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phenomenon. But then there are the and fragrant sanctuary, whither she fled facts.
when household troubles, or a letter from A Cape household is a simpler affair Elkanah, demanded her entire seclusion than you will meet with in the city. If from the outer world, and of whose inany young marrying man waits for a terior the children got faint glimpses and wife who shall be an adept in the myste- sniffs only on special and long-rememries of the kitchen and the sewing-basket, bered occasions; the west room, where let him go down to the Cape. Captain her father slept when he was at home, Elijah Nickerson, Ilepsy Ann's father, was and where the curious searcher might master and owner of the good schooner find store of old compasses, worn-out cod“ Miranda,” in which excellent, but rath- hooks, condemned gurry-knives, and last er strongly scented vessel, he generally year's fishing-mittens, all “ stowed away made yearly two trips to the Newfound- against time-o’-need”; the spare room, land Banks, to draw thence his regular sacred to the rites of hospitality; the income; and it is to be remarked, that his up-stairs," occupied by the children drafts, presented in person, were never and Hepsy Ann's self; and finally, but dishonored in that foggy region. Uncle most important of all, the parlor, a mysElijah, (they are all uncles, on the Cape, terious and hermetically sealed apartwhen they marry and have children,- ment, which almost seemed to me an and boys until then,) Uncle Elijah, I say, unconsecrated spot in this little temple was not uncomfortably off, as things go of the homely virtues and affections, - a in those parts.
The year before El- room furnished in a style somewhat oskanah went to New York, the old fellow tentatious and decidedly uncomfortable, bad built himself a brand-new house, and swept and dusted on Saturday afterHepsy Ann was looked up to by her ac- noons by Hepsy Ann's own careful hands, quaintance as the daughter of a man sat in by the Captain and her for an hour who was not only brave and honest, but or two on Sundays in awkward state, also lucky “ Elijah Nickerson's new then darkened and locked for the rest of house" - as it is still called, and will be, the week. I
suppose, until it ceases to be a house - As for the queen and mistress of so was fitted up inside in a way which put much neatness and comfort, I must say, you much in mind of a ship's cabin, and that, like most queens whose likeness I would have delighted the simple heart have seen, she was rather plain than of good Captain Cuttle. There was no strictly beautiful,— though, no doubt, her spare space anywhere thrown away, nor loyal subjects, as in such cases commonly anything suffered to lie loose. Beckets occurs, pictured her to themselves as a and cleats, fixed into the walls of the sit- very Helen of Troy. If her cheeks had ting-room, held and secured against any something of the rosy hue of health, possible damage the pipes, fish-lines, dol- cheeks, and arms, too, were well tanphin-grains, and sou’westers of the worthy ned by frequent exposure to the sun. Captain ; and here he and his sat, when Neither tall nor short, but with a lithe he was at home, through the long winter figure, a natural grace and sweet digevenings, in simple and not often idle nity of carriage, the result of sufficontent. The kitchen, flanked by the cient healthy exercise and a pure, uncompendious outhouses which make our troubled spirit; hands and feet, mouth New England kitchens almost luxurious and nose, not such as a gentleman would in the comfort and handiness of every particularly notice; and straight brown arrangement, was the centre of Hepsy hair, which shaded the only really beauAnn's kingdom, where she reigned su- tiful part of Hepsy Ann's face, — her preme, and waged sternest warfare against clear, honest, brave blue eyes: eyes from dirt and disorder. Hence her despotic which spoke a soul at peace with itself sway extended over the pantry, an awful and with the outward world, a soul yet full of love and trust, fearing nothing, ial a point. The right man in the right doubting nothing, believing much good place is still a rare phenomenon in the and inclined to patient endurance of the world; and some men spend a lifetime human weaknesses it met with in daily in the consideration of this very point, life, as not perhaps altogether strange to doubtless looking to take their chance of itself. The Cape men are a brave, hardy real work in the next world. I mean race; and the Cape women, grave and to say it took Elkanah just five years to somewhat silent, not demonstrative in discover, that, though he painted many joy or grief, reticent mostly of anxieties things well, he did yet put his very soul and sorrows, born to endure, in separa- into none, and that, unless he could now tion from fathers, brothers, lovers, hus- presently find this, his right place, he had, bands, in dangers not oftener fancied perhaps, better stop altogether. than real, griefs which more fortunate Elkanah considered ; but he also workwomen find it difficult to imagine,—these ed unceasingly, feeling that the best way Cape women are worthy mothers of to break through a difficulty is to pepper brave men.
Of such our Hepsy Ann away at its outer walls. was a fair example, -weaving her rather Now while he was firing away wearily prosaic life into golden dreams in the at this fortress, which held, he thought, quiet light of her pantry refuge, happy the deepest secret of his life, Hepsy Ann chiefly because she thought much and sat in her pantry, her serene soul troubcarefully for others and had little time for led by unwonted fears. Captain Elijah self-brooding; like most genuine heroines, Nickerson had sailed out in his stanch (except those of France,) living an hero- schooner in earliest spring, for the Banks. ic life without in the least suspecting it. The old man had been all winter medi
And did she believe in Elkanah? tating a surprise, and his crew were in Utterly.
unusual excitement, peering out at the And did Elkanah believe in himself? weather, consulting almanacs, prophesy
Yes, — but with certain grave doubts. ing (to outsiders) a late season, and winkHere is the difference: the woman's faith ing to each other a cheerful disbelief of is intuition; the man must have a reason their own auguries. The fact is, they for the faith that is in him.
were intending to slip off before the rest, Yet Elkanah was growing. I think a and perhaps have half their fare of fish man grows like the walls of a house, by caught before the fleet got along. No distinct stages : so far the scaffolding plan could have succeeded better - up reaches, and then a general stoppage to a certain point. Captain Elijah got while the outer shell is raised, the lad- off to sea full twelve days earlier than ders lengthened, and the work squared anybody else, and was bowling merrily off. Now I don't know, unhappily, the down towards the eternal fog-banks when common process of growth of the artis- his neighbors were yet scarce thinking of tic mind, and how far the light of to gathering up their mittens and sea-boots. day helps the neophyte to look into the By the time the last comers arrived on indefinite twilight of to-morrow; but step the fishing-ground, one who had spoken by step was the slow rule of Elkanah's the “Miranda” some days before, anmind, and he had been now five years chored and fishing away, reported that an artist, and was held in no despica- they had, indeed, nearly wet her salt,ble repute by those few who could right- by which is meant that she was nearly ly judge of a man's future by his past, filled with good, sound codfish. The men when first it became very clear to him were singing as they dressed their fish, that he had yet to find his speciality in and Captain Elijah, sitting high up on Art,- that truth which he might better the schooner's quarter, took his pipe out represent than any other man. Don't of his mouth, and asked, as the vessel think five years long to determine so triv- rose on the sea, if they had any news to
send home, for three days more like that scarce have borne it. To calm their would fill him up.
fears, to soothe their little sorrows, to look That was the last word of Captain anxiously-more anxiously than ever beElijah Nickerson's ever heard by men fore-after each one of her precious litnow living. Whether the “ Miranda” tle brood, became now her chief solace. was sunk by an iceberg; whether run Thus the long, weary days rolled away, down in the dark and silent watches of each setting sun crushing another hope, the night by some monster packet or swift until at last the autumn storms approachhurling steamer, little recking the pale ed, the last Banker was safe home; and fisher's light feebly glimmering up from by this time it was plain, even to poor the surface of the deep; or whether they Hepsy Ann's faithful heart, that her dead went down at their anchors, in the great would not come back to her. gale which set in on the third night, as “ If only Elkanah were here!” she bad many brave men have done before, look- sometimes sighed to herself ;- but in all ing their fate steadfastly in the face for these days she wrote him no word. And long hours, and taking time to bid each he-guessing nothing of her long, silent other farewell ere the great sea swallow- agony, himself sufficiently bemired in his ed them ;-the particulars of their hap- slough of despond, working away with less fate no man may know, till the dread sad, unsatisfied heart in his little studio, day when the sea shall give up its dead. hoping yet for light to come to his night
Vainly poor Hepsy Ann waited for – was, in truth, so full of himself, that the well-known signal in the offing, - Hepsy Ann had little of his thoughts. daily walking to the shore, where kind Shall I go farther, and admit that someold Uncle Shubael, now long superan- times this poor fellow dimly regretted his nuated, and idly busying himself about pledged heart, and faintly murmured, “ If the fish-house, strove to cheer her faint- only I were free, then I might do someing soul by store of well-chosen proverbs, thing”? If only the ship were rid of her and yarns of how, aforetimes, schooners helmsman, then indeed would she gonot larger and not so stout as the “Mi- somewhere. randa," starting early for the Banks, had At last,- it was already near Thanksbeen blown southward to the West Indies, giving,—the news reached Elkanah. “I and, when the second-fare men came in thought you'd ha' been down afore this to with their fish, had made their appear- see Hepsy Ann Nickerson in her trouble," ance laden with rich cargoes of tropical said an old coasting-skipper to him, with molasses and bananas. Poor Hepsy Ann! mild rer ch, handing him a letter from what need to describe the long-drawn ag- his mother,-- of all persons in the world! ony which grew with the summer flowers, Whereupon, seeing ignorance in Elkabut did not wane with the summer sun ? nah's inquiring glance, he told the story. Hour after hour, day after day, she sat Elkanah was as one in a maze. Going by her pantry-window, looking with wist- to his little room, he opened his mother's ful eyes out upon the sand, to that spot letter, half-dreading to find bere a dewhere the ill-fated “ Miranda" had last tailed repetition of what his heart had been seen, but never should appear again,
just taken in.
But the letter was short. - another poor lone Hannah,
"My Son ELKANAH,Sitting by the window, binding shoes,"'
“ Do you not know that Captain Elijah cheeks paling, eyes dimming, with that Nickerson will never come home from hope deferred which maketh the heart the Banks, and that Hepsy Ann is left sick. Pray God you never may be so
alone in the world ? tried, fair reader! If, in these days, she 66 For this cause shall a man leave his had not had the children to keep and father and mother, and be joined to his comfort, she has since told me, she could wife, and they two shall be one flesh.””
That was all.
had grown out of one life into another, Elkanah sat on his stool, before his and a better, as he thought, - out of a easel, looking vacantly at the unfinished narrow circle into a broader. And then, picture, as one stunned and breathless. away for the Cape. No farewells, no exFor the purport of this message was not planations to friends, nothing that should to be mistaken. Nor did his conscience hold out to his sad soul any faintest hope leave him in doubt as to his duty. 0 of a return to this garret, this toil, which God! was this, indeed, the end ? Had now seemed to him more heaven than he toiled, and hoped, and prayed, and ever before. Thus this Adam left his lived the life of an anchorite these five paradise, clinging to his Eve. years only for this ? Was such faith, such It was the day before Thanksgiving devotion, so rewarded ?
when Elkanah arrived at home. Will But had any one the right to demand any one blame him, if he felt little thankthis sacrifice of him? Was it not a devil- ful ? if the thought of the Thanksgiving ish temptation to take him from his call- turkey was like to choke him, and the ing, from that work in which God had very idea of giving thanks seemed to him evidently intended him to work for the a bitter satire ? Poor fellow ! he forgot world ? Had he a right to spoil his life, that there were other hearts to whom to belittle his soul, for any consideration ? Thanksgiving turkey seemed little temptIf Hepsy Ann Nickerson had claims, had ing. not he also, and his Art? If he were will- The Cape folk are not demonstrative. ing, in this dire extremity, to sacrifice his They have warm hearts, but the old Pulove, his prospects of married bliss, might ritan ice has never quite melted away he not justly require the same of her ? from the outer shell. Was not Art his mistress ? - Thus whis- “Well, Elkanah, glad to see you, boy!” pered the insidious devil of Selfishness to said his father, looking up from his corthis poor, tempted, anguished soul. ner by the stove; “ how's things in New
“ Yea,” whispered another still, small York?” Father and son had not met voice; “ but is not Hepsy Ann your prom- for three years. But, going out into the ised wife ?” And those fatal words sound- kitchen, he received a warm grasp of the ed in his heart: “For this cause shall a hand, and his mother said, in her low, man leave his father and mother, and be sweet voice, “ I knew you'd come.” That joined to his wife.”
was all. But it was enough. “Lord, inspire me to do what is right!” How to take his sad face over to Elijah prayed poor mazed Elkanah, sinking on Nickerson's new house? But that must his knees at his cot-side.
be done, too. Looking through the little But presently, through his blinding sitting-room window, as he passed, he saw tears, "Lord, give me strength to do the pale-faced Hepsy Ann sitting quietly by right!”
the table, sewing. The children had gone And then, when he awoke next morn- to bed. He did not knock;— why should ing, the world seemed another world to he?—but, walking in, stood silent on the him. The foundations of his life seemed floor. A glad, surprised smile lit up the broken loose. Tears were no longer, nor sad, wan face, as she recognized him, prayers. But he went about slowly, and and, stepping to his side, said,
Oh, Elwith loving hands, packing up his brush- kanah! I knew you'd come. How good es, pallets, paints, easel,- all the few fa- of you!" Then, abashed to have so commiliar objects of a life which was his no mitted herself and him, she shrank to her longer, and on which he seemed to him
chair again. self already looking as across some vast Let us not intrude further on these two. gulf of years. At last all was done. A Surely Elkanah Brewster had been less last look about the dismantled garret, so than man, had he not found his hard heart long his workshop, his home, where he to soften, and his cold love to warm, as
he drew from her the story of her long one by one, overhead, in a sky of Italian agony, and saw this weary heart ready clearness and softness,- it all came to to rest upon him, longing to be comforted him,- that which he had so long, so vainin his strong arms.
ly sought, toiled for, prayed for in New The next day a small sign was put up York,, his destiny. at Abijah Brewster's door :
Why should he paint heads, figures,
landscapes, objects with which his heart BOOTS AND SHOES
had never been really filled ?
But now, as in one flash of divinest MADE AND MENDED
intelligence, it was revealed to him l
This sea, this fog, this sky, these stars, ELKANAH BREWSTER. this old, old life, wbich he had been al
most born into. — Oh, blind bat indeed, It was arranged that he should work not to have seen, long, long ago, that this at his trade all winter. In the spring, he was your birthright in Art! not to bare was to have his father's vessel, and the felt in your innermost heart, that this was wedding would be before he started for indeed that thing, if anything, which God the Banks.
had called you to paint! So the old life was put on again. I For this Elkanah had drunk in from his will not say that Elkanah was thoroughly earliest youth - this he understood to its content,— that there were no bitter long- very core; but the poor secret of that ings, no dim regrets, no faint question- other life, which is so draped about with ings of Providence. But hard work is a the artistic mannerisms and fashionable good salve for a sore heart; and in his Art of New York, or any other civilized honest toils, in his care for Hepsy Ann life, he had never rightly appreciated. and her little brood, in her kind heart, In that sunset-hour was born a painter! which acknowledged with such humility of love all he did for her and all he had
III. cast away for her, he found his reward.
The wedding was over, — a quiet af- It chanced, that, a few months ago, I fair enough, - and Elkanah was anchor- paid my accustomed summer visit to an ed on the Banks, with a brave, skilful old friend, living near Boston,-a retired crew, and plenty of fish. His old luck merchant he calls himself. He began had not deserted him; wherever he drop- life as a cabin-boy,— became, in time, ped anchor, there the cod seemed to gath- master of an Indiaman,—then, partner in er; and, in the excitement of catching a China house, and after many years' fish and guarding against the dangers of residence in Canton, returned some years the Banks, the old New York life seemed ago, heart and liver whole, to spend his presently forgotten; and, once more, El- remaining days among olden scenes. A kanah's face wore the old, hopeful calm man of truest culture, generous heart, and which belonged there. Art, that had rarely erring taste. I never go there withbeen so long his tyrant mistress, was at out finding something new and admirable. last cast off.
“ What am I to see, this time?” I Was she ?
asked, after dinner, looking about the As he sat, one evening, high on the drawing-room. quarter, smoking his pipe, in that calm, “ Come. I'll show you." contemplative mood which is the smoker's He led me up to a painting, -a seareward for a day of toil, - the little ves- piece:—A schooner, riding at her anchor, sel pitching bows under in the long, tre- at sunset, far out at sea, no land in sight, mendous swell of the Atlantic, the low sails down, all but a little patch of stormdrifting fog lurid in the light of the set- sail fluttering wildly in the gale, and ting sun, but bright stars twinkling out, heavily pitching in a great, grand, roll