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Page 201


“Is't possible that but seeing you should love her?”

In the meantime Eliot had been released from
his durance, where he had suffered, as mortals
sometimes mysteriously do, what he seemed in nowise
to have deserved; and passing unobserved
into the entry, he had preceded Miss Linwood
down the stairs, and was standing within the outer
door in conversation with his attendant, so earnest
that he did not perceive her approach till she said,
“Am I intruding?”

She was answered by Herbert's suddenly turning
his face to her, and uttering “Isabella!”

In the suddenness of surprise and joy she forgot
every thing but his presence; and would have
thrown her arms around him but for Eliot's intervention.

“Herbert!—Miss Linwood! I entreat you to
be cautious—your brother's safety is at stake—
not a moment is to be lost—is concealment possible
at your father's house?”

“Possible!—certain. I will instantly go home.”

“Stop—pray hush, Herbert. Was the reason
of your coming down stairs known to any one,
Miss Linwood?”


Page 202

“Only to Helen Ruthven and Mr. Meredith.”

“Two foxes on the scent!—that's all,” said

“Oh, no, Herbert; they would be the last to
betray; but they do not suspect you.”

“Then all may be managed,” said Eliot; “trust
no one, Miss Linwood—you cannot serve your
brother better than by appearing at Sir Henry's
table, and letting it be known, incidentally, that
you have seen my attendant.”

“I understand you, and will do my best.
Heaven help us!—avoid by all means seeing
mamma, Herbert—she will not dare incur the responsibility
of concealing your presence. Go in
at the back gate—you can easily elude Jupe—
trust all to Rose. God bless you, dear brother,”
she concluded; and in spite of the danger of observation,
she gave him one hasty embrace, and
returned to the drawing-room to enact a part—a
difficult task to Isabella Linwood.

The few guests expected soon after arrived;
and Mr. Linwood reappeared from his walk with
the air of a person who has tidings to communicate.
“Ah, Isabella,” said he, “I have news for

“The rebels have been crucifying more tories,
I suppose?”

“Pshaw, Belle—you know I did not believe
that any more than you did when Rivington first
published it. I have heard news of your Yankee


Page 203

“Only heard!—then I have the advantage of
you, for I have seen them.”

“Seen them! Lord bless me—where, child?”

“In the hall below. I seized the opportunity
of relieving you from the interview appointed this

“You astonish me! Well, after all, Robertson's
suspicions may be groundless. He has just
received advice to look out sharply for the attendant
of Captain Lee, who is suspected not to be the
person he passes for.”

“And what if he is not, papa?”

“What if he is not!—a true girl-question!
Why, he may be an officer, who, under the disguise
of a servant, may be a very efficient emissary
for Mr. Washington. He may have come to
confer with `some of our whited sepulchres'—pretended
tories, but whigs to the back-bone—we have
plenty such.”

“It would be very dangerous,” said a sapient
young lady, “to let such a person go at large.”

“But, papa,” continued Isabella, without noticing
the last interlocutor, “it seems to me very improbable
that General Washington would be accessary
to any such proceeding.”

“Ah, he'll take care to guard appearances. He
is as chary of his reputation as Cæsar was of his
wife's—a crafty one is Mr. Washington. The
passport seems to have contained a true description
of the true servant of this Captain Lee.


Page 204
Probably some young Curtius has assumed the
responsibility of the imposition. His detection
will reflect no dishonour on the great head of the
schismatics—only expose the poor youth to danger.”

Danger, papa!” Isabella's tone indicated that
the word fell on her ear associated with a life she

“Yes, Miss Linwood; he may find a short and
complete cure for whiggism; for, I take it, that in
that department of t'other world which these gentry
go to, they will find rebellion pretty well under.”

“Oh my! how you hate the whigs, Mr. Linwood!”
exclaimed the aforesaid young lady. “Supposing
it were poor dear Herbert who had disguised
himself just to take a peep at us all.”

“Herbert!” echoed Mr. Linwood, his colour
deepening and flushing his high forehead,—“Herbert!—he
is joined to idols—I should let him

“My! Isabella, is it not quite shocking to hear
your father speak in such a hard-hearted way of
poor Herbert?” whispered the young lady, who
still cherished a boarding-school love for Herbert.
“But, dear me! who is that coming in with Sir
Henry?—He must be one of the young officers
who arrived in the ship yesterday. `Captain Lee,
an American officer!”' reiterating Sir Henry's
presentation of his guest. “My! I ought to have
known the uniform; but I had no idea there was


Page 205
such an elegant young man in the American army
—had you, Isabella?”

Isabella was too much absorbed in her own observations
to return any thing more than bows and
nods to her voluble companion. She saw Meredith
advance to Eliot with that engaging cordiality
which he knew so well how to throw into his
manner; and she perceived that Eliot met him
with a freezing civility, that painfully re-excited
the apprehensions she had long felt, that there
was “something rotten in the state of Denmark.”
Sir Henry, after addressing each of his guests with
that official and measured politeness that marks
the great man's exact estimate of the value of each
nod, smile, and word vouchsafed to his satellites,
advanced to her, and said in an under tone, “My
dear Miss Linwood, I have sacrificed my tastes
at your shrine—invited a rebel to my table in consideration
of the service he had the honour of rendering
you, and my valued friend your father, this

“If all I have heard of the gentleman be true,”
replied Isabella, “Sir Henry will find his society
an indulgence rather than a sacrifice of taste.”

“Perhaps so.” Sir Henry shrugged his shoulders.
“He seems a clever person; but you know
antipathies are stubborn; and, entre nous, I have
what may be termed a natural aversion to an
American. I mean, of course, a rebel American.”

England was so much the Jerusalem of the


Page 206
loyal colonists, the holy city towards which they
always worshipped, that Sir Henry, in uttering this
sentiment, had no doubt of its calling forth a responsive
“amen” from Miss Linwood's bosom.
But her pride was touched. For the first time an
American feeling shot athwart her mind, and, like
a sunbeam falling on Memnon's statue, it elicited
music to one ear at least. “Have a care, Sir
Henry,” she replied aloud; “such sentiments from
our rulers engender rebellion, and almost make it
virtue. I am beginning to think that if I had been
a man, I should not have forgotten that I was an
American.” Her eye encountered Eliot Lee's;
and his expressed a more animated delight than he
would have ventured to imbody in words, or than
she would have heard spoken with complacency.

Sir Henry turned on his heel, and Eliot occupied
his position. Without adverting to what he had
just overheard, or alluding to the discords of the
country, he spoke to Miss Linwood of her brother,
of course, as if he had left him in camp; from her
brother they naturally passed to his sister. Both
were topics that called forth their most eloquent
feelings. The consciousness of a secret subject
of common concern heightened their mutual interest,
and in half an hour they had passed from
the terra incognita of strangers to the agreeable
footing of friends.

“I saw you bow to Miss Ruthven,” said Isabella:
“you knew her at West Point?”


Page 207

“Slightly,” replied Eliot, with a very expressive
curl of his lip.

“Did not I hear my name?” asked Miss Ruthven,
advancing, hanging on Meredith's arm, and
seating herself in a vacant chair near Miss Linwood.

“You might, for we presumed to utter it,” replied

“Oh, I suppose Captain Lee has been telling
you of my escape from that stronghold of the
enemy—indeed, I could endure it no longer. You
know, Captain Lee, there is no excitement there
but the scenery; and even if I were one of those
favoured mortals who find `tongues in trees, books
in the running brooks, and sermons in stones,' I
have no fancy for them. I prefer the lords of the
creation,” fixing her eyes expressively on Meredith,
“to creation itself.”

“Pray tell me, Captain Lee,” asked Isabella, “is
your sister such a worshipper of nature as she
used to be? it seemed to be an innate love with

“Yes, it is; and it should be so, if, as some
poets imagine, there is a mysterious correspondence
and affinity between the outward world and pure

“Dear Bessie! I am so charmed to hear from
her again. She has sent me but one letter in six
months, and that a very, very sad one.” Isabella's
eye involuntarily turned towards Meredith, but


Page 208
there was no indication that the sounds that entered
his ears touched a chord of feeling, or even of
memory. It was worth remarking, that while subjects
had been alluded to that must have had the
most thrilling interest for both Miss Ruthven and
Meredith, they neither betrayed by a glance of the
eye, a variation of colour, or a faltering of voice,
the slightest consciousness. Truly, “the children
of this world are wiser in their generation than
the children of light.”

At the very moment Isabella was speaking so
tenderly of her friend, Meredith interrupted her
with, “I beg your pardon, Miss Linwood, but I have
a controversy with Miss Ruthven which you must
decide. I insist there is disloyalty in discarding
the Queen Charlotte bonnet; a fright, I grant, very
like the rustic little affair your sister Bessie used
to wear, Lee; and absolute treason in substituting
la vendange, a Bacchante concern, introduced by
the Queen of France, the patroness of the rebel
cause—pardon me, Captain Lee—your decision,
Miss Linwood; we wait your decision—”

Isabella carelessly replied, “I wear la vendange;
but not thus carelessly did she dismiss the
subject from her mind. “Meredith could not so
lightly have alluded to Bessie, in speaking to her
brother,” thought she, while she weighed each
word in a tremulous balance, “if he had ever
trifled with the affections of that gentle creature.
I have been unjust to him! he is no heart-breaker


Page 209
after all.” There is no happier moment in the
history of the heart than when it is relieved of a
distrust; and most deeply to be pitied is a young,
enthusiastic, and noble-minded creature, who, with
a standard of ideal perfection, has her affections
fixed, and her confidence wavering.

Eliot perceived that Miss Linwood's mind was
abstracted, and feeling his position to be an awkward
one, he withdrew to a distant part of the room.
Meredith, too, made his observations. He was
acute enough to perceive that he had allayed Isabella's
suspicions. He was satisfied with the
present, and not fearful of the future.

“Pray tell me, Meredith, do you know that
Captain Lee?” asked a Major St. Clair.

“Very well; we were at Harvard together!”

“Ah! scholar turned soldier. These poor fellows
have no chance against the regular bred
military. Homer and Virgil are not the masters to
teach our art.”

“Our army would halt for officers if they were,”
said Miss Linwood.

“St. Clair,” said Meredith, “is of the opinion
of the old Romans. Plutarch, you know, says
they esteemed Greek and scholar terms of reproach.”

“You mistake me, Meredith; I meant no reproach
to the learned Theban; upon my word, he
strikes me as quite a soldier-like looking fellow—a


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keen, quick eye—powerful muscles—good air—
very good air, has he not, Miss Linwood?”

“Just now he appears to me to have very much
the air of a neglected guest. Jasper, pray present
Major St. Clair to your sometime friend.”

“Excuse me, Miss Linwood,” replied the major,
“we have roturiers enough in our own household.
I am not ambitious of making the acquaintance of
those from the rebel camp.”

“May I ask,” resumed Isabella, “who our roturiers

“Oh, the merchants—men of business, and that
sort of people.”

“Our city gentry?”

Major St. Clair bowed assent.

Isabella bowed and smiled too, but not graciously;
her pride was offended. A new light had
broken upon her, and she began to see old subjects
in a fresh aspect. Strange as it may appear to those
who have grown up with the rectified notions of
the present day, she for the first time perceived
the folly of measuring American society by a
European standard—of casting it in an old and
worn mould—of permitting its vigorous youth to be
cramped and impaired by transmitted manacles and
shackles. Her fine mind was like the perfectly
organized body, that wanted but to be touched by
fire from Heaven to use all its faculties freely and

It was obvious that Meredith avoided Eliot, but


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this she now believed was owing to the atmosphere
of the court drawing-room. Eliot was not
so uncomfortable as she imagined. A common
man in his position might not have risen above
the vanities and littlenesses of self. He might
have been fearful of offending against etiquette,
the divinity of small polished gentlemen. He
might, an irritable man would, have been annoyed
by the awkward silence in which he was left, interrupted
only by such formal courtesies as Sir
Henry deemed befitting the bearing of the host to
an inferior guest. But Eliot Lee cared for none of
these things—other and higher matters engrossed
him. He was meditating the chances of getting
Herbert safe back to West Point, and the means
of averting Washington's displeasure. He was
eagerly watching Isabella Linwood's face, where
it seemed to him her soul was mirrored, and inferring
from its eloquent mutations her relations with
Linwood; and he was contrasting Sir Henry's luxurious establishment, and the flippant buzz of
city gossip he heard around him, with the severe
voluntary privations and intense occupations of
his own general and his companions in arms.
His meditations were suddenly put to flight.

Isabella had been watching for an opportunity to
speak privately to Eliot of her brother. Miss
Ruthven and Meredith never quitted her side.
Miss Ruthven seemed like an humble worshipper
incensing two divinities, while, like the false priest,


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she was contriving to steal the gift from the altar;
or rather, like an expert finesser, she seemed to
leave the game to others while she held, or fancied
she held, the controlling card in her own hand.
“I must make a bold push,” thought Isabella, “to
escape from these people;” and beckoning to Eliot,
who immediately obeyed her summons, she said,
“Permit me, Sir Henry, to show Captain Lee the
fine picture of Lord Chatham in your breakfasting-room?”

“Lord Chatham has been removed to give
place to the Marquis of Shelburne,” replied Sir
Henry, with a sarcastic smile.

“Shall I show you the marquis, then? The face
of an enemy is not quite so agreeable as that of a
friend, but I am sure Captain Lee will never shrink
from either.”

“This Captain Lee,” whispered Helen Ruthven
to Meredith, “has a surprising faculty in converting
enemies into friends—have a care lest he make
friends enemies.”

Unfortunately, Isabella's tactics were baffled by
a counter-movement. She was met at the door by
the servant announcing dinner, and Eliot was obliged
to resign her hand to Sir Henry, to fall behind
the privileged guests entitled to precedence, and
follow alone to the dining-room.

There were no indications on Sir Henry's table
of the scarcity and dearness of provisions so bitterly
complained of by the royalists who remained


Page 213
in the city. At whatever rate procured, Sir Henry's
dinner was sumptuous. Eliot compared it
with the coarse and scanty fare of the American
officers, and he felt an honest pride in being one
among those who contracted for a glorious future,
by the sacrifice of all animal and present indulgence.

Dish after dish was removed and replaced, and
the viands were discussed, and the generous wines
poured out, as if to eat and to drink were the chief
business and joy of life. “A very pretty course
of fish for the season,” said Major St. Clair, who
sat near Eliot, passing his eye over the varieties
on the table: “Pray, Captain Lee, have you a good
fish-market at West Point?”

“We are rather too far from the seaboard, sir,
for such a luxury.”

“Ah, yes—I forgot, pardon me; but you must
have fine trout in those mountain-streams—a pretty
resource at a station is trout-fishing.”

“Yes, to idlers who need resources; but time, as
the lady says in the play, `time travels in divers paces
with divers persons'—it never `stays' with us.”

“You've other fish to fry—he! he!—very good
—allow me to send you a bit of brandt, Captain
Lee; do the brandt get up as far as the Highlands?”

“I have never seen them there.”

“Indeed!—but you have abundance of other
game—wild geese, turkeys, teal, woodcock, snipe,


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“We have none of these delicacies, sir.”

“God bless me!—how do you live?”

Eliot was pestered with this popinjay, and he
answered, with a burst of pardonable pride, “I'll
tell you how we live, sir”—the earnest tone of
his voice attracted attention—“we live on salt
beef, brown bread, and beans, when we can get
them; and when we cannot, some of us fast, and
some share their horses' messes.”

“Bless me—how annoying!”

“You may possibly have heard, sir,” resumed
Eliot, “of the water that was miraculously sweetened,
and of certain bread that came down from
Heaven; and we, who live on this nutriment that
excites your pity, and feel from day to day our resolution
growing bolder and our hopes brighter, we
fancy a real presence in the brown bread, and an inspiration
in the water that wells up through the
green turf of our native land.”

There is a chord in the breast of every man that
vibrates to a burst of true feeling—this vibration
was felt in the silence that followed. It was first
broken by Isabella Linwood's delicious voice.
She turned her eye, moistened with the emotion
he had excited, towards Eliot; and filling a glass
from a goblet of water, she pushed the goblet towards
him, saying, “Ladies may pledge in the pure
element—our native land! Captain Lee.”

Eliot filled a bumper, and never did man drink
a more intoxicating draught. Sir Henry looked


Page 215
tremendously solemn, Helen Ruthven exchanged
glances with Meredith, and Mr. Linwood muttered
between his teeth, “nonsense—d—d nonsense,

It must be confessed, that Miss Linwood violated
the strict rules that governed her contemporaries.
She was not a lady of saws and precedents. But
if she sometimes too impulsively threw open the
door of her heart, there was nothing there exposed
that could stain her cheek with a blush. We would
by no means recommend an imitation of her spontaneous
actions. Those only can afford them to
whom they are spontaneous.

After the momentary excitement had passed, Eliot
felt that he had perhaps been a little too heroic for
the occasion. Awkward as the descent is from
an assumed elevation, he effected it with grace, by
falling into conversation with the major on sporting
and fishing; in which he showed a science that
commanded more respect from that gentleman,
than if he had manifested all the virtues of all
the patriots that ever lived, fasted, starved, and died
for their respective countries.

It was hard for Eliot to play citizen of the world,
while he saw Meredith courted, admired, and apparently
happy, mapping out, at his own will, a brilliant
career, and thought of his sister wasting the incense
of her affections; no more to Meredith than a last
summer's flower. “He deserves not,” he thought
indignantly, as his eye fell on Isabella, “the heart


Page 216
of this glorious creature—no man deserves; I almost
wonder that any man should dare aspire
to it.”

When a man begins to be humble in relation to
a woman, he is not very far from love; and absurd
as Eliot would have deemed it to fall in love at first
sight, and utterly absurd for him, at any time, to fall
in love with Miss Linwood, it was most fortunate
for him that he was suddenly taken from her presence,
by a request from Sir Henry (who had just
had a note put into his hands) that he would accompany
him to his council-chamber. When there, he
informed Eliot, that suspicions having been excited
in relation to his attendant, a quest for him had
been made at Mrs. Billings's—but in vain. “Captain
Lee must be aware,” he said, “that the disappearance
of the man was a confirmation of the

Eliot replied, that “he was not responsible for
any suspicions that might be felt by the timid, or
feigned by the ill-disposed.”

“That may be, sir,” replied Sir Henry; “but we
must make you responsible for the reappearance
of the man—your flag cannot exempt you from

“As you please, sir,” replied Eliot, quite undaunted;
“you must decide how far the privilege
of my flag extends. You, sir, can appreciate the
importance of not violating, in the smallest degree,
the few humanities of war.”


Page 217

Sir Henry pondered for a moment before he
asked, “Is there any thing in the character of
your attendant which might betray him into an indiscretion?”

“I am an interested witness, Sir Henry; but if
you do not choose to infer the character from the
action, which certainly has been sufficiently indiscreet,
give me leave to refer you to Mr. Meredith;
he knew the poor lad in Massachusetts.”

“But how can you identify him with this man?”

“He saw this man to-day.”

Meredith was summoned and questioned: “He
had seen Captain Lee's servant on Sir Henry's
door-step, and recognised him at the first glance—
the dullest eye could mistake no other man for

“Do me the favour, Mr. Meredith,” said Eliot,
“to tell Sir Henry Clinton whether you think my
man would be liable to a panic; for it appears that
having overheard that he was under suspicion, he
has fled.”

“True to himself, Kisel! He would most assuredly
fly at the slightest alarm. He is one of
those helpless animals whose only defence is the
instinct of cowardice. I have seen him run from
the barking of a family dog, and the mewing of a
house cat; and yet, for he is a curious compound,
such is his extraordinary attachment to Captain
Lee, that I believe he would stand at the cannon's
mouth for him. Poor fellow! his mind takes no


Page 218
durable impression; to attempt to make one is like
attempting to form an image in sand; and yet, like
this same sand, which, from the smelting furnace,
appears in brilliant and defined forms, his thoughts,
kindled in the fire of his affections, assume an
expression and beauty that would astonish you;
always in fragments, as if the mind had been shattered
by some fatal jar.”

Meredith spoke con amore. He was delighted
with the opportunity of doing Eliot a grace; and
Eliot, in listening to the sketch of his simple friend,
had almost forgot the subterfuge that called it forth.
He was not, however, the less pleased at its success,
when Sir Henry told him that his despatches
and passports should be furnished in the course of
the evening, and that no impediment would be
thrown in the way of his departure.

The three gentlemen then parted, Meredith expressing
such animated regret at their brief meeting,
that Eliot was on the point of reciprocating it,
when the thought of his sister sealed his lips and
clouded his brow. Meredith's conscience rightly
interpreted the sudden change of countenance; but
his retained its cordial smile, and his hand abated
nothing of its parting pressure.

Again we must quote that most apposite sentence—“Truly,
the children of this world are wiser
in their generation than the children of light.”