of its inmates, in their wildest flights of imagination, ever
dreamed of such a thing. Sometimes a new servant, who
OF BOSTON. 93
had not been trained to the ways of the establishment, might
venture upon such an act of pure folly. Mr. Redmond
always responded by presenting his purse, never knowing
what might be its contents, or troubling his head about the
matter ; Avhich might be Peach Mountain coal, the ther-
mometer at zero, or any thing else of equal household
importance. Mrs. Redmond then learned, for the first time,
that she had owed her greatly increased comforts to the
excellent arrangements of her son, whose absence she was
made to feel every hour in the day by their disappearance,
and to comprehend, in all its domestic bearings and other-
wise, her deprivation. This knowledge, however, influenced
in no way her conduct ; she felt and hourly lamented
Robert's departure, but she aroused herself none the more
for the consciousness of his loss ; she still remained as ir-
reclaimably torpid as ever, praying only that he might
94 THE BARCLAYS
My comfort is, that their manifest prejudice to my cause will render
their judgment of less authority.'
' Now this would be perfectly delightful,' said Mr. Rich-
ard, one evening when they had all assembled in the library,
' if it were not for one exception.'
' And pray what is that ? ' inquired Mrs. Barclay.
' Oh ! 'tis the wearisome prospect of beholding that ridi-
culous widow, Mrs. Fanny Ashley, sail into this pleasant
family circle and destroy all my comfort. What a bore she
is ! I am astonished, Catherine, you can have any enjoy-
ment in the society of that woman.'
* My dear Richard,' replied the lady, ' I must repeat, what
I have already asserted numberless times, that Mrs. Ashley
is my friend, and that I cannot permit her to be so disre-
spectfully mentioned, even by yourself, who are a privileged
person in this house.'
' I assert nothing but the truth,' snarled Mr. Richard,
' I regret to hear you speak in this way of such an esti-
mable person ; Mrs. Ashley has ever been to me a true and
firm friend in sickness and in sorrow, in weal and woe.'
'And pray what sorrows have you had, Mrs. Barclay? '
'Many; I was a sickly child, nervous and overwhelmed
with all sorts of fantastic ideas, and she was my prop and
support, she having more self-possession and courage than
' Boldness you mean,' interrupted Mr. Richard.
OF BOSTON. 95
Mrs. Barclay proceeded without paying any attention to
his remark", 'and, consequently, she was an immense re-
source for me, protecting me against the attacks of my
schoolmates, and helping me in my early lessons.'
' It must have been in your early lessons, Catherine.'
' She walked home with me to my own door every day,
and from that time to this has steadfastly adhered to me and
mine. Trust me, my brother, such friends are worth pre-
serving and cherishing.'
' But you might have repaid her, my sister, in some other
way than by enduring her frivolity every day. I should go
mad to have Mrs. Ashley hanging about me, as she does
here, and I wonder my brother John submits to it.'
' Brother John has a pleasant way, all his own, of sub-
mitting, and endures his wife's friends, and, moreover, likes
the lady in question nearly as well as I do.'
' More fool he,' snarled Mr. Richard. ' What can he see
in her ? '
' Oh ! ' said Mr. Barclay, ' I find a great many good things
to admire in Mrs. Fanny. Firstly, she loves my wife and
children dearly ; and secondly, she has a small corner in her
heart for your humble servant, which is always a vast recom-
mendation to me.'
' Nonsense, John, you're so soft-hearted, any silly woman
can creep into your affections. 1 should like to see that
widow try to do the like to me.'
Mr. Barclay opined that there was not much danger of
the attempt being made.
' I detest widows,' resumed Mr. Richard. ' Now here is
this woman who never put her nose out of doors in her late
husband's reign ; no sooner is he dead, than she's every
where, the eternal Mrs. Ashley !'
' Very good reason you have to say she never was seen
in Mr. Ashley's lifetime,' replied Mr. Barclay ; ' he never
permitted such doings ; his was a reign of terror with a
96 THE BARCLAYS
' I wish most heartily that it had continued, John, and
that his interesting relict had never enjoyed the chance of
dispensing herself every where as she does.'
' But, my dear Richard,' said Mrs. Barclay, 'will you not
please to spare my friend, if not for her sake, for mine ? '
* I sha'nt promise at all,' replied he, ' for I can hardly
refrain from telling the lady myself what I think of her.
Even your idol, Madame de Stael, always made a point of
informing her friends of their short-comings and defects, so
what have you to say now ? '
' That, great and distinguished, as she certainly was, she
must have heen a very disagreeable person.'
' So you never wish " to hint at faults and hesitate dis-
likes," my sister, though you are the only woman I ever
saw who had so few to be knocked off.'
' I mean to reply, brother, by stating that it is an occupa-
tion in which I do not excel. Sometimes, with young peo-
ple, I venture upon suggestions and reproofs, because I
imagine I may do good, but with older ones I should despair
of making important changes; and besides, I am inclined
to believe there is quite as much good as evil in the world.'
' What Utopian nonsense ! I tell you the world is a very
bad place, and the people who cumber its surface worse
still ; and in America where the varnish of good manners
is so often found wanting, all the wickedness seems to be
' I am a victim to good manners,' said Mrs. Barclay, ' and
will not deny that they have immense weight with me, but
if I am to choose, give me the rough bark that I may know
what I have to fear. You cannot deny that Mrs. Ashley's
manners are good, and I am resolved that you shall, in time,
concede that her heart is equally so.'
' Mrs. Ashley's heart is nothing to me, Mrs. Barclay.'
' Take care, Dick,' laughingly cried Mr. Barclay, ' you may
succumb yet to the fair widow's charms, and even wear her
colors ; stranger things have happened than that.'
OF BOSTON. 97
' Never,' energetically replied Mr. Richard.
'Please, then,' said Mrs. Barclay, 'just be civil when you
meet her, and not allow her to perceive how very disagree-
able she is to you. I declare I think you evince a total
absence of good taste in your very decided disapproval of
' I can't help expressing my dislike, and so must talk.
What is that woman dancing for at all the balls, and passing
her life in dissipation ? '
' How many balls do you suppose she numbers in a win-
ter, Catherine } '
'And how many do you suppose she numbers in a sea-
son ? ' queried Mrs. Barclay. ' In her visiting list she may
possibly count a dozen balls. Certainly parties are not so
superabundant here ; and why should she not dance, if she
likes the amusement .-* It is surely extremely difficult for
her to find any other kind of recreation.'
' You never dance,' said Mr. Richard.
' Simply because my husband and I have got into a very
Darby and Joan way of living, in which we have been
greatly encouraged, perhaps too much, by our kind friends,
who are so much in the habit of finding us at home that, I
really believe, they would now quite resent our absence
from our own fireside. You well know how often they
descant upon the inestimable advantage, as they are pleased
to call it, of having a place to go to in the evening. It is
very probable that, if they ceased to come here, we should
be obliged to go out ourselves ; 'tis dangerous for man to
live alone, or woman either. Even Madame de Stael, whom
you have just quoted, could not exist out of Paris. She
vegetated in her father's dwelling, in the loveliest country in
the world, with even the Society of the Sismondis, Bonstet-
tens, &c. ; so, you perceive, the most intellectual cannot get
on always ruminating and reading, but require recreation.
I forgot to add, by way of strengthening my argument, that
this illustrious woman perfectly worshipped her father ; and
98 THE BARCLAYS
that his little chateau was always filled with her admirers,
who were perpetually breathing incense at her shrine, and
yet she sighed for a city life. Furthermore, many of these
adorers followed her from Paris.'
' Oh ! she was a woman, and a French one to boot,' said
' I shall not undertake to deny that ; but just look at the
famous men of your dear continent of Europe ; however
assiduously they may be occupied during the day, they
always devote their evenings to relaxation. Madame de
Sismondi arranged every morning some little amusement for
her husband's evening; and that he enjoyed better health,
and was brighter and more fitted for the labors of the ensuing
day, there is no doubt. Tieck gave his evenings to society,
and others too numerous to mention ; and, to bring the ques-
tion home to your own door, what would you yourself do
without us ? '
* Oh ! I consider myself at home in your house.'
' But you do not live here, and, consequently, you go out
when you visit us.'
At this juncture, just when Mr. Richard was nailed to the
floor, the very lady in question entered, all smiles and good-
nature. Mr. Richard, much to the amusement of his nieces,
shrugged his shoulders, and submitted to his hard destiny.
Kate laughed outright.
'You seem,' said Mrs. Ashley, 'to be a very merry
group, as usual;' and establishing herself comfortably in
a lounge, she looked around upon her friends most affec-
' Yes,' said Grace, ' uncle Richard was railing at the world,
in his old way, and we were all, as usual, amused.'
' I am extremely well enlightened touching Mr. Richard's
railings,' said the pretty widow. ' He spares no one, and
such general onslaughts do not materially disturb my equa-
' I wish a little more attention were paid to my criticisms,'
OF BOSTON. 99
responded Mr. Richard ; * the world would get on much
' The world treats me very graciously,' said Mrs, Ashley.
' 1 've no quarrel with it whatever. I should prefer a little
more gaiety, to be sure, than is to be found here ; fewer
lectures and more balls '
' Hear her,' said Mr. Richard, looking slyly at his sister.
' Yes ! ' said Mrs. Ashley, ' more balls and fewer lectures.
Not that I distractedly admire dancing ; but as nobody will
give us any thing else, why, I would rather have that than no-
thing. I do sincerely wish we could have some other kind of
amusement. I should like a little society, some place to
go to, where I am not forced to dance and eat ; where I could
have a pleasant chat with agreeable men and women. I am
not intellectual, and the word is worn threadbare here if I
were ; and not being learned, am not ashamed to confess
that I like clever people's company better than my own.
But, as it seems impossible for me to find this diurnally out
of this house, and not having the face to come here forever,
why my only alternative seems to be the balls, with, occa-
sionally, a little music to relieve the tedium of long solitary
' I'm quite sure,' said Mr. Richard, ' that if you had this
very society for which you declare yourself to be hungering
and thirsting, you would still frequent the balls in prefer-
' I will say nothing of the remarkable politeness you dis-
play, Mr. Richard, in openly contradicting a lady ; but I
think, my dear friends, your brother and sister, will confess
that I am consistent, at least, and so proved to be, by actu-
ally haunting their dwelling, and am astonished they do not
tire of me sadly.'
Upon this remark, both Mr. Barclay and his wife ear-
nestly intreated Mrs. Ashley never to imagine she could, by
any chance, come too often, and that they both were ex-
tremely flattered by the preference she had bestowed upon
100 THE BARCLAYS
them. They were the more emphatic in their demonstra-
tions, as they were frequently quite ashamed of Mr. Rich-
ard's rudeness to their amiable friend,
' Pray inform me, Mrs. Ashley,' said Mr. Richard, ' why
you always mention the long word intellectual so disparag-
ingly ; what has it done to arouse your anger ? '
' I have heard it all my life,' sighed the lady, very com-
ically ; ' my excellent mother held up for example before
my eyes, for years and years, a certain young lady, who
shall be nameless, as the most intellectual person in the
world, entirely dependent on her own resources. This
young person never wished to dance, never wished to dress,
or to go to balls, talked chemistiy, medicine, and all the
'ologies extant ; and my mother, in order to improve my
mind, so that I might attain the same climax of earthly dis-
tinction, forced me to frequent her society. Now, this same
young lady rarely walked abroad, and, if she did, never en-
tered a shop: had no taste for music, read Greek, and did
not understand French, or draw I beg her pardon she
squared circles, or fancied she did, and kept her hair in sad
disorder. Now, I trust, I have given you my first impres-
sions of intellectual women, and my succeeding observations
have not dispelled them.'
' What became of her, did she marry f ' inquired Mr.
' Oh no ! she could never spare time to be courted, or,
perchance, there came no lover ; she still rejoices solitarily
in her intellectuality. You perceive the word grows longer
with my story.'
' Courted ! ' sneered Mr. Richard. ' I'm amazed, Mrs.
Ashley, you should use such a common word ; it's not fit for
' And why not ? Do you believe any woman was ever
won, who was not courted ? What system of tactics do you
mean to adopt. Sir, when you venture upon the grand ex-
periment of seeking a wife ? '
OF BOSTON. 101
' Heaven forbid ! ' interrupted the gentleman.
' I should like to know if you propose to throw down the
handkerchief for some errant damsel to pick up. Mark my
words, you will be obliged to act the offending word, as I
believe you would never marry a woman " who could, un-
sought, be won." '
' Ah, now you adopt proper expressions, Mrs. Ashley.'
' Yes, Mr. Richard, just for the sake of not being tautolo-
gical, nothing more. I prefer my first expression, and very
intelligible it is to all ordinary persons.'
' You are very incorrigible to-night. Madam.'
When Mr. Richard got to Madam with Mrs. Ashley, he
always buttoned up his coat, saluted the company, and de-
parted, which little circumstance, as usual, occurred.
When he was fairly gone this being well understood by
his shutting the hall door with a slightly perceptible bang
Mrs. Ashley said : ' What a pity it is that your brother, Mr.
Barclay, is so unlike yourself. He has excellent qualities
of head and heart, but seems to take a malicious pleasure in
making himself appear entirely the reverse. Mr. Richard
takes just as much time in endeavoring to persuade every
body that he is the roughest and most disagreeable person in
the known world, as other people do to attain the semblance
of perfect excellence.'
' That is very true,' responded Mr. Barclay, ' I wish he
could get a gocd wife to humanize him. Pray marry him
yourself, and mak us all happy.'
' There exists a most important obstacle ; the gentleman
will not ask me and if he should, nothing on this nether
globe would tempt me to accept him.'
' But think, dear Mrs. Ashley,' said Mr. Barclay, ' what a
triumph it would be to make this ^rly bachelor succumb to
your charms : what a blessed influence you might exercise
over him ; how amiable he would become, basking in the
sunshine you would dispense, and how admirably you would
elicit all my dear brother's hidden excellences.'
102 THE BARCLAYS
' I am not sufficiently philanthropic to engage in such a
forlorn cause, and should prefer a mission to New Zealand
to civilize tattooed chiefs.'
' Ah ! now you are really too hard on my brother,' said
Mr. Barclay. * I love him dearly ; he is the confidant of all
my perplexities. I have endured, as yet, thank God for his
mercies, few troubles. Richard is loyal, truthful and atfec-
tionate, full of generous impulses and deep sensibility. You
may look incredulous, I assure you he makes this rough-
ness a mask to conceal these good qualities.'
' The Americans and English,' said Mrs. Ashley, ' are
the only nations -who affect these sort of peculiarities. On
the continent of Europe every man tries to make the best of
himself, and to present an agreeable front to the world.
Why should any man wish to be considered a bear? '
' That is a question I do not pretend to answer,' replied
Mr. Barclay ; ' and 1 only know that my beloved brother
certainly has a slight tendency to that kind of aspiration, and
God knows I sincerely lament it. Catherine will tell you
how kind he is to her children, how devoted to herself.'
' Indeed will I, with all my heart,' said Mrs. Barclay ;
' and I must teach you to think better of Mr. Richard.'
The hour arriving for Mrs. Ashley's departure, she took a
kind leave of her sincere friends.
OF BOSTON. 103
In short, by night, 'twas fits or fretting ;
By day, 'twas gadding or coquetting,
Fond to be seen.'
Mrs. Tidmarsh, the Barclays' second neighbor, was a
widow with one daughter, Miss Serena Tidmarsh. This
young lady, like most only daughters, had been allowed to
have her own way all her life in every thing, right or wrong.
Her father might have proved a salutary corrective, but he
had been dead a long time. This state of things growing
worse and worse, a species of domestic tyranny was enacted
in the poor widow's establishment, quite fearful to behold,
Mrs. Tidmarsh being, in truth, a sad victim to her child's
whims and caprices, and they were legion. In the first
place, their means of subsistence being very limited, Miss
Serena wished them to seem boundless ; and the conse-
quences of this attempt at deception were so transparent,
that though she fancied nobody saw her strivings and contriv-
ings for what she called ' keeping up appearances,' there
was not a doubt in the minds of all her acquaintances to the
reality of their position, every one peering through the thin
veil thrown over the futile attempts to vie with the Barclays,
and other rich families.
Secondly, Miss Tidmarsh's temper, naturally not the most
amiable, was not at all improved by this mean and petty
warfare with her destiny ; and her time, at home, was gene-
rally occupied in bewailing her miserable lot, and abroad in
criticising all the world, and disseminating little and big bits
104 THE BARCLAYS
of scandal. Nothing came amiss to her, every thing of that
kind being acceptable. She began lier day with wearisome
and irritating expedients for making the worse appear the
better, turning and twisting, and making old lamps look
like new ; and then, with a troubled and anxious spirit, sal-
lied forth, and wandered from house to house, in search of
something disagreeable or unpleasant, and never desiring to
hear the reverse. Being miserable herself, disappointed in
her ambitious views, she wished to find every one else in the
same category, and as far as imparting all manner of disa-
greeable and unpleasant truths went, she succeeded admi-
Miss Serena's pet dislike was the Barclay family ; she
hated all its members. Doctor Johnson wojuld have admired
her, she was such a good hater. Their prosperity and popu-
larity were actual crimes in her eyes. She never stopped
to observe how rightfully theynvere gained; she was satis-
fied that they existed, and that sufHced to arouse all her
malevolent feelings. She would have rejoiced to discover a
flaw in Mr. Barclay's character or purse, both being, in her
eyes, equal. This was excessively ungrateful, for the very
house in which she dwelt was rented to her by Mr. Barclay,
at a mere nominal price, so small as to be hardly worth
mentioning, in consequence of his friendly relations with her
Georgy and Grace, Miss Serena declared, were not even
pretty, and what people could see in them to rave about, as
they did, she could not conceive ; then Kate was a positive
fright, and such a horrid romp ! and even little Johnny was
a very naughty, vicious boy. He had broken one of her
windows with a ball, an unpardonable offence she forgot
to mention that he immediately sent a glazier to mend it.
And all this was said in the lowest and softest tones imag-
inable, but was heard, nevertheless. Mr. Barclay, to be
sure, had befriended her father when he was in trouble, but
what of that! He had so much money that he would not
OF BOSTON. 105
really know what to do with it, if he did not give it away ;
and she could never forgive him for advising her deceased
parent not to leave the mean little village where he had
vegetated, and go to Boston to practise his profession, years
before he did. And this was the truth rather an uncom-
mon circumstance in Miss Serena's narrations.
Mr. Tidmarsh, a country lawyer, respected for his hon-
esty and probity, but possessing small reputation for talent,
had been tormented by his wife into leaving his native place
and tiying his fortune in the city. He had thereby lost an
honorable and sufficiently lucrative position in his own com-
munity and gained nothing by the exchange ; this being
precisely Mr. Barclay's prediction when he counselled him
not to remove. Mr. Tidmarsh, on discovering the sad mis-
take he had made, would gladly have returned to his former
residence, but this having become impracticable, he was
just sinking under disappointed hopes and aspirations, when,
by the death of a distant connection, he came into the pos-
session of a meagre patrimony, which relieved his mind
from all future anxiety respecting his wife and child. A
short time after this event, he contracted a fever and fol-
lowed his relative. Miss Se^-ena had, in some undiscovered
way, adopted very erroneous and extravagant impressions
of her father's talents, which she also imagined she inher-
ited, and having been informed that Mr. Barclay had not
approved of his removal, and had objected to it many years
before the experiment had been tried which proved so sad
a failure, she resolved to believe, that if her lost parent had
complied with her mother's wishes earlier, he would have
won for himself fame and distinction. So, out of this coinage
of her own fertile brain, she wove a very touching and
Miss Tidmarsh had not been more favored by nature than
fortune ; she was below the middle size, stooping exces-
sively, which she fancied imparted a willowy movement to
her person ; was thin and bony ; had very little hair, and
106 THE BAUCLAYS
extremely long scraggy arms ; her neck was singularly
elongated, and her shoulders were always uncovered day
and night, and were distinguished by large knobs on
them which protruded from every dress she wore. These
shoulders were always uncovered, summer and winter.
To be sure, she had occasionally the pretension of wearing
an areophane scarf, or an illusion tippet, but these articles
of feminine attire always falling immediately off, the knobs
remained visible in their pristine ugliness. These notable
charms were always arrayed in an aqua-marine colored silk
dress, the shade never being changed ; this, the damsel's
favorite hue, she constantly wore. It so happened that an
invalid friend who was going to Paris for six weeks, had,
in default of any one else, invited Miss Serena to accompany
her, which invitation was rapturously accepted; she went
and returned in the appointed time, not having been per-
mitted to remain longer. This unfortunate excursion filled
up the measure of the lady's absurdities, she re-appearing
with such a quantity of dippings and bobbings and duck-
ings and French phrases as were perfectly unendurable ;
the six weeks in Paris having turned her head completely.
Henceforward she could no longer dine without soup, ate
her meat solus, and changed her |)late for every vegetable,
and insisted upon her poor mother doing the same things,
to whom it was a perfect martyrdom and a sad inconve-
nience, as they had but one maid of all work, and she was
a dwarf and a cripple.
IMiss Serena, however, was constant to her aqua-marine
fancy, and this costume with newly acquired twitches, starts
and contortions, Avhich she imagined to be supremely Paris-
ian, gave to beholders the impression that she was half