From Old Neighbourhoods and New Settlements
Mrs. Emma D. E. N. Southworth
New York: A. Hart, 1853


A Sequel to "THE BETTER WAY."

Oh! when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd;
She was a vixen when she went to school;
And though she is but little, she is fierce.

  Kate Dunn entered the gay world of fashion first as a married woman, and decided was her success. Kate's life with her grandfather, and afterwards with the Leslies, had been very domestic, and, as she expressed it, very triste; she had gone but little into society. Now she was resolved to have compensation, since no greater obstacle than "Lem Dunn" intervened.

  Formerly she was prevented from going to balls and parties by want of proper chaperonage; now her state as a married woman rendered her independent of that. Kate was now resolved to combine all the pleasures of the maiden with the privileges of the matron; consequently, in fashionable society, where her resplendent beauty and sparkling wit drew many admirers, she was always surrounded by a circle of young men, who were very well pleased to carry on a flirtation with a pretty woman, without the fear of a suit for breach of promise before their eyes. There was one man, however, who was constantly banished from her circle, and that man was her husband.


  "There are hundreds of intelligent men and pretty women here to-night; go and amuse yourself; I shall not be jealous;" was the kind address of Kate to her husband, as he lingered by her side.

  Captain Dunn walked off, and took an extra glass of wine.

  "Can you not comprehend that, as we are married now, your attendance can be dispensed with; nay, more—that it is outre, absurd, to remember that you have a wife in the room?" was the petulant speech with which she received him when he returned after an hour's absence.

  "Decidedly, Captain Dunn, you are making yourself and me appear very ridiculous by this Darby and Joan exhibition of conjugal affection. Positively we shall be cited as a 'pattern couple;' and I know nothing that could be more scandalous or alarming," said Mrs. Dunn to the Captain, as they entered the carriage to return from a large party one evening.

  "I don't understand your opinions and feelings upon this subject, Catherine, but I don't like this fashionable manner of waiting upon any other woman but my own wife, and seeing her attended by any other man except her own husband."

  "Oh, indeed, Captain Dunn, you make me quite sick, talking so foolishly about 'own wives' and 'own husbands;' the fact of our marriage is incontrovertible; there is no need to emphasize it so often."

  "Kate's head is a little turned by her French romances, but I feel sure her principles are really sound. I will not make myself 'ridiculous,' as she would call it, by fretting and fuming, nor will I annoy her by useless remonstrance now. Give her folly its full way; it will soon wear itself out, or"—Captain Dunn paused in his mental soliloquy, poured out and swallowed a glass of wine.

* * *

  A few weeks from this time, Captain Dunn was ordered to sea, and made preparations, with a reluctant heart, to leave his bride. A few days previous to joining his ship, he seated


himself by the side of Catherine, and, passing his hands caressingly through her ringlets, said:

  "You will be very lonesome in this large house when I am gone, dear wife."

  "Oh! no, I shan't; I shall fill it with company; don't tumble my curls, please, Captain." Captain Dunn folded his hands, and a sigh escaped him.

  "I have been thinking, Kate, of inviting my mother to take up her residence here during my absence."

  "To watch your wife, I presume, sir, and to look after your interests, of which you think me incapable."

  "Kate! how can you—; I had no thought beyond giving you pleasure, by providing you with a desirable companion."

  "Then, Captain, I beg you will not trouble your mother to leave her own home, to come to me; it might greatly inconvenience her."

  "Not at all. Since my sister's marriage and departure for Europe, my mother is quite alone, and very sad; she would be more cheerful here with you."

  "I do not think so—old people are seldom contented out of their own homes."

   "Yes, but with my mother it is different; she has an excellent heart and most serene temper, and is prepared to love you as a daughter. Besides, her support has hitherto been my most agreeable duty; but I cannot now sustain the expense of two establishments; so you see the propriety, nay, the necessity, that obliges me to offer her a home here."

  "I thought it was all on my account," sneered Kate; "however, you may be sure she would be much better off in a good boarding-house."

  "Madam!" exclaimed Captain Dunn, in angry astonishment; but, quickly controlling himself, and looking seriously in his wife's face, he inquired, "Am I to understand, Cathe-


rine, that you are opposed to my mother's presence in this house?"

  Notwithstanding all her assurance, Kate's eyes fell, and her cheeks glowed under the gaze that was fixed upon her. She was determined to have her own way, however, though it would require some hardihood to tell the frank and noble-hearted man before her that she was opposed to having his mother under their roof. She replied with assumed firmness, but without raising her eyes—

  "I have a great respect for your mother, Captain, and will show her every attention in my power; but I do dislike the idea of a mother-in-law in the same house with me; I cannot conquer my repugnance to your proposed measure; and you know, Captain, with such feelings on my part, your mother and myself could not get along comfortably together."

  "I certainly shall not insult her with the proposition," said Captain Dunn haughtily, as he left the room.

  "I have conquered again," thought Kate. "Now, I really did feel like giving up once, but it won't do—such feelings must not be encouraged—they would soon enslave me. Men are naturally inclined to be tyrannical, particularly over their wives. Oh! yes, decidedly, I was right in the affair of the mother-in-law. Good heavens! I could not brook a prying, fault-finding mother-in-law in the house." Could Kate have followed with her eye her husband's steps that evening, through the various scenes of dissipation to which he resorted to drown thought, she might have exclaimed, with the conqueror of old, "Another such victory would ruin me."

* * *

  Captain Dunn was absent three years, during which time Kate led a very gay life, despite the affectionate and repeated remonstrances of Mrs. Leslie and Madame D'Arblay. She thought several times of writing to or visiting Mrs. Dunn, senior; but, unhappily, she did not know her address, being ignorant what arrangement Captain Dunn had finally made


for her. The subject had never been mentioned between them since the evening it was first broached. Kate's summers were usually spent at some fashionable watering-place, and her winters in a round of visiting and amusement.

  The evening of Captain Dunn's expected return home, it chanced that a brilliant ball was given by Madame la Baronne V—-, the lady of the French ambassador. "The beautiful Mrs. Dunn" was among the most admired of the guests.

  It was after having gone through a waltz with a distinguished foreigner, that Kate sat down, when a note was placed in her hand, that read as follows:

"Dear Catherine:

  "Come home; I am waiting for you; I should hasten to you, but I may not intrude.

"L. D."

  "Tell Captain Dunn I will be home in an hour or two," said Catherine to the footman who brought the note.

  "Very well, Thomas," said Captain Dunn, on receiving this cool reply; "bring me the morning papers, and a bottle of port."

  Notwithstanding the provoking coolness of her message, when Catherine returned, a few hours after, the door was opened by Captain Dunn, who received her in his arms, and strained her to his bosom.

  "Good Heavens! Captain," exclaimed Kate, releasing herself, "you take my breath away—and just see how you have crushed my dress and dishevelled my hair. Pray, don't be so energetic."

  "You are looking in high health and beauty, my peerless Catherine," said Captain Dunn, as he gazed upon her with pride, not noticing her petulance.

  "Do reserve your gallant speeches for other women, Captain, and don't waste them upon your wife."

  However deeply pained Captain Dunn might have been by his wife's coolness and levity, nothing of mortification or dis-


approval was apparent in his manner. Captain Dunn liked to leave all his bad weather at sea.

  Some twelve months succeeding this event, Mrs. Dunn presented her husband with a son and heir. "And now," thought the happy father, "my wife will love her home for her child's sake." But Captain Lemuel Dunn "reckoned without his hostess," as a very few days demonstrated.

  "Where is the young sailor?" inquired he, as he took his seat by his wife's easy chair, a few days succeeding the birth of his son.

  "Mrs. Tenly has got him."

  "Mrs. Tenly—who is she?"

   "A young woman whom I have engaged as a wet nurse."

  "Now, is it possible, Kate, that you mean to let your child be nursed at the bosom of another woman?"

  "Yes; it is both possible and positive—now, don't put on that disagreeable look—it is not usual for ladies of my station"—

  "Your station—a rough sailor's wife"—

  "Well, don't tease me! my delicate health forbids"—

  " Your delicate health! Why, Kate, you have the finest constitution of any woman I know. You enjoy high—I had almost said rude—health."

  "Well, then, if you must have it, I don't intend to spoil my figure by nursing a child. And I have no idea of going about the house in a slovenly wrapper, or ill-fitting corsage, for the sentimental nonsense of nursing my own baby."

  "Ha! ha! ha! that's the most amusing reason of all—for you to give, Kate, who go about the house all the morning in a loose gown, with your hair in papers!"

  "Captain Dunn, you're a bore."

  "Well! this nurse—has she lost her own child?"

  "No; she is raising it by hand."

  "Then you are really cruel, as well as silly."

  "Captain Dunn, please leave the room; this interview has fatigued me," said Kate, affecting languor.


  If the reader will forgive the digression, I will describe a small, mean dwelling, not far from Captain Dunn's handsome house. In the basement story of a dilapidated old house—in a miserable room, with broken-down doors, and cracked and fly-stained window-glasses—on a poor straw bed, covered with a thin, faded counterpane, lay a shivering babe. A coloured girl, in tattered garments, was trying to coax a few embers to burn in the mildewed fireplace. At a cry from the awakened child, the girl gave over her hopeless efforts, and, taking the infant up, she sat down upon a low stool, and commenced rocking it backward and forward in her lap, to still its cries.

  At this moment the door opened, and Mrs. Tenly, the fine ladies' nurse, entered, drew near her infant, and, while the tears coursed down her cheeks, looked upon it in silence. The little creature was now lying languidly across the girl's lap; its small limbs hung flaccidly, its tiny features were sharpened and attenuated, and its slumbers were interrupted by distressing moans.

  "How has she been, Nelly?" she asked of the negro girl.

  "Her has been cryin' a dreat deal, ma'am."

  "Poor baby! poor little one! Oh, it is wicked, it is cruel, to give your nourishment to another child—your own nourishment, that nature has provided for your own poor little feeble self—to give it to another babe, and let you perish." The mother wept convulsively, as she took the babe from the little negro.

  "Clare t' de Lord, I wouldn't do it, mam;" exclaimed the little girl, as she busied herself making the fire, and heating some water.

  "Ah, Nelly, I've tried every other way at getting bread!"

  Mrs. Tenly, after washing her little one, and dressed her in her night clothes, indulged herself by rocking her a few moments in her lap. "This will not do for me, though," said she; "that other child will wake and cry, and Mrs. Dunn will


be displeased." Pressing her child to her bosom once again, she laid her upon the bed, and prepared to go.

  "Oh! Nelly, take good care of the baby, and I will bring you something pretty—will you, Nelly?"

  "I alluz does take care of her, ma'am."

  "And keep the panado warm in the corner, and give it to her when she wakes and cries in the night."

  "Yes, ma'am."

  Mrs. Tenly turned back to kiss the child again, and tucked her warmly up; then stopped the broken pane of the window, and left the house, her eyes streaming with tears.

  This is no exaggerated picture. There are many such cases; "I speak that I do know." Mrs. Tenly had come over to this country in an emigrant ship, in company with her husband and some hundred others. They had suffered much from sickness and privation, and many of them were provided for as paupers. But Mrs. Tenly and her husband had found a home in this wretched cellar, where, within a week after their arrival, on the same day she thanked God for the birth of her first child and wept the loss of its father. Upon her recovery from her confinement, she tried, but in vain, to procure needle-work or washing. Her efforts to find a place at service were equally unsuccessful. At this time, the opportunity being presented, she put her child from her bosom, and went out as a nurse.

  Mrs. Tenly could at least have gone for a while to the almshouse, which, though humiliating to the poorest and lowest, was yet better than the sacrificing of an infant's life, by cruelly and dishonestly depriving it of its natural rights.

  There is but one circumstance that can exempt a woman from the duty of nursing her own children—and that is, ill health; and even then she has no right to engage a nurse, if, by so doing, she deprives another babe of its mother.

* * *

  One morning, soon after Mrs. Dunn got about again, her nurse entered the room and said, weeping,—


  "Will you have the goodness to take charge of your little boy, to-day?"

  "Why? What is the matter?"

  "My child is dying."

  "Indeed! I am very sorry to hear it. Yes, certainly you must go; but what ails your child?"

  "I do not know, madam; ever since I left her to come here, she has pined away."

  "I am very sorry," said Kate; "I will call over and see her; or—no, I could do no good. I will give you a note to my sister, Mrs. Leslie; she will visit and assist you; it's all in her line. But get a physician, and tell him to send his account to me; and—stay, here is your month's wages."

  Thanking Mrs. Dunn for her kindness, as she received the note and the money, Mrs. Tenly withdrew.

  An hour after this, Mrs. Leslie stood by the bed of the sick child. "Oh! Mrs. Leslie, is she dying?" sobbed the mother.

  "Not dying, surely not dying, and not in any immediate danger, I think—I hope."

  "Oh! Mrs. Leslie, ma'am, God bless you for saying that. If my baby only lives, I shall never think anything else a trouble in the world. I'd slave for her all my life."

  "We must get her into a sweet, clean, airy room, and then, with the doctor's prescription and her mother's nursing, she will recover."

  "Oh! ma'am, if I only knew how to thank you; but she won't nurse, ma'am."

  "You've tried her, then."

  "When I first came home I did, but she couldn't; and then I gave her the powder, and she went to sleep."

  "She is awake; try her now."

  Mrs. Tenly took the child in her arms, and placed it to her breast.

  The babe looked up into her mother's face with a sort of


sickly inquiring smile, then let her head sink upon her mother's bosom with a sigh of intense satisfaction.

  "Poor little thing, she is happy now," said her mother, smiling through her tears.

  "Oh! she will soon get well," said Mrs. Leslie, cheerfully. "And now, Mrs. Tenly, as I too have a little family to look after at home, I must leave for the present, but I will send my daughter over this afternoon."

  "I have a commission for you, daughter," said Mrs. Leslie to Sylvia, as she laid aside her walking-dress.

  "And I have a commission for you, too, dear mamma; but what is yours?"

  "You must get up all your little sister's last winter's clothes, and tie them into a bundle; then tell Martha to put on her bonnet and attend me in the pantry, bringing a large basket with her; finally, get on your pelisse and hood, to accompany her to see a sick child."

  "Oh! yes, mamma, I understand;" and Sylvia flew to obey, but, dashing back in an instant, she said—

  "Oh! I forgot, mamma, to tell you my commission, or, rather, uncle's. Uncle Harry has been here, and says, will you please find him a housekeeper; he wants one directly."

  "Ah! I am very glad he does, Sylvia; I think we can find a very good housekeeper for uncle."

  The basket of necessaries was packed and sent. The next day Mrs. Tenly and her sick child were removed into comfortable lodging; and a fortnight after, when the latter was recovered, she was put into the cars, and sent twenty miles into the country, to a farm owned and occupied by Mr. Harry Gleason.

* * *

  A month succeeding these events, the Leslies and Madame D'Arblay were spending a day at Captain Dunn's. The party were assembled at dinner. Suddenly the door was thrown


open, and Uncle Harry Gleason stalked into the room, in a great heat, exclaiming—

  " Well, Mrs. Leslie, my admirable niece! I always took you for a model of propriety. The veriest demirep could not have made a more glaring solecism in morals than you have done!"

  The company all glanced in astonishment from Uncle Harry to Mary, who was looking aghast.

  "Yes, ma'am," continued Uncle Harry, "a pretty mess you have made of it. I had a good opinion of you, Mary! I send to you, rather than to an intelligence office; I ask you to find me a proper housekeeper. And what do you do? Whom do you send?"

  "I earnestly hope," said Mary, recovering her self-possession, "that Jane Tenly has in no particular discredited my recommendation. She was well thought of in her humble sphere. I always thought her a very good soul."

  "And am I to have every good soul in the world thrust upon me? I hate good souls. No, ma'am! I didn't want a good soul, nor a good soul's baby, neither. I wanted a housekeeper—meaning a staid, serious, settled old body, who could tuck me up at night, and read me to sleep with Congressional speeches and the President's messages, and so on."

  "Well, couldn't Jane do that, uncle?"

  "Oh! of course she could, beau-ty-ful-ly," sneered the old man.

  "Of what do you complain, then, sir, and how can we further serve or satisfy you?" inquired Leslie.

  "Of what do I complain?" exclaimed Uncle Harry. "I complain of a blue-eyed woman, sir, and a baby, sir. I sent to Madame Propriety, there, for a housekeeper; and what does she send me, sir! A rosy-cheeked woman, and—and—a baby, sir! What will the neighbours say? A man of my age! a gentleman of my integrity, sir! A woman with bright brown hair and a baby, sir!—Well," said


the old man, suddenly dropping his voice, "there was but one thing to be done, and that I did."

  No one replied.

  "And that I did."

  Still all were silent.

  "Why the devil don't some of you ask me what I did?" cried Uncle Harry, losing patience.

  "Sent her away again?" suggested Mary.

  "No, ma'am, I didn't. I never sent a woman away again in all my life, and never mean to. No, no; you know what I did well enough, although you affect stupidity, because you think it will be a mortification to me to tell it of myself. But it ain't, though! not a bit. Guess I'm old enough to judge for myself. Should like to know what right any body has to find fault with what I do. Well! why in the devil don't some of you ask me what I did?"

   "What did you do, sir?" asked Mary, coaxingly.

  "I married Jane Tenly and the baby—that's what I did."

  "Oh! uncle, no!" exclaimed Mary, in a tone of vexation and distress.

  Kate drew herself up, and regarded her uncle—scorn writhing her lip, and anger flashing from her eyes.

  Leslie, after an involuntary expression of surprise and displeasure, was silent.

  Captain Dunn broke into a hearty and good-humoured laugh, as he sprang from his seat, and seized and shook Uncle Harry's hands, exclaiming—

  "Well done! that's right! wish you joy with all my heart. God bless you!"

  "Ah! Dunn, you've got some heart. You see, Dunn, the old man did want some one to love. Here are my nieces, to be sure; but I am only a fourth or fifth-rate person in their affections; so, Dunn, you know, the old fellow wanted some one to love, who would be always in his sight; and that poor, meek,


blue-eyed woman wanted a friend; and so you see, Dunn"—

  "I see! I see! It was the best thing you ever did in your life. You have given a worthy young woman a comfortable home, a respectable position, and, above all, an excellent husband; and you have secured for yourself a handsome, good, and grateful wife. I shall be always happy to receive you both at my house."

  "Captain Dunn has been indulging too freely in wine, sir, else he would have added—in the basement story, as visiters of her late friends, the housemaid and cook!"

   "Catherine!" exclaimed Captain Dunn, sternly.

  Uncle Harry Gleason bowed to the ground with great ceremony, and withdrew.

* * *

  "I fear that Captain Dunn does indulge too freely in the use of wine," whispered Mary Leslie, when she found herself alone with Leslie that evening.

  "I know he does," was the reply.

  "What can be done?" asked Mary, sadly.

  "Very little, I fear. Something, however, we must attempt. I will speak to Dunn. I will be in his company more than hitherto. And—you must remonstrate with Catherine. I fear she does not make herself or her home agreeable to her husband."

  "I know she does not," sighed Mary.

  The entrance of Madame D'Arblay and Sylvia, attended by a servant with lights, arrested the conversation. The ladies gathered around their work-table with their sewing, and Leslie, opening a book, read aloud while they plied their needles. A far different scene was enacting at Captain Dunn's.

  When the departure of their guests had left the Dunns alone—

  "I am grieved and astonished, Catherine," said Captain


Dunn, "that you should have treated your uncle so disrespectfully and cruelly."

  "I am grieved, but not astonished, Captain Dunn, that you have so far forgotten what was due to yourself and me, as to have invited that woman here. A man whose faculties are always obscured by the fumes of wine cannot astonish me by any act of absurdity or wickedness."

  "What do you mean by that, madam?"

  "I mean, sir, that you are never sober, and therefore cannot be considered a responsible human being."


  "Don't you understand me yet? You are more stupid than I supposed even. In common parlance, then, you are always drunk—and generally, by consequence, a fool."

  "This is not to be endured!" exclaimed Captain Dunn, rising hastily, and pacing the floor with rapid strides; then pausing before his wife, he said severely—

  "You presume, Catherine, upon your sex, and your feebleness. But have a care; where weakness and womanhood do not imply delicacy and gentleness, they lose their claim upon our forbearance."

  "Do you threaten me, sir?" whispered Catherine, in a low, smooth, contemptuous tone of irony. "But of course, why need I be surprised? A man who can connive at the marriage of his cast-off mistress with an honoured relative, and then insult his wife by inviting the abandoned creature to his house, is capable of any act of meanness."

  Exasperated to frenzy by the false and monstrous charges contained in this speech, delirious with anger, Captain Dunn raised his hand, and a blow rang sharply upon the cheek of Catherine; and seizing his hat, he rushed madly from the room and the house.

  A few minutes after, Mrs. Dunn's maid found her in strong hysterics, and in that condition she was conveyed to bed.

* * *


  "What in Heaven's name is all this dreadful business, Captain?" inquired Uncle Harry, as he entered a private parlour in the —— Hotel, occupied temporarily by Captain Dunn.

  "I have disgraced myself—that is the amount of it," replied Captain Dunn, bitterly.

  "Been drinking?"

  "No, no; at least, not much."

  "Been forging?"

  "I have acted the part of a poltroon."

  "Not received an insult or a blow, without knocking the dealer of it down—not that?"

  "Worse, far worse than that; I have struck my wife."

  "Hallelujah! glad on't—better late than never. Hope you gave her a good sound drubbing while you were at it. She's wanted it a long time, the huzzy; she'll treat you all the better, now she's got it, 'specially if she has any fear of the discipline being repeated. Never you mind—I'm her uncle, and her natural guardian; and I approve of it—I uphold you in it," quoth Uncle Harry, his thoughts reverting to Kate's treatment of himself the day previous. "Mind, I give you leave, and I'm her uncle."

  "Pray, do not talk so upon this subject, sir. Believe me, I am sunk very low in my own opinion. I have long dreaded this. I would to Heaven my patience had held out a few days longer, until my ship sailed. Then this rupture might have been delayed, or might never have occurred. Great God! that I, that I, should have raised my hand against a weak, defenceless woman!"

  "Well, what of it? I don't see why weak, defenceless women are not to be punished when they deserve it, as well as weak, defenceless children," exclaimed the old monster. "Would you feel any great compunction for having chastised a weak, defenceless child, if he deserved it?"

  "Your opinions are extremely revolting, Mr. Gleason; but I sent for you to request your good offices with Kate. She


refuses to see me, and returns unopened all my notes. I wish you to see her, implore her forgiveness for me, and bring me her answers. Will you do this?"

  "No, I sha'n't; for that would neutralize the good effect of the drubbing."

  "Then I must see Mrs. Leslie immediately. Will you excuse me?"

  "Yes, and accompany you."

  The two gentlemen then left the house, and took their way to Leslie's together.

  The earnest efforts of the Leslies failed, however, to bring about a reconciliation between the parties. Catherine remained in her own room, outraged and indignant; and Captain Dunn at his hotel, busily preparing for his voyage.

* * *

  The last day of Captain Dunn's stay arrived. His ship was to sail the next morning. He had made a last ineffectual effort to see his wife. She delighted to afflict him to the last safe moment, yet designed to have a full reconciliation before his departure. "Yes," said she, "to-morrow morning I will see him, and forgive him. It will not do to let him go away in despair; for during three years' absence, he may cease to love me—and now this evening to shine the most resplendent star in the constellation of beauty to be assembled at Madame Le Normand's ball. It is very fortunate, by the by, that this shocking affair has not got wind yet."

  That night, Mrs. Dunn, superbly attired, seemingly in high beauty and spirits, entered the magnificent saloon of Madame Le Normand.

  That night, at the same hour, Captain Dunn took his melancholy way towards his now desolated home. Before leaving his native shores, he wished to look again upon the face of his infant son. The whole front of the house looked dark as he approached it. Entering and groping his way through the gloom, along the dark passage and up the stairs, he reached


the nursery door, and entered the room. A small lamp was sitting on the hearth; its feeble rays revealed a scene that sent all the blood from the father's cheek. Straight up in the bed sat the infant, in an attitude fixed and immovable as marble—his cheek blanched—his eyes wide open in a frightful stare—his lips apart with horror, while his gaze was fixed in deadly terror upon a dressed-up bugaboo at the foot of the bed. In an instant, seizing the bundle of sticks and rags that composed this figure, Captain Dunn threw it out of the window, and turned to his boy. The removal of the figure seemed to have dissolved the icy chain that bound the boy; for he now fell back in the bed, in violent convulsions. Seizing the bell-rope, Captain Dunn now rang a peal that presently brought every remaining servant in the house to his presence.

  "Thomas," said he to the first one that appeared, "run immediately for Doctor Wise. William," said he to the other man, "where is Mrs. Dunn?"

  "At Madame Le Normand's ball, sir."

  "And her nurse?"

  "Gone out to a tea-drinking, sir."

  "And the housemaid and cook? Gone, too, I suppose?"

  "Yes, sir."

  "You may leave the room. Stay, call me a carriage."

  "Yes, sir."

  Captain Dunn now turned to his son, whose spasms were over, and having placed him in a comfortable position, awaited the arrival of the physician.

  At length, the Doctor entered, and, having looked at the child, ordered a warm bath, wrote a prescription and sent it off.

  "And now, Doctor, is there any chance of his recovery?" inquired Captain Dunn, after having given the Doctor a full account of the causes that led to the child's seizure.

  "For his full recovery, very little—this will be likely to affect him through life."


  Dunn groaned.

  "Doctor, could he be removed with safety, by a steamboat journey, some ninety or a hundred miles up the river?"

  "With perfect safety," said the Doctor.

  "Then, sir, I will trouble you, if you please, to write at length your orders for his treatment on the journey, as I shall take him away to-night."

  The physician, with a look of surprise, complied, and soon after took his leave.

  Captain Dunn, raising the sleeping infant in his arms, threw a cloak around him, descended the stairs, entered the carriage, which had been some time before the door, and was driven towards the steamboat wharf.

  At the same moment of time, Catherine Dunn, radiant with beauty and gayety, was led, smiling, to her place at the head of the cotillion forming in Madame Le Normand's saloon.

* * *

  Day was dawning when Mrs. Captain Dunn drove up to her own door, and, wearied out with the night's dissipation, would have immediately sought her pillow, when her maid placed a note in her hand. She took it listlessly, and ran her eyes over its contents. They were as follows:

"Farewell, Catherine; farewell, infatuated woman, unduteous wife! neglectful mother! I leave you to the retribution that I pray may overtake you—that I pray may overtake you, in the hope that it may bring you to repentance, happily to reformation. I take your child where he may find, what he has never yet possessed, a mother's care and love—our child, whom your neglect has possibly made an idiot for life."

  Frightful was the picture of passion presented by the wretched Catherine! Tearing the paper to atoms, she threw the fragments upon the floor, and would have ground them to powder with her heel. Her bosom heaved with fierce convulsions—her eyes scintillated—then pressing her hands sud-


denly to her mouth, she sank upon a chair, and thence upon the floor, a stream of dark blood trickling from her lips. Her maid in great alarm raised and placed her upon the bed; then, summoning her fellow servants, sent off for Mrs. Leslie and the physician. Both soon appeared. Mrs. Dunn had broken a blood vessel, and the long-continued hemorrhage left her in a state of utter prostration, with her life in imminent danger.

  On the afternoon of that day, as Catherine lay prostrate, placid, snowy, "like a broken lily on its icy bed," her ear, rendered supernaturally acute by her condition, heard the physician's whispered injunction to her attendants—

  "She must be kept perfectly quiet; complete rest is absolutely necessary. She must not be permitted to raise a hand, scarcely to lift an eye-lid, or hear a sound. Even with the best precaution, a second hemorrhage will be very apt to ensue. Her life hangs upon a cobweb shred."

  "And is Death hovering so near?" thought Catherine; and in an instant, as though invoked by the powerful magicians, Conscience and Fear, the errors of her past life arose before her. Catherine, like most young people in high health, had never contemplated the possibility of death approaching herself, except at the close of a long, long life, at a remote, out of sight distance. Late at night, Mrs. Leslie, who had never left Catherine's side since her attack, was stealing from the room. The quick senses of the invalid detected her.

  "Oh! do not leave me, dearest Mary, to die alone here, with the servants."

  "Dearest Catherine, I must go home a few moments, to attend to some little family matters. I will return very soon."

  "Ah! go, go; I must not detain you from your family. I have no claim upon you, nor upon any human being now. There was one upon whose love I had every claim. He would have worn out his life in watching by my side—but him I have outraged, him I have alienated—"


  "Oh! Catherine! Catherine! do be quiet, love; I will stay with you; but you must be perfectly quiet."

  The injunction came too late. The hemorrhage broke out again, and the patient was brought immediately to the very verge of the grave.

* * *

  At early dawn, at the same hour of Catherine's attack, a steamboat stopped for a few moments, to land a passenger, near the beautiful town of C., on the west bank of the Hudson. Captain Dunn, leaving the boat with his boy in his arms, took his way towards a white cottage, nearly hidden amidst the trees, on the bank of the river. Passing quickly through the white painted gate, and up the neat gravel walk bordered with roses, he paused and rang the door bell. Early as was the hour, the inmates of the cottage were astir. He was met by a cleanly maid servant, who showed him into a neat parlour, and went to summon her mistress. An old lady, in the dress of the Friends, entered the room, and embraced the visiter, saying:

  "Welcome, welcome, my dear son. How hast thou been these many days?"

  "Indifferent, mother; indifferent! but," said he, uncovering the infant, "I have brought you my son; if you love me, dear madam, take charge of him during my absence."

  "But thy wife, Lemuel? Where is she? How is she?" inquired the lady, as she received the child, and proceeded to disencumber him of his outer garments.

  "I know not! I care not!"

   "What meanest thou, my son?"

  "Listen to me, dear mother; I have but an hour to spend with you—I must be on shipboard by noon to-day—so I must be brief with my explanations." Captain Dunn here gave a rapid account of the troubles of his married life. When he concluded, breakfast was placed upon the table, and the old


lady arose to pour out the coffee, merely saying, by way of comment upon her son's story—

  "Oh! these young people! these young people! One would think, with health, and youth, and competence, they would feel happiness to be a duty; but with their pride and their passions, their petulance and haste, they cast away God's richest gifts with ingratitude, as things of nought."

  Twenty-four hours from this time, Captain Dunn, bearing an aching heart in his bosom, had left the shores of his native country.

* * *

  Two months succeeding this event, Catherine Dunn sat up in bed for the first time since her illness. Her thin and snowy face, with the blue tracing of the veins on her temples and forehead, the languid fall of the long eyelashes, the gentle drooping of the whole figure, gave to her beauty a delicate and spiritual air it had never possessed before, while the deprecating softness of her manner silently appealed to the sympathies of all around her.

  An elderly woman, who had been her faithful nurse for many weeks past, and to whose skill and unwearied attention, under Providence, she owed her life, now entered the room.

  "If you please, Rebecca, I will lie down now; I feel faint."

  "Yes, dear," said the old woman, as she tenderly placed her patient in a recumbent posture, inquiring kindly if she "felt comfortable."

  "Very comfortable," answered Catherine; then looking affectionately at her nurse, she said:

  "How much I owe you, dear Rebecca—not only my life, but the knowledge of that truth that makes life of value!"

  "Thy gratitude is due to thy Creator, my child, and not to the feeble instrument he has been pleased to use. Thou wouldst not thank the cup, Catherine, for the coffee thou hast just taken."


  "Ah, why will you not let me thank you, my dear friend—friend indeed, as well as well as Friend by profession? Think—when you came to me, I was as a shipwrecked mariner on an ocean rock—all, all lost—my life not worth a moment's purchase—or, if possibly spared, objectless and aimless. Rebecca! Rebecca! though my first, best gratitude is due to God, I must thank you too, I must love you too."

  "I had an interest, dear child, in thy recovery, and in thy spiritual health," said the nurse, looking steadily at Catherine.

  "Tell me your matron name," gazing earnestly in her face.

  "I am thy husband's mother, Catherine."

  The dreaded mother-in-law! The hated mother-in-law! Catherine looked in the sweet face of her nurse, and burst into tears.

  "There, my child, drink this, and compose thyself," said the old lady, pouring out a glass of water. Then she continued: "Yes, Catherine, thou wilt think it strange that a woman of my sober class and age should be masquerading in this way; but it came to pass after this manner. Nearly two months ago, hearing that thou wert ill, I came down to visit thee. Finding thee in great need of a mother's care, I determined to remain with thee. As thy state was very precarious, and any surprise would have killed thee, I agreed with Mary Leslie not to make myself known, but to attend thee as thy nurse under my given name only. Thou knowest many of my sect are called only by their given names. Thence it came more natural."

  "Ah! dearest madam! I will try to repay you with a daughter's love and duty; but the debt is stupendous. And now, dear madam, will you tell me about my boy? I guessed that my husband, that the Captain, had carried him to you."

  "Thy infant is restored to health, Catherine; but for the better salubrity of the air, I left him at home, in charge of a


careful and trust-worthy woman, who has been my own personal attendant for many years."

  "And my husband—was he very much embittered against me?"

  "He left thee in high displeasure, Catherine."

  "Ah! yes! it could not have been otherwise; and yet I loved him, mother. Wild and passionate as I have been, I loved them both—my husband and child. Yet I never dreamed how deeply until now, that they are gone from me."

  "Thou shalt see thy boy soon, dear Catherine. When thou art able to travel, I propose to take thee to my country house on the Hudson. There, the pure air, the quiet scene, and the company of thy boy, will effect thy complete restoration to health."

  "But will my husband ever forgive me?" sighed Catherine.

  "He should not be obdurate, for he has something to forgive in himself. A little more firmness on his part would have saved you much misery, had that firmness been exercised in the first days of your marriage."

  "It would have taken a great deal of firmness, though, mother; for in those days, although I loved the Captain, there was a perverse devil always prompting me to try him, to see how far I might go with impunity—a wish to drive him to extremity—and I never loved him better than when I saw him in a thorough rage. This must have been insanity; was it not, mother?"

  "No, my dear; I think, as thou saidst, it was Satan," said the placid Quaker. "And now I cannot allow thee to talk a moment longer; there is a fever spot already on thy cheek; so I shall draw the curtains, and leave thee to repose, my child."

* * *

  Three years from the time of the commencement of Catherine Dunn's acquaintance with her mother-in-law, on a winter's evening, the white cottage at C. was lit up brightly. In the cosy parlour the cloth was laid for tea. In a large arm-chair,


in one corner, sat an old lady, knitting. Upon an opposite lounge sat a young lady, employing herself with her needle, and in trying to keep awake an urchin of some five years old, who was hanging about her. But, ever and anon, she would start up and peer through the window-blinds or out of the door.

  At last, going out upon the piazza, she remained some time, gazing down the moonlit river. Returning to the parlour, shivering with cold, she said:

  "Do you not think the boat is very long, dear mother?"

  "No, my dear; it is thy impatience."

  "But it is after seven, madam."

   "Our clock may be fast, dear."

  "Mamma, I'm so sleepy," said the child.

  "Ah, Lem, do try to keep awake, that's a dear boy! See here, I'll draw you a horse on the slate. Don't you want to see papa?"

  "I don't believe papa is coming to-night, and I don't want a horse."

  "Hark, mother! I hear the steamboat paddle," said Catherine. "Listen!"—and the colour rushed to her cheeks, and the light to her eyes, as she stood breathlessly waiting. Meantime, the steamboat puffed and blew and paddled past the town. There were no passengers for C. that night. Catherine sank down in her chair, the picture of disappointment and dejection.

  "Thou must learn to bear these disappointments with more equanimity, Catherine. Thy husband will probably be up in the morning boat. We must rise very early to receive him; and, in order to do so, let us take tea and go to bed."

  Catherine went to bed, and tried to sleep, for she wished very much to be in good looks to receive her husband; and Catherine knew that anxious vigils are bad cosmetics. Saying the multiplication table backwards, and counting a thousand slowly, equally failed in their usually soporific effect. At


length, ere the dawn had peeped through the windows, the distant sound of the steamboat paddle struck upon her ear. Starting from her bed, and quickly throwing on her dressing-gown, she went into the parlour. Finding old Mrs. Dunn and her waiting-maid already up and dressed, and busy with their preparation for breakfast, Catherine hastened back, and, quickly performing her toilet, soon rejoined them, leading little Lemuel.

  "Now, dear, thou wilt not be disappointed—there is the bell—there are passengers for C. this morning," said the old lady.

  Catherine flew to the door, and looked out; then, fluttering in again, she said quickly, while her colour went and came—

  "Yes, indeed, mother; he is hurrying up the—Oh! After all, how will he receive me?"

  "With love, my poor child; with joy; do—don't tremble so. Rachel, bring in the coffee." A step was heard upon the threshold—a hand upon the lock—and Mrs. Dunn and Catherine turned to greet—Mr. Leslie. The blank expression of disappointment upon the features of each of the ladies, was far from flattering to their visiter. But the anxious and sorrowful expression upon Leslie's countenance soon awoke other feelings.

  "What is the matter? How is Mary?" exclaimed both ladies in a breath.

  "Mary is well," said he, taking the hand of each anxious questioner; "but, my dear friends, summon all your fortitude, all your piety; I have come on a most painful errand; I am the messenger of the most afflicting news. Mrs. Dunn, your son—Catherine, your husband, has ceased to exist"

  "Oh, God! support thy handmaid in this trial!" groaned the old mother, sinking into her chair.

  A spasm, for an instant, convulsed the frame of Catherine, but left her perfectly still—her face blanched to marble whiteness—her eyes fearfully dilated. Her calmness was frightful.

  "Now, tell me all about it," said she, in a voice of super-


natural steadiness, "for I have a presentiment, I have a presentiment"—

  "Yes, Catherine, I will; for so I have been charged, so I have promised to do. You are aware that your husband was in the habit of indulging freely in the use of intoxicating liquors."

  "I was the cause of it; I drove him to drink," said Catherine, in the same unaccountable tone.

  "This habit increased upon him fearfully after he sailed; and while in port, at one of the West India islands, he died in a fever of intoxication."

  "And he died without ever guessing how I loved him; he died without knowing my bitter repentance; he died without forgiving me! But who cares? who cares?" said she, as her eyes grew wildly bright, and she broke into a loud maniac laugh, and, springing up, threw herself—into a pair of arms that pressed her fondly, while a pleasant, manly voice exclaimed:

  "Why, dearest Kate, you have been dreaming frightful dreams."

  And so she had.

  Kate raised her head from the bosom that supported it, and looked up in bewilderment at the face of the speaker. It was Captain Lemuel Dunn, in his uniform, whose arms were around her. With a scream of joy, she buried her face once more in his bosom, and twined her arms around him. An impatient rap was now heard at the door, and Uncle Harry Gleason's voice exclaimed, quickly:

  "Come! come! come! be quick with your kissing, Dunn; we all want to see her. Kate," he shouted, "get up; we are all here, Mary and all."

  "Yes, Kate, get through your toilet quickly, dear one, for they are all here, the whole tribe of Manasseh"—meaning all Leslie's folks and Uncle Harry's family—"all come to pass


a few days with us, and to take us back, they insist, to spend Christmas with them."

  "I will not leave the room until I have obtained your forgiveness," said Catherine, with tears in her eyes; "and if you knew how sorry"—an embarrassed "I know, I know," from "Lem Dunn," cut short her words, as they passed into the parlour. Kate soon embraced her sister and the little ones, shook hands with Mr. Leslie, and offered her cheek to Uncle Harry, who drew himself up primly, and said:

  "No, I thank you, ma'am; I've reformed my morals since my marriage; I don't kiss other men's wives now. I have got one of my own."

  "Now, children, come to breakfast," said old Mrs. Dunn, taking her place at the head of the table.

  There have been merrier reunions, but there never was a happier family party than the one that, in responding to the old lady's summons, sat down at her plentiful and hospitable board.