Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

8 articles on this Page

MAY AND I.

THE STRANGE CLAIMANT; OR,…

"I LOVED ONCE."

News
Cite
Share

"I LOVED ONCE." I AM a doctor, and am sitting in my office. The daily calls have been made. The weather is unpropitious for sickness. I may put on my slippers, light a cigar, loll in my easy chair, and day-dream with little fear of disturbance. I have often thought how queer a thing it is that a young M.D., with a horse and gig, and a good prac- tice, has never married. My friends have thought so too. They often remind me that time is passing, and that grey hairs are beginning to show themselves in my moustache and whiskers. My errand boy (Im- pudent scamp) suggested the other day that I should brush my hair in a different manner, in order to cover the bald spot. True, I am getting old, and not getting a wife. I know the reason that I am yet a bachelor, and I don't know but that it would do my soul good to live over the past, and tell these walls how a friand of mine got a wife, and how I didn't. Eight or ten years ago, two jolly juniors from col- lege were sent to spend a vacation in a large village in P——. One was Alexander Woodbridge, the other Edward St. John. We—for I was the latter-named— hardly relished being sent away from our customary good time in N-, our home. We submitted, how- ever, with as good a grace as we could. Aleck even got jolly on his prospective, and having by some means found out that we were going to a valley in which two rivers met, would frequently quote, to stop my loud whisperings of discontent, In all the wide world, there's no valley so sweet, As the vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet." As soon as the last examination was passed, we were on the rail for N-. Aleck was in excellent spirits, forming grand plans of flirtations and the other enter- prises which make up vacation life. We did not stop in N The E railroad took us to the then terminus of the road, when a long stage ride was before us. The days of adventures in stage-coaches had even then passed. We had none. Once in the village for which we had set out, Aleck and I, after getting a room at the hotel, walked up to the quaint old parsonage. We presented some letters, wherein we were committed to the care of the reverend gentleman on Sundays, that he might see that we attended church. He asked us to take tea with him. We thought of blooming daughters and accepted. No fair hands ministered to us at that mournful tea. The parson was a bachelor. A Biddy was the mistress of the mansion. It was a solemn affair, and we hurried off as soon as we decently could. j| (The parson "hoped we might enjoy and improve our vacation. The quiet of the village would be favourable for any studying we might wish. His library was at our disposal." Not a word of gunning, not a word of fishing; worse still, not a word of society. Aleck and I condoled with each other on our gloomy prospect for the summer, as we walked down to the hotel We were in good spirits-very. A week-two weeks had gone. We had fished in every stream within a day's ride. We had scoured the forests. We had attempted to get into society and failed. The young men saw in us, so our vanity thought, dangerous rivals. The ladies were too retir- ing to allow us to become acquainted by other than the orthodox ways. We followed them they never looked back. We waved our handkerchiefs; they never saw them. We serenaded them our musii; fell on unpitying ears. Two weeks of the same kind of life were before us. One evening we were sitting on the piazza, when the following conversation ec- curred: "Ed, the villagers have a pic-nic to-morrow. I heard it to-day in the Barber's shop." Well, what of it f" I'm going to that pic-nic." You have no invitation." II I know it, but I fancy my face has enough bell- metal in it to face all these lads and lasses, and bear all their reflections, too. Moreover, I mean to know a young lady before to-morrow's sun has set. I shall do it, if I have to cause a fearful accident to happen, ibat I may save her from death, and carry her to the arms of her distracted parent." Spoken worthily of the heir of all the Wood- bridges. I'll go with thee." The next day, after seeing goodly numbers of fair women and brave men" passing through the main street, on their way to the grove, we started. They had chosen a pretty opening in the forest, and were there, some hundred young people, in the heyday of delight. Aleck, this sight would stir a fever in the blood of age, and make an infant's sinews strong as steel. We were among them, but not of them. They were as punctilious regarding a formal introduction as the haughtiest ones of our own G-. We staid about the grounds until many had gone. Ed, do you see those two ladies walking about the grounds unattended ? No one has been with them during this whole afternoon. They have not spoken to any one. The ice-cream and the cake came not to them, even as it came not to us. Misery loves com- pany we will join them." They are from town, Aleck; I know it by the way the little one holds up her dress, to show us the fairy foot she's got. That's not a country-learned thing." II You're right. I have it all now. See, they are looking at us. Jim, the stable-boy, told me that a family trom N——, with two or three young ladies, had bought an old place near here called The Willows.' These are the said young ladies. By this time we had nearly reached them. Oc- casionally a coquettish glance would bit turned towards us, but as yet no excuse had been devised by which to begin a conversation. We were near enongh to look at them closely. They were beautiful. My memory pictures them as vividly to-day as it did the hour after we saw them-ten years ago. The smaller one, Nelly-for so her name proved to be-wgz a brunette, with a flashing black eye and luxuriant brown hair, which she were behind the most exquisitely chiselled ears, and beautifully its wavy masses con- trasted with her Leghorn flat. Her arms were half covered by her mantilla. Now ani then she rotated her parasol, when one would be revealed in all its roundness, gently tapering to a hand worthy of Venus. The other was a blonde; her blue eyes peeped out from a cottage-bonnet roguishly. Her form was slight. I remember she wore a white Marseilles batque, and how jauntily it fitted her waist. Everv one but we four had left the grove. The young ladies were evidently getting uneasy. Miss Mary, the larger one, would now and then pull her watch from her belt, and look anxiously out to the road.' As last she stopped, turned round, and came towards Us. Will you be good enough to tell us what time it is ? My watch has stopped. We fear that our car- riage, which should have been here some time since, has met with some accident." The offer to escort them to the village, and then look after the carriage, was promptly made, and, with some blushing and tapping of the little foot on the mossy bank, accepted. We relieved the embarrass- ment by presenting our cards. Our suspicions were true; they were from "The Willows." Just as we bad entered upon a pleasant chat, the carriage came. We handed the ladies in. No invitation had as yet been given us to call. The ladies bewed. and the car- riage drove off. Soon it was stopped waiting until we had come up, they said: Miss Laurens and Miss Hamilton would be glad to see Messrs. Woodbridge and St. John at 'The Willows' at any time." "Now, sure, Miss Laurens rules," said Aleck. "Nope of your Bohn's Horace at such a time as this. We are in luck, but I am in misery. Love at first sight,' no longer a phantom, now a reality." We went back to the hotel, and on the long-shaded piazza, with smoke wreaths floating around us, we talked of the day. Aleck fancied Miss Laurens: I was in love with Miss Hamilton. Happy it is that our love went not out to the same one, for had it, Aleck, I should now sit in my office as much a bache- lor, and without the sunshine of your friendship lighting up the dreary recesses of memory. The next day we called at The Willows." The ladies were very glad to see us. Mutual acquaintances were found in town. Then Mary—I must, call her Mary, though I may not use the prettiest alliteration in the world and call her Mary mine "-Ma.ry sang and played for us. She sang among other things, I have something sweet to tell you." How sweet it was, and how I hoped she might tell it to me some day, and not be talking in her sleep." As we started to go, two little children came run- ning up to Mary, and shouted what I thought was Mamma." I told Aleck so, but he laughed at me, and told me it was a pet name for Mary, which I had mistaken for the maternal appellation. How could it be possible," said he, that she, a young unmarried lady, could be called mamma ?" The two weeks remaining passed as swiftly away as had the others slowly. We rode, and walked, and talked together; we quoted poetry, we marked passages in books, we looked deep into each others eyes, wondermgly, hopefully, doubtfully. We did all tbe things that those who hope to be lovers do. We, that is, Mary and I, do this Aleck and Miss NeUy-his Nelly-we suppose- did the same. To love a star, and think to wed it, were one, thou art so far above me." I quoted this to Mary one evening, when we were gazing at the stars. "Am I, then, so far above you ?" she asked and I thought I saw her eyes glisten with tears. I should have told her then how I loved her, but I could net. We left with a sad parting. They agreed to spend a few more weeks in the country; we would meet them in town. Aleck had secured Nelly as a correspondent; Mary would not write to me—and why should she? I had not said a word of love, though I had acted volumes. She might have thought I loved her; she did not know it. Women take nothing for granted. "Oh,bashful man that I am," thought I, as we lumbered over the hills in a stage coach but I will tell her the story of my heart in town," where I got leave to spend a few days during the next term. With rather singular sensations I went up to W street, where I was to see Mary. I rang the bell. While waiting for the servant, I did what many an impudent man had done before me—looked into the hall through the window. There were playing the same two children, who called Mary by that funny pet name in the country. Is Miss Hamilton in ? Yes, sir, she beze a playin' in the hall. Mollie, darhnt, come here. The gintleman is axin' for ye." Ah! but I mean an elder Miss Hamilton—a young lady." Shure and there isent ony Miss Hamilton here, but Miss Mollie, the little crayture. Ye must mane the mistress, whos as young and purty lookin' as if she'd be a young lady herself. I'll go call her." No, you need not, there is a mistake." And there was a grievous one. My Mary was another's; I have been terribly fooled Aleck was in the joke. He quizzed me a little when I came back; but soon for- bore, when he saw how serious a thing it had been. Since then we are both working in our professions— Aleck, a pastor in the city. I spent an evening with him a short time since; he and his Nelly are happy. I sing I loved once;" I smoke my cigar in any room In my house. I think I am happy, except when I re- member my Mary." Now you know why the doctor was never married.

[No title]

LADIES' COLUMN.

USEFUL HINTS.

[No title]

VARIETIES.