List Of Contents | Contents of Elinor Wyllys, by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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Fenimore Cooper's "Elinor Wyllys: or, The Young Folk of
Longbridge" (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1846). "Elinor Wyllys"
was also published in England (London: Richard Bentley, 1845),
but has otherwise not been reprinted.

{Text and note are by Hugh C. MacDougall (
Notes are enclosed in curly brackets { }; these include
identification of epigraphs and other quotations and allusions,
explanations of obsolete word usage, and translations of foreign
words and expressions. Quotations from Shakespeare are cited to
the Riverside Edition (adopted as standard for the MLA-approved
Cooper Edition of the works of James Fenimore Cooper). Spelling
and punctuation, including the author's idiosyncratic use of
colons and semi-colons, inconsistent use of single quotation
marks for "thoughts," and combinations of dashes with other
punctuation, have not been changed (except for occasional silent
insertion of missing quotation marks). First instances of some
unusual spellings (whether or not in accordance with the author's
usual practise), and obvious typographical errors, are followed
by {sic} to indicate that there has not been a mistake in
transcription. Because of the limitations of the .TXT format,
italicized foreign words (mostly French) are transcribed in
ordinary type, and accents are omitted; words italicized for
emphasis, or to emulate dialect or incorrect pronunciation, are
transcribed as capitals.}



{Pseudonym of Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894),
daughter of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)}



"Familiar matter of to-day;
Some natural sorrow, loss or pain,
That has been, and may be again."

{William Wordsworth, English poet (1770-1850), "The Solitary
Reaper" lines 22-24}



CHAPTER I {would be CHAPTER XXIV, if numbered from beginning of
Vol. I}

"But there is matter for another rhyme;
And I to this would add another tale."

"And how do Miss and Madam do;
The little boy, and all?
All tight and well? and how do you,
Good Mr. What-do-you-call?"

{William Wordsworth (English poet, 1770-1850), "Poems of the
Imagination: Hart-Leap Well" lines 95-96. William Cowper (English
poet, 1731-1800), "The Yearly Distress, or, Tithing Time at Stock
in Essex" lines 33-36}

It is to be feared the reader will find fault with this chapter.
But there is no remedy; he must submit quietly to a break of
three years in the narrative: having to choose between the
unities and the probabilities, we greatly preferred holding to
the last. The fault, indeed, of this hiatus, rests entirely with
the young folk of Longbridge, whose fortunes we have undertaken
to follow; had they remained together, we should, of course, have
been faithful to our duty as a chronicler; but our task was not
so easy. In the present state of the world, people will move
about--especially American people; and making no claim to
ubiquity, we were obliged to wait patiently until time brought
the wanderers back again, to the neighbourhood where we first
made their acquaintance. Shortly after Jane's marriage, the whole
party broke up; Jane and her husband went to New-Orleans, where
Tallman Taylor was established as partner in a commercial house
connected with his father. Hazlehurst passed several years in
Mexico and South-America: an old friend of his father's, a
distinguished political man, received the appointment of Envoy to
Mexico, and offered Harry the post of Secretary of Legation.
Hazlehurst had long felt a strong desire to see the southern
countries of the continent, and was very glad of so pleasant an
arrangement; he left his friend Ellsworth to practise law alone,
and accompanied Mr. Henley, the Minister, to Mexico; and from
thence removed, after a time, to Brazil. Charlie had been
studying his profession in France and Italy, during the same
period. Even Elinor was absent from home much more than usual;
Miss Wyllys had been out of health for the last year or two; and,
on her account, they passed their summers in travelling, and a
winter in the West-Indies. At length, however, the party met
again on the old ground; and we shall take up the thread of our
narrative, during the summer in which the circle was re-united.
It is to be hoped that this break in the movement of our tale
will be forgiven, when we declare, that the plot is about to
thicken; perplexities, troubles, and misfortunes are gathering
about our Longbridge friends; a piece of intelligence which will
probably cheer the reader's spirits. We have it on the authority
of a philosopher, that there is something gratifying to human
nature in the calamities of our friends; an axiom which seems
true, at least, of all acquaintances made on paper.

"{Minister" = a diplomatic rank below that of Ambassador--a
Minister heads a Legation, an Ambassador an Embassy; prior to the
Civil War, the United States was not considered an important
enough country to send or receive Ambassadors. "Secretary of
Legation" = a diplomat serving under a Minister. "A philosopher"
= Francois, Duc de la Rochefoucauld (1618-1680), French author
famous for his maxims or epigraphs: "Dans l'adversite de nos
meilleurs amis, nous trouvons quelque chose qui ne nous deplait
pas" = In the misfortune of our best friends, we find something
which is not displeasing to us. Maxim No. 99, later suppressed.
By the 1840s, a well known expression}

We hear daily that life is short; and, surely, Time flies with
fearful rapidity if we measure his course by years:
three-score-and-ten, the allotted span of man, are soon numbered.
But events, thoughts, feelings, hopes, cares, are better marks
for the dial of life, than hours and minutes. In this view, the
path of life is a long road, full of meaning and of movement at
every step; and in this sense only is time justly appreciated;
each day loses its insignificance, and every yearly revolution of
the earth becomes a point in eternity.

The occurrences of the three years during which we have lost
sight of the Longbridge circle will speak for themselves, as our
tale is gradually unfolded. It is evident, however, at the first
glance, on returning to the old ground, that the village itself
has undergone some alterations. Though belonging to a part of the
country occasionally accused of being "unenterprising," it had
not proved insensible to the general movement felt throughout the
republic, in those halcyon days of brilliant speculation, which
commenced with the promise of good fortune to all, and ended by
bringing poverty to many, and disgrace to others. A rail-road now
runs through the principal street, and the new depot, a large,
uncouth building, stands conspicuous at its termination, looking
commercial prosperity, and internal improvement. Several new
stores have been opened, half-a-dozen "tasty mansions"--chiefly
imitations of Mr. Hubbard's--have been built, another large
tavern has been commenced, and two additional steamboats may be
seen lying at the wharf. The value of property in the village
itself, is said to have doubled, at least; new streets are laid
out, and branch rail-roads are talked of; and many people flatter
themselves that Longbridge will figure in the next census as a
flourishing city, with the full honours of a Corporation, Mayor,
and Aldermen. In the population, corresponding changes are also
perceptible; many new faces are seen in the streets, new names
are observed on the signs; others again are missed from their old
haunts, for there is scarcely a family in the place, which has
not sent its representation westward.

{"those halcyon days" = i.e., before the economic Panic of 1837,
and the seven-year depression that followed}

Most of our old acquaintances, however, still remain on the spot,
this pleasant afternoon in June, 183-. There stands Mr. Joseph
Hubbard, talking to Judge Bernard. That is Dr. Van Horne, driving
off in his professional sulkey. There are Mrs. Tibbs and Mrs.
Bibbs, side-by-side, as of old. Mrs. George Wyllys has moved, it
seems; her children are evidently at home in a door-yard on the
opposite side of the street, adjoining the Hubbard "Park." On the
door of that bright-coloured, spruce-looking brick house, you
will see the name of W. C. Clapp; and there are a pair of boots
resting on the window-sill of an adjoining office, which probably
belong to the person of the lawyer, himself. Now, we may observe
Mrs. Hilson and Miss Emmeline Hubbard flitting across the street,
"fascinating and aristocratic" as ever.

{"sulkey" = light two-wheeled carriage, seated for one person;
usually spelled "sulky"}

Let us leave the village, however, for the more immediate
neighbourhood of Wyllys-Roof; in which, it is hoped, the reader
will feel more particularly interested. There stands the little
cottage of the Hubbards, looking just as it did three years
since; it is possible that one or two of the bull's-eye panes of
glass may have been broken, and changed, and the grey shingles
are a little more moss-grown; but its general aspect is precisely
what it was when we were last there. The snow-ball and the
sweet-briar are in their old places, each side of the humble
porch; the white blossoms have fallen from the scraggy branches
of the snow-ball, this first week in June; the fresh pink buds
are opening on the fragrant young shoots of the sweet-briar.
There is our friend, Miss Patsey, wearing a sun-bonnet, at work
in the garden; and if you look through the open door of the
house, you will see beyond the passage into the neat little
kitchen, where we catch a glimpse of Mrs. Hubbard's white cap
over the back of her rocking-chair. It is possible that you may
also see the merry, shining, black face of a little handmaiden,
whom Miss Patsey has lately taken into the family; and, as the
tea-kettle is boiling, and the day's work chiefly over, the
little thing is often seen at this hour, playing about the
corners of the house, with the old cat. Ah, there is the little
minx!--her sharp ears have heard the sound of wheels, and she is
already at the open gate, to see what passes. A wagon stops; whom
have we here? Little Judy is frightened half out of her wits: a
young man she does not know, with his face covered with beard,
after a fashion she had never yet seen, springs from the wagon.
Miss Patsey turns to look.

"Charlie!"--she exclaims; and in another moment the youth has
received the joyful, tearful, agitated embrace of his mother and
sister. The darling of their hearts is at home again; three years
since, he left them, a boy, to meet dangers exaggerated tenfold
by their anxious hearts; he returns, a man, who has faced
temptations undreamed of by their simple minds. The wanderer is
once more beneath their humble roof; their partial eyes rest
again on that young face, changed, yet still the same.

Charlie finds the three last years have passed lightly over his
mother and his sister; theirs are the same kindly faces, the same
well-known voices, the best loved, the most trusted from
childhood. After the first eager moments of greeting are over,
and the first hurried questions have been answered, he looks
about him. Has not the dear old cottage shrunk to a very
nut-shell? He opens the door of the school-room; there are its
two benches, and its humble official desk, as of old; he looks
into the little parlour, and smiles to think of the respect he
felt in his childish days for Miss Patsey's drawing-room: many a
gilded gallery, many a brilliant saloon has he since entered as a
sight-seer, with a more careless step. He goes out on the porch;
is it possible that is the garden?--why it is no larger than a
table-cloth!--he should have thought the beds he had so often
weeded could not be so small: and the door-yard, one can shake
hands across it! And there is Wyllys-Roof, half hid by trees--he
used to admire it as a most venerable pile; in reality it is only
a plain, respectable country-house: as the home of the Wyllyses,
however, it must always be an honoured spot to him. Colonnade
Manor too--he laughs! There are some buildings that seem, at
first sight, to excite to irresistible merriment; they belong to
what may he called the "ridiculous order" of architecture, and
consist generally of caricatures on noble Greek models; Mr.
Taylor's elegant mansion had, undeniably, a claim to a
conspicuous place among the number. Charlie looks with a
painter's eye at the country; the scenery is of the simplest
kind, yet beautiful, as inanimate nature, sinless nature, must
ever be under all her varieties: he casts a glance upward at the
sky, bright and blue as that of Italy; how often has he studied
the heavens from that very spot! The trees are rich in their
summer verdure, the meadows are fragrant with clover, and through
Mr. Wyllys's woods there is a glimpse of the broad river, gilded
by the evening sun. It is a pleasing scene, a happy moment; it is
the first landscape he ever painted, and it is home.

Then Charlie returns to his mother; he sits by her side, she
takes his hand in her withered fingers, she rests her feeble
sight on his bright face; while Miss Patsey is preparing all the
dainties in the house for supper.

"Well, little one, what is your name?" said Charlie, as the black
child passed him with a load of good things.

"Judy, sir," said the little girl, with a curtsey, and a
half-frightened look at Charlie's face, for the young artist had
chosen to return with moustaches; whether he thought it
professional or becoming, we cannot say.

"We shall be good friends I hope, Judy; if you mind my sister
better than you ever did anybody else in your life, perhaps I
shall find some sugar-plums for you," said Charlie, pleased to
see a black face again.

Mrs. Hubbard remarked that, upon the whole, Judy was a pretty
good girl; and the child grinned, until two deep dimples were to
be seen in her shining dark cheeks, and the dozen little
non-descript braids which projected from her head in different
directions, seemed to stand on end with delight.

"And so Mr. Wyllys and the ladies are not at home. I wish I had
known of their being in New-York; I might at least have seen them
for a moment, yesterday."

"I wonder Mrs. Hilson did not mention their being in town."

"Julianna never knows what she is talking about. But I am glad to
hear good accounts of them all."

"Yes; Miss Wyllys has come home from the West-Indies, much

"Is it really true that Miss Elinor is going to be married

"Well, I can't say whether the story is true or not. She seems to
have many admirers now she has become an heiress."

"But I don't understand how she comes to be such a fortune."

{"a fortune" = short for a woman of fortune, an heiress}

"I don't understand it myself; Mr. Clapp can tell you all about
it. You know most people are a great deal richer now than they
were a few years ago. I heard some one say the other day, that my

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