Tải bản đầy đủ

Alonzo and melissa

TheProjectGutenbergEBookofAlonzoandMelissa,by
DanielJackson,Jr.andIsaacMitchell
ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith
almostnorestrictionswhatsoever.Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor
re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded
withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.net

Title:AlonzoandMelissa
TheUnfeelingFather
Author:DanielJackson,Jr.
IsaacMitchell
ReleaseDate:February18,2009[EBook#28112]
Language:English

***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKALONZOANDMELISSA***

ProducedbyLouiseHope,DavidEdwardsandtheOnline
DistributedProofreadingTeamathttp://www.pgdp.net(This
filewasproducedfromimagesgenerouslymadeavailable
byTheInternetArchive)


ThistextusesUTF-8(Unicode)fileencoding.Iftheapostrophesandquotation
marksinthisparagraphappearasgarbage,youmayhaveanincompatiblebrowser
orunavailablefonts.First,makesurethatyourbrowser’s“characterset”or“file
encoding”issettoUnicode(UTF-8).Youmayalsoneedtochangethedefaultfont.
Thise-textisbasedonthe1851BostoneditionofAlonzoandMelissa.Thestory
originallyappearedin1804asaserialintheweeklyPoliticalBarometerof
Poughkeepsie,N.Y.,writtenbythenewspaper’seditor,IsaacMitchell.Pirated
versionsbegantoappearin1811,givingDanielJackson,Jr.,asauthor.
Thebookwasprintedasasingleunit,withoutchapterdivisions.Thebreaksinthe
e-textrepresentthe22installmentsoftheserialversion.Footnotesarefromthe
original(1851)text.Theyareshownhereasinsetsidenotesexceptwhere
paragraphbreaksmakethispositioningimpractical.
Notethatthestandardpunctuationfordialogueis
“Tothisplace,saidMelissa,haveItakenmanyasolitarywalk....”
Typographicalerrorsareshownwithmouse-hoverpopups.Allcorrectionswere
checkedagainstotherversionsofthetext.Ifanapparenterroristhesameinall
availableversions,orifthecorrectformwasnotdeduciblefromthe1851text
alone,itwasleftunchanged.Theword“invisible”meansthattheletteror


punctuationmarkisnotpresent,butthereisanappropriatelysizedblankspace.
Othertypesofadditionsanddeletionsareexplainedattheendofthetext.
Chronology
Quotations
OtherEditions


ALONZOANDMELISSA,
OR

THEUNFEELINGFATHER.
AN

AMERICANTALE.
Ineveryvariedposture,place,andhour,
Howwidowedeverythoughtofeveryjoy!
YOUNG.

BYDANIELJACKSON,JR.




BOSTON:
PRINTEDFORTHEPUBLISHERS.
1851.

pictureofhouse
Frontispiecefrom1864PhiladelphiaeditionofAlonzoandMelissa.


PREFACE
WHETHERthestoryofAlonzoandMelissawillgenerallyplease,thewriterknows
not;if,however,heisnotmistaken,itisnotunfriendlytoreligionandtovirtue.
—Onethingwasaimedtobeshown,thatafirmrelianceonProvidence,
howevertheaffectionsmightbeatwarwithitsdispensations,istheonlysource
ofconsolationinthegloomyhoursofaffliction;andthatgenerallysuch
dependence,thoughcrossedbydifficultiesandperplexities,willbecrowned
withvictoryatlast.
Itisalsobelievedthatthestorycontainsnoindecorousstimulants;norisitfilled
withunmeaningandinexplicatedincidentssoundinguponthesense,but
imperceptibletotheunderstanding.Whenanxietieshavebeenexcitedby
involvedanddoubtfulevents,theyareafterwardselucidatedbythe
consequences.
Thewriterbelievesthatgenerallyhehascopiednature.Intheardentprospects
raisedinyouthfulbosoms,thealmostconsummationoftheirwishes,their
suddenandunexpecteddisappointment,thesorrowsofseparation,thejoyous
andunlookedformeeting—inthepoignantfeelingsofAlonzo,when,atthe
graveofMelissa,hepouredthefeelingsofhisanguishedsouloverherminiature
bythe“moon’spaleray;”——whenMelissa,sinkingonherkneesbeforeher
father,wasreceivedtohisbosomasabeloveddaughterrisenfromthedead.
Ifthesescenesarenotimperfectlydrawn,theywillnotfailtointeresttherefined
sensibilitiesofthereader.



ALONZOANDMELISSA.
ATALE.
---InthetimeofthelateAmericanrevolution,twoyounggentlemenof


Connecticut,whohadformedanindissolublefriendship,graduatedatYale
CollegeinNew-Haven:theirnameswereEdgarandAlonzo.Edgarwastheson
ofarespectablefarmer.Alonzo’sfatherwasaneminentmerchant.Edgarwas
designedforthedesk,Alonzoforthebar;butastheywereallowedsomevacant
timeaftertheirgraduationbeforetheyenteredupontheirprofessionalstudies,
theyimprovedthisinteriminmutual,friendlyvisits,minglingwithselectparties
intheamusementsoftheday,andintravellingthroughsomepartsoftheUnited
States.
Edgarhadasisterwho,forsometime,hadresidedwithhercousinatNewLondon.Shewasnowabouttoreturn,anditwasdesignedthatEdgarshouldgo
andattendherhome.Previoustothedayonwhichhewastosetout,hewas
unfortunatelythrownfromhishorse,whichsomuchinjuredhimastoprevent
hisprosecutinghisintendedjourney:hethereforeinvitedAlonzotosupplyhis
place;whichinvitationhereadilyaccepted,andonthedayappointedsetoutfor
New-London,wherehearrived,deliveredhisintroductoryletterstoEdgar’s
cousin,andwasreceivedwiththemostfriendlypoliteness.
Melissa,thesisterofEdgar,wasaboutsixteenyearsofage.Shewasnotwhatis
esteemedastrikingbeauty,butherappearancewaspleasinglyinteresting.Her
figurewaselegant;heraspectwasattemperedwithapensivemildness,whichin
hercheerfulmomentswouldlightupintosprightlinessandvivacity.Thoughon
firstimpression,hercountenancewasmarkedbyasweetandthoughtfulserenity,
yetsheeminentlypossessedthepowerto
“Callroundherlaughingeyes,inplayfulturns,
Theglancethatlightens,andthesmilethatburns.”

Hermindwasadornedwiththosedelicategraceswhicharethefirstornaments
offemaleexcellence.Hermannersweregracefulwithoutaffectation,andher
tastehadbeenproperlydirectedbyasuitableeducation.
Alonzowasabouttwenty-oneyearsold;hehadbeenesteemedanexcellent
student.Hisappearancewasmanly,openandfree.Hiseyeindicatedanobleness
ofsoul;althoughhisaspectwastingedwithmelancholy,yethewasnaturally
cheerful.Hisdispositionwasoftheromanticcast;
“Forfarbeyondtheprideandpompofpower,
Helov’dtherealmsofnaturetoexplore;
WithlingeringgazeEdinianspringsurvey’d;
Morn’sfairysplendours;night’sgaycurtainedshade,
Thehighhoarcliff,thegrove’sbenightinggloom,
Thewildrose,widowedo’erthemoulderingtomb;


Theheavenembosom’dsun;therainbow’sdye,
Wherelucidformsdisporttofancy’seye;
Thevernalflower,mildautumn’spurplingglow,
Thesummer’sthunderandthewinter’ssnow.”

ItwaseveningwhenAlonzoarrivedatthehouseofEdgar’scousin.Melissawas
ataballwhichhadbeengivenonamatrimonialoccasioninthetown.Her
cousinwaitedonAlonzototheball,andintroducedhimtoMelissa,who
receivedhimwithpoliteness.Shewasdressedinwhite,embroideredand
spangledwithrichsilverlace;asilkgirdle,enwroughtandtasseledwithgold,
surroundedherwaist;herhairwasunadornedexceptbyawreathofartificial
flowers,studdedbyasinglediamond.
Aftertheballclosed,theyreturnedtothehouseofEdgar’scousin.Melissa’s
partnerattheballwasthesonofagentlemanofindependentfortuneinNewLondon.Hewasagayyoungman,agedabouttwenty-five.Hisaddresswas
easy,hismannersrathervoluptuousthanrefined;confident,butnotungraceful.
Heledthetoninfashionablecircles;gavetasteitszest,andwasquiteafavorite
withtheladiesgenerally.HisnamewasBeauman.
Edgar’scousinproposedtodetainAlonzoandMelissaafewdays,duringwhich
timetheypassedinwasvisitingselectfriendsandsocialparties.Beaumanwas
anassiduousattendantuponMelissa.Hecameoneafternoontoinvitehertoride
out;—shewasindisposedandexcusedherself.Ateveningsheproposedwalking
outwithhercousinandhislady;buttheywerepreventedfromattendingherby
unexpectedcompany.Alonzoofferedtoaccompanyher.Itwasoneofthose
beautifuleveningsinthemonthofJune,whennatureinthosepartsofAmerica
isarrayedinherrichestdress.Theyleftthetownandwalkedthroughfields
adjoiningtheharbour.—Themoonshoneinfulllustre,herwhitebeams
tremblingupontheglassymain,whereskiffsandsailsofvariousdescriptions
werepassingandrepassing.TheshoresofLong-Islandandtheotherislandsin
theharbour,appeareddimlytofloatamongthewaves.Theairwasadornedwith
thefragranceofsurroundingflowers;thesoundofvariousinstrumentalmusic
waftedfromthetown,renderedsweeterbydistance,whilethewhippoorwill’s
sprightlysongechoedalongtheadjacentgroves.Farintheeasternhorizonhung
apileofbrazenclouds,whichhadpassedfromthenorth,overwhich,the
crinklingredlightningmomentarilydarted,andattimes,longpealsofthunder
werefaintlyheard.Theywalkedtoapointofthebeach,wherestoodalargerock
whosebasewaswashedbyeverytide.Onthisrocktheyseatedthemselves,and
enjoyedawhilethesplendoursofthescene—thedraperyofnature.“Tothis


place,saidMelissa,haveItakenmanyasolitarywalk,onsuchaneveningas
this,andseatedonthisrock,haveIexperiencedmorepleasingsensationsthanI
everreceivedinthemostsplendidball-room.”Theideaimpressedthemindof
Alonzo;itwascongenialwiththefeelingofhissoul.
Theyreturnedatalatehour,andthenextdaysetoutforhome.Beaumanhanded
Melissaintothecarriage,andhe,withEdgar’scousinandhislady,attended
themontheirfirstday’sjourney.Theyputupatnightatthehouseofan
acquaintanceinBranford.Thenextmorningtheyparted;Melissa’scousin,his
ladyandBeauman,returnedtoNew-London;AlonzoandMelissapursuedtheir
journey,andateveningarrivedatherfather’shouse,whichwasinthewesterly
partofthestate.

Melissawasreceivedwithjoyfultendernessbyherfriends.Edgarsoon
recoveredfromhisfall,andcheerfulnessagainassumeditsmostpleasingaspect
inthefamily.—Edgar’sfatherwasaplainConnecticutfarmer.Hewasrich,and
hisricheshadbeenacquiredbyhisdiligentattentiontobusiness.Hehadloaned
money,andtakenmortgagesonlandsandhousesforsecurities;andaspayment
frequentlyfailed,heoftenhadopportunitiesofpurchasingtheinvolvedpremises
athisownprice.Hewellknewtheworthofashilling,andhowtoapplyittoits
bestuse;andincastinginterest,hewassurenevertoloseafarthing.Hehadno
otherchildrenexceptEdgarandMelissa,onwhomhedoated.—Destituteof
literaturehimself,hehadprovidedthemeansofobtainingitforhisson,andas
hewasarigidpresbyterian,heconsideredthatEdgarcouldnowherefigureso
well,orgainmoreeminence,thaninthesacreddesk.
ThetimenowarrivedwhenEdgarandAlonzoweretopart.Theformerrepaired
toNew-York,wherehewastoenteruponhisprofessionalstudies.Thelatter
enteredintheofficeofaneminentattorneyinhisnativetown,whichwasabout
twentymilesdistantfromthevillageinwhichlivedthefamilyofEdgarand
Melissa.Alonzowasthefrequentguestofthisfamily;forthoughEdgarwas
absent,therewasstillacharmwhichattractedhimhither.Ifhehadadmiredthe
manlyvirtuesofthebrother,couldhefailtoadorethesublimergracesofthe
sister?Ifallthesympathiesofthemostardentfriendshiphadbeendrawnforth
towardstheformer,mustnotthemosttenderpassionsofthesoulbeattractedby
themilderandmorerefinedexcellenciesoftheother?


BeaumanhadbecomethesuitorofMelissa;butthedistanceofhisresidence
rendereditinconvenienttovisitheroften.Hecameregularly,aboutonceintwo
orthreemonths;ofcourseAlonzoandhesometimesmet.Beaumanhadmadeno
seriouspretensions,buthisparticularityindicatedsomethingmorethan
fashionablepoliteness.
Hismanners,hisindependentsituation,hisfamily,entitledhimtorespect.“Itis
notprobablethereforethathewillbeobjectionabletoMelissa’sfriendsorto
Melissaherself,”saidAlonzo,withaninvoluntarysigh.
ButasBeauman’svisitstoMelissabecamemorefrequent,anincreasinganxiety
tookplaceinAlonzo’sbosom.Hewishedhertoremainsingle;theideaoflosing
herbymarriage,gavehiminexpressibleregret.Whatsubstitutecouldsupplythe
happyhourshehadpassedinhercompany?Whatcharmcouldwingthe
lingeringmomentswhenshewasgone?Intherecessofhisstudies,hecould,in
afewhours,beattheseatofherfather:therehiscaresweredissipated,andthe
troublesoflife,realorimaginary,onlightpinions,fleetedaway.—Howdifferent
wouldbethescenewhendebarredfromtheunreservedfriendshipand
conversationofMelissa;Andunreserveditcouldnotbe,wereshenot
exclusivelymistressofherself.Butwastherenotsomethingofamorerefined
texturethanfriendshipinhispredilectionforthecompanyofMelissa?Ifso,why
notavowit?Hisprospects,hisfamily,andofcoursehispretensionsmightnotbe
inferiortothoseofBeauman.ButperhapsBeaumanwaspreferred.His
opportunitieshadbeengreater;hehadformedanacquaintancewithher.
Distanceprovednobarriertohisaddresses.Hisvisitsbecamemoreandmore
frequent.Wasitnotthenhighlyprobablethathehadsecuredheraffections?
ThusreasonedAlonzo,butthereasoningtendednottoallaythetempestwhich
wasgatheringinhisbosom.Heorderedhishorse,andwasinashorttimeatthe
seatofMelissa’sfather.
Itwassummer,andtowardseveningwhenhearrived.Melissawassittingbythe
windowwhenheenteredthehall.Shearoseandreceivedhimwithasmile.
“Ihavejustbeenthinkingofanevening’swalk,saidshe,buthadnooneto
attendme,andyouhavecomejustintimetoperformthatoffice.Iwillordertea
immediately,whileyourestfromthefatiguesofyourjourney.”
Whenteawasservedup,aservantenteredtheroomwithaletterwhichhehad
foundintheyard.Melissareceivedit.—“’Tisaletter,saidshe,whichIsentby
Beauman,toaladyinNew-London,andthecarelessmanhaslostit.”Turningto


Alonzo,“IforgottotellyouthatyourfriendBeaumanhasbeenwithusafew
days;heleftusthismorning.”
“Myfriend!”repliedAlonzo,hastily.
“Ishenotyourfriend?”enquiredMelissa.
“Ibegpardon,madam,”answeredhe,“mymindwasabsent.”
“HerequestedustopresenthisrespectstohisfriendAlonzo,”saidshe.Alonzo
bowedandturnedtheconversation.
Theywalkedoutandtookawindingpathwhichledalongpleasantfieldsbya
glidingstream,throughalittlegroveandupaslopingeminence,which
commandedanextensiveprospectofthesurroundingcountry;LongIsland,and
thesoundbetweenthatandthemainland,andtheopeningthereoftothedistant
ocean.
Asoftandsilentshowerhaddescended;athousandtransitorygemstrembled
uponthefoliageglitteringthewesternray.—Abrightrainbowsatupona
southerncloud;thelightgaleswhisperedamongthebranches,agitatedthe
youngharvesttobillowymotion,orwavedthetopsofthedistantdeepgreen
forestwithmajesticgrandeur.Flocks,herds,andcottageswerescatteredoverthe
variegatedlandscape.
Hillspiledonhills,receding,fadedfromthepursuingeye,minglingwiththe
bluemistwhichhoveredaroundtheextremevergeofthehorizon.“Thisisa
mostbeautifulscene,”saidMelissa.
“Itisindeed,repliedAlonzo;canNew-Londonboastsocharmingaprospect?”
Melissa.No—yes;indeedIcanhardlysay.Youknow,Alonzo,howIam
charmedwiththerockatthepointofthebeach.
Alonzo.Youtoldmeofthehappyhoursyouhadpassedatthatplace.Perhaps
thecompanywhichattendedyouthere,gavethesceneryitshighest
embellishment.
Melissa.Iknownothowithappened;butyouaretheonlypersonwhoever
attendedmethere.
Alonzo.Thatisalittlesurprising.
Mel.Whysurprising?


Al.WherewasBeauman?
Mel.Perhapshewasnotfondofsolitude.Besideshewasnotalwaysmy
Beauman.
Al.Sometimes.
Mel.Yes,sometimes.
Al.Andnowalways.
Mel.Notthisevening.
Al.Heformerly.
Mel.Well.
Al.Andwillsoonclaimtheexclusiveprivilegesotodo.
Mel.Thatdoesnotfollowofcourse.
Al.Ofcourse,ifhisintentionsaresincere,andthewishesofanothershould
accordtherewith.
Mel.WhoamItounderstandbyanother?
Al.Melissa.[Apauseensued.]
Mel.Seethatship,Alonzo,comingupthesound;howsheploughsthroughthe
whitefoam,whilethebreezesflutteramongthesails,varyingwiththebeamsof
thesun.
Al.Yes,itisalmostdown.
Mel.Whatisalmostdown?
Al.Thesun.Wasnotyouspeakingofthesun,madam?
Mel.Yourmindisabsent,Alonzo;Iwasspeakingofyondership.
Al.Ibegyourpardon,madam.Oyes—theship—it—itboundswithrapid
motionoverthewaves.
Apauseensued.Theywalkedleisurelyaroundthehill,andmovedtowardhome.
Thesunsunkbehindthewesternhills.—Twilightaroseintheeast,andfloated
alongtheair.Darknessbegantohoveraroundthewoodlandsandvallies.The
beautiesofthelandscapeslowlyreceded.“ThisremindsmeofourwalkatNewLondon,”saidMelissa.“Doyourememberit?”enquiredAlonzo.“CertainlyI


do,”shereplied,“Ishallneverforgetthesweetpensivesceneryofmyfavourite
rock.”“NorIneither,”saidAlonzowithadeepdrawnsigh.
ThenextdayAlonzoreturnedtohisstudies;but,differentfromhisformervisits
toMelissa,insteadofexhilaratinghisspirits,thishadtendedtodepressthem.He
doubtedwhetherMelissawasnotalreadyengagedtoBeauman.Hishopeswould
persuadehimthatthiswasnotthecase;buthisfearsdeclaredotherwise.

ItwassometimebeforeAlonzorenewedhisvisit.Intheinterimhereceiveda
letterfromafriendintheneighbourhoodofMelissa’sfather;anextractfrom
whichfollows:
“Wearesoontohaveaweddinghere;youareacquaintedwiththeparties—
MelissaD——andBeauman.Suchatleastisouropinionfromappearances,as
Beaumanisnowheremorethanhalfhistime.—Youwillundoubtedlybea
guest.Wehadexpectedthatyouwouldhaveputinyourclaims,fromyour
particularattentiontothelady.Sheisafinegirl,Alonzo.”
“IshallneverbeaguestatMelissa’swedding,”saidAlonzo,ashehastilypaced
theroom;“butImustonceagainseeherbeforethateventtakesplace,whenI
loseherforever.”Thenextdayherepairedtoherfather’s.Heenquiredfor
Melissa;shewasgonewithapartytotheshoresofthesound,attendedby
Beauman.Ateveningtheyreturned.BeaumanandAlonzoaddressedeachother
withmuchseemingcordiality.“Youhavedeceivedus,Alonzo,saidMelissa.We
concludedyouhadforgottentheroadtothisplace.”
“Wasnotthatahastyconclusionmadam?”repliedAlonzo.“Ithinknot,she
answered,ifyourlongabsenceshouldbeconstruedintoneglect.Butwewill
hearyourexcusesaidshe,smiling,byandby,andperhapspardonyou.”He
thankedherforhercondescension.
ThenextmorningBeaumansetoutforNew-London.Alonzoobservedthathe
tookatenderleaveofMelissa,tellingher,inalowvoice,thatheshouldhavethe
happinessofseeingheragainwithintwoorthreeweeks.Afterhewasgone,as
MelissaandAlonzoweresittinginaroomalone,“Wellsir,saidshe,amItohear
yourexcuses?”
Alonzo.Forwhat,madam?


Mel.Forneglectingyourfriends.
Alonzo.Ihopeitisnotsoconsidered,madam.
Mel.Seriously,then,whyhaveyoustayedawaysolong?Hasthisplaceno
charmsintheabsenceofmybrother?
Al.Wouldmypresencehaveaddedtoyourfelicities,Melissa?
Mel.Younevercameanunwelcomevisiterhere.
Al.PerhapsImightbesometimesintrusive.
Mel.Whattimes?
Al.WhenBeaumanisyourguest.
Mel.Ihavesupposedyouwereonfriendlyterms.
Al.Weare.
Mel.Whythenintrusive?
Al.Thereareseasonswhenfriendshipmustyielditspretensionstoasuperior
claim.
Mel.PerhapsIdonotrightlycomprehendtheforceofthatremark.
Al.WasBeaumanhere,mypositionmightbedemonstrated.
Mel.IthinkIunderstandyou.
Al.Andacknowledgemyobservationtobejust?
Mel.(hesitating.)Yes—IbelieveImust.
Al.Andappropriate?
Melissawassilent.
Al.Youhesitate,Melissa.
Shewasstillsilent.
Al.Willyou,Melissa,answermeonequestion?
Mel.(confused.)Ifitbeaproperoneyouareentitledtocandour.
Al.AreyouengagedtoBeauman?
Mel.(blushing.)Hehasaskedmethesamequestionconcerningyou.


Al.Doyoupreferhimtoanyother?
Mel.(deeplyblushing,hereyescastuponthefloor.)Hehasmadethesame
enquiryrespectingyou.
Al.Hasheaskedyourfather’spermissiontoaddressyou?
Mel.ThatIhavenotsufferedhimyettodo.
Al.Yet!
Mel.IassureyouIhavenot.
Al.(takingherhandwithanxiety.)Melissa,Ibegyouwilldealcandidly.Iam
entitledtonoclaims,butyouknowwhatmyheartwouldask.Iwillbowtoyour
decision.BeaumanorAlonzomustrelinquishtheirpretensions.Wecannotshare
theblessing.
Mel.(hercheekssuffusedwithavaryingglow,herlipspale,hervoice
tremulous,hereyesstillcastdown.)Myparentshaveinformedmethatitis
impropertoreceivetheparticularaddressesofmorethanone.Iamconsciousof
myinadvertency,andthatthereproofisjust.Onethereforemustbedismissed.
But—(shehesitated.)
Aconsiderablepauseensued.AtlengthAlonzoarose—“Iwillnotpressyou
farther,”saidhe;“Iknowthedelicacyofyourfeeling,Iknowyoursincerity;
Iwillnotthereforeinsistonyourperformingthepainfultaskofdecidingagainst
me.Yourconductineverypointofviewhasbeendiscreet.Icouldhavenojust
claims,orifIhad,yourheartmustsanctionthem,ortheywouldbeunhallowed
andunjustifiable.Ishalleverprayforyourfelicity.—Ouraffectionsarenot
underourdirection;ourhappinessdependsonourobediencetotheirmandates.
Whatever,then,maybemysufferings,youareunblameableandirreproachable.”
Hetookhishatinextremeagitation,andpreparedtotakehisleave.
Melissahadrecoveredinsomedegreefromherembarrassment,andcollected
herscatteredspirits.“Yourconduct,Alonzo,saidshe,isgenerousandnoble.
Willyougiveyourselfthetrouble,anddomethehonourtoseemeoncemore?”
“Iwill,saidhe,atanytimeyoushallappoint.”—“Fourweeksthen,shesaid,
fromthisday,honourmewithavisit,andyoushallhavemydecision,and
receivemyfinalanswer.”“Iwillbepunctualtotheday,”hereplied,andbade
heradieu.


Alonzo’shoursnowwingedheavilyaway.Hiswontedcheerfulnessfled;he
wooedthesilentandsolitaryhauntsof“musing,mopingmelancholy.”Heloved
towanderthroughlonelyfields,oralongthevergeofsomelingeringstream,
“whendewytwilightrob’dtheeveningmild,”or“totracetheforestglen,
throughwhichthemoondartedhersilveryinterceptedray.”
Hewasfondlyindulgingatenderpassionwhichpreyeduponhispeace,and
deeplydisturbedhisrepose.HelookedanxiouslytothehourwhenMelissawas
tomakeherdecision.Hewished,yetdreadedtheevent.Inthatheforesaw,or
thoughtheforesaw,awitheringblighttohisbuddinghopes,andafinal
consummationtohisforebodingfears.HehadpressedMelissa,perhapstoo
urgently,toadeclaration.—Hadherpredilectionbeeninhisfavour,wouldshe
havehesitatedtoavowit?Herparentshadadvisedhertorelinquish,andhad
permittedhertoretainonesuitor,norhadtheyattemptedtoinfluenceordirect
herchoice.Wasitnotevident,then,fromherconfusedhesitationand
embarrassment,whensolicitedtodiscriminateuponthesubject,thatherultimate
decisionwouldbeinfavourofBeauman?
WhileAlonzo’smindwasthusagitated,hereceivedasecondletterfromhis
friendintheneighbourhoodofMelissa.Hereadthefollowingclausetherein
withemotionsmoreeasilytobeconceivedthanexpressed:
“Melissa’sweddingdayisappointed.IneednottellyouthatBeaumanistobe
thehappydeityofthehymenealsacrifice.Ihadthisfromhisowndeclaration.
Hedidnotnamethepositiveday,butitiscertainlytobesoon.Youwill
undoubtedly,however,havetimelynotice,asaguest.Wemustpouroutaliberal
libationuponthemysticaltar,Alonzo,andtwinethenuptialgarlandwith
wreathsofjoy.Beaumanoughttodevotearichofferingtosovaluableaprize.
Hehasbeenhereforaweek,anddepartedforNew-Londonyesterday,butis
shortlytoreturn.”
“AndwhyhaveIeverdoubtedthisevent?saidAlonzo.Whatinfatuationhath
thusledmeontothepursuitoffantasticandunrealbliss?Ihavehad,itistrue,
nopositiveassurancethatMelissawouldfavourmyaddresses.Butwhydidshe
everreceivethem?Whydidsheenchantinglysmileuponme?Whyfascinatethe
tenderpowersofmysoulbythatwinningmildness,andthefavourabledisplay
ofthosecomplicatedandsuperiorattractionswhichshemusthaveknownwere
irresistible?—Whydidshenotspurnmefromherconfidence,andplainlytell


methatmyattentionswereuntimelyandimproper?Andnowshewouldhave
medanceattendancetoherdecisioninfavourofBeauman—Insulting!Let
Beaumanandshemake,astheyhaveformed,thisfarcicaldecision;Iabsolutely
willneverattendit.—Butstop:Ihaveengagedtoseeheratanappointedtime;
myhonouristhereforepledgedforaninterview;itmusttakeplace.Ishall
supportitwithbecomingdignity,andIwillconvincebothMelissaandBeauman
thatIamnotthedupeoftheircaprices.Butletmeconsider—WhathasMelissa
donetodeservecensureorreproach?Herbrotherwasmyearlyfriend:shehas
treatedmeasafriendtoherbrother.Shewastheunsuspectingobjectofmy
passion.Shewasunconsciousoftheflamewhichhercharmshadkindledinmy
bosom.—Herevidentembarrassmentandconfusiononreceivingmydeclaration,
witnessedhersurpriseandpriorattachment.Whatcouldshedo?Tosaveherself
thepainofadirectdenial,shehadappointedadaywhenherrefusalmaycome
inamoredelicateandformalmanner—andImustmeetit.”
Attheappointedday,AlonzoproceededtothehouseofMelissa’sfather,where
hearrivedlateintheafternoon.Melissahadretiredtoalittlesummerhouseat
theendofthegarden;aservantconductedAlonzothither.Shewasdressedina
flowingrobeofwhitemuslin,embroideredwithadeepfringelace.Herhair
hunglooselyuponhershoulders;shewascontemplatingabouquetofflowers
whichsheheldinherhand.Alonzofanciedsheneverappearedsolovely.She
arosetoreceivehim.“Wehavebeenexpectingyousometime,saidMelissa;we
wereanxioustoinformyou,thatwehavejustreceivedaletterfrommybrother,
inwhichhedesiresustopresentyouhismostfriendlyrespects,andcomplains
ofyournotwritingtohimlatelysofrequentlyasusual.”Alonzothankedherfor
theinformation;saidthatbusinesshadpreventedhim;heesteemedhimashis
mostvaluablefriend,andwouldbemoreparticularinfuture.
“Wehavebeenthrongedwithcompanyforseveraldays,saidMelissa.Oncea
yearmyfathercelebrateshisbirthday,whenwearehonouredwithsonumerous
acompanyofuncles,aunts,cousins,nephewsandnieces,thatwereyoupresent,
youwouldsupposewewereconnectedwithhalfthefamiliesinConnecticut.
Thelastofthiscompanytooktheirdepartureyesterday,andIhaveonlyto
regret,thatIhavefornearlyaweek,beenpreventedfromvisitingmyfavourite
hill,towhichyouattendedmewhenyouwaslasthere.Itismuchimproved
sincethen:Ihavehadalittlearbourbuiltunderthelargetreeonitssummit:you
willhavenoobjectiontoviewit,Alonzo?”Heassuredherheacceptedthe
invitationwithpleasure,andtowardseveningtheyresortedtotheplaceand


seatedthemselvesinthearbour.
Itwasthebeginningofautumn,andayellowhuewasspreadoverthefading
charmsofnature.Thewitheringforestbegantosheditsdecayingfoliage,which
thelightgalespursuedalongtherussetfields.Thelowsunextendedthe
lengtheningshadows;thecurlingsmokeascendedfromthesurrounding
cottages.Athickfogcreptalongthevallies;agraymisthoveredoverthetopsof
themountains.Theglassysurfaceofthesoundglitteredtothesun’sdeparting
ray.Thesolemnherdslowedinmonotonoussymphony.Theautumnalinsectsin
sympatheticwafting,plaintivelypredictedtheirapproachingfate.“Thesceneis
changedsincewelastvisitedthisplace,saidMelissa;thegaycharmsofsummer
arebeginningtodecay,andmustsoonyieldtheirsplendorstotherude
despoilinghandofwinter.”
“Thatwillbethecase,saidAlonzo,beforeIshallhavethepleasureofyour
companyhereagain.”
Mel.Thatprobablymaybe,thoughitisnearlytwomonthsyettowinter.
Al.Greatchangesmaytakeplacewithinthattime.
Mel.Yes,changesmusttakeplace;butnothing,Ihope,toembitterpresent
prospects.
Al.(peevishly.)Asitrespectsyourself,Itrustnot,madam.
Mel.(tenderly.)AndIsincerelyhopenot,asitrespectsyou,Alonzo.
Al.Thatwish,Ibelieve,isvain.
Mel.Whysoominousaprediction?
Al.Thepremises,fromwhichitisdrawn,arecorrect.
Mel.Yourfeelingsaccordwiththeseason,Alonzo;youaremelancholy.Shall
wereturn?
Al.Iaskyourpardon,madam;IknowIamunsociable.Youspeakofreturning:
Youknowtheoccasionofmybeinghere.
Mel.Forthepurposeofvisitingyourfriends,Ipresume.
Al.Andnoother?
Shemadenoreply.


Al.Youcannothaveforgottenyourownappointment,andconsequent
engagement?
Shemadenoanswer.
Al.Iknow,Melissa,thatyouareincapableofduplicityorevasion.Ihave
promised,andnowrepeatthedeclaration,thatIwillsilentlysubmittoyour
decision.Thisyouhaveengagedtomake,andthisisthetimeyouhave
appointed.Thepainsofpresentsuspensecanscarcelybesurpassedbythepangs
ofdisappointment.Onyourpartyouhavenothingtofear.Itrustyouhave
candidlydetermined,andwilldecideexplicitly.
Mel.(sighing.)Iamplacedinanexceedinglydelicatesituation.
Al.Iknowyouare;butyourownhonour,yourownpeace,requirethatyou
shouldextricateyourselffromtheperplexingembarrassment.
Mel.Iamsensibletheydo.Itmust—itshallbedone.
Al.Andthesooneritisdonethebetter.
Mel.ThatIamconvincedof.InowknowthatIhavebeeninadvertently
indiscreet.IhaveadmittedtheaddressesofBeaumanandyourself,without
calculatingorexpectingtheconsequences.Youhavebothtreatedme
honourably,andwithrespect.Youarebothonequalgroundsastoyourcharacter
andstandinginlife.WithBeaumanIbecamefirstacquainted.Asitrelatesto
him,somenewarrangementshavetakenplacesinceyouwerehere,which——
Al.(interruptingher,withemotion.)OfthosearrangementsIamacquainted.
Mel.(surprised.)Bywhatmeanswereyouinformedthereof?
Al.Ireceiveditfromafriendinyourneighbourhood.
Aconsiderablepauseensued.
Al.Yousee,Melissa,Iampreparedfortheevent.—Shewasstillsilent.
Al.Ihavementionedbefore,that,whateverbeyourdecision,noimproprietycan
attachtoyou.Imightnot,indeed,fromvariouscircumstances,andfromthe
informationIpossess,Iperhapsshouldnot,havegivenyoufarthertroubleon
theoccasion,haditnotbeenfromyourowndirectionandappointment.AndI
amnowwillingtoretirewithoutfurtherexplanation,withoutgivingyouthepain
ofanexpressdecision,ifyouthinkthemeasureexpedient.Yourdeclarationcan
onlybeamatterofform,theconsequenceofwhichIknow,andmyproposition


maysaveyourfeelings.
Mel.No,Alonzo;myreputationdependsonmyadherencetomyfirst
determination;justicetoyourselfandtoBeaumanalsodemandit.Afterwhathas
passed,Ishouldbeconsideredasactingcapriciouslyandinconsistently,shouldI
departfromit.Beaumanwillbehereto-morrow,and——
Al.To-morrow,madam?
Mel.Hewillbehereto-morrow,andyoumustconsenttostaywithusuntilthat
time;themattershallthenbedecided.
Al.I—yes—itshallbeasyousay,madam.Makeyourarrangementsasyou
please.
Eveninghadnowspreadherduskymantleoverthefaceofnature.Thestars
glistenedinthesky.Thebreeze’srustlingwingwasinthetree.The“slitty
sound”ofthelowmurmuringbrook,andthefaroffwater-fall,werefaintly
heard.Thetwinklingfire-flyarosefromthesurroundingverdureandilluminated
theairwithathousandtransientgleams.Theminglingdiscordanceofcursand
watch-dogsechoedinthedistantvillage,fromwhencethefrequentlightsdarted
theirpalelylustrethro’thegloom.Thesolitarywhippoorwillsstationed
themselvesalongthewoodyglens,thegrovesandrockypastures,andsunga
requiemtodepartedsummer.Adarkcloudwasrisinginthewest,acrosswhose
gloomyfrontthevividlightningbentitsforkyspires.
AlonzoandMelissamovedslowlytothevillage;sheappearedenrapturedwith
themelancholysplendoursoftheevening,buttheothersubjectengagedthe
mentalattentionofAlonzo.
Beaumanarrivedthenextday.HegavehishandtoAlonzowiththeseeming
warmthoffriendship.Ifitwasreciprocated,itmusthavebeenaffected.There
wasnoalterationinthemannersandconversationofMelissa:herconversation,
asusual,wassprightlyandinteresting.Afterdinnersheretired,andherfather
requestedAlonzoandBeaumantowithdrawwithhimtoaprivateroom.After
theywereseated,theoldgentlemanthusaddressedthem:
“Ihavecalledyouhere,gentlemen,toperformmydutyasaparenttomy
daughter,andasafriendtoyou.YouarebothsuitorstoMelissa;whileyour
addressesweremerelyformal,theywereinnocent;butwhentheybecame
serioustheyweredangerous.YourpretensionsIconsiderequal,andbetween
honourablepretenders,whoareworthyofmydaughter,Ishallnotattemptto


influenceherchoice.Thatchoice,however,canrestonlyonone:shehas
engagedtodecidebetweenyou.Iamcometomake,inhername,thisdecision.
Thefollowingaremyterms:—Noquarrelordifficultyshallarisebetweenyou,
gentlemen,inconsequenceofherdetermination.Nothingshallgoabroad
respectingtheaffair;itshallbeendedundermyroof.AssoonasIhave
pronouncedherdeclaration,youshallbothdepartandabsentmyhouseforat
leasttwoweeks,asitwouldbeimproperformydaughtertoseeeitherofyouat
present:afterthatperiodIshallbehappytoreceiveyourvisits.”—Alonzoand
Beaumanpledgedtheirhonourtoabideimplicitlybytheseinjunctions.Her
fatherthenobserved—“This,gentlemen,isallIrequire.IhaveobservedthatI
consideredyourpretensionsequal:sohasmydaughtertreatedthem.Youhave
bothmadeprofessionstoher;shehasappointedatimetoansweryou.Thattime
hasnowarrived,andInowinformyouthatshehasdecidedinfavourof—
Alonzo.”

ThedeclarationofMelissa’sfatherburstuponthementalpowersofBeauman,
likeasuddenandtremendousclapofthunderonthedeepandsolemnsilenceof
night.Unaccustomedtodisappointment,hehadcalculatedonsuccess.His
addressestotheladieshadeverbeenhonourablyreceived.
Melissawasthefirstwhosecharmswerecapableofrenderingthemsincere.He
wasnotignorantofAlonzo’sattentiontoher:itgavehimhoweverbutlittle
uneasiness.Hebelievedthathissuperiorqualificationswouldeclipsethe
pretensionsofhisrival.Heconsideredhimselfaconnoisseurincharacter,
especiallyinthecharacteroftheladies.Heconformedtotheirtaste;heflattered
theirfoibles,andobsequiouslybowedtotheminutiaoffemalevolatility.He
consideredhimselfskilledinthelanguageoftheheart;andhetrustedthatfrom
hispre-eminentpowersinthescienceofaffection,hehadonlytosee,tosueand
toconquer.HehadfranklyofferedhishandtoMelissa,andpressedherfora
decisiveanswer.Thisfromtimetotimeshesuspended,andfinallyappointeda
daytogivebothhimandAlonzoadeterminateanswer,thoughneitherknewthe
arrangementsmadewiththeother.
Finding,however,thedilemmainwhichshewasplaced,shehadpreviously
consultedherparents.Herfatherhadnoobjectiontoherchoosingbetweentwo
personsofequalclaimstoaffluenceandreputation;thischoiceshehadmade,


andherfatherwasconsideredthemostproperpersontopronounceit.
WhenBeaumanhadurgedhissuittoMelissa,hesupposedthatherhesitations,
delaysandsuspensions,wereonlytheeffectsofmaidendiffidenceandtimidity.
Hehadnosuspicionsofherultimatelyrejectingit;andwhenshefinallynamed
thedayofdecision,hewasconfidentthatshewoulddecideinhisfavour.These
sentimentshehadcommunicatedtothepersonwhohadwrittentoAlonzo,
intimatingthatMelissahadfixedatimewhichwastocrownhishappiestwishes.
HehadlistenedthereforeattentivelytothewordsofMelissa’sfather,
momentarilyexpectingtohearhimselfdeclaredthefavouritechoiceofthefair.
WhatthenmusthavebeenhisdisappointmentwhenthenameofAlonzowas
pronouncedinsteadofhisown!Thehighlyfinishedsceneofpleasureandfuture
prosperitywhichhisardentimaginationhaddepicted,hadvanishedina
moment.Therainbowglorieswhichgildedhisyouthfulhorizon,hadfadedinan
instant—thebrightsunofhisearlyhopeshadsetinmournfuldarkness.The
summonsofdeathwouldnothavebeenmoreunexpected,ormoreshockingto
hisimagination.
VerydifferentwerethesensationswhichinspiredthebosomofAlonzo.Hehad
notevencalculatedonadecisioninhisownfavour.HebelievedthatBeauman
wouldbethechoiceofMelissa.Shehadtoldhimthattheformofdecisionwas
necessarytosaveappearances:withthisformhecompliedbecauseshedesired
it,notbecauseheexpectedtheresultwouldbeinhisfavour.Hehadnot
thereforeattendedtothewordsofMelissa’sfatherwiththateagernesswhich
favourableanticipationscommonlyproduce.Butwhenhisnamewasmentioned;
whenhefoundhewasthechoice—thehappyfavouriteofMelissa’saffection,
everytenderpassionofhissoulbecameinterested,andwassuddenlyarousedto
therefinementsofsensibility.Likeanelectricshock,itreanimatedhiswhole
frame,andvibratedeverynerveofhisheart.Thegloomswhichhungabouthis
mindweredissipated,andthebrightmorningofjoybrokeinuponhissoul.
ThusweretheexpectationsofAlonzoandBeaumandisappointed—how
differently,thesequelhasshown.
Melissa’sfatherretiredimmediatelyafterpronouncingthedeclaration;thetwo
younggentlemenalsosoonafterwithdrew.Alonzosawthetempestwhichtore
thebosomofhisrival,andhepitiedhimfromhisheart.
Afortnightpassed,andAlonzofeltallthatanxietyandimpatiencewhicha


separationfromabelovedobjectcanproduce.Heframedathousandexcusesto
visitMelissa,yethefearedavisitmightbepremature.Hewas,however,
necessitatedtomakeajourneytoadistantpartofthecountry,afterwhichhe
resolvedtoseeMelissa.Heperformedhisbusiness,andwasreturning.Itwas
towardevening,andthedayhadbeenuncommonlysultryfortheautumnal
season.Arisingshowerblackenedthewesternhemisphere;thedarkvapour
ascendedinfoldingridges,andthethunderrolledatadistance.Alonzosawhe
shouldbeovertaken.Hediscoveredanelegantseataboutonehundredyards
distantfromtheroad;thitherhehastenedtogainshelterfromtheapproaching
storm.Theownerofthemansionmethimatthedoor,politelyinvitedhimto
alightandwalkin,whileaservantstoodreadytotakehishorse.Hewasushered
intoalargeroomneatlyfurnished,wherethefamilyandseveralyoungladies
weresitting.AsAlonzoglancedhiseyeshastilyaroundtheroom,hethoughthe
recognizedafamiliarcountenance.Ahurriedsuccessionofconfusedideasfora
momentcrossedhisrecollection.Inamoment,however,hediscoveredthatit
wasMelissa.Bythisunexpectedmeetingtheywerebothcompletely
embarrassed.Melissa,however,arose,andinratheraconfusedmanner,
introducedAlonzo,astheclassmateofherbrother,tothefamilyofMr.Simpson
andthecompany.
Theraincontinuedmostpartoftheafternoon.Alonzowasinvited,and
consentedtostayallnight.Amoon-lighteveningsucceededtheshower,which
invitedtheyoungpeopletowalkinanadjoininggarden.MelissatoldAlonzo
thatMr.Simpsonwasadistantrelativeofherfather;hisfamilyconsistedofhis
wife,twoamiabledaughters,notfarfromMelissa’sage,andoneson,named
William,aboutseventeenyearsold.Shehadbeeninvitedtheretopassaweek,
andexpectedtoreturnwithintwodays.Andsheadded,smiling,“perhaps,
Alonzo,wemayhaveanopportunityoncemoretovisittheboweronmy
prospecthill,beforewinterentirelydestroystheremainingbeautiesofthe
summer.”Alonzofeltalltheforceoftheremark.Herecollectedtheconversation
whentheywerelastattheplaceshementioned;andhewellrememberedhis
feelingsonthatoccasion.
“Greatchanges,indeed,hereplied,havetakenplacesincewewerelastthere:
thattheyareproductiveofunexpectedandunexampledhappinesstome,isdue,
Melissa,toyoualone.”Alonzodepartedthenextmorning,appointingthenext
weektovisitMelissaatherfather’shouse.
Thusweretheobstaclesremovedwhichpresentedabarriertotheunitedwishes


ofAlonzoandMelissa.Theyhadnot,itistrue,beenseparatedbywideseas,
unfeelingparents,ortherigorouslawsofwar;buttroubles,vexations,doubts
anddifficulties,hadthusfarattendedthem,whichhadnowdisappeared,and
theycalculatedonnounpropitiouseventwhichmightthwarttheirfutureunion.
AllthetimethatAlonzocouldsparefromhisstudieswasdevotedtoMelissa,
andtheirparentsbegantocalculateonjoiningtheirhandsassoonasAlonzo’s
professionaltermofstudywascompleted.
ThetroubleswhichgaverisetothedisseverationofEnglandfromAmericahad
alreadycommenced,whichbrokeouttheensuingspringintoactualhostilities,
bythebattleatLexington,followedsoonafterbythebattleatBunkerHill.The
panicandgeneralbustlewhichtookplaceinAmericaontheseevents,isyetwell
rememberedbymany.TheywerenotcalculatedtoimpressthemindofMelissa
withthemostpleasingsensations.Sheforesawthattheburdenofthewarmust
restontheAmericanyouth,andshetrembledinanticipationforthefateof
Alonzo.He,withothers,shouldthewarcontinue,musttakethefield,indefence
ofhiscountry.Theeffectsofsuchaseparationweredubiousandgloomy.
Alonzoandshefrequentlydiscourseduponthesubject,andtheyagreedtoform
themysticunionprevioustoanywideseparation.
Oneeventtendedtohastenthisresolution.TheattorneyinwhoseofficeAlonzo
wasclerk,receivedacommissioninthenewraisedAmericanarmy,and
marchedtothelinesnearBoston.Hisbusinesswasthereforesuspended,and
Alonzoreturnedtothehouseofhisfather.Heconsideredthathecouldnotlong
remainamerespectatorofthecontest,andthatitmightsoonbehisdutytotake
thefield;hethereforeconcludeditbesttohastenhismarriagewithMelissa.She
consentedtotheproposition,andtheirparentsmadethenecessaryarrangements
fortheevent.Theyhadevenfixedupontheplacewhichwastobethefuture
residenceofthishappycouple.Itwasapleasantlysituatedvillage,surrounded
byruggedelevations,whichgaveanairofserenityandseclusiontothevalley
theyencircled.Onthesoutharoseaspacioushill,whichwasascendedbya
gradualacclivity;itssidesandsummitinterspersedwithorchards,arbours,and
cultivatedfields.Onthewest,forestsunevenlyliftedtheirrudeheads,withhere
andthereasolitaryfield,newlycleared,andthinlyscatteredwithcottages.To
theeast,theeyeextendedoverasoil,atonetimeswellingintocraggy
elevations,andatanotherspreadingitselfintovalesofthemostenchanting
verdure.Tothenorthitextendedoveravastsuccessionofmountains,woodedto
theirsummits,andthrowingtheirshadowsoverintervalesofequalwilderness,


tillatlengthitwasarrestedinitsexcursionsbythebluemistswhichhovered
overmountainsmoregrand,majesticandlofty. * *Somewhoreadthisdescriptionwill
readilyrecognizethevillageheredescribed. Arivuletwhichrushedfromthehills,formed
alittlelakeonthebordersofthevillage,whichbeautifullyreflectedthecottages
fromitstransparentbosom.Amidstaclusteroflocustsandweepingwillows,
rosethespireofthechurch,intheungarnisheddecencyofSundayneatness.
Fields,gardens,meadows,andpastureswerespreadaroundthevalley,andon
thesidesofthedeclivities,yieldingintheirseasontherichflowers,fruitsand
foliageofspring,summerandautumn.Theinhabitantsofthismodern
Auvernumweremostlyfarmers.Theyweremild,sociable,moralanddiligent.
Theproduceoftheirownflocksandfieldsgavethemmostoftheirfoodand
clothing.Todissipationtheywerestrangers,andtheluxuriesoftheirtableswere
few.
SuchwastheplacechosenforthefutureresidenceofAlonzoandMelissa.They
hadvisitedthespot,andwereenrapturedwithitspensive,romanticbeauties.
Asitewasmarkedoutwhereontoerecttheirfamilymansion.Itwasonalittle
eminencewhichslopedgraduallytothelake,inthemostpleasantpartofthe
village.“Here,saidAlonzoonedaytoMelissa,willwepassourdaysinallthat
felicityofmindwhichthechequeredscenesoflifeadmit.Inthespringwewill
roveamongtheflowers.Insummer,wewillgatherstrawberriesinyonderfields,
orwhortleberriesfromtheadjacentshrubbery.Thebreezesoffragrantmorning,
andthesighsoftheeveninggale,willbemingledwiththesongsofthethousand
variousbirdswhichfrequentthesurroundinggroves.Wewillgatherthebending
fruitsofautumn,andwewilllistentothehoarsevoiceofwinter,itswhistling
winds,itsdrivingsnow,andrattlinghail,withdelight.”
ThebrightgemsofjoyglistenedintheeyesofMelissa.WithAlonzoshe
anticipatedapproachinghappiness,andherbosombeatinrapturousunison.
Wintercameon;itrapidlypassedaway.Springadvanced,andthemarriageday
wasappointed.

ThespringopenedwiththedinofpreparationthroughoutAmericafordefensive
war.Itnowwasfoundthatvigorousmeasuresmustbepursuedtoopposethe
torrentwhichwaspreparingtooverwhelmthecolonies,whichhadnowbeen


disseveredfromtheBritishempire,bythedeclarationofindependence.The
continentalarmywasnowraising,andgreatnumbersofAmericanyouth
volunteeredintheserviceoftheircountry.Alargearmyofreinforcementswas
soonexpectedfromEnglandtolandonourshores,and“theconfusednoiseof
thewarriors,andgarmentsrolledinblood,”werealreadyanticipated.
Alonzohadreceivedacommissioninaregimentofmilitia,andwaspressedby
severalyounggentlemenofhisacquaintance,whohadenteredthearmy,tojoin
italso.Hehadanexcuse.Hisfatherwasamaninextensivebusiness,was
considerablypasttheprimeoflife,hadanumberofagentsandclerksunderhim,
butbegantogrowunabletoattendtothevariousandburthensomedutiesand
demandsofamercantilelife.
Alonzowashisonlyson;hisassistancethereforebecamenecessaryuntil,at
least,hisfathercouldbringhisbusinesstoaclose,whichhewasnowaboutto
effect.Alonzostatedthesefactstohisfriends;toldthemthatoneveryoccasion
heshouldbereadytoflytothepostofdangerwhenhiscountrywasinvaded,
andthatassoonashisfather’saffairsshouldbesettled,hewould,ifnecessary,
willinglyjointhearmy.
ThedaynowrapidlyapproachedwhenAlonzowastomakeMelissahisown.
Preparationsforthehymenealceremonyweremaking,andinvitationshad
alreadygoneabroad.Edgar,thebrotherofMelissa,hadenteredthearmyinthe
capacityofchaplain.Hewassoonexpectedhome,whereheintendedtotarry
untiltheconsummationofthenuptials,beforehesetoutforthecamp.Letters
recentlyreceivedfromhim,informedthatheexpectedtobeathisfather’sin
threeorfourdays.
Aboutthreeweeksprevioustotheappointedmarriageday,AlonzoandMelissa
oneafternoonrodeouttothevillagewhichhadbeenchosenfortheirfuture
residence.Theircarriagestoppedattheonlyinnintheplace,andfromthence
theywalkedaroundthismodernVaucluse,charmedwiththesecludedbeauties
ofitssituation.Theypassedalittletimeatthespotselectedfortheirhabitation;
theyprojectedthestructureofthebuildings,plannedthegardens,theartificial
groves,thewalks,themead,thefountains,andthegreenretreatofthesummer
house,andtheyalreadysaw,inanticipation,thevariousdomesticblessingsand
felicitieswithwhichtheyweretobesurrounded.
Theytookteaattheinn,andpreparedtoreturn.Itwasatthelatterendofthe
monthofMay,andnaturewasadornedinthebridalornamentsofspring;thesun


wassunkbehindthegroves,whichcasttheirsombreshadesoverthevalley,
whiletheretiringbeamsofdayadornedthedistanteasterneminenceswith
yellowlustre.
Thebirdssungmelodiouslyinthegroves,theairwasfreshenedbylightwestern
breezes,bearingupontheirwingsalltheentrancingodoursoftheseason.
Aroundthehorizon,electriccloudsraisedtheirbrazensummits,basedinthe
blackvapourofapproachingnight.
Theyslowlyascendedthehillsouthofthetown,wheretheypausedafew
momentstoenjoythesplendoursoftheeveningscene.Thishill,which
commandedaprospectofallthesurroundingcountry,thedistantsound,andthe
adjacenttownsandvillages,presentedtotheeye,onasingleview,perhapsone
ofthemostpicturesquedraperiespaintedbynature.AlonzoattendedMelissato
herfather’s,andthenextdayreturnedhome.
Hisfatherhadbeenabsentforthreeorfourdaystooneofthecommercial
seaports,onbusinesswithsomemerchantswithwhomhewasconnectedin
trade.HereturnedthenextdayafterAlonzogothome:—hisaspectandhis
conversationweremarkedwithanassumedandunmeaningcheerfulness.At
supperheatenothing,discoursedmuch,butinanunconnectedandhurried
manner,interruptedbylongpauses,inwhichheappearedtobeburiedin
contemplation.
Aftersupper,heaskedAlonzoifitwerenotpossiblethathismarriagewith
Melissacouldbeconsummatedwithinafewdays.Alonzo,startledatso
unexpectedaquestion,replied,thatsuchaproposalwouldbeconsidered
extraordinary,perhapsimproper:besides,whenMelissahadfixedtheday,she
mentionedthatshehadanunclewholivednearCharleston,inSouthCarolina,
whosedaughterwastopassthesummerwithMelissa,andwasexpectedto
arrivebeforetheappointedmarriageday.Itwould,hesaid,beadelicatepoint
forhimtorequesthertoanticipatethenuptials,unlesshecouldgivesome
cogentreasonsforsodoing;andatpresenthewasnotapprisedthatanysuch
existed.Hisfather,afterafewmomentshesitation,answered,“Ihavereasons,
which,whentold”—herehestopped,suddenlyarose,hastilywalkedtheroomin
muchvisibleagonyofmind,andthenretiredtohischamber.
Alonzoandhismotherweremuchamazedatsostrangeaproceeding.They
couldformnoconjectureofitscauseoritsconsequence.Alonzopasseda
sleeplessnight.Hisfather’sslumberswereinterrupted.Hewouldfrequentlystart


Tài liệu bạn tìm kiếm đã sẵn sàng tải về

Tải bản đầy đủ ngay

×