Going to the Springs, or, Vulgar People by T. S. Arthur
"I SUPPOSE you will all be off to Saratoga, in a week or two," said
Uncle Joseph Garland to his three nieces, as he sat chatting with
them and their mother, one hot day, about the first of July.
"We're not going to Saratoga this year," replied Emily, the eldest,
with a toss of her head.
"Indeed! And why not, Emily?"
"Everybody goes to Saratoga, now."
"Who do you mean by everybody, Emily?"
"Why, I mean merchants, shop-keepers, and tradesmen, with their
wives and daughters, all mixed up together, into a kind of
hodge-podge. It used to be a fashionable place of resort—but people
that think any thing of themselves, don't go there now."
"Bless me, child!" ejaculated old Uncle Joseph, in surprise. "This
is all new to me. But you were there last year."
"I know. And that cured us all. There was not a day in which we
were not crowded down to the table among the most vulgar kind of
"How, vulgar, Emily?"
"Why, there was Mr. Jones, the watchmaker, with his wife and two
daughters. I need not explain what I mean by vulgar, when I give you
"I cannot say that I have any clearer idea of what you mean,
"You talk strangely, uncle! You do not suppose that we are going to
associate with the Joneses?"
"I did not say that I did. Still, I am in the dark as to what you
mean by the most vulgar kind of people."
"Why, common people, brother," said Mrs. Ludlow, coming up to the
aid of her daughter. "Mr. Jones is only a watchmaker, and therefore
has no business to push himself and family into the company of
"Saratoga is a place of public resort," was the quiet reply.
"Well, genteel people will have to stay away, then, that's all. I,
at least, for one, am not going to be annoyed as I have been for the
last two or three seasons at Saratoga, by being thrown amongst all
sorts of people."
"They never troubled me any," spoke up Florence Ludlow, the
youngest of the three sisters. "For my part, I liked Mary Jones very
much. She was——"
"You are too much of a child to be able to judge in matters of this
kind," said the mother, interrupting Florence.
Florence was fifteen; light-hearted and innocent. She had never
been able, thus far in life, to appreciate the exclusive principles
upon which her mother and sisters acted, and had, in consequence,
frequently fallen under their censure. Purity of heart, and the
genuine graces flowing from a truly feminine spirit, always attracted
her, no matter what the station of the individual in whose society she
happened to be thrown. The remark of her mother silenced her, for the
time, for experience had taught her that no good ever resulted from a
repetition of her opinions on a subject of this kind.
"And I trust she will ever remain the child she is, in these
matters," said Uncle Joseph, with emphasis. "It is the duty of every
one, sister, to do all that he can to set aside the false ideas of
distinction prevailing in the social world, and to build up on a
broader and truer foundation, a right estimate of men and things.
Florence, I have observed, discriminates according to the quality of
the person's mind into whose society she is thrown, and estimates
accordingly. But you, and Emily, and Adeline, judge of people
according to their rank in society—that is according to the position
to which wealth alone has raised them. In this way, and in no other,
can you be thrown so into association with 'all kinds of people,' as
to be really affected by them. For, the result of my observation is,
that in any circle where a mere external sign is the passport to
association, 'all sorts of people,' the good, the bad, and the
indifferent, are mingled. It is not a very hard thing for a bad man to
get rich, sister; but for a man of evil principles to rise above them,
is very hard, indeed; and is an occurrence that too rarely happens.
The consequence is, that they who are rich, are not always the ones
whom we should most desire to mingle with."
"I don't see that there is any use in our talking about these
things, brother," replied Mrs. Ludlow. "You know that you and I never
did agree in matters of this kind. As I have often told you, I think
you incline to be rather low in your social views."
"How can that be a low view which regards the quality of another,
and estimates him accordingly?" was the reply.
"I don't pretend to argue with you, on these subjects, brother; so
you will oblige me by dropping them," said Mrs. Ludlow, coloring, and
speaking in an offended tone.
"Well, well, never mind," Uncle Joseph replied, soothingly. "We
will drop them."
Then turning to Emily, he continued—
"And so your minds are made up not to go to Saratoga?"
"Well, where do you intend spending the summer months?"
"I hardly know yet. But, if I have my say, we will take a trip in
one of the steamers. A flying visit to London would be delightful."
"What does your father say to that?"
"Why, he won't listen to it. But I'll do my best to bring him
round—and so will Adeline. As for Florence, I believe I will ask
father to let her go to Saratoga with the Joneses."
"I shall have no very decided objections," was the quiet reply of
Florence. A half angry and reproving glance from her mother, warned
her to be more discreet in the declaration of her sentiments.
"A young lady should never attempt to influence her father," said
Uncle Joseph. "She should trust to his judgment in all matters, and
be willing to deny herself any pleasure to which he objected. If your
father will not listen to your proposition to go to London, be sure
that he has some good reason for it."
"Well, I don't know that he has such very good reasons, beyond his
reluctance to go away from business," Emily replied, tossing her
"And should not you, as his daughter, consider this a most
conclusive reason? Ought not your father's wishes and feelings be
"You may see it so, Uncle; but I cannot say that I do."
"Emily," and Uncle Joseph spoke in an excited tone of voice, "If
you hold these sentiments, you are unworthy of such a man as your
"Brother, you must not speak to the girls in that way," said Mrs.
"I shall always speak my thoughts in your house Margaret," was the
reply; "at least to you and the girls. As far as Mr. Ludlow is
concerned, I have rarely occasion to differ with him."
A long silence followed, broken at last by an allusion to some
other subject; when a better understanding among all parties ensued.
On that evening, Mr. Ludlow seemed graver than usual when he came
in. After tea, Emily said, breaking in upon a conversation that had
become somewhat interesting to Mr. Ludlow—
"I'm not going to let you have a moment's peace, Pa, until you
consent to go to England with us this season."
"I'm afraid it will be a long time before I shall have any peace,
then, Emily," replied the father, with an effort to smile, but
evidently worried by the remark. This, Florence, who was sitting
close by him, perceived instantly, and said—
"Well, I can tell you, for one, Pa, that I don't wish to go. I'd
rather stay at home a hundred times."
"It's no particular difference, I presume, what you like," remarked
Emily, ill-naturedly. "If you don't wish to go, I suppose no one will
quarrel with you for staying at home."
"You are wrong to talk so, Emily," said Mr. Ludlow, calmly but
firmly, "and I cannot permit such remarks in my presence."
Emily looked rebuked, and Mr. Ludlow proceeded.
"As to going to London, that is altogether out of the question. The
reasons why it is so, are various, and I cannot now make you
acquainted with all of them. One is, that I cannot leave my business
so long as such a journey would require. Another is, that I do not
think it altogether right for me to indulge you in such views and
feelings as you and Adeline are beginning to entertain. You wish to
go to London, because you don't want to go to Saratoga, or to any
other of our watering places; and you don't want to go there, because
certain others, whom you esteem below you in rank, can afford to enjoy
themselves, and recruit their health at the same places of public
resort. All this I, do not approve, and cannot encourage."
"You certainly cannot wish us to associate with every one," said
Emily, in a tone less arrogant.
"Of course not, Emily," replied Mr. Ludlow; "but I do most
decidedly condemn the spirit from which you are now acting. It would
exclude others, many of whom, in moral character, are far superior to
yourself from enjoying the pleasant, health-imparting recreation of a
visit to the Springs, because it hurts your self-importance to be
brought into brief contact with them."
"I can't understand what you mean by speaking of these kind of
people as superior in moral character to us," Mrs. Ludlow remarked.
"I said some of them. And, in this, I mean what I say. Wealth and
station in society do not give moral tone. They are altogether
extraneous, and too frequently exercise a deteriorating influence
upon the character. There is Thomas, the porter in my store—a plain,
poor man, of limited education; yet possessing high moral qualities,
that I would give much to call my own. This man's character I esteem
far above that of many in society to whom no one thinks of objecting.
There are hundreds and thousands of humble and unassuming persons like
him, far superior in the high moral qualities of mind to the mass of
self-esteeming exclusives, who think the very air around them tainted
by their breath. Do you suppose that I would enjoy less the pleasures
of a few weeks at Saratoga, because Thomas was there? I would, rather,
be gratified to see him enjoying a brief relaxation, if his duties at
the store could be remitted in my absence."
There was so much of the appearance of truth in what Mr. Ludlow
said, combined with a decided tone and manner, that neither his wife
or daughters ventured a reply. But they had no affection for the
truth he uttered, and of course it made no salutary impression on
"What shall we do, Ma?" asked Adeline, as they sat with their
mother, on the next afternoon. "We must go somewhere this summer, and
Pa seems in earnest about not letting us visit London."
"I don't know, I am sure, child," was the reply.
"I can't think of going to Saratoga," said Emily, in a positive
"The Emmersons are going," Adeline remarked.
"How do you know?" asked Emily, in a tone of surprise.
"Victorine told me so this morning."
"Yes. I met her at Mrs. Lemmington's and she said that they were
all going next week."
"I don't understand that," said Emily, musingly.
"It was only last week that Victorine told me that they were done
going to Saratoga; that the place had become too common. It had been
settled, she said, that they were to go out in the next steamer."
"Mr. Emmerson, I believe, would not consent, and so, rather than
not go anywhere, they concluded to visit Saratoga, especially as the
Lesters, and Milfords, and Luptons are going."
"Are they all going?" asked Emily, in renewed surprise.
"So Victorine said."
"Well, I declare! there is no kind of dependence to be placed in
people now-a-days. They all told me that they could not think of
going to such a vulgar place as Saratoga again."
Then, after a pause, Emily resumed,
"As it will never do to stay at home, we will have to go somewhere.
What do you think of the Virginia Springs, Ma?"
"I think that I am not going there, to be jolted half to death in a
stage coach by the way."
"Where, then, shall we go?"
"I don't know, unless to Saratoga."
"Victorine said," remarked Adeline, "that a large number of
distinguished visiters were to be there, and that it was thought the
season would be the gayest spent for some time."
"I suppose we will have to go, then," said Emily.
"I am ready," responded Adeline."
"And so am I," said Florence.
That evening Mr. Ludlow was graver and more silent than usual.
After tea, as he felt no inclination to join in the general
conversation about the sayings and doings of distinguished and
fashionable individuals, he took a newspaper, and endeavored to become
interested in its contents. But he tried in vain. There was something
upon his mind that absorbed his attention at the same time that it
oppressed his feelings. From a deep reverie he was at length roused by
Emily, who said—
"So, Pa, you are determined not to let us go out in the next
"Don't talk to me on that subject any more, if you please," replied
Mr. Ludlow, much worried at the remark.
"Well, that's all given up now," continued Emily, "and we've made
up our minds to go to Saratoga. How soon will you be able to go with
"Not just now," was the brief, evasive reply.
"We don't want to go until next week."
"I am not sure that I can go even then."
"O, but we must go then, Pa."
"You cannot go without me," said Mr. Ludlow, in a grave tone.
"Of course not," replied Emily and Adeline at the same moment.
"Suppose, then, I cannot leave the city next week?"
"But you can surely."
"I am afraid not. Business matters press upon me, and will, I fear,
engage my exclusive attention for several weeks to come."
"O, but indeed you must lay aside business," said Mrs. Ludlow. "It
will never do for us to stay at home, you knows during the season
when everybody is away."
"I shall be very sorry if circumstances arise to prevent you having
your regular summer recreation," was replied, in a serious, even sad
tone. "But, I trust my wife and daughters will acquiesce with
"Indeed, indeed, Pa! We never can stay at home," said Emily, with a
distressed look. "How would it appear? What would people say if we
were to remain in the city during all the summer?"
"I don't know, Emily, that you should consider that as having any
relation to the matter. What have other people to do with matters
which concerns us alone?"
"You talk very strangely of late, Mr. Ludlow," said his wife.
"Perhaps I have reason for so doing," he responded, a shadow
flitting across his face.
An embarrassing silence ensued, which was broken, at last, by Mr.
"Perhaps," he began, "there may occur no better time than the
present, to apprise you all of a matter that must, sooner or later,
become known to you. We will have to make an effort to reduce our
expenses—and it seems to me that this matter of going to the
Springs, which will cost some three or four hundred dollars, might as
well be dispensed with. Business is in a worse condition than I have
ever known it; and I am sustaining, almost daily, losses that are
becoming alarming. Within the last six weeks I have lost, beyond hope,
at least twenty thousand dollars. How much more will go I am unable to
say. But there are large sums due me that may follow the course of
that already gone. Under these circumstances, I am driven to the
necessity of prudence in all my expenditures."
"But three or four hundred are not much, Pa," Emily urged, in a
husky voice, and with dimmed eyes. For the fear of not being able to
go somewhere, was terrible to her. None but vulgar people staid at
home during the summer season.
"It is too large a sum to throw away now. So I think you had all
better conclude at once not to go from home this summer," said Mr.
A gush of tears from Emily and Adeline followed this annunciation,
accompanied by a look of decided disapprobation from the mother. Mr.
Ludlow felt deeply tried, and for some moments his resolution
wavered; but reason came to his aid, and he remained firm. He was
accounted a very rich merchant. In good times, he had entered into
business, and prosecuted it with great energy. The consequence was,
that he had accumulated money rapidly. The social elevation
consequent upon this, was too much for his wife. Her good sense could
not survive it. She not only became impressed with the idea, that,
because she was richer, she was better than others, but that only such
customs were to be tolerated in "good society," as were different from
prevalent usages in the mass. Into this idea her two eldest daughters
were thoroughly inducted. Mr. Ludlow, immersed in business, thought
little about such matters, and suffered himself to be led into almost
anything that his wife and daughters proposed. But Mrs. Ludlow's
brother—Uncle Joseph, as he was called—a bachelor, and a man of
strong common sense, steadily opposed his sister in her false notions,
but with little good effect. Necessity at last called into proper
activity the good sense of Mr. Ludlow, and he commenced the opposition
that has just been noticed. After reflecting some time upon the
matter, he resolved not to assent to his family leaving home at all
during the summer.
All except Florence were exceedingly distressed at this. She
acquiesced with gentleness and patience, although she had much
desired to spend a few weeks at Saratoga. But Mrs. Ludlow, Emily, and
Adeline, closed up the front part of the house, and gave directions to
the servants not to answer the door bell, nor to do anything that
would give the least suspicion that the family were in town. Then
ensconcing themselves in the back buildings of their dwelling, they
waited in gloomy indolence for the "out of the city" season to pass
away; consoling themselves with the idea, that if they were not
permitted to join the fashionables at the Springs, it would at lest be
supposed that they had gone some where into the country, and thus they
hoped to escape the terrible penalty of losing _caste_ for not
conforming to an indispensable rule of high life.
Mr. Ludlow was compelled to submit to all this, and he did so
without much opposition; but it all determined him to commence a
steady opposition to the false principles which prompted such absurd
observances. As to Uncle Joseph, he was indignant, and failing to
gain admittance by way of the front door after one or two trials,
determined not to go near his sister and nieces, a promise which he
kept for a few weeks, at least.
Meantime, every thing was passing off pleasantly at Saratoga. Among
the distinguished and undistinguished visitors there, was Mary Jones,
and her father, a man of both wealth and worth, notwithstanding he was
only a watchmaker and jeweller. Mary was a girl of no ordinary
character. With beauty of person far exceeding that of the Misses
Ludlow, she had a well cultivated mind, and was far more really and
truly accomplished than they were. Necessarily, therefore, she
attracted attention at the Springs; and this had been one cause of
Emily's objection to her.
A day or two after her arrival at Saratoga, she was sitting near a
window of the public parlor of one of the hotels, when a young man,
named Armand, whom she had seen there several times before, during
the watering season, in company with Emily Ludlow, with whose family
he appeared to be on intimate terms came up to her and introduced
"Pardon me, Miss Jones," said he, "but not seeing any of the Miss
Ludlows here, I presumed that you might be able to inform me whether
they intend visiting Saratoga or not, this season, and, therefore, I
have broken through all formalities in addressing you. You are well
acquainted with Florence, I believe?"
"Very well, sir," Mary replied.
"Then perhaps you can answer my question?"
"I believe I can, sir. I saw Florence several times within the last
week or two; and she says that they shall not visit any of the
Springs this season."
"Indeed! And how comes that?"
"I believe the reason is no secret," Mary replied, utterly
unconscious that any one could be ashamed of a right motive, and that
an economical one. "Florence tells me that her father has met with
many heavy losses in business; and that they think it best not to
incur any unnecessary expenses. I admire such a course in them."
"And so do I, most sincerely," replied Mr. Armand. Then, after
thinking for a moment, he added—
"I will return to the city in the next boat. All of their friends
being away, they must feel exceedingly lonesome."
"It will certainly be a kind act, Mr. Armand, and one, the motive
for which they cannot but highly appreciate," said Mary, with an
inward glow of admiration.
It was about eleven o'clock on the next day that Mr. Armand pulled
the bell at the door of Mr. Ludlow's beautiful dwelling, and then
waited with a feeling of impatience for the servant to answer the
summons. But he waited in vain. No servant came. He rang again, and
again waited long enough for a servant to come half a dozen times.
Then he looked up at the house and saw that all the shutters were
closed; and down upon the marble steps, and perceived that they were
covered with dust and dirt; and on the bell-handle, and noted its
loss of brightness.
"Miss Jones must have been mistaken," he said to himself, as he
gave the bell a third pull, and then waited, but in vain, for the
hall-door to be swung open.
"Who can it be?" asked Emily, a good deal disturbed, as the bell
rang violently for the third time, and in company with Adeline, went
softly into the parlor to take a peep through one of the shutters.
"Mr. Armand, as I live!" she ejaculated, in a low, husky whisper,
turning pale. "I would not have _him_ know that we are in town for
And then she stole away quietly, with her heart leaping and
fluttering in her bosom, lest he should instinctively perceive her
Finding that admission was not to be obtained, Mr. Armand concluded
that the family had gone to some other watering place, and turned
away irresolute as to his future course. As he was passing down
Broadway, he met Uncle Joseph.
"So the Ludlows are all out of town," he said.
"So they are not!" replied Uncle Joseph, rather crustily, for he
had just been thinking over their strange conduct, and it irritated
"Why, I have been ringing there for a quarter of an hour, and no
one came to the door; and the house is all shut up."
"Yes; and if you had ringing for a quarter of a century, it would
all have been the same."
"I can't understand you," said Mr. Armand.
"Why, the truth is, Mr. Ludlow cannot go to the Springs with them
this season, and they are so afraid that it will become known that
they are burying themselves in the back part of the house, and
denying all visiters."
"Why so? I cannot comprehend it."
"All fashionable people, you know, are expected to go to the
sea-shore or the Springs; and my sister and her two eldest daughters
are so silly, as to fear that they will lose _caste_, if it is known
that they could not go this season. Do you understand now?"
"Well, that's the plain A B C of the case. But it provokes me out
of all patience with them."
"It's a strange idea, certainly," said Mr. Armand, in momentary
abstraction of thought; and then bidding Uncle Joseph good morning,
he walked hastily along, his mind in a state of fermentation.
The truth was, Mr. Armand had become much attached to Emily Ludlow,
for she was a girl of imposing appearance and winning manners. But
this staggered him. If she were such a slave to fashion and
observance, she was not the woman for his wife. As he reflected upon
the matter, and reviewed his intercourse with her, he could remember
many things in her conversation and conduct that he did not like. He
could distinctly detect a degree of self-estimation consequent upon
her station in society, that did not meet his approbation—because it
indicated a weakness of mind that he had no wish to have in a wife.
The wealth of her father he had not regarded, nor did now regard, for
he was himself possessor of an independence.
Two days after, he was again at Saratoga. The brief interview that
had passed between him and Mary Jones was a sufficient introduction
for him; and, taking advantage of it, he threw himself in her way
frequently, and the more he saw of her, the more did he admire her
winning gentleness, sweet temper, and good sense. When he returned to
New York, he was more than half in love with her.
"Mr. Armand has not been to see us once this fall," said Adeline,
one evening in October. They were sitting in a handsomely furnished
parlor in a neat dwelling, comfortable and commodious, but not so
splendid as the one they had occupied a few months previous. Mr.
Ludlow's affairs had become so embarrassed, that he determined, in
spite of the opposition of his family, to reduce his expenses. This
resolution he carried out amid tears and remonstrances—for he could
not do it in any other way.
"Who could expect him to come _here?_" Emily replied, to the remark
of her sister. "Not I, certainly."
"I don't believe that would make any difference with him," Florence
ventured to say, for it was little that she could say, that did not
meet with opposition.
"Why don't you?" asked Adeline.
"Because Mary Jones—"
"Mary Jones again!" ejaculated Emily. "I believe you don't think of
anybody but Mary Jones. I'm surprised that Ma lets you visit that
"As good people as I am visit her," replied Florence. "I've seen
those there who would be welcome here."
"What do you mean?"
"If you had waited until I had finished my sentence, you would have
known before now. Mary Jones lives in a house no better than this,
and Mr. Armand goes to see her."
"I don't believe it!" said Emily, with emphasis.
"Just as you like about that. Seeing is believing, they say, and as
I have seen him there, I can do no less than believe he was there."
"When did you see him there?" Emily now asked with eager interest,
while her face grew pale.
"I saw him there last evening—and he sat conversing with Mary in a
way that showed them to be no strangers to each other."
A long, embarrassed, and painful silence followed this
announcement. At last, Emily got up and went off to her chamber, where
she threw herself upon her bed and burst into tears. After these
ceased to flow, and her mind had become, in some degree,
tranquillized, her thoughts became busy. She remembered that Mr.
Armand had called, while they were hiding away in fear lest it should
be known that they were not on a fashionable visit to some watering
place—how he had rung and rung repeatedly, as if under the idea that
they were there, and how his countenance expressed disappointment as
she caught a glimpse of it through the closed shutters. With all this
came, also, the idea that he might have discovered that they were at
home, and have despised the principle from which they acted, in thus
shutting themselves up, and denying all visiters. This thought was
exceedingly painful. It was evident to her, that it was not their
changed circumstances that kept him away—for had he not visited Mary
Uncle Joseph came in a few evenings afterwards, and during his
visit the following conversation took place.
"Mr. Armand visits Mary Jones, I am told," Adeline remarked, as an
opportunity for saying so occurred.
"He does? Well, she is a good girl—one in a thousand," replied
"She is only a watchmaker's daughter," said Emily, with an
"And you are only a merchant's daughter. Pray, what is the
"Why, a good deal of difference!"
"Well state it."
"Mr. Jones is nothing but a mechanic."
"Who thinks of associating with mechanics?"
"There may be some who refuse to do so; but upon what grounds do
they assume a superiority?"
"Because they are really above them."
"But in what respect?"
"They are better and more esteemed in society."
"As to their being better, that is only an assumption. But I see I
must bring the matter right home. Would you be really any worse, were
your father a mechanic?"
"The question is not a fair one. You suppose an impossible case."
"Not so impossible as you might imagine. You are the daughter of a
"Brother, why will you talk so? I am out of all patience with you!"
said Mrs. Ludlow, angrily.
"And yet, no one knows better than you, that I speak only the
truth. No one knows better than you, that Mr. Ludlow served many years
at the trade of a shoemaker. And that, consequently, these high-minded
young ladies, who sneer at mechanics, are themselves a shoemaker's
daughters—a fact that is just as well known abroad as anything else
relating to the family. And now, Misses Emily and Adeline, I hope you
will hereafter find it in your hearts to be a little more tolerant of
And thus saying, Uncle Joseph rose, and bidding them good night,
left them to their own reflections, which were not of the most
pleasant character, especially as the mother could not deny the
allegation he had made.
During the next summer, Mr. Ludlow, whose business was no longer
embarrassed, and who had become satisfied that, although he should
sink a large proportion of a handsome fortune, he would still have a
competence left, and that well secured—proposed to visit Saratoga,
as usual. There was not a dissenting voice—no objecting on the score
of meeting vulgar people there. The painful fact disclosed by Uncle
Joseph, of their plebeian origin, and the marriage of Mr.
Armand—whose station in society was not to be questioned—with Mary
Jones, the watchmaker's daughter, had softened and subdued their tone
of feeling, and caused them to set up a new standard of estimation.
The old one would not do, for, judged by that, they would have to hide
their diminished heads. Their conduct at the Springs was far less
objectionable than it had been heretofore, partaking of the modest and
retiring in deportment, rather than the assuming, the arrogant, and
the self-sufficient. Mrs. Armand was there, with her sister, moving in
the first circles; and Emily Ludlow and her sister Adeline felt
honored rather than humiliated by an association with them. It is to
be hoped they will yet make sensible women.