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ing, when I heard some person pass my window. There was the sound of a footstep on the back piazza.
The latch of a door opening into my room was raised, and Mary entered. She was in a light summer-dress, and had only a white handkerchief over her head. She came, and sitting down, began to make a few kind, though only usual, inquiries; yet I saw that she regarded me with looks of deep anxiety. She glided into cheerful conversation, and talked over our pleasant designs. She was evidently struggling against tender feelings, and at length she ceased. The tears almost came into her eyes.
Why are your so sad ?' said she. The question threw me into confusion; and though a hundred replies thronged to my mind, I remained silent. Arthur,' she continued, are you of a melancholy temperament ? I often suspected that you were. Do little sorrows and slight disappointments make you unhappy? To see you usually, one would think you had a flow of joy, independent of this changing earth. And have you not, Arthur ? Have you not reason to be happy and light-hearted? Have you not funds of bliss unexpended ? Then why mourn over small losses ? Oh, let them go to the poor beggars ! Do you know, Arthur, we are often our own tormentors ? Are you not aware that our sufferings are often greatly disproportioned to our afflictions ? The soul is often predisposed to sorrow; and not observing it, we double our grief over our earthly disappointments : and so there are moods of mind in which we are incapable of enduring the slightest misfortune. Little afflictions frequently make me sorrowful; indeed, I am often melancholy. I often feel solemn and unhappy, with all the joys of life bright around me. Many a time have I lain down at night, gloomy and mournful, I knew not why: often have I awaked in tears; and, oh! Arthur, there is a mysterious sadness, that comes like a dark shadow over my spirit. I felt very, very sad to night; my heart ached; I felt that I must see you. And now, why should our meeting be so sad ? Arthur, think of the bright days to come! Oh, you may
be is happiness in store for us ; and when I have you always near me, I shall feel these spells of sadness no more.'
• There was an old Bible lying on the table. Mary turned over the leaves, and read a few pleasant passages. It was long since I had heard the language of that volume in the voice of woman. It seemed to awaken the sound of old strings. And when Mary had departed, and the door had closed, I felt cheerful emotions stirring within me. · Yes, Mary,' said I, ‘let the world go as it may, we shall yel be happy! There was a small window at the bed-side ; and putting away the curtain, I leaned out to see Mary as she passed. At a turn of the path, she lifted the long skirt of her dress, to keep it from a bunch of broom-corn. The light slipper caught my eye.
I was reminded of a wet part of the path, which she must pass over; and then occurred to me the impropriety of permitting her to return alone. I sprung up, threw off my gown, dressed myself quickly, drew on my boots, and taking my hat in my hand, hurried out. When I turned the corner of the house, Mary was not within sight. I walked very fast along the path, until coming to a turn from which I could see before me for some distance, I was alarmed at not beholding her. I hurried onward to a slight eminence, from which the path was visible
all the way across the meadows, nearly to her father's door. The moon was shining out brightly on field, brook, and bridge ; but there was no object moving in the landscape. I gazed around in all directions, but found nothing to relieve my astonishment.
• When I had sufficiently recovered from my surprise, I began to consider the strange circumstances of that little interview. I had never before seen Mary in that house. I was not aware that she was acquainted with the premises, or had any knowledge of that back door; and even supposing that she had heard something, or bad fears about my troubles, it was inconceivably strange that she should visit me, unaccompanied, at that late hour. As I pondered these things, my mind wandered. I looked back, and traced the course of lucky events which had brought me to an acquaintance with Mary. I recalled the circumstances of our lives, and thought on the mysterious influence that seemed to preside over us, linking our destinies. I reflected upon the tie of which my soul was sensible; and I pondered upon that familiar look which so struck me, when I first met Mary in New York. While I recalled that expression, and contemplated her gentle face, the face of the fair girl whom I found sitting by my bed-side in that dreary night on the Alleghanies, came suddenly to my remembrance ; and the face of the witching little girl who came to me in my boyhood, at my mother's grave. I contemplated those clear eyes with a trembling heart. I observed them with timorous, half-intimidated feelings. There was an idea, sweet, but full of wonder, and almost overpowering. I averted my mind again and again, and as often returned to the reverie. At length there came to mind another face : I almost seemed to feel a light finger on my arm; it was that anxious face; that face, beaming with the smile of fondness; the face of her whose soft musing smile betrayed her cherished hopes; of her, early taken away ; of her whose bones have long since mouldered in the dust of the little burying-ground, but whose image is present to my soul; whose legacy of love is treasured in my heart; and whose spirit has hovered near me in all the trials of my life, and will be near me in all the dark hours of my allotted time.
'I returned to the house, laid my head upon the pillow with more composure, and was soon lost in refreshing sleep: and after that night, I never sought or desired any better understanding of its wonderful events. I must not omit to mention, that on the next day a friend came to me. I was relieved, and made a happy man again, by the kind intervention of that cool, distant, silent old gentleman, whose stern, thoughtful countenance had brought down on his innocent head most unmerciful language from my lips, in many an unhappy soliloquy. I was surprised, and felt a pang of self-reproach, when I found within that cold unpleasing exterior the warmest and most tender heart that I ever found in man.
You may remember those years spent in the Highlands. One autumn afternoon .. Those days are gone! Down in the little burying-ground, in the sunny spot where I first saw her, Mary sleeps. Let the sweet volume of our wedded life remain closed !'
In peace thou sleepest : through the bars
of its dim cell thy spirit fled; And now thy sister and the stars
Their tears of dew and pity shed,
Heart-broken brother, on thy bed! Boston, (Mass.,) August, 1840.
THE CRAYON PAPERS.
THE EARLY EXPERIENCES OF RALPH RINGWOOD.
NOTED DOWN FROM HIS CONVERSATIONS: BY GEOFY REY CRAYON, GENT.
I had now lived some time with old Miller, and had become a tole. rably expert hunter. Game, bowever, began to grow scarce. The buffalo had gathered together, as if by universal understanding, and had crossed the Mississippi, never to return. Strangers kept pouring into the country, clearing away the forests, and building in all directions. The hunters began to grow restive. Jemmy Kiel, the same of whom I have already spoken for his skill in raccoon catching, came to me one day : ‘I can't stand this any longer,' said he; 'we're getting too thick here. Simon Schultz crowds me so, that I have no comfort of my life.'
Why how you talk !' said I ; •Simon Schultz lives twelve miles off.'
• No matter; his cattle run with mine, and I 've no idea of living where another man's cattle can run with mine. That's too close neighborhood; I want elbow-room. This country, too, is growing too poor to live in ; there 's no game: so two or three of us have made up our minds to follow the buffalo to the Missouri, and we should like to have you of the party. Other hunters of my acquaintance talked in the same manner. This set me thinking; but the more I thought, the more I was perplexed. I had no one to advise with : old Miller and his associates knew but of one mode of life, and I had had no experience in any other: but I had a wide scope of thought. When out hunting alone, I used to forget the sport, and sit for hours together on the trunk of a tree, with rifle in hand, buried in thought, and debating with myself: 'Shall I go with Jemmy Kiel and his company, or shall I remain here? If I remain here, there will soon be nothing left to hunt; but am I to be a hunter all my life? Have not I something more in me, than to be carrying a rifle on my shoulder, day after day, and dodging about after bears, and deer, and other brute beasts ? My vanity told me I had; and I called to mind my boyish boast to my sister, that I would never return home, until I returned a member of congress from Kentucky; but was this the way to fit myself for such a station ?'
• Various plans passed through my mind, but they were abandoned almost as soon as formed. At length I determined on becoming a lawyer. True it is, I knew almost nothing. I had left school before I had learnt beyond the 'rule of three.' Never mind,' said I to myself, resolutely; • I am a terrible fellow for hanging on to any thing, when I've once made up my mind; and if a man has but ordinary capacity, and will set to work with heart and soul, and stick to it, he can do almost any thing. With this maxim, which has been pretty much my main-stay throughout life, 1 fortified myself in my deter
mination to attempt the law. But how was I to set about it? I must quit this forest life, and go to one or other of the towns, where I might be able to study, and to attend the courts. This too required funds. I examined into the state of my finances. The purse given me by my father had remained untouched, in the bottom of an old chest up in the loft, for money was scarcely needed in these parts. I had bargained away the skins acquired in hunting, for a horse and various other matters, on which, in case of need, I could raise funds. I therefore thought I could make shift to maintain myself until I was fitted for the bar.
I informed my worthy host and patron, old Miller, of my plan. He shook his head at my turning my back upon the woods, when I was in a fair way of making a first-rate hunter; but he made no effort to dissuade me. I accordingly set off in September, on horseback, intending to visit Lexington, Frankfort, and other of the principal towns, in search of a favorable place to prosecute my studies. My choice was made sooner than I expected. I bad put up one night at Bardstown, and found, on inquiry, that I could get comfortable board and accommodation in a private family for a dollar and half a week. I liked the place, and resolved to look no farther. So the next morning I prepared to turn my face homeward, and take my final leave of forest life.
I had taken my breakfast, and was waiting for my horse, when, in pacing up and down the piazza, I saw a young girl seated near a window, evidently a visiter. She was very pretty; with auburn hair, and blue eyes, and was dressed in white. I had seen nothing of the kind since I had left Richmond; and at that time I was too much of a boy to be much struck by feinale charms. She was so delicate and dainty-looking, so different from the hale, buxom, brown girls of the woods; and then her white dress!— it was perfectly dazzling ! Never was poor youth more taken by surprise, and suddenly bewitched. My heart yearned to know her; but how was I to accost her? I had grown wild in the woods, and had none of the habitudes of polite life. Had she been like Peggy Pugh, or Sally Pigman, or any other of my leathern-dressed belles of the Pigeon Roost, I should have approached her without dread; nay, had she been as fair as Schultz's daughters, with their looking-glass lockets, I should not have hesitated : but that white dress, and those auburn ringlets, and blue eyes, and delicate looks, quite daunted, while they fascinated me.
I do n't know what put it into my head, but I thought, all at once, that I would kiss her! It would take a long acquaintance to arrive at such a boon, but I might seize upon it by sheer robbery. Nobody knew me here. I would just step in, snatch a kiss, mount my horse, and ride off. She would not be the worse for it; and that kiss -oh! I should die if I did not get it!
• I gave no time for the thought to cool, but entered the house, and stepped lightly into the room. She was seated with her back to the door, looking out at the window, and did not hear my approach. I tapped her chair, and as she turned and looked up, I snatched as sweet a kiss as ever was stolen, and vanished in a twinkling. The next moment I was on horseback, galloping homeward ; my very ears tingling at what I had done.