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est, most truly elegant, and best ordered establishments in America, with no other demands on her time than that which was necessary to issue a few orders in the morning, and to examine a few accounts once a week.
One of the first and the most acceptable of the visits that Eve received, was from her cousin, Grace Van Cortlandt, who was in the country at the moment of her arrival, but who hurried back to town to meet her old schoolfellow and kinswoman, the instant she heard of her having landed. Eve Effingham and Grace Van Cortlandt were sisters' children, and had been born within a month of each other. As the latter was without father or mother, most of their time had been passed together, until the former was taken abroad, when a separation unavoidably ensued. Mr. Effingham ardently desired, and had actually designed, to take his niece with him to Europe, but her paternal grandfather, who was still living, objected his years and affection, and the scheme was reluctantly abandoned. This grandfather was now dead, and Grace had been left, with a very ample fortune, almost entirely the mistress of her own movements.
The moment of the meeting between these two warm-hearted and sincerely attached young women, was one of great interest and anxiety to both. They retained for each other the tenderest love, though the years that had separated them had given rise to so many new impressions and habits that they did not prepare themselves for the interview without apprehension. This interview took place about a week after Eve was established in Hudson Square, and at an hour earlier than was usual for the reception of visits. Hearing a carriage stop before the door, and the bell ring, our heroine stole a glance from behind a curtain and recognized her cousin as she alighted.
“Qu'avez-vous, ma chère ?" demanded Mademoiselle Viefville, obserying that her élève trembled and grew pale.
" It is my cousin, Miss Van Cortlandt-she whom I loved as a sister -We now meet for the first time in so many years !"
"Bien--c'est une très jolie jeune personne!” returned the governess, taking a glance from the spot Eve had just quitted. “Sur le rapport de la personne, ma chère, vous devriez être contente, au moins."
“If you will excuse me, Mademoiselle, I will go down alone-I think I should prefer to meet Grace without witnesses in the first interview."
“ Très volontiers. Elle est parente, et c'est bien naturel.”
Eve, on this expressed approbation, met her maid at the door, as she came to announce that Mademoiselle de Cortlandt was in the library, and descended slowly to meet her. The library was lighted from above by means of a small dome, and Grace had unconsciously placed herself in the very position that a painter would have chosen, had she been about to sit for her portrait. A strong, full, rich light fell obliquely on her as Eve entered, displaying her fine person and beautiful features to the very best' advantage, and they were features and a person that are not seen every day, even in a country where female beauty is so common. She was in a carriage dress, and her toilette was rather more elaborate than Eve had been accustomed to see, at that hour, but still Eve thought she had seldom seen a more lovely young crewture. Some such thoughts, also, passed through the mind of Grace herself, who, though struck, with a woman's readiness in such matters, with the severe simplicity of Eve's attire, as well as with its entire elegance, was more struck with the charms of her countenance and figure. There was, in truth, a strong resern blance between them, though each was distinguished by an expression suited to her character, and to the habits of her mind.
“ Miss Effingham !” said Grace, advancing a step to meet the lady who entered, while her voice was scarcely audible and her limbs trembled.
6 Miss Van Cortlandt !" said Eve, in the same low smothered tone.
This formality caused a chill in both, and each unconsciously stopped and curtsied. Eve had been so much struck with the coldness of the American manner, during the week she had been at home, and Grace was so sensitive on the subject of the opinion of one who had seen so much of Europe, that there was great danger, at that critical moment, the meeting would terminate unpropitiously.
Thus far, however, all had been rigidly decorous, though the strong feelings that were glowing in the bosoms of both, had been so completely suppressed. But the smile, cold and embarrassed as it was, that each gave as she curtsied, had the sweet character of her childhood in it, and recalled to both the girlish and affectionate intercourse of their younger days.
“Grace !” said Eve, eagerly advancing a step or two impetuously, and blushing like the dawn.
Each opened her arms, and in a moment they were locked in a long and fervent embrace. This was the commencement of their former intimacy, and before night Grace was domesticated in her uncle's house. It is true that Miss Effingham perceived certain peculiarities about Miss, Van Cortlandt that she had rather were absent; and Miss Van Cortlandt would have felt more at her ease had Miss Effingham a little less reserve of manner, on certain subjects that the latter had been taught to think interdicted. Notwithstanding these slight separating shades in character, however, the natural affection was warm and sincere ; and if Eve, according to Grace's notions, was a little stately and formal, she was polished and courteous, and if Grace, according to Eve's notions, was a little too easy and unreserved, she was feminine and delicate.
We pass over the three or four days that succeeded, during which Eve had got to understand something of her new position, and we will come at once to a conversation between the cousins that will serve to let the reader more intimately into the opinions, habits, and feelings of both, as well as to open the real subject of our narrative. This conversation took place in that very library which had witnessed their first interview, soon after breakfast, and while the young ladies were still alone.
“ I suppose, Eve, you will have to visit the Greens. They are Hajjis, and were much in society last winter.”
"Hajjis ! You surely do not mean, Grace, that they have been to Mecca?"
“Not at all ; only to Paris, my dear; that makes a Hajji in New York."
“And does it entitle the pilgrim to wear the green turban ?" asked Eve, laughing.
" To wear anything, Miss Effingham; green, blue, or yellow, and to cause it to pass for elegance."
“And which is the favourite colour with the family you have mentioned ?”
“It ought to be the first, in compliment to the name, but, if truth must be said, I think they betray an affection for all, with not a few of the half-tints in addition."
I am afraid they are too prononcées for us, by this description. I am no great admirer, Grace, of walking rainbows." “Too
Green, you would have said, had you dared; but you are a Hajji too, and even the Greens know that a Hajji never puns, unless, indeed, it might be one from Philadelphia. But you will visit these people ?"
Certainly, if they are in society, and render it necessary, by their own civilities.”
“They are in society, in virtue of their rights as Hajjis ; but, as they passed three months at Paris, you probably know something of them.”
“They may not have been there at the same time with ourselves," returned Eve, quietly, “and Paris is a very large town. Hundreds of people come and go, that one never hears of. I do not remember those you have mentioned.”
“I wish you may escape them, for, in my untravelled judgment, they are anything but agreeable, notwithstanding all they have seen, or pretend to have seen.
“It is very possible to have been all over Christendom, and to remain exceedingly disagreeable ; besides, one may see a great deal, and yet see very little of a good quality.”
A pause of two or three minutes followed, during which Eve read a note, and her cousin played with the leaves of a book.
“I wish I knew your real opinion of us, Eve,” the last suddenly exclaimed. “Why not be frank with so near a relative ? tell me honestly, now, are you reconciled to your country?”
“ You are the eleventh person who has asked me this question, which I find very extraordinary, as I have never
quarrelled with my country.” “Nay, I did not mean exactly that. I wish to hear how our society has struck one who has been educated abroad."
“You wish, then, for opinions that can have no great value, since my experience at home extends only to a fortnight. But you have many books on the country, and some written by very clever persons ; why not consult them?”
“Oh! you mean the travellers. None of them are worth a second thought, and we hold them, one and all, in great contempt.”
“Of that I can have no manner of doubt, as, one and all, you are constantly protesting it, in the highways and bye-ways. There is no more certain sign of contempt, than to be incessantly dwelling on its intensity !”
Grace had great quickness, as well as her cousin, and though provoked at Eve's quiet hit, she had the good sense and the good nature to laugh.
Perhaps we do protest and disdain a little too strenuously for good
taste, if not to gain believers; but surely, Eve, you do not support these travellers in all that they have written of us ?”.
“Not in half, I can assure you. My father and cousin Jack have discussed them too often in my presence to leave me in ignorance of the very many political blunders they have made in particular.”
“ Political blunders !—I know nothing of them, and had rather thought them right, in most of what they said about our politics. But, surely, neither your father nor Mr. John Effingham corroborates what they say of our society !”.
"I cannot answer for either, on that point.”
“You should remember, Grace, that I have not yet seen any society in New York.”
“No society, dear! Why you were at the Hendersons', and the Morgans, and the Drewetts'; three of the greatest réunions that we have had in two winters !" “I did not know that you meant those unpleasant crowds by society."
Unpleasant crowds ! Why, child, that is society, is it not ?". “Not what I have been taught to consider such ; I rather think it would be better to call it company." “And is not this what is called society in Paris ?”
As far from it as possible; it may be an excrescence of society; one of its forms; but, by no means, society itself. It would be as true to call cards, which are sometimes introduced in the world, society, as to call a ball, given in two small and crowded rooms, society. They are merely two of the modes in which idlers endeavour to vary their amusements.”
“But we have little else than these balls, the morning visits, and an occasional evening, in which there is no dancing."
“I am sorry to hear it; for, in that case, you can have no society." "And is it different at Paris, or Florence, or Rome?"
“ Very. In Paris there are many houses open every evening to which one can go, with little ceremony. Our sex appears in them, dressed according to what a gentleman I overheard conversing at Mrs. Henderson's would call their 'ulterior intentions, for the night; some attired in the simplest manner, others dressed for concerts, for the opera, for court even ; some on the way from a dinner, and others going
to a late ball. All this matter of course variety adds to the ease and grace of the company, and coupled with perfect good manners, a certain knowledge of passing events, pretty modes of expression, an accurate and even utterance, the women usually find the means of making themselves agreeable. Their sentiment is sometimes a little heroic, but this one must overlook, and it is a taste, moreover, that is falling into disuse, as people read better books."
“And you prefer, this heartlessness, Eve, to the nature of your own country !”
"I do not know that quiet, retenue and a good tone, are a whit more heartless than flirting, giggling, and childishness. There may be more nature in the latter, certainly, but it is scarcely as agreeable, after one has fairly got rid of the nursery."
Grace looked vexed, but she loved her cousin too sincerely to be angry. A secret suspicion that Eve was right, too, came in aid of her affection, and while her little foot moved, she maintained her goodnature, a task not always attainable for those who believe that their own“ superlatives” scarcely reach to other people's“ positives.” At this critical moment, when there was so much danger of a jar in the feelings of these two young females, the library door opened and Pierre, Mr. Effingham's own man, announced
6 Monsieur Bragg.”
“ Monsieur Bragg,” returned Pierre, in French, “desires to see Mademoiselle.'
“You mean my father,— I know no such person.”
“He inquired first for Monsieur, but understanding Monsieur was out, he next asked to have the honour of seeing Mademoiselle.”
" Is it what they call a person in England, Pierre ?:' Old Pierre smiled, as he answered
“He has the air, Mademoiselle, though he esteems himself a personnage, if I might take the liberty of judging."
“Ask him for his card, -there must be a mistake, I think.”
While this short conversation took place, Grace Van Cortlandt was sketching a cottage with a pen, without attending to a word that was said. But, when Eve received the card from Pierre and read aloud, with the tone of surprise that the name would be apt to excite in a novice in the art of American nomenclature, the words “ Aristabulus Bragg,” her cousin began to laugh.
“Who can this possibly be, Grace ?–Did you ever hear of such a person, and what right can he have to wish to see me?"
“Admit him, by all means; it is your father's land agent, and he may wish to leave some message for my uncle. You will
be obliged to make his acquaintance, sooner or later, and it may as well be done now as at another time."
“You have shown this gentleman into the front drawing-room, Pierre?'' “Oui, Mademoiselle.” “I will ring when you are wanted."
Pierre withdrew, and Eve opened her secretary, out of which she took a small manuscript book, over the leaves of which she passed her fingers rapidly.
"Here it is," she said, smiling, “Mr. Aristabulus Bragg, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, and the agent of the Templeton estate. This precious little work, you must understand, Grace, contains sketches of the characters of such persons as I shall be the most likely to see, by John Effingham, A.M. It is a sealed volume, of course, but there can be no harm in reading the part that treats of our present visitor, and, with your premission, we will have it in common. --Mr. Aristabulus Bragg was born in one of the western counties of Massachusetts, and emigrated to New York, after receiving his education, at the mature age of nineteen; at twenty-one he was admitted to the bar, and for the last seven years he has been a successful practitioner in all the courts of Otsego, from the justice's to the circuit. His talents are undeniable, as he commenced his education at fourteen and terminated it at twentyone, the law-course included. This man is an epitome of all that is