Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The Mayflower; or, Tales and pencilings online

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University of California • Berkeley

Gift of

S. Petersen




FLORENCE lVsTUANOE.



THE MAYFLOWER-



30.I& flarritt 38mjjrr Itnuu.

AUTHOK OF " LNCLF TOil'S CADIN."




MAIM
Nader Joatph aUajn to* k UttM M

protection.— P»gc 121



■ II RQH.



IMnnr's ICihranj fur ffrairrllrrs aitit ijjj /irrsito.



THE MAYFLOWER;



%*\n an& Dwellings,



MRS. HARRIET BEF.CnER STOWE.

AUTHOR OF " UNCLE TOM'S CABIN."



' A welcome garland here is wreathed
Of the pleasant ilowers of May ;
Of lesson, song, and story breathed.
And many a pleasant lay."



Xnittttra:

ITBB ROW;

AND BDTHBUfiGH.



PREFACE.



Is the following pages the reader will find a series of
pleasing and instructive sketches, characterized by the
refinement and tenderness which mark with such peculiar
attractions the best productions of feminine taste, and
confer on them such admirable fitness for the family
circle. They are from the pea of the gifted American
authoress — Harriet Beecher Stowe ; an 1, in introducing
this volume to the English reader, the editor feels assured

that iprightlfacHH and happy humour, and still u
the G nd high moral principle displayed by the

authoress, v.- ill secure for her a hearty welcome to i .

Lom



CONTENTS.



PAGE

Florence l'Estrange ; or, The Rose Tree . . •• . . 7

Cousin William . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Frankness .. .. .. .. .. .. 32

Feeling .. .. .. .. .. .. 3*J

The Sempstress .. .. .. .. .. .. 4^

Aunt Mary . . .. .. .. ., .. g]

Uncle Tim and his Daughter Grace . . . . . . . . 71

;iy Calls .. .. .. .. .. .. 10G

Murion Jones; or, Love versus Law .. .. .. .. Ill

Augusta Howard .. .. .. .. .. loo

Old Father Morris

The Canal- Boat

Trials of a Houbkeeper .. .. .. .. .. *06

. 213



THE MAYFLOWER.



FLORBfl ' RANGE; OR, THE ROSE TREE.



Hose! what dost thou hero?

Bridal, royal rose?
How midst grief and fear,
Canst thou thus disclose
That fervid hue of love, which to thy heart-leaf glows ?

I Ik. MANS.



fpiTERE it stood, in its little green vase, on a light
-*- ebony stand in the window of the drawing-room.
The rich satin curtains, with their costly fringes, swept
down on either side of it, and around it glittered every
rare and fanciful triilo which wealth can offer to luxury,

vet that simple rose was the fairest of them all.
pure it looked, its white leaves just touched with that
delicious creamy tint peculiar to its kind ; its cup so full,
so perfect; its it were sinking and

melting away in its own richness — oh! when did ever
make any ,ual the li?l

tt the nnlight that streamed through the wi-
lled something fairer than the rose. Reclined <
ottoman, in a deep recess.

hat seemed the counterpart of that so



8 FLORENCE l'eSTRANGE J

lovely flower. That cheek so pale, that fair forehead so
spiritual, that countenance so full of high thought, those
long, downcast lashes, and the expression of the beautiful
mouth, sorrowful, yet subdued and sweet — it seemed like
the picture of a dream.

"Florence!* Florence!" echoed a merry and musical
voice, in a sweet, impatient tone. Turn your head,
reader, and you will see a light and sparkling maiden,
the very model of some little wilful elf, born of mischief
and motion, with a dancing eye, a foot that scarcely
seems to touch the carpet, and a smile so multiplied by
dimples, that it seems like a thousand smiles at once*
"Come, Florence, I say," said the little sprite, "put down
that wise, good, and excellent volume, and descend from
your cloud, and talk with a poor little mortal.

" I have been thinking what you are to do with your
pet rose when you go away, as, to our consternation, you
are determined to do ; you know it would be a sad pity
to leave it with such a scatterbrain as I am. I do love
flowers, that is a fact ; that is, I like a regular bouquet,
cut off and tied up, to carry to a party ; but as to all this
tending and fussing, whioh is needful to keep them
growing, I have no gifts in that line."

" Make yourself easy as to that, Kate," said Florence,
with a smile ; "I have no intention of calling upon your
talents : I have an asylum in view for my favourite."

" Oh then, you know just what I was going to say.
Mrs. Marshall, I presume, has been speaking to you ; she
was here yesterday, and I was quite pathetic upon the
subject, telling her the loss your favourite would sustain,



OR, THE ROSE TREE.



and so forth; and she said how delighted she would be
to have it in her green-house, it is in such a fine state
now, so full of buds. I told her I knew you would like
to give it to her, you are so fond of Mrs. Marshall, you
know."

u Nov Kate, I am sorry, but I have otherwise engaged
it."

u Who can it be to ? you have so few intimates here."
" Oh, it is only one of my odd fancies."
M But do tell me, Florence."

!1, cousin, you know the little pale girl to whom
we give sewing."

u What! little Mary Stephens? How absurd! Florence,
is just another of your motherly, old-maidish ways —
• lolls for poor children, making bonnets and
knit: for all the little dirty babies in the region

round about. I do believe you have made more calls in
those two vile, ill-smelling alleys back of our house, than
ever you have in Chesnut-strcet, though you know every-
body is half dying to see you ; and now, to crown all, you
hoice little bijou to a semptress-girl, when
one of your most intimate friends, in your own c
would value it so highly. What in the world can people
in ti. at of flowers V*

"Just the same as I do," replied Florence, calmly-
that the little girl never C
ristfully at the opening buds?
.', don't you remember, the rning she b

me so prettily if I would let her mother come and I
•he was so fond of fl



10 FLORENCE l'.ESTRANGE J

" But, Florence, only think of this rare flower standing
on a table with ham. eggs, cheese, and flour, and stifled
in that close little room where Mrs. Stephens and her
daughter manage to wash, iron, cook, and nobody knows
what besides.' 1

" Well, Kate, and if I were obliged to live in one
coarse room, and wash, and iron, and cook, as you say —
if I had to spend every moment of my time in toil, with
no prospect from my window but a brick wall and dirty
lane, such a flower as this would be untold enjoyment to
me."

" Pshaw ! Florence — all sentiment : poor people have
no time to be sentimental. Besides, I don't believe it
will grow with them; it is a greenhouse flower, and
used to delicate living."

" Oh, as to that, a flower never inquires whether its
owner is rich or poor ; and Mrs. Stephens, whatever else
she has not, has sunshine of as good quality as this that
streams through our window. The beautiful things that
God makes are his gift to all alike. You will see that
my fair rose will be as well and cheerful in Mrs. Ste-
phens' room as in ours."

" Well, after all, how odd ! When one gives to poor
people, one wants to give them something useful— &
bushel of potatoes, a ham, and such things."

" Why, certainly, potatoes and ham must be supplied;
but, having ministered to the first and most craving
wants, why not add any other little pleasures or gratifi-
cations we may have it in our power to bestow 1 I know
there are many of the poor who have fine feeling and a



HE RO?t : tree ]]

keen sense of the beautiful, which rusts out and dies
because they are too hard pressed to procure it any gra-
tification. Poor Mrs. Stephens, for example : I know
she would enjoy birds, and flowers, and music as much as
I do. 1 have seen her eye light up as she looked on these
things in our drawing-room, and yet not one beautiful
thing can she command. From necessity, her room, her
clothing, all she has, must be coarse and plain. You
should have seen the almost rapture she and Mary felt
when I offered them my rose."

"Dear me ! all this may be true, but I never thought
of it before. I never thought that these hard-working
people had any ideas of taste!" *

" Then why do* you sec the geranium or rose so care-
fully nursed in the old cracked teapot in the poorest
room, or the morning-glory planted in a box and twined
about the window ? Do not these show that the human
heart yearns for the beautiful in all ranks of life 1 You
remember, Kate, how our washerwoman sat up a whole
night, after a hard day's work, to make her first baby a
pretty dress to be baptized in."

"Yes, and I remember how I laughed at you for
making such a tasteful little cap for it."

think the look of perfect delight with
which the poor mother regarded her baby in its new

worth creating; I do
believe she could n< I t more grateful if I bad

sent her a barrel of fli

lit before of giving anv tl.
I oor but what they really needed, fend 1 have al 1



12 FLORENCE l'eSTHANGE J

been willing to do that when I could without going far
out of my way."

" Well, cousin, if our heavenly Father gave to us after
this mode, we should have only coarse, shapeless piles of
provisions lying about the world instead of all this
beautiful variety of trees, and fruits, and flowers."

u Well, well, cousin, I suppose you are right — but
have mercy on my poor head ; it is too small to hold
so many new ideas all at once — so go on your own way."
And the little lady began practising a waltzing step be-
fore the glass with great satisfaction.

It was a very small room, lighted by only one window.
There was no carpet on the floor ; there was a clean, but
coarsely-covered bed in one corner ; a cupboard, with a
few dishes and j^lates, in the other ; a chest of drawers ;
and before the window stood a small cherry stand, quite
new, and, indeed, it was the only article in the room
that seemed so.

A pale, sickly-looking woman of about forty was lean-
ing back in her rocking-chair, her eyes closed and her
lips compressed as if in pain. She rocked backward and
forward a few minutes, pressed her hand hard upon her
eyes, and then languidly resumed her fine stitching, on
which she had been busy since morning. The door
opened, and a slender little girl of about twelve years of
age entered, her large blue eyes dilated and radiant
with delight as she bore in the vase with the rose-tree
in it.

u Oh ! see, mother, see ! Here is one in full bloom,



O^, THE ROSE TREE. 13

and two more half out, and ever so many more pretty
buds peeping out of the green leaves."

The poor woman's face brightened as she looked, first
on the rose and then on her sickly child, on whose face
she had not seen so bright a colour for months.

" God bless her !" she exclaimed, unconsciously.

* Miss Florence — yes, I knew you would feel so, mo-
ther. Does it not make your head feel better to see
such a beautiful flower? Now you will not look so long-
ingly at the flowers in the market, for we have a rose
that is handsomer than any of them. Why, it seems to
me it is worth as much to us as our whole little garden
used to be. Only see how many buds there are ! Just
count them, and only smell the flower ! Now where
shall we set it up ?" And Mary skipped about, placing
her flower first in one position and then in another, and
walking off* to see the effect, till her mother gently re-
minded her that the rose-tree could not preserve its
v without sunlight.

" Oh yes, truly," said Mary ; " well, then, it must
stand here on our new stand. How glad I am that wo
such a handsome new stand for it; it will look so
muc!. laid down her work,

and folded a piece of n< , which the treasure

was duly d<

" 'I rrangement eagerly,

" that will do- i >es not show both the opening

; a little farther round— a little more ; there, that

'it/' And th'-n Mary Walked around to view the

rose in various positions, after which she urged her



14 FLORENCE l'estkange ;



-.



mother to go with her to the outside, and see how it
looked there. " How kind it was in Miss Florence to
think of giving this to us!" said Mary; "though she
had done so much for us, and given us so many things,
yet this seems the best of all, because it seems as if she
thought of us, and knew just how we felt ; and so few do
that, you know, mother."

What a bright afternoon that little gift made in that
little room. How much faster Mary's fingers flew the
livelong day as she sat sewing by her mother ; and Mrs.
Stephens, in the happiness of her child, almost forgot
that she had a headache, and thought, as she sipped her
evening cup of tea, that she felt stronger than she had
done for some time.

That rose! its sweet influence died not with the first
day. Through all the long cold winter, the watching,
tending, cherishing that flower, awakened a thousand
pleasant trains of thought that beguiled the sameness
and weariness of their life. Every day the fair, growing
thing put forth some fresh beauty — a leaf, a bud, a new
shoot, and constantly awakened fresh enjoyment in its
possessors. As it stood in the window, the passer-by
would sometimes stop and gaze, attracted by its beauty,
and then proud and happy was Mary ; nor did even the
serious and careworn widow notice with indifference this
tribute to the beauty of their favourite.

But little did Florence think, when she bestowed the
gift, that there twined about it an invisible thread that
reached far and brightly into the web of her destiny.

One cold afternoon in early spring, a tall and graceful



OK, THE ROSE TREE. 15

gentleman called at the lowly room to pay for the
making of some linen by the inmates. He was a stranger
and wayfarer, recommended through the charity of some
of Mrs. Stephens's patrons. As he turned to go, his eye
rested admiringly on the rose-tree, and he stopped to
giize at it.

" How beautiful !" said he.

" Yes," said little Mary, " and it was given to us by a
lady as sweet and beautiful as that is."

4i Ah," Bald the stranger, turning upon her a pair of
bright dark eyes, pleased and rather struck by the com-
munication ; " and how came she to give it to you, my
little girl r

u Oh, because we are poor, and mother is sick, and we

re any thing pretty. We used to have a

garden once, and we loved flowers so much, and Miss

Florence found it out, and so she gave us this."

" Florence !" echoed the stranger.

"Yes — Miss Florence TKstrange — a beautiful lady.

J say she was from foreign parts ; but she speaks

C€ other ladies, only sweeter."
Is she here now? Is she in this city?" said the
gentl< rly.

ie left some months ago," • widow,

noti< , t on his face ; " but,"

^he, "you can find out all about her at her aunt's,

LO Street."

A short time after, Florence received a letter in a
hand-writ!: able. During tin- many

early jean of her life spent in France she had v. ell



16 FLORENCE l'eSTUANGE.

learned to know that writing — had loved as a woman
like her loves, only once — but there had been obstacles
of parents and friends, long separation, long suspense,
till, after anxious years, she believed the ocean had
closed over that hand and heart ; and it was this that
had touched with such pensive sorrow the lines in her
lovely face.

But this letter told that he was living, that he had
traced her, even as a hidden streamlet may be traced, by
the freshness, the verdure of heart, which her deeds
of kindness had left wherever she had passed. Thus
much said, our readers need no help in finishing my
story for themselves.



COUSIN WILLIAM. 17



COUSIN WILLIAM.



Oh ! not when hopes are brightest,
Is all love's sweet enchantment known ;

Oh ! not when hearts are lightest,
Is all fond woman's favour shown.

Prinolk.



f"PHE house in which the heroine of our story lived
-*- stood almost concealed amid a forest of apple-trees, in
spring blushing with blossoms, and in autumn golden with
fruit ; and near by might be seen the garden, surrounded
by a red picket-fence, enclosing all sorts of magnificence.
There, in autumn, might be seen luxuriant vines, which
seemed puzzled for room where to bestow themselves,
and bright golden squashes, and full -orbed yellow pump-
kins, looking as satisfied as the evening sun when he has
just ice washed in a shower, and is sinking

soberly to bed. There were superannuated seed-cucum-
• he pleasures of a contemplative old age ;
and Indian corn, nicely done up in green silk, with a
specimen tassel hanging at the end of each ear. The
beams of the summer ion <l;trted through rays of crim-
son currants, abounding on bushes by the fence, while a
I



20 L'OUSIN WILLIAM.



the careless freedom and sprightliness in which she com-
monly indulged. No person had a merrier run of stories,
songs, and village traditions, and all those odds and ends
of character which form the materials for animated con-
versation. She had read, too, everything she could find :
Rollin's History, and Scott's Family Bible, that stood in
the glass bookcase in the best room, and an odd volume
of Shakspeare, and now and then one of Scott's novels,
borrowed from a somewhat literary family in the neigh-
bourhood. She also kept an album to write her thoughts
in, and was in a constant habit of cutting out all the
pretty poetry from the corners of the newspapers, be-
sides drying a number of forget-me-nots and rosebuds,
in memory of different particular friends, with a number
of other little sentimental practices to which young
ladies of sixteen and thereabout are addicted. She was
also endowed with great constructiveness ; so that, in
this day of ladies' fairs, there was nothing, from bellows
needle-books down to web-footed pincushions, to which
she could not turn her hand. Her sewing certainly was
extraordinary (we think too little is made of this in the
accomplishments of heroines), her stitching was like rows
of pearls, and her cross-stitching was fairy-like ; and for
sewing over-and-over, as the village school ma'am hath
it, she had not her equal. And what shall we say of her
pies and puddings ! They would have converted the
most reprobate^ old bachelor in the world. And then her
sweeping and dusting ! " Many daughters have done
virtuously, but thou excellest them all ! "
And now, what do you suppose is coming next 1 Why,



COUSIN WILLIAM. 21



a young gentleman, of course ; for about this time comes
to settle in the village, and take charge of the academy,
a certain William Barton. Mrs. Abigail denominated
him cousin, and he had not been boarded in the house
more than a week, and made sundry observations on
Miss Mary, before he determined to call her cousin too,
which he accomplished in the most natural way in the
world.

. was at first somewhat afraid of him, because
she had heard that he had studied through all that was
to be studied in Greek, and Latin, and German too; and
she saw a library of books in his room, that made her
sigh every time she looked at them, to think how much
there was to be learned of which she was ignorant. But
all this wore away, and presently they were the best

I in the world. lie gave her books to read, and
he gave her lessons in French, nothing puzzled by that
troublesome verb which must be first conjugated, whe-

i French, Latin, or English. Then he gave her a
deal of good advice about the cultivation of her mind
and the formation of her character, all of w hi civ was
very improving, and tended greatly to consolidate their

hip. But, unfortunately for Mary, William made
curable an impression on the female com-
munity generally as he did on her, having several times
on public oc 1 bees

known, also, >etry, and had a retired and ro-

mantic air greatly bewitching to those who read Bulwer's
novels. In short, it was morally certain, according to
all roll . he had chosen to pfl



22 COUSIN WILLIAM.



lady of the village a dozen visits a-week, she would have
considered it as her duty to entertain him.

William did visit : for, like many studious people, he
found a need for the. excitement of society; but, whe-
ther it was party or singing-school, he walked home with
Mary, of course, in as steady and domestic a manner as
any man who has been married a twelvemonth. His air
in conversing with her was inevitably more confidential
than with any other one, and this was the cause for envy
in many a gentle breast, and an interesting diversity of
reports with regard to her manner of treating the young
gentleman went forth into the village.

" I wonder Mary Taylor will laugh and joke so much
with William Barton in company," said one. "Her
manners are altogether too free," said another. " It
is evident she has designs upon him," remarked the
third ; " and she cannot even conceal it," pursued a
fourth.

Some sayings of this kind at length reached the ears
of Mrs. Abigail, who had the best heart in the world,
and was so indignant that it might have done your heart
good to see her. Still, she thought it showed that " the
girl needed advising" and "she should talk to Mary
about the matter."

But she first concluded to advise with William on the
subject, and therefore, after dinner, the same day, while
he was looking over a treatise on trigonometry or conic
sections, she commenced upon him : —

" Our Mary is growing up a fine girl."

William was intent on solving a problem, and only



COUSIN WILLIAM. 23



understanding that something had been said, mechani-
cally answered, " Yes."

"A little wild or so," said Mrs. Abigail.

* I know it," said William, fixing his eyes earnestly on
E, F, B, C.

" Perhaps you think her a little too talkative and free
with you sometimes ; you know girls do not always
think what they do."

" Certainly," said William, going on with his pro-
blem.

" I think you had better speak to her about it," said

" I think so too," said William, musing over his com-
plete work, till at length he arose, put it in his pocket,
and went to school.

Oh, this unlucky concentrativeness ! How many shock-
ing things a man may endorse by the simple habit of
saying " Yes," and " No," when he is not hearing what
is said to him.

The next morning, when William was gone to the
academy, and Mary was washing the breakfast things,
Aunt Abigail introduced the subject with great tact ami
delicacy, by remarking,

" Mary, I guess you had better be rather less free
William than you have been."

" Free !" I Parting, and nearly dropping the

cup from her hand ; " why, aunt, what do you mean ?"

iry, you must not always be, around, so free
in talking with him at home, and in company, and overy-
wh'Tc. It won't do." The colour started into Mary's



24 COUSIN WILLIAM.



cheek, and mounted even to her forehead, as she an-
swered with a dignified air :

" I have not been too free — I know what is right and
proper — I have not been doing any thing that was
improper."

Now, when one is going to give advice, it is very trou-
blesome to have its necessity thus called in question, and
Mrs. Abigail, who was fond of her own opinion, felt
called upon to defend it.

" Why, yes you have, Mary ; every body in the vil-
lage notices it."

" I don't care what everybody in the village says — I
shall always do what I think proper," retorted the young
lady ; " I know cousin William does not think so."

" Well, / think he does — from some things I have
heard him say."

" Oh, aunt ! what have you heard him say ?" said
Mary, nearly upsetting a chair in the eagerness with
which she turned to her aunt.

" Mercy on us ! you need not knock the house down,
Mary ; I don't remember exactly about it, only that his
way of speaking made me think so."

" Oh, aunt, do tell me what it was, and all about it,"
said Mary, following her aunt, who went around dusting
the furniture.

Mrs. Abigail, like most obstinate people, who feel that
they have gone too far, and yet are ashamed to go back,
took refuge in an obstinate generalization, and only
asserted that she had heard him say things, as if he did
not quite like her ways.



COUSIN WILLIAM. So



This is the most consoling of all methods in which to
leave a matter of this kind for a person of active imagi-
nation. Of course, in five minutes Mary had settled in
her mind a string of remarks that would have been
suited to any of her village companions, as coming from
her cousin. All the improbability of the thing vanished
in the absorbing consideration of its possibility ; and,
after a moment's reflection, she pressed her lips together
in a very firm way, and remarked that " Mr. Barton
would have no occasion to say such things again."

It was very evident, from her heightened colour and
dignified air, that her state of mind was very heroical.
As for poor Aunt Abigail, she felt sorry she had vexed
her, and addressed herself most earnestly to her consola-


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Online LibraryHarriet Beecher StoweThe Mayflower; or, Tales and pencilings → online text (page 1 of 13)