Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

а

not exactly that “magnetic” influence on her like a hawk. Murray Bradshaw of which she had had experience at a was away, and here was this handsome former time. It did not overcome her as and agreeable youth coming in to poach at the moment of their second meeting. on the preserve of which she considBut it was something she must struggle ered herself the gamekeeper. What against, and she had force and pride did it mean? She had heard the story and training enough now to maintain about Susan's being off with her old her usual tranquillity, in spite of a cer- love and on with a new one. Ah ha! tain inward commotion which seemed this is the game, is it? to reach her breathing and her pulse by Clement Lindsay passed not so much some strange, inexplicable mechanism. a pleasant evening, as one of strange,

Myrtle, it must be remembered, was perplexed, and mingled delight and inno longer the simple country girl who ward conflict. He had found his mar. had run away at fifteen, but a young ble once more turned to flesh and blood, lady of seventeen, who had learned all and breathing before him. This was that more than a year's diligence at a the woman he was born for ; her form great school could teach her, who had was fit to model his proudest ideal been much with girls of taste and of from, —- her eyes melted him when they culture, and was familiar with the style rested for an instant on his face, - her and manners of those who came from voice reached those hidden sensibilities what considered itself the supreme of his inmost nature, which never beorder in the social hierarchy. Her tray their existence until the outward natural love for picturesque adornment chord to which they vibrate in response was qualified by a knowledge of the sends its message to stir them. But prevailing modes not usual in so small was she not already pledged to that a place as Oxbow Village. All this had other, — that cold blooded, contriving, not failed to produce its impression on venal, cynical, selfish, polished, fascithose about her. Persons who, like nating man of the world, whose artful Miss Silence Withers, believe, not in strategy would pass with nine women education, inasmuch as there is no out of ten for the most romantic de. healthy nature to be educated, but in votion ? transformation, worry about their char- If he had known the impression he ges up to a certain period of their lives. made, he would have felt less anxiety Then, if the transformation does not with reference to this particular possicome,' they seem to think their cares bility. Miss Silence expressed her. and duties are at an end, and, consid- self gratified with his appearance, and ering their theories of human destiny, thought he looked like a good young usually accept the situation with won- man, — he reminded her of a young derful complacency. This was the stage friend of hers who — [It was the same which Miss Silence Withers had reached who had gone to one of the cannibal with reference to Myrtle. It made her islands as a missionary,--and stayed infinitely more agreeable, or less dis- there.] Myrtle was very quiet. She agreeable, as the reader may choose had nothing to say about Clement, exone or the other statement, than when cept that she had met him at a party she was always fretting about her “re- in the city, and found him agreeable. sponsibility.” She even began to take Miss Cynthia wrote a letter to Murray an interest in some of Myrtle's worldly Bradshaw that very evening, telling experiences, and something like a smile him that he had better come back to would now and then disarrange the Oxbow Village as quickly as he could, chief-mourner stillness of her features, unless he wished to find his place occuas Myrtle would tell some lively story pied by an intruder. she had brought away from the gay society she had frequented.

In the mean time, the country was Cynthia Badlam kept her keen eyes watching the garrison in Charleston

W

66

Harbor. All at once the first gun of singing your songs.... If you go ... the four years' cannonade hurled its and if you ... fall... O Gifted!... I ball against the walls of Fort Sumter. ...1... yes I ... shall die too !” There was no hamlet in the land which His love was returned. He was blest! the reverberations of that cannon-roar Susan,"

," he said, “my own Susan, did not reach. There was no valley so I yield to your wishes, at every sacridarkened by overshadowing hills that fice. Henceforth they will be my it did not see the American flag hauled law. Yes, I will stay and encourage down on the 13th of April. There was my brave countrymen to go forward to no loyal heart in the North that did the bloody field. My voice shall urge not answer to the call of the coun- them on to the battle-ground. I will try to its defenders which went forth give my dearest breath to stimulate two days later. The great tide of their ardor. ... 0 Susan! My own, feeling reached the locality where the own Susan! lesser events of our narrative were occurring. A meeting of the citizens While these interesting events had was instantly called. The venerable been going on beneath the modest Father Pemberton opened it with a roof of the Widow Hopkins, affairs prayer that filled every soul with cour- had been rapidly hastening to a simiage and high resolve. The young lar conclusion under the statelier shadfarmers and mechanics of that whole ow of The Poplars. Clement Lindsay region joined the companies to which was so well received at his first visit they belonged, or organized in squads that he ventured to repeat it several and marched at once, or got ready to times, with so short intervals that it march, to the scene of conflict.

implied something more than a comThe contagion of warlike patriotism mon interest in one of the members of reached the most peacefully inclined the household. There was no room young persons.

for doubt who this could be, and Myr“My country calls me," Gifted Hop- tle Hazard could not help seeing that kins said to Susan Posey, “and I am she was the object of his undisguised preparing to obey her summons. If admiration. The belief was now genI can pass the medical examination, eral in the village that Çifted Hopkins which it is possible I may, though I and Susan Posey were either engaged, fear my constitution may be thought or on the point of being so; and it was too weak, and if no obstacle impedes equally understood that, whatever might me, I think of marching in the ranks of be the explanation, she and her former the Oxbow Invincibles. If I go, Su lover had parted company in an amicasan, and if I fall, will you not remem- ble manner. ber me ... as one who ... cherished Love works very strange transformathe tenderest ... sentiments ... to- tions in young women. Sometimes it wards you ... and who had looked for leads them to try every mode of addward to the time when ... when ..." ing to their attractions, — their whole

His eyes told the rest. He loved ! thought is how to be most lovely in the

Susan forgot all the rules of reserve eyes they would fill so as to keep out to which she had been trained. What all other images. Poor darlings ! We were cold conventionalities at such a smile at their little vanities, as if they moment? “Never! never !” she said, were very trivial things compared with throwing her arms about his neck and the last Congressman's speech or the mingling her tears with his, which were great election sermon; but Nature flowing freely. “Your country does knows well what she is about. The not need your sword, ... but it does maiden's ribbon or ruffle means a great need ... your pen. Your poems will deal more for her than the judge's wig inspire ... our soldiers. ... The Ox- or the priest's surplice. bow Invincibles will march to victory, It was not in this way that the gentle

66

emotion awaking in the breast of Myrtle ask, — she may have blushed or turned Hazard betrayed itself. As the thought pale, – perhaps she could not trust her dawned in her consciousness that she voice; but whatever the reason was, she was loved, a change came over her such sat still, with downcast eyes. Clement as the spirit that protected her, ac- waited a reasonable time, but, finding cording to the harmless fancy she had it was of no use, began again. inherited, might have wept for joy to “Your image is the one other, - the behold, if tears could flow from angelic only one, let me say, for all else fades eyes. She forgot herself and her am- in its presence, — your image fills all bitions, — the thought of shining in the my thought. Will you trust your life great world died out in the presence of and happiness with one who can offer new visions of a future in which she you so little beside his love? You was not to be her own,-of feelings in know my whole heart is yours.” the depth of which the shallow vanities Whether Myrtle said anything in which had drawn her young eyes to them reply or not, — whether she acted like for a while seemed less than nothing. Coleridge's Genevieve, – that is, “fled Myrtle had not hitherto said to herself to him and wept,” or suffered her feelthat Clement was her lover, yet herings to betray themselves in some less whole nature was expanding and deep- startling confession, we will leave unening in the light of that friendship told. Her answer, spoken or silent, which any other eye could have known could not have been a cruel one, for at a glance for the great passion. in another moment Clement was press

Cynthia Badlam wrote a pressing ing his lips to hers, after the manner letter to Murray Bradshaw. “There of accepted lovers. is no time to be lost; she is bewitched, “Our lips have met to-day for the and will be gone beyond hope if this second time,” he said, presently. business is not put a stop to.”.

She looked at him in wonder. What Love moves in an accelerating ratio ; did he mean? The second time! How and there comes a time when the pro- assuredly he spoke! She looked him gress of the passion escapes from all calmly in the face, and awaited his exhuman formulæ, and brings two young planation. hearts, which had been gradually draw- “ I have a singular story to tell you. ing nearer and nearer together, into On the morning of the 16th of June, complete union, with a suddenness that now nearly two years ago, I was sitting puts an infinity between the moment in my room at Alderbank, some twenty when all is told and that which went miles down the river, when I heard a just before.

cry for help coming from the river. I They were sitting together by them- ran down to the bank, and there I saw selves in the dimly lighted parlor. a boy in an old boat -" They had told each other many expe- When it came to the “boy” in the old riences of their past lives, very freely, boat, Myrtle's cheeks flamed so that she as two intimate friends of different sex could not bear it, and she covered her might do. Clement had happened to face with both her hands. But Clement allude to Susan, speaking very kindly told his story calmly through to the and tenderly of her. He hoped this end, sliding gently over its later inciyouth to whom she was attached would dents, for Myrtle's heart was throbbing make her life happy. “You know how violently, and her breath a little catchsimple-hearted and good she is ; hering and sighing, as when she had first image will always be a pleasant one in lived with the new life his breath had .my memory, --second to but one other.” given her.

Myrtle ought, according to the common rules of conversation, to have “Wirdid you ask me for myself, asked, What other ? but she did not. en you could have claimed me?" She may have looked as if she wanted to she said.

[ocr errors]

“ I wanted a free gift, Myrtle,” Clem- The door-bell rang sharply. Kitty ent answered, “ and I have it.”

Fagan answered its summons, and They sat in silence, lost in the sense presently entered the parlor and anof that new life which had suddenly nounced that Mr. Bradshaw was in the risen on their souls.

library, and wished to see the ladies.

OPINIONS OF THE LATE DR. NOTT RESPECTING BOOKS,

STUDIES, AND ORATORS.

m7. 8. D. Sangre

D

seven.

URING the summer of 1833, sev- dividuals who have died at college, and

eral professional gentlemen, cler-. during thirty years there have been but gymen, lawyers, and educators were

The proportion has been less spending their vacation at Saratoga than one third of one per cent. Very Springs. Among them was Dr. Nott. many have died, however, very soon He was then regarded as a veteran after leaving college. Two or three teacher, whose long experience and ac- in almost every class have died within knowledged wisdom. gave a peculiar a year after they have graduated. I value to his matured opinions. The have been at a loss as to the cause of younger members of this little circle of this marked difference. I can assign scholars, taking their ease at their inn, no other than the sudden change which purposely sought to “draw out” the then takes place in the student's whole Doctor upon those topics in which they manner and habits of living, diet, &c.” felt an especial interest. They were, Mr. C. “How do the students gentherefore, in their leisure moments, erally answer the expectations they have constantly hearing and asking him raised during their college course ?” questions. One of them, then a tutor Dr. N. “I have been rarely disapin Dartmouth College, took notes of pointed. I have found my little anticithe conversations, and the following patory notes generally fulfilled. I recoldialogue is copied from his manu- lect, however, one class, which graduscript:

ated four or five years ago, in regard to Mr. C. * Doctor, how long have which I have been very happily disyou been at the head of Union Col- appointed. It had given us lege?”

trouble, and there were more sceptics Dr. N. “Thirty years. I am the in it than in any other class we ever oldest president in the United States, had. But now every one of those inthough not the oldest man in office. I

fidels except one is studying for the cannot drop down anywhere in the ministry.” Union without meeting some one of Mr. C. “What course do you take my children.

with a sceptical student ? " 11r. C. “And that, too, though so Dr. N. “I remember a very intermany of them are dead ! I believe esting case I had several years ago. that nearly half of my class are dead !” There was a young man in college of

Dr. N. “Indeed! That is a large fine talents, an excellent and exemplary proportion to die so soon. I think it student, but an atheist. He roomed remarkable that so few deaths have oc- near me. I was interested in him ; but curred among the members of the col- I feared his influence. It was very inlege since I have been connected with jurious in college, and yet he did nothit. I can distinctly recollect all the in- ing worthy of censure. I called him

more

6

one day to my study. I questioned expecting to find men just such as him familiarly and kindly in relation to Moses and Paul have represented them his speculative views. He said he was will never be disappointed. If you are not an atheist, but had very serious contented to read nothing but your doubts and difficulties on the subject, Bibles, well, you have it all there. But and frankly stated them to me. I did if you will read any other books, read not talk with him religiously, but as a Homer and Shakespeare. They come philosopher. I did not think he would nearer, in my estimation, to Moses and bear it. I told him that I felt a Paul, in their delineations of human peculiar sympathy with young men in character, than any other authors I am his state of mind; for once, during acquainted with. I would have every the French Revolution, I had been young man read Shakespeare. I have troubled with the same difficulties my- always taught my children to read it.' self. I had been over that whole Ministers, as a class, know less pracground ; and would gladly assist his tically of human nature than any other inquiries, and direct him to such au- class of men. As I belong to the frathors as I thought would aid him in his ternity, I can say this without prejuinvestigations after truth. As he left dice. Men are reserved in the presmy study, I said, “Now, I expect yet ence of a respectable clergyman. I to see you a minister of the Gospel !' might live in Schenectady, and disHe returned to his room; he paced it charge all my appropriate duties from with emotion; said he to his room- year to year, and never hear an oath, mate (these facts his room-mate com- nor see a man drunk; and if some one municated to me within a year), “What should ask me, “What sort of a popudo you think the President says ?' lation have you in Schenectady? Are

I don't know.' 'He says he expects they a moral people? Do they swear ? yet to see me a minister. I a minister! Do they get drunk ?' for aught that I I a minister!' -- and he continued to . had seen or heard, I might answer, walk the room, and reiterate the words. This is, after all, a very decent world. No immediate effect on his character. There is very little vice in it. People was produced. But the prophetic words have entirely left off the sin of profane(for so he seemed to regard them) ness; and, as to intemperance, there is clung to him as a magic talisman, and very little of that.' But I can put on would never leave his mind; and he is my old great-coat, and an old slouching now a pious man, and a student in di- hat, and in five minutes place myself vinity."

amid the scenes of blasphemy and vice Mr. C. “Doctor, we have been seek- and misery, which I never could have ing amusement and profit by some ex- believed to exist if I had not seen them. ercises in elocution. Mr. G- and So a man may walk along Broadway, myself have been trying to read Shake- and think to himself, “What a fine speare a little; but some gentlemen place this is ! How civil the people here have had some qualms of con- are! What a decent and orderly and science as to the propriety of it, and virtuous city New York is !' - while, have condemned the reading of Shake- at the same time, within thirty rods of speare as demoralizing. What is your him are scenes of pollution and crime opinion, sir?"

such as none but an eyewitness can Dr. N. “Why, as to that matter, adequately imagine. I would have a sir, I always say to my young men, minister see the world for himself. It "Gentlemen, if you wish to get a knowl- is rotten to the core. Ministers ordiedge of the world and of human nature, narily see only the brighter side of the read the Bible. The Bible is the first world. Almost everybody treats them and best book that can be studied for with civility; the religious, with peculiar the exhibition of human character; and kindness and attention. Hence they the man who goes out into the world are apt to think .too well of the world.

« AnteriorContinua »