Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

The maid of Maiden lane : a sequel to The bow of orange ribbon : a love story online

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe maid of Maiden lane : a sequel to The bow of orange ribbon : a love story → online text (page 1 of 19)
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The Maid of Maiden Lane



NEVER, in all its history, was the proud and
opulent city of New York more glad and gay than
in the bright spring days of Seventeen-Hun-
dred-and-Ninety-One. It had put out of sight
every trace of British rule and occupancy, all its
homes had been restored and re-furnished, and its
sacred places re-consecrated and adorned. Like a
young giant ready to run a race, it stood on tiptoe,
eager for adventure and discovery sending ships to
the ends of the world, and round the world, on
messages of commerce and friendship, and encour
aging with applause and rewards that wonderful
spirit of scientific invention, which was the Epic of
the youthful nation. The skies of Italy were not
bluer than the skies above it ; the sunshine of Arca
dia not brighter or more genial. It was a city of
beautiful, and even splendid, homes ; and all the
length and breadth of its streets were shaded by
trees, in whose green shadows dwelt and walked
some of the greatest men of the century.

2 The Maid of Maiden Lane

These gracious days of Seventeen-Hundred-and-
Ninety-One were also the early days of the French
Revolution, and fugitives from the French court
princes and nobles, statesmen and generals, suffi
cient /or a new Iliad, loitered about the pleasant
places of Broadway and Wall Street, Broad Street,
and Maiden Lane. They were received with
courtesy, and even with hospitality, although
America at that date almost universally sympathized
with the French Republicans, whom they believed
to be the pioneers of political freedom on the aged
side of the Atlantic. The merchants on Exchange,
the Legislators in their Council Chambers, the
working men on the wharves and streets, the love
liest women in their homes, and walks, and drives,
alike wore the red cockade. The Marseillaise
was sung with The Star Spangled Banner; and the
notorious Carmagnole could be heard every hour of
the day on stated days, officially, at the Belvedere
Club. Love for France, hatred for England, was
the spirit of the age ; it effected the trend of com
merce, it dominated politics, it was the keynote of
conversation wherever men and women congregated.

Yet the most pronounced public feeling always
carries with it a note of dissent, and it was just at
this day that dissenting opinion began to make it
self heard. The horrors of Avignon, and of Paris,
the brutality with which the royal family had been
treated, and the abolition of all religious ties and
duties, had many and bitter opponents. The

The Home of Cornelia Moran 3

clergy generally declared that " men had better be
without liberty, than without God," and a promi
nent judge had ventured to say publicly that " Rev
olution was a dangerous chief justice."

In these days of wonderful hopes and fears there
was, in Maiden Lane, a very handsome residence
an old house even in the days of Washington,
for Peter Van Clyffe had built it early in the cen
tury as a bridal present to his daughter when she
married Philip Moran, a lawyer who grew to emi
nence among colonial judges. The great linden
trees which shaded the garden had been planted by
Van Clyffe; so also had the high hedges of cut
boxwood, and the wonderful sweet briar, which
covered the porch and framed all the windows rill
ing the open rooms in summer time with the airs
of Paradise. On all these lovely things the old
Dutchman had stamped his memory, so that, even
to the third generation, he was remembered with
an affection, that every springtime renewed.

One afternoon in April, 1791, two men were
standing talking opposite to the entrance gates of
this pleasant place. They were Captain Joris Van
Heemskirk, a member of the Congress then sitting
in Federal Hall, Broad Street, and Jacobus Van
Ariens, a wealthy citizen, and a deacon in the
Dutch Church. Van Heemskirk had helped to
free his own country and was now eager to force
the centuries and abolish all monarchies. Con
sequently, he believed in France ; the tragedies she

4 The Maid of Maiden Lane

had been enacting in the holy name of Liberty,
though they had saddened, had, hitherto, not dis
couraged him. He only pitied the more men who
were trying to work out their social salvation,
without faith in either God or man. But the news
received that morning had almost killed his hopes
for the spread of republican ideas in Europe.

" Van Ariens," he said warmly, " this treatment
of King Louis and his family is hardly to be be
lieved. It is too much, and too far. If King
George had been our prisoner we should have be
haved towards him with humanity. After this, no
one can foresee what may happen in France."

" That is the truth, my friend," answered Van
Ariens. " The good Domine thinks that any one
who can do so might also understand the Revela
tions. The French have gone mad. They are
tigers, sir, and I care not whether tigers walk on
four feet or on two. We won our freedom without

u We had Washington and Franklin, and other
good and wise leaders who feared God and loved

" So I said to the Count de Moustier but one
hour ago. But I did not speak to him of the Al
mighty, because he is an atheist. Yet if we were
prudent and merciful it was because we are religious.
When men are irreligious, the Lord forsakes them ;
and if bloodshed and bankruptcy follow it is not to
be wondered at."

The Home of Cornelia Moran y

44 That is true, Van Ariens ; and it is also the
policy of England to let France destroy her

u Well, then, if France likes the policy of Eng
land, it is her own affair. But I am angry at
France ; she has stabbed Liberty in Europe for one
thousand years. A French Republic ! Bah !
France is yet fit for nothing but a despotism. I
wish the Assembly had more control "

" The Assembly ! " cried Van Heemskirk
scornfully. " I wish that Catherine of Russia
were now Queen of France in the place of that
poor Marie Antoinette. Catherine would make
Frenchmen write a different page in history. As
to Paris, I think, then, the devil never sowed a
million crimes in more fruitful ground."

"Look now, Captain, I am but a tanner and
currier, as you know, but I have had experiences ;
and I do not believe in the future of a people who
are without a God and without a religion."

" Well, so it is, Van Ariens. I will now be
silent, and wait for the echo ; but I fear that God
has not yet said Let there be peace/ I saw you
last night at Mr. Hamilton s with your son and
daughter. You made a noble entrance."

" Well, then, the truth is the truth. My Arenta
is worth looking at ; and as for Rem, he was not
made in a day. There are generations of Zealand
sailors behind him ; and, to be sure, you may see
the ocean in his grey eyes and fresh open face.

6 The Maid of Maiden Lane

God is good, who gives us boys and girls to sit so
near our hearts."

" And such a fair, free city for a home ! " said
Van Heemskirk as he looked up and down the
sunshiny street. New York is not perfect, but we
love her. Right or wrong, we love her ; just as
we love our moder, and our little children."

" That, also, is what the Domine says," an
swered Van Ariens j u and yet, he likes not that
New York favours the French so much. When
Liberty has no God, and no Sabbath day, and no
heaven, and no hell, the Domine is not in favour
of Liberty. He is uneasy for the country, and for
his church ; and if he could take his whole flock to
heaven at once, that would please him most of

" He is a good man. With you, last night, was
a little maid a great beauty I thought her but I
knew her not. Is she then a stranger r "

" A stranger ! Come, come ! The little one
is a very child of New York. She is the daughter
of Dr. Moran Dr. John, as we all call him."

" Well, look now, I thought in her face there
was something that went to my heart and

" And, as you know, that is his house across the
street from us, and it was his father s house, and
his grandfather s house ; and before that, the
Morans lived in Winckle Street ; and before that,
in the Lady s Valley ; so, then, when Van Clyffe

The Home of Cornelia Moran 7

built this house for them, they only came back to
their first home. Yes, it is so. The Morans
have seen the birth of this city. Who, then, can
be less of a stranger in it than the little beauty,
Cornelia ? "

"As you say, Van Artens."

" And yet, in one way, she is a stranger. Such
a little one she was, when the coming of the
English sent the family apart and away. To the
army went the Doctor, and there he stayed, till the
war was over. Mrs. Moran took her child, and
went to her father s home in Philadelphia. When
those redcoats went away forever from New York,
the Morans came back here, but the little girl they
left in the school at Bethlehem, where those good
Moravian Sisters have made her so sweet as them
selves ; so pure ! so honest-hearted ! so clever ! It
was only last month she came back to New York,
and few people have seen her ; and yet this is the
truth she is the sweetest maid in Maiden Lane ;
though up this side, and down that side, are some
beauties the daughters of Peter Sylvester ; and of
Jacob Beckley ; and of Claes Vandolsom. Oh,
yes ! and many others. I speak not of my Arenta.
But look now ! It is the little maid herself, that
is coming down the street."

"And it is my grandson who is at her side.
The rascal ! He ought now to be reading his law
books in Mr. Hamilton s office. But what will
you ? The race of young men with old heads on

8 The Maid of Maiden Lane

their shoulders is not yet born a God s mercy it
is not ! "

" We also have been young, Van Heemskirk."

" I forget not, my friend. My Joris sees not
me, and I will not see him." Then the two old
men were silent, but their eyes were fixed on the
youth and maiden, who were slowly advancing
towards them ; the sun s westering rays making a
kind of glory for them to walk in.

She might have stepped out of the folded leaves
of a rosebud, so lovely was her face, framed in
its dark curls, and shaded by a gypsy bonnet of
straw tied under her chin with primrose-coloured
ribbons. Her dress was of some soft, green ma
terial j and she carried in her hand a bunch of
daffodils. She was small, but exquisitely formed,
and she walked with fearlessness and distinction.
Yet there was around her an angelic gravity, and
that indefinable air of solitude, which she had
brought from innocent studies and long seclusion
from the tumult and follies of life.

Of all this charming womanhood the young man
at her side was profoundly conscious. He was the
gallant gentleman of his day, hardly touching the
tips of her fingers, but quite ready to fall on his
knees before her. A tall, sunbrowned, military-
looking young man, as handsome as a Greek god,
with eyes of heroic form ; lustrous, and richly
fringed ; and a beautiful mouth, at once sensitive
and seductive. He was also very finely dressed, in

The Home of Cornelia Moran 9

the best and highest mode; and he wore his sword
as if it were a part of himself. It was no more in
his way than if it were his right arm. Indeed, all
his movements were full of confidence and ease ;
and yet it was the vivacity, vitality, and ready
response of his face that was most attractive.

His wonderful eyes were bent upon the maid at
his side ; he saw no other earthly thing. With a
respectful eagerness, full of admiration, he talked
to her; and she answered his words whatever
they were with a smile that might have moved
mountains. They passed the two old men with
out any consciousness of their presence, and Van
Heemskirk smiled, and then sighed, and then said

" So much youth, and beauty, and happiness !
It is a benediction to have seen it ! I shall not re
prove Joris at this time. But now I must go back
to Federal Hall ; the question of the Capital makes
me very anxious. Every man of standing must
feel so."

" And I must go to my tan pits, for it is the eye
of the master that makes the good servant. You
will vote for New York, Van Heemskirk ? that
is a question I need not to ask ? "

" Where else should the capital of our nation
be ? I think that Philadelphia has great presump
tions to propose herself against New York : this
beautiful city between the two rivers, with the
Atlantic Ocean at her feet ! "

lo The Maid of Maiden Lane

" You say what is true, Van Heemskirk. God
has made New York the capital, and the capital
she will be ; and no man can prevent it. It was
only yesterday that Senator Greyson from Virginia
told me that the Southern States are against Phila
delphia. She is very troublesome to the Southern
States, day by day dogging them with her schemes
for emancipation. It is the way to make us un

" I think this, Van Ariens : Philadelphia may
win the vote at this time ; she has the numbers,
and she has persuasions ; but look you ! New
York has the ships and the commerce, and the sea will
crown ner / The harvest of the rivers is her
revenue ; and she is the mart of nations. That
is what Domine Kunz said in the House this
morning, and you may find the words in the
prophecy of Isaiah, the twenty-third chapter."

During this conversation they had forgotten all
else, and when their eyes turned to the Moran
house the vision of youth and beauty had dissolved.
Van Heemskirk s grandson, Lieutenant Hyde,
was hastening towards Broadway ; and the lovely
Cornelia Moran was sauntering up the garden of
her home, stooping occasionally to examine the
pearl-powdered auriculas or to twine around its
support some vine, straggling out of its proper

Then Van Ariens hurried down to his tanning
pits in the swamp ; and Van Heemskirk went

The Home of Cornelia Moran 1 1

thoughtfully to Broad Street; walking slowly, with
his left arm laid across his back, and his broad,
calm countenance beaming with that triumph
which he foresaw for the city he loved. When
he reached Federal Hall, he stood a minute in the
doorway ; and with inspired eyes looked at the
splendid, moving picture ; then he walked proudly
toward the Hall of Representatives, saying to him
self, with silent exultation as he went :

" The Seat of Government ! Let who will,
have it ; New York is the Crowning City. Her
merchants shall be princes, her traffickers the hon
ourable of the earth ; the harvest of her rivers shall
be her royal revenue, and the marts of all nations
shall be in her streets."



CORNELIA lingered in the garden, because she
had suddenly, and as yet unconsciously, entered
into that tender mystery, so common and so sov
ereign, which we call Love. In Hyde s presence
she had been suffused with a bewildering, profound
emotion, which had fallen on her as the gentle
showers fall, to make the flowers of spring. A
shy happiness, a trembling delightful feeling never
known before, rilled her heart. This handsome
youth, whom she had only seen twice, and in the
most formal manner, affected her as no other mor
tal had ever done. She was a little afraid ; some
thing, she knew not what, of mystery and danger
and delight, was between them ; and she did not
feel that she could speak of it. It seemed, indeed,
as if she would need a special language to do so.

" I have met him but twice," she thought ;
" and it is as if I had a new, strange, exquisite life.
Ought I tell my mother ? But how can I ? I
have no words to explain I do not understand I
thought it would break my heart to leave the good
Sisters and my studies, and the days so calm and
holy ; and now I do not even wish to go back.

This is the Way of Love 13

Sister Langaard told me it would be so if I let the

world come into my soul Alas ! if I should

be growing wicked ! "

The thought made her start ; she hastened her
steps towards the large entrance door, and as she
approached it a negro in a fine livery of blue and
white threw the door wide open for her. Answer
ing his bow with a kind word, she turned quickly
out of the hall, into a parlour full of sunshine. A
lady sat there hemstitching a damask napkin ; a
lady of dainty plainness, with a face full of graven
experiences and mellowed character. Purity was
the first, and the last, impression she gave. And
when her eyes were dropped this idea was empha
sized by their beautiful lids; for nowhere is the
flesh so divine as in the eyelids. And Ava
Moran s eyelids were full of holy secrets; they
gave the impression of a spiritual background which
was not seen, but which could be felt. As Corne
lia entered she looked up with a smile, and said, as
she slightly raised her work, " it is the last of the
dozen, Cornelia."

" You make me ashamed of my idleness,
mother. Have I been a long time away ? "

" Longer than was unnecessary, I think."

u I went to Embree s for the linen thread, and
he had just opened some English gauzes and lute
strings. Mrs. Willets was choosing a piece for a
new gown, for she is to dine with the President
next week, and she was so polite as to ask my

14 The Maid of Maiden Lane

opinion about the goods. Afterwards, I walked to
Wall Street with her ; and coming back I met, on
Broadway, Lieutenant Hyde and he gave me these
flowers they came from Prince s nursery gardens
and, then, he walked home with me. Was it
wrong ? I mean was it polite I mean the proper
thing to permit ? I knew not how to prevent it."

u How often have you met Lieutenant Hyde ? "

" I met him for the first time last night. He
was at the Sylvesters , and I danced three times
with him."

"That was too often."

" He talked with father, and father did not
oppose my dancing."

"Your father thinks of nothing, now, but the
Capital question. I dare say, after he had asked
Lieutenant Hyde how he felt on that subject he
never thought of the young man again. And pray
what did Lieutenant Hyde say to you this after
noon ? "

" He gave me the flowers, and he told me about a
beautiful opera, of which I have never before heard.
It is called Figaro. He says, in Europe, nothing is
played, or sung, or whistled, but Figaro ; that no
body goes to any opera but Figaro ; and that I do
not know the most charming music in the world if
I do not know Figaro. He asked permission to
bring me some of the airs to-night, and I said some
civilities. I think they meant Yes/ Did I do
wrong, mother ? "

This is the Way of Love 15

" I will say no, my dear ; as you have given the
invitation. But to prevent an appearance of too
exclusive intimacy, write to Arenta, and ask her
and Rem to take tea with us. Balthazar will carry
the note at once."

" Mother, Arenta has bought a blue lutestring.
Shall I not also have a new gown / The gauzes
are very sweet and genteel, and I think Mrs. Jay
will not forget to ask me to her dance next week.
Mr. Jefferson is sure to be there, and I wish to
walk a minuet with him."

u Your father does not approve of Mr. Jefferson.
He has not spoken to him since his return from
France. He goes too far in bis words"

" But all the ladies of distinction are proud to be
seen in his company ; and pray what is there against
him ? "

" Only his politics, Cornelia. I think New
York has gone mad on that subject. Madame
Barens will not speak to her son, because he is a
Federalist ; and Madame Lefferts will not speak to
her son, because he is not a Federalist. Mr. Jeffer
son, also, is thought to favour Philadelphia for the
capital ; and your father is as hot on this subject as
he was on the Constitution. My dear, you will
find that society is torn in two by politics."

" But women have nothing to do with politics."

"They have everything to do with politics.
They always have had. You are not now in a
Moravian school, Cornelia ; and Bethlehem is not

16 The Maid of Maiden Lane

New York. The two places look at life from dif
ferent standpoints."

" Then, as I am to live in New York, why was
I sent to Bethlehem ? "

u You were sent to Bethlehem to learn how to
live in New York, or in any other place. Where
have you seen Mr. Jefferson ? "

" I saw him this afternoon, in Cedar Street. He
wore his red coat and breeches; and it was then I
formed the audacious intention of dancing with
him. I told Mrs. Willets of it; and she said, Mr.
Jefferson carried the Declaration on his shoulders,
and would not dare to bow ; and then with such a
queer little laugh she asked me c if his red breeches
did not make me think of the guillotine ? I do
not think Mrs. Willets likes Mr. Jefferson very
much ; but, all the same, I wish to dance once
with him. I think it will be something to talk
about when I am an old woman."

" My dear one, that is so far off. Go now, and
write to Arenta. Young Mr. Hyde and Figaro
will doubtless bring her here."

" I hope so ; for Arenta has an agreeableness
that fits every occasion." She had been folding
up, with deliberate neatness, the strings of her bon
net, as she talked, and she rose with these words
and went out of the parlour; but she went slowly,
with a kind of hesitation, as if something had been
left unsaid.

About six o clock Arenta Van Ariens made a

This is the Way of Love 17

personal response to her friend s message. She was
all excitement and expectation. " What a delight
ful surprise ! " she cried. " To-day has been a day
to be praised. It has ticked itself away to wonders
and astonishments. Who do you think called on
me this afternoon ? "

" Tell me plainly, Arenta. I never could guess
for an answer."

" No less a person than Madame Kippon. Ger
trude Kippon is going to be married ! She is going
to marry a French count ! And madame is beside
herself with the great alliance."

" I heard my father say that Madame Kippon
had the French disease in a dangerous form."

" Indeed, that is certain. She has put the Sab
bath day out of her calendar; and her daughter s
marriage is to be a legal one only. I wonder what
good Dr. Kunz will say to that ! As for me, I
lost all patience with madame s rigmarole of phi
losophies for I am not inclined to philosophy
and indeed I had some difficulty to keep my temper;
you know that it is occasionally quite unmanage

Cornelia smiled understandingly, and answered
with a smile, " I hope, however, that you did not
put her to death, Arenta."

" I have, at least, buried her, as far as I am con
cerned. And my father says I am not to go to the
marriage; that I am not even to drink a cup of tea
with her again. If my father had been at home

l8 The Maid of Maiden Lane

or even Rem she would not have left our house
with all her colours flying ; but I am good-natured,
I have no tongue worth speaking of."

u Come, come, Arenta ! I shall be indeed as
tonished if you did not say one or two provoking

" I said only three, Cornelia. When madame
finally declared c she really must go home/ I did
answer, as sweetly as possible, Thank you, ma-
dame ! That was something I could say with
becoming politeness."

Cornelia was tying the scarlet ribbon which held
back her flowing hair, but she turned and looked at
Arenta, and asked, " Did madame boast any after
wards ? "

" No ; she went away very modestly, and I was
not sorry to see the angry surprise on her face.
Gertrude Kippon a countess ! Only imagine it !
Well, then, I have no doubt the Frenchman will
make of Gertrude whatever can be made of

" Our drawing-rooms, and even our streets, are
full of titles," said Cornelia; "I think it is a dis

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe maid of Maiden lane : a sequel to The bow of orange ribbon : a love story → online text (page 1 of 19)