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of their own, in these matters. They write, as compositors set up their types, by the ear. Their eye catches a whole word, but not its constituent elementary signs of sound. I could make a profound and ingenious speculation on this subject; but I must return to Mr. Viellecour, whom I left reading Miss Huggins' letter.
He had not deciphered the postscript, when old Sampson brought into the room another cartel; but observing the agitated air of his master, he paused in distress and uncertainty. The old gentleman, however, with a lack-lustre
held forth his hand to receive the despatch, which proved to be from Barnabas Bull, Esq. or Lawyer Bull, as he was more familiarly called by his neighbours. Thus it ran:
- The course you have thought proper to take, in breaking off your engagements with my daughter, Elizabeth Ann Bull, which were so well understood in the family, and by all the neighbours, and of which I have ample proof, renders it necessary for me to adopt measures of an unpleasant nature. I have no doubt a Neworkjury, before whom I mean to carry
issue for trial, on the ground of prejudice existing here, will give $5,000 damages, as a small atonement
for the feelings of an insulted father, and a much injured girl—to wit, the aforesaid Elizabeth Ann Bull.
“ By way, however, of giving you a locus penitentiæ, by which I mean a chance of compromising the suit, I have told the constable who has the writ, not to serve it until half an hour after your receipt of this letter, during which time you
consider what course you will take to do me justice. “ Your obedient servant,
“P.S. Should you incline to break off with Miss Peck, I will defend your action for you. No jury in the world will give that foolish old woman more than sixpence.”
After reading this last courteous epistle, the poor old gentleman sat for some minutes with a fixed and vacant gaze, such as had never before clouded the vivacity of his countenance. In his trance the images of Abishag, Terence, Mrs. Peck, Epaphroditus, Plutarch, Miss Huggins, Miss Betsey, and Lawyer Bull, whirled round his brain in dizzy succession. The awkward web of embarrassment in which he had become innocently entangled,-his acute sensibility which
shrunk from even the shadow of ridicule,-his horror of notoriety under such strange circumstances,—were all overwhelming him, and plunging his judgment into a chaos of inextricable confusion; in which all pecuniary or personal considerations--the appeal of Terence to the pistol, and of Lawyer Bull to the jury, were alike forgotten. This warfare of his thoughts was interrupted by a sound, shrill and startling as
" The blast of that dread horn,
but not, like that portentous clarion, did it announce the death of heroes,
“ How Rowland brave, and Olivier,
At Roncesvalles died -"
but it proclaimed that the Boston mail stage was approaching, and that a change of horses must be ready at the inn. By a very natural association, the image of his great grand-father Jean Pierre Gaspard Adrian Santerre de Viellecour, flying with his wife and children, his big bible and curiously mounted silver-hilted sword, from the persecution of the bloody Louis le Grand, the scarlet woman and the beast, was presented to the imagination of our hero. He arose with
precipitation; took down the time-honoured rapier from its customary place beneath the Viellecour arms, then pointing to a trunk in which he had a few days before packed up an assortment of clothes, when he was meditating a New-Year's visit to some old friends in Philadelphia, he very solemnly and laconically ordered Sampson to carry it after him to the inn, and take care of the house till his return. He then invested his person in his blue roquelaire, lined with red velvet, and fastened with silver clasps, the gift of no less a person than the diplomatic ex-bishop of Autun; who, during his temporary exile in this country, had kindly condescended to make Mr. Viellecour's house his country seat, and to accept some trifling loans of a few hundreds, in requital of which he left him this parting legacy. Beneath this garment, so precious from its associations, its proprietor adjusted his spiritual and temporal weapons ; after which, he walked with a determined gait, not unworthy of his ancestry, into the hall: the venerable Sampson followed him in silence, with corresponding dignity and gravity of demeanour. But their march was soon obstructed by John Peck, whose patience was waxing rather impatient while waiting for his “ answer,” although his cousin Plutarch had assured him he would receive at
least half a dollar from the old gentleman, for his mission. As John had received nothing from Plutarch, in the way of outfit, he clung pertinaciously to the idea of salary; and confronting Mr. Viellecour, in a dogged and loutish, but fixed attitude, and with drawling but impudent accents, he interrupted the procession. “Old Squire," said John, “I guess you're been a nation long time a writing that ’are answer for Aunt Bisbag. And you ’ant forgot that ’are four shilling, that cousin Plutarch said you was to have gin me, you know, have you?" The old gentleman brushed by the varlet, rather roughly, muttering something about drowning puppies in a horse-pond; which the literal and faithful Sampson, as it will appear, interpreted into a command.
The master and man proceeded to the stageoffice, where the former, without saying a word, placed himself in the coach which was standing before the door. The vehicle had arrived without any passengers. He had therefore ample room wherein to adjust himself and his properties, on the back-seat. With his formidable sword on one side, and his gigantic bible on the other, and the trunk beneath his feet, he might have sat to Dunlap for the personification of Christian resignation. He nodded a melancholy farewell to Sampson; the driver threw