James Fenimore Cooper.

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Pr. Hen. " Thou art perfect."





Entered according to the act of Congress, in the year 1838, by


in the clerk's office of the district court of the United States,
in and for the eastern district of Pennsylvania.




THOSE who have done us the favour to read * HOME
WARD BOUND' will at once perceive that the incidents
of this book commence at the point where those of the
work just mentioned ceased. We are fully aware
of the disadvantage of dividing the interest of a tale
in this manner ; but in the present instance, the separa
tion has been produced by circumstances over which
the writer had very little control. As any one who may
happen to take up this volume will very soon discover
that there is other matter which it is necessary to know,
it may be as well to tell all such persons, in the com
mencement, therefore, that their reading will be boot
less, unless they have leisure to turn to the pages
of Homeward Bound for their cue.

We remember the despair with which that admira
ble observer of men, Mr. Mathews the comedian, con
fessed the hopelessness of success, in his endeavours to
obtain a sufficiency of prominent and distinctive fea
tures to compose an entertainment founded on Ameri
can character. The whole nation struck him as being
destitute of salient points, and as characterized by a
respectable mediocrity, that, however useful it might be
in its way, was utterly without poetry, humour, or
interest to the observer. For one who dealt principally
with the more conspicuous absurdities of his fellow-
creatures, Mr. Mathews was certainly right ; we also



believe him to have been right in the main, in the
general tenor of his opinion ; for this country, in its ordi
nary aspects, probably presents as barren a field to the
writer of fiction, and to the dramatist, as any other on
earth ; we are not certain that we might not say the
most barren. We believe that no attempt to delineate
ordinary American life, either on the stage, or in the
pages of a novel, has been rewarded with success. Even
those works in which the desire to illustrate a principle
has been the aim, when the picture has been brought
within this homely frame, have had to contend with
disadvantages that have been commonly found insur
mountable. The latter being the intention of this
book, the task has been undertaken with a perfect
consciousness of all its difficulties, and with scarcely a
hope of success. It would be indeed a desperate un
dertaking, to think of making anything interesting
in the way of a Roman de Societe in this country;
still useful glances may possibly be made even in
that direction, and we trust that the fidelity of one
or two of our portraits will be recognized by the
looker-on, although they will very likely be denied by
the sitters themselves.

There seems to be a pervading principle in things,
which gives an accumulating energy to any active pro
perty that may happen to be in the ascendant, at the
time being. Money produces money ; knowledge is the
parent of knowledge ; and ignorance fortifies ignorance.
In a word, like begets like. The governing social
evil of America is provincialism ; a misfortune that is
perhaps inseparable from her situation. Without a
social capital, with twenty or more communities divided
by distance and political barriers, her people, who are


really more homogenous than any other of the same
numbers in the world perhaps, possess no standard for
opinion, manners, social maxims, or even language.
Every man, as a matter of course, refers to his own
particular experience, and praises or condemns agree
ably to notions contracted in the circle of his own ha
bits, however narrow, provincial, or erroneous they may
happen to be. As a consequence, no useful stage can
exist ; for the dramatist who should endeavour to deli
neate the faults of society, would find a formidable
party arrayed against him, in a moment, with no party
to defend. As another consequence, we see individuals
constantly assailed with a wolf-like ferocity, w r hile so
ciety is everywhere permitted to pass unscathed.

That the American natioTi is a great nation, in some
particulars the greatest the world ever saw, we hold to
be true, and are as ready to maintain as any one can
be ; but we are also equally ready to concede, that it
is very far behind most polished nations in various essen
tials, and chiefly, that it is lamentably in arrears to its
own avowed principles. Perhaps this truth will be
found to be the predominant thought, throughout the
pages of " Home As Found."



Good morrow, coz.

Good morrow, sweet Hero."


WHEN Mr. Effingham determined to return home,
he sent orders to his agent ip prepare his town-house
in New-Yofk for his reception, intending to pass a
month or two in it, then to repair to Washington for a
few weeks, at the close of its season, and to visit his
country residence when the spring should fairly open.
Accordingly, Eve now found herself at the head
of one of the largest establishments, in the largest
American town, w r ithin an hour after she had landed
from the ship. Fortunately for her, however, her father
was too just to consider a wife, or a daughter, a mere
upper servant, and he rightly judged that a liberal por
tion of his income should be assigned to the procuring
of that higher quality of domestic service, which can
alone relieve the mistress of a household from a burthen
so heavy to be borne. Unlike so many of those around
him, who would spend on a single pretending and com
fortless entertainment, in which the ostentatious folly
of one contended with the ostentatious folly of another,
a sum that, properly directed, would introduce order
and system into a family for a twelvemonth, by com
manding the time and knowledge of those whose study
they had been, and who would be willing to devote
themselves to such objects, and then permit their wives


and daughters to return to the drudgery to which the
sex seems doomed in this country, he first bethought
him of the wants of social life before he aspired to its
parade. A man of the world, Mr. Effingham pos
sessed the requisite knowledge, and a man of justice,
the requisite fairness, to permit those who depended on
him so much for their happiness, to share equitably in
the good things that Providence had so liberally be
stowed on himself. In other words, he made two peo
ple comfortable, by paying a generous price for a
housekeeper; his daughter, in the first place, by re
leasing her from cares that, necessarily, formed no
more a part of her duties than it would be a^)art of
her duty to sweep the pavement before the door ; and,
in the next place, a very respectable woman who was
glad to obtain so good a home on so easy terms. To
this simple and just ^xpenient, Eve was indebted for
being at the head olf one of the quiete^, most truly
elegant, and best ordered establishments in America,
with no other demands on her time than that which
was necessary to issue a few orders in the morning,
and to examine a few accounts once a week.

One of the first and the most acceptable of the visits
that Eve received, was from her cousin, Grace Van
Cortlandt, who was in the country at the moment of
her arrival, but who hurried back to town to meet her
old school-fellow and kinswoman, the instant she heard
of her having landed. Eve Effingham and Grace Van
Cortlandt were sisters' children, and had been born
within a month of each other. As the latter w r as with
out father or mother, most of their time had been passed
together, until the former was taken abroa'd, when a
separation unavoidably ensued. Mr. Effingham ar
dently desired, and had actually designed, to take his
niece with him to Europe, but her paternal grandfather,
who w r as still living, objected his years and affection,
and the scheme was reluctantly abandoned. This
grandfather was now dead, and Grace had been left,


with a very ample fortune, almost entirely the mistress
of her own movements.

The moment of the meeting between these two
warm-hearted and sincerely attached young women,
was one of great interest and anxiety to both. They
retained for each other the tenderest love, though the
years that had separated them had given rise to so
many new impressions and habits that they did not pre
pare themselves for the interview without apprehension.
This interview took place about a week after Eve was
established in Hudson Square, and at an hour earlier
than was usual for the reception of visits. Hearing a
carriage stop before the door, and the bell ring, our
heroine stole a glance from behind a curtain and re
cognized her cousin as she alighted.

"Qu'avez-vous, ma chere?" demanded Mademoiselle
Viefville, observing that her eleve trembled and grew

"It is my cousin, Miss Van Cortlandt she whom
I -loved as a sister we now meet for the first time in
so many years !"

" Bien c*est une tr"es jolie jeune personne /" returned
the governess, taking a glance from the spot Eve had
just quitted. " Sur le rapport de la personne, ma chere,
vous devriez etre contente, au moins."

" If you will excuse me, Mademoiselle, I will go down
alone I think I should prefer to meet Grace without
witnesses in the first interview."

" Tres volontiers. Elle est parente, et c'est bien na-^*

Eve, on this expressed approbation, met her maid at
the door, as she came to announce that Mademoiselle
de Cortlandt was in the library, and descended slowly
to meet her. The library was lighted from above by
m&ans of a small dome, and Grace had unconsciously
placed herself in the very position that a painter would
have chosen, had she been about to sit for her por
trait. A strong, full, rich light fell obliquely on her


as Eve entered, displaying her fine person and beau
tiful features to the very best advantage, and they were
features and a person that are not seen every day,
even in a country where female beauty is so common.
She was in a carriage dress, and her toilette was rather
more elaborate than Eve had been accustomed to see,
at that hour, but still Eve thought she had seldom seen
a more lovely young creature. Some such thoughts,
also, passed through the mind of Grace herself, who,
though struck, with a woman's readiness in such mat
ters, with the severe simplicity of Eve's attire, as well
as with its entire elegance, was more struck with the
charms of her countenance and figure. There was,
in truth, a strong resemblance between them, though
each was distinguished by an expression suited to her
character, and to the habits of her mind.

" Miss Effingham !" said Grace, advancing a step to
meet the lady who entered, while her voice was scarce
ly audible and her limbs trembled.

" Miss Van Cortlandt !" said Eve, in the same low,
smothered tone.

This formality caused a chill in both, and each un
consciously stopped and curtsied. Eve had been so
much struck with the coldness of the American man
ner, during the week she had been at home, and Grace
was so sensitive on the subject of the opinion of one
who had seen so much of Europe, that there was great
danger, at that critical moment, the meeting would ter
minate unpropitiously.

Thus far, however, all had been rigidly decorous,
though the strong feelings that were glowing in the
bosoms of both, had been so completely suppressed.
But the smile, cold and embarrassed as it was, that
each gave as she curtsied, had the sweet character of
her childhood in it, and recalled to both the girlish and
affectionate intercourse of their younger days.

"Grace!" said Eve, eagerly, advancing a step or
two impetuously, and blushing like the dawn.


Eve !"

Each opened her arms, and in a moment they were
locked In a long and fervent embrace. This was the
commencement of their former intimacy, and before
night Grace was domesticated in her uncle's house. It
is true that Miss Effingham perceived certain peculiari
ties about Miss Van Cortlandt, that she had rather
were absent ; and Miss Van Cortlandt would have felt
more at her ease, had Miss Effingham a little less
reserve of manner, on certain subjects that the latter
had been taught to think interdicted. Notwithstanding
these slight separating shades in character, however,
the natural affection was warm and sincere ; and if Eve,
according to Grace's notions, was a little stately and
formal, she was polished and courteous, and if Grace,
according to Eve's notions, was a little too easy and
unreserved, she w r as feminine and delicate.

We pass over the three or four days that succeeded,
during which Eve had got to understand something of
her new position, and we will come at once to a con- *
versation between the cousins, that will serve to let the
reader more intimately into the opinions, habits and
feelings of both, as well as to open the real subject of
our narrative. This conversation took place in that
very library which had witnessed their first interview,
soon after breakfast, and while the young ladies were
still alone.

" I suppose, Eve, you will have to visit the Green's.
They are Hajjis, and were much in society last win

" Hajjis ! You surely do not mean, Grace, that they
have been to Mecca 7"

" Not at all : only to Paris, my dear ; that makes
a Hajji in New-York."

" And does it entitle the pilgrim to wear the green
turban 1" asked Eve, laughing.

" To wear any thing, Miss Effingham ; green, blue,
or yellow, and to cause it to pass for elegance."


" And which is the favourite colour with the family
you have mentioned ]"

" It ought to be the first, in compliment to the name,
but, if truth must be said, I think they betray an affec
tion for all, with not a few of the half-tints in addition."
" I am afraid they are too prononcees for us, by this
description. I am no great admirer, Grace, of walk
ing rainbows."

" Too Green, you would have said, had you dared ;
but you are a Hajji too, and even the Greens, know
that a Hajji never puns, unless, indeed, it might be one
from Philadelphia. But you will visit these people ?"

" Certainly, if they are in society and render it ne
cessary by their own civilities."

"They are in society, in virtue of their rights as
Hajjis ; but, as they passed three months at Paris, you
probably know something of them."

" They may not have been there at the same time
with ourselves," returned Eve, quietly, " and Paris is a
very large town. Hundreds of people come and go,
that one never hears of. I do not remember those you
have mentioned."

"I wish you may escape them, for, in my untravel-
led judgment, they are anything but agreeable, not
withstanding all they have seen, or pretend to have

" It is very possible to have been all over Christen
dom, and to remain exceedingly disagreeable ; besides
one may see a great deal, and yet see very little of a
good quality."

A pause of two or three minutes followed, during
which Eve read a note, and her cousin played with the
leaves of a book.

" I wish I knew your real opinion of us, Eve," the
last suddenly exclaimed. " Why not be frank with so
near a relative ; tell me honestly, now are you recon
ciled to your country V

" You are the eleventh person who has asked me.


this question, which I find very extraordinary, as 1
have never quarrelled with my country."

" Nay, I do not mean exactly that. I wish to hear
how our society has struck one who has been educated

" You wish, then, for opinions that can have no great
value, since my experience at home, extends only to a
fortnight. But you have many books on the country,
and some written by very clever persons ; why not
consult them ?"

" Oh ! you mean the travellers. None of them are
worth a second thought, and we hold them, one and
all, in great contempt."

" Of that I can have no manner of doubt, as one
and all, you are constantly protesting it, in the high
ways and bye-ways. There is no more certain sign
of contempt, than to be incessantly dwelling on its
intensity !"

Grace had great quickness, as well as her cousin,
and though provoked at Eve's quiet hit, she had the
good sense and the good nature to laugh.

" Perhaps we do protest and disdain a little too stre
nuously for good taste, if not to gain believers ; but
surely, Eve, you do not support these travellers in all
that they have written of us <?"

" Not in half, I can assure you. My father and cou
sin Jack have discussed them too often in my presence
to leave me in ignorance of the very many political
blunders they have made in particular."

" Political blunders ! I know nothing of them, and
had rather thought them right, in most of what they
said about our politics. But, surely, neither your father
nor Mr. John Effingham corroborates what they say
of our society !"

" I cannot answer for either, on that point."

" Speak then for yourself. Do you think them right ?"

" You should remember, Grace, that I have not yet
seen any society in New- York."

VOL. I. 2


" No society, dear ! Why you were at the Hender
son's, and the Morgan's, and the Drewett's ; three of
the greatest reunions that we have had in two win
ters !"

" I did not know that you meant those unpleasant
crowds, by society."

" Unpleasant crowds ! Why, child, that is society,
is it not?"

" Not what I have been taught to consider such ; I
rather think it would be better to call it company."

" And is not this what is called society in Paris ?"

" As far from it as possible ; it may be an excres
cence of society ; one of its forms ; but, by no means,
society itself. It would be as true to call cards, which
are sometimes introduced in the world, society, as to
call a ball given in two small and crowded rooms,
society. They are merely two of the modes in which
idlers endeavour to vary their amusements."

" But we have little else than these balls, the morn
ing visits, and an occasional evening, in which there is
no dancing."

" I am sorry to hear it ; for, in that case, you can
have no society."

"And is it different at Paris or Florence, or
Rome ?"

" Very. In Paris there are many houses open every
evening to which one can go, with little ceremony.
Our sex appears in them, dressed according to what a
gentleman I overheard conversing at Mrs. Henderson's
w r ould call their " ulterior intentions," for the night ;
some attired in the simplest manner, others dressed for
concerts, for the opera, for court even ; some on the
way from a dinner, and others going to a late ball.
All this matter of course variety, adds to the ease and
grace of the company, and coupled with perfect good
manners, a certain knowledge of passing events, pretty
modes of expression, an accurate and even utterance,
the women usually find the means of making them



selves agreeable. Their sentiment is sometimes a little
heroic, but this one must overlook, and it is a taste,
moreover, that is falling into disuse, as people read bet
ter books."

" And you prefer this heartlessness, Eve, to the
nature of your own country !"

" I do not know that quiet, retenue and a good tone,
are a whit more heartless than flirting, giggling and
childishness. There may be more nature in the latter,
certainly, but it is scarcely as agreeable, after one has
fairly got rid of the nursery."

Grace looked vexed, but she loved her cousin too
sincerely to be angry. A secret suspicion that Eve
was right, too, came in aid of her affection, and while
her little foot moved, she maintained her good-nature,
a task not always attainable for those who believe that
their own " superlatives" scarcely reach to other peo
ple's " positives." At this critical moment, when there
was so much danger of a jar in the feelings of these
two young females, the library door opened and Pierre,
Mr. Effingham's own man, announced

" Monsieur Bragg."

" Monsieur who ?" asked Eve, in surprise.

"Monsieur Bragg," returned Pierre, in French,
" desires to see Mademoiselle."

" You mean my father, I know no such person."

" He inquired first for Monsieur, but understanding
Monsieur was out, he next asked to have the honour
of seeing Mademoiselle."

" Is it what they call a person in England, Pierre ?"

Old Pierre smiled, as he answered

" He has the air, Mademoiselle, though he esteems
himself a personnage, if I might take the liberty of


" Ask him for his card, there must be a mistake, I

While this short conversation took place, Grace Van
Cortlandt was sketching a cottage with a pen, without


attending to a word that was said. But, when Eve
received the card from Pierre and read aloud, with the
tone of surprise that the name would be apt to excite
in a novice in the art of American nomenclature, the
words " Aristabulus Bragg," her cousin began to laugh.

" Who can this possibly be, Grace ? Did you ever
hear of such a person, and what right can he have to
wish to see me?"

" Admit him, by all means ; it is your father's land
agent, and he may wish to leave some message for my
uncle. You will be obliged to make his acquaintance,
sooner or later, and it may as well be done now as at
another time."

" You have shown this gentleman into the front draw
ing-room, Pierre ?"

" Oui, Mademoiselle."

" I will ring when you are wanted."

Pierre withdrew, and Eve opened her secretary, out
of which she took a small manuscript book, over the
leaves of which she passed her fingers rapidly.

" Here it is," she said, smiling, " Mr. Aristabulus
Bragg, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, and the agent
of the Templeton estate." This precious little work,
you must understand, Grace, contains sketches of the
characters of such persons as I shall be the most likely
to see, by John Effingham, A. M. It is a sealed volume,
of course, but there can be no harm in reading the part
that treats of our present visiter, and, with your per
mission, we will have it in common. * Mr. Aristabulus
Bragg was born in one of the western counties of Mas
sachusetts, and emigrated to New-York, after receiv
ing his education, at the mature age of nineteen ; at
twenty-one he was admitted to the bar, and for the last
seven years he has been a successful practitioner in all
the courts of Otsego, from the justice's to the circuit.
His talents are undeniable, as he commenced his edu
cation at fourteen and terminated it at twenty-one, the
law-course included. This man is an epitome of all


that is good and all that is bad, in a very large class
of his fellow citizens. He is quick-witted, prompt in
action, enterprising in all things in which he has no
thing to lose, but wary and cautious in all things in
which he has a real stake, and ready to turn not only
his hand, but his heart and his principles to any thing
that offers an advantage. With him, literally, "no
thing is too high to be aspired to, nothing too low to
be done." He will run for Governor, or for town-
clerk, just as opportunities occur, is expert in all the
practices of his profession, has had a quarter's danc
ing, with three years in the classics, and turned his
attention towards medicine and divinity, before he
finally settled down into the law. Such a compound
of shrewdness, impudence, common-sense, pretension,
humility, cleverness, vulgarity, kind-heartedness, dupli
city, seliishness, law-honesty, moral fraud and mother
wit, mixed up with a smattering of learning and much
penetration in practical things, can hardly be described,
as any one of his prominent qualities is certain to be
met by another quite as obvious that is almost its con
verse. Mr. Bragg, in short, is purely a creature of
circumstances, his qualities pointing him out for either
a member of congress or a deputy sheriff, offices that
he is equally ready to fill. I have employed him to
watch over the estate of your father, in the absence
of the latter, on the principle that one practised in
tricks is the best qualified to detect and expose them,
and with the certainty that no man will trespass with
impunity, so long as the courts continue to tax bills of
costs with their present liberality.' You appear to

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Online LibraryJames Fenimore CooperHome as found (Volume vol. 1) → online text (page 1 of 18)