List Of Contents | Contents of Elinor Wyllys, by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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offered his bench for the use of the lady. Monsieur Bonnet was,
of course, all gratitude, and returned enchante to Mrs. Hilson,
who took the matter very quietly; while M. Bonnet seemed
surprised at his own success.

{"au desespoir" = in despair; "enchante" = delighted (French)}

The gentleman who had given up his seat, was obliged to continue
standing; shutting up his book, he began to look about him, among
the crowd, for acquaintances. There was a very gay, noisy party,
at no great distance, which first attracted his attention; it
consisted of two pretty young women in the centre of a group of
men. The shrill voice and rattling laugh of one lady, might be
very distinctly heard across the deck; the other was leaning back
listlessly in her chair: one of the young men was reading a paper
with a sort of family expression, as if the ladies were his near
connexions; and, on a chair, at the side of the silent lady, sat
an old gentleman, with a very rusty coat, snuffy nose, and a red
handkerchief spread on one knee, while on the other he held a
pretty little boy, about two years old.

"I tell you I know she was dead in love with him!" cried the
rattling young lady, at the top of her voice. Then, observing the
gentleman, who was looking in that direction, she bowed with a
coquettish graciousness. The bow was returned, but the gentleman
did not seem very anxious to approach the party; when the young
lady, beckoning with her finger, obliged him to draw near.

"Now, Mr. Ellsworth, you are just the man I wanted. Three of
these gentlemen are against me; I have only one on my side, and I
want you to help me to fight the battle."

"Must I enlist, Miss Taylor, before I know whether the cause is
good or bad?"

"Oh, certainly, or else you are not worth a cent. But I'll tell
you how the matter stands: you know Helen de Vaux and you were at
the Springs, last summer, when she and Mr. Van Alstyne were
there. Well, I say she was dead in love with him, though she did
refuse him."

"Was she?" replied Mr. Ellsworth.

"Why, I know she was; it was as plain as a pike-staff to
everybody who saw them together. And here, these good folks
provoke me so; they say if she refused him she did not care for
him; and here is my ridiculous brother-in-law, Mr. St. Leger,
says I don't know anything about it; and my sister Adeline always
thinks just as her husband does."

"That's quite right, my dear," said the rusty Mr. Hopkins, taking
a pinch of snuff. "I hope you will follow her example one of
these days."

"What are the precise symptoms of a young lady's being dead in
love?" asked the quiet, business-looking Theodore St. Leger.

"Oh, you know well enough what I mean. You may say what you
please about Helen de Vaux not caring for him, I know better,"
continued the young lady, in a voice that might be heard on the
other side of the boat.

"As Miss de Vaux's mother is on board, suppose you refer the
question to her," said Mr. Ellsworth, in a dry manner.

"Is she?--I hope she didn't hear us," continued the young lady,
lowering her voice half a tone. "But you need not ask her,
though; for I don't believe her mother knows anything about it."

"You are going to the Springs, I suppose," said Mr. Ellsworth, by
way of changing the conversation.

"I wish we were! No; Adeline has taken it into her head to be
romantic, for the first time in her life. She says we must go to
the Falls; and it will be a fortnight lost from Saratoga."

"But, have you no wish to see Niagara?"

"Not a bit; and I don't believe Adeline has, either. But it is no
wonder she doesn't care about the Springs, now she's married; she
began to go there four years before I did."

"Have you never been to Niagara, Mrs. St. Leger?" continued Mr.
Ellsworth, addressing the elder sister; who, from the giddy,
belleish Adeline, was now metamorphosed into the half-sober young
matron--the wife of an individual, who in spite of the romantic
appellation of Theodore St. Leger, was a very quiet, industrious
business-man, the nephew and adopted son of Mr. Hopkins,
Adeline's Boston escort. She had been sitting contentedly beside
the old gentleman, for the last half hour, leaving her unmarried
sister to entertain the beaux, according to etiquette.

"No, I have never been to the Falls; and all our party but my
sister Emma, seemed to think it would be a pleasant jaunt."

"Mr. Hopkins has entered into an engagement to supply me with at
least two beaux at a time, and a regular change all the way to
Niagara, or else I shouldn't have come," said Miss Emma.

"We are engaged at least by the day, I hope," interposed one of
the attendant young men.

"No, indeed; I should be tired to death of you, for more than an
hour at a time. I sha'n't speak to YOU again, until we have
passed West Point."

"I have had no trouble as yet, my dear, in picking up recruits,"
said Mr. Hopkins, whose attention seemed equally divided between
his snuff-box, and the little Hopkins, junior, on his knee--his

"If there are two, that's all I care for; but I hate to have only
one person to talk to."

Mr. Ellsworth bit his lips, to prevent their expressing his
opinion, that the young lady must always have a large circle of

"Have you seen Mr. Wyllys's party this morning?" inquired

"The Wyllyses!--Are they on board?" exclaimed Mr. Ellsworth, with
surprise and pleasure. "I thought them at Saratoga by this time."

"Oh, no; they are somewhere on the other side of the boat; my
sister-in-law, Mrs. Taylor's little girl is with them.
By-the-bye, Emma, I am going into the cabin to look after Jane;
will you go with me?"

"No, indeed; I hate the cabin of a steamboat!"

Adeline was quite satisfied to leave her sister with the prospect
of a good supply of young men to flirt with; though matrimony had
changed her in some respects, she still considered it a duty to
encourage to the utmost, all love-affairs, and flirtations going
on in her neighbourhood. Mr. Hopkins resigned the little boy to
his mother's care; Mr. St. Leger helped his wife through the
crowd; and, under cover of the movement made to allow Adeline to
pass, Mr. Ellsworth made his escape. His eye had been already
directed towards the opposite side of the boat, where he had
discovered the venerable, benevolent face of Mr. Wyllys, with
three ladies near him. Mr. Ellsworth immediately recognised Miss
Agnes, Elinor, and Mary Van Alstyne. It was several minutes
before he could edge his way through the crowd, to join them; but
when he reached the spot, he was received very cordially by Mr.
Wyllys and Miss Agnes, in a friendly manner by Mary Van Alstyne,
and possibly there was something of consciousness betrayed by

"I thought you already at Saratoga!" exclaimed Mr. Ellsworth.

"We were detained several days, waiting for Mrs. Taylor," replied
Elinor, to whom the remark was made.

"We shall not be at Saratoga until Monday," added Mr. Wyllys; "we
are going to pass a day or two with our friends, the V-----s, at

"I am very sorry to hear it," continued Mr. Ellsworth; "I have
promised to carry Mrs. Creighton to Nahant, about that time, and
shall have my usual bad luck in missing you."

{"Nahant" = sea-side resort in Massachusetts, then very popular,
just north of Boston}

"We must persuade Mrs. Creighton not to run away," said Mr.

As Elinor stooped at that moment, to untie the hat of the pretty
little creature at her side, it was impossible to say whether
this intelligence were displeasing to her or not.

"That is Mrs. Taylor's child, is it not?" observed Mr. Ellsworth,
looking at the little girl. "She is very like Mrs. St. Leger."

"Do you really think so?--we fancy her like her mother," said

"How is Tallman Taylor now?--he was not well when they passed
through Philadelphia."

"He looks badly still," said Miss Agnes. "He is very imprudent,
and distresses Jane very much by his carelessness."

"Gentlemen never seem to do what is right when invalids,"
observed Mary Van Alstyne, smiling. "They are either very
reckless, and indifferent to their health, or else over-careful."

"What do you say, Mr. Ellsworth; is that account true?" asked
Miss Wyllys.

"I dare say it is--I have no doubt we are very troublesome to our
nurses. But, fortunately, women are endowed with a double stock
of patience, to make up for our deficiencies. Is Mr. Taylor on
board?--I have not seen him."

"No; he remained in town to attend to some business," replied
Miss Wyllys. "We have charge of Mrs. Taylor, however, who was
very anxious to get into the country, on account of her youngest

"I see, Mr. Ellsworth, that old Ironsides has arrived at Norfolk,
bringing Mr. Henley from Rio," observed Mr. Wyllys.

{"Old Ironsides" = the United States Frigate "Constitution"; in
the early 1800s, U.S. naval ships frequently carried diplomats to
and from their stations}

"Certainly; she arrived on Tuesday."

"I saw it in the Globe, last night, grandpapa, Mr. Henley had
arrived at Washington. Harry is with him, of course," said
Elinor, in a quiet, natural tone.

"I supposed you knew of their arrival," observed Mr. Ellsworth.
"I have a letter from Hazlehurst in my pocket. He seems to have
had quite enough of Rio."

"Mr. Henley, I understand, is talked of as minister to Russia,"
said Mr. Wyllys.

"Yes; I believe that affair is settled."

"Does Hazlehurst mention whether he is going with Mr. Henley?" 

"That may be a state secret," said Elinor, smiling.

"He has had an offer of the situation, I believe--but does not
seem to have made up his mind; he is coming home to look about
him, he says, having three months' vacation at any rate."

The shrill tone of Miss Emma Taylor's voice was at this moment
heard so distinctly, from the other side of the boat that Mr.
Wyllys looked up from his paper, and Mr. Ellsworth smiled. It was
very evident the young lady had inherited the peculiar tone of
voice, and all the cast-off animation of her elder sister.

"Miss Taylor seems to be in very good spirits," remarked Mr.

"Yes; she always talks and laughs a great deal," replied Mary Van

"They are no longer your neighbours, I understand, sir."

"No; Mr. Taylor sold Colonnade Manor this spring; De Vaux has
purchased it, and changed the name of the place. It is now to be
called Broadlawn, which is certainly a great improvement."

"And where does Mr. Taylor's family pass the summer?"

"Why, Jane tells me he is building something he calls a cottage,
at Rockaway, within a stone's throw of the principal hotel. They
thought Longbridge too quiet."

Mrs. Taylor's little girl had, by this, time, become very sleepy,
and a little fretful; and Miss Agnes advised her being carried to
her mother. Elinor led her away, rather, it is believed, to Mr.
Ellsworth's regret.

It was no easy task to make one's way among the nurses, and
babies, and baskets, filling the ladies' cabin, which was more
than usually crowded. But at length Elinor reached Jane and
Adeline, who were sitting together.

A single glance was sufficient to show that a change had come
over these two young women, since the giddy days of their
girlhood. Jane was pale, but beautiful as ever; she was holding
on her knees a sick child, about two months old, which apparently
engrossed all her attention. What would be her system as a
mother, might be foretold by the manner in which she pacified the
little girl Elinor had brought with her.

"Give her some candy, Dinah," she said to the black nurse; whose
broad, good-natured face was soon covered with shining marks of
affection, from the hands of the pretty little charge.

Adeline was less changed in her appearance than her
sister-in-law; that is to say, she was as pretty as ever, and
neither thin nor pale. But there was something in her expression,
and a great deal in her manner, that was no longer what it had
been of old. That excessive animation which had distinguished her
as a belle, had been allowed to die away; and the restless
expression, produced by a perpetual labour to make conquests,
which was, at one time, always to be traced upon her features,
had now vanished entirely. In its place there was a touch of
matronly care and affection, more natural, and far more pleasing.
She, too, was sitting by the side of her child, driving away the
flies from the little thing, who was sleeping in a berth. Adeline
Taylor had married well, in the best sense of the word. Not that
she deserved much credit for doing so, since she had only
accidentally, as it were, become attached to the young man who
happened to be the most deserving among her suitors. Chance had
had a great deal to with the match, as it has with many matches.
She had, however, one merit--that of not rejecting him on account
of his want of fortune; although at the time, she might have
married a man who would have given her a four-story, four-window
house in Broadway. Mr. Taylor had not interfered: she had done as
she pleased in the affair. It is true, that her father rather
inclined towards the richest suitor; still, he took it for
granted, that if Theodore St. Leger had not a fortune at the
time, being a merchant, he would, of course, make one in a few
years. But Mr. Taylor's son-in-law was a man of very different
character from himself; he was a quiet, prudent, unostentatious
young man, of good abilities, who had received by education
excellent principles, and moderate views, and who had fallen in
love with Adeline's pretty face. Mr. Hopkins, his uncle and
adopted father, was a very worthy man, though a little eccentric,
and rather too much given to snuff, and old coats, and red
handkerchiefs. No one stood better on Change than John Hopkins,
whose word had been as good as his bond, throughout a long life.
He was a man of some property too, but he had only given his
nephew enough to begin life very moderately. Even with the very
liberal allowance which Mr. Taylor freely gave his children,
Adeline, when she married, was obliged to live in a much plainer
and quieter way than she had done for the last five or six years.

{"Change" = the stock exchange}

Altogether, however, the young couple seemed to agree very well,
in spite of the difference in their characters: a pretty,
good-natured wife was all the young merchant had wished for; and
Adeline was really attached to her husband, whose chief fault
seemed to be in his coats, which were rather too much after the
fashion of those of Uncle Hopkins.

Jane's fate had proved less happy than that of her friend
Adeline. Tallman Taylor's habits of extravagance had led them
into difficulties in more ways than one. He had spent far more
than his income, and his carelessness in business had proved a
great disadvantage to the house with which he was connected.
During the last year, matters had grown worse and worse; he had
neglected his wife, and lost large sums at the gambling-table.
Poor Jane had passed some unhappy months, and traces of sorrow
were to be seen on her pale face. Towards the last of the winter,
young Taylor had been dangerously ill with a malignant fever

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