed de Vaux.

"There will be a squall and a sharp one, too," added Stebbins.

The wind, which had prevailed steadily all the morning in a light, sultry breeze from the south, was now dying away; the sullen roll of distant thunder was heard, while here and there a sudden flash burst from a nearer cloud.

"Thank Heaven, they are off at last!" cried de Vaux, who was watching the schooner with some anxiety.

Harry and the two men were busy gathering together under cover of the shanty, the different articles scattered about, and among others Charlie's half-finished sketch.

The sun was now obscured; light, detached clouds, looking heated and angry, were hurrying in advance with a low flight, while the heavens were half-covered by the threatening mass which came gathering in dark and heavy folds about the island. Suddenly the great body of vapour which had been hanging sullenly over the western horizon all the morning, now set in motion by a fresh current of air, began to rise with a slow movement, as if to meet the array advancing so eagerly from the opposite direction; it came onward steadily, with a higher and a wider sweep than the mass which was pouring immediately over the little bay. The landscape had hung out its storm-lights; the dark scowl of the approaching gust fell alike on wood, beach, and waters; the birds were wheeling about anxiously; the gulls and other water-fowl flying lower and lower, nearer and nearer to their favourite element; the land-birds hurrying hither and thither, seeking shelter among their native branches. But not a drop of rain had yet fallen; and the waves still came rolling in upon the sands with the measured, lulling sound of fair weather.

The air from the south revived for a moment, sweeping in light, fitful puffs over the bay. Favoured by this last flickering current of the morning's breeze, the Petrel had succeeded in making her way half across the bay, though returning less steadily than she had gone on her errand an hour before.

"Give us another puff or two, and she will yet be here before the squall," said de Vaux.

The little schooner was now indeed within less than half a mile of the wharf; but here at length the wind entirely failed her, and she sat idly on the water. De Vaux was watching her through the glass; there seemed to be some little hesitation and confusion on board; Sam, the boy, had given up the tiller to Black Bob. Suddenly the first blast of the gust from the east came rustling through the wood, making the young trees bend before it; then as it passed over the water there was a minute's respite.

"How she dodges!—What are they about?" exclaimed Harry.

"What do they mean?—Are they blind?—can't they see the squall coming?" cried de Vaux in great anxiety, as he watched the hesitation on board the Petrel.

"As my name is Nat Fisher, that nigger is drunk!—I thought so this morning!" exclaimed the steward.

"And Smith and Hubbard know nothing of a boat!" cried de Vaux, in despair.

The words had scarcely passed his lips before the wind came rushing over the wood, in a sudden, furious blast, bringing darker and heavier clouds, accompanied by quick, vivid flashes of lightning, and sharp cracks of thunder; the rain pouring down in torrents. It was with difficulty the young men kept their footing on the end of the wharf, such was the first fury of the gust; but they forgot themselves in fears for their friends.

"Are they mad!" cried de Vaux, as he marked the uncertainty of their movements; while the wind was sweeping furiously over the darkened waters towards them.

A heavy sheet of rain, pouring in a flood from the clouds, completely enveloped the party on the wharf; another second and a shout was indistinctly heard amid the tumult of the winds and waters; a lighter cloud passed over, the bay was partially seen again; but neither the white sails of the Petrel nor her buoyant form could be traced by the eager eyes on the wharf. She had been struck by the gust and capsized.

"She is gone!" exclaimed de Vaux, with a cry of horror.

"Charlie can't swim!" cried Harry.

"Nor Bob, for certain," said the steward. "I don't know about the others."

Three shots from a fowling-piece were rapidly fired, as a signal to the party in the Petrel that their situation was known to their friends on shore. The steward was instantly ordered to run along the beach to the farthest point, and carry the boat from there to the spot; it was a distance of more than two miles by land, still de Vaux thought it best to be done; while he himself and Stebbins seized another pair of oars, and set off at full speed in the opposite direction, to the nearest point, about a mile from the wharf, beyond which Stryker was fishing with their own boat, intending to carry her instantly to the relief of the party in the schooner.

Harry thought of his friend; Charlie could not swim, he himself was a remarkably good swimmer. It must be some little time before either boat could reach the capsized schooner, and in the interval, two at least of the four individuals in the Petrel, were helpless and in imminent peril. The idea of Charlie's danger decided his course; in a moment he had cast off his clothes, and with Bruno at his side—a faithful ally at such a moment—he had thrown himself into the water, confident that he could swim the distance himself with ease.

The next half-hour was one of fearful anxiety. The gust still raged with sullen fury; the shower from eastward, collected among the mists of the ocean, and the array from the west, gathered amid the woods and marshes of the land, met with a fierce shock on the shores of the Vineyard. The thunder and lightning were unusually severe, several bolts falling within a short distance about the bay; the rain pouring down in a dense sheet, as the wind drove cloud after cloud over the spot in its stormy flight. And amid this scene of violence four human beings were struggling for life, while their anxious friends were hurrying to their relief, with every nerve alive. Frederick Smith was the first who rose after the Petrel capsized; in another moment he saw the head of the boy emerge from the water at a little distance; the lad could swim, and both had soon gained the portion of the little schooner's hull which was partially bare, though constantly washed by the waves. Another minute, and Smith saw amid the spray Charlie's head; he knew that Hubbard could not swim, and moved towards him with a cry of encouragement.

"Here!" replied the young painter; but he had disappeared before Smith could reach him.

A fresh blast of wind, rain, and hail passed over the spot; Smith moved about calling to Hubbard and the negro; but he received no answer from either.

"There's one of them!" cried the boy eagerly; he swam towards the object he had seen, but it proved to be only a hat.

Both returned to the Petrel's side, watching as closely as the violence of the wind and rain would permit. Not a trace of the negro was seen; yet Smith thought he must have risen to the surface at some point unobserved by them, for he was a man of a large, corpulent body, more likely to float than many others. A second time Smith was relieved by seeing Charlie rise, but at a greater distance from the Petrel's hull; a second time he strained every nerve to reach him, but again the young man sunk beneath the waves.

A shout was now heard. "It is the boat!" said Smith, as he answered the call. He was mistaken; it was Hazlehurst who now approached, with Bruno at his side, guided by the voices of Smith and the boy.

"Charlie!" cried Harry, as he made his way through the water. Charlie!" he repeated again.

"Hubbard has sunk twice, and the negro is gone!" cried Smith.

"Come to the hull and take breath," added Smith.

But just as he spoke, Harry had seen an arm left bare by a passing wave; he made a desperate effort, reached the spot, and seized Charlie's body, crying joyfully, "It is Hubbard; I have him!—Charlie, do you know me?—Charlie, speak but a word, my good fellow!"

But the young man had lost his consciousness; he returned no answer either by look or word. Harry grasped his collar, holding his face above the water, and at the same time moving towards the Petrel's hull as rapidly as he could.

"Here Bruno, my noble dog! That's right, Smith, get a firm hold on the schooner; we must draw him up, he has fainted; but the boats must be here soon."

Smith was following Hazlehurst's directions; but ere Bruno had joined his master, Harry, now within a short distance of the schooner, suddenly cried, "Help!"—and in another second both he and Charlie had disappeared beneath the water, in a manner as incomprehensible, as it was unexpected and distressing to Smith.

"He's sunk!" cried the boy.

"How?—where? Surely he was not exhausted!"

A howl burst from Bruno.

"Perhaps it's the cramp," said the lad.

"Both sunk!—Hazlehurst too!" again exclaimed Smith, as much amazed as he was distressed. He and the boy threw themselves from the schooner's side again, looking anxiously for some trace of Hazlehurst.

"Look sharp, my lad, as you would save a fellow-creature!"

"There's one of them!" cried the boy, and in another instant he had caught Charlie by the hair. But not a trace of Hazlehurst was seen since he first disappeared, and the waters had closed so suddenly over him. Charlie was carried to the Petrel's side; and while Smith and the lad were endeavouring to raise him on the schooner, Bruno was swimming hither and thither, howling piteously for his master.

A shout was now heard.

"The boat at last, thank Heaven!" cried Smith, returning the call.

A minute passed; nothing was seen of Harry; Charlie was raised entirely above water; when at length the Petrel's boat dashed towards them, urged by all the strength of four rowers.

"Hubbard!—Bob!" cried de Vaux, as the first glance showed him that both Smith and the boy were safe.

"Hubbard is here, insensible—Bob gone—Hazlehurst sunk, too!"

"Hazlehurst and Bob, too!—Merciful powers!" exclaimed the party.

A hurried, eager search succeeded, as soon as Charlie, with Smith and Sam, now somewhat exhausted by fatigue and agitation, were taken on board. Hubbard was quite insensible; young Van Horne, the physician, thought his appearance unfavourable, but instantly resorted to every means possible under the circumstances, with the hope of restoring animation. Still nothing was seen of Harry; his entire disappearance was quite incomprehensible.

"It must have been cramp; yet I never knew him have it, and he is one of the best swimmers in the country!" said de Vaux.

"He must have felt it coming, and had presence of mind to loosen his hold of Hubbard at the same moment he cried for help," observed Smith.

Bruno was still swimming, now here, now there, encircling the Petrel in wider or narrower reaches, howling from time to time with a sound that went to the hearts of all who heard him. Different objects floating about beguiled the party for an instant with hope, but each time a few strokes of the oars undeceived them.

Suddenly Bruno stopped within a short distance of the Petrel, and dove; those in the boat watched him eagerly; he rose with a sharp bark, calling them to the spot; then dove again, rose with a howl, and for a third time disappeared beneath the water. Convinced that he had found either Harry or the negro, de Vaux threw off his coat and plunged into the water, to examine the spot thoroughly. The dog soon rose again with a rope in his mouth, pulling it with all his strength, uttering at the same time a smothered cry. The rope was seized by those in the boat, and de Vaux dove; he touched first one body, then another; but all his strength was unequal to the task of raising either. After a hurried examination, it was found that one body, that of the negro, was entangled in a rope and thus held under water from the first; while Harry's leg was firmly clenched in the dying grip of Black Bob, who must have seized it as Hazlehurst passed, and drawn him downward in that way.

In as short a time as possible, Hazlehurst and the negro were placed in the boat by the side of Hubbard, who had not yet showed any sign of life; every effort was made to revive them by some of the party, while the others rowed with all their strength towards the shore.

All watched the face of Van Horne, the young physician, with the greatest anxiety, as he leaned first over one, then over another, directing the labours of the rest.

"Surely there must be some hope!" cried de Vaux to him.

"We will leave no effort untried," replied the other; though he could not look sanguine.

The boat from the most distant point, rowed by the steward and a boy from the farm-house, now joined them; and those who could not be of use in assisting Van Horne, passed into her, taking their oars, and towing the boat of the ill-fated Petrel with her melancholy burden towards the beach. Bruno could not be moved from his old master's side; it was painful to see him crawling from one body to the other, with as much watchfulness, as much grief, and almost as much intelligence as the surviving friends; now crouching at the cold feet of Hazlehurst, now licking the stiff hand, now raising himself to gaze wistfully at the inanimate features of the young man.

The shower was passing over; the rain soon ceased, the clouds broke away, the sun burst again in full glory upon the bay, the beach, the woods, throwing a brilliant bow over the island. But three of those upon whom it had shone only an hour earlier, were now stretched cold and lifeless on the sands; while the mourning survivors were hanging in heartfelt grief over the bodies of the two friends and the negro sailor.



CHAPTER XXII. {XLV}

"And e'en to wakeful conscience unconfest, Her fear, her grief, her joy were his alone." COLERIDGE. {sic}

{Reginald Heber (English poet, 1783-1826), "Morte d'Arthur: A Fragment" lines II.534-535}

THE melancholy disaster of the Petrel happened on Monday; it was not until the Thursday following that the evil tidings reached Longbridge.

Elinor, accompanied by Mary Van Alstyne, set out quite early in the morning to pay some visits at different country-houses in the neighbourhood. They had been out some little time, having driven several miles, and made three or four calls, when they reached Mrs. Van Horne's. On entering the parlour they found the mistress of the house was not there, but a much less agreeable person, the elder Mrs. Tibbs, the greatest gossip in Longbridge.

"I am glad to see you this morning, young ladies," she said.

"Thank you, ma'am; it is a very pleasant morning, certainly," replied Elinor, as she took a seat on the sofa.

"Very pleasant, yes; but I was fearful you might have been kept at home by the bad news we Longbridge people have just heard."

"It does not seem to have kept you at home either, Mrs. Tibbs, whatever it may be," replied Elinor, smiling; for she knew that any news, whether good or bad, always set this lady in motion. Little did the poor young girl suspect the nature of the intelligence that awaited her!

"No; I thought my good friend, Mrs. Van Horne, might feel uneasy about her son, and came over to be with her."

"Mrs. Van Horne! Has anything happened to the family?"

"You haven't heard the news then?—I am surprised at that. But here is an account of the accident in the New Haven Eagle. It has made us all feel quite dreadfully at home!"

"What has happened?—Pray tell us!" exclaimed Elinor, now looking alarmed.

"Here is the account; but perhaps you had better let Miss Mary read it; she was not so intimate with the deceased."

"What is it?—let me see the paper, Mary. An accident to one of the Van Hornes!" and she took the sheet from the table. Her eye immediately fell on the following article:

"Our city was painfully excited this morning by the intelligence which reached here, of a distressing accident to a beautiful little schooner, the property of Hubert de Vaux, Esq., of New York, which was seen in our waters only a few days since, and attracted universal admiration in our port."

Elinor's eyes could see no farther; she stretched out the paper to her cousin, saying in a faint voice, "Mary, read!"

Mary Van Alstyne took the paper, and continued silently to look over the passage.

"This little schooner, bound on a cruise of pleasure, had reached Martha's Vineyard, when, during the sudden squall which passed over this section also on Monday, she capsized, and melancholy to relate, four persons lost their lives. The party consisted of Mr. de Vaux himself, Colonel Stryker, and Mr. Van Horne, of New York; Charles Hubbard, Esq., the distinguished young artist; Henry Hazlehurst, Esq., our secretary of Legation to the court of Russia, where he was shortly to proceed with Mr. Henley, our Envoy; and also Frederick Smith, Esq., a young gentleman from Philadelphia. There were in addition five men in the crew. We regret to add that Mr. Hazlehurst and Mr. Hubbard, a negro sailor known as Black Bob, and another man, name not mentioned, were drowned; the bodies were all recovered, but every effort to restore life proved unavailing."

Mary Van Alstyne had strong nerves, but the suddenness of these melancholy tidings, and a dread of the effect upon Elinor, made her turn deadly pale.

"Tell me, Mary," said her cousin faintly.

Mary waited a moment to recover herself, when the question was anxiously repeated. She took Elinor's hand and sat down by her side, using every precaution of delicacy and tenderness in breaking the bad news to her cousin; she approached the worst as gradually as she could, and mentioned every favourable circumstance first; while Elinor sat trembling in every limb, yet endeavouring to retain command over her senses and her feelings. But it was in vain; when Mary was at length forced to confess that two of their friends were among the lost, Elinor put her hand to her heart, while her eyes were fixed on her cousin's lips; when the name of Hazlehurst was at length reluctantly pronounced, she started from her chair, and fell quite insensible on the floor, at her companion's feet.

It was a long time before she could be restored. Mrs. Van Horne and the doctor, who was happily in the house, did all in their power to relieve their young friend; and Mrs. Tibbs was really quite distressed and mortified, when she found the effects of her allusion to the accident were so serious.

"Poor young thing!—I'd no notion, Mrs. Van Horne, that she would have taken it so much to heart. Do you suppose she was engaged to one of the young gentlemen?"

An imploring look from Mary Van Alstyne said to the doctor as plainly as look could speak, "Do send her away!"

The doctor was very ready to do so, and by virtue of his medical authority requested the gossip to walk into the other room, where he permitted himself to give her a sharp reprimand for having been in such haste to tell the evil tidings.

It was some time before Elinor fully recovered her consciousness; her first words expressed a wish to be carried home.

"Home, Mary," she said faintly.

Mrs. Van Horne, who was deeply interested in her young friend, was anxious she should remain where she was until her strength had entirely returned.

"I am strong now," said Elinor feebly, making an effort to rise.

Mary looked inquiringly at the doctor.

"You shall go in a few minutes, my dear Miss Elinor," said the doctor after an instant's hesitation; he thought it best that she should do so, but determined that his wife and himself would accompany her to Wyllys-Roof.

"Mary," said Elinor, with an effort, looking towards Mrs. Van Horne, "ask if—"

Mary guessed that she wished to know if the Van Hornes had heard anything in addition to the account in the paper. Without speaking, she looked the question.

"We have had a few lines, sent us by Mrs. de Vaux from New York," said Mrs. Van Horne, gently.

Elinor closed her eyes, and fell back again on the cushion.

"You must not talk, my dear," said the doctor kindly.

Young de Vaux had in fact written a line or two to his mother, who was in New York, by the boat which he sent off immediately to engage a small steamer, as soon as the squall had passed over; and this note had been considerately forwarded by Mrs. de Vaux to the Van Hornes, as it mentioned the safety of their own son. It ran as follows:

"Martha's Vineyard.

"MY DEAR MOTHER:—We are greatly distressed by a melancholy accident which befell us scarce an hour since. The Petrel capsized; most of our party are safe; but two of my friends are gone, Hazlehurst and Hubbard! You will understand our grief; mine especially! We shall return immediately.

"Your son, H. de V."

The doctor handed this note to Mary, at a moment when Mrs. Van Horne was bending over Elinor.

In a few minutes Elinor made another request to be carried home.

"Pray take me home, doctor," she said; "I can go now."

The doctor felt her pulse, and observing that although very feeble, she seemed to have command of herself, he thought the air and motion would be of service. The carriage was ordered, she took a restorative, and making a great effort to rally, leaning on the doctor's arm she walked to the door. Dr. and Mrs. Van Horne accompanied her, as well as her cousin.

"Thank you," she said with her usual gentleness, as she remarked their kind intention, and then throwing herself back in her seat she closed her eyes; her face was deadly pale, large tears would force themselves slowly from beneath her eyelids, and a shudder pass over her limbs; and yet it was evident she made a strong effort to control her emotion. There was something in her whole expression and manner, that bore all the stamp of the deepest feeling; it was no common nervousness, no shock of sudden surprise, nor merely friendly sympathy; it was the expression of unalloyed grief springing from the very depths of a noble heart.

Even Dr. Van Horne, whose nerves had been hardened by the exercise of years amid scenes peculiar to his calling, could scarcely refrain from shedding tears, as he looked with compassion and with respect at his young friend. She seemed quite indifferent to the observation of others; her heart and mind were apparently engrossed by one idea, one feeling, and all her strength engaged in facing one evil.

Mrs. Van Horne had not supposed that the bad news would have affected her so deeply, nor was Mary Van Alstyne prepared for the result; but however Elinor might have hitherto deceived herself, however much her friends might have misunderstood her, the truth was now only too clear; her heart had spoken too loudly to be misunderstood—it was wholly Hazlehurst's.

They drove on steadily and slowly, the silence only interrupted by occasional remarks of Elinor's companions, as they offered her some assistance. When they came in sight of the Hubbard cottage, Mary Van Alstyne's heart sunk anew, as she remembered the blow which had also fallen upon their good neighbours.

Elinor's efforts for self-command increased as she drew near home—for the sake of her friends, her aunt and grandfather, she strained every nerve; but on reaching the house it was in vain, her resolution gave way entirely when she saw Bruno lying in his usual place on the piazza. She became so much agitated that it was feared she would again fall into a deep swoon, and she was carried from the carriage to a sofa in the drawing-room. Neither Miss Agnes nor Mr. Wyllys was at home; they had gone to their afflicted neighbours the Hubbards. An express had brought a report of the melancholy catastrophe, not half an hour after Elinor had left Wyllys-Roof in the morning; the lifeless body of our poor young friend, Charlie, was to reach Longbridge that afternoon, and Hubert de Vaux had come to request Miss Agnes to break the sad truth to the bereaved mother and sister. Jane also was absent, she was in New York with the Taylors; but Elinor's faithful nurse and the old black cook came hurrying to her assistance, as soon as they knew she had reached the house so much indisposed.

{"express" = special messenger}

Miss Agnes was sent for; but Elinor had revived again when her aunt returned, though she was still surrounded by the anxious circle, Mary, the Van Hornes, her nurse, and old Hetty. When she heard the footsteps approaching, she made an effort to raise herself, with a sort of instinctive desire to spare her aunt a sight of all her weakness.

"You had better lie still, my dear Miss Elinor," said the doctor kindly, offering her a glass of some restorative.

Miss Agnes entered the room and advanced anxiously to the sofa.

"My poor child!" exclaimed Miss Wyllys. "What is it, doctor?—illness?" she added anxiously.

The doctor shook his head. "She heard the news too suddenly," he said.

Mr. Wyllys now followed his daughter. Elinor turned her eyes towards the door as he entered; a cry burst from her lips—she saw Hazlehurst!

Yes, Hazlehurst standing in the doorway, looking pale and distressed, but living, breathing, moving!

In another second Elinor had started to her feet, sprung towards him, and thrown herself in his arms—heedless of the family, heedless of friends and servants about her, forgetting in that one sudden revulsion of feeling, the whole world but Harry.

{"revulsion" = a sudden change of feeling}

Hazlehurst seemed quite forgetful himself of the everyday {sic} rules of society, and the merely friendly position in which they had stood at parting, but a week before; his whole expression and manner now betrayed an interest in Elinor too strong to be disguised, and which could be explained in one way only.

All this was the work of a moment; the various degrees of amazement, produced by the sudden appearance of Harry, on some individuals of the group of spectators, the surprise of others at the strong emotions betrayed by the young couple had not subsided, when an exclamation from Hazlehurst himself again fixed their attention entirely on Elinor.

"She has fainted!" he cried, and carried her to the sofa.

But joy is life to the heart and spirits; Elinor lost her consciousness for a moment only. She raised her eyes and fixed them upon Hazlehurst, who still held one of her hands.

"It is Harry!" she exclaimed, and burst into tears. She felt that he was safe, that he was by her side; she already felt that he loved her, that they understood each other; and yet she was still quite incapable of giving anything like a reason for what had passed. It was all confusion in her mind, all indistinct but the blessed truth that Harry was safe, accompanied by a hope she had not dared to cherish for years. She was still feeble and agitated, her colour varying with every beat of her heart; her face now covered with a deep natural blush at the sound of Harry's voice, at the expression of his eye; now deadly pale again as she caught some allusion to the Petrel.

The doctor recommended that she should be left alone with Miss Wyllys. Her grandfather kissed her tenderly and left the room, as well as the rest of the party; with one exception, however—Hazlehurst lingered behind.

Having reached the adjoining room, explanations were exchanged between the friends. Mr. Wyllys learned that Elinor and the Van Hornes had supposed Harry lost, from the paper, and the first hurried note of de Vaux. When they arrived at Wyllys-Roof, there was no one there to give them any later information; Mammy Sarah, the nurse, knew no more than themselves; she had heard the Broadlawn story, after having seen young de Vaux leave the house with Miss Agnes, when they first went to the Hubbards'. Hazlehurst had not accompanied his friend, for he had seen Mr. Wyllys in a neighbouring field, and went there to give him the information; and thence they had both gone to the cottage, where they remained until Mrs. Clapp and Mr. Joseph Hubbard arrived from Longbridge. Neither Mr. Wyllys nor Miss Agnes had received the least intimation of the accident, until they heard a correct account from de Vaux, and Harry himself; consequently they had not felt the same alarm for Hazlehurst.

Dr. and Mrs. Van Horne were much gratified by hearing, that Hazlehurst's restoration was owing to the devoted perseverance of their son; for it was only after every one else had given up the hope of reviving him, after long and ceaseless exertions, that signs of life were discovered. They also now learned the circumstances of the accident, the fact that two instead of four persons were lost, and they found that it was in endeavouring to save Charlie that Harry had so nearly lost his own life. But we leave them together to express their natural feelings of gratitude for those who had escaped, sympathy with the sufferers, their surprise at Harry's appearance, and all the varying emotions of such a moment.

While this conversation was passing in one room, Elinor was in some measure recovering from the first sudden shock of the morning in the other. Harry seemed fully determined to maintain his post at her side, and still kept possession of her hand; in fact, the solemn, anxious moment, hallowed by grief, at which the disclosure of their mutual feelings had been made, seemed to banish all common, petty embarrassments. Miss Agnes and Harry required but a word and a look to explain matters; the aunt already understood it all.

"Poor Charlie!" exclaimed Elinor, with a half-inquiring look, as if with a faint hope that he too might have returned, like Harry.

"Our friend is gone, dearest!" said Harry, his eyes moistened with tears as he spoke.

Elinor wept, and a silence of a minute ensued. "His poor mother, and his sister!" she exclaimed at length.

"His two mothers, rather," said Harry, with a faltering voice.

After another silence, Elinor turned to Hazlehurst with an anxious look, saying:

"And your other friends?"

"All safe; love."

"The crew too?"

"One of the crew is lost; Black Bob, a sailor from Longbridge."

"I remember him; he had no family I believe, Aunt," she said.

"None, my child, that I have ever heard of."

"The heaviest blow has fallen upon the Hubbards," said Harry.

After a pause, in which aunt and niece had prayed for the mourners, Elinor again made some inquiries.

"Were all in the Petrel at the time?" asked Elinor.

"Smith and our poor Charlie, the negro and a boy were crossing a bay in the Petrel, when she capsized, by the bad management of the negro, who had been drinking. The rest of us were on shore."

"You were not in any danger then?" said Elinor, as if relieved that he had not even been exposed to past peril.

"I owe my life to my friend Van Horne," he replied.

Elinor shuddered, and turned deadly pale again. Harry threw his arms about her and embraced her fervently, until Elinor, who had now partially recovered the common current of her ideas, made a gentle struggle to release herself.

"But you were not in the Petrel?" she said again, as if anxious to understand all that related to him.

"We all went to our friends as soon as we saw the schooner capsize," said Harry.

"Hubert de Vaux told me that Harry swam some distance, with the hope of saving poor Charles, who could not swim himself," said Miss Agnes. "It was in that way, my child, that he was exposed."

"To save Charlie!—that was like you," said Elinor, with a glow on her cheek.

"There was no danger—no merit whatever in doing so—I have often swum farther," said Harry; "the only difficulty was caused by my becoming entangled in some ropes, which drew me under water."

"But where was the boat?"

"It was not at hand at the moment; they brought it as soon as possible."

"Did Charlie speak?" asked Elinor, sadly.

"My poor friend was insensible when I reached him."

Again a moment's pause ensued.

"I must not forget to tell you, love, that we owe a great deal to another friend of ours," said Harry, smiling. "You will be glad to hear that Bruno behaved nobly; he first discovered the ropes in which we were entangled."

"Bruno!—Where is my noble dog? Pray call him; let me see him!"

Harry went to the door, and there was Bruno lying across the threshold, as if waiting to be admitted; he came in at Harry's call, but not with his usual bound; he seemed to understand that if his old master had been saved, his master's friend was lost. The noble creature was much caressed by Miss Wyllys and Elinor; and we are not ashamed to confess that the latter kissed him more than once. At length, Miss Agnes observing that her niece was very much recovered, rose from her seat, and stooping to kiss Elinor's forehead, placed her hand in that of Harry, saying with much feeling, as she joined them, "God bless you, my children!" and then left the room.

As for what passed after Miss Agnes left her young friends, we cannot say; Bruno was the only witness to that interview between Harry and Elinor, and as Bruno was no tell-tale, nothing has ever transpired on the subject. We may suppose, however, that two young people, strongly attached to each other, united under such peculiar circumstances, did not part again until a conclusive and satisfactory explanation had taken place. Harry no doubt was enabled to quiet any scruples he may have felt with regard to Ellsworth; and probably Elinor was assured, that she had entirely mistaken Hazlehurst's feelings during the past summer; that Mrs. Creighton was his friend's sister, and a charming woman, but not the woman he loved, not the woman he could ever love, after having known his Elinor. Then, as both parties were frank and warm-hearted, as they had known each other for years, and had just been reunited under circumstances so solemn, there was probably more truth, less reserve, and possibly more tenderness than usual at similar meetings. Doubtless there were some smiles; and to judge from the tone of both parties on separating, we think that some tears must have been shed. We are certain that amid their own intimate personal communications, the young friend so dear to both, so recently lost, was more than once remembered; while at the same time it is a fact, that another communication of some importance to Harry, the disclosures of Stebbins, was forgotten by him, or deferred until the interview was interrupted. Mr. Wyllys entered to let Harry know that Hubert de Vaux had come for him.

"De Vaux is here waiting for you, Harry," said Mr. Wyllys, opening the drawing-room door.

"Is it possible, my dear sir?—Is it so late?" exclaimed Harry.

It was in fact de Vaux, come to accompany Harry to Longbridge, to meet the body of our poor Charlie: so closely, on that eventful day, were joy and sadness mingled to the friends at Wyllys-Roof.

Elinor had risen from her seat as her grandfather approached.

"You feel better, my child," he said kindly.

"I am happy, grandpapa!—happy as I can be TO-DAY!" she added, blushing, and weeping, and throwing her arms about his neck.

"It is all right, I see. May you be blessed, together, my children!" said the venerable man, uniting their hands.

After an instant's silence, Elinor made a movement to leave the room.

"I am going to Longbridge, but I shall hope to see you again in the evening," said Harry, before she left him.

"When you come back, then. You are going to Longbridge, you say?"

"Yes," Said Harry sadly; "to meet Van Horne and Smith, with—"

Elinor made no reply; she understood his sad errand; offered him her hand again, and left the room. She retired to her own apartment, and remained there alone for a long time; and there the young girl fell on her knees, and offered up most fervent, heartfelt thanksgivings for the safety of one she loved truly, one she had long loved, so recently rescued from the grave.

That afternoon, just as the autumn sun was sinking towards the woods, throwing a rich, warm glow over the country, a simple procession was seen moving slowly and sadly over the Longbridge highway. It was the body of Charlie Hubbard, brought home by his friends, to pass a few hours beneath his mother's roof, ere it was consigned to its last resting-place under the sod. We have not yet dared to intrude upon the stricken inmates of the old grey cottage; we shall not attempt to paint their grief, such grief is sacred. The bereaved mother, half-infirm in body and mind, seemed to feel the blow without fully understanding it: Patsey, poor Patsey felt the affliction fully, comprehended it wholly. Charlie had been her idol from infancy; she had watched over the boy with an engrossing affection, an earnest devotion, which could be only compared to a mother's love, which might claim a mother's sacred name. She was entirely overcome when the young artist's body was brought into the house, and placed in the coffin, beneath his father's portrait.

"My boy!—my brother!—Charlie!" she cried wildly; all her usual calmness, her usual firmness giving way at the moment, as the young face she loved so tenderly was first disclosed to her view, pale and lifeless. But the fine features of the young artist, almost feminine in their delicate beauty, returned no answering glance—they were rigid, cold, and partially discoloured by death.

Hazlehurst and de Vaux passed the night beside the body of their friend; Miss Agnes and Mrs. Van Horne were with the bereaved mother and sisters.

Early on the following morning, Mr. Wyllys and Elinor came to take a last look at their young friend.

'Can it indeed be true?—Charlie gone for ever, gone so suddenly!' thought Elinor, as she leaned over his body, weeping with the sincere, heartfelt grief of a true friend, until Hazlehurst, pained by her emotion, gently drew her away; not, however, before she had bent over poor Charlie, and gently kissed the discoloured forehead of her young companion, for the first and the last time.

Patsey's grief, though not less deep, was more calm than at first. Again and again she had returned to her young brother's coffin, with varying feelings; now overwhelmed by poignant grief, now partially soothed by the first balm of holy resignation; now alone, now accompanied by her friends. Once, early that morning, the infirm mother was brought into the room to look for the last time on the face of her son; she was carried in a chair and placed by the coffin, then assisted to rise by Miss Agnes and her daughter Kate. Her tears flowed long, falling on her boy's cold, but still beautiful features; she wiped them away herself, and with an humble phrase of resignation, in the words of Scripture, expressed the thought that ere long she should be laid by his side. Her's was not the bitter, living grief of Patsey; she felt that she was near the grave herself. Tears of gentle-hearted women were not the only tears which fell upon Charlie's bier; his uncles, his elder brothers, and more than one true friend were there. But amid all the strong, contending emotions of those who crowded the humble room, who hung over the coffin, still that youthful form lay rigid in the fearful chill, the awful silence of death; he, whose bright eye, whose pleasant smile had never yet met the look of a friend without the quick glance of intellect, or the glow of kindly feeling. Patsey felt the change; she felt that the being she loved was not all there, the dearer portion was already beyond her sight—and with this reflection came the blessed consolations of Christian hope; for the unfeigned faith and the penitent obedience of the Christian, had been known to Charlie Hubbard from childhood; nor had they ever been forgotten by the young man.

Soon after sun-rise, friends and neighbours began to collect; they came from miles around, all classes and all ages—for the family was much respected, and their sudden bereavement had excited general compassion. The little door-yard and the humble parlour were filled, with those who justly claimed the name of friends; the highway and an adjoining field were crowded with neighbours.

After a solemn prayer within the house, those who had loved the dead fixed their eyes for the last time on his features; the coffin was closed from the light, the body was carried for the last time over the threshold, it was placed on a carriage, and the living crowd moved away, following the dead, with the slow, heavy movement of sorrow. The mother, the sisters, and the nearest female friends remained in privacy together at the house of mourning. As the funeral train moved along the highway towards Longbridge, it gradually increased in length; the different dwellings before which it passed had their windows closed, as a simple token of sympathy, and on approaching the village, one bell after another was heard, tolling sadly. The hearse paused for a moment before the house of Mr. Joseph Hubbard; those who had come thus far in carriages alighted, and joined by others collected in the village, they moved from there on foot. Several brother artists from New York, and other associates of the young man's, bore the cloth which covered his coffin; and immediately after the nearest relatives, the elder brothers, and the uncles, came Hazlehurst and de Vaux, with the whole party of the Petrel, and the crew of the little schooner: and sincerely did they mourn their young friend; it is seldom indeed that the simple feeling of grief and compassion pervades a whole funeral train so generally as that of the young artist. But our poor Charlie had been much loved by all who knew him; he was carried to the grave among old friends of his family, in his native village—and there were many there capable of admiring his genius and respecting his character. As the procession entered the enclosure it passed before a new-made grave, that of the negro sailor, who had been decently interred by the directions of de Vaux, on the preceding evening, the party of the Petrel having also attended his funeral. On reaching the final resting-place of the young artist, among the tombs of his family, by the side of his father the minister, an impressive prayer and a short but touching address were made; the coffin was lowered, the earth thrown on it, and the grave closed over Charlie Hubbard: the story of his life was told.

{"entered the enclosure" = at Christ Episcopal Church, in Cooperstown, which Susan Fenimore Cooper attended, African-Americans were at this time buried just inside the churchyard entrance, away from the other graves; "was told" = was ended}

Harry was the last to leave the spot. While the funeral train returned with the mourners to the house of Mr. Joseph Hubbard, he remained standing by the grave of his friend, his mind filled with the recollection of the brilliant hopes so suddenly extinguished, the warm fancies so suddenly chilled, the bright dreams so suddenly blighted by the cold hand of death. The solemn truth, that the shadow of death had also passed over himself was not forgotten; life in its true character, with all its real value, all its uncertainties, all its responsibilities, rose more clearly revealed to him than it had ever yet done; he turned from Charlie's grave a wiser man, carrying with him, in the recollection of his own unexpected restoration, an impulse for higher and more steadfast exertion in the discharge of duty.

But if Hazlehurst's thoughts, as he retraced his solitary way towards Wyllys-Roof, were partly sad, they were not all gloomy. Wisdom does not lessen our enjoyment of one real blessing of life; she merely teaches us to distinguish the false from the true, and she even increases our happiness amid the evils and sorrows against which we are warned, by purifying our pleasures, and giving life and strength to every better thought and feeling. When Harry entered the gate of Wyllys-Roof, his heart beat with joy again, as he saw Elinor, now his betrothed wife, awaiting his return on the piazza; he joined her, and they had a long conversation together in the fullness of confidence and affection. They were at length interrupted by Miss Agnes, who returned from the Hubbards'. The young people inquired particularly after Miss Patsey.

"She is much more calm than she was yesterday; more like herself, more resigned, thinking again of others, attending to Mrs. Hubbard; she seems already to have found some consoling thoughts."

"It seems, indeed," said Harry, "as if Hubbard's memory would furnish consolation to his friends by the very greatness of their loss; his character, his conduct, were always so excellent; the best consolation for Miss Patsey."

"It is touching to see that excellent woman's deep affection for one, so different from herself in many respects," observed Mr. Wyllys.

"Fraternal affection is a very strong tie," said Miss Agnes gently.

She might have added that it is one of the most honourable to the human heart, as it is peculiar to our race. Other natural affections, even the best, may be partially traced among the inferior beings of creation; something of the conjugal, paternal, and filial attachment may be roused for a moment in most living creatures; but fraternal affection is known to man alone, and would seem in its perfect disinterestedness, almost worthy to pass unchanged to a higher sphere.

"I have often thought," said Mr. Wyllys, "that the affection of an unmarried sister for a brother or a sister, whose chief interests and affections belong by right to another, if not the most tender, is surely the most purely disinterested and generous which the human heart can know: and single women probably feel the tie more strongly than others."

Mr. Wyllys was thinking when he spoke, of his daughter Agnes and Patsey Hubbard; and he might have thought of hundreds of others in the same circumstances, for happily such instances are very common.

"I have never had either brother or sister, but I can well imagine it must be a strong tie," said Elinor.

"I flattered myself I had been a sort of brother to you in old times," said Harry smiling.

"Your romantic, adopted brothers, Nelly, are not good for much," said her grandfather. "We tried the experiment with Harry, and see how it has turned out; it generally proves so, either too much or too little. Don't fancy you know anything about plain, honest, brotherly affection," he added, smiling kindly on his granddaughter, who sat by his side.

Probably Harry was quite as well satisfied with the actual state of things.

"But Charlie was also a son to Miss Patsey," he added, after a moment.

"Yes; he had been almost entirely under her care from an infant," replied Miss Agnes.

"Poor Charlie!—little did I think that bright young head would be laid in the grave before mine!" said Mr. Wyllys.

A moment's pause ensued.

"Much as I loved Hubbard, much as I regret his loss," said Harry, "I shall always think of him with a melancholy pleasure."

"Excepting his loss, there does not seem indeed to be one painful reflection connected with his name," observed Miss Agnes.

"Cherish his memory then among your better recollections," added Mr. Wyllys, to Harry and Elinor. "And an old man can tell you the full value of happy recollections; you will find one day the blessing of such treasures of memory."

"It is a legacy, however, which the good alone can leave their friends," said Miss Agnes.

And so it proved, indeed; after the first severe grief of the sudden bereavement had passed away, the young man was remembered among his friends with a peculiar tenderness, connected with his youth, his genius, his excellent character, his blameless life, and early death. Life had been but a morning to Charlie Hubbard, but it was a glowing summer morning; its hours had not been wasted, abused, misspent; brief as they were, yet in passing they had brought blessings to himself, to his fellow-beings; and they had left to those who loved him the best consolations of memory.



CHAPTER XXIII. {XLVI}

"Is not true love of higher price Than outward form, though fair to see?" COLERIDGE.

{Samuel Taylor Coleridge (English poet, 1772-1834), "Separation" lines 9-10}

HARRY had a busy autumn that year. He had two important objects in view, and within a few weeks he succeeded in accomplishing both. He was very desirous, now all difficulties were removed, that his marriage with Elinor should not be deferred any longer than was absolutely necessary.

"There cannot be the shadow of a reason, love, for waiting," he said to her within a few days of the explanation. "Remember, it is now six years since you first promised to become my wife—since we were first engaged."

"Six years, off and on," said Elinor smiling.

"Not really off more than a moment."

Elinor shook her head and smiled.

"No; not really off more than a very short time."

"Very well," said Elinor archly; "but don't you think the less we say about that second year the better? Perhaps the third and the fourth too."

"No indeed; I have been thinking it all over; and in the first place there has not been a moment in those six years when I have not loved you; though to my bitter mortification I confess, there was also a moment when I was IN LOVE with another, but it was a very short moment, and a very disagreeable one to remember. No; I wish you to look well into those six years, for I honestly think they will appear more to my credit than you are at all aware of. I shan't be satisfied until we have talked them over again, my part at least; I don't know that you will submit to the same examination."

"Oh, you have already heard all I have to say," she replied, blushing deeply; "I shan't allude to my part of the story again this long while."

Nevertheless, Harry soon succeeded in obtaining her consent to be married within six weeks; in fact she made but few objections to the arrangement, although she would have preferred waiting longer, on account of the recent afflictions of Jane and the Hubbards.

The important day soon arrived, and the wedding took place at Wyllys-Roof. A number of friends and relatives of both parties were collected for the occasion; Mrs. Stanley, Robert Hazlehurst and his wife, the late Mrs. George Wyllys and her new husband, or as Harry called them, Mr. and Mrs. Uncle Dozie, the Van Hornes, de Vauxes, Bernards, and others. Mary Van Alstyne was bridesmaid, and Hubert de Vaux groomsman. The ceremony which at length united our two young friends, was impressively performed by the clergyman of the parish to which the Wyllyses belonged; and it may be doubted whether there were another couple married that day, in the whole wide world, whose feelings as they took the solemn vows were more true, more honourable to their natures, than those of Harry and Elinor.

Talking of vows, it was remarked by the spectators that the groom made his promises and engagements in a more decided tone of voice, a less embarrassed manner than usual; for, strange to say, your grooms, happy men, are often awkward, miserable swains enough in appearance; though it would be uncharitable in the extreme, not to suppose them always abounding in internal felicity. There was also another observation made by several of the wedding-guests, friends of Harry, who were then at Wyllys-Roof for the first time, and it becomes our duty to record the remark, since it related to no less a person than the bride; it was observed that she was not as pretty as a bride should be.

"Mrs. Harry Hazlehurst is no beauty, certainly," said Albert Dangler to Orlando Flyrter.

"No beauty! She is downright ugly—I wonder at Hazlehurst's taste!"

Unfortunately for Elinor, the days are past when benevolent fairies arrive just at the important moment, and by a tap of the wand or a phial of elixir, change the coarsest features, the most unfavourable complexion, into a dazzling image of everything most lovely, most beautiful. Nor had she the good luck of certain young ladies of whom one reads quite often, who improve so astonishingly in personal appearance between fifteen and twenty—generally during the absence of the hero—that they are not to be recognized, and a second introduction becomes necessary. No; Elinor was no nearer to being a beauty when Harry returned from Brazil, than when he went to Paris; she was just as plain on the evening of her wedding as she was six years before, when first presented to the reader's notice.

Jane, though now in widow's weeds, was just as beautiful too, as when we first saw her; she was present at her cousin's wedding, as Elinor wished her to be there, although in a deep mourning dress. Patsey Hubbard was also in the drawing-room during the ceremony, and in deep black; but she left her friends as soon as she had expressed her warmest wishes for the happiness of her former pupil: she wept as she turned from the house, for she could not yet see that well-known, cheerful circle at Wyllys-Roof, without missing one bright young face from the group.

Among those who had declined invitations to the wedding, were Mr. Ellsworth and Mrs. Creighton, although both had expressed many good wishes for the affianced couple; the gentleman wrote sincerely, but a little sadly perhaps, as it was only six weeks since his refusal; the lady wrote gracefully, but a little spitefully it is believed, since it was now generally known that Harry must recover entire possession of his fortune.

This vexatious affair was, in fact, finally settled about the time of Harry's marriage; and, thanks to the disclosures of Stebbins, it was no longer a difficult matter to unravel the plot. As soon as William Stanley's representative, or in other words, Hopgood, found that Stebbins had betrayed him, he ran off, but was arrested shortly after, tried and convicted. He was no sooner sentenced, than he offered to answer any questions that might be asked, for he was anxious that his accomplice, Clapp—who had also taken flight, and succeeded in eluding all pursuit—should be punished as well as himself. It appeared that his resemblance to the Stanleys was the first cause of his taking the name of William Stanley; he was distantly related to them through his mother, and, as we may often observe, the family likeness, after having been partially lost for one or two generations, had appeared quite strongly again in himself; and as usual, the peculiarities of the resemblance had become more deeply marked as he grew older. Being very nearly of the same age, and of the same pursuit as William Stanley, he had actually been taken for the young man on several occasions. He had been in the same lawyer's office as Clapp, whom he had known as a boy, and had always kept up some intercourse with him; meeting him one day accidentally, he related the fact of his having passed himself off for William Stanley by way of a joke. "The sight of means to do ill deeds, makes deeds ill done:" Clapp seemed from that moment to have first taken the idea of the plot; he gradually disclosed his plan to Hopgood, who was quick-witted, a good mimic, and quite clever enough for the purpose. The idea was repeatedly abandoned, then resumed again; Hopgood having purposely shipped under the name of William Stanley, several times, and practised an imitation of William Stanley's hand by way of an experiment. Finding no difficulties in these first steps, they gradually grew bolder, collecting information about the Stanleys, and carefully arranging all the details. Stebbins had frightened them on one occasion; but after having obtained possession of the papers in his hands, Clapp determined to carry out their plan at once; he thought the probability of success was strongly in their favour, with so much evidence within their reach; and the spoils were so considerable, that they were in his opinion worth the risk. The profits of their roguery were to be equally divided, if they succeeded; and they had also agreed that if at any moment matters began to look badly, they would make their escape from the country together. Hopgood, who was generally supposed by those who had known him, to have died at New Orleans twenty years since, had been often with William Stanley when a lad in the lawyer's office; he knew the house and neighbourhood of Greatwood perfectly, and had a distinct recollection of Mr. Stanley, the father, and of many persons and circumstances that would prove very useful. Clapp easily obtained other necessary information, and they went to Greatwood, examining the whole house and place, in order to revive Hopgood's recollections; while at the same time they made but little mystery of their excursion, hoping rather that when discovered it would pass off as a natural visit of William Stanley to the old home which he was about to claim. The whole plan was carefully matured under Clapp's cunning management; on some doubtful points they were to be cautious, and a set of signals were agreed upon for moments of difficulty; but generally they were to assume a bold, confident aspect, freely offering an interview to the executors, and sending a specimen of the forged handwriting as a letter to Mrs. Stanley. The volume of the Spectator was a thought of Clapp's; he bribed a boy to admit him into the library at Greatwood one Sunday, when the housekeeper was at church, and he selected the volume which seemed well suited to his purpose; removing the boy from the neighbourhood immediately after, by giving him high wages in a distant part of the country. As for Mr. Reed he was completely their dupe, having been himself honestly convinced of the identity of Clapp's client. It was nine years from the time the plot first suggested itself, until they finally appeared as public claimants of the estate and name of William Stanley, and during that time, Clapp, who had never entirely abandoned the idea, although Hopgood had repeatedly done so, had been able to mature the plan very thoroughly.

{"'The sight of means to do ill deeds...'" Shakespeare, "King John", IV.ii.219-220}

The declarations of Stebbins and Hopgood were easily proved; and Harry had no further difficulty in resuming possession of Greatwood.

Clapp was not heard of for years. His wife, little Willie, and two younger children, became inmates of the old grey cottage, under the care of Miss Patsey, who still continues the same honest, whole-souled, benevolent being she was years ago. Patsey was now quite at her ease, and enabled to provide for her sister Kate and the three children, and it was to poor Charlie she owed the means of doing so; by an unusual precaution in one so young, he had left a will, giving everything he owned to his mother and eldest sister. Shortly after his death, some of his friends, Hazlehurst among the number, got up an exhibition of all his pictures; they made a fine and quite numerous collection, for Charlie had painted very rapidly. The melancholy interest connected with the young painter's name, his high reputation in the particular field he had chosen, the fact that all his paintings were collected together, from the first view of Chewattan lake taken when a mere boy, to the sketch of Nantucket which he was retouching but a moment before his death, and the sad recollection that his palette was now broken for ever, attracted unusual attention. The result of that melancholy exhibition, with the sale of some remaining pictures, proved sufficient to place his mother and sister, with their moderate views, in very comfortable circumstances; thus even after his death Charlie proved a blessing to his family. In looking over the young man's papers, Patsey found some lines which surprised her, although they explained several circumstances which she had never before fully understood; they betrayed a secret, undeclared attachment, which had expressed itself simply and gracefully in verses full of feeling and well written. It was evident from these lines that poor Charlie's poetical imagination, even from early boyhood, had been filled with the lovely image of his young companion, Jane Graham: there was a beautiful sketch of her face among his papers, which from the date, must have been taken from memory while she was in Paris. It was clear from the tone of the verses, that Charlie had scrupulously confined his secret within his own bosom, for there were a few lines addressed to Jane since her widowhood, lamenting that grief should so soon have thrown a shadow over that lovely head, and concluding with a fear that she would little value even this expression of sympathy from one, to whom she had only given careless indifference, and one who had never asked more than the friendship of early companionship. Patsey hesitated for a moment, but then decided that the miniature and the verses should never be shown—they should meet no eyes but her own; Charlie had not spoken himself, his secret should remain untold.

We must not omit to mention, that a few weeks after Charlie's death young Van Horne offered himself to Mary Hubbard, the youngest daughter of the family; he was accepted, and the connexion, which was very gratifying to Patsey and her mother, proved a happy one. Mrs. Hubbard survived her daughter's marriage several years. Kate and her little ones have remained at the old grey cottage from the time of Clapp's flight; the children are now growing up promising young people, and they owe much to Patsey's judicious care. Willie, the hero of the temperance meeting, is her favourite, for she persuades herself that he is like her lost Charlie; and in many respects the boy happily resembles his uncle far more than his father. Last year Mrs. Clapp received for the first time, a letter in a handwriting very like that of her husband; its contents seemed distressing, for she wept much, and held several consultations with Patsey. At length quite a little sum was drawn from their modest means, Kate packed up her trunk, took leave of her sister and children, and set out upon a long and a solitary journey. She was absent for months; but letters were occasionally received from her, and at length she returned to the grey cottage in deep mourning. It was supposed that she was now a widow; and as Patsey upon one single occasion confirmed the report, the opinion must have been correct, for Patsey Hubbard's word was truth itself. No public account of Clapp's death, however, reached Longbridge, and his name was never mentioned by the Hubbards; still, it seemed to be known at last that Mrs. Clapp had gone to a great distance, to attend her husband during a long and fatal illness: and Mrs. Tibbs also found out by indefatigable inquiries, far and near, that about the same time one of the elders of Joe Smith, the Mormon impostor, had died of consumption at Nauvoo; that he had written somewhere several months before his death, that a delicate-looking woman had arrived, and had not quitted his side as long as he lived; that immediately after his death she had left Nauvoo, and had gone no one knew whither. It is quite certain that a young man from Longbridge travelling at the west, wrote home that he had seen Mrs. Clapp on board a Mississippi steamer, just about that time. The story is probably true, although nothing very positive is known at Longbridge.

{"no public account" = the uncertainty surrounding Mr. Clapp's fate resembles that of Judith Hutter, at the end of James Fenimore Cooper's "The Deerslayer" (1841)}

As for Hopgood, we have already mentioned that he had been arrested, and most righteously condemned to a long imprisonment for his share in that unprincipled, audacious conspiracy. A year afterwards, however, it pleased those in authority to send him out into the community again; he was pardoned—

As all reserve is generally dropped in the last chapter, we may as well tell the reader a secret of Mrs. Creighton's. We have every reason to believe that she never cared much for Harry, although she always cared a great deal for his fortune. She was determined to marry again, for two reasons; in the first place she did not wish to give way to a sister-in-law, and she knew her brother intended marrying; and then she never could manage that brother as she wished; he was by no means disposed to throw away as much time, thought, and money upon dissipation, as she would have liked. She wanted a rich husband, of course; Harry did very well in every particular but one—she thought him too much like her brother in his tastes to be all she desired; still he suited her better than any of her other admirers, and she would have been quite satisfied to accept him, had he kept his fortune. Without that fortune, it was a very different affair; he was no longer to be thought of for a moment. We strongly suspect also, that the pretty widow saw farther than any one else into the true state of matters between Elinor and Harry, long before the parties themselves had had an explanation; and for that reason, so long as she was determined to take Hazlehurst for her second husband, she decidedly encouraged Ellsworth's attention to Elinor. Since we are so near the last page, we shall also admit that Mrs. Creighton had quite a strong partiality for Mr. Stryker, while the gentleman was thoroughly in love with her; but neither was rich, and money, that is to say wealth, was absolutely necessary in the opinion of both parties; so Mr. Stryker went off to New Orleans in quest of a quadroon heiress recommended to him, and Mrs. Creighton became Mrs. Pompey Taylor, junior; marrying the second son of the merchant, an individual who was nearly ten years younger than herself, and resembled his brother in every respect except in being much less handsome. The happy couple sailed for Europe immediately after the ceremony.

We are sorry to say that Mr. Taylor, the father, suffered severely, not long after the marriage of his second son, by the great fire; he suffered also in the great panic, and in various other panics which have succeeded one another. Still he has not failed, but he is a poorer man than when we first had the honour of making his acquaintance. In other respects he is much what he was fifteen years ago, devoted as much as ever and as exclusively as ever to making money; still valuing everything, visible or invisible, by the market-price in gold, silver, or bank-notes; although unfortunately much less successful than at the commencement of his career, in accumulating dollars and cents; his seems to be "the fruitless race, without a prize;" and yet Mr. Taylor is approaching the time of life when the end of the race cannot be very distant.

{"the great fire" = the fire that destroyed much of downtown New York City in 1835. "the great panic..." = the financial panic of 1837, and the depression that followed; "the fruitless race..." = from William Cowper (English poet, 1731-1800), "Hope" line 25}

Adeline is improved in many respects, her mother's advice has had a good effect on her; still it is amusing to see her already training up several little girls for future belles, on her own pattern; rather it is believed to the annoyance of her quiet husband. Emma Taylor is decidedly less lively, she too having in some measure composed herself, after achieving belle-ship and matrimony.

Mr. and Mrs. Uncle Dozie removed from Longbridge not long after their marriage; they have since returned there again, and now, by the last accounts, they are again talking of leaving the place.

Mrs. Hilson still continues to annoy her family with a persevering ingenuity, for which certain silly women appear peculiarly well qualified; at times she talks of taking the veil in a nunnery, at others, of again entering the bands of Hymen with some English aristocrat of illustrious lineage; she confesses that either step would be sufficiently romantic and aristocratic to suit her refined tastes, but which she will eventually adopt cannot yet be known. Fortunately, her sister Emmeline has profited much more than the "city lady" herself by the follies of the past; she has lately married a respectable man, one of their Longbridge neighbours, much to her father's satisfaction.

Mary Van Alstyne remains single, and passes much of her time with Elinor.

Some eighteen months after Harry's marriage, one evening as he was sitting on the piazza at Wyllys-Roof, he received a letter which made him smile; calling Elinor from the drawing-room, he communicated the contents to her. It was from Ellsworth, announcing his approaching marriage with the lovely Mrs. Taylor, or in other words, our friend Jane. Harry laughed a good deal, and coloured a little too, as he plainly saw by the tone of the letter, that his friend was going through precisely the same process as himself, during his Paris days, when he first discovered such wisdom in the depths of Jane's dark eyes, such delicacy of sentiment in the purity of her complexion, such tenderness in every common smile of her beautiful lips. Ellsworth, however, would probably not find out as soon as himself, that all these beauties made up a lovely picture indeed, but nothing more; for his friend was an accepted suitor, and might indulge himself by keeping agreeable fancies alive as long as he chose; while Harry had been rather rudely awakened from his trance by very shabby treatment in the first place, and a refusal at last. To Hazlehurst, the most amusing part of Ellsworth's story was, an allusion to a certain resemblance in character between Mrs. Taylor and 'one whom he had so much admired, one whom he must always admire.'

"Now, Elinor, do me the justice to say I was never half so bad as that; I never pretended to think Jane like you, in one good quality."

"It would be a pity if you had—Jane has good qualities of her own. But I am rejoiced to hear the news; it is an excellent match for both parties."

"Yes; though Jane is a lovely puppet, and nothing more, yet it is a good match on that very account; Ellsworth will look after her. It is to be hoped they are satisfied; I think we are, my sweet wife; don't you?"

His frank, natural, affectionate smile as he spoke, was tolerably satisfactory, certainly as to his estimate of his own fate; and it is to be hoped the reader is by this time sufficiently well acquainted with Elinor and Harry, to credit his account of the matter. From all we know of both, we are ourselves disposed to believe them very well qualified to pass through life happily together, making the cheerful days pleasanter, and the dark hours less gloomy to each other.

Harry seems to have given up his diplomatic pursuits for the present at least; he remains at home, making himself useful both in private and public life. Last year he and Elinor were at the Rip-Raps, accompanied by Mr. Wyllys and Miss Agnes, and a little family of their own—several engaging, clever, well-trained children. The little girls, without being beauties, are not plain; they are indeed quite as pretty as Jane's daughters; the only ugly face in the young troop belongs to a fine-spirited little fellow, to whom it is of no consequence at all, as he has just discarded his petticoats for ever. Perhaps both father and mother are pleased that such is the case; the feeling would seem to be one of those weaknesses which will linger about every parent's heart. Yet Elinor acknowledges that she is herself a happy woman without beauty; and Harry, loving her as he does for a thousand good reasons, and inclinations, and partialities, sometimes actually believes that he loves her the better for that plain face which appeals to his more generous feelings. Many men will always laugh at an ugly woman, and the idea of loving her; but is it an error in Hazlehurst's biographer to suppose that there are others who, placed in similar circumstances, would feel as Harry felt?

{"the Rip-Raps" = sea resort at Hampton, Virginia; near Old Point Comfort, where Mr. Ellsworth had seen Elinor in Vol. II, Chapter II}

THE END

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