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not exactly that "magnetic" influence of which she had had experience at a former time. It did not overcome her as at the moment of their second meeting. But it was something she must struggle against, and she had force and pride and training enough now to maintain her usual tranquillity, in spite of a certain inward commotion which seemed to reach her breathing and her pulse by some strange, inexplicable mechanism.
Myrtle, it must be remembered, was no longer the simple country girl who had run away at fifteen, but a young lady of seventeen, who had learned all that more than a year's diligence at a great school could teach her, who had been much with girls of taste and of culture, and was familiar with the style and manners of those who came from what considered itself the supreme order in the social hierarchy. Her natural love for picturesque adornment was qualified by a knowledge of the prevailing modes not usual in so small a place as Oxbow Village. All this had not failed to produce its impression on those about her. Persons who, like Miss Silence Withers, believe, not in education, inasmuch as there is no healthy nature to be educated, but in transformation, worry about their charges up to a certain period of their lives. Then, if the transformation does not come, they seem to think their cares and duties are at an end, and, considering their theories of human destiny, usually accept the situation with wonderful complacency. This was the stage which Miss Silence Withers had reached with reference to Myrtle. It made her infinitely more agreeable, or less disagreeable, as the reader may choose one or the other statement, than when she was always fretting about her “responsibility." She even began to take an interest in some of Myrtle's worldly experiences, and something like a smile would now and then disarrange the chief-mourner stillness of her features, as Myrtle would tell some lively story she had brought away from the gay society she had frequented.
on her like a hawk. Murray Bradshaw was away, and here was this handsome and agreeable youth coming in to poach on the preserve of which she considered herself the gamekeeper. What did it mean? She had heard the story about Susan's being off with her old love and on with a new one. Ah ha! this is the game, is it?
Clement Lindsay passed not so much a pleasant evening, as one of strange, perplexed, and mingled delight and inward conflict. He had found his marble once more turned to flesh and blood, and breathing before him. This was the woman he was born for; her form was fit to model his proudest ideal from, - her eyes melted him when they rested for an instant on his face,—her voice reached those hidden sensibilities of his inmost nature, which never betray their existence until the outward chord to which they vibrate in response sends its message to stir them. But was she not already pledged to that other,
that cold-blooded, contriving, venal, cynical, selfish, polished, fascinating man of the world, whose artful strategy would pass with nine women out of ten for the most romantic devotion?
If he had known the impression he made, he would have felt less anxiety with reference to this particular possibility. Miss Silence expressed herself gratified with his appearance, and thought he looked like a good young man,
he reminded her of a young friend of hers who - [It was the same who had gone to one of the cannibal islands as a missionary, and stayed there.] Myrtle was very quiet. She had nothing to say about Clement, except that she had met him at a party in the city, and found him agreeable. Miss Cynthia wrote a letter to Murray Bradshaw that very evening, telling him that he had better come back to Oxbow Village as quickly as he could, unless he wished to find his place occupied by an intruder.
In the mean time, the country was Cynthia Badlam kept her keen eyes watching the garrison in Charleston
Harbor. All at once the first gun of the four years' cannonade hurled its ball against the walls of Fort Sumter. There was no hamlet in the land which the reverberations of that cannon-roar did not reach. There was no valley so darkened by overshadowing hills that it did not see the American flag hauled down on the 13th of April. There was no loyal heart in the North that did not answer to the call of the country to its defenders which went forth two days later. The great tide of feeling reached the locality where the lesser events of our narrative were occurring. A meeting of the citizens was instantly called. The venerable Father Pemberton opened it with a prayer that filled every soul with courage and high resolve. The young farmers and mechanics of that whole region joined the companies to which they belonged, or organized in squads and marched at once, or got ready to march, to the scene of conflict.
The contagion of warlike patriotism reached the most peacefully inclined young persons.
"My country calls me," Gifted Hopkins said to Susan Posey, "and I am preparing to obey her summons. If I can pass the medical examination, which it is possible I may, though I fear my constitution may be thought too weak, and if no obstacle impedes me, I think of marching in the ranks of the Oxbow Invincibles. If I go, Susan, and if I fall, will you not remember me... as one who... cherished the tenderest . . . sentiments . . . towards you... and who had looked forward to the time when .... when..."
His eyes told the rest. He loved! Susan forgot all the rules of reserve to which she had been trained. What were cold conventionalities at such a moment? "Never! never!" she said, throwing her arms about his neck and mingling her tears with his, which were flowing freely. "Your country does not need your sword,... but it does need... your pen. Your poems will inspire... our soldiers. ... The Oxbow Invincibles will march to victory,
While these interesting events had been going on beneath the modest roof of the Widow Hopkins, affairs had been rapidly hastening to a similar conclusion under the statelier shadow of The Poplars. Clement Lindsay was so well received at his first visit that he ventured to repeat it several times, with so short intervals that it implied something more than a common interest in one of the members of the household. There was no room for doubt who this could be, and Myrtle Hazard could not help seeing that she was the object of his undisguised admiration. The belief was now general in the village that Gifted Hopkins and Susan Posey were either engaged, or on the point of being so; and it was equally understood that, whatever might be the explanation, she and her former lover had parted company in an amicable manner.
Love works very strange transformations in young women. Sometimes it leads them to try every mode of adding to their attractions, their whole thought is how to be most lovely in the eyes they would fill so as to keep out all other images. Poor darlings! We smile at their little vanities, as if they were very trivial things compared with the last Congressman's speech or the great election sermon; but Nature knows well what she is about. The maiden's ribbon or ruffle means a great deal more for her than the judge's wig or the priest's surplice.
It was not in this way that the gentle
emotion awaking in the breast of Myrtle Hazard betrayed itself. As the thought dawned in her consciousness that she was loved, a change came over her such as the spirit that protected her, according to the harmless fancy she had inherited, might have wept for joy to behold, if tears could flow from angelic eyes. She forgot herself and her ambitions, the thought of shining in the great world died out in the presence of new visions of a future in which she was not to be her own,-of feelings in the depth of which the shallow vanities which had drawn her young eyes to them for a while seemed less than nothing. Myrtle had not hitherto said to herself that Clement was her lover, yet her whole nature was expanding and deepening in the light of that friendship which any other eye could have known at a glance for the great passion.
Cynthia Badlam wrote a pressing letter to Murray Bradshaw. "There is no time to be lost; she is bewitched, and will be gone beyond hope if this business is not put a stop to.".
Love moves in an accelerating ratio; and there comes a time when the progress of the passion escapes from all human formulæ, and brings two young hearts, which had been gradually drawing nearer and nearer together, into complete union, with a suddenness that puts an infinity between the moment when all is told and that which went just before.
They were sitting together by themselves in the dimly lighted parlor. They had told each other many experiences of their past lives, very freely, as two intimate friends of different sex might do. Clement had happened to allude to Susan, speaking very kindly and tenderly of her. He hoped this youth to whom she was attached would make her life happy. "You know how simple-hearted and good she is; her image will always be a pleasant one in my memory, second to but one other."
Myrtle ought, according to the common rules of conversation, to have asked, What other? but she did not. She may have looked as if she wanted to
Whether Myrtle said anything in reply or not, whether she acted like Coleridge's Genevieve,—that is, "fled to him and wept," or suffered her feelings to betray themselves in some less startling confession, we will leave untold. Her answer, spoken or silent, could not have been a cruel one, for in another moment Clement was pressing his lips to hers, after the manner of accepted lovers.
"Our lips have met to-day for the second time," he said, presently.
She looked at him in wonder. What did he mean? The second time! How assuredly he spoke! She looked him calmly in the face, and awaited his explanation.
"I have a singular story to tell you. On the morning of the 16th of June, now nearly two years ago, I was sitting in my room at Alderbank, some twenty miles down the river, when I heard a cry for help coming from the river. I ran down to the bank, and there I saw a boy in an old boat -”
When it came to the "boy" in the old boat, Myrtle's cheeks flamed so that she could not bear it, and she covered her face with both her hands. But Clement told his story calmly through to the end, sliding gently over its later incidents, for Myrtle's heart was throbbing violently, and her breath a little catching and sighing, as when she had first lived with the new life his breath had given her.
"Why did you ask me for myself, when you could have claimed me? she said.
"I wanted a free gift, Myrtle," Clement answered, "and I have it."
They sat in silence, lost in the sense of that new life which had suddenly risen on their souls.
The door-bell rang sharply. Kitty Fagan answered its summons, and presently entered the parlor and announced that Mr. Bradshaw was in the library, and wished to see the ladies.
OPINIONS OF THE LATE DR. STUDIES, AND
URING the summer of 1833, several professional gentlemen, clergymen, lawyers, and educators were spending their vacation at Saratoga Springs. Among them was Dr. Nott. He was then regarded as a veteran teacher, whose long experience and acknowledged wisdom gave a peculiar value to his matured opinions. The younger members of this little circle of scholars, taking their ease at their inn, purposely sought to "draw out" the Doctor upon those topics in which they felt an especial interest. They were, therefore, in their leisure moments, constantly hearing and asking him questions. One of them, then a tutor in Dartmouth College, took notes of the conversations, and the following dialogue is copied from his manuscript: -
Mr. C. "Doctor, how long have you been at the head of Union College?"
Dr. N. "Thirty years. I am the oldest president in the United States, though not the oldest man in office. I cannot drop down anywhere in the Union without meeting some one of my children."
Mr. C. "And that, too, though so many of them are dead! I believe that nearly half of my class are dead!"
Dr. N. "Indeed! That is a large proportion to die so soon. I think it remarkable that so few deaths have occurred among the members of the college since I have been connected with it. I can distinctly recollect all the in
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dividuals who have died at college, and during thirty years there have been but seven. The proportion has been less than one third of one per cent. Very many have died, however, very soon after leaving college. Two or three in almost every class have died within a year after they have graduated. I have been at a loss as to the cause of this marked difference. I can assign no other than the sudden change which then takes place in the student's whole manner and habits of living, diet, &c."
Mr. C. "How do the students generally answer the expectations they have raised during their college course?"
Dr. N. "I have been rarely disappointed. I have found my little anticipatory notes generally fulfilled. I recollect, however, one class, which graduated four or five years ago, in regard to which I have been very happily disappointed. It had given us more trouble, and there were more sceptics in it than in any other class we ever had. But now every one of those infidels except one is studying for the ministry."
Mr. C. "What course do you take with a sceptical student?"
Dr. N. "I remember a very interesting case I had several years ago. There was a young man in college of fine talents, an excellent and exemplary student, but an atheist. He roomed near me. I was interested in him; but I feared his influence. It was very injurious in college, and yet he did nothing worthy of censure. I called him
one day to my study. I questioned him familiarly and kindly in relation to his speculative views. He said he was not an atheist, but had very serious doubts and difficulties on the subject, and frankly stated them to me. I did not talk with him religiously, but as a philosopher. I did not think he would bear it. I told him that I felt a peculiar sympathy with young men in his state of mind; for once, during the French Revolution, I had been troubled with the same difficulties myself. I had been over that whole `ground; and would gladly assist his inquiries, and direct him to such authors as I thought would aid him in his investigations after truth. As he left my study, I said, 'Now, I expect yet to see you a minister of the Gospel!' He returned to his room; he paced it with emotion; said he to his roommate (these facts his room-mate communicated to me within a year), 'What do you think the President says?' 'I don't know.' 'He says he expects yet to see me a minister. I a minister ! I a minister!' and he continued to walk the room, and reiterate the words. No immediate effect on his character was produced. But the prophetic words (for so he seemed to regard them) clung to him as a magic talisman, and would never leave his mind; and he is now a pious man, and a student in divinity."
Mr. C. "Doctor, we have been seeking amusement and profit by some exercises in elocution. Mr. G- and myself have been trying to read Shakespeare a little; but some gentlemen here have had some qualms of conscience as to the propriety of it, and have condemned the reading of Shakespeare as demoralizing. What is your opinion, sir?"
Dr. N. Why, as to that matter, sir, I always say to my young men, 'Gentlemen, if you wish to get a knowledge of the world and of human nature, read the Bible. The Bible is the first and best book that can be studied for the exhibition of human character; and the man who goes out into the world
expecting to find men just such as Moses and Paul have represented them will never be disappointed. If you are contented to read nothing but your Bibles, well, you have it all there. But if you will read any other books, read Homer and Shakespeare. They come nearer, in my estimation, to Moses and Paul, in their delineations of human character, than any other authors I am acquainted with. I would have every young man read Shakespeare. I have always taught my children to read it.' Ministers, as a class, know less practically of human nature than any other class of men. As I belong to the fraternity, I can say this without prejudice. Men are reserved in the presence of a respectable clergyman. I might live in Schenectady, and discharge all my appropriate duties from year to year, and never hear an oath, nor see a man drunk; and if some one should ask me, 'What sort of a population have you in Schenectady? Are they a moral people? Do they swear? Do they get drunk?' for aught that I had seen or heard, I might answer,
This is, after all, a very decent world. There is very little vice in it. People have entirely left off the sin of profaneness; and, as to intemperance, there is very little of that.' But I can put on my old great-coat, and an old slouching hat, and in five minutes place myself amid the scenes of blasphemy and vice and misery, which I never could have believed to exist if I had not seen them. So a man may walk along Broadway, and think to himself, 'What a fine place this is! How civil the people are! What a decent and orderly and virtuous city New York is!'- while, at the same time, within thirty rods of him are scenes of pollution and crime such as none but an eyewitness can adequately imagine. I would have a minister see the world for himself. It is rotten to the core. Ministers ordinarily see only the brighter side of the world. Almost everybody treats them with civility; the religious, with peculiar kindness and attention. Hence they are apt to think too well of the world.