University of Virginia Library




“Lucy loved all that grew upon the ground,
And loveliness in all things living found;
The gilded fly—the fern upon the wall
Were nature's works, and admirable all.”
“Yet not so easy was my conquest found,
I met with trouble ere with triumph crown'd.”


Mr. Walsingham was seated at his writing-desk,
absorbed in a literary labour, when Theresa, his eldest
daughter, opened his door, advanced eagerly, paused,
for a moment, arrested by his deeply thoughtful aspect,
and again advanced, as, without raising his eye from
his paper, he stretched his hand towards her and
smiled with that sweet parental smile that indicated
the father was never quite merged in the student. “I
would not have interrupted you, papa,” said Theresa,
“but I have something so very important to say to

Mr. Walsingham, now the sole parent of a numerous
family of children, was as much accustomed as a
mother to the communication of the manifold wants,
that to the magnifying vision of a child are very important,
and affection, and necessity, unerring teachers,
had taught him the mother's instinct, to enter completely
into his children's feelings—to stoop to their
point of sight. “Come in, Theresa,” he replied to his
daughter's request, “you interrupt me no more than
the passing stream is interrupted by the shadow of the
pretty flower that waves on its brink. What have
you so important to say?—a letter!—from whom?”


Page 184

“From dear Mrs. Clifford, papa, and such a pressing
invitation for me to pass a few days at Bellevue.”
Mr. Walsingham took the letter, but before he had
half read it, or at all replied to the eager petition of
Theresa's eyes, half a dozen of the younger children
made a sortie from the nursery; as sturdy a little band
of remonstrants as ever appeared before any tribunal.
“Don't let Theresa go! papa,—you must not let her
go!” they cried with a unanimous voice.

“Softly, softly, my children—you shall all be heard
in turn. Why not let her go, James?”

“Because, papa, it is impossible for me to get my
French lessons ready for Mr. Rabbineau if Theresa
does not assist me.”

“Why should not Theresa go, Julia?”

“Because, papa, my music master is as cross as thunder,
when Theresa does not help me with my practising.”

“Why should not Theresa go, Ellen?”

“Because, papa, she has not made but just one complete
suit for my new doll.”

“Why should not Theresa go, Ned?”

“Because, papa, she has got to new cover my ball.”

“And you, little Willie, have you any reason why
you cannot let sister Theresa go away for a little

“Yes, indeed, papa,” replied a bright eyed little
cherub, climbing into his sister's lap. “I can't let
her go, because she does everything for me.”

“They are unskilful petitioners, Theresa,” said the
father, his delight at the tribute each had involuntarily
paid the sweet elder sister gleaming in his moistened
eye. “Theresa does so much for us all, my dear children,”
he continued, “that I believe we must give her
the pleasure of a visit to Bellevue.” Theresa thanked
her father warmly, and soon reconciled the minds of
the young tribe to her departure, by shifting disappointment


Page 185
with expectation—easy juggling with juvenile

Theresa Walsingham is the eldest of eight children.
At fourteen she lost her mother. Her father, consulting
only her good, and generously sacrificing his
own strongest inclinations, sent her away from him
for two years, to an institution where her education
was successfully conducted. At sixteen she returned
home to take the head of his family, and the place of
mother, and elder sister, to the infant band. Theresa
had no imposing personal qualifications for her official
station. We have seen overgrown girls of sixteen,
with grave aspect, and magisterial air, and solemn
voice, and dignified movement, that looked as if, like
Eve, they had been born grown up—with nothing of
the dew and freshness—and, it may be, imperfection
of the morning of life about them. Not so with Theresa.
She is not a hair's breadth above the medium
of feminine height; she has a child-like air and movement;
a tender, flexible voice; a simplicity, impulsiveness,
and gaiety of manner, that betrays inexperience
at every turn. There is nothing about her
that demands respect, but every thing that inspires
love. She is not a beauty, and yet who can look in
that bright sweet face; at that clear laughing eye;
that exquisitely compounded, ever varying red and
white, that round dimpled cheek; that sweet tempered
graceful mouth; that fair, waving, luxuriant hair—
who can look at this combination, lighted up with
intelligence, and tenderly shaded by feeling, without
forgetting the rule and art of criticism, and feeling that
she is beautiful.

Theresa came home to the care of a large family,
without any very definite notion of what awaited her.
She loved her father devotedly. The memory of her
mother was so reverential and vivid, that it operated
like her continual presence. But next to the everliving


Page 186
fountain of love in her affectionate heart, Theresa's
best qualification for her arduous duties was a
most happily constituted temper, a perpetual sunshine
that brightened every thing around her. This may
not be merit, but it is a singular physical felicity to
have the instrument so perfect that no jar, no shock,
no unskilful touch can put it out of tune, or bring forth
a discordant note.

Theresa has ardent affections, and strong preferences
in matters that all deem essential, but not a particle of
sensibility to those trifles at which most persons are
disquieted—and disquieted in vain. She cares not
whether the day be cloudy or bright; she is unconscious
even of the appalling difference between a southwest
and northeast wind. Whether she rides or walks,
within walking distance, is a matter of no moment to
her. She can sit with the windows up or down, as
suits the temperament of her companions. She can
eat of any dish, cooked in any mode, with a keen
relish. She is never discontented alone; never dissatisfied
in company; never annoyed by a creaking
hinge, or slamming door, or any other trial of delicate
nerves. I have seen her sitting in the nursery, reading
undisturbed, while her two little sisters, one on each
side, were busy with her beautiful tresses, pulling and
snarling them into masses which they called curls.
The only notice she took of them was to imprint
a half-conscious kiss on each warm ruddy cheek as
it touched hers. It was a picture of childhood, love,
grace, and beauty that a painter should have caught
and preserved.

No wonder that her father should have delighted to
see her sparkling cup of happiness full to the brim;
that he took as much pleasure in attending her to Bellevue
as she did in going there; that the tear which
stole down her cheek at parting, opened a gushing
fountain in his heart—a fountain of remembrance and


Page 187

Theresa was to pass the month of June with Mrs.
Clifford—the jubilee month of the year. Showers
and sunshine were bringing forth the prettiest and
freshest decorations of the face of nature; the birds
were in full choir; the physical and animal world all
alive to activity and joy.

Mrs. Clifford lives on a highly cultivated farm,
amidst the loveliest inland scenes of our country, fertilised
and embellished by a river, that seems set, like
a convex mirror, to catch and reflect every visible
object. The mistress of this fair domain is a widow,
just past the meridian of life, with a large fortune, and
an only son. Her affections and interests do not, as
is common in similar cases, all flow in the maternal
channel, but are diffused like the bounties of heaven.
She is the sun of her little system, and her benevolence
is sent forth, like rays of light, in every direction,
and to every object within her sphere. She is as genuine
an amateur of happy human faces as the good
Vicar of blessed memory, and she contrives always
either to find or make them. She has the rare felicity
of delighting her friends, and surrounding herself
with grateful and satisfied dependants. She devotes
herself to the business of making other people happy,
with as much ardor as a lawyer pursues his profession.
She is no professed reformer, and yet every body becomes
more reasonable and amiable in her atmosphere.
She has no single form of virtue, no Procrustes standard;
and yet, by a kind of softening and harmonising
influence, she assimilates every thing and every body
to herself.

Mrs. Clifford is never offended, or in the least annoyed
by the peculiarities of any individual; on the
contrary, she likes to cherish peculiarities, and bring
them out, only taking care to place them in a favourable
light. In this benevolent art of showing her
friends in becoming lights, she excels any person I
have ever known. But philanthropic as her temper


Page 188
is, she has her favourites, and first and chiefest among
these is Theresa Walsingham. She loves Theresa,
she says, for her mother's sake, who was her friend;
and for her father's, who is; and most of all, for her
own sake. There was a natural resemblance and accord
between Mrs. Clifford and her young friend.
If Mrs. Clifford had been blessed with a daughter, one
would have expected to find her just what Theresa is;
and not having one, it was natural for her to think of
the only mode of supplying the defects of nature's
gifts. She had no definite plan, no formal design in
inviting Theresa at this time to Bellevue; but as soon
as she was quietly fixed there, she wrote to her son
Newton, then an ostensible student at law in New
York, to remind him that his absence had been already
too long; that strawberries were ripe; that Bellevue
had put on its holiday suit, its many coloured robe,
and that he must come home.

From this moment Theresa heard of nothing but
Newton's expected arrival. If an excursion was planned,
or an extraordinary pleasure designed, it was deferred
'till Mr. Clifford should come. Every thing was done,
or left undone in reference to him. “It is dull enough
at Bellevue just now, Theresa,” Mrs. Clifford said,
and repeated, “but when Newton comes he will make
it all up to us.” “Yes,” chimed in half a dozen cordial
and sincere voices, “Newton is the soul of Bellevue,
that he is.”

Fortunate and gifted must be that person who can
sustain the excitation of spirits occasioned by the anticipation
of an important arrival in the country!

Theresa was one morning rambling alone along the
river's side. She pursued a shaded footpath, 'till she
came out upon a fisherman's hut, on the very verge of
the water. A rheumatic, sickly-looking girl was sitting
at the door, making artificial flies for angling.
They were executed with taste and sufficient skill, and
Theresa, after a kind greeting, seated herself, and


Page 189
watched the progress of the girl's work, and expressed
her admiration of her success in no measured terms.
Sympathy is the electric touch. Lilly, for that was
the girl's name, Lilly was delighted; never had her
fingers worked more dexterously, and never did tongue
speak more promptly than her's replied to Theresa's
questions of how she learned her art, where she procured
her materials, &c.

Mr. Newton Clifford had been at all the trouble of
getting an old German to come all the way from New
York to teach her. Mr. Newton had sent her full
twenty dollars worth of materials. Mr. Newton, God
bless him—and the benediction was not uttered as a
phrase of custom, but with an intonation of deep feeling—Mr.
Newton had done every thing for her father,
and herself, and little Ben. “Had not Miss ever
heard about Mr. Newton Clifford and little Ben?”
Theresa confessed she had not; and Lilly dropped her
work, and told with such minuteness and emotion, as
called forth exclamations and even tears from her
pretty auditor—how little Ben, her only brother, a
smart daring little fellow, had paddled his father's
boat into the middle of the river; and how, in trying
to regain the shore, he had fallen into the stream near
the milldam; how Mr. Newton, in spite of every
body begging him, and screaming to him not to venture
in so near the mill-dam—every body but herself
—and she looked on and could not speak a word; how
he had plunged in and grasped little Ben, but so near
the dam, that they both went over together, Mr. Newton's
arm fast clasped round Ben; and how he brought
him to the shore, though both were like the dead when
they got there!

Sensibility and gratitude are always eloquent, and
what girl of seventeen would not be moved by a generous
deed, achieved by a living hero of twenty? Day
after day Theresa stole down to the fisherman's cottage.
She assisted Lilly at her pretty work; she even improved


Page 190
on the poor girl's skill, and under reiterated
promises of secrecy, helped her make a beautiful collection
of flies, which were designed for a welcoming
gift for Mr. Newton Clifford.

Theresa's lively imagination seized all the traits that
were presented of Clifford by his partial friends, and
combined from them a beautiful portrait, coloured with
the rich and delicate hues of her own genuine feeling,
and pure and elevated taste. Was the portrait a likeness?
Was this young dream to be verified by the
reality? Was the spirit of her imagination, resembling
nothing she had seen in life, to be embodied in the
heroic person—Newton Clifford?

Every successive day Clifford was expected, and
each day's mail brought some trivial excuse for his
delay. A fortnight of the time allotted for Theresa's
visit had already expired. Mrs. Clifford's habitual
serenity was slightly overclouded, and there were moments
when Theresa, to a keen observer, would have
betrayed the condition of one who waits, a most unenviable

She took one day her customary stroll to the fisherman's
hut. She had completely won Lilly's heart;
indeed, Theresa played the game of life so well, that
she won all hearts.

Her humble friend testified her affection, as women
of every age and condition are apt to do, by setting
the crown matrimonial on the brow of her favourite—
and in this case it was, in her estimation, the crown
of glory.

“If matches are made in heaven,” she said, as her
busy fingers were plying at her work, “I know what
is to happen.”

“What do you mean, Lilly?” asked Theresa, blushing
at the slight disingenuousness of asking what she
well knew.

“Oh, Miss, you and Mr. Newton are so much alike
—you even look alike. To be sure, he is very tall,


Page 191
and you are short, but that difference there should be;
and he is very dark, and you are pure red and white,
and that difference there should be; and his hair is jet
black, and yours a sunny brown; and his eyes are
hazle, and yours are blue as the sky, and that difference
is prettiest of all.”

Theresa laughed heartily, and asked, “Pray, where
is the resemblance, Lilly?”

“Oh, Miss, it's that look.”

Lilly was right and true to nature in her perception
of harmony in discords.

It was after this last walk and conversation that
Theresa returned to Bellevue, and entered the house
heated, flushed, and tired. She strolled into the parlour,
and went up to the glass to adjust her hair, which
had fallen in disorder over her neck and face, and reflected
in the mirror she saw the figure of a young
man stretched on the sofa, with a book in his hand,
that had the aspect of a fresh novel. Theresa's colour,
deep as it was, deepened to an impurpled crimson.
She felt as if she were under a gorgon spell. She
could not turn, and nothing, she felt, could be more
awkward and silly than to remain as she was. She
ventured a second glance at the image, and a third and
scurutinising one, for she now perceived that the young
gentleman was, or affected to be asleep. “This must
be Newton Clifford,” thought Theresa, “the figure,
hair, complexion, features, all correspond exactly with
the description, but, oh how unlike what I expected!”
and if she had been addicted to tears, she would have
shed them at her disappointment; but Theresa's temper
was entirely of the l'allegro cast, and she laughed,
laughed aloud and heartily. Clifford, for it was he,
Clifford awoke, and his mother entering at the moment,
after casting a look of surprise at Miss Walsingham,
and of reproof at the recumbent and nonchalant attitude
of her son, formally introduced them to each other.


Page 192
Theresa whirled round on her toe, laughed again, and
then flew away like a bird startled from its perch.

“For heaven's sake! my dear mother,” asked Clifford,
“who is this hoydenish Blowzabella?”

“Who? have I not just introduced her to you, Newton?
Theresa Walsingham.”

“Heaven forefend! I thought you said so, but I could
not credit my ears. I expected to see Miss Walsingham
a fashionable, thorough-bred girl; this little rude
concern looks as if she had just come in from a bout
at haymaking—heighho! what time is it?” He looked
at an exquisite little watch, that, suspended by a safety
chain, was tucked into his waistcoat pocket; “Eleven
o'clock; this country air is a delicious opiate, mother,”
and then yawning and falling back from his half recumbent
posture on the sofa cushions, he relapsed into
his broken slumbers, leaving Mrs. Clifford looking and
feeling much like a child, who has blown a soap bubble,
seen it expand and brighten, and then suddenly
vanish into thin air.

Mrs. Clifford was not consoled by being able in
part to guess the cause of Theresa's merriment, for,
even to a mother's eye, there was an appalling disparity
between the present appearance of her son and
the beau-ideal that had been pourtrayed to Theresa.

Eight months before, Newton Clifford had gone to
New York, simple but not rustic in his taste, dress
and manners. His fortune and connections in life had
cast him into the most fashionable society, and accident
rather than choice had involved him in an intimacy
with an ultra-fashionable young man of his own
age, and a married lady of haut-ton. Both these
persons, unfortunately for Clifford, happened to be
gifted by nature with uncommon talent, which was
all employed in giving to the follies and insipidities of
fashion a certain interest, grace and brilliancy. The
great philosophical truth that knowledge is power, is
never more strikingly illustrated than by the influence
that a woman of a certain age (that per se most uninteresting


Page 193
period of life) exercises over a young man of
ardent feeling and lively imagination.

The narrow limits of our story will not permit us to
enter into any of the details of Clifford's fashionable
training. Suffice it that he returned to Bellevue an
ultraist of the beau-monde, disdaining whatever was
simple and natural as much as a thorough-bred amateur
of the Italian opera disdains sweet “wood notes wild.”
He was dressed in the extreme of the dominant fashion.
We cannot describe the particulars, for we have no
place in our memory for the coxcombries of five years
since, but his whole array was equivalent to a Broadway
exquisite of the present season. Oliver's curled
and frizzed imitation of Hyperion's curls; the “boundless
contiguity” of hairs, called whiskers; the checked
dishabille linen; the “Jubilee stock;” the diamond
studs; the webfooted (we presume to propose the
descriptive epithet) the webfooted pantaloon; the
person garnished with certain feminine favours, pretty
trophies, such as fantastical emblematic finger rings, a
porphyry smelling bottle, appended to the ribbon of a
quizzing glass; and filled with mousseline ambre or
some other exquisite perfume; an almost (would it
were quite so!) an almost invisible snuff box, with
Irish blackguard; and in short all other marks of the
most refined dandyism, imperceptible to an unpractised
eye, and indescribable by an untechnical pen. And
this was the person that, brought into sudden contrast
with the heroic image in Theresa's mind, placed her
sweet fancies in so ludicrous a light, and put them to
so disorderly a flight. Theresa had, in common with
all rational beings, men and women, an instinctive
aversion to the unmanly species called dandies—these
poor and only worshippers of the image of humanity
which they themselves have set up; a dull variety of
the monkey race, bearing a resemblance to man, mortifying
to the veritable lords of the creation, and no
way honourable to themselves.


Page 194

Dandyism was a sympathetic, not a constitutional
disease with Clifford; this Theresa did not know, for
she had only seen him when “the fit was on him,”
but his mother did. At another time she would have
quietly waited for the paroxysm to pass off, but now
she had wise and long cherished hopes at stake, and
she felt too much either to be, or to appear philosophical.
Clifford's sagacity had penetrated the secret
of his mother's wishes, without her having expressly
communicated them, and knowing that he was a favourite
of fortune, and being conscious of qualities that
were at present quite hidden under his masquerade
dress, and obscured by his temporary indifference to
the simple pleasures of home and life, it was not an
evidence of very extravagant self love that he should
suspect Theresa of partaking his mother's views, and
should consequently be as shy of her as the bird is of
the decoy he has discovered to be set for him. Fortunately
there was no pondering of the matter in our
happy heroine's gay and innocent heart; she was not
disturbed by even a suspicion of Clifford's mental
conclusions. Her elastic spirit soon rose from the
first pressure of disappointment, and she returned
with her usual animation to her accustomed pleasures.
She thought Mr. Clifford a very conceited, disagreeable
person; that Bellevue had been far pleasanter
without him; that he was the last man in the world
that if she ever did marry (a supposition a young lady
is apt to make mentally,) the last man in the world
she would marry!

Theresa had yet to learn that there is nothing in
this uncertain life more uncertain than the final resolution
of a young lady of seventeen!

Clifford soon perceived that there was nothing affected
nor equivocal in her indifference to him, and he
was piqued by it. His natural tastes revived in the
salutary atmosphere of home. He observed Theresa
more attentively, and to observe was to feel the attraction


Page 195
of her loveliness. He caught himself, when he
heard her laugh breaking forth in a distant part of the
house, (never was a laugh more heartfelt and musical,)
starting forward to listen, and involuntarily responding
a faint echo; and once, when she was patting the neck
of a spirited little black pony, on which she had been
taking a solitary morning ride, he was betrayed into
kissing, with real emotion, the whitest, most deeply
dimpled and prettiest hand in the world.

These and some other trifling circumstances began
to intimate that a change was coming “o'er the spirit
of his dream;” still he was not so deeply interested as
to demonstrate Rosalind's infallible signs; the “hose
ungartered,” the “bonnet unbanded,” the “shoe
untied,” the “careless desolation;” but he was still
“point device in all his accoutrements.” A pastoral
hero may love without hope; but not so a fashionable
young man of twenty-one.

Newton Clifford's love, for he did actually, and that
in a few days, feel an irresistible attraction towards
Theresa; his love was of the most confident nature.
It was true that from day to day Theresa perceived
more and more of his agreeable qualities coming out,
and once or twice it crossed her mind that she should,
if she had not expected so much—at times—she should
think Newton Clifford quite interesting.

In the meantime the period of her visit was drawing
to a close. Mrs. Clifford, who was eagerly watching
the signs of the times, wrote to Theresa's father to beg
an extension of her visit; one week more was granted,
but then the order of return was peremptory.

On the day before her departure, Theresa went to
take leave of her friend Lilly. She had been to the
cottage but once before since Clifford's arrival. On
that occasion she went to cull from the collection of
flies designed for him, those she had made. The little
fly manufacturer remonstrated, but in vain. Theresa


Page 196
possessed herself of them, and strewed them to the

As she now approached the hut, she heard voices.
Clifford was speaking in a tone of animated kindness
to his poor protegé. “This is just what I fancied
Clifford was before I saw him,” thought Theresa, and
that very thought made her pause at the threshold of
the door, from an undefined feeling of awkwardness.
While she stood there she heard Lilly say, “Here are
some flies, Mr. Newton, which I made for a present
for you, if any thing can be called a present that I
give to you.” Clifford expressed his gratitude by admiring
them extravagantly, and then selecting one,
“This,” he exclaimed, “is the very prettiest I ever
saw. I can almost believe, with the poor little fish,
that it is a real fly. If you could make me a dozen
such as this, Lilly, for a friend of mine?”

Lilly stammered in her reply. “Oh!” thought
Theresa, who rightly conjectured that it was one of
her own manufacture accidentally left among Lilly's;
“Oh, the silly girl will certainly betray me.” Poor
Lilly was confounded between the obligation of her
promise to Miss Walsingham, on no account to betray
her agency in the manufacture, the feminine desire of
permitting the secret to evolve, and the necessity of
confessing that she could not make flies equal to the
specimen in Mr. Clifford's hand. In this dilemma she
did what any other simple girl would have done, smiled,
blushed, and faltered, and said she would do her very
best for Mr. Newton, but she could no way in the world
make anything so pretty, her fingers were stiffened
with the rheumatism, and besides, they were never
handy enough for such a piece of work as that.”

“Then you did not make this particular one, Lilly;
who in the name of wonder did?”

Before Lilly could reply, and with the intention of
preventing her, Theresa entered, but poor Lilly, far as
she was from all duplicity, was betrayed by her surprise


Page 197
and confusion, into keeping the promise to the
ear, and breaking it to the sense. She cast a speaking
glance at Theresa, hung down her head, laughed outright,
and turned away. Theresa blushed too, and
was quite too much embarrassed, and provoked that
she was embarrassed, to make any explanation, while
Clifford with the utmost complacency bowed in acknowledgement
to her, and taking out a small tablet
case, deliberately placed the fly between its leaves.

“At any rate,” exclaimed Theresa, half amused and
half vexed, and unintentionally verifying Newton's
fortunate conjecture, “at any rate, Mr. Clifford, I did
not mean that you should have it.”

“Perhaps not. We anglers, Miss Theresa, can
never foresee exactly which fish will bite when we
bait our hook.”

An older, a more scrupulous, or more fastidious lady
than Theresa Walsingham, might have found something
offensive in this “perhaps,” this allusion to
“angling” and “baiting,” but it was not in character
for her to weigh and sift words; she really did not
perceive any particular meaning in Clifford's; the
secret being out, she had no farther concern about the
matter. She had never seen him so animated, natural,
and pleasing, and after chiding Lilly for betraying
her, and kindly slipping into her hand a farewell gift,
she returned with Clifford to Bellevue, but not till
Lilly had contrived to say aside to him—“Keep the
fly for a luck-penny, as they call it, Mr. Newton.”
Her eye followed them, till she lost sight of them
under the shadows of the lindens that grew on the
river's side, she weaving, the while, the web of destiny,
as dexterously as a “weird sister.”

It was not one of the fairest days of summer, but
the spirits of seventeen and twenty-one are not tempered
by the weathergage. A dyspeptic may look at
the sky and the vane before he smiles, but our gay
pair were in a humour to smile in spite of clouds or


Page 198
storms. Clifford was flattered and elated by the little
incident of the morning. It had confirmed all his
prepossessions. He had discovered that he was under
the influence of Theresa's attractions. He had made
up his mind, at the first propitious moment to tell his
love; that moment had arrived, and with it came, not
doubts of his success, but some natural shrinkings.

He began by speaking of her return in a desperate
tone of voice; she replied, but not in an according

“Then you will have no regrets at leaving Bellevue?”
he said half reproachfully.

“Indeed I shall! There is no place in the world I
love so well, but home; and there is nobody I love
so well as Mrs. Clifford, but papa.”

“Nobody!” echoed Clifford with a look and tone of
voice that was meant to convey a word of meaning;
“can no one rival them in your heart, Theresa?”

“Oh the children! of course; I doat on the children;
and Willie, my pet Willie, oh, I shall never love any
thing half so much as I love Willie.”

“Are you quite certain of that?” asked Clifford.

“Yes, perfectly,” she replied in the same careless

“Is this coquetry, the first—last sin of a pretty woman,
or is it truth and nature?” thought Clifford; but
before he had solved the riddle, and as they emerged
from the shaded walk into the open grounds, they
were joined by his mother, who coming from a different
direction, was, like them, bending her steps towards

Her maternal eye read the deep interest that was
legible on her son's countenance; and Theresa's cheek
bright with exercise and spirits, spoke the confirmation
of her hopes. “The dear child has reason to feel
happy,” was the mother's thought, and vexed that she
had interrupted a tête-à-tête that she believed could be
verging but to one conclusion, she said something


Page 199
about “old people being in the way,” and was hurrying
past them; but Theresa slipt her arm into Mrs.
Clifford's and detained her; “I do not know how it
may be with old people,” she said, “but I am sure any
party is the pleasanter for having you in it.” Mrs.
Clifford, half gratified at her favourite's affection, and
half vexed at the inopportune moment she had taken
to evince it, was obliged to yield to the gentle constraint
of Theresa's arm, and walk beside her. But
her mind, still on one thought intent, she gave
Clifford a bunch of flowers she had been culling during
her walk. “There,” said she, “Newton, when I was
young, lovers of common ingenuity would have discoursed
with those flowers for an hour, without articulating
a word.”

“I am ignorant of their language, mother, but if
you will teach me, I will endeavour to profit by your

“Attend to me then, and do not be looking at Theresa;
she knows nothing at all of the matter. There
is a passion flower, the emblem of hope; there a little
bachelor's button, `hope even in the depths of
misery;' that hollow hearted fox glove is insincerity;
that wild geranium, cruelty; the honeysuckle, fidelity;
periwinkle, friendship, a poor article when you want
love; the Lavender confession—`She, Lavender to
him sent, owning her love,' Hope, cruelty, fidelity!
&c. It would be a poor brain that could not make a
moving tale from these cabalistic words.”

“But,” said Theresa in all simplicity, “there is no
emblem for love, and that is the basis of all the rest.”

“True, true, most true, my dear Theresa,” replied
Mrs. Clifford, smiling, “but I passed over the rosebud,
for I thought the simplest, most unlearned in the floral
vocabulary, knew that meant a declaration of love;
and so it should, for it unfolds into what is sweetest
and most beautiful in nature.”


Page 200

“True love, ma'am, you mean?” asked Theresa;
and it was a bona fide inquiry.

Mrs. Clifford laughed, Newton thrust the rosebud,
which he seemed for the last minute to have been
most critically examining, into his bosom, and they all
mounted the steps to the piazza, where half a dozen of
the family were assembled awaiting them.

The following morning was the morning of Theresa's
departure. Mrs. Clifford, as she had before
promised, and Mrs. Clifford's son, which had not before
been indicated, were to attend her home. As
they left the town of Bellevue, on their way to the
pier, where they were to embark in the steamboat,
Theresa turned to give one parting look to the beautiful
flowers that in unlimited profusion embellished
the place. “Oh!” she exclaimed, “I wish I had
thought to gather a bouquet to take with me.”

Clifford offered to repair her omission, and turned
again up the avenue, and did not rejoin the ladies till
they had nearly reached the shore. “Oh,” said Theresa,
as she took the flowers from him, “have you
been gone so long and got nothing but buds! What
possessed him,” she continued, “to put in this little
withered wild rosebud among these fresh ones?” and
she threw it away, and cooly tucked the stems of the
rest under her belt riband; the withered bud was that
which Clifford had the day before put into his bosom,
and he had now added it to the bouquet; to him it
seemed instinct with the feelings of the heart which
had been throbbing against it for the last twelve hours.
Fortunately he had walked on, as if to look out for the
boat, and did not hear her, but his mother did, and
exclaimed in a tone of reproach “Theresa!” Theresa
thought her displeasure related solely to the bouquet.
“Dear Mrs. Clifford,” she said, kissing her in her own
affectionate manner, “do not be angry with me; there is,
I own it, there is nothing so precious as moss rosebuds.”

Mrs. Clifford always obeyed the French rule,—


Page 201
“Whenever there are two interpretations of a phrase,
receive the most agreeable.” “My own dear, dear
child!” she exclaimed, returning Theresa's embrace
with a warmth and emotion she did not at all comprehend,
and which was not rendered more intelligible
by the delighted gaze, with which, as she turned, she
perceived Clifford was surveying them. Some acquaintances
appeared at this moment, and no farther
explanation was then possible, as they were immediately
transferred to the thronged deck of a steamboat.
Theresa was in irrepressible spirits, and for this,
Mrs. Clifford and her son had but one interpretation.
The one had perhaps forgotten, and the other never
yet learned, that all deep emotions are serious. The
truth was, Theresa had forgotten the conventional
language of the rosebuds; her mind was preoccupied
with home images; no brain-woven romance, but with
filial thoughts of her beloved father, and of the eager
eyes and glad hearts of the little tribe awaiting her.
Such a heart as Theresa's, so full of delicate, strong,
and unchanging affections, was not to be lightly won,
and this Clifford was yet to learn at the expense of
well requited sacrifices.

Secure for the present in the estimate of all he had
to confer, and in the assurance of a self-complacency
that no disappointment had ever yet disturbed, he
retired to a solitary corner of the cabin to enjoy, in
writing to her, a more exclusive and satisfactory communion
with Theresa, than he could amid the throng
that encompassed her on the deck.

The letter was a joyous rhapsody; the interpreter
of his soul, “and faithful to its fires;” full of blissful
feelings and blissful hopes. He filled it, crossed it,
enclosed, and sealed it with the well known device of
a laurel leaf, and the motto, “Je ne change qu'en
mourant;” a motto presumptuously applied to many a
passion that has had even a briefer existence than a
summer's leaf.


Page 202

Thus prepared, the letter awaited an auspicious
moment for delivery. That moment arrived, when
Clifford handed Theresa from the carriage that had
conveyed her from the boat to her father's door.
“This speaks for me,” he whispered, “I will be
with you again in ten minutes.” But joyous shouts
and bounding steps were already ringing in Theresa's
ears, and she heard nothing else, and did not think
again of Clifford, till in less than ten minutes he returned,
expecting to find Theresa awaiting to reciprocate
the expression of those sentiments of which he
had just communicated the delightful certainty. She
was there, seated on her father's knee, recounting the
pleasures of her jaunt; her pet Willie stood beside her
on the sofa, his curly head lying fondly on her shoulder,
and one little mischievous hand picking unheeded,
one by one, the rosebuds from her waist, and throwing
them on the floor, where two or three of the little
urchins were dividing the spoil. The letter—the
letter on which was suspended the destiny of life, had
been dropped and forgotten by Theresa, who had
never given it one glance, and if one thought, had
supposed it to be one of the numerous unimportant
packages belonging to her. Her sister Ellen, a
busy, prying little daughter of Eve, had picked it
up, torn off the seal, and at the moment Clifford
entered was uttering a sort of jargon which she called
reading it. Never, at any moment of her life, had
Theresa looked more lovely than now, when her
sweet face was lighted with the glow of those innocent
and tender affections that are kindled at Nature's
altar, and inspired by the breath of the Almighty.

But Clifford had looked for something far more
precious in his eyes, and mortified and disappointed,
he was scarcely conscious of Mr. Walsingham's polite
reception; hardly comprehended his words as he said,
“You are deafened by the noisy joy of my children;
they are half wild at the return of their elder sister;


Page 203
and I,” he added, wiping his moistened eyes, “am
hardly less a child than any one of them.” Clifford
in vain struggled to reply and to recover his self-possession.
Fortunately, all were too much occupied
with their own sensations to observe his, and he seized
his unread letter, thrust it into his pocket, and made
his escape.

I know not what, if any, explanation followed, but
three years subsequent I met the same parties at
Bellevue. Clifford then with a slight abatement for a
very youthful imagination, might have realized the
early visions of Theresa. The few dregs of folly in
his composition, had in the first fermentation risen to
the surface, and worked off. How much he might
have been indebted to the purifying influence of “le
grand sentiment,” (for who shall define or limit its
power,) we know not, but with all our preference for
our heroine, we must confess he was worthy of her
true and tender heart.

Of his dandyism there was no relic, save the identical
safety chain he had formerly worn; but instead
of the fantastic watch appended to it, I discovered,
(though it was scrupulously worn beneath the vest,)
the little fly so elaborately wrought by Theresa, and
of which, no doubt, he was well informed of the consecrating
history. As to Theresa, she was unchanged;
the same spontaneous flow of rich feelings, the same
beautiful simplicity of character and naturalness, made
more graceful, but not in the least impaired or obscured
by the polish of the world.

One visible change indeed there was, and it was
expressed in the quick mutations of Theresa's beautiful
colour; in the tender drooping of her eye; in word and
action. A stronger, deeper, more controlling sentiment
had taken possession of her heart than filial love,
or than the affectionate devotion of an Eldest Sister.

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