University of Virginia Library


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Les revers de la verité a cent milles figures, et un champ indefiny,
Les Pythagoriens font le bien certain et finy, le mal incertain et infiny.”


While the circumstances related above were
in action, the ladies in their drive had stopped at an
opening to the Hudson, where the shore was shelving
and indented with a footpath, on which the
full mellow rays of the afternoon sun shone. And
who would not pause to gaze at the noble Hudson,
which, coming from its source in distant
mountains, infolds in its arms the city it has created,
wears on its bosom its little emerald island-gems,
reposes in the bay, and then finishes its
course through the portal of the Narrows?

The river is now precisely what it then was, for
“man's hand cannot make a mark upon the waters;”
but on its shores what changes has that marvellous
instrument wrought! Where nature sat, like a
hermit, amid the magnificence of her solitary domain,
are now bustling cities, fortified islands,
wharves and warehouses, manufactories, stately
mansions, ornamented pleasure-grounds, and citizen's
cottages, and the parent city extending up
and branching out in every direction, from the


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narrow space it then occupied, covering with its
thronged streets the wooded heights and bosky
dells, now, alas! reduced from the aristocracy of
nature to one uniform level. Then the city's
tributary waters bore on their surface a few fishing-skiffs,
and some two or three British men-of-war.
Now see the signals of population, enterprise,
and commercial prosperity: schooners
from our own eastern and southern ports, neatly
rigged vessels from a hundred river-harbours,
mammoth steamers bringing in and carrying out
their hundreds at every hour of the day, ferry-boats
scudding to and fro, sail-boats dancing over
the waves, row-boats darting out and in, hither and
yon, packets taking their semiweekly departure
for England and France, ships with the star-spangled
banner floating from the masthead, and rich
freighted argosies from all parts of each quarter
of the globe. What a change!

Lady Anne heard the trampling of horses, and
put her head out of the coach window. A blush
suffused her sunny face at the recollection of her
parting with Meredith in the morning. Her embarrassment
was as transient as the suffusion.
“Ah, cousin Jasper,” she said, “you have come at
last; I have been waiting impatiently, sitting here,
like a dutiful niece (as I am), because aunt has
heard bugbear stories about American rattlesnakes,
and absolutely forbade my strolling along the shore
with Isabella. You will not be afraid, aunt, if the
gentlemen are with me?”


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“Not in the least, my love; indeed, I will alight
myself if Major St. Clair will give an old lady his

“She understands tactics,” thought St. Clair;
“she will defile with me, and leave Jasper to
a tête-à-tête on vantage-ground!” He however
bowed en militaire, and gave Mrs. Meredith his
arm; and she, as he had foreseen, led him off in
an opposite direction from that which Lady Anne
had taken.

Isabella had before alighted, and left her companion,
on the pretext of looking for an autumnal
flower that she knew grew on the river's bank; but
really, that she might, in the freedom of solitude,
and in the calm of a sweet country walk, indulge
her sad reflections. Isabella had learned to master
herself in great trials; but she had not yet learned
that far more difficult lesson, to be patient and serene
under small annoyances. She was vexed and
wearied with Mrs. Meredith's pompous talk and
commonplace and hollow sentiment, and somewhat
disturbed by Lady Anne's kind-hearted, but
too manifest efforts, to divert her thoughts from the
tragedy enacting in the city, to which she had
imputed all the sadness that might have been in
part ascribed to another cause.

Lady Anne had no enthusiasm for scenery. She
had never lived in the country, never been trained
in nature's school, nor a guest at her perpetual and
sweetest banquet; but she had youthful spirits


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stirred to joyousness by a ride, or a walk, or any
other exciting cause; and she laughed, rattled,
and bounded on, wondered where Isabella could
be, and at last, quite out of breath, sat down on a
grassy bank by a very high rock, around which
the pass was narrow and difficult. “I will not
venture that,” said she, pointing to the path. “You
may go for Isabella, Jasper, and I will wait here
for you.”

“Thank you, sweet coz; but I prefer staying
here too, if you will permit me.”

“You may as well, I fancy. Isabella is rather
penseroso this afternoon; and as she very faintly
seconded my entreaties to aunt that I might go
with her, I think she prefers la solitaire. To tell
you the truth, Jasper, she is horribly blue to-day,
though I would not own it to aunt.”

“And why not?”

“Oh, you know she is no favourite with aunt;
and when we really love a person, as I do really
and fervently Isabella Linwood, we are not fond
of speaking of their faults to those who do not like

“Then perhaps you think she is a favourite of

“Certainly I do—is she not?”

“She was.”

With what different import do the same words
fall on different ears. This “she was” hardly
reached Lady Anne's sensorium. Her thoughts


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were weighing something more important than any
of Meredith's words could be to her. Meredith's
heart throbbed as he pronounced them. Uttered
to Lady Anne, they seemed to him to cut the
gordian knot that bound him to Isabella. There
was another unseen, unwilling, and involuntary
auditor, who, as on the other side of the rock she
leaned breathless against it, proudly responded
from the depths of her soul “she was—it is past
—a finished dream to us both!”

“How very nice these little scarlet berries are,”
said Lady Anne, picking some berries from their
evergreen leaves.

“Very nice.”

“This is a lovely river, Jasper. How I should
like a nice cottage on this very spot.”

“And when your imagination builds the cottage,
coz, is there no one permitted to share it with

Lady Anne picked the leaves from the stem in
her hand, strewed them around, and laughing and
blushing, said, “that absolute solitude in a cottage
would be just as stupid as in a palace.”

“On this hint shall I—can I speak?” thought

“Formerly, when I built castles in the air,” continued
Lady Anne, engrossed in her own sweet
fancies, and not dreaming of the interpretation
Meredith's deluded vanity was giving to her words,
“I always put wings to them, and would lodge


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them in London, Paris, or Italy, as suited the humour
of the moment—now I make them fixtures
in America.”

Meredith felt somewhat like the sportsman, who,
accustomed to the keen pursuit of game that incites
and eludes him, cares not for the silly prey that
runs into his toils. “Heigh-ho!” resumed Lady
Anne, awaking from a revery after a short pause;
“it is time we returned—the sun is setting—you
are very stupid, Jasper—you have not spoken three

“My dear cousin, there are moments when it is
far more agreeable to look, and to listen, than to

“But then, sir, you should look `unutterable
things.' ”

“We may feel them without looking or speaking
them—do not go now—there are few delicious
moments in life—why not prolong them?”

“You talk limpingly, Jasper, like one who has
conned a task, and recites it but half learned; there
should be a vraisemblance in compliments.”

“On my honour!”

“Oh, never swear to them; these are like beggars'
oaths, nobody believes them.” Lady Anne
was already on the wing. “Bless us,” thought Meredith,
“a little dash of coquetry might make her
quite charming;” and springing after her, he gave
her his arm. When they met his mother at the
roadside, his face and air were so changed and so


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animated, that, in the flush of her hopes, she ventured
to whisper to him—
“`Not Hermia, but Helena I love
Who would not change a raven for a dove?”'

He smiled assentingly, and his mother was perfectly

“Where is Isabella?” and “Where is Miss Linwood?”
“I thought she was on your side,” and “I
thought she was on yours,” was asked and reiterated,
and answered by the person in question appearing.
She had left the shore, scrambled through
the wood, and come into the road in advance of
her party. They rallied her on her preference of
solitude, and she them (for she had regained her
self-command), on the willing forbearance with
which they had permitted her to enjoy it. Mrs.
Meredith, of course, first entered the carriage; and
while the young ladies were getting in, putting on
their cloaks, etc., she wrote on a card and gave
to her son the following hint from Metastasio:—

E folle quel nocchièro
Che cerca un' altra stella,
E non si fida a quella
Che in porto lo guidó.”

“My sage mother is this sure star, by whose
directing `light I am to pilot my bark,' ” thought
Meredith, as he read the pencilled words—“well,
be it so.”

Mrs. Meredith's carriage stopped at Mrs. Linwood's


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door. Isabella alighted, and Lady Anne
was following her, when her aunt interposed.—“My
dear child,” she said, “I particularly wish you to
go home with me this evening.”

“I would, aunt—but—but I have promised Mr.

“I appeal to your generosity, Miss Linwood; I
have not your passion for solitude, and I am quite
wretched without Lady Anne.”

Lady Anne's back was to her aunt; and she
turned up her eyes imploringly to Isabella, who
consequently resolutely professed herself afraid to
encounter her father if she should resign Lady
Anne. Lady Anne finished the parley by springing
from the carriage, and promising her aunt to
be at home an hour earlier than usual. Mrs.
Meredith, vexed, puzzled, and disconcerted, drove

The young ladies were met at the door by Rose,
with a message from Mrs. Archer, requesting Isabella,
without a moment's delay, to come to her
house. “Make my excuses to papa,” said Isabella
to Lady Anne, “and enact the good daughter
till I return.”

“Yes, that I will,” said Lady Anne; “and the
good daughter would I be in reality all my life to
him,” she thought; “but Herbert Linwood will not,
in his forlorn circumstances, declare his love for
me if he feels it; and I, like all the rest of my
sex, must keep the secret of my pure love as if it


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were a crime.” Whether the open-hearted girl's
eyes and cheeks would betray the secret which
the austere proprieties of her sex forbade her to
tell, and whether on this hint Linwood would be
imboldened to speak, was soon put to the proof;
for one hour after, arriving on his evening visit,
Rose conducted him into the breakfast-room, informing
him that he must wait till a person who
was with his father on business should be gone.
Rose, sagaciously divining her young master's
inclinations, then went to Lady Anne and whispered—“Mr.
Herbert is in the breakfast-parlour;
and do, miss, happen in there; poor boy, he has
enough of his own company in prison.”

Lady Anne did not wait for the request to be
repeated. She went, nor did she and Herbert appear
in Mr. Linwood's room till after a repeated,
and finally very impatient summons from him;
and then they entered, and kneeling together at his
feet, asked his blessing on their plighted loves.

He did not speak for half a minute, and then
laughing, while the tears gushed from his eyes,
“God bless you, my children!” he said—“God
bless you!—kiss me, my dear little girl—this
has been pretty quickly hatched, though; but I
don't wonder; I loved you the first minute I saw

“And I, like a good son, dutifully followed my
father's example.”


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Vous n'avez fait que votre devoir filial; fort
bien, monsieur!
” said Lady Anne, archly.

“My dear child!” interposed Mr. Linwood,
“now you are going really to be my child, don't
torment me with interlarding your English with
French. There's nothing I detest like cutting up
a plain English road with these French ditches.
It's a slipshod tongue, good enough for those that
are born to parlez-vous and gabble all their lives;
but English, my dear, is for men of sense and true-hearted
girls like you, that speak what they mean.”

Lady Anne promised to cure herself of a habit
into which she had unconsciously fallen; and a
pause followed, which gave Mr. Linwood time for
a reflection that clouded his brow.

“This won't do, Herbert,” he said; “I forgot
myself entirely, and so have you. What business
have you to be making love, and stealing away this
dear little generous girl's heart—you, a proscribed
man—holding your life by sufferance—disgraced.”

“Not disgraced, sir!”

“Oh, no! dear Mr. Linwood, not disgraced.”

“Well, well, 'tis a devilish ugly word to bestow
on one's own flesh and blood. But, my dear girl,
we must look truth in the face. Your aunt is a
woman of the world; she will accuse us; and she
may very well suspect us of conniving at this business—you
have fortune—we are poor.” The proud
old man's blood mounted to his face—“No, no; it
must not be. I take back my consent.”


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Herbert's face expressed the conflict of his love
with his sense of rectitude—the last prevailed.
“My father is right,” he said; “and I, headlong as
usual, have done just what I ought not to do.”

“You're right now, anyhow, my boy; you show
blood—go up to the mark, though a lion—” A
glance at poor Lady Anne, leaning on the side of
his easy-chair, with tearful eyes, mended his sentence—“I
should say, though an angel were in the

“I have been far enough from the mark, sir; I
should have remembered in time that I was in the
enemy's talons; and, what is far worse, under the
censure of my own general.”

“As to that Herbert, as to that—”

“Be kind enough to hear me out, sir. I should
have remembered that I was penniless; that Lady
Anne is very young, careless for herself, and an
heiress; but how could I think of any thing,” he
added, taking her hand, and pressing it to this heart,
“when I heard her generous, bewildering confession,
that she loved me—but that I loved her with
my whole soul?”

“It's—it's—it's hard; but you must come to
it, my children. You must just set to work and
undo what has been done; you must forget one

“Forget! dear Mr. Linwood! Herbert may forget;
for I think it seems very easy to him to


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“Forgive me, Herbert; but really you and your
father place me in such an awkward position. Give
you up, I will not; forget you, I cannot. I cannot
extinguish my memory; and there is no thought in
it, waking or sleeping, but what concerns you. I
know it is very shocking and improper to say this
before you, Mr. Linwood, but it is true.”

“I love truth, my child—such truth—God knows
I do, too well.”

“Then sir,” she continued, smiling archly through
her tears, “let me go on and speak a little more
of it.” Her voice faltered. “I wish Isabella were
here—any woman would feel for me.”

“God bless me, child, don't I feel for you—look
at Herbert, the calf—don't he feel for you?”

“Herbert says I am so very young. I am sure
seventeen and past has years and wisdom enough
for not quite two-and-twenty. He says I am careless
for myself; if I were as calculating as my
aunt Meredith, what could I do better for myself
than to supply the cruel deficiencies of my lot?
than to provide for myself the kindest and best of
fathers and mothers, and a sister that has not her
peer in the wide world? Herbert says I am an
heiress—I am so; but what is fortune to me, if I
may not select the object with whom to share it? If
I am not two-and-twenty—” she cast an arch glance
at Herbert, “I have lived long enough to see that
fortune alone is perfectly impotent. It does not


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create friends, nor inspire goodness, nor secure
happiness; but when it comes as an accessory to a
happy home, to love, and health, and liberal hearts;
ah, then it is indeed a boon from Heaven! Am I
not right, Mr. Linwood?”

“Yes, by Jupiter, you are! Your views could
not be juster if you were as old as Methuselah,
and as wise as Solomon. But, my dear, we must
come back to the point—what is very right for you,
and noble, would be very wrong for us. The Linwoods
have always had a fair name, and now, when
every thing else is gone, they must hold fast to
that. Oh, Herbert, if you had only stuck to your
king, all would be well; but I won't reproach you
now—no, no, poor boy! I never felt so much
like forgiving you for that d—d blunder.”

“Then, for Heaven's sake, sir, say you forgive
me—let that account be settled.”

“I will—I do forgive you, my son; but it's the
devil and all to forget!” Herbert grasped the hand
his father extended to him. There was a silence
of a few moments, broken by Mr. Linwood saying,
“It's tough to come to it, my children; but
this must be the last evening you meet.”

“Lady Anne,” said Rose, opening the door,
“Mrs. Meredith's carriage is waiting for you.”

“Let it wait, Rose.”

“But the footman bade me tell you, my lady,
that your aunt is ill, and begs you will come home


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“Then I must go,” said the poor girl, bursting
into tears, all her natural buoyancy and courageous
cheerfulness forsaking her at the foreboding that
this might be a final separation. Mr. Linwood
hemmed, wiped his spectacles, put them on, threw
them down on the table, stirred the fire, knocked
down shovel, tongs, and fender, and cursed
them all; while Lady Anne retired with Herbert
to the farthest part of the room, to exchange words
that can never be appreciated rightly but by the
parties, and therefore must not be repeated. They
verily believed that mortals had never been so
happy—never so wretched as they.

Once there was a reaction in Lady Anne's mind.
She started from Herbert, and appealing to his
father, said—“Think once more of it, Mr. Linwood;
why should you heed what my aunt or any
one else may impute to you? We have all felt
and acted right, naturally, and honestly. I cannot,
for my life I cannot, see why we should sacrifice
ourselves to their false judgments.”

Mr. Linwood shook his head. “It cannot be,”
said Herbert; “we must cast ourselves upon the
future; if,” he added, lowering his voice, “it should
please Heaven to permit me to regain my freedom,
if—but I am wrong—I must not cherish these
hopes. Years may pass away before the war ends;
and in the meantime, you may bless another with
that love which—”

“Never end that sentence, Herbert Linwood.


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You may take back your own vows—you cannot
give me back mine—I will not receive them. My
love will not depend on your freedom, your name
with friend or foe: it will not be touched by circumstance,
or time, or absence. Farewell, Herbert.”

One fond embrace she permitted—the first—was
it the last?