Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/310

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276
ELIZABETH BOGART.

paper. I soon afterward commenced writing for ‘The New York Mirror,’ which was at that time in its most flourishing state, under the able management of its proprietor, George P. Morris. My signature was then changed to that of ‘Estelle,’ a nom de plume, which I have ever since retained; and which, before my real name was known, procured me a poetical correspondent in the ‘Mirror,’ the history of which is quite a little romance. The correspondence was carried on at intervals, for nearly four years; the writer being all the while utterly unknown to me, excepting inasmuch as his poems declared him to be a gentleman of taste, talent, and education. He had mistaken me for another person, and notwithstanding my repeated denials of the identity, he persisted in addressing me as the ‘Estelle’ of his love, whose name I had unwittingly stolen. My curiosity became at length considerably excited, but he maintained his incognito; and it was not until several years after he had ceased writing, that I accidentally learned his name, and that by means of his initials, and the signature of ‘Estelle’ to the pieces passing between us in the ‘Mirror,’ he had recovered his true ladye love, and married her.”

Miss Bogart was particularly fond of these little literary mysteries. They amused and interested her, and gave her both subject and occupation. In the country she had always leisure, as well as love for the Muses. “Without this love,” says she, “my life would have been divested of half its pleasures; and without the leisure to indulge it, I think I should have felt as if time, however otherwise employed, were only wasted.” Her fugitive poems have now accumulated to a number sufficient to fill a large volume, although they have never been collected and prepared for publication in that form.

In 1826 her father removed, with his family, into the city of New York, where he continued to reside during the remainder of his life. Miss Bogart lives there still.

The first of the extracts which follow, is from “The Forged Note.” It is a description of Arthur Mowbray, the hero of the “tale,” given from the impression which the author, while a child, had received from seeing him. He had been a country boy, born and educated in humble life, and the history of his school days is first told.


ARTHUR MOWBRAY.

It was years after that period, that Arthur Mowbray came to my father’s house, a travelled and polished gentleman. The rusticity of country manners was entirely obliterated. Not a word or action betrayed his early habits, and those who knew him not would never have suspected his humble parentage. The grace and ease