Zillah Raymond.

Then and now, or, Hope's first school online

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^fje library

of ttie

©niberssitp of iSortjj Carolina

Collection of J^ortfi Caroliniana









1 6896548



'Jj i^\



This BOOK may be kept out TWO WEEKS
ONLY, and is subject to a fine of FIVE
CENTS a day thereafter. It was taken out
on the day indicated below:









■^»-» »»-




Entered according to Congrefss, in the year 1883, by Lou. H, Frayser, In the office
of Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.









■^« ♦ •♦-



Description of Tratleville and of Hope Caldwell. The letter.

Preparation for the journey 1


Hope's previous history. Her conversation with her mother 7


The journey. "Passing Thoughts." The new home 16

Hope's visit to the church. New and old friends and acquaint- .
ances 26


The first day of school. Description of the school house, of pat-
rons, and of scholars 33


The Sunday School. Herbert Ransom. The walk 55


Trials of the teacher. Hope's interest In her work 64


Hope's visit to the Stuarts. The ride. Rodney Gilbert. A peep
behind the curtain. Conversation with Rodney 69


The country church. Herbert Ransom's sermon 79

School and school life. An unexpected discovery. An unlooked

for caller. A plea.sant ride and chat 86


Little Violet. The snow. A visitor 102


The Christmas dinner. Description of the guests. A pleasant
tete-a-tete. "Too Late." Rodney's Declaration. The parting. 112


Visitors at the school house. Hope's popularity .-... 133



Mrs. Watkins' conjectures. Aruelia Montcalm. Description of
the "old maid's" home 140


Little Violet's illness. Scene in the sick room 153


"The school breaking." Little Violet's death. Rodney's narra-
tive of his past life. The storm 158


Mrs. Leonard's visit to Mr. Watkins' home. Conversation about
teaching. Mrs.;;Leonard's loyalty to her husband. "My Fu-
ture Home." A comic courtship 176


More visitors. Miss Rachel Tyler's opinion of people in general.
Hope's girl friends. A lover to be proud of. Parting visit of
Herbert Ransom 195


Amelia's jealousy. Her conduct towards her lover. She seals her
own fate. Rodney's departure to the West 211


Hope's visit to Wilmington on her homeward route. Her reflec-
tions. The return home and subsequent events. The letter.
Meeting of the lovers. The betrothal 215


Hope's married life. Last scene and conversation "on the bridge."

Then and Now." 222

[the end.]


p;r e f a c e .

In writing a book like this, which we now propose to place before
the public, the author labors under peculiar disadvantages. The time
and place both being j^resent, the story lacks the illusory charm of
distance ; yet, we trust that this lack may be more than compensated
by the reflection that the scenes and characters are natural and home-
like. In the comic, as well as in the bad character of the book, we
have however, strictly avoided personality. They may all be consider-
ered as representatives of certain classes of i^ersons rather than descrip-
tions of real individuals. Possibly, many teachers can recall to mem-
ory a Mrs. Simmons, in the person of some hard working, illiterate,
yet ambitious woman ; or a Miss Rachel Tyler — the true and tried
friend of the ophan, the useful "old maid aunt ;" or a Mr. Fogyman,
the stickler for past customs; or a Mr. Liggins, the coarse, common
raised drunkard ; or a Mr. Leonard, the representative of a large class
of persons who contrive to worse than bury splendid talents, and shine
only to mislead ; we say that many teachers can recall just such peo-
ple to mind. That all do not come under their observation during one
short session of school, or in one neighborhood, is of course conceded.
We have merely brought them all together in this manner, as being both
more convenient and more effective. In these days of Normal Schools
and Teacher's Institutes, and other facilities, to aid teachers jn their
vocation, it would be a work of supererogation, not to say i^resumptiou,
in us to offer any suggestion in regard to teaching. We have in our
story merely described a youthful, inexperienced country teacher, who
nevertherless, from natui'al talent for, and great perseverence in, her
calling, might have been considered a little above the average country
teacher eigJit years ago, but who would possibly be viewed in a very
diiferent light 7ioiu. In this manner we wish to show the improve-
ment that has been made in the Old North State during the last eight
years — the difference between her Then and her Nov^''. With this ex-
planation, we leave ourpittle [[volume in the hands of our readers,
trusting that it will receive a fair and impartial perusal.



OR hope's first school.


It was toward the close of a sultry day in August. The
sun fell with a fierce glare, but little tempered by the
api^roach of evening upon the tall pines, the dusty streets
and wooden houses of the little village, which we shall call
Tradeville. We choose that name because it is peculiarly
appropriate, there being no busier place of its size in any
locality. Tradeville is in the southeastern part of North
Carolina, and is situated on a branch of the Cape Fear^ .
near the head of navigation. Its aJgiTTTs neither a beau-
tiful nor commanding one, being no more than a sandy
reach, somewhat elevated above the level of the river. Two
X^arallel roads divide the village. Its dwelling-houses are
principally ranged along these roads, some quite near and
others at a little distance from them. Besides these^
Tradeville contains a turpentine distillery, some two or
three workshops, a restaurant, a boarding-house, a steam
saw-mill, some half dozen stores, including a bar-room, and
at no great distance from it is a saw and grist mill, moved
by water-power. The site of a church is still visible on
the outskirts of the little village ; its fiery fate wrapped in
mystery, though circumstantial evidence was so strong as
to induce many to believe that they almost kneio who were
the authors of the crime. Be that as it may, no one was
ever brought to punishment for it, nor was the church ever



rebuilt in the same place. Tradeville is, therefore, destitute
of a house of worship, one a mile distant answering the
purpose. Near the site of the old one is the cemetery, its
white tomb-stones gleaming through the forest, marking
the spot where lie " the loved and lost," The reader can
judge from this description that this village does not
abound in natural beauty, yet we would not leave them to
infer that it is an unattractive place. There is such an air
of thrift about it ; the houses, the majority of which are
comparatively new, look so home-like and cheerful, with
their spacious yards, blooming Howers and evergreen
hedges, and there is such a constant tide of people coming
and^going, as to give the stranger quite a favorable opinion
of the place. It^ roads, or streets, whichever one prefers
to call them, are in dry weather extremely dusty, and carts
and wagons, bearing the inevitable loads of tar or turpen^
tine, may be daily seen wending their slow Avay to the stores
near the river, their contents to be shipped thence on flats
or on the little steamer to the nearest port, some forty miles
away. The river near the landing is spanned by a bridge,
the centre of it forming a draw-bridge, for the convenience
of fiats coming from the upper part of the river. This
bridge is to us the sweetest spot in Tradeville. It is very
pleasant on the afternoon of a sultry day to stand there
and gaze on the dark, cool waters, skimmed by birds and
insects, and reflecting in their depths the azure sky, the
rosy clouds and moss-draped trees. One can see the little
boats, lying idle in sheltered coves, or gliding over the
water as they are rowed by skilled hands, and on the shore,
at a little distance off, people pursuing their various avoca-
tions, some weighing turpentine, others coming in or going
oat of town, in vehicles of various descriptions, and not a
few loafing around, talking politics and imbibing freely of
the nectar sold at the bar-room- nectar, though, scarcely
"fit for the gods." On the air falls the hum of machinery,
and at stated times the shrill whistle of the steam mill, or
the blow of the steamer as it nears its landing. There is a

OR hope's first school. 8

subtle cliarni about running water, whether it be the dash-
ing mountain stream, or the more sluggish one of the low-
lands, and possibly Hope Caldwell felt the truth of this,
for she loved to stand upon this bridge and gaze dreamily-
down on the dark river beneath, as though fascinated by
its eternal flow. There it was that we first saw her eight
years ago, and at first sight we took so deep an interest in
her as tojnquire into her past history ; and since then we
have followed \x\) her subsequent career, and we intend to
give botJi to our readers. But first we will attempt to
describe her personal apj)earance, though any description
of ours will be utterly inadequate to convey a just imx)res-
sion of the singular and indefinable charm which at times
was here. Picture to yourself a slight, elegant figure, a
little under the medium height of women, surmounted by
a perfectly shaped head, covered with lustrous, silken black
hair — the face, so far as features are concerned, beyond
criticism — pearly teeth, a lovely mouth, a perfect nose and
chin, luminous dark eyes and silken lashes — yet, withal,
lacking color and plumpness — those two great additions to
the most exquisite face and form. Her comjjlexion was
generall/' destitute of the rosy tint, so beautiful in youth,
and she was very thin, though graceful as a fairy. Add to
these detractions from her loveliness, viz : thinness and
pallor, that her expression betokened earnest thought
rather than gayety or sioeetness, and the reader need not
be surprised that people did not usually consider Hope a
beauty, though we were captivated b}'- her loolcs, even
before we formed her acquaintance. On the August evening
when we first met her, she left the bridge immediately after
the arrival of the weekly mail, which was brought to the
village from the city, some twentj^^ miles distant overland,
by a man who drove a wretched looking horse. The j)Ost-
ofiice was kept in a store, and thither Hope rexDaired to
inquire for the mail. It took sometime for the postmaster
to overlook the budget taken from the leathern mail-bag,
but when it was all sorted out, he handed her two letters


and a magazine. With these in hand, she walked rapidly
homeward. The house which she called home was a com-
mon, unpainted, rather dilapidated-looking one, with
nothing to please the eye nor gratify the taste in its exterior
appearance. Even the few flowers, which the most assidu-
ous care had provoked into growing on the sandy soil,
served rather to evoke the sigh of i^ity than to give delight
to the beholder. ISTor were the inner appointments of the
house one whit more pleasing. The old, worn furniture,
which, patch and darn as one might, would still look old
and worn—the little ornaments, wrought by female fingers
out of the merest trifles, the few, faded pictures, the anti-
quated volumes in the old-fashioned book-case, and the
vases, with their bouquets of wild flowers, were all true
indexes, both to the character and circumstances of the
inmates of the dwelling. All betokened refinement and
taste, yet at the same time suggested extreme poverty.
Hope's mother was sitting on the piazza sewing as our
heroine entered the gate. Mrs. Caldwell was a mild,
patient-looking lad}^, with dark ej^es and hair, whose whole
api)earance indicated that she had seen deep sorrow, but
had struggled to bear her burden uncomplainingly, and had
learned to be resigned to the will of the Heavenly Father.
Hope kissed her good evening, then sat down near her to
read her letters, handing her mother the magazine as she
did so. Her countenance passed through quite a variety
of changes as she i^erused the first one. It was difficult to
tell which expression was uppermost, whether that of
surprise, joy or perplexity. Yet there was nothing extra-
ordinary in the letter. It was simply an apjilication for
her services as a teacher. It was written by an old
acquaintance of her father, who was authorized by a com-
mittee to offer her a certain salary to take charge of the
school in their neighborhood. The sum offered was mode-
rate, yet to Hope, who was very poor, and who had never
earned five dollars in her life, the terms seemed quite


liberal. After reading, she silently handed the letter to her
mother. The latter perused it carefully, and when she bad
finished it inquired: "Have you any idea of accepting
this offer, Hope?" "That depends upon two circum-
stances, mother. In the first place, I must have your free
consent to it ; in the next, if I leave, you will have to have
some trusty person to stay with you — some one wdio is
anxious for a home, and who will he a companion for you
for a small consideration. But whom can you get V The
second letter she read that evening contained a solution of
the problem. It was from Mr. Caldwell's first cousin, an
orphan girl, named Mary Caldwell, who was, she wrote,
"without a home, and wished to stay at Mrs. Caldwell's,
She was willing to work, but disliked the idea of hiring
herself out, and would gladly do as much work for less
wages, if saved the humiliation of being considered a
servant. Hope and her mother were well acquainted with
her, and liked her very much. "If you are willing for me
to leave tJiis settles the question of a comjyanion^'''' said
Hope. "You can eniploj^ Mary, giving her her board and
a small salary, and as there is so little housekeej)ing to do
here, she can take in sewing and make a nice living, and
besides, she can help me with my wardrobe before I go
away. It really seems providential that we heard from her
just now." Hope's mother, having given her consent to
this arrangement, the daughter wrote to Mary at once,
urging her to come on, and to come immediately. To Mr.
Watkins, the gentleman who had written to her in regard
to the school, she returned an answer accepting the situa
tion. There were no references given and none required on
either side, as Hope's father had been an intimate acquaint-
ance of Mr, Watkins, though fully ten years had elax^sed
since any of the family had heard from him, and how he
came to know much about her since her childhood, or aught
about her place of abode, was a matter only for conjecture.
Hope did not remember him, as she had never seen him


since her recollection. Her injunction to Mary Caldwell
"to come on at once" was so literally complied with, and
so industriously did they all bestir themselves after she
came, that in ten days from the August evening when we
first met Hope Caldwell she was in perfect readiness to
leave home and take her school. No one would have
guessed what an amount of work it took to remodel old
dresses and make them look like new, to fix over old hats
into a fashionable shaj^e, and trim them prettily with
inexpensive materials, to darn up old laces and make dainty
ties of them, to model new collars out of the merest scraps
of linen, to turn antiquated white dresses into coquettish-
looking aprons, whose every darn was concealed by some
extra trimming or a bow of ribbon ; no one, we say, would
have guessed the amount of work expended on Hope's
wardrobe during the week of preparation for her trip.
One new dress and some new trimming for her best hat was
all she could afford to p>urcliase just now. For the rest, a
graceful form and a tasteful arrangement of what attire
she possessed, must supply every deficiency. Her mother
had a few articles of jew^elry, which had long been in her
family, and from which not even poverty had forced her to
part, and these she now, for the first time, placed in Hope's
temporary possession. And really, our heroine had no
misgivings in regard to her ap];)earance, nor to the impression
that she would make on strangers, as she stood before the
mirror, in the cheap but exquisitely lifting travelling dress
which she was to wear on her trip. Before she leaves,
liowever, we will give our readers a brief sketch of herimst
life, which will the better prepare them to appreciate her
future career.



Hope CaldwelTs childhood was passed amid scenes very
unlike those amid which we first beheld her. Her father —
a prosperous merchant — spared no pains in renderin.s; his
home not only comfortable, but elegant, and she was
during her early years accustomed to every luxury. But
his tenderness for his only child was not allowed to inter-
fere with the discipline which he deemed necessary to her
future welfare, and the intellectual tasks which she was
required to perform, though not quite beyond her reach,
were alwa3^s sufficiently hard to render severe effort neces-
sary to accomplish them. Naturally studious and ambi-
tious, Hope scarcely deemed this a hardship, and when not
over fourteen years old she was first in all her classes at
school, bearing away prizes from those much older than
herself. From the Academy near her home she was sent
to a noted institution in another State, where- her talent
and industry promised her a high position among her
schoolmates. Unfortunately for her, before she had been
there many months her father failed in business and was
unable to continue her at school after the present session
was out. Indeed, his reduced circumstances did not Justify
him in giving her any advantages whatever. This was a
bitter disai)pointment to her, but she bore up bravely
under it. She continued her studies as best she could at
home, devoting herself especially to drawing, which was
her favoiite study, and for which she had more than ordi-
nary talent. But studying without a teacher was very
unlike the routine of the schoolroom, and Hope felt the
difference. She missed, too, the luxuries to which she had
been accustomed from infancy, and altogether her life was
sadly changed from what it had once been. It was about
two years after her father's failure in business, and while


slie was still struggling on in this unsatisfactory manner,
that Eobert St. George first became acquainted with her.
He was young, well-bred and handsome, and in a very
short time after their first introduction he began to pay her
marked attention, and finally addressed her. In an evil
hour Hope listened to his vows of unchanging affection,
and gave her heart to the charming stranger. In after
years he would have never been her choice, but now, in her
young girlhood, he seemed to her perfection. For a time
she forgot ambition, forgot poverty, forgot her studies,
ceased to remember everything except the blissful reflec-
tion that she loved Robert and was beloved by him. For
six months she dwelt in a fool's Paradise, she lived for her
lover, thought, dreamed and planned for him alone. They
were betrothed in the winter, but did not expect to marry
within a year after. At the expiration of the spring after
their betrothal, Hope received a letter from one of lier
schoolmates, announcing her intention of spending the
summer at Mr. Caldwell's. Had her father been in pros-
perous circumstances our heroine would have hailed these
tidings with unalloyed i^leasure. But in the present
straitened condition of his affairs it must be owned that
the whole family would have been better pleased at the
absence of their exi)ected guest than they were with the
anticipation of her coming. Still there was nothing left
for Hope to do except to urge her to pay the intended
visit. Amelia Montcalm, for that was her name, had been
someAvhat of a favorite with Hope at school. She was
beautiful, stylish and fascinating, and apjoarently a warm
friend of our heroine's. Her parents were wealthy, and
she had had many advantages. As, radiant with smiles,
she alighted from the vehicle in which she had come from
the depot, on the evening of her arrival at Mr. Caldwell's,
she was, indeed, a vision of rare loveliness, more beautiful
than ever, it seemed to her friend. Hope's parents were
charmed with her, and wplcomed her, with frank hospi-

OR hope's first siicool. 9

tality, to their home. Much care and pains had been
bestowed upon their present humble residence to make it
as pleasant as possible during her sojourn with them. Mrs.
Caldwell and her daughter had worked hard to accomplish
this object, and Mr. Caldwell had almost exhausted his
slender resources in procuring little additional comforts for
their guest. Yet a bitter pang of disappointment struck
Amelia as she surveyed the home of her friend, with its
humble appointments. She had imagined Mr. Caldwell
very wealthy, and had anticipated having a gay time
during the summer at some grand old country mansion.
Great, indeed, was her chagrin at finding everything so
different from what she had pictured it. Hope, in her
frank way, told her of the change in Mr. Caldwell's
fortune, and Amelia's apparent sympathy with her, and
her show of delight at all of her surroundings, endeared
her more than ever to the heart of her friend. Yet, in her
own mind, even now, the selfish girl was planning some
excuse to shorten her visit. Before she could invent any
plausible one, however, Mr. St. George called upon Hopej
and x^melia was introduced to him. Her acquaintance
with liini put an end to her thoughts of a speedy depar-
ture. She rather fancied Robert's looks and manner, and
as she was an accomplished coquette, she thought it
probable that she could make a conquest of him. Slie saw
at a glance that he and her friend were lovers — were possi-
bly betrothed — but this, so far from being an obstacle in
her path, rather gave a zest to her little sport, for she was
never better pleased than when she could win a young man
away from another girl. She felt a little spiteful at Hoj)e
for finding her poorer than she had anticipated, and it
seemed to her but fair to avenge herself by winning the
affections of Robert. But this she found a more difficult
matter than she had at first imagined. Hope Caldwell's
presence, the sweetness of her manners, her splendid intel-



lect, and the childish innocence of her disposition, would
seem sufficient to have saved her from the mortification of
seeing any other woman usurj) her place in her lovers
aifections. Under ordinary circumstances they would, but
Amelia-was fascinating to the last degree. Beautiful as a
Peri, with a voice as sweet as a nightingale's, and pos-
sessed, too, in no common degree, of those bewitching ways
which charm the hearts of men even more than beauty, few,
indeed, could stay in her presence long and come away
free from her chains. This was more especially the case
with very young men. Robert St. George she found more
intractable than her victims generally proved. For awhile
he seemed steeled to all of her fascinations. But this only
made her more determined to enslave him. She wished to
have him bound, as it were, to her chariot wheels, a help-
less captive. When she found that ordinary means failed
to effect this purpose, she did not scruple to feign herself
desperately, hopelessly in love with him. Not in so many
words, of course, but by a thousand nameless evidences—
the tender glances, the double meaning that she gave to the

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Online LibraryZillah RaymondThen and now, or, Hope's first school → online text (page 1 of 18)