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The Chainbearer; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts By James Fenimore Cooper Characters: 33537

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

"There is a pure republic-wild, yet strong-

A 'fierce democracie,' where all are true

To what themselves have voted-right or wrong-

And to their laws denominated blue;

(If red, they might to Draco's code belong.)"


* * *

Such was my haste in quitting the church, that I did not turn to the right or the left. I saw the light, but well-rounded form of Mary Warren loitering along with the rest of the party, seemingly in waiting for me to join them; and crossing the road, I sprang upon the stile, and thence to the ground, coming up with the girls at the next instant.

"What is the meaning of the crowd, Hugh?" asked my sister, pointing down the road with the stick of her parasol, as she put the question.

"Crowd! I have seen no crowd. Everybody had left the church before I quitted it, and all has gone off peaceably. Ha! sure enough, that does look like a crowd yonder in the highway. It seems an organized meeting, by George! Yes, there is the chairman, seated on the upper rail of the fence, and the fellow with a bit of paper in his hand is doubtless the secretary. Very American, and regular, all that! Some vile project is hatching, I'll answer for it, under the aspect of an expression of public opinion. See, there is a chap speaking, and gesticulating manfully!"

We all stopped, for a moment, and stood looking at the crowd, which really had all the signs of a public meeting about it. There it had been, the girls told me, ever since they had quitted the church, and seemingly engaged much as it was at that moment. The spectacle was curious, and the day being fine, while time did not press, we lingered in the fields, occasionally stopping to look behind us, and note what was passing on in the highway.

In this manner, we might have walked half the distance to the Nest, when, on turning to take another look, we perceived that the crowd had dispersed; some driving off in the ever-recurring one-horse wagon, some on horseback and others on foot. Three men, however, were walking fast in our direction, as if desirous of overtaking us. They had already crossed the stile, and were on the path in the field, a route rarely or never taken by any but those who desired to come to the house. Under the circumstances, I determined at once to stop and wait for them. First feeling in my pocket, and making sure of the "revolver," which is getting to be an important weapon, now that private battles are fought not only "yard-arm and yard-arm," but by regular "broadsides," starboard and larboard, I intimated my intention to the girls.

"As these men are evidently coming in quest of me," I remarked, "it may be as well, ladies, for you to continue your walk toward home, while I wait for them on this stile."

"Very true," answered Patt. "They can have little to say that we shall wish to hear, and you will soon overtake us. Remember, we dine at two on Sundays, Hugh; the evening service commencing at four, in this month."

"No, no," said Mary Warren, hurriedly, "we ought not, cannot, quit Mr. Littlepage. These men may do him some harm."

I was delighted with this simple, natural manifestation of interest, as well as with the air of decision with which it was made. Mary herself colored at her own interest, but did not the less maintain the ground she had taken.

"Why, of what use can we be to Hugh, dear, even admitting what you say to be true?" answered Patt; "it were better for us to hurry on to the house, and send those here who can assist him in such a case, than stand by idle and useless."

As if profiting by this hint, Miss Coldbrooke and Miss Marston, who were already some little distance in advance, went off almost on a run, doubtless intending to put my sister's project into execution. But Mary Warren stood firm, and Patt would not desert her friend, whatever might have been her disposition to treat me with less consideration.

"It is true, we may not be able to assist Mr. Littlepage, should violence be attempted," the first remarked; "but violence is, perhaps, what is least to be apprehended. These wretched people so little regard truth, and they will be three to one, if your brother be left alone; that it is better we stay and hear what is said, in order that we may assert what the facts really were, should these persons see fit to pervert them, as too often happens."

Both Patt and myself were struck with the prudence and sagacity of this suggestion; and the former now came quite near to the stile, on which I was still standing, with an air as steady and resolute as that of Mary Warren herself. Just then the three men approached. Two of them I knew by name, though scarcely in person, while the third was a total stranger. The two of whom I had some knowledge, were named Bunce and Mowatt, and were both tenants of my own; and, as I have since learned, warm anti-renters. The stranger was a travelling demagogue, who had been at the bottom of the whole affair connected with the late meeting, and who had made his two companions his tools. The three came up to the stile, with an air of great importance, nor could the dignity of their demeanor have been greater had they been ambassadors extraordinary from the Emperor of China.

"Mr. Littlepage," commenced Mr. Bunce, with a particularly important physiognomy, "there has been a meeting of the public, this morning, at which these resolutions was passed. We have been appointed a committee to deliver a copy of them to you, and our duty is now performed by handing you this paper."

"Not unless I see fit to accept it, I presume, sir," was my answer.

"I should think no man, in a free country, would refuse to receive a set of resolutions that has been passed by a meeting of his fellow-citizens."

"That might depend on circumstances; the character of the resolutions, in particular. The freedom of the country it is, precisely, which gives one man the same right to say he cares nothing about your resolutions, as it does you to pass them."

"But you have not looked at the resolutions, sir, and until you do, you cannot know how you may like them."

"That is very true; but I have looked at their bearers, have seen their manner, and do not quite like the assumption of power which says any body of men can send me resolutions, whether I like to receive them or not."

This declaration seemed to strike the committee aghast! The idea that one man should hesitate to submit himself to a yoke imposed by a hundred, was so new and inconceivable to those who deem majorities all in all, that they hardly knew how to take it.[29] At first there was an obvious disposition to resent the insult; then came reflection, which probably told them that such a course might not prove so well, the whole terminating in the more philosophical determination of getting along easily.

"Am I to understand, Mr. Littlepage, that you refuse to accept the resolutions of a public meeting?"

"Yes; of half a dozen public meetings put together, if those resolutions are offensive, or are offered offensively."

"As to the resolutions, you can know nothing, having never seen them. Of the right of any number of the people to pass such resolutions as they may think proper, I presume there can be no question."

"Of that right, sir, there is a very great question, as has been settled within the last few years, in our own courts. But, even if the right existed, and in as broad a way as you seem to think, it would not form a right to force these resolutions on me."

"I am, then, to tell the people you refuse even to read their resolutions, 'Squire Littlepage?"

"You can tell them what you please, sir. I know of no people, except in a legal sense, and under the limited powers that they exercise by law. As for this new power, which is rising up in the country, and has the impudence to call itself the people, though composed of little knots of men got together by management, and practised on by falsehood, it has neither my respect nor dread; and as I hold it in contempt, I shall treat it with contempt whenever it comes in my way."

"I am, then, to tell the people of Ravensnest you hold them in contempt, sir?"

"I authorize you tell the people of Ravensnest nothing, as coming from me, for I do not know that the people of Ravensnest have employed you. If you will ask me, respectfully, as if you were soliciting a favor instead of demanding a right, to read the contents of the paper you hold in your hand, I may be willing to comply. What I object to is a handful of men getting together, setting themselves up as the people, pretending to authority in that capacity, and claiming a right to force their notions on other folks."

The three committee-men now drew back a few paces, and consulted together apart for two or three minutes. While they were thus employed, I heard the sweet gentle voice of Mary Warren say at my elbow-"Take their resolutions, Mr. Littlepage, and get rid of them. I dare say they are very silly, but you will get rid of them all the sooner by receiving the paper." This was woman's advice, which is a little apt to err on the side of concession, when her apprehensions are aroused; but I was spared the pain of not complying with it, by the altered tone of the trio, who now came up to the stile again, having apparently come to a final decision in the premises.

"Mr. Hugh Roger Littlepage, junior," said Bunce, in a solemn voice, and in a manner as precise as if he were making some legal tender that was of the last importance, and which required set phrases, "I now ask you, in a most respectful manner, if you will consent to receive this paper. It contains certain resolutions, passed with great unanimity by the people of Ravensnest, and which may be found to affect you. I am directed respectfully to ask you, if you will accept this copy of the said resolutions."

I cut the rest of the speech short by receiving the proffered paper, and I thought all three of the worthy ambassadors looked disappointed at my having done so. This gave a new turn to my ideas, and had they now demanded their resolutions back again, they should not have had them, so long as the revolvers could do their duty. For a moment, I do believe Bunce was for trying the experiment. He and his companions would have been delighted to have it in their power to run up and down the country crying out that the aristocrat-landlord, young Littlepage, held the people in contempt, and had refused even to accept the resolutions they had deigned, in their majesty, to pass. As it was, however, I had sufficiently rebuked the presumption of these pretenders to liberty, avoided all the consequences of their clamor in that behalf, and had an opportunity to gratify a curiosity to know what the leaders of the meeting had been about, and to read their resolutions. I say, the leaders of the meeting, for it is very certain the meetings themselves, on all such occasions, have no more to do with the forming or entertaining the opinions that are thus expressed, than if they had been in Kamtschatka the whole time. Folding the paper, therefore, and putting it in my pocket, I bowed to the committee, saying, as I descended the stile on the other side of the fence-

"It is well, gentlemen; if the resolutions require any notice, they'll be sure to receive it. Public meetings held of a Sunday are so unusual in this part of the world, that this may have interest with that small portion of the State which does not dwell at Ravensnest."

I thought the committee was a little abashed; but the stranger, or the travelling demagogue, caught at my words, and answered as I walked away, in company with Patt and Mary Warren-

"The better day, the better deed. The matter related to the Sabbath, and no time so suitable as the Sabbath to act on it."

I will own I was dying of curiosity to read the resolutions, but dignity prevented any such thing until we had reached a spot where the path led through a copse, that concealed us from observation. Once under that cover, however, I eagerly drew out the paper, the two girls drawing near to listen, with as lively an interest as that I felt myself in the result.

"Here you may see at a glance," I cried, shaking open the folds of the paper, "the manner in which the people so often pass their resolutions! All this writing has a very school-master air, and has been done with care and a deliberation, whereas there was certainly no opportunity to make a copy as fair as this of anything out in the highway where the meeting was actually held. This proves that matters had been cut and dried for the sovereign people, who, like other monarchs, are saved a great deal of trouble by their confidential servants."

"I dare say," said Patt, "two or three men down at the village prepared everything, and then brought their work up to the meeting to be read and approved, and to go forth as public sentiment."

"If it were only honesty approved by even those who heard it read, it would be another matter; but two-thirds of every meeting are nothing but dough-faces, that are moulded to look whichever way the skilful manager may choose. But let us see what these notable resolutions are; we may like them, possibly, after having read them."

"It is so extraordinary to have a public meeting of a Sunday in this part of the world!"

I now set about reading the contents of the paper, which, at a glance, I saw had been very carefully prepared for publication, and no doubt would soon figure in some of the journals. Fortunately, this business has been so much overdone, and so many meetings are held that flatly contradict each other, though all represent public sentiment, fire is made so effectually to fight fire, that the whole procedure is falling into contempt, and the public is actually losing the great advantage which, under a more temperate use of its power, it might possess, by making known from time to time, as serious occasions offered, its true opinions and wishes. As things actually are, every man of intelligence is fully aware that simulated public opinions are much the most noisy and active in the country, and he regards nothing of the sort of which he hears or reads, unless he happen to know something of the authority. It is the same with the newspaper press generally; into such deep discredit has it fallen, that not only is its power to do evil much curtailed, but it has nearly lost all power to do good; for, by indulging in licentiousness, and running into the habit of crying "wolf," nobody is disposed to believe, were the beast actually committing its ravages in the flocks of the nation. There are but two ways for a man to regain a position from which he has departed; the one is by manfully retracing his steps, and the other is by making a circuit so complete that all who choose to watch him may see and understand all sides of him, and estimate him accordingly. The last is likely to be the career of demagogueism and the press; both of which have already gone so far as to render retreat next to impossible, and who can only regain any portion of public confidence by being satisfied with completing their circuit, and falling in the rear of the nation, content to follow those whom it has been their craving ambition to lead.

"At a meeting of the citizens of Ravensnest," I began to read aloud, "spontaneously convened, June 22d, 1845, in the public highway, after attending divine service in the Episcopal meeting-house, according to the forms of the established denomination of England, on the church and state system, Onesiphoras Hayden, Esquire, was called to the chair, and Pulaski Todd, Esquire, was appointed secretary. After a luminous and eloquent exposition of the objects of the meeting, and some most pungent strictures on aristocracy and the rights of man, from Demosthenes Hewlett and John Smith, Esquires, the following expression of public sentiment was sustained by an undivided unanimity:-Resolved, That a temperate expression of public opinion is useful to the rights of freemen, and is one of the most precious privileges of freedom, as the last has been transmitted to us in a free country by our ancestors, who fought and bled for free and equal institutions on free and equal grounds.

"Resolved, That we prize this privilege, and shall ever watch over its exercise with vigilance, the price of liberty.

"Resolved, That, as all men are equal in the eyes of the law, so are they much more so in the eyes of God.

"Resolved, That meeting-houses are places constructed for the convenience of the people, and that nothing ought to be admitted into them that is opposed to public sentiment, or which can possibly offend it.

"Resolved, That,

in our judgment, the seat that is good enough for one man is good enough for another; that we know no differences in families and races, and that pews ought to be constructed on the principles of equality, as well as laws.

"Resolved, That canopies are royal distinctions, and quite unsuited to republicans; and most of all, to republican meeting-houses.

"Resolved, That religion should be adapted to the institutions of a country, and that a republican form of government is entitled to a republican form of religion; and that we do not see the principles of freedom in privileged seats in the house of God."

"That resolution has been got up as a commentary on what has been circulated so much, of late, in the newspapers," cried Mary Warren, quickly; "in which it has been advanced, as a recommendation of certain sects, that their dogmas and church-government are more in harmony with republicanism than certain others, our own Church included."

"One would think," I answered, "if this conformity be a recommendation, that it would be the duty of men to make their institutions conform to the Church, instead of the Church's conforming to the institutions."

"Yes; but it is not the fashion to reason in this way, nowadays. Prejudice is just as much appealed to in matters connected with religion, as with anything else."

"Resolved," I continued to read, "That in placing a canopy over his pew, in St. Andrew's meeting-house, Ravensnest, General Cornelius Littlepage conformed to the spirit of a past age, rather than to the spirit of the present time, and that we regard its continuance there as an aristocratical assumption of a superiority that is opposed to the character of the government, offensive to liberty, and dangerous as an example."

"Really that is too bad!" exclaimed Patt, vexed at heart, even while she laughed at the outrageous silliness of the resolutions, and all connected with them. "Dear, liberal-minded grandpapa, who fought and bled for that very liberty about which these people cant so much, and who was actively concerned in framing the very institutions that they do not understand, and are constantly violating, is accused to being false to what were notoriously his own principles!"

"Never mind that, my dear; there only remain three more resolutions: let us hear them. Resolved, That we see an obvious connection between crowned heads, patents of nobility, canopied pews, personal distinctions, leasehold tenures, land-Lords, days' works, fat fowls, quarter-sales, three-lives leases, and Rent.

"Resolved, That we are of opinion that, when the owners of barns wish them destroyed, for any purpose whatever, there is a mode less alarming to a neighborhood than by setting them on fire, and thus giving rise to a thousand reports and accusations that are wanting in the great merit of truth.

"Resolved, That a fair draft be made of these resolutions, and a copy of them delivered to one Hugh Roger Littlepage, a citizen of Ravensnest, in the county of Washington; and that Peter Bunce, Esq., John Mowatt, Esq., and Hezekiah Trott, Esq., be a commitee to see that this act be performed.

"Whereupon the meeting adjourned, sine die. Onesiphoras Hayden, chairman; Pulaski Todd, secretary."

"Whe-e-e-w!" I whistled, "here's gunpowder enough for another Waterloo!"

"What means that last resolution, Mr. Littlepage?" asked Mary Warren, anxiously. "That about the barn."

"Sure enough; there is a latent meaning there which has its sting. Can the scoundrels intend to insinuate that I caused that barn to be set on fire!"

"If they should, it is scarcely more than they have attempted to do with every landlord they have endeavored to rob," said Patt, with spirit. "Calumny seems a natural weapon of those who get their power by appealing to numbers."

"That is natural enough, my dear sister; since prejudice and passion are quite as active agents as reasons and facts, in the common mind. But this is a slander that shall be looked to. If I find that these men really wish to circulate a report that I caused my own barn to be set on fire-pshaw! nonsense, after all; have we not Newcome, and that other rascal in confinement, at this moment, for attempting to set fire to my house?"

"Be not too confident, Mr. Littlepage," said Mary, with an anxiety so pointed that I could not but feel its flattery-"my dear father tells me he has lost most of his confidence in innocence, except as One above all weaknesses shall be the judge: this very story may be got up expressly to throw distrust on your accusations against the two incendiaries you have taken in the act. Remember how much of the facts will depend on your own testimony."

"I shall have you to sustain me, Miss Warren, and the juror is not living, who would hesitate to believe that to which you will testify. But here we are approaching the house; we will talk no more on the subject, lest it distress my grandmother."

We found all quiet at the Nest, no report of any sort having come from the red-men. Sunday was like any other day to them, with the exception that they so far deferred to our habits as to respect it, to a certain extent, while in our presence. Some writers have imagined that the aborigines of America are of the lost tribes of Israel; but it seems to me that such a people could never have existed apart, uninfluenced by foreign association, and preserved no tradition, no memorial of the Jewish Sabbath. Let this be as it may, John, who met us at the door, which we reached just after my uncle and grandmother, reported all quiet, so far as he knew anything of the state of the farm-buildings.

"They got enough last night, I'se thinking, Mr. Hugh, and has found out by this time, that it's better to light a fire in one of their own cook-stoves, than come to light it on the floor of a gentleman's kitchen. I never heard it said, sir, that the Hamericans was as much Hirish as they be Henglish, but to me they seems to grow every day more like the wild Hirishers, of whom we used to hear so much in Lun'un. Your honored father, sir, would never have believed that his own dwelling would be entered, at night, by men who are his very neighbors, and who act like burglariouses, as if they were so many Newgate birds-no. Why, Mr. Hugh, this 'Squire Newcome, as they call him, is an hattorney, and has often dined here at the Nest. I have 'anded him his soup, and fish, and wine, fifty times, just as if he was a gentleman, and to his sister, Miss Hopportunity, too; and they to come to set fire to the house, at midnight!"

"You do Miss Opportunity injustice, John; for she has not had the least connection with the matter."

"Well, sir, nobody knows anything nowaday-I declare, my eyes be getting weak, or there is the young lady, at this very instant!"

"Young lady! where?-you do not mean Opportunity Newcome, surely?"

"I does though, sir, and it's she, sure enough. If that isn't Miss Hopportunity, the prisoner that the savages has got up in the cellar of the old farm-house, isn't her brother."

John was quite right; there was Opportunity standing in the very path, and at the very spot where I had last seen her disappear from my sight, the past night. That spot was just where the path plunged into the wooded ravine, and so far was her person concealed by the descent, that we could only perceive the head, and the upper part of the body. The girl had shown herself just that much, in order to attract my attention, in which she had no sooner succeeded, than, by moving downward a few paces, she was entirely hid from sight. Cautioning John to say nothing of what had passed, I sprang down the steps, and walked in the direction of the ravine, perfectly satisfied I was expected, and far from certain that this visit did not portend further evil.

The distance was so short that I was soon at the verge of the ravine, but when I reached it Opportunity had disappeared. Owing to the thicket, her concealment was easily obtained, while she might be within a few yards from me, and I plunged downward, bent only on ascertaining her object. One gleam of distrust shot across my mind, I will own, as I strided down the declivity; but it was soon lost in the expectation and curiosity that were awakened by the appearance of the girl.

I believe it has already been explained, that in this part of the lawn a deep, narrow ravine had been left in wood, and that the bridle-path that leads to the hamlet had been carried directly through it, for effect. This patch of wood may be three or four acres in extent, following the course of the ravine until it reaches the meadows, and it contains three or four rustic seats, intended to be used in the warmer months. As Opportunity was accustomed to all the windings and turnings of the place, she had posted herself near one of these seats, which stood in a dense thicket, but so near the main path as to enable her to let me know where she was to be found, by a low utterance of my name, as my tread announced my approach. Springing up the by-path, I was at her side in an instant. I do believe that, now she had so far succeeded, the girl sunk upon the seat from inability to stand.

"Oh! Mr. Hugh!" she exclaimed, looking at me with a degree of nature and concern in her countenance that it was not usual to see there-"Sen-my poor brother Sen-what have I done?-what have I done?"

"Will you answer me one or two questions, Miss Opportunity, with frankness, under the pledge that the replies never shall be used to injure you or yours? This is a very serious affair, and should be treated with perfect frankness."

"I will answer anything to you-any question you can put me, though I might blush to do so-but," laying her hand familiarly, not to say tenderly, on my arm-"why should we be Mr. Hugh and Miss Opportunity to each other, when we were so long Hugh and Op? Call me Op again, and I shall feel that the credit of my family and the happiness of my poor Sen are, after all, in the keeping of a true friend."

"No one can be more willing to do this than myself, my dear Op, and I am willing to be Hugh again. But, you know all that has passed."

"I do-yes, the dreadful news has reached us, and mother wouldn't leave me a moment's peace till I stole out again to see you."

"Again? Was your mother, then, acquainted with the visit of last night?"

"Yes, yes-she knew it all, and advised it all."

"Your mother is a most thoughtful and prudent parent," I answered, biting my lip, "and I shall know hereafter how much I am indebted to her. To you, Opportunity, I owe the preservation of my house, and possibly the lives of all who are most dear to me."

"Well, that's something, any how. There's no grief that hasn't its relief. But, you must know, Hugh, that I never could or did suppose that Sen himself would be so weak as to come in his own person on such an errand! I didn't want telling to understand that, in anti-rent times, fire and sword are the law-but, take him in general, Sen is altogether prudent and cautious. I'd a bit my tongue off before I'd got my own brother into so cruel a scrape. No, no-don't think so ill of me as to suppose I came to tell of Sen."

"It is enough for me that I know how much trouble you took to warn me of danger. It is unnecessary for me to think of you in any other light than that of a friend."

"Ah, Hugh! how happy and merry we all of us used to be a few years since! That was before your Miss Coldbrookes, and Miss Marstons, and Mary Warrens ever saw the country. Then we did enjoy ourselves, and I hope such times will return. If Miss Martha would only stick to old friends, instead of running after new ones, Ravensnest would be Ravensnest again."

"You are not to censure my sister for loving her own closest associates best. She is several years our junior, you will remember, and was scarcely of an age to be our companion six years ago."

Opportunity had the grace to color a little, for she had only used Patt as a cloak to make her assaults on me, and she knew as well as I did that my sister was good seven years younger than herself. This feeling, however, was but momentary, and she next turned to the real object of this visit.

"What am I to tell mother, Hugh? You will let Sen off, I know?"

I reflected, for the first time, on the hardships of the case; but felt a strong reluctance to allow incendiaries to escape.

"The facts must be known, soon, all over the town," I remarked.

"No fear of that; they are pretty much known already. News does fly fast at Ravensnest, all must admit."

"Ay, if it would only fly true. But your brother can hardly remain here, after such an occurrence."

"Lord! How you talk! If the law will only let him alone, who'd trouble him for this? You haven't been home long enough to learn that folks don't think half as much of setting fire to a house, in anti-rent times, as they'd think of a trespass under the old-fashioned law. Anti-rent alters the whole spirit."

How true was this! And we have lads among us, who have passed from their tenth to their eighteenth and twentieth years, in a condition of society that is almost hopelessly abandoned to the most corrupting influence of all the temptations that beset human beings. It is not surprising that men begin to regard arson as a venial offence, when the moral feeling of the community is thus unhinged, and boys are suffered to grow into manhood in the midst of notions so fatal to everything that is just and safe.

"But the law itself will not be quite as complaisant as the 'folks.' It will scarcely allow incendiaries to escape; and your brother would be compelled to flee the land."

"What of that? How many go off, and stay off for a time; and that's better than going up north to work at the new prison. I'm not a bit afraid of Sen's being hanged, for these an't hanging times, in this country; but it is some disgrace to a family to have a member in the State's prison. As for any punishment that is lasting, you can see how it is, as well as I. There've been men murdered about anti-rentism, but, Lord! the Senators and Assemblymen will raise such a rumpus, if you go to punish them, that it won't be long, if things go on as they have, before it will be thought more honorable to be put in jail for shooting a peace-officer, than to stay out of it for not having done it. Talk's all; and if folks have a mind to make anything honorable, they've only to say so often enough to make it out."

Such were the notions of Miss Opportunity Newcome, on the subject of modern morals, and how far was she from the truth? I could not but smile at the manner in which she treated things, though there was a homely and practical common sense in her way of thinking that was probably of more efficiency than would have been the case with a more refined and nicer code. She looked at things as they are, and that is always something toward success.

As for myself, I was well enough disposed to consider Opportunity, in this unfortunate affair of the fire, for it Would have been a cruel thing to suffer the girl to imagine she had been an instrument in destroying her brother. It is true, there is no great danger of a rogue's being hanged, nowadays, and Seneca was not sufficiently a gentleman, though very tenacious of the title, to endanger his neck. Had he been a landlord, and caught lighting a fire on the kitchen-floor of one of the tenants, the State would not grow hemp enough for his execution; but it was a very different thing to catch a tenant at that work. I could not but ask myself, how many of the "honorable gentlemen" at Albany would interfere in my behalf, had matters been reversed? for this is the true mode of arriving at the "spirit of the institutions;" or, rather, I have just as good a right to affirm such is their "spirit," as any one has to assert that the leasehold tenure is opposed to them; the laws and institutions themselves being equally antagonist to both.

The results of the interview I had with Opportunity were: firstly, I kept my heart just where it was at its commencement, though I am not certain that it was in my own custody; secondly, the young lady left me much encouraged on the subject of the credit of the Newcomes, though I took very good care not to put myself in her power by promising to compromise felony; thirdly, I invited the sister to come openly to the Nest, that evening, as one of the means to be employed in attaining her ends-as respects Seneca, be it remembered, not as respects me; and lastly, we parted just as good friends as we ever had been, and entertaining exactly the same views as regards each other. What those views were it may not be modest in me to record.

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