Katharine Morne: Part Vii


THE days that followed ! Mr. Dudley had Paul; Rose and Lily, their lovers; I, but my dead!—the marble image of my cherished mistress, my charge, my second mother, my nearest friend, — in the season she loved best, the sweet summer of the year, — in the Indian summer of her sweet life, departed ! My own life had for years been so built upon hers, that every hour that struck reminded me of some pleasure to be foregone, — some pleasant duty no more to be discharged. Especially when I began to awake to the blind sense of some great trouble upon me, in the mornings, my first impulse always was to rise and dress, and hasten to take refuge with her, who would be certain to charm one half of it away, and to teach me how to turn the other into only a solemn blessing ; and then, when my recollection returned to me, it would overwhelm me, as with her pall.

While I remained where everything spoke of her, it could not but be so. A fortnight after her funeral, I felt that I could bear it no longer ; and there seemed to be no reason why I should. My companionship was broken off, — my occupation gone. My employer sent me no more commands. I thought that he must now prefer a regular secretary ; at any rate, I could serve him no longer after his daughters left him ; and it would be painfully embarrassing for him to be forced to offer me my dismissal. Though his children were touchingly attentive to me, I thought I might be only in their way.

Mr. Dudley I scarcely saw, except at meal-times, when he looked very ill; but I spoke to the girls. They were very sorry, but very kind. They would not hear a word, however, of a final parting. I needed a change, they said, and no wonder. I was welcome to go to Mrs. Physick’s, and to stay till I had regained something of my natural tone of health and spirits ; but I must certainly come back at least for the month before their wedding ; and they should be sadly disappointed if I did not return to them long before that, and, for the sake of old times, share with them and Paul the few remaining weeks that they now should ever be together as one family.

We went together through all the rooms where we had lived in company. In company still, we visited all Miss Dudley’s favorite haunts. Paul started with us, but soon broke down, fell behind us, and was seen no more. We helped each other to recall the various incidents, the tasks and sports and jests, of the nine years that I had been with them, — nine wonderfully happy years I thought them now. We helped each other cry. Absorbed in my one great loss, I had forgotten till now how dear all the beautiful children — children now no more, but more than equals-—had become to me. I never knew till now how dear I was to them.

“ It is like losing something that was still left to us of dear Aunt Lizzy, to part with you ! ” sobbed Rose.

“And so it seems to me, to part with you.”

“Katharine,” said Lily, “how dreadful it is that, when our hearts have grown to yours with our growth, you should be bound to us by no tie of kindred too strong for you to break !”

“ O, yes, Katharine !” rejoined Rose, a gleam of her old fancy making her smile through her tears, “ spend the time of your absence profitably in finding out that you bear some unknown relationship to us, as near as you are dear. Be some vanished cousin-german, at the very least, or a forgotten aunt, or, better still, our poor, long-lost young mother, come to life.”

If it had been still to do, I believe I should not have had the heart to present my resignation then, or until the last moment. Paul packed my books, and strapped my trunk, but was nowhere to be found when I would have said good by. The Temples considerately absented themselves that day till the evening. It fell to Mr. Dudley to put me into the barouche, which he did with a trembling hand and in silence,

Julia’s and the Doctor’s hearty welcome was, as usual, ready for me, and so was my chamber in my house ; but the next days that I spent there were, in spite of my utmost endeavors after cheerfulness, among the saddest and most homesick that I have ever known.

About a week after my transit, the Doctor, at the dinner-table, remembered and handed me a letter, some days old, in Mr. Dudley’s handwriting. Supposing it was upon some matter of business, and longing to see anything that came from Barberry Beach, I thoughtlessly asked leave to open it at once, and read : —

“BEVERLY, JunE 26, 18—.

“My DEAR Friend,—(For life, I trust, even if a title ever to call you by a tenderer name be not in store for me,) since you forsook us, a twofold blank, a twofold hush, a double desolation, has settled down upon our house. Yet, while I have no right, neither have I any disposition, to complain of your haste in leaving it, if leave it you must. The victim on the wheel is a coward or a fool, or both, if he entreats the executioner to pause between the blows. While still stunned by the loss of your best friend, I can best bear, perhaps, if I am doomed to bear, the loss of you.

Heavens! Was he losing his reason ! I had the prudence to read no further then ; but I suppose that even so much had stamped itself in consternation on my face ; for Julia asked, “ Is anything the matter ? ”

“ Nothing that I can help, I am afraid,” said I, evasively ; “ they are in great affliction.”

She inquired no further.

Change upon change ! Shock upon shock!—and this, in some respects, the most grievous one yet. It seemed to me as if the whirling of the world made me dizzy, and would turn my brain. My head soon ached, as any one might see. The hours crept on most slowly ; but, before my usual bedtime, Julia begged me to take pity on myself and go to rest. Not much rest did I look for; but I thankfully accepted her proposal to go to my room, fastened my door, threw myself on my knees before God in prayer, and then, feeling as if still in that posture I could best meet the trial that He must send, I fearfully drew out the letter, opened it again, and read on : —

“But I entreat you not to pass sentence upon what I write of, before you have read the whole. Do not imagine that I lay before you any sudden fantasy of a mind overwhelmed by grief, and clinging in desperation to any floating spar or splinter of a wrecked home. My feeling towards you has been the steady growth of years, though its only confidante up to this time was she whose loss has left us both so desolate. May Heaven, in its mercy, send us both comfort! Might it be one another’s !

“ You were not many months under my roof before I recognized in you a woman capable of friendship as calm, and free from vanity or calculation, as it was frank and kind. Therefore I early dared to be your friend. Out of the rich, deep soil of such a friendship as you showed me and mine, my love for you sprang up, — how soon I cannot tell, — but I think it struck its first root not long after the year in which you — so simply and naturally, — as if such self-devotion were instinctive with you — risked your own life to save my child’s.

“ I have lived in the world enough to show the world, I trust, nothing that it has no right to know ; but you can judge as well as I whether my sister’s penetration was likely to be foiled. If it had been, I had no secret that I wished to keep from her. She was no match-maker ; but when she saw and heard the strength and steadfastness of what had become my love for you, she advised, nay, sometimes urged, me to do my best to secure you before any rival made his appearance to bear away the prize. I objected, that I was sure that you were not in love with me. She agreed, but added, ' She never will be, unless you make her so. If I know Katharine, she is as maidenly in mind and heart as in life. She is not in the habit of falling in love. She has received from nature, or in some way come by, the power to esteem, admire, or even to love if you will, what manifests itself to her as worthy, with only a disinterested affection, that does not seek to monopolize its object. She will never think of you as anything but a friend, a kind employer, or at most a father, until you authorize and beseech her to. She likes what I like. She loves what I love. She could love best what I love best. You never refuse me anything, Charles. Give me that younger sister. I could die an easy death if I might but bequeath her to you, and you to her, and the children to you both.’

“ On other points I trusted her sagacity ; but on this occasion, I feared that it was for once hoodwinked by her partiality for me. I put off following her counsel. There was too much at stake. While I was silent, the most precious privileges of marriage were mine already, — the privilege to see and hear you daily, to protect you should you stand in need of a protector, and to watch over and provide for your comfort and happiness. My sister and my children had the great enjoyments of your companionship and care. All these certain goods to myself and them might be thrown away for nothing, by one moment of selfish rashness on my part. All these considerations lost their power when my Elizabeth lost her life.

“ If you give me leave to say more in urging my suit, there is enough more to be said. Unless you give me leave, I have said too much already. But one thing more, of a different nature. My child, — let me say, if I may not say, My love, for then I will endeavor to school myself, God helping me, at some future time to love you as a daughter, — my child, do not accept me, do not accept any man, out of compassion! He who could desire so mad an act of self-immolation must be a monster of selfishness most unworthy of you, — utterly unworthy of the sacred name of husband! I am no monster to be gratified with maiden sacrifices. Believe that my spirit is as high as your own. I seek no pity but from God. Perhaps I could not bear it, even from you.

“ It is said, I know, that the sensibilities are deadened with the death of youth. My own experience has tended rather to convince me that, whatever they may lose in quickness, they only gain in strength and depth. The heart is not always frosty so soon as the hair is hoary. Unless you can love me as I love you,—as heartily and devotedly as ever woman loved man, or man loved woman, — then send a kind refusal to one to whom your welfare is, or shall be, even dearer than yourself.

“ Yours, in whatever way you would have him so,



In what a rare tumult of emotion he must have written, to express himself with so little of his usual calmness ! Miss Dudley’s death must have unhinged him even more than I feared. And now to have, instead of soothing, to grieve him further ! To have nothing better for him, who offered me his best, than kind coldness or cold kindness ! What a fate was mine ! — to waste my first love unbeloved, then be so loved, unloving! O, why could not he love me “ as a daughter ” now ! O that society, that religion, sanctioned an adoption, which might put me into Rose’s or Lily’s soon-to-be-vacant place ! What child ever devoted herself to a parent with more entire filial reverence and affection than I could have done myself to him, henceforth? What child ever suffered more in being parted and estranged from her own family, than I was probably to suffer now? “ A kind refusal! ” Little doubt of that! How could I ever make it kind enough ! If almost any other man had written that letter, I should have thought its excessive generosity affected.— merely the visible bait in the trap that was set to catch me. But in Mr. Dudley, love always took the form of loving to make its objects happy. Thus I mused as I read the letter; and then I came to the postscript : —

“ P. S. I have observed that you never like to take a great step hurriedly. I not only acquiesce in — I even myself desire —some delay in your decision. For my own sake, I would not have you determine against me hastily, nor, for your own, too rashly promise to yoke your youth to my declining years.”

A welcome reprieve! Now I need not write, at least, until my head was clearer. My mother’s rule always was, “ When in a difficulty, pray upon it; and, if you can, sleep upon it.”

As, arising from my knees, I took up the envelope, which had fallen on the floor, to return the letter to it, it felt thick to my touch. There was something more in it! Nothing more from poor clear Mr. Dudley. I did hope, for poor dear Katy’s sake ! My trembling and unwilling fingers drew out a piece of note-paper stamped with Miss Dudley’s cipher ; and on it I read in Paul’s sad scrambling hand.

“ Scene, Library at Barberry Beach. Time, midnight. Paulus, solus. Loquitur :

“COUSIN KATHARINE, — You have a good deal to answer for ! Bernard and Arthur were in consternation, on their arrival this afternoon, at the state in which you left Rose and Lily. L. + R. — and therefore A. + B. — remain inconsolable.

“Further, my father was in like dismay at the condition in which he beheld me, when I presented myself to constitute his joy for the evening. I ditto at the ditto in which I found him. He wished that I had a mother. I thereupon dutifully made reprisals by wishing him a wife. He declared that he could love and cherish no wife but you; and I vowed that I could consent to honor and obey no other mother.

“ Such being the case, or the cases, if you are not the most hard-hearted young gentlewoman in the Union, or, in other words, as hard-hearted as you appeared to be in leaving us at all, you will return at the earliest moment, even upon these hard terms, to take in hand

“ Your affectionate and forsaken what?


Paul must have been in higher spirits when he wrote that than I had seen him in since Miss Dudley died.

Something still showed through from the other side of the paper. I folded it the other way, and read in the graceful English characters most like Miss Dudley’s: —

“ DEAR KATHARINE, — You will agree with me that papa is not a man to be pressed, or to consent to be pressed, on any woman’s acceptance ; but if you find it in your heart to return and make him happy again, I wish you to know beforehand, that there is at least one besides whose joy at your consent will be only less than his ; and that will be

“ Your fondly and trustfully attached


Rather proud, but for that none the less characteristic and hearty. On the next page still was, —

“ DEAREST KATHARINE, — You used to laugh at me for thinking that I must always have everything just like Lily ; but so far, you must own, it has always come to pass ; and now, if Lily is to have the mother that she would love best, I know, by that omen, that the mother that 1 should love best will fall to the share of

“ Your clinging sweet-brier,


What could be more kind ? What could be more cruel ? What would be the end of it all ? The end of it for the night was the best that could be : for, after wearing my restlessness completely out with thinking and fearing and, in spite of my headache, walking up and down the room till I was ready to drop with dizziness, I threw myself upon my bed, and fell into a very heavy sleep.

The sun shone high into my chamber as I awoke and started up with a strong impression on my mind, that Nelly had been there just before, smothering me with kisses, and vainly endeavoring to rouse me to listen to something which she repeated over and over : “ O Katy, I have thought so much about you ! I wanted so to have a chance to say to you, ‘ Do be careful how you marry ! Of course you can’t expect to have all the things together that you might fancy beforehand in your husband. You can't have perfection ever anywhere in this world. But let him be somebody whom you have known, not only long, but well, — some one that you won’t need to be always adapting yourself to, — somebody who is adapted to you already ! ”

In the excited and bewildered state in which I still was for some minutes, it seemed to me that I had received a message from the world beyond the grave ; and I was absorbed in all the shrinking yearning towards, and all the yearning shrinking from, the apparition of my departed friend, which such an idea was adapted to excite. But as I arose and bathed my forehead with cold water, my memory cleared up, and brought back to me the simple fact, that Nelly used those expressions, or nearly those, in our last interview ; though I had been at the moment too full of concern for her, and too empty, for life as I supposed, of any concern in matrimony, to pay much attention to them. Presented to me at this time, and in this manner, they gained new weight and power.

Moreover, there were coincidences in them which struck me forcibly. There was no other unmarried man of my acquaintance, except his son, whom I had known half so long and well as I had Mr. Dudley. And I never had been obliged to adapt myself to him. I had tried, of course, to avail myself of the great advantages which his household afforded me, to improve myself in courtesy and polish ; but I had tried no more in his presence than in his absence. When, on what seemed fit occasions, I had uttered any opinions in his company, they had been my own, and uttered without any particular consideration whether they were likely to be his or not. In short, I had acted myself out before him, as before the rest of the world, modestly I trust, but independently ; and I had never heard that he was displeased, but sometimes that he was pleased with my words or actions, when I had least thought of their affecting him in any way. He had much of Miss Dudley’s close observation and discernment. Whatever I was, he must at any rate have seen what I was ; and if he had been contented with that for years, he could not be likely to call upon me now to change it. Wherefore I thought that, if I had only loved him, no need of self-adaptation on my part would have barred the altar.

Whether he was adapted to me or not was a question which I could not, to be sure, immediately answer in the affirmative ; but, on the other hand, neither could I in the negative. The “ sober handsomeness ” of the old school, — equally removed from show and sordidness, — which he so much affected in house and grounds and equipage and living, seemed to me the very perfection of taste and elegance. If he praised an individual, a book, or a picture, I expected to be pleased when I met with him, her, or it, and was not often disappointed. Nelly had told me that I had a high spirit. I hated anything approaching to the mean-spirited in a man; but, on the other hand, any trait of selfish stubbornness or petty tyranny in him would,

I suspected, always rouse my feelings into instinctive mutiny. Mr. Dudley had a strong will ; but it was never put forth against others in trifles. There was a sweet, magnanimous royalty about him that was not apt to offer needless opposition, nor to meet with any. He could be stern ; but it was in behalf of the weaker and the innocent, not against them. O, if I had but loved him ! If!— What a happy woman his wife might be !

These reflections brought me to the fastening of my cuffs ; the fastening of my cuffs brought me to the head of the stairs ; and the stairs brought me down to Julia.

She was washing the breakfast-china, — all but mine. “ Katy,” exclaimed she, looking up from her dainty little white mop, “ nine o’clock! I was frightened about you. I never knew you do so before. I ’ll forgive you for anything but being sick. Are you ?”

“ Only of the cares of this world,” said I, smiling as cheerfully as I could, “ O, if that is all, we ’ll take a drive after your breakfast, and drive them away. I think Julep is cutting a tooth. He must have an airing. You shall hold him, and I the reins, or vice versa. The Doctor has left me the new chaise and old horse on purpose.”

“ I should like it of all things, if you can excuse a dull companion ; but I really have a good deal to think about.”

“As for that, so have I. Rosanna left half of Julep’s frocks out on the line, last night ; and they were stolen. Now I must consider whether I had better buy him new ones, or cut over some of Philip’s blouses for him, and put Phil into jackets, which he is coaxing hard for ; so you need not be afraid of my being too chatty.”

Julius, alias “Julep,” was little Philip’s year-old sole successor. He was a tranquil and tranquillizing little burden. We drove out, by my own choice, on the road which carried us the most out of the way of Barberry Beach and its inhabitants. That made me miss them still more. I had intended to use the leisure and stillness in studying the terms of my refusal. But in the clear, bright sunshine of midday, the thoughts often gain more clearness and light than by the midnight lamp. Instead of asking myself how I should refuse Mr. Dudley, I presently found myself asking why I should refuse Mr. Dudley ; and thus with myself I communed : --

I. Why should I refuse Mr. Dudley ?

Myself. Because I do not love him.

I. Then why do I not love him ?

Myself. Why,—because the thing never came into my head.

I. Is that any reason why he should not put it in now ?

Myself. Perhaps not; but then he is too old.

I. How old ?

Myself. That is not known to myself; but he has grown-up children.

I. Don’t I like them ?

Myself. Yes, and love them almost as well as he does.

I. I cannot expect to have everything I might fancy united in one man. Am I young ?

Myself. Not very ; twenty-seven.

I. Would it be wrong to love Mr. Dudley ?

Myself. No ; he is a good and religious man. My best friend did — my best friends would —approve of it.

I. Would it be rash ?

Myself. He has shown, in a rare degree, both the power and will to make the happiness of those who love him.

I. He is not miserly ?

Myself. As liberal as judicious in expenditure.

I. Nor a spendthrift ?

Myself. As moderate in the indulgence of his own tastes as liberal towards those of others.

I. Neither eccentric nor narrow ?

Myself. His conduct is remarkable for uniform good taste and good judgment ; his opinions are equally so for independence, candor, and charity.

I. His manners are not bad ?

Myself. Nothing makes me so proud as, when polished strangers visit his house, to have him come in, and to see the impression his elegance makes upon them.

I. But there is no formality about him ?

Myself He is as simple, unconstrained, and spontaneous as he is dignified and refined.

I. Is he, however, from any peculiarity in himself or in me, though pleasing to others, repellent to me ?

Myself. Peculiarly otherwise.

I. Are his tastes and mine, in occupations and recreations, mutually distasteful, so that, whenever we joined in any business or pleasure, the enjoyment of one of us must be sacrificed to that of the other ?

Myself. Tout an contraire.

I. Once more, to cut a long matter short, why don’t I love him ?

Myself. Why,—because I don’t.

I. But why can’t I ?

Myself Why, — because I can’t.

I. I can’t say that I make out much of a case for myself.

Myself. Well, if I must make a clean shrift, — I can hardly bring myself to say it even in my heart, — but the fact is, that I was once in love with somebody else.

I. Am I in love with anybody else now ?

Myself. Indeed I should hope not; but — I don’t know.

I. Let me find out then ; and if I am not, there is no imaginable reason why I should not try to love Mr. Dudley, and when I love him accept him.

Myself. How can I find out ?

I. By going and seeing.

Myself I will. Cost what it may, this question must be settled.

As soon as I reached home. I wrote a few lines to my old landlady, Mrs. Johnson, requesting her to inform me whether it would be convenient to her to receive me again for a day and night at Greenville. I took the note myself to the post-office, for the afternoon mail; for I dreaded the visit very much, and longed to have it over.


THE next day but one I was in the cars, feeling as if I dragged “ at each remove a lengthening chain.” It never was any great trouble to me to take care of myself or my baggage on a journey ; but I could not help thinking how a little conversation like Mr. Dudley’s would have shortened the long way.

When I reached the end, how horridly natural it all seemed ! Mrs. Johnson — with a few more combs and less hairs on her head than formerly, but only a few — bustled out to receive me, just as she did on my former arrival : “ Miss Morne ! My, I never ! Who’d ha’ thought! I ’ve sent over for Jim to tea with you for the sake of old times. He’s gin up the speritooal meetin’ for ’t; an’ I expect him an’ Emmy ’ll be right along. You step right into the settin’-room, won’t ye ? an’ take off yer bunnet.”

“ I hank you; I think I will go to my chamber first, if you please, Mrs. Johnson, and rid myself of a few cinders. I can find my own way, — that is, if you intend my old room for me.”

“jest the same, — I cal’lated’t would kind o’ be more home-like to ye,—jest as ye left it a’most. I ’ll fetch ye up a light in half a second.”

A thought and a prayer and a glance round the familiar, small, dull room, which I had left in so much emotion ! How little, comparatively, I felt now ! Was that because I was older ? I had little time to answer the question. Voices were below, — a voice that I rather remembered.

“ Well, aunt, haow’s your health ? ” (Did Jim use to say that?) “ Where’s Kate ? ”

“Up stairs, a-slickin’ up.”

“ Haow ? ”

“ Up stairs, a-takin’ off her bunnet.”

“ Well, she’s takin’ off a lot o’ time about it, ain’t she ? Her supper’ll be spoilt. Emmy, you run up an’ help her. Muffins had ought to be ate hot,” said the voice that must be Jim’s, as kindly as ever, but louder than I recollected it.

I hastened down to the twilight “settin’-room,” where, the last day that I had seen him, Jim had left me the snowballs and peonies. He was not there. Through the open door I saw him coming, however, from the kitchen, with the buttered toast in one hand and the teapot in the other, in front of his pursuing aunt, and talking so fast and so loud that at first her shrill remonstrances were drowned.

“Jim, look here! That tea ain’t drawed yet!—you mind what I say! Give me back that ’ere pot, you sir, to set on the hob ! My ! What a family man you be ! ”

“ Ain’t I ? ” returned Jim with a grin, no whit disconcerted. “ I’m always tellin’ Emmy she don’t half know her blessin’s. Well now, Miss Morne, I want to know ! ” cried he, sliding the unctuous toast on the white cloth out of one hand, as with the other he caught mine and pumped it till the joints cracked like castanets. “ If this is n’t you ! If this is n’t natural and pleasant ! She’s been really growin’ younger, — has n’t she now, Emmy ? — while some other folks has been growin’ older, or more antiquated. Ahem ! ”

“ Speak for yourself, sir,” replied Emma, good-humoredly, making a feint of a box on the ear, which he made a feint of dodging. “Why, Katy, you ’ve lived among the grandees till you’ve got to look like one yourself; but you ’ll condescend to give me a kiss — won’t you? — for the sake of old times. Jim, you better get that toast picked up before aunt comes back.”

Jim complied with celerity, and, like “ Mr. Tibbs,” with prudent adroitness set the plate on the grease-spot he had made, but returned to the charge, “ I declare, Katy, if you won’t mind an old married man passin’ the remark, or the observation, you do look like the flattered pawtrait of yourself! — Now don’t she, Emmy ? ”

“Well, if you won't spare my feelings in my presence,” retorted Emma, laughing, “ I ’ll get her to say what_y?« look like.”

“ Like a rather paler man than I remembered him,” said I, driven, metaphorically speaking, into a corner ; “ I am afraid he has been working too hard.”

“I’m not,” said Emma; “there’s no danger of his working at all too hard for the father of six hearty children, — except driving his team of hobbies. I say he looks like a mushroom, since he’s taken it into his head to go without meat. He’s got as plump and white as a devil’s snuff-box.”

“ Well, now, just hear how she talks, — or converses,” remonstrated Jim, “ when I can prove — or demonstrate — that the native — or aboriginal — food of the human race — or species — before the Fall — or expulsion from the Garden of Eden — was — ”

“ Not half as nice as those muffins, I ’ll warrant you,” interrupted Emma. “Just give Katy one, will you? and aunt and me ; and take one yourself, if you want ; and hand around the butter ; and make yourself useful.”

“Well said, Emmy!” remarked Mrs. Johnson. “It’s well there’s one that can manage him! I never see such a chatterbox in my born days. Let y’ur victuals stop y’ur mouth, ’s a good rule for table manners; but I never see no hope o’ learnin’ it to him, sence he was ten year old, an’ got beyond cuffin’.”

As the evening began, it wore on, — only, on my part, more and more wearily. I was thankful to Emma when she said, I must be tired, and it was time to go home and see after the children, and hurried off her liege-lord expostulating and apologizing. When I could look at my watch, at last, I could hardly believe it was not midnight.

I lay down and passed the night, both waking and sleeping, confused with ideas that I was the little schoolmistress of more than nine years ago; that I could trust to my judgment of mankind with about as much safety as Titania could to hers, under the spell of Puck; and that something, which had been a vision of comely and most engaging manhood, had somehow vanished in a roar of groundless theories, fulminated, not always grammatically, in polysyllables punctuated by a pair of flying thumbs. This was partly because I was tired.

In the morning, I was aroused, as of old, by the song of the orioles in the tree, that pressed its boughs into the room through my open window. “ Nay, not again ! not again ! ” they said now. The cherries, that were so small, hard, and green when last I saw them, — or their fac-similes, — were now large and red. I gathered some, as Mrs. Johnson used to promise me I should. They were ripe and sweet. It was early ; but I dressed with haste, as if that would hurry the hours away. After breakfast I walked out. The eventful hay-field I passed with utter indifference, except for shame at the unaccountable delusion which had distressed me so the last time that I hastened by it. The only object I beheld with any pleasure in the rural landscape was the railroad station, — not the most picturesque certainly even of railroad stations. How I wished that I was that day to go home, or to go anywhere where it was not quite so dull! But I had been forced to promise that I would dine with Emma. I hoped that I should not see too much of Jim,—not for fear that I should like him too much, but for fear I should like him too little.

Why should I set down the tabletalk at that dinner ? Why hold up to ridicule a well-meaning, friendly man, who had shown me kindness, too, when few did so, and when his kindness was of value ? A very wellmeaning, friendly man he was; and Emma was happy with him ; and if I saw now that I never could long have been so, why, he never said that I could. If he talked out of business hours, he worked in them. If his head was full of all sorts of wild athies and isms, so were her closets and cupboards, as she soon showed me, in spite of her saucy innuendoes, of all sorts of good things for herself and her children. She let him have his say, when it was not too troublesome ; he let her have her way. While she was head of her household, it did not signify much whether or not he was preyed upon by an abstract idea that by phrenology, and by phrenology only, the character of a “help” could be ascertained. While he promptly and liberally paid her few doctor’s bills, it did no harm for him in the bosom of his family to “prove—or demonstrate — electropahthy infallible, and allopahthy a humbug, — or a — illusion.” And he might as well harangue about vegetarianism as anything else, she seemed to think, if it appeased his appetite, while he obediently minced the children’s mutton. He had an active, eager, superficial mind, which he had faithfully striven to make the most of, with few and small advantages. If he was self-conceited, it was with a very harmless and good-humored self-conceit. It would have been unfair to compare him with the crême de la crême of Barberry Beach.

Notwithstanding, if persons or things are queer, then queer they are ; and what can one do about it? Jim was queer ; and it was queerer still, that I should have stood so long in such helpless dread of his charms ; and the perception of these two queernesses grew upon me more and more, all through that dinner and tea-time and evening, and accumulated in me to that degree that, when at last I took refuge in my chamber again, in spite of mortification, — in spite of regret for the regrets which had come so near saddening so many precious years of my youth gone by,— I dropped into a chair, and shook with laughter, until, to smother it from Mrs. Johnson’s ears, I had to hide my face in my pillow.

When I had had my laugh out, however, I was ready to cry. I feared, in good earnest, that I was incapable of any real discernment, any true and steadfast love, and that even the preference which I began to suspect in myself for my lover was little better than a preference for ease, fortune, fashion, and Barberry Beach.

I cast my eyes around my blank chamber for comfort; and they fell on a letter, directed to me at Beverly in Mr. Dudley’s handwriting, — at Greenville, in Dr. Physick’s. — What had he written so soon again for ? To say that he would not have me ? Then, perhaps, I might begin to find that I cared only too much about him, as I first found it out about Jim, after I discovered that he could not have me. This was what Mr. Dudley wrote to say : —

“ BEVERLY, June 30, 18—.

“MY DEAR FRIEND, — Though I am aware that what I am about to say will make no difference in the decision which I am so anxiously awaiting on your part, I trust that our concerns, as ours, will always possess an interest for you ; and I do not wish to leave you to hear of them from any others but ourselves.

“ The manufacturing firm of — and —, in whose hands is the bulk of my property, have failed. Their difficulties arise only out of the late crisis. I am not, thank Heaven! implicated, even indirectly, in any dishonesty. The property of my children’s mother was settled upon them, and provides reasonably for them ; and when Barberry Beach is sold, I shall be, though never probably again a wealthy man, able to live with credit and comfort.

“ In great haste, yours sincerely, and, if you will permit me to say so, devotedly,



At first I wrung my hands, as the letter dropped from them ; then I sprang up and clapped them! For then I knew that I loved him ! O, how I loved him ! I knew it, because his adversity had a charm for me, such as belonged to no other man’s prosperity ;—because I longed now only to reach him, and share with him all that I had, — the home that my dear mother and I had worked for and won,

— my careful savings from his generous wages, — my youthful strength ! I knew it also, because, now that I could no longer be dazzled by his outward possessions, I saw clearly how rich and noble and precious he was in himself!

The thought of him sitting down alone in sordid lodgings, or even in tasteless rooms, such as those in which I had spent the day, went to my very heart; but the ideal situation made him look, by contrast with his circumstances, only the grander. Yet I now no longer regretted my humbler origin and homelier nurture, as creating any unfitness in our affiance; for I believed that, trained by them, I could better cope with his difficulties than many a woman more daintily and softly reared. Whether I was in love with him or not,

— after my experience, I rather hoped I was not, for that, as poor Nelly had told me, would only make me “ love what was lovely in him, and fancy or forget all the rest,” — whether I was in love or not, I felt that I was beginning to love him with my heart and taste and judgment all together, as heartily and devotedly as ever woman loved man or man loved woman ” ; — and that was all he asked.

And then, as, after worship that was less prayer than thanksgiving, I lay down on that bed, beside which, when it last was mine, I cried, “ God help me!” so often and so hopelessly, a veil, as it were, fell from my eyes ; and I saw how God had helped me ever since that time, and I read at once the long riddle of my trials ! He sent me the appointed grief of my sister’s illness at such a period as to hide that of my crossed love from all eyes but His own. In blessing her as only she could be blessed, — in heaven, — He blessed me both for heaven and earth. He made her death-bed a magnet to draw Miss Dudley towards us to help me bear both the open and the secret sorrow, and took the secret sorrow quite away almost as soon as He took her. Even the great woe of her loss He made the means of bringing on the choicest blessing of my life. All this, and much more too.—far too much to recount, —had He wrought out for me ; but in the long and weighty chain of these awful mercies, f held this hard and heavy one the first, and by no means the lightest or the smallest link, — that the Lord had not granted me the request of my inexperienced heart, and sent leanness into the soul of my maturer years.


THE cars rushed off—I suppose — with me early the next morning. To me they seemed to crawl. But what a wondrously happy day it was ! The sun, the trees, the wayside cottages, even the heats of midsummer and noontide, were so glorious and glorified ! What a secret did I bear with me to make another — and such another, and so unfortunate— so happy! It was my last lonely journey, — how different from any before ! In the journey of life, I was henceforth to have a companion ; and what a companion had God chosen for me! How could I ever make my life a worthy thank-offering to offer up. — I to whom so much was given ? When should I see him ? What should I say to him when I saw him ? What would he say to me ?

No one expected me. No one was waiting for me at the Beverly Station. It would not happen so again. But I was not tired, and my travelling-bag was light. I would walk with it in my hand, and take the churchyard in my way, and listen for some voices from my graves. I had not hitherto taken heart to visit Miss Dudley’s tomb ; but I knew where it stood, in a little bower of arbor vitœ entered by a close walk at each end, in the Dudley corner.

As I entered the bower, I started back, and made the stiff leaves rustle behind me. A gentleman, with his head bowed and his face hidden in his hands, was leaning on the tomb. He started likewise ; our eyes and hands met across it; and he exclaimed, “See, she joins our hands in death as she joined them in dying, — as she would have joined them in life, but could not. Katharine, what Death hath joined, only Death shall put asunder ! ”

I did not say him nay; and I saw, under the fading sunset and the soft new moon, how the new deep lines of sudden age smoothed themselves away from his dear and noble face, and its youth came back again. He seemed, as I did to myself, to have too much to say to say anything more at first; but he came round to my side, took my light burden from my hand, as if even that was more than he would have me bear, and waited while I kissed the tomb, then drew my arm gently within his own, and walked with me away. Only as he reached the gate he spoke, in a low, awe-struck tone, — “ I thought I was a desolate and poor man half an hour ago!” And then — I think, on the whole, I would rather not tell what he said or what I said for a little while after that, as we strolled together to and fro in the path beside the graveyard, under the young moon ; but he did not ask me again whether I would have him or not, and I never told, till I told it to Bernard at the altar.

When, at length, we grew more composed, “Mr. Dudley,” said I, “the text says, £ The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away,’ as if the two actions were quite distinct in point of time. But have you never noticed how God gives when He takes away, or immediately after, as mothers do to comfort their children when they must deprive them of what they love ?”

“ I have no doubt of it, dear, to those who are ready to receive what He sends, and as He sends; but you have some particular meaning?”

“ O, I have met with instances of it over and over, in my own experience, and now in yours. In taking away your fortune, by taking it away, He took away the last barrier between you and me.”

“Proud, Miss Katharine?” said he, looking very roguish.

“ No, indeed ! — nor afraid of what people would say; that never came into my head till this moment. But I did not understand my own heart; I was afraid, while you had so much besides yourself to offer, that it might be setting itself, not on you, but yours” There was a singular mixture of fun and feeling in his expression as he replied, “ Then I cannot keep you and Barberry Beach both, can I ? ”

“ Why no ! Can you ? ”

“ If f cannot, I choose you. But since I wrote to you, Miss Clara Arden has heard of a good tenant for me, who would take good care of house and grounds, and pay a good rent for three years to come ; and the children, especially Master Paul, who will be earning something soon, perhaps, now that he sees cause, beg so hard for a reprieve, that I think of granting it, subject of course to your veto.”

“ How very glad and thankful I should be, if we could ever earn it back again! You warned me not to pity you ; but cannot I safely say I felt for you ?”

“ Yes, if I am not almost receiving sympathy under false pretences. You were questioning just now of the ways of Providence. Have you never felt that God, as some foreign surgeons are said to do, neutralized the effects of one blow by another ? The loss of the home that Elizabeth loved so dearly helped to reconcile me to her death, by showing me the suffering that it spared her; and her death helped to reconcile me to the loss of my home, because she could no longer feel it.”

“ And time and absence will soften all the associations of the place with her from pangs into pleasures, before we go back there, Mr. Dudley. O, why did she never enjoy what we enjoy ? ”

The haggard look came back upon his face as he answered, “ She never suffered what I have suffered, — what one of us must suffer still ! — No, such an answer is not for such an hour as this, my Katharine ! Let me take it back and only say, that some of God’s angels on earth are like His angels in heaven, not only in other things, but in this, that they neither marry nor are given in marriage ; and the state that is good enough for the latter must be best for the former; though how it is so, is not for us to know.” ....

“ I think I ought not to turn back again. It is growing late, and I am a little tired, Mr. Dudley.”

“And must you always call me ‘ Mr. Dudley ’ ? ” pleaded he, as we bent our steps towards the Doctor’s.

“ Must I not ? ” returned I, laughing. “ If you would dislike too much to call me Charles. That seems to be the alternative.”

“ Am I not too young ? ”

“ Indeed I hope not; for then I must be too old. How old am I ?”

“ That I never happened to hear.”

“ And never asked ? ”

“ Certainly not.”

“ Why ? ”

“ I did not think it a piece of information necessary to the discharge of the duties of the confidential secretary. I should not think you much over thirty to-night, if I did not remember what a tall boy Paul was nine years ago.”

“ Paul is twenty-three; and I am twenty-one years older than Paul. Is that too old ? ”

“ Not if it does not make you uncomfortable, — not if people would not frighten people with their ‘declining years.’”

“ Ah ! only wait until you are forty.”

“I shall be only too happy to wait.”

Thus merrily we parted; but Mr. Dudley called me back to say, “ I may eheer the poor children with the news to-night ? ”

“ Certainly ; and, if you will be so good, give my fondest love to them, and say that their dear letters went straight to my heart, and will always stay in it.”

“And when may they come and see you ? ”

“ Whenever it suits them. They cannot come too early nor too often.”

“ Good night, and rest sweetly, dearest love.”

“Good night, Mr. — ”

“ What !”

“ Mr. Charles.”

“ That is rather better. I begin to have hopes of you. Till the last few weeks, I was never in all my life without some one to call me Charles ; and it has made me feel like a boy at a strange school.”

After that how could I ever demur again to calling him what he pleased when we were alone ? And when we were not alone, I rather think “Mr. Dudley” still pleased him best, as it did me.

“ Was not that Mr. Dudley’s voice at the door ? ” asked Julia.

“Yes. He walked home with me.”

“ Could not he come in ? ”

“ I don’t believe I asked him. I dare say he will to-morrow.”

Julia, like the admirable and exemplary parrot, thereupon “said nothing, but,” as she afterwards told me, “ did an uncommon deal of thinking.”

At ten o’clock the next morning, the fat spotted coach-dog ran by the windows, looking like a huckleberry pudding on all-fours, and the barouche set down Lily, Rose, and Paul. They all seemed, in their different ways, full to overflowing of joy and tenderness, and welcomed me into their family most cordially and delightfully.

The little Princess Rosebud, with her romantic notions, was eager that her father should be married at once, so that I could come home and take a mother’s place in superintending her own and her sister’s wedding. But I always shrank from such hasty doings. As I said to Mr. Dudley, when he consulted me about our plans, we could be married after we were engaged ; but we never could be engaged again after we were married. I think he sympathized with my feelings. At any rate, he fell in with my wishes, assured me that I should not be hurried, and was so kind as to add, that he considered me vertwell worth waiting for. In my secret heart I held that, if there was much “self-adapting” to be done by me, I had better—considering the not overplastic nature of the material I had to work upon — find it out, and at least begin the work beforehand ; but, from that time to this, I never could find out that there was.

Fur the rest of the summer, I spent the mornings for the most part with Rose and Lily, and helped them in every way that I could, — in preparing the house to be given up with the furniture, and in working on their trousseaux. (Miss Dudley had left legacies in ready money to all of us, so that there was no want of funds.) Their wedding took place about the end of September. It was small, on account of their late bereavement and other circumstances, but from the same causes all the more affecting and impressive ; and they never looked so beautiful before, or the bridegrooms so striking and interesting.

They set off on short bridal tours, and Barberry Beach was given up. Mr. Dudley went to the Parsonage, which was to be his home until he should come to mine ; and Paul to lodgings in Boston, where he had entered the office of an eminent lawyer.

That breaking up once fairly over, that autumn was a blessed season within and without. Mr. Dudley and I walked together, not by the mile, but by the hour, day after day, in the delicious Indian summer of the year and of our loves, becoming better and better acquainted with one another, — becoming, if I may say so without selfflattery, dearer and dearer to one another. He had no long unpaid debts to trouble him. We had no cares, little company but each other’s. We told each other much of our separate past histories, and traced together, as if in the very light of God’s countenance, the steps by which, unthinking and unknowing as we were, He had led us on from our early trials towards one another

We all of us naturally wish for unbroken prosperity ; and the preachers sometimes preach at us as if we ought to pray for unbroken adversity. But I think that some of the richest and fullest human lives that I have known have had a large share both of sunshine and showers. I never should have known more than half of the beauty of my dear husband’s character, at least, if the other half had not been brought out under bereavement and the loss of fortune. They spiritualized him, not into an ascetic, but into almost an angel, whose countenance beamed with the near approach of God, who had laid His hand upon him.

On Miss Dudley’s birthday, — the anniversary of my dear bridegroom’s first receiving me as a resident at Barberry Beach, — we were married, I need hardly say in Bernard Temple’s beautiful little church ; but for the satisfaction of my granddaughters, lest my daughters should have forgotten, I will add that I wore the lavender silk which Miss Dudley long ago gave me, and a shawl which she lately left me ; so that I seemed to myself as if attired — as she would have wished me to be, I know — by her own loving hands.

Bernard and Rose, by secret arrangement with the gentleman who hired Barberry Beach, had had all the simple furniture of Mr. Dudley’s small private study brought to my house ; and I had placed it in a room of about the same size, exactly as it stood before. There I installed him the next morning after the wedding. His lips really trembled with delighted and tender emotion ; and, for the first time, then I saw how he had missed his home. I had resumed half of my house. Julia and the Doctor often talked of underletting part of it, but never before could find any lodgers to suit them. They remained my tenants, and we boarded with them.

Many persons have appeared to me to grow, as individuals, poor in the midst of, and by means of, what are called “their means”; because, I suppose, they make of them, not their means, but their end. As happened to Midas, gold takes with them the place of everything else. With it their manhood pines and their souls starve; without it they have nothing and are nothing. In the case of a few others, the metal strikes in. Mr. Dudley used it, when he had it, as a means to become rich in body, mind, and heart. He bought with it innocent and elegant enjoyments for his fortunate friends, and for himself, the gratitude and prayers of the unfortunate, health, culture, and a store of beautiful and blessed memories. It left him active, simple, full of resources in himself, easily pleased, and ready to give pleasure.

During the previous autumn it had occurred to me that, if he could only put together such information as in our walks he gave me about pretty natural objects, and anecdotes connected with them, in the style of his racy, picturesque, and witty conversation, they might make up a handbook acceptable to the many persons who were already waking up to an interest in such objects and subjects, but who were without time, or perhaps inclination, to study technical scientific works.

The idea caught his fancy. We spent the mornings of all the rest of the winter following our wedding in carrying it out. Side by side, in the little study, he wrote, and I painted illustrations. As often as the clock struck off an hour of our work-time, we took a short recess and a few turns up and down the room, compared progress, and exchanged suggestions. In the spring appeared “ Wild-Flowers and Shells of New England, by Charles and Katharine Dudley.”

How I started when I saw my own name on the title-page ! It was one of my whims—-if I had a few — to think that no woman’s name looked well in print. I expostulated.

“ I never found borrowed plumes becoming,” said Mr. Dudley. “ Besides, my accomplished love, if you are sure that no lustre can be added to your own illustrious name, you will not grudge casting a little on your sex.”

I adapted myself.

The book happened to meet a want which had been felt, but not filled. It ran rapidly through several editions, and paid us well. The times grew better. The firm of —— and in great measure retrieved themselves. What with one thing and what with another, when the three years for which the place was let were at an end, we found ourselves in circumstances which, in the opinion of all concerned, fully justified our return to Barberry Beach.

I need not say how glad we all were ; but I had one peculiar cause for rejoicing. My brother George now needed our mother’s home more than I. His adopted father died a bankrupt in the crash, and he himself had never thriven. His wife’s health was failing. She needed change of air, and he had no means to procure it for her. He wrote me a humble, broken-spirited letter, begging me to forgive and forget, and help him, if I could; and I was thankful to have it in my power to establish them in the apartments we were leaving, do for them what my mother would have wished to do, and make poor Georgiana’s last days comfortable.

She was very grateful, grew fond of me, and on her death-bed owned to me, with many tears, how it was that George did not receive mamma’s letter. Half in play, she opened mine in his counting-room before he saw it; and then — she was very young, and very much in love, and did not know us — she thought we might be artful girls, trying to take advantage ot poor mamma’s situation to work upon her mind and get George’s inheritance for ourselves. So she gummed my letter up again and burned my mother’s, and made George believe for the time that we must have tried in vain to obtain such a letter from her, and only pretended we had sent one. It was a most shallow trick ; and I wonder that he could have been taken in by it. Notwithstanding, it was a relief to have it explained, and to find that my only near relation had been weak rather than — worse. After she died, he became homesick for New York ; and I was able, by adding the rent of the house to the little he could earn, to make him easy there.

One other éclaircissement took place before our return to Barberry Beach. My father’s executor retired from business, and sent me a packet “ Relating to the trust-property of Katharine Morne, spinster.” From which packet I learned that the two yearly payments he had made me did not come from my father’s stocks at all, but from an investment made by the executor of a certain sum received by him, for me, from my then guardian, Philemon Physick. Philemon Physick, being straightway— in my husband’s absence at the Parsonage — put to the question, and straightly dealt with, by both his wife and me, was driven to declare that he did “ not suppose, now, there could be much harm in my knowing that the sum specified was a thank-offering from Mr. Dudley at the time of my saving Mrs. Arthur Temple’s life, when she came so near dying of diphtheria.”

“ O Charles ! ” cried I, the next time he came in, after telling him of my discovery, " how could you withhold from me all these years the pleasure of thanking you ? ”

“ You think Miss Morne would have thanked me, do you, Katharine Dudley ? said he, with a look of so much intelligence that I was compelled to smile, self-convicted, and to shake my head half at myself, half at him. " Well, whether she would have or not, I could not help it. Grateful or ungrateful, how could I, after what you did, leave you liable to be thrown on the world at any moment, to struggle for a living with nothing but your own little empty hands ? The ruse served me a good turn for the time ; and when the time was past, I saw no need of bringing the matter up again.”

In almost unmingled happiness we returned to the home which we left with so many mingled emotions ; and there I have spent with him ten years of such peace and prosperity as fall to the lot of few under heaven, lulled to sleep, night after night, by the solemn voice of many waters like the deep breathing of eternity, and waking day after day to see the pure new sun arising from the baptism of the ocean, and summoning me to strive after an unworldliness and activity like his own.

Lily’s cottage was ready for her before we returned to our own. She passes as much time there as her husband can spend with her ; but he is now in Congress ; and, as they are inseparable, she is obliged to be a great deal at Washington, where I am not surprised to hear that she is greatly and equally admired and respected. As we all, however, dread the influences of the place for her children, they are always left, when Congress is in session, with us or at the Parsonage. She has three,—Arthur, Rose, and Charles ; and Rose, four,— Bernard, Lily, Paul, and Kate. They are all, as their parents’ children might be expected to be, more or less pretty, clever, and good, and help to keep us young and merry. The twins make model mothers, but not of the kind who can spare no thought or feeling for the offspring of any other women. Rose is the Lady Bountiful of the parish and the town ; and Lily, of one of the best of the national Soldiers’ Hospitals.

The government seems to re-echo the words,—almost the last words of Miss Dudley, — “I can trust Paul !” Colonel Paul Dudley’s regiment of volunteer cavalry is constantly called upon when daring and difficult service is to be done, and has been thrice thanked in general orders. He did not tell us ; but a brother-in-arms of his told Arthur that a brigadier-general’s commission had been offered to Paul, but that he answered, “ I understand my own business pretty well by this time, I flatter myself, but I don’t pretend to that of my superiors ; and I ’d rather lead a regiment ‘ where glory waits them,’ than a brigade to grief.” The speech sounds like Paul, though not much like Young America in general ; and I suppose he made it. It does not follow, notwithstanding, that he must always go on making it, especially as he is understood to be, in the intervals of other duty, an uncommonly close student of the art of war.

Mr. Dudley is much what he was thirteen years ago, only to me dearer.

I have never yet succeeded, however, in ascertaining whether I am in love with him or not. On one side of the question is the fact, that the view I take of him is singularly lasting for an illusion ; but on the other side, the other fact, that, if I have not combined in him everything that I “could fancy in a husband,” I must either “ fancy or foresee or forget” it. Even his seniority, which we used to regret, has become in one way a source of comfort to us now, because, if my constitution should break up somewhat early, of which, as my guardian has lately acknowledged to me, there are some indications, my dear husband and I are likely to be not so long parted as we might be if he were a younger man. I have expressed to him my earnest wish that, if that parting should come, he would seek some other to restore the domestic happiness without which there can scarcely be happiness to one of his affectionate nature ; and I here record my blessing on any woman who may accept and discharge so dear a trust. But he says, and I fear, that he has become too used to me to accustom himself to another, and that no other on earth could ever now take the place to him of his Katharine.

I conclude with the mention of a gift and a coincidence, both of which have given me a great deal of pleasure. Mr. Dudley knows my fondness for old English poetry. The evening before my last birthday, he returned from a trip to Boston just before tea. When I went to bed, there was, as formerly, the brown packet under the hat on the table in the hall. The next morning, I was not much surprised to find on my tea-poy a beautiful little volume, bound in antique stamped leather with brazen clasps. But I was equally surprised and delighted, when I opened it, to read in full, printed in black-letter on the very first of its illuminated pages, that long ago half-said oracle of the churchyard.


Sad souls, that harbor fears and woes
In many a haunted breast,
Haste but to meet your lowly Lord,
And he will give you rest.
Into his commonwealth alike
Are ills and blessings thrown.
Bear ye your neighbors’ loads ; and lo !
Their ease shall be your own.
Yield only up his price, your heart,
Into God’s loving hold ;
He turns with heavenly alchemy
Your lead of life to gold.
Some needful pangs endure in peace,
Nor yet for freedom pant.
He cuts the bane you cleave to off,
Then gives the boon you want.

O that to all sorrowful souls this prophecy might be fulfilled, as surely as to all faithful souls it will be, in this world or in a better, in one or in another way, in time or in eternity. Amen !


Stolen from private memorandum book, and price ed without leave.

ON the afternoon of the day that the last proof-sheets of my two-million-edition novel went to the press, I sat in my desolate sanctum, weeping like a new Alexander for new worlds to conquer, when I heard Bridget, my faithful and spirited raaid-of-all-work, — faithful towards me and spirited towards all men, — assaulting a penny-postman, who could not content himself with the customary cent she offered out of the box of such coins, which, like all wise householders, I kept for him behind my front door.

Interposing in behalf of the victim of circumstances, and wellnigh of Biddy I received for my reward a thick packet, directed to me in a handsome, gentlemanly hand, — grown less firm, though, as it struck me, since I had last seen it, — the hand of my father’s friend by desert, and mine at least by inheritance, the distinguished naturalist, Charles Dudley, A. A. S., &c., &c., &c. On my untying the envelope, out fell a letter, of which the following is a copy : —

“ BEVERLY, December 30th, 186-.

“ DEAR EDWARD, — My daughters, while arranging the papers of my dear wife, found the accompanying manuscript directed to their care. They think that, if published, it might do something to cheer and encourage some young readers through some of the trials incident to youth, and especially to girlhood.

“Of this it is impossible that they should be impartial judges ; but if you agree with them in the opinion that, by this means, some echo may yet speak to others front the tomb of one whose life was so eloquent of hope and joy to me and mine, I must not suffer the jealousy of grief to withhold my consent.

“ If you incline to prepare her little story for the press, I know, moreover, how implicitly I may rely both on your delicacy and your experience in such matters, to disguise or suppress everything in it which might in any way expose or wound the living.

“As sincerely as briefly yours,



I doubt whether I could be impartial myself; for I knew, though not intimately, the late Mrs. Dudley. More than once I had had the good fortune to be a guest at her table, and to feel myself sweetening to the core, like a St. Michael’s pear in September, under her sunny autumn looks ; while cordiality and hospitality shone on all around her out of her beautiful face. It was —though not unanimously called so, and though not eminently so in outline— a very beautiful face to me, not only in its coloring, but in its rare combination of the two expressions of joy and sensibility. You saw in it that she could suffer, — perhaps had suffered, — but did enjoy most generously and gratefully. And how she could sing ! and how she would laugh !

At any rate, I undertook the task con amore; but when my revision was submitted to her family, Colonel Dudley happened to be at home upon a furlough, for the cure of a sabre-cut. Upon reading the manuscript, he complained that, owing to his " second mother’s characteristic modesty and reserve, her autobiography was too much like the play of Hamlet, with the part of Hamlet omitted by particular request.”

The Mrs. Temples were, on second thoughts, obliged to own that this criticism was just. They were able, they said, from their own recollection of her many charms of mind and manner, to fill out into a beautiful whole for themselves the slight outline she gave of her own part in her own story ; but they feared that it might convey only a wholly inadequate idea to strangers.

To remedy this defect in such small degree as it was capable of a remedy, they drew to the utmost on their own and their brother’s memory for details of her life and conversation with them, and of praises from time to time bestowed upon her. They applied also to her guardian and his wile, and to the venerable Mr. Wardour, to whom, after his niece’s death, Mrs. Dudley became almost as a daughter. He at once, to their equal surprise and delight, placed at their disposal a manuscript which he had received from Mrs. Blight on her death-bed, as the most precious legacy which was hers to leave. It was written, as the dates in it showed, before her marriage, and was entitled, “ The best things that my best friend said to me.”

From the spoken and written memoranda thus obtained, I made copious extracts, and interwove them into the original text with as much real and as little apparent art as I was master of, in order that, as my tailor would say, ‘‘the piecing” should “not show.” Therefore the fault lies with the editor, and not with the author, if any appearance of vanity and egotism has been discovered in the narrative.

That narrative lies already before the world. It remains to me only to preserve here, for my own benefit, the following few lines which were written as its Preface, but which I have been forced to withhold, lest they should reveal the end of the story at the beginning : — “ My fortieth birthday ! I should never have suspected it, if the dear little grandchildren had not come in the morning with their gifts to tell me that, if I would send the barouche to the Parsonage for Rose, she would come with Lily to keep the solemn anniversary with us ! How old I ought to feel, and do not ! What a miserable life I thought I was to have, and did not!

“ Would it do the Rose and Lily buds any good to hear about that, when their time comes ? I never could tell anybody — but one — about it. But could not I write about it? — I never can know till I try, — and leave it for them to read when all ‘ grandmamma’s ' other stories are told, and a gravestone stands up for her Finis”