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   Chapter 40 No.40

The Chainbearer; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts By James Fenimore Cooper Characters: 36411

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

"Our life was changed. Another love

In this lone woof began to twine;

But oh! the golden thread was wove

Between my sister's heart and mine."


* * *

Half an hour later, Uncle Ro and myself were seated at table, eating our dinners as quietly as if we were in an inn. The footman who had set the table was an old family servant, one who had performed the same sort of duty in that very house for a quarter of a century. Of course he was not an American, no man of American birth ever remained so long a time in an inferior station, or in any station so low as that of a house-servant. If he has good qualities enough to render it desirable to keep him he is almost certain to go up in the world; if not, one does not care particularly about having him. But Europeans are less elastic and less ambitious, and it is no uncommon thing to find one of such an origin remaining a long time in the same service. Such had been the fact with this man, who had followed my own parents from Europe, when they returned from their marriage tour, and had been in the house on the occasion of my birth. From that time he had continued at the Nest, never marrying, nor ever manifesting the smallest wish for any change. He was an Englishman by birth; and what is very unusual in a servant of that country, when transferred to America, the "letting-up," which is certain to attend such a change from the depression of the original condition to that in which he is so suddenly placed, had not made him saucy. An American is seldom what is called impudent, under any circumstances; he is careless, nay ignorant, of forms; pays little or no purely conventional respect; does not understand half the social distinctions which exist among the higher classes of even his own countrymen, and fancies there are equalities in things about which, in truth, there is great inequality between himself and others, merely because he has been taught that all men are equal in rights; but he is so unconscious of any pressure as seldom to feel a disposition to revenge himself by impudence.

But, while John was not impudent either, he had a footman's feeling toward those whom he fancied no better than himself. He had set the table with his customary neatness and method, and he served the soup with as much regularity as he would have done had we sat there in our proper characters, but then he withdrew. He probably remembered that the landlord, or upper servant of an English hotel, is apt to make his appearance with the soup, and to disappear as that disappears. So it was with John; after removing the soup, he put a dumb-waiter near my uncle, touched a carving-knife or two, as much as to say "help yourselves," and quitted the room. As a matter of course, our dinner was not a very elaborate one, it wanting two or three hours to the regular time of dining, though my grandmother had ordered, in my hearing, one or two delicacies to be placed on the table that had surprised Patt. Among the extraordinary things for such guests was wine. The singularity, however, was a little explained by the quality commanded, which was Rhenish.

My uncle Ro was a little surprised at the disappearance of John; for, seated in that room, he was so accustomed to his face, that it appeared as if he were not half at home without him.

"Let the fellow go," he said, withdrawing his hand from the bell-cord, which he had already touched to order him back again; "we can talk more freely without him. Well, Hugh, here you are, under your own roof, eating a charitable dinner, and treated as hospitably as if you did not own all you can see for a circle of five miles around you. It was a lucky idea of the old lady's, by the way, to think of ordering this Rudesheimer, in our character of Dutchmen! How amazingly well she is looking, boy!"

"Indeed she is; and I am delighted to see it. I do not know why my grandmother may not live these twenty years; for even that would not make her near as old as Sus, who, I have often heard her say, was a middle-aged man when she was born."

"True; she seems like an elder sister to me, rather than as a mother; and is altogether a most delightful old woman. But, if we had so charming an old woman to receive us, so are there also some very charming young women-hey, Hugh?"

"I am quite of your way of thinking, sir; and must say I have not, in many a day, seen two as charming creatures as I have met with here."

"Two!-umph; a body would think one might suffice. Pray, which may be the two, Master Padishah?"

"Patt and Mary Warren, of course. The other two are well enough, but these two are excellent."

My uncle Ro looked grum, but he said nothing for some time. Eating is always an excuse for a broken conversation, and he ate away as if resolute not to betray his disappointment. But it is a hard matter for a gentleman to do nothing but eat at table, and so he was obliged to talk.

"Everything looks well here, after all, Hugh," observed my uncle. "These anti-renters may have done an infinite deal of harm in the way of abusing principles, but they do not seem to have yet destroyed any material things."

"It is not their cue, sir. The crops are their own; and as they hope to own the farms, it would be scarcely wise to injure what, no doubt, they begin to look on as their own property, too. As for the Nest house, grounds, farm, etc., I dare say they will be very willing to leave me them for a while longer, provided they can get everything else away from me."

"For a time longer, at least; though that is the folly of those who expect to get along by concessions; as if men were ever satisfied with the yielding of a part, when they ask that which is wrong in itself, without sooner or later expecting to get the whole. As well might one expect the pickpocket who had abstracted a dollar to put back two-and-sixpence change. But things really look well around the place."

"So much the better for us. Though, to my judgment and taste, Miss Mary Warren looks better than anything else I have yet seen in America."

Another "umph" expressed my uncle's dissatisfaction-displeasure would be too strong a word-and he continued eating.

"You have really some good Rhenish in your cellar, Hugh," resumed Uncle Ro, after tossing off one of the knowing green glasses full-though I never could understand why any man should wish to drink his wine out of green, when he might do it out of crystal. "It must have been a purchase of mine, made when we were last in Germany, and for the use of my mother."

"As you please, sir; it neither adds nor subtracts from the beauty of Martha and her friend."

"Since you are disposed to make these boyish allusions, be frank with me, and say, at once, how you like my wards."

"Meaning, of course, sir, my own sister exclusively. I will be as sincere as possible, and say that, as to Miss Marston, I have no opinion at all; and as to Miss Coldbrooke, she is what, in Europe, would be called a 'fine' woman."

"You can say nothing as to her mind, Hugh, for you have had no opportunity for forming an opinion."

"Not much of a one, I will own. Nevertheless, I should have liked her better had she spared the allusion to the 'proper person' who is one day to forge a chain for my sister, to begin with."

"Poh, poh! that is the mere squeamishness of a boy. I do not think her in the least pert or forward, and your construction would be tant soi peu vulgar."

"Put your own construction on it, mon oncle; I do not like it."

"I do not wonder young men remain unmarried; they are getting to be so ultra in their tastes and notions."

A stranger might have retorted on an old bachelor, for such a speech, by some allusion to his own example; but I well knew that my uncle Ro had once been engaged, and that he lost the object of his passion by death, and too much respected his constancy and true sentiments ever to joke on such subjects. I believe he felt the delicacy of my forbearance rather more than common, for he immediately manifested a disposition to relent, and to prove it by changing the subject.

"We can never stay here to-night," he said. "It would be at once to proclaim our names-our name, I might say-a name that was once so honored and beloved in this town, and which is now so hated!"

"No, no; not as bad as that. We have done nothing to merit hatred."

"Raison de plus for hating us so much the more heartily. When men are wronged, who have done nothing to deserve it, the evil-doer seeks to justify his wickedness to himself by striving all he can to calumniate the injured party; and the more difficulty he finds in doing that to his mind, the more profound is his hatred. Rely on it, we are most sincerely disliked here on the spot where we were once both much beloved. Such is human nature."

At that moment John returned to the room, to see how we were getting on, and to count his forks and spoons, for I saw the fellow actually doing it. My uncle, somewhat indiscreetly, I fancied, but by merely following the chain of thought then uppermost in his mind, detained him in conversation.

"Dis broperty," he said, inquiringly, "is de broperty of one Yeneral Littlepage, I hears say?"

"Not of the General, who was Madam Littlepage's husband, and who has long been dead, but of his grandson, Mr. Hugh."

"Und vhere might he be, dis Mr. Hugh?-might he be at hand, or might he not?"

"No; he's in Europe; that is to say, in Hengland." John thought England covered most of Europe, though he had long gotten over his wish to return. "Mr. Hugh and Mr. Roger be both habsent from the country, just now."

"Dat ist unfortunate, for dey dells me dere might be moch troobles hereabouts, and Injin-acting."

"There is, indeed; and a wicked thing it is, that there should be anything of the sort."

"Und vhat might be der reason of so moch troobles?-and vhere ist der blame?"

"Well, that is pretty plain, I fancy," returned John, who in consequence of being a favored servant at head-quarters, fancied himself a sort of cabinet minister, and had much pleasure in letting his knowledge be seen. "The tenants on this estate wants to be landlords; and as they can't be so, so long as Mr. Hugh lives and won't let 'em, why they just tries all sorts of schemes and plans to frighten people out of their property. I never go down to the village but I has a talk with some of them, and that in a way that might do them some good, if anything can."

"Und vhat dost you say?-and vid whom dost you talk, as might do dem moch goot?"

"Why, you see, I talks more with one 'Squire Newcome, as they calls him, though he's no more of a real 'squire than you be-only a sort of an attorney, like, such as they has in this country. You come from the old countries, I believe?"

"Ja, ja-dat ist, yes-we comes from Charmany; so you can say vhat you pleases."

"They has queer 'squires in this part of the world, if truth must be said. But that's neither here nor there, though I give this Mr. Seneca Newcome as good as he sends. What is it you wants? I says to him-you can't all be landlords-somebody must be tenants; and if you didn't want to be tenants, how come you to be so? Land is plenty in this country, and cheap, too; and why didn't you buy your land at first, instead of coming to rent of Mr. Hugh; and now when you have rented, to be quarrelling about the very thing you did of your own accord?"

"Dere you didst dell 'em a goot t'ing; and vhat might der 'squire say to dat?"

"Oh! he was quite dumfounded, at first; then he said that in old times, when people first rented these lands, they didn't know as much as they do now, or they never would have done it."

"Und you could answer dat; or vast it your durn to be dumfounded?"

"I pitched it into him, as they says; I did. Says I, how's this, says I-you are forever boasting how much you Americans know-and how the people knows everything that ought to be done, about politics and religion-and you proclaim far and near that your yeomen are the salt of the earth-and yet you don't know how to bargain for your leases! A pretty sort of wisdom is this, says I! I had him there; for the people round about here is only too sharp at a trade."

"Did he own that you vast right, and dat he vast wrong, dis Herr 'Squire Newcome?"

"Not he; he will never own anything that makes against his own doctrine, unless he does it ignorantly. But I haven't told you half of it. I told him, says I, how is it you talk of one of the Littlepage family cheating you, when, as you knows yourselves, you had rather have the word of one of the family than have each other's bonds, says I. You know, sir, it must be a poor landlord that a tenant can't and won't take his word: and this they all know to be true; for a gentleman as has a fine estate is raised above temptation, like, and has a pride in him to do what is honorable and fair; and, in my opinion, it is good to have a few such people in a country, if it be only to keep the wicked one from getting it altogether in his own keeping."

"Und did you say dat moch to der 'squire?"

"No; that I just say to you two, seeing that we are here, talking together in a friendly way; but a man needn't be ashamed to say it anywhere, for it's a religious truth. But I says to him, Newcome, says I, you, who has been living so long on the property of the Littlepages, ought to be ashamed to wish to strip them of it; but you're not satisfied with keeping gentlemen down quite as much out of sight as you can, by holding all the offices yourselves, and taking all the money of the public you can lay your hands on for your own use, but you wants to trample them under your feet, I says, and so take your revenge for being what you be, says I."

"Vell, my friend," said my uncle, "you vast a bolt man to dell all dis to der beoples of dis coontry, vhere, I have heard, a man may say just vhat he hast a mind to say, so dat he dost not speak too moch trut!"

"That's it-that's it; you have been a quick scholar, I find. I told this Mr. Newcome, says I, you're bold enough in railing at kings and nobles, for you very well know, says I, that they are three thousand miles away from you, and can do you no harm; but you would no more dare get up before your masters, the people, here, and say what you really think about 'em, and what I have heard you say of them in private, than you would dare put your head before a cannon, as the gunner touched it off. Oh! I gave him a lesson, you may be sure!"

Although there was a good deal of the English footman in John's logic and feeling, there was also a good deal of truth in what he said. The part where he accused Newcome of holding one set of opinions in private, concerning his masters, and another in public, is true to the life. There is not, at this moment, within the wide reach of the American borders, one demagogue to be found who might not, with justice, be accused of precisely the same deception. There is not one demagogue in the whole country, who, if he lived in a monarchy, would not be the humblest advocate of men in power, ready to kneel at the feet of those who stood in the sovereign's presence. There is not, at this instant, a man in power among us, a senator or a legislator, who is now the seeming advocate of what he wishes to call the rights of the tenants, and who is for overlooking principles and destroying law and right, in order to pacify the anti-renters by extraordinary concessions, that would not be among the foremost, under a monarchial system, to recommend and support the freest application of the sword and the bayonet to suppress what would then be viewed, ay, and be termed, "the rapacious longings of the disaffected to enjoy the property of others without paying for it." All this is certain; for it depends on a law of morals that is infallible. Any one who wishes to obtain a clear index to the true characters of the public men he is required to support, or oppose, has now the opportunity; for each stands before a mirror that reflects him in his just proportions, and in which the dullest eye has only to cast a glance, in order to view him from head to foot.

The entrance of my grandmother put a stop to John's discourse. He was sent out of the room on a message, and then I learned the object of this visit. My sister had been let into the secret of our true characters, and was dying to embrace me. My dear grandmother, rightly enough, had decided it would be to the last degree unkind to keep her in ignorance of our presence; and, the fact known, nature had longings which must be appeased. I had myself been tempted twenty times that morning to snatch Patt to my heart and kiss her, as I used to do just after my beard began to grow, and she was so much of a child as to complain. The principal thing to be arranged, then, was to obtain an interview for me without awakening suspicion in the observers. My grandmother's plan was arranged, however, and she now communicated it to us.

There was a neat little dressing-room annexed to Martha's bedroom; in that the meeting was to take place.

"She and Mary Warren are now there, waiting for your appearance, Hugh--"

"Mary Warren!-Does she, then, know who I am?"

"Not in the least; she has no other idea than that you are a young German, of good connections and well educated, who has been driven from his own country by political troubles, and who is reduced to turn his musical taste and acquisitions to account, in the way you seem to do, until he can find some better employment. All this she had told us before we met you, and you are not to be vain, Hugh, if I add, that your supposed misfortunes, and great skill with the flute, and good behavior, have made a friend of one of the best and most true-hearted girls I ever had the good fortune to know. I say good behavior, for little, just now, can be ascribed to good looks."

"I hope I am not in the least revolting in appearance, in this disguise. For my sister's sake--"

The hearty laugh of my dear old grandmother brought me up, and I said no more; coloring, I believe, a little, at my own folly. Even Uncle Ro joined in the mir

th, though I could see he wished Mary Warren even safely translated along with her father, and that the latter was Archbishop of Canterbury. I must acknowledge that I felt a good deal ashamed of the weakness I had betrayed.

"You are very well, Hugh, darling," continued my grandmother; "though I must think you would be more interesting in your own hair, which is curling, than in that long wig. Still, one can see enough of your face to recognize it, if one has the clew; and I told Martha, at the first, that I was struck with a certain expression of the eyes and smile that reminded me of her brother. But, there they are, Mary and Martha, in the drawing-room, waiting for your appearance. The first is so fond of music, and, indeed, is so practised in it, as to have been delighted with your flute; and she has talked so much of your skill as to justify us in seeming to wish for a further exhibition of your skill. Henrietta and Ann, having less taste that way, have gone together to select bouquets, in the greenhouse, and there is now an excellent opportunity to gratify your sister. I am to draw Mary out of the room, after a little while, when you and Martha may say a word to each other in your proper characters. As for you, Roger, you are to open your box again, and I will answer for it that will serve to amuse your other wards, should they return too soon from their visit to the gardener."

Everything being thus explained, and our dinner ended, all parties proceeded to the execution of the plan, each in his or her designated mode. When my grandmother and I reached the dressing-room, however, Martha was not there, though Mary Warren was, her bright but serene eyes full of happiness and expectation. Martha had retired to the inner room for a moment, whither my grandmother, suspecting the truth, followed her. As I afterward ascertained, my sister, fearful of not being able to suppress her tears on my entrance, had withdrawn, in order to struggle for self-command without betraying our secret. I was told to commence an air, without waiting for the absent young lady, as the strain could easily be heard through the open door.

I might have played ten minutes before my sister and grandmother came out again. Both had been in tears, though the intense manner in which Mary Warren was occupied with the harmony of my flute, probably prevented her from observing it. To me, however, it was plain enough; and glad was I to find that my sister had succeeded in commanding her feelings. In a minute or two my grandmother profited by a pause to rise and carry away with her Mary Warren, though the last left the room with a reluctance that was very manifest. The pretence was a promise to meet the divine in the library, on some business connected with the Sunday-schools.

"You can keep the young man for another air, Martha," observed my grandmother, "and I will send Jane to you, as I pass her room."

Jane was my sister's own maid, and her room was close at hand, and I dare say dear grandmother gave her the order, in Mary Warren's presence, as soon as she quitted the room, else might Mary Warren well be surprised at the singularity of the whole procedure; but Jane did not make her appearance, nevertheless. As for myself, I continued to play as long as I thought any ear was near enough to hear me; then I laid aside my flute. In the next instant Patt was in my arms, where she lay some time weeping, but looking inexpressibly happy.

"Oh! Hugh, what a disguise was this to visit your own house in!" she said, as soon as composed enough to speak.

"Would it have done to come here otherwise? You know the state of the country, and the precious fruits our boasted tree of liberty is bringing forth. The owner of the land can only visit his property at the risk of his life!"

Martha pressed me in her arms in a way to show how conscious she was of the danger I incurred in even thus visiting her; after which we seated ourselves, side by side, on a little divan, and began to speak of those things that were most natural to a brother and sister who so much loved each other, and who had not met for five years. My grandmother had managed so well as to prevent all interruption for an hour, if we saw fit to remain together, while to others it should seem as if Patt had dismissed me in a few minutes.

"Not one of the other girls suspects, in the least, who you are," said Martha, smiling, when we had got through with the questions and answers so natural to our situation. "I am surprised that Henrietta has not, for she prides herself on her penetration. She is as much in the dark as the others, however."

"And Miss Mary Warren-the young lady who has just left the room-has she not some small notion that I am not a common Dutch music-grinder?"

Patt laughed, and that so merrily as to cause the tones of her sweet voice to fill me with delight, as I remembered what she had been in childhood and girlhood five years before, and she shook her bright tresses off her cheeks ere she would answer.

"No, Hugh," she replied, "she fancies you an uncommon Dutch music-grinder; an artiste that not only grinds, but who dresses up his harmonies in such a way as to be palatable to the most refined taste. How came Mary to think you and my uncle two reduced German gentlemen?"

"And does the dear girl believe-that is, does Miss Mary Warren do us so much honor, as to imagine that?"

"Indeed she does, for she told us as much as soon as she got home; and Henrietta and Ann have made themselves very merry with their speculations on the subject of Miss Warren's great incognito. They call you Herzog von Geige."

"Thank them for that." I am afraid I answered a little too pointedly, for I saw that Patt seemed surprised. "But your American towns are just such half-way things as to spoil young women; making them neither refined and polished as they might be in real capitals, while they are not left the simplicity and nature of the country."

"Well, Master Hugh, this is being very cross about a very little, and not particularly complimentary to your own sister. And why not your American towns, as well as ours?-are you no longer one of us?"

"Certainly; one of yours, always, my dearest Patt, though not one of every chattering girl who may set up for a belle, with her Dukes of Fiddle! But, enough of this;-you like the Warrens?"

"Very much so; father and daughter. The first is just what a clergyman should be; of a cultivation and intelligence to fit him to be any man's companion, and a simplicity like that of a child. Your remember his predecessor-so dissatisfied, so selfish, so lazy, so censorious, so unjust to every person and thing around him, and yet so exacting; and, at the same time, so--"

"What? Thus far you have drawn his character well: I should like to hear the remainder."

"I have said more than I ought already; for one has an idea that, by bringing a clergyman into disrepute, it brings religion and the Church into discredit, too. A priest must be a very bad man to have injurious things said of him, in this country, Hugh."

"That is, perhaps, true. But you like Mr. Warren better than him who has left you?"

"A thousand times, and in all things. In addition to having a most pious and sincere pastor, we have an agreeable and well-bred neighbor, from whose mouth, in the five years that he has dwelt here, I have not heard a syllable at the expense of a single fellow-creature. You know how it is apt to be with the other clergy and ours, in the country-forever at swords' points; and if not actually quarrelling, keeping up a hollow peace."

"That is only too true-or used to be true, before I went abroad."

"And it is so now elsewhere, I'll answer for it, though it be so no longer here. Mr. Warren and Mr. Peck seem to live on perfectly amicable terms, though as little alike at bottom as fire and water."

"By the way, how do the clergy of the different sects, up and down the country, behave on the subject of anti-rent?"

"I can answer only from what I hear, with the exception of Mr. Warren's course. He has preached two or three plain and severe sermons on the duty of honesty in our worldly transactions, one of which was from the tenth commandment. Of course he said nothing of the particular trouble, but everybody must have made the necessary application of the home-truths he uttered. I question if another voice has been raised, far and near, on the subject, although I have heard Mr. Warren say the movement threatens more to demoralize New York than anything that has happened in his time."

"And the man down at the village?"

"Oh, he goes, of course, with the majority. When was one of that sect known to oppose his parish, in anything?"

"And Mary is as sound and as high-principled as her father?"

"Quite so; though there has been a good deal said about the necessity of Mr. Warren's removing, and giving up St. Andrew's, since he preached against covetousness. All the anti-renters say, I hear, that they know he meant them, and that they won't put up with it."

"I dare say; each one fancying he was almost called out by name; that is the way, when conscience works."

"I should be very, very sorry to part with Mary; and almost as much so to part with her father. There is one thing, however, that Mr. Warren himself thinks we had better have done, Hugh; and that is to take down the canopy from over our pew. You can have no notion of the noise that foolish canopy is making up and down the country."

"I shall not take it down. It is my property, and there it shall remain. As for the canopy, it was a wrong distinction to place in a church, I am willing to allow; but it never gave offence until it has been thought that a cry against it would help to rob me of my lands at half-price, or at no price at all, as it may happen."

"All that may be true; but if improper for a church, why keep it?"

"Because I do not choose to be bullied out of what is my own, even though I care nothing about it. There might have been a time when the canopy was unsuited to the house of God, and that was when those who saw it might fancy it canopied the head of a fellow-creature who had higher claims than themselves to divine favor; but in times like these, when men estimate merit by beginning at the other end of the social scale, there is little danger of any one's falling into the mistake. The canopy shall stand, little as I care about it; now, I would actually prefer it should come down, and I can fully see the impropriety of making any distinctions in the temple; but it shall stand until concessions cease to be dangerous. It is a right of property, and as such I will maintain it. If others dislike it, let them put canopies over their pews, too. The best test, in such a matter, is to see who could bear it. A pretty figure Seneca Newcome would cut, for instance, seated in a canopied pew! Even his own set would laugh at him, which, I fancy, is more than they yet do at me."

Martha was disappointed; but she changed the subject. We next talked of our own little private affairs, as they were connected with smaller matters.

"For whom is that beautiful chain intended, Hugh?" asked Patt, laughingly. "I can now believe the pedler when he says it is reserved for your future wife. But who is that wife to be? Will her name be Henrietta or Ann?"

"Why not ask, also, if it will be Mary?-why exclude one of your companions, while you include the other two?"

Patt started-seemed surprised; her cheeks flushed, and then I saw that pleasure was the feeling predominant.

"Am I too late to secure that jewel, as a pendant to my chain?" I asked, half in jest, half seriously.

"Too soon, at least, to attract it by the richness and beauty of the bawble. A more natural and disinterested girl than Mary Warren does not exist in the country."

"Be frank with me, Martha, and say at once; has she a favored suitor?"

"Why, this seems really serious!" exclaimed my sister, laughing. "But, to put you out of your pain, I will answer, I know of but one. One she has certainly, or female sagacity is at fault."

"But is he one that is favored? You can never know how much depends on your answer."

"Of that you can judge for yourself. It is 'Squire Seneky Newcome, as he is called hereabouts-the brother of the charming Opportunity, who still reserves herself for you."

"And they are as rank anti-renters as any male and female in the country."

"They are rank Newcomites; and that means that each is for himself. Would you believe it, but Opportunity really gives herself airs with Mary Warren!"

"And how does Mary Warren take such an assumption?"

"As a young person should-quietly and without manifesting any feeling. But there is something quite intolerable in one like Opportunity Newcome's assuming a superiority over any true lady! Mary is as well educated and as well connected as any of us, and is quite as much accustomed to good company; while Opportunity-" here Patt laughed, and then added, hurriedly, "but you know Opportunity as well as I do."

"Oh! yes; she is la vertue, or the virtue, and je suis venue pour."

The latter allusion Patt understood well enough, having laughed over the story a dozen times; and she laughed again when I explained the affair of "the solitude."

Then came a fit of sisterly feeling. Patt insisted on taking off my wig, and seeing my face in its natural dress. I consented to gratify her, when the girl really behaved like a simpleton. First she pushed about my curls until they were arranged to suit the silly creature, when she ran back several steps, clapped her hands in delight, then rushed into "my arms and kissed my forehead and eyes, and called me her brother"-her "only brother"-her "dear, dear Hugh," and by a number of other such epithets, until she worked herself, and me too, into such an excess of feeling that we sat down, side by side, and each had a hearty fit of crying. Perhaps some such burst as this was necessary to relieve our minds, and we submitted to it wisely.

My sister wept the longest, as a matter of course; but, as soon as she had dried her eyes, she replaced the wig, and completely restored my disguise, trembling the whole time lest some one might enter and detect me.

"You have been very imprudent, Hugh, in coming here at all," she said, while thus busy. "You can form no notion of the miserable state of the country, or how far the anti-rent poison has extended, or the malignant nature of its feeling. The annoyances they have attempted with dear grandmother are odious; you they would scarcely leave alive."

"The country and the people must have strangely altered, then, in five years. Our New York population has hitherto had very little of the assassin-like character. Tar and feathers are the blackguards', and have been the petty tyrants' weapons, from time immemorial, in this country; but not the knife."

"And can anything sooner or more effectually alter a people than longings for the property of others? Is not the 'love of money the root of all evil?'-and what right have we to suppose our Ravensnest population is better than another, when that sordid feeling is thoroughly aroused? You know you have written one yourself, that all the American can or does live for is money."

"I have written you, dear, that the country, in its present condition, leaves no other incentive to exertion, and therein it is cursed. Military fame, military rank, even, are unattainable, under our system; the arts, letters, and science bring little or no reward; and there being no political rank that a man of refinement would care for, men must live for money, or live altogether for another state of being. But I have told you, at the same time, Martha, that, notwithstanding all this, I believe the American a less mercenary being, in the ordinary sense of the word, than the European; that two men might be bought, for instance, in any European country, for one here. This last I suppose to be the result of the facility of making a living, and the habits it produces."

"Never mind causes; Mr. Warren says there is a desperate intention to rob existing among these people, and that they are dangerous. As yet they do a little respect women, but how long they will do that one cannot know."

"It may all be so. It must be so, respecting what I have heard and read; yet this vale looks as smiling and as sweet, at this very moment, as if an evil passion never sullied it! But depend on my prudence, which tells me that we ought now to part. I shall see you again and again before I quit the estate, and you will, of course, join us somewhere-at the Springs, perhaps-as soon as we find it necessary or expedient to decamp."

Martha promised this, of course, and I kissed her, previously to separating. No one crossed my way as I descended to the piazza, which was easily done, since I was literally at home. I lounged about on the lawn a few minutes, and then, showing myself in front of the library windows, I was summoned to the room, as I had expected.

Uncle Ro had disposed of every article of the fine jewelry that he had brought home as presents for his wards. The pay was a matter to be arranged with Mrs. Littlepage, which meant no pay at all; and, as the donor afterward told me, he liked this mode of distributing the various ornaments better than presenting them himself, as he was now certain each girl had consulted her own fancy.

As the hour of the regular dinner was approaching, we took our leave soon after, not without receiving kind and pressing invitations to visit the Nest again ere we left the township. Of course we promised all that was required, intending most faithfully to comply. On quitting the house we returned toward the farm, though not without pausing on the lawn to gaze around us on a scene so dear to both, from recollection, association, and interest. But I forget, this is aristocratical; the landlord has no right to sentiments of this nature, which are feelings that the sublimated liberty of the law is beginning to hold in reserve solely for the benefit of the tenant!

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