of Harry Franco,
Vol. 2 by Charles Frederick Briggs
CHAPTER I. Get
settled in a
high road to
CHAPTER IV. A
Dooitt turns out
to be any thing
but a gentleman.
CHAPTER V. Meet
with no less
than two old
Verifies the old
saying, it never
rains but it
pours; I meet
with another old
particulars of a
CHAPTER X. The
mystery of the
Lancey at a
CHAPTER XI. Is
short, and of no
Cousin at a
CHAPTER XVI. A
Almost a murder.
CHAPTER XIX. The
Arrive at New
meet with an old
and the end of
Arrival at New
CHAPTER XXV. A
Storm and a
CHAPTER I. Get settled in a genteel
boarding house. Grow sublime.
It was a broiling hot day, and as I toiled along through the dusty
streets of Brooklyn towards the ferry, I almost wished myself back
again upon the blue sea.
It was almost two years since I left New York in the Two Marys, but
when I stepped ashore from the ferry boat by the Catharine Market,
every thing looked as natural and as unchanged as though I had been
absent but a day. I looked around in the expectation of seeing some
familiar face into which I could look for a smile of welcome. There was
an old red faced apple woman sitting under the shade of a tattered
canvassawning, brushing away the flies from her little pyramids of
dusty fruit, with a palmetto leaf in one hand, while with her other she
wiped the perspiration from her broad face. Close by, was a negro
opening hard shelled clams, with a red flannel shirt on his back, and a
bell crowned brown beaver hat on his head. Not far from him was a young
girl in a black silk dress and a tattered leghorn hat, selling ice
cream; and near her was a negro wench, sitting on a curb stone, and
crying out in the most heart-rending tone imaginable, "Here's your nice
hot corn." Three or four cartmen, in dirty frocks, were seated on their
cart tails, each of them studying a penny paper, apparently with the
most intense curiosity. There were also wood sawyers sitting listlessly
on their bucks, and spruce looking gentlemen, very much dressed, with
glass show cases on the side walk, displaying quantities of jewelry,
and soaps, and penknives; and there was an old man, very poorly
dressed, with an assortment of second hand books and tattered maps.
These might all have been old acquaintances of mine, for aught that
I knew to the contrary. They looked extremely natural, and even
familiar; but as I could call neither of them by name, Ipassed on,
feeling lonesome and down hearted. I longed to grasp somebody by the
I turned down into Water street, and perceiving a door open with
the sign of the Foul Anchor above it, I walked in, and engaged board
with the proprietor, Mr. Robert Murphy, a gentleman who had had the
misfortune to lose one of his legs. There was nothing particularly
attractive in the appearance of Mr. Murphy's bar-room, so I gave him my
bag to take care of, and set out in search of a tailor's shop. I found
one close by, the "Emporium of Fashion," in Cherry street, where I
procured a full suit of clothes, very similar to those which I had
purchased in Maiden Lane, nearly two years before. As I had not got the
money for my check, the tailor's book-keeper went with me to the bank
to get it changed, and having paid him for my clothes, I put the
balance in my pocket, and went in search of Mrs. Riggs' boarding house,
for I was impatient to see somebody that I knew, and I had no intention
of returning again to the Foul Anchor.
I found the place where I had left Mrs. Riggs' house standing, with
a brass plate on the door; but no house stood there now: a street had
been cut through the very spot, and towering high brick stores, with
square granite pillars, had sprung upall around it. I could hardly
believe that it was the same place; but I inquired in one of the
stores, and found that it was. I inquired about Mrs. Riggs, and was
told that she had sold her lease to an operator, in real estate, for
ten thousand dollars; and that she kept a genteel boarding house in
Broadway. I took her number, and soon found the house. It appeared to
me to be on the most magnificent scale. There was a large silver
plateon the door, with "Riggs" engraved on it; it is not a very
imposing name in itself, but being surrounded with a good many
flourishes, it made a very respectable appearance. I pulled the bell
handle, and the door was opened by a black man, with gold lace on his
coat collar, much finer than our lieutenant of marines. He showed me
into the parlor, and Mrs. Riggs soon made her appearance; she wore more
ribands, and wrinkles too, than when I saw her last; but I knew her,
the moment she entered, and I jumped up and took her hand, and shook it
very heartily; but she drew back, and I was surprised when I found that
she did not recognise me.
I explained to her who I was, and then I had the additional
mortification of learning that she had forgotten that she ever did know
me; but it was still a pleasure to me to see her, and I engaged the
only vacant room she had. Her charges were just treble what they were
in Pearl street, and the dinner hour was changed from two to five
"Is not five o'clock a very late hour for dinner?" I inquired.
"It may be for some," replied Mrs. Riggs. "Mechanics dine earlier,
but five o'clock is much the genteelest."
I never knew before that one hour was more particularly genteel
than another; and as I was anxious to conform, in all things, to the
very genteelest customs, I asked Mrs. Riggs what was considered a
genteel hour for going to bed.
"Some of the gentlemen," she replied, "which goes to the Opera,
don't retire to rest until after one o'clock."
I apologized for my ignorance, by observing that I had been absent
from the country almost two years, and that things appeared to have
changed very much.
"Been travelling?" asked Mrs. Riggs.
"Some," I replied.
"They are quite genteel in Europe, I presume?" suggested Mrs.
"I presume they are," I replied, "but I have not been travelling in
Europe. I have only been in South America."
"Ah," said Mrs. Riggs, "that, I believe, is near Cape Horn."
"Somewhere in that neighborhood," I answered.
"Were you in any of the gold, or silver mines?" inquired Mrs.
Riggs; whose views of South America were very much like my own, before
I had any experimental knowledge on the subject.
Mrs. Riggs was called away before I had time to make any reply, but
I was not left a great while to my reflections, for a young lady,
almost immediately, entered the parlor, and taking a seat at the piano,
began to thrum away, and scream with all her might.
As I was not particularly charmed with the young lady's voice, I
left the parlor, and with the hope of catching a glimpse of Georgiana
De Lancey, I walked up to St. John's Square; but here I was doomed to
another disappointment. The house in which she had lived was pulled
down, and a larger and handsomer one was built in its place. It was not
finished, and a heap of rubbish obstructed the side walk in front of
I returned to my boarding house, weary, disappointed, and dejected,
and went up to my chamber, and threw myself upon the bed to revolve in
my mind some plan for my future conduct.
I could no longer derive consolation and pleasure from the bright
and glittering hopes which crowded about me, before an encounter with
the stubborn realities of the world had put them all to flight. I had
to build my expectations out of such materials as my slender experience
had furnished me.
My first impulse was to go home, for I loved my parents and my
sister most dearly, and my heart yearned after them. But I loved
Georgiana De Lancey also, although against hope and reason; and I felt
unwilling to leave New York without first seeing her, or hearing of
her; if I could have caught but one glance of her soft blue eyes, I
should have felt happy; at least I thought so. And then the prophetic
words of my cousin, too, rose up to deter me from returning home; how
could I meet his sneering look, while the great object of my pursuit
was not half accomplished. It was true, I had money sufficient to
enable me to make a transient flourish before him; but as I had no
permanent source of income, and not even a profession to lean upon, I
should, by doing so, only draw down fresh contempt upon my head, not
only from him, but from others. So I resolved that I would not return
to my home until I had attained a station in the world that would
entitleme to the respect of my cousin. And that I might not be turned
from my purpose, I determined to keep my arrival at New York a secret
from my parents. I struggled hard with my feelings in forming this
determination, and many bitter tears it cost me.
I got off the bed, and to soothe the anguish of my feelings, paced
back and forwards in the chamber. I perceived there was a small black
bottle standing on the dressing table, which had probably been left
there by the former occupant of the room; and thinking it was a cologne
bottle, I smelt of it; but its contents proved to be brandy. I put it
to my lips, and drained it dry.
It was dark; the air was warm and heavy, and I sat down at the open
window of my chamber with my collar unbuttoned, and cast my eyes upward
to the stars, which shone dimly above me; they seemed to be oppressed
with the heat. I felt very grand, and very gloomy. I threw my hands
above my head, and gazed upon the dim stars, until they appeared to be
shining within my very soul.
Men have delivered themselves of maudlin sublimity before now, and
much of it has been well received by the world; why should not I do the
same? It was the last strain of the kind in whichI indulged, and it
shall not be lost to the lovers of fine writing.
"Tell me," I exclaimed, "ye bright and beautiful existences,
glorious in your mystery, and eloquent in your eternal silence;
solitary in your companionships, and in your might subservient, do ye
hold within your burning orbs the destinies of beings like me?
Creatures as ye are, formed as I am, but to fulfil your ends, and then
expire? If ye do, O! reveal to me, in characters bright as your own
fires, the fate which awaits me! Or do you, by your strong power, hold
an unacknowledged influence over the thoughts of men, leading them to
foretel, in their dull whisperings, those changes of fortune, which
should only be revealed by your own voices. O, stars! bright and
beautiful! ye are high and enduring, but I am low and transient. Speak
to me, that I may know my fate. Waste not your existence in ethereal
solitudes, but hold converse with me, who am your fellow-being; we are
children of the same parent. Glorious cousins, satisfy my longings, and
give me to know whether I shall die the death of old Cole's dog?"
CHAPTER II. Magnificent Prospects.
Suddenly I heard a strange noise; it was as though all the starry
host were shouting together. I started upon my feet; my heart beat
terribly, and the sweat started upon my forehead.
It was morning. The bright warm sun was shining full in my face,
and, very much to my astonishment, I discovered that I had not been
undressed, and that I had spent the whole night sitting with my head
resting on the sill of the window. The stars had all modestly withdrawn
themselves, and I could not distinctly remember whether they had
answered the questions which I had put to them or not. But with the
bright and cheerful rays of the morning, my spirits had mounted up, and
I should have been inclined to doubt the stars themselves if they had
taken me at my word, and revealed a different destiny from that which I
wished them to. The strange noise which had startled me was caused by a
Chinese gong; a signal for the boardersto make preparations for
breakfast, like seven bells on board a man of war.
After I had dressed myself, I counted my money over, to make sure
that none had been abstracted in the night, and then buttoned it up in
my pocket, and descended to the breakfast parlor, which was also the
dining room and the drawing room. There were but three or four
gentlemen at the breakfast table, and I took my seat rather timidly,
fearing that the hour was not strictly a genteel one. A young man sat
opposite to me, with a pale face, and very red whiskers, which grew
under his chin, and gave his head something the appearance of a Phœnix
sitting on its funeral pyre. On his upper lip were two tufts of light
colored hair, which threatened to soak up his coffee every time he put
the cup to his mouth. I felt very hungry, and I could have eaten up
every thing I saw before me; but in the presence of a personage so
evidently genteel, who picked up a few crumbs of dry toast, and carried
them deliberately to his mouth, on the ends of his long fingers,
without the least apparent satisfaction, I felt afraid to eat any thing
with a hearty good will and a smack of the lips, a practice which I was
very much given to when I felt hungry. So I restrained the urgent
demands of my appetite, and sipped my coffeeand nibbled a piece of dry
toast, as genteelly as I could.
"How is lots?" said one of the gentlemen at the table, addressing
the man with the sandy moustachios.
"Pretty fair," he replied, "but I am devlish sorry I didn't keep
that piece of property I sold yesterday. I only made twenty thousand
dollars by the operation, and the gentleman which bought it of me has
went and made forty thousand by selling it at Bleecker's."
I opened my eyes very wide to hear a man talk so coolly about
making twenty thousand dollars; but his reply did not cause any
astonishment in the others at the table, from which I concluded they
must all be immensely rich.
"Ah," said the gentleman who made the first remark, "I believe it
is utterly impossible for a man to buy a piece of property without
doubling his money on it."
"I believe so," said another gentleman.
"And so do I," said Mrs. Riggs; "there was my milkman, old poppy
Van Krouteater, which served his customers with milk only last Tuesday
morning, rode past here yesterday afternoon in his own carriage, with
two great black Long Island niggers, all dressed in beautiful liveries.
He had sold his farm for almost a million of dollars, on the condition
that the purchaser should build a town on it, and call it Van
"That's nothing at all," said the gentleman with the fiery
whiskers; "there was a reskill of a hackdriver called for me yesterday
while I was into Bleecker's, at the sale of some splendid lots in
Bulwer city, and he popped his ugly head into the auction room just as
the auctioneer was going to knock down a corner lot at twenty-two
hundred dollars, 'what shall I say for you,' said the auctioneer,
catching the twinkle of the hackman's eye; 'twenty-four,' replied the
scamp, meaning the number of his coach. 'Twenty-four hundred dollars,'
exclaimed the auctioneer; and down went the hammer. 'What name, sir,'
said the auctioneer. 'Barney,' said the hackman. 'What is your first
name, Mr. Barney?' said the auctioneer. 'Sure that is my first name,'
said the hackman. 'Ah, then what is your last name, sir?' said the
auctioneer. 'McFee,' says Barney. Now when Barney found he had bought a
corner lot for twenty-four hundred dollars, without knowing it, he
almost went crazy, he was so frightened, for he hadn't twenty-four
cents in the world to bless himself with. So the auctioneer put the lot
upagain on Barney's account, and I wish I may never sell another piece
of property if he didn't get forty-eight hundred dollars for it; so
Barney made twenty-four hundred dollars by the operation."
Having tantalized my appetite beyond all possible endurance, with
nibbling a piece of dry toast, I got up from table, and went out to a
pie shop, where I eat apple tarts and drank coffee, until the cravings
of hunger were appeased; after which, I read all the morning papers,
and then took a walk into Wall street.
Here all was bustle, and life, and gentility; the side walks were
filled with well dressed men, some of whom carried long half bound
books under their arms, and others maps in their hands. The walls of
the houses, the trunks of the trees, the fences, and the lamp posts,
exhibited innumerable plans of lithographed towns and cities, which
were to be disposed of at auction, on the most liberal terms. Every
man's face wore a keen and anxious expression; a vacant stare was not
to be encountered in that whole assemblage of busy men. Every body was
talking to somebody, or watching for something. The questions most
frequently heard were, "how's stocks?" "how's lots?" "how's money?" And
the answers almost invariably givenwere, "up," "so, so," and "tight."
Nobody appeared to have an inclination to inquire after any body's wife
and children, nor to make any sagacious remarks about the weather.
I had no recollection of ever having heard or seen any thing about
speculations in lots and new cities, when I was in New York before, and
I stood on the corner of William street, watching the crowds of men as
they hurried to and fro, wondering to myself what could be the cause of
all the stir and bustle which I witnessed, when I observed a tall young
man, with a stout ebony cane, almost as big as his leg, in his hand,
and a roll of paper under his arm, walking with a solemn stride towards
me. I recognised the gentleman instantly; it was no less a person than
Mr. Worhoss. Remembering our former intimacy, and that he had not paid
me the five dollars which I lent him, I felt myself free to claim his
acquaintance. But Mr. Worhoss had forgotten me entirely. However, when
I mentioned the circumstance of his borrowing five dollars of me, it
refreshened his memory wonderfully.
"But," said Mr. Worhoss, "as the committee of literary gentlemen
were a stupid set of fellows, they rejected my article, and,
consequently, you cannot expect me to return the money; the fault was
alltheirs, and not mine; so you will know where to lay the blame."
Mr. Worhoss also informed me, that he had given up literary
pursuits, as he found them not only unprofitable, but quite
disreputable; as all his intimate friends cut him, when they found he
was engaged in writing for periodicals. He said he was now getting rich
fast, by operating in real estate. He gave me to understand that he
considered poverty highly disgraceful. I blushed as I remembered my own
"I presume you have been making money since I saw you last?"
observed Mr. Worhoss.
"Some," I replied.
"Ah," exclaimed Mr. Worhoss, "been speculating in fast property?"
I did not precisely comprehend the meaning of his question, and I
replied that the property which I had acquired, was all in cash.
"In cash," exclaimed Mr. Worhoss; "what, money down? Perhaps you
would like to make fifteen or twenty thousand dollars by a small
I replied that nothing would be more agreeable to me; upon which he
instantly unrolled the paper which he carried under his arm, and
displayed to me a lithographed map of Gowannus city. I had no
recollection of ever having heard of such a city; but Mr. Worhoss told
me it was one of the most prosperous in the union; and truly it had a
very pleasant appearance on paper. It was regularly laid out with
avenues and streets intersecting each other at right angles, and
plentifully ornamented with squares and public places, with the very
Mr. Worhoss offered to sell me a choice of corner lots, in a
certain section of the city, at the very moderate price of one thousand
dollars each; and he assured me if I kept them only one week, I might
sell them again for double that sum.
I replied that I should be very glad to make such a speculation,
but that I should not be able to buy more than one lot.
Mr. Worhoss replied, that that should be no hinderance to my
entering into the speculation, for by paying ten per cent. down on the
purchase money, the balance might remain on bond and mortgage, and by
repeating the operation until I had purchased and sold a hundred lots,
I could easily clear a hundred thousand dollars.
Such magnificent prospects almost deprived me of breath. In my
wildest dreams of fortune, I had never imagined any thing half as
brilliant. Onehundred thousand dollars! The very mention of it
bewildered me. But Mr. Worhoss spoke very coolly about it, and said
such operations were of daily occurrence. He invited me into a
coffee-house near by, and asked me to take a mint julep, and then took
me down to an auction store in Broad street, where there was a sale of
lots, that I might see with my own eyes the manner in which fortunes
The auction room was long and narrow, and crowded to suffocation,
with all manner of men, who were bidding for lots, in a high state of
excitement. Some of the bidders were fuffian-looking fellows, with long
beards, and a little rivulet of tobacco juice trickling down the
corners of their mouths; others were very neat and delicate in their
persons. Lots upon lots were knocked down by the auctioneer; I forget
in what city they were located, but I believe it was in the city of
Julius Cæsar. After the sale was over, the buyers began to boast of
their bargains, and according to their own showing, there was not a man
present who had not made at least twenty thousand dollars.
For my own part, I was strongly tempted to make a bid, but
remembering my former speculation in an auction room, I restrained my
desiresto purchase "fast property" in spite of all the seductive
temptations with which I was beset.
When we came out of the auction room, Mr. Worhoss introduced me to
a gentleman, whom he called Mr. Dooitt. He was a tall,
square-shouldered man, with high cheek bones, a pale, freckled face,
and a paltry little nose; he shook my hand, and begged me to excuse his
glove; he said he was extremely happy to see me, and hoped I was very
well, and concluded by observing that the weather was remarkably
pleasant for the season.
Mr. Worhoss told me in a whisper that his friend Mr. Dooitt was
immensely rich, although six months before he was as poor as a church
mouse, and that he made his money by speculating in up-town lots.
I looked at Mr. Dooitt's person again, and observed it was
ornamented with a gold chain, worn around his neck, and an enormously
large breast pin.
Mr. Dooitt asked me if I had a mind to speculate in fast property.
I replied that I had some thoughts of doing so, upon hearing which
he winked to me knowingly; and while Mr. Worhoss was occupied in
reading an advertisement, he whispered in my ear,and told me not to
make any purchases until I had first called at his office, and looked
at a map of a city in which he was interested in Ouisconsin; and
slipping his card into my hand, he bade me good morning, and left me.
Mr. Worhoss gave me a map of his city— "Gowannus City," and told
me he would call on me at my lodgings, but before he left me he
cautioned me against making any purchases except from him, as he was
bent upon making a fortune for me for old acquaintance's sake.
After Mr. Worhoss left me, I sauntered about the streets, under the
cool shade of the awnings, delighted with every thing and every body. I
considered myself already worth a fortune. All my highest wishes were
about to be gratified, and more than I had dared to hope for would be
realized. The pleasurable anticipations in which I indulged were almost
maddening; there was, however, one dark spot in my bright horizon—I
was ignorant of the dwelling-place of Georgiana De Lancey; but I
consoled myself with the thought that fortune had now, for a certainty,
taken me under her especial charge, and that surely so great a
requisite to my happiness as the possession of her whom I loved would
not be denied me.
These were pleasant thoughts, and under the influence of them I
went home to my dinner, and called for a bottle of three dollar
Madeira, and took wine with every body at the dinner table.
CHAPTER III. Bright and
pleasant.—On the high road to riches.
As I was sitting in the hall of my boarding-house after dinner,
conjuring up a thousand bright images, I heard my name spoken by
somebody at the door, and starting up, I perceived Mr. Dooitt. That
wealthy gentleman had called on me to invite me to his house to tea;
his carriage was at the door, and of course I could not refuse so great
an honor. I took my seat in his barouche in a high state of excitement.
Mr. Dooitt's equipage spoke his immense riches. His coachman was
dressed in a long blue coat, the seams of which were covered with gold
lace; he wore a pair of bright yellow gauntlets, such as tragedy heroes
wear on the stage, and his glossy hat was ornamented with a broad gold
band. The footman behind the carriage was dressed in the same manner,
with the exception of the gauntlets.
Mr. Dooitt was not, like some great men, ashamed of the condition
from which he had risen, but, on the contrary, spoke with becoming
frankness of his sudden elevation.
"Only eight months ago," said Mr. Dooitt, "I done a small business
in the hook and eye trade."
"As a jobber?" I inquired, wishing to make myself agreeable.
"No, I warn't even a jobber," said Mr. Dooitt, meekly, "I was only
a commission agent for a New England concern."
"Is it possible!" I exclaimed.
"Yes, it is possible," he replied, "and now I am worth millions.
But mind you, I don't want it to be known."
"Why not; it is not looked upon as disgraceful, is it?" I inquired.
"O! no, quite the contrary," said Mr. Dooitt, "but they would make
me pay a heap of taxes if they knew how rich I am."
I could not but express my admiration of Mr. Dooitt's talents and
"There is no good fortune about it," he said, "any man may get rich
if he isn't a fool. I have taken a kind of a liking to you, and if you
will take my advice, I will put you in a way of making two or three
hundred thousand dollars in less than six months."
I thanked Mr. Dooitt, with great fervency, for his kind offers, and
as he saw my eyes fill with tears, he very considerately turned the
conversation, and told me he intended, as soon as he could arrange his
affairs, to go to Europe, where his father's relations were living.
I asked him in what part of Europe his relations lived; he said he
didn't exactly know, but he had no doubt he could easily find them for
As Mr. Dooitt's house was in the very genteelest extremity of the
city, it was almost dark before we reached it, but there was still
light enough for me to discover that it was a bran new house, and as
nearly resembling all the rest in the same street, as though they had
all been cast in the same mould. It was as red as red paint could make
it, the windows were shaded with bright green blinds, and the front
door and iron railings were all bronzed. As we walked into the hall, it
smelt of varnish, like a cabinet maker's shop; every thing was bright
and new. Mrs. Dooitt was seated in the parlor, on a crimson ottoman,
with a superbly bound annual in her hand.
"Allow me to make you acquainted with my wife," said Mr. Dooitt.
"My dear, this is my particular friend, Mr.—Mr.—. I forget exactly
"Mr. Franco," I said, blushing very red.
"Mr. Franco," said Mr. Dooitt.
The lady rose and made a very low curtsey, and I made a very low
I felt very much embarrassed, but ventured to remark that the
weather was very pleasant.
"It is indeed very," said Mrs. Dooitt, with so much earnestness in
her manner, that I congratulated myself upon having made an observation
exactly suited to the occasion. So I followed it up with another on the
"I think we may reasonably expect a change before long," I said.
"Indeed, I should not be extremely surprised, if we did experience
one before a very lengthy period of time," observed Mrs. Dooitt,
Feeling entirely at a loss for another remark, I fixed my eyes upon
a plaster cast of General Lafayette, which stood on the mantel piece,
with as much earnestness as though I had never seen one before in my
Mr. D. seeing that I cast a glance towards the marble centre table,
remarked, that it was a beautiful piece of mechanism, and asked me to
guess how much it cost.
I had not the slightest knowledge of the value of furniture, but I
felt ashamed to say so, and I guessed a thousand dollars. At which Mr.
andMrs. D. both laughed very loud, and both spoke at once, and said it
cost eighty dollars only. I felt very much confused, but Mrs. D.
appeared to be highly delighted with my blunder. She asked me to guess
how much the French clock on the mantel cost; and then Mr. D. asked me
to guess how much the card tables cost. My answers caused a good deal
of merriment to Mr. D. and his accomplished lady, and, after having
spent half an hour in this pleasant manner, he asked me to take a glass
of champagne with him, which of course I did not refuse, and then I was
invited into the tearoom to tea.
The tea-room was a little square box, with whitewashed walls, and
one window with a green blind to it. Like the hall and the parlor, the
tea-room smelt disagreeably strong of paint. We were waited upon by the
coachman, with his blue laced coat, but without his yellow gauntlets.
The tea table was most abundantly covered with all manner of
contrivances, for destroying the appetite; there were two plates of
cakes, a plate of cheese, another of bread, another of crackers, two
glass dishes of preserves, a champagne glass full of radishes, a dish
of hot waffles, a plate of raw beef, and a plate of butter.
I had eaten a hearty dinner at five o'clock, andthe champagne which
I had just drank, had given me a perfect loathing for food, and I was
distressed beyond measure by Mr. Dooitt and his wife, pressing me to
eat, sometimes alternately, and sometimes together.
"Have you got the dyspepsia?" asked Mrs. D.
"Aint you a Grahamite?" asked Mr. D.
"Why dont you eat?" ejaculated both together.
I spent a very uncomfortable half hour at the tea table, and then
Mr. Dooitt and I returned to the parlor; Mrs. D. remaining in the
tea-room, as she said, to feed the baby.
Mr. Dooitt exhibited to me the plan of a good many new cities, and
he promised to name a street after me in one of them, if I would take
an interest in it.
I replied, that I certainly should take a very lively interest in
He said the kind of interest he meant, was to buy some of the lots.
He offered them to me on the same terms that Mr. Worhoss had; but as I
had promised that gentleman that I would not make any purchase, without
consulting him, I was obliged to decline Mr. Dooitt's liberal offer.
Finding that I would not buy any lots, he said if I would lend him a
thousand dollars, he wouldallow one quarter per cent. interest per day
for it, and give me some endorsed paper as collateral security. By
doing this, he remarked, my money would not remain idle an hour
I liked this proposition very well; for the rate of interest which
he offered me, would pay my daily expenses, and I could select some
lots, either from his city or from Mr. Worhoss's, at my leisure. But I
felt a little delicate about receiving collateral security, from a
gentleman of Mr. Dooitt's wealth, and liberal feelings; so I tóld him
if he would give me his own note, and name in it the rate of interest
which he proposed to pay me, to guard against accidents, I would not
require the collaterals. He assented very willingly to this proposal,
and I gave him the money, and he gave me the note as I wished. After we
had concluded this negotiation, I pretended to have an engagement, and
took my leave of my generous host. It is such men as Mr. Dooitt, I
thought to myself, as I left his door, who compel us to think well of
our species, and convince us that the human heart is not, as some
assert, wholly evil.
As I am writing my own adventures, I might, of course, pass over
all my own weaknesses without noticing them, and so give the reader a
more favorable impression of my character than it might deserve; but
that, I conceive, would be acting unfairly, and I shall therefore make
a record of my foibles with as much candor, as though I were writing
the adventures of somebody else.
The attentions which were shown me by the wealthy speculator in
fast property, and the bright prospects which were opened to my
delighted fancy, by the promises of that gentleman, and my old friend,
Mr. Worhoss, nearly upset my reason. As I walked from Mr. Dooitt's
house down Broadway, I felt very grand, and twirled round my black
ebony stick, and inclined my head from one side to the other, as though
it was so full of big thoughts, that I could not keep it balanced upon
my shoulders. I stopped at some of the genteelest bar-rooms, and drank
a julep in one, a cock tail in another, and a sangaree in another; and
to appear grand, I bought a shilling's worth of Spanish cigars; but I
took good care not to put one of the nauseous things into my mouth.
I got to my boarding house about midnight, and went to bed, and
awoke the next morning with a burning thirst, and a terrible feeling in
my head. At the breakfast-table, I nibbled my toast, and sipped my
coffee, with as poor an appetite as the greatest gentleman could
desire. There wasnot the least affectation in the mincing airs which I
exhibited. I felt miserably enough.
It was not long before I began to have misgivings that the suit of
clothes which I had purchased at the "emporium of fashion," were not as
strictly genteel as they might be, and I consulted Mr. Worhoss on the
propriety of purchasing a new suit. He advised me to do so by all
means, and said he would introduce me to his own tailor, the celebrated
Mr. Suffers, of the late house of Allskirt and Suffers. Mr. Worhoss was
very warm in the praise of his tailor; he represented him as being a
perfect gentleman in his manners, and so entirely devoted to the
science of cutting, that he cut up five pieces of superfine wool dyed
black cloth, annually, in experimental garments. Like all the rest of
the world, Mr. Suffers had grown immensely rich by speculating in lots,
but he still continued to carry on his business from a love of art.
For my own part, I thought the best plan would be to employ the
gentleman who published the reports of the fashions, but Mr. Worhoss
said it was a decidedly vulgar concern, and I allowed myself to be
guided by his better judgment. He took me to the establishment of the
celebrated Mr.Suffers, in Broadway, and introduced me to him, and I
submitted myself to the hands of that accomplished gentleman, who took
my measure for a full suit, consisting of a black dress coat with a
velvet collar, a green satin vest, and a pair of pantaloons of ribbed
cassimere. Mr. Suffers recommended me to have my coat of inwisible
green, and althoughit was, no doubt, presumption in me to differ from
such high authority in matters of dress, yet I insisted on having
Fine clothes, they say, make fine birds; but they do more, they
cause fine feelings. I was so well pleased with my new suit when I put
it on, that I made a memorandum, at the time, of the leading ideas of
an essay I meant to write on the usefulness of tailors; but as I was
afterwards very much annoyed by the frequent calls of Mr. Suffers'
collector, I concluded not to write it.
Time passed pleasantly away for a few days; I became acquainted
with a good many genteel young men, and a good many lucky speculators
in lots—noble, whole souled fellows, who spared no expense in
promoting their own pleasures, but who were quite indifferent about the
happiness of others. Female society I was a stranger to, but I did not
regret it. The gentle image ofGeorgiana De Lancey, which grew brighter
and brighter in my memory, was all-sufficient for me. I felt myself in
honor bound, for her sake, to keep aloof from all woman kind.
CHAPTER IV. A change, Mr. Dooitt
turns out to be any thing but a gentleman.
After repeated consultations with Mr. Worhoss, and the examination
of a great number of lithographed maps, I, at last, concluded a bargain
with him for one hundred lots in the city of Communipaw, at one hundred
dollars each, ten per cent. of the purchase money to be paid down, and
the balance to be paid in five annual instalments, for the security of
which I was to give a mortgage on the property.
Mr. Worhoss proved to me very clearly that the lots were worth five
hundred dollars each, and he assured me upon his word and honor that he
would not sell them for less than that to any other person.
"It is first rate property," said Mr. Worhoss, "and you may
consider yourself worth fifty thousand dollars as soon as the bargain
is closed, by your paying the first instalment."
I had set my heart upon a hundred thousand, so I did not feel much
elated when I found I should be worth only half that snm. I asked
Mr.Worhoss if he would oblige me by selling me one hundred more lots at
the same price, if I should want them.
"Perhaps I might," said Mr. W. "if you would not object to taking a
few water lots with them.'
"What are water lots?" I inquired.
"Some very beautiful situations," he replied, which extend about
two hundred yards into the river; they require nothing but merely to be
filled up, to make them very desirable spots to build upon."
He pointed them out to me on the map, and as they looked quite as
well as the others, I promised to take them; it was a matter of very
trifling moment with me, where the lots were situated; all that I
wanted was to speculate with them.
Mr. Worhoss reminded me that it was near three o'clock, and that he
had made his calculations to pay a note at the bank with the money
which I was to pay him.
So I ran in great haste to the office of Mr. Dooitt, and requested
that lucky operator to give me a check for the amount I had loaned him.
But Mr. Dooitt requested me to call at some othertime, as he was busily
engaged in transferring some property.
Of course, it was not for me to urge a gentleman, through whose
influence I expected to make a fortune, and I ran back empty-handed to
Mr. Worhoss, who was pacing the floor of his little office in great
agony. It lacked but five minutes of three. When he found I had
returned without the money, he cursed and swore most vilely. He stuffed
half a dozen blank checks into his hat, and said he must go out and
kite it to save his credit.
I must confess it astonished me not a little, to find that men so
immensely rich as Mr. Worhoss and Mr. Dooitt represented themselves to
be, should be put to such shifts for so trifling a sum as a thousand
The next day I called again at the office of Mr. Dooitt, and
luckily I found him disengaged; he shook me cordially by the hand, said
he was very happy to see me, and hoped I was quite well; asked me if I
had heard any news from Europe, and whether I should like to travel
I was quite overcome with his politeness, and in my turn inquired
after his health, the health of Mrs. Dooitt, and the health of the
little boy; andthen added, that he would oblige me by returning the
money which I had loaned him.
"O, ah, yes, certainly," said Mr. Dooitt; "if you will call at
precisely half past one o'clock, it will give me great pleasure to do
I promised to return at that hour, and I did, to a second. But Mr.
Dooitt was not in his office, neither did he return again on that day.
The next morning I waited on him again; he was not quite as polite
as he had been, and when I reminded him that he had not kept his
promise the day before, he looked very surly, and asked if I meant to
insult him in his own office.
"No, Sir," I replied, "I certainly do not mean to insult you, and I
hope you did not mean to insult me when you appointed an hour to meet
me here, without any intention of keeping the appointment."
"Don't bully me in this office," said Mr. Dooitt, raising his
voice, "I wont stand it no how. Walk in here, Mr. Carrygutt, and hear
what this fellow says." This was addressed to a cadaverous looking
clerk in the outer office, for Mr. Dooitt was in his sanctum.
"Now repeat that again, will you, Mister," he said, as his clerk
poked his head in at the door.
"There is no need of my repeating it," I said, "but I repeat that I
want my money, and I must have it, and I will have it."
"Well, Sir," said Mr. Dooitt, "if you must have it, and will have
it, of course I have nothing more to say about it; get it if you can.
Mind this, I always deal fairly and honestly with every body."
I was completely thunderstruck by this strange conduct of Mr.
Dooitt's, and I walked out of his office without making him any farther
reply. Fortunately, I had his note of hand for the money I had loaned
him, with the exorbitant rate of interest named in it, and I was
determined to let him know, that he should not trifle with me with
impunity. I went straightway to a lawyer, determined to prosecute him
on the note, and take the full measure of vengeance which the law might
I remembered to have read in the newspapers, a few days before, of
a counsellor who threw an ink-stand at the head of the judge, in one of
the courts, and I thought he would be a very proper person to carry on
a suit with spirit. I found his direction in the city directory, and
called upon him at his office in Beekman street; his name was Slobber.
Seeing Mr. Slobber's name on a tin plate onthe window shutter, I
walked boldly into a little musty room, the walls of which were
blackened with smoke, and the windows and shelves covered with dust and
cobwebs. A young man was writing at a desk in one corner of the room. I
asked if I could see Mr. Slobber.
"Certainly you can," replied the young man, in a voice enriched by
an unaffected brogue, "if you will please to walk into the back
I walked through a long, dirty hall, and feeling a little timid at
the idea of entering unbidden into the presence of so spirited an
individual as Mr. Slobber, I tapped gently at the door at the end of
"Come in," exclaimed a voice inside.
I took off my hat, and opening the door, found myself in the
presence of a little gray-headed man, stretched out at his full length
on a dirty, red sofa, smoking a cigar.
"Well, sir?" said the little man, looking up in my face, but
"I wanted to speak with Mr. Slobber," I replied.
"Well, sir, that is me, I am that individual; speak on."
"I have a claim for a thousand dollars," I replied, "against a
gentleman, who has not only refusedto pay me, but has insulted me
grossly. I should like to take out a writ immediately, and have him
sent to prison."
"I will attend to you with a gwate deal of pleasure," replied Mr.
Slobber, and forthwith he leaped off the sofa, and took a seat at his
baize covered table, and having favored me with three or four puffs of
segar smoke, he said, "Well, sir?" again.
I related to Mr. Slobber the whole story of my loaning the money to
Mr. Dooitt; told him how I was like to lose an opportunity of making
fifty thousand dollars, by an operation in lots, and was proceeding to
tell him some other things, when a rap was heard on the floor above our
"Stop one minute, if you please, young man," said Mr. Slobber, "and
I will return and hear the remainder."
Mr. Slobber was gone more than half an hour; and as he left me
without any means of amusement, I am very certain he will not take it
amiss when he finds that I employed part of the time in writing a
description of his office.
It was a little old fashioned room, with a very low ceiling, and
from its shape and situation, I presume it had once been used for a
dining-room; from the dusky appearance of the wall, and the tattered
condition of the paper with which the sideswere covered, and the
venerable looking cobwebs which rounded off all the angles, it would
not be unfair to infer that neither mop, broom, nor duster, had invaded
its precincts since the late war.
There was a wooden clock in one corner, without any pendulum, and a
pair of monstrous jack boots hung directly under it; an Indian bow and
arrow hung in another corner, and a small birchen canoe was suspended
over one of the windows; there were two book cases, neither of which
had a whole pane of glass, and one of them had a faded green silk
curtain, which displayed innumerable rents; there were piles upon piles
of soiled papers, tied with red tape, and half a dozen shelves of
sheepskin covered books, well filled with dust, as though time had been
sifting the sand from his hour glass upon them. I took one of them down
and opened it, and it emitted an odour, which suggested no other idea
than that it was caused by the flapping of the gray wings of the old
At last, Mr. Slobber reappeared, picking his teeth, his face giving
a pretty sure indication that he had just risen from dinner. He took
his seat in an old arm chair, and having lighted a segar with a loco
foco match, he asked me to let him see the note of hand which Mr.
Dooitt had given me.
I reached it to him, and he contracted his eye brows and screwed up
his mouth, as he read it.
"Of course, you are appwised, young man," said Mr. Slobber, "that
it is the custom always to pay for legal adwice?"
"I suppose it is," I replied.
"Of course," said Mr. Slobber, "I am not such a downwight fool as
to spend my pwecious time and money in acquiring knowledge for the
benefit of indiwiduals for nothing."
"Of course not," I said, "and how much must I pay you for the
advice which you are going to give me in this business?"
"Why, sir," replied Mr. Slobber, "the charges are warous for legal
adwice, sometimes fifty dollars, and sometimes less. I think a ten
dollar bill would be about fair in this case."
This was more than I could afford to give, indeed it was nearly all
the money I had in the world; but I saw no other alternative, so I took
out my wallet, and reached Mr. Slobber two fives.
He put the bills into his pocket, and gave me back Mr. Dooitt's
note of hand.
"Well, sir," said Mr. Slobber, "as you have paid me for my adwice,
of course I shall give the best I am capable of. Don't think of going
to law,you will only incur a heavy bill of costs for nothing. The note
isn't worth two stwaws."
"Why not?" I inquired, although it was with difficulty I spoke, I
was so agitated.
"Why not, sir," said Mr. Slobber, "because it is tainted, sir."
"Tainted!" I replied, looking at the note, "how tainted?"
"Tainted with woosuwy, sir," replied the lawyer.
He then explained to me the beauty of the usury laws, and to my
great astonishment, as well as grief and mortification, made me
acquainted with the fact, that in our free country, a man has no right
to pay what he pleases for the use of his neighbor's money.
I was astounded at this intelligence. I felt humbled and abased; I
was caught in a pit of my own digging. But I could not believe that Mr.
Dooitt would be guilty of such an act of wicked cruelty, as to withhold
my money from me. I hurried back to his office, and requested him, very
humbly, to return me my money, and offered to give him all the interest
that was due on the note. But he pretended that I had insulted him
grossly, by doubting his honor, and ordered me to leave hisoffice. He
even went so far as to say, he didn't owe me a copper.
I did leave his office, and without saying a word; I was too full
of grief to make a reply. I saw too plainly that Mr. Dooitt had
intended to cheat me, from the beginning; and I had no doubt, but that
my old friend, Mr. Worhoss, had similar designs upon me; I, however,
went immediately to the office of that gentleman, and told him all the
particulars of my transactions with Mr. Dooitt, and observed to him,
that as he had introduced me to Mr. D., I should look to him for
assistance in getting my money back again.
"Well," said Mr. Worhoss, when I had finished, "you are a devilish
sight greener than I took you to be; if you had put confidence in me, I
would have made your fortune for you; but as you saw proper to act on
your own responsibility, you must continue to do so. There is the door;
I have business of my own to attend to."
My feelings were almost too keen for endurance; the sudden
overthrow of my hopes, left me without one prop; so deep and bitter was
my grief, that I was denied the poor solace of tears. I am ashamed to
confess that I had recourse to the vulgar expedient of drinking brandy
to drown my reflections. Having, as I thought, drank myselfinto an
oblivious condition, I staggered to my chamber, and threw myself upon
the bed, and was tormented in my drunken sleep with visions, a thousand
times more frightful than any that my sober senses could have conjured
A very short acquaintance with almost any of the ills of this life,
will reconcile us to them.
When I arose in the morning, I felt much more serene than when I
lay down at night. I bathed my temples in cologne water, and having
dressed myself with uncommon care, I assumed as pleasant and
unconcerned a look as I could, and descended to the breakfast room; and
at the table I had the gratification of hearing the particulars of my
transaction with Mr. Dooitt related by one of the boarders, who had not
learned the names of the parties. It caused a good deal of merriment,
and to my utter astonishment, nobody spoke a syllable in condemnation
of the scoundrel who had wronged me; but, on the contrary, every one
spoke of him as a confounded smart fellow. In addition to this pleasant
story, I had the mortification of hearing each of the boarders tell of
some lucky fellow who had made a fortunate operation by purchasing lots
the day before.
I made out to swallow one cup of coffee, and then I left the table
with my blood in a commotion. I knew not which way to turn, nor whither
to go for relief; but with the hope of diverting my thoughts from my
melancholy situation, I took a stroll through Broadway.
I was always hoping for something, I hardly knew what; a dim form,
like the shadow of a desire, was ever before me, to beguile my senses.
I could not even now divest myself of the idea that some piece of
sudden good luck would befal me. With feelings like these, I stumbled
upon a lottery office, and immediately purchased a ticket in a lottery,
which was to draw the next day; after I had paid for the chance, I had
but seven and six-pence remaining in my pocket. But the possession of
the ticket placed me two or three steps from absolute despair. My hopes
had now something tangible to feed upon, and miserable fare though it
was, they thrived upon it amazingly; they were like balloons, the
lighter the substance with which they were filled, the higher they
When I went to my boarding house to dinner, I was struck aghast by
the sight of my bill, which Mrs. Riggs put into my hand as soon as I
entered the parlor door. I took it in as careless a manner as I could,
and told her I expected to receive some money in the morning, when I
would pay it. My manner did not seem to impress my landladyvery
favorably, and when I went up to my chamber, I found the door locked; I
asked for the key, and was told that I could not have it until I had
paid my bill.
I afterwards found that Mr. Dooitt had called on Mrs. Riggs, and
cautioned her against keeping me any longer in her house, as he knew I
had no money to pay my board with.
Of course I did not eat my dinner at Mrs. Riggs's, but I went and
satisfied my appetite with a bowl of oyster soup, in an oyster cellar
in the vicinity of the Bear Market. Afterwards I sauntered about the
battery, and about midnight, when the tread of feet was no longer
heard, I stretched myself out on one of the benches, and soon fell
asleep; my feverish brow cooled by a gentle breeze, which just rippled
the water, and caused the tiny waves to dash with a pleasant sound
against the sea wall. In the morning, I awoke refreshed and
invigorated, and without experiencing any inconvenience from sleeping
on an outdoor couch, other than a most ravenous appetite.
Let those enervate gentlemen who turn and toss through a weary
night, and rise from their beds more fatigned than refreshed in the
morning, try a night's lodging on one of the batterycouches, and they
will learn to speak with less contempt of those houseless loafers who
sometimes spend a night on that lovely spot. For my own part, I was so
well pleased with my first night's lodging, I did not scruple to sleep
there again and again. But there are, it must be confessed, two
disadvantages in making your bed on the battery; one is, that you
sometimes lay down in company with gentlemen, who may be well enough
when the mantle of night covers them, but whom you would not care to
acknowledge were your bed fellows when the bright sun shines upon them;
the other is, that you get up with such a devouring appetite, that you
will find some difficulty in appeasing it, if your means do not happen
to be extensive.
CHAPTER V. Meet with no less than
two old acquaintances under very peculiar circumstances.
I inquired at the lottery office, with a beating heart, and found
that my ticket was a blank. I was now without a hope; not the slightest
foundation left for me to build upon. I had neither a cent in my
pocket, nor a single article of any value; even my pencil case and
pocket knife were both gone. But I did not despair; I was too hungry to
feel gloomy. My supper the night before was a very light one, and my
breakfast was still more unsubstantial; a glass of cold water was the
only refreshment I had taken. There had been a change in the weather,
and a keen cold wind had given an edge to my appetite, sharp enough to
have rendered even a sloth ferocious.
There are many men, beyond a doubt, who go down to their graves
without ever having known what hunger is; they are to be pitied who do;
they lose an existence, without having tasted one of the highest zests
that can be imparted to it; their experience of life is imperfect.
I knew there was nothing to be gained by standing still, and as I
came out of the lottery office, I turned up a street towards the Park,
and was tantalized by the savoury vapors which ascended from the
Terrapin Lunch, beneath the American Museum. As I continued on through
Park Row, it appeared as though all the restaurateurs in that
gormandizing region, had conspired together to torment me with an
exhibition of good things. Such steaks at the Goose and Gridiron, with
delicate streaks of yellow fat, a thousand times more precious to the
eyes than the heaps of golden coin in a broker's window! such oysters
at the Shakspeare, and such fish and game at the Cornucopia! I had
never seen the like before, but I averted my head and walked on; they
were as much beyond my reach as the Georgium Sidus; if I looked upon
them, it was only in silent admiration. I continued to walk on, until I
came to Catharine street, and then turned down towards the market,
attracted thither, perhaps, by that secret sympathy which causes birds
of the same feather to fly together. It was certainly one of the last
places that I should have resorted to, under other circumstances. The
impressions which I had received of the region round about it, were any
thing butpleasant. But I continued on my way until I arrived opposite
to the door of a cook shop, which emitted such a delicious odour of
fried eels, and other delicacies peculiar to that quarter, that I found
it impossible to resist the temptation to go in.
I took a seat at one of the little tables, covered with oil cloth,
and looked wishfully at the various dishes which were displayed on the
counter; my eyes rested with peculiar satisfaction on a huge basin of
baked beans and pork; it appeared to me the loveliest object in the
The master of this house of refreshments, was a round-faced,
big-bellied man, with a bright hazel eye and glossy black hair; he wore
a snowy white apron, and brandished in his right hand an immensely long
carving knife. Supposing, as a matter of course, or perhaps judging
from my anxious looks, that I wanted something to eat, he asked me what
I would have?
"Beans," I replied, for I had not the power o resistance.
"Small plate or large?" he asked.
"Large," I replied, of course.
And forthwith he brought me a large plate, with praiseworthy
It was a large plate of smoking warm bakedbeans, with a slice of
pork, the rind nicely checkered and most deliciously browned, lying on
top; there was a pickled cucumber on the edge of the plate, and a slice
of bread stuck on the end of the fork.
I smacked my lips as I drew it before me, and seized the knife and
fork, and was about to begin, when the keeper of the eating house
"I suppose, bossy, you mean to pay for that ere?"
"Of course," I replied, for so I did intend to do when I got able.
"Then of course you mought as well hand over a shilling first as
last, if you please."
I was entirely at a loss for an answer; had there been less at
stake, my wits might have suggested a satisfactory reply, but the
stupendousness of the demand, completely paralyzed me, and I let the
knife and fork fall in despair.
The man seeing my confusion, caught hold of the plate, and bore it
back to his strong hold.
Never before had I known what disappointment was; this was its
bitter dregs; the loss of my money was a trifle in comparison.
"That is a magnificent vest of yours," said a man who set at a
table opposite, and whom I had not observed until he spoke. "Why don't
youoffer it to Mr. Stewpy in pledge, and take your plate again?"
"Do you think he will take it?" I asked eagerly.
"To be sure you will, won't you, Mr. Stewpy?" said the benevolent
"I should rather think I would, if it was offered to me," replied
I made no further inquiries, but pulled off my coat and vest, and
gave the latter garment to Mr. Stewpy, who, in the most generous
manner, returned the plate of beans to me, and I fell to, and devoured
them as quick as I could, for fear of another surprise.
"Is that all you are going to call for?" asked the stranger, who
had kept his eyes steadily fixed upon me all the time I was eating the
"I could eat something more," I replied.
"Then why don't you call for a couple pieces of pie, and a couple
glasses of beer?" said the stranger. "These eating house people have no
sensibility; good eating blunts their finer feelings; they have no
soul, sir; if you don't ask for something more, you may depend upon't
Mr. Stewpy will not offer any thing to you; and your vest is worth a
good many shilling plates."
I improved the hint of the stranger, and requestedMr. Stewpy to
bring two pieces of pie and two glasses of beer.
"I will take pumpkin pie," said the stranger, "and be so good as to
put my beer into a pewter mug."
Mr. Stewpy brought the pie and the beer without any hesitation.
Feeling a little more at my ease, I took a glance at the features
of the kind stranger, who had rendered me such important service. He
was a youngish person, with a pale oval face and black restless eyes;
he had a remarkably hook-billed nose, and a high forehead, with a
narrow promontory of crispy black hair, extending far down the centre,
and a rivulet of bare skin running up on each side towards the top of
his head. His dress was none of the brightest; and his shirt collar,
although making no pretensions to a snowy aspect, was ostentatiously
turned over his black stock, notwithstanding.
"You ought always to drink out of a pewter mug," remarked the
"Why so?" I inquired.
"Perhaps you have not been in the habit of attending lectures at
Clinton Hall?" he said, without answering my question.
"I must acknowledge I have not."
"Ah, I thought so. If you had, you might have learned that when you
apply your warm lip to the edge of the pewter, a sort of an
electrogalvanic action takes place, which imparts a very peculiar
flavor to the liquor, as it pours over the surface of the metal into
"Is it possible?" I exclaimed.
"Fact, upon my soul," said the stranger, "just try it. And so
saying, he put the pewter mug to my lips, and I drank a swallow, but I
was obliged to confess that I failed to detect the flavor.
"Now let me try yours," he said, and taking up my tumbler, he drank
off its contents, and smacked his lips with great satisfaction, and
said, the difference was quite obvious.
"This is a vulgar hole," exclaimed the stranger, after a moment's
"I dare say it is," I replied.
"I perfectly detest it," he said.
"Then why do you come here?"
"Why!" he exclaimed, striking the table with his fist, and putting
on an indignant frown. "Because — but no matter; perhaps you will not
"O, I dare say I shall," I replied, for I was very curious to know
why a gentleman shouldvisit an eating-house which he detested so
"Because," said the stranger, with a solemn air, "I am in advance
of the age."
He had rightly surmised that I should not understand him. I thought
that a very strange reason indeed, and I said so.
"It is because I have got a soul above these money-making wretches.
They toil for silver, I work for fame. They revel in ignominious
wealth, I eat my crust with the Muse. Wealth is aristocratic; genius is
democratic. But I will take my revenge of them; they shall go down to
posterity with a brand in their foreheads. I will read you a thrilling
extract from my work in the press. There is one consolation about it, I
shall get as much for it as Milton got for his Paradise Lost. You know
"I cannot say I do."
"He was one of us. He starved to death. And Chatterton, poor
Chatterton! You know him?"
"He was another. Sons of Fame, but heirs of Indigence."
"Poor fellows!" I ejaculated.
"It is ever thus with poets, 'tis too true. Who would be a poet?"
"Not I, for one," I replied.
"No more I would n't," said Mr. Stewpy.
"How could you help it?" exclaimed the stranger, striking his
forehead, and rolling up his eyes, as though his system was undergoing
an agonizing revolution.
"I guess I could help it very easily," said Mr. Stewpy; "I never
writ a line of poetry in all my life, I am blessed if I did."
The poetical stranger made no other reply to the remark of Mr.
Stewpy than a disdainful toss of the head. But turning to me, he asked
me where I lodged.
I blushed at the question, and replied, "down town."
"On the battery?" he asked.
"Sometimes," I replied, affecting to speak carelessly.
"It is getting to be too common on the battery," said the poet;
"there are so many low characters resort there for a lodging, it makes
it quite disagreeable for a gentleman of any sensibility. Now
Washington Square is quite select, beautiful, clean spot, elegant
houses; Waverley Place is quite a poetical name. Then there isthe
University, it imparts a classic gusto to the reflection of having
slept under its shadow."
This singular gentleman having delivered himself of his encomiums
on Washington Square, begged me to excuse him, as he had an engagement
with a gentleman of the press; he said he should be most happy to
encounter me again, when he would read me an extract from his poem, of
thrilling interest; he then shook my hand very warmly, and bade me good
After he had left, I asked Mr. Stewpy to make a further advance on
the vest, which he agreed to do, and I indulged myself with a cup of
coffee, and half a dozen dough nuts.
During the remainder of the day I sauntered about from street to
street, reading the names on the door plates, and trying to beguile the
time, and cheat myself with idle surmises and conjecture about the
occupants of the houses. But the day wore away very slowly. I thought
the sun would never go down. By and by, however, it was dark, and then
I walked through the most frequented streets, up and down Broadway, and
round and round the park. I looked with envy upon the watchmen, as they
walked their prescribed limits. They had something to walk for; they
were occupied; they were paid for sauntering. Every body I met appeared
to be engaged about something. On what a variety of errands were the
multitudes bound who passed me. I alone was without an aim.
I often wonder now, as I pass through the crowded thoroughfares of
the city, if there are any among the seemingly hurried multitude that I
meet, who, like me, are wholly without an aim; who walk in weariness of
heart and body, striving to forget the cheerlessness of their
condition, but reminded of it at every step by the contrasted
cheerfulness of those they encounter. What a relief to such, is the
upsetting of a coach, a cry of fire, or of stop thief, a new print in a
bookseller's window, or a new placard stuck upon a wall; any thing,
thought it may beguile the mind but one minute, or one second, is a
relief; and it is sought for with the same earnestness that Dives
prayed for one drop of water to cool his burning tongue.
I continued to walk until nearly midnight, and then feeling sleepy,
I took the poet's advice, and sought for a lodging in Washington
I found that he had not overrated it. The houses were elegant, the
grounds were neat, and the university, though looming up in the
moonlight like a mountain of snow, cast a broad darkshadow around.
Fortunately, the large door in front was left open, and I took the
liberty of entering the hall, and coiling myself up on the marble
The morning was well advanced when I awoke. I felt cold and stiff.
Marble steps make but an indifferent resting place of a chilly night. I
resolved in my mind not to lodge again in the ball of the university.
The weather was comparatively mild and pleasant when I fell asleep,
but during the night, one of those changes, so common in our climate,
had taken place, and a dry, piercing cold wind now swept through the
streets, converting heaps of mud and filth into clouds of fine and
penetrating dust. The shop doors were all closed, and men hurried
through the streets, wrapped in their cloaks, and their hats drawn
tightly over their eyes, and their heads bowed down to keep the dust
out of their faces, as it met them in spiral eddies at the corners of
the avenues. The omnibuses were all crowded, for nobody would venture
to walk through clouds of dust and coal ashes, when they could ride
under cover for a shilling; and the little ragged omnibus boys would
hardly condescend to take their hands out of their pockets, to open the
doors for passengers. A poor seamstress, but slenderly protected from
the cold wind by a thin shawl, might be seen here and there, hurrying
to her daily task. Little barefooted boys were crying out, 'here's the
Sun,' in shrill piping voices, while their teeth chattered together,
and their faces were blue with cold. Although I was compelled to walk
very fast to keep myself from shivering, and sometimes by the force of
a sudden gust of wind, I could not help noticing these poor creatures,
and envying them, miserable though they were. They had something to do.
I was very cold, and with my coat buttoned close up to my throat, I
have no doubt I made a very wretched appearance; but I was indifferent
about my looks; I was hurrying down Broadway, with a determination to
go to Mr. Stewpy, and make an appeal to his generosity for a breakfast.
I had got as far as Reed street, when, as I was about to turn the
corner, I encountered an apparition, which drove all thoughts of
breakfast out of my mind, and caused the sweat to start from every pore
in my body.
The apparition which I encountered was not of the spectral order;
it would have startled me less if it had been; but it was a ruddy
cheeked, hearty looking young man. It was none other than my haughty
cousin, whose unfeeling taunts had driven me from my home, to seek a
fortune in the world. He was elegantly and warmly clad, with a fur
collar to his outside coat; he was leaning on the arm of a young man,
and laughing right heartily, apparently at some observation of his
companion. As soon as I caught sight of him, I crossed over to the
opposite side of the street, hoping to escape his notice; but he
recognised me, and called out my name. But I kept on my way without
turning my head, and heard him exclaim, "I told you so; remember what I
told you." And then he and his companion laughed.
I did remember what he had told me; the words still burned in my
brain. I thought my heart would burst; all the blood in my veins seemed
to rush into it at once. I wandered about, blinded with grief, my brain
was dizzy, and I felt sick. I looked around in search of some place
where I might hide myself from observation, and give vent to my
feelings in tears.
I had unconsciously strayed into a wretched street, the houses of
which on either side were disgustingly mean and filthy in their
appearance. Vile looking women, negroes, and squalid children, hogs,
and all manner of unclean things,were seen all around; and oaths, and
lewd talk, and boisterous revelry, without mirth, were heard proceeding
from the cellars and shop doors. I did not know before that there was
such a vile and wretched spot in the city, and I spoke to a negro
woman, who sat on the sill of a cellar door, smoking a pipe, and asked
her what place it was.
"Get away, white man," replied the wench, "you don't say you don't
know where de pints is; get along wid your bodering me. Dis is Five
Points, dat you knows precious well."
While I was looking around me at the squalid misery on every side,
which appeared a thousand times more hideous from its evident
association with the most degrading vice, a little bare-headed and
bare-footed child asked me for a penny, in a voice so weak and feeble,
that it smote upon my heart. But I looked sternly upon the little
wretch, and answered, "no."
"Won't you come and see mother," said the child, at the same time
reaching up to take hold of my hand.
"Where is your mother?" I asked.
"She's a bed," answered the child. "Do come and see her."
I had nothing to give, not even a penny, but Icould not resist the
appeal of the little creature, and I followed it through a dirty narrow
passage, into a little square court, surrounded by old wooden sheds, in
a most ruinous and dilapidated condition.
Into one of these hovels I was led by the child. In a low room,
destitute of every convenience, was a bed, on which lay a middle aged
woman, covered over with a few miserable rags. Two children, smaller
than the one that had led me in, were nestling over a few expiring
embers; they were almost naked, and their pale and emaciated faces
showed too plainly how severely the little innocents had suffered for
the want of wholesome food. The destitution of the place was extreme. I
could hardly believe that there were human beings living, or rather
dying, in such a condition, in the very centre of this great and
The poor woman hardly moved her head when I came in. I stood some
minutes, and gazed on the misery around me, and forgot my own; but when
I remembered that I had not the power to offer the slightest relief, I
wept tears of bitter agony. The little children ran to the bed side of
their mother, and she looked up at me with disappointment in her face,
when she found that I had nothing but tears to offer her.
The little boy, who had gone back as soon as he had conducted me
into the room, now came running in, exclaiming, "she's coming, mother,
she's coming; don't die mother, she's coming, she's coming." I looked
out of the window, and saw a female approaching across the court.
Ashamed to be seen in such a place an idle looker on, I stole out of a
side door, and left it partly ajar, that I might catch a glimpse of the
gentle being who had come on an errand of mercy, into this loathsome
The children crowded around their visiter when she entered, and I
observed that she gave them some food from a basket which she carried
in her hand; her face was turned from me towards the sick woman; but I
could hear the tones of her voice, which were soft and musical.
Although I could not hear the words she uttered, I doubted not they
were words of consolation and pity. After she had administered to the
poor woman's wants, she took a seat on the side of the bed, and taking
a book from her basket, she commenced reading; from the few words that
I heard, I supposed it was a religious tract. The gentle murmur of her
soft voice fell upon my ear like angel whispers; I stood completely
entranced, while she was reading, with the tears running from my eyes.
The sick woman sobbed aloud, and the gentle being at her side, when she
laid down her book, spoke a few words to her, and then took off her
bonnet, and knelt down by the bedside to pray.
When she knelt down, her face was turned towards me. My eyes were
almost blinded with tears, but I could not be mistaken. She lifted her
eyes to Heaven. I could never forget their gentle expression. It was
Georgiana De Lancey.
She crossed her hands upon her breast, and prayed long and
fervently for the sick woman and her children. O! that I too could have
been remembered in her prayers. Surely, I thought, if ever prayer be
heard, it must be when it is breathed by lips like hers.
Had she been a stranger to me, I could not have looked upon her
unmoved. Had I never loved her before, I must have loved her then. When
I saw her last, she was in a crowded theatre, amid the glare of bright
lights, and surrounded by forms and faces, perhaps as beautiful as her
own, and I thought her then the loveliest vision that had ever been
revealed to mortal eyes. In the two years that had elapsed, she had
grown in stature, and, if possible, in beauty, and now I saw her in her
proper sphere, like one of God's particular angels, just lighted upon
earth on an errand of love.When I saw her last, I had some hope, but
now I had none. I had not the courage to hope to be ever admitted into
her society. I felt the wretchedness of my condition in all its force.
I had struggled in vain. The objects at which I aimed could never be
mine; they were placed at an immeasurable distance from me. I felt that
I was doomed to misery; the prophetic words of my cousin had been again
repeated, but I had no kind parents now upon whose bosom I could pour
out my grief, and no tender sister to mingle her tears with mine. But I
could die, and I exulted in the thought. Death would not turn from me.
I resolved to die, and I felt calm.
I looked again at the fair vision before me, but my eyes were
blurred with tears; I never expected to behold her again, until I
should look upon her in the next world.
CHAPTER VI. Verifies the old saying,
it never rains but it pours; I meet with another old acquaintance.
In opposition to half the world, and perhaps to the whole of it, I
must be allowed to say, that hunger and cold are life preservers.
I am very certain that if my back had been warm, and my belly well
filled, when I quitted the miserable hovel in the Five Points, I should
have gone immediately to the nearest and most convenient spot, and
there have put an end to my existence. My determination to do so was
fixed. But I had not walked the length of half a dozen blocks, before
the piercing cold wind, and the urgent demands of my appetite,
completely drove all thoughts of suicide out of my head. The idea of
killing myself before I got something warm and comfortable to eat, was
not to be endured. Mr. Stewpy, and his warm cooking stove, completely
usurped the place in my affections, which Georgiana De Lancey and my
cousin occupied but a few minutes before.
This is a humiliating confession to make, and perhaps justice to
myself would allow me to withhold it; but as I am writing a true
history of myadventures, and not a fictitious story, I feel bound to
I was walking as fast as I could towards the eating house of the
portly Mr. Stewpy, when, as I crossed Water street, my eye caught sight
of the sign of the Foul Anchor, which brought to my recollection the
fact that I had left my bag of clothes there in charge of Mr. Murphy,
the landlord, the day on which I came over from the navy yard, a
circumstance which I had unaccountably forgotten. The bag contained
some articles of value, and I stepped into the house, and inquired
after my property.
The bar-room was full of sailors, drinking and singing, and it was
some time before I could get the bar-keeper to attend to me. Mr.
Murphy, the landlord, bluntly and resolutely refused to give me back my
bag, notwithstanding I pointed it out to him, among a heap of others,
and told him I could describe its contents. He said it was left in his
charge by a sailor, and he would not deliver it up to a long coated
While I stood disputing with Mr. Murphy, one of the sailors stopped
short in the middle of a song, and stepping up to me, exclaimed,
But as I did not know him, I supposed he wantedto pick a quarrel
with me, and so I turned my back upon him, without noticing him.
"Ah!" said the sailor, with an oath, "I see how it is; now you have
got a long tailed swinger on, you are too proud to speak to an old
I looked at the man again, and notwithstanding his voice sounded
very familiar, I could not recognise him.
"My good fellow," I said, "I do not remember you; but if you
remember me, I am very glad to hear it. Perhaps you can convince Mr.
Murphy, here, that I am no highbinder, although I have got a frock coat
"What, disremember me," exclaimed the sailor, "after you and I have
rid half over South America, on one horse together."
"What, is it Jerry?" I exclaimed.
"Isn't it?" he said, "Jeremiah Bowhorn, himself. I guess it's me. I
am not certain, but I believe so."
I was so delighted, I could have fallen upon his neck and kissed
him. I had now found a friend. It was no wonder that I did not know
him; he had but recently recovered from an attack of the small pox, and
his once handsome face was very badly marked.
Jerry was not less delighted to meet with me, than I was at meeting
him. He took me out of the bar-room into the back parlor, or
dining-room, where we soon became acquainted with each other's
situation and prospects. He called for something to eat, and while I
was regaling myself with some baked beef and potatoes, and a glass of
Monongahela whiskey, he gave me a summary of his adventures since we
parted company in Buenos Ayres, the conclusion of which was, that he
was paid off the day before from his last ship, and that he had
something more than a hundred dollars in his pocket, any part of which,
or the whole, was entirely at my service.
Mr. Murphy, the landlord, finding that I was not a highbinder, and
that the bag of clothes really belonged to me, delivered it up to me. I
took off the coat, which had caused me to be regarded with suspicion,
and put on my blue jacket, and exchanged my black satin stock for a
black silk handkerchief.
Jerry swore that I looked more ship-shape, and something like a man
in my new dress, or rather my old one, and he was so well pleased with
my appearance, that he insisted on taking me up stairs into the parlor
to introduce me to Miss Mary Ann, the landlord's daughter. As I
sawJerry thought it would be conferring a great honor upon me, I made
no objection, and was accordingly introduced to the young lady.
The parlor of the Foul Anchor was on the second floor, and the
front windows commanded a view which included a coppersmith's shop, a
clothing store, and a camboose factory. Jerry called the parlor the
ladies' cabin, and Miss Mary Ann sat in it, surrounded by the gifts of
a thousand ocean rovers. She was an only daughter, and a pretty little
black-eyed girl she was. She had a round face, glossy black hair, and
sparkling bright eyes; as she was always good-natured, and neat in her
dress, she won the good-will of all her father's boarders, who rarely
failed to bring her a present when they returned from sea. Her little
parlor was literally filled with all manner of curious things, enough
to stock a dozen village lyceums. There were sea-fans, and branches of
coral, Indian arrows, and models of ships, ostrich eggs and whale's
teeth, stuffed birds and flamingo's feathers, shark's jaws and
albatross's wings, the skin of a penguin, and Chinese slippers, a
Turkish pipe, and a model of London Bridge, a glass ship and a view of
Mount Vesuvius, and a thousand other equally rare and curious articles.
Miss Mary Ann affected to simper and look shy, and as I felt in no
humor for trifling, I remained but a very few minutes with her.
Jerry was a favorite in the house, and to please him Mr. Murphy
consented to receive me as a boarder. I had not fully recovered from
the severe shock which I experienced in the morning in encountering my
cousin and Georgiana De Lancey; no, no, my feelings had been so
severely worked upon that their elasticity was gone; I felt
heart-broken and dejected still, and was still determined upon
self-destruction; the more familiar the idea became, the less
repugnance I felt to the act. I saw no prospect of realizing my former
hopes; but as suicide was an act not to be repented of, I concluded to
wait a few days longer before I consummated my intentions.
In the evening, the sailors grew very boisterous, and to escape
from the noise and confusion, I went up to Miss Mary Ann's parlour,
where I found a gentleman seated alongside of her, whom she introduced
to me as Mr. Davis, mate of one of the liners. He was a stout young
man, with light hair, and a florid complexion; dressed in a blue coat,
with bright buttons, and a white vest, and a very high shirt collar. He
was balancing himself on the hind legs of his chair, when I entered,
but on being introduced to me, he rose and shook me by the hand, and
said he should be much pleased to see me on board the Columby. He then
took his seat and balanced himself as before, and after a few minutes
silence, he asked me if I had heard any news.
I answered that I had not.
Miss Mary Ann said she had heard, but she couldn't positively say
it was true, that the Dutch had taken Holland.
Of course, we all laughed at this bright sally, and Mr. Davis sat
looking for full five minutes at Miss Mary Ann, with the liveliest
satisfaction depicted in his countenance. He then asked me if I had
noticed which way the wind was.
I told him I had not.
But Miss Mary Ann, with a saucy toss of the head, said she guessed
it was "nor-west and by west, half west, Captain West." Mr. Davis and I
laughed again, but the young lady pouted out her lips, and looked very
Thinking that I was probably the cause of her pouting, I rose to
go, when she jumped up, and giving me a wink, told me she was all
ready, and began to put on her shawl and bonnet.
I was quite taken by surprise, and was just going to ask her what
she meant, when a glancefrom her roguish black eye gave me to
understand that I must remain mute.
Mr. Davis looked a north wester at me, but he said nothing. When
the young lady had adjusted her hat to her satisfaction, she requested
Mr. Davis to excuse her, as she had engaged herself to go to the museum
I followed her out, feeling very foolish, as I had not a copper in
my pocket, and I was ashamed to acknowledge my poverty. But she soon
relieved me from my embarrassment by slipping a dollar into my hand,
and telling me not to think any thing amiss of it, as she only wanted
to make her beau feel jealous.
I was glad to find that Miss Mary Ann had no other motive for
making so free with me. We went to the museum, and afterwards to a
confectioner's, and then returned home, and discovered Mr. Davis
walking to and fro on the opposite side walk, under the shadow of the
awning. Probably he was meditating some stupendous plan of revenge,
such as drowning himself, or murdering me and his sweetheart. But
whatever his thoughts or feelings were, they did not prevent him from
visiting the young lady every night for the next week; and she omitted
no opportunity of tormenting him, by bestowing thesweetest smiles upon
me whenever I was present.
I had been at the "Foul Anchor" a week, when I found Jerry one
morning sitting on his chest, and looking very much cast down and
dejected; I sat down by his side, and commenced talking to him, but it
was some time before he would make me a reply; he, however, at last,
told me the cause of his down heartedness.
"The long and the short of it is, Harry," he said, "I have been
very misfortunate; I never was caught in a white squall before, and now
I have lost every rag of canvass; blown clean out of the bolt ropes;
not a thread left. You see the facts of the case is simply this: I got
into a hack as was standing before the door here yesterday, for a bit
of a ride. Where shall I drive, says the hackman; any where, says I.
Well, that is no where, says the driver, so I'll stop here until you
conclude on something a little more particular. Just then, I
recollected there was a young woman of my acquaintance as lived up
town, and which I wanted to see. So I gave the hackman her number, and
told him to drive me there. When we got there, I squared the yards with
the driver, and in I went, and found the young woman all alone, and
down we sat together, and had something to drink quite sociable. Very
soon I begins to feel drowsy, and the young woman, says she, lay down
on the settee, Jerry, and rest yourself; so down I lay, and when I got
up again, I found I had been asleep, and I wish I may be blown into a
gin shop if I warnt skinned clean O! The young woman had not only
picked my pockets of every cent there was in them, but she had even
taken the shoes off my feet, and shoved them up the spout along with my
new hat. So I had to toddle back again, bare footed and bare headed,
and without a sixpence in my pocket to pay for a tort of grog."
"Of course," said Mr. Murphy, who had listened to Jerry's recital,
"you did'nt leave the young woman's house without smashing every thing
"Perhaps I didn't," said Jerry. "All I cared about it for, was,
because I had just a hundred dollars in my pocket, and was going to
give half of it to you, and the other half to my mother; but now I
shall not go to see the old woman, for I don't like to go home to her
without a dollar in my pocket after being gone from her so long."
Jerry's eyes filled with tears as he spoke of his mother, but he
brushed them away, and soon resumed his usually cheerful tone.
CHAPTER VII. Contains a Ballad.
I began to grow very restless and dissatisfied at the Foul Anchor.
Miss Mary Ann favored me with more attentions than I coveted, and I
began to fear that what she intended as a jest, would end in earnest.
Indeed, she had already asked me to take the place of bar-keeper to her
father, but I declined her kind offer.
My mind having nothing to feed upon, began to busy itself again
with my cousin's prediction, and with the all beauteous Georgiana De
Lancey; and the thought of destroying myself would occasionally intrude
itself into my mind.
I was sitting, the morning after Jerry's disaster, in Miss Mary
Ann's parlor, with my face covered with my hands, and my busy fancy
raising up the ghosts of a thousand withered follies, when that young
lady bounded in, and reached me a little dirty looking misshapen
letter. She said it was from Jerry Bowhorn. I opened it and read as
Dear Sir—This is to inform you as I have entered in Uncle Sam's
service, and havetook three month's advance. I have kept money enough
to have a good drunk, and the rest I send to you. Keep it and spend it
for my sake. I wanted to of given you more, but that young woman, blast
her—but never say die. So no more at present till death, and don't
forget your old shipmate,
Enclosed in the letter, were three ten dollar bills. I read the
letter to Miss Mary Ann, and she agreed with me, that Jerry was the
best and frëest hearted fellow in the world. I said that I loved him
like a brother.
"Ah!" said she, looking at me, while a blush stole over her pale
face, "do you indeed love him?"
"Indeed, and in truth I do; see what he has done for me."
She tripped out of the room, and in a few minutes returned, and
with her face averted, she put a little package into my hand, and then
ran out again, without speaking a word.
I opened the little package, and found it contained a roll of bank
bills, wrapped up in a piece of greasy brown paper; there were about
sixty dollars in almost as many bills, and of as many different banks.
I could not misunderstand thismanifestation of the young lady's kind
feelings, and to prevent any further indiscretion on her part, I
determined to quit her father's house immediately. Accordingly, I went
down to the bar-room, having first put the roll of bills into the young
lady's work box, to pay Mr. Murphy for my board, and to my surprise, I
found that Jerry had paid a month in advance for me. This new proof of
his attachment and kindly feelings, made so keen an impression upon my
mind, that in the warmth of my feelings, I resolved to unite my fortune
with his, and not set lightly by a friend who had acted so generously
So I went off to the rendezvous for shipping seamen, in search of
my friend Jerry, with a firm determination of entering on board the
same ship with him; but when I got there, I found that he had been
carried off to the receiving ship, about an hour before, as drunk as a
Having had time to make a few wholesome reflections, I got the
better of my enthusiastic determination, and once more I began to think
of proving my cousin a lying prophet. Having my bag under my arm, and
being in the neighborhood of Mr. Stewpy's eating house, I stepped in
there to rest and refresh myself. I redeemed my green satin vest from
Mr. Stewpy, and put it on again, togetherwith my frock coat and satin
stock, and with them all my former pride, and anxiety for distinction
and riches, seemed to return.
While I was adjusting my dress, the poet came in; he was overjoyed
at seeing me; he inquired after my health, and said he had been very
anxious to meet with me, as he wanted to get my opinion of a ballad
that he was going to insert in his poem, which was in the press. He
said he should place a very high estimate upon my opinion, as he knew
from my phrenological developments, that I had considerable soul.
The poet looked very hungry, and as Mr. Stewpy had just brought in
a famous piece of roast beef, I invited him to dine with me. I ordered
two shilling plates, and at the poet's suggestion, two cups of coffee,
and a small plate of pickles. Our dinner was soon despatched, and then
be took a roll of manuscript out of his hat, and read the ballad. The
thrilling extract, he said, he would read to me at some other time.
I begged a copy of the ballad, and as the reader may not have met
with the poem to which it belonged, and in which it should have
appeared, I will transcribe it for his benefit.
THE COUNT COMMUNE DE PAS.A BALLAD.
There was once a tall, fine gentleman, came all the way from
To teach the beaux and ladies all, the genteel way to dance.
His hair was black as Lehigh's mines, it hung in glossy curls;
His mouth was wide; his eyes were black; his teeth, two rows of
Mustachoes, frowning fiercely black, upon his lips he bore,
And rings, both large and numerous, upon his hands he wore;
He was praised by all the ladies fair, and puffed by all the press;
They set him forth perfection's self, the Prince of politesse.
Now this very fine, tall gentleman, kept thinking all the while,
"What a fool am I to teach dese brutes to dance in true French
Tree tousand dollar, more or less, is all dat I shall gain,
But a handsome fortune I might make by Hymen's Coup de main."
"Nons verrons," said this gentleman, "we will see what I shall do,"
And he put his fiddle in its bag, and close the strings he drew.
"Va laissez moi. One fiddle bow, I never more shall draw,
I'll be one Count, to-morrow night, le Comte Commune de Pas."
"To-morrow night," was ushered in, it was a night most rare,
A grand soiree was held up town; the Count, of course, was there.
He danced such steps! the gentlemen beheld him in a rage,
For the ladies all declared such steps would ornament the stage.
"But stop," said one, "he is no Count; he cannot sing a song."
The Count was asked to volunteer, "oui Madame, certainment!"
And such a song! not one false note, in foreign accents too!
The envious gentlemen confessed, he was a Count most true.
A lovely girl shone there that night, her father's pet and pride,
She heard the men, with slanderous tongues, the foreigner deride.
She knew he was a real Count, by a never failing sign,
His hands were small and delicate, Lord Byron's test, and mine.
Now to show to all the ton her taste, and prove she was no dunce,
She saw him dance, she heard him sing, and fell in love, at once.
"Ah ha! sans doute, my fortune's made," cried Count Commune de Pas,
"One rich bank president shall be my father in the law."
"This lovely girl, in one week's time, was languishing a bride,
And this very tall, fine gentleman, was lounging at her side,
Whilst her pa and ma were rummaging their son in law's 'scrutoire,
To seek the Count's credentials, and find out if all was fair.
Now suddenly they pounced upon a bag of faded green,
"Why wife," cries pa, "hang me if here is not a violeen!"
"A violeen! why bless my soul! and here's a bundle stout
Of bills for teaching boys to dance, all regular made out."
Sans ceremonie, out of doors, the Count Commune de Pas
Was straightway kicked into the street, by his father in the law,
And the lovely bride began to pine, and would have been a corse,
But the legislature, when it met, awarded a divorce.
"Par bleu! ma foi! mon Dieu! Sacre!" the gentleman did say,
As he took a monstrous pinch of snuff, and quickly walked away.
"One mes alliance I did make. I shall go back to France.
I'll see these yankees all be dem, they shall never learn to
"How do you like it?" asked the poet, looking round with a
triumphant air, when he had done reading it.
"Very much, indeed," I replied, "only I think if I had been in the
count's place, I would have claimed my bride."
"I wouldn't have done no such a thing," said Mr. Stewpy, "I would
have gone right off and commenced a suit for 'salt and battery' gin the
old 'ristocrat, her father, the old villain! that's just the way with
them bank-men. If I had been on the jury, I'd guv the count as much
damages as he had a mind to ask for." So saying, Mr.Stewpy puffed out
his cheeks, and whetted his carving knife very fiercely.
The poet smiled scornfully, and said, "You are both wrong. In the
first place, I do not believe that either of you would have practised
such a high handed piece of deception as the count did; and if you had,
you would have sneaked off as he did."
"That is very true," said Mr. Stewpy; "nobody but a Frenchman would
have had the impudence to did that thing."
"'Cepting 'twas an Irishman," said Mr. Stewpy's assistant.
Hereupon arose a little discussion between these two gentlemen,
which ended very differently from discussions in general; for both the
disputants came to the same conclusion, namely: that it was quite
possible for any body to have been guilty of as great a piece of
roguery as the count was, except an American; and that it was entirely
out of the range of possibility for one of their own countrymen to err
in any thing.
"Well," said the poet, addressing himself to me and Mr. Stewpy, for
he appeared to look upon Mr. Stewpy's assistant as altogether unworthy
of his attention, "you are both of you a fair sample of the critics of
the present day, who, insteadof considering a character
philosophically, and tracing out his true springs of action, condemn
him for not acting as they think they would act themselves, if they
were placed in his situation, with entirely different motives to
influence them. No man is qualified to judge of the naturalness of a
fictitious character, unless he be either possessed of sufficient
discernment to enable him to comprehend the whole scope and design of
the author who created it; or of sufficient enthusiasm to identify
himself so completely with it, as to lose sight of his own
individuality, and feel his soul swayed to and fro by the same
influences which prompt it to action.
"You see now that when Mr. Stewpy said if he had been in the
count's place, he would have gone to lawwith the old bank president, he
forgot that, if he had been in the count's place, he would not have had
his present high minded and democratic feelings."
"You are right there, for once," said Mr. Stewpy.
"And you," said the poet, turning to me, "if you had been in the
count's place, and had married the young lady for the sake of her
father's money, it would have been the last thing youwould have thought
of doing, to lay claim to your bride, after being kicked out of doors."
I was compelled to acknowledge, on re-considering the matter, that
the count was quite right in pocketing the affront put upon him, and
going back to France.
"However," resumed the poet, "it is not my intention to defend the
character of the count very warmly, for I have bestowed but little care
upon his composition. The fact is, between you and I and Mr. Stewpy, I
have been accused by the crities of ignorance of the languages, and so
I wrote this ballad to convince them that I knew French. But in the
main, I disapprove of sprinkling original compositions with quotations
and foreign words. An author's productions should show the culture of
his mind, as a fine melon shows the richness of the soil on which it
was raised, by its size and flavor, and not by a daub of manure
sticking upon its rind."
"All the same," said Mr. Stewpy, "as if I was to send you a plate
of this fat mutton, with a turnip top on to it, to show you what the
critter was fatted on."
"Precisely," said the poet. "Now," he exclaimed, "were I to read
you an extract from my serious poem, the Deserted Daughter, you
wouldhardly believe that I could write a ballad like this,"
"Quite unpossible, I dare say," said Mr. Stewpy, who appeared
highly delighted with the poet's conversation.
"The fact is, Sir," continued the poet, throwing back his coat
collar, and brushing up his hair with his coat "some people think an
author is like a shopkeeper, who always knows the exact amount of his
stock in trade, and who can, at any moment, display any article in his
shop, but can do no more. But far different is it with the poet; he
knows not himself, of the pearls and sparkling gems which lie hid in
the depths of his own genius, like jewels in the sea, until the
workings of his mind, like the billows of the ocean, wash them from
their secret caves, and they are exposed to his view like gems upon the
sea-shore, all bright and sparkling. And when the poet has glutted his
eyes upon them, he may, if it suit his humor, give them to the world.
For the offerings which genius bestows upon the world are gifts; they
endure forever, and there is nothing given in return. But the bequests
of conquerors and statesmen are mere lendings; they avail but little,
and their cost is infinite. A battle gained has more than once cost a
nation its liberty. Thousandsof years have flown over the world since
the great temple of the wise king crumbled into ruins, but the sweet
notes of his golden harp still vibrate on the ear. Think you that half
the bright and glorious things which meet the poet's gaze are ever
looked upon by other eyes? O! no, he revels in a world you know not of.
Shakspeare knew Juliets more than one I trow, and fairy queens were
Spenser's constant guests; and cherubim and angels lovelier far than
those which on the perishable canvass live of Raffaello, were his
sitters oft; and forms of deities and patriarchs towering high, in
simple majesty, more numerous far than those which Michael chiselled
from the stone, were seen by him, but never by the world; the high
basilica, if placed beside the mighty model to his eye revealed, would
dwindle to the cottage of a cit."
As the poet concluded, a butcher's boy, who was eating his
beefsteak at one of the tables, exclaimed, "I couldn't have did it
better myself." A compliment which the poet did not appear to estimate
But Mr. Stewpy, who had more soul than the poet gave him credit
for, exclaimed, "Good! that's what I call just the thing, neither
underdone nor overdone. It's worth a treat anyhow, and if nobody else
wont stand it, I will."
As no one made an offer to stand a treat, Mr. Stewpy redeemed his
promise by giving each of the company a glass of small beer.
The poet drank his down at a swallow, and having pulled his cap as
much over his eyes as his nose would permit, he wrapped his old camblet
cloak about his person, and stalked out very grandly.
When I was left alone to my thoughts, I could not but accuse myself
of being a poet, although I had never dreamed of such a thing before,
for I had been living in a world of hopes and fears, which none but
myself knew of; and I had viewed myself in situations which the world
had never yet seen me in.
CHAPTER VIII. Gain employment
The generosity of my old shipmate had rescued me from absolute
want, and given me a short respite from death. The means which I now
possessed I was resolved to use with the greatest prudence, and make
one more exertion to prove my proud cousin a liar, and render myself
worthy of Georgiana De Lancey. I tried hard to forget her, but without
success; I could sooner have forgotten myself; she was a part of my
existence. She hovered over me in my dreams at night, and walked by my
side through the day; I heard her voice in every gentle sound, and I
saw her sweet smile in every thing that was bright and beautiful. The
folly and absurdity of such feelings towards one who knew nothing of
me, and of whom I knew nothing, were apparent to me, but I could not
overcome them. I could only hope that time and exertion might eradicate
them; I dared not to hope that they would ever be gratified.
In accordance with my prudent resolutions, I obtained a cheap
boarding house, and in a fewdays, I chanced to see an advertisement in
one of the morning papers, for a clerk in an office in South street. I
determined to let no opportunity pass of gaining employment, though it
were in ever so humble a capacity. I had waited upon Fortune long
enough to find that I was not one of her favorites, and now I meant to
depend solely upon my own exertions.
The advertisement directed applicants for the situation to apply at
the counting room of Marisett Co. in South street, between nine and ten
in the morning. So I dressed myself as neatly as I could, and made my
appearance at the appointed place, as the clock struck nine, determined
to be the first on the list of applicants.
I felt a little nervous, as I went in, and inquired, with some
trepidation, for Mr. Marisett.
One of the clerks who was writing at the nearest desk, spoke to
another clerk, whom he called Mr. Hopper, and asked if Mr. Marisett had
"Mr. Marisett is not in the office," said Mr. Hopper, addressing
himself to me, "but our Mr. Bargin is in. Have you any business with
"Nothing very particular," I replied, "I wantedto make application
for the clerkship which is vacant."
The announcement of my business gained me a glance from all the
other clerks, who looked at me over their desks.
"O, ah!" said Mr. Hopper, "you will find our Mr. Bargin in the
private office. Perhaps he can arrange matters with you."
Mr. Hopper pointed with his pen towards the door of the private
office, and I entered, with my hat in my hand. It was a neatly carpeted
room, and the walls were hung round with the portraits of ships. There
were three writing desks, with a broad bottomed mahogany arm chair to
each, one of which was partly filled by a long sided cadaverous looking
gentleman, with his neck confined in a stiff white cravat; he was very
neat in his dress, and looked as though he had just been taken out of a
bandbox. A pair of green colored kid gloves, as spotless as a snow
drop, lay aside of a pile of unopened letters, on his desk before him.
As there was no other person in the office, I supposed, rightly enough,
that this was Mr. Bargin. He looked at me inquiringly, as I entered,
and I told him the object of my visit.
"Very good, sir," he said, "have the goodness to take a seat for a
I sat down, and soon after another gentleman came in. He addressed
Mr. Bargin, as "William," and Mr. Bargin called him "Mr. Garvey."
Mr. Garvey took up the letters which Mr. Bargin had opened, and
glanced over them very rapidly, apparently imbibing their contents with
as much ease as a mirror reflects an object when held before it.
Mr. Garvey was a very spare gentleman, and his hair was very red;
his dress was of the very straitest cut of the straitest of all
possible sects, Hicksite quakers; his coat had neither a superfluous
button, nor a superfluous seam; and no luxurious linen showed itself
above his narrow confined neck-cloth, to hide the sharp points of his
"The cotton market looks well," said Mr. Garvey.
"Quite so," replied Mr. Bargin.
"Them sea islands will leave a handsome margin," said Mr. G.
"Very much so," replied Mr. B.
"Who is that?" asked Mr. Garvey, putting his mouth close to Mr.
Bargin's ear, but speaking loud enough to be heard in the next office.
"Thee wants to apply for the situation, doesthee?" said Mr. Garvey,
addressing himself to me.
"Yes, sir," I replied, rising.
"What house was thee in last?"
"I have never been employed in any counting house," I replied.
"What is thy name?"
"Well, Henry, how old is thee?"
"I am about twenty. But my name is Harry."
"Thee is particular, Harry, about thy name; thee shouldst also be
particular about thy age. Is thee just twenty, or more than twenty, or
not quite twenty?"
"A little more than twenty."
"I should think so. I don't think thee will answer, but thee can
sit down and wait until our John Marisett comes in; he will arrange
Very fortunately Mr. Garvey put no more questions to me, or if he
had, it is probable I should have given him a reply that would have
ruined my prospects with the house of Marisett Co.
After Mr. Garvey had left, Mr. Bargin remarked, that it was the
senior partner of the firm who wanted a clerk, and consequently he
preferred making the engagement himself, otherwise there would be no
necessity for me to wait for him.
But I was not kept waiting a great while longer, for Mr. Marisett
came in very soon after Mr. Garvey went out. He spoke to me before he
read one of his letters, and having asked me one or two unimportant
questions, he said that, although he had named the hour in his
advertisement, he should not be able to attend to me, and requested me
to call on him again at five o'clock, when he would be at leisure.
The words and kind manner of Mr. Marisett, were drops of honey to
me, and I left the counting room with the most agreeable anticipations
Time went wearily with me until five, and just as the clock struck
the appointed hour, I entered Mr. Marisett's private office, and found
him at his desk alone.
"Ah," he said, looking at his watch, "there is nothing like
punctuality. Sit down."
After writing a few minutes, he laid down his pen, and wheeled
round his chair, folded his hands quietly together, and having paused a
moment, asked me my name, what my former occupation had been, how long
I had been in the city, and what my age was; but in a manner so kind
and encouraging, that I felt assured there could be nothing gained by
practising the least deception,and so I related to him, as plainly and
as shortly as I could, the particulars of my adventures since I left my
home; the manner in which I got my money on board the man of war, and
the manner in which I had lost it. I said nothing, however, about the
predictions of my cousin, nor of the beauty of Georgiana De Lancey.
He listened very patiently to my relation, sometimes smiling
slightly, and sometimes looking very grave. When I had made an end, he
said that my education and habits had not been exactly of the right
kind, to fit me for the duties which he should put upon me, if he were
to engage me as his clerk. But as they were very simple, and required
nothing so much as industry and punctuality, he thought I might
discharge them to his satisfaction, if I chose to devote my whole time
I assured him that I would not only devote all my time to his
service, but that I would make use of all the energy of which I was
master, to qualify myself for the duties which he might require of me.
He said that his two partners, and each of the clerks in his
employ, had their respective duties to perform, and he wanted a clerk
to attend to his own private affairs, and when necessary to assist in
the counting room. Such an employment, he remarked, would afford me an
opportunity of acquiring a knowledge of mercantile affairs, and fit me
for some more important station. He concluded by saying he would take
me on trial for a month, and at the end of that time, if he was
satisfied with me, and I should be willing to remain with him, he would
make a permanent engagement with me.
I left the office of Mr. Marisett in an ecstacy of pleasurable
anticipations. The first time I saw him, I felt my affections drawn out
towards him. His manners were winning and unaffected, and while his
gentleness and apparent good nature inspired you with confidence, and
led you to act without restraint in his presence, there was a calm
dignity about him which inspired you with respect; indeed, with me, it
amounted to a feeling of awe.
In person, Mr. Marisett was a little under the ordinary height; but
he was very muscular, and somewhat inclined to corpulency, although
there was not the slightest approach to grossness; his complexion was
clear and ruddy; his forehead was high and broad, and as smooth as
marble; his hair was a rich chestnut color; he wore it long and parted
on his forehead; perhaps he was vain of it; if so, it was a most
excusable vanity, for it was truly a glory even to a head like his. But
hismost remarkable feature was his mouth; you might read his whole
character in its expression, it was so sweetly stern, so firm, so
gentle. He had a peculiar manner of compressing his lips, and casting
down his eyes, which, having once seen, you could never forget.
CHAPTER IX. Contains the
particulars of a commercial operation.
I entered upon the duties of my new employment the next morning,
with a light heart, but, I must acknowledge, I found them wearisome
enough at first. Copying mercantile letters is a dull business, and I
was put to nothing more stirring the first fortnight. Mr. Marisett did
not appear to overlook my writing, bu he contrived to point out to me
all the mistakes I made. As may be supposed, I was very anxious to
please him, and so I applied myself very closely to my duties. I sat up
half the night, and wrote in my chamber, that I might handle a pen with
ease; I read the price current every morning that I might become
familiar with the names and prices of merchandize; I studied
McCulloch's Dictionary, and read all the old letter books in the
counting-room, through. When Mr. Garvey or Mr. Bargin gave me any thing
to do, I strove hard to do it well, and to do it quick, and although I
sometimes made strange blunders, yet I found I grew in favor every day.
It was not long before the routine of counting-room transactions became
perfectly familiar to me, and I wondered at myignorance in not having
known how to do what appeared so perfectly simple and easy.
Mr. Marisett's desk was under my particular charge, and one part of
my duty was to file away all his private letters in it. One day he
requested me to look for a particular letter among some of the old
files, and while I was searching for it, I came across one, headed in
his own hand, "From Georgiana;" the sight of the name startled me, and
the blood rushed into my face. Why should it? —There were many
Georgianas in the world. But it was a name most dear to me, and I could
neither see it written nor hear it spoken without emotion.
Mr. Marisett had not only left his letters for me to read, but he
had even told me to look over his old files, that I might become
familiar with the names of his correspondents, and their places of
residence. Why then should I not read this letter "from Georgiana," and
satisfy myself as to who Georgiana was? I had a burning desire to know,
and I longed for an opportunity to do so. One day when Mr. Marisett was
on change, and Mr. Garvey and Mr. Bargin were out on some business,
being alone in the office, I took down the file which contained the
letter "from Georgiana," and having searched it out, I was just in the
act of taking it from the bundle, when a slight noise in the outer
office caused me to turn my head, and in so doing I caught sight of my
face in a little glass which hung opposite to me; I was startled at the
guilty expression it bore, and hurriedly replaced the file in its
pigeon-hole without looking at the letter. "No," I said, "I will not
betray the confidence that has been placed in me." The act itself was
innocent, but the motive was evil. My face burned with shame at the
thought that I had been guilty of the meanness of wanting to pry into
the private concerns of my benefactor. Even though the letter had been
written by Georgiana De Lancey herself, what right had I to read it?
Clearly, none. I knew it was not a business letter from the manner in
which it was headed.
Some may think I was over nice, and perhaps I was; but I felt the
guilt, and by a strong effort overcame the temptation: it was the
first, and I cannot but fear that had I yielded then, I should at some
other time have erred more seriously.
As it was, the letter "from Georgiana" was sacred in my eyes, and I
felt a reverence for the bundle in which it was filed. But it caused me
many heart-burnings, and sometimes I even regarded my employer as my
At the expiration of my month's probation, Mr. Marisett offered me
a small salary, but told me he would increase it at the end of the
year. I was too happy to be retained in his service upon any
conditions, to make objections to the smallness of the salary. The
kindness with which he treated me bound my heart to him. Perhaps it was
a delusion, but I fancied he spoke to me in a kindlier tone than he did
to the other clerks, or even to his partners. Whether he did or not, I
thought he did, and that caused me to redouble my exertions to please
him, and render myself useful to him.
Had I known the character of Mr. Marisett, the reputation which he
had gained as a merchant, and the importance of the situation which I
filled, I should never have had the boldness to apply for it. Doubtless
many were withheld from making applications for it, out of sheer
modesty; while I, the unfittest person in the world almost, boldly
applied, and was accepted.
The house of Marisett Co. had been established more than thirty
years, and during that period, it had stood unmoved through all the
revolutions which had taken place in the mercantile world. Mr. Marisett
was supposed to be immensely rich, and such was his reputation
forshrewdness and honorable dealing, his credit, both at home and
abroad, was without limits. He had had many partners, all of whom had
retired from the concern with fortunes. His present partners, Mr.
Garvey and Mr. Bargin, had both been clerks in his employ, and although
their characters were as unlike as their persons, their services were
alike valuable. Mr. Garvey was the senior of the two; his forte was
making a bargain. If he sold an article, he got more for it than any
one else could, and in his purchases, he always bought a little under
the market. He was noted as being the best buyer on 'Change. Perhaps
the secret of his success was the peculiar sanctity of his coat, and
his mild and oily thees and thous, which completely barred all
suspicion of sinister designs out of the minds of those with whom he
bargained What man could suspect another of mercenary or knavish
feelings, who wore horn buttons on his drab coat, and called every body
by their first names. Mr. Garvey was a Philadelphian by birth, and he
had a becoming contempt for the vain things of this world; there was no
affectation in his plain coat, nor hypocrisy in his sentiments. The
achievements of art, the revolutions of fashion, and even the gay
trappings of nature herself, had no allurements for him. Mr.Garvey
cared nothing for worldly trifles; his sole aim was to make money. Mr.
Bargin came from 'down-east,' for it somehow or other happens that you
rarely meet with a New Yorker born; what becomes of all those who are
born here, I know not. He had served a year or two with a ship broker,
when he first came to the city, and afterwards entered the employ of
Mr. Marisett in about the same capacity, and under similar
circumstances, that I had. In course of time he was sent to Cuba to
attend to some business for the house, and while there, he gained a
knowledge of Spanish, and on his return to New York, Mr. Marisett took
him into the firm to supply the place of a partner who had just
His particular duty was to attend to the correspondence, and to
attend to correspondents who might visit the city in person.
What the exact extent of Mr. Bargin's acquirements in Spanish were,
I had no means of knowing; but if his conversation in that language was
as limited as it was in his own, his studies ought not to have
engrossed much of his time; unless a question or an observation called
for a very special answer, he rarely ventured upon any other reply
than, "quite so," or "verymuch so," but then he had a manner of
delivering these wordss, it must be confessed, which impressed you with
an idea that he had said something. There was one other expression
which he made use of on all occasions, in season and out of season,
whenever he spoke of any person or thing; it was always, au fait.
The cup of Mr. Bargin's ambition was filled to the brim; he lived
in Broadway, and visited in Lafayette Place; he wore the genteelest
clothes, and read the most fashionable books; he would as soon have
gone into Chatham street for a coat, as to have read a book which was
not in the fashion; he had a pew in a fashionable church, and he eat no
longer soup, but potage. Notwithstanding, Mr. Bargin was a kind hearted
gentleman, and the more I saw of him the better I liked him.
Although Mr. Garvey had never shown any decided marks of strong
affection for me, yet he had always treated me with kindly civility;
but a circumstance occurred after I had been in the office a few
months, which drew down upon my head all the spite which that exemplary
friend was blessed with; and it was no fault of his, that Mr. Marisett
did not kick me out of doors.
A letter was received from a correspondent ina neighboring city,
ordering a thousand barrels of flour to be purchased, at a certain
price, and Mr. Garvey took the letter, and went on change, where he
succeeded in making the purchase, within the limits.
Punctuality, promptness, and decision, were as much a part of Mr.
Garvey's existence, as were his love of money, or his red hair; and
were merchants only machines, and men not accountable creatures, he had
been the best merchant in the world. But as merchants are men, and as
men have consciences, he was perhaps the worst.
Now Mr. Garvey, as soon as he had purchased the flour, came
immediately back to the counting room, and not finding Mr. Bargin at
his desk, he sat down at it and wrote a letter to the correspondent,
advising him that the flour had been purchased according to his
directions, and then went out again to make some other purchases,
leaving the letter lying on Mr. Bargin's desk; and I seeing it there,
and thinking it was intended for the mail, as it was, took a copy of
it, sealed it, and took it to the post office, together with some
private letters of Mr. Marisett's.
But it so happened, that when Mr. Garvey went out, he found a
packet had just arrived from Liverpool, bringing some important news
respectingthe grain market in England, which had caused flour to
advance in price a dollar a barrel. Here was an opportunity to make an
operation, which would leave a fair margin, too good to be lost; and
Mr. Garvey did not hesitate long, but immediately determined to keep
the thousand barrels of flour, and write word to the correspondent that
it could not be bought at his limits. When he returned to the counting
room, he found Mr. Bargin sitting at his desk, writing letters. So he
reached him the letter which contained the order for the flour, and
told him to reply to it, that the flour could not be purchased at the
Mr. Garvey's thoughts were so much occupied with the probable
profits of the operation he had just made, that he entirely forgot the
letter he had written. It was the first time his memory had ever played
him false; but the devil loves a laugh sometimes at the expense of his
own, before the final winding up of their affairs, like an old woman,
who cannot wait for her chickens to be hatched, before she begins to
A very few days elapsed before the receipt of these contradictory
letters was acknowledged. The confusion which was caused thereby, may
be imagined by those who are familiar with mercantile usages. Mr.
Garvey made the best apologyhe could, but Mr. Marisett was deeply
mortified; it was the first transaction that had ever taken place in
connexion with his name, to which the charge of double dealing, or
unfairness, could be attached.
Mr. Garvey knew who it was that had put the unfortunate letters
into the post office, and hence-forward, I had to contend against the
active exercise of his ingenuity to get me out of the office; but Mr.
Marisett understood perfectly well the cause of his partner's animosity
to me, and all his efforts against me were unavailing.
CHAPTER X. The mystery of the
suspicious letter cleared up. Meet Georgiana De Lancey at a tea-table.
I had studiously avoided prying into the private relations of Mr.
Marisett, and I knew nothing more about him than that he was a
bachelor. I was afraid to ask, or even to listen to, any thing
concerning his family affairs, lest it should turn out that the letter
"from Georgiana" had some reference to her, whom I fondly, but
foolishly, called my Georgiana. It was true, there was a great
disparity in the agès of Mr. Marisett and Miss De Lancey, but I knew
that the cupidity of parents and guardians, had often caused youth and
loveliness to be bound to old age. But I was not long left in doubt on
Mr. Marisett had remained at the office unusually late one
afternoon, and when his carriage came for him, he told me he wanted me
to ride home with him, as he had some papers which he wanted me to copy
at his house.
Mr. Marisett's coachman wore no gold lace nor yellow gauntlets,
like Mr. Dooitt's, but on the contrary he was dressed very plain,
although hisclothes fitted him. The carriage also was very plain, and
it bore no coat of arms, neither upon the panels, nor embroidered upon
the hammer-cloth. Mr. Marisett made no pretensions to high descent, but
rested all his claims to distinction upon his own merits. But it would
have been better for him to have followed the way of the world, for his
simple habits only gained him the title of an aristocrat.
It was dark when we reached Mr. Marisett's house, and when we
alighted, he asked me to take a cup of tea with him before I commenced
writing. Of course, I did not refuse, and very shortly after I had
entered the parlor, tea was announced, and I followed him out into the
tea-room, and took a seat at the table.
There was no one at the table but Mr. Marisett, and Mrs. Butler,
the housekeeper, but I observed there was a cup and a plate for
another. I heard a light step in the hall, the door of the tea-room
opened, and a young lady glided gently in; she turned her face towards
me. It was Georgiana De Lancey.
"My niece, Miss De Lancey, Mr. Franco," said Mr. Marisett.
Miss De Lancey made a very slight curtesy, scarce perceptible, and
sat down at the table, oppositeto me. I had just taken a cup of tea in
my hand, and was in the act of raising it to my lips, when she came in,
but her sudden appearance operated on my nerves like an electric shock,
and my cup and saucer slipped from my fingers, but fortunately without
I did not dare either to lift up my eyes or my saucer again, but
employed myself the remainder of the time that I sat at the table, in
picking a piece of dry toast to pieces. Knowing that Miss De Lancey
could not but take notice of my confusion, and feeling certain that I
made a very ridiculous appearance in her eyes, by no means tended to
allay my trepidation.
"Mr. Franco," said Mr. Marisett, "be so good as to reach the cake
to Miss De Lancey."
I made an attempt to take hold of the cake basket, but my hand
trembled so violently, I was obliged to withdraw it.
"Never mind me, uncle," said Miss De Lancey, "you know I can always
take care of myself." She smiled gently as she spoke, and blushed
Mr. Marisett smiled also, and the old housekeeper pursed up her
lips, and fumbled about her keys, as if she had suddenly thought of
something of great importance, and then jumped up fromthe table and
whisked out of the room, and returned again in a few minutes, the end
of her nose looking very red; she sat down, and poured out a cup of tea
for Mr. Marisett, and then bustled out of the room again. I had the
satisfaction of thinking that she was indulging in a good hearty laugh
at my expense.
I was relieved from my uncomfortable situation by Mr. Marisett, who
told his niece she must excuse us, as we had some writing to attend to.
I followed him into his private office, and when he had given me
directions about the writing, he left me alone.
But I tried in vain to write; I could neither hold a pen in my
hand, nor fix my mind upon my work. I could think of nothing but
Georgiana De Lancey, and as I recalled to mind the ludicrous situation
in which she beheld me, I felt sick at heart. Whether to be rejoiced or
cast down at finding her the niece of my benefactor, I could not
determine; but there was one healing reflection, I had no longer any
suspicions of finding a rival in my employer.
"But why should I waste a thought upon one to whom I had never
spoken but once, and then y accident? Why should I be guilty of the
monstrous folly of indulging in the thought that I loved one, who, I
had no reason to believe, had ever bestowed a thought upon me at all,
either for love or hate. It was probable that she had no recollection
of ever having seen me before she met me at the tea table, and if she
had, what had I ever said or done to give her a favorable impression of
me? clearly nothing; but, on the contrary, much to give her an
unfavorable impression. What had we in common? she was beautiful, oh,
how beautiful! and I, I could not flatter myself with the thought that
I was possessed of even ordinary comeliness; would she then bestow her
loveliness upon my deformity? She was the niece of the wealthy Mr.
Marisett, and I was his humble clerk; would she bestow her wealth upon
my poverty? But above all, she was good, pious, holy; and what had I of
holiness, or even akin to goodness? Could I hope that she would link
her purity with my corruption? What madness, what wickedness, what
worse than wickedness, what foolishness, then, to think, for one
moment, of Georgiana De Lancey, with any other feelings than such with
which we gaze upon night's white robed queen. As well might I pine for
the lost Pleiad. As well might I look for popular favor as the reward
of virtuous actions, or hope for any other impossible thing."
I thus reasoned with myself, and although I made out a very strong
case against myself, and set forth a dozen good reasons, the least of
which was all-sufficient, why I should not love Miss De Lancey—I still
felt that I did love her, and that most dearly.
Mr. Marisett came in, and finding me with my face buried in my
hands, he asked me if I felt unwell.
I replied, that I felt badly, which was true enough.
Whatever his thoughts might have been about my ill feelings, he
asked me no more questions, but told me to lay aside my paper, and wait
until the next evening before I finished my writing. I was glad enough
to be relieved, and made the best of my way back to my boarding house,
where I shut myself up in my chamber, and tormented myself the
remainder of the night, in trying to dismiss Georgiana De Lancey from
In the morning, I dressed myself with unusual care, and thought,
when my toilet was made, that I never looked half as bad before. At
night, I rode home with Mr. Marisett again, and on entering the parlor,
I found Miss De Lancey sittingby the fireside. I succeeded in saying,
'good evening,' and in taking a seat without any accident; but I felt
so dreadfully embarrassed, I was at a loss what disposition to make of
my legs or my hands. As I was not a visiter, I supposed it was not
expected of me to join in the conversation; so I remained at a
respectful distance, silently enjoying the music of Miss De Lancey's
voice, as she replied to the playful sallies of her uncle. She was
dressed very plain, as if jealous of an ornament, lest it should divide
the attention which her loveliness had a right wholly to claim. As I
gazed upon her, and my ear drank in the soft tones of her voice, I
wondered at my stupidity in not having discovered before, how beautiful
she really was.
At the tea table I had command over myself, and drank two cups of
tea without giving Mrs. Butler occasion to leave the table once. I even
ventured to leave the table before Mr. Marisett, and made a bow to Miss
De Lancey as I went out of the room. I went directly into the private
office, and commenced upon the writing which Mr. Marisett had given me
to do the night before, and I wrote so steadily, that before he came
in, I had finished it.
He appeared well pleased with my performance, and said he had no
farther use for me then. I took my hat, and was about to withdraw, when
he called me to him.
"Harry," he said, "have you got a good boarding house?"
"It is a cheap one," I replied.
"Are you much attached to the people?"
"Not much," I replied; "Mrs. Mixen and her daughters have been very
kind to me."
"Ah, widows and their daughters are sometimes very pleasant; it
would not be at all surprising, if you were attached to them. I was
going to propose to you to take a room in my house, as I shall have
frequent occasion for you during these long evenings; if you choose to
do so, it will save you the price of your board, and add to your
usefulness to me. Mrs. Butler will see that you are well taken care of,
and it will be your own fault if you do not feel yourself at home.
There is my library which you will find always open, and you may amuse
yourself there when you are at liberty."
If I had been asked to name the thing which I should esteem above
all others, it would have been that I might be allowed to live under
the same roof, and eat at the same table, with Georgiana De Lancey.
But I restrained my joy as well as I could, andthanked Mr. Marisett
with dissembled moderation, for his kind offer. I told him I would
consider of the matter, and give him an answer in the morning.
"Oh, very well," he replied, "you are at liberty to act as you
please, and I would not have you to make any sacrifices on my account."
I thanked him again for his kindness, and bade him good night.
When I got into the street, I ran with all my might, until I
reached my boarding house, when as soon as I recovered my breath, I
gave my landlady notice that I should leave her house the next day, and
proceeded immediately to pack up my clothes, an operation which
required but a short space of time.
In the morning, I told Mr. Marisett, as soon as he came down, that
I had concluded to accept his offer, and would remove my trunk to his
house immediately. I was afraid to delay a day, lest some accident
might interfere, to prevent what I wished for so anxiously.
CHAPTER XI. Is short, and of no
The room which Mrs. Butler assigned me was in the third story; it
was better furnished, and more commodious, than any I had ever
occupied; and the first night I lay in it, I could hardly sleep for
thinking of the great change which had taken place in my condition.
What a variety of lodging place I had slept in during the past few
months. The fore castle of a ship; the unsheltered pampas of South
America; the berth deck of a man of war; the topmost pigeon hole of a
genteel boarding house; a bench on the Battery; the marble stairs of
the University; and now I was sleeping, or rather should be sleeping,
beneath the same roof with Georgiana De Lancey! I dared not trust
myself to anticipate what the next few months might bring forth.
As Mr. Mar sett's house was a long way up town, I was obliged to
take my dinner at an eating house, and there being a young gentleman in
the counting room, to whom all the clerks appealed for information, in
all matters relating to high life and the fashions, I got him to
recommend me to afashionable restaurateur, for I was anxious to avoid
all the places where I should be likely to meet any of my former
associates and acquaintances, for I had taken a great dislike to
drummers, and speculators, and even to poets. I meant, if possible,
henceforth to associate with none but respectable people.
Mr. Wycks, that was the name of the fashionable clerk, said he
would introduce me, with a great deal of pleasure, to a first-rate
establishment, kept on the Parisian plan, which he patronised himself.
This was an eating-house in the neighborhood of Wall street, kept by
two yellow gentlemen, who chose to call themselves "Smith, Brothers."
Their gentility was beyond dispute, for one had been a servant in the
family of a French importer, and the other had been second steward on
board of a Havre packet. The red and yellow window curtains, the dirty
gilding about the eating-room, the greasy wall, the marble top tables,
and the bill of fare, constituted its claim to the title of Parisian;
but if these were insufficient, the fare and the prices fully
established its claim to this distinction. After I had eaten my dinner,
I put the bill of fare in my pocket. I will give a copy of it for the
benefit of those who may beambitious to live genteely, and who may have
the means, but lack the art. Here it is:
CARTE À MANGER.
A la Julien.
Potage au Lay et de Mush.
Bif au Naturel.
Bif a la Angloy.
Dindong, etcet., etcet.
Paté de Pot de Clams Piser.
Pattey de Pumpkin.
Etcet., etcet., etcet.
It may not be improper for me to mention that I dined on bif au
naturel and pomme de terre a la maitre d' hotel, a dish which bore a
striking resemblance to beef and potatoes.
I was convinced from the observations which I made in this genteel
eating-house, and in some other places of equal pretensions, that to be
genteelwas to be thoroughly vulgar. So I very shortly withdrew my
patronage from the "Brothers Smith," and having found out a quiet
little nook, kept by a window, whose only daughter waited upon the
customers, I got my dinner there, and had the satisfaction of eating my
food well-cooked, and of hearing it called by its right name.
CHAPTER XII. Georgiana's Conversion.
A fortnight had passed away since I had been an inmate of Mr.
Marisett's house, and although I had sat opposite to Miss De Lancey at
table, twice a day, I had not exchanged a word with her. Indeed, I
hardly dared to look towards her, and yet I felt that my admiration of
her increased every day; and every time I saw her, she appeared
lovelier than when I saw her before. If I heard her foot upon the
stairs, or in the hall, as she tripped lightly by the door, it made the
blood rush impetuously through my veins, and when she spoke, the sound
of her voice thrilled through my whole frame.
Mrs. Butler, the housekeeper, had an only son at sea, and for his
sake she paid me a thousand little attentions, which I had been a
stranger to since I left my own home. Whenever she found me alone, she
would sit and talk about her "dear boy," her "poor child," while the
tears ran down her cheeks, and she would tell me how much I resembled
him, and how happy she would be if she could see him but for one
minute, only oneminute, just long enough to kiss him, and bless him.
One evening I was writing in Mr. Marisett's private office alone,
the door opened softly, and Mrs. Butler walked in.
"Do you hear the wind, Mr. Franco?" she asked, "hark! how the rain
beats against the windows. O my poor boy!"
"My dear madam," I said, "have you any reason to believe that your
son is on the coast?"
"I do not know where he is," she replied, sobbing, "but he is at
sea, and I never hear the wind, but I think he is exposed to it, and
every blast goes right to my heart."
"But my good Mrs. Butler," I replied, "perhaps at this moment your
son is sailing over a sea scarcely rippled by the wind, and heneath a
sky as blue and as bright as, as, Miss De Lancey's eyes."
I spoke before I was aware, and blushed as the words escaped my
lips. But Mrs. Butler's thoughts were suddenly diverted from her son by
"Ah!" she said, "her eyes are blue and bright."
I sighed involuntarily.
She shook her head, and exclaimed. "Take care."
"However," I said, "her eyes may be black, or gray, for aught that
I know; she never looks at me."
"Perhaps she dont?" said Mrs. Butler, in a tone meant to imply,
perhaps she does. "Poor girl!" continued Mrs. Butler, "she never hears
the wind blow, I dare say, without a beating heart."
"What, has she a friend at sea?" I asked, while a jealous pang shot
through my heart.
"Ah, no," replied Mrs. Butler; "her father was lost at sea, and her
mother died in consequence, of a broken heart. But Miss Georgy is well
enough off. She has got enough to make herself independent, and anybody
who may be lucky enough to get her, besides."
"Miss De Lancey is a very serious young lady, is she not?"
"O, very. But she was not always so. Once she was quite gay, but
soon after she came from boarding school, she got religion, and since
then, she has been very serious. I don't know how it happens, but young
people didn't have a concern of mind when I was a young lady, as often
as they do now. And yet I do know how it happened with Miss Georgy,
too; and I must say, it was the strangest way of being converted, I
ever heard of in my born days."
"Indeed! and how did it happen?"
"It happened thus. Her uncle is very fond of pictures, so much so,
that he paid enough for one old painting, to make me comfortable for
life. Well, there is a young artist in the city, whose pictures pleased
Mr. Marisett so much, that he gave him an order to paint a picture of a
certain size, to be hung up in a particular spot in the parlor, which
was left vacant, for you have observed that there is not now a vacant
"Yes, I had observed that the walls are well covered, or rather
that they are all covered."
"You needn't have corrected yourself, for you must acknowledge they
are well covered. But to proceed, Mr. Marisett not only gave the
painter the choice of a subject, but he allowed him to name his own
price for the picture when it was finished. When it was brought home
and hung up, the dear, good man, was so well pleased with it, he made
the painter a present of a beautiful gold watch, besides paying him the
price agreed upon."
"Which picture is it?" I asked; for I had been particularly struck
with a holy family, which hung in a conspicuous place in the parlor.
"It is the large picture facing the hall door as you enter the
parlor," replied Mrs. Butler.
"I thought so."
"Did you? Isn't it lovely! It represents the infant Savior lying on
a bed, while the mother lifts up the covering to show him to the young
baptist, who is kneeling at his feet. What a wonderful expression there
is in the full black eye of the little John. Such tenderness, such
grief, such intelligence! And yet you only catch a glimpse of it too;
it is not turned full upon you. What a wonderful art, that can give a
little daub of blueish paint the power to break up the frozen fountain
of tears in a living creatures breast. And the little sufferer's feet
have been wounded by the hard sand in the desert; and his tender back
has been scorched by the hot sun; the hairy girdle about his loins,
too, did you ever see any thing like it before; the hairs stick out
from the canvass, the light glistens among them, and I always fancy I
see them move when a draught of wind sweeps over the pictures. The poor
little dear has fed upon locust and wild honey; you can see it in his
looks. I never look upon it but I think of my poor Charles, who is at
sea, poor soul. Ah! did you hear that gust of wind?"
"It was only a slight puff. But what connexionwas there between
this beautiful picture, and Miss De Lancey's conversion?"
"O, I quite forgot what I commenced talking about," said Mrs.
Butler. "Why, Miss Georgia was affected by the picture, more sensibly
than any one else. She was fond of reading, and having no companion of
her own age, she was a good deal alone, and much of her time she spent
in the parlor. One day, I went in suddenly, and there I found her on
her knees before the picture, with the tears streaming from her eyes,
and the Bible open at her side. Why, Miss Georgiana, I said, what in
the world is the matter with you? 'O! Mrs. Butler,' she said, 'I am so
wicked, I cannot help it.' My dear child, I replied, how can you talk
so. Your uncle would be highly offended, if he were to hear you say
such dreadful things of yourself. Do, my love, hush up, it is awful.
'My uncle is not my judge,' she said, still sobbing, and raising her
eyes to the picture. Soon after this, she commenced going to the
chapel, and in course of time, she was admitted to the communion; she
has continued very constant in her attendance at her meeting, and there
is no end to what she does for the poor. I do think, if ever there was
a real christian, Miss Georgy is one."
"Did her uncle oppose her joining the chapel?" I asked.
"Why, Mr. Marisett, you know, is the loveliest man in the world;
isn't he a perfect gentleman? Of course he approves of every thing that
is just and proper; but he was very proud of Georgiana, she was his
only sister's only child, and she was highly accomplished; he did say
to me, in confidence, that he thought it was a great pity for her to
join any society that would in a measure prevent her accomplishments
from being seen; however, he says, Mrs. Butler, there is nothing
becomes a woman, after all, half so well as piety."
"And I think so too;" I said, for I could not but remember how
surpassingly beautiful Georgiana had appeared to me, when kneeling in
prayer, by the side of the sick woman's bed in the Five Points.
"Why, yes," said Mrs. Butler, slowly, "it is quite interesting. But
young ladies were not so presuming in such matters when I was a young
lady, as they are now."
Just at this moment, a carriage stopped in front of the house, and
Mrs. Butler bustled out of the office, and left me alone to my
CHAPTER XIII. Love and Religion.
The next Sabbath, after the conversation with Mrs. Butler, related
in the last chapter, I went in the morning to the chapel where Miss De
Lancey worshipped. It may be supposed, very justly, that my only object
in going, was to see her. I had not been in a church of any kind,
excepting the Cathedral at Buenos Ayres, since I left my native
village. And old Doctor Slospoken, our domine at home, who had
regularly put his congregation to sleep every morning, for almost half
a century, was the sole idea of a preacher in my mind.
The officiating minister at this place, gave me a new idea of a
preacher, if he did nothing more. He allowed no one to close an eye,
who sat under the droppings of his voice. He was a tall spare man, with
high cheek bones, gray eyes, large and protuberant, a high broad
forehead, a mouth remarkably expressive of firmness, and peculiar from
the upper teeth projecting very much over the lower ones. His manner
was very startling, at least it was to me, and yet there was neither
rant noraffectation about him; but his voice was soft and clear,
although his words were harsh; his statements were so plain, and there
was such a positiveness in his assertious, that it was impossible to
hear him without becoming somewhat interested in what he was saying.
However, I did not go to be preached to; I had another object in view,
and having sought her out, the preacher's words fell on a deaf ear.
Georgiana appeared to listen with great attention to the preacher,
and during the prayer she meekly bowed her head It was enough for me
that she was there; the preacher, the place, and the people, were all
sanctified by her presence, and made holy. When the plate was handed
round, I put into it all the money I had in my pocket, and would very
freely have given more if I could.
When the sermon was closed, and the benediction pronounced, the
minister requested all the church, and such of the congregation as were
disposed, to assemble in the lecture room adjoining the chapel. As
Georgiana went in, I waited until all had gone in who seemed disposed,
and then I entered myself, and took a seat near the door.
It was a dull cold day, and a mixture of snow and hail was falling;
the wind was high, and it beat against the windows of the room in which
wewere assembled, and howled in the open court in front. The ceiling of
the room was low, and the walls were dusky with smoke; the windows were
few and small, and the glass being covered with frost, they admitted
but little light; a large black stove in the centre of the lecture room
sent forth more smoke than heat, and added by its cheerless aspect to
the uncomfortable and dreary appearance of the room, and every thing in
The assemblage was large, and for a short time there was a dead
silence, broken only by an occasional groan, or a long drawn sigh.
Presently, the minister stood up behind a plain, unpainted desk,
and looked upon the people with a severe frown. It was not an easy
matter for a stranger to decide whether it was pity or contempt, which
caused him to knit his eyebrows together, and compress his lips as
though some mighty truth was struggling for an outlet.
"I have called you together," he said, after a long pause, "for the
express purpose of keeping you from your dinners, and I trust I shall
succeed in thawing out some of your icy hearts."
Having explained to his church the benevolent feelings which had
caused him to call them together, he turned to a middle aged man, who
sat near, and told him to pray. The man did as hewas told, and knelt
down, and prayed very loud, and very long; but he did not appear to
give entire satisfaction to the pastor, who kept nudging and whispering
in the ear of the suppliant, "pray; why don't you pray, brother Jones,
pray! PRAY" Brother Jones increased the loudness of his voice at each
nudge of his pastor, but to little purpose; for he had no sooner
pronounced amen, than his spiritual leader jumped up, and reproved him
for not praying with more spirit; "such a prayer as that," he said, "is
no prayer at all, but a mere mockery." He also made some other remarks
which I do not feel disposed to repeat.
When he sat down, a pale young man stood up in a dark corner of the
lecture room, and after hemming two or three times, said, in a faint,
tremulous voice, that he thought no man had a right to criticize
another's prayer; that, to his mind, it appeared right for a man to
pray to his Marker, and not to his minister; and that if there was a
holy spot upon earth, it was that on which the christian knelt in
prayer, within the holy precints of which no mortal should intrude. He
was about to make another remark, when the preacher interrupted him.
"O, brother Smith! brother Smith! Is it possible that you can throw
yourself down right at the threshold of the church, for sinners to
stumble over your body down into hell! O!"
The pale faced young man made no reply to this reproof of his
pastor, but knelt down and buried his face in his pocket handkerchief.
The preacher then proceeded to call out the names of his people, who
rose as they were called; and having received a reproof for some
alleged transgression, they sat down again, and followed the example of
brother Smith. When he called the name of Georgiana De Lancey, the
blood tingled in my veins to hear the name of her, whom I regarded as
but little less than a divinity, spoken with so little reverence.
Georgiana stood up in her place, and answered softly, "here."
"Is it true, Georgiana," said the preacher, "can it be true, that
you said you did not want to attend the morning prayer meeting, because
it was held at four o'clock?"
"I did," replied Georgiana.
"O! O! Oh! And did you say that you could pray in your chamber at
that hour as well as you could in the lecture room?"
"What levity! what obduracy! what blindness of heart!" he
exclaimed, rolling up his eyesdevoutly; "your heart is harder than the
nether millstone. I shall never be able to bring about a revival as
long as there is such worldly mindedness among us. Sit down, Georgiana.
Now let all who intend, from this hour, to renounce all the follies and
vanities of the world, kneel down, while I pray for their souls."
Nearly every one present kneeled down, but I was rejoiced to perceive
that Georgiana kept her seat. For my own part, I did not care to be
singled out as an obdurate sinner; so I sat down, and looked as
penitent as I could. The prayer was accompanied by a perfect whirlwind
of sighs and groans, and when it was completed, a man with light gray
eyes, a long nose, and a brown wig, came and sat down by my side, and
whispering in my ear, asked me if I was a christian.
I was at a loss for an answer to so pointed a question, but I
replied, "I hope so."
"What makes you hope so?"
"I don't know, exactly."
"Don't know? are you an American?"
"How do you know?"
"I was born in America."
"Then if you are a christian, you have been born into Christ's
kingdom; is it so?"
I shook my head.
"Come forward, then, and sit upon the anxious seat, and have your
soul prayed for."
I thanked him, but refused.
"Do come, do, only to please me, do; I am sure you will get a
But I persisted in my refusal, and he left me, and commenced
operations upon a little boy who was soon prevailed upon to take a seat
upon the anxious bench.
After another prayer and another exhortation, the pastor very
considerately let his people go home, probably highly satisfied with
the reflection, that their dinner would be either spoiled or cold, if
they got any at all.
The sleet which had fallen was frozen hard, and the steps of the
chapel and the side-walk in the street, was slippery as glass. I stood
at the door of the lecture-room, and when Georgiana came out I offered
her my arm. She could not refuse it, for it would have been impossible
for her to have walked alone without falling, and she would not allow
the carriage to be sent for her on a Sunday. It was the happiest moment
of my life when I felt her hand resting on my arm, and I blessed the
hard-hearted pastor for gaining me this happiness by keeping his people
from their dinners.As the distance from home was long, and the walking
slippery, Georgiana had frequent occasion to cling with both hands to
my arm for support; and notwithstanding her seriousness when we left
the chapel, she laughed outright two or three times before we reached
home. But whenever either of us made a misstep, she would take occasion
to remark, that we all stood upon slippery places, and unless we leaned
upon the outstretched arm of one who was mighty to save, we should be
sure to fall and perish.
The wind was piercing cold, but I felt it not; a warm and thrilling
delight pervaded my whole frame. When we reached home, we found Mr.
Marisett dozing in the parlor, and Mrs. Butler in the dining-room with
some dinner kept nice and warm for us by the grate.
Georgiana retired, for a few minutes, to her chamber, and when she
returned, we sat down to the dinner-table together, Mrs. Butler sitting
by the fire. But I could scarce swallow a mouthful, and Miss De Lancey
eat very sparingly.
I have remarked before that every time I saw Miss De Lancey, she
appeared lovelier than before; and at this time she did appear more
exceedingly beautiful than ever; whether it was owing to the peculiar
dress which she wore, to the exercise she had taken in the keen air, or
to my own excited feelings, I know not; but her eyes beamed with a
deeper blue, her cheeks appeared more ruddy, and her hair of a more
golden hue; even her voice sounded more musical, and her movements were
more graceful than ever. As soon as she had finished her dinner, she
retired into the parlor, and left me sitting at the table.
"Why, Mr. Franco," said Mrs. Butler, "why didn't you wait on Miss
Georgy into the parlor?"
"Would it have been proper, Mrs. Butler?" I asked.
"Proper! I am surprised at you; to be sure it would."
"I am very sorry, I hope she will not think me very unmannerly."
"She will forgive you, I dare say."
"Do you think so?" I said sighing.
"I guess you would think so too, if you knew all that I know. But a
still tongue is a wise one." And so saying Mrs. Butler sailed out of
the dining room, leaving me to conjecture as many delightful things as
I chose, and to magnify to the extent of its capability the share of
bliss which had already fallen to my lot.
The next day I dined at home; it was an unusual occurrence, and I
deemed it a good omen.I sat opposite to Georgiana, and felt unspeakably
"How does it happen, Mrs. Butler," said Mr. Marisett, "that you
never give us any appledumplings? It is a long time since I have seen
any on the table."
Mrs. Butler made no reply, but I obseved she colored slightly, and
her eyes filled with tears.
"Eh, Mrs. Butler," continued Mr. Marisett; "are apple dumplings out
of fashion, or how is it."
"My poor Charles," said Mrs. Butler, wiping the tears from her
eyes, "was always so fond of dumplings, I can never endure to see them
while he is away, poor boy! I could not sit at table where they were,
without thinking of him. It is very silly of me, but I hope you will
"Well, well, say no more about it," replied Mr. Marisett, "but when
your Charles comes home, which I hope may be soon, we will then be
treated to some dumplings."
That evening, the kind old lady came into the office where I was
writing alone, and as usual, began to talk about her son, her dear boy.
She knew I had been a sailor, and she wanted to ask me if there was any
probability of her darling child ever getting any of his favorite
dumplings at sea.I told her I had never seen them served up on ship
board myself, but that plumb puddings were very common, and I had no
doubt her son Charles got his fill of that luxury, at least once a
week. This piece of information seemed to give the good old lady great
As usual, when she spoke of her absent boy, she was very
communicative, and I thought she would never cease. And from speaking
of him, she very naturally branched off into the subject of his father,
her first husband. "Ah!" she exclaimed, "there never was such a man as
poor, dear Captain Bowhorn."
"Captain Bowhorn, did you say?"
"Yes, my husband, my first husband. I dare say you have heard of
him, for he was beloved by every body."
"I once had a shipmate named Bowhorn, but he was quite young. I
thought he might have been a relation of yours. His name was Jeremiah."
"Why, that is my child's name," almost shrieked out the old lady.
"His name is Charles Jeremiah."
Sure enough, a few more questions and answers, established the fact
very clearly, that Mrs. Butler's darling Charles, and my old shipmate
Jerry, were one and the same person.
The joy of the old house-keeper, when she found I had actually
sailed in the same ship with her boy, was unbounded. She hung upon my
neck, and wept aloud; she kissed me again and again, and laughed and
wept by turns. And I was scarcely less affected, for Jerry had been my
best friend, and the last act of kindness he had shown me, had enabled
me to obtain the situation which I now held. I was rejoiced to have an
opportunity of repaying his kindness to me, by attentions to his
From this time forth, my prospects brightened. Every indication in
my favor which the old hous-keeper perceived, either in Mr. Marisett or
his niece, was faithfully reported to me, and I have every reason to
believe, that she was not backward in speaking well of me to them. Many
months did not elapse, before Georgiana knew that I loved her, and I
knew that she loved me; although we had neither spoken a word of love
to the other. The sympathies which attract souls, made in the beginning
for each other, are secret; they do not show themselves by
corresponding actions in those they affect, and often they only know of
their existence, who are affected by them. It was so with us.
CHAPTER XIV. Encounter my Cousin at
Time flew past me now on purple wings, or rather he bore me with
him through a sunny sky. Each day, and each hour, brought with it some
peculiar pleasure. I was constantly receiving some now proof of
confidence from Mr. Marisett, and some new evidence of kindly regard
from Georgiana De Lancey. My duties in the counting room had become so
familiar, that their performances ceased to be either irksome or
laborious. At home, so I called Mr. Marisett's house, Mrs. Butler was
untiring in her endeavors to add to my comforts by innumerable little
attentions, which women only can bestow.
I had studiously avoided all public places, and even shunned
Broadway, from fear of encountering my cousin. It is true, my condition
was immensely bettered since I saw him last, but still I was only a
humble clerk, and while I felt conscious of being in a station inferior
to him, I could not exult in his presence. The thought of bursting upon
his envious sight with the all-lovely Georgiana leaning upon my arm,
was intoxicatingto my senses; the bare idea made me reel and stagger
with excessive delight; it was a happiness too great even for
reflection. I could not dwell upon it.
It happened about this time that a distant relation of Mr.
Mrisett's, Mrs. Brown, the wife of one of the firm of Brown Smith,
cotton brokers, gave a large party, and very much to my surprise I
received a card, for I had never seen the lady. It was the first
invitation I had ever received in my life to a party, and I was quite
beside myself with joy, for Georgiana was to be there. I was wholly
unprepared for the event, and the first thing I did was to purchase a
bottle of Cologne water, and a box of bear's grease; the next was to
consult with Jack Gauntlet, the fashionable young gentleman in the
counting-room of Marisett Co., about the particular costume proper for
such an occasion, and according to his directions, I furnished myself
with a pair of morocco pumps, and black silk stockings, a white cravat,
and a linen cambric pocket handkerchief; my wardrobe was already
supplied with the other requisites. Jack said there would be no
dancing, because Mr. Brown was pious, but that there would be any
quantity of thrumming on the piano, and scandalby the wholesale,
besides sugar kisses, and phillippinas.
The cards were sent round almost a week before the party took
place; it was for Thursday night, and I thought it would never come;
but one after the other, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, hobbled away,
and the sun of—of Thursday—set at last. I dressed myself early, and
that I might be sure of being neither too soon nor too late, I
stationed myself on the opposite side of the street, a few doors from
Mr. Brown's house, and when I thought that about one half the guests
had arrived, I crossed over, and bustled up the steps, as though I had
come in a great hurry.
Georgiana went early in the afternoon, by particular request from
Mrs. Brown. I forgot to mention that Mrs. Butler, observing the
uncommon pains I was at in dressing myself, offered to loan me her
broach; it was ornamented with her first husband's initials in front,
and a lock of his hair on the back, very curiously worked to represent
a weeping willow, but I declined wearing a gem of such value, as it
could not be replaced if I lost it, and she, I dare say, was glad that
I refused it.
Mrs. Brown's house was brilliantly illuminated with a sperm candle
in each side light, and twoin the fan light over the door. I pulled the
bell, and the door was instantly opened by a tall black man, in a white
apron, who took my cloak and hat, and left me to make what disposition
of myself I chose. There were two or three young men standing in the
hall, apparently waiting for some one possessed of more courage than
themselves to lead the way into the parlor; the door stood a-jar, and I
boldly pushed it open and walked in, leaving it to ehance to direct my
footsteps. But my heart beat terribly, notwithstanding, although I had
an idea that the secret of good manners was to appear perfectly
unconcerned, and to speak civilly to any one near me. I knew Mr. Brown,
and I cast my eyes round upon the company assembled, with the hope of
seeing him, but he caught sight of me before I saw him, and very kindly
took me by the arm, and walked me through the folding doors, and
introduced me to Mrs. Brown, who, after a moment's conversation, took
my arm, and introduced me to Miss Green, a very tall young lady,
dressed in white satin, and with a large bunch of cammelias in her
hand. As there was a vacant chair by her side, I sat down, anticipating
a taste of the scandal which Jack Gauntlet had prepared me for. I
looked over to the opposite side of the room, and there sat GeorgianaDe
Lancey and my cousin by her side, in close conversation with her. I
immediately turned my head as if I had not observed them, and made an
attempt to speak to Miss Green, but for the life of me, I could not
open my lips. She appeared very anxious for me to say something, and
smiled in anticipation of what I might utter. But in spite of my having
previously arranged in my mind a very smart speech, in case I should be
introduced to a young lady, I could not command a word. So I offered my
arm to Miss Green, and asked her to promenade round the room; she
caught it with eagerness, as though she considered me a windfall; and
well she might, for she was tall, and yellow, and thin, and she had
contrived, with a strange perversity of taste, to dress herself in such
a manner as to magnify all her blemishes. But had she been beautiful as
the Paphian queen, or any other beauty who never had an existence, it
would have been all the same to me. I was so overcome at seeing my
cousin seated by the side of Georgiana, that I had no eyes for any
thing beside. I felt sick and dizzy; I could see nothing distinctly,
and a strange sound was buzzing in my ears. Fortune seemed to make use
of me expressly as a set-off to my cousin; whenever I met him I was
sure to suffer by comparison with him.As I passed through the folding
doors with the tall Miss Green clinging to my arm, I could not help
turning my head to look at him, when my eye met his, and I quickly
averted it. I fancied there was a sneer upon his lip, and that
Georgiana was smiling at something he had said. Perhaps it was some
contemptuous remark about me. I grew faint at the thought. The
simperings of Miss Green sounded in my ear like dismal howlings. By
some manœuvre, I know not how, I got away from my long companion, and
succeeded in reaching the piazza at the back of the house; the night
air was cold, and I soon revived; but my feelings were too much
excited, to allow of my reappearing in the parlor. So I took my hat and
cloak, and hurried back to my chamber.
CHAPTER XV. Letters from Home.
Let not the reader think, because I have so long omitted to make
mention of my parents, that I had forgotten them. Not so; my affection
for them and my sister was undiminished.
As soon as I made an engagement with Mr. Marisett, I wrote to my
father, informing him of the change in my prospects, and by return of
mail, I received the three following letters:
(From my father.)
My dear Boy,
I was happy to hear from you again, and to learn that you had
obtained a situation to your mind. I hope you will so conduct yourself
in it as to merit the approbation of your employer. I know the house of
Marisett well; I had dealings with them before the embargo.
From the great length of time which had elapsed since you left
home, without our having heard a word about you, your mother began to
grow very uneasy on your account, although I told her it was extremely
indecorous in her, and assuredher that I had no doubt you were doing
well, and that we should see you some time or other.
Your cousin, I hear, has been fortunate in his speculations; he is
a great credit to his parents; he is a fine gentlemanly fellow, and as
you will probably meet him in New York, I hope you will try to model
yourself after him. Your mother and sister, I suppose, will urge you to
come home, but you know that business must be attended to. Don't make
any sacrifices for the sake of coming home. Many of your young
acquaintances have been married, some have died, and all are doing
Enclosed I send you a small draft, which you are at liberty to use
according to your discretion.
My yearning affections shrunk within me as I read my father's
letter. His allusions to my cousin made the blood boil within me, and I
vowed to myself never to return home until my prospects were at least
equal to his. I could not think that my father intended to taunt me
with my cousin's superiority; but in effect he did so, and I could
hardly refrain from tearing his letter to pieces. The draft enclosed
was the most incomprehensible part of the letter; it was for five
hundred dollars. By what means he had procured this amount of money, I
could not imagine.
The letter from my mother was as follows:
Dear, DEAR Harry,
Is it true that my dear boy is alive and well! O, Harry, I have
read your letter over and over; and your poor sister has read it, and
cried over it, and prayed over it. I put it under my pillow when I lay
down at night, that I may be able to press it to my lips when I wake in
the morning. Your father tells me it is weak in me to do so, but it is
a weakness caused by the strength of my love for you. O, Harry, my dear
boy, I have had such dreams about you! but they were only dreams, and I
will not distress you by relating them. Let us give thanks to our
heavenly Father for all his mercies. When we received your letter, it
was my wish to return thanks publicly through Doctor Slospoken; but
your father would not give his consent. What the neighbors all thought,
I cannot say. But my dear Harry, why did you not come home? to your own
home? Do not think, my dear child,that you will be more welcome to your
home and your mother's heart, if you bring the wealth of the Indies
with you. If you be covered with jewels your mother will not see them,
and if you be clothed in rags, she will only see her child.
From your affectionate mother,
"P. S. Enclosed is a ten dollar bill; it is all the money I have
now; your father tells me he has sent you more.
"Once more good bye; and that our heavenly Father may bless you, is
the heartfelt prayer of my dear son's affectionate mother,
"N. B. Come home immediately."
The other letter was from my sister; it read thus:
"My DEAR Brother,
Your letter has made us all happy; how happy I cannot express; for
we had mourned for you as one that was dead. I cannot, in a letter,
relate to you all that has been said and done since we heard from you;
but may be assured we have been almost beside ourselves with joy, and
all our talk has been, Harry, Harry, Harry.
"There have been great changes in our villagesince you left. There
have been great speculations going on, and father has been offered a
great price for our garden, which has been laid out into building lots,
with a street running right through my flower beds, which is to be
called Franco avenue. There are no houses built upon the street yet,
but the ground plan has been most beautifully lithographed, and hung up
in our parlor, in a gilt frame. Our house is newly painted, and is to
be called the mansion house; a company have agreed to purchase it, and
convert it into a hotel. They have already paid fifty dollars to make
the bargain binding. Father can get as much money as he wants from a
new bank which has been set up here. Every body has grown rich, and our
cousin, they say, has made a splendid fortune in New York, by selling
his father's orchard for building lots. He cuts a great dash when he
comes home, but I am certain that you, dear brother, will outshine him,
when you come home, which I hope will be soon. Don't disappoint us, and
do let us know when we may expect you.
"From your affectionate sister,
"P. S. I have promised you to a young lady whose father has just
made a large fortune."
How cold, cheerless, and benumbing is the affection of a man, even
though he be your father, when contrasted with the warm, pure, and
overflowing affections of a woman. The letters of my mother and sister
were balmy to my soul; they contained expressions which I could
treasure up in my heart. But my sister's letter was full of pleasant
news which excited my hopes to the highest degree. The mansion house
and Franco street sounded very well, and I repeated them over a dozen
times. The allusions to my cousin gave additional strength to my
ambition to excel him He had received his property from his father, but
I had thus far received no assistance from mine, and it would be a
proud boast if I could succeed in raising myself to a level with him,
by my own exertions. I resolved to try; and if I should ever succeed in
gaining the hand of Georgiana De Lancey, on what an exalted eminence
would the possession of her alone place me; how proudly I could then
look down on my cousin, and with what feelings of envy would he regard
one whom he had pretended to despise.
Thoughts like these haunted me continually; they nerved me to
persevere in my duties, and solaced me when I was weary or dejected.
The first interruption to my bright dreams, was that which occurred
at Mrs. Brown's party, When I went home, I met Mrs. Butler in the hall;
she was surprised at seeing me return so soon. I told her I felt
"Dear soul," said the good woman, "let me warm your bed, and give
you some boneset tea."
I thanked her for her kindness, but refused it. My malady was not
one that could be affected by a warming pan, nor by that best of all
herbs, boneset. I went up to my chamber and spent the remainder of the
night in tossing upon the bed, striving in vain to dispel the
apparition of Georgiana De Lancey, with my cousin seated by her side.
In the morning Mrs. Butler told me that when Georgiana came home,
she asked particularly about me, and that she appeared alarmed when she
heard I was unwell. This intelligence revived me; to know that
Georgiana had expressed any anxiety on my account, made my heart leap
with pleasure. I went down to the counting-room, feeling happier than I
ever felt before.
CHAPTER XVI. A Crisis. Making love.
Georgiana was punctual in the observance of all her religious
duties, and constant in her attendance at the chapel, and I never
failed to accompany her there whenever I was at liberty. But the
oftener I went there, the more I disliked the place. At first, it was
hallowed, in my estimation, by her presence, but as the religious
meetings which she attended engrossed so much of her time, I began to
fear that they would estrange her from me altogether. I hated them
heartily, and my aversion increased, because I was obliged to keep it
within my own bosom; I was afraid to discover it either by words or
actions, for fear of offending her.
One evening I was startled by seeing my cousin at a prayer meeting;
he sat directly in front of Georgiana, where she could not but observe
him, and he joined in all the exercises with seeming devotion. I could
not but regard him with feelings of disgust, for I knew his sole
purpose was to attract the attention of Georgiana. Ever after, he was
sure to make his appearance whenever she was present at a meeting.
My cousin was handsome in his person, and pleasing in his manners,
when he wished to please, at least so people said, but to me he
appeared the impersonation of all that was vile and hideous. The object
of his pretended sanctity could not be mistaken, and I was dreadfully
alarmed, lest he should succeed in gaining the affections of Georgiana
by his hypocrisy. It is true, I had good cause for believing she loved
me, but she had never told me so, nor plighted her faith to me; if she
had, I could never have felt a jealous pang. But it was one of the
peculiarities of the faith she professed, that it was sinful for
christians to be yoked together with unbelievers, and her pastor had
publicly announced that he would in no case unite such together in the
everlasting bonds. And knowing the purity of her mind, her devotedness
to the faith she professed, and her strong sense of duty, I could not
hope that, for my sake, she would do violence to her conscience. I
would gladly, for her sake, have joined myself to any society, or made
a profession of any religious belief, but I could not for a moment
entertain the thought of practising deceit towards her; and as to any
actual change taking place in my feelings, I did not regard it within
the reach of possibility.
One Sunday evening she was prevented by therain from going to
meeting. I found her sitting in the parlor with the bible open before
her. Her uncle was in his private office, where he usually spent his
Sabbath evenings; and the state of the weather precluded the
possibility of visiters; I exulted in the hope of spending an evening
uninterruptedly with her.
The weather was cold — it was March — and the fire burned bright
and cheerful in the grate, and the mellow light from a Sevres shade
imparted a rich and softened hue to every thing around. The walls were
hung with the loveliest creations of the art of all arts, and angelic
faces and limbs of matchless beauty seemed gazing and reaching from
frames of burnished gold, like cherubim peering through a halo of
glory. Georgiana herself was a picture of living beauty, showing forth
more of grace and loveliness than any of the fair faces which seemed to
look down upon her as if enamored of her charms.
I sat down by the little table on which her bible was placed, and
was greeted by her with a smile and a blush.
"O! Mr. Franco," she said, after a short pause, "do you know what
high and holy pleasure we are capable of receiving from this blessed
"I know," I replied, "that it is capable of giving high and holy
pleasure, or Miss De Lancey would not choose it so often for a
companion; and I am willing to believe that the fault is in me, and not
in the book, that I do not receive pleasure from reading it."
"And do you not, indeed?" said she earnestly, and looking up into
my face with her full blue eyes. "And yet why should I wonder that you
do not; once it gave no pleasure to me."
"I do not wonder," I said, "that those who profess to make the
bible the rule of their conduct should, from a sense of duty,
diligently search in it for the principles by which they think their
lives should be governed; but I am compelled, in honest candor, to
acknowledge, I cannot understand how the bible can impart the delight
of which you and others speak."
"Now, it is strange," said Georgiana, "very strange; but when you
came in, I was striving to look into my own heart, to examine if it
were not for some cause other than love for the truth itself, which led
me to consult this precious book so often. Indeed, I have often wished
that the truths which it contains were embodied in a homelier and
sterner form, that the sincerity of my love might be more surely
"Perhaps," I said, "Miss De Lancey, if you were to read to me some
of those enticing passages, I too might be affected by them; for I am
not willing to acknowledge myself incapable of receiving pleasure from
that which pleases you."
"Then I should read to you every page in the bible," she said, at
the same time letting the leaves slip through her delicate fingers.
"But are there not some portions which have left a deeper
impression on your heart than others?"
'There are; but I cannot read them aloud. I love to pause over
them, and close my eyes, and, sustained by faith, follow whither they
may lead me. To kneel beside the sufferer in Gethsemane; to go with
Mary, before the day dawns, and look down into his tomb; or to hover
with those bright and honored spirits on the verge of the sky, who sang
peace and good will to man at His first appearing. But, there are
beauties which must strike the dullest apprehension; I will not do you
wrong by believing you to be a stranger to them. Here is one, or rather
a constellation of them, so bright and dazzling, that they can never
appear familiar to me, although I have read them a thousand times.
Shall I read it?"
I nodded my wish, and she read the eighteenthPsalm. She commenced
in a low and tender, but distinct tone; but as she proceeded, she
elevated her voice, her eyes beamed with emotion, her nostrils seemed
to dilate, and her cheek and lips assumed a deadly paleness. I was awe
struck, and when she paused, I cast down my eyes and was silent;
feeling as one may be supposed to feel who has heard the blast from the
trumpet of an angel.
After a short pause, she turned over the leaves of the bible, and
read from the story of Esther; her soft and tender voice, apparently
adding richness and beauty to the passages which she read.
"Is there not an account somewhere in the bible," I asked, "of the
sons of God having taken wives from among the children of men?"
"Yes," she said; "and the consequence was, these children were
giants in sin, monsters in iniquity, whose misdeeds brought ruin upon
"And is there no account of the sons of men taking wives from among
the daughters of God?"
"I have never read of it," she replied.
"I wish there was," I replied.
"That I might hope"—I could say no more.
"Hope what?" said Georgiana, in a trembling voice, and with her
eyes cast down.
"But I cannot hope—no, there is no hope for me." My face burned as
I spoke, and my heart beat violently. I fell upon my knees, and hiding
my face in my hands, I said, or at least tried to say, for I am not
sure I did say these words, "My dear Miss De Lancey, forgive me; I
cannot help it; I love you better than my own life. I cannot tell you
how long and how well I have loved. But with my whole soul I love you,
and must forever, while my soul endures."
Georgiana sobbed aloud, and while with one hand she wiped the tears
from her eyes, I took the other and pressed it to my lips. She withdrew
it gently, and, emboldened by her silence, I sat down by her side. I
had unburdened my heart of a heavy load, and I felt more at my ease.
Georgiana at length broke silence; her eyes were swollen, and she
looked very serious.
"It is many weary long years," she said, "or at least they have
seemed many to me, since I wept for the loss of my parents; and since
then, I have never known what it was to lean upon one who loved me, or
to feel that there was one in the world whose happiness depended upon
mine. My uncle has been very kind to me, too kind; he has gratified me
in all my wishes. But I felt it was not love which caused his kindness.
He never restrained my inclinations; and I have an indistinct
recollection that my father used to chide me. My uncle has kissed me
often, but he never shed a tear over me; but I remember, as distinctly
as though it were but yesterday, of feeling my mother's warm tears drop
upon my cheek, when she has bent over me to kiss me. O! it is a
desolate world where there is none to love you."
Georgiana did not speak these few words without frequent sobbings,
which so touched my heart, that when I attempted to speak, my utterance
was choked with tears. I could not articulate a word.
"It is I," said Georgiana, "who must ask forgiveness of you, Mr.
Franco. I have done wrong in allowing so close an intimacy to spring up
between us; I should have taken up my cross, and denied myself the
pleasure I have received in your society. Were my feelings different in
one respect; or, were yours different from what I fear they are,
perhaps I might not turn away my ear when you tell me you love me; but
now I must."
"My dear, dear love," I said, "my whole existenceis yours; there is
no division in my affections. I love you with all the strength and
fulness of my soul; and but to hear you say you love me in return, I
would do or endure more than I may seem capable of; but I could not,
even for your sake, profess a feeling to which I am a stranger, or put
on the sanctity of a hypocrite."
"I did not wrong you by believing you could; and for my sake, I
would not have you strive after that grace which can only be obtained
for the sake of Him, through whose intercession it can be given. How
often have I prayed that you might receive it for His sake who died for
The heavy footsteps of Mr. Marisett in the hall, warned us of his
approach. Georgiana wiped the tears from her eyes, and I seated myself
opposite to her, and looked as indifferent as I could. She opened her
bible, and commenced reading again, as her uncle opened the parlor
"Upon my word, Georgy," he said, "you are entertaining Mr. Franco
in sober earnestness. I hope he is satisfied with your manner of
"He has made no complaint," replied Georgiana.
"I dare say not," said her uncle; "you have given him no
opportunity, I'll be bound."
"She has given me no cause," I said.
"Well done," said Mr. Marisett, pleasantly.
Georgiana looked steadily on the page of her bible, while I looked
earnestly at the fire. The color of our thoughts was undoubtedly of the
Mr. Marisett would at times apply himself, with a wonderful degree
of intensity, to any subject which required his attention, until he
gained the result after which he sought; and then, like a spring which
had been stretched to its utmost tension, and suddenly let go, his
thoughts seemed to bound up and vacillate from side to side, for half
an hour or more, before his mind would settle to its usual calmness. He
had probably just risen from some laborious mental effort, when he
entered the parlor, for he was unusually lively and playful; and that
prevented him from observing the unusually grave demeanor of his niece.
He kissed her affectionately; and after listening to two or three of
his playful sallies, I retired to my chamber.
CHAPTER XVII. Almost a murder.
I had frequent opportunities of walking to church, and to prayer
meetings, with Georgiana; and sometimes I accompanied her in her
charitable visits, although she usually preferred going alone on such
errands. But we were rarely together in her uncle's house. Mrs. Butler
was no stranger to our feelings, and she never interfered when there
was a prospect of our being left alone; but my duties, or company, or
some other cause, rarely allowed me this happiness.
It was the settled conviction of Georgiana, that it would be sinful
in her to plight her faith to one, whose heart had not been touched by
the same divine influences which she believed had wrought a change in
her. She quoted to me the proofs from holy writ, on which her faith was
founded; and although I could not refute her arguments, yet they failed
to carry conviction to my mind. I had the double mortification of
feeling my inferiority to her, and of knowing she loved me, without the
hope of ever possessing her. Truly, with me, religion was the "one
thing needful." Never,since the cross was erected, did a man strive
harder to convert himself. I read the most powerful and argumentative
essays; I listened attentively to the most stirring sermons, and even
tried to look pious, with the hope that a habit of body might beget a
corresponding habit of mind. Many and earnest were the prayers which
Georgiana breathed in my behalf. But all to no purpose. My dislike to
religious things and duties increased in proportion to the efforts that
were made to overcome it. At last, I began to look upon all religious
men, and books, and even upon the bible itself, as united in a
conspiracy to rob me of my life's pleasure.
My sole hope was, that Georgiana herself would change; that her
delusion would wear away, or be overcome by her love for me. I began to
fear that no change would be effected in me.
But it was no small consolation to know, that Georgiana actually
loved me, and that she refused me, not for personal, but for spiritual
reasons. And it added not a little to this consolation, to know, that
in gaining her affections, I had achieved a mighty triumph over my
cousin. He was introduced to her for the first time, at Mrs. Brown's
party, and fell in love with her on the spot. He had called on her
repeatedly since, but had alwaysbeen coolly received. He pretended to
be engaged in some religious enterprise, and became a regular attendant
at the chapel which Georgiana frequented; and once, when he attempted
to address her, as she came out of the door, when the service was over,
she merely made a slight inclination of the head, and taking my arm, we
walked quietly away, and left him to chew the cud of his disappointment
at his leisure. I took a wicked pleasure in mortifying his pride, and I
longed to whisper in his ear the odious words which he had planted in
my memory. I cared nothing now for his real estate, nor his money; and
I knew he envied me the situation I held, as it allowed me free
intercourse with Georgiana. I frequently passed him in the street, but
I never gave him a look of recognition. The cause of his showing such a
wanton malice towards me, I never knew; I was some years his junior,
and I had never, until he unprovokedly wounded my feelings, entertained
a hard thought of him; although from a child he had sought every
occasion to excite my anger.
It was very seldom that my services were required at the counting
room of an evening; but the night after that on which Georgiana had
taken my arm, as my cousin spoke to her when she cameout of the chapel,
Mr. Bargin requested me to remain, and assist in preparing the invoices
and bills of lading, for a ship belonging to Marisett Co., which was to
sail the next morning. I was always glad when an opportunity offered to
render myself serviceable; and on this occasion, I remained in the
counting room as long as there was any thing to be done. It was
midnight when I left, and I had almost three miles to walk. Mr.
Marisett's house was on the north side of the city, at the foot of one
of the new streets which led down to the Hudson. The night was cold and
dark, and I wrapped my cloak about me, and walked briskly through the
silent streets, till I got within a block or two of the house, where
the side walk was shaded with young sycamore trees, when a man suddenly
jumped from behind one of the casings of a tree, and caught me in his
arms, and before I could clear myself from my cloak, he tripped up my
heels, and I fell upon my back; in my fall, my hat got jambed over my
eyes, which prevented me from seeing my assailant, and before I had
time to make an attempt at defence, I felt a sharp instrument graze my
left side. But it was directed with such force, that, as it struck the
pavement, it slipped out of the murderer's hand, and I caught his arm
before he could regain it. I heldhard, and shouted murder with all my
might. The sound of the watchman's staff was soon heard, and I
struggled hard with the assassin, but he had an advantage of me by
being on top, and before the watch came, he had escaped. The blood had
flown freely from my wound, and I had no sooner told the number of the
house where I lived, than I fainted.
When I revived again, I found myself underssed and in bed, and in
my own chamber; Mrs. Butler and Mr. Marisett were both at my bed-side,
and they spoke soothingly and kindly to me. It was some time before I
could call together my scattered senses, or be made to understand what
had happened to me. It appeared that I had received a deep cut in my
left side, and in my arm; but the doctor had pronounced the wounds not
dangerous; but I had bled profusely, and felt extremely weak and
An ivory-handled bowie-knife was found by my side by the watchman
who picked me up; it was a murderous-looking weapon, but of beautiful
workmanship; on each side of the blade was a motto, or rather an
inscription: "Short and sweet," on one side; "A heart-seeker," on the
other. Mr. Marisett delivered it to the officers of the police, next
morning, and offered a reward of a thousand dollars for the
apprehension of the assassin who attacked me, and the mayor of the city
offered a reward of five hundred dollars in addition. But he was never
detected. It was evident, that the object of the murderer was not
plunder, for it was at a time when all those gentlemen who live by
plundering their neighbors, were making money fast enough to satisfy
their desires, by speculating in lots. Owing to the suddenness of the
attack, and the darkness of the night, I did not even catch a glimpse
of his person, and consequently I could not furnish the slightest clue
to lead to his detection. A horrible suspicion crossed my mind, but I
would not trust it to my own thoughts. I was conscious of having
injured no one, and consoled myself with the reflection, that I had
been mistaken for another person.
I was confined to my bed a fortnight, and during that time I
received many additional proofs of regard from Mr. Marisett, and
Georgiana, and from good Mrs. Butler, who hardly left me ten minutes at
a time. Georgiana read the bible to me every day, and prayed by my
side; she improved the peculiar circumstances in which I was placed, by
admonishing me of the uncertainty of life, and the necessity of being
always prepared for a summons to the next world. But it was invain she
talked, I could think of no other heaven than that which her presence
made. Had I been called upon to worship her, I could have knelt
devoutly at her feet; but I could not dismiss her from my mind long
enough to dwell on a higher or a purer being.
A few days after I had sufficiently recovered to go down stairs,
Mr. Marisett gave a small dinner-party, and as mishap had in some sort
made a little lion of me, he invited me to the table. The guests were
principally merchants, gentlemen with whom the house of Marisett Co.
had transacted business; Mr. Bargin was present, of course, for, as he
said himself, he was au fait at a dinner party: he knew exactly what to
do on such an occasion; he had not studied the fashionable novels for
nothing. The only ladies present were Georgiana and Miss Rippletrump, a
cousin of Mr. Marisett's; she was a fine, stately-looking woman, as
matronly in her appearance as though she had been the mother of a
baker's dozen. She made a boast, that she had passed her fortieth year,
and was not married yet. She made her appearance on this occasion in a
blue satin turban and maraboo feathers. I have always observed, that
your bold, dashing women, are fond of a turban, and I do not remember
that I ever met witha modest, retiring woman, with one on her head.
Georgiana was dressed with great simplicity and neatness, and she
appeared to great advantage by the side of her dressed-up relation.
The finest gentleman of the party, excepting Mr. Bargin, was Mr. De
Challies, an importer of French millinery articles. He spoke of the
prices of goods, and the prospects of trade, with an air bordering upon
grandeur. Mr. Looman, a stock broker, took rank next to the importer.
He was a tall, pale man, with a broken nose and a broken voice; but
those were trifles; his slender form was ornamented with a filligree
chain, which dangled from his neck. Mr. Looman spoke about 'dollars,'
and operations,' and 'loans,' and 'exchanges,' and 'bills,' with such
an air of superiority, that I felt myself the meanest creature in
existence, when I remembered my own poverty.
"Aw, Looman, what has become of Smith?" said Mr. De Challies.
"What, the grocer, or the broker?" said Mr. Looman.
"The grocer," replied Mr. De Challies.
"Oh! he is dead."
"Dead! Now that is very strange. Bless my soul and body, I thought
I saw him yesterdaywith a decidedly shabby vest on. Poor Smith; he was
the best judge of French brandy in Front street."
"Oh! then if you saw him yesterday he can't be dead. But he's a
"Is it possible!" exclaimed Mr. De Challies, suspending his spoon
midway between his plate and his mouth.
"True fact, sir,' replied Mr. Looman; "he isn't worth a dollar."
"What, failed, and didn't save nothing for himself?" asked a
gentleman whose name I have forgotten.
"The fool!" said another.
"Very indefatigable man, Smith," said another.
"Quite an ingenious man," said another.
"Poor stick," ejaculated another gentleman.
"Quite so," added Mr. Bargin, and with him the remarks on Smith
terminated. Mr. Marisett said nothing on the subject. Mr. De Challies
took wine with Miss Rippletrump, who sat opposite to him.
"That's a rich wine, madam," remarked Mr. De Challies.
"Cousin usually keeps good wine, I believe," replied the lady.
"He is an importer of the article, I presume," said Mr. De
Challies, in whose estimation an importer outranked a mere jobber.
"Very probable," replied Miss Rippletrump, with a stately toss of
her turban, which made her maraboo feathers shake again.
"In his own ships," said Mr. De Challies, smacking his lips, and
repeating again, "very rich wine."
"Every thing is rich now-a-days," said the lady; "for my part, I
long for the good old days when people were poor. If I only knew where
there was a poor man, woman, or child, I should be glad. I wish, cousin
Marisett, you would take a fashionable young wife to help you spend
your money, and then I could hope some day to find a poor relation in
"I am extremely obliged to you for your kind wishes," replied Mr.
"Then why don't you take my advice," replied the lady.
"Humph!" ejaculated Mr. Marisett; "if women were always women,
perhaps I might. But some have usurped the offices of men, and made me
half suspect the gentleness of the others. Some have taken swords in
their hands, and others pens; some have gone into the pulpit,and others
have mounted the rostrum. Such women are not for me; no, no, cousin;
when I lay my head by the side of a woman, she must be every thing that
a man is not. But come, come, why do you not get married yourself,
"If men were all men," said Miss Rippletrump, parodying the words
of Mr. Marisett, "perhaps I might. But some have usurped the offices of
women, and made me more than suspect the manliness of the others; some
sit cross legged, with needles in their huge fingers, and others stand
all day behind a counter, using their lusty arms to measure out
millinery; and the best do but devote their days to no more noble
objects than hoarding money; no, no, cousin; such men are not for me;
if ever I do sacrifice myself to a man, he must be every thing that a
woman is not."
Mr. De Challies and Mr. Looman and Mr. Bargin, looked at each other
with the liveliest consternation depicted in their countenances, which
seemed to say, "did you ever?" Men could not have manifested greater
amazement by their looks.
But good humor was soon restored, and the dinner passed off very
pleasantly. However, neither Mr. De Challies nor Mr. Looman
utteredanother syllable about their business. As soon as the dessert
was brought on, Miss Rippletrump and Georgiana retired to the parlor,
where I joined them very soon. The first named lady was still in a high
"I am very glad you have joined us, Mr. Franco," she said, "for I
cannot find out from Miss De Lancey, whether you are rich or not; if
you be, I hope you will not take offence at what I have said."
I assured Miss Rippletrump, that the meekest man in the world would
not desire to be poorer.
"Well, I am glad to hear it," she said, "although money is well
enough in its way; indeed, I have got a little myself, which I should
be very sorry to lose. But money, without refinement, makes brutes of
CHAPTER XVIII. Political.
The next evening, I was engaged with Mr. Marisett in his private
office, for, although my left arm was still in a sling, I could write
very easily with my other hand. I had been writing a duplicate letter,
and was waiting for him to put his signature to it.
"It is a poor business, after all," said Mr. Marisett.
"I think it will leave a margin, sir," I replied, thinking he
referred to the matter contained in the letter I had been copying.
"Not that," he said, smiling, "not that; but I was thinking of my
cousin Rippletrump's remarks about making money; they have run in my
mind all day. This money-getting, certainly, does not fill up the full
measure of a man's dignity. She was right. Once it was something to be
rich, but now I meet with men daily who are richer than myself; even
the milkman who brought milk to my door but a few months ago, now rides
through Broadway with a liveried footman behind his carriage. Getting
money is not, to be sure, a feminineemployment, but it is neither manly
I could not guess at the thoughts which were running in Mr.
Marisett's mind, so I made no reply to his remarks, but only bit the
top of my pen, and waited to hear the remainder of what he was going to
"It has been hinted to me, Mr. Franco, that if I would consent, I
could receive the nomination of representative in Congress at the
"Indeed," I replied; "of course, you have determined to accept."
"I am at a loss what to do; I could not endure the mortification of
"Surely," I said, and with sincerity too, "there can be no
probability of that."
Mr. Marisett shook his head, and smiled. "There is another
objection," he added; "if I should be elected, it must be by the votes
of a party, and the very sound of party is odious to me. 'My country,'
has a noble sound; but 'my party,' savors of meanness and littleness of
purpose. It would never satisfy the cravings of my ambition to be the
representative of but a moiety of my fellow-citizens, and to see it
registered in the public papers, that there were so many thousands, who
refused to give me their votes; and to know the exact number who
considered me unworthy of their confidence."
"Why not then," I said, "offer yourself as a candidate for the
suffrages of all parties. Of course, the highest talents and greatest
virtues will command the most votes; as the best merchandize always
commands the highest prices."
"Ah! I see you know nothing of politics," replied Mr. Marisett.
"I must confess I do not; but this party system is a strange
"It is a system of the arch fiend," said Mr. Marisett.
And so the subject dropped. But the next evening Mr. Marisett told
me he had been persuaded to allow his name to be used by the nominating
committee of the party to which he belonged; and while we sat in the
little office, a gentleman called to speak with him on the subject. It
was Mr. Bloodbutton, a patriotic lawyer, very celebrated as an orator
at ward meetings.
"I have called on you, sir," said Mr. Bloodbutton, addressing
himself to Mr. Marisett, with a solemn air, "having been deputised for
that purpose, to make some inquiries, and ascertain some facts in
relation to your private history, that I maybe enabled to make some
effective points in my speech to-morrow night at the Hall."
Mr. Marisett smiled, and replied, "upon my word, Mr. Bloodbutton, I
think the wisest way will be to say nothing at all about me, for I know
of nothing that can be said to any advantage; except, indeed, that I
have always paid my debts."
"That," replied Mr. Bloodbutton; "wouldn't be a circumstance. We
must have something to hurrah about, or we shall lose the election.
Were you ever a fireman?"
"Never in my life," replied Mr. Marisett.
"Did you never save the life of some poor emigrant's child, by
jumping into the river, or in other words, the briny deep?"
"Did you never save any body's life in any manner?"
"I am quite sure I never did. Indeed, I am positive."
"Perhaps you were engaged in the late glorious struggle, our second
war of Independence?"
"No, I cannot say that I was."
"But, you were not a member of the Hartford Convention?" exclaimed
Mr. Bloodbutton, evidently alarmed.
"Never was in the Bluelaw State in my life, sir."
"That's fortunate," said Mr. Bloodbutton; "I trust you were not
born down east."
"My father was a New England man, sir," replied Mr. Marisett, "and
I claim to be a descendant of the Pilgrims."
"That is bad, very bad," said Mr. Bloodbutton, shaking his head.
"All the down-easters are Hartford Conventionists."
"My poor father, sir," said Mr. Marisett, "died before the
Convention was thought of."
"That makes no difference in the world, sir," said Mr. Bloodbutton,
"the public would never be satisfied with such an apology as that. He
was a federalist, of course?"
"Then the public is unreasonable in the extreme," said Mr.
"They generally decide right, sir; we are bound to respect the will
of the majority, in such cases," replied Mr. Bloodbutton.
I thought it was a very hard case, but I kept my thoughts to
"But, surely you were drafted during the war," said Mr.
"I was," said Mr. Marisett, "but I hired a substitute."
"All the same as though you went yourself," said Mr. Bloodbutton,
making a memorandum in his pocket-book. "Was your substitute in any
"I had the curiosity to make some inquiries about him, and I found
that he deserted the first time he heard the report of a musket."
"Never mind about telling any farther. He was in actual service; it
will make a beautiful point. I wish he had taken a standard; it would
produce a most thrilling effect to wave it over the beads of the people
at the Hall."
"I wish he had," said Mr. Marisett.
"Were you born at the time of the revolution?"
"I was not."
"That is dreadfully unlucky, I should like to make a revolutionary
hero of you."
"Would not that be dishonest," said Mr. Marisett.
"Dishonest, sir," replied Mr. Bloodbutton, evidently astonished at
the remark; "nothing is dishonest in politics that is available. But
next to a revolutionary hero, there is nothing like being born in the
gem of the sea; I presume you can lay no claim to that distinction?"
"Not the slightest."
"Were not some of your relatives revolutionary soldiers?"
"My grandfather, I have been told, was a sergeant in the
"Was he wounded?" inquired Mr. B. eagerly.
"I have heard my grandmother tell that he had his right heel
knocked off, by putting out his foot to stop a cannon ball which he
supposed was nearly spent."
"Good, good," cried the orator, in an ecstacy of delight. "Of
course there is but one way of speaking of that circumstance; it has
all the dignity of a historical fact; your ancestors poured out their
blood like water upon the ensanguined field of—of—what battle was
"I do not remember."
"Well, never mind; upon the ensanguined battle field, will do."
"There are two or three more questions, of rather a delicate
nature, which I wish to ask. I mean no disrespect, but there are
certain things, of which it is necessary to be informed. You never
stole away the gentle partner of a man's bosom, nor any thing of that
sort?" inquired Mr. Bloodbutton, timidly, as if afraid an answer in the
affirmative might be given.
"Never run one of your particular friends through the body with a
"Nor shot a high-minded and talented gentleman in a duel."
"Of course, you never hung a militiaman?"
Mr. Bloodbutton made another entry in his pocket-book, and then
shook Mr. Marisett's hand, and then extended his hand to me, which I
grasped cheerfully, for I had conceived a high regard for him, seeing
he took such a lively interest in the affairs of my kind employer.
When Mr. Bloodbutton was gone, Mr. Marisett leaned back in his
chair, and laughed heartily.
"What nonsense," he said, "to talk about broad-farce in the
theatre; after all, there is nothing really serious in this world, but
the act of goint out of it."
CHAPTER XIX. The effects of
speaking in public.
It was well known in the counting room of Marisett Co. the next
morning, that the senior partner was to be put in nomination for a
member of Congress, and all the clerks took a very lively interest in
the matter, much livelier, indeed, than Mr. Marisett himself did. A
meeting was to be held that evening, when the nominating committee were
to make their report; and we all agreed to go from the counting room
together. Invoices were left unfinished, and letters were sent off
without being copied; the excitement was very great. Even Mr. Bargin
seemed to have the starch taken out of him, as one of the clerks
observed; but Mr. Garvey's religious scruples would not allow him to
mingle in such worldly pursuits as politics; so he attended to his
duties, as usual.
As soon as it was dark, we all started off for Masonic Hall in a
body, and got there before the doors were open. We waited with
patience, until the doors were open, and then made a rush up the
stairs, and we had the satisfaction of having the Hall all to ourselves
for nearly half an hour, during which time, we examined all the
architectural beauties and elaborate ornaments of that celebrated
place; and we came to the unanimous conclusion, the reverse of a
celebrated piece of criticism, that if the architect had not taken
quite so much pains, the Hall would have been a good deal handsomer.
After the expiration of half an hour, the people began to pour in, and
very soon the Hall was crowded to suffocation, and when no more could
get up stairs, the crowd below organized, and appointed their own
Chairman and Secretaries, and had their own speeches. Although I was
almost dead with the heat, and choked with dust, I was rejoiced to see
the crowd; for I looked upon it as an undoubted evidence of the
popularity of Mr. Marisett. I got jammed between two very fat men, and
I thought they would have squeezed the breath out of my body. But I was
most annoyed by a tall man, who stood directly in front of me, and
prevented me from seeing any of the persons on the platform. Somebody
was addressing the meeting, but the only words I could hear were,
"fellow cit-i-zens." I had never been at a political meeting before,
and I had a great curiosity to see and hear every thing. There were
fifty Vice Presidents, and thirty-five Secretaries; and as they were
all, as a matter ofcourse, personal friends of Mr. Marisett, I was
anxious to see them; but the only portion of their persons that I could
catch a glimpse of, was the tops of their heads, which either exhibited
a tuft of gray hair, or a smooth, glossy surface.
There was a great many speakers, and among them Mr. Bloodbutton,
who, as he promised, made a decided hit, by introducing the
revolutionary event, with suitable embellishments. When Mr. Marisett's
name was mentioned, there was a tremendous clapping and cheering. When
the meeting broke up, our little party from the counting room adjourned
to the bar-room below, where we spent more than half the night in
drinking slings and cocktails, and in exchanging congratulations. The
newspapers the next morning contained the most exciting accounts of the
meeting, and all the editors seemed to vie with each other in praising
Mr. Marisett. All the great men of ancient and modern times had to
suffer in their reputations, for he was declared to be infinitely
superior to the best of them, and the descendant of a revolutionary
hero besides. As for his opponent, the candidate of the opposite party,
he was a foreigner by birth, an infidel in religion, a turncoat in
politics, a bankrupt in fortune, low in his pursuits, mean in his
origin, intemperate inhis habits, ugly in person, of inferior capacity,
and limited in his acquirements. Of course, there could be no doubt of
the issue in a contest between two such men; and on strictly party
grounds, without any reference to the qualifications of the candidates,
it was asserted there could be no doubt of victory; the reaction in the
public feeling was astounding.
We were all in the highest spirits at the flattering prospects of
our employers' success, for we all loved him, and we knew that the fine
things that were said of him were all true. It was proposed by Mr.
Cornstock, the assistant book-keeper, that we should all go to Tammany
Hall the next evening, just by way of a joke, to enjoy the desponding
looks of our opponents. The proposition was agreed to, and when the
evening came, we all went in a body. But the opposition were not quite
so cast down as we expected to find them. The front of the hall was
brilliantly illuminated with great flaring transparencies, and the
interior was very finely ornamented with flags; and a live owl, to
represent an eagle, was tied to the speaker's chair. There was a great
gathering; and notwithstanding the severe articles in the papers, the
crowd appeared in fine spirits, and were noisy as victors. They had the
samenumber of vice presidents and secretaries that we had at our
meeting, and I must acknowledge I did not see any very great difference
in their appearance, although I expected to have seen the meanest and
most contemptible looking set of fellows in the world.
A short, thick set gentleman, with a pair of twinkling black eyes,
a smiling countenance, and a smooth tongue, got up and addressed the
meeting in favor of their candidate, to whom he attributed all the
virtues, and asserted, with unblushing effrontery, that he was the son
of a colonel in the continental army. Such impudence filled me with
astonishment. But, when the orator, after exhausting all the eulogistic
epithets in praising his own candidate, fell upon Mr. Marisett, and
began to heap the foulest abuse upon him, the blood fairly boiled in my
veins. I could scarce contain myself until he had finished speaking.
This was too bad to be endured, and I felt myself called upon, by every
principle of honor and gratitude, to defend the character of my
So while the people were shouting and clapping their hands, after
the speaker had sat down, I elbowed my way up to the platform, and
mounted the steps. I took off my hat, and the mobgreeted me with three
rounds of cheers; and then followed a deadly silence. My heart
fluttered, and I wished myself any where in the world but where I was,
when I looked round upon the multitude of human eyes which were
levelled at me. It is nothing to make one of a crowd, but to stand
above one, and to see its thousand eyes gazing at you, is something.
But there was no retreating. I drew a long breath, and then took a
swallow of Manhattan water, and tried to speak; but I could say nothing
more than, "fellow cit—i—zens."
The mob commiserating my confusion, encouraged me to proceed by
giving me three more rounds of applause. I began to gain confidence,
and pronounced once more, "fellow cit-i-zens," took another glass of
Manhattan water, and proceeded. "I am bold in rising to address you,
although for the first time." "Speak louder, speak louder," cried the
mob — "because," — "speak louder, Bub," said one of the vice
presidents, encouragingly — "because," I continued, "freedom of debate
and liberty of conscience are, I am told, among the glorious privileges
for which you do battle; and having gained them for yourselves, you are
willing to accord them to others." Three more rounds of applause, and
cries of, "bravo!""go it!" "spit it out!" "Therefore I say, I can, with
confidence, stand here, and claim the privilege of vindicating the
character of a great and good man, whose character has this night, and
on this platform, been slanderously assailed. I need not say that I
allude to that excellent gentleman, Jonathan Marisett."
As I concluded these words, a shout of yells, shrieks, and hisses,
broke from the mob, and made the Hall tremble to its foundation.
"Hustle him out," "hustle him out," "kill the 'ristocrat." "off with
his ruffle shirt," "out with him," were sounds that rose up above the
confused din. A dozen ruffianly fellows caught hold of me at once, and
I was tossed, and kicked, and cuffed, and thrown from one to another,
over the heads of that patriotic assemblage. Canes were levelled at me
from every side, and quids of tobacco showered above my head like hail,
and now and then a torrent of warm tobacco juice came gushing into my
eyes. By and bye I felt myself descending the stairs, and at last, the
cool night air bnlew upon my face. and suddenly I found myself lying in
I was completely stunned, and frightened almost to death; my coat
was torn off, my shirt was in tatters, and my hat and watch were gone;
the wound in my arm had started to bleeding, and Iwas covered with
gore. My companions picked me up, and put me into a hackney coach, and
drove me home.
Georgiana, hearing the noise as they took me into the hall, came
out of the parlor, and as soon as she saw me, fainted. Mrs. Butler had
me washed and put to bed, and a physician sent for, when it was
discovered that, although I was badly bruised, I was not dangerously
Mr. Marisett said, he was extremely mortified at what I had done,
and for the first time, since I had been in his employ, he censured me.
But as soon as I was well enough to go out again, he gave me a gold
watch, and told me to go to his tailor's and get measured for a suit of
clothes. Although my hurt was not dangerous, yet the doctor said it was
necessary for me to keep my bed for a fortnight. Once more I had the
happiness of having Georgiana to sit by my bed side, and read to me
from the book she loved so well. But still my heart was untouched,
except by her charms. How could aught beside find a lodgment there. She
completely filled up, and engrossed all my affections; all my thoughts,
hopes, wishes, and desires, centered upon her. Even my ambition to
excel my cousin daily grew less; thewhole strength of my soul was
exhausted by love for Georgiana.
The day of the election came round, and found me still in bed; I
was very anxious to be out, but the doctor would not allow me to go. It
was a special election, and the interest which is usually shared by a
dozen candidates, was engrossed by two. I was in a state of continued
and feverish excitement, until the result was known, which had the
effect of retarding my recovery. At last the astounding news was
brought to me. Mr. Marisett was defeated by an immense majority!
The next day, the papers were full of dark hints about bribery and
corruption, and mysterious inuendoes about contesting the election; but
the next day after, they contained not a word on the subject, and Mr.
Marisett and his virtues were as suddenly and as completely forgotten,
as though he had never had an existence.
But Mr. Marisett did not forget his defeat, although the public
did; he was mortified and disappointed; and the exciting passion for
distinction having taken possession of him, he could not break away
from it, and resume his quiet business habits.
CHAPTER XX. Tears and smiles.
A few weeks after the election, I sat in the private office
arranging some papers, when Mr. Marisett came in, and seated himself at
his desk. He remained almost an hour, with his eyes cast down, and his
lips compressed in his peculiar manner, conveying to the mind an
impression of firmness, which I have sometimes felt, when gazing on a
"I have been defeated," he spoke at length, "in the only attempt I
ever made to gain popular favor. I was a fool to make an adventure
where I had no experience, and where I could have no controlling
influence, and where success could be insured neither by calculation
nor merit. Henceforth, Mr. Franco, we will act with more discretion."
"I certainly shall try to," I said, holding up my arm, which I was
still obliged to wear in a sling; "but I was not aware that any one
beside myself had shown any want of discretion in the contest."
"I mean in choosing the object, and not inpursuing it," he said.
"However, it may prove fortunate for me that I lost the election. I
have almost matured in my mind a plan, which will, if I carry it into
operation, gain me more renown, and greater means of usefulness, than
if I had been fifty times a member of Congress. I have not named the
subject to my partners yet, but I shall to-morrow, and if we determine
to carry it into execution, we shall have occasion to send you off on
I replied that nothing would give me greater happiness than to be
instrumental in advancing his interests, but that I should greatly
prefer doing it at home, if I could as well.
Mr. Marisett looked me full in the face, and I blushed; for I
thought he suspected the cause of my unwillingness to go abroad. I may
have been mistaken, but the thought made me feel uneasy and confused,
and when I had finished my writing, I bade him good night, and retired
to my chamber.
I felt unhappy at the prospect of leaving Georgiana, for I
considered it as certain that I should be compelled to do so. Mr.
Marisett was one of those men who never allow any one to share in their
thoughts, but wait until their plans are matured in their own minds
before they expose themto others. His manner with his partners was
"Well, gentlemen, I have thought of entering into such and such an
arrangement; what do you think of it?"
Perhaps one of them would venture to make an objection.
"Well, gentlemen," he would reply, "my mind is made up; we will do
as I propose."
But it was only in affairs of importance that he was thus positive;
in matters of minor concern he would always yield his own opinion with
the best grace imaginable.
The next day, Mr. Marisett told me he had consulted with his
partners, and that he had determined on carrying his plans into
execution. It was nothing less that an attempt to get the control of
the cotton market into his hands. It was a stupendous undertaking; but
Mr. Marisett was a conqueror in business, and nothing with him appeared
difficult of accomplishment, where industry, foresight, or calculation,
could be of avail. The entire plan of operations by which he expected
to effect his object, I never knew; for it was his practice never to
give one man any further insight into his views than what was actually
necessary to enable him to perform the particularduty assigned to him.
But with me, Mr. Marisett had generally been less reserved; on this
occasion, however, he merely told me that I must get myself in
readiness to leave for New Orleans at the end of the week; that I must
make all possible haste in getting to my place of destination; and that
my instructions were not to be opened until I got there.
Although this proof of confidence was gratifying to my pride, I
would gladly have remained in his office at home, if I could; for I had
still a hope of being able to overcome the scruples of Georgiana, and I
was afraid that, in my absence, my cousin would succeed, by his
hypocrisy, in gaining her affections.
The bare thought of such an event almost distracted me, and once I
determined to tell Mr. Marisett that I could not go. But a second
thought reminded me of the honor and profit which I should gain by
going; and that I should thereby triumph over my cousin, and heap coals
of fire on his head; so pride, and revenge, and avarice, at last
overpowered love. But it was a hard struggle. And yet I would not have
resigned Georgiana De Lancey for the whole world; but I was willing,
seemingly, to give her up for a season, that I might thereby gratify
the darling passion of my soul.
The few days which were left me for preparation, flew away more
rapidly than time had ever flown by me before; and the last night in
which I was to sleep under the same roof with Georgiana, had arrived.
It was late in the evening when I closed a letter to my parents,
informing them of my intended journey. It could make but little
difference, whether a thousand or a hundred miles separated us; and yet
I could not refrain a tear, at the thought of being farther removed
from them. I sealed my letter, and hastened out of the office, where I
had been writing alone. As I passed through the hall, with the
intention of going up to my chamber, I saw Georgiana sitting by herself
in the parlor. She appeared sad. I stopped a moment at the door; she
raised her eyes; I fancied there was an invitation in their glance, and
I entered and sat down. But it was a long time before I could speak; my
utterance was choked, and I made many attempts before I could
articulate a syllable. Georgiana was very pale, and but for the
tremulous motion of her lips, she would have looked like a corpse. I
had never seen her look so sad and dejected before. At last I spoke.
"I shall leave you to-morrow, Miss De Lancey," I said, "and as this
may be the last time I shall ever be allowed the privilege of speaking
to you alone, I cannot leave you, without telling you once more that I
love you. I know it is unreasonable in me, so worthless, to hope that
you, who are so worthy, should return love for love, or even cold
esteem for warm and glowing passion. I know it is even wicked to
indulge in the unholy dream of being united to one so much above me.
But our affections are not always under our own control; and madness
though it be in me to love, still I must love, because it is madness. I
do love you, dear Georgina; how well, I cannot speak. And my love is
not lessened, because I feel how unworthy I am of you. The heart yearns
for something higher and holier than itself; as you, when you first
felt guilt in your soul, looked up and sought communion with the Holy
Spirit. You found the purity for which you sought. O! that my heart
might find the purity after which it yearns."
Georgiana made no reply, but she covered her face with her hands,
and sobbed aloud.
"O that I could leave you," I continued, "knowing that you feel an
interest in my welfare! I could then go with a free and buoyant spirit;
butif otherwise, it will be a weary road that I shall travel."
Georgiana continued to sob, and I felt it would be ungenerous to
press her to make a confession, which her religious scruples forbade,
let her inclinations be what they might. I took her hand, which hung by
her side, and pressing it to my lips, bade her good bye, and left her.
I felt assured that she loved me. It was enough.
The next morning I did not see her; but the kindhearted house
keeper met me at the door as I was leaving, and I whispered in her ear
to remember me to Miss Georgy.
Mr. Marisett accompanied me to the steam-boat, and as he put the
package into my hands which contained my instructions, he told me that
it depended upon the prudence of my conduct in New Orleans, whether I
was admitted as a partner in the firm of Marisett Co. on my return. He
shook me cordially by the hand, and bade me farewell. I stepped on
board the boat; the last bell was ringing, and as I was elbowing my way
along the deck, a small package was suddenly thrust into my hands. I
turned to see from whom it came. "Cast off," exclaimed the pilot; a
slight boyish figure sprang ashore; the fasts were cut loose, and away
we darted through the water. Ilooked long and anxiously, but the slight
form was lost in the crowd, and I saw it no more.
The letter which had been put into my hand so mysteriously, was
directed to me in a pretty woman's hand, which I recognised immediately
as Georgiana's. I sought out a retired spot, and tearing open the
envelope with a beating heart and trembling hands, read as follows:
"My conscience upbraids me with having broken the golden rule, in
my intercourse with you, and I cannot allow you to leave me, under a
false impression of my feelings. I am afraid I have not been
sufficiently plain, when you have spoken to me on the subject, in
giving you to understand that my mind is unalterably fixed, never to
unite myself to one, whose heart has not been bowed under the conscious
burden of his sins; for my promise has been passed, mentally only, I
own, but I cannot break it. It is registered above. Had I known you
before the vow was made, perhaps it never would have been; but it is,
and I am bound by it. Our hands, dear Harry, may never be united, but
our hearts may be. I cannot dissimulate, I do love you; how well I love
you, let this confession witness. If it be sinfulin me, I trust that
He, in whom is all my trust, will pardon me, and deliver me from my
bondage. And my constant prayer to Him is, that he will bring you to
the foot of that Cross, where alone I can meet you.
"I know that I am overstepping the worldly line of propriety in
making this confession to you, but what has the world to do with you
and me? I know the integrity of my own heart, and I have no fears of
yours. Dear Harry, you will not love me less because I do not deceive
you. If I were indifferent to you, I could not deceive you; how then
can I, regarding you as I do, fulfil the law, by allowing you to leave
me, with painful suspicions in your mind, and ignorant of the true
state of my affections? Would I that others should do so to me? Life is
too short for deceit; the time is too near at hand when all things
shall be revealed.
"Once more let me entreat you to put on the armor of faith. Repent;
confess your sins; pray; read your bible. Forgive me, that I, who am so
ignorant, should thus dictate to you. Attribute this too great zeal—
to love for your soul.
"May the God of all grace defend you, support you, and convert you.
Georgiana De L."
I read this precious letter a thousand times; I studied it, and
weighed every word; I dissected every sentence, but the flattering hope
of my breast found no spot whereon to alight. True, to be assured by
Georgiana herself that she loved me, was a bliss to which I had never
even dared to aspire; but to be told by her that she loved me, and that
she could never be mine, was a depth lower in wretchedness than I had
ever even feared.
CHAPTER XXI. Arrive at New Orleans,
and meet with an old acquaintance.
It was just at dark when I landed on the levee, in New Orleans, and
after seeing my baggage deposited at Bishop's hotel, I took a stroll
through the town. Some of the streets reminded me strongly of the dark
Calle which I first entered in Buenos Ayres, and some of the houses
were fac similes of those in that city. As I sauntered along through
the Rue St. Louis, my attention was arrested by a bright light, and the
jingling of silver, issuing through a partly closed door. My curiosity
was excited, and I pushed open the door and entered. I perceived at a
glance that I was in a gambling house. It was a large room, brilliantly
illuminated with argand lamps, and well filled with a motley assemblage
of men. There were three roulette tables, and two faro tables, and in
one corner of the apartment was a capacious mahogany sideboard, on
which was placed an abundance of what is called refreshments, viz.:
claret and whiskey, Bologna sausages, and segars.
There was an excited crowd round each of the tables; and oaths, and
curses, and sometimes long drawn signs, were mingled with the continual
jingle of dollars, and the gruff voices of the croupiers, calling out
the numbers which decided the issue of the games. These croupiers were
sturdy looking men, dressed in snowy white jackets, and very much
ornamented with jewelry. One of them, a long nosed man, I thought I had
seen before; he was dressed very fine, and his manner appeared familiar
to me. I stood looking at him earnestly, as he exercised his long
mahogany stick, and hauled in the little heap of half dollars and
quarters which were lost on the roulette table at which he was sitting,
when suddenly he caught sight of me, and exclaimed, "Franco, my pippin,
how are you?" He gave up his stick to a man who was sitting at his
elbow, and came from behind the table and shook me heartily by the
It was my old acquaintance, Jack Lummucks, the drummer. He said he
was most infernal happy to see me; although the last time I met him, he
turned his head away from me.
Mr. Lummucks took me by the arm, and walked me into a coffee-house
close by, and insisted on my drinking a julep; there was no escape, so
I submitted. I should have been very glad to get rid of him, but he
would cling to me. He had acquired the habit of hanging on to one when
he was a drummer, and he couldn't leave it off now that there was
nothing to be gained by it; it was also as natural for him to treat, as
it was for him to breathe. He invited me to go to his boarding house to
supper, but I refused. However, I might as well have gone willingly,
for he at last compelled me to go; I could not shake him off. As his
boarding house was in the lower part of the city, before we reached it,
he related to me, without shame or reserve, how his old employers, J.
Smith Davis Co. had sent him down South, on a collecting and drumming
tour, and that having collected some thousands of dollars, he came down
the Mississippi with the intention of embarking in one of the packets
for New York; but he dropped into the gambling house one night, where I
met him, and lost all the money which he had collected for his
employer, and afterwards the proprietor of the house had engaged him
for a croupier. It was the most natural change in the world; his habits
as a jobber's drummer, exactly qualified him for a gambler's croupier.
But I could not help expressing my opinion of Mr. Lummucks very
plainly; he took it very coolly,however, and justified his misconduct
by laying all the blame to the door of his old employer, Mr. J. Smith
Davis, who, he said, had brought him up to it.
When we got to the door of Mr. Lummuck's boarding house, I
hesitated about going in; but calling to mind that holy and good men
had sat down to meat with evil ones, I thought it would not be becoming
in one so imperfect as myself, to be over scrupulous in the choice of
The house was a little shingle cottage, with a projecting roof, and
a door which opened from the street into the parlor. We found the table
spread, and the family just sitting down to supper. Mr. Lummucks
introduced me as his particular friend, from the North, and I took a
seat at table by the side of the landlady, Madame Grandemaison, a
jovial French woman, with a treble chin; her two daughters, pretty,
black eyed girls, sat opposite to me. There were two gentlemen besides
Mr. Lummucks and myself, a tall, red nosed, blue eyed, sandy haired
Scotchman; and a little sleek looking Frenchman, whose body bore no
small resemblance to an apple pudding, with an apple dumpling placed on
top of it.
Madame talked incessantly; and the two Mademoiselles talked
incessantly. Monsieur talkedwithout ceasing, and so did the Scotchman.
I could not repeat their conversation if I were disposed, for it was in
French, and I could not understand a syllable. But spite of the
talking, there was no interruption to the eating and drinking, and a
large dish of rice and gumbo, and half a dozen bottles of sour claret,
with a due proportion of bread and artichokes, disappeared very
After the supper, and while the table was still standing on the
floor, the young ladies expressed a strong desire to waltz; and as the
proposition found favor with all present, Marie, the black cook, was
called in to sing.
Now I had never waltzed in my life, but I had seen others waltz,
and I thought nothing could be easier. So I yielded to the entreaties
of Mr. Lummucks, and offered my arm to Madame Grandemaison herself; a
huge mountain of flesh though she was, she whirled around with the
velocity of a top. Mr. Lummucks put his arm around the waist of one of
the Mademoiselles, the Scotchman paired off with the other, and the
sleek little Frenchman being left without a partner, caught up a chair,
and with great good nature exclaimed, toujours gai, clasped it to his
breast, and joined in. The black cook struck up in a loud andclear
voice, the waltz from Der Freyschutz, and away we went. It was with
difficulty that I kept hold of my partner, for the circumference of her
waist was entirely beyond the capacity of my arms.
The supper table was in the centre of the room, and the circuits we
made around it would have been a very pretty illustration of the solar
system. Black Marie was giving us her musci in double quick time, and
consequently our revolutions were very rapid; how many we had made, I
could not tell; they appeared to me a million at least; I began to grow
very giddy; the sweat started from all the pores in my body; my head
grew lighter and lighter; the candles appeared to be flying about the
room, and the floor seemed to be rising and falling; objects began to
grow dim and indistinct; the shrill tones of Marie's voice sounded in
my ears like the hum of a monstrous moscheto, and her sable visage, as
I caught short glimpses of it, with her white teeth and scarlet gums,
looked like the face of the evil one. I tried to stop, but in vain;
Madame grasped me tightly by the shoulders; round and round we
continued to spin. I grew sicker and sicker, till at last my knees
could no longer support me, and down I tumbled, bringing Madame
Grandemaison with me in my fall. She made the cottage shake to its
foundations, if it had any. Over went the supper table, scattering the
gumbo, and claret, and china, and glasses, in every direction. The
others were whirling around with such an impetus, they could not stop
themselves, and down they came on top of us. Mr. Lummucks and his
partner first, then the Scotchman and his partner, and lastly, the
little Frenchman, who, in his fall, forced the leg of his chair down
the throat of the Scotchman, who lay on his back with his mouth open,
and demolished two thirds of his front teeth. Such screaming, such
swearing, such spoiled dresses, and such broken crockery, I will
venture to assert, were never heard nor seen before, on a similar
occasion. I contrived to extricate myself from the ruins, with the loss
only of my coat tail, and the supper I had eaten; part of which I
bestowed on each of my companions, in my struggles to get clear of
them. What damage they received individually, I do not know, for I
found my hat, and rushed out of the door, and never returned to Madame
CHAPTER XXII. The beginning and the
end of my operations.
On opening my instructions, I found that Mr. Marisett had given me
positive directions for the purchase and disposition of cotton, and had
left almost nothing for the exercise of my judgment. I was not
displeased that it was so; for he had given me abundant proof of his
confidence, by placing at my disposal an almost unlimited amount of
available funds, with which I was to pay for the purchases I might
make. He had also given me letters to some of the principal houses in
New Orleans, but had enjoined me not to deliver them unless I should
have particular occasion to call on the merchants to whom they were
When I left New York, many prudent merchants, far-seeing or
fearful, had already began to throw out dark and ominous hints of an
approaching catastrophe in the mercantile world; croakers there always
are, who, in the brightest sunshine can see a black cloud rising in the
horizon; but there was good cause at that time to anticipate a fearful
winding up in the affairs of the trading and speculating world. Mr.
Marisett, however, hadno fears for himself; he had stood the shocks of
a great many revulsions in the commercial world, and it was not a
matter of especial wonder that he deemed himself invincible. But an
extraordinary course of action in a quarter which hitherto had produced
only healthful influences, was surely working to overwhelm thousands in
inevitable ruin, because they could not guard against evils which
precedent had given them no cause to anticipate.
Already had the anticipated crisis began to give sigus of its
nearness, which could not be misunderstood when I arrived at New
Orleans. There seemed to be a dread of some overhanging calamity in the
minds of all with whom I conversed. Men would meet together in the
Exchange or on the Levée, and shake their heads, or regard each other
with looks of suspicion or concern, and after making some vague
surmise, they would part to encounter the same looks of distrust, and
the same surmises, in the next with whom they conversed. But there was
a strange, daring recklessness, mixed up with all this despondency and
apprehension. They rushed into the wildest speculations, while they
were even looking for an unfavorable termination of those in which they
had already engaged.
It was impossible that I should mix long with men whose looks, and
acts, and talk, were alltinged with the dingy hue of despair, without
becoming in some measure similarly affected myself.
I continued to make purchases and new contracts for cotton; but I
wished that my orders had not been so peremptory, for I was afraid that
I was bringing ruin upon my employer, and upon myself, by acting up to
the letter of his instructions. But I knew that in matters of business,
success must depend upon implicit obedience of orders; and I had no
alternative. I was anxiously expecting letters from New York, but none
came. Affairs, however, soon assumed such an aspect, that I was
compelled, of necessity, to suspend all business operations. My funds
consisted of blank acceptances of Marisett Co., which I had negociated
without difficulty, as I had occasion. One morning it was announced
that two or three of the most prominent houses had suspended, and
suddenly a panic seized upon the minds of the whole people, such as had
never been known before, except when sudden fear has struck upon the
hearts of a city, from a convulsion of nature, or the approach to its
gates of a hostile army.
The banks closed their doors with one accord, and a simultaneous
suspension followed among all the merchants. Feeling the want of an
adviserin this emergency, I called at the house of an old merchant, a
particular friend of Mr. Marisett's, to whom he had given me a letter;
but I encountered there nothing but wailing and wo; he had, but a few
minutes before, nearly severed his head from his body with a razor, and
his gory corpse lay stretched upon the floor, with his distracted
children weeping over him. This was not a solitary case; many similar
occurred almost daily.
At last, the anxiously expected advices arrived from New York,
bringing with them accounts of overturnings, failures, and distresses
immeasurable. The letter which I received was in Mr. Marisett's own
hand; it ran thus:
"New York,— —.
"Mr. H. Franco, New Orleans.
"Immediately on the receipt of this, you will destroy all the blank
acceptances of Marisett and Co., which may remain in your hands. Make
no farther contracts of any description, for account of our house, but
hold yourself in readiness to return to New York.
This letter relieved my anxiety, in some degree, but I looked
anxiously for further advices; I was in a hurry to leave New Orleans. I
was not left many days in suspense, for I soon after received the
following letter from Mr. Bargin:
"Mr. H. Franco, New Orleans.
"Since our last, of the 28th ult., we have come to the
determination of stopping payment. It may be necessary for us to make
an assignment; if so, we will advise you farther, and remain,
"Your obedient servants,
I had never dreamed of the possibility of the house of Marisett Co.
stopping payment; the intelligence, therefore, of the fact, came upon
me with the suddenness and severity of a thunder stroke; it stunned my
faculties, and it was a long while before I could fully comprehend that
it was real. My affection for Mr. Marisett alone, would have roused all
my sympathies; but in the fall of the firm, my own towering hopes were
all brought to the ground. Love, ambition, and revenge, were all laid
To be on the ground is nothing; but to fall there from a great
height, is sometimes fatal.
The next letter that I received was as follows:
"We are without any of your valued favors since we acknowledged
yours of the 14th. You have already been informed of the stoppage of
our house; and I have now to inform you, that in consequence of our Mr.
Garvey having used the name of the firm to a very great extent, in his
private land operations, our liabilities are found greatly to exceed
our assets. Our senior partner, I am concerned to add, is completely
prostrated by this event, and unable to afford me the aid which I
require in adjusting the affairs of the concern. All the circumstances
considered, I think it will be advisable for you to return to New York
as soon as you can bring matters to a close at New Orleans.
"Cotton, I think, is now down to the lowest point of depression,
and a beautiful thing might be made out of it if we had the means to go
into an operation.
"Referring to copy of our last respects, enclosed,
"I remain, yours,
My worst fears were all realized; I could hopefor nothing by
returning to New York, but to encounter the haughty scorn of my cousin
in my altered circumstances, and to be tortured by the sight of
Georgiana De Lancey; to know that she loved me, and that an incurable
fanaticism prevented her from ever becoming mine.
The suddenness of the change which had taken place in my prospects
unsettled the fixed purpose of my soul. The time had passed when I
could find relief in tears; the bitterness of my disappointments was
too great for grief. I began to think of death. The recklessness of
life, and the daring of dissipation, which surrounded me on every side,
were infectious. It was an easy thing to die; but to sustain the burden
of life was a weary task.
I had a considerable sum of money still in my possession, the
proceeds of a draft which I had discounted before receiving the advices
from Mr. Marisett, and I determined to take it with me to the gambling
house where I had seen Mr. Lummucks, and try my fortune at the pharo
table; if I should be successful, then I would return to New York,
fearless of my cousin, and with at least one of my desires gratified;
and if I should lose, why then I would rid myself at once of all my
troubles. I furnished myself with a pistol and ball, and puttingthem in
my pocket, took my money in my hand, and left my hotel in search of the
gambling house in the Rue St. Louis.
CHAPTER XXIII. The great change.
Although it was early in the evening when I left the hotel, the
streets were very dark, and there being a thick fog, I very soon lost
myself, and my mind not being in a very quiet state, I got quite
bewildered. I was afraid to ask any one to show me to St. Louis street,
lest they might suspect my motive in going there; so I groped along
till I came to a half-opened door, with the light streaming out of it.
I thought it was the place for which I was searching, and hastily
pushed open the door and walked in. But I perceived at a glance that I
had stumbled upon a house of quite a different character. It was a
large room dimly lighted with tallow candles, and about half filled
with men and women, and not a small portion of them were black; I
stepped back, and was about to leave the place, when an old negro
woman, bent almost double, and shrivelled with age, put her hand upon
the door, and said:
"Massa, what for you don't sit down; take a seat, do young massa."
"What should I stay here for," I said, trying to push the woman
"Stop and hear good sarment, do your soul good, massa," replied the
I made an attempt to pass out again, but she kept hold of the door.
"Now do stop, massa, do; I love your precious soul, and the Lord
Jesus love you too. Do stop, young massa, and hear what the Lord do for
you; he is good for your soul, sartain true; I am only poor old nigger
slave, massa, but I will pray for your soul all I can."
The old slave was very earnest in her manner, and perceiving that
the eyes of the congregation were turned upon me, I sat down upon one
of the benches, with the intention of slipping out as soon as I could
do so unperceived. Strange as it may appear, I actually thought the old
negro suspected the errand on which I was bound, and I felt ashamed to
encounter the glance of her eye.
At one end of the room was a little temporary pulpit, which was
occupied by a very young looking man, apparently still in his teens; he
immediately stood up and commenced the services by making a short
prayer, and then he gave out the hymn. He was a fair haired and light
complexioned youth, with a delicate blush on his cheeks,and withal so
modest and unassuming in his manner, that my curiosity was excited to
hear what kind of a sermon could proceed from such a source, and I made
up my mind to remain a few minutes and hear him. He named his text; it
was the last words of the Bible, "and the spirit and the bride say,
come," The words were familiar to my ear, for they had been read to me
by Georgiana, and her soft and tender voice had imparted a sweetness
and beauty to them which had impressed them upon my mind. But now they
seemed not to fall upon my ear alone, but upon my heart; I did not hear
them only, I felt them.
The young preacher spoke with great boldness and strength, as if
roused by the majesty and holiness of the words he had uttered. My
attention was arrested, and I soon forgot my determination of leaving
the room. Every word he uttered seemed like the effect of inspiration,
and he appeared to me an impersonation of the spirit whose message he
uttered. I knew not why it was, but I felt strangely. I had listened to
many sermons before, and from men too who had convulsed whole
communities by their preaching, but never until now had I experienced
the slightest emotion. The very words which the preacher spoke, passed
from me as they fell upon my ear, but they left an impressionupon my
heart, which I believe will exist in eternity. I listened with eager
attention to the whole of the sermon, and at the close, wished that he
had continued to preach longer. I felt anxious to stay and speak to
him, but I was ashamed to be seen by those present; but most of all by
the old slave who had detained me. I looked upon them with envious
feelings, as I observed their quiet, placid faces, if those feelings
can be called envious, in which there is neither malice nor ill-will.
When the meeting was dismissed, I left the house without speaking
to any one, and hastened back to my hotel; and on my way I passed the
gambling house which I had been in search of, but I shuddered as I
passed it; the door was partly open, and the click of silver, and loud
oaths and curses, struck upon my ear. I drew the pistol from my pocket,
and threw it into the street. O! that I could as easily have torn from
my breast the load of conscious guilt which oppressed me.
I reached my chamber, and locked myself in, in an unquiet state of
mind. I wanted relief, but I knew not how to obtain it; my first
impulse was to seek for it in the Bible, but alas! alas! I had none. It
was late in the evening; the stores were all closed, and I knew not
where to find one. O! how I longed to look into its precious pages,
andhow cutting to my soul was the reflection that I had often turned
over its sacred leaves with an idle curiosity, and then thrown it
heedlessly aside. I tried to recall to my mind some of those passages,
which Georgiana had so often repeated to me, but in vain. All I could
remember was, "Search the Scriptures;" but whether these words were the
injunction of some kind friend, or of the Holy Book itself, I could not
remember; they were continually before me.
But why should I obtrude upon the world the wrestlings of my spirit
with its maker? While I glory in acknowledging that I found peace in
believing, that peace which they alone find who hang their sins upon
the cross, I draw the veil of time over the tears and struggles which
will be revealed in eternity.
Within a very few days my feelings were all changed, and although I
no longer looked upon the world with the same eyes with which I
regarded it before, I could not be insensible to the events passing
around me. Scarce a day passed in which some poor wretch, whose worldly
prospects were suddenly blasted, did not, with his own hands, deprive
himself of the life which had become a burden to him. But the disasters
of this period are still fresh in the minds of men; and their
effectsare still felt. I am conscious it is not a proper subject to
dilate upon, except as it concerns myself. My operations for account of
Marisett Co. were not very extensive, and as I was not personally
liable for any of the contracts I had made, I concluded to return
immediately to New York. I went down to the levée to engage a passage
in one of the packets, and going on board, I inquired for the captain.
"I am the captain of this barkey," said a big headed man, in a
voice that sounded familiar to me, as he stepped out of the hurricane
house on deck.
"Are you, indeed," I replied; "I am very happy to hear it, for
although I have forgotten your name, I remember you are an old
"His name is Capting Davis," said the mate, stepping up.
"So it is; I am happy to see you, Captain Davis," I said.
"How do you do, sir," said Captain Davis, raising his hat with one
hand, and extending his other for a shake. "You are welcome on board
the Ocean; but you have got the advantage of me, I do not remember your
"My name is Franco," I replied; "perhapsyou will remember me when I
remind you that I met you at the 'Foul Anchor,' in Water street."
Captain Davis looked a little confused, and said he recollected
having met me there very well.
"And I suppose you don't remember me no how?" said the mate.
"What, Mr. Ruffin!" I exclaimed, as I looked at him; "is it
possible; I do indeed remember you very well." And thereupon, Mr.
Ruffin and I shook hands very cordially, and talked over the
particulars of our adventures together; and I learned from him that
Captain Gunnell had got tired of the sea, and gone west, and purchased
"And pray, when did you see Miss Mary Ann last?" I inquired of
"Not five minutes since," replied the captain; "she is my lady; if
you will walk down into the cabin, I will introduce you to her."
I found Mrs. Davis, the late Miss Mary Ann, in full possession of
the ladies' cabin of the Ocean, looking quite as pretty as when I saw
her last, and a good deal happier. She looked somewhat confused when
she saw me, but I pretended to take no notice of it, and after drinking
a glassof wine, and eating a piece of her wedding cake, and chatting
with her a few minutes, I went on deck again, and engaged my passage;
luckily, I was just in time to secure the last berth. The next day
after, we left, and after a pleasant passage of twenty-one days,
arrived at New York.
CHAPTER XXIV. Arrival at New York,
and departure therefrom; with many other matters.
As soon as I landed, I hastened immediately to the office of
Marisett Co., in South street. I found Mr. Bargin dressed as neatly,
and looking as stately as ever. He expressed a great deal of pleasure
at seeing me, and inquired very coolly about the cotton market in New
I cast my eyes towards Mr. Garvey's desk; it was covered with dust,
and appeared to have been some time without an occupant. Mr. Marisett's
mahogany arm chair was wheeled up into one corner, and his desk was
closed. I shook my head, and remarked, that "a very few months had
effected very great changes."
"Quite so," replied Mr. Bargin.
I inquired after all the clerks in the office, and then, last of
all, I inquired after those who were first in my affections.
"And Mr. Marisett? Is he well?" I said.
"Very much so, or at least he was when he left," said Mr. Bargin.
"Left!" I said; "pray has he gone?"
"It is more than a month since he left," replied Mr. Bargin,
"Of course he will soon return?" said I, inquiringly.
But Mr. Bargin shrugged his shoulders ominously. "I am afraid," he
said, "I shall never see him again. His reverses have completely upset
him; he will never be fit to do business again, at all events."
"And where has he gone?" I asked.
Mr. Bargin shrugged his shoulders again, and said, "no one knows
here where he has gone; he would tell nobody; he assigned all his
property for the benefit of his creditors, and they discharged him from
his liabilities. I never saw a man so completely broke down; he
couldn't survive the loss of his credit, and he went off in search of
an unfrequented spot, where he could end his days in quiet; where there
would be nothing to remind him of his misfortunes."
"Of course, Miss De Lancey remains in NewYork," I said.
"No; she would go with him, contrary to the advice of her friends,"
said Mr. Bargin, coolly.
How my heart sunk at this intelligence! "Melancholy! melancholy
fate!" I exclaimed, unconsciously.
"Very much so, indeed," said Mr. Bargin, "but it was as well for
her to go. She had lost all her property; her uncle had employed it in
a speculation, in which every copper was used up; and she, woman-like,
would stick by him in his reverses."
"Happy, happy man," I said, "to have a gentle spirit like hers to
I inquired after Mrs. Butler, and having obtained her address, I
bade Mr. Bargin good day, and went in search of the old housekeeper. I
found her in the upper part of the city; she was delighted at seeing
me, and although she could tell me many things about Georgiana and Mr.
Marisett, yet she could give me no information respecting their present
place of abode. Neither could I discover from any other source the
least clue to their retreat.
I was occupied almost a week in settling my affairs with Mr.
Bargin; and after I had arranged my business with him, I renewed my
endeavors to discover the retreat of those who were most dear to me,
but without success. The obstacle which had previously existed, to
prevent my union with Miss De Lancey, was now, I hoped, removed; the
scales had fallen from my eyes, my tongue was loosed, and my ears were
unsealed. But I did not repine that an obstacle still existed to
prevent that which I wished for so fervently; if we could not be united
here, I had a blissful hope that we should be united hereafter. It was
some consolation to me to frequent those places which had been hallowed
by the presence of Georgiana; but most of all, the abodes of poverty
and wretchedness, where I accompanied her when she went to dispense her
charities. I went in search, one day, of the wretched hovel where I had
seen her, from my place of concealment, kneel down at the bedside of
the dying woman, and pour out her soul in prayer. The former occupants
of the place were gone, and its present tenants were hardly less
wretched. I gave them my mite, and left them. As I came out of the
narrow passage which led into the hovel, I met a shabbily dressed man,
whose aspect had in it something of gentility, notwithstanding his rags
and dirt. As soon as he perceived me, he exclaimed,
"Where in the world did you come from? How are you; how do you do?
I have called at Mr. Stewpy's fifty times, but without ever seeing you.
Let Rome in Tiber melt."
It was the poet, the author of the ballad; he opened his arms as if
he would embrace me, but I contented myself with a shake of the hand.
Hedid not look quite as respectable as he did when I saw him last. His
coat was more than thread bare, and it was buttoned close up to his
throat, or rather pinned up, for the top buttons were all gone; his
gloves were ragged, and his boots were heel-less; his cap, as usual,
was drawn very much over his eyes.
"I have been very anxious to see you," said the poet; "I want to
read you a serious composition of mine. My ballad was criticized most
awfully. The fact is, sir, the age is not yet prepared for those
things; it is a sad thing to be in advance of the age; it is much
better for one's own comfort, to be behind it. To be in advance of the
age, is to be an advanced guard; you are sure of getting the first
compliments of the enemy, while those who are in the rear, or in the
baggage wagons, generally meet with a safe deliverance. But I flatter
myself I have this time got into the main body of the army. I have
taken to serious writing; the world, I believe, is getting pious. But
this is an unpleasant place to talk in; we shall get upset by a litter
of pigs; let us walk in here and sit down."
So saying, the poet led the way into a door, over which was
suspended an enormously large redball, on which was emblazoned the word
O Y ST E R S.
This place was one of those licensed nurseries, which are under the
particular protection of the Mayor and Aldermen of the city, and
without which the office of a police magistrate would soon become a
sinecure; black eyes and red noses would soon go out of fashion, and
perhaps fewer heart-broken wives would be beaten by their husbands, and
fewer children starve, from the neglect of their parents. But these are
not matters of much importance; a few thousands of men and women
cheated of their rightful happiness in this world, and endangered in
their prospects of happiness hereafter, cannot materially affect the
public at large. The corporation derives a revenue from licensing
places of this kind, and the vote of a brothel keeper is as good as a
Miserable, filthy abodes they are, where every thing that is mean,
and vicious, and brutalizing, may be seen. Vice can hardly be said to
spring up in such places, for it must have attained to its full growth
before it could seek such a spot. The whole aspect of the place which
we entered, was blear eyed; the atmosphere was impregnated with the
fumes of tobacco, mingled with a thousand congenial odors; the inmates
of the hole werepale and sickly, and a young man, dressed in filthy
finery, was standing behind the bar to wait upon customers. Mirth,
cheerfulness, and good-fellowship, were strangers here; and
contentment, with his honest face, and charity, with her open hands,
had never crossed the threshold of the door. A placard, stuck upon the
walls, conveyed the intelligence that this was the democratic head
quarters of the ward.
"Don't be alarmed, Mister," said the poet, addressing himself to
the bar-keeper, "I am not going to preach; I am not one of those pious
individuals, who having repented of his own sins, has nothing to do but
to rebuke the evil doings of others;" and then turning to me, he said,
"button up your pockets, and keep your hand upon your watch; these are
none of your Bulwerian scoundrels, who talk sentiment and pick your
pockets, but regular honest rascals, who pretend to be no better than
they really are."
The poet sat down, and taking off his cap, drew therefrom a small
roll of paper, and recited the following lines, premising first, that
he cared nothing at all about newspaper critics.
"Why should I?" said the poet; "did not all the great luminaries in
the literary world attain to their perihelion before the press itself
had an existence? and now the press sets up for a dispenser of fame;
but presumption is the sin of a parvenu!"
AN OLD BLIND MAN AND GRAY.
An old man blind and gray,
Waiting in hope his Saviour's face to see,
When his allotted hours should pass away,
And set him free.
A young man strong and fair,
His dream of life in youth's warm colors traced,
His vision bounded by the earth, and there
His hopes were based.
Thus spake the youth: "old man
High in the Heavens the sun is shining now,—
As when his first diurnal course he ran,—
Gilding thy brow,
"Crowning thy head with light;
Yet his revealings fair thou canst not scan,
This summer day to thee is blackest night,
Alas, old man!
"Myriads of beauteous flowers,
Of myriad hues, in this fair scene abound,
And fields of ripening grain, and pleasant bowers,
Are all around.
"And flocks of snowy sheep,
Like fleecy clouds which sometimes dot the sky,
Upon you hillock's green and gentle steep,
Are feeding nigh.
"And frolic children gay,
A troop of loves from tedious school turned out,
Hark! as they vig'rous hasten to their play,
They joyous shout.
"The distant city's spires,
Dim in the horizon, just meet the view,
And dusky smoke, raised from a thousand fires,
Looks aerial blue.
"And hast thou never known
A bright joy-giving scene, old man, like this,
Or hast thou groped in darkness all alone,
Deprived of bliss.
"And hast thou never seen
God's best bestowal, worthless all beside,
Earth's fairest flower, man's heart-enthroned queen,
Helpmeet and bride."
"Aught of this goodly earth,"
Thus spake the Eld; "to me was ne'er revealed,
By sense of sight, mine eyes were, at my birth,
In darkness sealed.
"Nought have I ever seen,
Not e'en the lineaments of my own race,
Never a look of love, nor, thought most keen!
A mother's face.
"But let not pity's sigh
For me be breathed, nor pity's tear be shed,
Although I cannot see the bright blue sky
Above me spread.
"For God hath goodness shown,
In giving darkness for my portion here;
And distant glories to my faith made known
In visions clear.
"My soul awaits that day,
When the first object that my eyes shall see,—
My spirit freed from this all blinding clay,—
My God shall be."
As he repeated the concluding stanzas, to give impressiveness to
them, he struck his fist fiercely on the table, which was in the centre
of the room, and with such force that he disturbed the dreamy fancies
of a man who had been snoring with his head resting on a pile of
newspapers; he started up, and looking round, muttered a curse on the
intruder who had roused him from his sleep. The voice startled me; I
looked at the man—it was my scornful cousin! But he was strangely
altered in his appearance; his dress was shabby, and his face pale and
haggard; his eyes were red, and his long black hair gave him a
singularly wild and desperate look.
I could not help exclaiming, "can it be possible that you have come
"Who is that," he cried, starting upon his feet; "ha! is it you?
What in the name of h— brought you here?"
What a luxury it would have been to my evil heart once, to have
encountered him thus; but now my pride of heart was gone; I no longer
envied him, and how could I exult over him in his degradation? I could
not, and my heart smote me for having nursed a passion of hatred
against him. He was my cousin, and I could freely forgive him the wrong
he had done me. I advanced towardshim with my hand extended, but he
caught hold of a chair, and raising it above his head, said, "don't
come near me; don't lay the weight of your finger upon me, or I will
kill you this time." And so saying, he would, perhaps, have put his
threat into execution; but the poet jumped in between us, and the
bar-keeper leaped over the bar and caught hold of my arm, although I
had not made the slightest attempt at defence. A slight scuffle ensued,
which caused a mob of negroes and noisy women to collect about the
door, but I contrived to extricate myself, and make my escape, without
any serious damage to my person, although I suffered some in my
On my return to my lodgings, I found letters from home; they were
full of pleasant news, and one of them, from my father, contained a
considerable remittance in bank bills. It appeared that,
notwithstanding the hard times, the improvements in our village had
been carried on; the track of a railroad had been carried through my
father's garden, which had enhanced the value of his property almost a
hundred fold; a joint stock company had purchased the family mansion,
and altered it into a classic temple, by adding a row of wooden pillars
and a pediment, and giving it a coat of white paint; it had been
christened Franco Hall,and lithographed views of it were hung up in all
the taverns in the county, and my sister wrote that it was to be in one
of the annuals. My father had suddenly become a man of consequence, and
there were rumors of his being nominated for Congress. It is wonderful
how soon a man's abilities are discovered, when it is known that he has
made a fortunate speculation.
I must acknowledge that I was not altogether indifferent to this
accession of wealth in the family, for although the estimate which I
once put upon worldly prosperity was greatly reduced, I was by no means
insensible to the advantages which a moderate competence confers; and
more especially at this time, I could not but reflect on the happiness
it would give me, if it should ever be in my power to render any aid to
my benefactor and my friend. I hardly dared to trust myself to think of
Georgiana, for my heart bled at the bare idea of her ever being in
The news I had received from home, made me more anxious than ever
to see my parents and my sister, but I could not prevail upon myself to
leave New York until I had gained some intelligence of Mr. Marisett and
his niece; but week after week wore away, and all my exertions proved
fruitless. At last I was on the point of abandoning the hopeof ever
hearing from them again, when I discovered, by a lucky accident, that
Georgiana had inherited, from a relation of her father's, a small
estate in North Carolina; thither I doubted not she had gone with her
uncle; in what part of the state her property was located, I knew not,
but I determined on setting out immediately to discover. It was enough
for me to know that there was a probability of her being in the state;
it appeared an easy matter to visit every town in it, and indeed every
house, until I discovered her. I told Mr. Bargin of my intentions, and
he endeavored to dissuade me from attempting to carry my plan into
execution. He advised me to write to every post master in the state,
and make inquiries concerning them; but my heart yearned after them,
and I could not wait for so tedious a messenger as the mail. A
steamboat was to leave for Charleston in the morning, and without
heeding his advice, I engaged a passage in her, intending to commence
at the southern extremity of the state, and so travel northwards on
horseback, until I should meet with the object of my search. Assuredly
it was a wild undertaking; but any thing would have seemed reasonable
and easy of performance, if Georgiana had been the object to be
obtained by its accomplishment.
CHAPTER XXV. A Storm and a Wreck.
It was late in the fall, and the steamboat was crowded with
Southerners, returning to their rice fields and cotton plantations,
after having spent the warm months at the north; there were also many
adventurers going in search of wealth, and many invalids going in
search of health at the south. But they were all lively, and we left
the Hook behind us with colors flying and music playing, as though we
were bound on a holiday excursion. When the sun went down, however, the
hilarity of some of the observing among the passengers was in a measure
checked, by the almost certain indication which the sky presented of a
coming storm. For myself, I watched a thermometer which hung in the
companion way, and although I perceived it fell suddenly, I had no
fears, for the boat was new; it had been pronounced staunch and
sea-worthy by those who pretended to be knowing in such matters; and I
knew it would be an easy matter to make a port if it should be
necessary. And so having commended my soul to God, and invoked his
protection, I lay down torest. But the wind continued to increase, and
before morning the boat had worked so hard as to cause her to leak; but
still there was no serious cause for alarm. Some of the passengers, who
had never been at sea before, began to grow fearful, and they begged
the captain to put back, or to make a port, until the storm should be
over; but I could not endure the thought of being retarded in my
progress, and I begged him to proceed, for I could see no danger; he
was an old sailor, and having encountered many harder storms than this
threatened to be, he listened to my persuasions, and laughed at the
fears of the others, and avowed his determination to proceed on his
voyage at all hazards. So we continued on our course that day; but the
next day the storm increased, the leak, or leaks, grew worse and worse,
and fear and consternation were visible in every countenance. The boat
was slightly constructed, and we began to be convinced that green and
white paint are very indifferent substitutes for strong oak ribs and
stout hanging knees. Owing to her very great length, and the weight of
her machinery, she worked very heavily; every sea that struck her
apparently opened another seam, and at every revolution of the wheels,
some part of the machinery gave way. It was with great difficulty that
the fires were kept up, and almost every man on board was engaged in
helping to bale the water out of the hold. It was a dismal day. But the
distracted passengers heeded neither the storm, the cold, nor the wet,
but weary and exhausted though they were, they gave all their strength
to assist in freeing themselves from the dangers which threatened them;
the fear of death took possession of their hearts, and urged them to
deeds which they never knew before they were capable of performing.
Night began to approach, and with its dark shadows came darker
fears, that we should never more look upon the light of another day.
The wind continued to increase, and even the captain began to show
signs of fear, storm-nurtured though he was, and familiar as he had
been all his life with the ways of the winds and the waves; the shrieks
and groans of the afflicted wretches around him, and the dismal
creaking and cracking and snapping of beams and stanchions, made his
Soon after dark, one of the wheel ropes parted, and before it could
be spliced, or a tiller shipped, the boat broached to, and shipped an
overwhelming sea, which carried away the wheel-house, filled the hold
half full of water, and completely extinguished the fires. We were
nowcompletely at the mercy of the winds and waves; the pitchy darkness
of the night was only relieved by the white foam of the sea, as it
broke around us and over us, which enabled me to catch a glimpse of the
haggard faces of the poor creatures who crowded the decks, as the dim
phosphorescent light shone on them; the wind liad continued to increase
in violence until it blew so hard, it was difficult to hear those speak
who stood close by my side. For my own part, I gave up all hope; but
others, those who were the first to fear, now that destruction appeared
inevitable, would not believe that they could be lost; they still
looked up to the captain, and trusted in his experience; but their hold
on him was soon let go, for he was too good a sailor not to know that
our situation was hopeless, and he took up his speaking trumpet, and
announced the dread tidings through its brazen throat. "In another
hour," he said, "the boat will either be at the bottom or on the
beach." A loud and bitter wail, rising above the howling wind and the
roaring waters, followed this announcement; and many leaped overboard
in the agony of their fears, and some put heavy weights in their
pockets, that when they should be in the water, their struggles might
soon be at an end.
"If there is a parson on board," roared the captain, through his
speaking trumpet, "he might about as well pray for us, and be quick
about it too, for he will soon have his mouth full of salt water." But
no one answered this invitation of the captain; and as I was composed
and calm, having a glorious hope of peace beyond this life, I felt
called upon to say something to those about me. I therefore secured
myself by clinging to the railing round the main mast, and raising my
voice as loud as I could, I succeeded in arresting the attention of a
few. The precise words that I made use of, I do not now remember, but
they were something like the following: "In a few short moments, my
dear fellow sufferers, we shall all be enshrouded in the white foam of
these heaving waves, which are now roaring and dashing around us, as if
impatient of the merciful delay which keeps us from them. I know the
thoughts which fill your minds now; they are of eternity, and of Him
who inhabits eternity; for what other thoughts can enter the mind at a
time like this. Our bodies are sure to be lost; our souls may be saved.
There is one hope on which we may rest, and but one. We cannot be saved
by our own good deeds now, for there is no time left for their
performance. Charity will availnothing now, for there are none here in
want of the little we have to bestow; we cannot do good to those who
have injured us; they are not here to be witnesses of our obedience.
If, then, we are to be saved, it must be by the righteousness of
another, and not of ourselves. God has promised that all who believe
shall be saved; have faith, then, in Christ, his son, by whose
righteousness we may secure our salvation. Believe and repent; there is
no time to demur; if you have objections to urge to this plan of
redemption, they must remain unanswered until the dread reality itself
shall silence all doubts. Do not despair; although the time is short,
it is long enough for repentance; remember the thief on the cross, who,
as his life's blood gushed from his heart, with his heart believed, and
I could say no more; the water beat in my face with such violence,
I could not utter another word; but the captain again took up his
speaking trumpet, and called out, "you hear the news there, men; so
bear a hand, and take the gentleman's advice."
A loud, long, continued roar, different from that caused by the
wind and the sea, now broke upon the ear, and an appearance to leeward
like a high white bank, seen dimly through the darkness, revealed the
cause; it was the breakers. Our small boats had been stove in at the
commencement of the storm, and we were possessed of no possible means
of escape. Feeling certain that my time was come, and that I must very
soon enter on that state of existence for which I had an undimmed hope
of being prepared by the atonement of one who is mighty to save, I
strove to give myself up to solemn reflections and prayer, but my voice
was drowned in the roar of the elements, and my attention was
continually excited by the sufferings and appeals of those about me. A
woman who was going, with two infant children, to meet her husband at
the south, had been seated all the night upon deck, with her two little
ones clasped to her breast, seemingly unconscious of the storm which
beat upon her head. It was wonderful to see one so slight and delicate
in her frame, capable of such great endurance. But now when the cry
went round that we were approaching the breakers, fear or despair
roused her, and leaving her children upon the deck, she caught hold of
my arms as I passed her, and shrieked wildly. I tried to sooth her, but
in vain; I spoke to her of her children, but still she clung to me, and
raved fearfully. Suddenly the shrill voices of her littleones caught
her ear, and she released her hold of my arm, and I never saw her
again. A young man rushed out of the cabin with a life-preserver in his
hand, and throwing it towards me, he ran to the after part of the boat,
and him I never saw again.
The boat soon struck and heeled over towards the beach, and every
sea that broke over her bore away part of our number. I looked about
for the man who had thrown me his life-preserver, but I could not find
him, and so I fastened it under my arms, and climbed up to the top of
the belfry, where the waves broke with less force. Many of the
passengers, the captain among the number, lashed themselves to the
taffrail, but the third or fourth breach that the sea made over us
carried away the stern part of the boat, and they were seen no more.
Knowing that certain destruction would be the consequence of lashing
myself to the wreck, I determined to make an attempt to reach the
shore, before my strength should be exhausted by exposure. I leaped
overboard, and as I struck out my arms, I felt confident of reaching
the shore. Every wave carried me nearer and nearer; I barely kept
myself afloat, reserving my strength for an effort when I should reach
the shore, knowing the difficulty of keeping a footing on the beach
when the waterreceded. At length I was thrown upon the strand, but as I
was not expecting it, before I could recover myself, I was drawn back
into the breakers, my eyes and mouth filled with sand. Again I was
thrown upon the beach, and succeeded in keeping a hold, but before I
could crawl away another wave broke over me, the treacherous sand sunk
from beneath me, and I was again drawn back, exhausted and almost
spent. But the next wave took me upon its breast, and threw me high
upon the beach; as it receded, I made a desperate effort, and succeeded
in clinging to the bank of sand; the next wave broke short over me, and
before another came, I had time to crawl away to a place of safety. I
looked back upon the sea, but I could perceive nothing but the white
foam. There was no one near me. I listened, but I could hear nothing
but the roar of the waves. Daylight was just beginning to break, and I
was anxious to look for help for my companions, but cold and
over-exertion had exhausted my powers; I tried to stand, but my head
reeled, and I fell senseless to the earth.
I slept sound and long, but I was at length roused by the sound of
familiar voices; they seemed to come from a long way off, as thoughthey
were speaking to me from the past, or calling me into the future; but,
partly opening my eyes, I perceived there were well known forms bending
over me. I was in bed. My head burned dreadfully, and I felt sore and
feverish. I thought I had just awoke, after the attack which was made
upon me by the assassin, when I was on my way to Mr. Marisett's house.
What horrible dreams had in a brief space rushed through my mind! Could
it be possible that such a lapse of time had been compressed into a
moment. How vivid my dreams had been. I still thought I could hear the
shriek of my seeming dream-companions struggling with the fierce waves.
Surely I had not been dreaming. I opened my eyes again—Georgiana and
her uncle were both near me. Yes, it was a dream that had frightened
me. But where was good Mrs. Butler; it was not like her to be absent
when I was sick. I called for her, and Georgiana uttered a piercing
shriek; I was frightened, and said, or tried to say: "don't be alarmed,
Miss De Lancy, it is only a flesh wound, I am not dangerously hurt."
But the exertion was too great, and I sunk into forgetfulness again.
CHAPTER XXVI. The last.
Writers of fiction possess an immense advantage over the mere
narrator of actual occurrences, in being able to preserve an
artist-like unity in the occurrence of events, and also of confining
their narrative within the circumference of the probabilities. And to
this, mainly, I conceive, fiction is indebted for its general success.
Nature, it must be confessed, is sometimes outré in the extreme; but
art generally contrives to render herself extremely natural. The honest
historian, and particularly the historian of one's own adventures,
frequently has the mortification of knowing that, while he makes record
of that which he knows to be true, he incurs the risk of being set
down, by the public, as an outrageous romancer. I have more than once
repented, since I wrote the first chapter of this history, the
straitness of my resolution, which does not allow me to introduce
enough of fiction in these pages to give a naturalness to the whole.
It was many days after I was cast ashore, before I was sufficiently
recovered to be able fullyto comprehend the situation in which I was
placed. And even now, I can, at times, hardly realize, that the
adventures which I have related, were not all a troubled dream; but
there are too many evidences of their truth around me, to allow of my
remaining long a skeptic.
The reverses of fortune had come upon Mr. Marisett so heavily, and
in such rapid succession, that he was unable to withstand their
repeated shocks. His spirit broke, although his mind remained entire.
Being without wife or children, he wanted those powerful incentives to
action which have sustained weaker men under difficulties more trying.
He was tired of the world, at least that portion of it which had
witnessed his former condition; but being restrained by dim religious
perceptions, from rushing uncalled into the presence of his Judge, he
resolved to seek a secluded resting place, and there await his summons
to depart; and no where could he do that so well as in the place which
necessity pointed out to him, even though inclination had not.
Georgiana inherited from her mother a considerable estate on the
sea coast, in North Carolina; and when she heard of her uncle's
determination to retire from the world, she offered himthis place for
an asylum, upon the condition of his allowing her to accompany and
reside there with him. He at first refused; but finding her resolute,
he at last consented, and thither she accompanied him. When they
arrived on the estate, they found no other habitation on it than a very
small hut, built in the slightest manner, of no more durable materials
than cypress shingles. But with the assistance of a slave whom they
hired of a neighbor, they soon put it in habitable order. They found
themselves surrounded by a rude, but kind and hospitable, people. Mr.
Marisett found what he sought, solitude; and Georgiana seeing him
satisfied, was herself contented.
They had been living quietly, and all unknown, if not happily, for
some months, in this secluded spot, when I was cast ashore, as already
described in the last chapter, within two miles of their dwelling; a
spot so little frequented, that it is probable I should have passed it
by, had I been permitted to follow up my intentions of visiting every
town in the State, until I should gain some intelligence of Georgiana
and her uncle. It appeared that the violence of the storm during the
night, had caused Mr. Marisett to go down to the sea shore as soon as
it was light, to see if anyvessels had been cast ashore during the
night, and there he found me stretched out upon the beach, and
perceiving signs of life, he procured assistance, and had me taken to
his hut; and he and Georgiana had been all the morning endeavoring to
revive me, without any suspicion of who I was. When I opened my eyes,
and called for Mrs. Butler, Georgiana recognised my voice, and uttering
a piercing scream, she fell into a swoon, from which she was with
Georgiana and myself being thus thrown, once more, miraculously
together, and the obstacle which had formerly prevented our union being
removed, it would have been tempting the Providence which had preserved
us for each other, had we longer delayed our marriage. As soon as my
health was sufficiently restored, this happy event was consummated; and
then, by our joint entreaties, we succeeded in prevailing on Mr.
Marisett to accompany us back to New York, and from thence to Franco
Ville, where we still live in the enjoyment of blessings innumerable.
I have now reached the point, beyond which, gentle reader, you
cannot accompany me; and although I hope you do not willingly part from
me, I must deny myself from ever meeting you again. But as your
curiosity may have been excited towards some of those whom I have
incidentally mentioned, I will here state all that I know concerning
My cousin was reduced to extreme poverty, by his speculations in
real estate; he became very intemperate in his habits, and wanting the
means to sustain life, he put an end to his own existence, thus making
the end himself, that he had predicted for me.
Mr. D. Wellington Worhoss also failed in his real estate
operations, but being above suicide, he became a member of the board of
Brokers, and he may be seen any sun shiny day, between the hours of ten
and two, with a long marble colored book under his arm, elbowing his
way through the crowd of well dressed gentlemen who monopolize the side
walks of Wall-street.
Mr. Dooitt had the misfortune to make oath to a statement before
the Vice Chancellor, concerning the conveyance of some property, which
on investigation, did not prove to be strictly true; and for that
trifling mistake, he is now quarrying marble at an unmentionable place,
on the banks of the Hudson.
My good friend, Jerry Bowhorn, has joined the temperance society,
and got to be mate of a Liverpoolpacket, with a fair prospect of being
made captain; and if that event should ever take place, I will venture
to predict, he will have many complimentary pieces of plate, and
innumerable votes of thanks, and silver snuff boxes, presented to him,
by his passengers. It is needless to add, that he is a great comfort to