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James Fenimore Cooper

Dana Estes & Company








The recognition Frontispiece

Photogravure from Darley steel plate

I FOUND Grace reclining on the settee ... 96
Photogravure from a French engraving

Neb seized the hawser and hauled the launch


Photogravure from Darley steel plate


The conclusion of this tale requires but little preface.
Many persons may think that there is too much of an old
man's despondency in a few of the opinions of this portion
of the work ; but after sixty it is seldom we view the things
of this world en beau. There are certain political allusions,
very few in number, but pretty strong in language, that the
signs of the times fully justify in the editor's judgment;
though he does not profess to give his own sentiments in
this wo:k, so much as those of the subject of the narrative
himself. " The anti-rent combination," for instance, will
prove, according to the editor's conjectures, to be one of two
things in this community — the commencement of a dire revo-
lution or the commencement of a return to the sounder no-
tions and juster principles that prevailed among us thirty
years since, than certainly prevail to-day. There is one
favorable symptom discoverable in the deep-seated disease
that pervades the social system ; men dare and do deal more
honestly and frankly with the condition of society in this
country than was done a few years since. This right, one
that ought to be most dear to every freeman, has been recov-
ered only by painful sacrifices and a stern resolution ; but
recovered it has been, in some measure; and were the pens
of the country true to their owners' privileges, we should
soon come to a just view of the sacred nature of private
character, as well as the target-like vulnerability of public
follies and public vice. It is certain that, for a series of
dangerous years, notions ^ust the reverse of this have pre-
vailed among us, gradually rendering the American press


equally the vehicle of the most atrocious personal calumny,
and the most flatulent national self-adulation. It is under
such a state of things that the few evils alluded to in this
work have had their rise. Bodies of men, however ignorant
or small, have come to consider themselves as integral por-
tions of a community that never errs, and, consequently, en-
titled to esteem themselves infallible. When in debt, they
have fancied it political liberty to pay their debts by the
strong hand ; a very easy transition for those who believe
themselves able to effect all their objects. The disease has
already passed out of New York into Pennsylvania; it will
spread, like any other epidemic, throughout the country;
and there will soon be a severe struggle among us, between
the knave and the honest man. Let the class of the latter
look to it. It is to be hoped it is still sufficiently powerful
to conquer.

These few remarks are made in explanation of certain
opinions of Mr. Wallingford, that have been extorted from
him by the events of the day, as he was preparing this work
for the press, remarks that might seem out of place, were it
not a part of his original plan, which contemplated enlarg-
ing far more than he has, indeed, on some of the prominent
peculiarities of the state of society in which he has passed
the greater part of his days.



But I'll not chide thee ;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it ;
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove ;
Mend when thou canst —


It is almost as impossible to describe minutely what oc-
curred on the boat's reaching the Wallingford, as to describe
all the terrific incidents of the struggle between Drewett
and myself in the water. I had sufficient perception, how-
ever, to see, as I was assisted on board by Mr. Hardinge
and Neb, that Lucy was not on deck. She had probably
gone to join Grace, with a view to be in readiness for meet-
ing the dire intelligence that was expected. I afterward
learned that she was long on her knees in the after-cabin,
engaged in that convulsive prayer which is apt to accom-
pany sudden and extreme distress in those who appeal to
God in their agony.

During the brief moments, and they were but mere par-
ticles of time, if one can use such an expression, in which
my senses could catch anything beyond the horrid scene in
which I was so closely engaged, I had heard shrill screams
from the lungs of Chloe; but Lucy's voice had not mingled
in the outcry. Even now, as we were raised, or aided, to
the deck, the former stood, with her face gl istening with
tears, half convulsed with terror and half expanding with
delight, uncertain whether to laugh or to weep, looking first


at her master and then at her own admirer, until her feel-
ings found a vent in the old exclamation of "de feller! "

It was fortunate for Andrew Drewett that a man of Post's
experience and steadiness was with us. No sooner was the
seemingly lifeless body on board, than Mr. Hardinge or-
dered the water-cask to be got out; and he and Marble
would have soon been rolling the poor fellow with all their
might, or holding him up by the heels, under the notion
that the water he had swallowed must be got out of him,
before he could again breathe; but the authority of one so
high in the profession soon put a stop to this. Drewett's
wet clothes were immediately removed, blankets were
warmed at the galley, and the most judicious means were
resorted to, in order to restore the circulation. The physi-
cian soon detected signs of life, and, ordering all but one or
two assistants to leave the spot, in ten minutes Drew6tt
was placed in a warm bed, and might be considered out of

The terrific scene enacted so directly before his eyes,
produced an effect on the AUonny man, who consented to
haul aft his main-sheet, lower his studding-sail and topsail,
come by the wind, stand across to the Wallingford, heave-
to, and lower a boat. This occurred just as Drewett was
taken below; and, a minute later, old Mrs. Drewett and her
two daughters, Helen and Caroline, were brought alongside
of us. The fears of these tender relatives were allayed by
my report; for, by this time, I could both talk and walk;
and Post raised no objection to their being permitted to go
below. I seized that opportunity to jump down into the
sloop's hold, where Neb brought me some dry clothes; and
I was soon in a warm, delightful glow, that contributed in
no small degree to my comfort. So desperate had been my
struggles, however, that it took a good night's rest com-
pletely to restore the tone of my nerves and all my strength.
My arrangements were barely completed, when I was sum-
moned to the cabin.


Grace met me with extended arms. She wept on my
bosom for many minutes. She was dreadfully agitated as it
was; though happily she knew nothing of the cause of
Chloe's screams, and of the confusion on deck, until I was
known to be safe. Then Lucy communicated all the facts
to her in as considerate a manner as her own kind and
gentle nature could dictate. I was sent for, as just stated,
and caressec' like any other precious thing that its owner
had supposed itself about to lose. We were still in an agi-
tated state, when Mr. Hardinge appeared at the door of the
cabin, with a prayer-book in his hand. He demanded our
attention, all kneeling in both cabins, while the good,
simple-minded old man read some of the collects, the Lord's
Prayer, and concluded with the thanksgiving for " a safe
return from sea " ! He would have given us the marriage
ceremony itself, before he would have gone out of the
prayer-book for any united worship whatever.

It was impossible not to smile at this last act of pious
simplicity, while it was equally impossible not to be touched
with such an evidence of sincere devotion. The offering
had a soothing influence on all our feelings, and most espe-
cially on those of the excited females. As I came out into
the main cabin, after this act of devotion, the excellent
divine took me in his arms, kissed me just as he had been
used to do when a boy, and blessed me aloud. I confess I
was obliged to rush on deck to conceal my emotion.

In a few minutes I became sufficiently composed to order
sail made on our course, when we followed the Orpheus up
the river, soon passing her, and taking care to give her a
wide berth — a precaution I long regretted not having used
at first. As Mrs. Drewett and her two daughters refused to
quit Andrew, we had the whole family added to our party,
as it might be, perforce. I confess to having been suffi-
ciently selfish to complain a little, to myself only, however,
at always finding these people in my way, during the brief
intervals I now enjoyed of being near Lucy. As there was


no help, after seeing all the canvas spread, I took a seat in
one of the chairs that stood on the main deck, and began,
for the first time, coolly to ponder on all that had just
passed. While thus occupied, Marble drew a chair to my
side, gave me a cordial squeeze of the hand, and began to
converse. At this moment, neatly tricked out in dry clothes,
stood Neb on the forecastle, with his arms folded, sailor-
fashion, as calm as if he had never felt the wind blow ; oc-
casionally giving in, however, under the influence of Chloe's
smiles and unsophisticated admiration. In these moments
of weakness, the black would bow his head, give vent to a
short laugh, when, suddenly recovering himself, he would en-
deavor to appear dignified. While this pantomime was in the
course of exhibition forward, the discourse aft did not flag.

"Providence intends you for something remarkable,
Miles," my mate continued, after one or two brief expres-
sions of his satisfaction at my safety ; " something uncom-
monly remarkable, depend on it. First, you were spared in
the boat off the Isle of Bourbon ; then, in another boat off
Delaware Bay ; next, you got rid of the Frenchman so dex-
terously in the British Channel; after that, there was the
turn-up with the bloody Smudge and his companions ; next
comes the recapture of the Crisis; sixthly, as one might say,
you picked me up at sea, a runaway hermit ; and now here,
this very day, seventhly and lastly, are you sitting safe and
sound, after carrying as regular a lubber as ever fell over-
board, on your head and shoulders, down to the bottom of
the Hudson no less than three times ! I consider you to be
the only man living who ever sank his three times, and
came up to tell of it with his own tongue."

" I am not at all conscious of having said one word about
it, Moses," I retorted, a little dryly.

" Every motion, every glance of your eye, boy, tells the
story. No ; Providence intends you for something remark-
able, you may rely on that. One of these days you may go
to Congress — who knows ? "


" By the same rule, you are to be included, then ; for in
most of my adventures you have been a sharer, besides
having quantities that are exclusively your own. Remem-
ber, you have even been a hermit."

" Hu-s-h — not a syllable about it, or the children would
run after me as a sight. You must have generalized in a re-
markable way. Miles, after you sunk the last time, without
much hope ol coming up again? "

" Indeed, my friend, you are quite right in your conjec-
ture. So near a view of death is apt to make us all take
rapid and wide views of the past. I believe it even crossed
my mind iYi2.t you would miss me sadly."

" Ay," returned Marble, with feeling, " them are the mo-
ments to bring out the truth ! Not a juster idee passed your
brain than that^ Master Miles, I can assure you. Missed
you ! I would have bought a boat and started for Marble
Land, never again to quit it, the day after the funeral. But
there stands your cook, fidgeting and looking this way, as if
she had a word to put in on the occasion. This expl'ite of
Neb's will set the niggers up in the world; and it wouldn't
surprise me if it cost you a suit of finery all round."

" A price I will cheerfully pay for my life. It is as you
say — Dido certainly wishes to speak to me, and I must give
her an invitation to come nearer."

Dido Clawbonny was the cook of the family, and the
mother of Chloe. Whatever hypercriticism might object to
her color, which was a black out of which all the gloss had
fairly glistened itself over the fire, no one could deny her
being full blown. Her weight was exactly two hundred, and
her countenance a strange medley of the light-heartedness
of her race, and the habitual and necessary severity of a
cook. She often protested that she was weighed down by
" responsibility " ; the whole of the discredit of over-done
beef, or under-done fish, together with those which attach
themselves to heavy bresyi, lead-like buckwheat cakes, and
a hundred other similar cases, belonging exclusively to her


office. She had been twice married, the last connection
having been formed only a twelvemonth before. In obedi-
ence to a sign, this important lady now approached.

"Welcome back, Masser Mile," Dido began with a
curtsey, meaning " Welcome back from being half drowned " ;
"ebberyboddy so grad you isn't hurt! "

"Thank you, Dido — thank you, with all my heart. If I
have gained nothing else by the ducking, I have gained a
knowledge of the manner in which my servants love me."

" Lor' bless us all ! How we help it, Masser Mile? As if
a body can posserbly help how lub come and go! Lub jest
like religion, Masser Mile — some get him, and some don't.
But lub for a young masser and a young missus, sar — dat
jest as nat'ral, as lub for ole masser and ole missus. I t'ink
nut'in' of neider."

Luckily, I was too well acquainted with the Clawbonny
dialect to need a vocabulary in order to understand the
meaning cf Dido. All she wished to express was the idea
that it was so much a matter of course for the dependents of
the family to love its heads, that she did not think the mere
circumstance, in itself, worthy of a second thought.

" Well, Dido," I said, " how does matrimony agree with
you, in your old age? I hear you took a second partner to
yourself, while I was last at sea."

Dido let her eyes fall on the deck, according to the cus-
tom of all brides, let their color be what it may ; manifested
a proper degree of confusion, then curtesied, turned her
full-moon face so as to resemble a half-moon, and answered,
with a very suspicious sort of a sigh —

"Yes, Masser Mile, dat jest so. I did t'ink to wait and
ask 'e young masser's consent; but Cupid say" — not the
god of love, but an old negro of that name, Dido's second
partner — " but Cupid say, * What odd he make to Masser
Mile? he long way off, and he won't care'; and so, sah,
rader than be tormented so by Cupid, one had altogedder
better be married at once — dat all, sah."


" And that is quite enough, my good woman ; that every-
thing may be in rule, I give my consent now, and most

"T'ankee, sah !" dropping a curtsey, and showing her

" Of course the ceremony was performed by our excellent
rector, good Mr. Hardinge ? "

" Sartain, sah — no Clawbonny nigger t^nk he marry at all,
less Masser Hardinge bless him and say Amen. Ebbery-
body say 'e marriage is as good as ole masser and mis-
susses. Dis make two time Dido got married; and both
time good, lawful ceremunny, as ebber was. Oh! yes,

" And I hope your change of condition has proved to your
mind, Dido, now the thing is done. Old Cupid is no great
matter in the way of beauty, certainly ; but he is an honest,
sober fellow enough."

" Yes, sah, he dat^ no one can deny. Ah ! Masser Mile,
'em 'ere step-husband, after all, nebber jest like a body own
husband! Cupid berry honest, and berry sober; but he
only step-husband; and dat I tell him twenty time already,
I do t'ink, if trut' was said."

"Perhaps you have now said it often enough — twenty
times are quite sufficient to tell a man such a fact."

" Yes, sah," dropping another curtsey, " if Masser Mile

" I do please, and think you have told him that often
enough. If a man won't learn a thing in twenty lessons, he
is not worth the trouble of teaching. So tell him he's a
step-husband no more, but try something else. I hope he
makes Chloe a good father? "

"Lor', sah, he no Chloe's fadder, at all — her fadder dead
and gone, and nebber come back. I want to say a word to
young masser, 'bout Chloe and dat 'ere fellow, Neb — yes,
sah." •

"Well, what is it, Dido? I see they like each other, and


suppose they wish to get married, too. Is that the object of
your visit? If so, I consent without waiting to be asked.
Neb will make no step-husband, I can promise you."

" Don't be in a hurry, Masser Mile," said Dido, with an
eagerness that showed this ready consent was anything but
what she wanted. " Dere many 'jection to Neb, when he
ask to marry a young gal in Chole sitiation. You know,
sah, Chloe now Miss Grace's own waitin'-maid. Nobody
else help her dress, or do anything in 'e young missus's
room, dan Chloe, sheself — my darter, Chloe Clawbonny!"

Here was a new turn given to the affair! It was "like
master, like man." Neb's love (or lub^ for that was just
the word, and just the idea, too) was no more fated to run
smooth than my own ; and the same objection lay against
us both, viz., want of gentility! I determined to say a good
word for the poor fellow, however; while it would have been
exceeding the usage of the family to interfere in any other
manner than by advice, in an affair of the heart.

"If Chloe is my sister's favorite servant. Dido," I re-
marked, "you are to remember that Neb is mine."

" Dat true, sah, and so Chloe say ; but dere great differ-
ence, Masser Mile, atween Clawbonny and a ship. Neb
own, himself, young masser, he doesn't even lib in cabin,
where you lib, sah."

" All that is true, Dido ; but there is a difference of an-
other sort between a ship and a house. The house-servant
may be more liked and trusted than the out-door servant;
but we think, at sea, it is more honorable to be a foremast-
hand than to be in the cabin, unless as an officer. I was a
foremast Jack some time, myself; and Neb is only in such
a berth as his master once filled."

" Dat a great deal — quite wonerful, sah— berry great deal,
and more dan Chloe can say, or I can wish her to say. But,
sah, dey say now Neb has save 'e young masser's life, young
masser must gib him free-paper; and no gal of mine shall
ebber be free nigger's wife. No, sah;


dat disgrace, which too much for fait'ful ole servant to

" I am afraid, Dido, Neb is the same way of thinking. I
offered him his freedom, the other day, and he refused to
receive it. Times are changing in this country; and it will
be thought, soon, it is more creditable for a black to be
free, than to be any man's slave. The law means to free
all hands of you, one of these days."

" Nebber tell me dat, Masser Mile — dat day nebber come
for me or mine ; even ole Cupid know better dan dat. Now,
sah, Misser Van Blarcum's Brom want to have Chloe,
dreadful; but I nebber consent to sich a uner" — Dido
meant union — "nebber. Our family, sah, altogedder too
good to marry in among the Van Blarcums. Nebber has
been, and never shall be uner atween 'em."

" I was not aware. Dido, that the Clawbonny slaves were
so particular about their connections."

" Won'erful particular, sah, and ebber hab been, and eb-
ber will be. Don't t'ink, Masser Mile, I marry ole Cupid,
myself, if anoder prop'r connection offer in 'e family ; but I
prefar him, to marry into any oder family hereabout."

" Neb is Clawbonny, and my great friend ; so I hope you
will think better of his suit. Some day Chloe may like to
be free ; and Neb will always have it in his power to make
his wife free, as well as himself."

" Sah, I t'ink as you say, Masser Miles, sah — when I hab
done t'inkin', sah, hope young masser and young missus
hear what ole cook got to say, afore 'ey gives consent."

"Certainly; Chloe is your daughter, and she shall pay
you all due respect — for that, I will answer for my sister as
well as for myself. We will never encourage disrespect for

Dido renewed and redoubled her thanks, made another
profound curtsey, and withdrew with a dignity that, I dare
say, in Neb's and Chloe's eyes, boded little good. As for
myself, I now mused on the character of the things of this


world. Here were people of the very humblest class known
in a nation — nay, of a class sealed by nature itself, and
doomed to inferiority — just as tenacious of the very distinc-
tions that were making me so miserable, and against which
certain persons, who are wiser than the rest of the world,
declaim without understanding them, and even go so far,
sometimes, as to deny their existence. My cook reasoned,
in her sphere, much as I knew that Rupert reasoned, as the
Drewetts reasoned, as the world reasoned, and, as I feared,
even Lucy reasoned in my own case ! The return of Mar-
ble, who had left my side as soon as Dido opened her bud-
get, prevented my dwelling long on this strange — I had al-
most said, uncouth — coincidence, and brought my mind
back to present things.

" As the old woman has spun her yarn. Miles," the mate
resumed, " we will go on with matters and things. I have
been talking with the mother of the youngster that fell over-
board, and giving her some advice for the benefit of her
son in time to come, and what do you think she gives as
the reason for the silly thing he did? "

" It is quite out of my power to say — that he was a silly
fellow naturally, perhaps."

" Love. It seems the poor boy is in love with this sweet
friend of yours, Rupert's sister, and it was nothing more
nor less than love which made him undertake to play rope-
dancer on our main-boom ! "

" Did Mrs. Drewett tell you this with her own mouth,

"That did she, Captain Wallingford, for while you were
discussing Neb and Chloe, with old Dido, we, that is, the
doctor, the mother, and myself, were discussing Andrew
and Lucy between ourselves. The good old lady gave me
to understand it was a settled thing, and that she looked on
Miss Hardinge already as a third daughter."

This was a strange subject for Mrs. Drewett to discuss
with a man like Marble, or even with Post, but some allow-


ances were to be made for Marble's manner of viewing his
own connection with the dialogue, and more for the excited
condition of the mother's feelings. She was scarcely yet in
possession of all her faculties, and might very well commit
an indiscretion of this nature, more especially in her con-
versation with a man in Post's position, overlooking or dis-
regarding the presence of the mate. The effect of all that
had passed was to leave a strong impression on my mind
that I was too late. Lucy must be engaged, and waited
only to become of age, in order to make the settlements she
intended in favor of her brother, ere she was married. Her
manner to myself was merely the result of habit and sincere
friendship, a little increased in interest and gentleness,
perhaps, on account of the grievous wrong she felt we had
received from Rupert. What right had I to complain, ad-
mitting all this to be true? I had scarcely been aware of
my own passion for the dear girl, for years, and had cer-
tainly never attempted to make her acquainted with it. She
had made me no pledges, plighted no faith, received no as-
surances of attachment, was under no obligation to wait my
pleasure. So sincere was my affection for Lucy, that I re-
joiced even in my misery, when I remembered that not the
slightest imputation could be laid on her deportment, truth,
or frankness. On the whole, it was perhaps the more natu-
ral that she should love Andrew Drewett, one she met for
the first time after she became of an age to submit to such
impressions, than to love me, whom she had been educated
to treat with the familiarity and confidence of a brother.

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