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her entreaties to his wife's undermining, he found his failing strength of mind unequal to the struggle, and finally gave way to the tide. After Mrs. Vernon had finished reading the letter, she said to her husband :
* I think this ought to be sufficient to convince Edward that Charles has made the wiser choice, and to induce him to remove to the south, as I have so often urged him. Ninety thousand dollars made in one land speculation! - and this in addition to the princely annual income from his plantation! Charles is indeed a fine, ambitious fellow. I foresaw, from his childhood, that he would be the enterprising man of business, while Edward would not have spirit or activity enough to lose sight of the smoke of his father's chimney. Look at the difference between them now! Charles is the proprietor of a town, has one or two banks under his control, and is one of the most influential men in his state. His name is every where spoken of, for his magnificent projections, his numerous improvements, his unbounded liberality, and his immense wealth. But who has ever heard of Edward, out of his own limited circle of acquaintance? I did hope, when I insisted on his choosing law instead of medicine, since he had fixed his choice on a profession, that by this time he would have obtained a practice worth at least a thousand dollars a year. But he can scarcely make enough to pay his office-rent. This, however, is in some degree his own fault; for a fellow-student of his told me that Edward was too conscientious. He said that, to a young lawyer, a conscience was rather a troublesome appendage, which should be dismissed as soon as possible, although it might be of advantage to recall it, when one became rich enough to afford it. Edward is too scrupulous, I know; but he would have been obliged to give up his notions of honor and honesty, if he had had no one to apply to, when he was in want of funds. And I think it will be a good plan to force him into fortune, by insisting on his going to the south-west. You know that Charles has again and again said in his letters, that if Edward could only be induced to go, he would not only realize a handsome fortune in two or three years, but might become a judge, a member of congress, or anything to which his ambition might lead him to aspire. And if you tell him that you cannot think of assisting him any longer
that he must go where he can meet with more speedy success I think this will have the desired effect, as I said before, of forcing him into good fortune. He will not make use of those means by which he could gain practice even here. I wished him to go into society, and to cultivate the acquaintance of the wealthiest and most fashionable families, that he might gain their patronage; but he says he has not time to spare from his studies. He is constantly poring over his books, and what has he gained by it? As a last resort, I have tried to persuade him to secure a fortune by marriage ; but even this seems to be contrary to his fastidious principles. I was very anxious for him to attend Alice this evening, for Mr. Conrad's daughter will be quite an heiress, and I thought it possible that he might be fascinated, for she is strikingly beautiful.'
· Poor Alice !' said Mr. Vernon ; it is a cold night for her to be out — and she was dressed so thinly, too : she would not wear her cloak, for fear of disarranging her dress. I hope Mrs. Delville's
carriage is well cushioned, so as to exclude the cold air. The wind whistles bleak and shrill; it must be a dreadful night upon our coasts. I am glad that I have no vessels now. This reconciles me to the thought of having sold them. If I had not done so, I should not have been able to sleep to-night. What a wild blast that was that just passed by! It rushed by the window as if it would shiver every pane. Why, my dear, did you let Alice go?
• At first, I did not intend she should, as I was not well enough to attend her; but Mrs. Delville insisted on it, and kindly offered to be her chaperone. She told me that Mr. Linton would be there, and as Alice has made quite an impression on him, I was fearful that her absence might weaken it. He would also have been left fair game for the many nets that are spread for hiin, both by mothers and daughters. But think that Alice will secure him, and she may be Mrs. Linton, if she wishes, before many months have passed.'
Surely, wife, you are not serious ? said Mr. Vernon. Mr. Linton the husband of Alice! He is two years my senior, although he is a much younger-looking man. The child could not love him. The idea is unreasonable - absurd !'
Perhaps she might not feel for him any of that silly emotion that very young gentlemen and ladies call love. but what is far more rational, she would have a deference and esteem for his character and standing, as a man of wealth and influence. It will be
advantageous match for Alice, in every respect. As Mrs. Frederick Linton, she will at once take her place among the very élite of society, and she will live magnificently, I am sure, for Mr. Linton will indulge her in every thing, and will surround her with as much splendor as a peeress could desire.'
• But will she be happy ? asked Mr. Vernon, and can she love him ?'
Certainly,' replied his wife ; every woman loves her husband, when he is indulgent to her, and gratifies her in every wish. She cannot help being happy, if she is surrounded by all the elegancies and comforts of life. I do not know a happier married woman than the beautiful Mrs. Selwyn. You know Mr. Selwyn is not only old enough to be her father, but he has sons who are older than she is ; yet he idolizes her, and is constantly bringing home to her something rare and costly, for her house or her toilet. He takes great pleasure in seeing her richly and elegantly dressed. He indulges her fondness for the gayeties of society, and is proud of the admiration she excites. Her most extravagant tastes are fully gratified, for he lavishes his wealth upon her with princely munificence. I often bring Mrs. Selwyn forward as an example to Alice.'
Mr. Vernon, who still adhered to some of his regular habits, had retired to rest three or four hours before the return of his daughter. But Mrs. Vernon, though at present an invalid, sat up to await her coming, that she might receive a description of the evening's entertainment, while its scenes were yet vivid in her recollection. After Alice was safely delivered into her mother's care, by the fashionable chaperone, and the lady had taken her leave, Mrs. Vernon, whose first anxiety was to know whether Alice had been admired, and had received much attention, asked her • how she was pleased' know
ing that young ladies always consider an evening spent in company very delightful or very dull, in direct proportion to the admiration and attention they have excited, or to the neglect they have been obliged to endure.
'I have spent a most delightful evening,' replied Alice. I was engaged for every set, and waltzed twice with one of the most ele. gant young men I ever saw — Lieutenant Elwood. He is a fine figure, has dark'eyes, a rich mass of raven hair, and the handsomest pair of whiskers that ever graced a gentleman's face. He waltzed inimitably. Indeed, he is more graceful and polished in his manners than any one I ever met with.'
• But was not Mr. Linton there ? asked the anxious and alarmed mother.
• Yes, he was there, mamma, and as old and as ugly as ever. He almost persecuted me with his attentions; and if I had not been afraid of offending you, as I know he is your favorite, I would have been quite rude to him. The lieutenant seemed to pity me, and two or three times very dexterously relieved me from his disagreeable intrusion. Indeed, mamma, I think I have made a conquest of the handsome lieutenant,' said Alice, casting at the same time very self-satisfied glances at the mirror, where the youthful beauty was reflected, whose charms were heightened by the taste and skill of her Parisian dressing-maid.
Nonsense ! replied her mother, with petulance : ‘let me never hear you mention this again. I hope no portionless lieutenant will ever have the presumption to aspire to your hand. It is probable that he is a fortune-hunter, and may think you an heiress; but I can tell you, my daughter, unless you are soon married to a wealthy man, you will have to come down to a different style of living before long; for our heavy expenses made great inroads upon your father's fortune. As Mrs. Linton, you can surround yourself with even greater luxuries and elegancies than those to which you have been accustomed; and you will have an opportunity of becoming a leader of fashion. You will have your equipage, your retinue of servants, your princely mansion, and a husband who will idolize you, and will take pleasure in gratifying your taste for dress. How it would delight Lisette to open your boxes of Parisian costumes, and try their becoming effect upon your complexion and figure! You could then distance all your rivals, for you would then have the triumph of being the first in every new fashion. But if you were to marry a man without wealth, how differently would you live! You would be obliged to content yourself with a small house, or live in a second-rate boarding-house; you would have to relinquish evening parties, because you could not give them in return; and you would be forced to dismiss poor Lisette, for you could not afford to supply her with wine every day, and to give her such wages as her taste and skill entitle her to expect.'
* Indeed, mamma, I could not give up Lisette. If I were deprived of her assistance, I should not know how to dress myself fit to appear before any one. The lieutenant is certainly very handsome,' said Alice, with a sigh, 'but — I will marry Mr. Linton.'
The influence of Mrs. Vernon was successfully exerted upon
Charles and Alice, and in her hands their plastic minds and tastes were moulded to her wishes. Upon the character of Edward she failed to produce any impression; but she embittered his peace by her goading complaints of his want of success. She urged his removal, by every argument her ingenuity could suggest, and at last resorted to the means she recommended to her husband, and told him he must no longer expect any assistance from his father. Edward was struck to the heart by this sudden announcement. It seemed as if he were now cast adrift upon the ocean of life, without a sail or a rudder. * He had entered upon his profession with high and noble aspirations, and had fixed his eye upon some prominent and glorious model, whose example he endeavored to follow. He devoted his days and nights to study, and his laborious research and patient toil had their reward in the overflowing treasury of his expanded intellect. He had ever refused to support the cause of crime and injustice, for he thought it his duty and his privilege to maintain the just and the right, and to redress the wrongs of the oppressed. Although he naturally expected that his profession would afford bim support, yet he had never dreamed of making it a source of wealth, or of turning his attention to it as a means of immediate profit. With most students and learned men, he had no idea of the value or necessity of money, until it was forced upon him by being obliged to have occasional recourse to his father. It was then that he bitterly felt how slow had been his progress in gaining practice, and he became a prey to disheartening despondency. It was when suffering under its gloomy depression, that his mother tried her last experiment upon him.' It succeeded. He took a hasty farewell of his family and friends, and embarked with his little library, his only treasure, in a vessel bound to New Orleans.
It was true that his pecuniary gains had been but trifling, but he had a growing reputation, that would have finally placed him among the highest and most successful in his profession. It arose not with the bustle of workmen or the clink of hammers, but it was silently and progressively springing upward from the slender sappling to the lofty and wide-spreading tree. His opinions were frequently sought by his seniors in age and experience, and he had the high respect of all classes, on account of his moral as well as his intellectual superiority. And he was driven to leave the coming harvest of profes. sional wealth and distinction, and the friends who appreciated him, for a doubtful success among desperate adventurers.
Shortly after the departure of Edward, Alice gave her hand to Mr. Linton, and the bridal party started upon a fashionable tour. After their return to the city, Mrs. Vernon was sorely disappointed by Mr. Linton having signified his intention of taking permanent lodgings at a private boarding-house. He said he was getting too old to
Although every young man should endeavor to depend upon his own exertions, and should do without pecuniary assistance from his parents as soon as possible, yet no father should permit his son to enter a profession, without expecting to contribute to his support during the trying years of his early struggles. This is a time of fierce trial, and one thrown upon the world without money or assistance, runs the risk of sacrificing his integrity and high-mindedness to his necessities, or of falling a victim to des pair, insanity, or suicide.
indulge in his former extravagance, and must learn to economize, and to husband his resources.
Poor Alice, in suffering from the wreck of her vapor-built castles, had soon after the additional misfortune of becoming the nurse of a paralytic husband, for whom she had no affection. Mr. Linton, conscious that she could not love him, jealously forbade her going out or receiving visitors, and exacted from her the most slavish attendance. Mrs. Vernon's last hope for Alice was, that she would soon be left a rich widow ; but in this also she was doomed to disappointment. Mr. Linton lingered on for more than four years after his marriage ; and when the contents of his will were made known to the anxious mother, she found that he had left Alice a moderate annuity, and had bequeathed the remainder of his property to the family of a deceased brother.
A few months after the death of Mr. Linton, Mrs. Vernon received the following letter from Charles :
'I hasten to inform you, my dear parents, of the melancholy death of our poor Edward. He fell a vicum to one of the prevailing diseases of the country, after a few days' illness. I was absent in a neighboring state, upon some pressing business, and on my return, found that my dear brother was dead and buried.' This country did not suit his tastes or habits. He was too conscientious, and too scrupulously-honorable, 10 succeed in a place where all come determined to make a fortune as soon as possible, and by any means not openly dishonest. He found no companionship or congeniality, and he fell into a morbid state of mclancholy depression, which no doubt weakened his frame, and laid bim open to the attacks of disease.'
It was thus that the richly-gifted Edward died a stranger in a strange land, where he was unknown and unappreciated. His years of laborious study, his vast accumulation of legal and scientific know. ledge, bis high promises of future distinction, all lost — all sacrificed upon the venal shrine of a mother's love for gold. When it was too late, she reproached herself for having driven him from his home and his friends. But her remorse could avail him nothing now. He had gone from the earth to his early grave!
The afilicting intelligence of Edward's death proved fatal to Mr. Vernon, who had long been sinking into a gradual decay of his corporeal and mental powers. After his estate was settled, there remained but three or four thousand dollars for the support of his widow. And with this sum, and the small income of Alice, the mother and daughter removed to a retired part of the city, and commenced a humble style of living, suited to their altered fortunes.
About a year after the death of Mr. Vernon, there was a rumor circulated through the city, that Charles Vernon had become a defaulter, and had suddenly left the country. The paragraph in the paper alluding to it, created quite as great a sensation in his native place as it must have done in his adopted state. The wealthy Charles Vernon -- the enterprising Charles Vernon — the publicspirited Charles Vernon — a rogue and a defaulter! And there were whispers of another crime still deeper and still more disgraceful. It was hinted that he had forged several drafts, of a large amount.