List Of Contents | Contents of Elinor Wyllys, by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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possession of the papers in his hands, Clapp determined to carry
out their plan at once; he thought the probability of success was
strongly in their favour, with so much evidence within their
reach; and the spoils were so considerable, that they were in his
opinion worth the risk. The profits of their roguery were to be
equally divided, if they succeeded; and they had also agreed that
if at any moment matters began to look badly, they would make
their escape from the country together. Hopgood, who was
generally supposed by those who had known him, to have died at
New Orleans twenty years since, had been often with William
Stanley when a lad in the lawyer's office; he knew the house and
neighbourhood of Greatwood perfectly, and had a distinct
recollection of Mr. Stanley, the father, and of many persons and
circumstances that would prove very useful. Clapp easily obtained
other necessary information, and they went to Greatwood,
examining the whole house and place, in order to revive Hopgood's
recollections; while at the same time they made but little
mystery of their excursion, hoping rather that when discovered it
would pass off as a natural visit of William Stanley to the old
home which he was about to claim. The whole plan was carefully
matured under Clapp's cunning management; on some doubtful points
they were to be cautious, and a set of signals were agreed upon
for moments of difficulty; but generally they were to assume a
bold, confident aspect, freely offering an interview to the
executors, and sending a specimen of the forged handwriting as a
letter to Mrs. Stanley. The volume of the Spectator was a thought
of Clapp's; he bribed a boy to admit him into the library at
Greatwood one Sunday, when the housekeeper was at church, and he
selected the volume which seemed well suited to his purpose;
removing the boy from the neighbourhood immediately after, by
giving him high wages in a distant part of the country. As for
Mr. Reed he was completely their dupe, having been himself
honestly convinced of the identity of Clapp's client. It was nine
years from the time the plot first suggested itself, until they
finally appeared as public claimants of the estate and name of
William Stanley, and during that time, Clapp, who had never
entirely abandoned the idea, although Hopgood had repeatedly done
so, had been able to mature the plan very thoroughly.

{"'The sight of means to do ill deeds...'" Shakespeare, "King
John", IV.ii.219-220}

The declarations of Stebbins and Hopgood were easily proved; and
Harry had no further difficulty in resuming possession of

Clapp was not heard of for years. His wife, little Willie, and
two younger children, became inmates of the old grey cottage,
under the care of Miss Patsey, who still continues the same
honest, whole-souled, benevolent being she was years ago. Patsey
was now quite at her ease, and enabled to provide for her sister
Kate and the three children, and it was to poor Charlie she owed
the means of doing so; by an unusual precaution in one so young,
he had left a will, giving everything he owned to his mother and
eldest sister. Shortly after his death, some of his friends,
Hazlehurst among the number, got up an exhibition of all his
pictures; they made a fine and quite numerous collection, for
Charlie had painted very rapidly. The melancholy interest
connected with the young painter's name, his high reputation in
the particular field he had chosen, the fact that all his
paintings were collected together, from the first view of
Chewattan lake taken when a mere boy, to the sketch of Nantucket
which he was retouching but a moment before his death, and the
sad recollection that his palette was now broken for ever,
attracted unusual attention. The result of that melancholy
exhibition, with the sale of some remaining pictures, proved
sufficient to place his mother and sister, with their moderate
views, in very comfortable circumstances; thus even after his
death Charlie proved a blessing to his family. In looking over
the young man's papers, Patsey found some lines which surprised
her, although they explained several circumstances which she had
never before fully understood; they betrayed a secret, undeclared
attachment, which had expressed itself simply and gracefully in
verses full of feeling and well written. It was evident from
these lines that poor Charlie's poetical imagination, even from
early boyhood, had been filled with the lovely image of his young
companion, Jane Graham: there was a beautiful sketch of her face
among his papers, which from the date, must have been taken from
memory while she was in Paris. It was clear from the tone of the
verses, that Charlie had scrupulously confined his secret within
his own bosom, for there were a few lines addressed to Jane since
her widowhood, lamenting that grief should so soon have thrown a
shadow over that lovely head, and concluding with a fear that she
would little value even this expression of sympathy from one, to
whom she had only given careless indifference, and one who had
never asked more than the friendship of early companionship.
Patsey hesitated for a moment, but then decided that the
miniature and the verses should never be shown--they should meet
no eyes but her own; Charlie had not spoken himself, his secret
should remain untold.

We must not omit to mention, that a few weeks after Charlie's
death young Van Horne offered himself to Mary Hubbard, the
youngest daughter of the family; he was accepted, and the
connexion, which was very gratifying to Patsey and her mother,
proved a happy one. Mrs. Hubbard survived her daughter's marriage
several years. Kate and her little ones have remained at the old
grey cottage from the time of Clapp's flight; the children are
now growing up promising young people, and they owe much to
Patsey's judicious care. Willie, the hero of the temperance
meeting, is her favourite, for she persuades herself that he is
like her lost Charlie; and in many respects the boy happily
resembles his uncle far more than his father. Last year Mrs.
Clapp received for the first time, a letter in a handwriting very
like that of her husband; its contents seemed distressing, for
she wept much, and held several consultations with Patsey. At
length quite a little sum was drawn from their modest means, Kate
packed up her trunk, took leave of her sister and children, and
set out upon a long and a solitary journey. She was absent for
months; but letters were occasionally received from her, and at
length she returned to the grey cottage in deep mourning. It was
supposed that she was now a widow; and as Patsey upon one single
occasion confirmed the report, the opinion must have been
correct, for Patsey Hubbard's word was truth itself. No public
account of Clapp's death, however, reached Longbridge, and his
name was never mentioned by the Hubbards; still, it seemed to be
known at last that Mrs. Clapp had gone to a great distance, to
attend her husband during a long and fatal illness: and Mrs.
Tibbs also found out by indefatigable inquiries, far and near,
that about the same time one of the elders of Joe Smith, the
Mormon impostor, had died of consumption at Nauvoo; that he had
written somewhere several months before his death, that a
delicate-looking woman had arrived, and had not quitted his side
as long as he lived; that immediately after his death she had
left Nauvoo, and had gone no one knew whither. It is quite
certain that a young man from Longbridge travelling at the west,
wrote home that he had seen Mrs. Clapp on board a Mississippi
steamer, just about that time. The story is probably true,
although nothing very positive is known at Longbridge.

{"no public account" = the uncertainty surrounding Mr. Clapp's
fate resembles that of Judith Hutter, at the end of James
Fenimore Cooper's "The Deerslayer" (1841)}

As for Hopgood, we have already mentioned that he had been
arrested, and most righteously condemned to a long imprisonment
for his share in that unprincipled, audacious conspiracy. A year
afterwards, however, it pleased those in authority to send him
out into the community again; he was pardoned--

As all reserve is generally dropped in the last chapter, we may
as well tell the reader a secret of Mrs. Creighton's. We have
every reason to believe that she never cared much for Harry,
although she always cared a great deal for his fortune. She was
determined to marry again, for two reasons; in the first place
she did not wish to give way to a sister-in-law, and she knew her
brother intended marrying; and then she never could manage that
brother as she wished; he was by no means disposed to throw away
as much time, thought, and money upon dissipation, as she would
have liked. She wanted a rich husband, of course; Harry did very
well in every particular but one--she thought him too much like
her brother in his tastes to be all she desired; still he suited
her better than any of her other admirers, and she would have
been quite satisfied to accept him, had he kept his fortune.
Without that fortune, it was a very different affair; he was no
longer to be thought of for a moment. We strongly suspect also,
that the pretty widow saw farther than any one else into the true
state of matters between Elinor and Harry, long before the
parties themselves had had an explanation; and for that reason,
so long as she was determined to take Hazlehurst for her second
husband, she decidedly encouraged Ellsworth's attention to
Elinor. Since we are so near the last page, we shall also admit
that Mrs. Creighton had quite a strong partiality for Mr.
Stryker, while the gentleman was thoroughly in love with her; but
neither was rich, and money, that is to say wealth, was
absolutely necessary in the opinion of both parties; so Mr.
Stryker went off to New Orleans in quest of a quadroon heiress
recommended to him, and Mrs. Creighton became Mrs. Pompey Taylor,
junior; marrying the second son of the merchant, an individual
who was nearly ten years younger than herself, and resembled his
brother in every respect except in being much less handsome. The
happy couple sailed for Europe immediately after the ceremony.

We are sorry to say that Mr. Taylor, the father, suffered
severely, not long after the marriage of his second son, by the
great fire; he suffered also in the great panic, and in various
other panics which have succeeded one another. Still he has not
failed, but he is a poorer man than when we first had the honour
of making his acquaintance. In other respects he is much what he
was fifteen years ago, devoted as much as ever and as exclusively
as ever to making money; still valuing everything, visible or
invisible, by the market-price in gold, silver, or bank-notes;
although unfortunately much less successful than at the
commencement of his career, in accumulating dollars and cents;
his seems to be "the fruitless race, without a prize;" and yet
Mr. Taylor is approaching the time of life when the end of the
race cannot be very distant.

{"the great fire" = the fire that destroyed much of downtown New
York City in 1835. "the great panic..." = the financial panic of
1837, and the depression that followed; "the fruitless race..." =
from William Cowper (English poet, 1731-1800), "Hope" line 25}

Adeline is improved in many respects, her mother's advice has had
a good effect on her; still it is amusing to see her already
training up several little girls for future belles, on her own
pattern; rather it is believed to the annoyance of her quiet
husband. Emma Taylor is decidedly less lively, she too having in
some measure composed herself, after achieving belle-ship and

Mr. and Mrs. Uncle Dozie removed from Longbridge not long after
their marriage; they have since returned there again, and now, by
the last accounts, they are again talking of leaving the place.

Mrs. Hilson still continues to annoy her family with a
persevering ingenuity, for which certain silly women appear
peculiarly well qualified; at times she talks of taking the veil
in a nunnery, at others, of again entering the bands of Hymen
with some English aristocrat of illustrious lineage; she
confesses that either step would be sufficiently romantic and
aristocratic to suit her refined tastes, but which she will
eventually adopt cannot yet be known. Fortunately, her sister
Emmeline has profited much more than the "city lady" herself by
the follies of the past; she has lately married a respectable
man, one of their Longbridge neighbours, much to her father's

Mary Van Alstyne remains single, and passes much of her time with

Some eighteen months after Harry's marriage, one evening as he
was sitting on the piazza at Wyllys-Roof, he received a letter
which made him smile; calling Elinor from the drawing-room, he
communicated the contents to her. It was from Ellsworth,
announcing his approaching marriage with the lovely Mrs. Taylor,
or in other words, our friend Jane. Harry laughed a good deal,
and coloured a little too, as he plainly saw by the tone of the
letter, that his friend was going through precisely the same
process as himself, during his Paris days, when he first
discovered such wisdom in the depths of Jane's dark eyes, such
delicacy of sentiment in the purity of her complexion, such
tenderness in every common smile of her beautiful lips.
Ellsworth, however, would probably not find out as soon as
himself, that all these beauties made up a lovely picture indeed,
but nothing more; for his friend was an accepted suitor, and
might indulge himself by keeping agreeable fancies alive as long
as he chose; while Harry had been rather rudely awakened from his
trance by very shabby treatment in the first place, and a refusal
at last. To Hazlehurst, the most amusing part of Ellsworth's
story was, an allusion to a certain resemblance in character
between Mrs. Taylor and 'one whom he had so much admired, one
whom he must always admire.'

"Now, Elinor, do me the justice to say I was never half so bad as
that; I never pretended to think Jane like you, in one good

"It would be a pity if you had--Jane has good qualities of her
own. But I am rejoiced to hear the news; it is an excellent match
for both parties."

"Yes; though Jane is a lovely puppet, and nothing more, yet it is
a good match on that very account; Ellsworth will look after her.
It is to be hoped they are satisfied; I think we are, my sweet
wife; don't you?"

His frank, natural, affectionate smile as he spoke, was tolerably
satisfactory, certainly as to his estimate of his own fate; and
it is to be hoped the reader is by this time sufficiently well
acquainted with Elinor and Harry, to credit his account of the
matter. From all we know of both, we are ourselves disposed to
believe them very well qualified to pass through life happily
together, making the cheerful days pleasanter, and the dark hours
less gloomy to each other.

Harry seems to have given up his diplomatic pursuits for the
present at least; he remains at home, making himself useful both
in private and public life. Last year he and Elinor were at the
Rip-Raps, accompanied by Mr. Wyllys and Miss Agnes, and a little
family of their own--several engaging, clever, well-trained
children. The little girls, without being beauties, are not
plain; they are indeed quite as pretty as Jane's daughters; the
only ugly face in the young troop belongs to a fine-spirited
little fellow, to whom it is of no consequence at all, as he has
just discarded his petticoats for ever. Perhaps both father and
mother are pleased that such is the case; the feeling would seem
to be one of those weaknesses which will linger about every
parent's heart. Yet Elinor acknowledges that she is herself a
happy woman without beauty; and Harry, loving her as he does for
a thousand good reasons, and inclinations, and partialities,
sometimes actually believes that he loves her the better for that
plain face which appeals to his more generous feelings. Many men
will always laugh at an ugly woman, and the idea of loving her;
but is it an error in Hazlehurst's biographer to suppose that
there are others who, placed in similar circumstances, would feel
as Harry felt?

{"the Rip-Raps" = sea resort at Hampton, Virginia; near Old Point
Comfort, where Mr. Ellsworth had seen Elinor in Vol. II, Chapter

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