List Of Contents | Contents of Elinor Wyllys, by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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Minstrel aloud to him, and he seemed to enjoy it very much,"
continued Mrs. Wyllys.

{"Lay of the Last Minstrel" = long narrative poem (1805) by Sir
Walter Scott (1771-1832)}

'He took a nap, I suppose,' thought Miss Agnes. "He ought to be
well pleased to have a fair lady read aloud to him," she replied,

"The better I know him, the more satisfied I am with my choice. I
have: found a man upon whom I can depend for support and
advice--and one who is at the same time a very pleasant
companion. Do you know, he sometimes reminds me of our excellent

This was really going too far, in Miss Agnes's opinion; she quite
resented a comparison between Uncle Dozie and Mr. Wyllys. The
widow, however, was too much occupied with her own affairs, to
notice Miss Agnes's expression.

"I find, indeed, that the whole family are more agreeable than I
had supposed; but you rather gave me a prejudice against them.
The young ladies improve on acquaintance, they are pretty,
amiable young women; I have seen them quite often since we have
been near neighbours. Well, I must leave you, for Mr. Hubbard
dines with me to-day. In the mean time, Agnes, I commit my
affairs to your hands. Since I did not find your father at home,
I shall write to him this evening."

The ladies parted; and as Mrs. Wyllys passed out of the room, she
met Elinor.

"Good morning, Elinor," she said; "your aunt has news for you,
which I would tell you myself if I had time:" then nodding, she
left the house, and had soon driven off. "My dear Aunt, what is
this news?" asked Elinor.

Miss Agnes looked a little annoyed, a little mortified, and a
little amused.

When the mystery was explained, Elinor's amazement was great.

"It is incredible!" she exclaimed. "My Aunt Wyllys actually going
to marry that prosing, napping Mr. Hubbard; Uncle Dozie!"

"When I remember her husband," said Miss Agnes, with feeling, "it
does seem incredible; my dear, warm-hearted, handsome, animated
brother George!"

"How extraordinary!" said Elinor, who could do nothing but

"No; not in the least extraordinary," added Miss Agnes; "such
marriages, dear, seem quite common." Mr. Wyllys was not at all
astonished at the intelligence.

"I have expected that Harriet would marry, all along; she has a
great many good intentions, and some good qualities; but I knew
she would not remain a widow. It is rather strange that she
should have chosen James Hubbard; but she might have done worse."

With these philosophical reflections, Mrs. Wyllys's friends
looked forward to the happy event which was soon to take place.
The very same morning that Miss Agnes was taken into the
confidence of the bride, the friends of the groom also learned
the news, but in a more indirect manner.

The charms of a parterre are daily be-rhymed in verse, and
vaunted in prose, but the beauties of a vegetable garden seldom
meet with the admiration they might claim. If you talk of beets,
people fancy them sliced with pepper and vinegar; if you mention
carrots, they are seen floating in soup; cabbage figures in the
form of cold-slaw, or disguised under drawn-butter; if you refer
to corn, it appears to the mind's eye wrapt in a napkin to keep
it warm, or cut up with beans in a succatash {sic}. Half the
people who see these good things daily spread on the board before
them, are only acquainted with vegetables after they have been
mutilated and disguised by cookery. They would not know the leaf
of a beet from that of the spinach, the green tuft of a carrot
from the delicate sprigs of parsley. Now, a bouquet of roses and
pinks is certainly a very beautiful object, but a collection of
fine vegetables, with the rich variety of shape and colour, in
leaf, fruit, and root, such as nature has given them to us, is a
noble sight. So thought Uncle Dozie, at least. The rich texture
and shading of the common cabbage-leaf was no novelty to him; he
had often watched the red, coral-like veins in the glossy green
of the beet; the long, waving leaf of the maize, with the silky
tassels of its ears, were beautiful in his eyes; and so were the
rich, white heads of the cauliflower, delicate as carved ivory,
the feathery tuft of the carrot, the purple fruit of the
egg-plant, and the brilliant scarlet tomato. He came nearer than
most Christians, out of Weathersfield, to sympathy with the old
Egyptians in their onion-worship.

{"parterre" = ornamental flower garden; "out of Weathersfield" =
Wethersfield (the modern spelling), Connecticut, was famous for
its onions (there is still a red onion called "Red
Weathersfield"), until struck by a blight about 1840; "old
Egyptians" = ancient Egypt was proverbial for worshiping the

With such tastes and partialities, Uncle Dozie was generally to
be found in his garden, between the hours of sun-rise and
sun-set; gardening having been his sole occupation for nearly
forty years. His brother, Mr. Joseph Hubbard, having something to
communicate, went there in search of him, on the morning to which
we refer. But Uncle Dozie was not to be found. The gardener,
however, thought that he could not have gone very far, for he had
passed near him not five minutes before; and he suggested that,
perhaps Mr. Hubbard was going out somewhere, for "he looked kind
o' spruce and drest up." Mr. Hubbard expected his brother to dine
at home, and thought the man mistaken. In passing an arbour,
however, he caught a glimpse of the individual he was looking
for, and on coming nearer, he found Uncle Dozie, dressed in a new
summer suit, sitting on the arbour seat taking a nap, while at
his feet was a very fine basket of vegetables, arranged with more
than usual care. Unwilling to disturb him, his brother, who knew
that his naps seldom lasted more than a few minutes at a time,
took a turn in the garden, waiting for him to awake. He had
hardly left the arbour however, before he heard Uncle Dozie
moving; turning in that direction, he was going to join him,
when, to his great astonishment, he saw his brother steal from
the arbour, with the basket of vegetables on his arm, and
disappear between two rows of pea-brush.

"James!--I say, James!--Where are you going? Stop a minute, I
want to speak to you!" cried Mr. Joseph Hubbard.

He received no answer.

"James!--Wait a moment for me! Where are you?" added the
merchant; and walking quickly to the pea-rows, he saw his brother
leave them and dexterously make for the tall Indian-corn. Now
Uncle Dozie was not in the least deaf; and his brother was
utterly at a loss to account for his evading him in the first
place, and for his not answering in the second. He thought the
man had lost his senses: he was mistaken, Uncle Dozie had only
lost his heart. Determined not to give up the chase, still
calling the retreating Uncle Dozie, he pursued him from the
pea-rows into the windings of the corn-hills, across the walk to
another growth of peas near the garden paling. Here, strange to
say, in a manner quite inexplicable to his brother, Uncle Dozie
and his vegetables suddenly disappeared! Mr. Hubbard was
completely at fault: he could scarcely believe that he was in his
own garden, and that it was his own brother James whom he had
been pursuing, and who seemed at that instant to have vanished
from before his eyes--through the fence, he should have said, had
such a thing been possible. Mr. Hubbard was a resolute man; he
determined to sift the matter to the bottom. Still calling upon
the fugitive, he made his way to the garden paling through the
defile of the peas. No one was there--a broad, open bed lay on
either hand, and before him the fence. At last he observed a
foot-print in the earth near the paling, and a rustling sound
beyond. He advanced and looked over, and to his unspeakable
amazement, saw his brother, James Hubbard, busily engaged there,
in collecting the scattered vegetables which had fallen from his

"Jem!--I have caught you at last, have I? What in the name of
common sense are you about there?"

No reply was made, but Uncle Dozie proceeded to gather up his
cauliflowers, peas and tomatoes, to the best of his ability.

"Did you fly over the fence, or through it?" asked his brother,
quite surprised.

"Neither one nor the other," replied Uncle Dozie, sulkily. "I
came through the gate."

"Gate!--why there never was a gate here!"

"There is one now."

And so there was; part of the paling had been turned into a
narrow gate.

"Why, who cut this gate, I should like to know?"

"I did."

"You did, Jem? What for?--What is the use of it?"

"To go through."

"To go where? It only leads into Mrs. Wyllys's garden."

Uncle Dozie made no answer.

"What are you doing with those vegetables? I am really curious to

"Going to carry them down there," said Uncle Dozie.

"Down where?" repeated Uncle Josie, looking on the ground strewed
with vegetables.

"Over there."

"Over where?" asked the merchant, raising his eyes towards a
neighbouring barn before him.

"Yonder," added Uncle Dozie, making a sort of indescribable nod
backward with his head.

"Yonder!--In the street do you mean? Are you going to throw them

"Throw away such a cauliflower as this!" exclaimed Uncle Dozie,
with great indignation.

"What are you going to do with them, then?"

"Carry them to the house there."

"What house?"

"Mrs. Wyllys's, to be sure," replied Uncle Dozie, boldly.

"What is the use of carrying vegetables to Mrs. Wyllys? She has a
garden of her own" said his brother, very innocently.

"Miserable garden--poor, thin soil," muttered Uncle Dozie.

"Is it? Well, then, I can understand it; but you might us well
send them by the gardener."

Uncle Dozie made no reply, but proceeded to arrange his
vegetables in the basket, with an eye to appearances; he had
gathered them all up again, but another object which had fallen
on the grass lay unnoticed.

"What is that--a book?" asked his brother.

Uncle Dozie turned round, saw the volume, picked it up, and
thrust it in his pocket.

"Did you drop it? I didn't know you ever carried a book about
you," replied his brother, with some surprise. "What is it?"

"A book of poetry."

"Whose poetry?"

"I am sure I've forgotten," replied Uncle Dozie, taking a look
askance at the title, as it half-projected from his pocket. "It's
Coleridge's Ancient Mariner," he added.

{"Coleridge's..." = "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1798) by
the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). A number of
chapter epigraphs in "Elinor Wyllys" are taken from this famous

"What in the world are you going to do with it?" said his
brother, with increasing surprise.

"I wanted a volume of poetry."

"You--Jem Hubbard! Why, I thought Yankee-Doodle was the only
poetry you cared for!"

"I don't care for it, but she does."

"She!--What SHE?" asked Uncle Josie, with lively curiosity, but
very little tact, it would seem.

"Mrs. Wyllys," was the laconic reply.

"Oh, Mrs. Wyllys; I told her some time ago that she was very
welcome to any of our books."

"It isn't one of your books; it's mine; I bought it."

"It wasn't worth while to buy it, Jem," said his brother; "I dare
say Emmeline has got it in the house. If Mrs. Wyllys asked to
borrow it, you ought to have taken Emmeline's, though she isn't
at home; she just keeps her books to show off on the
centre-table, you know. Our neighbour, Mrs. Wyllys, seems quite a

"She doesn't want this to read herself," observed Uncle Dozie.

"No?--What does she want it for?"

"She wants me to read it aloud."

Uncle Josie opened his eyes in mute astonishment. Uncle Dozie
continued, as if to excuse himself for this unusual offence: "She
asked for a favourite volume of mine; but I hadn't any favourite;
so I bought this. It looks pretty, and the bookseller said it was
called a good article."

"Why, Jem, are you crazy, man!--YOU going to read poetry aloud!"

"Why not?" said Uncle Dozie, growing bolder as the conversation
continued, and he finished arranging his basket.

"I believe you are out of your head, Jem; I don't understand you
this morning. What is the meaning of this?--what are you about?"

"Going to be married," replied Uncle Dozie, not waiting for any
further questions, but setting off at a brisk step towards Mrs.
Wyllys's door.

Mr. Joseph Hubbard remained looking over the fence in silent
amazement; he could scarcely believe his senses, so entirely was
he taken by surprise. In good sooth, Uncle Dozie had managed
matters very slily, through that little gate in the garden
paling; not a human being had suspected him. Uncle Josie's doubts
were soon entirely removed, however; he was convinced of the
reality of all he had heard and seen that morning, when he
observed his brother standing on Mrs. Wyllys's steps, and the
widow coming out to receive him, with a degree of elegance in her
dress, and graciousness in her manner, quite perceptible across
the garden: the fair lady admired the vegetables, ordered them
carried into the cellar, and received Coleridge's Ancient Mariner
from Uncle Dozie's hands, while they were still standing beneath
the rose-covered porch, looking sufficiently lover-like to remove
any lingering doubts of Uncle Josie. After the happy couple had
entered the house, the merchant left his station at the paling,
and returned to his own solitary dinner, laughing heartily
whenever the morning scene recurred to him. We have said that
Uncle Dozie had managed his love affairs thus far so slyly, that
no one suspected him; that very afternoon, however, one of the
most distinguished gossips of Longbridge, Mrs. Tibbs's mother,
saw him napping in Mrs. Wyllys's parlour, with a rose-bud in his
button-hole, and the Ancient Mariner in his hand. She was quite
too experienced in her vocation, not to draw her own conclusions;
and a suspicion, once excited, was instantly communicated to
others. The news spread like wild-fire; and when the evening-bell
rang, it had become a confirmed fact in many houses, that Mrs.
Wyllys and Mr. James Hubbard had already been privately married
six months.


"Now tell me, brother Clarence, what think you
Of this ----------------- ?"
Henry VI.

{William Shakespeare, "3 Henry VI", IV.i.1-2}

BEFORE the end of the week, the friends at Wyllys-Roof, after
carefully examining all the facts within their knowledge, were
confirmed in their first opinion, that the individual claiming to
be William Stanley was an impostor. Mrs. Stanley was the last of
the three to make up her mind decidedly, on the point; but at
length, she also was convinced, that Mr. Clapp and this sailor
had united in a conspiracy to obtain possession of her husband's
estate. The chief reasons for believing this to be the case,
consisted in the difference of CHARACTER and EXPRESSION between
the claimant and William Stanley: the more Mr. Wyllys examined
this point, the clearer it appeared to him, who had known his
friend's only son from an infant, and had always felt much
interested in him. As a child, and a boy, William Stanley had
been of a morose temper, and of a sluggish, inactive mind--not

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