A Reminiscence of Federalism

Title

A Reminiscence of Federalism

Subject

Federalists and Democrats, partisanship, voting, friendship, courtship.

Description

The narrator recounts the partisan divide between Federalists and Democrats in a New England town by reminiscing about a childhood friend, and her suitor's coming of age.

Creator

Sedgwick, Catharine M. [By Miss Sedgwick]

Source

The Token, edited by Samuel G. Goodrich.

Publisher

Boston: Charles Bowen

Date

1834 [pub. 1833]

Contributor

Jenifer Elmore, Naomi Lau, Kaylin Ricciardi, Abigail Skinner

Relation

Collected in Catharine Sedgwick, Tales and Sketches. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, and Blanchard, 1835: pp. 9-43. Collected in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vol. 1, edited by Nina Baym, pp. 1017-38. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1998.

Language

English

Type

Document

Text

A REMINISCENCE OF FEDERALISM

By Miss Sedgwick

‘O shame on men! devil with devil damn’d,
Firm concord holds: men only disagree
Of creatures rational, though under hope
Of heavenly grace: and God proclaiming peace,
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife.’
Milton.

A calm observer who has scarcely lived half the age of man, must look back with a smile at human frailty, rather than with a harsher feeling upon the subjects that have broken the world in which he has lived, (be it a little or a great one,) into opposed and contending parties. The stream for a while glides on with an unbroken surface, a snag interposes, and the waters divide, and fret, and foam around it till chance or time sweep it away, when they again commingle, and flow on their natural unruffled union. This is the common course of human passions. The subject in dispute may be more of less dignified; the succession to an empire, or to a few acres of sterile land; the rival claims of candidates for the presidency, or competitors for a village clerkship; the choice of a minister to England, or the minister of our parish; the position of a capital city, or of an obscure meeting house;* [1] the excellence of a Catalani, or of a rustic master of psalmody; a dogma

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in religion or politics; in short any thing, to which, as with the shield in the fable, there are two sides.

Some who have lived to swell the choral song to Adams and Jefferson, and blend their names in one harmonious peal, will remember when the one, in his honest distinction, was a patriot hero, and the other the arch enemy of his country. For myself, having been bred, according to the strictest sect of my political religion, a federalist, I regarded Mr. Jefferson, (whom all but his severest enemies do not now deny, to have been a calm, and at least well-intentioned philosopher,) as embodying in his own person whatever was impracticable, heretical and corrupt in politics, religion and morals. Some impressions of my early childhood which were connected with the subsequent fate of obscure but interesting individuals, have preserved a vivid recollection of those party strifes that should now only be remembered to assuage the heat of present controversies.

I was sent when a very young child, (I am not the hero of my own story, my readers must therefore bear with a little prefatory egotism,) to pass the summer in a clergyman’s family in Vermont, in a village which I shall take the liberty to call Carrington. Whether I was sent there for the advantage of a better school than my own village afforded, or for the flattering reason that governs the disposition of most younger children in a large family, to be got out of the way, the domestic archives do not reveal. Whatever was the motive I am indebted to the fact for some of the most interesting recollections of my life. The first absence from home

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is a period never forgotten, and always vivid. How well do I remember the aspect of that long, broad, and straight street that traversed the village of Carrington, as it appeared to me when I first entered it. The meeting house, with its tall, grenadier looking steeple; the freshly painted school house, the troop of shouting boys springing from its portal; the neat white houses with Venetian blinds, and pretty court-yards and gardens, the dwellings of the physician, the lawyer, and the merchant, the modest gentry of the place; and that, to my youthful vision, colossal piece of architecture, a staring flaming mansion, (I afterwards learned that Squire Hayford was its master,) with pilasters, pillars and piazzas, a balustrade, cupola, and four chimneys! Even then I turned my eyes from this chef-d’oeuvre of rustic art to the trees by the way side, whose topmost boughs in their freshest green, (for summer was still in its youth,) were flushed with the beams of the setting sun. And I eagerly gazed at the parsonage which stood at the extremity of the plain, flanked by an orchard of scrawny neglected apple-trees, its ill-proportioned form, and obtrusive angles sheltered by the most ample elm that ever unfolded its rich volume of boughs. A willow there was too, I remember, that hung its tresses over the old well-curb, for there Fanny Atwood and I have cracked may a ‘last year’s butternut,’ sweeter to us far than the freshest, most flavorous nuts of the south, or any thing else would now be.

It is difficult, in our leveling and disenchanted days, to recal the awe that thirty years ago the puritan clergy of New England inspirited in the minds of children.

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Who is there bred in the land of pilgrims, that has not in his memory an immaculate personage, tall or short but always erect, with a three-cornered cocked hat, long blue yarn stockings drawn over the knee, silver shoe buckles and a silver headed cane, looking stern and unrelenting, as if he embodied the terrors of the law? Who does not remember depressing his voice and checking the ‘little footsteps that lightly pressed the ground,’ as he passed the minister’s house, the domain that seemed to him to shut out all human sympathies, to stand between heaven and earth, a certain purgatory, at least to all youthful sinners?

With such prepossessions I entered Doctor Atwood’s family. The Doctor himself was absent on some pastoral duty when I arrived. I was soon put at my ease by the hospitalities of his social family. How the prejudices of childhood melt away and disappear in the first beam of kindness! A most kind and simple hearted race were the Atwoods. Miss Sally, the oldest, was housekeeper; a bountiful provider of ‘spring beer,’ cherry pies and gingerbread. Man and woman too, and above all a child, is an eating animal. The record of culinary virtues remains long after every other trace of good Miss Sally has faded from my mind. The second sister was Miss Nancy, a ‘weakly person’ she was called, and truly was. I can see her pale serious face now, in which sensibility to her own ailments, and solicitude for those of her fellow mortals, were singularly blended; her slender tall figure, as she stood shaking that vial with contents so mysterious to me, which she called her ‘mixture;’ her hands all veins and chords

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that seemed to have been made to spread plasters. Miss Nancy, in poetic phrase, was a ‘culler of simples.’ She gathered herbs, (for my friend Fanny called them sickness,) for all the village, and administered them too. She could tell with unerring certainty when motherwort would kill, and boneset would cure. Forgive me, gentle reader, (for Miss Nancy could not,) if I have mistaken an alias for a species. In brief, Miss Nancy was one of those prudent apprehensive people peculiarly annoying to children. Her memory was a treasure house of hair breadth escapes and fatal accidents; and her eye would fix upon that imaginative column in the newspapers devoted to the enumeration of such fancy articles as ‘caution to youths;’ ‘fatal sport;’ ‘hydrophobia!’ &c. &c., as a speculator devours the price of stocks. Malvina was the third daughter; I knew little of her, for she was a lady of the shears, and pursued her calling by keeping the even tenor of her way through the neighborhood, making ‘auld claiths look amaist as weel’s the new.’ I should have said that Malvina was among the few who would go through life content with the sphere providence had assigned her, without one craving from that ‘divinity that stirs within;’ limiting her ambition to pleasing the little boys, and satisfying their mammas, and her desires to her well earned twenty-five cents per day. But Malvina married and emigrated. Her husband was, as I have heard, a disciple of Tom Paine, and poor Malvina, who was only adequate to shape a sleeve or collar, began to reason of ‘fate and free will,’ foreknowledge absolute; and afterwards, when she visited her friends, she bewailed their irrational

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views, wondered they could believe the bible! and would have enlightened them with that precious textbook, the Age of Reason, had not Dr. Atwood consigned it forthwith to an auto-d-fé.

The doctor, according to the common custom of New England clergymen, who have an income of four or five hundred dollars a year, had educated several sons at college. One was a thriving attorney and counselor at law, in New York, and two others, (who closed the account of the doctor’s first marriage,) were keeping school, and qualifying themselves for the learned professions. The doctor in middle life, as it is by courtesy called, but long after his sun had declined from its meridian, had married a young and very pretty girl, who, by all accounts, looked much beside her autumnal consort, like a fresh blown rose attached to a stalk of sere and yellow leaves. The human frailty the doctor betrayed in his preference of this lamb of his flock over certain quite mature candidates for his conjugal favor, gave such scandal to his parish that the good man was fain to leave Connecticut, the land of his forefathers, and remove to Vermont, then called the new state, where his domestic arrangements were viewed with more indulgence. His wife, who seems to have had no fault but that one which was mending every day, died in the course of a few years, after having augmented the doctor’s wealth by the addition of one child.

This child was the gem of the family, and a gem of ‘purest ray serene,’ was my little friend Fanny. Fanny Atwood! Writing her name even at this distance of

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time makes my heart beat quicker. Affection has its bright, its immortal names, that will live after the trump of fame is a broken instrument, and the names it has pealed over the world are with all forgotten things. Perhaps I commit a mistake in making Fanny Atwood the heroine of a story. It may be that like those wild flowers she so much resembled, that are so delicate and sweet in their native green wood, but so fragile that they fade and droop as soon as they are exposed to the eye of the sun, and appear spiritless and insignificant when compared with the splendid belles of the greenhouse, on which the art of the horticulturist has been exhausted, so my little rustic favorite may seem tame, and she and her fortunes be derided by the fine ladies, if any such grace my humble tale with a listening ear.

I have known those who have drank of the tainted waters of a city till they confessed that the pure element as it welled up from the green turf, or sparkled in the crystal fountain of a mountain rock, was tasteless and disagreeable! But I know those too, who, though they have mastered the music of Rossini, have yet ears and hearts for wood notes wild. Nature is too strong for art, and those who are accustomed to the refinements of artificial life, may look without a ‘disdainful smile’ on Fanny Atwood as she was when I first saw her; as she continued, the picture of simplicity and all lovable qualities. She had a little round Hebe form. Her neck, chest, shoulders and arms were the very beau ideal of a French dress maker, so fair and fat; her hands were formed in the most delicate mould, and dimpled as an infant’s; her hair was of the tinge between flaxen


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and brown; glossy and wavy. Her mouth bore the signet of the sweet and playful temper that bade defiance to all the curdling tendencies of life, it was certainly the fittest organ for ‘words o’ kindness’ that could be formed. She had a slight lisp; graceful enough in childhood, but happily, as she grew up, it wore off. The line of her nose was sufficiently Grecian to be called so by her admirers, but her eyes, I am compelled to confess, even while I yet feel their warm and gentle beam upon me, were not according to the rule of beauty; they were clear and bright as health and cheerfulness could make them, but they lacked many shades of the violet, and were smaller than the orthodox heroine dimensions. If my bill of particulars fail to present the image of my friend, let my readers embody health, good humor, order, a disinterestedness, considerateness or mindfulness, a quick sympathy with joy and sorrow, in the image of a girl of nine years, and it cannot fail to resemble Fanny Atwood. She would have been a spoiled child, if unbounded love and indulgence could have spoiled her; but she was like those fruits and flowers which are only made more beautiful or flavorous by the fervid rays of the sun. She sometimes tried Miss Sally’s patience by a too free dispensation of the luxuries of her frugal pantry, and Miss Nancy’s by deriding her herb teas, even that ‘sovereignest thing on earth,’ her motherwort; and once, when in the act of raising a dose of the panacea, the mixture, to her lips, she let fall dose, vial and all; accidently, no doubt; but poor Miss Nancy! I think her nerves never quite recovered the shock. However,

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these offences were soon forgiven, and would have been, if magnified a hundred fold, for in the touching language of old Israel, she ‘was the only child of her mother, and her mother was dead.’

I was within a few months of Fanny’s age when we first met, and with the facility of childhood we became friends in half an hour. She had presented me to her two favorites, a terrier puppy and black cat, between whom she had so assiduously cultivated a friendship that she had converted their natural gall into honey, and they coursed up and down the house together to the infinite amusement of my friend, and the perpetual annoyance of the elderly members of the family. Nothing could better illustrate Fanny’s power than the indulgence she obtained for these little pests. Miss Sally prided herself on her discipline of animals, but she was brought to wink at Fido’s misdeeds, suffered him to sleep all day by the winter’s fire, and when she once or twice resolutely ordered him out for the night, she was persuaded by Fanny to get up with her and let him in. And the cat, though Miss Nancy’s aversion, fairly installed herself on a corner of Fanny’s chair, and was thrice a day fed from her plate.

As I have said, Fanny and I made rapid progress in our friendship. She had introduced me to her little family of dolls, which were all patriotic, all of home manufacture, and I had offered to her delighted vision my compagnon de voyage, a London doll; in our eyes the master piece of the arts. We were consulting confidently on some matters touching our respective families, when I heard the lumbering sound of the

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doctor’s chaise, and I felt a chill come over me like that of poor Jack, the bean-climber of aspiring memory, when seated at the giant’s hearth, and chatting with his lady, he first heard the homeward step of her redoubtable lord and master. My prejudices against the clerical order were certainly not dispelled by my first impressions of Doctor Atwood. He wore a thick set fozy wig, cut by a sort of equatorial line around the forehead. His chin was not a freshly mown stubble field, for it was Saturday, and the doctor shaved but once a week. His figure was tall and corpulent, and altogether he presented a lowering and most forbidding aspect to one who had been accustomed to a more advanced state of civilization than his person indicated. I had retreated to the farthest corner of the room, dropped my head and hidden my doll in my handkerchief, when Fanny, to my astonishment, dragging me into notice, exclaimed in the most affectionate tone, ‘Oh, father, how glad I am you have come! I wanted you to see C----‘s doll; she is the most perfect beauty! are you not glad she’s come?’ Now meaning me, not the doll.

The doctor made no reply for a moment, and when he did, he merely said, without a sign of courtesy or even humanity, ‘How d’ye do, child, pretty well?’

‘Father!’ exclaimed Fanny in a tone which betrayed her mortification and disappointment. I shrank away to my seat, abut Fanny remained hovering about the place where her father stood, lost apparently in sullen abstraction. The doctor sat down. Fanny seated herself on his knee, (I wondered she could.) ‘How

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funny your wig looks! father,’ she said, ‘its all awry.’ Then laughing and giving it a fearless twirl, she took a comb from the doctor’s waistcoat pocket, smoothed it down, threw her fat arms round his neck and kissed him first on one check, then on the other, saying, ‘you look quite handsome, now, father!’ Scanty as my literature was, a classical allusion occurred to me; ‘Beauty and the Beast!’ thought I, but far would it have been from the nature of that Beast to have been as dull to the caresses of Beauty as the doctor seemed to Fanny’s. She was evidently perplexed by his apparent apathy; for a moment she laid her check to his, then sprang from his knee and went to a cupboard about ten inches square, made in the chimney beside the fireplace, (an anomaly in the architecture, these puritan cupboards were,) and drew from it a long pipe, filled, lighted, and put it in her father’s lips. He received it passively, smoked it with continued unconsciousness, and when the tobacco was exhausted, threw pipe and all out of the window. Fanny looked at me and laughed, then suddenly changing to an expression of solicitude, she leaned her elbow on the doctor’s knee, looked up in his face, and said in a voice that must penetrate to the heart, ‘what is the matter, father?’

The doctor seemed suddenly to recover his faculties; to come to himself, in the common phrase, and with tears gushing form his eyes, he said, ‘Fanny, my child, poor Randolph’s mother is dead.’

‘Dead, father! What will Randolph do?’

‘Do, Fanny? Replied the doctor, brushing off his tears, ‘why, he will do his duty; no easy matter in the

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poor boy’s case.’ The doctor then proceeded to relate the scene he had just come from witnessing, and which had melted one of the tenderest hearts that ever was in a human frame, uncouth and repelling as that frame was. The facts which will explain the doctor’s emotions are briefly these. There was a certain Squire Hayford residing in Carrington, the proprietor of the stately mansion we have noticed. He was a democrat, according to the classification of that day, and one of the most impassioned order. A democrat in theory, but in his own little sphere as absolute a despot as ever sat on a throne. He was the wealthiest man in Carrington, owned most land, and had most ready money; in short, he was the great man of the place, and, as was happily said on another occasion, ‘the smallest of his species.’ Of all the men I ever met with he had the most unfounded and absurd vanity. His opinions were all prejudices, and in each and all of them he held himself infallible. He was the centre of his world, the sun of his system, which he divided into concentric circles. Himself first, then his household, his town, his county, his state, &c. Fortunately for himself, he had adopted the popular side in politics, and with a character that would have been particularly odious to the sovereign people he made himself an oracle among them. This man had one child, a daughter, a gentle and lovely woman as she was described to me, who some fourteen years before my story begins, had married a Mr. Gordon, from one of the Southern States. It was a clandestine marriage. Squire Hayford having refused his consent, because

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Gordon was a ‘southerner,’ and he held all ‘southerners’ in utter contempt and aversion, and never graced them with any other name than slave drivers, with the addition of such expletives as might give force to the reproach. Gordon was a high spirited man and an ardent lover, and he easily persuaded Miss Hayford to escape from the unreasonable opposition of her father, and transfer her allegiance to him. This was her first disobedience, but disobedience to him was an unpardonable sin in the squire’s estimation, and he permitted his only child to encounter the severest evils, and languish through protracted sufferings, before he manifested the slightest relenting. She lost several children; she became a widow, was reduced to penury, and sacrificed her health in one of our southern cities, in an attempt to gain a livelihood as governess. Her father then sent her a pitiful sum of money, and the information that a small house in Carrington, belonging to him was vacant, and she might come and occupy it if she would. The kindness was scanty, and the manner of it churlish enough; but disease and penury cut off all fastidiousness, and Mrs. Gordon returned to Carrington with her only son Randolph.

Here she languished month after month. The bare necessities of existence were indirectly supplied by her father, but he never spoke to her, and, what affected her far more deeply, he never noticed her son, never betrayed a consciousness of his existence.

Adversity, if it does not sever the ties of nature, multiplies and strengthens them. Never was there a tenderer union than that which subsisted between

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Randolph and his mother, and nothing could have been more natural than Fanny’s exclamation when told of Mrs. Gordon’s death, for it seemed as if the life of parent and child were fed from the same fountain. As my readers are now acquainted with the relative position of the parties, I shall give the doctor’s account to Fanny in his own words. ‘I left the chaise at Mrs. Gordon’s door, my child,’ said he, ‘that Randolph might take her to ride. They had ridden but a short distance when she complained of faintness, and Randolph turned back. She had fainted quite away just as they stopped at their own door. There was a man riding past; Randolph called to him for help. He came and assisted in carrying the poor lady to her bed. When she recovered her senses, she looked up and saw the man; it was her father, Fanny!’

‘Her father! what, that hateful old Squire Hayford?’

‘Yes, my child. Providence brought him to her threshold at the critical moment. When I called for the chaise, I went in. I saw she was dying. Randolph was bathing her head with camphor, and his tears dropped on the pillow like rain. Her father stood a little way from the bed. He looked pale and his lip quivered. Ah, Fanny, my child, death takes hold of the heart that nothing else will reach. When Mrs. Gordon heard my step she looked up at me and said, “I believe I am dying; pray with me once more Doctor Atwood; pray that my father may forgive—that—he—may—” here her voice faltered, but she looked at Randolph, and I understood her, and went to prayer.

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‘But, father, what did Squire Hayford do? you know he swore a horrid oath last independence that he would never hear “Parson Fed* [2] pray again.” ’

‘Yes, yes; Fanny, I remember, and he remembered too, for he walked out of the door and stood in the porch, but I took care to raise my voice so loud that he could not help hearing me. The Lord assisted me, my child; words came to me faster than I could utter them; thoughts, but not my thoughts; words, but not of my choosing, for their pierced even my own heart. When I had done, Squire Hayford came in, walked straight to the bed, and said, “Mary, I forgive you; I wish your troubles may be all at an end, but I am not answerable for your past sufferings; I told you what you must expect when you married that southern beggar.” ’

‘Father,’ exclaimed Fanny, ‘why did you not stop him.’

‘I did long to knock him down, Fanny, and I though Randolph would, for his black eyes flashed fire; but oh, how quick they fell again when his mother looked up like a dying saint as she was, and said, “Father, let the past be past.” ’

‘ “Well,” said he, “so I will; and as I am a man of deeds and not of words, I promise you I will do well by your boy; I will take him home, and he shall be the same as a son to me, provided—” ’


‘Here he paused. I think she did not hear his last word, for her face lighted up, she clasped her hands

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and thanked God for crowning with such mercy her dying hour; then she drew Randolph down to her, kissed him, and said, “now, my son I can die in peace.”

“But,” said her father, “you have not heard me out, Mary. Randolph must give up the name of Gordon for that of Hayford—”’

‘Oh, father,’ interrupted Fanny, ‘he did not, did he?’

‘Let me finish, child. The poor lady at the thought of her son giving up his dead father’s name, heaved a sigh so deep and heavy, that I feared her breath would have gone with it. She looked at Randolph, but he turned away his eye. ‘My dear child,’ she said, ‘it must be; it is hard for me to ask and you to do, but it must be; speak Randolph, say you accept the terms.’

‘Thus pressed, the poor boy spoke, and spoke out his heart, “Do not ask me that, mother;” he said, “give up my dear father’s name! No, never, never.” ’
‘ “My child, you must, you will be destitute; without a home, a friend, a morsel of bread.” ’

‘ “I shall not be destitute, mother, I can work, and is not Doctor Atwood my friend? and besides, mother, I care not what becomes of me when you are gone.” ’

‘ “But I do my son; I cannot leave you so. Oh, promise me, Randolph.” ’

‘ “Do not ask me, mother; I cannot give up the name I love and honor above all others, for that—” ’ I know not what the poor boy might have said, for his mother stopped him. “Listen to me my son,” she said, “my breath is almost spent; you know how I have been punished for one act of disobedience; how much misery I brought on your dear father, on all of us; you may

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repair my fault. Oh, give me peace, promise to be faithful in your mother’s place to her father.” ’

‘ “I will promise any thing, dear mother; I will do any thing but take his name.” ’

‘ “All is useless without that;” her voice sunk to a whisper,--“dear, dear child,” she added, “it is my last wish.” I saw her countenance was changing, and I believe I said, ‘she is going,’ and poor Randolph cried out, ‘Mother, mother, I will do every thing you ask—I promise—’ a sweet smile spread over her face. He laid his cheek to her’s, she tried to kiss him, but her lips never moved again, and in a few moments, my dear Fanny, she was with the saints in heaven.’

Fanny’s tears had coursed down her cheeks as her father had proceeded in his narration. Soon after I heard her repeating to herself, ‘Randolph Hayford, Randolph Hayford; I will never call him any thing but Randolph; but I suppose I shall not often have a chance to call him any thing. That cross of Squire Hayford hates you so, father, he’ll never let Randolph come and see us; he’ll never let him go any where but to some dirty democrat’s.’

I now look back, almost unbelieving of my own recollections, at the general diffusion of the political prejudices of those times. No age nor sex was exempt from them. They adhered to an old man to the very threshold of another world, and they sometimes clouded the serene heaven of such a mind as my friend Fanny Atwood’s.

The rival parties in Carrington were so nearly balanced, that each individual’s weight was felt in the

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scale. All qualities and relations were merged in the political attribute. I have often heard, when the bell tolled the knell of a departed neighbor, the most kind hearted person, say, ‘we’ or ‘they have lost a vote!’ Good Doctor Atwood was as sturdy in his political as in his religious faith. He had a vein of humanity like my Uncle Toby’s, that tempered his judgment in individual cases, but in the abstract I rather think he believed that none but federalists and the orthodox, according to the sound school of the Mathers and Cottons, could enter the kingdom of heaven. With this creed, with an ardent temperament that glowed to the last hour of his life, and with the faculty of expressing pithily what he felt strongly, and without fear or awe of mortal man, he was, of course, loved almost to idolatry by his own party, and hated in equal measure by the rival faction.

I have said that the village street of Carrington traversed a hill and plain. The democrats for the most part occupied the hill. What an infected district it then seemed to me! The federalists, (alas! was it an augury of their descending fortunes?) lived in the vale. The most picturesque object in the village, and one as touching to the sentimental observer as Sterne’s dead ass, was a superannuated horse; a poor commoner, who picked up an honest living by the way side. His walk was as regular as Edie Ochiltree’s, or any other licensed gaberlunzie’s. He began in the morning, and grazing along, he arrived about midday at the end of his tour, he then crossed the street and returned, now

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and then resting his weary limbs in the shadow of a tree planted by the way side. Thus sped his innocent life. It was an edifying sight to see the patience and satisfaction with which he gleaned his scanty portion of the bounties of nature. Jacques would have moralized on the spectacle. The children called him Clover, why, I know not, unless it were an allusion to his green old age. He was a great favorite with the little urchins; the youngest among them were wont to make their first equestrian essays on Clover’s bare back. My friend Fanny’s gentle heart went out towards him in the respect that waits on age. Many a time have I known her to abstract a measure of oats from the parson’s frugal store, and set it under the elm tree for Clover, and as she stood by him while he was eating, patting and stroking him, he would look round at her with an expression of mute gratitude and fondness, that words could not have rendered more intelligible.

Strange as it may seem, even poor Clover was converted into a political instrument. This ‘innocent beast and of a good conscience,’ was made to supply continual fuel to the inflammable passions of the fiery politicians of Carrington. His sides were pasted over with lampoons in which the rival factions vented their wit or their malignity safe from personal responsibility, for Clover could tell no tales. Thus he trudged from the hill, a walking gazette, his ragged and grizzled sides covered with these militant missives, and returned bearing the responses of the valley, as unconscious of his hostile burden, as the mail is of its portentous

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contents. Sometimes, indeed, Clover carried that which was more accordant with his kind and loving nature.

As Fanny had predicted, after Randolph’s removal to the great house, his grandfather prohibited his visits at Doctor Atwood’s, but Fanny often met him in the lagging walk to school, berrying, nutting, and on all neutral ground, and when they did not meet, they maintained a continual correspondence by Clover. The art was simple by which they secured their billetdoux from the public eye, but it sufficed. The inside contained the effusion of their hearts. The outside was scribbled with some current political sarcasm or joke. The initial letter of Randolph’s superscription was always F., Fanny’s G., for she tenaciously adhered to the name of Gordon. The communications were attached by the corners to Clover. I found recently among some forgotten papers one of Fanny’s notes, and childish as it is, I shall make no apology for inserting it verbatim.

‘Dear Randolph—I thank you a thousand times and so does C--, for the gold eagles. There never was any thing in the world so beautiful, I do’nt believe. They are far before the grown up ladies. We shall certainly wear them to meeting next Sabbath, and fix them so every body in the world can see them, and not let the bow of ribbon fall down over them, as Miss Clarke did last Sabbath, cause she has got that old democrat, Doctor Star, for a sweetheart; but I managed her nicely, Randolph. In prayer time when she did not dare move, I whirled round the bow

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so the eagle stood up bravely, and flashed right in Doctor Star’s eyes. I did not care so very much about having an eagle for myself, (though I do now since you have given it to me,) but I thought it very important for C— to wear the federal badge, because her father is a senator in Congress. Father is almost as pleased as we are. I see Clover coming, and I must make haste; poor old fellow! I heard his tread when it stormed so awfully last night, and I got father to put him up in our stable. Was not he proper good? It was after prayers, too, and his wig was off and his knee buckles out. There, they all go out of Deacon Garfield’s to read Clover’s papers. Good bye, dear, dear Randolph. F.A.’

If my readers are inclined to smile at the defects of my heroine’s epistle, they must remember those were not the days when girls studied Algebra, and read Virgil in the original before they were ten years old. Besides, I have not claimed for Fanny intellectual brilliancy. The manifestations of her mind were (where some bel esprits last look for it,) in the conduct of her daily life.

But I am fondly lingering on the childhood of my friend. I must resolutely pass over the multitude of anecdotes that occur to me, to those incidents that are sufficiently dignified for publication.

Eight years flowed on without working any other change in the condition of my friends in Carrington than is commonly effected by the passage of time. Doctor Atwood continued his weekly ministrations, varied only by a slight verbal alteration in his prayer.

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During Mr. Adams’ presidency, he implored the Lord to continue to us rulers endued with the spirit of their station. When Mr. Jefferson became chief magistrate, he substituted ‘give’ for continue. Miss Sally still brewed and baked with her accustomed energy. Miss Nancy by the too lavish consumption of her own nostrums, had lost every thing but her shadow. Squire Hayford was more opinionated and insufferable than ever. Poor old Clover was dead, and at Fanny’s request, had been honorably interred beneath the elm tree, his favorite poste restante. Fanny had preserved the distinctive traits of her childhood, and at seventeen, was as good humored, as simple, as lovely and, (as more than one thought,) far more loveable than when I first knew her.

The sad trials of Randolph’s youth had early ripened his character, and had given to it an energy and self-government that he could have derived alone from the discipline of such circumstances. The lofty spirit of his father had fallen on him like the mantle of an ascending prophet. His mother’s concentrated tenderness had fostered his sensibility, and the influence of her dying hour passed not away with the days of mourning, but stamped his whole after life.

Who has ever lost a friend, without that feeling so natural, that a painter of nature has put it into the mouth of a man lamenting over a dead beast? ‘I am sure thou hast been a merciful master to him’ said I. ‘Alas!’ said the mourner, ‘I thought so when he was alive, but now that he is dead I think otherwise.’

The solution of this universal lamentation and just

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suffering, must be found in the fact that the very best fall far short of the goodness of which their Creator has made them capable. It is in the spirit of expiation that far more deference is paid to the wishes of the dead than the living; and affectionate and devoted as Randolph was to his mother, I doubt if she had lived, that she ever could have persuaded him to the sacrifices and efforts he made for her sake when she was dead. He immediately assumed the name of Hayford, without expressing a regret, even to Fanny; and accustomed as he had been to the control alone of his gentle mother, he submitted without a murmur to the petty and irritating tyrannies of his grandfather. He suppressed the expression of his opinions and surrendered his strongest inclinations at the squire’s command. Never was there a case in which the sanctifying influence of a pure motive was more apparent. The same deference which Randolph paid to his relative, might have been rendered by a sordid dependant, but then where would have been that moral power which gave Randolph an ascendancy even over the narrow and unperceiving mind of his grandfather, and which achieved another and a more honorable triumph.

A Mrs. Hunt, a widowed sister of the squire, presided over the female department of his family. She was a well intentioned woman, a meek and patient drudge, who had been content to toil in his house, year after year, for the poorest of all compensations, presents; the common and wretched requital for the services of relations. Mrs. Hunt had been sustained in her endurance by a largess that now and then fell upon her

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eldest son, and by the hope that ultimately her brother’s fortune would descend to her unportioned children. This hope was suddenly blighted by his adoption of Randolph; and Randolph, of course, became the object of her dislike, and he daily suffered those annoyances and discomforts, which a woman always has in her power to inflict. To these he opposed a respectful department; a mindfulness of her convenience and comfort, and a generous attention to her children, which smoothed her rugged path, and all unused as she was to such humanities, won her heart. It was not long before the good woman found herself going to him, whom she had regarded as her natural enemy, for aid and sympathy in all her troubles.

If I am prosing, my readers must forgive me. It has always seemed to me that we may get the most useful lessons from those who are placed in circumstances not uncommon, nor striking, but to which a parallel may be found in every day’s experience. It is a common doctrine, but one not favorable to virtue, that characters are formed by circumstances. If it be true, my friend Randolph was a noble exception; his character controlled circumstances; and, by the best of all alchymy, he extracted wholesome food out of the materials that might have been poison to another.

His boyish affection for Fanny Atwood had ripened into the tenderest love, and was fully returned, without my friend ever having endured the reserve and distrust that are supposed to be necessary to the progress of the passion. Trials their love had, but they came from without. Doctor Atwood had heard the squire had

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said, ‘the parson might try his best to get his heir for his daughter Fanny; he’d never catch his heir, though he caught Randolph!’ The good doctor was a proud father, and a poor man, and, though it cost him many a heartache, he shut his doors against Randolph.

Meanwhile, the squire’s self complacency (the squire had the art of making every body’s merit or demerit minister to this great end of his being,) in Randolph increased. He was proud of his talents, his scholarship and his personal elegance, though his fac-simile resemblance to his father was so striking, that the squire was never heard to speak of his appearance, except to say, ‘what a crop of hair he has, just like all the Hayfords!’

There was on peculiarity about Randolph, that puzzled his grandfather. ‘The fellow is so inconsistent,’ said he to himself one day, after he had been reviewing his account books; ‘when he has money of his own earning he pours it out like water; gave the widow fifty dollars last week, but he seems as afraid of spending my cash as if I exacted Jews’ usury; quite contrary to the old rule, ‘light come, light go.’ I have footed it right; eight years since Mary died—day after we lost Martin’s election by the parson’s vote; can’t be mistaken; he’s got through college, fitted for the law, and I have paid out cash for him but ninety-nine pounds, five shillings, and three pence, lawful! By George! the widow’s brood has cost me more in that time. Ah! it’s number one after all; is sure of it at last, and that southern blood can’t bear an obligation. Trust me for seeing into a millstone. I can tell him he’ll have to wait; I feel as young as I did thirty years

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ago; sound grinders, good pulse, steady gait. Ten years to run up to three score, and ten may last to eighty. Grandmother Brown lived to ninety and upwards; why should not I? when I quit, am willing Randolph, (wish his name was Silas,) should have it. If it was not for that southern blood he’d be about the likeliest of the Hayfords. All his obstinacy comes from that ‘I’ll not disobey you, sir, and even if I would, Miss Atwood would not marry me without your consent; but be assured, sir, I shall never marry any other!’ We’ll see, my lord; while I can say nay, you shall never marry that old aristocrat’s daughter. Just one-and-twenty now; guess you’ll sing another tune before you are twenty-five. Time to go up to the printing office; wonder if we shall have another Hampden this week; confounded smart fellow that.’

Then looking at his watch and finding the happy hour for country ennuyés, the hour for the mail and daily lounge, had arrived, the squire sallied forth to take his morning walk to the printing office, the village reading room.

There was a weekly journal published in Carrington, the ‘Star’ or ‘Sun,’ I forget which, but certainly the ascendant luminary of the democrat party. There had appeared, recently, in this journal, a series of articles written temperately, and with vigor and elegance, on the safety of a popular government.

The writer advocated an unlimited trust in the sanitive virtue of the people; he appeared familiar with the history of the republics that had preceded ours, and

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contended that there was no reason to infer our danger from their brief existence. He maintained, (and it will now perhaps be admitted with truth,) that distrust of the people was the great error of the federalists; that the prestiges of the old government still hung about them, and that they were committing a fatal mistake in applying old principles to a new condition of things.

These articles were read, lauded and republished. The name of the author was sought, but in vain. Even the printer and the editor, (I believe one person represented both these august characters,) were ignorant, and could only guess that it was a judge—, or lawyer—, the lights of the state. But conjecture is not certainty, and the author still remained the ‘great unknown,’ not only of Carrington, but of the county and state.

The squire returned from his morning lounge with a fresh journal, containing a new article from Hampden, the signature of the unknown author. A fresh newspaper! Its vapor was as sweet as a regale to the little vulgar pug-nose of our village politician as the dews of Helicon to the votaries of the muses. It so happened that Randolph was sitting in the parlor, reading, when the squire came in. ‘Have you seen the paper, this morning, Randolph?’ he asked.

‘No; I have not.’

‘I guess not, I have got the first that was struck off. Another article from Hampden, I understand. He is answered in the Boston Centinel. They own he writes ‘plausibly, ably and eloquently;’ the d—speaks truth for once I guess the Boston chaps find their

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match at last.’ The squire had a habit not peculiar to him, but rather annoying, of reading aloud a passage that either pleased or displeased him, without any regard to the occupations of those around him. His comments, too, were always expressed aloud. He drew out his spectacles and sat down to the paper. His sister, Mrs. Hunt, was sewing in one corner of the room, and Randolph sitting opposite to him, but apparently absorbed in his book. ‘Too deuced cool,’ grumbled the squire, after reading the first passage. ‘Ah, he warms in the harness; not up to the mark, though; I wish he’d give ‘em one of my pealers.’ ‘Good, good; wonder what the Centinel will say to that.’ ‘By George, capital! I could not have writ it better. I would have put in more spice, though.’

‘Ha! as good as the Scripture prophet.’ ‘Listen, Randolph.’ The squire then read aloud. ‘We are aware that prediction is not argument, but we venture to prophesy that in twenty years from this time the federal party will have disappeared. The grandsire will have to explain the turn—’

‘Term, sir,’ interposed Randolph.

‘Yes, yes, term. The grandsire will have to explain the term to the child at his knee. We shall be a nation of republicans, and whenever—’

‘Wherever, sir.’

‘So it is; wherever an American is found, at home or aboard—’

‘Abroad, sir.’ This time there was a slight infusion of petulance in Randolph’s tone, and still more in the squire’s at the repeated interruptions as he proceeded.

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‘At home or abroad, in office or out of it, in high station or low, he will claim to be a Republican, and cherish the title as the noblest and happiest a civilian⎯’

‘Citizen, sir⎯noblest and happiest a citizen can claim.’

‘Confound you, Randolph!” exclaimed the squire, dropping the paper and fixing his eyes on his grandson; ‘how do you know the words before I speak them?’ This was rather an exclamation of vexation than suspicion. Randolph was conscious that in involuntarily interposing to save his offspring from murder he had risked a secret, and he answered the squire’s exclamation with a look of confusion that at once flashed the truth upon his obtuse comprehension. He jumped up, clapped Randolph on the shoulder, exclaiming, ‘You wrote it yourself, you dog, you can’t deny it. It’s a credit to you, a credit to the name. But you might have known I should have found you out. Just like all the Hayfords, keep every thing snug till out it comes with a crack.’

‘I thought all along,’ meekly, said Mrs. Hunt, who had been plying her needle unobserved and unobserving, ‘I thought all along cousin Randolph wrote them pieces.’

‘Now shut up, widow,’ retorted the squire, ‘you did not think no such thing; just like all fore-thoughts, come afterwards. Now, ma’am please to step out; I must have a little private conversation with Mr. Hampden.’

‘Be kind enough before you go, aunt,’ said Randolph, ‘to promise me that you will say nothing of what has

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just passed. I have made no admissions, and I do not wish to be thought the writer of the Hampden articles.’

Mrs. Hunt, of course, promised to be faithful. As soon as she was out of hearing, ‘What does that mean?’ asked the squire. ‘It is all stuff to make a secret of it any longer.’

‘I think not, sir. The articles have far more reputation and influence, (if I may believe they have influence,) than if they were known to proceed from a young man whose name has no authority.’

‘Hoity-toity! who’s got a better name than yours? a’nt willing the Hayfords should have the credit, hey!’ Randolph did not vouchsafe any reply to the squire’s absurd mistake, and after a few moments his gratified vanity regained its ascendancy.

‘The pieces please me,” said he, “though if you had told me you were writing them I could have given you some hints that would have improved them. They want a little more said about men, less of principles. They want fire too; egad, I’d send ‘em red-hot bullets; but they’ll do; you’ve come out like a man, on the right side, and now I believe, what I felt scary about before.’ Here the squire paused, and fixed one of his most penetrating glances upon Randolph. ‘I believe you will vote to-morrow, and vote right.’ Randolph made no reply.

A few words will here be necessary to explain the dilemma in which Randolph was about to be placed. The annual election of a representative to the state legislature was to occur the next day. The rival parties in Carrington were known to their champions to be exactly balanced. There was not a doubtful vote

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except Randolph Hayford’s. He had never yet voted, not having till now arrived at the requisite age. He had not thrown himself into the scale of either party. His opinions were independent, and independently expressed. The squire’s hopes of his vote were very much encouraged by the Hampden articles, but still there were circumstances in this case that made him somewhat apprehensive.

‘Your vote,’ resumed the squire, ‘will decide the election to-morrow.’ Again he paused, but without receiving a reply. ‘I can’t have much doubt which way Hampden will vote, but I like to make all sure and fast. Randolph, I know what scion you want to see engrafted on that tree.’ The squire pointed to the only picture in his house, a family tree, that in a huge black frame stretched its frightful branches over the parlor fireplace. On these branches hung a regiment of militia captains, majors, colonels, sundry justices of the peace; precious fruit all, supported by an illustrious trunk, a certain Sir Silas Hayford, who flourished in the reign of Charles the First. Strange and inconsistent as it may appear with his ultra democracy, never was there a man prouder of his ancestral dignities, or more anxious to have them transmitted, than our village squire.

‘Randolph,’ he continued, assured of success by the falling of Randolph’s eye, and a certain half pleased, half anxious expression that overspread his face. ‘Randolph, I have always said that I never would give my consent to your marriage with that old aristocratic parson’s daughter. But circumstances alter cases. I am a man that hears to reason when I approve of it. I have no

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fault to find with the girl; never heard her speak; believes she’s well enough.’ Randolph bit his lips. How hard it is to hear an idolized object spoken of as if she were of the mass of human kind. ‘To come to the point, Randolph,⎯if you’ll go forward to-morrow like a man, and give in your vote for Martin and make Ross’ scale kick the beam, I’ll withdraw my opposition to this match. Hear me out. I’ll do more for you. I’m pleased with you, Randolph. I’ve just received the money for my Genesee lands. I’ll give you two hundred pounds to buy your law library, and you may go next week to any town in the state you like, and open your office, and be your own man, and take your girl there as soon as you like.’

‘Good Heaven!’ exclaimed Randolph, ‘you can offer nothing more; the world has nothing more to tempt me.’ And he left the room in a state of agitation in which the squire had never before seen him. The squire called after him,— ‘Take time to consider, Randolph. To-morrow morning is time enough for your answer.’

In the course of evening, Randolph met Fanny Atwood. Whether the meeting was accidental, I cannot pretend to say. It would seem to have been disobedience in my friend to have kept up her intercourse with Randolph after the doctor had shut his doors upon him. But Fanny well knew there was nothing beside herself, the doctor loved so well as Randolph; nothing that in his secret heart he so much desired as to see them united, and that his resolute and rather harsh procedure in excluding Randolph from his house had been a sacrifice of his own inclinations to his

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honest pride. This being the state of matter, it cannot appear strange that Fanny should be willing to meet him when ‘with rosy blush,

‘Summer eve is sinking;
When on rills that softly gush,
Stars are softly winking;
When through boughs that knit the bower,
Moonlight gleams are stealing.’

Or at any of those times and places which nature’s and our poet had appointed to tell, ‘Love’s delightful story.’

The lovers took a sequestered and favorite walk to a little waterfall at some distance from the village. Here, surrounded by moonlight, the evening fragrance and soft varying and playful shadows, they seated themselves on the fallen trunk of a tree, one of their accustomed haunts.

When they first met, Fanny had said, ‘So Randolph, your secret is out at last.’

‘Out! is it?’

‘Pshaw, you know it is. Your grandfather hinted it at the post office, and the town is ringing with it.’

‘I am sorry for it. I was aware that my grandfather knew it, but I have seen nobody else to-day. Has your father heard it, Fanny?’

‘Yes; finding it was out, I told him myself. Dear father! he both laughed and cried.’

‘Cried!’

‘Yes; you know that is no uncommon thing for him to do. He was grieved that you had to come out on the democratic side, for you know he thinks a democrat next to an infidel; but then he was pleased to find you could write such celebrated articles. He has said all

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along that they had more sense and reason in them than could be distilled from every thing else written by the democrats. Now he is amazed, he says, that a boy, (you know he calls every one a boy that is not forty,) should write so wisely, and above all, so temperately.’

‘Ah, my dear Fanny, adversity, though a ‘stern rugged nurse’ she be, enforces a discipline that makes us early wise. Heaven grant that her furnace may not be heated so hot as to consume instead of purifying.’

‘What do you mean, Randolph? you are very sad this evening. Are you not well? You are not troubled about this secret. I thought you looked very pale; what has happened to you?’

Randolph kissed the hand that Fanny in her earnestness had lain on his, ‘My dearest Fanny,’ he replied, ‘since you have exchanged those vows with me that pledge us to ‘halve our sorrows as well as double our joys,’ you have condemned yourself to trials too severe for your sweet and gentle spirit.’

‘Randolph, if my spirit is sweet and gentle, it can the better bear them; and besides, nothing can be a very, very heavy trial that I share with you. But tell me quick what it is? I am sure I shall think of some way of getting rid of it.’

Randolph shook his head, and then related his morning’s conversation with his grandfather. ‘Now,’ he said, ‘you see the cruel predicament in which I am placed. You, my beloved Fanny, the object of my fondest hopes, all that makes life attractive and dear to me, are placed within my grasp; an honorable career is opened to me, escape from the galling thralldom of my

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grandfather’s house, from the perpetual annoyance of his vulgarity, his garrulity, jealousy, and petty tyrannies; and this, without the slightest deviation in the spirit or even the letter from my promise to my dying mother.’ Randolph paused. Fanny watched every motion of his countenance with breathless expectation; she could not speak; she did not know what remained to be said, but she ‘guessed and feared.’ He proceeded. ‘But the price, Fanny, the price I am to pay for these ineffable blessings! I must give my vote to an unprincipled demagogue, and withhold it from an honest man. I must sacrifice the principles that I have laid down to govern my conduct. They may be stigmatized as juvenile, romantic, and fantastical; as long as I believe them essential to integrity, I cannot depart from them without a consciousness of degradation. My moral sense is not yet dimmed by the fumes of party, and it seems to me as plain a proposition as any other, that we ought only to support such men and such measures as are for the good of the country, and the whole country. It seems to me, that no man enlists under the banner of a party without some sacrifice of integrity. My grandfather says to me, in his vulgar slang, ‘between two stools you will fall to the ground. Be it so. It will be ground on which I can firmly plant my foot, and look up to heaven with consciousness that I have not offended against the goodness that made me a citizen of a country destined to be the greatest and happiest the world ever saw, provided we are true to our political duties. Dearest Fanny, do not think I am haranguing and not feeling. God knows I have had a sore conflict;


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my heart has been wrung. You cover your face. Have I decided wrong?’

‘Oh, no, no;’ she replied in a voice broken by her emotion. ‘For all the world, I would not that you should have decided otherwise. And yet, is it not very, very hard? I mean for you, Randolph. For myself, I have a pleasant home, and I am happy enough while I can see you every day, and be sure each day that we love one another better than we did the last. Besides,’ she added, looking up with her sunny smile, ‘on some accounts it is best as it is; it would almost break father’s heart to part from me; and, as he says, dear Randolph, when the right time comes, ‘Providence will open up a way for us.’’

‘Then, Fanny, you approve my decision?’

‘Approve it, Randolph! I do not seem proud, perhaps; but it would humble me to the very dust to have you think even of acting contrary to what you believe to be right. Oh, if we could only live in a world where it was all love and friendship and no politics!’

Randolph smiled at the simplicity of Fanny’s wish, and expressed, with all a lover’s fervor, his admiration of the instinctive rectitude of her mind. He confessed that he had resolved and re-resolved his grandfather’s proposition, in the hope that he might hit upon some mode of preserving his integrity and securing the bright reward offered him, but in vain.

Our lovers must be forgiven if they protracted their walk long after the orthodox hour for barring a minister’s doors. My friend, still the ‘spoiled child,’

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found her old sister Sally sitting up for her; and as they crept up their rooms, ‘They say old maids are cross,’ said Fanny, ‘but they don’t know you who say so. You remember, sister, when you used to love to walk by the moonlight, with a certain Mr.⎯⎯⎯?’

‘Whisht, nonsense, Fanny,’ said our ‘nun demure,’ but she finished the ascent of the stairs with a lighter step, and as Fanny kissed her for good night, she saw that a slight blush had overspread her wan cheek at the pleasurable recollections called up. So true is woman to the instincts of her nature.

On the next morning, Randolph was absent, and Mrs. Hunt said, in answer to his grandfather’s inquiries that he had ridden to the next village on business, and had left word that he should return in time for the election. The squire was excessively elated. He was on the point of obtaining a party triumph by the casting vote of his grandson; he should exhibit him for the first time in the democratic ranks, ‘enlisted for the war,’ with the new blown honors of Hampden thick upon him. There are elevated points in every man’s life, and this morning was the Chimborazo of the squire’s.

At the appointed hour the rival parties assembled at the meeting house; that being in most of our villages the only building large enough to contain the voters of the town, is, notwithstanding the temporary desecration, used as a political arena. There the rival parties met as (with sorrow we confess it,) rival parties often meet in our republic, like the hostile forces of belligerent nations, as if they had no interest nor sentiment in common.

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The balloting began. Randolph had not arrived. The squire, though not yet distrustful, began to fidget. He had taken his station beside the ballot box; a station which, in spite of its violation of the courtesies if not the principle of voting by ballot, is often occupied by eager village politicians, for the purpose of peering into the box, and detecting any little artifice by which an individual may have endeavored to conceal his vote. Here stood the squire, turning his eyes from the door where they eagerly glanced in quest of Randolph, to the box, and giving a smile or scowl to every vote that was dropped in. ‘What keeps the parson back?’ thought he, knitting his gristled brows, as he looked at Doctor Atwood, ‘he is always the first to push forward.’ This was true. The doctor’s principles kindly coincided with his inclination in bringing him to the poll, but once having ‘put in his mite,’ as he said, ‘into the good treasury,’ he paid so much deference to his office, as immediately to withdraw from the battle-field.

The doctor had controlling reasons for lingering on this occasion. Fanny had acquainted him with Randolph’s determination. The old man was touched with his young favorite’s virtue, and the more (we must forgive something to human infirmity,) that Randolph’s casting vote would decide the election in favor of the federal party. The balloting was drawing to a close, and still Randolph did not appear. The doctor now fully participated the squire’s uneasiness. He took off his spectacles, wiped them over and over again, and strained his eyes up the road by which Randolph was to return. ‘It was not like him to flinch,’ thought the sturdy old man, ‘he is always up to the mark.’ Still,

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as the delay was prolonged his anxiety increased. ‘Better have come boldly out on their side than sneak off in this fashion. I might have known that no one tainted with this jacobinism could act an upright manly part. He writes well, to be sure; find sentiments, but nothing so namby pamby as sentiment that is not backed up by conduct. Well, well; we are all in the hands of the Lord, and he may see fit yet to turn his heart; poor little Fanny; I’ll throw in my vote and go home to her.’ The doctor gave one last look through the window, and now, to his infinite joy, he descried Randolph approaching. In a few moments more he entered the church. His vote had been a matter much debated and of vital interest to both parties. As he entered, every eye turned towards him, and a general murmur ran round the church. ‘He’ll vote for us!’ and ‘he’ll vote for us!’ passed from mouth to mouth, and as usual the confident assertions were vouched by wagers. Whatever wrestlings with himself Randolph might have had in secret, he was too manly to manifest his feelings to the public eye, and he walked up the aisle with his customary manners, revealing nothing by look or motion to the eager eyes of his observers; though there was enough to daunt, or at least to fluster a man of common mettle, in the well known sound of the doctor’s footsteps, shuffling after him, and in the aspect of the squire standing bolt upright before him; confidence and exultation seeming to elevate him a foot above his ordinary stature.

‘Ha,’ thought he, ‘every man has his price; bait your hook with a pretty girl, and you’ll be sure to catch these boys.’ At this critical moment, Randolph

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dropped in his vote. It was open, fairly exposed to the squire’s eye, and it bore in legible, indubitable characters, the name of the Federal candidate. The doctor involuntarily grasped his hand, and whispered, ‘You have done your duty, my son, God bless you!’

Words cannot describe either the squire’s amazement or his wrath. Randolph had presumed too far when he hoped that the decency due to a public meeting would compel his relative to curb his passion, till reflection should abate it. It burst forth in incoherent imprecations, reproaches, and denunciations; and Randolph, finding that his presence only served to swell the storm, retreated.

The votes were now counted, and notwithstanding Randolph’s vote, and, contrary to all expectation, there proved to be a tie. Some federalist had been recreant. The balloting was repeated. Doctor Atwood had gone, and the democratic candidate was elected by a majority of one.

This unexpected good fortune turned the tide of the squire’s feelings. His individual chagrin was merged in the triumph of his party. They adjourned to the tavern to celebrate their victory in the usual mode of celebrating events, by eating and drinking. Excitement had its usual effects on our unethereal squire, and he indulged his stimulated appetite somewhat beyond the bounds of prudence.

Even the tiger is said to be comparatively good natured on a full stomach. The squire’s wrath was appeased by the same natural means; and when Hampden was toasted, he poured down a bumper, saying

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to his next neighbor as he did so, ‘I might have known a fellow with his nonsensical notions would have voted for the man he thought best of.’ The conviviality of our politicians continued to a late hour. Libations were poured out to all the bright champions of their party. The moderns unfortunately swallow their libations. Finally, the squire proposed a parting glass to ‘the confusion and overthrow of all monarchists, aristocrats, federalists, or despots, by whatever name called,’ and in the very act of raising it to his lips, he was seized with an apoplexy, which, in spite of his ‘sound grinders, full pulse, steady gait and grandmother Brown having to lived to ninety,’ carried him off in the space of a few hours, leaving his whole estate real and personal to his legal and sole heir, Randolph Hayford.

And how did Randolph bear this sudden reverse of fortune in his favor? This versification, as it truly seemed, of the doctor’s prophecy, that ‘Providence would open up a way for them.’

In the first place, he laid the axe to the root of the Hayford tree, renouncing at once and forever the name, (of which he had so religiously preformed the duties,) and resuming with pride and joy his honored patronymic. He then, by a formal deed of quit claim, relinquished all right and title to the estate, real and personal, and goods and chattels of Silas Hayford, Esquire, in favor of Martha Hunt, said Silas’ sister.

Thus emancipated, and absolved from all farther duties and obligations to the name of Hayford, with a character improved and almost perfected by the exact performance of self-denying and painful duties, he

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began his professional career, depending solely on his own talents and efforts; thank heaven, a sure dependence in our favored country.

My sweet friend, Fanny, who seemed to be the pet of destiny, as well as of father, sisters, and friends, was thus indulged in bearing the name of Gordon, to which she so fondly adhered. She was soon transferred to Randolph’s new place of residence, and without breaking her father’s heart by a separation. He having rashly preached an ultra federal sermon on a fast day, that widened the breach between himself and the majority of his parish, so far, that it was impossible to close it without emulating the deed of Curtius. To this the good doctor had no mind, and just then most fortunately (we beg his pardon, his own word is best,) ‘providentially’ receiving a call to vacant pulpit in the place of Randolph’s residence, he once more transferred his home; spent his last days near his favorite child, and at last, in language of scripture, ‘fell asleep’ on her bosom.

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[Sedgwick’s notes]

[1] This fruitful subject of dispute, has rent asunder many a village society in New England.

[2] Federalist.






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Sedgwick, Catharine M. [By Miss Sedgwick], “A Reminiscence of Federalism,” Sedgwick Stories: The Periodical Writings of Catharine Maria Sedgwick, accessed November 29, 2021, https://sedgwickstories.omeka.net/items/show/71.

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