Though resolved to face all out to the last, at whatever desperate hazard, Pierre had not started for the city without some reasonable plans, both with reference to his more immediate circumstances, and his ulterior condition.
There resided in the city a cousin of his, Glendinning Stanly, better known in the general family as Glen Stanly, and by Pierre, as Cousin Glen. Like Pierre, he was an only son; his parents had died in his early childhood; and within the present year he had returned from a protracted sojourn in Europe, to enter, at the age of twenty-one, into the untrammelled possession of a noble property, which in the hands of faithful guardians, had largely accumulated.
In their boyhood and earlier adolescence, Pierre and Glen had cherished a much more than cousinly attachment. At the age of ten, they had furnished an example of the truth, that the friendship of fine-hearted, generous boys, nurtured amid the romance-engendering comforts and elegancies of life, sometimes transcends the bounds of mere boyishness, and revels for a while in the empyrean of a love which only comes short, by one degree, of the sweetest sentiment entertained between the sexes. Nor is this boy-love without the occasional fillips and spicinesses, which at times, by an apparent abatement, enhance the permanent delights of those more advanced lovers who love beneath the cestus of Venus. Jealousies are felt. The sight of another lad too much consorting with the boy's beloved object, shall fill him with emotions akin to those of Othello's; a fancied slight, or lessening of the everyday indications of warm feelings, shall prompt him to bitter upbraidings and reproaches; or shall plunge him into evil moods, for which grim solitude only is congenial.
Nor are the letters of Aphroditean devotees more charged with headlong vows and protestations, more cross-written and crammed with discursive sentimentalities, more undeviating in their semi-weekliness, or dayliness, as the case may be, than are the love-friendship missives of boys. Among those bundles of papers which Pierre, in an ill hour, so frantically destroyed in the chamber of the inn, were two large packages of letters, densely written, and in many cases inscribed crosswise throughout with red ink upon black; so that the love in those letters was two layers deep, and one pen and one pigment were insufficient to paint it. The first package contained the letters of Glen to Pierre, the other those of Pierre to Glen, which, just prior to Glen's departure for Europe, Pierre had obtained from him, in order to re-read them in his absence, and so fortify himself the more in his affection, by reviving reference to the young, ardent hours of its earliest manifestations.
But as the advancing fruit itself extrudes the beautiful blossom, so in many cases, does the eventual love for the other sex forever dismiss the preliminary love-friendship of boys. The mere outer friendship may in some degree—greater or less—survive; but the singular love in it has perishingly dropped away.
If in the eye of unyielding reality and truth, the earthly heart of man do indeed ever fix upon some one woman, to whom alone, thenceforth eternally to be a devotee, without a single shadow of the misgiving of its faith; and who, to him, does perfectly embody his finest, loftiest dream of feminine loveliness; if this indeed be so—and may heaven grant that it be—nevertheless, in metropolitan cases, the love of the most single-eyed lover, almost invariably, is nothing more than the ultimate settling of innumerable wandering glances upon some one specific object; as admonished, that the wonderful scope and variety of female loveliness, if too long suffered to sway us without decision, shall finally confound all power of selection. The confirmed bachelor is, in America at least, quite as often the victim of a too profound appreciation of the infinite charmingness of woman, as made solitary for life by the legitimate empire of a cold and tasteless temperament.
Though the peculiar heart-longings pertaining to his age, had at last found their glowing response in the bosom of Lucy; yet for some period prior to that, Pierre had not been insensible to the miscellaneous promptings of the passion. So that even before he became a declarative lover, Love had yet made him her general votary; and so already there had gradually come a cooling over that ardent sentiment which in earlier years he had cherished for Glen.
All round and round does the world lie as in a sharp-shooter's ambush, to pick off the beautiful illusions of youth, by the pitiless cracking rifles of the realities of the age. If the general love for women, had in Pierre sensibly modified his particular sentiment toward Glen; neither had the thousand nameless fascinations of the then brilliant paradises of France and Italy, failed to exert their seductive influence on many of the previous feelings of Glen. For as the very best advantages of life are not without some envious drawback, so it is among the evils of enlarged foreign travel, that in young and unsolid minds, it dislodges some of the finest feelings of the home-born nature; replacing them with a fastidious superciliousness, which like the alleged bigoted Federalism of old times would not—according to a political legend—grind its daily coffee in any mill save of European manufacture, and was satirically said to have thought of importing European air for domestic consumption. The mutually curtailed, lessening, long-postponed, and at last altogether ceasing letters of Pierre and Glen were the melancholy attestations of a fact, which perhaps neither of them took very severely to heart, as certainly, concerning it, neither took the other to task.
In the earlier periods of that strange transition from the generous impulsiveness of youth to the provident circumspectness of age, there generally intervenes a brief pause of unpleasant reconsidering; when finding itself all wide of its former spontaneous self, the soul hesitates to commit itself wholly to selfishness; more than repents its wanderings;—yet all this is but transient; and again hurried on by the swift current of life, the prompt-hearted boy scarce longer is to be recognised in matured man,—very slow to feel, deliberate even in love, and statistical even in piety. During the sway of this peculiar period, the boy shall still make some strenuous efforts to retrieve his departing spontaneities; but so alloyed are all such endeavours with the incipiencies of selfishness, that they were best not made at all; since too often they seem but empty and self-deceptive sallies, or still worse, the merest hypocritical assumptions.
Upon the return of Glen from abroad, the commonest courtesy, not to say the blood-relation between them, prompted Pierre to welcome him home, with a letter, which though not over-long, and little enthusiastic, still breathed a spirit of cousinly consideration and kindness, pervadingly touched by the then naturally frank and all-attractive spirit of Pierre. To this, the less earnest and now Europeanised Glen had replied in a letter all sudden suavity; and in a strain of artistic artlessness, mourned the apparent decline of their friendship; yet fondly trusted that now, notwithstanding their long separation, it would revive with added sincerity. Yet upon accidentally fixing his glance upon the opening salutation of this delicate missive, Pierre thought he perceived certain, not wholly disguisable chirographic tokens, that the 'My very dear Pierre,' with which the letter seemed to have been begun, had originally been written 'Dear Pierre'; but that when all was concluded, and Glen's signature put to it, then the ardent words 'My very' had been prefixed to the reconsidered 'Dear Pierre'; a casual supposition, which possibly, however unfounded, materially retarded any answering warmth in Pierre, lest his generous flame should only embrace a flaunted feather. Nor was this idea altogether unreinforced, when on the reception of a second, and now half-business letter (of which mixed sort nearly all the subsequent ones were), from Glen, he found that the 'My very dear Pierre' had already retreated into 'My dear Pierre'; and on a third occasion, into 'Dear Pierre'; and on a fourth, had made a forced and very spirited advanced march up to 'My dearest Pierre.' All of which fluctuations augured ill for the determinateness of that love, which, however immensely devoted to one cause, could yet hoist and sail under the flags of all nations. Nor could he but now applaud a still subsequent letter from Glen, which abruptly, and almost with apparent indecorousness, under the circumstances, commenced the strain of friendship without any overture of salutation whatever; as if at last, owing to its infinite delicateness, entirely hopeless of precisely defining the nature of their mystical love, Glen chose rather to leave that precise definition to the sympathetical heart and imagination of Pierre; while he himself would go on to celebrate the general relation, by many a sugared sentence of miscellaneous devotion. It was a little curious and rather sardonically diverting, to compare these masterly, yet not wholly successful, and indeterminate tactics of the accomplished Glen, with the unfaltering stream of Beloved Pierres, which not only flowed along the top margin of all his earlier letters, but here and there, from their subterranean channel, flashed out in bright intervals, through all the succeeding lines. Nor had the chance recollection of these things at all restrained the reckless hand of Pierre, when he threw the whole package of letters, both new and old, into that most honest and summary of all elements, which is neither a respecter of persons, nor a finical critic of what manner of writings it burns; but like ultimate Truth itself, of which it is the eloquent symbol, consumes all, and only consumes.
When the betrothment of Pierre to Lucy had become an acknowledged thing, the courtly Glen, besides the customary felicitations upon that event, had not omitted so fit an opportunity to re-tender to his cousin all his previous jars of honey and treacle, accompanied by additional boxes of candied citron and plums. Pierre thanked him kindly; but in certain little roguish ambiguities begged leave, on the ground of cloying, to return him enclosed by far the greater portion of his present; whose non-substantialness was allegorically typified in the containing letter itself, prepaid with only the usual postage.
True love, as everyone knows, will still withstand many repulses, even though rude. But whether it was the love or the politeness of Glen, which on this occasion proved invincible, is a matter we will not discuss. Certain it was, that quite undaunted, Glen nobly returned to the charge, and in a very prompt and unexpected answer, extended to Pierre all the courtesies of the general city, and all the hospitalities of five sumptuous chambers, which he and his luxurious environments contrived nominally to occupy in the most fashionable private hotel of a very opulent town. Nor did Glen rest here; but like Napoleon, now seemed bent upon gaining the battle by throwing all his regiments upon one point of attack, and gaining that point at all hazards. Hearing of some rumour at the tables of his relatives that the day was being fixed for the positive nuptials of Pierre; Glen culled all his Parisian portfolios for his rosiest sheet, and with scented ink, and a pen of gold, indited a most burnished and redolent letter, which, after invoking all the blessings of Apollo and Venus, and the Nine Muses, and the Cardinal Virtues upon the coming event; concluded at last with a really magnificent testimonial to his love.
According to this letter, among his other real estate in the city, Glen had inherited a very charming, little, old house, completely furnished in the style of the last century, in a quarter of the city which, though now not so garishly fashionable as of yore, still in its quiet secludedness, possessed great attractions for the retired billings and cooings of a honeymoon. Indeed he begged leave now to christen it the Cooery, and if after his wedding jaunt, Pierre would deign to visit the city with his bride for a month or two's sojourn, then the Cooery would be but too happy in affording him a harbour. His sweet cousin need be under no apprehension. Owing to the absence of any fit applicant for it, the house had now long been without a tenant, save an old, confidential, bachelor clerk of his father's, who on a nominal rent, and more by way of safe-keeping to the house than anything else, was now hanging up his well-furbished hat in its hall. This accommodating old clerk would quickly unpeg his beaver at the first hint of new occupants. Glen would charge himself with supplying the house in advance with a proper retinue of servants; fires would be made in the long-unoccupied chambers; the venerable, grotesque, old mahoganies, and marbles, and mirror-frames, and mouldings could be very soon dusted and burnished; the kitchen was amply provided with the necessary utensils for cooking; the strong-box of old silver immemorially pertaining to the mansion, could be readily carted round from the vaults of the neighbouring Bank; while the hampers of old china, still retained in the house, needed but little trouble to unpack; so that silver and china would soon stand assorted in their appropriate closets; at the turning of a faucet in the cellar, the best of the city's water would not fail to contribute its ingredient to the concocting of a welcoming glass of negus before retiring on the first night of their arrival.
The over-fastidiousness of some unhealthily critical minds, as well as the moral pusillanimity of others, equally bars the acceptance of effectually substantial favours from persons whose motive in proffering them, is not altogether clear and unimpeachable; and toward whom, perhaps, some prior coolness or indifference has been shown. But when the acceptance of such a favour would be really convenient and desirable to the one party and completely unattended with any serious distress to the other; there would seem to be no sensible objection to an immediate embrace of the offer. And when the acceptor is in rank and fortune the general equal of the profferer, and perhaps his superior, so that any courtesy he receives, can be amply returned in the natural course of future events, then all motives to decline are very materially lessened. And as for the thousand inconceivable finicalnesses of small pros and cons about imaginary fitnesses, and proprieties, and self-consistencies; thank heaven, in the hour of heart-health, none such shilly-shallying sail-trimmers ever balk the onward course of a bluff-minded man. He takes the world as it is; and carelessly accommodates himself to its whimsical humours; nor ever feels any compunction at receiving the greatest possible favours from those who are as able to grant, as free to bestow. He himself bestows upon occasion; so that, at bottom, common charity steps in to dictate a favourable consideration for all possible profferings; seeing that the acceptance shall only the more enrich him, indirectly, for new and larger beneficences of his own.
And as for those who no ways pretend with themselves to regulate their deportment by considerations of genuine benevolence, and to whom such courteous profferings hypocritically come from persons whom they suspect for secret enemies; then to such minds not only will their own worldly tactics at once forbid the uncivil blank repulse of such offers; but if they are secretly malicious as well as frigid, or if they are at all capable of being fully gratified by the sense of concealed superiority and mastership (which precious few men are) then how delightful for such persons under the guise of mere acquiescence in his own voluntary civilities, to make genteel use of their foe. For one would like to know, what were foes made for except to be used? In the rude ages men hunted and javelined the tiger, because they hated him for a mischief-minded wild beast; but in these enlightened times, though we love the tiger as little as ever, still we mostly hunt him for the sake of his skin. A wise man then will wear his tiger; every morning put on his tiger for a robe to keep him warm and adorn him. In this view, foes are far more desirable than friends; for who would hunt and kill his own faithful affectionate dog for the sake of his skin? and is a dog's skin as valuable as a tiger's? Cases there are where it becomes soberly advisable, by direct arts to convert some well-wishers into foes. It is false that in point of policy a man should never make enemies. As well-wishers some men may not only be nugatory but positive obstacles in your peculiar plans; but as foes you may subordinately cement them into your general design.
But into these ulterior refinements of cool Tuscan policy, Pierre as yet had never become initiated; his experiences hitherto not having been varied and ripe enough for that; besides, he had altogether too much generous blood in his heart. Nevertheless, thereafter, in a less immature hour, though still he shall not have the heart to practise upon such maxims as the above, yet shall he have the brain thoroughly to comprehend their practicability; which is not always the case. And generally, in worldly wisdom, men will deny to one the possession of all insight, which one does not by his every-day outward life practically reveal. It is a very common error of some unscrupulously infidel-minded, selfish, unprincipled, or downright knavish men, to suppose that believing men, or benevolent-hearted men, or good men, do not know enough to be unscrupulously selfish, do not know enough to be unscrupulous knaves. And thus—thanks to the world!—are there many spies in the world's camp, who are mistaken for strolling simpletons. And these strolling simpletons seem to act upon the principle, that in certain things, we do not so much learn, by showing that already we know a vast deal, as by negatively seeming rather ignorant. But here we press upon the frontiers of that sort of wisdom, which it is very well to possess, but not sagacious to show that you possess. Still, men there are, who having quite done with the world, all its mere worldly contents are become so far indifferent, that they care little of what mere worldly imprudence they may be guilty.
Now, if it were not conscious considerations like the really benevolent or neutral ones first mentioned above, it was certainly something akin to them, which had induced Pierre to return a straightforward, manly, and entire acceptance to his cousin of the offer of the house; thanking him, over and over, for his most supererogatory kindness concerning the pre-engagement of servants and so forth, and the setting in order of the silver and china; but reminding him, nevertheless, that he had overlooked all special mention of wines, and begged him to store the bins with a few of the very best brands. He would likewise be obliged, if he would personally purchase at a certain celebrated grocer's, a small bag of undoubted Mocha coffee; but Glen need not order it to be roasted or ground, because Pierre preferred that both those highly important and flavour-deciding operations should be performed instantaneously previous to the final boiling and serving. Nor did he say that he would pay for the wines and the Mocha; he contented himself with merely stating the remissness on the part of his cousin, and pointing out the best way of remedying it.
He concluded his letter by intimating that though the rumour of a set day, and a near one, for his nuptials, was unhappily but ill-founded, yet he would not hold Glen's generous offer as merely based upon that presumption, and consequently falling with it; but on the contrary, would consider it entirely good for whatever time it might prove available to Pierre. He was betrothed beyond a peradventure; and hoped to be married ere death. Meanwhile, Glen would further oblige him by giving the confidential clerk a standing notice to quit.
Though at first quite amazed at this letter,—for indeed, his offer might possibly have proceeded as much from ostentation as anything else, nor had he dreamed of so unhesitating an acceptance,—Pierre's cousin was too much of a precocious young man of the world, disclosedly to take it in any other than a very friendly, and cousinly, and humorous, and yet practical way; which he plainly evinced by a reply far more sincere and every way creditable, apparently, both to his heart and head, than any letter he had written to Pierre since the days of their boyhood. And thus, by the bluffness and, in some sort, uncompunctiousness of Pierre, this very artificial youth was well betrayed into an act of effective kindness; being forced now to drop the empty mask of ostentation, and put on the solid hearty features of a genuine face. And just so, are some people in the world to be joked into occasional effective goodness, when all coyness, and coolness, all resentments, and all solemn preaching, would fail.
But little would we comprehend the peculiar relation between Pierre and Glen—a relation involving in the end the most serious results—were there not here thrown over the whole equivocal, preceding account of it, another and more comprehensive equivocalness, which shall absorb all minor ones in itself; and so make one pervading ambiguity the only possible explanation for all the ambiguous details.
It had long been imagined by Pierre, that prior to his own special devotion to Lucy, the splendid Glen had not been entirely insensible to her surprising charms. Yet this conceit in its incipiency, he knew not how to account for. Assuredly his cousin had never in the slightest conceivable hint betrayed it; and as for Lucy, the same intuitive delicacy which forever forbade Pierre to question her on the subject, did equally close her own voluntary lips. Between Pierre and Lucy, delicateness put her sacred signet on this chest of secrecy; which like the wax of an executor upon a desk, though capable of being melted into nothing by the smallest candle, for all this, still possesses to the reverent the prohibitive virtue of inexorable bars and bolts.
If Pierre superficially considered the deportment of Glen toward him, therein he could find no possible warrant for indulging the suspicious idea. Doth jealousy smile so benignantly and offer its house to the bride? Still, on the other hand, to quit the mere surface of the deportment of Glen, and penetrate beneath its brocaded vesture; there Pierre sometimes seemed to see the long-lurking and yet unhealed wound of all a rejected lover's most rankling detestation of a supplanting rival, only intensified by their former friendship, and the unimpairable blood-relation between them. Now, viewed by the light of this master-solution, all the singular enigmas in Glen; his capriciousness in the matter of the epistolary—'Dear Pierres' and 'Dearest Pierres'; the mercurial fall from the fever-heat of cordiality, to below the zero of indifference; then the contrary rise to fever-heat; and, above all, his emphatic redundancy of devotion so soon as the positive espousals of Pierre seemed on the point of consummation; thus read, all these riddles apparently found their cunning solution. For the deeper that some men feel a secret and poignant feeling, the higher they pile the belying surfaces. The friendly deportment of Glen, then, was to be considered as in direct proportion to his hoarded hate; and the climax of that hate was evinced in throwing open his house to the bride. Yet if hate was the abstract cause, hate could not be the immediate motive of the conduct of Glen. Is hate so hospitable? The immediate motive of Glen, then, must be the intense desire to disguise from the wide world, a fact unspeakably humiliating to his gold-laced and haughty soul: the fact that in the profoundest desire of his heart, Pierre had so victoriously supplanted him. Yet was it that very artful deportment in Glen, which Glen profoundly assumed to this grand end; that consummately artful deportment it was, which first obtruded upon Pierre the surmise, which by that identical method his cousin was so absorbedly intent upon rendering impossible to him. Hence we here see that as in the negative way the secrecy of any strong emotion is exceedingly difficult to be kept lastingly private to one's own bosom by any human being; so it is one of the most fruitless undertakings in the world, to attempt by affirmative assumptions to tender to men, the precisely opposite emotion as yours. Therefore the final wisdom decrees, that if you have aught which you desire to keep a secret to yourself, be a Quietist there, and do and say nothing at all about it. For among all the poor chances, this is the least poor. Pretensions and substitutions are only the recourse of under-graduates in the science of the world; in which science, on his own ground, my Lord Chesterfield is the poorest possible preceptor. The earliest instinct of the child, and the ripest experience of age, unite in affirming simplicity to be the truest and profoundest part for man. Likewise this simplicity is so universal and all-containing as a rule for human life, that the subtlest bad man, and the purest good man, as well as the profoundest wise man, do all alike present it on that side which they socially turn to the inquisitive and unscrupulous world.
Now the matter of the house had remained in precisely the above-stated awaiting predicament, down to the time of Pierre's great life-revolution, the receipt of Isabel's letter. And though, indeed, Pierre could not but naturally hesitate at still accepting the use of the dwelling, under the widely different circumstances in which he now found himself; and though at first the strongest possible spontaneous objections on the ground of personal independence, pride, and general scorn, all clamorously declared in his breast against such a course; yet, finally, the same uncompunctious, ever-adaptive sort of motive which had induced his original acceptation, prompted him, in the end, still to maintain it unrevoked. It would at once set him at rest from all immediate tribulations of mere bed and board; and by affording him a shelter, for an indefinite term, enable him the better to look about him, and consider what could best be done to further the permanent comfort of those whom Fate had entrusted to his charge.
Irrespective, it would seem, of that wide general awaking of his profounder being, consequent upon the extraordinary trials he had so aggregatively encountered of late; the thought was indignantly suggested to him, that the world must indeed be organically despicable, if it held that an offer, superfluously accepted in the hour of his abundance, should now be rejected in that of his utmost need. And without at all imputing any singularity of benevolent-mindedness to his cousin, he did not for a moment question, that under the changed aspect of affairs, Glen would at least pretend the more eagerly to welcome him to the house, now that the mere thing of apparent courtesy had become transformed into something like a thing of positive and urgent necessity. When Pierre also considered that not himself only was concerned, but likewise two peculiarly helpless fellow-beings, one of them bound to him from the first by the most sacred ties, and lately inspiring an emotion which passed all human precedent in its mixed and mystical import; these added considerations completely overthrew in Pierre all remaining dictates of his vague pride and false independence, if such indeed had ever been his.
Though the interval elapsing between his decision to depart with his companions for the city, and his actual start in the coach, had not enabled him to receive any replying word from his cousin; and though Pierre knew better than to expect it; yet a preparative letter to him he had sent; and did not doubt that this proceeding would prove well-advised in the end.
In naturally strong-minded men, however young and inexperienced in some things, those great and sudden emergencies, which but confound the timid and the weak, only serve to call forth all their generous latentness, and teach them, as by inspiration, extraordinary maxims of conduct, whose counterpart, in other men, is only the result of a long, variously-tried and painstaking life. One of those maxims is, that when, through whatever cause, we are suddenly translated from opulence to need, or from a fair fame to a foul; and straightway it becomes necessary not to contradict the thing—so far at least as the mere imputation goes,—to some one previously entertaining high conventional regard for us, and from whom we would now solicit some genuine helping offices; then, all explanation or palliation should be scorned; promptness, boldness, utter gladiatorianism, and a defiant non-humility should mark every syllable we breathe, and every line we trace.
The preparative letter of Pierre to Glen, plunged at once into the very heart of the matter, and was perhaps the briefest letter he had ever written him. Though by no means are such characteristics invariable exponents of the predominant mood or general disposition of a man (since so accidental a thing as a numb finger, or a bad quill, or poor ink, or squalid paper, or a rickety desk may produce all sorts of modifications), yet in the present instance, the handwriting of Pierre happened plainly to attest and corroborate the spirit of his communication. The sheet was large; but the words were placarded upon it in heavy though rapid lines, only six or eight to the page. And as the footman of a haughty visitor—some Count or Duke—announces the chariot of his lord by a thunderous knock on the portal; so to Glen did Pierre, in the broad, sweeping, and prodigious superscription of his letter, forewarn him what manner of man was on the road.
In the moment of strong feeling a wonderful condensativeness points the tongue and pen; so that ideas, then enunciated sharp and quick as minute-guns, in some other hour of unruffledness or unstimulatedness, require considerable time and trouble to verbally recall.
Not here and now can we set down the precise contents of Pierre's letter, without a tautology illy doing justice to the ideas themselves. And though indeed the dread of tautology be the continual torment of some earnest minds, and, as such, is surely a weakness in them; and though no wise man will wonder at conscientious Virgil all eager at death to burn his Æneid for a monstrous heap of inefficient superfluity; yet not to dread tautology at times only belongs to those enviable dunces, whom the partial God hath blessed, over all the earth, with the inexhaustible self-riches of vanity, and folly, and a blind self-complacency.
Some rumour of the discontinuance of his betrothment to Lucy Tartan; of his already consummated marriage with a poor and friendless orphan; of his mother's disowning him consequent upon these events; such rumours, Pierre now wrote to his cousin, would very probably, in the parlours of his city relatives and acquaintances, precede his arrival in town. But he hinted no word of any possible commentary on these things. He simply went on to say, that now, through the fortune of life—which was but the proverbially unreliable fortune of war—he was, for the present, thrown entirely upon his own resources, both for his own support and that of his wife, as well as for the temporary maintenance of a girl, whom he had lately had excellent reason for taking under his especial protection. He proposed a permanent residence in the city; not without some nearly quite settled plans as to the procuring of a competent income, without any ulterior reference to any member of their wealthy and widely ramified family. The house, whose temporary occupancy Glen had before so handsomely proffered him, would now be doubly and trebly desirable to him. But the pre-engaged servants, and the old china, and the old silver, and the old wines, and the Mocha, were now become altogether unnecessary. Pierre would merely take the place—for a short interval—of the worthy old clerk; and, so far as Glen was concerned, simply stand guardian of the dwelling, till his plans were matured. His cousin had originally made his most bounteous overture, to welcome the coming of the presumed bride of Pierre; and though another lady had now taken her place at the altar, yet Pierre would still regard the offer of Glen as impersonal in that respect, and bearing equal reference to any young lady, who should prove her claim to the possessed hand of Pierre.
Since there was no universal law of opinion in such matters, Glen, on general worldly grounds, might not consider the real Mrs. Glendinning altogether so suitable a match for Pierre, as he possibly might have held numerous other young ladies in his eye: nevertheless, Glen would find her ready to return with sincerity all his cousinly regard and attention. In conclusion, Pierre said, that he and his party meditated an immediate departure, and would very probably arrive in town in eight-and-forty hours after the mailing of the present letter. He therefore begged Glen to see the more indispensable domestic appliances of the house set in some little order against their arrival; to have the rooms aired and lighted; and also forewarn the confidential clerk of what he might soon expect. Then, without any tapering sequel of—'Yours, very truly and faithfully, my dear Cousin Glen,' he finished the letter with the abrupt and isolated signature of—'Pierre.'