by Hannah Farnham Sawyer Lee
RICH ENOUGH; A TALE OF THE TIMES
BY THE AUTHOR OF THREE EXPERIMENTS OF LIVING.
And while they were eating and drinking, there came a great wind
the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it
BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY WHIPPLE &DAMRELL, No. 9 Cornhill.
NEW YORK:SAMUEL COLMAN, No. 114 Fulton Street.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1837, by WHIPPLE
AND DAMRELL, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of
Welcome, said Mr. Draper, the rich merchant, to his brother, who
entered his counting-room one fine spring morning. I am truly glad to
see youbut what has brought you to the city, at this busy country
season, when ploughing and planting are its life and sinews?
A motive, said Howard, smiling, that I am sure will need no
apology with youbusiness! I have acquired a few hundreds,
which I wish to invest safely, and I want your advice.
When you say safely, I presume you mean to include profitably.
Ay, profitably and safely.
I am just fitting out a ship for Canton; what do you think of
investing the sum in articles of foreign merchandise?
I confess, said Howard, I have great distrust of winds and
Suppose you invest it in Eastern lands? many have made fortunes in
I am not seeking to make a fortune, said Howard, quietly;my
object is to secure something for my family in case of accident, and I
only want to invest what I do not require for present use in a manner
that will bring compound interest. I hope not to be obliged to take up
the interest for many years, but to be adding it to the principal, with
such sums as I may be able to spare from our daily exertions.
I perceive, brother, replied Mr. Draper, a little scornfully, you
have not increased in worldly wisdom.
I have not been much in the way of it, said Howard.Mine is a
still, peaceful lifeI study the changes of the atmosphere more than
the science of worldly wisdom.
We can get along, however, but poorly without it, replied Mr.
Draper; the harmlessness of the dove is no match for the cunning of
True, said Howard; but if you mean me by the dove, there is no
necessity for my venturing into the nest of serpents. I am well aware
that my habits of thinking and modes of life are tame and dull,
compared to your projects and success;but we are differently
constituted, and while I honor your spirit and enterprise, and do
justice to the honest and intelligent business men of your city, I am
contented with my own lot, which is that of a farmer, whose object is
to earn a competency from his native soil, or, in other words, from
ploughing and planting. I have no desire for speculation, no courage
for it; neither do I think, with a family like mine, I have a right to
risk my property.
There you are wrong; every body has a right to do as he pleases
with his own property.
To be honest, then, replied Howard, I have none that I call
exclusively my own. Property is given to us for the benefit of others;
every man is accountable for his stewardship.
But can you do better than to double and treble it every year, or,
by some fortunate speculation, convert ten thousand dollars into ten
times ten thousand?
I should say, replied Howard, if this were a certainty, it would
cease to be speculation, and I should feel bound to do it,
within honest means. But as the guardian of my family, I feel that I
have no right to venture my little capital in a lottery.
It is lucky all men are not of your mind, said Mr. Draper, rather
impatiently, and taking up his pen, which he had laid down;but
really, brother, I am full of engagements, and though I am rejoiced to
see you, I must defer further conversation till we meet at dinner; then
we shall have time to talk over your affairs; just now, I am wholly
Near the dinner hour Howard went to his brother's house. It was
large, and elegantly furnished, and, what in the city is rather
uncommon, surrounded by trees and pleasure-grounds, a fine yard in
front, and a large garden in the rear. Mr. Draper purchased the place
when real estate was low, and it had since risen to more than double
its original value. Howard was conducted to the dining-room, where he
found his sister-in-law, Mrs. Draper. They met with much
cordialitybut he perceived that she was thinner and paler than when
they last met.
You are not well, I fear, said Howard, anxiously.
I have a cold, replied she; and with that nervous affection which
often follows inquiries after the health, she gave a half-suppressed
cough. Have you seen my husband? she asked.
Yes, I left the stage at the corner of State Street, and went
directly to his counting-room; but I found him engrossed by business,
and verily believe I should not have obtained a moment's conversation
after the brotherly welcome that his heart gave me in spite of teas,
silks, hides, stocks, and per centage, if I had not had a little
business of my own,a little money to invest.
Are you, too, growing rich? said Mrs. Draper, with a languid
O no, replied Howard; we farmers have not much prospect of
growing rich. If we earn a comfortable living, and lay by a
little at the end of the year, we call ourselves thriving, and that is
the most we can expect.
You have advantages, said Mrs. Draper, that do not belong to
those who are striving to grow rich; you have wealth that money seldom
We have our seasons of leisure, returned Howard, and yet, I
assure you, we have employment enough to prize those periods. You would
be surprised to find how much constant occupation every season demands.
Spring is the great storehouse of our wealth, but we must toil to open
its treasures; they are hid in the bowels of the earth.
You remind me, said Mrs. Draper, of the story of the farmer who
had two sons. To one he left a large sum of gold; to the other his
farm, informing him he would find an equivalent portion hid in the
earth. The one invested his money in merchandise, and made 'haste to
grow rich;' the other dug every year with renewed hope of finding the
gold, and continued planting and sowing as his father had done before
him. At the end of fifteen years, they met on the same spot, the one a
bankrupt, the other a thriving farmer. I suppose, added she, I need
not put the moral to the end of my tale, in imitation of AEsop's
fables; you will find it out.
It is so applicable, said Howard, to our present conversation,
that I almost think it is an impromptu for my benefit.
Not for yours, said she; you do not want it. But now tell me a
little about your fanning seasons. Spring, I understand, must be a very
busy one; but when you have ploughed and planted, what have you to do
but sit down and wait?
My dear sister, said Howard, you, who know so much better than I
do how to carry out your comparisons, can well understand that there is
no time given us for idleness; while we wait the result of one part of
our labors, we have other works to accomplish. Spring-time and harvest
follow each other rapidly; we have to prepare our barns and granaries.
Our mowing season is always one of our busiest. We have our anxieties,
too;we watch the clouds as they pass over us, and our spirits depend
much on sunshine and rain; for an unexpected shower may destroy all our
labors. When the grass is cut, we must make it into hay; and, when it
is properly prepared, store it in the barns. After haying-time, there
are usually roads, fences, and stone walls to repair, apples to gather
in, and butter to pack down. Though autumn has come, and the harvest is
gathered in, you must not suppose our ploughing is over. We turn up the
ground, and leave it rough, as a preparation for the spring. A good
farmer never allows the winter to take him by surprise. The cellars are
to be banked up, the barns to be tightened, the cattle looked to,the
apples carefully barrelled, and the produce sent to market. We have
long evenings for assorting our seeds, and for fireside enjoyment.
Winter is the season for adjusting the accounts of the past year, and
finding out whether we are thriving farmers. Depend upon it, we have no
How curiously we may follow out the cultivation of the earth with
the striking analogy it bears to the human mind, said Mrs. Draper, in
sowing the seeds, in carefully plucking up the weeds without disturbing
what ought to be preserved, in doing all we can by our own labors, and
trusting to Heaven for a blessing on our endeavors! A reflecting farmer
must be a wise man.
I am afraid, said Howard, there are not many wise men amongst us,
according to your estimation. In all employments we find hurry and
engrossment; we do not stop to reason and meditate; many good
agricultural men are as destitute of moral reflection as the soil they
At least, said Mrs. Draper, they have not the same temptation to
become absorbed by business as merchants.
I believe we shall find human nature much the same in all
situations, said Howard. There is one great advantage, however, in
farmingthat is, its comparative security:we are satisfied with
moderate gains; we have none of those tremendous anxieties that come
with sudden failures, the fall of stocks, and obstructed currency.
And this is every thing, said Mrs. Draper, with enthusiasm.
Nobody knows better than I do, how a noble and cultivated mind may be
subjugated by the feverish pursuit of wealthhow little time can be
spared to the tranquil pleasures of domestic life, to the home of early
affection She stopped, and seemed embarrassed.Howard's color rose
high; there was a pause. At length he said,
Every situation has its trials; those who best support them are the
happiest. But we are growing serious. I want to see your childrenhow
they compare with mine in health and size, and whether we can build any
theory in favor of a country life in this respect.
The children were brought; they were both girls. The eldest was the
picture of health, but the youngest seemed to have inherited something
of the delicacy of her mother's constitution.
I can scarcely show one amongst my boys, said Howard, that gives
evidence of more ruddy health than your eldest girl, Frances; but my
wife's little namesake, Charlotte, looks more like a city-bred
lady.O, here comes my brother James.
Mr. Draper entered. A close observer would have been struck with the
difference of expression in the countenances of the two brothers,
although they were marked by a strong resemblance. That of the eldest
was eager and flushed; the brightness of his eye was not dimmed, but it
was unsettled and flashing; there were many lines of care and anxiety,
and his whole air marked him as a business man. Howard's exterior was
calm, and thoughtful;the very hue of his sun-burnt complexion seemed
to speak of the healthy influence of an out-of-door atmosphere. They
were both men of education and talent; but circumstances early in life
rendered them for a time less united. Both had fixed their affections
on the gentle being before them. James was the successful suitor. There
are often wonderful proofs of St. Pierre's proposition that 'harmony
proceeds from contrast.' Frances and Howard had much the same tastes
and pursuits. Howard's attachment was deep and silent; James's, ardent
and zealously expressed;he won the prize. Howard's taste led him to a
country life. He was not rich enough to become a gentleman farmer; he
therefore became a working one. For years, he did not visit his
brother; but at length the wound was entirely healed by another of the
fair creatures whom Heaven has destined to become the happiness or
misery of man. Still the theory of contrast was carried through; his
second love was unlike his first; she was full of gayety and life, and
gave to his mind an active impulse, which it often wanted. Frances, in
the midst of society, drew her most congenial pleasures from books.
Charlotte, the wife of Howard, though in comparative solitude, drew her
enjoyment from society. There was not a family in the village near,
that did not, in some way or other, promote her happiness. Her
information was gathered from intercourse with living beingsher
knowledge from real life. If the two sisters had changed situations,
the one might have become a mere bookworm; the other, from the
liveliness of her disposition, and the warm interest she took in
characters, a little of a gossip. As it was, they both admirably filled
their sphere in life, and influenced and were influenced by the
characters of their partners.
Why did you not persuade Charlotte to come with you? said Mrs.
Draper. Sisters ought to be better acquainted than we are.
I invited her, said Howard, but she laughed at my proposing that
a farmer and his wife should leave the country at the same time. I have
brought, however, a proposal from her, that you should transport
yourself and children back with me; we have room enough in our
barn-like house for any of your attendants that you wish to bring.
For a moment Mrs. Draper seemed disposed to accept the invitation;
but she immediately added,I do not like to take my children from
That is just the answer Charlotte anticipated, and she desired me
to combat it with all my book-learning opposed to yours, and now and
then fill up the interstices with such plain matter-of-fact argument as
she could offer; for instance, that they would improve more in one
month passed in the country, at this fine season, than in a whole
summer at school. 'Tell her,' said she, 'to let them
'Leave their books and come away,
That boys and girls may join in play.'
I really think, Frances, said Mr. Draper, this would be an
excellent plan; you are not quite well, and the country air will be of
service to you and Charlotte.
We have so much more of country round us, said she, with an air of
satisfaction, than most of my city friends, that I scarcely feel it
right to make trees or grass an excuse for emigration. I have as much
pleasure in seeing spring return to unlock my treasures, as you can
have, Howard. I must show you some of my rare plants. I have, too, my
grape and strawberry vines; and finer peach trees I do not think you
I sincerely hope, said Howard, you will enjoy this pleasure long,
and eat fruit that you have cultivated yourself: I dare say, it is
sweeter than any you can buy.
It ought to be, said Mr. Draper, a little seriously, for it
certainly costs about six times as much as the highest market price
that we should pay. We live here at a most enormous rent; my conscience
often twinges me on the subject.
And yet I have heard you say, that you bought this place lower,
said Howard, than any which you would now occupy.
That is true; but by taking down this building, and cutting the
land into lots, I might get a house clear. A slight flush passed over
Mrs. Draper's cheek.
I have had applications, continued Mr. Draper, for the whole
estate as it stands; but really, it is such a source of pleasure to my
wife to have her garden and her shrubbery, that I have not listened to
Thank you, said Mrs. Draper.
I am doubtful, however, whether I am doing right to let so much
property remain idle and useless.
Not useless, brother, said Howard, if it gives so much enjoyment
to your family. What can you do with money but purchase happiness in
some form or other? The benevolent purchase it by relieving the wants
of others, and are blessed in blessing; nor can I see why money may not
as wisely be expended in the purchase of a fine house and garden, as by
investing it in stocks, or ships and cargoes.
Simply because the one is dead property, and brings no interest;
the other is constantly accumulating.
Is there no such thing as being RICH ENOUGH? said Howard. Are we
to be always striving to acquire, and never sitting quietly down to
No one can look forward to that time more earnestly than I do,
said Mr. Draper. Every wise man will fix upon a certain sum, that his
reason and experience tell him will be sufficient for his expenditures;
and then he ought to retire from business, and hazard no more.Now,
Howard, as I must hurry through dinner, we may as well improve our
time. I promised to aid you in the disposition of your surplus money.
As you have a dread of adventure, and do not like to run any risk, I
will take it myself, and give you compound interest.
Howard expressed his thanks. You owe me none; it will be a matter
of convenience to me to have the use of this additional money. I only
feel some compunction in deriving that profit from it which you might
yourself reap. However, as I take the risk, and you take none, it is
according to your own plan;and now I must be off; I have already
overrun my time, said he, looking at his watch. If possible, I shall
be at home early, but it is a busy season; two East India cargoes have
just arrived, and several consignments of cotton from the south; all
are pressing upon us.
My brother, said Howard, as he disappeared, is the same active,
enterprising man he always was. I rejoice to hear, however, that he has
set some limits to his desire for wealth.
Our desires grow proportionably to our increase of wealth, I
believe, said Mrs. Draper. When we began life, your brother said, if
he was ever worth a hundred thousand dollars, he would retire from
business; he now allows himself to be worth much more than that amount,
and yet you perceive our homestead becomes too valuable for our own
use, because it can be converted to money. All this, however, would be
nothing, if I did not see this eager pursuit of gain robbing him of the
pleasures of domestic life, of the recreation every father ought to
allow himself to receive from the innocent conversation and sports of
his children. He cannot spare time for travelto become acquainted
with the beautiful views of our own country. To you, who knew him, as I
did, full of high and noble perceptions, this is a melancholy change.
Howard was silent; he remembered his brother's early restless desire
of wealth, strikingly contrasted with his own indifference to it.
Frances judged of his character by that period of life when all that is
imaginative or sentimental is called into action;she judged him by
the season of first love. She little supposed that the man who
was contented to ramble with her over hill and dale, who could bathe in
moonbeams, and talk of the dewy breath of evening and morning, as if it
came from Araby the blest, would one day refuse to quit the bustle of
State Street, or the dark, noisy lumber of India Wharf, to gaze on the
Falls of Niagara, because it could not thunder money in his ear! that
his excursions were to be confined to manufactories, coal-mines,
rail-road meetings, and Eastern lands. This development of character
had been gradual, and she scarcely realized his entire devotion to
business, till she saw his health affected by that scourge of our
pleasant vices, dyspepsy. She expressed her apprehensions to Howard,
and begged him to use all his influence to break the spell.
I can think of nothing that will have more effect, said Howard,
than for you to accept my wife's invitation, to pass a few weeks with
us in the country. This will occasionally withdraw my brother from the
city, and it appears to me that your own health may be benefited by the
change. He was struck with his sister's altered appearance, with the
occasional flush, the short, low cough; yet she said she was
wellonly a slight cold.
At length she promised to be with them the ensuing week, provided
her husband could make arrangements to go with her. If he knows that I
depend on him, said she, it will be the strongest inducement for him
to quit the city for a few days.
Mr. Draper returned late in the evening, and had only time to
complete his business affairs with his brother, who departed early the
The spring had returned with its new-born beauty, its swelling buds,
it tender grass; here and there a tree in the city anticipated the
season of leaves, and put forth its verdant honors. Now, ma'am, said
Lucy, who had long been a faithful domestic in the family, if you are
going particular, and don't expose yourself by going into the garden,
and will take the cough-drops regularly, morning and evening, you will
get rid of your cold. This is just the season when every body gets well
that got sick as you did.
How was that? said Mrs. Draper.
Why, when the sap was going down the trees in the autumn; but now
it is going up.
But whether the sap had already gone up, or for some other reason,
which was as clear to human perception, Francis did not shake off her
wearing cough. Mr. Draper was not alarmed at it; it was very
unobtruding, and he had become used to it. It was not one of
those vulgar, hoarse coughs, that, till we connect danger with it,
often excites indignation in those who are listening to an interesting
narrative, or to a reader, who is obliged to wait till the impertinent
paroxysm is over. Mrs. Draper's was quite a lady-like cough, low and
gentle, and seemed rather like impeded respiration.
Visiters would sometimes observe, when they went away, Mrs. Draper
is still a handsome woman, though she has lost her bloom. What a pity
she has that affected little cough! it really spoils her; it is nothing
but a habit; she could easily break herself of it, if any body would be
honest enough to tell her. This task rested with Lucy alone; but it
was all in vain. Frances took the cough-drops morning and evening, and
still the disagreeable habit remained. Mr. Draper was very little at
home; and when he was, his mind was engaged by new projects. Anxiety,
however, did not rob him of sleep: he was too successful; he seemed to
have the Midas- like art of turning every thing to gold:his thousands
were rapidly accumulating, and half a million was now the point at
which he determined to stop. Mrs. Draper's slight cough did not attract
his attention; but if her appetite failed, he grew anxious, and feared
she was not well.
Week after week passed, and still it was impossible for Mr. Draper
to leave the city. At length, a letter arrived from Charlotte, claiming
the visit; and he substituted one of his clerks to conduct his family
to his brother's residence. Here, though not more than forty miles from
the city, Mrs. Draper found the freshness and novelty of country life.
The family were farmers, children and all. Charlotte was acquainted
with all the little details belonging to a farm, and took as much
interest as her husband did in the growth of grain, the raising of pigs
and poultry, and feeding cattle in the best and most economical manner.
She displayed her dairy with its cheese arranged on shelves, her white
pans of milk, and her newly-churned butter, which impregnated the air
with its sweetness.
It was with long-forgotten feelings of health that Frances breathed
the atmosphere around her; she perceived that her respiration was more
free. How ignorant I was, said she to Howard, to compare my city
garden to the country! There is music in every accidental sound. How
fresh is the air! how unlike the mornings to which I have been
accustomed, where the voice of the teamster urging on his over-loaded
horse, or the monotonous cry of the fishmonger, disturbed my slumbers!
Her heart beat with pleasure as she saw her children go forth with
their cousins to rural enjoyments: her tender bud, which she had often
feared would never live to unfold its beauty, her little Charlotte, she
saw here as joyous and as active as her sister. New hopes and
anticipations brightened the future. How does returning health change
the prospect of external circumstances! The cough was much less
constant, and Charlotte, who professed to have wonderful skill in
curing diseases, had undertaken to eradicate it. She did not approve of
late slumbers, and every morning she brought her patient a tumbler of
new milk, and challenged her to come out and breathe the fresh air. Do
not wait, said she, till its wings are clogged by the smoke of the
city; come and win an appetite for our country breakfast, our new-laid
eggs: the children are hunting for them amongst the hay, and here comes
my little namesake with her prize: she has brought hers for your
Mr. Draper did not arrive at the time he appointed, and Frances
often felt the sickness of hope delayed. Deliver me from such
excellent husbands, said Charlotte to Howard, who are wasting the
best years of their lives in acquiring wealth for their families, and
yet never think themselves rich enough. Here is poor Frances,
kept in a state of feverish anxiety, when rest and tranquillity are
absolutely necessary for the restoration of her health.
The Saturday evening following, Mr. Draper arrived. He was delighted
to see his wife and children, and thought they looked remarkably well.
On Sunday morning, he walked with his brother over the farm, and
calculated the probable receipts of the year. Away from the atmosphere
of business, his mind seemed to recover its former freshness. How
beautiful this stillness is! said he: it reminds me of the mythology
of the heathen world; the ancients used to say that when Pan slept, all
nature held its breath, lest it should awake him. You have made an
enthusiast of Frances; nothing will do for her now but the country.
My wife is anxious about the health of yours, said Howard; she
thinks her cough an indication of weak lungs.
I know, said Mr. Draper, stopping short, she is subject to a
cough; ours is a miserable climate; I hope the warm weather will
entirely banish it. I have a bad cough myself;and he coughed with
I wish, brother, said Howard, that period had arrived, at which
you have so long been aiming, that you thought yourself rich enough
to devote more time to your family.
No one can look forward to it more eagerly than I do, replied Mr.
Draper; but you can little understand the difficulty of withdrawing
from business. However, I fully mean to do it, when I have secured to
my wife and children an inheritance.
O, said Mr. Draper, in reply to the smile, you must not suppose
my wants can be measured by yours. Your farm supplies you with the
materials of life, and you get them at a cheap rate.
I give for them what you give, said Howard, time,and a little
more,I give manual labor; you know I belong to the working class. In
this money-making day, men despise small gains, and yet my own
experience tells me they are sufficient for happiness. Great wealth can
add but little to our enjoyments; domestic happiness, you will allow,
is cheaply bought, as far as money is concerned, and riches cannot add
a great deal to our corporeal enjoyment. The pleasures of sense are
wisely limited to narrow boundaries; the epicure has no prolonged
gratification in eating; though he may wish for the throat of the
crane, he cannot obtain it; neither does he enjoy his expensive
delicacies more than the day-laborer does his simple fare. Of all the
sources of happiness in this world, overgrown wealth has the least that
is real; and from my own observation, I should think it the most
unproductive source of satisfaction to the possessor. I have heard of
many very wealthy men that have tormented themselves with the fear of
coming to actual want, but I never heard of one man in moderate
circumstances that was afflicted with this monomania.
You talk like a philosopher, said Mr. Draper, laughing, who means
to live all his life in his tub. However, I assure you that I do not
intend always to pursue this course of hurry and business; in a very
short time, I expect to agree with you that I am rich enough;
now, my only desire is to hasten that period, that I may devote myself
to my family.
Is it possible, said Howard, that this incessant toil is to
purchase a blessing which is already within your grasp! At least I hope
you mean to devote yourself to your family now, for a few days.
I regret to say, said Mr. Draper, that I must be off early
to-morrow morning. But I am thinking, as my wife and children enjoy the
country so much, that it is an object for me to purchase a snug little
place where they may pass the summer. Do you know of any such near
Clyde Farm is up for sale, replied Howard.
I should like to ride over and see it, said Mr. Draper, musing.
Not this morning, said Howard.
This afternoon, then, will do as well.
No, said Howard; this is the only uninterrupted day I have with
my family, and it is our regular habit to attend public worship.
To-morrow morning we will ride over as early as you please, but to-day
I hope you will accept as a day of rest from business.
Mr. Draper had thought it quite impossible to give a part of the
next morning to his family, but he always found time for business.
Accordingly, when the morning arrived, they rode over to Clyde Farm.
I remember that farm perfectly well, said Mr. Draper; it was my
favorite resort when I was a boy.
I remember those times too, replied Howard, when I used to lie
stretched at full length by the side of the waterfall, getting my
amo, amas, and only now and then roused by the distant sound of
your gun, which put all the little birds to flight.
Has it still that fine run of water? asked Mr. Draper.
Precisely the same, replied Howard; this very stream that flows
through my pasture, and sparkles in the morning sun, comes from old
Clyde. Look this way, and see what a leap it takes over those rocks.
Clyde Farm was just such a spot as a romantic, visionary mind might
choose for its vagaries,such a spot as an elevated, contemplative one
might select for its aspirations after higher hopes, which seldom come
in the tumult of life. Mr. Draper felt at once that the place was
congenial to the taste and habits of his wife; it awoke in his own mind
the recollection of his boyish days, and from these he naturally
reverted to the days of courtship, when he talked of scenery and
prospect as eloquently as Frances. With a light step he followed his
brother along the stream that came leaping and bounding from the hills,
till they arrived at the still little lake whence it took its course.
The mists of the morning had dispersed, and the blue sky and white
clouds were reflected from its glassy surface, while on its borders the
deep, dark foliage of the woods lay inverted. Both of the brothers
stood silent when they reached the edge of the water; both were
impressed with the beauty of the scene.
How delighted Frances would be with this spot! said Howard. It is
like the calm, tranquil mirror of her own mind, which seems formed to
reflect only the upper world, with its glorious firmament. I think we
have before us two excellent prototypes of our wives:while the clear,
peaceful lake represents yours, this happy, joyous, busy little stream
may be likened to my Charlotte, who goes on her way rejoicing, and
diffusing life and animation wherever she bends her course.
I wish Frances had a little more of her gayety, said Mr. Draper.
Depend upon it, said Howard, they will operate favorably on each
other. I perceive already a mingling of character. I will venture to
predict, Charlotte will have a boat with its gay streamers winding the
shore before long, and persuade her sister to become the 'Lady of the
The matter was soon decided; the sisters visited the place, and were
enchanted with it; and Howard was authorized by his brother to make the
The house had been built many years. It was irregular in its form,
and certainly belonged to no particular order of architecture. There
was a large dining-room, and doors that opened upon the green, and
plenty of small rooms; in short, it was just such a house as Frances
fancied; it was picturesque, and looked, she said, as if it had grown
and shot out here and there like the old oaks around it.
Charlotte begged that on herself might devolve the care of
furnishing it. I know better than you, said she, what will save
trouble. Banish brass and mahogany; admit nothing that requires daily
labor to make it fine and showy. I do not despair of setting you up a
dairy, and teaching you to churn your own butter. She truly loved and
honored her sister-in- law, and trembled for her life, which she was
persuaded she held by a frail tenure. She was eager to prevent her
returning to the city during the warm season, and readily undertook to
go herself and make all necessary arrangements. Frances furnished her
with a list, and left much discretionary power to her agent.
In the course of a few days she returned.We must be at Clyde Farm
to- morrow, said she, to receive the goods and chattels of which I am
only the precursor. Your husband enters warmly into the furnishing of
your country residence, and therefore we must let him have a voice in
it. His taste is not so simple as ours, so we must admit some of the
finery of the town house; pier and chimney glasses are to be sent from
it. I did not make much opposition to this, for they will not only
reflect our rustic figures within, but the trees and grass without. How
I long to have haying-time come! You must ride from the fields with
your children, as I do, on a load of hay, when the work of the day is
over, and look down upon all the world. O Frances, added she, if we
could only persuade your husband to turn farmer, our victory would be
It will never be, said Frances.
I don't know that, replied Charlotte; he seemed to set very
little value on the city residence, and would fain have stripped his
elegant rooms to dignify your rustic retreat; but I would not consent
to the migration of a particle of gilding or damask, but told him he
might send the marble slabs, with the mirrors,and I speak for one of
the slabs for the dairy. But I have been more thoughtful for you than
you have for yourself: look at this list of books that I have ordered.
Frances was surprised; she had never seen Charlotte with a book in
her hand, and she candidly expressed her astonishment that, amidst all
her hurry, she had remembered books.
Where do you think I acquired all my knowledge, said Charlotte,
if I never open a book? But you are half right; I certainly do not
patronize book-making; and yet all summer I am reading the book of
Nature. I open it with the first snow-drop and crocus which peeps from
under her white robe; and then, when she puts on her green mantle,
'The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose,'
I study the lilies of the field. Depend upon it, there is more
wisdom without doors than we can find within,more wisdom there than
I believe it, said Frances; all nature speaks of the Creator,of
the one great Mind which formed this endless variety, and can give life
to the most insignificant flower that grows by the way-side.
I should like to know what flower you call insignificant, said
Charlotte; not this little houstonia, I hope; that has a perfection of
organization in which many of your splendid green-house flowers are
deficient. But that is the way with us: we call those things sublime
which are on a large scale, because they are magnified to our narrow
minds, and we can comprehend them without any trouble.But I must not
display all my wisdom to you at oncehow, like Solomon of old, I can
speak of trees, from 'the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon even unto the
hyssop that springeth out of the wall.'And now, fair sister,
'Up, up, and quit your books,'
and come with me to one of my studiosnamely, my poultry-yard. I
hear the bipeds clamorous for their supper.
This is the woman, thought Frances, that I have sometimes
wondered Howard, with his reflecting mind, could select as his partner
for life! Because I saw her, like the Deity she worships, attending to
the most minute affairs, I foolishly imagined she comprehended no
From this time the two sisters resembled in union Shakspeare's twin
cherries growing on one stem.
The furniture arrived, and the country residence was very soon in
order. Howard took the direction of the farming part. But it was no
object to Frances to have much ploughing or planting. She loved the
green pastures and still waters, and often repeated those beautiful
lines of the hymn
To dewy vales and flowery meads,
My weary, fainting steps he leads,
Where peaceful rivers, soft and slow,
Amid the verdant landscape flow.
Clyde Farm was a singularly retired spot, notwithstanding its
vicinity to a country village, which, on a straight line, was about two
miles from it. But there was a high hill between, that belonged to the
farm, and was crowned with oak and chestnut trees; while here and there
was an opening which gave a perfect view of the village, with its
church, academy, and square four-story tavern, with windows enough to
give it the appearance of a huge lantern. The high road was a mile from
the house, and no dwelling was nearer. The hill overlooked one of those
New England landscapes that could not be wrought into a well-composed
picture; objects were too abundant; it was dotted with farms and sheets
of water; and beyond, the beautiful Merrimac wound its way. On this
spot, Frances had a little open pavilion erected, and it was her resort
at sunset. As her health improved, her mind opened to the impressions
of happiness, and she grew almost gay. There is but one thing more,
said she to her brother and sister, that I now desire in this world.
Always one thing wanting for us poor mortals! said Charlotte; but
let us hear what it is.
That my husband, who is the liberal donor of my enjoyment, should
partake of it.
Pray be contented, replied she, and let him enjoy himself in his
I have a letter for you, said Howard, that came enclosed in one
to me; and, with an air of hesitation, he gave it to her.
Frances hastily took it; her color came and went as she read. It
informed her, that the offers her husband had received for his estate
in town had not only opened his eyes to its value, but had convinced
him that, as a patriotic citizen, he had no right to retain it for his
private use; he had therefore come to the conclusion to reap the
benefit himself which other speculators had proposed to do. He should
take down the house, make a street through the land, divide it into
small lots, and erect a number of houses upon it, one of which he meant
to reserve for himself. I should regret what I conceive to be the
necessity of this thing, he added, if you were not so perfectly
satisfied with your Clyde residence. As you will always repair to it
early in the spring, it matters little if you return to walls of brick
and mortar in the autumn.
We pass over the involuntary tears that followed this communication,
as speculators would pronounce them unreasonable. It now became
necessary for Frances to visit the city to make arrangements, and take
a last leave of her pleasant mansion. In justice, it must be said, she
thought less of her own deprivation than of the new accession of care
and toil that her husband was bringing upon himself.When she returned
to Clyde, she had lost by fatigue nearly all the health she had
Most people have witnessed the rapidity with which the work of
destruction goes on in modern days. In a very short time the splendid
mansion was a pile of ruins, a street laid open, and buildings erecting
on the spot.
Mr. Draper's visits to Clyde had been hitherto confined to the
Sabbath, and generally terminated with it: but he now wrote to his wife
that he intended to pass a month with her. It was a comparative season
of leisure; his vessels had sailed, his buildings were going on well,
and he should be able to enjoy the quiet of the country.
Frances received this intelligence with new-born hope. She felt
certain, that one month, passed amidst the tranquil pleasures of the
country, would regenerate his early tastes. She talked eloquently of
the corrupting atmosphere of the city, and was sanguine that now all
would go well; that his inordinate engrossment in business would yield
to the influences by which he would find himself surrounded. And so it
turned out, for a few days. Mr. Draper was as happy as an affectionate
husband and father must naturally be, reunited to the objects of his
tenderness. He said that he felt uncommonly well, had much less of the
dyspepsy than he had experienced for years, followed his little girls
to their favorite haunts, and seemed to realize the blessing of
leisure. Howard, with his family, passed the third day with them.
Towards evening, they all ascended the hill. Mr. Draper was struck with
the extensive view, and the beauty of his wife's domain, for he
scrupulously called it her own. What a waste of water! he exclaimed.
What a noble run for mills and manufactories! Poor Frances actually
turned pale; but, collecting her spirits, she said, It is hardly right
to call it a waste of water.
Liberal, not lavish, is kind Nature's hand.
In the mean time, Mr. Draper had taken his pencil, and on the back
of a letter was making lines and dashes. Look here, said he to
Howard. See how perfectly this natural ledge of rocks may be converted
into a dam: it seems precisely made for it: then, by digging a canal to
conduct the water a little to the left, there is a fine site for a
cotton-manufactory, which, built of granite, would add much to the
beauty of the prospect. Just here, where that old tree is thrown across
the stream, a bridge may be built, in the form of an arch, which also
must be of stone. It will make the view altogether perfect.
I cannot think, said Howard, the view would be improved; you
would have a great stone building, with its countless windows and
abutments, but you would lose the still, tranquil effect of the
prospect, and take much from the beauty of the stream.
Not as I shall manage it, said Mr. Draper. I am sure Frances
herself will agree with me that it adds fifty per cent. to the beauty
of the prospect when she sees it completed.
In vain Frances protested she was satisfied with it as it was; the
month that she had hoped was to be given to leisure was one of the
busiest of her husband's life. Contracts were madean association
formed. Mr. Draper was continually driving to the city, and mechanics
were passing to and fro. Clyde Farm began to wear the appearance of a
business place. A manufacturing company was incorporated under the
title of the Clyde Mills. The stillness of the spot was exchanged for
the strokes of the pickaxe, the human voice urging on oxen and horses,
the blasting of rocks; the grass was trampled down, the trees were
often wantonly injured, and, where they obstructed the tracks of
wheels, laid prostrate. Frances no longer delighted to walk at noon day
under the thick foliage that threw its shadow on the grass as vividly
as a painting. All was changed! It is true she now saw her husband, but
she had but little more of his society; his mind and time were wholly
engrossed; he came often, and certainly did not, as formerly, confine
his visits to the Sabbath.
All went on with wonderful rapidity; story rose upon story, till it
seemed as if the new manufactory, with its windows and abutments, was
destined to become another Babel. When Charlotte came to Clyde, she
gazed with astonishment. All this, said she to Howard, is the
project of a speculator! Grown men now-a-days remind me of the story of
the boy who planted his bean at night, and went out in the morning to
see how it grew; he found it had nearly reached the chamber windows; he
went out the next morning, and it was up to the eaves of the house; on
the third morning, it had shot up to the clouds, and he descried a
castle, or a manufactory, I don't know which, on the top of it. Then it
was high time to scale it; so up, up, he went, and when he arrived at
the building, he put his foot into it, and then he perceived it was
made of vapor; and down came bean, castle, and boy, headlong, in
three seconds, though it had taken three whole days to
complete the work.
You must tell your story to my brother, said Howard.
No, replied Charlotte; he would not profit by it; but I will tell
it to my children, and teach them to train their beans in the good
old-fashioned way, near the ground.
Thus passed the autumn at Clyde; that period which every reflecting
mind enjoys as a season of contemplation; that period when our New
England woods assume every variety of color, and shine forth with a
splendor that indicates decay. Still the two families had much
enjoyment together; the health of Frances and little Charlotte had
decidedly improved; but when the leaves began to fall, and the wind to
whistle through the branches, they quitted Clyde and returned to the
city. Their new house was not ready for them, and they were obliged to
take lodgings at one of the hotels.
Mr. Draper met Dr. B., their friend and physician, in his walks, and
begged him to call and see his wife. I rejoice to say, said he, that
her health does not require any medical advice; she is quite well.
Probably Dr. B. thought otherwise, for he suggested the advantage
that both she and the little girl might derive from passing the winter
in a warm climate. Never was there a fairer opportunity; they had no
home to quit, and their residence at a hotel was one of necessity, not
of choice. But Mr. Draper said it was quite impossible. What! leave his
counting- room, State Street, India Wharf, the insurance offices! leave
all in the full tide of speculation, when he was near the El Dorado for
which he had so long been toiling! when Eastern lands and Western
lands, rail-roads and steam-boats, cotton, and manufactories, were in
all their glory; when his own Clyde Mills were just going into
operation! It was impossible, wholly impossible; and Frances would not
go without him. The suggestion was given up, and she remained in the
city almost wholly confined to the atmosphere of a small room with a
coal fire. Unfortunately the measles appeared among the children at the
hotel, and Mrs. Draper's were taken sick before she knew that the
epidemic was there. They had the best attendance, but nothing
supersedes a mother's devotion. Frances passed many a sleepless night
in watching over them. With the eldest the disorder proved slight, but
it was otherwise with the youngest; and when she began to grow better,
the mother drooped. It was a dreary winter for poor Mrs. Draper, but
not so for her husband. Never had there been a season of such profits,
such glorious speculations! Some croakers said it could not
last; and some of our gifted statesmen predicted that an overwhelming
blow must inevitably come. But all this was nothing to speculators; it
certainly would not arrive till after they had made their
Spring approached, with its uncertainty of climate; sometimes, the
streets were in rivers, and the next day frozen in masses; then came
volumes of east wind. Mrs. Draper's cough returned more frequently than
ever, and Charlotte looked too frail for earth. The physician informed
Mr. Draper that he considered it positively necessary to remove the
invalids to a milder climate, and mentioned Cuba. Mr. Draper, however,
decided that an inland journey would be best, and, inconvenient as it
was, determined to travel as far as some of the cotton-growing
states. After the usual busy preparations, they set off, the wife fully
realizing that she was blighting in the bud her husband's projected
speculations for a few weeks to come, and feeling that he was making
what he considered great sacrifices.
Almost all invalids who have travelled on our continent in pursuit
of uniformity of climate, have been disappointed. At New York they were
detained a week by a flight of snow and rain, shut up in dreary rooms;
then came a glimmering of sunshine, and Philadelphia looked bright and
serene; but at Baltimore the rain again descended. They were so near
Washington, Mr. Draper thought it best to hurry on, with every
precaution for the invalids. At Washington, they found the straw
mattings had superseded woollen carpets, and the fire-places were
ornamented with green branches. They continued their journey south till
they at length arrived at Charleston. Here they found a milder climate,
and a few days of sunshine. Mr. Draper was no longer restless; he had
full employment in shipping cargoes of cotton, and making bargains, not
only for what was in the market, but for a proportion of that which was
yet to grow, as confidently as if he had previously secured the rain
and sunshine of heaven. There is a constant change of weather on our
coastanother storm came on. The little invalid evidently lost rather
than gained. Discouraged and disheartened, Frances begged they might
return. One week at Clyde, where they might have the comforts of home,
would do more for them, she said, than all this fruitless search for
a favorable climate. When Mr. Draper had completed his bargains, he
was equally desirous to return to the city, and at the end of a tedious
journey, over bad roads in some parts of it, rail-roads in others, and
a tremendous blow round Point Judith, the travellers arrived at Boston
on one of those raw, piercing, misty days, that seemed to have been
accumulating fogs for their reception. The physician hastened their
departure to Clyde, as it was inland and sheltered from the sea. This
removal was made, and then they had nothing to do but to get well.
Howard and Charlotte were rejoiced at the reunion, and the feeble
little invalid tried to resume her former sports with her cousins. But
all would not answer, and when June came on, with its season of roses,
she slept at the foot of the mount. It was a retired spot that the
mother selected for the remains, and only a temporary one, for they
were to be removed to Mount Auburn at the close of autumn.
It were well if we could receive the events of Providence in the
sublime simplicity with which they come, but the sensitive and
tender-hearted often add to their poignancy by useless self-reproach.
Frances thought the journey had, perhaps, been the cause of the child's
untimely death, and lamented that she had not opposed a measure which
she had undertaken solely for its benefit. The death of friends is a
calamity that few have not strength enough to bear, if they do not
exaggerate their sufferings, by imagining that something was done, or
left undone, for which they were responsible. To this nervous state of
feeling Frances was peculiarly liable, from her ill health; and it was
many weeks before her excellent powers of mind obtained full exercise.
Yet they finally triumphed, and she became first resigned, then
cheerful. The sorrow of the father was of a different character, and
exhausted itself in proportion to its violence. It was followed by new
projects and new anticipations; the manufactory had succeeded beyond
his most sanguine expectations. A discovery had been made that enabled
them to afford their cloth a cent per yard cheaper than any other
manufacturing establishment. Bales of cotton poured in upon him from
the south, and ships arrived from various parts of the world. How could
he find time for grief!
The first visit Frances made to the lake after her return,
discovered to her, that it was sadly changed. It was no longer full to
overflowing, but swampy and low; the water was constantly drained off
to supply the manufactory and mills which were erected at a distance.
Mr. Draper had found out that the little stream could much more than
earn its own living, and it was made to work hard. One thing, however,
was wanting to complete his Clyde speculations, and that was a
rail-road. This had now become necessary. Every thing afforded the
greatest facility for it. Laborers could be procured from the village
and farms in the vicinity. Yet how could he reconcile his wife to it?
The road must pass through the hill, and near the house. He was aware
that it would destroy the rural beauty of the place; but what an
increase of wealth it would be! what a princely revenue! what a spirit
of business and speculation it would spread through the country! Every
man would be able not only to make the most of his capital, but to get
credit to ten times its real amount. He considered it a public benefit,
and he was imperiously called to accomplish it; and so he stated the
matter to his wife with as much tenderness towards her feelings as the
case would admit.
I hoped, said she, that the sum of your public benefits was
completed by our sacrifice in the city.
That is not spoken with your usual generous feeling, Frances,
replied he. When are patriotic exertions to cease? Are we not called
upon to be constantly making them?
Howard would say it is injuring the cause of the country to turn
agriculturists into speculators, said Frances.
Howard is an excellent man, replied Mr. Draper; he is born to be
a farmer, and nothing else. I have no wish to change his vocation; he
dignifies it by uniting intelligence with manual labor; but there are
many who are toiling merely for money, and they can get much more by my
method than his.
Will their happiness be increased? said Mrs. Draper.
Certainly, inasmuch as wealth procures the means of happiness.
Have you found it so? again asked Frances.
Not precisely. I am still toiling; my season for rest and enjoyment
has not arrived.
And yet, said Frances, Howard is rich enough for
enjoyment. You have already a great estate; let me ask, what advantage
you derive from it beyond your daily meals? You take care of this
immense property; you are continually increasing it, and all the
compensation you get is a bare living. Would any of the clerks
you employ in your counting-room labor for such low wages?
My dear Frances, said Mr. Draper, affectionately, I am always
contented to admire your ingenuity without combating your arguments.
Perhaps it might be better, if you had cultivated a little more of the
rationale of life.
Well, replied she, languidly smiling, I am going to prove to you,
that I have profited by your example, and am becoming a business wife.
You call this farm mine, and tell me you bought it for me?
Certainly; all I have is yours.
I claim no title to any thing but this; but this I consider your
gift, and as such accept it.
Mr. Draper certainly did not look delighted at this unexpected
statement, and began to tremble for his rail-road; but he remained
You have undoubtedly greatly increased the actual value of Clyde
Farm, by mills and manufactories?
Certainly I have; but all is in a manner useless without the
rail-road as a means of transportation: that will put every thing into
complete operation, and make the revenue princely.
Then, said Frances, I can have no hesitation in making my offer.
I will sell this place to you for what you gave for it. Secure the sum
to me outright, and I renounce my title to Clyde Farm. Make it, if you
please, wholly a manufacturing place; do not consult me whether there
shall be rail-roads or mills.
Upon my word, said Mr. Draper, with an estate like mine, I should
be mortified to make such a paltry purchase of my wife. It is for you
and our only child that I am accumulating a fortune. Have you ever
found me sordid or tenacious of money, that you wish a certain sum
secured to you?
Never, said she with emotion; all that money can purchase, you
have been most liberal in procuring me. Would that you were as generous
We all have our own ideas of happiness, said Mr. Draper; but
since it is your wish, Frances, I will close with your proposal, and
secure to you twenty thousand dollars, which is a little more than I
paid for Clyde Farm. Legal instruments shall be immediately drawn up;
and to convince you that I wish for no control over that sum, I will
have it put in trust.
Let the instrument be so worded, said Frances, that it shall
revert to our child at my death.
As you please, said Mr. Draper, coldly; it is all the same to
From this time, Clyde Farm became wholly a place of business. No
regard was now paid to the beauty of the place. Iron-manufactories,
nail-manufactories, and saw-mills, were projected, and all was hurry
and bustle. One more pang, however, remained for Frances. The
sequestered nook she had selected, where her little Charlotte's remains
were deposited,that spot, so still, so tranquil, so shaded by trees,
and so sheltered by valleys, so removed apparently from the tumult of
business,over that very spot, it was found necessary for the
rail-road to pass! Strange as it may seem, the worldly father appeared
to feel more deeply this innovation than the mother.
Twice he repaired to the spot to give his directions for the removal
of the remains, and twice an impetuous burst of sorrow drove him from
It is only a temporary resting-place, even for the body, said
Frances; the spirit is not there. She looked calmly on, and gave
those directions for which the father was unable.
Another winter was now advancing, and the house in the city was
ready for occupancy. Mrs. Draper made her preparations to return, but
they were often interrupted by a pain in her side. The cough had
entirely changed its character; it was now deep and hollow. She
certainly looked remarkably well; her complexion seemed to have
recovered the delicacy and transparency of early youth, and her eyes
their lustrous brightness. As for the color of her cheek, her husband
sometimes playfully accused her of extracting rouge from her
Charlotte spoke to him doubtingly of his wife's health, and Lucy
said she was afraid she would not stand the frosty nights when they
came on. But Mr. Draper was sanguine that Clyde had been her
When she arrived at the city, there were arrangements to be made,
and new furniture to be procured. Her husband gave her full permission
to do just as she pleased, only begged of her not to call upon him, for
he had not one moment to spare.
Frances exerted all her strength, but it became evident that she
drooped. Her nights were restless; and though some thought it
encouraging, that she coughed so much stronger, it was
exhausting to her frame.
Mr. Draper at length perceived that she had rather lost than gained;
he went for her physician, and requested him to recommend quiet to her.
I think, said he, she has over-fatigued herself.
Dr. B. came to see her, conversed with her, counted the throbbings
of her pulse, and made a minute examination of her case. The conference
was long; when he entered the parlor, he found Mr. Draper waiting. He
received him with a smile; but there was no responsive smile on the
doctor's face; it was solemn and thoughtful.
Mr. Draper grew alarmed. You do not think my wife very sick, I
hope, said he. Her cough is troublesome; but you know she has long
been subject to it. Indeed, I think it is constitutional, like my own.
You recommended the white mixture to her last year: it did her good.
I recommended a voyage and a warm climate, said the physician.
Yes, I remember you did; but it was impossible for me to go away
then. In the spring we took that unlucky journey; however, it was of
benefit to her, and if you think it necessary, I will go the same route
I do not, replied Dr. B.
I am glad of it; it would be particularly inconvenient to me just
now to leave the city. Times are perplexing: bills come back
protestedbad news from Englandsudden and unlooked-for failuresno
one can tell where it will end. We have been obliged to stop our works
at Clyde Farm, and there are from ninety to a hundred laborers thrown
out of employment. This is peculiarly vexatious to me, as they made out
before to earn a living in their own humdrum way, and they now
accuse me of having taken the bread from their children's mouths, to
promote my own speculations, though, while I employed them, I gave them
enormous wages. But this, sir, is the gratitude of the world.
The doctor still remained silent. It seemed as if Mr. Draper began
to tremble for something dearer than money, for he grasped the hand of
You do not think my wife dangerously ill, I trust, said he.
The doctor replied, in a low voice, I fear she is.
Impossible! exclaimed Mr. Draper; she was remarkably well when we
left Clyde. But what do you prescribe? I will do any thing, every
thing, say but the word. I will take her to EuropeI will go to any
part of the world you recommend.
The physician shook his head.
My dear doctor, you must go with us. I will indemnify you a
thousand times for all losses; you can save her life; you know her
constitution. When shall we go? and where? I will charter a vessel; we
can be off in three days;and he actually took his hat.
Dr. B. said impressively, Pray be seated, and prepare yourself to
hear, like a man, what you must inevitably learn. It will not answer
any useful purpose to go to a milder climate; it is now too late!
You do not mean to say, said Mr. Draper, impetuously, that if she
had gone last year she would have been restored?
No, I do not mean to say that; but then, there would have been a
chance; now, there is none.
Why did you not tell me so, sir? said Mr. Draper, angrily.
I said all that I was authorized to say. When I urged the step as
necessary, you replied that it was impossible.
It is too true! exclaimed he, striking his forehead; and yet she
is dearer to me than my own life;and, unable to suppress his
feelings, he burst into an agony of tears. Suddenly starting up, he
said, Doctor, I have the highest respect for your skill; but you are
fallible, like all men. It is my opinion, that a sea voyage and change
of climate will restore my wife. If you will go with us, so much the
better; if not, I will seek some other physician to accompany her.
It is but right to inform you, said Dr. B., that there is no
chance of restoration. I suggested to her, that there might be
alleviation in a warm climate; but she positively declines seeking it,
and says her only wish is to die quietly, at home. She fully estimates
the strength of your affection, and entreats of you to spare her all
superfluous agitation. 'Tell him,' said she, 'there is but one thing
that can unsettle the calmness of my mind; it is to see him wanting in
It would be painful to dwell on the anguish that followed this
communication. Mr. Draper realized, for the first time, the tenderness
and watchfulness that a character and constitution like his wife's
required. In the common acceptation of the word, he was an excellent
husband; yet, in his eager pursuit of wealth, he had left her to
struggle alone with many of the harassing cares of life. He had, by
thinking himself unable to accompany her, denied her the necessary
recreation of travelling; he had deprived her of her favorite residence
in the city, and when she turned her affections to Clyde, even there
they found no resting-place.
He recollected their unpropitious journeythe exposure to cold and
rainthat he had hurried on the invalids, till he had accomplished his
own purposes. One had already gone; the other was fast following.
Speculators have consciences and affections, and his were roused to
Frances shrunk not from the hour of death, which rapidly approached.
Howard and Charlotte were constantly with her. There was nothing gloomy
in her views. She considered this life as a passage to another; and saw
through the vista immortality and happiness. To Charlotte, she
bequeathed her daughter, and this faithful friend promised to watch
over her with a mother's care.
Many and long were her conversations with her husbandnot on the
subject of her death, or arrangements after it should take place; but
she was earnest that her serenity, her high hopes, might be transferred
to his mind. She had often, in the overflowings of her heart,
endeavored to communicate to him her animated convictions of a future
life. Those who live constantly in the present think but little of the
future. Mr. Draper usually cut short the conversation, with the
apparently devout sentiment,I am quite satisfied on this subject;
'Whatever is, is right.'
Now, however, when he realized that the being he most tenderly loved
was fast retreating from his view, he felt that there was a vast
difference between the reasonings of philosophy and the revelations of
Christianity; and, in the agony of his soul, he would have given worlds
for the assurance of a reunion. On this subject Frances dwelt; and he
now listened patiently, without once looking at his watch, or being
seized with one of his paroxysms of coughing. Still, however, he
doubted; for how could he trust without bonds and contracts
? No one had come back to tell him individually the whole truth.
I acknowledge, said he, somewhat reproachfully, that this
conviction is earnestly to be desired. If saves you from the agony that
at this moment rends my heart.
My dear friend, replied Frances, in a voice interrupted by deep
and solemn emotion, religion is not given us for an opiate to be used
at a last extremity, merely to lull the sense of pain. The views I
express are not new to me; they have been for many years my daily food;
they have supported me through hours of bodily anguish; . . . the human
frame does not decay as gradually as mine without repeated warnings; .
. . they will conduct me through the dark valley of death, when I can
no longer lean upon your arm . . . Their efficacy does not merely
consist in soothing the bitterness of parting; they have a health
giving energy that infuses courage and fortitude amidst the
disappointments and evils of life.
Henceforth, exclaimed Mr. Draper,and at that moment he was
sincere,every thing of a worldly nature is indifferent to me!
All men, continued Frances, without replying to his exclamation,
are subject to the reverses of life, but particularly men of extensive
business connections. They are like the spider in his cobweb dwelling;
touch but one of the thousand filaments that compose it, and it
vibrates to the centre, and often the fabric is destroyed that has been
so skilfully woven. There is a divine teaching in religion, which at
such times restores equanimity to the mind, gives new aspirations, and
proves that all in this life is not lost, and nothing for that to
New scenes were opening upon Mr. Draper. It became evident that a
dark cloud hung over the business atmosphere. Unexpected failures every
day took place. Some attributed the thick-coming evils to the removal
of the deposits, others to interrupted currency; some to overtrading,
and some to extravagance. Whatever was the cause, the distress was
real. Mr. Draper's cotton became a drug in the market; manufactories
stopped, or gave no dividends. Eastern lands lost even their nominal
value, and western towns became bankrupt. Ships stood in the harbor,
with their sails unbent and masts dismantled. Day laborers looked
aghast, not knowing where to earn food for their families. The
whirlwind came; it made no distinction of persons. It smote the four
corners of the house, and the high-minded and honorable fell
indiscriminately with the rest. Well may it be asked, Whence came this
desolation upon the community? No pestilence visited our land; it was
not the plague; it was not the yellow fever, or cholera. Health was
borne on every breeze; the earth yielded her produce, and Peace still
dwelt among us.
Mr. Draper felt as if his mountain stood strong, yet it began to
totter. Frances was ignorant of the state of public affairs. Who would
intrude the perplexities of the times into a dying chamber? Softly and
gently she sank to rest, her last look of affection beaming upon her
The next morning, the bankruptcy of Mr. Draper was announced. No
blame was attached to him, though the sum for which he became insolvent
was immense, and swallowed up many a hard-earned fortune. Where was
Howard's little capital?Gone with the restprincipal and compound
I am a ruined man! said Mr. Draper to Howard; I have robbed you,
and beggared my child; but one resource remains to me;and he looked
around with the desperation of insanity.
Howard grasped his hand. My dear brother, said he, your wife,
with an almost prophetic spirit, foresaw this hour. 'Comfort him,' said
she, 'when it arrives, and lead his mind to higher objects.' Your child
has an ample provision, by the sum settled on her mother. I have lost
property which I did not use, and, with the blessing of God, may never
want. Come home with me; I have means for us both. You will have all
the indulgences you ever coveted. No one has led a harder life than you
have. You have labored like the galley-slave, without wages; come, and
learn that, beyond what we can use for our own or others' benefit,
wealth has only an imaginary value.
Perhaps it was an additional mortification to Mr. Draper, to find
that, a few days after his failure, the banks concluded to issue no
specie. Many were kept along by this resolution; while others stopped,
with the conviction, that, had they been contented with moderate gains,
they might, in this day of trouble and perplexity, have been RICH