List Of Contents | Contents of Elinor Wyllys, by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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either, from the wiles of a pretty, artful coquette; he carried
about with him the reflection of a purer model of womanly virtue,
one gradually formed from boyhood upon Elinor's mould, and which
at last had entirely filled his mind and his heart.

Since the commencement of the Stanley suit, Hazlehurst had become
quite disgusted with Mrs. Creighton's conduct; art may reach a
great way, but it can never cover the whole ground, and the
pretty widow involuntarily betrayed too many variations of
manner, graduated by Harry's varying prospects; his eyes were
completely opened; he was ashamed of himself for having been
half-persuaded that she was attached to him. How different had
been Elinor's conduct! she had shown throughout a warm,
unwavering interest in his difficulties, always more frankly
expressed in his least encouraging moments; indeed she had
sometimes blushed, from the fear that her sympathy might he
mistaken for something more than friendly regard for her kinsman.
Harry saw it all; he understood the conduct of both, and he felt
Elinor's kindness deeply; he was no longer ungrateful, and he
longed to tell her so. True, she would ere long become his
friend's wife, but might he not, under the circumstances, be
permitted first to declare his feelings? It would, perhaps, be
only a just atonement for the past--only what was due to Elinor.
Harry tried to persuade himself into this view of the case, as he
looked up towards her window, invoking a blessing on her gentle

Hazlehurst's reflections, while on the piazza, had commenced with
his pecuniary difficulties, and the consequences of his late
defeat, but they gradually centered on Elinor in a very
lover-like manner, much in the shape we have given them. But at
length the moon went down behind the wood, and those whose rooms
were on that side of the house found that the sound of his
footsteps had ceased; and nothing farther disturbed the stillness
of the night.

"Did you see the Petrel this morning, grandpapa?" said Elinor, as
she was pouring out the coffee at the breakfast-table.

"No, I did not, my child; I took it for granted they were off
before sun-rise, and did not look for them."

"They were behind their time; they were in sight from my window
about an hour since."

"Some of the youngsters have been lazy, I suppose; I hope Harry
was not the delinquent."

"I heard him pass my door quite early," observed Miss Agnes.

"When I saw them," said Elinor, "they had drawn off from the
wharf, and were lying in the river, as if they were waiting for
something that had been forgotten; the boat looked beautifully,
for there was very little air, and she lay motionless on the
water, with her sails half-furled."

"Perhaps they stopped for Mr. Hubbard to make a sketch," said
Ellsworth to Elinor.

"Hardly, I should think; time and tide, you know; wait for no
man--not even to be sketched."

"But Hazlehurst told me his friend Hubbard had promised to
immortalize the Petrel and her crew by a picture; perhaps he
chose the moment of departure; you say she appeared to great
advantage then."

"I should think he would prefer waiting for some more striking
moment. Who knows what adventures they may meet with! Mr. de Vaux
expects to win a race; perhaps they may catch a whale, or see the

"No doubt Mr. Stryker would try to catch the monster, if they
were to meet with him; his fishing ambition is boundless," said
Mrs. Creighton.

"But there is no fashionable apparatus for catching
sea-serpents," observed Elinor; "and Mr. Stryker's ambition is
all fashionable."

"Stryker is not much of an Izaak Walton, certainly," remarked
Ellsworth. "He calls it murder, to catch a trout with a common
rod and a natural fly. He will scarcely be the man to bring in
the sea-serpent; he would go after it though, in a moment, if a
regular European sportsman were to propose it to him."

"I almost wonder we have not yet had an English yacht over here,
whale-hunting, or sea-serpent-hunting," said Mrs. Creighton;
"they are so fond of novelty and wild-goose chasing of any kind."

"It would make a lion of a dandy, at once," said Ellsworth, "if
he could catch the sea-serpent."

{"lion" = social celebrity}

"A single fin would be glory enough for one lion," said Elinor;
remember how many yards there are of him."

"If Stryker should catch a slice of the serpent, no doubt he will
throw it into his chowder-pot, and add it to the receipt," said
Mr. Wyllys.

"Well, Miss Wyllys, I think you and I might engage to eat all the
monsters he catches, as Beatrice did Benedict's slain," said Mrs.

{"Beatrice and Benedict..." = characters in Shakespeare's play
"Much Ado about Nothing"}

"Do you intend to make up with Stryker, a la Beatrice?" asked the
lady's brother. "It is some time now that you have carried on the
war of wit with him."

"No, indeed; I have no such intentions. I leave him entirely to
Miss Wyllys; all but his chowder, which I like now and then,"
said the lady, carelessly.

"I am sorry you will not be here, Mrs. Creighton, for the pic-nic
to the ladies, which de Vaux is to give when he comes back," said
Mr. Wyllys; "Mr. Stryker will give us a fine chowder, no doubt."

"Thank you, sir; I should enjoy the party exceedingly. I must not
think too much of it, or I might be tempted to break my
engagement with the Ramsays."

"Have you really decided to go so soon?--I was in hopes we should
be able to keep you much longer," said Miss Wyllys.

"I should be delighted to stay; but in addition to my visit to
the Ramsays, who are going to town expressly for me, I must also
pick up my little niece."

Miss Wyllys then made some inquiries about Mr. Ellsworth's little

"She was very well and happy, with her cousins, when I heard from
my eldest sister, a day or two since," he replied. "She has been
with me very little this summer; I hope we shall be able to make
some pleasanter arrangement for the future," he added, with a
half-glance at Elinor.

"My brother has a very poor opinion of my abilities, Miss Wyllys;
because I have no children of my own, he fancies that I cannot
manage his little girl."

"I am much obliged to you, Josephine, for what you have done for
her, as you very well know."

"Oh, yes; you are much obliged to me, and so forth; but you think
Mary is in better hands with Mrs. Ellis, and so do I; I cannot
keep the little thing in very good order, I acknowledge."

"It must be difficult not to spoil her, Mrs. Creighton," remarked
Mr. Wyllys. "She is a very pretty and engaging child--just the
size and age for a pet."

"That is the misfortune; she is so pretty that Frank thinks I
make a little doll of her; that I dress her too much. I believe
he thinks I wear too many flowers and ribbons myself; he has
become very fastidious in his taste about such matters lately; he
wishes his daughter to dress with elegant simplicity; now I have
a decided fancy for elegant ornament."

"He must be very bold, Mrs. Creighton, if he proposes any
alteration to you."

"I agree with you, entirely," said the lady, laughing; "for the
last year or two I have been even less successful in suiting him
than of old. He seems to have some very superior model in his
mind's eye. But it is rather annoying to have one's taste in
dress criticised, after having been accustomed to hear it
commended and consulted, ever since I was fifteen."

"You must tolerate my less brilliant notions for the sake of
variety," said her brother, smiling.

"I shall hope to make over Mary's wardrobe to some other
direction, before she grows up," said Mrs. Creighton; "for you
and I would certainly quarrel over it."

The party rose from table. Elinor felt a touch of nervousness
come upon her, as she remarked that Mr. Ellsworth seemed to be
watching her movements; while his face had worn rather a
pre-occupied expression all the morning, seeming to threaten
something important.

The day was very pleasant; and as Mr. Wyllys had some business at
certain mills on Chewattan Lake, he proposed a ride on horseback
to his friends, offering a seat in his old-fashioned chair to any
lady who chose to take it.

{"chair" = a light, one-horse carriage}

Mrs. Creighton accepted the offer very readily.

"I have not been in any carriage so rustic and farmer-like these
twenty years," she said.

"I shall be happy to drive you, if you can be satisfied with a
sober old whip like myself, and a sober old pony like Timo."

"It is settled then; you ride I suppose, Miss Wyllys."

Elinor assented; Mary Van Alstyne was also to go on horseback.
Mr. Ellsworth thought that he would have preferred escorting one
lady instead of two on that occasion. He seemed destined that
morning to discover, that a lover's course is not only impeded by
important obstacles, but often obstructed by things trifling in
themselves. Before the chair and horses appeared at the door,
there was an arrival from Longbridge. Mr. Taylor and his
daughter, Miss Emma, had come from New York the previous evening,
and now appeared at Wyllys-Roof; the merchant had come over with
the double object of blessing his grandchild, and taking his
share in a speculation then going on in the neighbourhood. The
Taylors had been asked to Wyllys-Roof, at any time when they
wished to see Jane, and they had now come for twenty-four hours,
in accordance with the invitation. At first Mr. Ellsworth
supposed the ride to Chewattan Lake must be abandoned, but it was
only deferred for an hour. Miss Emma Taylor, ever ready for an
enterprise of liveliness, had no sooner embraced her
sister-in-law, and learned that some of the family had proposed
riding, than she immediately expressed a great desire to join
them. Mary Van Alstyne very readily gave up her horse and habit
to the young lady; and Mr. Ellsworth walked over to Broadlawn, to
invite Bob de Vaux, a boy of sixteen, to be her especial escort.
He thought this a very clever manoeuvre of his own. While these
arrangements were going on, and the Taylors were taking some
refreshment, Mr. Taylor had found time to express his regrets at
the result of the law-suit.

"I was much disposed, however, to anticipate such a verdict," he
observed; "Mr. Clapp is a very talented lawyer for so young a
man; this cause, which has attracted so much attention, will
probably make his fortune at the bar. But I was fearful, sir,
from the beginning, that neither yourself nor your friend, Mr.
Hazlehurst, was fully aware of Mr. Clapp's abilities."

"I do not conceive, however, that the cause was won by Mr.
Clapp's legal acumen," observed Mr. Wyllys, drily.

"Perhaps not; still, I understand that he succeeded in making out
a very strong case in behalf of his client."

"Of that there is no doubt."

"And the less foundation he had to work on, the greater his
talents must appear," said Mr. Taylor, with a look, which
expressed both admiration for Mr. Clapp, and the suspicion that
he had been assisting an impostor.

"The kind of talent you refer to is not of a very enviable
character, I think," said Mr. Wyllys.

"I don't know that, my dear sir," added Mr. Taylor, as he drank
off a glass of wine; "it is a talent which has gained a fine
property at least. I regret, however, that my friend, Mr.
Hazlehurst, should have suffered so heavy a loss."

Mr. Wyllys bowed; and well aware that his own views of the case
and those of Mr. Taylor would not agree, he changed the

"You will find your old place much changed," observed Miss Wyllys
to the merchant.

"Yes, madam; I understand considerable alterations have been made
at my former mansion. I had almost forgotten this morning that
the estate was no longer mine, and was half-inclined to enter the
gate as we passed it."

"I am delighted, pa, that it is not yours any longer!" exclaimed
Miss Emma, with a liveliness which accorded particularly ill with
her deep mourning-dress. "We shall have ten times more fun at
Rockaway; Colonnade Manor was the stupidest place in creation; we
were often a whole day without seeing a beau!"

At length, Miss Emma having declared herself more than
sufficiently rested, she put on the habit; and the chair and
horses were brought to the door. Mr. Taylor was to set out
shortly after, in another direction, to go over the manufactory
in which he was about to become interested.

All agreed that the day was delightful. There was a fine air, the
dust had been laid by a shower, and as the road led through
several woods, they had not too much sun. For a while the four
equestrians kept together, and common-place matters only were
talked over; the Petrel was not forgotten. Miss Emma Taylor
declared she would have gone along, if she had been on the spot
when they sailed. Bob de Vaux said his brother Hubert had offered
to take him, but he did not care to go; he had rather ride than
sail, any day.

"Here's for a gallop then!" exclaimed the young lady, and off the
two set at a rapid pace.

"How does that flirtation come on?" asked Miss Emma, when they
lessened their pace at some distance in advance of the rest of
the party.

"All settled, I believe," replied the youth.

"What, actually engaged? I have been quite exercised about all
your doings over here, this summer; you must have had a lively
time, three or four flirtations all going on at once. But, do you
know I am bent on spiting Mr. Ellsworth this morning. He meant to
have a tete-a-tete, I know, and only asked YOU just to get rid of
ME. But he shan't have a moment's peace to pay for it; let's turn
round and go back again at full speed."

Bob de Vaux had not the least objections; he liked motion and
mischief almost as much as did the lively belle; they both
enjoyed the joke exceedingly, and succeeded in provoking Mr.
Ellsworth not a little. Miss Emma and her companion were in high
glee at their success; they would first ride half a mile by the
side of the others, then gallop off to a distance, and at a
signal from the young lady, suddenly facing about they would
return, just in time, as Miss Emma thought, to cut short any
tender speech.

"That young lady seems to have gone twice over every foot of the
road," innocently observed Mr. Wyllys, little aware of her

"What a restless creature it is!" replied Mrs. Creighton; "she
must worry her horse as much as she annoys her rational

"Miss Taylor is a perfect rattle," remarked Mr. Ellsworth. "Quite
inferior to her sister, Mrs. Hunter, I should say."

{"a rattle" = a chatterbox}

"Her excess of spirits will wear itself out one of these days, I
dare say," replied Elinor.

"It is to be hoped so," said the gentleman, drily.

When they reached the lake they dismounted, and passed half an
hour at a farm-house, to rest, and lunch upon iced milk and
dew-berries, which the farmer's wife kindly offered them. Mrs.
Creighton professed herself rather disappointed with Chewattan
Lake; the shores were quite low, there was only one good hill,
and one pretty, projecting point, with a fine group of elms
standing in graceful relief against the sky; she thought Mr.
Hubbard's painting had flattered nature. Mr. Ellsworth would not

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