Chapter II. {XXV}

“Yonder, sure, they are coming.” As You Like It.

{William Shakespeare, As You Like It, I.ii.147}

THE weather had been more than usually warm for several weeks, and the morning after Charlie’s return to Longbridge, when the steamboat North America left the wharf at New-York, her decks and cabins were filled by some five or six hundred passengers. There were men, women, and children, of various characters, colours and conditions. The scene on deck was pleasing and cheerful; the day was lovely, the steamer looked neat and bright, and the great majority of the females were gaily dressed in their summer attire; most of the faces looked good-humoured, as if pleased to escape from the heat and confinement of the town, to cooler air, and a sight of the water and green woods. One might have supposed it a party of pleasure on a large scale; in fact, Americans seem always good-natured, and in a pleasant mood when in motion; such is their peculiar temperament. The passengers on board the North America soon began to collect in knots, family-groups, or parties of acquaintance; some chatting, some reading, some meditating. There was one difficulty, however, want of space to move about in, or want of seats for some of those who were stationary.

After the boat had fairly begun her trip, and people had settled themselves as well as they could, according to their different fancies, a pretty little woman appeared at the door of the ladies’ cabin. In her light hair, and somewhat insipid face, encased in an extremely fashionable hat, we recognise Mrs. Hilson. Turning towards a gentleman who seemed waiting near the door for her, she addressed him.

“Now, Monsieur Bonnet, do exert your gallantry, and find me a seat on deck. The cabin is intolerably warm, I cannot stay here; — where are Emmeline and the Baron?”

“You see, Madame,” he said, pointing towards the couple, “Montbrun take a tabouretat once, when we come on board, and Mademoiselle Emmeline now has it. It was very maladroitin me not to keep one for you; I beg a t’ousand pardons.”

{ “tabouret ”= a stool; “maladroit” = careless (French)}

“Haven’t you got a seat; that is a pity. But I dare say you can easily find one.”

Vraiment, ma chère Madame Eel-sun, there is no sacrifice I would not make to procure you one. I am désoléit should be impossible. I have been looking; but all the tabouretsand chair are taken by ladies and gentlemans. You have a drôle de manièreof travel in this countree; so many people together, the ladies must be victimessometime.”

{“Vraiment, ma chère ... ” = truly, my dear ... ; ” drôle de manière“ = funny way (French)}

“Oh, no; you don’t know how to manage, that is all. Has not the Baron a chair?”

“Non, Madame; you see he is debout.”

{“debout” = standing (French)}

“Well, there are some gentlemen seated; I see three or four — one quite near you. Ask him for his chair.”

The Frenchman shrugged his shoulders, and looked bewildered.

“Pray, ask that gentleman for his chair,” repeated the lady, pointing with her parasol to a person sitting at no great distance.

“But, Madame, the gentleman will not know what a charming lady wish for the chair — he will not give it.”

“Oh, no danger; if you tell him it is for a lady, of course he will let you have it. Why, how slow you are about it; you are almost as bad as Captain Kockney, who never did anything when he was asked.”

“Ah, Madame, de grâces do not say that! — I go.”

{“de grâces” = please (French)}

And Monsieur Bonnet, edging his way here and there behind the ladies, and begging ten thousand pardons, at length reached the person Mrs. Hilson had pointed out to him.

“What did you say?” exclaimed this individual, looking up rather gruffly, at being addressed by an utter stranger.

Mille pardons, Monsieur,” continued Monsieur Bonnet; “a lady is very much oppressed with fatigue, and send me to beg you will be aimableto give her your chair.”

{“mille pardons” = excuse me; “aimable” = obliging enough (French)}

“What is it?” repeated the man, who looked like an Englishman; “I don’t understand you.”

Monsieur Bonnet again urged his request, in terms still more civil. It would be rendering a very great service to the lady, he said.

“I am not acquainted with the lady; I advise you to look for an empty chair,” replied the other, resolutely turning his face in an opposite direction.

Monsieur Bonnet shrugged his shoulders, and was moving towards Mrs. Hilson au dèsespoir{ sic}, when a gentlemanly-looking man, who was seated, reading, not far from the Englishman, rose and quietly offered his bench for the use of the lady. Monsieur Bonnet was, of course, all gratitude, and returned enchantéto Mrs. Hilson, who took the matter very quietly; while M. Bonnet seemed surprised at his own success.

{“au désespoir” = in despair; “enchanté” = delighted (French)}

The gentleman who had given up his seat, was obliged to continue standing; shutting up his book, he began to look about him, among the crowd, for acquaintances. There was a very gay, noisy party, at no great distance, which first attracted his attention; it consisted of two pretty young women in the centre of a group of men. The shrill voice and rattling laugh of one lady, might be very distinctly heard across the deck; the other was leaning back listlessly in her chair: one of the young men was reading a paper with a sort of family expression, as if the ladies were his near connexions; and, on a chair, at the side of the silent lady, sat an old gentleman, with a very rusty coat, snuffy nose, and a red handkerchief spread on one knee, while on the other he held a pretty little boy, about two years old.

“I tell you I know she was dead in love with him!” cried the rattling young lady, at the top of her voice. Then, observing the gentleman, who was looking in that direction, she bowed with a coquettish graciousness. The bow was returned, but the gentleman did not seem very anxious to approach the party; when the young lady, beckoning with her finger, obliged him to draw near.

“Now, Mr. Ellsworth, you are just the man I wanted. Three of these gentlemen are against me; I have only one on my side, and I want you to help me to fight the battle.”

“Must I enlist, Miss Taylor, before I know whether the cause is good or bad?”

“Oh, certainly, or else you are not worth a cent. But I’ll tell you how the matter stands: you know Helen de Vaux and you were at the Springs, last summer, when she and Mr. Van Alstyne were there. Well, I say she was dead in love with him, though she did refuse him.”

“Was she?” replied Mr. Ellsworth.

“Why, I know she was; it was as plain as a pike-staff to everybody who saw them together. And here, these good folks provoke me so; they say if she refused him she did not care for him; and here is my ridiculous brother-in-law, Mr. St. Leger, says I don’t know anything about it; and my sister Adeline always thinks just as her husband does.”

“That’s quite right, my dear,” said the rusty Mr. Hopkins, taking a pinch of snuff. “I hope you will follow her example one of these days.”

“What are the precise symptoms of a young lady’s being dead in love?” asked the quiet, business-looking Theodore St. Leger.

“Oh, you know well enough what I mean. You may say what you please about Helen de Vaux not caring for him, I know better,” continued the young lady, in a voice that might be heard on the other side of the boat.

“As Miss de Vaux’s mother is on board, suppose you refer the question to her,” said Mr. Ellsworth, in a dry manner.

“Is she? — I hope she didn’t hear us,” continued the young lady, lowering her voice half a tone. “But you need not ask her, though; for I don’t believe her mother knows anything about it.”

“You are going to the Springs, I suppose,” said Mr. Ellsworth, by way of changing the conversation.

“I wish we were! No; Adeline has taken it into her head to be romantic, for the first time in her life. She says we must go to the Falls; and it will be a fortnight lost from Saratoga.”

“But, have you no wish to see Niagara?”

“Not a bit; and I don’t believe Adeline has, either. But it is no wonder she doesn’t care about the Springs, now she’s married; she began to go there four years before I did.”

“Have you never been to Niagara, Mrs. St. Leger?” continued Mr. Ellsworth, addressing the elder sister; who, from the giddy, belleish Adeline, was now metamorphosed into the half-sober young matron — the wife of an individual, who in spite of the romantic appellation of Theodore St. Leger, was a very quiet, industrious business-man, the nephew and adopted son of Mr. Hopkins, Adeline’s Boston escort. She had been sitting contentedly beside the old gentleman, for the last half hour, leaving her unmarried sister to entertain the beaux, according to etiquette.

“No, I have never been to the Falls; and all our party but my sister Emma, seemed to think it would be a pleasant jaunt.”

“Mr. Hopkins has entered into an engagement to supply me with at least two beaux at a time, and a regular change all the way to Niagara, or else I shouldn’t have come,” said Miss Emma.

“We are engaged at least by the day, I hope,” interposed one of the attendant young men.

“No, indeed; I should be tired to death of you, for more than an hour at a time. I sha’n’t speak to youagain, until we have passed West Point.”

“I have had no trouble as yet, my dear, in picking up recruits,” said Mr. Hopkins, whose attention seemed equally divided between his snuff-box, and the little Hopkins, junior, on his knee — his great- nephew.

“If there are two, that’s all I care for; but I hate to have only one person to talk to.”

Mr. Ellsworth bit his lips, to prevent their expressing his opinion, that the young lady must always have a large circle of listeners.

“Have you seen Mr. Wyllys’s party this morning?” inquired Adeline.

“The Wyllyses! — Are they on board?” exclaimed Mr. Ellsworth, with surprise and pleasure. “I thought them at Saratoga by this time.”

“Oh, no; they are somewhere on the other side of the boat; my sister- in-law, Mrs. Taylor’s little girl is with them. By-the-bye, Emma, I am going into the cabin to look after Jane; will you go with me?”

“No, indeed; I hate the cabin of a steamboat!”

Adeline was quite satisfied to leave her sister with the prospect of a good supply of young men to flirt with; though matrimony had changed her in some respects, she still considered it a duty to encourage to the utmost, all love-affairs, and flirtations going on in her neighbourhood. Mr. Hopkins resigned the little boy to his mother’s care; Mr. St. Leger helped his wife through the crowd; and, under cover of the movement made to allow Adeline to pass, Mr. Ellsworth made his escape. His eye had been already directed towards the opposite side of the boat, where he had discovered the venerable, benevolent face of Mr. Wyllys, with three ladies near him. Mr. Ellsworth immediately recognised Miss Agnes, Elinor, and Mary Van Alstyne. It was several minutes before he could edge his way through the crowd, to join them; but when he reached the spot, he was received very cordially by Mr. Wyllys and Miss Agnes, in a friendly manner by Mary Van Alstyne, and possibly there was something of consciousness betrayed by Elinor.

“I thought you already at Saratoga!” exclaimed Mr. Ellsworth.

“We were detained several days, waiting for Mrs. Taylor,” replied Elinor, to whom the remark was made.

“We shall not be at Saratoga until Monday,” added Mr. Wyllys; “we are going to pass a day or two with our friends, the V — s, at Poughkeepsie.”

“I am very sorry to hear it,” continued Mr. Ellsworth; “I have promised to carry Mrs. Creighton to Nahant, about that time, and shall have my usual bad luck in missing you.”

{“Nahant” = sea-side resort in Massachusetts, then very popular, just north of Boston}

“We must persuade Mrs. Creighton not to run away,” said Mr. Wyllys.

As Elinor stooped at that moment, to untie the hat of the pretty little creature at her side, it was impossible to say whether this intelligence were displeasing to her or not.

“That is Mrs. Taylor’s child, is it not?” observed Mr. Ellsworth, looking at the little girl. “She is very like Mrs. St. Leger.”

“Do you really think so? — we fancy her like her mother,” said Elinor.

“How is Tallman Taylor now? — he was not well when they passed through Philadelphia.”

“He looks badly still,” said Miss Agnes. “He is very imprudent, and distresses Jane very much by his carelessness.”

“Gentlemen never seem to do what is right when invalids,” observed Mary Van Alstyne, smiling. “They are either very reckless, and indifferent to their health, or else over-careful.”

“What do you say, Mr. Ellsworth; is that account true?” asked Miss Wyllys.

“I dare say it is — I have no doubt we are very troublesome to our nurses. But, fortunately, women are endowed with a double stock of patience, to make up for our deficiencies. Is Mr. Taylor on board? — I have not seen him.”

“No; he remained in town to attend to some business,” replied Miss Wyllys. “We have charge of Mrs. Taylor, however, who was very anxious to get into the country, on account of her youngest child.”

“I see, Mr. Ellsworth, that old Ironsides has arrived at Norfolk, bringing Mr. Henley from Rio,” observed Mr. Wyllys.

{“Old Ironsides” = the United States Frigate Constitution; in the early 1800s, U.S. naval ships frequently carried diplomats to and from their stations}

“Certainly; she arrived on Tuesday.”

“I saw it in the Globe, last night, grandpapa, Mr. Henley had arrived at Washington. Harry is with him, of course,” said Elinor, in a quiet, natural tone.

“I supposed you knew of their arrival,” observed Mr. Ellsworth. “I have a letter from Hazlehurst in my pocket. He seems to have had quite enough of Rio.”

“Mr. Henley, I understand, is talked of as minister to Russia,” said Mr. Wyllys.

“Yes; I believe that affair is settled.”

“Does Hazlehurst mention whether he is going with Mr. Henley?”

“That may be a state secret,” said Elinor, smiling.

“He has had an offer of the situation, I believe — but does not seem to have made up his mind; he is coming home to look about him, he says, having three months’ vacation at any rate.”

The shrill tone of Miss Emma Taylor’s voice was at this moment heard so distinctly, from the other side of the boat that Mr. Wyllys looked up from his paper, and Mr. Ellsworth smiled. It was very evident the young lady had inherited the peculiar tone of voice, and all the cast-off animation of her elder sister.

“Miss Taylor seems to be in very good spirits,” remarked Mr. Ellsworth.

“Yes; she always talks and laughs a great deal,” replied Mary Van Alstyne.

“They are no longer your neighbours, I understand, sir.”

“No; Mr. Taylor sold Colonnade Manor this spring; De Vaux has purchased it, and changed the name of the place. It is now to be called Broadlawn, which is certainly a great improvement.”

“And where does Mr. Taylor’s family pass the summer?”

“Why, Jane tells me he is building something he calls a cottage, at Rockaway, within a stone’s throw of the principal hotel. They thought Longbridge too quiet.”

Mrs. Taylor’s little girl had, by this, time, become very sleepy, and a little fretful; and Miss Agnes advised her being carried to her mother. Elinor led her away, rather, it is believed, to Mr. Ellsworth’s regret.

It was no easy task to make one’s way among the nurses, and babies, and baskets, filling the ladies’ cabin, which was more than usually crowded. But at length Elinor reached Jane and Adeline, who were sitting together.

A single glance was sufficient to show that a change had come over these two young women, since the giddy days of their girlhood. Jane was pale, but beautiful as ever; she was holding on her knees a sick child, about two months old, which apparently engrossed all her attention. What would be her system as a mother, might be foretold by the manner in which she pacified the little girl Elinor had brought with her.

“Give her some candy, Dinah,” she said to the black nurse; whose broad, good-natured face was soon covered with shining marks of affection, from the hands of the pretty little charge.

Adeline was less changed in her appearance than her sister-in-law; that is to say, she was as pretty as ever, and neither thin nor pale. But there was something in her expression, and a great deal in her manner, that was no longer what it had been of old. That excessive animation which had distinguished her as a belle, had been allowed to die away; and the restless expression, produced by a perpetual labour to make conquests, which was, at one time, always to be traced upon her features, had now vanished entirely. In its place there was a touch of matronly care and affection, more natural, and far more pleasing. She, too, was sitting by the side of her child, driving away the flies from the little thing, who was sleeping in a berth. Adeline Taylor had married well, in the best sense of the word. Not that she deserved much credit for doing so, since she had only accidentally, as it were, become attached to the young man who happened to be the most deserving among her suitors. Chance had had a great deal to with the match, as it has with many matches. She had, however, one merit — that of not rejecting him on account of his want of fortune; although at the time, she might have married a man who would have given her a four-story, four-window house in Broadway. Mr. Taylor had not interfered: she had done as she pleased in the affair. It is true, that her father rather inclined towards the richest suitor; still, he took it for granted, that if Theodore St. Leger had not a fortune at the time, being a merchant, he would, of course, make one in a few years. But Mr. Taylor’s son-in-law was a man of very different character from himself; he was a quiet, prudent, unostentatious young man, of good abilities, who had received by education excellent principles, and moderate views, and who had fallen in love with Adeline’s pretty face. Mr. Hopkins, his uncle and adopted father, was a very worthy man, though a little eccentric, and rather too much given to snuff, and old coats, and red handkerchiefs. No one stood better on Change than John Hopkins, whose word had been as good as his bond, throughout a long life. He was a man of some property too, but he had only given his nephew enough to begin life very moderately. Even with the very liberal allowance which Mr. Taylor freely gave his children, Adeline, when she married, was obliged to live in a much plainer and quieter way than she had done for the last five or six years.

{“Change” = the stock exchange}

Altogether, however, the young couple seemed to agree very well, in spite of the difference in their characters: a pretty, good-natured wife was all the young merchant had wished for; and Adeline was really attached to her husband, whose chief fault seemed to be in his coats, which were rather too much after the fashion of those of Uncle Hopkins.

Jane’s fate had proved less happy than that of her friend Adeline. Tallman Taylor’s habits of extravagance had led them into difficulties in more ways than one. He had spent far more than his income, and his carelessness in business had proved a great disadvantage to the house with which he was connected. During the last year, matters had grown worse and worse; he had neglected his wife, and lost large sums at the gambling-table. Poor Jane had passed some unhappy months, and traces of sorrow were to be seen on her pale face. Towards the last of the winter, young Taylor had been dangerously ill with a malignant fever prevailing in New Orleans; and as a long convalescence interfered with his dissipated habits, and confined him for some time to his own house, his friends hoped that he would have time and leisure to make some useful reflections. But they were deceived; sickness and suffering only made him more selfish and irritable: poor Jane had already paid a heavy penance for her duplicity, and her obstinacy in marrying him. Mr. Taylor had quarrelled with his partners; and it was the object of his present visit to New York, to persuade his father to make some heavy advances in his behalf, as otherwise he would be ruined. Jane, it is true, knew but little of her husband’s affairs; still, she saw and heard enough to make her anxious for the future, and she gave herself up to melancholy repining, while her manner lost all cheerfulness. Her father’s family were in Charleston, and she had not seen them for more than a twelvemonth; but Mr. Robert Hazlehurst, Miss Agnes, and Elinor had done all that was possible to supply their place, since she had been in their neighbourhood. Adeline, too, was well enough disposed towards her sister-in-law, but she had neither the good sense nor the delicacy of Miss Wyllys and Elinor, and was far less successful in her friendly efforts. The society of her aunt and cousin seemed a relief to Jane; and it was at their request that she was going to pass a fortnight with them at Saratoga, where Miss Agnes had been ordered by her physician.

Elinor, on joining her cousin in the cabin, tried to persuade Jane to have the sick child carried on deck, for the sake of the fresh air, but she did not succeed; and not wishing to leave Mrs. Taylor, she took off her hat, and remained some time in the cabin — a piece of good-nature which Mr. Ellsworth seemed to think ill-timed. As they drew near the Highlands, however, she returned to her seat on deck; for the morning was lovely, and she did not wish to lose the scenery. She found Mrs. Hilson sitting near her aunt.

“Ah, Miss Elinor! how do you do?” exclaimed the city lady. “It is the first time I have had a chance of seeing you since you returned from the West Indies. You have not been much in New York, I believe, since you arrived?”

“Only for a day or two.”

“And how did you like the West Indies? Is there much aristocracy at Havana?”

“We found it very pleasant there; and the climate was of so much service to my aunt, that I shall always remember Havana with gratitude.”

“You did not go into society, then?”

“Oh, yes; we made many pleasant acquaintances.”

“Well, if I go abroad, I hope it will be to England; though I should like very well to visit the stores of Paris.”

“Have you seen your cousin, Charles Hubbard, since he arrived from Italy?” inquired Elinor.

“Yes; he called at our boarding-house. He is at Longbridge now, but he is coming to Saratoga, shortly; for he told me he had engaged to take several views of Lake George.”

“I am sorry be did not come to see us in town; but I am delighted to hear he is going to Saratoga. Grandpapa, Mrs. Hilson tells me Charles Hubbard will be at Saratoga, with us!”

“I am very glad to hear it, my child; I want to see Charlie.”

“Has he brought home many pictures?” continued Elinor.

“I really don’t know; I did not think of asking him.”

“I should suppose you would be anxious to see your cousin’s paintings.”

“Oh, no; portraits are the only pictures that interest me. I always have the ‘Book of Beauty,’ whenever it comes out; you know they are likenesses of the Peeresses of the English Nobility.”

{“Book of Beauty” = Heath’s Book of Beauty, an annual volume with engravings of famous British women, sponsored by Charles Heath (1785-1848) (London: Longmans, 1833-1847)}

Elinor bowed. “Yes, I have seen the book.”

“I have the ‘Children of the Nobility,’ too, bound in crimson silk; it is a very fascinating collection. My friend, Mrs. Bagman, tells me they are excellent likenesses, particularly the children of his Royal Highness, the Lord-Mayor.”

{“Children of the Nobility” = Portraits of the Children of the Nobility, A similar publication, also sponsored by Charles Heath (Longmans: London, 1838)}

Absurd as such a mistake in heraldry may seem, one might vouch for having heard others quite as extraordinary.

“They may be like,” said Elinor, smiling in spite of herself; “but I cannot agree with you as to their beauty. I have seen the volume, and it struck me the artists must have made caricatures of many of the children, who, no doubt, were pretty in reality.”

“I was looking at those engravings only yesterday,” said Mr. Ellsworth, anxious to engage Elinor’s attention; “they almost amount to a libel on childhood; they give the idea of mincing, affected little creatures, at the very age when children are almost invariably natural and interesting. I should quarrel very much with a portrait of my little girl, in the same fashion.”

“But it is very seldom you see portraits of children, that are really child-like,” observed Elinor. “And then what a trial, to paint a pretty, innocent little creature, in full dress, starched and trim!”

“Children are charming subjects when properly treated; I delight in such pictures,” said Mary Van Alstyne.

“You would have been often delighted then, in Italy, Miss Van Alstyne. Raphael’s cherubs are as perfect in their way, as his men and women.”

{“Raphael’s cherubs” = While living in Florence in 1829, James Fenimore Cooper and his family admired the “Madonna del Baldacchino” (sometimes called “La Madonna del Trono”) by Raphael (Italian painter, 1483-1520), at the Pitti Palace, and especially the two singing angels (“perhaps I should call them cherubs”) at the foot of the throne. He commissioned the American sculptor Horatio Greenough (1805-1852) to sculpt for him a group called “The Chanting Cherubs,” based the angels or cherubs in the painting}

Mrs. Hilson, unwilling to be thrown out of the conversation, again addressed Elinor.

“When you joined us, Miss Wyllys, we were speaking of the fire opposite your hotel. Were you not dreadfully alarmed? I hear you were there; although I did not find you at home when I called.”

“We were disturbed, of course; but I can’t say that we were personally alarmed. The wind, you may remember, carried everything in the opposite direction.”

“Did it? Well, I was too much frightened to notice anything; you know it was in the same block as our boarding-house.”

“Yes; you were nearer the danger than we were.”

“Oh, I was dreadfully frightened. There was one of our ladies wanted to persuade me to look at Trinity Church, lighted up by the fire; I believe she really thought it a fascinating sight. Here comes a gentleman who was staying at your hotel, and has not got over his fright yet; it is one of my escorts — I have two, the Baron and this gentleman; but the Baron is not on deck now — let me introduce you; Monsieur Bonnet, Miss Wyllys. I do believe, Monsieur Bonnet, you were as much alarmed as I was.”

“Alarm — Ah, Madame, I was èbloui{ sic} by the fire. In all my life, I never saw real incendie before; though, of course, I saw the Panorama of the incendie de Moscou — I was not in Russiewith l’Empereur. At the spectaclewe have incendiessometimes; but never in the street. Ah, I did not see that house until the roof fall, when light burst through my volets, and I spring to the window.”

{“ébloui” = dazzled; “incendie de Moscou” = the fire which destroyed Moscow in 1812, while it was being occupied by the Emperor Napoleon; “spectacle” = theater; “volets” = shutters (French)}

“I should have thought the noise would have called you out before that.”

Du tout; when I hear cries, and people marching, I think tout bonnement it was an émeute, and I turn round to finish my sleep; I think myself happy not to belong to the Garde Nationale of New York, and not be afraid of the rappel.”

{“du tout ”= not at all; “tout bonnement” = simply; “émeute” = riot; “rappel” = call to arms (French)}

“What did you think it was?”

“An émeute, sans doute, say I to myself. It was un tintamarre épouvantable.”

{“un tintamarre épouvantable” = a frightful uproar (French)}

“An émeute; pray, what is that?”

Emeute?A little révolution, as we have in Paris constamment.”

“Why, my dear sir, our revolutionary war took place more than fifty years ago. Did you expect to find us fighting now?”

Certainement; I thought the wheel I hear was cannon. But mon ami Eel- suntell me next day, there is incendie every night somewhere in New York. Un drôle de divertisement, vraiment. It is a great désagrément, of a city otherwise so beautiful, with so many charming ladies.”

{“un drôle de divertisement, vraiment” = truly, a strange form of entertainment. “désagrément” = unpleasant feature (French)}

“Thank you, sir; you are very polite. I believe, Miss Wyllys, that French gentlemen, no matter what they talk about, always find an opportunity to pay a compliment.”

C’est tout naturel; cela va sans dire; it is only our devoir, Madame, to exprimer to the ladies some of the many agreeable things they inspire.”

{“C’est tout naturel ... ” = it’s only natural; it goes without saying; it is only our duty, Madame, to express to the ladies ... (French)}

“Worse and worse,” said Mrs. Hilson, laughing. “How different you are from Captain Kockney; he never said a civil thing to me, all the time he was in New York.”

Le capitaine Coquenaiswas an Anglais, who cannot feel the true politesse Française.”

“He used to say it is not aristocratic to be polite to other people; he belongs to the English aristocracy, you know.”

L’aristocratie! Oh, that is a vile state of things. La vieille aristocratieof France, Madame, was the cause of our révolution. But in France now, and in America, those happy countree, the spirit of aristocracy is extinct.”

“I beg your pardon, Monsieur Bonnet,” said Mrs. Hilson, quite indignantly. “It is true there are many plebeians in this country; but we have also many people of the highest aristocracy.”

Ah, vous plaisantez avec tant de grâce, Madame!”

{“vous plaisantez ... .” = You joke so gracefully, Madame (French)}

“It is pleasant, certainly, to me; though some people may not appreciate it. I am a very aristocratic spirit.”

Ah, sans doute, Madame;you have so much esprit, you laugh at me,” said the Frenchman, who took Mrs. Hilson’s protestation as a joke.

{“esprit“ = wit (French)}

“No, indeed; I never was more serious in my life. I should suppose you would have been struck with the high state of aristocracy at our boarding-house, for instance.”

Monsieur Bonnet could only shrug his shoulders, being quite at a loss for the lady’s meaning.

“Yes; I am thoroughly patrician and aristocratic; if we only had a despotic government, to take away all privileges from plebeians, I should be perfectly happy. My language surprises you, I perceive; but it is quite natural that a descendant of a Scotch Baronet, the Duke of Percy, should have similar feelings.”

More and more bewildered, Monsieur Bonnet was reduced to a bow. Happily, as he thought, the warning bell was rung; and the usual cry, “Passengers for West Point please look out for their baggage!” changed the current of Mrs. Hilson’s ideas, or rather the flow of her words.

In another moment, Mrs. Hilson and Monsieur Bonnet, with a score or two of others, were landed at West Point, and the ladies of Mr. Wyllys’s party felt it no little relief to be rid of so much aristocracy.

The boat had soon reached Poughkeepsie, and much to Mr. Ellsworth’s regret, Mr. Wyllys and his family went on shore. Mr. Ellsworth had been introduced to Elinor at Jane’s wedding. He was a man of thirty, a widower, with an only child, and had for several years been thinking of marrying again. After having made up his mind to take the step, he next determined that he would not marry in a hurry. He was not a man of quick passions, and was sometimes accused of being fastidious in his tastes. He thought Elinor’s manner charming, and soon discovered that she had every recommendation but beauty, the want of which was her only drawback; he liked her family, and probably was not sorry to hear that she would have a large property. But, unfortunately, he seldom met Miss Elinor Wyllys; she was a great part of her time in the country, and he knew nobody in the immediate neighbourhood. He had not been asked to Wyllys-Roof; nor was he, a very recent acquaintance, on terms sufficiently intimate, to present himself at the door, bag and baggage, without an invitation. More than a twelvemonth intervened, in the mean time; but he was still thinking enough of Elinor to make him wish for a meeting, when, accidentally, they passed a few days together at Old Point Comfort, and afterwards met again, not exactly by accident it is believed, at the Sulphur Springs, in Virginia. His good opinion of Elinor was not only confirmed by this intercourse, but his admiration very much increased. It was only natural it should be so; the more one knew Elinor, the more one loved her; good sense, intelligence, sweetness of disposition like her’s, united to the simple grace of manner, peculiarly her own, were best appreciated by those who saw her daily. Quite unaware of Mr. Ellsworth’s views, and unconsciously influenced at first, perhaps, by the fact that he was an old friend of Harry’s, she soon liked him as a companion, and received him with something more than mere politeness. “It is always pleasant to meet with an agreeable, gentlemanly, well-informed man,” thought Elinor: a train of reflection which has sometimes carried young ladies farther than they at first intended. Under such circumstances, some ardent spirits would have settled the question during a fortnight passed with the lady they admired; but Mr. Ellsworth, though he thought Elinor’s manner encouraging, did not care to hazard a hasty declaration; he preferred waiting a few weeks, until they should meet again in Philadelphia, where the Wyllyses intended passing the winter. But unfortunately, shortly after the family returned home, Miss Agnes was taken ill, and on her partial recovery, was ordered to a warm climate before the cold weather; and Elinor merely passed through Philadelphia on her way to the West Indies, with her aunt and grandfather. Mr. Ellsworth was, of course, disappointed; he expressed his regrets as warmly as he dared, during a morning visit, in a room half-full of company; and he hinted in terms so pointed at his hopes of a happy meeting in the spring, that Elinor’s suspicions were for the first time excited, while those of Mr. Wyllys and Miss Agnes were only confirmed. Since then, Mr. Ellsworth and Elinor had only seen each other once, in the street, until they met on board the steamboat, on their way to Saratoga.

{“Old Point Comfort” = a sea-side resort near Hampton, Virginia}