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Page 13



Un notable exemple de la forcenée curiosité de notre nature,
s'amusant se préoccuper des choses futures, comme si elle n'avoit
pas assez à faire à désirer les présentes


Some two or three years before our revolutionary
war, just at the close of day, two girls were seen
entering Broadway through a wicket garden-gate,
in the rear of a stately mansion which fronted on
Broad-street, that being then the court-end of the
city—the residence of unquestioned aristocracy—
(sic transit gloria mundi!) whence royal favour
and European fashions were diffused through the
province of New-York.

The eldest of the two girls had entered on her
teens. She was robust and tall for her years, with the
complexion of a Hebe, very dark hair, an eye (albeit
belonging to one of the weaker sex) that
looked as if she were born to empire—it might be
over hearts and eyes—and the step of a young
Juno. The younger could be likened neither to
goddess, queen, nor any thing that assumed or loved
command. She was of earth's gentlest and finest


Page 14
mould—framed for all tender humanities, with the
destiny of woman written on her meek brow. “Thou
art born to love, to suffer, to obey,—to minister, and
not to be ministered to.” Well did she fulfil her
mission! The girls were followed by a black servant
in livery. The elder pressed forward as if
impelled by some powerful motive, while her companion
lagged behind,—sometimes chasing a young
bird, then smelling the roses that peeped through
the garden-paling; now stopping to pat a good-natured
mastiff, or caress a chubby child: many a
one attracted her with its broad shining face and
linsey-woolsey short-gown and petticoat, seated with
the family group on the freshly-scoured stoops of
the Dutch habitations that occurred at intervals on
their way. “Come, do come along, Bessie, you
are stopping for every thing,” said her companion,
impatiently. Poor Bessie, with the keenest sensibility,
had, what rarely accompanies it, a general
susceptibility to external impressions,—one might
have fancied she had an extra set of nerves. When
the girls had nearly reached St. Paul's church, their
attendant remonstrated,—“Miss Isabella, you are
getting quite out to the fields—missis said you
were only going a turn up the Broadway.”

“So I am, Jupe.”

“A pretty long turn,” muttered Jupiter; and
after proceeding a few paces further, he added, in
a raised voice, “the sun is going down, Miss Isabella.”


Page 15

“That was news at 12 o'clock, Jupiter.”

“But it really is nearly set now, Isabella,” interposed
her companion Bessie.

“Well, what if it is, Bessie?—it is just the right
time—Effie is always surest between sundown and

“Mercy, Isabella! you are not going to Effie's.
It is horrid to go there after sundown—please Isabella,
don't.” Isabella only replied by a “pshaw,
child!” and a laugh.

Bessie mustered her moral courage (it required
it all to oppose Isabella), and stopping short, said,
“I am not sure it is right to go there at all.”

“There is no right nor wrong in the matter,
Bessie,—you are always splitting hairs.” Notwithstanding
her bold profession, Isabella paused,
and with a tremulousness of voice that indicated
she was not indifferent to the cardinal points in her
path of morality, she added,—“why do you think
it is not right, Bessie?”

“Because the Bible says, that sorcery, and divination,
and every thing of that kind, is wicked.”

“Nonsense, child! that was in old times, you

Isabella's evásion might have quieted a rationalist
of the present day, but not Bessie, who had
been bred in the strict school of New-England orthodoxy;
and she replied, “What was right and wrong
in old times, is right and wrong now, Isabella.”

“Don't preach, Bessie—I will venture all the


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harm of going to Effie's; and you may lay the sin
at my door;” and with her usual independent, fear-naught
air, she turned into a shady lane that led by a
cross-cut to “Aunt Katy's garden”,—a favourite resort
of the citizens for rural recreations. The Chatham-street
theatre has since occupied the same spot
—that theatre is now a church. Isabella quickened
her pace. Bessie followed most unwillingly.
“Miss Belle,” cried out Jupiter, “I must detest,
in your ma's name, against your succeeding farther.”

“The tiresome old fool!” With this exclamation
on her lips, Isabella turned round, and drawing
her person up to the height of womanhood, she
added, “I shall go just as far as I please, Jupe—follow
me; if anybody is scolded it shall be me, not
you. I wish mamma,” she continued, pursuing
her way, “would not send Jupe after us,—just as
if we were two babies in leading-strings.”

“I would not go a step farther for the world, if
he were not with us,” said Bessie.

“And pray, what good would he do us if there
were danger—such a desperate coward as he is?”

“He is a man, Isabella.”

“He has the form of one—Jupe,” she called out
(the spirit of mischief playing about her arch
mouth), pointing to a slight elevation, called Gallows
hill, where a gibbet was standing, “Jupe, is
not that the place where they hung the poor creatures
who were concerned in the negro-plot?”

“Yes, miss, sure it is the awful place:” and he


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mended his pace, to be as near as might be to the
young ladies.

“Did not some of your relations suffer there,

“Yes, miss, two of my poster'ty—my grandmother
and aunt Venus.”

Isabella repressed a smile, and said, with unaffected
seriousness, “it was a shocking business,
Bessie—a hundred and fifty poor wretches sacrificed,
I have heard papa say. Is it true, Jupe, that
their ghosts walk about here, and have been seen
many a time when it was so dark you could not
see your hand before your face?”

“I dare say, Miss Belle. Them that's hung onjustly
always travels.”

“But how could they be seen in such darkness?”

“'Case, miss, you know ghosts have a light in
their anterior, just like lanterns.”

“Ah, have they? I never understood it before—
what a horrid cracking that gibbet makes! Bless
us! and there is very little wind.”

“That makes no distinctions, miss; it begins as
the sun goes down, and keeps it up all night. Miss
Belle, stop one minute—don't go across the hill
—that is right in the ghost-track!”

“Oh don't, for pity's sake, Isabella,” said Bessie,

“Hush, Bessie, it is the shortest way, and” (in
a whisper) “I want to scare Jupe. Jupe, it seems
to me there is an odd hot feel in the ground here.”


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“There sarten is, miss, a very onhealthy feeling.”

“And, my goodness! Jupiter, don't you feel a
very, very slight kind of a trembling—a shake—or
a roll, as if something were walking in the earth,
under our feet?”

“I do, and it gets worser and worser, every step.”

“It feels like children playing under the bed,
and hitting the sacking with their heads.”

“Oh, Lord, miss—yes—it goes bump, bump,
against my feet.”

By this time they had passed to the further side
of the hill, so as to place the gibbet between them
and the western sky, lighted up with one of those
brilliant and transient radiations that sometimes
immediately succeed the sun's setting, diffusing a
crimson glow, and outlining the objects relieved
against the sky with light red. Our young heroine,
like all geniuses, knew how to seize a circumstance.
“Oh, Jupe,” she exclaimed, “look, what
a line of blood is drawn round the gibbet!”

“The Lord have marcy on us, miss!”

“And, dear me! I think I see a faint shadow of
a man with a rope round his neck, and his head on
one side—do you see, Jupe?”

Poor Jupe did not reply. He could bear it no
longer. His fear of his young mistress—his fear
of a scolding at home, all were merged in the terror
Isabella had conjured up by the aid of the traditionary
superstitions with which his mind was previously


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filled; and without attempting an answer,
he fairly ran off the ground, leaving Isabella laughing,
and Bessie expostulating, and confessing that
she did not in the least wonder that poor Jupe was
scared. Once more she ventured to entreat Isabella
to give up the expedition to Effie's, for this
time at least, when she was interrupted and reassured
by the appearance of two friends, in the persons
of Isabella's brother and Jasper Meredith,
returning, with their dogs and guns, from a day's

“What wild-goose chase are you on, Belle, at this
time of day?” asked her brother. “I am sure
Bessie Lee has not come to Gallows hill with her
own good will.”

“I have made game of my goose, at any rate,
and given Bessie Lee a good lesson, on what our
old schoolmaster would call the potentiality of mankind—but
come,” she added, for though rather
ashamed to confess her purpose when she knew ridicule
must be braved, courage was easier to Isabella
than subterfuge, “Come along with us to Effie's,
and I will tell you the joke I played off on Jupe.”
Isabella's joke seemed to her auditors a capital one,
for they were at that happy age when laughter does
not ask a reason to break forth from the full fountain
of youthful spirits. Isabella spun out her story
till they reached Effie's door, which admitted them,
not to any dark laboratory of magic, but to a snug
little Dutch parlour, with a nicely-sanded floor—a


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fireplace gay with the flowers of the season, pionies
and Guelder-roses, and ornamented with storied
tiles, that, if not as classic, were, as we can vouch,
far more entertaining than the sculptured marble of
our own luxurious days.

The pythoness Effie turned her art to good account,
producing substantial comforts by her mysterious
science; and playing her cards well for this
world, whatever bad dealings she might have with
another. Even Bessie felt her horror of witchcraft
diminished before this plump personage, with
a round, good-humoured face, looking far more
like the good vrow of a Dutch picture than like the
gaunt skinny hag who has personated the professors
of the bad art from the Witch of Endor downwards.
Effie's physiognomy, save an ominous contraction
of her eyelids, and the keen and somewhat sinister
glances that shot between them, betrayed nothing
of her calling.

There were, as on all similar occasions, some
initiatory ceremonies to be observed before the fortunes
were told. Herbert, boylike, was penniless;
and he offered a fine brace of snipe to propitiate
the oracle. They were accepted with a smile that
augured well for the official response he should receive.
Jasper's purse, too, was empty: and after
ransacking his pockets in vain, he slipped out a
gold sleeve-button, and told Effie he would redeem
it the next time he came her way. Meanwhile
there was a little by-talk between Isabella and Bessie;


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Isabella insisting on paying the fee for her
friend, and Bessie insisting that “she would have no
fortune told,—that she did not believe Effie could
tell it, and if she could, she would not for all the
world let her.” In vain Isabella ridiculed and
reasoned by turns. Bessie, blushing and trembling,
persisted. Effie at the same moment was shuffling
a pack of cards, as black as if they had been sent
up from Pluto's realms; and while she was muttering
over some incomprehensible phrases, and
apparently absorbed in the manipulations of her
art, she heard and saw all that passed, and determined
that if poor little Bessie would not acknowledge,
she should feel her power.

Herbert, the most incredulous, and therefore the
boldest, first came forward to confront his destiny.
“A great deal of rising in the world, and but little
sinking for you, Master Herbert Linwood—you
are to go over the salt water, and ride foremost in
royal hunting-grounds.”

“Good!—good!—go on, Effie.”

“Oh what beauties of horses—a pack of hounds
—High! how the steeds go—how they leap—the
buck is at bay—there are you!”

“Capital, Effie!—I strike him down?”

“You are too fast, young master—I can tell no
more than I see—the sport is past—the place is
changed—there is a battle-field, drums, trumpets,
and flags flying—Ah, there is a sign of danger—a
pit yawns at your feet.”


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“Shocking!” cried Bessie; “pray, don't listen
any more, Herbert.”

“Pshaw, Bessie! I shall clear the pit. Effie
loves snipe too well to leave me the wrong side of

Effie was either offended at Herbert's intimation
that her favours might be bought, or perhaps she
saw his lack of faith in his laughing eye, and, determined
to punish him, she declared that all was
dark and misty beyond the pit; there might be a
leap over it, and a smooth road beyond—she could
not tell—she could only tell what she saw.

“You are a croaking raven, Effie!” exclaimed
Herbert; “I'll shuffle my own fortune;” and seizing
the cards, he handled them as knowingly as the
sibyl herself, and ran over a jargon quite as unintelligible;
and then holding them fast, quite out
of Effie's reach, he ran on—“Ah, ha—I see the
mist going off like the whiff from a Dutchman's
pipe; and here's a grand castle, and parks, and pleasure-grounds;
and here am I, with a fair blue-eyed
lady, within it.” Then dashing down the cards, he
turned and kissed Bessie's reddening cheek, saying,
“Let others wait on fortune, Effie, I'll carve
my own.”

Isabella was nettled at Herbert's open contempt
of Effie's seership. She would not confess nor
examine the amount of her faith, nor did she choose
to be made to feel on how tottering a base it rested.
She was exactly at that point of credulity where


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much depends on the sympathy of others. It is
said to be essential to the success of animal magnetism,
that not only the operator and the subject,
but the spectators, should believe. Isabella felt
she was on disenchanted ground, while Herbert,
with his quizzical smile, stood charged, and aiming
at her a volley of ridicule; and she proposed that
those who had yet their fortunes to hear should,
one after another, retire with Effie to a little inner
room. But Herbert cried out, “Fair play, fair
play! Dame Effie has read the riddle of my destiny
to you all, and now it is but fair I should hear

Bessie saw Isabella's reluctance, and she again
interposed, reminding her of “mamma—the coming
night,” &c.; and poor Isabella was fain to give up
the contest for the secret conference, and hush
Bessie, by telling Effie to proceed.

“Shall I tell your fortin and that young gentleman's
together?” asked Effie, pointing to Jasper.
Her manner was careless; but she cast a keen
glance at Isabella, to ascertain how far she might
blend their destinies.

“Oh, no, no—no partnership for me,” cried
Isabella, while the fire which flashed from her eye
evinced that the thought of a partnership with Jasper,
if disagreeable, was not indifferent to her.

“Nor for me, either, mother Effie,” said Jasper;
“or if there be a partnership, let it be with the
pretty blue-eyed mistress of Herbert's mansion.”


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“Nay, master, that pretty miss does not choose
her fortune told—and she's right—poor thing!”
she added, with an ominous shake of the head.
Bessie's heart quailed, for she both believed and

“Now, shame on you, Effie,” cried Herbert;
“she cannot know any thing about you, Bessie;
she has not even looked at your fortune yet.”

“Did I say I knew, Master Herbert? Time must
show whether I know or not.”

Bessie still looked apprehensively. “Nonsense,”
said Herbert; “what can she know?—she never
saw you before.”

“True, I never saw her; but I tell you, young
lad, there is such a thing as seeing the shadow of
things far distant and past, and never seeing the
realities, though they it be that cast the shadows.”
Bessie shuddered—Effie shuffled the cards. “Now
just for a trial,” said she; “I will tell you something
about her—not of the future; for I'd be loath
to overcast her sky before the time comes—but of
the past.”

“Pray, do not,” interposed Bessie; “I don't wish
you to say any thing about me, past, present, or to

“Oh, Bessie,” whispered Isabella, “let her try
—there can be no harm if you do not ask her—
the past is past, you know—now we have a chance
to know if she really is wiser than others.” Bessie
again resolutely shook her head.


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“Let her go on,” whispered Herbert, “and see
what a fool she will make of herself.”

“Let her go on, dear Bessie,” said Jasper, “or
she will think she has made a fool of you.”

Bessie feared that her timidity was folly in Jasper's
eyes; and she said, “she may go on if you all
wish, but I will not hear her;” and she covered
her ears with her hands.

“Shall I?” asked Effie, looking at Isabella;
Isabella nodded assent, and she proceeded. “She
has come from a great distance—her people are
well to do in the world, but not such quality as
yours, Miss Isabella Linwood—she has found
some things here pleasanter than she expected—
some not so pleasant—the house she was born in
stands on the sunny side of a hill.” At each pause
that Effie made, Isabella gave a nod of acquiescence
to what she said; and this, or some stray
words, which might easily have found their way
through Bessie's little hands, excited her curiosity,
and by degrees they slid down so as to oppose a
very slight obstruction to Effie's voice. “Before
the house,” she continued, “and not so far distant
but she may hear its roaring, when a storm uplifts
it, is the wide sea—that sea has cost the poor child
dear.” Bessie's heart throbbed audibly. “Since
she came here she has both won love and lost it.”

“There, there you are out,” cried Herbert, glad
of an opportunity to stop the current that was becoming
too strong for poor Bessie.


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“She can best tell herself whether I am right,”
said Effie, coolly.

“She is right—right in all,” said Bessie, retreating
to conceal the tears that were starting from her

Isabella neither saw nor heard this—she was
only struck with what Effie delivered as a proof of
her preternatural skill; and more than ever eager
to inquire into her own destiny, she took the place
Bessie had vacated.

Effie saw her faith, and was determined to reward
it. “Miss Isabella Linwood, you are born
to walk in no common track,”—she might have
read this prediction, written with an unerring hand
on the girl's lofty brow, and in her eloquent
eye. “You will be both served and honoured—
those that have stood in kings' palaces will bow
down to you—but the sun does not always shine
on the luckiest—you will have a dark day—trouble
when you least expect it—joy when you are not
looking for it.” This last was one of Effie's staple
prophecies, and was sure to be verified in the varied
web of every individual's experience. “You
have had some trouble lately, but it will soon pass
away, and for ever.” A safe prediction in regard
to any girl of twelve years. “You'll have plenty
of friends, and lots of suiters—the right one will

“Oh, never mind—don't say who, Effie,” cried
Isabella, gaspingly.


Page 27

“I was only going to say the right one will be
tall and elegant, with beautiful large eyes—I can't
say whether blue or black—but black, I think; for
his hair is both dark and curling.”

“Bravo, bravissimo, brother Jasper!” exclaimed
Herbert; “it is your curly pate Effie sees in those
black cards, beyond a doubt.”

“I bow to destiny,” replied Jasper, with an arch
smile, that caught Isabella's eye.

“I do not,” she retorted—“look again, Effie—it
must not be curling hair—I despise it.”

“I see but once, miss, and then clearly; but
there's curling hair on more heads than one.”

“I never—never should like any one with curling
hair,” persisted Isabella.

“It would be no difficult task for you to pull it
straight, Miss Isabella,” said the provoking Jasper.
Isabella only replied by her heightened colour;
and bending over the table, she begged Effie to

“There's not much more shown me, miss—you
will have some tangled ways—besetments, wonderments,
and disappointments.”

“Effie's version of the `course of true love never
does run smooth,' ” interposed Jasper.

“But all will end well,” she concluded; “your
husband will be the man of your heart—he will be
beautiful, and rich, and great; and take you home
to spend your days in merry England.”

“Thank you—thank you, Effie,” said Isabella,


Page 28
languidly. The “beauty, riches, and days spent in
England” were well enough, for beauty and riches
are elements in a maiden's beau-ideal; and England
was then the earthly paradise of the patrician
colonists. But she was not just now in a humour
to acquiesce in the local habitation and the name
which the “dark curling hair” had given to the
ideal personage. Jasper Meredith had not even a
shadow of faith in Effie; but next to being fortune's
favourite, he liked to appear so; and contriving,
unperceived by his companions, to slip his
remaining sleeve-button into Effie's hand, he said,
“Keep them both;” and added aloud, “Now for
my luck, Dame Effie, and be it weal or be it wo,
deliver it truly.”

Effie was propitiated, and would gladly have
imparted the golden tinge of Jasper's bribe to his
future destiny; but the opportunity was too tempting
to be resisted, to prove to him that she was
mastered by a higher power: and looking very
solemn, and shaking her head, she said, “There
are too many dark spots here. Ah, Mr. Jasper
Meredith—disappointment! disappointment!—the
arrow just misses the mark—the cup is filled to
the brim—the hand is raised—the lips parted to
receive it—then comes the slip!” She hesitated,
she seemed alarmed; perhaps she was so, for it is
impossible to say how far a weak mind may become
the dupe of its own impostures—“Do not
ask me any farther,” she added. The young


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people now all gathered round her. Bessie rested
her elbows on the table, and her burning cheeks
on her hands, and riveted her eyes on Effie, which,
from their natural blue, were deepened almost to
black, and absolutely glowing with the intensity of
her interest.

“Go on, Effie,” cried Jasper; “if fortune is
cross, I'll give her wheel a turn.”

“Ah, the wheel turns but too fast—a happy
youth is uppermost.”

“So far, so good.”

“An early marriage.”

“That may be weal, or may be wo,” said
Jasper; “weal it is,” he added, in mock heroic;
“but for the dread of something after.”

“An early death!”

“For me, Effie? Heaven forefend!”

“No, not for you; for here you are again a
leader on a battle-field—the dead and dying in
heaps—pools of blood—there's the end on't,” she
concluded, shuddering, and throwing down the

“What, leave me there, Effie! Oh, no—death
or victory!”

“It may be death, it may be victory; it is not
given to me to see which.”

Jasper, quite undaunted, was on the point of protesting
against a destiny so uncertain, when a deep-drawn
sigh from Bessie attracted the eyes of the
group, and they perceived the colour was gone


Page 30
from her cheeks, and that she was on the point of
fainting. The windows were thrown open—Effie
produced a cordial, and she was soon restored to
a sense of her condition, which she attempted to
explain, by saying she was apt to faint even at the
thought of blood!

They were now all ready, and quite willing to
bid adieu to the oracle, whose responses not having
been entirely satisfactory to any one of them,
they all acquiesced in Bessie's remark, that “if it
were ever so right, she did not think there was
much comfort in going to a fortune-teller.”

Each seemed in a more thoughtful humour than
usual, and they walked on in silence till they
reached the space, now the park, then a favourite
play-ground for children, shaded by a few locusts,
and here and there an elm or stinted oak. Leaning
against one of these was the fine erect figure
of a man, who seemed just declining from the
meridian of life, past its first ripeness and perfection,
but still far from the decay of age. “Ah, you
runaways!” he exclaimed, on seeing the young
people advancing. “Belle, your mother has been
in the fidgets about you for the last hour.”

“Jupiter might have told her, papa, that we were
quite safe.”

“Jupe truly! he came home with a rigmarole
that we could make nothing of. I assured her there
was no danger, but that assurance never quieted
any woman. Herbert, can you tell me what these


Page 31
boys are about? they seem rather to be at work
than play.”

“What are you about, Ned?” cried Herbert to a
young acquaintance.

“Throwing up a redoubt to protect our fort,”
and he pointed as he spoke to a rude structure of
poles, bricks, and broken planks on an eminence,
at the extremity of the unfenced ground.

“And what is your fort for, my lad?” asked Mr.

“To keep off the British, sir.”

“The British! and who are you?”

“Americans, sir!”

A loud huzzaing was heard from the fort—
“What does that mean?” asked Mr. Linwood.

“The whigs are hanging a tory, sir.”

“The little rebel rascals!—Herbert!—you throwing
up your hat and huzzaing too!”

“Certainly, sir—I am a regular whig.”

“A regular fool!—put on your hat—and use it
like a gentleman. This matter shall be looked into
—here are the seeds of rebellion springing up in
their young hot bloods—this may come to something,
if it is not seen to in time. Jasper, do you
hear any thing of this jargon in your schools?”

“Lord bless me! yes, sir; the boys are regularly
divided into whigs and tories—they have their
badges and their pass-words, and I am sorry to say
that the whigs are three to one.”

“You are loyal then, my dear boy?”


Page 32

“Certainly, sir, I owe allegiance to the country
in which I was born.”

“And you, my hopeful Mr. Herbert, with your
huzzas, what say you for yourself?”

“I say ditto to Jasper, sir—I owe allegiance to
the country in which I was born.”

“Don't be a fool, Herbert—don't be a fool, even
in jest—I hate a whig as I do a toad, and if my
son should prove a traitor to his king and country,
by George, I would cut him off for ever!”

“But, sir,” said the imperturbable Herbert, “if
he should choose between his king and country—”

“There is no such thing—they are the same—
so no more of that.”

“I am glad Herbert has his warning in time,”
whispered Isabella to Bessie.

“But it seems to me he is right for all,” replied

So arbitrarily do circumstances mould opinions.
Isabella seemed like one who might have been born
a rebel chieftainess, Bessie as if her destiny were
passive obedience.

We have thus introduced some of the dramatis
personæe of the following volumes to our readers.
It may seem that in their visit to Effie, they prematurely
exhibited the sentiments of riper years—
but what are boys and girls but the prototypes of


Page 33
men and women—time and art may tinge and
polish the wood, but the texture remains as nature
formed it.

Bessie Lee was an exotic in New-York. The
history of her being there was simply this. New-England
has, from the first been a favourite school
for the youth from the middle and southern states.
Mr. Linwood sent Herbert (who had given him
some trouble by early manifesting that love of self-direction
which might have been the germe of his
whiggism) to a Latin school in a country town
near Boston. While there, he boarded in the family
of a Colonel Lee—a most respectable farmer, who
had acquired his title and some military fame in
the campaign of forty-five against the French.
Herbert remained a year with the Lees, and he returned
the kindness he received there with a hearty
and lasting affection. Here was his first experience
of country life, and every one knows how delightful
to childhood are its freedom, exercises, and
pleasures, in harmony (felt, long before understood)
with all the laws of our nature. When Herbert
returned he was eloquent in his praises of Bessie
—her beauty, gayety (then the excitability of her
disposition sometimes appeared in extravagant
spirits), her sweetness and manageableness; a feminine
quality that he admired the more from having
had to contend with a contrary disposition in his sister
Isabella, who, in all their childish competitions,
had manifested what our Shaker friends would call


Page 34
a leading gift. Isabella's curiosity being excited
to see this rara avis of Herbert (with her the
immediate consequence of an inclination was to
find the means of its gratification), she asked her
parents to send for Bessie to come to New-York,
and go to school with her. Mrs. Linwood, a model
of conjugal nonentity, gave her usual reply, “just
as your papa says, dear.” Her father seldom said
her nay, and Isabella thought her point gained, till
he referred the decision of the matter to her aunt

“Oh dear! now I shall have to argue the matter
an hour; but never mind, I can always persuade
aunt at last.” Mrs. Archer, as Isabella had foreboded,
was opposed to the arrangement—she
thought there would be positive unkindness in
transplanting a little girl from her own plain, frugal
family, to a luxurious establishment in town, where
all the refinements and elegances then known in
the colony were in daily use. “It is the work of
a lifetime, my dear Belle,” she said, “to acquire
habits of exertion and self-dependance—such habits
are essential to this little country-girl—she does
not know their worth, but she would be miserable
without them—how will she return to her home,
where they have a single servant of all-work, after
being accustomed to the twelve slaves in your

“Twelve plagues, aunt! I am sure I should be


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happier with one, if that one were our own dear
good Rose.”

“I believe you would, Belle, happier and better
too; for the energy which sometimes finds wrong
channels now, would then be well employed.”

“Do you see no other objection, aunt, to Bessie's
coming?” asked Isabella, somewhat impatient at
the episode, though she was the subject of it.

“I see none, my dear, but what relates to Bessie
herself. If her happiness would on the whole be
diminished by her coming, you, my dear generous
Belle, would not wish it.”

“No, aunt—certainly not—but then I am sure it
would not be—she will go to all the schools I go to
—that I shall make papa promise me—and she will
make a great many friends and—and—I want to
have her come so much. Now don't, please don't
tell papa you disapprove of it—just let me have
my own way this time.”

“Ah, Belle, when will that time come that you
do not have your own way?”

Isabella perceived her aunt would no longer oppose
her wishes. The invitation was sent to Bessie,
and accepted by her parents; and the child's singular
beauty and loveliness secured her friends, one of
the goods Isabella had predicted. She did not suffer
precisely the evil consequences Mrs. Archer
rationally anticipated from her residence in New-York,
yet that, conspiring with events, gave the hue
(bright or sad?) to her after life. Physically and


Page 36
morally, she was one of those delicate structures
that require a hardening process—she resembled
the exquisite instrument that responds music to the
gentle touches of the elements, but is broken by
the first rude gust that sweeps over it. But we
are anticipating.

“There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased;
The which observed, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things,
As yet not come to life.”


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