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DOINGS IN MARYLAND.



MATILDA DOUGLAS.



DOINGS IN MARYLAND,



OR



MATILDA DOUGLAS.



"TRUTH 18 STRANGER THAN FICTION."



PHILADELPHIA:

B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
1811.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.



TO






nun IT IP "U" IP.I li s



{v s i o, »



me



IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.



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M527G37



A PREFACE

THAT IS NOT A PREFACE.



A preface, I believe, by common consent is voted a
useless appendage; in lieu of one, therefore, I shall simply
forestall the carping of a would-be critic by asking the
reader to excuse the transfer and anachronism which
place Allston, the great American artist, in Maryland
instead of South Carolina, which was, as all the world
knows, his native State. Neither has the biographical
history of that distinguished man been strictly followed
in these pages, because such delineation is not considered
necessary in a work of imagination.

No straining after literary distinction has been at-
tempted in this simple story; and should the perusal of
it help to sustain one fainting heart, and establish such
in the path of virtue, the writer will feel that it has not
been written in vain.



( vii )



CONTENTS.



PAGE

Chapter 1 13

Chapter II 17

Chapter III.— The Poultry Doctor 20

Chapter IV.— The County School Teacher . . . .23

Chapter V.— Examination 28

Chapter VI.— Mattie 30

Chapter VII. — Malice 31

Chapter VIII.— Trouble 39

Chapter IX.— More Trouble 42

Chapter X. — Bill Bothermenot 47

Chapter XI. — Snowstorm 51

Chapter XII. — Death 58

Chapter XIII 62

Chapter XIV.— Charity . . . . . . . G7

Chapter XV.— The Kelsoes 70

Chapter XVI.— The Kelsoes— continued . . . .77
Chapter XVII.— "Trouble Loves a Train." . . .83

Chapter XVIII: — A New Acquaintance . . . .87
Chapter XIX. — Cogitation and Dreaming . . . .94

Chapter XX.— The Gilts 98

(ix)



X



CONTENTS.



PAGE

Chapter XXI.— Change 105

Chapter XXII.— Hugh Haggis 112

Chapter XXIII.— Journey 120

Chapter XXIV.— Dr. Donkur 125

Chapter XXV.— Schools 131

Chapter XXVI.— Mary Brown 136

Chapter XXVII.— A Secret Enemy 140

Chapter XXVIII. — Promotion 144

Chapter XXIX. — Mr. Slytickle wants a Present . .150

Chapter XXX. — The Pleasure Excursion .... 153

Chapter XXXI.— The Star-Chamber Committee . . 158

Chapter XXXII.— Kev. John McGilhooter . . .161

Chapter XXXIII.— Mr. Thomas Abettor . . . .166

Chapter XXXIV.— Letters 172

Chapter XXXV. — An Examination 175

Chapter XXXVI. — More Letters 181

Chapter XXXVII. — Secret Conclave — Star-Chamber Com-
mittee 186

Chapter XXXVIII— Proposal .193

Chapter XXXIX.— The Visit 197

Chapter XL. — Vote of Censure 203

Chapter XLL— Triumph 208

Chapter XLII. — The Congress of Asses . . . .213

Chapter XLIIL— Latin 219

Chapter XLIV. — Latin and Lovo '2-2-2

OHAPTBB X L V.— Surprise 228

Chapter XLVL— Deceit 235

Chapter XL VII.— Discovery 239



CONTENTS. xi

PAGE

Chapter XLVIII —News 243

Chapter XLIX.— Refusal 247

Chapter L. — Pay-Day 250

Chapter LI. — A Visit 255

Chapter LII. — Surprise 258

Chapter LIII. — Mattie among the Tombs .... 263

Chapter LIV. — Recovery 270

Chapter LV.— A Wedding 274

Chapter LVI. — Authors and Critics 277

Chapter LVII. — Mattie an Author ... . 280

Chapter LVIIL— Death 284

Chapter LIX. — Remorse . . .... 286

Chapter LX.— The Artist 291

Chapter LXI. — Dost thou Remember ? .... 295

Chapter LXII 299

Chapter LXIIL— Duplicity 306

Chapter LXIV.— Farewell 313



DOINGS IN MARYLAND,



OR



MATILDA DOUGLAS.



CHAPTER I.

" Incomprehensible,

Budding immortal,
Thrust all amazedly

Under life's portal;
Born to a destiny

Clouded in mystery,
Wisdom itself cannot

Fathom its history."

Brave old Maryland, famous alike for the valor of her
sons, the beauty of her daughters, and the impetuosity of
her brickbats, has also a metropolis, gentle reader, of which
she has no cause to be ashamed. Some miles northeast
of this beautiful and rapidly extending mart, and in violent
contrast with its majestic buildings, stands a dilapidated
log hut. A little clearing or farm surrounds the dwelling,
and contiguous, though extraneous to the primitive home-
stead, is an extensive woodland. The uncouth establish-
ment is small; but the tale of sadness its aspect tells is
large enough.

Cattle, field, and fence, to the most cursory observer,
give startling evidence of neglect and wrong. It is winter,
bitter, biting winter, and the scanty woodpile at the door

2 (13)



14 DOINGS IN MARYLAND,

(being, indeed, but little more than a brush-heap), with its
broken axe, and inadequate pretensions to warmth and
comfort, looks like some associations gotten up ostensi-
bly for the relief of the poor.

The jaunty smoke, born of twigs and rubbish, issuing
from the tumble-down chimney, poises itself for an instant,
as if to take a view of the surrounding evidences of bleak
poverty ; but it does not linger as though unwilling to
leave the place in its unsolaced sadness, or hover over, cover-
ing with the mantle of charity what it cannot redeem ; it
curls (though not its lip) its entire body, and shifts, and
twists, and flirts away, scorning even to smoke in such
society. Thus the heartless worldling just arisen from
the ash-heap, in the flush of new-born greatness, despising
parentage and early association, curls the contemptuous
lip, and denies to each antecedent a friendly recognition.

A horse stalks yonder in a place once intended for an
orchard ; the fence is now broken and gone, and the neigh-
boring swine, with the implements nature gave them, have
plowed the soil and grubbed up the roots of the trees.
Like many a grave of hope look the deep excavations
made by their relentless snouts. Of the few that remain,
the pendant branches are greedily gnawed by the famish-
ing cattle ; and should a tiny twig for an instant droop its
fragile form within reach of their ravenous jaws, it is in-
stantly (not spiritualized, however, but) rematerialized by
those needy ghosts that in hungered unrest roam over the
premises.

The lien, the only one left, is seeking refuge from the
piercing blast on the sunny side of a gooseberry-bush, and
pressing alternately to her feathery breast, for warmth, her
freezing feet. The development of heat in Biddy's system
is rather deficient just now, but little crop being in the
craw.



OR MATILDA DOUGLAS. 15

Chanticleer stands faithfully, though sullenly, by her
side ; he no longer crows defiance, but surveys surrounding
desolation with such stoical austerity, that the child
Matilda, that would be playful only for the sob in her
throat, calls him Marius.

" I say, neighbor, that thare cow must be a tarnel green-
horn if she gives them folks any milk with the fodder she
gits," said a passing countryman to his fellow-traveler. But
Brindle is an amiable animal, and submissive to those
creatures who, though differing from herself in the scale
of being, are nevertheless suffering the like privations, and
she gives them all the nourishment she can manufacture
from the meager material placed at her disposal.

" It grieves me to offer you such a pitiful handful," said
the little Matilda, as she dispensed to the cow her morning
meal ; " but don't get out of patience, good Brinny ; the
Lord will send the sweet young grass again, by-and-by,
and then you shall have plenty to eat, and you will give
me plenty of milk to make nice custard for my poor sick
mother, will you not, Brinny?" And the child patted the
shaggy sides of the shivering, starved-out animal, and
peered coaxingly into her eyes as if to conciliate the
brute and assure her own anxious little heart that " dear
old Brinny," as she pettingly called the creature, was
not angry because of her wretched breakfast. Child
as the speaker was, she felt how extremely dependent her
family were upon the sustenance which they derived
from the cow, now the only one they possessed.

Poor little Mattie ! In tracing her history we shall find
this was not the only brute she had to conciliate in her
progress through life.

The family thus situated consisted of three persons, — a
father, a mother, and the little girl alluded to, daughter to
both, and an only child.



16 DOINGS IN MARYLAND,

A father ! Good gracious ! — what a predicament for a
man to place his family in ! the reader may well exclaim.

We reply, Alas 1 yes ; and such a man, too ! " With the
talents of an angel a man may be a fool," says the poet ;
and certainly this man proved the truth of the assertion,
for he indeed mistook life's great errand "in a supreme
point." Blest by nature with a high order of intellect, by
friends with a superior education, by fortune with an ex-
alted social position and handsome patrimony, he sacrificed
all these advantages and more for the fatal pleasures, worse
than death, that are found in the destroying cup, — filled
with the costly juice at first, and very social ; but when at
last replenished with anything that would produce an
oblivion and steep his senses in forgetfulness, very solitary.
"Where are now the jovial friends that sported with me
in my summer days, and quaffed rich nectar from my
brimming bowl, that vowed o'er rosy cups eternal amity
to me and mine ?" " The spider's most attenuated thread,
that breaks with every breeze, is cord, is cable, to man's
tender tie on worldly friendship."

Added to intellect, nature's patent of nobility, streams
of the best blood from two nations mingled in this man's
burning veins ; but what of that? Better their contents
had been water, if by being such the fiery influence that
blighted his mind and heart would have been quenched,
and his helpless family rescued from destitution and death,
— for death is even now hard upon their track.

It is needless to note the progressive stages by which
this appalling change in the man came on, or to dwell upon
the mortal agony suffered by his ever-faithful, ever-endur-
ing wife, who, with a fortitude which deathless love alone
could inspire, clung to his fallen fortune, and became with
him an exile and a wanderer.

.No means that a loving heart could devise — and what



OR MATILDA DOUGLAS. If

will not love devise to benefit its object ! — were left untried
to break the demon-woven spell by which he was bound,
to win him back to himself, to her, and to the society he
was so eminently calculated to adorn. But all was over
now, the last effort had failed, hope deferred had sickened
both soul and body, the stricken wife meekly resigned her
cause into the hands of Him who said, "What thou
knowest not now thou shalt know hereafter. " And with
many an arrow fixed deeply in her bleeding heart, she had
sought this lone solitude to lay her down and die. Oh,
man ! Oh, woman, woman !

Of such parentage of those thus unfortunate in worldly
gear and worldly fame, but who were distinguished for
noble wealth of mind and heart, Matilda Douglas was
descended.



CHAPTER II.

"Her daily teachers had been woods and rills,
The busy bee, the dewy petal sweet,
The silence that is in the starry sky,
The rushing tempest 'midst the lonely hills."

" Mattie, my love, I have decided you must go to school.
The best I can do under the circumstances is to send you
to the district school. I know the walk is a long and a
lonely one, but you can take a piece with you for your
noon's repast, and stay at school until evening; and when
the weather is severe you must remain at home. I shall
arrange that with the teacher."

Mattie was seated by her mother just then, and most
happily oblivious to everything save the contents of the
book in her hand. At this announcement she looked up

2*



18 DOINGS IN MARYLAND,

in bewildered astonishment, and had a boulder from the
mountain summit been advancing upon her she could
scarcely have evinced more alarm.

"Oh, mother," she exclaimed, every nerve in her body
quivering with emotion, " do not send me to school — please
do not ! I will study at home, I will read [she was always
reading], I will do anything you wish, only don't send me
to school. I cannot go mother, indeed I cannot !" The big
tears that fell like rain, the chest that heaved, and the sobs
that choaked her utterance all attested how exceeding
averse she was to the proposed arrangement.

Mrs. Douglas perfectly understood the nature of her
daughter's objections to school, and her own heart bled
afresh from wounds those objections probed ; but she felt
it to be her duty to insist, and when love and duty spoke,
they silenced every minor voice which could appeal to the
understanding of that noble mother.

Mattie as yet had had but little contact with the world
beyond her own fireside. The mother's silent, though not
the less vigilant, care had sedulously guarded her helpless
one from the rude stare her coarse and homely attire was
sure to attract, or from the ruder remarks her father's de-
grading conduct might elicit, and, indeed, from all those
thousand impertinences and wrongs which helpless poverty
is ever certain to suffer from coarse and vulgar prosperity;
yet the fine instincts of the child, and her characteristic
sensibility, caused her to dread some such oppression, —
the inheritance of weakness and misfortune, — and she
shrank back with trembling dismay to the covert of her
own lowly hearth, and to the love that hallowed it. Mat-
tic, though unschooled was not untaught ; Mrs. Douglas
was an educated woman, and her daughter had been her
heart-pupil ever since the child's perceptions were capable
of earliest cultivation. Alas! now the health of the



OR MATILDA DOUGLAS. 19

mother-teacher was completely broken, the least exertion
caused her days of prostration, and well she knew the fact
that her pilgrimage on earth was fast drawing to a close.
How doubly important, then, that the education of the
child should rapidly progress! Sorrow had sapped the
foundation of the mother's strength, the tide of time bear-
ing her upon its bosom was swiftly ebbing on to the great
ocean of eternity, Mattie would then be left to meet the
world poor and alone. God help her!

11 If I could but see her educated before I go hence," said
the mother, " death would be divested of half its bitterness."
And the struggle of her heart in prayer, — the petition she
urged with most vehemence and for which she would take
no denial, — was, " If all else of earthly good be denied me,
Thou alone knowest for what purpose, who art all-power-
ful to grant, grant me this one request, — the education
of my child!"

This life-blood gurgle from the stricken mother's heart
was echoed in the courts of heaven, and as faithful, holy
prayer ever will be answered, so was this, but how mys-
teriously time alone can develop. " Thy paths are in the
sea, God !"



20 DOINGS IN MARYLAND,



CHAPTER III.

THE POULTRY DOCTOR.

"But now our quacks are gamesters, and they play
With craft and skill to ruin and betray."

Mrs. Flax is in great distress, her young poultry are
infected with an unknown disease, many have died, more
are dying. The anxious woman has exhausted the cata-
logue of cures for sick chickens possessed by herself and
henwife friends for miles around, and yet the pestilence
rages with unabated violence. The dinner-horn has been
blown, and Mrs. Flax has been personally summoned to
attend the dishing of the pot-apple-pie ; but still she
lingers in the poultry-yard, still administers the ineffica-
cious dose, still frets and worries with a watery eye, and
still the Shanghais gape and stagger and die.

A carryall, drawn by a horse, or rather a mare, limping
and evidently much lamed, advances up the lane*; beast
and man (excuse the precedence) halt in a line with Mrs.
Flax.

" Want any clocks repaired to-day, ma'am V — from a
voice in the wagon.

Mrs. Flax in surly mood replies, "Haven't got any
clocks to want repairs."

" Won't you buy one, then, ma'am ? — have some fine
ones; sell "era cheap."

11 1 am not able to buy clocks or anything else, and never
expect to be ; luck is agin me. Here are all my beautiful
(locks of chickens and turkeys that I expected to bring



OR MATILDA DOUGLAS. 21

something worth while a-dying off 'most as fast as I ran
count 'em I — It is too bad, and work as hard as I do!"
sobbed the overburdened Mrs. Flax.

" Well, ma'am, there is no occasion for any more of them
to die," soothingly said the peddler, " for I am provided
with a medicine that will cure all the ills a winged and
feathered animal is heir to. I made it myself, ma'am, and
I am on my way to Washington to get a patent for it. I
sell it everywhere, and the reason you have not heard on
it is because I have never been in this part of the country
before. Will you have a box, ma'am ?"

" How much do you ask for one ?" inquired the troubled
mourner of departed poultry.

11 Only a dollar, ma'am, and very cheap at that when
you consider what a great cure it is."

11 But s'pose it don't cure at all, then there will be another
dollar thrown away!" grumbled the pennywise matron.

" We can easily manage that, ma'am, if you are agreed, —
I will stay here for a few days and give the medicine my-
self," said the cute clock-tinker, with an eye to food and
rest for his sore-footed animal, "and if in the mean time
the medicine does no good, I will not charge you a cent !
Kow, that is fair ; is it not, ma'am ?"

" Well, I don't know but that it is. Come to the house
anyhow, and talk to my husband about it," said the hen-
wife, rejoiced at even a ray of hope, provided it was a
cheap ray, for her perishing brood.

For weeks past the weather had been both unpleasant
and unhealthy. St. Swithin seems to have influenced
more than his share of days this year, and drizzle has
succeeded to shower, and shower to drizzle, until the earth
is saturated with moisture, and everything upon the earth
enveloped in damp and noisome exhalations. The evil
resulting from this condition of atmosphere is apparent
upon both animal and vegetable life. The mildewing



22 DOINGS IN MARYLAND,

blight affects destructively flowers, fruits, and grain. The
sluggish blood creeps slowly through the veins, the bane-
ful chill crawls deadly over the body like some huge, foul-
some caterpillar drags its length along, and in its silent,
sly, and slimy progress dulls the ear, dims the eye, and
spreads itself upon the livid lips. But now the Wind, oft a
capricious tyrant (as the harmonious Thomson sings), again
has changed his bleak location and his sullen mood ; now
relenting, deigns to dry the tears of earth his cruelty
occasioned. He removes from her saddened face the in-
cumbent veil of clouds his jealousy had interposed to
obscure the varied charms of all-bearing mother from
the ardent gaze of her lover-husband — the great and
glorious Sun. The sun, happy again to meet in fond em-
brace his sorrowing spouse, with peevish ire accuses not
of coquetry or wanton dalliance with the sporting winds,
but richly spreads around his golden mantle of charity
and love. With renovating smile he wakes anew the
stagnant powers of latent life, and calls into active use
the best and purest feelings of the heart. With pene-
trating glance he absorbs the unwholesome damp, expands
and paints with loveliest hues earth's teeming produce.
The northeast blast, humid and sickly, is replaced by
genial and spicy breezes of the "effusive South." The
full-blown spring has ripened into luscious summer ; the
laughing landscape, the field, the garden, and the tuneful
grove, all oiler adoration sweet in perfume and in song.
The joyous bleating from a thousand hills finds glad re-
sponse in the exulting bosom of earth's noblest sons.
" Man supreme walks amid glad creation, musing praise,
ami looking lively gratitude." Not so poor, groveling
Mrs. Flax, who, although her "ploomy people," too, have;
caught the healing breeze and ceased to die, acknowledges
no kind Providence to thank and bless: she only blesses
Mr. Snipe and his patent sawdust pills.



OR MATILDA DOUGLAS. 23



CHAPTER IV.

THE COUNTY SCHOOL TEACHER.

" For craft once known,
Does teach fools wit; leaves the deceiver more."

Me. Snipe, the poultry doctor, is seated on a step of the
woodbine-covered porch ; Mrs. Flax is sitting on the porch
bench, and as is her custom when not otherwise employed,
busily knitting*.

Says Mr. Snipe, "I am much pleased with this part of
the country. I have often heard of the hospitality of the
South, but never before had the happiness to partake of it.
I should like to stay here among such kind-hearted people ;
but as I am not able to do hard work, what could I get to
do?"

Mrs. Flax is nattered by this adroit allusion to her kind-
ness of heart, and she replies, " Well, you are the best
hand among the poultry that I ever saw in my life. I
would be glad, too, if you could stay hereabouts."

Mr. Snipe continued, " I heard your husband say at
dinner to-day, that the School Committee meet to-morrow
to consider the subject of education and to elect a teacher.
Will you mention me to him in that connection?"

"Yes, I will," promptly responded Mrs. Flax. "I am
glad you thought of it; hand me yonder sun-bonnet and I
will go to my husband at once."

Thus equipped, and with the knitting still in progress,
Mrs. Flax wends her way to the field in which Mr. Flax
is employed.



24 DOINGS IN MARYLAND,

" Husband, come and rest awhile under the shade of the
tree ; I have something considerable to say to you."

" I should think it must be something very considerable,
that you could not wait until I came home," said Mr. Flax,
seating himself upon the grass, and wiping from his sun-
burnt brow the flowing perspiration.

She commenced, " Well, Mr. Snipe "

" Ah ! I guessed there was a Snipe's bill in the mud,"
interrupted Mr. Flax, with a derisive laugh.

11 Well, husband, he wishes you to present his name to-
morrow to the committee as an applicant for the district
school."

" W-h-e-w 1" whistled Mr. Flax. " What next ? doctor,
teacher, — I suppose preacher next 1 What is it that a uni-
versal Yankee can't do ?"

"But, husband, he is so useful among the poultry, and
so obliging, that really I wish he could be kept in the
neighborhood. He hunts the woods for the turkey-nests,
and feeds the setting hens; he drives the cows up to be
milked, and brings me pails of water from the spring; yes-
terday, he even emptied the slops for me; indeed, he is as
useful about the house as a cooking-stove. I will willingly
give him his board for his help."

" Remember you have his horse to board also," said the
husband.

" I know, but then he said he would milk the cows in
cold weather, and split the wood. Indeed, husband, I wish
we could manage to keep him about us. You know you
said when you got the mortgage that is on our place paid
off you would let me have help; but I am afraid I shall be
worked to death before it comes." Mrs. Flax was instantly
again in oik' of her fretful moods.

"J don't think you work any harder now than you did
in your native Pennsylvania," said Mr. Flax, a little



OR MATILDA DOUGLAS. 25

piqued, as a man is sure to be who hears his wife com-
plain.

"It is not customary for rich men's wives to work in
Maryland, though," replied the wife.

" But I am not rich," said the husband.

" You will be when you get the place cleared of the
encumbrance your uncle left upon it ; and I am sure I do
all I can to help the cause ; I make as much from my
butter and poultry as I can. Oh, yes ; that reminds me.
S'pose the poultry were to get sick again, what would I
do without Mr. Snipe ? He will not sell the receipt for
the poultry pills for anything I can offer him."

"As to that," replied Mr. Flax, " I believe the change
in the weather had more to do in improving the health of
the poultry than his pills ; but since you are so anxious
to retain Mr. Snipe's services, I have no objection. We
have no children to send to school, and if those who have
do not object, I need not. So to please you, wife, I will
mention him to the School Committee ; but I shall not
recommend him, — I warn you of that fact !"

On the day following this conversation between Mr.
Flax and his thrifty wife, the promised nomination was
made, Mr. Flax remarking, however, that he knew nothing
of the man's abilities, either as a scholar or teacher, " but
the committee," he said, " could examine him and judge


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