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ness and coloring. I found it in my heart to for-, if you be pious, as I hope you are, do not close give the supercilious look that lingered about her this history with a profound sense of the wickedlarge dark eyes. When the bustle had subsided, ness of its author, or with a trembling vision look I suggested to my sangaree intimate of the night forward to its close. Believe me the vista is not before, to present me to my fair fellow voyager. terminated by a thin female with dishevelled hair, He did me that honor, and she coolly inclined nor by a gentleman half distracted between reher head in my direction. As for my civilities, I morse and dyspepsia induced by want of cheeram free to confess that she received them very ful reflections. Nor do you, my delicate young cavalierly. So that, despairing of making my- reader, be you wife or maiden, put your curiosity self at all agreeable, while I wore the travelling or sympathies in too active order of operation. cap and bushy moustache, I meditated their des- The tale that I am telling is a true tale; and, truction.
therefore, in it there is not much that will make Solitude, however, works miracles. Infants your various tears flow from their fountains. are not wholesome company for a pretty woman. “Worlds of nonsense," and talked them ! And one of that exacting class, who had been used It was the old story. We exhausted generalito spend her morning in the Champs Elysées, ties and began to talk about ourselves. She, talking to heaven knows what dulcet-toned cava- dear creature, told me of the many adventures lier, was not likely to be entirely amused with the which, as a maid of sixteen, she had encountered, innocent prattling of babes in the confined area and how she met with the gentleman below. My of a ladies' cabin. Our friend, her husband too, confidences were not very exchangeable, but I did had a delicate stomach, and when the wind fresh- the best I could with them. I seemed a penseened in the channel to a top-gallant breeze, his roso of the most gloomy coloring. I had been countenance paled to a most hideous coloring. disappointed a good many times,—I said only In short, he grew sick, despite of oranges and once-life is a drama requiring all the unities. sangarees, and was conveyed below, leaving his By and by she fell into my view. It had been, fair wife to promenade as she might. Thanks to evidently, a long time since she had heard any some old experience of the unsteady element, the thing like genuine sentiment. The invalid beeven pace at which, with some extra rigidity of low had not dealt much in it. She began to muscle I will allow, I contrived to walk the deck whisper of her disappointments ;-her one disattracted her notice. And she did me the honor appointment; "it was that of her life," she to accept my arm. The campaign commenced. said—“ her whole life.” And at that down
Thenceforward, for sangarees were entirely drooped over her pale cheek the long fringes unavailing, we were inseparable. The aged of her dark eyelashes. One tear, only one,pearlash vender dreaded the near neighborhood what woman of discretion sheds more,—hung of another man's wife, who had been living in impearled in the glossy net. Remember, gentle Paris. He seemed to think the atmosphere of reader,-good reader, I was but twenty-three : the capital singularly deleterious to the female the sun was down, and I saw her delicate beauty moral constitution. And bad the beautiful wo- in the new light of a cloudless moon. Pray reman, who walked every evening with me, ven- member this. tared to look askance at him, he would have Was it 1,-stigmatised but yesterday by my received the terrors of St. Anthony. The young respectable laundress in my hearing, as a parAmerican was something of a bachelor in his ticular old codger,” and only because I objected notions of comfort, and was ever willing to sac- to a superfluity of starch-reminded one week rifice all his personal convenience to female since, when I complained to my tailor that his whims; and so he did not enter the lists against old measure did not fit me, and that his cutter me. I was the lady's sole gallant.
was growing careless, that my figure had, within If any man can sit at sunset
, of a May even- ten years, lost its fair proportions ; was it I, really ing, on the lofty deck of a ship at sea, beside a I, who, on that balmy evening, when her debeautiful woman, when there is just motion enough clining head loosed from its resting place, the in the water to maintain the sense of motion, one tear that had flowed from her irmost heart ; tinder a serene sky, without feeling his heart was it I who caught it precisely upon the nape of yearn towards his companion, then ought such a my neck as I leaned forward and took her clasped person, from his native constitution, to be set up hands (Madonna wise) between mine? Peccavi : as a cheap and durable figure-head for the vessel it was I. which he is occupying as a passenger. “We," Yes, I took her hands in mine and held them, at the indiscreet age of twenty-three, forgot the heaven knows, closely and earnestly enough. It sick gentleman below, before that sun had seven is not for me, now grown into a cynical old man, times gone down into the ocean, and found our- to gibe and jeer at feelings which then stirred my selves talking worlds of nonsense. Gentle reader, young heart to its depths. She had a deep, low,
musical voice, and her own emotions, long sub- la figure that hastened to receive her welcome, dued by the utter want of sympathy which she stood the calm, beautiful presence of the weepfound in her help-mate, overmastered pride and ing woman who had just left upon my hand the resolution, and found such a voice as seldom faint pressure of her grasp. breathes even in this world of beauty. She forgot Gentle reader, have you ever been in love ? that a hand, not joined to hers in wedlock, held If you are a prudent man, as the world has it, her own unrebuked, while she poured out flood and never yearned for any thing except what of passionate mourning over her lonely and unre- was precisely proper and advantageous, this histurning youth. She forgot that my hand pressed tory will not find a sympathizing reader in you. hers; but I did not. The hour, the silence, her Do me the kindness to lay it down. I spent, it beauty, the deep distress of her tearful and im- would be difficult to say how many hours, in such passioned eyes, all helped as inspirations, and I profitable reflections, as those to which I have said a vast variety of things, which were all pro- alluded. The night waned,—the breeze freshfoundly true at the time, but yet very improper. ened,—the moon went from my view behind a
I was excessively in love with her that even- veil of heavy clouds,—the wind began to sing ing, and I told her as much. If any one is cu- among the rigging,—the stentorian voice of our rious to know exactly what I said, I have only to skipper, calling all hands to reduce sail, woke inform him that he requires what is beyond my me from my trance,--and, thoroughly aroused by power to give. The reproduction of an avowal tumbling over the mizzen-topsail halyards, I reof this sort in cold blood, an attempt to imitate treated to my state-room, and slept, aye calmly, in language, from memory, the glow, light and despite the gale and the recollection of having warmth of coloring of a young love, would be uursed, to expression even, a passion that could as preposterous as an attempt at noonday to get not but prov unhappy. an idea of a sun-rise by looking towards the east Next morning! If there be a panacea for with tinted spectacles. Enough to say, that as I human woes, it is to be found in that happy seasat with that small white hand clasped in mine, son. Some wise observer, in view, doubtless, murmuring impossible consolations into her ear, of his altered sensations after a night's profound I utterly forgot, and I suspect she did, the gen- rest, suggested that the soul walked in sleep tleman below.
through the waters of some shadowy Lethe, and The watch was changed. The bustle of feet in it forgot the grosser troubles of the day. Be near us startled her from her trance of agony ; that as it may, I put it solemnly, as a curious she rose and with a pressure of my hand, which fact for explanation, to such of my good readers I could have just sworn to, waved me an adieu, as care to analyze their own sensations, whether and left me alone. The stars, bless their twinkling they have not frequently gone to bed in a feversouls, have in their generation witnessed a great fit of anxiety and vexation, troubled to death deal of folly. I do not know that they ever with something or other, and waked in the morogleamed upon a more disordered head than mine ing with no earthly reason for peace, with no new that night. There is no check on a man's absur- avenue from its difficulties discovered, and yet as dities in the dark, especially at sea. All about us tranquil as an infant: with no more trace of the presents such a notion of limitless grandeur and last night's agony remaining, than amounts to that sublimity,-a space so immense in its movements suspicion of a heart-ache, which stands between L. and vicissitudes, that the imagination contemns the tenement and its perfect tranquillity. the petty, fixed barriers of social life, as unwor- Next morning came, and as I stood balancing thy of a man. I thought of impossible islands my body in all sorts of postures to accommodate overgrown with palm-trees in some far-off sum- it to the rolling vessel, the breakfast gong soundmer sea-of cottages, or as Dr. Whately says, ed. I turned the lattice of my state-room and a “thatched cottage on a flowery heath on the looked into the cabin. The invalid, weary of border of a fine wood.” I dreamed of a lonely waiting to be well, had accomplished his toilet at glen that I had seen among the mountains of my the expense of a face awfully gashed, and sat native State. The dim mist that hovered over dismally over his coffee. By his side, calm, the pathway of the vessel, now driving faster on peaceful as a bright May morning could make as the night wind freshened, shaped itself into her, sat my weeping friend of the night before. the glorified likeness of that sweet spot. There She was unexceptionably attired. I looked for it was-the open glade skirted about by its noble the trace of tears, for some forgotten ornament oaks; the smooth meadow rising gently on one which might betray a spirit ill at ease,-unable side with a natural terrace; and on it, just be- even in its greatest effort to remember all the neath the spreading branches of the tree of cen- petty ornaments which she must now view with turies, our pretty cot" with its “ tallest rose.” such disdain. Every thing was in order. You And, standing on the green sward, watching for 'might have seen your face in the gloss of her
hair. The dress was exquisitely fitted. Every turns to me even now with its questions and anring that had pressed into my hand the night be- swers. fore shone upon her fingers. And to crown my “I had nearly fallen !" mortified astonishment, she was gently helping " It is quite true.” the invalid to some condiment which would be " I should have injured myself ; perhaps fallen likely to sustain his long sickened appetite. overboard !"
Things were not altered when I appeared. I 6. Your fall would have been severe." thought that I perceived a faint hue richer than (A pause.) usual upon her cheek and neck, but it was pos- “ The day is pleasant." sibly the dim light gleaming through a bottle of Very." tomato catsup which she held in her hand. Now, Is the wind fair ?" if she had shown great agitation—had looked at " It is." me with a rueful or distressed countenance, I am “ You are laconic to-day?" quite sure that I could have been very agreeable “ You seemed to think that I had said too that morning. Nothing satisfies a man so well much ?" with himself as a sense of his influence and " When ?" power. He is never so agreeable as he is to a “ Last night.”' woman of whose affection he is internally sure, (Another pause.) but to the existence of which he has never been “ Did I say so ?” constrained to accord an official recognition. “No, but looked it." She was quite at her ease, and I became of “I was not offended." course dissatisfied,—was cynical, bitter,—not to * No-but more." say rude. From the particularly haughty man
" How ?" ner with which I declined all her politeness, she
“ Unconcerned.” could not but argue that I was offended. Then (Another pause.) began her uneasiness. Women, bless their un- “Do not let us speak of that." certain hearts, are very like their fellow-crea- “ Your silence is easy." tures, the men. So long as they are satisfied of “Why?" your love, you may consider your ill-treatment “ It gives you no pain." as guarantied, no matter what reasons they may “And yours ?”— have to respect the extent of your private infor- That was an unlucky question ; because I anmation. The more submissive you are, the more swered it. Not yet, most reverend matron,-do harsh and tyrannical they grow; but once grow not yet close the volume. You have not heard restive and the little courtesies recommence. But what I said. Wait until I tell you, and then acthis is very serious criticism; and I return to my knowledge that you came nigh to prejudging the story.
Whatever I said, she did not say much ; My sweet friend grew observant. When the but she listened. And how much did she say in breakfast was over we went to the promenade that? I put the question to you, most prudent deck. There I lounged apart upon a bench. lady,-how much did she say in that ? She looked listlessly over the railing. The cap- The invalid grew stout and well. He got his tain offered his arm. They promenaded awhile. " sea legs” on, and insisted on playing gallant to I laid down and watched the flying scud. The his wife. He called her at the twilight time. time came to “take the sun,” and the captain She was delicate, and it was damp. The little left the lady to her own meditations. She exper- promenades with me grew fewer. When she imented on a stroll with the invalid. His first was making the fifth round, the baby was sure to exploit was a fall over the chicken-coop, where cry out from below. he was ferociously picked at by those hungry “My dear!" voyagers. He descended below to repair his in- “What, love." juries. Madame boldly essayed to walk alone. • The baby cries." A slight lurch, (I prayed for it,) sent her to lee- • No-does it ?" ward with most unmatronly rapidity. My arms, * Aha-ahamaha-a-a-a." the occasion excusing it, caught her; and al- " There it is again." though it might be said that the release was not " It is cross to-day-better let the nurse manof that instantaneous sort which such a predica- age it." ment demanded, still something must be allowed ** Aha-aha-a-a-a." for the novelty of the situation. The reconcilia- “ It must be sick!" tion was effected. We walked longer than usual “Oh no, my love, only cross." that morning. The invalid was below.
I think sick." How well I remember that morning! It re- I hope not, my love."
“ You had better see."
" He is to blame. It is his foolish jealousy." "Certainly, if you wish it."
“ Has he no cause ?" So ended one week. Before many days these From you,-none." perpetual interruptions put an end to our talks “But I also am in error."
The invalid had grown companion- " How ?" able and liked his wife beside him, even when he “I should not have allowed it." played chess. I sat on the opposite side. It You have permitted nothing." was my amusement to draw an infinitude of ab
have said much." surd caricatures—what caricatures ! which I “You could not have kept me silent.” explained in doggerel. These I regularly threw “ We are near land-a
-are we not ?" to Cerberus as sops. He soon grew tired of my
6 Yes." wit, but rather encouraged its exhibition. Now “ Well, we part then." and then a piece of bolder rhythm passed into “ Are you glad that it is so ?” his wife's hands ;-once he picked such a stanza "I should have been better pleased if we had up from the floor and looked at it. I saw it in not met." his hands. Happily it was a mild dose. But But as it is?”not knowing that he had got possession of it ac- “ This must not be. Good-night!" cidentally, I scribbled her a note. I have it now “Stay—but as it is? Answer." before me. Her answer was on the same piece “No I cannot. Good-night."
And yet it was answered. “Did you show that piece of rhyme ? The next day we again met. She was as calm
Devotedly." and composed as ever. I could not approach “No, I have not shown anything, or said any- her. I retired sad and dispirited to my statething. Do you not feel ashamed of imagining room. The captain announced that we were such a thing? You seem very much afraid of near the land. I had grown in love. Touched him."
by her beauty, a warmer feeling than any that That was an unlucky gibe.
I had known in my intercourse with her sprang The invalid did not like note-writing. The up in my heart. I wrote the following stanzas. baby cried as usual. I believe he had a mes- I thought them poetry then. I was but twentymeric influence over that child. My fair friend three. and I were still more estranged. One night, however, he was deep in chess. I was inquired I know that thou canst love me not; for. The deluded captain, innocent of evil in
And soon my name will be forgot : tention, announced my retirement. I was com
That all that I have ultered seem
The fragment of a morning dream. fortably stretched upon the monkey-rail looking at the phosphorescence of the ocean. The fair
But still thy steps I linger near, captive had leave to quit her master's side. She
And every word in gladness hear; came to the door of the saloon. I stood in the As if to be where'er thou art, dark and talked with her. I complained of her
Were place within thy secret heart. estrangement. Poor thing! she told me with tears in her eyes, -I saw them glistening in the
But thou perchance canst inly smile,
To see me ihus my life beguile; faint light of the stars,—that her husband had
And care not if our parting day expressed a stolid disapprobation of our intima- In grief or gladness pass away. cy: he said she ought to be more attentive to him. Poor prisoner! captive for a life-time,
But fare thee well : I'll ne'er regret with but one life,--doomed to minister with her That I must leave thee as we met; fair hands to the rude and selfish ease of a vul
But to remembrance fondly give gar master. My heart truly yearned to her as she
Thy lovely image, while I live, stood weeping silently,— listening without a word
As that which in an earlier day of reply to such consolation as I could give her. A moment beamed upon my way; “Do not weep more."
Although my life of thee berest, “Do not, I pray, observe me.”
Seem ever more to darkness lest. “I cannot help it." " Then, I will go."
Rather enthusiastic to me reading it at fifty: No-stay. You shall not be displeased." but I have no doubt it seemed icy to me at the • We shall be observed."
ripe age of twenty-three. I was sick that night, “ He is at chess."
or at least told the captain so, and called for my " This is useless. We should not meet in se- light. But in a little while I again ensconced cret."
among the ropes coiled upon the monkey-rail.
I waited long, and at last fearing that she would What would you think if I kept them ?” not come, cursed in my heart the prosperous “ That you pitied me." breeze that drove us on so rapidly to the shores
“ I fear I am wrong." of America. But the light that twinkled through No-keep them-listen to your heart.” the door-way suddenly disappeared. I stood be- " Well-be it so-it is not much. To-morrow side the entrance. She said:
we part." ** Is it you ?"
“But not forever." * Yes."
“Yes, forever. This weakness must end here. The captain said that you were sick.” Have pity on me and do not make me regret “ I have not yet retired.”
what has passed more than I do." * We are almost within soundings, are we The tears again fell freely. I could not see
her sorrow unmoved. With such strength of “Unfortunately, yes."
purpose and utterance as I could command, I " You should be glad."
gave her my promise. I held her hand long in * But I am not."
mine without speaking. Without a word she "I have been preparing to depart."
turned away and left me. Next morning our ** Doubtless well satisfied to be so near your vessel lay at anchor, and by noon we were at the home."
city. Emigrants crowded the deck. Custom** They expect me."
house officers ran to and fro. Strangers came * I have not a married life to look forward to. on board to see relatives and friends. The invaI cannot congratulate myself upon leaving you." lid, now a bustling pompous man of business, "You have friends ?"
hurried my six weeks' companion past me. As "They ill supply the happiness of married she went by I took her hand in mine for one inlife."
stant, waved her a last adieu as she turned towards "You are bitter"
me on entering her carriage, and so parted from ** And just."
her-forever. "But not to me. You should spare me your
I might as well say forever, for although I have satire."
not heard that she is dead, I do not think I could * Satire ? Your are too happy in your hus- now be tempted with an interview, and we have band's companionship to regard this as satire.” not met since we parted on the deck of the good "Good night.”
ship. What a long time it is since then! Ten “Why do you go?"
years ago I saw the name of that vessel in the "Will you not bid me good night ?"
list of maritime disasters. She had gone ashore "No, for we then would part in anger.”
somewhere in the North Pacific, having degene" I am not angry.”
rated from her noble uses into a base whaler. * Then it is well. You know we shall reach It would be intolerable to meet an elderly the harbor to-morrow.”
lady without teeth, and it would be no less in* I know it."
tolerable for this same elderly person to descry ** Ours has been a sad companionship."
changes in me. I have before me a blooming "More than sad, I fear.”
picture of what she was, and it shall never be "Do you think that we shall meet soon again ?" changed into a caricature by any sight of what
" I trust not. We should both avoid such a she now may be. meeting."
I have no doubt that somebody is curious " I wrote to you this morning."
enough to conjecture whether, after the sad - Do not ask me to receive it."
parting scene to which I have alluded, I did not " It is not a letter.”
make some attempt afterwards to see her. llu** What then.”
man vanity is, in general, stronger than human "Only this.”
virtue, and I do not know that I have any right I gave her the lines, and she retired to the to announce myself as an exception to this morcabin and read them. She rejoined me.
tal weakness. t was true that on my return * You must take these again, I cannot keep home the passion that had well nigh consumed
me on ship-board, gradually went out, burning "Why not keep them ?"
less and less brightly, and finally disappearing. " It would be wrong."
Still, however, I had the folly to imagine her - Why?"
pining in her splendid home; a nightingale with " You surely know."
her breast against the bars of her gilded cage, "I do not.”
carolling sad melodies for a dream that haunted “They breathe what I should not hear.” her lonely life. And I longed to see her again. " It is what you knew."
The longing grew into a fever. Accident threw