The lovers had promised to write to each other, and as Harry was to commence the 아달주소
correspondence, he did not long delay to fulfill the delightful task; and letters were received from him, filled with the overflowings of a boundless and fervent love, and her answers were full of affection, tender thoughts, and gentle fancies.
As time progressed, Harry became more assiduously engaged than ever in the pursuits of commerce, and was deemed by merchants one of the most promising of his young countrymen, steadfastly pursuing a course of upright integrity and untiring industry, that was adding to his reputation, and fast gaining independence. With the fair sex he was becoming an idol. Parties were made, and nosegays offered him; but he behaved exceedingly ill to them, being blind, and deaf, and hard-hearted to an intolerable degree, neither seeing sweet glances, nor hearing balmy sighs. Miss Martin was rich, and would gladly have made him so. Miss Brown was highly accomplished, and would have done the honors of his house so gracefully. Miss White was very domestic, and would have made him such an economical wife. Then there were many amiable and warm-hearted creatures who particularly grieved to see the lonely condition of such a rising young man. There was, literally, “much ado about nothing;” for he rarely accepted their innumerable and pressing invitations. Sometimes, indeed, after business hours, he might have been seen promenading, or spending the evening with some pretty girl, whom he regarded with friendly feelings; but these friends were not selected from among those who so freely lavished their adulation.
During his last visit to Boston, he had been introduced to a Mrs. Webster, who resided in the vicinity of that city. Mrs. Webster had an only son, who was heir to a property which had accumulated, during his long minority, to a fortune unusually large; and she had long resolved in her mind that the young heir should be the husband of Mary Bryarly; and so adroitly had she manœuvered, that the parties had been thrown constantly together previous to the appearance of Mr. Thatcher. Even her son almost considered it a matter of course that he was to marry her. Mary, not conscious of these machinations, regarded young Webster as a youth of high promise, and treated him as an especial favorite. Mrs. Webster soon discovered that the presence of Harry threatened destruction to all her plans—so she determined to destroy his power, even at the expense of shameful falsehood. She was now in New Orleans, and had been two or three times thrown into the society of our hero. On such occasions, she had watched him closely, and smiled with delight if any thing approximating toward intimacy was observable in his intercourse with any of the fair sex. To apprise Mary of his delinquency was a duty; and she was at no great loss to imagine how so desirable an object could be accomplished without involving herself in any difficulty.A quiet happiness was now Mary’s—a happiness “which passeth show.” Heaven had blessed her, she believed, beyond her dearest hopes. But, alas! the joys of the heart are more fleeting than the days of spring. Where is the mortal that can secure to himself the cup of happiness without alloy? It dwells not under a regal canopy—for a diadem often makes the head ache. Nor with the conqueror, however great his glory in the battle-field—the mangled bodies—the reeking blood—the groans of the dying would prevent it. The poet, then—all his happiness consists in being very miserable. The learned—nay, all they acquire makes them but the more dissatisfied with themselves—and self-dissatisfaction, every one knows, tends not to the promotion of happiness. Then the lover, with the draught in his hand, cannot say it will reach his lips. A something may come between him and his bliss, and the cup may pass away. The cup that Mary had longed to drain to the bottom, was about to be dashed away. The glory that brightened the sky of her being was beginning to darken—and the storm threatened to crush the flower of her affections, even in its happiest moment of existence.
One day she received a letter, written in an unknown hand; she opened it carelessly, but soon became absorbed as she read the following:
Miss Bryarly,—Believing you to be the affianced wife of Mr. Thatcher, I take the liberty of writing to you to admonish you of his conduct. If his engagement with you is not broken off, he must either be a villain, or he is acting like one. I have had a watchful eye on him for some time, during which he has been paying the most constant and devoted attention to Miss Morton; so far, indeed, has he gone, as to induce her family to believe that he is about to make proposals for her hand. One of her brothers so expressed himself to me a few days since. I hope you will inform your father of these facts, that he may use every precaution against the duplicity of one who would have deeply injured you.
“This letter I pronounce a base falsehood,” said she, handing it to her father, “and its author a calumniator, who, like an assassin, seeks darkness to cover his evil deeds, for he has not dared to sign his name.”
Mr. Bryarly also regarded the letter as a vile calumny, not worthy of notice. Confiding in the truth of her lover, Mary had ceased to think of its contents, when an insinuation to his discredit was again breathed in her ear; then came a report that he was a confirmed flirt—a gay deceiver; and as bold slander loses nothing in its busy progress, the rumor was magnified until the seeds of discontent were sown in Mary’s heart—and she was now absolutely jealous. That which she had once imagined so repulsive as to scoff at the mere possibility of her own actions ever being ordered by such a feeling, triumphed—and she was unable to conquer the “green-eyed monster.” One evening she was evidently very melancholy. In vain had she tried to elicit harmony from the keys of her piano, and becoming weary of the fruitless effort, she threw herself languidly on a sofa, and sighed deeply.
“Mercy on us! that was a terribly long and sentimental heigh-o! I wonder which way it went! Ah! I see it now; it floats like a gossamer on that glorious sunbeam, and goes in the direction of New Orleans,” laughed Mr. Pluribusi.
“You are growing poetical, uncle; it is really charming to listen to you—pray go on.”
“Mary,” said her father, who had been also observing her, “any one would suppose all your perceptions were obscured by a thick, ugly, green cloud.”
“Oh, father!” was all she could say.