« AnteriorContinuar »
iod, but they who have themselves en.ountered similar trials'? He had written leveral times to Lucy, but had received no eply to any of his letters. The compeence which he was so confident of earning lad fled before him like a mirage. He ;new not if she remembered him; he had 10 expectation of seeing her. He had no i ope for the present but to procure the neans of life. He felt forlorn and weary.
It was almost dark when he reached the ouse, which appeared almost surrounded y the forest. Whatever anxiety he might avc had respecting his reception, he had o sooner entered and stated his business > the lady than it was at once removed, [ad he borne letters from the President id all his cabinet, he could not have been >ceived with a more cordial hospitality, er husband, the lady said, was gone to the ty, but would be back in the evening, eantine he must be tired. Dorothy, one
the housemaids, must bring some slip;rs. He must lay aside his wet garments id have a cup of tea. How did he like entucky? It was a wild country, she ■esumed, compared with the East? Had
learned to eat corn-bread ?—and the like rt of cheerful conversation, all which ssed in so perfectly cordial and matter
fact a manner, that before the gentlein arrived, Kennedy felt as much at his se as though he had been an expected est. That evening the family assembled the parlor, and there was more pleait conversation than he had enjoyed for ong while ; when he retired to his cham- for the night, it was with a firm contion that the reputation which Kentucky ~ always borne for generous hospitality s not undeserved.
The result of the visit was, that he bene for the next three months a member the family, and taught Latin and trigonetry in a log house without a floor, to r or five as expert boys with the rifle as i would wish to see, and other appropristudiesto a like number of girls. He bene quite a marksman, and could even i such horses as are to found nowhere e in that roadless region. But now the -m nveather was coming on, the hot imy days of May, when there lurks an e in every mist that exhales from the ond Settlement." Kennedy had saved earnings and longed again to try his
fortune in the busy world. There was to him, whose home had been by the seashore, an indescribably depressing influence in the air scented with rank vegetation. He had been immured, as it seemed to him, during the months he had remained there, and he now determined to leave, lest he should be a schoolmaster to the end of his days.
Accordingly he came up to Louisville where his friend (afterwards shot in the street) still taught school. Here he exerted himself in all ways for nearly a month to find employment; he did not desire the poor calling of a teacher; he felt himself equal to the "bustle of resort." He tried all means to get a clerkship or a situation in business. He went into every store that seemed to promise anything, up and down that long Main street. He boarded every steamboat at the landing. He stirred up all the acquaintance he could make to inquire. But it was all to no purpose. No one wanted a clerk who had never been in business, and who used the English language with such grammatical correctness.
Finally, when his cash was nearly spent, he heard they wanted an academy up the river, in Madison, then a thriving town of it may be eight thousand inhabitants, now probably a city. With a letter of introduction, and money to pay his fare, he set out and arrived there one rainy evening in May. He was too late—another had been before him. But he was resolute, and where there is a will there is a way.
Should this true story ever meet the eye of any disheartened pedagogue, striving for dear life, in a country overflowing with plenty, let him remember that if his education will not procure him subsistence, perhaps some other accomplishment may. It were better that he should blacken his visage and turn Ethiopian minstrel, than starve. Indeed, in most Western villages, at the time of which I am writing, he would have been much more respected. The schoolmaster had not gone abroad there then; the people dreaded and despised him.
In a few days there appeared a card in the Daily Banner, informing the inhabitants of Madison that a certain individual was prepared to teach them in the art of music. The next Sunday heard his voice in the church gallery chaunting the Episcopal service. He hired a large room, and gave a gratuitous performance, with an empty barrel for a music stand, to the young gentlemen of the place; and so fascinated a goodly number of them, that they incontinently became pupils. Best of all, he met in the bar-room of the inn, a graduate of a famous college in the centre j of New England, who wore on his breast | that mysterious pin which was to be a symbol of learning and "fraternity " the world over. In this instance it proved so. The graduate, who was a law student, was a true man, and he and Kennedy at once .struck out a friendship that was never broken. By this means the latter became intimate with the learned men of the town, and played whist with judges, doctors and colonels.
So passed the summer. But as it drew towards autumn, our friend became more and more dissatisfied with his partial success. His labor was irksome to the last degree, and it barely paid his expenses. He determined to try Cincinnati once more, and if unable to gain a livelihood there, to return to the East, where the labor of his hands (for he was a good mechanic) would soon put him on the road to competence.
Accordingly he took passage for the Queen City. Here, while calling upon a lawyer to see if something might not be done in the way of drawing and copying papers, a gentleman came in, who said he was looking for some one to teach his daughters in his house. He was a man of wealth, and was ready to pay a liberal salary.
The next week found our friend seated with five girls, two of them almost young ladies, in a lofty back parlor. Kennedy used to take quite a pride in relating how odd it was that he, a rough man, should at this time have had the care of several who afterwards became celebrated belles, and are now fashionable women in a great city. I3ut if any one could tell the truths of his own life, it would be stranger than any fiction. There was nothing particularly romantic in Kennedy's adventures.; they only show the difficulties which lie in the way of educated young men, who have had no good worldly training, nor any asjtistance of friends. ^ He continued in this manner to perform
i duties of a governess, till one day as
he was walking down the Main street, wV should he meet but the man, who wiii Is pretty wife, had been his fellow n-iTfficr more than a year before, from Pk£»de plua. "Ah," said this individual vkar name was Crandell, "yon are iix Tot man I was thinking of. I am a pristo I am going to start a penny paper, tad you must edit it"
"Come up to my room," said Knsttrr "and we will talk of it."
Next week saw the first number of u* Daily Luminary. It was published tw: months before Kennedy -was twenty-ooe— a boyish affair, full of the roexperwc and glowing animal spirits of youth, wtirfe none of his perplexities had yet broken. It was successful. Our friend was not a fia-^ writer, but he had perseverance, and r. was found that he had good sense, ix some wit. He had at last got bold of < string that he could pull. Poverty » longer stared him out of countenancr i» began to feel the dignity of inder-endr:-
Only one thing now troubled him. Lar —why had she never answered fc^ letter? Could" it be she had ceased to care f" him? Even if it were so, she surelv na;~• have written. In the midst of his kt*^ such thoughts would constantly atr" him. In his midnight musings, on »• crowded street, or on that busv htxf-. where he often walked to enjoy the beis< of active life—wherever he was, or ir» ever engaged, the idea of Lucy wis p<? petually recurring. It was an uD<^e^^^,• that ran through his whole existence: «• doubt respecting her was a sickness tb» preyed upon his heart. In basjnfs. »• might now consider himself prosper* might look forward to the realizaboe. » year or two hence, of his long cherbkev wishes, if—ah, that if!—Lncv was tf» same Lucy he had left to loo? if Anxious as he was, however, he w»«-' have been infinitely more so had he kno"* the real truth.
For some months after KenrjecV t *V parture for the West, Lucy's dep-e***" was too plain to escape the obsorvsuw' her parents, and with a very hi tie -«■ ing, they soon ascertained its cans< fr the first time they now began to :: jat •' her as a marriageable youin; » sji whom it was their duty to provai*. £r suffering on account of the departure of an aid companion, was, they thought, quite natural. It showed the gentleness of her lisposition, while at the same time it set hem to reflecting that such a warmth of iffection should be bestowed upon a husxind. The idea that Kennedy might be a citable person, hardly once entered their leads. He was her playmate, as it were, ler companion, an agreeable good-natured ellow, but a mere boy, just such another imple creature as herself. Besides, he vas almost without relatives or friends,' [uite alone, hanging loose on the world. t was doubtful if he would ever settle own into a sedate man. He was a pleaint person to have about, very cheerful ad even funny, but he lacked " stability f character," the deacon thought. He ras young yet, only twenty, or thereabout, nd there was no predicting what he might lrn out. Indeed, it is questionable if pucy's father and mother ever considered f him enough to be distinctly aware of lese reasons. lie was merely ont of the uestion; the idea of a student marrying leir daughter, was purely absurd. Having made up their minds to this, - rather, having never debated it, they id their heads together during the hours sually appropiated to curtain lectures, to mtrive how she must be disposed of. It as plain that now she was a young woan, she must be a girl no longer. Hence would not do for her to be correspondg with a young man because he had hap:ned to be one of her young companions. x>r, simple Lucy! In the frankness of >.r heart, she told her mother how that e and Martin had promised each other correspond, and showed her a letter she id written to him containing all the news id nothing concerning herself. Her moer said it was a very good letter. When was fairly sealed and superscribed, she ,ve it to her father for the post office. lat worthy man, thinking it was high ne a stop was put to this childish nonnsc, put it in his pocket, and ultimately x> his counting-room stove. He had, evious to this, received Kennedy's first tcr, which, after duly inspecting its con1 ts, he had disposed of in a similar manr.
Here he thought the thing would end. t breakfast, accordingly, he would en
large a little upon the character of students. He thought them wild voung fellows. Seldom or never did they grow up to be substantial men. There was Mr. Such-aone, he remembered, nothing would do but his son must have a liberal education. Well, the young man ended in the poorhouse.
Sometimes the well-meaning mother would advert to the proverbial impiety of students, and professional men generally. Men of learning were commonly too proud to become possessors of " vital godliness." She even feared their young friend Kennedy (at the mention of which name Lucy was sure to blush) would never be a "truly pious" man She remembered how she had overheard him imitating the minister's peculiar manner of reading a hymn, and she thought such irreverent levity not a good sign in a boy.
"Indeed, mother," Lucy would say, "but you laughed. But perhaps you do not like him because he does not write to me. Isn't it strange?"
And then the deacon would frown severely, and remark that she spoke very pertly to her mother.
After a month or two Lucy prepared another letter; the first might have been misdirected, and Martin might be waiting for her to write first. Her parents thought it better to let it share the fate of, the former one than to openly forbid her writing. But such folly must be indulged no longer. It was time she was married off and placed in circumstances where those weak and childish fancies would no longer afflict her.
Accordingly, after considerable consultation, it was at length settled that Jeremiah Brown, the eldest son of old Mr. and Mrs. Brown, who wore both members of their meeting, would make her a suitable husband. Jeremiah had no great personal advantages. He was gawky and sallow. But what is beauty compared with worth? Jeremiah was a steady, practical youth, not brilliant, it is true, but shrewd and cool. He was settled in business, and with what his father had advanced him, and a handsome portion which Lucy might receive, being an only child, the couple would be in easy circumstances.
Mrs. Darling and Mrs. Brown presently grew intimate. They took tea with each other, and Lucy must always go and remain with her mother. Jeremiah must come frequently after his mother of evenings, and Lucy must of course entertain him with her songs and the backgammon, at which lie always won. After a while he came alone, and Lucy's careful parents would then contrive it to be sometimes both out of the room, leaving the young couple to'chat alone. Poor Lucy! She did not see the game they were playing for her happiness; but Brown was awfully dull in conversation. He reasoned and argued, in his fashion, on all sorts of subjects, and his talk ran on in a long weary monotone, like the turning of a coffee mill. He had "improved his mind," and knew all the newest ologies and graphics. He discoursed of "developments," and in his letters wrote "centre' center. On doctrinal points he was almost as tedious as the minister himself.
He did not for a long while appear to be any more aware of the trap that was laying for him, than was Lucy, the unconscious bait. He visited there because it fell in his way to do so, and was equally ready to converse with father, mother, and daughter—because, like most people who talk to hear themselves, it was a matter of indifference whom he had for a listener.
But he began to "smell rats," as he would probably have phrased it, long before his victim. The scheme was grateful to him. He had impulses like most men, and the idea of having so pretty a girl as Lucy for a wife, pleased his fancy. He soon began to "pay attention"—the first move in the matrimonial game. He came often, and sat late. He made Lucy a present of Butler's Analogy, which he said, very truly, was a very profound work. He gave her the benefit of much of his instructive conversation.
Poor Lucy drooped. She was in great affliction. Why, why had Martin forgotten her? Why did they wish her to pretend to like Mr. Brown, when they knew he tired her to death? She had no consolation, no grain of comfort. Her kind aunt, who had been her only confidant, had died of a typhus fever, the summer after Martin had left.
At length she summoned courage to speak with her mother. It was like a declaration of war between two parties who hujajom been on the eve of collision. The
poor girl shed an ocean of tears. She di: not like Mr. Brown; she did not wish !■ marry any one. She desired to lire £ home all her life; she loved her father aai mother; wouldn't they let her? &»• should die if they sent her away—arJ much more to the same effect.
Her wise mother was not sonr to w her take on thus. Her tears did not after, her, for she thought a little crying w«]t do the child good. Self-willed and pssionate people, she said, must expert k suffer now and then. She thought b<* daughter showed a very hard, proud sj!r in opposing her parents. Her lore h them could not be much, when she "» hindering them in what they most desir*! If the truth was known, she suspected it w* nothing but a foolish fancy for that bay Kennedy; notwithstanding he had bur gone nearl_y two years, and nobody hitf ever heard from him.
This was touching the right chord; p« Lucy's heart burst then, and revealed ad] a hoarded treasure. She had promised Mir tin, she said, to be his wife; she liked his she never could like any other. It *a* • strange what had become of him.
Well! of all the foolishness that <*-• was heard of, exclaimed the excellent mf-er, with uplifted hands, this was cerUav the very beat. She had not expected <ji£such silliness. It made her almost ashiced of her own flesh and blood. She eoiJS not talk upon it. Lucy had better mn to her chamber. She hoped her hatt would not find it out.
When Lucy came down to tea that nti* how affectionate they were, her father ec mother! How they hung over her w& spoke in mildly modulated words!
Lucy was ashamed that she should ifflict them so much. And then the** ■» reason in what her mother said. M*rw had been away so long! He must be if* And so in her little chamber, while n» musical slumbers of the venerable aataa* of her being shook the floors below. •*• dutiful daughter buried herself in herp»low and sobbed herself to sleep.
"Honor thy father and thy mother. •* thy days may be long upon the bud." » * precept of tin- same divine wedotn »•»• providence "risiteth the ink]uitT <t & fathers upon the children, unto the tar* and fourth geaeraSaoa." It woaJdktb*
ter if parents oftener considered how true it is, and all observation confirms it, that the promise attached to the fifth commandment is contingent upon the declaration appended to the second.
Lucy honored her father and mother ibove all things else. She thought all they Jid was meant for her good, and that whenever she differed vfrom them she must of ■ourse be in the wrong. Her life had been
0 much under their strict control, and she vas of so trusting a disposition, that she ould not but confide in them entirely.
But the struggle now was unlike any ther she had encountered. She had givn her love to Martin, her whole heart. le was lost to her; she could not hope ver again to see him, if indeed he was live, which she could hardly believe. She >uld not love any one again—should she >ntinue to dream of his image and oppose jr father and mother, when by yielding le should make them so happy? She id nothing in particular against Brown. rily the idea of being shut up in a house ith such a tiresome creature all her life is horrible. It would kill her; she felt would.
But now the opposing party were bring% up their heavy artillery. Let it not be .supposed that this true >ry is written to throw obloquy upon the >st sacred order known among men, or it aught which follows here is set down malice. All ministers are not crafty and lei; there is probably no such one in the mtry as he who was the spiritual adviser the Darling family.
He was a large, strong man, with a hardtured countenance, high cheek bones,
1 pointed nose. His voice was deep and How, and very condoling; its benevolent a, to use an organ figure, was particuy rich. He was full of goodness all r; it appeared not only in his converon, but in all his ways and motions; it lied to ooze through his garments, and i:irt a glossy sleekness to their surface, that to touch him was like touching :h. He was a very great man; the nen of his congregation were much in ; of him. He had a large study surnded with books, where he used to sit
read his correspondence, and receive visiters. He was a lover of music and Kine Arts—especially those of eating and
drinking. Goodly and comfortable was he, well to do in the world. He had a family, and had married his own daughter to one to whom his only objection was that he was rich; his wife was never spoken of. Altogether he was a wonderfully great and good man. He slided out of all controversies, and none could ever tell exactly what particular shade of doctrine he most favored. Few men became a pulpit better, or were better judges of good old Madeira.
This excellent man in the course of his visits at Mr. Brown's and Deacon Darling's, became aware that an alliance was cooking between the,two families. He soon saw, also, that something was wrong somewhere; the course of love did not run smooth. How could Mrs. Deacon D. resist that condoling voice, especially when he pulled out the benevolent stop, and executed thereon a grand palaver solo? She could not. The good .man was made acquainted with her view of the whole difficulty. Out of his kindness to the family, he condescended to take an interest in Lucy's welfare, and volunteered to assist her parents in keeping her within the path of duty.
He held a private conversation with her, this great man, whom she had been all her life accustomed to dread and look up to, as men look up to a mountain. It was a set conversation; he desired to speak with her alone, and the mother called in Lucy and left them together.
Now if all the goodness in all the world were collected and expressed, it would not equal what in that poor girl's eyes this miracle of condescending dignity displayed in that interview. He took her by the hand, and reasoned with her like a brother. At one time she feared he was going to shed tears. He showed her, not only the folly but the sinfulness, the extreme wickedness of her persisting in disobedience. In short, he wrought upon her so powerfully that her rebellious heart was tamed. Thenceforth she had no will. Her spirit was broken. She was as clay in the hands of the potter.
Poor Brown saw nothing of all this business. He was busy observing Lucy's developments, of which he had in his mind nearly a perfect chart, and in reading Carlyle. lie settled the question which was the greater man, Napoleon Bonaparte Ql