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27 Park Place, New York.



"OUE CONTINENT" LIBEAEY.

There Was Once

- A MAN.

A STORY.



BY R." H. NEWELL

(ORPHEUS C. KERK.)



. . . The Sacrilege

Raised up his head astounded, and accurst
The stars, the destinies, the gods.

Lander s CHRYSAOR.




NEW YORK.
FORDS, HOWARD, & HULBERT,

FOR

OUR CONTINENT PUBLISHING CO.

1884



COPYKIGHT, A. D. 1884,
BY OUK CONTINENT PUBLISHING COMPANY.



To

THE ONE, TRIED AND PROVED,
UNSELFISH FRIEND

OF

MY MATURER YEARS :

WHOSE NAME

WILL BE WRITTEN HEREUNDER IN THE

COPY OF THIS BOOK RECEIVED

BY ITS POSSESSOR,



FROM THE AUTHOR.



PREFACE.



THERE WAS ONCE A MAN.



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CONTENTS.



PAGE

PROLOGUE, . . . . . ... 7

CHAPTER

I. THE EFFINGHAMS, . . . . . 25

II. LIEUTENANT BELMORE PAYS HIS RESPECTS, 34

III. A CASE IN CHANCERY, .... 45

IV. FRIEND, OR FOE ? . . . . .64

V. THE THREADS UNITE, ..... 72

VL "AND SHE Is DEAD," . . . . .91

VII. LETTING BYGONES BE BYGONES, . . 104

VIII. THE CROSS KNOWS BUT ONE CROWN, . . 120

IX. OSHONSEE AT HOME, . . . . . 136

X. DOCTOR HEDLAND DELIVERS A LECTURE, . 148

XI. UNDER THE DURION TREE, . . . 166

XII. THE PIC-NIC AT THE FORT, . . .184

XIII. WHAT HAPPENED IN AUGUST, . . .211

XIV. A CRISIS FOR OSHONSEE, .... 226

XV. AT MR. MERTON S TABLE, . . . .247

XVI. COLONEL DARYL S DUTY AS AN UNCLE, . 275

XVII. CHRISTIAN AND PHILOSOPHER, . . . 291

XVIII. EDWIN S DUTY AS A NEPHEW, . . .313

XIX. THE DOCTOR HAS A PATIENT NOT COUNTED

UPON, 333

XX. A MISSING LINK is SUPPLIED, . . . 349
XXI. MOTHER AND DAUGHTER, .... 363
vii



viii CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

XXII. IT is HARD FOB A MAN WHOLLY TO DIS
APPEAR, f . .380

XXIIL A SIGNET-RING RETURNED, . . . 401

XXIV. UNWONTED GUESTS IN THE VILLAGE, . 413

XXV. THE CAVE GIVES UP ITS SECRET, . . 436

XXVI. NIGHT S BRINGING FORTH, . . .462

XXVII. FORBEARANCE IN THE DIGNITY OF MIGHT, 481

XXVIII. BETWEEN TWO "WORLDS, .... 490

XXIX. SHE TELLS ALL, . . . . . . 605

EPILOGUE, ......... 513

AUTHOR S NOTE, ........ 523



ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

HE WAS RAISED UP BY THE DOCTOR AND THE

LAWYER, AND HE SIGNED, . . (Frontispiece)

AFTERNOON WALKS ON THE BATTERY, ... 8

MRS. DORNTON S ARRIVAL, . . . . . 9
" WITH A SOOTHING HAND ON HER KINSWOMAN S

NEAREST SHOULDER," . . . . .10

ON THE PORTICO, 17

" WILLIAM DARYL SPRANG TO His FEET AND TOOK

AN IMPULSIVE STEP FORWARD," ... 22
" CAN T You COME UP LONG ENOUGH TO RECEIVE

OUR THANKS?" . . . . . . . 30

THE CALLER STOOD BOWING IN THE DOORWAY, . 41

"WHAT SHOULD You SAY TO NUTMEGS Now?" . 51
THE CURIOUS OMNIUM GATHERUM OF THE CHINESE

BAZAR, 53

" I HAVE NOTHING, NOTHING TO FORGIVE EXCEPT

THAT SHE DID NOT LIVE," . . . 115

"TUAN BESAR Is NOT ALONE," .... 130

" O-SHON-SEE ! O-SHON-SEE !" CROAKED THE IN
FURIATED CREATURE, RAINING BLOWS WITH
IRRESISTIBLE RAPIDITY UPON THE RETREATING
MAN, 140

THE ADMIRAL, THE RAJAH, AND THE HANDSOME
YOUNG MALAY PRINCE STOOD TOGETHER ON
THE QUARTER DECK, . . . . . .214

" LORD FORGIVE ME !" CAME FROM THE WHITENED

LIPS OF THE NATURALIST, .... 236

"TUAN BESAR SHALL HEAR THE STORY AS IT HAS

BEEN TOLD ME," 352

HER MOTHER FOUND HER ABSORBED IN COLORING

THE STORMY SKY OF A LANDSCAPE, . . .370



THERE WAS ONCE A MAN.



PROLOGUE.
I

IT was nearly sixty years ago. The interval of three
score years between then and now would be but insig
nificant as a paragraph in the history of any Old World
metropolis ; but in the marvelous record of New York
the predestined Millionopolis of Christendom it has
been a period of bamboo-like urban growth to amaze
even those yet living witnesses whose memories can
recall its every progressive phase. Only of late had the
town been surveyed and laid out beyond Houston Street,
and scarcely ten years had elapsed since a ghastly pro
cession of sheriff, bishop, hangman s cart, civic soldiery
and constabulary piloted a ribald mob from the Bride
well in the City Hall Park, to an open field immediately
below that street s intersection of the city s chief high
way, to the public execution of three wretches made
thus to expiate the crime of firing a church.

The root, the heart, the epitome of that beloved New
York of the Knickerbockers was Broadway, from the
wave-washed, umbrageous Battery to a few blocks north
of Warren Street ; and along its primitively-paved, tree-
shaded mile and a half such retailing shops as were
highest in fashionable favor made their ambitious dis
plays, at decent intervals, between the dignified brick
mansions of the wealthy and exclusive social class. In
the limited or select lower district, fronting the historic
Bowling Green, were what contemporaneous judgment
7



8 THERE WAS ONCE A MAN.

deemed the sumptuous homes of the Grades, the Ellises,
and their like. Farther up the sunny, bustling prome
nade, the silver plates on doors bore such names as
Livingston, Wilkes, Grinnell, Minturn, Clarkson, Leroy,
Harmony, Yan Horn, Hicks, Costar, Morton, and others
as well known to choice local society ; while over toward
the East River, across irregular patches of low wooden
houses and marshy fields, could be seen the upper sto
ries and chimney-stacks of the stately seats of the
Rutgers, Willetts and Stuyvesants. Going "into the
country" above Lispenard Street, the stroller, or eques
trian of the period, saw, on his left hand, westerly, the
patrimonial meadows of that name, extending to the
present Spring and Sullivan Streets ; farther yet to the
left, on verdant heights near the Hudson, stood the im
posing mansions of the Glovers and the Varicks ; and
on storied Richmond Hill, in the vicinity of now shabby
Charlton Street, appeared the "grand" house succes
sively famous as the abode of Washington, of the pom
pous British consul Buchanan, and ultimately of the
brilliant and misguided Aaron Burr.

The Broadway of sixty years ago was scarcely more
than a brisk and sanguine promise of the future supreme
metropolitan highway of the Continent the triumphal
path of presidents, princes, heroic guests of the state,
and the nation s mightiest commercial potentates ; yet,
in its swiftly multiplying mercantile edifices, pretentious
private buildings, tree-arched vistas, of moving throngs
and streaming vehicles, gay groups of loitering prome-
naders and thunderous symphony of traffic, there stirred
incipient potentialities of the combined Regent Street,
Chausse"ed Antinand straightened Lastenstrasse it was
destined to become in another half century. As a cha
racteristic Concentration of what was brightest and
freshest and most imposing in the Kew York of the



PROLOGUE. 9

Knickerbockers, it was loved and gloried in by its resi
dents and frequenters as no later generation of the far
vaster city is ever likely to show fondness and pride
over newer and more sumptuous avenues. To live upon
it, in the full tide of its rush and gayety, was to be re
cognized, without challenge, as of the most affluent
respectability ; while a residence upon any one of the
several quieter streets intersecting it to the westward,
yet near enough to share its costliness, was, perhaps
(like owning "seats" in view on either river-side), an
even subtler implication of social distinction.

And- it was in those comparatively primitive days,
early in the long twilight of an evening in June, that
one of the quieter connecting streets in question, known
as Park Place and extending from Broadway, at the
City Hall Park, toward the Hudson, was invaded from
the adjacent great thoroughfare by a carriage, driven
so rapidly as to attract the immediate curious atten
tion of everybody within sight and hearing of it. The
warmth of the idling hour had tempted a number of
family groups to the iron-railed stoops and balconies of
houses on either side of the way, while bands of playing
children gave parting life to the slowly shading side
walks ; and these all became interested spectators of the
hurried incursion of the vehicle, its sharp halt before a
mansion about midway down the block, and the almost
as summary alighting of a lady who, by her figure and
dress, seemed to be past middle age. Before the various
neighboring beholders had much chance to speculate, so
far as their breeding would allow, upon the identity of
the visitor arriving thus hastily, or her purpose in so
doing, the door of the Yon Gilder residence had ad
mitted her, and a servant had reopened it in the next
instant to wave and signal some apparently pre-under-
stood order to the coachman. As the latter drove



10 THERE WAS ONCE A MAN.

slowly away close to the curb, obviously sent to the
family stable around the next corner, it could be seen
that horses, carriage and liveried driver alike were gray
with the dust of suburban roads. Hence, neighborly
curiosity had this only to discern for the time being-
that both lady and carriage, although by no means rustic
in general aspects, must have come from somewhere
outside of the city.

Within the house thus problematically emphasized to
exterior observation the guest had been promptly ush
ered up a sumptuously carpeted stairway to a boudoir
on the second floor, at the entrance of which stood
another lady of about the same age, who, without a
word, seized her outstretched hand and led her into the
room. In fact, the whole reception, so far, gave every
indication of a previously exact appointment ; as, in
deed, had been the case. The two ladies kissed in
silence, holding yet each other s hand, and then she of
the mansion spoke :

" I m so glad you have come, Louisa !"

" I should have been a queer mother if I had not !"
responded the other, with some asperity of tone and
quickly added : " "Where is Caroline ?"

Mrs. Yon Gilder for such she was induced the visi
tor to sit beside her on a sofa near a cheerfully-curtained
window before answering this pointed question, and
spoke again with a soothing hand on her kinswoman s
nearer shoulder and a look of affectionate entreaty :

"Louisa Dornton, you must not be too severe with
the poor girl in this affair. Being sure that you would
come immediately upon my message, I told James to
bring you up here on the instant of your arrival, that I
might see you at once. Perhaps there was no real need
of sending for you at all. But I felt a responsibility.
Tow, do not be severe."



PROLOGUE. 11

Mrs. Dornton who was, perhaps, a matron of five-
and-forty years, with silver-streaked dark hair in ma
tronly curls of graduated precision on either side of her
decided forehead, with grayish-blue eyes, nose and chin
indicative of some pride, and a mouth too reserved
of outline to promise much emotional flexibility looked
back with a cold smile into the gentle eyes fixed upon
her. The two women were a harmonious contrast. In
the large black bonnet and sombre traveling-wrap, not
yet removed, the abrupt guest had a purposeful and, as
it were, retributive aspect ; while in the whole air of
her companion, pale of face, delicate of feature, wearing
a triangular dressing of lace upon her plainly gathered
hair, and a thin, neutral-tinted robe upon her tall and
slender figure, there was a suggestion of that intelligent
tenderness of mercy which mates most gracefully with
justice.

"Severe?" echoed Mrs. Dornton. "Edith, have I
ever been anything but too indulgent to Caroline ? Since
her sister s marriage, the child has been simply spoiled
by our indulgence. Mr. Dornton and I have been
foolish. And now she is repaying us. But where is
the ungrateful girl ?"

"I did not mean to reproach you, Louisa. I know
that you are a good mother. Only, you should not
judge her too harshly. Kemember her youth and inex
perience. She is in bed now, half sick."

" Sick !" exclaimed the mother, with a change of
countenance, and starting to leave her seat.

"You need not be alarmed. Only a bad headache,"
continued Mrs. Yon Gilder, restraining her by a ges
ture. " This morning I told her, privately, and as re
assuringly as I could, that you were coming here to-day
by my invitation ; but she became excited, and now she
is as I tell you."



12 THERE WAS ONCE A MAN.

" Then she is afraid to see me, Edith, depend on that.
Afraid to see her mother ! I must go to her at once."
And again the speaker was in the act of leaving the
sofa.

" No ! Hear me !" rejoined her companion quickly.
"You must not see her until I have told you all I know.
Now do reflect, Louisa, that the whole matter may not
really amount to anything at all. She is such an un
worldly, innocent young creature that when I saw them
so often together, and seeming to like each other so
well, I thought her parents ought at least to know about
it. I hated to speak to her on the subject ; for the very
childlike innocence of her look would make one feel
contemptible in approaching her on such a subject. I
did speak to Mr. Yon Gilder, and he only laughed, and
asked if I would find fault with a blossom for attracting
a butterfly ? He says he is sure that you and I flirted
a great deal worse when we were girls."

Mrs. Dornton drew herself up rather grandly at this,
"lam under obligations to your husband, Edith, for
his estimation of my youthful dignity of character. Do
you mean to say that a daughter of mine, a guest in the
house of her mother s cousin, has been so forgetful of
herself as to carry on a vulgar flirtation ?"

" How harsh your words are!" retorted her cousin
deprecatingly. "Do you want to make me wish that I
had not sent for you, Louisa ? I would answer for it
with my life that Caroline would do nothing unladylike
or wrong."

" She shall assure me of that with her own lips, and
at once," was the mother s grim interjection. "Home
she shall go with me to-morrow morning."

"Yes; but hear me first. I ll tell you the whole
story. After she had been visiting with us over a month,
and seemed to be growing really stronger, she went



PROLOGVE. 13

with our Ada and myself to a party at the Lawrences ,
over by St. John s Park, and there saw Lieutenant
Daryl. She told me that she had met him before at
Dornton Manor ; and they danced together, and then
he called here to see her. As he seemed to be perfectly
a gentleman, and she had known him in her own home,
I could not very well object. He invited Ada and her
to the theatre, with myself as joint-guardian. From
that it went to afternoon walks to the Battery, and then
drives up as far as the arsenal and back. Ada has been
their companion to within the past week, and it was, at
last, her indisposition to spoil company any longer, as
my girl called it, that occasioned my anxiety. On the
day before yesterday the Englishman and Caroline were
out walking several hours in the afternoon, and Ada did
not know where they were. Upon Caroline s return,
and while we were at dinner, I asked her with compara
tive seriousness, if she thought you would be willing
that she should see so much of the young gentleman ?
Instead of answering somewhat pertly, in the girlish
style, as I had half expected, she blushed, her eyes filled
with tears, and she hurried sobbing from the room. I
felt dreadfully, and Mr. Yon Gilder said, There, now,
you ve broken the child s heart ! Ada thought her a
baby ; you know how thoughtless Ada is. And, upon
the whole, Louisa, I thought I might better write to
you."

"Not a moment too soon, Edith," said her cousin,
rising to her feet. Her eyes had kindled with a clear
fire as the story ended, and her look was one of conclu
sive decision. "I ll go up and see her now. - You 11
excuse me to Mr. Yon Gilder and Ada if I do not see
them, nor you, again to-night. I should be poor com
pany at present. Please to see that my carriage is or
dered at nine in the morning."



14 THERE WAS ONCE A MAN.

Mrs. Yon Gilder s delicate face wore an anxious and
pained expression, but she attempted no useless opposi
tion. Her suggestion that the visitor should at least
lay aside bonnet and wrapper, and take a cup of tea
before the impending interview, was, not ungratefully,
rejected ; and then the aggrieved mother, requesting
that she should not be attended, went up alone to a
bedchamber she had often occupied herself, in hospi
table days past, there to arraign and assume custody
over the daughter who had offended her.

The scene ensuing between parent and child was
kept sacred from all other eyes and ears than their
own ; and on the following morning, when the former
appeared at the family breakfast-table, her fully-re
gained customary equipoise of manner gave no definite
clew to conjecture on the subject. " Caroline will take
a little breakfast in her room, if you please, Edith, be
fore we go. Her head is not right yet," was her inci
dental remark after the naturally subdued greetings of
Mr. Yon Gilder, his wife and daughter. In no circum
stances was she a woman to bring private tremors into
even the most intimate general company. With the
head of the family, who was a florid, gray-haired, rather
portly merchant, largely in the East India trade, she
discussed the recent introduction of gas in the city and
the rapidly approaching completion of the great Erie
Canal. With her cousin she exchanged notes regarding
the Ediriburg Review, and its editor, whom they had both
known a dozen years before, when he came to New
York to marry Miss Wilkes, and whose later promotion
to the lord rectorship of the University of Glasgow
was yet a matter of congratulatory remark among his
American friends. With Miss Yon Gilder, a fragile,
lively and pretty image of her father s fairest youth, she
debated the possibility of a renewal of the yellow fever



PROLOGUE. 15

scourge after it had skipped one year, and joined in the
hope that none of them would ever see in their lives
again a fence across Broadway to define the infected
region. Only when the carriage was at the door, and a
slight, girlish figure, closely veiled and draped, came
down the staircase with the sympathetic Ada, and hur
ried out to the vehicle with barely one convulsive sob
of adieu, did Mrs. Von Gilder notice, in the peculiar
tension of her cousin s mouth, the first sign that the
story of the night might not have ended in exact conso
nance with that lady s imperious will.

Seating herself opposite to the fair culprit, who had
crowded desolately into the loneliest corner of her
wheeled prison and sat there without speech or motion,
the mother waved a farewell to the group at the door,
and preserved as unsocial a demeanor while the horses
started on their way. Silent yet both remained, in the
drive taking them up Broadway beyond the pavements,
and then onward to its northern limit above the old
City Arsenal grounds, where, turning to the eastward,
the hoofs clicked on the gritty surface of the Harlem
turnpike. Then the older rider spoke, as though come
to a sharp turn in her thoughts also.

"Caroline, if you don t wish me to think something
worse of you than you have confessed, stop this crying
and try to go home with a manner more becoming
to your father s daughter. I sent for your sister to
come up to Dornton Manor, and she will be there to
meet us."

With a quick, impulsive gesture the veiled recusant
suddenly leaned toward her mother, so as to grasp an
unguarded hand, and exclaimed, in a choked, tremu
lous voice :

" Oh, ma ! why can t you trust me as you do Julia ?
Why have you come to carry me home in this way, as



16 THERE WAS ONCE A MAN.

though I had done something so awful? What will
Cousin Edith think ? and Ada ? and Mr. Daryl"

"Don t dare to name that man to me again, willful
child I" interrupted Mrs. Dornton, peremptorily, though
not withdrawing her hand. " (Let me close this cur
tain if we are not to be a spectacle for the roadside. )
Your sister Julia honored and obeyed her parents in all
things. She was a dutiful daughter and is a decorous
wife. She never had half of the indulgence your father
and myself have shown to you ; but if she had been
allowed, like you, to visit three months away from
home, it would not have been her mother s humiliation
to force her back, like this, a recreant to filial duty,
maidenly modesty "

" You must not speak in that way to me, ma !" inter
rupted Caroline in her turn, her girlish tones growing
shriller with quickened breathing. "I have done
nothing to deserve it. Mr. Daryl I will mention his
name is a gentleman. What will he think ? You and
pa never said a word against him at Dornton. You told
me yourself that his grandmother was born there and
his family respectable."

Mrs. Dornton now withdrew her hand from the trem
bling clasp of the excited girl, and shook a finger at her,
as she shrank before it, with a deliberation of manner
the more passionately effective for seeming to be dispas
sionate.

41 1 cannot talk farther with you, my dear," she said,
" until you have recalled some sense of the respect due
to me. But this you may depend upon implicitly : il
this adventurous foreigner "

"Mother!"

" I say, if this unprincipled fortune-hunter, who has
basely allowed a silly, wayward girl like you to com
promise "




rm



PROLOGUE. 17

Before the sentence could be completed the daughter
had flung herself upon her knees in the carriage, crying
hysterically, as she buried her face in her parent s lap :

"Mother! we are married I"



n

ON the portico of the little white "hotel" of the
miniature village of Dornton stood two men, the one,
with an advancing foot already down the first step of
the short flight to the roadway, seeming to be taking
leave of the other. The younger and taller had a pe
culiarly upright carriage, brown hair with a rather
military cut, frank blue eyes and the complexion of
a wholesome school-boy. His companion was rather
stouter, wore glasses, and his crisp black locks and long,
flushed face were more pronouncedly foreign in effect.
Both wore straw hats, waistcoats and trousers of light
fabric and loose coats of thin black cloth. In the shade of
two luxuriant horse-chestnuts, linked by a whitewashed
tethering-bar, before the doorway of the modest inn,
stood the time-worn barouche long serving as the whole
livery of the house, and toward it was descending the
leave-taking younger gentleman.

" No, Larry." he was saying, with some signs of im
patience, "you must stay here, my dear fellow, and
allow me to go alone. They must not think that I come
like a green-bag-lawyer fellow, with a witness."

" But I tell you, Will, my boy, this may be a case of
law for you sooner than you think," persisted his friend
energetically, keeping yet a detaining hand on his nearer
arm. " A witness may be precisely what you want."

"We ve already talked that all over, and you know



18 THERE WAS ONGE A MAN.

my feelings about it," was the hurried answer. "I
must go alone. If I am not back here in an hour, take
this old rattle-trap which I shall send back and be



Online LibraryRobert Henry NewellThere was once a man. A story → online text (page 1 of 38)