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and divers others of my acquaintance. Ay-and there's Drewett, as I live! Wallingford, too! How fare you, noble captain, up in this fresh-water stream ? You must be strangely out of your latitude.”
“ How do you do, Mr. Hardinge?” I coldly returned the salutation; and then I was obliged to speak to the Majo and his daughter. But Neb was at the helm, and I had given him a sign to sheer further from our companion. This soon reduced the intercourse to a few wavings of handkerchiess, and kissings of the hand, in which all the Drewetts came in for a share. As for Lucy, she walked aside, and I seized the occasion to get a word in private.
" What am I to do with the sloop ?" I asked. " It will soon be necessary to come to some decision."
“By no means go to the wharf. Oh! this has been most cruel. The cabin-windows are open, and Grace must have heard every syllable. Not even a question as to her health! I dread to go below and witness the effect.”
I wished not to speak of Rupert to his sister, and avoided the subject. The question, therefore, was simply repeated. Lucy inquired if it were not possible to land our passengers without bringing-up, and, hearing the truth on the subject, she renewed her entreaties not to land. Room was taken accordingly, and the sloop, as soon as high enough, was rounded-to, and the boat lowered. The portmanteau of Post was placed in it, and the Drewetts were told that everything was ready to put them ashore.
“Surely we are not to part thus !” exclaimed the old lady. “ You intend to. land, Lucy, if not to accompany us to Ballston? The waters might prove of service to Miss Wallingsord.”
« Dr. Post thinks not, but advises us to return tranquilly down the river. We may yet go as far as Sandy Hook, or even into the Sound. It all depends on dear Grace's strength and inclinations.”
Protestations of regret and disappointment followed, for everybody appeared to think much of Lucy, and very little of my poor sister. Some attempts were even made at persuasion ; but the quiet firmness of Lucy soon convinced her friends that she was not to be diverted from her purpose. Mr. Hardinge, too, had a word to say in confirmation of his daughter's decision; and the travellers reluctantly prepared to enter the boat. After he had assisted his mother over the sloop's side, Andrew Drewett turned to me, and in fair, gentlemanlike, manly language, expressed his sense of the service I had rendered him. After this acknowledgment, the first he had made, I could do no less than shake his hand; and we parted in the manner of those who have conferred and received a favour.
I could perceive that Lucy's colour heightened, and that she looked exceedingly gratified, while this little scene was in the course of being acted, though I was unable to comprehend the precise feeling that was predominant in her honest and truthful heart. Did that increased colour proceed from pleasure at the handsome manner in which Drewett acquitted himself of one of the most embarrassing of all our duties—the admission of a deep obligation ? or was it in any manner connected with her interest in me? I could not ask, and of course did not learn.
This scene, however, terminated our intercourse with the Drewetts, for the moment; the boat pulling away immediately after.
· Misplaced in life,
Glad enough was I to find the quiet and domestic character of my vessel restored. Lucy had vanished as soon as it was proper; but, agreeably to her request, I got the sloop's head down-stream, and began our return-passage, without even thinking of putting a foot on the then unknown land of Albany. Marble was too much accustomed to submit without inquiry to the movements of the vessel he was in, to raise any objections; and the Wallingford, her boat in tow, was soon turning down with the tide, aided by a light westerly wind, on her homeward course. This change kept all on deck so busy, that it was some little time ere J saw Lucy again. When we did meet, however, I found her sad, and full of apprehension. Grace had evidently been deeply hurt by Rupert's deportment. The effect on her frame was such, that it was desirable to let her be as btle disturbed as possible. Lucy hoped she might fall asleep; for, like an infant, her exhausted physical powers sought relief in this resource, almost as often as the state of her mind would permit. Her existence, although I did not then know it, was like that of the flame which flickers in the air, and which is endangered by the slightest increase of the current to which the lamp may be exposed.
We succeeded in getting across the Overslaugh without touching, and had got down among the islands below Coejiman’s,* when we were met by the new flood. The wind dying away to a calm, we were compelled to select a berth, and anchor. As soon as we were snug, I sought an interview with Lucy; but the dear girl sent me word by Chloe that Grace was dozing, and that she could not see me just at that moment, as her presence in the cabin was necessary in order to maintain silence. On receiving this message,
I ordered the boat hauled up alongside ; Marble, myself
and Neb got in; when the black sculled us ashore-Chloe grin ning at the latter's dexterity, as with one hand, and a mere play of the wrist, he caused the water to foam under the bows of our little bark.
The spot where we landed was a small but lovely gravelly cove, that was shaded by three or four enormous weepingwillows, and presented the very picture of peace and repose. It was altogether a retired and rural bit, there being near it no regular landing, no reels for seines, nor any of those signs that denote a place of resort. A single cottage stood on a small natural terrace, elevated some ten or twelve feet above the rich bottom that sustained the willows. This cot. tage was the very beau idéal of rustic neatness and home comfort. It was of stone, one story in height, with a high pointed roof, and had a Dutch-looking gable that faced the river, and which contained the porch and outer door. The stones were white as the driven snow, having been washed a few weeks before. The windows had the charm of irregularity; and everything about the dwelling proclaimed a former century, and a régime different from that under which we were then living. In fact, the figures 1698, let in as iron braces to the wall of the gable, announced that the house was quite as old as the second structure at Clawbonny.
* Queemans, as pronounced. This is a Dutch, not an Indian namo, and belongs to a respectable New York family.
The garden of this cottage was not large, but it was in admirable order. It lay entirely in the rear of the dwelling; and behind it, again, a small orchard, containing about a hundred trees, on which the fruit began to show itself in abundance, lay against the sort of amphitheatre that almost enclosed this little nook against the intrusion and sight of the rest of the world. There were also half a dozen huge cherry trees, from which the fruit had not yet altogether disappeared, near he house, to which they served the double purpose of ornament and shade. The out-houses seemed to be as old as the dwelling, and were in quite as good order.
As we drew near the shore, I directed Neb to cease scull. ing, and sat gazing at this picture of retirement, and, apparently, of content, while the boat drew towards the gravelly beach, under the impetus already received.
This is a hermitage I think I could stand, Miles," said Marble, whose look had not been off the spot since the mo ment we left the sloop's side. 6. This is what I should call a human hermitage, and none of your out and out solitudes. Room for pigs and poultry; a nice gravelly beach for your boat; good fishing in the offing, I'll answer for it; a snug shoulder-of-mutton sort of a house; trees as big as a twodecker's lower masts; and company within hail, should a fellow happen to take it into his head that he was getting melancholy. This is just the spot I would like to fetch-up in, when it became time to go into dock. What a place to smoke a segar in is that bench up yonder, under the cherry tree; and grog must have a double flavour alongside of that spring of fresh water !"
“ You could become the owner of this very place, Muses, and then we should be neighbours, and might visit each other by water. It cannot be much more than fifty miles from this spot to Clawbonny.”
“I dare say, now, that they would think of asking, for a place like this, as much money as would buy a good whole. some ship-a regular A. No. 1.”
“ No such thing; a thousand or twelve hundred dollars would purchase the house, and all the land we can see some twelve or fifteen acres, at the most. You have more than two thousand salted away, I know, Moses, between prize-money, wages, adventures, and other matters."
“I could hold my head up under two thousand, of a sartainty. I wish the place was a little nearer Clawbonny, say eight or ten miles off; and then I do think I should talk to the people about a trade."
“ It's quite unnecessary, after all. I have quite as snug a cove, near the creek bluff at Clawbonny, and will build a house for you there, you shall not tell from a ship’s cabin ; that would be more to your fancy.”
“I've thought of that, too, Miles, and at one time fancied it would be a prettyish sort of an idee; but it won't stand logarithms, at all. You may build a room that shall have its cabin look, but you can't build one that 'll have a cabir natur'. You may get carlins, and transoms, and lockers and bulkheads all right; but where are you to get your mo:ion ? What's a cabin without motion? It would soon be like the sea in the calm latitudes, offensive to the senses. No! none of your bloody motionless cabins for me. If I'm afloat, let me be be afloat; if I'm ashore, let me be ashore.”
Ashore we were by this time, the boat's keel grinding gently on the pebbles of the beach. We landed and walked towards the cottage, there being nothing about the place to forbid our taking this liberty. I told Marble we would ask for a drink of milk, two cows being in sight, cropping the rich herbage of a beautiful little pasture. This expedient at first seemed unnecessary, no one appearing about the place to question our motives, or to oppose our progress. When we reached the door of the cottage, we found it open, and could look within without violating
any of the laws of civilization. There was no vestibule, or entry; but the door communi. cated directly with a room of some size, and which occupied the whole front of the building. I dare say this single room was twenty feet square, besides being of a height a little greater than was then customary in buildings of that class.