University of Virginia Library


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So thy fair hand, enamour'd fancy! gleans
The treasured pictures of a thousand scenes;
Thy pencil traces on the lover's thought
Some cottage home, from towns and toil remote,
Where love and peace may claim alternate hours
With peace embosom'd in Idalian bowers!
Remote from busy life's bewilder'd way
O'er all his heart shall taste and beauty sway—
Free on the sunny slope, or winding shore,
With hermit steps to wander and adore.


On our return to Colonel Grafton's, we were received
with a welcome due rather to a long and tried
intimacy than to our new acquaintance. There we
met a Mr. Clifton—a young man about twenty-five
years of age—of slight, but elegant figure, and a face
decidedly one of the most handsome I had ever seen
among men. It was evident to me after a little
space that such also was the opinion of Julia Grafton.
Her eyes, when an opportunity offered, watched
him narrowly; and I was soon enabled to see
that the gentleman himself was assiduous in those
attentions which are apt enough to occasion love,
and to yield it opportunity. I learned casually in


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the course of the evening, and after the young man
had retired, what I had readily inferred from my
previous observation—namely, that they had been
for some time known to each other. Mr. Clifton's
manners were good—artless exceedingly, and frank,
and he seemed in all respects, a perfect and pleasing
gentleman. He left us before night, alleging a necessity
to ride some miles on business which admitted
of no delay. I could see the disappointment
in the cheek of Julia, and the quivering of her lovely
lips was not entirely concealed. That night she
sang us a plaintive ditty to the music of an ancient
but nobly toned harpischord, and trembling but anticipative
love was the burden of her song. The
obvious interest of these two in each other, had the
effect of carrying me back to Marengo—but the
vision which encountered me there drove me again
into the wilderness and left me no refuge but among
strangers. I fancied that I beheld the triumphant
joy of John Hurdis; and the active and morbid imagination
completed the cruel torture by showing
me Mary Easterby locked in his arms. My soul
shrank from the portraiture of my fancy, and I lapsed
away into gloom and silence in defiance of all the
friendly solicitings of our host and his sweet

But my companion had no such suffering as mine,
and he gave a free rein to his tongue. He related to


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Colonel Grafton the circumstances attending our interview
with the debtor, not omitting the remarks
of the latter in reference to the Colonel himself.

“It matters not much,” said the Colonel, “what
he thinks of me, but the truth is, he has not told you
the precise reason of his hostility. The pride of the
more wealthy is always insisted upon by the poorer
sort of people, to account for any differences between
themselves and their neighbours. It is idle to answer
them on this head. They themselves know
better. If they confessed that the possession of
greater wealth was an occasion of their constant hate
or dislike they would speak more to the purpose,
and with far more justice. Not that I think that
Webber hates me because I am wealthy. He spends
daily quite as much money as I do—but he cannot
so well convince his neighbours that he gets it as
honestly; and still less can he convince me of the
fact. In his own consciousness lies my sufficient
justification for the distance at which I keep him,
and for that studied austerity of deportment on my
part of which he so bitterly complains. I am sorry
for my own sake, not less than his, that I am forced
to the adoption of a habit which is not natural to me
and far from agreeable. It gives me no less pain to
avoid any of my neighbours than it must give them
offence. But I act from a calm conviction of duty,
and this fellow knows it. Let us say no more about


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him. It is enough that he promises to pay you
your money—he can do it if he will; and I doubt
not that he will keep his promise, simply because
my name is on his paper. It will be a matter of
pride with him to relieve himself of an obligation
to one who offends his self-esteem so greatly as to
provoke him to complaint.”

About ten o'clock the next day we left Colonel
Grafton's for the dwelling of the debtor. He rode
a mile or two with us, and on leaving us renewed
his desire that we should return and spend the night
with him. His residence lay in our road, and we
readily made the promise.

“Could I live as Grafton lives,” said William,
after our friend had left us—“Could I have such an
establishment, and such a family—and be such a man
—it seems to me I should be most happy. He
wants for nothing that he has not—he is beloved by
his family, and has acquired so happily the arts of
the household—and there is a great deal in that—
that he cannot but be happy. Every thing is snug,
and every thing seems to fit about him. Nothing
is out of place; and wife, children, servants—all,
not only seem to know their several places, but to
delight in them. There is no discontent in that
family; and that dear girl—Julia—how much she
reminds me of Catharine—what a gentle being, yet


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how full of spirit—how graceful and light in her
thoughts and movements, yet how true, how firm.”

I let my friend run on in his eulogy without interruption.
The things and persons which had produced
a sensation of so much pleasure in his heart,
had brought but sorrow and dissatisfaction to mine.
His fancy described his own household, in similarly
bright colours to his mind and eye—whilst my
thoughts, taking their complexion from my own
denied and defeated fortunes, indulged in gloomy
comparisons of what I saw in the possession of
others, and the cold, cheerless fate—the isolation
and the solitude—of all my future life. How could
I appreciate the enthusiasm of my friend—how
share in his raptures? Every picture of bliss to the
eye of the sufferer is provocation and bitterness. I
felt it such and replied querulously—

“Your raptures may be out of place, William, for
aught you know. What folly to judge of surfaces.
But your young traveller always does so. Who
shall say what discontent reigns in that family, in
the absence of the stranger? There may be bitterness
and curses for aught you know, in many a bosom,
the possessor of which meets you with a smile
and cheers you with a song—and that girl Julia—
she is beautiful you say—but is she blest? she loves
—you see that!—Is it certain that she loves wisely,
worthily—that she wins the object of her love—that


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he does not deceive her—or that she does not jilt
him in some moment of bitter perversity and chafing
passion? Well did the ancient declare, that the
happiness of man could never be estimated till the
grave had closed over him.”

“The fellow was a fool to say that, as if the man
could be happy then. But I can declare him false
from my own bosom. I am happy now, and am
resolved to be more so. Look you, Dick—in two
weeks more I will be in Marengo. I shall have entered
my lands, and made my preparations. In four
weeks Catharine will be mine; and then, hey for an
establishment like Grafton's. All shall be peace
and sweetness about my dwelling as about his. I
will lay out my grounds in the same manner—I
will bring Catharine to see his—”

I ventured to interrupt the dreamer: “Suppose
she does not like them as much as you do? Women
have their own modes of thinking and planning
these matters. Will you not give her her own

He replied good-naturedly but quickly: “Oh!
surely; but she will like them—I know she will.
They are entirely to her taste; and whether they be
or not, she shall have her own way in that. You
do not suppose I would insist upon so small a matter?”

“But it was any thing but a small matter while


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you were dwelling upon the charms of Colonel
Grafton's establishment. The grounds make no
small part of its charms in both our eyes; and I
wonder that you should give them up so readily.”

“I do not give them up, Richard. I will let
Catharine know how much I like them, and will
insist upon them as long as I can in reason. But,
however lovely I think them, do not suppose that
I count them as any thing in comparison of the
family beauty—the harmony that makes the circle
a complete system in which the lights are all clear
and lovely, and the sounds all sweet and touching.”

“I will sooner admit your capacity to lay out
your grounds as tastefully as Colonel Grafton than
to bring about such results in your family, whatever
it may be. You are not Colonel Grafton, William;
you lack his prudence, his method, his experience,
his years. The harmony of one's household depends
greatly upon the discretion and resolve of its master.
Heaven knows I wish you happy, William, but, if
you promise yourself a home like that of this gentleman,
you must become a cooler headed, and far
more prudent personage than any of your friends
esteem you now. You are amiable enough, and,
therefore, worthy to have such a family; but you
are not grave enough to create its character, and so
to decree and impel, as to make the lights revolve
harmoniously in your circle, and call forth the music


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in its place. Your lights will sometimes annoy
you by their glare, or go out when you most need
their assistance; and your music will ring in your
ears at times when your evening nap seems to you
the most desirable enjoyment in nature. Joy, itself,
is known to surfeit, and you, unhappily, are not a
man to feed in moderation.”

He received my croakings with good nature, and
laughed heartily at my predictions.

“You are a sad boy, Richard. You are quite too
philosophical ever to be happy,” was his good natured
reply. “You analyse matters too closely.
You must not subject the things which give you
pleasure to a too close inspection of your mind, or
ten to one you despise them. The mind has but
little to do with the affections—the less the better.
I would rather not think, but only believe, where
I have set my heart. It is so sweet to confide—it
is so worrying to doubt. It appears to me now, for
example, that the fruit plucked by Eve, producing
all the quarrel between herself and daddy Adam,
was from the tree of jealousy.”

“What a transition!” was my reply. “You have
brought down your generalisation to a narrow and
very selfish point. But give your horse the spur, I
pray you—when your theme becomes domestic I
feel like a gallop.”

He pricked his steed in compliance with my wish;


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but the increased pace of our horses offered no interruption
to his discourse on a subject so near his
heart. He continued to speak in the same fashion.

“Once fairly married, Dicky, you will see how
grave I can be. I will then become a public man.
You will hear of me as a commissioner of the poor,
of roads, bridges and ferries. I will get up a project
for an orphan asylum in Marengo, and make a
speech or two at the muster ground in favour of an
institute for coupling veteran old maids and inveterate
old bachelors together. The women will name
all their first children after me, and in five years I
will be god-father to half Marengo. You smile—
you will see. And then, Dick, when Kate gives
me a dear little brat of our own—ah! Dick.”

He struck the spur into his steed, and the animal
bounded up the hill as if a wing, like that in the
soul of his master, was lifting him forwards and upwards
without his own exertions. I smiled, with
a sad smile, at the enthusiast lover; and bitterly did
his dream of delight force me to brood over my own
experience of disappointment. The brightness of
his hope was like some glowing and breathing
flower cast upon the grave of mine. I could almost
have quarrelled with him for his joy on such a subject.
Little did he, or I, think, poor fellow, that his
joy was but a dream—that the doom of denial, nor
of denial merely, was already written by the fates


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against him. Terrible indeed, with a sudden terribleness—when
I afterwards reflected upon his boyish
ardor, appeared to me the sad fate which lay, as
it were, in the very path over which he was bounding
with delight. Could he or I have lifted the thick
veil at that moment—how idle would have appeared
all his hopes—how much more idle my despondency.