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sure that independence would be a good thing for your people."
"And why not V asked the Major, with a look of astonishment.
"And still further am I from believing that annexation would be desirable for either party."
"And why not, I ask again?" The young farmer and the two Scotchmen looked puzzled.
"Simply because I don't believe in the capacity of all men for self-government. Unprepared men are unfitted for such a work. Nations have to be led to it step by step—and through a wilderness of suffering and selfdenial. There are the Mexicans, the South Americans, and the French."
"What'll ye hae to tak', my lad?" whispered the Scotchman.
"NotWng, I thank ye."
"Just a wee taste, for tho sound opeenions ye hae just uttered." "Not a drop!"
"A teetotaller by the swipes !" ejaculated our landlord; "if I didn't think so the moment I clapped eyes on him, I wish I may be—blessed."
"And there's another," continued the landlord, looking at me.
"Order! order! hear! hear! hear!"
"And here's another," said the bluff old Scotchman, lifting a large pewter mug to his mouth, and emptying it to the last drop, without drawing breath.
But enough—a sketch may be better than a report. On one side it was urged, that just over the line everything was better and cheaper, and more plentiful, and labour higher; that every man willing to work was sure of employment all the year round, and not obliged to take his hat off, when he found himself in the house of a gentleman; that every man had a chance for a snug and profitable berth, where he could live without work, and have a plenty of meat every day in the year, and after a while get elected a president, or a judge, or a general for life; that the office of general was hereditary; that every man did as he liked in the States; that nobody was ever transported nor sent to the hulks for thieving; that if people didn't love to work, they needn't—they were always provided for; that nobody was obliged to pay Mb debts, or to be hung for burglary, or forgery, or rape, or murder; that all sorts
of liquor were plentiful as water, and cheap as dirt, and strong enough to take the skin off a pewter mug; that a man's vote was an estate in New York, and worth a farm anywhere else; and that he could always swap it away when he liked, for a berth in the custom-house; and in short that real genuine republicans had always everything their own way, both at home and abroad; and that every few years, when the people got strong enough, there was to be a division of all the land, and houses, and wealth, and privileges, share and share alike,—and after a while, another, and so on till everybody had got enough and to spare, and was able to live without work; that all a man had to do was to hurry over, and vote himself a farm, or a wife to begin with, and the rest would follow, of course. They didn't say what kind of rest.
On the other side it was urged that the great Yankee nation were no better than snobs ; that they hardly knew the difference between a king and a president; that they were governed altogether by mobs, and newspapers, and Lynch law; and that all men were equal—meaning by all men about two-thirds of the men, and none of the women, the rest being slaves; that there were no servants, no titles (worth having), no coats-of-arms, no liveries, no nothing that a gentleman as was a gentleman would covet, after he had been abroad; that people wore their hats day and night, and would spit a hole through a two-inch board, carpet and all, in less than no time, if left to themselves; that niggers were hatched for the market, just like so much poultry, whipped in the open street by well-dressed fashionable women till they shed their skins, which were often picked up by the boys, and cut into razor-strops, garters, and elastic ties; that all their prosperity and all their reputation were owing to what little they had left in them of their old English blood; that society could no more hold together where all men were equal, than a pyramid all the way of a size could hope to withstand an earthquake; and that, to say all in a word, they could not if they would, and they would not if they could, undergo annexation: wherefore—
It was resolved accordingly, and duly certified by the young Scotchman as secretary, that they would see us all hanged first.
Music, whan moonlight gilds the evening sky,
And the mild air 1b soft as buds in June,
Rises less sweetly than thy voice's tune,
As sparkling thoughts within thy spirit beam.
E'er breaks the current of life's happy dream. Thou art and shalt be blest beyond compare,
All hopes, all prayers shall keep thee safe from harm, Years shall not st^al one ray that shines so fair;
Love laughs at Fate, and even Death can charm. O'er thy bright face Love waves his rosy wings, Round thee he hovers, and for thee he sings.
OB THE DOU
BY MBS. EMM
"Then you believe women arc always possessed of personal vanity V
The speaker was one of those lovely old ladies upon whom the touch of time seems to produce the same softening and harmonizing effect as upon a fine picture. Everything about her was in perfect keeping, from her carved high-backed chair, and ebony footstool, to the rich black silk dress, lawn kerchief, and delicate lace cap which formed her habitual costume. Her features were moulded into such an expression of benignity, that their want of perfect symmetry would scarcely have been noticed even in a younger face, and there was an air of daintiness and refinement about her which made her seem like one of Vandyke's portraits. She had been listening with interest to an animated discussion between her grandchildren respecting the oft-mooted question of the comparative vanity of the sexes, and it was in reply to a sweeping assertion made by her handsome and somewhat coxcombical grandson, that the old lady joined in the conversation by saying:
"Then you believe that all women are naturally vain."
"Certainly I do; it is a quality inherent in
A C. EMBURY.
woman's nature, and always shows itself sooner or later."
"But vanity is usually the weakness of youth."
"I know that, yet where circumstances have repressed its development in early life, it comes out in a woman even when she is growing old. There was little Mrs. Gay;—who could have dreamed of the vanity which lay hidden in that quiet domestic little body, until she carried her eldest daughter in society, and was there flattered for her own fresh complexion and youthfulness of appearance? Even poor Miss Harbrook, notwithstanding her hump back and sickly face, is vain of her fine hair and little hands. And as a proof that the strongest minds are as much subject to its influence as the weakest, we have only to remember how delighted the philosophic Mrs. Rosemary always is with a personal compliment, though she is 'forty' without being either 'fair' or 'fat.'"
"You grow severe, and perhaps a little unjust; these few examples will not be sufficient to prove your assertion."
"When I was a little boy, grandmamma, I once overheard a half-confidential conversation between several young lady-friends of my eldest sister. One said she had never shed a tear in her life; another, who had lost both her parents, declared she had never been so unhappy as to lose her appetite for dinner; and a third, whose lover had died when the wedding-day was fixed, confessed that in all her sorrow she had never forgotten to curl her hair. Of course my childish sentiment was sadly shocked with all the ladies, but I think now that the lady who did not forget her curls was but a type of her whole sex."
"You talk like a very young man on the subject."
"Perhaps I do; but if you will give me a single instance of a woman in whom vanity is an entirely negative quality, perhaps I may modify my opinions."
"I could tell you a story of a woman who wasted some of the best years of her life in Borrowing over the errors she committed in consequence of being deficient in personal vanity."
"That would certainly be a most extraordinary tale; pray tell us, grandmamma; the story is certainly worth transmitting to posterity on account of its singularity, as such a thing will probably never occur again."
The old lady shook her finger at her saucy grandson in playful rebuke, and dropping her knitting in her lap, thus began her story.
"My reminiscences of early life are all associated with the olden time of New York, where I was born and bred, and have always lived. The race of Knickerbockers is fast dying out, and their descendants make the mistake of not claiming their birthright of ancient respectability, content, as it seems to me, with being classed among the land-loupers and foreigners that came later into the goodly country, instead of standing upon their dignity as children of those who, three centuries ago, possessed nearly all the wealth, all the honesty, all the high principle, all the Christian tolerance in Europe. My story must be one of old times and old places, but it shall be true in all its particulars.
"Sixty years have passed away since Lena Von Elmer resided in one of those fine old stone houses which then embellished the neighbourhood of our beautiful Battery. Her father, a grave, taciturn man, idolized his only child, but he showed his affection rather by quiet, constant, unremitting attention to her comfort and wishes, than by caresses and endearments. Her mother, on the contrary, was a cheerful, sunny-tempered woman, reverencing her husband, but never intruding upon his moods, and loving Lena with a passionateness that showed how necessary such an outlet was for her irrepressible tenderness. Lena's parents were remarkably handsome, but, unfortunately for her,
she resembled both in precisely those traits that did not harmonize in one individual. She had her father's blue eyes with her mother's brunette complexion; the little white teeth, which were so pretty in her mother's small mouth, looked too tiny for the more ample proportions of Lena's full red lips; and the petite figure which made her mother seem so fairylike, was not half so graceful when accompanied with the rounded contour which Lena owed to her Dutch ancestors.
"Even the partial eyes of affection could see no beauty in Lena's face; but a bright healthy complexion, soft dark hair, and that peculiar expression of kindliness which always belongs to a sympathetic nature, ought to have redeemed her from the charge of positive ugliness. But young people judge more hardly than their elders; when one grows old, the freshness of youth is in itself a species of beauty, and we see loveliness in objects that, to the exacting eye of early taste, would have seemed almost like deformity. Lena had always lived in such an atmosphere of love that she never thought of the nature of her own claims upon affection. She had never thought anything about herself; and though she looked upon her mother as one of the very prettiest of women, she never seemed to care about her own appearance. Neat, almost to a fault, fastidious in all her habits, and possessing a certain dainty taste which characterized her style of dress and decoration, she yet never thought of heeding 'how she looked.' Her dress must sit without a wrinkle, the plaited ruffles of her sleeves must be of the finest quality of cambric, the lappets of her cap must be of the rarest point lace, and everything about her was as delicate and fine as possible; but how the looked in these adornments—whether she was becomingly attired, never seemed to occur to her mind. Indeed, Lena thought but little on any subject. Life for her was made up of sensations. Everybody loved her, everybody said kindly and pleasant things to her, and, as she had been educated entirely at home, she had escaped all the disagreeable and tnubby truths one usually hears at school. So she grew up like a princess in a fairy tale. Happiness was all around her, and she never thought of tracing her enjoyments to their source, or of asking why she was beloved.
"Lena was just seventeen when she. accidentally met with a young man, whom, for the present, I will call Charles Stanley. He was a fine-looking, showy person, and would have been handsome but for a certain sinister expression in his dark blue eyes (which, by the way, Lena did not discover till long after her first acquaintance). Stanley was much admired in society for a certain fascination of manner, easier felt than described. I cannot tell in -what this charm consisted, bat I have seen one or two others in my life who possessed a similar talisman to command success, and although it is almost irresistible in its effects, I never remember to have found its possessor a perfectly frank, open-hearted, candid man. The primitive simplicity of manners which prevailed in those days, gave great opportunity for the freedom of unrestrained yet refined familiarity between young persons of different sexes. The free-and-easy tone in which gentlemen now address ladies would not have been tolerated then in high-toned circles, and the deference which was paid to the sex was as strong a safeguard as a young lady could require. Lena therefore saw Stanley frequently, and was not proof against his peculiar powers of fascination; especially when she found herself the object of his particular attention. She was very young, unskilled in human nature, and one of the most confiding of human beings; it was natural, therefore, that she should listen to a first declaration of love with a heart-thrill which, in her inexperience, she mistook for reciprocal affection. Stanley proffered his love in language which no woman ever hears for the first time unmoved, and Lena promised to garner up her heart against the period when he might venture to ask her from her father.
"Lena was not quite so happy as she had been before this event. She had a feeling of responsibility, a certain uncomfortable sense of concealment which banished the spontaneous joyousness of her bosom. She was no longer the merry child, measuring existence but by joys; the happiness of another was in her keeping, and she had now to reflect and consider her destiny for the future. Those were times when engagements were considered as sacred things, and young people frequently held themselves bound to each other for years before asking the consent of parents, or making their engagement publicly known. Therefore, while every one noticed Stanley's devotion to Lena, no one was acquainted with the exact position of matters between them.
"Mr. Von Elmer had a country seat, situated somewhere in the neighbourhood of what is now called Union Park, sufficiently out of the city then to secure the retirement of rural life, while it yet afforded him daily access to the business quarter of the town. Here Lena often collected her young friends together to a sort of rustic feast, under the fine old trees which shut in the beautiful grounds. On one occasion it happened that the party, wearied with the fatigues of a long day of pleasure, became broken into little groups, and wandered off in different directions; some to take an afternoon nap, some to play a lazy game of bagatelle, or a
still lazier one of backgammon, and some to lounge over a book in the library. After seeing all her guests disposed of to their various likings, Lena wandered into the garden, and wearied with excitement, took her way to a favourite retreat which she had fancifully named the Rosary. This was a sequestered spot, surrounded and completely shut in by thick shrubbery so closely interwoven as to make a sort of verdant wall around a large bed of roses, from whence the place derived its name. There was but one entrance to this delightful nook, and that was so contrived as to be quite concealed by climbing roses trained upon the fantastically gnarled trunks of dismantled forest trees. Lena was just entering this green labyrinth, when she heard voices within the enclosure. Her first impulse was to surprise the parties with her merry laugh and sudden appearance, but while she paused, she heard words which sent the blood back to her heart, and paralysed every limb. The speaker was Charles Stanley; his companion was a beautiful but giddy girl, who numbered herself among Lena's most intimate friends. Words were uttered by Stanley which Lena felt to be an outrage to loyalty and faith. He was addressing to another words as impassioned as those which had thrilled her heart. She listened in a sort of stupor—as if she was hearing the painful sounds in a dream. At length she heard her own name mentioned.
"' Don't talk to me of Lena,' exclaimed Stanley, 'impatiently; 'Lena would give half her fortune for eyes and lips like yours.'
"' Yet you are going to marry her?' asked the girl.
"' I thought the affair was settled.'
"' Give me the kiss I have been begging for this half hour, and I will tell you all about it.' There was a moment's pause, and then Stanley continued: 'The poor girl is deeply sensible of the attractions of a certain young gentleman who, while she is making 'beaux yeux' at him, cannot help regarding 'let beaux yeux de sa cassette.' Lena Von Elmer is very rich, and very much in love with me, therefore both selfishness and generosity tempt me to avail myself of the lady's good opinion. But don't talk of her now; I would rather look at you than remember the fate which may link me to a dumpy little fright for life.'
"For an instant Lena was stunned as if by a blow. Recovering her self-possession by a powerful effort, she glided noiselessly away, and hurried into the house. To describe her emotions when she thought of Stanley's false and cruel words would be impossible. Every fibre in her whole frame quivered with the intensity of her indignation and shame. The struggle of her feelings was terrific. To her mother's sensitiveness of emotion she united her father's stern indomitable pride, and now, for the first time in her life, she learned her own power of self-control and silent energy. How she went through the remainder of that day she could never distinctly remember, but she must have mastered her emotions with wonderful power, for no one seemed to observe her agitation. The next morning she was too ill to leave her bed, and for several weeks she lay in the silence and darkness of a sick chamber. Her nerves had sustained a fearful shock, from which she did not quite recover in many months.
"The first act of her convalescence was the dismissal of Charles Stanley. She uttered no reproaches, expressed no warmth of feeling, but coldly explained her reasons, repeated his offensive words, and with a quiet scorn bade him farewell for ever. The rapidity with which pride had come to her aid, and the contempt which so soon took the place of tenderer feelings, proved that Lena had mistaken the true nature of her regard for Stanley. She had admired and liked him, and his own solicitations had given a definite form to that which would otherwise have been a vague and passing fancy. But the effect of this discovery of his treachery was a lasting one.
"As I said before, she had lived in an atmosphere of love, and there everything is lovely if not beautiful. How then should she know the value which the world sets on external advantages? But now she learned to set an undue value upon personal beauty, and a painful sense of her own deficiencies took the place of her happy unconsciousness. She looked around her, and to her prejudiced fancy, every one possessed stronger olaims to admiration than herself. She was pained and mortified at her own folly in believing that any one could ever seek the love of one so utterly unattractive and disagreeable in person. She learned to distrust every one, and to doubt all professions of personal regard. This was the most serious change which her disappointment effected in her character. But long after she had ceased to regret the faithless lover, she felt the want of the love. The simple pleasures of social life lost their zest for one who had been taught to feed on the honied flatteries of a lover's vows. It required a deal of bitter self-schooling before Lena could return to her ordinary routine of daily duties with a cheerful spirit and a willing heart.
"But time is always the consoler as well as the consumer of griefs. Lena recovered at least a portion of her cheerfulness, and was as kindly in her sympathies as ever. On one subject, however, she was a resolute sceptic. No
one could induce her to believe that she could be the object of a genuine attachment. Of her many suitors not one ever succeeded in impressing her with a belief in his earnestness; not one but became to her an object of contempt from the moment he ventured to proffer his suit. The thought that her father's wealth was her only attraction grew to be a fixed idea in her mind, and she could not help scorning those who sought to deceive her with a lover's vows.
"Matters went on in this way until Lena reached her one-and-twentieth year, when a distant relative of her mother's, a young man who had been sent out from Holland to learn the duties of a mercantile life under the direction of Mr. Von Elmer, came to take up his abode in the family. Walter Geysbert was one of the handsomest of men. His figure was the very perfection of symmetry; his complexion had all the freshness without the effeminacy of boyhood; his eyes were as beautiful in expression as they were rich in colour; and his mouth was like that of an Apollo. His manners were as attractive as his personal appearance. Polished, elegant, and refined, he had received an education far superior to that usually bestowed upon persons destined to commercial life: while his frankness, open-heartedness, and candour, were as remarkable as the graces of his demeanour.
"It was impossible for Lena to live in habits of daily intimacy with such a man without feeling the power of his attractiveness. Drawn unconsciously together by the mystic bond of sympathy, a deep and strong attachment grew up between them, which Geysbert soon recognised, but which Lena mistook for friendship. It seemed so natural to like Cousin Walter better than any one else; he took the place of a brother so completely and so naturally, that Lena did not think of analyzing the feeling which was fast taking possession of her heart.
"Mr. Von Elmer's house, like most dwellinghouses at that time, had a small one story building, known by the name of a 'put all,'* projecting into the paved court which formed the entrance to a lovely garden filled with shrubs and flowers. It was one of the sweetest places in the world on a summer's afternoon, and Lena usually seated herself there with her sewing, certain of being joined by Cousin Walter as soon as the sun had set. Here, in the porch, they were in the habit of lingering amid all pleasant sights and sounds and perfumes; reading or talking, and sometimes joining their voices in a song, secure from intrusion in the sweet seclusion of home.
"One evening Walter came later than usual,
* Vido Bartlett's Americanisms.