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"Come, Ellen," said Emma, with deep emotion, "let us join the company, or we will be observed," and she gently took her arm, and led the unresisting Ellen to a seat in the centre of the room.
"Miss Bartwon!" at this moment chimed in a young exquisite, the lengthened lock? of whose very ample cranium shone with "Macassar," and whose dialect bordered on the ridiculous, "Miss Bartwon, fawvor (he cwompany with the wevy great pleasure of atwending to one of those twanscendwently sublime airs which you quoite rarely condescwend to perform in your rhagnificwent woice!"
"Ho! ho! ho!" roared out a little urchin, who, till this moment, fiad sat very quietly in a corner, engaged in the agreeable task of testing his organs of mastication upon a huge pile of unshelled nuts.
The exquisite looked aghast, as he had just paused to listen for the murmur of approbation which he supposed would take place, as a matter of course, on his giving vent to so astonishing a burst of eloquence, when the little fat, chubby-cheeked fellow gave vent also to his feelings in his own peculiar manner. The child was forthwith ejected, but what it was that so tickled his young fancy, none of the company could divine, as none cared to question him. Be this as it may, they all appeared mightily pleased, save and except the exquisite, who looked very demure, and so many thought the child might have been thinking of him.
However, the request was immediately seconded by others in a less ostentatious manner, and Emma rose in compliance, and took her seat at the piano. After lightly passing her taper fingers over the keys, she sang a sweet and popular air. As her clear rich voice gave utterance to the music of the song, her feelings seemed in unison, and she rose from the piano amid a general murmur of delight.
"Will Miss Harvey favor the company with one of her choice?" politely asked a young gentleman.
"O, do—do sing, Miss Harvey!" echoed several young ladies.
Edmund Stanley rose from a seat beside Ellen, and replied—
"Miss Harvey, ladies and gentlemen, is somewhat indisposed this evening—she is therefore compelled to cast herself upon your generosity—at some future period, she will be most happy to oblige."
"Only one!" urged a young lady.
Emma approached at this moment and whispered—
"Ellen; if it be possible, sing!"
"I will!" uttered Ellen, and she tremb
lingly rose from her seat, supported by Edmund, who cast no very approving glance toward that quarter of the room whence issued the last request, succeeding his apology. She seated herself, and commenced, "The Light of other Days," and ere she had completed the first stanza, she became visibly agitated—she paused—again commenced— her voice faltered—her hand fell from the keys, and she wept!
Edmund was instantly at her side. He gently led her to the open recess, where the invigorating breeze played upon her pale brow. When she had revived, the company dispersed—and the friends were alone. Sweet is the communion when kindred spirits meet —equally bitter when arrives the parting moment.
The next morning, at an early hour, the Barton family took their departure from the city, and many a lingering look did Emma cast behind, as she reluctantly left the domicile where she had enjoyed so many happy hours. Ellen witnessed their departure, and then retired to the solitude of her chamber, there to indulge in those feelings which no tongue can utter, or heart can feel, save those who have been placed in a situation akin to her's.
The 25th of December arrived, and Ellen Harvey became the wife of him she loved so well. Edmund had rented a small, neat
house in V street, and caused it to
be very genteely furnished. His business affairs, which before his marriage had been in a very prosperous condition, now became doubly so, and far exceeded his most sanguine expectations. He had already made arrangements for " building a house of his own," and one cold, blustering night, himself and Ellen were seated in their little parlour, beside a cheerful coal fire, discussing the probable benefits that would arise therefrom, when a little son of ebony thrust his sable visage into the room, holding in his hand a letter.
"What have you there, Sam!" inquired Edmund, mildly.
"Is it possible that the post can be out tonight?"
"Yes, massa! he be so cold he almos froze brack!"
Edmund took the letter, looked at the superscription, and handed it to Ellen. He then gave the boy the sum marked as postage.
"Invite him in Sam, that he may warm himself. Poor fellow! he must be almost perished."
"Yes, massa ! it be too cold for little nigga! ha! ha!" chuckled Sam, as he closed the door.
Ellen opened the letter—it was from Emma Barton—she gave it to Edmund, who read aloud:—
N , Jan'y 20, 18—.
Dear, dear Ellen:—I received yours of the 1st inst., and was gratified to learn that you were " married, and doing well." I regret my not being present at the ceremony—indeed, I nearly cried with vexation, because father promised that I should visit the city a week before Christmas, but could not fulfil the promise on account of urgent business. We have delightful times here—such parties— such balls—and then such company. O ! you would be fairly enchanted, if you were to spend a week with us. Now, if you could only pursuade your " dear Edmund" to take a trip up to see us, I should be very happy. There are lots of beaux here—and a young planter, from the South, has just arrived in our little village, who has created quite a sensation—and I must confess he has some very commendable qualities; besides being handsome and accomplished, he has an immense fortune; he is very particular in his attentions at our house, and I think pretty well of him. My respects to all inquiring friends, and well wishes to your " dear Edmund." Affectionately yours,
"Poor Emma!" said Ellen, as her husband closed the letter, " 1 fear she will yet engage in some luckless adventure, that will embitter all her days. I think we may infer that she is in love with the planter's fortune."
"Heaven forfend!" replied Edmund, " she has many frivolous frailties, but still a good heart."
"She has, indeed," added Ellen, "and it would grieve me if those frailties should lead her into the all-engulfing vortex of trouble."
"We will hope for the best!" said Edmund, and they resumed the conversation which the arrival of the letter had interrupted.
"Poor flower! Bo delicate and fragile in thy beauty, The earliest blast that touched thee, blighted thee!"
In the aristocratic little town of N , in
the northern section of Pennsylvania, stood the mansion of Cornelius Barton, the respected sire of the light-hearted Emma.
It was night. Within that stately edifice, gracefully reclining upon a rich velvet ottoman, was the symmetrical form of the fair girl. Seated beneath the light of a magnificent chandelier, which hung suspended from the centre"-of the painted ceiling, his arm resting upon the marble surface of a beautiful pier table, and his hand clasping a richly embossed book, was the figure of a young gentleman of commanding appearance, reading
aloud the poetic effusions of a favorite bard, to which Emma appeared to listen with breathless attention.
"Exquisite!" exclaimed the thoughtless girl, as in a clear, rich, and almost feminine voice, he breathed forth the selected productions of the poet.
"They are indeed beautiful, my Emma f he replied, as be softly laid the book upon the table, " and I know of none more so."
"None? can'st think of none?" inquired Emma, as a shade of disappointment lingered for a moment upon her animated countenance.
"Yes! there is one I" I "Do—do recite it!" exclaimed Emma, as she rose from her couch, her beautiful features bright with eagerness. The young gentleman also arose, and with his arm circlmg her slender waist, and his hand clasped in her's, he gently led the unresisting girl to a rich tapestried window that looked upon a lawn redolent with rare exotics, whose trembling fibres glittered beneath the effulgent radiance of the queen of night.
"The subject is well illustrated before us," he said, "it is the lover describing to her who holds his heart in thraldom, the home to which, 'could love fulfil its prayers,' he would conduct her:
"A deep vale
A palace, lilting to eternal summer
* * . * * *
Claudian Donay was a total stranger to the
inhabitants of the town of N , until a few
weeks previous to the occurrence of the foregoing scene within the mansion of Mr. Barton. None knew his origin or his intentions, save from his own lips. In his manners he was polished and gentlemanly, in person dignified, yet full of grace—in fact, immediately on his arrival he was denominated by the belles of the town "a good-looking fellow." Many were the smiles lavished upon him by the young ladies, and many the kind glances and sociable nods from ambitious mothers. He was decidedly the "lion" of the place— no evening company could be five minutes organized, ere Mr. Claudian Donay was the subject for discussion, and an inexhaustible theme it appeared to be. The young gentlemen frowned at this usurpation and monopoly, and the young ladies flirted.
Matters were in this very unenviable position, when Mr. Donay suddenly appeared to be very ardent in his devoirs to Miss Emma Barton, and it soon became whispered abroad that the " rich planter" and Emma were " engaged." Nor were these suppositions incorrect, as in less than two months succeeding
Mr. Donay's appearance at N , he led to
Hymen's altar the fair Emma, a willing bride.
After the performance of the ceremony, and Mr. Birtonhad settled with his son-inlaw his daughter's dowry, which was no inconsiderable sum, Mr. Donay announced his
intention of leaving N , for his "own
home in the sunny South." With a light heart, Emma prepared to leave her parental home, for she had never even dreamed of her husband being aught else than what he appeared. Poor, deluded girl, she cared not for the future in the enjoyment of the ideal of her infatuated fancy.
After three days journey, they arrived in the city of Baltimore, when Mr. Donay suddenly declared that he was compelled to take up a transient residence in that community, owing to urgent business which he was necessitated to transact. He engaged a room in one of the principal hotels, where Emma received every attention that a young bride could desire.
One afternoon, Emma was seated in their apartment, engaged in a favorite volume, when her husband entered, accompanied by a person whom he introduced as a very particular friend. Mr. Donay was very obsequious in his attentions to this individual. Emma wondered whom he could be, and why she had not seen him before, he being so valued an acquaintance. From her first impression, she formed an irresistible antipathy for this person, which it appeared impossible to eradicate. She knew that she had no obvious reason for this predisposition—it was a feeling natural, yet undefinable. She thought she perceived a coarse familiarity in him toward her husband—while Claudian appeared to be laboring under a restraint in his presence. It was evident the stranger had been falsely represented.
In a short time he took his leave, in a haughty and sarcastic manner; Emma questioned her husband concerning him, but his answers were altogether unsatisfactory and .evasive. This was the first time he had ap
peared unwilling to confide in his wife, and it deeply wounded the sensitive mind of the ingenuous Emma. Could her husband deceive her—was he aught else than what he appeared—were the interrogations which her feelings prompted, as she dwelt upon his recent conduct .
In the evening Claudian left her, saying he would return in an hour. Emma inquired not his destination, but when he had departed, she sat down to ruminate. While thus absorbed in meditation, a lady entered the apartment, and softly advancing, gently laid her hand upon her arm. Emma involuntarily started from her unconscious attitude, and gazed vacantly upon the intruder. Her wandering senses failed to recognize in the lady a very intimate acquaintance.
"Why, Mrs. Donay! exclaimed the lady, in astonishment, " what has transpired to give rise to that melancholy countenance?"
"Nothing, my friend," said Emma, "methinfes I must have been dreaming."
"Dreaming, indeed!' Mark me! there's oft a prophecy in dreams!' So writes the poet, and who shall him gainsay. Butcome, Charles sent me to request your presence at a game of whist in our apartment."
"Excuse me, Mrs. Ball—Mr. Donay is not at home."
"Indeed! Well, then, it is business of some urgent import that forms the cause." "Perhaps so!"
"Why, Mrs. Donay, your deal in enigmas, and fear to trust me with your confidence.— And yet, 'tis strange!"
"What is strange V
"That Mr. Claudian Donay, who has been deemed an example for all good husbands, should so far forget himself as to leave his young bride in solitude."
At this moment they were interrupted by loud and apparently angry voices, proceeding from the street door, immediately beneath the chamber wmdow.
"I tell you I must have the money!"
"Well, have but a little patience—"
"Patience! a man can't live on patience. No! you have carried on this game long enough—I must either have the money, or you go—" the words were lost in the distance.
Emma stood horror-struck—cold drops of perspiration hung upon her marble brow— her cheek turned to a livid, deathly hue—a convulsive spasm agitated her slight frame, as she wildly exclaimed:
"Have I been deceived? Sure it was Claudian's voice. I—his wife—it were impossible that I should mistake it! No! I could not! O, my father, would that I had never left thee!"
The chamber door opened, and Claudian Donay stood within the room. His flushed face, glaring eyes, and staggering pace denoted a victim to the demon of intemperance. With a blaspheming curse, he fell reeling to the floor!
Agitated and bewildered, Mrs. Ball called loudly for assistance. The apartment was immediately thronged with anxious countenances, inquiring the cause of this unusual commotion—but it needed no explanation, the insensible form of Emma, and the intoxicated Claudian, was ample.
Again brought to a consciousness of her situation, Emma prepared herself to abide the result of the coming disclosure. There was a settled look of deep, melancholy despair upon her countenance, mingled with a spirit of determination. Her chamber being again vacant, she sat silently brooding over her misfortune.
Early the ensuing morning, the landlord of the hotel sent up a " notice to quit." Emma quietly received the message, and patiently awaited until her husband should awake from his drunken stupor. Bitter were the reflections that occupied her thoughts. How happy had she been to have taken Ellen Harvey's advice!
Claudian rose about eight o'clock, and Emma silently laid within his hand the landlord's notice. He glanced at the paper—a scornful expression passed over his features, and without uttering a word, he took up his hat, and left the room.
For full two hours Emma had been anxiously awaiting her husband's return, when, from her chamber window, she perceived a carriage drive rapidly towards the hotel, suddenly halt at the street door, and a lady and gentleman alight. The next moment she heard her own name pronounced by a voice whose sweet, familiar sound had ever been to her a messenger of comfort. Light footsteps were heard ascending the staircase— the chamber door opened—and "the friends" were locked in a fond, affectionate embrace.
Happy, indeed, was the meeting of the long estranged Ellen and Emma. Edmund had received information that Emma had taken up a transient residence in Baltimore, and having a desire to visit the " monumental city," he thought this a delightful opportunity, and one which would afford the greatest satisfaction to his affectionate wife.
Emma confided all her anxieties and troubles to Ellen, and found in her the same sweet fount of sympathy that had soothed her early sorrows.
The day and night passed, and still Mr. Donay was absent. Early the ensuing morning Edmund went out—but soon returned, with a morning newspaper, from which he read aloud:
"Absconded.—Mr. Claudian Donay, alias
Norton, suddenly decamped from the
Hotel yesterday morning, and has not since been heard of. We learn that he was recognized yesterday, seated in the stage coach for . Doubtless, 'gone to Texas!'"
Emma listened to the paragraph with the deepest emotion. No cry of anguish spoke of her internal agony, as she piously murmured, "God's will be done!"
"Come, Emma," said Ellen, whilst a tear stole down her cheek, "we may now hope for happier days."
"No, Ellen," she replied, calmly, "the bright hours of my existence have passed— the remajoder are left me for repentance. Had I early embibed the precepts .of my friend, I had indeed been happy."
Emma immediately wrote to her father, and made known her situation. Edmund kindly invited her to accompany them to Philadelphia, as her depressed health would not admit of stage travelling—she gratefully accepted the offer, and returned to the city of her birth. But, alas, the familiar scenes of her childhood she had ceased to think of, but as objects that early glittered upon her path of life, even as the meteor substance of a dream. Daily, nay, hourly, she pined away, notwithstanding the affectionate attentions of the devoted Ellen. The bloom fled from her cheek, and her pale, wan, spectre-like features were but the shadows of her former self. Her father arrived, and with heart-rending anguish recognized in that emaciated form, all that remained of his beloved child. But her sufferings were short, even as had been her joys, and the grave was soon destined to close upon all her sorrows. The canker-worm of mental disease had destroyed the vitals of her existence, and in the spring-day of her being, she sank a victim to the erroneous and deplored opinion of the happiness of this brief life consisting in the world's wealth.
A Good Wife may be known by her readiness to promote the welfare and comfort of her husband, rather than by her many protestations of regard for him.
A Poor Wife is all "my dear" and "my love" to her husband, but would'nt sew a button to his coat to keep him from freezing.
In this life of disappointment, where our wishes and aims are but steps leading to no real summits, we are soothed only by love, as by some second world; and in the midst of the charnel-house of perishableness, a heart living and beloved, feels the true im"mortality. ^
The morn was fair, the ikies were clear, No breath came o'er the sea, When
Ma . ry left her High ' land cot, And wander'd forth with me; Tho' rV- ''
flow - ers deck'd the mountain's side, And fragrance fill'd the vale By
far the sweetest flow - er there, Was the Kose of Al - lan - dale, Was the
far the sweet - est flower there, Was the Rose of Al • lan - dale.
Though fate began to lower,
In sorrow's lonely hour:
And rent her shiv'ring sail,
'Twas the Rose of Allandale, &c.
And when my fever'd lips were parched
On Afric's burning sand,
And tales of distant land:
Unblest by fortune's gale,
The Rose of Allandale, &c.