List Of Contents | Contents of Elinor Wyllys, by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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of our failure, I should certainly apply to my immediate friends,
for I could never bear the thought of being in debt to those
rascals. But if the affair turns out in that way, I must stay at
home and work hard, to clear myself entirely. I am young, and if
we fail to repel this claim, still I shall hope by industry and
prudence, to discharge all obligations before I am many years

"I have never doubted, Harry, that in either case you would do
what is just and honourable; but I mourn that there should be any
danger of such a sacrifice."

"It would be a sacrifice, indeed; including much that I have
valued heretofore--tastes, habits, partialities, prospects,
fortune, hopes--all must undergo a change, all must he

"And hopes are often a precious part of a young man's portion,"
said Mrs. Stanley.

Hazlehurst happened to raise his eyes as she spoke, and, from the
expression of her face, he fancied that she was thinking of Mrs.
Creighton. He changed colour, and remained silent a moment.

"You would be compelled to give up your connexion with Mr.
Henley," she observed, by way of renewing the conversation.

"Yes, of course; I should have to abandon that, I could not
afford it; I should have to devote myself to my profession. I
have no notion, however, of striking my colours to these
land-pirates until after a hard battle, I assure you," he said,
more cheerfully. "Great generals always prepare for a retreat,
and so shall I, but only as the last extremity. Indeed, I think
our affairs look more encouraging just now. It seems next to
impossible, for such a plot to hold together in all its parts; we
shall be able probably, to find out more than one weak point
which will not bear an attack."

"It is certainly important to establish the difference in temper
and capacity, between the claimant and William Stanley," said
Mrs. Stanley.

"Highly important; Ellsworth is hard at work, too, in tracing the
past life of the sailor, and by his last letters, I find he had
written to young Stanley's school-master, and to the family
physician. He had seen the sailor, and in addition to Mr.
Wyllys's remarks upon his gait, which is different from that of
William when a boy, Ellsworth writes, that he was very much
struck with the shape of the man's limbs, so different from those
of the portrait of Mr. Stanley's son, when a lad, which they have
at Wyllys-Roof; he thinks the family physician may help him
there; fortunately, he is still living."

"It is a great pity the nurse's faculties should have failed!"
exclaimed Mrs. Stanley.

"Yes, it's a pity, indeed; her evidence would have been very
important. But we shall do without her, I hope."

"Are you going to Wyllys-Roof again, before the trial?"

"No; I shall have too much to do, here and in Philadelphia. Mr.
Wyllys has kindly asked me, however, to go there, as soon as the
matter is settled, whether for good or for evil."

"I thought I heard you talking over with Mr. de Vaux, some
boating excursion, to take place in August, from Longbridge; has
it been given up?"

"Not given up; but de Vaux very good-naturedly proposed
postponing it, until after my affairs were settled. It is to take
place as soon as I am ready; whether I shall join it with flying
colours, or as a worsted man, time alone can decide."

The mail was just then brought in; as usual there was a letter
for Harry, from Ellsworth.

"Wyllys-Roof, August, 183-.

"Our application to the family physician proves entirely
successful, my dear Hazlehurst; my physiological propensities
were not at fault. I had a letter last evening from Dr. H-----,
who now lives in Baltimore, and he professes himself ready to
swear to the formation of young Stanley's hands and feet, which
he says resembled those of Mr. Stanley, the father, and the three
children, who died before William S. grew up. His account agrees
entirely with the portrait of the boy, as it now exists at
Wyllys-Roof; the arms and hands are long, the fingers slender,
nails elongated; as you well know, Mr. Clapp's client is the very
reverse of this--his hands are short and thick, his fingers what,
in common parlance, would be called dumpy. I was struck with the
fact when I first saw him in the street. Now, what stronger
evidence could we have? A slender lad of seventeen may become a
heavy, corpulent man of forty, but to change the formation of
hands, fingers, and nails, is beyond the reach of even Clapp's
cunning. We are much obliged to the artist, for his accuracy in
representing the hands of the boy exactly as they were. This
testimony I look upon as quite conclusive. As to the Rev. Mr.
G-----, whose pupil young Stanley was for several years, we find
that he is no longer living; but I have obtained the names of
several of the young's man's companions, who will be able to
confirm the fact of his dullness; several of the professors at
the University are also living, and will no doubt be able to
assist us. I have written a dozen letters on these points, but
received no answers as yet. So far so good; we shall succeed, I
trust. Mr. Wyllys bids you not forget to find out if Clapp has
really been at Greatwood, as we suspected. The ladies send you
many kind and encouraging messages. Josephine, as usual,
sympathizes in all our movements. She says: 'Give Mr. Hazlehurst
all sorts of kind greetings from me; anything you please short of
my love, which would not be proper, I suppose.' I had a charming
row on the river last evening, with the ladies. I never managed a
law-suit in such agreeable quarters before.

"Faithfully yours,

"F. E."


"What say you, can you love this gentleman?"
Romeo and Juliet.

{William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet", I.iii.79}

JANE'S strength and spirits were gradually improving. She had
been persuaded to take a daily airing and had consented to see
one or two of the ladies in her room. Mr. Wyllys always passed
half an hour with her, every afternoon; and at length she came
down stairs, and joined the family in the drawing-room, for a
short time in the evening. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hazlehurst, who
came from Philadelphia to pass a day or two with her, found her
much better than they had expected.

Charlie Hubbard returned to the grey cottage, with his portfolio
full of sketches, intending to pass several months at home, in
finishing his pictures of Lake George; the school-room having
been converted into a painting-room for his use. Miss Patsey's
little flock were dispersed for a time; and Charlie was even in
hopes of persuading his mother and sister to accompany him to New
York, where Mary Hubbard, the youngest sister, was now engaged in
giving music lessons. He felt himself quite a rich man, and drew
up a plausible plan for hiring a small house in some cheap
situation, where they might all live together; but Miss Patsey
shook her head, she thought they could not afford it. Still, it
was delightful to her, to listen to plans devised by Charlie's
warm heart; she seemed to love him more than ever, since he had
even sacrificed his moustaches to his mother's prejudice against
such foreign fashions.

"Keep your money, Charles; we can make out very well in the old
cottage; more comfortably than we have ever done before. You will
want all you can make one of these days, when you marry," said
Miss Patsey.

To her surprise, Charlie showed some emotion at this allusion to
his marrying, and remained perfectly silent for an instant,
instead of giving the playful answer that his sister had expected
to hear.

Mrs. Hubbard then observed, that she should not wish to move; she
hoped to end her life in the old grey cottage. They had lived so
long in the neighbourhood of Longbridge, that a new place would
not seem like home to Patsey and herself. Charlie must come to
see them as often as he could; perhaps he would be able to spend
his summers there.

"Well, we shall see, mother; at any rate, Mary and I together, we
shall be able to make your life easy, I trust."

Mrs. Hubbard observed, that although they had been poor for the
last seventeen years, yet they had never really seemed to feel
the weight of poverty; they had met with so much kindness, from
so many relations and friends.

"But kindness from our own children, mother, is the most blessed
of all," said Patsey.

Charlie did not give up his plan, however, but he forbore to
press it for the present, as he was engaged to drive his sister,
Mrs. Clapp, to her own house at Longbridge. Hubbard had kept
aloof from his brother-in-law whenever he could, since the
Stanley suit had been commenced; any allusion to this affair was
painful to him; he had never respected Mr. Clapp, and now
strongly suspected him of unfair dealing. He pitied his sister
Kate from the bottom of his heart; but it seemed pity quite
thrown away. To judge from her conversation, as Charlie was
driving her home, she had implicit confidence in her husband; if
she had at first doubted the identity of the sailor, she had
never for a second supposed, that William himself was not firmly
convinced of it. On the other hand, she began to have some
misgivings as to the character and integrity of Mr. Wyllys, whom
hitherto, all her life long, she had been used to consider as the
model of a gentleman, and an upright man. She soon got up quite a
prejudice against Mrs. Stanley; and as for Hazlehurst, he fell
very low indeed in her estimation.

"You don't know what trouble poor William has with this suit,"
she said to her brother. "I am sometimes afraid it will make him
sick. It does seem very strange, that Mr. Stanley's executors
should be so obstinate in refusing to acknowledge his son. At
first it was natural they should hesitate; I mistrusted this
sailor at first, myself; but now that William has made everything
so clear, they cannot have any excuse for their conduct."

Charlie whipped the flies from his horse, without answering this

"I hope William will come home to-night. He and Mr. Stanley have
gone off together, to get possession of some very important
papers; they received a letter offering these papers, only the
night before last, and William says they will establish Mr.
Stanley's claim, beyond the possibility of a denial. Mr. Wyllys
and Mr. Hazlehurst will feel very badly, I should think, when
they find that after all, they have been keeping their friend's
son from his rights."

"They believe they are doing their duty," said Charlie,

"It seems a strange view of duty, to act as they do."

"Strange views of duty are very common," said Charlie, glad to
take refuge in generalities.

"Common sense and common honesty will help us all to do our
duty," observed Kate.

"No doubt; but both are more uncommon qualities than one would
think, among rational beings," said Charlie.

"Well, you know, Charles, Patsey used to tell us when we were
children, that a plain, honest heart, and plain, good sense were
the best things in the world."

"That is the reason, I suppose, why we love our sister Patsey so
much, because she has so much of those best things in the world,"
said Charlie, warmly. "I never saw a woman like her, for
downright, plain goodness. The older I grow, the better I know
her; and I love you, Kate, for the same reason--you are
straightforward and honest, too," he added, smiling.

"William often laughs at me, though, and says my opinion is not
good for much," said the sister, shaking her head, but smiling
prettily at the same time.

"I am sure no one can complain of your actions, Kate, whatever
your opinions may be," replied Charlie; and whatever might have
been his estimate of Clapp's views, he forbore to utter a
syllable on the subject; for he respected the wife's affection,
and knew that his brother-in-law had at least one good
quality--he was kind and faithful as a husband and father,
according to common-place ideas of faithfulness at least; for he
would any day risk their character and peace, to make a little

The conversation of the young people soon turned upon their
trifling, foolish, unfortunate cousin, Mrs. Hilson; and this was
a subject, upon which both brother and sister agreed entirely.
Before long, they drove up to Mr. Clapp's door, and were received
by the lawyer himself, who had just returned with his client;
this latter individual was also seen lounging in the office. Mr.
Clapp professed himself entirely satisfied with the result of his
journey; and declared that they were now quite ready for Mr.
Hazlehurst--sure of a victory, beyond all doubt.

The time had not been lost by Harry and his friends, however;
they too, thought themselves ready for the trial. As the
important day was drawing near, Mr. Ellsworth was obliged to
leave Wyllys-Roof; he had done all he could at Longbridge, and
there were still various matters to be looked after in
Philadelphia. Mrs. Creighton accompanied her brother, and they
were not to return to Wyllys-Roof until after the important
question was decided. Hazlehurst was then to come with them;
whether defeated or triumphant could not yet be known. Harry's
friends, however, were generally sanguine; and Mrs. Creighton was
full of sympathy, and in excellent spirits.

There remained another affair, which must also be finally settled
in a few weeks. When Mr. Ellsworth returned to Wyllys-Roof, the
appointed three months of probation would have expired, and he
would either remain there as the affianced husband of Elinor, or
leave Longbridge her rejected suitor.

During the past three months, Elinor had taken an important step
in life; she had reached a point in experience, where she had
never stood before. The whole responsibility of deciding upon a
subject, highly important to herself, and to those connected with
her, had been thrown entirely upon her alone. The fate of her
whole life would be much involved in the present decision. During
the last two or three years, or in other words, since she had
first discovered that Harry loved Jane, she had intended to
remain single. It seemed very improbable to her, that any one
would seek to gain her affections, unless with the view of
enjoying the fortune which she had now the reputation of
possessing; it was only natural that she should exaggerate those
personal disadvantages, which had lost the heart of him whom she
had once loved so truly. She had been so much attached to
Hazlehurst, that she shrunk from the idea of ever becoming the
wife of another; and she considered herself as having tacitly
made choice of a single life, which her mother's letter seemed to
suggest. But as she never spoke of her views, or alluded to them,
her grandfather and aunt were ignorant of this intention; and she
soon began to observe with regret that they wished her to marry,
and were indeed anxious that she should accept Mr. Ellsworth.
This was the first occasion of any importance, on which their
wishes and her own had been at variance; it was a new position
for Elinor to be placed in. When Mr. Ellsworth made his proposal,
it was owing to the strong, but affectionate representations of
Mr. Wyllys and Miss Agnes, that he was not immediately rejected.

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