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;hronicler pause. Even now, when sl;e is -he mother of one whom—even now, I ihould say, she is one of the most beautiul as well as the gayest ladies you can neet in society. But from what is renembcred of her when she was in what jhakspeare calls "that unmatched form ind feature of blown youth," it is no wonler she was the pride of her parents and he talk of the country round. They say he was then the living image of Aurora, ;oddess of the morning. Her eyes were ilue, her cheeks rosy, and her hair deep ;oldcn—the tints of sunrise; while there ras that in her disposition which, had she een far less beautiful than she was, would ave warranted the comparison. Her resence was like the opening dawn; it ispired all who saw her with fresher life. lie was a perfect specimen of a "bonny rjuntry lassie," capable, had she known , of piercing a thousand hearts, but as inocent of that sort of knowledge as
young antelope. She laughed much, le ran faster than most city girls can, she ilked, and sang, and danced with more st and spirit—all because she could not sip it. Yet she was not a romp, and hat was singular, in the midst of noisy liety her eyes would sometimes till with ars, and there would be much pointing
fingers because Julia was crying, "for (thing at all only that she was so happy." The truth is, extremes of feeling lie arer together than is generally susicted. Excessive laughter will often id to tears. The phase of mirth not Frequently ends in sadness. So in art;s young girls, who seem to be commnded of more music and poetry than y other mortal creatures, we that arc old ly often discern a hundred shades passl over them in a few moments, accordr as they are touched by influences aund them. They are so delicate that e harps played upon by the wind, they Jo. out broken harmonies under the Lrhtest impressions; whereas we men reire rough blows, and then we answer ly in coarse low notes that have in them
sweetness or beau I v. But all these nets fall in and help to perform the one eat dirge of fallen humanity. Julia's cousin Henrietta (for so she was led, though in reality she was not related, ng the daughter of the second wife of a
gentleman whose first wife had been Colonel Blanding's sister,) lived with her as a companion; her father and mother were both dead, and she was the ward of her uncle. She was as different from Julia as ever were two young ladies in a story. She was taller and thinner, with dark e)'es and hair, and a more quiet manner; she had suffered affliction, and its traces more than counterbalanced the few months' difference between her age and her cousin's. But perhaps the very points of contrast in these two girls made each seem lovelier, by bringing what in each was peculiar into stronger relief. However that may have been, the two in combination imparted a cheerfulness and vivacity to the Colonel's household that only results to a family from the possession of similar attractions. To all the young people in that vicinity the Colonel's parlor seemed, they hardly knew why, the pleasantest place in the world.
It will not appear surprising, therefore, that when, after the family had moved to Westhill, the young ladies were permitted to give a little house-warming at their new
home, they should have had, for the country, a numerous party, and a gay one. It was, as it happened, a thanksgiving eve; Stephen had come over from Cambridge and brought with him his classmate and chum, Harry Ide, the same lively fellow then that he is now, and a much better scholar, I fancy, than he is now that he gives all his time to his extensive practice. There were the Joneses, the Smitlis, and the Browns, (for one cannot spare time to invent names for so many,)—even the minister of the parish came and staid till after the supper.
But as our story only concerns a few individuals, we will confine ourselves to them, leaving the figures in the background to be filled out as the reader may fancy.
Among the other guests was logger, John Fogger, the lawyer of the next village, a shrewd calculating chap, suspected by some of the better sort of being cunning enough to conceal petty dishonesties without having courage to involve
himself in great ones. He was a thin, illmade man, yet he fancied all the girls adored him, and only became an old bachelor because he waited to find one rich enough to marry. He talked constantly, and borcd^ every one with his conceit; still he flattered or endeavored to flatter all he spoke with, and if there were points on which any seemed a little tender, he was uneasy till he had cross-questioned and found out the secret ; he was thus a great prober of wounds, but had no balm to pour into them. In brief, he was coarse-grained, wiry, hard and cunning. The Colonel, who, though he had his weak sides, had no sympathy with meanness, never liked him.
Still he must be invited, and he was sure to come, and did come. He not only came, but came wide awake, and more disagreeable than usual. To narrate how many unpleasant things he contrived to do and say in this single evening, would occupy more pages than ought to be filled with such details. But for so simple an accident as a change ki the weather, he would only have passed as the most unpleasing of the few bores of the party.
About eleven o'clock, as some of the guests were leaving, the front door was opened, and it was discovered, to the general surprise, that it was snowing fast and the wind high; for hitherto the old piano had been kept so busy with country dances and reels, the company had no ears for au^ht but that. But now in the lull which the intelligence created they could hear the noise of the storm around the house corner, and the snow driving against the the eastern windows. What was to be done? Many of the party had come from a distance ; all had come unprovided with winter srear, for the night had been fine and this was almost the first snowstorm of that season. Harriet and Jane and Charlotte and Carry, <fcc, must not think of iroing; they had plenty of room; the house was large and every room well provided ; they could stay as well as not, and ihey must, and their brothers. As for Emily and Sarah and Abby, &c, if they must go, as they lived so near, they should have old cloaks and hoods.
The upshot was that when the company broke up, the half who lived nearest went away mutfled up like Hudson Bay voyagers ; while the other half, who came from more than five miles, when they went to look for their horses, found the Colonel had <riven orders to hare them stabled for the r.Ljht, and the carriages put under cover; so there was no resource but submission.
Among those who staid was F . who did not reside more than three r off, and might have gone without tht :-i inconvenience, for he came alone chaise of his own. But he knew tfcr horse would be well taken care of. a thought on the whole it would be c pleasant to ride over in the mornin; sides, he began to think Miss Ja!;. "smart young lady," and thongh; might as well throw out an anchor way to windward; she was rather y' yet, it was true, and there might be at. heir: still it was well enough to " look the ground," as the farmers say, "tp: you may wish to buy."
It was not more than twehre o'clock.: they keep early hours in the country, »r all who remained had been snugly di-r ed of—the young ladies ocenprmr third floor, and their brothers the roomthe second. Fogger thought himself '• in securing a large comer room w spacious old-fashioned bed all tohinwhile Ide and young Blandingwert ed to precede an ex-president and ad.* guished Whig member of the Hon*mode of sleeping, to say the leas. «: tremely uncomfortable. He ehockk<: • a little as he sank into the depths <' unfathomable feather-bed and pi& * his comparative comfort, and listened * satisfaction to the fierce da*hinj ••' snow against the windows. He h*i' taken freely of the good things at thf ••" per, the boned turkey, and the A ■ salad—nay, he had even quaffed nw one glass of the Colonel's old Scotch *■ • key in a private apartment. unk2-»: but few of the older guests, the jr-ones being restricted to lemonade and <•*'" with a few rounds of grape after sf?* Consequently he did not feel very *.-' but rather disposed to pleasurableo*1* plation.
To this another circumstance mien'-:' have contributed, since it is a heti>r» duty to relate all the facts which return to events. Our lawyer w» * •'advanced in life ; all things about hi* T" not what they seemefi; in brief. aa*r must out, to supply the dt&aeaotsd1? or early sorrow—be wore—» *ur the taking off this article of h»nm<^guise, rubbing his poll with » cdi '■' and putting on his nightcap, (frrhr*'
was wnnoui one ana a smaii nair-orusn in his pocket,) may have contributed to this wakefulness. At all events he did not pop )ff into a good ten knot an hour sleep, but Ihought over his cases, and got involved at ast in a series of short dozes that left him ioubtful whether he was asleep or awake, ar whether he ever would sleep again, vhere he was, or which way was north, md the like.
Out of this demi-torpid condition he ras roused suddenly by a strange voice in he room. He started up and leaned on lis elbow. The snow-clouds had not so iiich obscured the moon but that he could lake out the room quite distinctly. As e recalled his scattered senses, suddenly, lmost in his very ears, there came a chois of strange uproarious laughter:—
"Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! O—ho!"
It was not like human laughter or horse tughter, but fearfully grim and hollow ke the voices of demons.
Hardly had it ceased when he, " distill1 almost to jelly," heard the following ords uttered in an awful measured voice: "Ten— three—five—eighteen—twen-eight—thirty-two — thirty-three —fortyree! Jack, you cheated—you, can't teat me! I'll do your business yet! Ou're A Gone Koon!!" This was too terrible. To hear the ;ars of his life numbered, his name sylbled, his secret crimes thrown in his eth, and his doom pronounced by devils, is too much. Poor Fogger groaned Dud as he groped for the door. The om echoed with a confused noise. He shed into the hall and burst into the xt room, which happened to be Ide and anding's,crying, " 0 dear! wake! help!" The young gentlemen were roused in a jment, and Blanding, thinking the lawr was ill, proceeded at once to light a ndle. This done, the spectacle Fogger esented as he stood in his night-gear d night-cap, with his eyes half out of head, along with his broken words, ling how the cr * was haunted, and
it he had hea ful noises, was so
rribly ludicroi hese college boys
it as they lor each other they
ms siaes. ine noise wone up several young fellows in the adjacent apartments, who suspecting some college trick, ran in to see what was the matter. Then came to light the mystery of the lawyer's raven locks, which one of the party, a red-haired man, had secretly envied; and what with his appearance and his flight, the effect was altogether so overpowering, he was glad to creep into the bed atid cover himself with the comforter. As soon as they could compose their nerves, the young men whispered among themselves and very soon settled it that the lawyer must have paid too much attention to the whiskey, with which natural conclusion they retired to their chambers, reserving the full enjoyment of the jest till the morrow.
When they had gone, Blanding told Ide to jump into bed with Fogger, saying that he would go and occupy the couch Fogger had left. But Ide, whose real motive, as well as Blandinjj's, was to avoid their new bed-fellow, protested against this, saying that he had a passion for ghosts, and hud always hoped to scare one up some time or other; Blanding, perceiving his object, thought it due to the character of host to yield at once. So Ide taking the light, touched the lawyer's shoulder as he lay bundled up in the clothes, and telling him he should make him join a temperance society in the morning, and bidding his friend good-night, left them and went to the lawyer's chamber.
There was nothing in the chamber at all remarkable, much less indicating the presence of supernatural visitors. The lawyer's garments were carefully deposited over the backs of a couple of chairs, and on the table under the old oval mirror were his watch and his wig. Ide was no Paul Pry, but he had never seen an isolated specimen of the latter article before in his life, and he thought it was no harm to avail himself of the unexpected opportunity to give this a careful examination. He was curious to see how the things he had read of, and which were once a necessary part of a gentleman's apparel, were put together. He accordingly held the light close, and stooped over to have a good view.
While thus occupied he was startled, though not alarmed, by a confused noise, similar to that which had frightened iv ~ lawyer. It sounded like a mingling of hoarse voices in disputation, and seemed to come from behind the curtains at the head qf the bed. He reflected a moment, and concluded it must be the creaking of the window shutters, though it was certainly an odd sound. Walking up to the window, therefore, which opened near the head of the bed, he examined the shutters by moving theln to and fro, till he satisfied himself it could not be they. The wind howled piteously without, and the snow drove against the panes, but it could not be they. He stepped cautiously around the bed's head and harkened.
Presently (all this, by the bye, passed in a few moments,) there came another sort of noise—a loud whistling sound, very coarse and hollow, something like what one may make by whistling into the end of an empty cask. It was so very singular a sound that Ide, bold as he was, was not a little relieved to recognize in a moment a popular Methodist melody! He had begun to feel rather uncomfortable, but surely no stray current of air nor any restless ghost would entertain itself on such a wild night with the tune of "O how harpy are they!"
But how was it that he heard it so distinctly? The room below was the parlor; beside him were Blanding and the lawyer; above slept the young ladies; the kitchen adjoined the house on the other side, being the first of the long range of outbuildings. While he thus busily surmised, the whistling was interrupted by speech, and he heard clearly pronounced, in the same voice which so astonished the lawyer, the following mysterious words:
"The King is after you—look out!"
And before he had time to recover from his surprise, the following, from different speakers:
"One—eleven—fifteen—eighteen—twenty-eight—twenty-nine — thirty-three—thirty-seven."
This was spoken in the awful monotonous manner which had so overcome Fogger, and it would, perhaps, have been too much for Ide, had he not listened more attentively while it proceeded:
"—forty—forty-two—fifty-two—0 Ame! Hukha For Jackson!"
"Don't swear—you'll raise the devil again."
"Hush, Jim; hurra for Jackson ai%l swearing."
"Game !—high—low—Jack, and the game; three and four are seven—We Aee Out!"
This explained itself. Henry Ide ns never a youth who kept low company, nor was he fond of low amusements; but what country-bred New Englander ever got through his teens without an initiation into the mysteries of the famous game of All Fours? In various parts of the country this game takes different names: on the western boats one may hear it stvled "Old Sledge," a title which is probably a primitive root, since it is not easy to imagine aught from which it could have been a derivative; in other parts it is called "Seven Up," a name given it on account of the game being up when the winner counts seven.
But under whatever appellation thi? amusement passes, it must be indigenous to New England; there is not, it is likely, a hay-loft in that region that is unfamiliar with its technical phrases; and the sunny sides of many stone fences, if stones could preach sermons, might utter moving diecourses respecting the time they had seea wasted in its excitements.
It was plain to Ide, therefore, the moment his ears caught the above words, this the mysterious voices, so far from harm; a supernatural origin, actually belonged K some rustic card party somewhere witfeis hearing. But the accounting for tbtsr singular audibleness was still as muck a problem as before. However, our \oob; student was somewhat of a mechacma, and had read Sir David Brewster's Natural Magic enough to take an interest in the solution of such apparent impossibili^
The reader must remember that what transpires in less than a minute may sometimes occupy several in rtUtae otherwise I should justly incur the severest penalties of criticism for hkrirg kept my hero, or as it may be, one vt E» heroes, tb.ua standing on a cold mMl a his night clothes all this while we k**» been telling what happened to whole affair, in fact, passed in fi«c by the watch: but as it this narrative that it should to recorded, and every circumstance plained, I take the lib*
much space as is required for that purpose.
The voices did not cease with what has been here given; they kept on talking, and gave Ide ample opportunity to make his investigation. Fnding that the sounds were more distinct the nearer he came to the head of the bed, it occurred to him whether the tall bed-post might not be hollow, and thus transmit echoes as if it were the tube of a huge bassoon, from some other part of the house—the cellar, perhaps. As he bent down to examine, however, he caught the sound more disinetly than ever in his right ear, which ihus came within a foot of the wall. Turning that way, and closing the shutter vliich he had thrown back, he discovered ust underneath the high wainscot that ran .round the room, and at about a level with he head of the bed, a round aperture hree or four inches in diameter, which on xamination proved to be the funnelhaped extremity of a tube set in the rail.
The mystery was now fully explained. )ld Mr. Dalton, of whom and whose ecentricities he had often heard from his iend Blanding, had no doubt contrived lis mode of communicating with his serant in some distant part of the house.
This application of acoustic tubes is by o means a new one; most large board\g houses in the city are now furnished ith similar contrivances to save the time F attendants; and any reader who has card in eating-houses the command,—
> the regions of below, and the response,
in form an accurate idea of the singular lange in quality of tone produced on the unan voice by the use of such an appatus.
Ide was, as has been stated, a young •ntlcman who had the organ of mirthfulss rather fully developed; indeed, ust persons at his time of life, and par■ularly college students, are as little disiguished for a predisposition to melanoly as any portion of the human family, ith them no occurrence comes amiss rich can afford food for merriment.
It was but natural therefore, that Ide's first thought was how his discovery might be turned to advantage. To this end it was necessary to find the other extremity of the tube, for from the boisterousness of the players he could not suppose the apartment they were in to be in the main building.
With his ear close to the tube he could distinguish the voices quite distinctly, and at once recognized one of them as belonging to Wilber Wells, the Colonel's coachman—a harmless fellow, who might easily be frightened out of his senses. It appeared he and some others, probably servants, had got a smalf jug of "stuff" and were taking advantage of the night for enjoying themselves at their favorite amusement.
Ide listened to their talk till he began to grow cold, when he bethought himself it might be a good scheme to find out where they were, to frighten them into the belief that their card-playing had attracted the especial displeasure of the adversary of souls. There is still a latent superstition in the breast of a great portion of the Puritan descendants respecting the use of the "devil's Bible," and many a stout rustic has, after an evening spent in such sinful indulgence, paid dearly for his pleasure when the hour has approached that "Tarn maun ride." I remember the house-carpenter, when the new shed was built, telling us children one day at dinner, how in crossing the Great Side-Hill Piece one pitch-dark night, he stumbled over an old black cow, who suddenly started up and "mooed," (as well she might,) whereupon he threw his cards away and fell on his knees crying " Spare me !"—and that though it soon came to him what had happened, yet those few moments of agony were enough to make him resolve never to burden his conscience with the sin again, and that he had "never touched a card from that hour."
Of course, through a tube constructed for the purpose, it makes no difference which way the sound passes. Ide, however, was so full of glee at the thought of what he was going to do, that he could hardly compose his muscles as he placed his mouth close to the aperture and gave a low prolonged groan. Instantly the conversation at the other terminus was