But Helen evinced much less concern at the recital of this danger than the first. The truth was, she was a rapid reasoner ; and while she could see, at a glance, that he had not been hurt by the wild hogs, it was by m means so apparent that he had not suffered by

by tlw seductions of the amiable beauties of i exploits of which she desired him to Imow the lanai. least. These cross-examinations •would often At Manilla, the rover met with his first se- pruvoke the senses to an illustration, and it wai jrious misfortune. He accompanied a portion during an epilogue of this description that the ef the crew in an evening frolic about the town, sinful intimacy of the lovers was betrayed, during which all of them, but himself, got The negress had stolen on their ambush, but the drunk. As is usual with such parties, a brawl patience which had lasted her throughout th« •was made with some passers by, and the result interview, left her at a certain point, and she was that a Jesuit was killed for interfering to tumbled from her perch among the bushes uv« make peace. At this catastrophe all parties! the very presence of the young delinquents fled; hut our sailor, appearing to understand I She did not need her spectacles to convict the danger least, was seized in his retreat and them. They were too fairly caught to haw thrown into prison to answer the offence. ~ ” ‘—*” * *~ ‘

The Sophia sailed without him, and he lingered in his confinement for a period of five months, when he was released by the exertions of the American consul, who managed to find evidence to exculpate him altogether. It was sometime after he recovered his liberty that he gained his former robust health, having been as well flea-bitten and befouled during the entire period of his imprisonment, as the Emperor of China could have been, had the Emperor been in his situation.

From Manilla the rescued’seaman sailed, on board of an English ship to Canton, going from thence to Singapore, thence to Batavia, and into the Atlantic again, by the way of the Cape of Good Hope, stopping on the last stretch at Si Helena and the Cape de Verds for stores and water, and arriving at London in the month of December, 1827.

The pay which had become due for his three months trip, would, after the deduction of the advance made him at Manilla, not have enabled Sumner to have remained long at leisure to enjoy the luxuries and wonders of that vast Babel of the Eastern Hemisphere, had not a passenger, an East Indian merchant, who had come or, board at Singapore, have taken a notion to him, and, in addition to giving him a wardrobe and pocket-money on his arrival, have offered him a place in his employ. Thus persuaded, Sumner gave up all notion of the sea, but while improving the good fortune which had been thus thrown in his way, he never for a moment lost sight of the intention to get back to his native land, to offer to his little sweetheart a share of his portion, whatever it might be. Indeed, he had written her two or three letters, but, having received no answer, was meditating a visit back, when his patron suddenly died. This changed his prospects and left him at the control of others, who, after the lapse of a few days, politely informed lu’m that there would be no further need of his services, as the business which had employed him, would now be wound up.

With sixty pounds in his pocket, he then set out for New York, from which place, after a brief stay, he hurried to Augusta, to meet Helen on her evening walk, aa we have before desicribed.

The details of these adventures beguiled the itolen hours of many an afternoon. Dorcas •till returning to those forbidden chapters in the mysteries of the great cities, of which her careful lover had but vaguely spoken, and betraying, like the Widow Wadman, the most determined curiosity in relation to those strange

any alternative but confession. A compromis<

was therefore entered into, and the best was made of the matter. Every eaves-dropper n. y be converted into an accomplice, and Nancy, from that time, became the confidante, instead of the spy—the pander instead of the reprover.

From this time forth, the cottage of the negress became the scene of their illicit joys, and during the few weeks that Sunnier remained in town, the negress reaped a liberal harvest from the remainder of the young sailor’s money. At length, the alarming declension of his funds warned him that he must seek for some employment, and it so happened, that while his concern was deepest on this subject, he received a letter from New York, from the mate of the ship in which he had sailed from London, advising him, that if he had a disposition for a cruise, the berth of second mate was open for him in that vessel. The offer was a good one, and it was time that he should leave, for more reasons than one. The Cyrus had returned to Portland, with a scant cargo a:>d much disabled, reporting him among the deserters, and reporting a claim against his name which would bind him for another voyage to the Western Ocean, or cast him into prison for the debt, unless it were discharged. He therefore decided promptly in favor of the offer of his friend, the mate, and on the morning following its receipt, imparted his resolution to Dorcas.

We need not describe her dismay and gloom when she received this unexpected news. Suffice it, she was overwhelmed, and for a long time would not hear of his persistence in his determination. She mistook the blind abandonments of animal infatuation, for the deep devotion of a soul-absorbing love, and in her first frantic fervor declared that she could not live apart from him. Had she been truly in love, as she was doomed vet fatally to be, she would have fel* the possibility ot mailing a sacrifice tor the wel- . fare of her idol.

But sensual passions do not reason ; they on- ‘. ly rage. Affection, only, will endure a blight that its idol may flourish in the sun; but th« x demon of desire will rather provuke a joint destruction during its spasmodic revels, than be abridged one moment of its mad delight. It is for this reason that the infatuations of the vile seem so much more fervid than the tender attachments of the pure ; and t is for the same reason, chat the world ascribe the headlong sacrifices which they make for them at times, to sensual desperation, rather than to any generous devotion of the heart ^

But the positive qualities of Sum ler’a Mr


tore, and the manifest necessities of Lie case at length carried the day, and the second morning after the announcement by the lover of his intentions, found Dorcas desolate.

Some months passed away in dull routine after the departure of Sumner, during -which, the only solace which Dorcas received for his absence, were the frequent visits to the cottage •f the negress, and conversations upon pleasures past . In the meantime, the increasing beauties of her rosy womanhood began to attract general observation, and Dorcas soon found herself the object of the attentions of many a young beau of the place. Though naturally coquettish, she was not at first inclined to encourage these tender overtures, but appreciating by de grees the pleasures of a retinue, she smiled by turns upon all comers, and soon became as ex perienced, as a flirt, as she had shortly before been noticable as a dreamer. This mental debasement ; this moral prostitution of the face to every suitor who would engage its tractable charms in tender intercourse, finished what had been completed with the under senses, and Dorcas Doyen, in her coquetry, lost the last moral check, which the recollection of Sumner had left between her and promiscuous mankind.

Nothing now remained with her for her protection, but pride; an admirable safeguard against all tempters who run below the level of its owner, it is true, but weaker than a barrier of grass against those above it . In a Queen it might be potent to the last degree, but to the humble beauty left with no other shield, it fentes but one border of the path of peril, while it leaves the other naked to incursion.

Nancy had noticed the alteration of affairs in her young mistress’s notions of intrigue, and like the acute duenna of Donna Mergellina, she rose with her patroness’s fancy, and constructed for herself a new office out of the popularity of her charms. Nancy held herself accessible to the visits of the suitors, and many a note which the coquette devoured with mischievous merriment, had previously tickled the fingers of the negress with a silver fee. Nancy consequently speedily found herself in a thriving way, and as is common with avarice and ambition, she soon began to explore the avenue, which this preliminary commerce revealed to her, of heavier profits.

While things were in this state, there came to Augusta on a visit to some of his relations, a

man named Sp g, a cashier of one of the

Portland Banks who received an introduction to our heroine at church. He was not only young and wealthy, but he was likewise a splendid looking fellow, and for these reasons the acute coquette adroitly accorded to him to the exclusion of all other followers, the privilege of waiting on. her home. In her route, she recollected a lktle charity which was due from her to’a negro- cottage, so she dropped in for a moment to see Nancy, and leave her a sixpence for tobacco, or any little comfort she might desire. The gentleman took the hint, and left the negress a much more liberal sum, and taking a further notion to his counsel, returned to see the object of their charity on the same afternoon.

It was not lon£ before the shrewd negress

understood the cashier’s motives, and it tu not long moreover, before she communicated them to her elastic protege. The disclosure did not startle the perverted gill, but the counsel of the negress, which was a fiat persuasion to agree, did occasion her a small surprise. By degrees, however, she came to consider with a certain calmness, the complete security ir. transgression which Nancy kept impressing on her, and at the hour when it was tune to start for home, it had become a matter which might be talked of with no other emotions, but the pul sations of desire which were natural to youthful canvass of such a question. As she rose to go, she was met at the door by the very pet • son who had been the subject of discourse The negress at once withdrew, and the visiter receiving her signal to take advantage of ths temper of affairs, soon placed the question which had been so carefully discussed throughout the afternoon, beyond the necessity of further agitation.

We need not follow the fallen girl through the passages of this amour, nor trace the various stages of her lascivious declension. Hei “igressions from propriety continued and in creased, until they at length became so flagrant . that the town was filled with rumors of her shame. These rumors, at length, forced them selves upon the ears of the kind family which had done so much for her, and trembling with consciousness of guilt, she was summoned to answer in her defence. Her tears and protestations gained her an acquittal for a time, but subsequent disclosures, which were soon after wards brought forward, confirmed all previous reports of her incontinence, and with a rebuko which cost her sorrowful reprovers more agony perhaps, than it inflicted on herself, she was turned from the hospitable roof which had so long protected her, to find a shelter in that hollow world whose vanities and vices, she had so weakly chosen for her counsellors.


The outcast and the negressPortlandHelen receives employment from a charitable lady, very flashily dressed.

Thk wretched girl whose fortunes our last chapter traced to the margin of her eighteenth year, had now commenced to navigate those rapids which were doomed eventually, to whirl her over the last precipice of crime. Till within a brief period of the time of her expulsion from the roof which had given her such generous shelter, she had dreamed idly on the stream of life, no disturbing current setting her here or there, but moved forward only with the gentle onflow which bears the loiterer on the flood of time. The second advent of young “I Sumner, however, had thrown her dozing shallop into a vicious eddy, and before the excitement of its giddy whirls was over, she had been shot past the protecting headland into a buzzing tide, which none but a vigorous rower unspent by revel, ai ‘ unrelaxed by languor — ^ «u in the blast that whistled round her. She was desolate indeed!


[blocks in formation]

f” tould re-stem. Indeed, lost to all sense of dan

I ler in her blind infatuation, she took no note of

1 her descent, until the voices of those whose

\ counsels and example she had set at naught,

I oade her farewell, as one who was lost forever.

\ It was then that she heard the cataract roaring

\m the distance, and took in the truth that she

was «j be abandoned to its vengeance.

When wo feel wretched, our thoughts take flight at once to those who are most dear to us, and whom we know would most willingly take, if they could, a portion of our cares. It is a i elief; and we unload upon the shoulders of toe friendly image those heavy sorrows that are too much for us to bear ourselves, and which, without such shift, or rather such divi

sion, would press the imagiiiation to distrao.iion It was thus with Dorcas in her terrible despair The thought of bumner and his deep sympathy for her distresses, could he but know them, turned the brain-action to the flood-gates of her eyes, and saved her from madness by a flood of tears.

The day was as desolate as the young creature’s grief, when .with her little bundle, she turned an outcast from her guardian’s door. The year had harvested most of its bright joys; the blasts of a keen October had already stripped Nature of its summer gear, and, like a barbarous despoiler, it now whirled the atoms of its faded vesture in the air. On the night previous, there had been a hard black

[graphic][merged small][merged small]


Overcome with the agitation of her feelings, and weakened by pulling against the storm, the miserable girl turned to look for a spot to ait down for a few moments to recruit her strength, and reflect without the distraction of physical exertion. The movement was blessed with a relief, for she then discovered, that despite her darkened fortunes and debased condition, she was not as desolate as she had supposed. Close upon her heels, as his slow tracks gave proof- a faithful mastiff that had been her pet, had followed her footsteps from the threshold which had sent her forth, and now, when she sat upon a stone and leaned against the fence to recover her breath, he sat opposite and looked into her tearful face as though he understood her grief. This touching consolation unlocked the fountains of another flood, and softened thus, and likewise soothed by the contemplation of her voluntary escort, she soon took heart, and with a somewhat lighter spirit than before- proceeded on to the place of her destination.

When she arrived at the cottage of the negress, the surprise of the old hag was the signal for a new burst of lamentation- but refusing at the time to make explanation of her sorrows, the girl cast herself frantically upon the bed which had been so often the witness of her shame, and cried herself to sleep.

The negress, suspecting in a moment the con dition of affairs with her protege, did not choose to court the reproachful whirlwind of her grief by any pertinacity of questioning at that moment, but let her have her way, taking no measures of interference with her repose, except by the removal of her shoes and stockings, which the snow had saturated to the skin.

As Nancy expected, when Dorcas came to tell her tale of sorrow, she held her accountable for all the debasement she had suffered; but Nancy’s recollections were quite equal to the eloquent criminations of the beautiful accuser. She reminded the momentary magdalen of the scene which she had discovered between her and her lover in the woods, and charged, that she and he had taken advantage of her affection, to change her staid residence to a place of loose enjoyment. What was worse, that through her love for them they had by degrees familiarized her to a system of the vilest traffic, which, now Aat she looked coolly back upon it, made her shudder.

The wretched girl, astounded by this language, raised herself in bed, and looked with • bewildered stare upon the hag. She did not know how to yield, in a single moment, to the retaliations of that terrible equality which exists in degradation. Neither did she comprehend that Nancy, who shrewdly perceived she would no longer dare to harbor her and put her out to profit, wished to get rid of her forever. She therefore uttered an exclamation of surprise, and demanded to know of the old crone what she meant .

Nancy, however, was in too towering a flight of moral elevation to answer anything directly. ‘ It amused her, it did, to see soms people put

on airs; people, too, who was no better any otter people, and who, if the truth to the truth, were only servants at last!”

“Why, Naney!” said the girl in the tone as before, her cheek flashing and paling with alternate fear and rage.

But Nancy was still above the level of interrogation. ” She was astonished, she was, to say the least, that a person who had seduced and ruined an innocent young man, and sent him off to sea, should talk about being ruined herself I For her part, she was sick of such characters, and she had made np her mind to have nothing more to do with them. They had made her sinful enough already, and if she harbored or countenanced ’em any longer, she would expect some judgment of the Lord to fall upon her.”

The eyes of the object of this singular tirade, were no longer moist. They flashed with a fire which dried them in an instant, while the veins which swelled resentfully upon her temples, seemed as if they were about to burst with a surcharge of rage. When the negress had done speaking, the couchant listener paused for a moment in the hope that she would turn, so that she might catch her eye, but finding that Nancy’s high disdain tossed her head out of the reach of that rebuke, she gave rein to her passion, bounded from the bed, and throwing her on the floor, jumped on the prostrate body of the old wretch, and kneaded it with her little feet like a perfect fury. When released from this pedal discipline, the old woman rose, and ran screaming out of doors, but Dorcas, paying no heed to her movements, pulled on her shoes and stockings, which were now hanging dry by the fire, and putting on her hat and shawl, left the house in a paroxysm of passion.

It was near five o’clock in the afternoon. The storm was still raging, and the ground was covered to the depth of several inches with its feathery deposit: but it did not impress the wanderer as gloomily as it had done in the morning. Her insults had revived her spirits and imbued her anew with something like ambition. It seemed to her that she was the vie-”1 tim of a conspiracy, and a desire for revenge became at once a motive for exertion, and a spur for the defiance of those whom she regarded as her persecutors. She wrapped her -.. shawl well about her, and bending her head out of the feathery deluge, walked towards the town with a much firmer step than she had left her home in the morning. The few thin tears which now and then unbidden forced themselves into the trenches of her eyes, w^re parched from their channels in a moment, as a shower would be consumed in the crater of a volcano.

She avoided any approach to what had been her home, by a wide circuit to the south, and sought a little shop kept by an Irish wido* on the river. Explaimng that a falling out had taken place between herself and the family with whom she had resided, she engaged lodging for the night, and gave a shilling to a laborer to go to the mansion and bring the trunk, which she had left behind, and which, she had been told by her former protectors, would be sent after her whenever she shauld indicat*



[merged small][ocr errors]

her destination. It came to her by the hands of her messenger im the course of an hour, when, having seen it safely bestowed, she yielded to the solicitation of her good-natured hostess, and comforted herself with a hot sangaree. Immediately after this, she retired to bed to escape the cross-examination which Mrs. McGinnis expected to extract out of the hot toddy she had just got into her, making the remark before leaving the room, that she should go to Portland by the morning boat.

When the morning came, Mrs. McGinnis took the liberty of warning the young adventuress against the perils of a rash experiment upon a large city like Portland, and enumerated the multifarious perils which beset youth and beauty like her’s in every avenue of such Vanity Fairs. But Mrs. McGinnis, in her short-sighted good nature, did not know that she was really enhancing the attractions of what she was seeking to disparage, by every temptation that she represented. Youth and beauty were the outcast’s Only Capital. a-nrt the mnra Mra^jfftirfrJs,

showed them liable ~ to_the .perils of pursuit^ the higher did she represent the market where Dorcas had determined to embark those wares. Contenting herself, therefore, with replying that she had a female friend, a dress-maker, in Portland, who would give her employment in her business, Dorcas rejected the widow’s invitation to stay at her humble dwelling until she could settle herself somewhere else in her native place. She was too proud to remain to be the proverb and reproach of the companions whom her talents and accomplishments had once outshone; but in a strange place, where no one could rejoice over her debasement, or pierce her with the keener shafts of pity, she might submit to degradation if she could do no better. It was a question of caste, not con science, and to a mind like her’s, it seemed, by the exercise of a small quantity of philosophy, that she might be as happy in the exercise of the capital of Nature, as of that of custom.

Dorcas was, nevertheless, sufficiently proud and an ‘-utioua to desire a decent destiny for herself, and she flattered her heart with the hope that to whatever shifts she might be driven with her charms, sh« would bring them to an honorable market in the end. Her first object in Portland was to seek Sp ^^gJSfir second gallant, .Hrv*—^*agi”c’*. Triift.*” r””nr” a decent settlement in some phase of Ufa

To the disappointment of her_”first hopes, however, she learned, on her arrival at Portland, that the gentleman whom she sought was not in the city, having gone South on business for the bank, which promised to detain him some three or four weeks. A little boy brought ber the news as she waited for him on the corner nearest the institution, returning to her at the same time the exquisitely folded note which she had charged him to deliver, if he had found the person in.

The beautiful Gil Bias, for though a female, to the young adventurer might be termed, returned to her hotel in a disconsolate mood; and so occupied was she with perplexing contemplations, that she did not even notic«, as Cm passed clor,g, tiij uvquut udauration

which her voluptuous figure and her engaging face attracted from all passers by. When aha got to her lodgings, she was not a whit mora relieved, but spent the rest of the day in gloomy meditations, for which even her favorite Byron afforded no grain of solace. A little flirtation with the landlord at the supper table afforded a temporary cheerfulness, but she sank back into her depression on the rising of the party, and did not rally again that evening. Good cause had she for serious study; her purse could not wrestle with the charges of the house for three days longer, and she saw no definite avenue at the end of that time, even for escape. But retreat was the least of her thoughts. She had come to Portland with the resolution, that if she could not do well, she would do as well as she could; but that at any rate, she would never set ber foot in Augusta again, as a beggar for its toleration, or as a recipient of its charities.

Renewing this determination on her pillow, she awoke the next morning full of an intention to apply for needlework at some of the shops, satisfied that if she could obtain employment and a refuge until her gallant returned, she could extort from his abundance the means of setting up for herself, or at any rate vthe means of going further on. Her first two applications were at millinery stores; but at both, on the fact being known that she had no knowledge of the business, she was told that she could not be of any service; The third store at which she applied, combined with its millinery features the department of dress-making; and as Dorcas was somewhat of an adept in the latter science, she had better hopes on making her enquiries. The woman of the store replied, however, that she had a sufficiency of hands. Disappointed again, the youthful applicant turned to take her leave, her face saddened with another shade of hopelessness. As she approached the door, she observed a flashily dressed middle-aged woman standing in the way, and observing her with an air of keen attention. This person bad evidently deferred her departure to indulge her scrutiny, for she paused until Dorcas had passed out, and then immediately followed hot Suffering the girl to advance a few footsteps from the store, this woman increased her pace, and touching her on her arm, asked her if she had understood rightly that she was desirous of employment as a needle woman.

The girl looked upon the coarse, worldly fact of her questioner, in a manner which showed that she was not violently prepossessed in her favor; and after a momentary pause, answered that she had understood aright.

” Then I can furnish it to you, if you will come with me,” said the woman. ” Where V .1 ..

” At my own house.” – , i.i: .

” Have you any family V
” Only three young ladies.”
” Your relations I” ui. • •s’;

“My nieoee.” .’ .•i

When the conversation had progressed thai far, there canre running after the two females a youm* girl from tbe shop they had just left. Sle hid beIn sent oy tin lulliner, who had