List Of Contents | Contents of Elinor Wyllys, by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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resigned cheerfulness; Miss Agnes and Elinor also endeavoured to
look as became wedding-guests. The children, who had all received
presents from the bridegroom, evidently thought the occasion a
holiday. The clergyman having appeared, Mrs. Wyllys gave her hand
to the trembling groom, and the important transaction was soon

'There is, at least, no danger of Uncle Dozie's taking a nap,'
thought Harry, 'he looks too nervous and uncomfortable for that.'

Congratulations and good wishes were duly offered; they served
only to increase the bridegroom's distress, while the bride
appeared perfectly satisfied, and in very good spirits. She felt
disposed to make a cheerful sacrifice for the benefit of her
children, to whom she had secured an efficient protector, while
at the same time, she was now sure of a prudent friend and
counsellor for life: so at least she informed Mrs. Creighton.

"I am sorry your brother is not here, Mr. Hubbard."

"He went to New York, on business, last night," said the groom.

"I hope you will have a pleasant trip to Boston," continued Mr.

"Thank you for the wish, sir," interposed the bride, "but we
determined last evening to go to Niagara, as we have both been to
Boston already."

'We shall hear of you at New Orleans, yet,' thought Harry.

Refreshments were brought in, and everybody, of course, received
their usual share of the wedding-cake.

"You see I have set you an excellent example," said the bride to
Mrs. Creighton and Elinor.

"We must hope that these ladies will soon follow it," said Mr.
Ellsworth, with a glance at Elinor.

"Shall we thank him, Miss Wyllys?" said Mrs. Creighton. "It was
kindly meant, I dare say."

Mr. Wyllys, who was standing near them, smiled.

"It was only yesterday, Elinor," added the new Mrs. Hubbard,
"that Black Bess, who made the cake you are eating, told me when
she brought it home, that she hoped soon to make your own

"She has had the promise of it ever since I was five years old,"
said Elinor,

"Is it possible that Black Bess is still living and baking?" said
Harry. "I can remember her gingerbread, as long as I can
recollect anything. I once overheard some Longbridge ladies
declare, that they could tell Black Bess's cake as far as they
could see it; which struck me as something very wonderful."

"She seems to be a person of great importance," said Mrs.
Creighton; "I shall hope soon to make her acquaintance. My dear
Miss Elinor, I wish you would bear in mind that your wedding-cake
has been ordered these dozen years. I am afraid you forget how
many of us are interested in it, as well as Black Bess."

"Our notable housekeepers you know, tell us that wedding-cake
will bear keeping half-a-century," said Elinor, smiling.

"That is after the ceremony I am sure, not before," said Mrs.

Elinor seemed at last annoyed by these persevering allusions, and
several persons left the group. Hazlehurst took a seat by Miss
Patsey; he was anxious to show her that her brother-in-law's
behaviour, had in no manner changed his regard for herself and
her family.

"Where is Charlie," he asked.

"He has gone off to Lake Champlain now. I hope you and Charlie
will both soon get tired of travelling about, Mr. Hazlehurst; you
ought to stay at home with your friends."

"But I don't seem to have any home; Charlie and I are both by
nature, home-bred, home-staying youths, but we seem fated to
wander about. How is he coming on with his pictures?--has he
nearly done his work on the lakes?"

"Yes, I believe so; he has promised to come to Longbridge next
month, for the rest of the summer. He has been distressed, quite
as much as the rest of us, Mr. Hazlehurst, by these

"Do not speak of them, Miss Patsey; it is a bad business; but one
which will never interfere between me and my old friends, I

Miss Patsey looked her thanks, her mortification, and her
sympathy, but said nothing more.

The carriage which was to convey the bride and groom to the
steamboat, soon drove to the door; and taking leave of their
friends, the happy couple set off. They turned back, however,
before they were out of sight, as Mrs. Hubbard wished to change
the travelling-shawl she had first selected for another. Mr.
Wyllys, Elinor, and Harry accompanied them to the boat; and they
all three agreed, that the groom had not yet been guilty of
napping; although Hazlehurst declared, that as the seats on deck
were cool and shady, he had little doubt that he would be dozing
before the boat was out of sight.

Those who feel the same anxiety for the welfare of the children,
during their mother's absence, which weighed upon the mind of
Miss Agnes, will be glad to hear that they were all three carried
to Wyllys-Roof, under the charge of an experienced nurse. And it
must be confessed, that it was long since little George, a
riotous child, some seven years old, had been kept under such
steady, but kind discipline, as that under which he lived, during
this visit to his grandfather.

Mr. Ellsworth and Harry passed the morning at Longbridge, engaged
with their legal affairs; and in the evening Hazlehurst left
Wyllys-Roof for Philadelphia; and Mrs. Stanley accompanied him,
on her way to Greatwood.


"------- But by the stealth
Of our own vanity, we're left so poor."

{William Habington (English poet and dramatist, 1605-1664),
"Castara" I.20-21}

Now that Harry had left the house, Mrs. Creighton's attention was
chiefly given to Mr. Wyllys; although she had as usual, smiles,
both arch and sweet, sayings, both piquant and agreeable, for
each and all of the gentlemen from Broadlawn, who were frequent
visiters at Wyllys-Roof. Mr. Stryker, indeed, was there half the
time. It was evident that the lady was extremely interested in
Hazlehurst's difficulties; she was constant in her inquiries as
to the progress of affairs, and listened anxiously to the many
different prognostics as to the result. Miss Agnes remarked
indeed, one day, when Mr. Ellsworth thought he had succeeded in
obtaining an all-important clue, in tracing the previous career
of Harry's opponent, that his sister seemed much elated--she sent
an extremely amiable message to Hazlehurst in her brother's
letter. It afterwards appeared, however, on farther inquiry, that
this very point turned out entirely in favour of the sailor,
actually proving that nine years previously he had sailed in one
of the Havre packets, under the name of William Stanley. Mrs.
Creighton that evening expressed her good wishes for Harry, in a
much calmer tone, before a roomfull {sic} of company.

"Ladies, have you no sympathizing message for Hazlehurst?"
inquired Mr. Ellsworth, as he folded a letter he had been

"Oh, certainly; we were sorry to hear the bad news;" and she then
turned immediately, and began an animated, laughing conversation
with Hubert de Vaux.

'What a difference in character between the brother and sister,'
thought Miss Agnes, whose good opinion of Mr. Ellsworth had been
raised higher than ever, by the earnest devotion to his friend's
interest, which appeared throughout his whole management of the

The family at Wyllys-Roof were careful to show, by their friendly
attention to the Hubbards, that their respect and regard for them
had not suffered at all by the steps Mr. Clapp had taken. Miss
Agnes and Elinor visited the cottage as frequently as ever. One
morning, shortly after the wedding, Miss Wyllys went to inquire
after Mrs. Hubbard, as she was in the habit of doing. She found
Mary Hubbard, the youngest daughter, there, and was struck on
entering, by the expression of Miss Patsey's face--very different
from her usual calm, pleasant aspect.

"Oh, Miss Wyllys!" she exclaimed, in answer to an inquiry of Miss
Agnes's--"I am just going to Longbridge! My poor, kind uncle
Joseph!--but he was always too weak and indulgent to those

"What has happened?" asked Miss Wyllys, anxiously.

"Dreadful news, indeed; Mrs. Hilson has disgraced herself!--Her
husband has left her and applied for a divorce! But I do not
believe it is half as bad as most people think; Julianna has been
shamefully imprudent, but I cannot think her guilty!"

{"Her husband has left her..." = this incident seems to reflect
the unhappy marriage between Henry Nicholas Cruger (1800-1867) --
a close friend of the Cooper family -- and the free-wheeling
Harriet Douglas (1790-1872). After their 1833 marriage, Harriet
Douglas insisted on living her own life -- often in Europe;
Cruger eventually left her and in 1843 began a lengthy and highly
public divorce action based on desertion. The Cooper family
strongly disapproved of Harriet Douglas, and she is believed to
have been an inspiration for the free-wheeling Mary Monson in
James Fenimore Cooper's last novel, "The Ways of the Hour"

Miss Wyllys was grieved to hear such a bad account of her old
neighbour's daughter.

"Her husband has left her, you say; where is she now?"

"Her father brought her home with him. He went after her to
Newport, where she had gone in the same party with this man--this
Mr. de Montbrun, and a person who lives in the same
boarding-house, a Mrs. Bagman, who has done a great deal of harm
to Julianna."

"Sad, indeed!" exclaimed Miss Agnes.

"Charles says it is heart-rending, to see my poor uncle, who was
so proud of his good name--thought so much of his daughters!
Often have I heard him say: 'Let them enjoy life, Patsey, while
they are young; girls can't do much harm; I love to see them look
pretty and merry.' They never received any solid instruction, and
since her marriage, Julianna seems to have been in bad company.
She had no children to think about, and Mr. Hilson's time is
always given to his business; her head was full of nonsense from
morning till night; I was afraid no good would come of it."

"It is at least a great point, that she should have come back
with her father."

"Yes, indeed; I am thankful for it, from the bottom of my heart.
Oh, Miss Wyllys, what a dreadful thing it is, to see young people
going on, from one bad way to another!" exclaimed Miss Patsey.

"We must hope that her eyes will be opened, now."

"If she had only taken warning from what Charles told her about
this Mr. de Montbrun; he had seen him at Rome, and though he had
no positive proofs, knew he was a bad man, and told Mrs. Hilson
so. It is surely wrong, Miss Wyllys, to let all kinds of
strangers from foreign countries into our families, without
knowing anything about them."

"I have often thought it very wrong," said Miss Agnes, earnestly.

"But Mrs. Hilson wouldn't believe a word Charles said. She talked
a great deal about aristocratic fashions; said she wouldn't be a
slave to prudish notions--just as she always talks."

"Where was her husband, all this time?"

"He was in New York. They had not agreed well for some time, on
account of her spending so much money, and flirting with
everybody. At last he heard how his wife was behaving, and went
to Saratoga. He found everybody who knew her, was talking about
Julianna and this Frenchman. They had a violent quarrel, and he
brought her back to town, but gave her warning, if ever she spoke
again to that man he would leave her. Would you believe it!--in
less than a week, she went to the theatre with him and this Mrs.
Bagman! You know Mr. Hilson is a quiet man in general, but when
he has made up his mind to anything, he never changes it: when he
came in from his business, and found where his wife had gone, he
wrote a letter to Uncle Joseph, and left the house."

"But what does Mrs. Hilson say? Does she show any feeling?"

"She cries a great deal, but talks just as usual; says she is a
victim to her husband's brutality and jealousy. It seems
impossible to make her see things in their right light. I hope
and pray that her eyes may be opened, but I am afraid it will be
a long time before they are. But it is hard, Miss Wyllys, to open
the eyes of the blind and deluded! It is more than mortal man can

"Yes; we feel at such times our miserable weakness, and the
influence of evil upon human nature, more, perhaps, than at any
other moment!"

"That is true, indeed. I have often thought, Miss Wyllys, that
those who have watched over a large family of children and young
people, have better notions about the true state of human nature,
than your great philosophers. That has been the difficulty with
Uncle Hubbard; he said girls in a respectable family were in no
danger of doing what was wrong; that he hated preaching and
scolding, and could not bear to make young people gloomy, by
talking to them about serious subjects. My father always taught
me to think very differently; he believed that the only way to
help young people to be really happy and cheerful, was to teach
them to do their duty."

"It would be well, if all those who have charge of young persons
thought so!" exclaimed Miss Agnes.

"But, oh, Miss Wyllys, I dread seeing my poor uncle! Charles
writes me word that he is quite changed--pale and care-worn--so
different from his usual look; he says my uncle has grown ten
years older in the last week. And such a kind, indulgent father
as he has been!"

Tears filled Miss Wyllys's eyes. "Is his daughter Emmeline at
home?" she asked.

"Yes; and Emmeline seems more sobered by this terrible business,
than Mrs. Hilson herself. She sent for me, thinking I might be of
some service to Julianna, and persuade her to stay at home, and
not return to Mrs. Bagman, as she threatens to do."

A wagon was waiting to carry Miss Patsey to Longbridge, and Miss
Agnes begging that she might not detain her, she set out on her
painful duty. On arriving at her uncle's house, she almost
dreaded to cross the threshold. She found Mr. Hubbard in the
dining-room; he paid no attention to her as she opened the door,
but continued walking up and down. She scarcely knew how to
address him; the common phrases of greeting that rose to her lips
seemed misplaced. He either did not see her, or would not notice
her. She then walked quite near to him, and holding out her hand,
said in a calm tone:

"Uncle, I have come to see Julianna."

The muscles of his face moved, but he made no answer.

"I have come to stay with her, if you wish it."

"Thank you," he said, in a thick voice.

"Is there anything I can do for you?"

"What can be done?" he said, bitterly, and almost roughly.

"Do you wish me to stay?"

"Yes; I am obliged to you for coming to see a woman of bad

Patsey left him for the present. She found her cousins together;
Emmeline's eyes were red, as if she had just been weeping; Mrs.
Hilson was stretched on a sofa, in a very elegant morning-gown,
reading a novel of very doubtful morality. Patsey offered her
hand, which was taken quite cavalierly.

"Well, Patsey," she said, "I hope you have not come to be a spy
upon me."

"I have come to see you, because I wish to be of service to you,

"Then, my dear child, you must bring his High-Mightiness, my
jealous husband to reason," said the lady, smoothing a fold in

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