List Of Contents | Contents of Elinor Wyllys, by Susan Fenimore Cooper
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doubt as to the truth of the stories these travellers had
recorded for the amusement of themselves and their friends; at
the same time, she felt perfectly convinced that the
interpretation put upon these giddy, thoughtless actions, was
cruelly unjust. Could these young ladies have heard the
observations to which they had laid themselves open by their own
folly, they would have been sobered at once; self-respect would
have put them more on their guard, ESPECIALLY IN THEIR
INTERCOURSE WITH FOREIGNERS. It is, no doubt, delightful to see
young persons free from every suspicion; no one would wish to
impose a single restraint beyond what is necessary; but, surely,
a young girl should not only be sans peur, but also sans
reproche--the faintest imputation on her native modesty is not to
be endured: and, yet, who has not seen pretty, delicate
creatures, scarcely arrived at womanhood, actually assuming a
noisy, forward pertness, foreign to their nature, merely to
qualify them for the envied title of belles? There is something
wrong, certainly, wherever such a painful picture is exhibited;
and it may be presumed that in most cases the fault lies rather
with the parents than the daughters. Happily, the giddy, rattling
school to which Miss Emma Taylor belonged, is much less in favour
now, than it was some ten or fifteen years ago, at the date of
our story.

{"sans peur, but also sans reproche" = without fear, but also
without reproach (French); the French national hero Bayard
(1476-1524), is traditionally called "Le Chevalier sans peur et
sans reproche"}

"How little do Emma Taylor, and girls like her, imagine the cruel
remarks to which they expose themselves by their foolish
manners!" thought Elinor, as she succeeded at length, with the
assistance of Mr. Ellsworth, in extricating herself from the

As the Wyllys party moved away from the spring, to walk in the
pretty wood adjoining, they saw a young man coming towards them
at a very rapid pace.

"Who is it--any one you know, Miss Wyllys?" asked Mr. Ellsworth.

"He is in pursuit of some other party, I fancy," replied Elinor.

"It is Charlie Hubbard coming to join us; did we forget to
mention that he came up the river with us?" said Harry, who was
following Elinor, with Mrs. Creighton and Mr. Stryker.

The young painter soon reached them, as they immediately stopped
to welcome him; he was very kindly received by his old friends.

"Well, Charlie, my boy," said Mr. Wyllys, "if Harry had not been
here to vouch for your identity, I am not sure but I should have
taken you for an exiled Italian bandit. Have you shown those
moustaches at Longbridge?"

"Yes, sir;" replied Charlie, laughing. "I surprised my mother and
sister by a sight of them, some ten days since; it required all
their good-nature, I believe, to excuse them."

"I dare say they would have been glad to see you, if you had come
back looking like a Turk," said Elinor.

"I am determined not to shave for some months, out of principle;
just to show my friends that I am the same Charlie Hubbard with
moustaches that I was three years ago without them."

"I suppose you consider it part of your profession to look as
picturesque as our stiff-cut broadcloth will permit," said Mr.

"If you really suspect me of dandyism, sir," said Charlie, "I
shall have to reform at once."

"I am afraid, Mr. Hubbard, that you have forgotten me," observed
Mr. Ellsworth; "though I passed a very pleasant morning at your
rooms in New York, some years since."

Charlie remembered him, however; and also made his bow to Mrs.
Creighton and Mr. Stryker.

"And how did you leave the Mediterranean, sir?" asked Mr.
Stryker, in a dry tone. "Was the sea in good looks?"

"As blue as ever. I am only afraid my friends in this country
will not believe the colour I have given it in my sketches."

"We are bound to believe all your representations of water,"
remarked Mr. Wyllys.

"I hope you have brought back a great deal for us to see; have
you anything with you here?" asked Elinor.

"Only my sketch-book. I would not bring anything else; for I must
get rid of my recollections of Italy. I must accustom my eye
again to American nature; I have a great deal to do with Lake
George, this summer."

"But you must have something in New York," said Miss Wyllys.

"Yes; I have brought home with me samples of water, from some of
the most celebrated lakes and rivers in Europe."

"That is delightful," said Elinor; "and when can we see them?"

"As soon as they are unpacked, I shall be very happy to show them
to my friends. They will probably interest you on account of the
localities; and I have endeavoured to be as faithful to nature as
I could, in every instance. You will find several views familiar
to you, among the number," added Charlie, addressing Hazlehurst.

"I have no doubt that you have done them justice."

"They are far from being as good as I could wish; but I did my
best. You will find some improvement, sir, I hope," added
Charlie, turning to Mr. Wyllys, "since my first attempt at
Chewattan Lake, in the days of Compound Interest."

"You have not forgotten your old enemy, the Arithmetic," said Mr.
Wyllys, smiling. "I am afraid Fortune will never smile upon you
for having deserted from the ranks of trade."

"I am not sure of that, sir; she is capricious, you know."

"I should think you would do well, Charlie, to try your luck just
now, by an exhibition of your pictures."

"My uncle has already proposed an exhibition; but I doubt its
success; our people don't often run after good pictures," he
added, smiling. "If I had brought with me some trash from Paris
or Leghorn, I might have made a mint of money."

A general conversation continued until the party returned towards
the hotels. They were met, as they approached Congress Hall, by
several persons, two of whom proved to be Mrs. Hilson, and Miss
Emmeline Hubbard. Charlie had already seen his cousins in New
York, and he merely bowed in passing. Miss Emmeline was leaning
on the arm of M. Bonnet, Mrs. Hilson on that of another
Frenchman, whose name, as the "Baron Adolphe de Montbrun," had
been constantly on her lips during the last few weeks, or in
other words, ever since she had made his acquaintance. Charlie
kept his eye fixed on this individual, with a singular expression
of surprise and vexation, until he had passed. He thought he
could not be mistaken, that his cousin's companion was no other
than a man of very bad character, who had been in Rome at the
same time with himself, and having married the widow of an
Italian artist, a sister of one of Hubbard's friends, had
obtained possession of her little property, and then deserted
her. The whole affair had taken place while Charlie was in Rome;
and it will readily be imagined that he felt no little
indignation, when he met a person whom he strongly suspected of
being this very chevalier d'industrie, flourishing at Saratoga,
by the side of his uncle Joseph's daughter.

{"chevalier d'industrie" = con man; swindler; man who lives by
his wits (French)}

Charlie had no sooner left the Wyllyses on the piazza at Congress
Hall, than he proceeded to make some inquiry about this
Frenchman. He found his name down in the books of the hotel, as
the Baron Adolphe de Montbrun, which with the exception of
ALPHONSE for the first name, was the appellation of the very man
who had behaved so badly at Rome. He went to Mrs. Hilson, and
told her his suspicions; but they had not the least effect on the
"city lady;" she would not believe them. Charlie had no positive
proof of what he asserted; he could not be confident beyond a
doubt as to the identity of this person and the Montbrun of the
Roman story, for he had only seen that individual once in Italy.
Still, he was convinced himself, and he entreated his cousin to
be on her guard; the effect of his representations may be
appreciated from the fact, that Mrs. Hilson became more amiable
than ever with the Baron, while she was pouting and sulky with
Charlie, scarcely condescending to notice him at all. Hubbard
only remained twenty-four hours at Saratoga, for he was on his
way to Lake George; before he left the Springs, however, he
hinted to Mr. Wyllys his suspicions of this Montbrun, in order to
prevent that individual's intruding upon the ladies of the Wyllys
party; for Mrs. Hilson delighted in introducing him right and
left. As for her other companion, M. Bonnet, he was known to be a
respectable merchant in New York.

Several days passed, during which our friends at Saratoga, like
the rest of the world there, walked, and rode, and drank the
waters, and seemed to pass their time very pleasantly; although
the ladies did not either dress or flirt as much as many of their
companions, who seemed to look upon these two occupations as the
peculiar business of the place. Jane's spirits improved very
much; there was much curiosity to see her, on account of her
reputation as a beauty; but, like the rest of her party, she was
only occasionally in the public rooms.

"Have you seen the beautiful Mrs. Taylor?"--"I caught a glimpse
of Mrs. Taylor, the great beauty, this morning--"What, the
beautiful Jane Graham that was? is she as lovely as ever?"--were
remarks that were frequently heard in the crowd.

Elinor also came in for her share of the public notice, and the
attention she attracted was, of course, of a directly opposite
character. There happened to be staying at Congress Hall, just
then, a very pretty young lady, from Savannah, who was also
considered a great fortune; she was known as the "lovely
heiress," while Elinor, in contradistinction, was spoken of as
the "ugly heiress."

"Do you know," said a young lady, standing on the piazza one
evening, "I have not yet seen the ugly heiress. I should like to
get a peep at her; is she really so very ugly?" she continued,
addressing a young man at her side.

"Miss Wyllys, you mean; a perfect fright--ugly as sin," replied
the gentleman.

Elinor, at the very moment, was standing immediately behind the
speakers, and Mr. Ellsworth, who was talking to her, was much
afraid she had heard the remark. To cut short the conversation,
he immediately addressed her himself, raising his voice a little,
and calling her by name.

The young lady was quite frightened, when she found the "ugly
heiress" was her near neighbour, and even the dandy was abashed;
but Elinor herself was rather amused with the circumstance, and
she smiled at the evident mortification of the speakers. Never
was there a woman more free from personal vanity than Elinor
Wyllys; and she was indifferent to remarks of this kind, to a
degree that would seem scarcely credible to that class of young
ladies, who think no sound so delightful as that of a compliment.
On the evening in question, the piazzas were crowded with the
inmates of the hotels; those who had feeling for the beauties of
nature, and those who had not, came out alike, to admire an
unusual effect of moonlight upon a fine mass of clouds. Elinor
was soon aware that she was in the neighbourhood of Mrs. Hilson
and her sister, by the silly conversation they were keeping up
with their companions. These Longbridge ladies generally kept
with their own party, which was a large one. The Wyllyses were
not sorry that they seldom met; for, little as they liked the
sisters, they wished always to treat them civilly, on account of
their father. The English art of "cutting" is, indeed, little
practised in America; except in extreme cases; all classes are
too social in their feelings and habits to adopt it. It is,
indeed, an honourable characteristic of those who occupy the
highest social position in America--those who have received, in
every respect, the best education in the country--that, as a
class, they are free from the little, selfish, ungenerous feeling
of mere exclusiveism.

"Oh, here you are, Miss Wyllys!" exclaimed Emmeline Hubbard to
Elinor, who was talking to Mrs. Creighton. "I have been wishing
to see you all the afternoon--I owe you an apology."

"An apology to me, Miss Hubbard?--I was not at all aware of it."

"Is it possible? I was afraid you would think me very rude this
morning, when I spoke to you in the drawing-room, for there was a
gentleman with you at the time. Of course I ought not to have
joined you at such a moment, but I was anxious to give you the
Longbridge news."

"Certainly; I was very glad to hear it: the conversation you
interrupted was a very trifling one."

"Oh, I did not wish to insinuate that you were conversing on a
PARTICULARLY interesting subject. But, of course, I am too well
acquainted with the etiquette of polished circles, not to know
that it is wrong for one young lady to intrude upon another while
conversing with a gentleman.

"If there be such a point of etiquette, I must have often broken
it very innocently, myself. I have never practised it, I assure

"Ah, that is very imprudent, Miss Wyllys!" said the fair
Emmeline, shaking her fan at Elinor. "Who knows how much mischief
one may do, in that way? You might actually prevent a
declaration. And then a young lady is, of course, always too
agreeably occupied in entertaining a beau, to wish to leave him
for a female friend. It is not everybody who would be as
good-natured as yourself at such an interruption."

"I have no merit whatever in the matter, I assure you; for I was
very glad to find that--"

Just at that moment one of Miss Hubbard's admirers approached
her, and without waiting to hear the conclusion of Elinor's
remark, she turned abruptly from the lady, to meet the gentleman,
with a striking increase of grace, and the expression of the
greatest interest in her whole manner.

Elinor smiled, as the thought occurred to her, that this last act
of rudeness was really trying to her good-nature, while she had
never dreamed of resenting the interruption of the morning. But
Miss Hubbard was only following the code of etiquette, tacitly
adopted by the class of young ladies she belonged to, who never
scrupled to make their manner to men, much more attentive and
flattering than towards one of themselves, or even towards an
older person of their own sex.

Elinor, however, had seen such manoeuvres before, and she would
scarcely have noticed it at the moment, had it not been for Miss
Emmeline's previous apology.

Mrs. Hilson soon approached her. "Has Emmeline been communicating
our Longbridge intelligence, Miss Wyllys? Do you think it a good

"I hope it will prove so; we were very glad to hear of it. Mary
Van Horne is a great favourite of my aunt's, and Mr. Roberts, I
hear, is highly spoken of."

"Yes; and he is very rich; too; she has nothing at all herself; I

"Do you know whether they are to live in New York? I hope they
will not go very far from us."

"I suppose they will live in the city, as he is so wealthy; Mary
will have an opportunity of tasting the fascinations of high
life. I shall introduce her to a clique of great refinement at
once. Don't you think Saratoga the most delightful place in the
world, Miss Wyllys? I am never so happy as when here. I delight

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