List Of Contents | Contents of Elinor Wyllys, by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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"Certainly," replied Harry; who was evidently somewhat prepared
for the disclosure.

"It is now some time since I have been attached to her, but it is
only lately that I have been able to urge my suit as I could
wish. The better I know Elinor Wyllys, the more anxious I am for
success. I never met with a woman of a more lovely character."

"You only do her justice."

"There is something about her that is peculiar; different from
the common-place set of young ladies one meets with every day;
and yet she is perfectly feminine and womanly."

And Mr. Ellsworth here ran over various good qualities of
Elinor's. It is impossible to say, whether Harry smiled or not,
at this lover-like warmth: if he did, it was too dark for his
friend to observe it.

"In a situation like mine, with a daughter to educate, the choice
of a wife is particularly important. Of course I feel much
anxiety as to the decision of a woman like Miss Wyllys, one whose
good opinion is worth the wooing: and yet, if I do not deceive
myself, her manner is not discouraging."

"Is she aware of your feelings?" asked Harry.

"Yes; I have only proposed in form quite lately, however, a day
or two after you arrived. Miss Wyllys scarcely seemed prepared
for my declaration, although I thought I had spoken sufficiently
distinctly to be understood, some time since. She wished for time
to consider: I was willing to wait as long as she pleased; with
the hope of eventually succeeding. Her friends are quite well
disposed towards me, think. Mr. Wyllys's manner to me has always
been gratifying, and I hope her aunt is in my favour. To speak
frankly, there have been times when I have felt much encouraged
as regards Miss Wyllys herself. You will not think me a coxcomb,
Hazlehurst, for opening my heart to you in this way."

"Certainly not; you honour me by your confidence."

"I should like to have your honest opinion as to my future
prospects; for, of course, one can never feel sure until
everything is settled. Josephine is hardly a fair judge--she is
very sanguine; but like myself she is interested in the affair."

"Mrs. Creighton has so much discernment, that I should think she
could not be easily deceived. If my kinswoman knows your views, I
should say that you have reason to be encouraged by her manner.
There is nothing like coquetry about her; I am convinced she
thinks highly of you."

"Thank you; it gives me great pleasure to hear you say so. The
question must now be decided before long. I was only prevented
from explaining myself earlier, by the fear of speaking too soon.
For though I have known Miss Wyllys some time, yet we have seldom
met. I dare say you are surprised that I did not declare myself
sooner; I am inclined to think you would have managed an affair
of the kind more expeditiously; for you are more rapid in most of
your movements than myself. But although I might imagine love at
first sight, I never could fancy a declaration worth hearing, the
first day."

"Do you insinuate that such is the practice of your humble
servant?" asked Hazlehurst, smiling.

"Oh, no; but I was afraid you might disapprove of my
deliberation. My chief hope rests upon Miss Wyllys's good sense
and the wishes of her friends, who, I think, are evidently
favourable to me. She has no silly, high-flown notions; she is
now of an age--three or four-and-twenty I think--to take a
reasonable view of the world; and I hope she will find the
sincere affection of a respectable man, whose habits and position
resemble her own, sufficient for her."

"You wish, I suppose, to hear me repeat, that such will
undoubtedly be the result," said Harry, smiling again.

"Perhaps I do," replied Mr. Ellsworth, in the same tone. "I
suppose you are discerning enough to be aware that I have a rival
in Mr. Stryker."

"Stryker attentive to Elinor? It has not struck me; I had fancied
him rather an admirer of Mrs. Creighton's."

"Of Josephine? Oh, no; she can't endure him, they are quarrelling
half the time when together. No, it is very evident that Stryker
is courting Miss Wyllys's favour. But I confess I feel encouraged
by her conduct towards him; there is a quiet civility in it,
which speaks anything but very decided approbation."

"I know Elinor too well, not to feel assured she must despise a
man of Stryker's character," said Harry, with some indignation.
"He can't appreciate her; it can be nothing more, on his part,
than downright fortune-hunting."

"No doubt; there you mention another motive I have, for not being
too hasty in my declaration to Miss Wyllys. I could wish to
convince her that my attachment is sincere."

"Certainly. I forget twenty times a day that she is now a
fortune, until I see some fellow, like William Hunter, or
Stryker, paying their court to her. I have never been accustomed
to consider her in that light, of old. In fact I had no idea of
her reputation as an heiress, until I found it so well
established when I arrived here. But Saratoga is just the place
to make such discoveries. I was quite behind the age in every
respect, it seems; for although it did not require much
penetration to find out your secret, Ellsworth, yet I was taken
entirely by surprise. You never made any allusion to anything of
the kind, in your letters to me."

"It was so seldom that I met Miss Wyllys, that for a time my mind
was undecided. But, of course, I should have written you word, if
anything had been finally settled; even if you had not come to
look after me in propria persona."

Having reached their hotel, the gentlemen parted. Mr. Ellsworth
would, in all probability, have been less communicative with his
friend Hazlehurst, on the subject of their recent conversation,
had he been aware of the state of things which formerly existed
between Elinor and himself. He had only heard some vague stories
of an engagement between them, but had always supposed it mere
gossip, from having seen Harry's attention to Jane, when they
were all in Paris together; while he knew, on the other hand,
that Hazlehurst had always been on the most intimate terms with
the Wyllyses, as a family connexion. He was aware that Harry had
been very much in love with Miss Graham, for he had remarked it
himself; and he supposed that if there had ever been any
foundation for the report of an engagement with Elinor, it had
probably been a mere childish caprice, soon broken, and which had
left no lasting impression on either party.


"Nor have these eyes, by greener hills
Been soothed, in all my wanderings."

{William Wordsworth (English poet, 1770-1850), "Yarrow Visited,
September 1814" lines 11-12}

CHARLIE HUBBARD had been at Lake George for some days; and it was
a settled thing, that after he had established himself there, and
fixed upon a point for his picture, his friends from Saratoga
were to pay him a visit. Accordingly, the Wyllyses, with a party
large enough to fill a coach, set out for the excursion, leaving
Mrs. Stanley, Jane, her sister, Mrs. Hazlehurst, and their
children, at the Springs. The weather was fine, and they set out
gaily, with pleasant prospects before them.

Charlie was very glad to see them, and as he had already been
some time on the ground, he thought himself qualified to play
cicerone. Most of the party had a relish for natural scenery, and
of course they were prepared to enjoy very much, a visit to such
a lovely spot. Robert Hazlehurst, it is true, was indifferent to
everything of the kind; he acknowledged himself a thorough
utilitarian in taste, and avowed his preference for a muddy
canal, running between fields, well covered with corn and
pumpkins, turnips and potatoes, rather than the wildest lake,
dotted with useless islands, and surrounded with inaccessible
Alps; but as he frankly confessed his want of taste, and assured
his friends that he accompanied them only for the sake of their
society, they were bound to overlook the defect. Mr. Stryker also
said a great deal about his indifference towards les ormeaux, les
rameaux, et les hameaux, affecting much more than he felt, and
affirming that the only lakes he liked, were the ponds of the
Tuileries, and the parks of London; the only trees, those of the
Boulevards; and as for villages, he could never endure one, not
even the Big Village of Washington. He only came, he said,
because he must follow the ladies, and was particularly anxious
to give Mrs. Creighton an opportunity of finishing his education,
and--to fish. Some of the party were: sorry he had joined them;
but Mrs. Creighton had asked him.

{"cicerone" = guide (Italian); "les ormeaux, les rameaux, et les
hameaux..." = elms, branches, and hamlets (French)}

"Are Mrs. Hilson and her sister still at Saratoga?" inquired
Charlie Hubbard of Hazlehurst, the evening they arrived at

{"Caldwell" = village at the southern end of Lake George in New
York State; the village has since been renamed Lake George}

"I believe so; they were there the day before, yesterday, for
Mrs. Hilson asked me to a pic-nic, at Barkydt's {sic} --but I was
engaged. I think I saw Miss Hubbard in the street, yesterday."

{"Barkydt's" = Barhydt's Pond, a "little ear-shaped
lake...surrounded by pyramidal firs, pines and evergreens," once
famous for its trout fishing, owned by Jacobus Barhydt (often
spelled Barhyte). A pleasure spot two miles east of Saratoga
Springs, it was, in the 1830s, the site of a popular tavern and
restaurant. Jacobus Barhydt died in 1840, and the property was
dispersed; to be reassembled in 1881 by New York banker Spencer
Trask as a summer estate After many changes, it is now owned by
the Corporation of Yaddo, and run as a world-famous summer center
for creative artists and writers}

"Had they the same party with them still?"

"Yes; it seemed to be very much the same party."

Hubbard looked mortified; but he was soon busy answering
inquiries as to the projected movements for the next day.

The following morning the whole party set out, in two skiffs, to
pass the day on the lake. Under Charlie's guidance, they rowed
about among the islands, now coasting the shores, now crossing
from one point to another, wherever the views were finest;
generally keeping near enough, as they moved leisurely along, for
conversation between the two boats.

"How beautifully clear the water is!" exclaimed Elinor.

"The water in the Swiss lakes is limpid I suppose, Charlie, like
most mountain streams?" observed Mr. Wyllys.

"It is clear, sir; and in the heart of the Alps it has a very
peculiar colour--a blueish tinge--from the glaciers, like molten
lapis lazuli; entirely different from the deep, ultra-marine blue
of the Mediterranean."

"Have you any views of the Swiss lakes?" asked Elinor."

"Yes; I can show you several--and, as usual, there is a
difference in their colouring: from Lugarn; a little bit of lapis
lazuli, lying like a jewel, in the green pastures, half way up
the Alps, just below the ice and snow, to the reedy lake of
Morat, on the plains of Neufchatel, more like an agate," added
Charlie, smiling.

"We shall hope to see them, when we pass through New York," said
Elinor, listening with interest.

"I will show them to you with great pleasure, faute de mieux,
Miss Elinor; but I hope you will one day see the originals."

{"faute de mieux" = for want of something better (French)}

"In the mean time, however, we shall be very glad to enjoy your
pictures. Have you any Italian views?"

"Yes, quite a number; wherever I went, I made sketches at least;
though I have not yet had time to finish them all as pictures. In
my boxes there are Venetian lagoons, and Dutch canals; a view of
the Seine, in the heart of Paris, and the Thames, at London; the
dirty, famous Tiber, classic Arno, and classic Avon."

"You make our eyes water, Charlie, with such a catalogue," said
Mr. Wyllys. "You must certainly get up an exhibition, and add
several of your American pictures to those you have just brought

"I really hope you will do so," said Elinor. "The transparent
amber-like water of the Canada, and the emerald colour of
Niagara, would appear finely in such a collection."

{"Canada" = from the context, probably Trenton Falls on the West
Canada Creek, a major tourist attraction during the 19th century}

"I shall never dare attempt Niagara," exclaimed Charlie. "All the
beauties of all the other waters in the world are united there.
It will not do to go beyond the rapids; I should be lost if I but
ventured to the edge of the whirlpool itself."

"I have no doubt you will try it yet," said Harry.

The young artist shook his head. "I am sometimes disposed to
throw aside the brush in disgust, at the temerity of man, which
can attempt to copy even what is most noble, in the magnificent
variety, and the simple grandeur of nature."

"You have been sufficiently successful in what you have attempted
hitherto," said Harry. "I saw your view of Lake Ontario, in
Philadelphia, just after I arrived; and I can never forget the
impression it produced on me. Of all your pictures that I have
seen, that is my favourite."

"It is indeed a noble picture," said Mr. Wyllys.

"And few men but yourself, Charlie, could have given so deep an
interest to a broad field of water, with only a strip of
common-place shore in the fore-ground, and a bank of clouds in
the distance. A common painter would have thrown in some
prettiness of art, that would have ruined it; but you have given
it a simple dignity that is really wonderful!" said Hazlehurst.

"You mortify me," said Charlie; "it is so much inferior to what I
could wish."

"Captain C-----," continued Harry, "who was stationed at Oswego
for several years, told me he should have known your picture
without the name, for a view of one of the great lakes; there was
so much truth in the colour and movement of the water; so much
that was different from the Ocean."

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is cruel in you to flatter a poor young
artist at this rate," said Charlie.

"If it is criticism you want," said Hazlehurst, "I can give you a
dose. You were very severely handled in my presence, a day or two
since, and on the very subject of your picture of Lake Ontario."

"Pray, let me hear the criticism; it will sober me."

"What was the fault?" said Elinor; "what was wanting?"

"A few houses and a steamboat, to make it lively."

"You are making up a good story, Mr. Hazlehurst," said Mrs.
Creighton, laughing.

"I give you the critic's words verbatim. I really looked at the
young lady in astonishment, that she should see nothing but a
want of liveliness in a picture, which most of us feel to be
sublime. But Miss D----- had an old grudge against you, for not
having made her papa's villa sufficiently prominent in your view
of Hell-Gate."

"But, such a villa!" said Hubbard. "One of the ugliest within ten
miles of New York. It is possible, sometimes, by keeping at a
distance, concealing defects, and partially revealing columns
through verdure, to make one of our Grecian-temple houses appear
to advantage in a landscape; but, really, Mr. D-----'s villa was

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