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Page 304


Some people come very near matrimony and miss it,
as we have read of those who fell asleep, in their wanderings
in the dark, upon the edge of fearful precipices,
and waked in the morning very thankful for their
escape. We wish to be distinctly understood that the
last clause in the simile only applies to the unpleasant
nap alluded to. We heard a reason given by a bachelor
to his son for never getting married, — we believe, however,
that it was his nephew that the reason was given
to, but it is of small consequence, — where the individual
came nigh marriage, and escaped, that we think
worth stating. When young Plume became of age, he
was very good-looking, and possessed a fortune in more
substantial goods, besides. He was a subject for ten
thousand, more or less, direct matrimonial attacks, but
resisted them all like a man. Many were after him,
and, as he plumed himself upon his good looks, he
deemed that Plume was what they sought, and never
once imagined that a mercenary idea regarding him and
his money could enter into the fair heads that contrived
to attract him, or the hearts that beat for him. He was
one day speaking of the general homage that was accorded
him, and manifested considerable delight thereat.
“Ah, my young friend,” said Mr. Oldbird, “this is very
fine, but do not deem that all this homage proceeds
from personal consideration. If you had n't money, it
would n't be thus, depend upon it.” — “You are mistaken,”
replied Plume, warmly; “I know you are mistaken.”
— “Well,” said Oldbird, patting his cane, “I 'll
tell you what I 'll do: I 'll wager that the one you value
the most would jilt you, if she thought you had n't the
tin.” — “It is a —” he checked himself, and concluded


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the sentence with — “a very preposterous idea.” They
separated, and as he recalled that one whom he valued
the most, he felt that he had done her nothing but justice
in defending her against the attack of Oldbird.
That night he resolved that he would test the fact. He
would glean the delicious truth, that she loved him for
himself alone, from her own ruby lips. He had been
long regarded as an eligible match by her anxious
parents, and a crisis was momentarily looked for by
them. “Julia,” said Plume, as they sat in the arbor,
“if I were as poor as that chap, there now engaged in
the miserable business of unloading potatoes, you would
not love me.” — “O, how can you wound me by so
unjust a suspicion? You should know that nothing
mercenary mingles with my love; that, were you reduced
to not more than two or three thousand dollars a
year, you would be just as dear to me.” Plume kissed
her, and, whispering that he wished to confer with her
paternal, he left her. He turned to where he knew that
tender parent was to be found at that hour, enjoying a
nap in his easy-chair. Suddenly awaking, he rubbed
his eyes, and looked at Plume, who stood before him.
“Respected sir,” Plume began, “I love your daughter.”
— “So do I,” said the old man, chuckling. — “I would
marry her,” continued the lover. — “Very well,” said
the father, “that 's right; you shall have her.” — “But,”
said Plume, “it is nothing but right that you should
know my affairs; I 'm rich, you know.” — “I know it;
at least, I suppose so.” — “But,” continued Plume,
“my money is invested in a queer way. It is all in
copper stocks and railroad bonds, that have n't paid a
cent of dividend for ten years; and, though it probably
will all come out well enough, I can't see exactly when.”
The old gentleman started up. “Stocks!” cried he, in


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a tone of voice that would have done credit to Elder Kean,
the eminent tragedian; “ruinous risks — ruinous risks, sir
— my daughter cannot marry mortgage-bonds and copper
certificates! Sell your stocks, wait a year, and then we 'll
see.” Plume ran for comfort to Julia. “Dearest,” said
he, “I am in despair. Can you marry Pewabic? Will
you annex your fortunes to Ogdensburg?” She had
listened at the door, and knew all. — “I think,” said she,
in a voice tender with emotion, “we 'd better wait a
year.” He thought so, too, and left. The next day's inquiry
revealed that Plume did not own a dollar's worth
of any stock he had named, and the old man found he
had put his foot in it. Plume never went again, and
when, in a warm letter, reminded of his former intimacy,
he was requested to renew it, he simply said he was
very busy selling his stocks, and could n't possibly
come. He never believed in human professions after
that, and always very unjustly reckoned women among
the copper stocks, and the bonds of matrimony as mortgage-bonds
much reduced. That was the reason he
gave for never getting married.