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“This life, sae far's I understand,
Is a' enchanted fairy-land,
Where pleasure is the magic wand,
That, wielded right,
Makes hours like minutes, hand in hand,
Dance by fu' light.”


As soon as Mr. Linwood became aware of his
son's whig tendencies, he determined, as far as
possible, to counteract them; and instead of sending
him, as he had purposed, to Harvard University,
into a district which he considered infected with the
worst of plagues, he determined to retain him under
his own vigilant eye, at the loyal literary institution
in his own city. This was a bitter disappointment
to Herbert.

“It is deused hard,” he said to Jasper Meredith,
who was just setting out for Cambridge to finish
his collegiate career there, “that you, who have
such a contempt for the Yankees, should go to live
among them; when I, who love and honour them
from the bottom of my heart, must stay here, play
the good boy, and quietly submit to this most unreasonable
paternal fiat.”

“No more of my contempt for the Yankees, Hal,


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an' thou lovest me,” replied Jasper; “you remember
Æsop's advice to Crœsus at the Persian court?”

“No, I am sure I do not. You have the most
provoking way of resting the lever by which you
bring out your own knowledge on your friend's

“Pardon me, Herbert; I was only going to remind
you of the Phrygian sage's counsel to Crœsus,
to speak flattery at court, or hold his tongue. I
assure you, that as long as I live among these soidisant
sovereigns, I shall conceal my spleen, if I
do not get rid of it.”

“Oh, you'll get rid of it. They need only to be
seen at their homes to be admired and loved.”


“Yes, loved; to tell you the truth, Jasper,”
Herbert's honest face reddened as he spoke, “it
was something of this matter of loving that I have
been trying for the last week to make up my mind
to speak to you. You may think me fool, dunce,
or what you please; but, mark me, I am serious—
you remember Bessie Lee?”

“Perfectly! I understand you—excellent!”—

“Hear me out, and then laugh as much as you
like. Eliot, Bessie's brother, will be your classmate—you
will naturally be friends—for he is a
first-rate—and you will naturally—”

“Fall in love with his pretty sister?”

“If not forewarned, you certainly would; for
there is nothing like her this side heaven. But


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remember, Jasper, as you are my friend, remember,
I look upon her as mine. `I spoke first,' as the
children say; I have loved Bessie ever since I lived
at Westbrook.”

“Upon my soul, Herbert, you have woven a
pretty bit of romance. This is the very youngest
dream of love I ever heard of. Pray, how old were
you when you went to live at farmer Lee's?”

“Eleven—Bessie was six—I stayed there two
years; and last year, as you know, Bessie spent
with us.”

“And she is now fairly entered upon her teens;
you have nothing to fear from me, Herbert, depend
on't. I never was particularly fond of children
there is not the slightest probability of my falling
into an intimacy with your yeoman friend, or ever,
in any stage of my existence, getting up a serious
passion for a peasant girl. I have no affinities for
birds of the basse cour. My flight is more aspiring
—`birds of a feather flock together,' my dear fellow,
and the lady of my love must be such a one as my
lady aunts in England and my eagle-eyed mother
will not look down upon. So a truce to your fears,
dear Herbert. Give me the letter you promised
to your farmer, scholar, friend; and rest assured, he
never shall find out that I do not think him equal
in blood and breeding to the King of England, as
all these Yankees fancy themselves to be.”

Herbert gave the letter, but not with the best
grace. He did not like Jasper's tone towards his


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New-England friends. He half wished he had
not written the letter, and quite, that he had been
more frugal of his praise of Jasper. With the letter,
he gave to Jasper various love-tokens from
Isabella and himself for Bessie. The young men
were saying their last parting words, when Herbert
suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, I forgot! Isabella sent
you a keepsake,” and he gave Jasper a silk purse,
with a dove and olive-branch prettily wrought
on it.

“Oh, you savage!” exclaimed Jasper, “had you
forgotten this!” He pressed it to his lips. “Dear,
dear Belle! I kiss your olive-branch—we have
had many a falling-out, but thus will they always
end.” Then slipping a ring from his finger, on
which was engraven a heart, transfixed by an
arrow—“Beg Isabella,” he said, “to wear this
for my sake. It is a pretty bauble, but she'll not
value it for that, nor because it has been worn by
all our Capulets since the days of good Queen Bess,
as my aunt, Lady Mary, assured me; but perhaps
she will care for it for—pshaw.” He dashed off
an honest tear—a servant announced that his uncle
was awaiting him, and cordially embracing Herbert,
they parted.

As Herbert had expected, Eliot Lee and Meredith
were classmates, but not, as he predicted, or
at least not immediately, did they become friends.
Their circumstances, and those habits which grow
out of circumstances, were discordant. Meredith


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had been bred in a luxurious establishment, and
was taught to regard its artificial and elaborate
arrangement as essential to the production of a
gentleman. He was a citizen “of no mean city,”
though we now look back upon New-York at that
period, with its some eighteen or twenty thousand
inhabitants, as little more than a village. There
was then, resulting from the condition of America
far more disparity between the facilities and refinements
of town and country than there now
is; and even now there are young citizens (and
some citizens in certain illusions remain young all
their lives) who look with the most self-complacent
disdain on country breeding. Prior to our revolution,
the distinctions of rank in the colonies were
in accordance with the institutions of the old world.
The coaches of the gentry were emblazoned with
their family arms, and their plate with the family
crest. If peers and baronets were rarœ aves, there
were among the youths of Harvard “nephews of
my lord,” and “sons of Sir George and Sir Harry.”
These were, naturally, Meredith's first associates.
He was himself of the privileged order and, connected
with many a noble family in the mother
country, he felt his aristocratic blood tingle in
every vein. A large property, which had devolved
to him on the death of his father, was chiefly vested
in real estate in America, and his guardians, with
the consent of his mother, who herself remained
in England, had judiciously decided to educate


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him where it would be most advantageous for him
finally to fix his residence.

The external circumstances—the appliances and
means of the two young men, were certainly widely
different. Eliot Lee's parentage would not be
deemed illustrious, according to any artificial code;
but graduated by nature's aristocracy (nature alone
sets a seal to her patents of universal authority),
he should rank with the noble of every land. And
he might claim what is now considered as the
peculiar, the purest, the enduring, and in truth the
only aristocracy of our own. He was a lineal
descendant from one of the renowned pilgrim
whose nobility, stamped in the principles
that are regenerating mankind, will be transmitted
by their sons on the Missouri and the Oregon,
when the stars and garters of Europe have perished
and are forgotten.

Colonel Lee, Eliot's father, was a laborious
New-England farmer, of sterling sense and integrity—in
the phrase of his people, “an independent,
fore-handed man;” a phrase that implies
a property of four or five thousand dollars over and
above a good farm, unencumbered with debts, and
producing rather more than its proprietor, in his
frugal mode of life, has occasion to spend. Eliot's
mother was a woman of sound mind, and of that
quick and delicate perception of the beautiful in
nature and action, that is the attribute of sensibility
and the proof of its existence, though the possessor,


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like Eliot's mother, may, from diffidence or personal
awkwardness, never be able to imbody it in
graceful expression. She had a keen relish of
English literature, and rich acquisitions in it; such
as many of our ladies, who have been taught by a
dozen masters, and instructed in half as many
tongues, might well envy. With all this, she was
an actual operator in the arduous labours that fall
to the female department of a farming establishment—plain
farmer Lee's plain wife. This is not
an uncommon combination of character and condition
in New-England. We paint from life, if not
to the life: our fault is not extravagance of colouring.

It is unnecessary to enter into the details of Eliot
Lee's education. Circumstances combined to produce
the happiest results—to develop his physical,
intellectual, and moral powers; in short, to make
him a favourable specimen of the highest order of
New-England character. He had just entered on
his academic studies, when his father (as our
friend Effie intimated in her dark soothsaying) was
lost while crossing Massachusetts Bay during a violent
thunder-storm. Fortunately, the good colonel's
forecast had so well provided for his heirs, that his
widow was able to maintain the respectable position
of his family without recalling her son from
college. There, as many of our distinguished men
have done, he made his acquisitions available for
his support by teaching.


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Meredith and Eliot Lee were soon acknowledged
to be the gifted young men of their class. Though
nearly equals in capacity, Eliot, being by far the
most patient and assiduous, bore off the college
honours. Meredith did not lack industry—certainly
not ambition; but he had not the hardihood
and self-discipline that it requires to forego an attractive
pursuit for a dry study: and while Eliot,
denying his natural tastes, toiled by the midnight
lamp over the roughest academic course, he gracefully
ran through the light and beaten path of belles-lettres.

They were both social—Meredith rather gay in
his disposition. Both had admirable tempers;
Meredith's was partly the result of early training
in the goodly seemings of the world, Eliot's the
gift of Heaven, and therefore the more perfect.
Eliot could not exist without self-respect. The
applause of society was essential to Meredith.
He certainly preferred a real to a merely apparent
elevation; but experience could alone decide whether
he were willing to pay its price—sustained effort,
and generous sacrifice. Both were endowed with
personal graces. Neither man nor woman, that
ever we could learn, is indifferent to these.

Before the young men had proceeded far in their
collegiate career they were friends, if that holy
relation may be predicated of those who are united
by accidental circumstances. That they were on
a confidential footing will be seen by the following


Page 45
conversation. Meredith was in his room, when, on
hearing a tap at his door, he answered it by saying,
“Come in, Eliot, my dear fellow. My good, or
your evil genius, has brought you to me at the
very moment when I am steeped to the lips in

“You in trouble! why—what is the matter?”

“Diable! matter enough for song or sermon.
`Not a trouble abroad but it lights o' my shoulders'
—First, here is a note from our reverend Prœses.
`Mr. Jasper Meredith, junior class—you are fined,
by the proper authority, one pound ten, for going
into Boston last Thursday night, to an assembly
or ball, contrary to college laws—as this is the first
offence of the kind reported against you, we have,
though you have been guilty of a gross violation
of known duty, been lenient in fixing the amount
of your fine.'—Lenient, good Præses!—Take instead
one pound ten ounces of my flesh. My
purse is far leaner than my person, though that
be rather of the Cassius order.—Now, Eliot, is not
this a pretty bill for one night's sorry amusement—
one pound ten, besides the price of two ball tickets,
and sundry confections.”

“How, two ball tickets, Meredith?”

“Why, I gave one to the tailor's pretty sister,
Sally Dunn.”

“Sally Dunn!—Bravo, Meredith. Plebeian as
you think my notions, I should hardly have escorted
Sally Dunn to a ball.”


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“My service to you, Eliot!—do not fancy I
have been enacting a scene fit for Hogarth's idle
apprentice. Were I so absurd, do you fancy these
Boston patricians would admit a tailor's sister within
their taboed circle?—No—no, little Sally went
with company of her own cloth, and trimmings to
match (in her brother's slang)—rosy milliners and
journeyman tailors, to a ball got up by her compeers.
I sent in to them lots of raisins and almonds,
which served as a love-token for Sally and
munching for her companions.”

“You have, indeed, paid dear for your whistle,

“Dear! you have not heard half yet. Sir
knight of the shears assailed me with a whining
complaint of my `paying attention,' as he called it,
to his sister Sally, and I could only get off by the
gravest assurances of my profound respect for the
whole Dunn concern, followed up by an order for
a new vest, that being the article the youth would
least mar in the making, and here is his bill—two
pounds two. This is to be added to my ball expenses,
fine, &c., and all, as our learned professor
would say, traced to the primum mobile, must be
charged to pretty Sally Dunn. Oh woman! woman!—ever
the cause of man's folly, perplexity,
misery, and destruction!”

“You are getting pathetic, Meredith.”

“My dear friend, there is nothing affects a man's
sensibilities like an empty purse—unless it be an


Page 47
empty stomach. You have not heard half my
sorrows yet. Here is a bill, a yard long, from the
livery-stable, and here another from Monsieur Paté
et Confiture!”

“And your term-bills?”

“Oh! my term-bills I have forwarded, with the
dignity of a Sir Charles Grandison, to my uncle.
Now, Eliot,” he continued, disbursing a few half
crowns and shillings on the table, and holding up
his empty purse, and throwing into his face an expression
of mock misery, “Now, Eliot, let us resolve
ourselves into a committee of ways and
means, and tell me by what financial legerdemain I
can get affixed to these scrawls that happiest combination
of words in the English language—that
honeyed phrase, `received payment in full'—`oh,
gentle shepherd, tell me where?' ”

“Where deficits should always find supplies,
Meredith, in a friend's purse. I have just settled
the account of my pedagogue labours for the last
term, and as I have no extra bills to pay, I have
extra means quite at your service.”

Meredith protested, and with truth, that nothing
was farther from his intentions than drawing on his
friend; and when Eliot persisted and counted out
the amount which Meredith said would relieve
his little embarrassments, he felt, and magnanimously
expressed his admiration of those `working-day
world virtues' (so he called them), industry
and frugality, which secured to Eliot the tranquillity


Page 48
of independence, and the power of liberality. It
is possible that, at another time, and in another
humour, he might have led the laugh against the
sort of barter trade—the selling one kind or degree
of knowledge to procure another, by which a
Yankee youth, who is willing to live like an anchorite
or a philosopher in the midst of untasted pleasures,
works his passage through college.

Subsequent instances occurred of similar but
temporary obligations on the part of Meredith.
Temporary of course, for Meredith was too thoroughly
imbued with the sentiments of a gentleman
to extend a pecuniary obligation beyond the term
of his necessity.


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