University of Virginia Library


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“The wonder, or a woman keeps a secret.”

Isabella moulded and arranged every thing to
profit by Sir Henry's boon. She persuaded her
father (one is easily led the way the heart inclines),
in consideration of Herbert's past sufferings and
uncertain future, to acquiesce in a present oblivion
of his offences. She exacted a promise from
Herbert that he would hear her father laud King
George, his ministers, and all their acts, without
interposing a disqualifying word, or even a glance;
and, what was a greater feat for him, that he would
sit quietly and hear the names of Washington,
Franklin, Jay, Hamilton, La Fayette, all that he
most honoured, coupled with the most offensive
epithets. This vituperation she knew was a sort
of safety-valve, by which her father let off the
passion that might otherwise burst on poor Herbert's
head. She felt that no sacrifice short of
that of principle was too great to obtain affectionate
intercourse between the father and son;
that between those thus related, there never could
be a “good war, nor a bad peace.”

As Sir Henry had exacted a strict secrecy as to
his indulgence, Isabella congratulated herself that


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she had long before this persuaded her father to
dismiss Jupiter (an irreclaimable gossip), on the
ground that he was a useless piece of lumber; but
really, because Rose had declared that it exceeded
the ability of her commissary department to supply
his rations. Rose herself was worthy of all
confidence. Mrs. Archer, of course, was one of
the family cabinet.

The awkwardness of the first meeting got over,
all difficulties were past. Little differences, if let
soon melt away in the warmth of hearty affection.
Herbert was obliged sometimes to bite
his lips, and at others, when his frank and hasty
spirit prompted a retort, a glance from Isabella
kept him silent.

It was not till Herbert's second or third visit that
Mr. Linwood manifested the uneasiness incident
to persons of his age and habits when put out of
their accustomed track. Rivington's Royal Gazette,
issued twice a week, and the only newspaper in the
city, was to Mr. Linwood, as newspapers are to
most men, one of the necessaries of life. “My
dear,” he asked his wife, “where is the paper?”

“I left it below, my dear; there is nothing in it.”
Mrs. Linwood had ventured this omission from
consideration to Herbert, whose temper she feared
might boil over at the hearing of one of those high-toned
tory gazettes.

“Pshaw—nothing in it! just so all women say,
unless they find some trumpery murder or shipwreck.


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Belle, be good enough to bring the paper
and read it to me; and do ask Rose to bring us in
a stick of wood—it is as cold as Greenland here—
five pounds I paid Morton yesterday for a cord of
hickory. D—n the rebels, I wish I had their bones
for firewood.”

“They do their best, sir, to make it hot for the
tories,” said Herbert, very good-humouredly.

“Ah, Herbert, my son, I forgot you were here;
I did indeed. But I can't be mealy-mouthed—I
must speak out, come what come will. But 'tis
hard not to be able to get the wood from our own
farms, is it not?”

“Very hard, sir, to be deprived of any of our

“Rights!” Isabella entered, and Mr. Linwood
added in a softened tone, “Have a care, my boy;
there are certain words that fall on my ear like
sparks on gunpowder.”

“Here is something to prevent your emitting
any more sparks just now, Mr. Herbert,” said Isabella,
giving him a Boston paper, while she retained
the orthodox journal to read aloud.

“What's that?—what's that?” asked her father.

“A Boston paper, sir, sent to you with Colonel
Robertson's compliments.”

Herbert read aloud a few lines written on the
margin of the paper, chuckling in spite of his
filial efforts to the contrary: “Major-general Putnam
presents his compliments to Major-general


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Robertson, and sends him some American newspapers
for his perusal. When General Robertson
shall have done with them, it is requested they be
given to Rivington, in order that he may print
some truth.”

“The impudent renegado! Come, Isabella,
what says Rivington to-day?”

Isabella read aloud an order from Sir Henry
Clinton, “That all negroes taken fighting in the
rebel cause should be sold as slaves: and that all
deserting should live at what occupation they
pleased within the British lines!”

“Very salutary that!” interposed Mr. Linwood.
“Black sons of Belial—they fighting for liberty,
d—n 'em!”

Herbert cleared his throat. “My father—my
upright father applauding a bounty offered to cowardice
and treachery!—Oh the moral perversions
engendered by war!” thought Isabella; but she
wisely kept her reflections to herself, and, striking
another chord, ran over one of Rivington's advertisements
of fancy articles for sale by himself,
the sole editor and publisher in the city. Oh,
Smetz, Stewart, Gardiner, Tryon, Bailly, ye ministers
to the luxury of our city! well may ye exclaim,
in your rich repositories of the arts and industry
of the old world—

“Great streams from little fountains flow!”

For the curious in such matters, we permit our


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heroine to read aloud verbatim: “For sale at this
office, scarlet dress-frocks, with silk lining and
capes, the work of celebrated operators west of
London; the celebrated new-fashioned buckle,
which owes its origin and vogue to the Count d'Artois,
brother to the King of France; of the locket
or depository for preserving the gentle Saccharissa's
hair, a great variety; crow-quills for the delicate
Constantia; scarlet riding-dresses for ladies, made
to suit the uniform of their husbands or lovers;
canes for the gallant gay Lothario; gold and silver
strings for plain walking-canes, with silver and
gold tassels for plain Master Balance; vastly snug
shaving equipages; brocaded shoes and slippers;
ladies' shuttles for the thrifty in the knotting amusements;
songs suited to the various humours and
affections of the mind.”

“Bravo, friend Rivington!” exclaimed Herbert,
“you do not expend all your imagination in the
invention of news.”

“Is there nothing but this nonsense in the paper,
Belle? What is that in capitals about letters from

Isabella resumed: “Letters from England say
they will never acknowledge the Independence
of the United States, while there is a soldier to be
raised, or a tester to be expended, in the three kingdoms!”

“John Bull for ever! What say you to that,
Mr. Herbert?” asked his father, exultingly.


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Nous verrons, sir!—but, mercy upon us!
what is this?” Herbert read aloud from the Boston
paper: “We regret to state that the daughter
of Mrs. Lee, of Westbrook, left her mother's house
two weeks since, with the supposed intention of
going to New-York. The young lady has been for
some time in a state of partial mental alienation.”
A description of Bessie's person followed, and an
earnest request that any information obtained might
be transmitted to the unhappy mother.

Both Herbert and Isabella were filled with consternation
and anxiety; and, after revolving the
past, both came to the same conclusion as to the
probable origin of poor Bessie's mental malady.
Mr. Linwood, who only recollected her as a quiet,
pretty little girl, exhausted his sympathy in a few
inquiries and exclamations, became somewhat impatient
of the sadness that had overclouded his
children. “We are as doleful as the tombs here,”
he said: “What can keep your aunt Archer to-night,
Isabella?—Ah, here she comes—right glad
to see you, Mary. Belle and Herbert are knocked
up by an unlucky bit of news.” The news was
communicated to Mrs. Archer, who entered deeply
into their feelings.

“Ah,” said she, “this explains a note I received
this morning from Captain Lee.”

“From Eliot?” exclaimed Herbert.

“Yes; he sent by a courier, who came to Sir
Henry, a most acceptable present—a set of chessmen


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for the children, which he has contrived, and,
aided by an ingenious private, made for them.”

“Chessmen contrived by a rebel!” said Mr.
Linwood—“of course he has left out the king,
queen, and bishop?”

“Pardon me—he may think kings, queens, and
bishops very fit playthings.”

“But what says the note?” asked Herbert, impatiently.

“It says, that if the chessboard should fail to be
of use to Ned and Lizzy, it has at least served
the purpose of partially diverting his thoughts from
a grief that almost drives him mad. Of course he
alludes to this sad affair.”

“Undoubtedly,” replied Herbert; “and this
business of the chessboard is just like himself—
he is the most extraordinary fellow! I never
knew him in any trouble, small or great, that he
did not turn to doing something for somebody or
other by way of a solace—a balm to his hurt

“I do not wonder you love him so devotedly,”
said Isabella.

“Oh, Belle,” whispered Herbert in return, “had
Heaven but have put him in Jasper's place, or
made Jasper like him!”

Mrs. Archer caught the words, and in spite of
her own discretion and Isabella's painful blushes,
she uttered a deep and insuppressible “Amen.”

“Come, come, what are you all about?” said


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Mr. Linwood: “suppose you imitate this wonderful
hero of yours in the use of his mental panacea,
and comfort me with a game of whist. Do you
play as deep a game as you used to, Herbert;
trump your partner's trick, and finesse with a
knave and ten spot?”

Herbert confessed he had forgotten the little he
knew. “Well, then, you may brood over your
Yankee paper, and we will call in your mother,
who, in five-and-twenty years' drilling, has learned
just enough not to trump her partner's tricks.”

Mrs. Linwood was summoned, and the party
formed. Mr. Linwood was in high good-humour,
and though Isabella made some inscrutable plays,
all went smoothly till the family party was alarmed
by a tap at the door; and before any one had time
to reply to it, the door was opened, and Lady Anne
Seton appeared. Startled by the appearance of a
stranger, and somewhat disconcerted by perceiving
the embarrassment caused by her intrusion, “Shall
I go back?” she asked, her hand still on the door.

“Oh, no—no,” cried Mr. Linwood, “come in,
my dear little girl, by all means; you promised
me a game of piquet, and I, an old savage, forgot
it, and so I have forfeited my right, and now make
it over to this young man, my son Herbert.” Lady
Anne turned a surprised, sparkling, and inquiring
glance to Herbert, as much as to say, “Is it possible!”
and Herbert made his bow of presentation.
“You know,” continued the father, “that this


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young man is in limbo; but you do not know, and be
sure you let no one else know, that Sir Henry, God
bless him! permits the rascal to visit us privately.”

“Am I really trusted with an important secret?
—delightful!—and does any thing depend on my
keeping it?”

“The continuance of my brother's visits and
Sir Henry's favour,” replied Isabella, emphatically,
alarmed at the necessity of confiding their
secret to one so gay and inexperienced as Lady

Inexperienced she was, but true and single-hearted.
“Do not look so solemn, my dear Miss
Linwood,” she said; “indeed I will not tell. I am
too much puffed up with the first important secret
I ever had in my keeping to part with it carelessly.
I am even with aunt and Jasper now, with their
everlasting private talks; and when it is stupid at
home, I may come here, may I not?”

“Always,” interposed Mr. Linwood, really delighted
with the accession of the charming girl to
their circle. Mrs. Linwood, who only waited for
her husband to strike the key-note, was voluble in
her hospitable expressions. Herbert looked the
most unequivocal welcome; and Lady Anne, never
querulous, did not trouble herself about Isabella's
merely civil assent, and perhaps did not notice it.
From this time her visits were almost as regular
as Herbert's. She was little addicted to romance;
but every young girl has a spice of it, and Herbert's


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romantic and precarious position increased the
charm of his frank and spirited character. A dear
lover of sunshine was Herbert; and these short
domestic interludes, brightened by Lady Anne,
were hours in paradise to him. All day in his
gloomy prison he looked forward to his release
from purgatory; and, once engaged at a side-table
with his lively partner in the most fascinating of
all tête-à-tête games, or round the petit-souper,
which his good mother spent the day in contriving
and concocting, he forgot the ills of life, till the
summons from his keeper reminded him that he
had still to buffet with his portion of them.

“If I do not mistake,” said Mrs. Archer to Isabella,
after the breaking up of one of their evening
meetings, “Herbert and Lady Anne are beginning
to see visions, and dream dreams.”

“Heaven forbid!”

“And why, my dear Belle, should Heaven forbid
so natural and pleasant a consequence of their
familiar intercourse?”

“How can you ask, aunt Mary? I could not
forgive Herbert if he were so soon to forget poor

“We must take man as he is, Belle. Herbert
is too lighthearted to cherish a hopeless passion; he
regards his love for Bessie Lee as a dream, and, rely
on it, he is thoroughly awakened from it. You
must have perceived that he has not been desperately
afflicted about your unfortunate little friend?”


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“Yes, I have—but men do not show their feelings.”

“Some men do not, but Herbert does; and rely
on it, Belle, he is not of a temper to continue to
love a person (even if poor little Bessie were not,
as she must now be, utterly lost to him) whose
heart is another's.”

“I suppose you are right, aunt Mary,” replied
Isabella, after a moment's hesitation, colouring
deeply; “the whole sex are alike incapable of the
generosity of unrequited affection!” Unacknowledged
was her mental reading of unrequited.

“Substitute folly or weakness for generosity,
Belle, and you will take a more masculine, and, it
may be, a more rational view of the case.”

“Oh, aunt Mary, are you, like the rest of the
world, giving up all feeling for what you call rationality!”

“No, my dear child, but I have learned that
what you call feeling, what constitutes the dream
of a few weeks, months, or it may be years of
youth, makes but a small portion of the reality or
the worth of life. Providence has kindly so organized
man, that he cannot waste his affections in
one hopeless, fruitless concentration; nor lose life
in a tissue of vain regrets. The stream that is
obstructed in one course will take another, and enrich
and beautify regions for which it did not, at
first, seem destined.”

Isabella was not just now in a humour to assent


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to Mrs. Archer's conclusions, but her mind was
the good ground in which the seed could not be
lost. She was conscious that, though her aunt's
strictures were ostensibly directed to Herbert, they
had some bearing on herself. She was in a position
the most tormenting to a mind prompt both to
decide and act. Since Lady Anne's arrival she had
rarely seen Meredith. This she admitted was in
part her own fault. She had been restrained by
her promise to Sir Henry Clinton from communicating
to Jasper the favour granted Herbert. “But
when she gave the promise to Sir Henry, ought she
not to have excepted Jasper? Was it not due to
him? and would she not have made the exception,
through all the blushing and faltering it must have
cost her, had she not felt sure that Sir Henry himself
would have made Meredith a party to the secret?”

Sir Henry, after a little reflection, was ashamed
of the spell that had been wrought on him, and communicated
it to no one.

Meredith, partly spurred by pride, partly led on
by the incessant manœuvres of his mother, and
partly incited by the worldly advantages of an
alliance with Lady Anne, and flattered too by his
cousin's frank and affectionate manner, was fast
verging towards that point, to attain which his
mother had compassed sea and land.

He had confidently expected that Isabella would
at once and fully have reciprocated his declarations


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of attachment. Her reserve had abased his pride,
piqued his vanity, and disappointed his affection.
He believed he truly loved her, and he did, as
truly as he could love. But Jasper Meredith's
love, like water that rises through minerals, was
impregnated with much foreign material. He at
first had no formed purpose in his devotion to Lady
Anne; but after being twice or thrice repulsed from
Mr. Linwood's door by “My master is better, sir
but not yet down stairs;” and “Miss Isabella is
very much engaged,” he half resolved no longer
to resist the “tide in his affairs that was leading
on to fortune.”