Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vols. IXXI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 18611889
Love in Old Cloathes
By Henry Cuyler Bunner (18551896)
[In Partnership.Stories by Brander Matthews and H. C. Bunner. 1884.]
NEWE YORK, ye 1st Aprile, 1883.
YE worste of my ailment is this, yt it groweth not Less with much nursinge, but is like to those fevres wch ye lecches Starve, tis saide, for that ye more Bloode there be in ye Sicke mans Bodie, ye more foode is there for ye Distemper to feede upon.And it is moste fittinge yt I come backe to ye my Journall (wherein I have not writt a Lyne these manye months) on ye 1st of Aprile, beinge in some Sort myne owne foole and ye foole of Love, and a poore Butt on whome his hearte hath playd a Sorry tricke.
For it is surelie a strange happenninge, that I, who am ofte accompted a man of ye Worlde, (as ye Phrase goes,) sholde be soe Overtaken and caste downe lyke a Schoole-boy or a countrie Bumpkin, by a meere Mayde, & sholde set to Groaninge and Sighinge, &, for that She will not have me Sighe to Her, to Groaninge and Sighinge on paper, wch is ye greter Foolishnesse in Me, yt some one maye reade it Here-after, who hath taken his dose of ye same Physicke, and made no Wrye faces over it; in wch case I doubte I shall be much laughd at.Yet soe much am I a foole, and soe enamourd of my Foolishnesse, yt I have a sorte of Shamefull Joye in tellinge, even to my Journall, yt I am mightie deepe in Love withe ye yonge Daughter of Mistresse Ffrench, and all maye knowe what an Angell is ye Daughter, since I have chose Mrs. Ffrench for my Mother in Lawe.(Though she will have none of my choosinge.)and I likewise take comforte in ye Fancie, yt this poore Sheete, whon I write, may be made of ye Raggs of some lucklesse Lover, and maye ye more readilie drinke up my complaininge Inke.
This muche I have learnt, yt Fraunce distilles not, nor ye Indies growe not, ye Remedie for my Aile.For when I 1st became sensible of ye folly of my Suite, I tooke to drynkinge & smoakinge, thinkinge to cure my minde, but all I got was a head ache, for fellowe to my Hearte ache.A sorrie Payre!I then made Shifte, for a while, withe a Bicycle, but breakinge of Bones mendes no breakinge of Heartes, and 60 myles a Daye bringes me no nearer to a Weddinge.This being Lowe Sondaye, (wch my Hearte telleth me better than ye Allmanack,) I will goe to Churche; wh. I maye chaunce to see her.Laste weeke, her Eastre bonnett vastlie pleasd me, beinge most cunninglie devysd in ye mode of oure Grandmothers, and verie lyke to a coales Scuttle, of white satine.
I trust I make no more moane, than is just for a man in my case, but there is small comforte in lookinge at ye backe of a white Satine bonnett for two Houres, and I maye saye as much.Neither any cheere in Her goinge out of ye Churche, & Walkinge downe ye Avenue, with a Puppe by ye name of Williamson.
Because a man have a Hatt with a Brimme to it like ye Poope-Decke of a Steam-Shippe, and breeches lyke ye Case of an umbrella, and have loste money on Hindoo, he is not therefore in ye beste Societie.I made this observation, at ye Clubbe, last nighte, in ye hearinge of Wmson, who made a mightie Pretence to reade ye Spt of ye Tymes.I doubte it was scurvie of me, but it did me muche goode.
Ye manner of my meetinge with Her and fallinge in Love with Her (for ye two were of one date) is thus.I was made acquainte withe Her on a Wednesdaie, at ye House of Mistresse Varick, (twas a Reception,) but did not hear Her Name, nor She myne, by reason of ye noise, and of Mrsse Varick having but lately a newe sett of Teethe, of wh. she had not yet gott, as it were, ye just Pitche and accordance.I sayde to Her that ye Weather was warm for that season of ye yeare.She made answer She thought I was right, for Mr Williamson had saide ye same thinge to Her not a minute past.I tolde Her She muste not holde it originall or an Invention of Wmson, for ye Speache had beene manie yeares in my Familie.Answer was made, She wolde be muche bounden to me if I wolde maintaine ye Rightes of my Familie, and lett all others from usinge of my propertie, when perceivinge Her to be of a livelie Witt, I went about to ingage her in converse, if onlie so I mighte looke into Her Eyes, wh. were of a coloure suche as I have never seene before, more like to a Pansie, or some such flower, than anything else I can compair with them.Shortlie we grew most friendlie, so that She did aske me if I colde keepe a Secrett.I answering I colde, She saide She was anhungered, having Shoppd all ye forenoone since Breakfast.She prayd me to gett Her some Foode.What, I askd.She answerd merrilie, a Beafesteake.I tolde Her yt that Confection was not on ye Side-Boarde; but I presentlie brought Her such as there was, & She beinge behinde a Screane, I stoode in ye waie, so yt none mighte see Her, & She did eate and drynke as followeth, to witt
cupps of Bouillon (weh is a Tea, or Tisane, of Beafe, made verie hott & thinne)
together with divers small cates and comfeits whof I know not ye names.
So yt I was grievously afeared for Her Digestion, leste it be over-taxd. Saide this to Her, however addinge it was my Conceite, yt by some Processe, lyke Alchemie, whby ye baser metals are transmuted into golde, so ye grosse mortall foode was on Her lippes changd to ye fabled Nectar & Ambrosia of ye Gods.She tolde me t was a sillie Speache, yet seamd not ill-pleasd withall.She hath a verie prettie Fashion, or Tricke, of smilinge, when She hath made an end of speakinge, and layinge Her finger upon Her nether Lippe, like as She wolde bid it be stille.After some more Talke, whtn She showd that Her Witt was more deepe, and Her minde more seriouslie inclind, than I had Thoughte from our first Jestinge, She beinge calld to go thence, I did see Her mother, whose face I knewe, & was made sensible, yt I had given my Hearte to ye daughter of a House wh. with myne owne had longe been at grievous Feud, for ye folly of oure Auncestres.Havinge come to wh. heavie momente in my Tale, I have no Patience to write more to-nighte.
I was mynded to write no more in ye journall, for verie Shames sake, yt I shoude so complayne, lyke a Childe, whose toie is taken fm him, butt (mayhapp for it is nowe ye fulle Moone, & a moste greavous period for them yt are Love-strucke) I am fayne, lyke ye Drunkarde who maye not abstayne fm his cupp, to sett me anewe to recordinge of My Dolorous mishapp.When I sawe Her agayn, She beinge aware of my name, & of ye division betwixt oure Houses, wolde have none of me, butt I wolde not be putt Off, & made bolde to question Her, why She sholde showe me suche exceedg Coldness.She answerd t was wel knowne what Wronge my Grandefather had done Her G.father.I saide, She confounded me with My G.fatherwe were nott ye same Persone, he beinge muche my Elder, & besydes Dead.She wd have it, t was no matter for jestinge.I tolde Her I wolde be resolvd, what grete Wronge yis was.Ye more for to make Speache thn for mine owne advertisemt, for I knewe wel ye whole Knaverie, wh. She rehearsd, Howe my G.father had cheated Her G.father of Landes upp ye River, with more, howe my G.father had impounded ye Cattle of Hern.I made answer, t was foolishnesse, in my mynde, for ye iiid Generation to so quarrell over a Parsel of rascallie Landes, yt had long ago beene solde for Taxes, yt as to ye Cowes, I wolde make them goode, & thr Produce & Offspringe, if it tooke ye whole Washtn Markett.She however tolde me yt ye Ffrenche family had ye where wal to buye what they lackd in Butter, Beafe & Milke, and likewise in Veale, wh. laste I tooke muche to Hearte, wh. She seeinge, became more gracious &, on my pleadinge, accorded yt I sholde have ye Privilege to speake with Her when we next met.Butt neyther then, nor at any other Tyme thafter wolde She suffer me to visitt Her. So I was harde putt to it to compass waies of gettinge to see Her at such Houses as She mighte be att, for Routs or Feasts, or ye lyke.
But though I sawe Her manie tymes, oure converse was ever of yis Complexn, & ye accursed G.father satt downe, and rose upp with us.Yet colde I see by Her aspecte, yt I had in some sorte Her favoure, & yt I mislykd Her not so gretelie as She wd have me thinke.So yt one daie, (t was in Januarie, & verie colde,) I, beinge moste distrackt, saide to Her, I had thot twolde pleasure Her more, to be friends w. a man, who had a knave for a G.father, yn with One who had no G.father att alle, lyke Wmson (ye Puppe).She made answer, I was exceedinge fresshe, or some such matter. She cloathd her thoughte in phrase more befittinge a Gentlewoman.Att this I colde no longer contayne myself, but tolde Her roundlie, I lovd Her, & t was my Love made me soe unmannerlie.And w. yis speache I att ye leaste made an End of my Uncertantie, for She bade me speake w. Her no more.I wolde be determind, whether I was Naught to Her.She made Answer She colde not justlie say I was Naught, seeing yt whever She mighte bee, I was One too manie.I saide, t was some Comforte, I had even a Place in Her thoughtes, were it onlie in Her disfavour.She saide, my Solace was indeede grete, if it kept pace with ye measure of Her Disfavour, for, in plain Terms, She hated me, & on her intreatinge of me to goe, I went.Yis happd att ye house of Mrss Varicke, wh. I 1st met Her, who (Mrss Varicke) was for staying me, yt I might eate some Icd Cream, butt of a Truth I was chilld to my Taste allreadie.Albeit I afterwards tooke to walkinge of ye Streets till near Midnight.Twas as I saide before in Januarie & exceedinge colde.
How wearie is yis dulle procession of ye Yeare! For it irketh my Soule yt each Monthe shoude come so aptlie after ye Month afore, & Nature looke so Smug, as She had done some grete thinge.Surelie if she make no Change, she hath workd no Miracle, for we knowe wel, what we maye look for.Ye Vine under my Window hath broughte forth Purple Blossoms, as itt hath eache Springe these xii Yeares.I wolde have had them Redd, or Blue, or I knowe not what Coloure, for I am sicke of likinge of Purple a Dozen Springes in Order.And wh. moste galls me is yis, I knowe how yis sadd Rounde will goe on, & Maie give Place to June, & she to July, & onlie my Hearte blossom not nor my Love growe no greener.
I and my Foolishnesse, we laye Awake last night till ye Sunrise gun, wh. was Shott att 4 1/2 ock, & wh. beinge hearde in yt stillnesse fm. an Incredible Distance, seemd lyke as t were a Full Stopp, or Period putt to yis Wakinge-Dreminge, what I did turne a newe Leafe in my Counsells, and after much Meditation, have commenct a newe Chapter, wh. I hope maye leade to a better Conclusion, than them yt came afore.For I am nowe resolvd, & havinge begunn wil carry to an Ende, yt if I maie not over-come my Passion, I maye at ye least over-com ye Melanchollie, & Spleene, borne yof, & beinge a Lover, be none ye lesse a Man.To wh. Ende I have come to yis Resolution, to depart fm. ye Towne, & to goe to ye Countrie-House of my Frend, Will Winthrop, who has often intreated me, & has instantly urgd, yt I sholde make him a Visitt.And I take much Shame to myselfe, yt I have not given him yis Satisfaction since he was married, wh. is nowe ii Yeares.A goode Fellowe, & I minde me a grete Burden to his Frends when he was in Love, in wh. Plight I mockt him, who am nowe, I much feare me, mockt myselfe.
Att Babylon, att ye Cottage of Will Winthrop, wh. is no Cottage, but a grete House, Red, w. Verandahs, & builded in ye Fashn of Her Maiestie Q. Anne.Found a mighty Housefull of People.Will, his Wife, a verie proper fayre Ladie, who gave me moste gracious Reception, Mrss Smithe, ye ii Gresham girles (knowne as ye Titteringe Twins), Bob White, Virgina Kinge & her Mothr, Clarence Winthrop, & ye whole Alexander Family.A grete Gatheringe for so earlie in ye Summer.In ye Afternoone playd Lawne-Tenniss.Had for Partner one of ye Twinns, agst Clarence Winthrop & ye other Twinn, wh. by beinge Confusd, I loste iii games.Was voted a Duffer.Clarence Winthrop moste unmannerlie merrie.He calld me ye Sad-Eyd Romeo, & lykewise cut down ye Hammocke whin I laye, allso tied up my Cloathes wh. we were att Bath.He sayde, he Chawd them, a moste barbarous worde for a moste barbarous Use.Wh. we were Boyes, & he did yis thinge, I was wont to trounce him Soundlie, but nowe had to contente Myselfe w. beatinge of him iii games of Billyardes in ye Evg., & w. daringe of him to putt on ye Gloves w. me, for Funne, wh. he mighte not doe, for I coude knocke him colde.
Beinge gon to my Roome somewhatt earlie, for I found myselfe of a peevish humour, Clarence came to me, and prayd a few minutes Speache.Sayde t was Love made him so Rude & Boysterous, he was privilie betrothd to his Cozen, Angelica Robertes, she whose Father lives at Islipp, & colde not containe Himselfe for Joye.I sayinge, there was a Breache in ye Familie, he made Answer, t was true, her Father & His, beinge Cozens, did hate each other moste heartilie, butt for him he cared not for that, & for Angelica, She gave not a Continentall.But, sayde I, Your Consideration matters mightie Little, synce ye Governours will not heare to it.He answered t was for that he came to me, I must be his allie, for reason of oure olde Friendsp. With that I had no Hearte to heare more, he made so Light of such a Division as parted me & my Happinesse, but tolde him I was his Frend, wolde serve him when he had Neede of me, & presentlie seeing my Humour, he made excuse to goe, & left me to write downe this, sicke in Mynde, and thinkinge ever of ye Woman who wil not oute of my Thoughtes for any change of Place, neither of employe.For indeede I doe love Her moste heartilie, so yt my Wordes can not saye it, nor will yis Booke containe it.So I wil even goe to Sleepe, yt in my Dreames perchaunce my Fancie maye do my Hearte better Service.
She is here.What Spyte is yis of Fate & ye alterd gods! That I, who mighte nott gett to see Her when to See was to Hope, muste nowe daylie have Her in my Sight, stucke lyke a fayre Apple under olde Tantalus his Nose.Goinge downe to ye Hotell to-day, for to gett me some Tobackoe, was made aware yt ye Ffrench familie had hyred one of ye Cottages round-abouts.T is a goodlie Dwellinge WithoutWould I coude speake with as much Assurance of ye Innsyde!
Goinge downe to ye Hotell againe To-day for more Tobackoe, sawe ye accursed name of Wmson on ye Registre.Went about to a neighboringe Farm & satt me downe behynd ye Barne, for a 1/2 an Houre.Frighted ye Horned Cattle w. talkinge to My Selfe.
I wil make an Ende to yis Businesse.Wil make no longer Staye here.Sawe Her to-day, driven Home fm. ye Beache, about 4 1/2 of ye After-noone, by Wmson in his Dogge-Carte, wh. ye Cadde has broughten here.Wil betake me to ye Boundlesse WesteNot yt I care aught for ye Boundlesse Weste, butt yt I shal doe wel if haplie I leave my Memourie amg ye Apaches & bringe Home my Scalpe.
To Fyre Islande, in Winthrops Yachtye Twinnes w. us, so Titteringe & Choppinge Laughter, yt t was worse yn a Flocke of Sandpipers.Found a grete Concourse of people there, Her amonge them, in a Suite of blue, yt became Her bravelie.She swimms lyke to a Fishe, butt everie Stroke of Her white Arms (of a lovelie Roundnesse) cleft, as t were my Hearte, rather yn ye Water.She bowd to me, on goinge into ye Water, w. muche Dignitie, & agayn on Cominge out, but yis Tyme w. lesse Dignitie, by reason of ye Water in Her Cloathes, & Her Haire in Her Eyes.
Was for goinge awaie To-morrow, but Clarence cominge againe to my Chamber, & mightilie purswadinge of me, I feare I am comitted to a verie sillie Undertakinge.For I am promisd to Help him secretlie to wedd his Cozen.He wolde take no Deniall, wolde have it, his Brother card Naughte, t was but ye Fighte of theyre Fathers, he was bounde it sholde be done, & t were best I stoode his Witnesse, who was wel lyked of bothe ye Braunches of ye Family.So t was agreed, yt I shal staye Home to-morrowe fm. ye Expedition to Fyre Islande, feigning a Head-Ache, (wh. indeede I meante to do, in any Happ, for I cannot see Her againe,) & shall meet him at ye little Churche on ye Southe Roade.He to drive to Islipp to fetch Angelica, lykewise her Witnesse, who sholde be some One of ye Girles, she hadd not yet made her Choice.I made yis Condition, it sholde not be either of ye Twinnes.No, nor Bothe, for that matter.Inquiringe as to ye Clergyman, he sayde ye Dominie was allreadie Squard.
I am come to ye laste Entrie I shall ever putt downe in ye Booke, and needes must yt I putt it downe quicklie, for all hath Happd in so short a Space, yt my Heade whirles w. thynkinge of it. Ye after-noone of Yesterdaye, I set about Counterfeittinge of a Head-Ache, & so wel did I compasse it, yt I verilie think one of ye Twinnes was mynded to Stay Home & nurse me.All havinge gone off, & Clarence on his waye to Islipp, I sett forth for ye Churche, where arrivd I founde it emptie, w. ye Door open.Went in & writhd on ye hard Benches a 1/4 of an Houre, when, hearinge a Sounde, I lookd up & saw standinge in ye Door-waye, Katherine Ffrench.She seemd muche astonished, saying You Here! or ye lyke.I made Answer & sayde yt though my Familie were greate Sinners, yet had they never been Excommunicate by ye Churche.She sayde, they colde not Putt Out what never was in.While I was bethynkinge me wh. I mighte answer to yis, she went on, sayinge I must excuse Her, She wolde goe upp in ye Organ-Lofte.I enquiring what for? She sayde to practice on ye Organ. She turnd verie Redd, of a warm Coloure, as She sayde this.I askd Do you come hither often? She replyinge Yes, I enquird how ye Organ lyked Her.She sayde Right well, when I made question more curiously (for She grew more Redd eache moment) how was ye Action? ye Tone? how manie Stopps? Whst She growinge gretelie Confusd, I led Her into ye Churche, & showd Her yt there was no Organ, ye Choire beinge indeede a Band, of i Tuninge-Forke, i Kitt, & i Horse-Fiddle.At this She fell to Smilinge & Blushinge att one Tyme.She perceivd our Errandes were ye Same, & cravd Pardon for Her Fibb.I tolde Her, If She came Thither to be Witness at her Frends Weddinge, twas no greate Fibb, twolde indeede be Practice for Her.This havinge a rude Sound, I added I thankt ye Starrs yt had brot us Together. She sayde if ye Starrs appointd us to meete no oftener yn this Couple shoude be Wedded, She was wel content. This cominge on me lyke a last Buffett of Fate, that She shoude so despitefully intreate me, I was suddenlie Seized with so Sorrie a Humour, & withal so angrie, yt I colde scarce Containe myselfe, but went & Sat downe near ye Doore, lookinge out till Clarence shd. come w. his Bride.Looking over my Sholder, I sawe yt She wente fm. Windowe to Windowe within, Pluckinge ye Blossoms fm. ye Vines, & settinge them in her Girdle.She seemd most tall and faire, & swete to look uponn, & itt Angerd me ye More.Meanwhiles, She discoursd pleasantlie, asking me manie questions, to the wh. I gave but shorte and churlish answers. She askd Did I nott Knowe Angelica Roberts was Her best Frend? How longe had I knowne of ye Betrothal? Did I thinke twolde knitt ye House together, & Was it not Sad to see a Familie thus Divided?I answerd Her, I wd. not robb a Man of ye precious Righte to Quarrell with his Relations.And then, with meditatinge on ye goode Lucke of Clarence, & my owne harde Case, I had suche a sudden Rage of peevishness yt I knewe scarcelie what I did.Soe when she askd me merrilie why I turnd my Backe on Her, I made Reply I had turnd my Backe on muche Follie.Wh. was no sooner oute of my Mouthe than I was mightilie Sorrie for it, and turninge aboute, I perceivd She was in Teares & weepinge bitterlie. What my Hearte wolde holde no More, & I rose upp & tooke Her in my arms & Kissd & Comforted Her, She making no Denyal, but seeminge greatlie to Neede such Solace, wh. I was not Loathe to give Her.Whiles we were at This, onlie She had gott to Smilinge, & to sayinge of Things which even yis paper shal not knowe, came in ye Dominie, sayinge He judgd We were the Couple he came to Wed.With him ye Sexton & ye Sextons Wife.My swete Kate, alle as rosey as Venuss Nape, was for Denyinge of yis, butt I wolde not have it, & sayde Yes.She remonstrating w. me, privilie, I tolde Her She must not make me Out a Liar, yt to Deceave ye Man of God were a greavous Sinn, yt I had gott Her nowe, & wd. not lett her Slipp from me, & did soe Talke Her Downe, & w. such Strengthe of joie, yt allmost before She knewe it, we Stoode upp, & were Wed, w. a Ringe (tho She Knewe it nott) wh. belongd to My G. father. (Him yt Cheated Hern.)
This Businesse being Ended, we fled by ye Trayne of 4 1/2 ocke, to yis Place, where we wait till ye Bloode of all ye Ffrenches have Tyme to coole downe, for ye wise Mann who meeteth his Mother in Lawe ye 1st tyme, wil meete her when she is Milde.
And so I close yis Journall, wh., tho for ye moste Parte tis but a peevish Scrawle, hath one Page of Golde, whon I have writt ye laste strange Happ whby I have layd Williamson by ye Heeles & found me ye sweetest Wife yt ever
* * * stoppd a mans Mouthe w. kisses for writinge of Her Prayses.