Jenny Lawson by T. S. Arthur
MARK CLIFFORD had come up from New York to spend a few weeks with
his maternal grandfather, Mr. Lofton, who lived almost alone on his
beautiful estate a few miles from the Hudson, amid the rich valleys
of Orange county. Mr. Lofton belonged to one of the oldest families
in the country, and retained a large portion of that aristocratic
pride for which they were distinguished. The marriage of his daughter
to Mr. Clifford, a merchant of New York, had been strongly opposed on
the ground that the alliance was degrading—Mr. Clifford not being
able to boast of an ancestor who was anything more than an honest man
and a useful citizen. A closer acquaintance with his son-in-law, after
the marriage took place, reconciled Mr. Lofton in a good measure to
the union; for he found Mr. Clifford to be a man of fine intelligence,
gentlemanly feeling, and withal, tenderly attached to his daughter.
The marriage was a happy one—and this is rarely the case when the
external and selfish desire to make a good family connection is
regarded above the mental and moral qualities on which a true union
only can be based.
A few years previous to the time at which our story opens, Mrs.
Clifford died, leaving one son and two daughters. Mark, the oldest of
the children, was in his seventeenth year at the time the sad
bereavement occurred—the girls were quite young. He had always been
an active boy—ever disposed to get beyond the judicious restraints
which his parents wisely sought to throw around him. After his
mother's death, he attained a wider liberty. He was still at college
when this melancholy event occurred, and continued there for two
years; but no longer in correspondence with, and therefore not under
the influence of one whose love for him sought ever to hold him back
from evil, his natural temperament led him into the indulgence of a
liberty that too often went beyond the bounds of propriety.
On leaving college Mr. Clifford conferred with his son touching the
profession he wished to adopt, and to his surprise found him bent on
entering the navy. All efforts to discourage the idea were of no
avail. The young man was for the navy and nothing else. Yielding at
last to the desire of his son, Mr. Clifford entered the usual form of
application at the Navy Yard in Washington, but, at the same time, in
a private letter to the Secretary, intimated his wish that the
application might not be favorably considered.
Time passed on, but Mark did not receive the anxiously looked for
appointment. Many reasons were conjectured by the young man, who, at
last, resolved on pushing through his application, if personal
efforts could be of any avail. To this end, he repaired to the seat
of government, and waited on the Secretary. In his interviews with
this functionary, some expressions were dropped that caused a
suspicion of the truth to pass through his mind. A series of rapidly
recurring questions addressed to the Secretary were answered in a way
that fully confirmed this suspicion. The effect of this upon the
excitable and impulsive young man will appear as our story
It was while Mark's application was pending, and a short time
before his visit to Washington, that he came up to Fairview, the
residence of his grandfather. Mark had always been a favorite with the
old gentleman, who rather encouraged his desire to enter the navy.
"The boy will distinguish himself," Mr. Lofton would say, as he
thought over the matter. And the idea of distinction in the army or
navy, was grateful to his aristocratic feelings. "There is some of
the right blood in his veins for all."
One afternoon, some two or three days after the young man came up
to Fairview, he was returning from a ramble in the woods with his gun,
when he met a beautiful young girl, simply attired, and bearing on
her head a light bundle of grain which she had gleaned in a
neighboring field. She was tripping lightly along, singing as gaily
as a bird, when she came suddenly upon the young man, over whose face
there passed an instant glow of admiration. Mark bowed and smiled, the
maiden dropped a bashful courtesy, and then each passed on; but
neither to forget the other. When Mark turned, after a few steps, to
gaze after the sweet wild flower he had met so unexpectedly, he saw
the face again, for she had turned also. He did not go home on that
evening, until he had seen the lovely being who glanced before him in
her native beauty, enter a neat little cottage that stood half a mile
from Fairview, nearly hidden by vines, and overshadowed by two tall
On the next morning Mark took his way toward the cottage with his
gun. As he drew near, the sweet voice he had heard on the day before
was warbling tenderly an old song his mother had sung when he was but
a child; and with the air and words so well remembered, came a
gentleness of feeling, and a love of what was pure and innocent, such
as he had not experienced for many years. In this state of mind he
entered the little porch, and stood listening for several minutes to
the voice that still flung itself plaintively or joyfully upon the
air, according to the sentiment breathed in the words that were
clothed in music; then as the voice became silent, he rapped gently
at the door, which, in a few moments, was opened by the one whose
attractions had drawn him thither.
A warm color mantled the young girl's face as her eyes fell upon so
unexpected a visitor. She remembered him as the young man she had met
on the evening before; about whom she had dreamed all night, and
thought much since the early morning. Mark bowed, and, as an excuse
for calling, asked if her mother were at home.
"My mother died when I was but a child," replied the girl,
shrinking back a step or two; for Mark was gazing earnestly into her
"Ah! Then you are living with your—your—"
"Mrs. Lee has been a mother to me since then," said she, dropping
her eyes to the floor.
"Then I will see the good woman who has taken your mother's place."
Mark stepped in as he spoke, and took a chair in the neat little
sitting room into which the door opened.
"She has gone over to Mr. Lofton's," said the girl, in reply, "and
won't be back for an hour."
"Has she, indeed? Then you know Mr. Lofton?"
"Oh, yes. We know him very well. He owns our little cottage."
"Does he! No doubt you find him a good landland."
"He's a kind man," said the girl, earnestly.
"He is, as I have good reason to know," remarked the young man.
"Mr. Lofton is my grandfather."
The girl seemed much surprised at this avowal, and appeared less at
ease than before.
"And now, having told you who I am," said Mark, "I think I may be
bold enough to ask your name."
"My name is Jenny Lawson," replied the girl.
"A pretty name, that—Jenny—I always liked the sound of it. My
mother's name was Jenny. Did you ever see my mother? But don't
tremble so! Sit down, and tell your fluttering heart to be still."
Jenny sunk into a chair, her bosom heaving, and the crimson flush
still glowing on her cheeks, while Mark gazed into her face with
"Who would have thought," said he to himself, "that so sweet a wild
flower grew in this out of the way place."
"Did you ever see my mother, Jenny?" asked the young man, after she
was a little composed.
"Then we will be friends from this moment, Jenny. If you knew my
mother then, you must have loved her. She has been dead now over
There was a shade of sadness in the young man's voice as he said
"When did you see her last?" he resumed.
"The summer before she died she came up from New York and spent two
or three weeks here. I saw her then, almost every day."
"And you loved my mother? Say you did!"
The young man spoke with a rising emotion that he could not
"Every body loved her," replied Jenny, simply and earnestly.
For a few moments Mark concealed his face with his hands, to hide
the signs of feeling that were playing over it; then looking up
again, he said—
"Jenny, because you knew my mother and loved her, we must be
friends. It was a great loss to me when she died. The greatest loss I
ever had, or, it may be, ever will have. I have been worse since then.
Ah me! If she had only lived!"
Again Mark covered his face with his hands, and, this time, he
could not keep the dimness from his eyes.
It was a strange sight to Jenny to see the young man thus moved.
Her innocent heart was drawn toward him with a pitying interest, and
she yearned to speak words of comfort, but knew not what to say.
After Mark grew composed again, he asked Jenny a great many
questions touching her knowledge of his mother; and listened with
deep interest and emotion to many little incidents of Jenny's
intercourse with her, which were related with all the artlessness and
force of truth. In the midst of this singular interview, Mrs. Lee came
in and surprised the young couple, who, forgetting all reserve, were
conversing with an interest in their manner, the ground of which she
might well misunderstand. Jenny started and looked confused, but,
quickly recovering herself, introduced Mark as the grandson of Mr.
The old lady did not respond to this with the cordiality that
either of the young folks had expected. No, not by any means. A flush
of angry suspicion came into her face, and she said to Jenny as she
handed her the bonnet she hurriedly removed—
"Here—take this into the other room and put it away."
The moment Jenny retired, Mrs. Lee turned to Mark, and after
looking at him somewhat sternly for a moment, surprised him with this
"If I ever find you here again, young man, I'll complain to your
"Will you, indeed!" returned Mark, elevating his person, and
looking at the old lady with flashing eyes. "And pray, what will you
say to the old gentleman?"
"Fine doings, indeed, for the likes o' you to come creeping into a
decent woman's house when she is away!" resumed Mrs. Lee. "Jenny's
not the kind you're looking after, let me tell you. What would your
poor dear mother, who is in heaven, God bless her! think, if she knew
The respectful and even affectionate reference to his mother,
softened the feelings of Mark, who was growing very angry.
"Good morning, old lady," said he, as he turned away; "you don't
know what you're talking about!" and springing from the door, he
hurried off with rapid steps. On reaching a wood that lay at some
distance off, Mark sought a retired spot, near where a quiet stream
went stealing noiselessly along amid its alder and willow-fringed
banks, and sitting down upon a grassy spot, gave himself up to
meditation. Little inclined was he now for sport. The birds sung in
the trees above him, fluttered from branch to branch, and even dipped
their wings in the calm waters of the stream, but he heeded them not.
He had other thoughts. Greatly had old Mrs. Lee, in the blindness of
her suddenly aroused fears, wronged the young man. If the sphere of
innocence that was around the beautiful girl had not been all powerful
to subdue evil thoughts and passions in his breast, the reference to
his mother would have been effectual to that end.
For half an hour had Mark remained seated alone, busy, with
thoughts and feelings of a less wandering and adventurous character
than usually occupied his mind, when, to his surprise, he saw Jenny
Lawson advancing along a path that led through a portion of the
woods, with a basket on her arm. She did not observe him until she
had approached within some fifteen or twenty paces; when he arose to
his feet, and she, seeing him, stopped suddenly, and looked pale and
"I am glad to meet you again, Jenny," said Mark, going quickly
toward her, and taking her hand, which she yielded without
resistance. "Don't be frightened. Mrs. Lee did me wrong. Heaven knows
I would not hurt a hair of your head! Come and sit down with me in
this quiet place, and let us talk about my mother. You say you knew
her and loved her. Let her memory make us friends."
Mark's voice trembled with feeling. There was something about the
girl that made the thought of his mother a holier and tenderer thing.
He had loved his mother intensely, and since her death, had felt her
loss as the saddest calamity that had, or possibly ever could, befall
him. Afloat on the stormy sea of human life, he had seemed like a
mariner without helm or compass. Strangely enough, since meeting with
Jenny at the cottage a little while before, the thought of her
appeared to bring his mother nearer to him; and when, so unexpectedly,
he saw her approaching him in the woods, he felt momentarily, that it
was his mother's spirit guiding her thither.
Urged by so strong an appeal, Jenny suffered herself to be led to
the retired spot where Mark had been reclining, half wondering, half
fearful—yet impelled by a certain feeling that she could not well
resist. In fact, each exercised a power over the other, a power not
arising from any determination of will, but from a certain spiritual
affinity that neither comprehended. Some have called this "destiny,"
but it has a better name.
"Jenny," said Mark, after they were seated—he still retained her
hand in his, and felt it tremble—"tell me something about my mother.
It will do me good to hear of her from your lips."
The girl tried to make some answer, but found no utterance. Her
lips trembled so that she could not speak. But she grew more composed
after a time, and then in reply to many questions of Mark, related
incident after incident, in which his mother's goodness of character
stood prominent. The young man listened intently, sometimes with his
eyes upon the ground, and sometimes gazing admiringly into the sweet
face of the young speaker.
Time passed more rapidly than either Mark or Jenny imagined. For
full an hour had they been engaged in earnest conversation, when both
were painfully surprised by the appearance of Mrs. Lee, who had sent
Jenny on an errand, and expected her early return. A suspicion that
she might encounter young Clifford having flashed through the old
woman's mind, she had come forth to learn if possible the cause of
Jenny's long absence. To her grief and anger, she discovered them
sitting together engaged in earnest conversation.
"Now, Mark Clifford!" she exclaimed as she advanced, "this is too
bad! And Jenny, you weak and foolish girl! are you madly bent on
seeking the fowler's snare? Child! child! is it thus you repay me for
my love and care over you!"
Both Mark and Jenny started to their feet, the face of the former
flushed with instant anger, and that of the other pale from alarm.
"Come!" and Mrs. Lee caught hold of Jenny's arm and drew her away.
As they moved off, the former, glancing back at Mark, and shaking her
finger towards him, said—
"I'll see your grandfather, young man!"
Fretted by this second disturbance of an interview with Jenny, and
angry at an unjust imputation of motive, Mark dashed into the woods,
with his gun in his hand, and walked rapidly, but aimlessly, for
nearly an hour, when he found himself at the summit of a high
mountain, from which, far down and away towards the east, he could
see the silvery Hudson winding along like a vein of silver. Here,
wearied with his walk, and faint in spirit from over excitement, he
sat down to rest and to compose his thoughts. Scarcely intelligible
to himself were his feelings. The meeting with Jenny, and the effect
upon him, were things that he did not clearly understand. Her
influence over him was a mystery. In fact, what had passed so
hurriedly, was to him more like a dream than a reality.
No further idea of sport entered the mind of the young man on that
day. He remained until after the sun had passed the meridian in this
retired place, and then went slowly back, passing the cottage of Mrs.
Lee on his return. He did not see Jenny as he had hoped. On meeting
Mr. Lofton, Mark became aware of a change in the old man's feelings
towards him, and he guessed at once rightly as to the cause. If he had
experienced any doubts, they would have been quickly removed.
"Mark!" said the old gentleman, sternly, almost the moment the
grandson came into his presence, "I wish you to go back to New York
to-morrow. I presume I need hardly explain my reason for this wish,
when I tell you that I have just had a visit from old Mrs. Lee."
The fiery spirit of Mark was stung into madness by this further
reaction on him in a matter that involved nothing of criminal intent.
Impulsive in his feelings, and quick to act from them, he replied with
a calmness and even sadness in his voice that Mr. Lofton did not
expect—the calmness was from a strong effort: the sadness expressed
his real feelings:
"I will not trouble you with my presence an hour longer. If evil
arise from this trampling of good impulse out of my heart, the sin
rest on your own head. I never was and never can be patient under a
false judgment. Farewell, grandfather! We may never meet again. If
you hear of evil befalling me, think of it as having some connection
with this hour."
With these words Mark turned away and left the house. The old man,
in grief and alarm at the effect of his words, called after him, but
he heeded him not.
"Run after him, and tell him to come back," he cried to a servant
who stood near and had listened to what had passed between them. The
order was obeyed, but it was of no avail. Mark returned a bitter
answer to the message he brought him, and continued on his way. As he
was hurrying along, suddenly he encountered Jenny. It was strange that
he should meet her so often. There was something in it more than
accident, and he felt that it was so.
"God bless you, Jenny!" he exclaimed with much feeling, catching
hold of her hand and kissing it. "We may never meet again. They
thought I meant you harm, and have driven me away. But, Heaven knows
how little of evil purpose was in my heart! Farewell! Sometimes, when
you are kneeling to say your nightly prayers, think of me, and breathe
my name in your petitions. I will need the prayers of the innocent.
And under the impulse of the moment, Mark bent forward and pressed
his lips fervently upon her pure forehead; then, springing away, left
her bewildered and in tears.
Mark hurried on towards the nearest landing place on the river,
some three miles distant, which he reached just as a steamboat was
passing. Waving his handkerchief, as a signal, the boat rounded to,
and touching at the rude pier, took him on board. He arrived in New
York that evening, and on the next morning started for Washington to
see after his application for a midshipman's appointment in the navy.
It was on this occasion that the young man became aware of the secret
influence of his father against the application which had been made.
His mind, already feverishly excited, lost its balance under this new
"He will repent of this!" said he, bitterly, as he left the room of
the Secretary of the Navy, "and repent it until the day of his death.
Make a fixture of me in a counting room! Shut me up in a lawyer's
office! Lock me down in a medicine chest! Mark Clifford never will
submit! If I cannot enter the service in one way I will in another."
Without pausing to weigh the consequences of his act, Mark, in a
spirit of revenge towards his father, went, while the fever was on
him, to the Navy Yard, and there entered the United States service as
a common sailor, under the name of Edward James. On the day following,
the ship on board of which he had enlisted was gliding down the
Potomac, and, in a week after, left Hampton Roads and went to sea.
From Norfolk, Mr. Clifford received a brief note written by his
son, upbraiding him for having defeated the application to the
department, and avowing the fact that he had gone to sea in the
government service, as a common sailor.
IT was impossible for such passionate interviews, brief though they
were, to take place without leaving on the heart of a simple minded
girl like Jenny Lawson, a deep impression. New impulses were given to
her feelings, and a new direction to her thoughts. Nature told her
that Mark Clifford loved her; and nothing but his cold disavowal of
the fact could possibly have affected this belief. He had met her, it
was true, only three or four times; but their interviews during these
meetings had been of a character to leave no ordinary effect behind.
So long as her eyes, dimmed by overflowing tears, could follow Mark's
retiring form, she gazed eagerly after him; and when he was at length
hidden from her view, she sat down to pour out her heart in passionate
Old Mrs. Lee, while she tenderly loved the sweet flower that had
grown up under her care, was not, in all things, a wise and discreet
woman; nor deeply versed in the workings of the human heart.
Rumor of Mark's wildness had found its way to the neighborhood of
Fairview, and made an unfavorable impression. Mrs. Lee firmly
believed that he was moving with swift feet in the way to
destruction, and rolling evil under his tongue as a sweet morsel.
When she heard of his arrival at his grandfather's, a fear came upon
her lest he should cast his eyes upon Jenny. No wonder that she met
the young man with such a quick repulse, when, to her alarm, she
found that he had invaded her home, and was already charming the ear
of the innocent child she so tenderly loved and cared for. To find
them sitting alone in the woods, only a little while afterwards,
almost maddened her; and so soon as she took Jenny home, she hurried
over to Mr. Lofton, and in a confused, exaggerated, and intemperate
manner, complained of the conduct of Mark.
"Together alone in the woods!" exclaimed the old gentleman, greatly
excited. "What does the girl mean?"
"What does he mean, thus to entice away my innocent child?" said
Mrs. Lee, equally excited. "Oh, Mr. Lofton! for goodness' sake, send
him back to New York! If he remain here a day longer, all may be
lost! Jenny is bewitched with him. She cried as if her heart would
break when I took her back home, and said that I had done wrong to
Mark in what I had said to him."
"Weak and foolish child! How little does she know of the world—how
little of the subtle human heart! Yes—yes, Mrs. Lee, Mark shall go
back at once. He shall not remain here a day longer to breathe his
blighting breath on so sweet a flower. Jenny is too good a girl to be
exposed to such an influence."
The mind of Mr. Lofton remained excited for hours after this
interview; and when Mark appeared, he met him as has already been
seen. The manner in which the young man received the angry words of
his grandfather, was a little different from what had been
anticipated. Mr. Lofton expected some explanation by which he could
understand more clearly what was in the young man's thoughts. When,
therefore, Mark abruptly turned from him with such strange language
on his tongue, Mr. Lofton's anger cooled, and he felt that he had
suffered himself to be misled by a hasty judgment. That no evil had
been in the young man's mind he was sure. It was this change that had
prompted him to make an effort to recall him. But, the effort was
On Jenny's return home, after her last interview with Mark, she
found a servant there with a summons from Mr. Lofton. With much
reluctance she repaired to the mansion house. On meeting with the old
gentleman he received her in a kind but subdued manner; but, as for
Jenny herself, she stood in his presence weeping and trembling.
"Jenny," said Mr. Lofton, after the girl had grown more composed,
"when did you first meet my grandson?"
Jenny mentioned the accidental meeting on the day before, and the
call at the cottage in the morning.
"And you saw him first only yesterday?"
"What did he say when he called this morning?"
"He asked for my mother."
"Yes. I told him that my mother was dead, and that I lived with
Mrs. Lee. He then wanted to see her; but I said that she had gone over
to your house."
"What did he say then?"
"He spoke of you, and said you were a good man, and that we no
doubt found you a good landlord. I had mentioned that you owned our
Mr. Lofton appeared affected at this.
"What then?" he continued.
"He told me who he was, and then asked me my name. When I told him
that it was Jenny, he said, it was a good name, and that he always
liked the sound of it, for his mother's name was Jenny. Then he asked
me, if I had known his mother, and when I said yes, he wanted to know
if I loved her. I said yes—for you know we all loved her. Then he
covered his face with his hands, and I saw the tears coming through
his fingers. 'Because you know my mother, and loved her, Jenny,' said
he, 'we will be friends.' Afterwards he asked me a great many
questions about her, and listened with the tears in his eyes, when I
told him of many things she had said and done the last time she was up
here. We were talking together about his mother, when Mrs. Lee came
in. She spoke cross to him, and threatened to complain to you, if he
came there any more. He went away angry. But I'm sure he meant nothing
wrong, sir. How could he and talk as he did about his mother in
"But, how came you to meet him, in the woods, Jenny?" said Mr.
Lofton. "Did he tell you that he would wait there for you?"
"Oh, no, sir. The meeting was accidental. I was sent over to Mrs.
Jasper's on an errand, and, in passing through the woods, saw him
sitting alone and looking very unhappy. I was frightened; but he told
me that he wouldn't hurt a hair of my head. Then he made me sit down
upon the grass beside him, and talk to him about his mother. He asked
me a great many questions, and I told him all that I could remember
about her. Sometimes the tears would steal over his cheeks; and
sometimes he would say—'Ah! if my mother had not died. Her death was
a great loss to me, Jenny—a great loss—and I have been worse for
"And was this all you talked about, Jenny," asked Mr. Lofton, who
was much, affected by the artless narrative of the girl.
"It was all about his mother," replied Jenny. "He said that I not
only bore her name, but that I looked like her, and that it seemed to
him, while with me, that she was present."
"He said that, did he!" Mr. Lofton spoke more earnestly, and looked
intently upon Jenny's face. "Yes—yes—it is so. She does look like
dear Jenny," he murmured to himself. "I never saw this before. Dear
boy! We have done him wrong. These hasty conclusions—ah, me! To how
much evil do they lead!"
"And you were talking thus, when Mrs. Lee found you?"
"What did she say?"
"I can hardly tell what she said, I was so frightened. But I know
she spoke angrily to him and to me, and threatened to see you."
Mr. Lofton sighed deeply, then added, as if the remark were
"And that is the last you have seen of him."
"No, sir; I met him a little while ago, as he was hurrying away
from your house."
"You did!" Mr. Lofton started at Jenny's unexpected reply.
"Did he speak to you?"
"Yes; he stopped and caught hold of my hand, saying, 'God bless
you, Jenny! We may never meet again. They have driven me away, because
they thought I meant to harm you.' But he said nothing wrong was in
his heart, and asked me to pray for him, as he would need my
At this part of her narrative, Jenny wept bitterly, and her
auditor's eyes became dim also.
Satisfied that Jenny's story was true in every particular, Mr.
Lofton spoke kindly to her and sent her home.
A week after Mark Clifford left Fairview, word came that he had
enlisted in the United States' service and gone to sea as a common
sailor; accompanying this intelligence was an indignant avowal of his
father that he would have nothing more to do with him. To old Mr.
Lofton this was a serious blow. In Mark he had hoped to see realized
some of his ambitious desires. His daughter Jenny had been happy in
her marriage, but the union never gave him much satisfaction. She was
to have been the wife of one more distinguished than a mere plodding
Painful was the shock that accompanied the prostration of old Mr.
Lofton's ambitious hopes touching his grandson, of whom he had always
been exceedingly fond. To him he had intended leaving the bulk of his
property when he died. But now anger and resentment arose in his mind
against him as unworthy such a preference, and in the warmth of a
moment's impulse, he corrected his will and cut him off with a dollar.
This was no sooner done than better emotions stirred in the old man's
bosom, and he regretted the hasty act; but pride of consistency
prevented his recalling it.
From that time old Mr. Lofton broke down rapidly. In six months he
seemed to have added ten years to his life. During that period no
news had come from Mark; who was not only angry with both his father
and grandfather, but felt that in doing what he had done, he had
offended them beyond the hope of forgiveness. He, therefore, having
taken a rash step, moved on in the way he had chosen, in a spirit of
recklessness and defiance. The ties of blood which had bound him to
his home were broken; the world was all before him, and he must make
his way in it alone. The life of a common sailor in a government ship
he found to be something different from what he had imagined, when,
acting under a momentary excitement, he was so mad as to enlist in the
service. Unused to work or ready obedience, he soon discovered that
his life was to be one not only of bodily toil, pushed sometimes to
the extreme of fatigue, but one of the most perfect subordination to
the will of others, under pain of corporeal punishment. The first
insolent word of authority passed to him by a new fledged midshipman,
his junior by at least three years, stung him so deeply that it was
only by a most violent effort that he could master the impulse that
prompted him to seize and throw him overboard. He did not regret this
successful effort at self-control, when, a few hours afterwards, he
was compelled to witness the punishment of the cat inflicted on a
sailor for the offence of insolence to an officer. The sight of the
poor man, writhing under tile brutality of the lash, made an
impression on him that nothing could efface. It absorbed his mind and
brought it into a healthier state of reflection than it had yet been.
"I have placed myself in this position by a rash act," he said to
himself, as he turned, sick at heart, away from the painful and
disgusting sight. "And all rebellion against the authority around me
will but make plainer my own weakness. I have degraded myself; but
there is a lower degradation still, and that I must avoid. Drag me to
the gangway, and I am lost!"
Strict obedience and submission was from that time self-compelled
on the part of Mark Clifford. It was not without a strong effort,
however, that he kept down the fiery spirit within him. A word of
insolent command—and certain of the young midshipmen on board could
not speak to a senior even if he were old as their father, except in
a tone of insult—would send the blood boiling through his veins.
It was only by the narrowest chances that Mark escaped punishment
during the first six months of the cruise, which was in the Pacific.
If he succeeded in bridling his tongue, and restraining his hands
from violence he could not hide the indignant flash of his eyes, nor
school the muscles of his face into submission. They revealed the
wild spirit of rebellion that was in his heart. Intelligent
promptness in duty saved him.
This was seen by his superior officers, and it was so much in his
favor when complaints came from the petty tyrants of the ship who
sometimes shrunk from the fierce glance that in a moment of
struggling passion would be cast upon them. After a trying ordeal of
six months, he was favored by one of the officers who saw deeper than
the rest; and gathered from him a few hints as to his true character.
In pitying him, he made use of his influence to save him from some of
the worst consequences of his position.
Jenny Lawson was a changed girl after her brief meeting with Mark
Clifford. Before, she had been as light hearted and gay as a bird.
But, her voice was no longer heard pouring forth the sweet melodies
born of a happy heart. Much of her time she sought to be alone; and
when alone, she usually sat in a state of dreamy absent-mindedness.
As for her thoughts, they were most of the time on Clifford. His hand
had stirred the waters of affection in her gentle bosom; and they knew
no rest. Mr. Lofton frequently sent for her to come over to the
mansion house. He never spoke to her of Mark; nor did she mention his
name—though both thought of him whenever they were together. The
oftener Mr. Lofton saw Jenny, and the more he was with her, the more
did she remind him of his own lost child—his Jenny, the mother of
Mark—now in heaven. The incident of meeting with young Clifford had
helped to develop Jenny's character, and give it a stronger type than
otherwise would have been the case. Thus, she became to Mr. Lofton
companionable; and, ere a year had elapsed from the time Mark went
away, Mrs. Lee, having passed to her account, she was taken into his
house, and he had her constantly with him. As he continued to fail, he
leaned upon the affectionate girl more and more heavily; and was never
contented when she was away from him.
It would be difficult to represent clearly Jenny's state of feeling
during this period. A simple minded, innocent, true-hearted girl, in
whose bosom scarce beat a single selfish impulse, she found herself
suddenly approached by one in station far above her, in a way that
left her heart unguarded. He had stooped to her, and leaned upon her,
and she, obeying an impulse of her nature, had stood firmer to support
him as he leaned. Their tender, confiding, and delightful intercourse,
continued only for a brief season, and was then rudely broken in upon;
forced separation was followed by painful consequences to the young
man. When Jenny thought of how Mark had been driven away on her
account, she felt that in order to save him from the evils that must
be impending over him, she would devote even her life in his service.
But, what could she do? This desire to serve him had also another
origin. A deep feeling of love had been awakened; and, though she felt
it to be hopeless, she kept the flame brightly burning.
Intense feelings produced more active thoughts, and the mind of
Jenny took a higher development. A constant association with Mr.
Lofton, who required her to read to him sometimes for hours each day,
filled her thoughts with higher ideas than any she had known, and
gradually widened the sphere of her intelligence. Thus she grew more
and more companionable to the old man, who, in turn, perceiving that
her mind was expanding, took pains to give it a right direction, so
far as external knowledge were concerned.
Soon after Mark went to sea, Jenny took pains to inform herself
accurately as to the position and duties of a common sailor on board
of a United States' vessel. She was more troubled about Mark after
this, for she understood how unfitted he was for the hard service he
entered upon so blindly.
One day, it was over a year from the time that Mark left Fairview,
Mr. Lofton sent for Jenny, and, on her coming into his room, handed
her a sealed letter, but without making any remark. On it was
superscribed her name; and it bore, besides, the word "Ship" in red
printed letters, "Valparaiso," also, was written upon it. Jenny
looked at the letter wonderingly, for a moment or two, and then, with
her heart throbbing wildly, left the room. On breaking the seal, she
found the letter to be from Mark. It was as follows:
"U. S. SHIP——, Valparaiso, September 4, 18—,
"MY GENTLE FRIEND.—A year has passed since our brief meeting and
unhappy parting. I do not think you have forgotten me in that time;
you may be sure I have not forgotten you. The memory of one about
whom we conversed, alone would keep your image green in my thoughts.
Of the rash step I took you have no doubt heard. In anger at unjust
treatment both from my father and grandfather, I was weak enough to
enter the United States' service as a sailor. Having committed this
folly, and being unwilling to humble myself, and appeal to friends
who had wronged me for their interest to get me released, I have
looked the hardship and degradation before me in the face, and sought
to encounter it manfully. The ordeal has been thus far most severe,
and I have yet two years of trial before me. As I am where I am by my
own act, I will not complain, and yet, I have felt it hard to be cut
off from all the sympathy and kind interest of my friends—to have no
word from home—to feel that none cares for me. I know that I have
offended both my father and grandfather past forgiveness, and my mind
is made up to seek for no reconciliation with them. I cannot stoop to
that. I have too much of the blood of the Loftons in my veins.
"But why write this to you, Jenny? You will hardly understand how
such feelings can govern any heart—your own is so gentle and
innocent in all of its impulses. I have other things to say to you!
Since our meeting I have never ceased to think of you! I need no
picture of your face, for I see it ever before me as distinctly as if
sketched by the painter's art. I sometimes ask myself wonderingly, how
it is that you, a simple country maiden, could, in one or two brief
meetings, have made so strong an impression upon me? But, you bore my
mother's name, and your face was like her dear face. Moreover, the
beauty of goodness was in your countenance, and a sphere of innocence
around you; and I had not strayed so far from virtue's paths as to be
insensible to these. Since we parted, Jenny, you have seemed ever
present with me, as an angel of peace and protection. In the moment
when passion was about overmastering me, you stood by my side, and I
seemed to hear your voice speaking to the rising storm, and hushing
all into calmness. When my feet have been ready to step aside, you
instantly approached and pointed to the better way. Last night I had a
dream, and it is because of that dream that I now write to you. I have
often felt like writing before; now I write because I cannot help it.
I am moved to do so by something that I cannot resist.
"Yesterday I had a difficulty with an officer who has shewn a
disposition to domineer over me ever since the cruise commenced. He
complained to the commander, who has, in more than one instance shown
me kindness. The commander said that I must make certain concessions
to the officer, which I felt as humiliating; that good discipline
required this, and that unless I did so, he would be reluctantly
compelled to order me to the gangway. Thus far I had avoided
punishment by a strict obedience to duty. No lash had ever touched me.
That degradation I felt would be my ruin; and in fear of the result I
bore much, rather than give any petty officer the power to have me
punished. 'Let me sleep over it, Captain,' said I, so earnestly, that
my request was granted.
"Troubled dreams haunted me as I lay in my hammock that night. At
last I seemed to be afloat on the wide ocean, on a single plank,
tossing about with the hot sun shining fiercely upon me, and monsters
of the great deep gathering around, eager for their prey. I was weak,
faint, and despairing. In vain did my eyes sweep the horizon, there
was neither vessel nor land in sight. At length the sun went down, and
the darkness drew nearer and nearer. Then I could see nothing but the
stars shining above me. In this moment, when hope seemed about leaving
my heart forever, a light came suddenly around me. On looking up I saw
a boat approaching. In the bow stood my mother, and you sat guiding
the helm! She took my hand, and I stepped into the boat with a thrill
of joy at my deliverance. As I did so, she kissed me, looked tenderly
towards you, and faded from my sight. Then I awoke.
"The effect of all this was to subdue my haughty spirit. As soon as
an opportunity offered, I made every desired concession for my fault,
and was forgiven. And now I am writing to you, I feel as if there was
something in that dream, Jenny. Ah! Shall I ever see your face again?
Heaven only knows!
"I send this letter to you in care of my grandfather. I know that
he will not retain it or seek to know its contents. Unless he should
ask after me, do not speak to him or any one of what I have written
to you. Farewell! Do not forget me in your prayers.
The effect of this letter upon Jenny, was to interest her
intensely. The swell of emotion went deeper, and the activity of her
mind took a still higher character. It was plain to her, when she next
came into Mr. Lofton's presence, that his thoughts had been busy about
the letter she had received. But he asked her no questions, and,
faithful to the expressed wish of Mark, she made no reference to the
One part of Jenny's service to the failing old man, had been to
read to him daily from the newspapers. This made her familiar with
what was passing in the world, gave her food for thought, and helped
her to develop and strengthen her mind. Often had she pored over the
papers for some news of Mark, but never having heard the name of the
vessel in which he had gone to sea, she had possessed no clue to find
what she sought for. But now, whenever a paper was opened, her first
search was for naval intelligence.
With what a throb of interest did she one day, about a week after
Mark's letter came to hand, read an announcement that the ship ——
had been ordered home, and might be expected to arrive daily at
A woman thinks quickly to a conclusion; or, rather, arrives there
by a process quicker than thought; especially where her conclusions
are to affect a beloved object. In an hour after Jenny had read the
fact just stated, she said to Mr. Lofton, who had now come to be much
attached to her—
"Will you grant me a favor?"
"Ask what you will, my child," replied Mr. Lofton, with more than
usual affection in his tones.
"Let me have fifty dollars."
"Certainly. I know you will use it for a good purpose."
Two days after this Jenny was in Washington. She made the journey
alone, but without timidity or fear. Her purpose made her
self-possessed and courageous. On arriving at the seat of government,
Jenny inquired for the Secretary of the Navy. When she arrived at the
Department over which he presided, and obtained an interview, she said
to him, as soon as she could compose herself—
"The ship —— has been ordered home from the Pacific?"
"She arrived at Norfolk last night, and is now hourly expected at
the Navy Yard," replied the Secretary.
At this intelligence, Jenny was so much affected that it was some
time before she could trust herself to speak.
"You have a brother on board?" said the Secretary.
"There is a young man on board," replied Jenny, in a tremulous
voice, "for whose discharge I have come to ask."
The Secretary looked grave.
"At whose instance do you come?" he inquired.
"Solely at my own."
"Who is the young man?"
"Do you know Marshal Lofton?"
"I do, by reputation, well. He belongs to a distinguished family in
New York, to which the country owes much for service rendered in
"The discharge I ask, is for his grandson."
"Young Clifford, do you mean?" The Secretary looked surprised as he
spoke. "He is not in the service."
"He is on board the ship —— as a common sailor."
"It is too true. In a moment of angry disappointment he took the
rash step. And, since then, no communication has passed between him
and his friends."
The Secretary turned to the table near which he was sitting, and,
after writing a few lines on a piece of paper, rung a small hand-bell
for the messenger, who came in immediately.
"Take this to Mr J——, and bring me an answer immediately."
The messenger left the room, and the Secretary said to Jenny—
"Wait a moment or two, if you please."
In a little while the messenger came back and handed the Secretary
a memorandum from the clerk to whom he had sent for information.
"There is no such person as Clifford on board the ship ——, nor,
in fact, in the service as a common sailor," said the Secretary,
addressing Jenny, after glancing at the memorandum he had received.
"Oh, yes, there is; there must be," exclaimed the now agitated
girl. "I received a letter from him at Valparaiso, dated on board of
this ship. And, besides, he wrote home to his father, at the time he
sailed, declaring what he had done."
"Strange. His name doesn't appear in the Department as attached to
the service. Hark! There's a gun. It announces, in all probability,
the arrival of the ship —— at the Navy Yard."
Jenny instantly became pale.
"Perhaps," suggested the Secretary, "your best way will be to take
a carriage and drive down, at once, to the Navy Yard. Shall I direct
the messenger to call a carriage for you?"
"I will thank you to do so," replied Jenny, faintly.
The carriage was soon at the door. Jenny was much agitated when she
arrived at the Navy Yard. To her question as to whether the ship ——
had arrived, she was pointed to a large vessel which lay moored at the
dock. How she mounted its side she hardly knew; but, in what seemed
scarcely an instant of time, she was standing on the deck. To an
officer who met her, as she stepped on board, she asked for Mark
"What is he? A sailor or marine?"
"There is no such person on board, I believe," said the officer.
Poor Jenny staggered back a few paces, while a deadly paleness
overspread her face. As she leaned against the side of the vessel for
support, a young man, dressed as a sailor, ascended from the lower
deck. Their eyes met, and both sprung towards each other.
"Jenny! Jenny! is it you!" fell passionately from his lips, as he
caught her in his arms, and kissed her fervently. "Bless you! Bless
you, Jenny! This is more than I had hoped for," he added, as he gazed
fondly into her beautiful young face.
"They said you were not here," murmured Jenny, "and my heart was in
"You asked for Mark Clifford?"
"I am not known in the service by that name. I entered it as Edward
This meeting, occurring as it did, with many spectators around, and
they of the ruder class, was so earnest and tender, yet with all, so
mutually respectful and decorous, that even the rough sailors were
touched by the manner and sentiment of the interview; and mole than
one eye grew dim.
Not long did Jenny linger on the deck of the ——. Now that she had
found Mark, her next thought was to secure his discharge.
IT was little more than half an hour after the Secretary of the
Navy parted with Jenny, ere she entered his office again; but now with
her beautiful face flushed and eager.
"I have found him!" she exclaimed; "I knew he was on board this
The Secretary's interest had been awakened by the former brief
interview with Jenny, and when she came in with the announcement, he
was not only affected with pleasure, but his feelings were touched by
her manner. "How is it, then," he inquired, "that his name is not to
be found in the list of her crew?"
"He entered the service under the name of Edward James."
"Ah! that explains it."
"And now, sir," said Jenny, in a voice so earnest and appealing,
that her auditor felt like granting her desire without a moment's
reflection: "I have come to entreat you to give me his release."
"On what ground do you make this request?" inquired the Secretary,
gazing into the sweet young face of Jenny, with a feeling of respect
blended with admiration.
"On the ground of humanity," was the simple yet earnestly spoken
"How can you put it on that ground?"
"A young man of his education and abilities can serve society
better in another position."
"But he has chosen the place he is in."
"Not deliberately. In a moment of disappointment and blind passion
he took a false step. Severely has he suffered for this act. Let it
not be prolonged, lest it destroy him. One of his spirit can scarcely
pass through so severe an ordeal without fainting."
"Does Mr. Lofton, his grandfather, desire what you ask?"
"Mr. Lofton is a proud man. He entertained high hopes for Mark, who
has, in this act, so bitterly disappointed them, that he has not been
known to utter his name since the news of his enlistment was
"And his father?"
Jenny shook her head, sighing—
"I don't know anything about him. He was angry, and, I believe,
cast him off."
"And you, then, are his only advocate?"
Jenny's eyes dropped to the floor, and a deeper tinge overspread
"What is your relation to him, and to his friends?" asked the
Secretary, his manner becoming more serious.
It was some moments before Jenny replied. Then she said, in a more
"I am living with Mr. Lofton. But—"
She hesitated, and then became silent and embarrassed.
"Does Mr. Lofton know of your journey to Washington?"
Jenny shook her head.
"Where did you tell him you were going?"
"I said nothing to him, but came away the moment I heard the ship
was expected to arrive at Norfolk."
"Suppose I release him from the service?"
"I will persuade him to go back with me to Fairview, and then I
know that all will be forgiven between him and his grandfather. You
don't know how Mr. Lofton has failed since Mark went away," added
Jenny in a tone meant to reach the feelings of her auditor.
"He looks many years older. Ah, sir, if you would only grant my
"Will the young man return to his family! Have you spoken to him
"No; I wished not to create hopes that might fail. But give me his
release, and I will have a claim on him."
"And you will require him to go home in acknowledgment of that
"I will not leave him till he goes back," said Jenny.
"Is he not satisfied in the service?"
"How could he be satisfied with it?" Jenny spoke with a quick
impulse, and with something like rebuke in her voice. "No! It is
crushing out his very life. Think of your own son in such a
There was something in this appeal, and in the way it was uttered,
that decided the Secretary's mind. A man of acute observation, and
humane feelings, he not only understood pretty clearly the relation
that Jenny bore to Mark and his family, but sympathised with the
young man and resolved to grant the maiden's request. Leaving her for
a few minutes, he went into an adjoining room. When he returned, he
had a sealed letter in his hand directed to the commander of the ship
"This will procure his dismissal from the service," said he, as he
reached it towards Jenny.
"May heaven reward you!" fell from the lips of the young girl, as
she received the letter. Then, with the tears glistening in her eyes,
she hurriedly left the apartment.
While old Mr. Lofton was yet wondering what Jenny could want with
fifty dollars, a servant came and told him that she had just heard
from a neighbor who came up a little while before from the landing,
that he had seen Jenny go on board of a steamboat that was on its way
to New York.
"It can't be so," quickly answered Mr. Lofton.
"Mr. Jones said, positively, that it was her."
"Tell Henry to go to Mr. Jones and ask him, as a favor, to step
over and see me."
In due time Mr. Jones came.
"Are you certain that you saw Jenny Lawson go on board the
steamboat for New York to-day?" asked Mr. Lofton, when the neighbor
"Oh, yes, sir; it was her," replied the man.
"Did you speak to her?"
"I was going to, but she hurried past me without looking in my
"Had she anything with her?"
"There was a small bundle in her hand."
"Strange—strange—very strange," murmured the old man to himself.
"What does it mean? Where can she have gone?"
"Did she say nothing about going away?"
Mr. Lofton's eyes fell to the floor, and he sat thinking for some
"Mr. Jones," said he, at length, "can you go to New York for me?"
"I suppose so," replied Mr. Jones.
"When will the morning boat from Albany pass here?"
"In about two hours."
"Then get yourself ready, if you please, and come over to me. I do
not like this of Jenny, and must find out where she has gone."
Mr. Jones promised to do as was desired, and went to make all
necessary preparations. Before he returned, a domestic brought Mr.
Lofton a sealed note bearing his address, which she had found in
Jenny's chamber. It was as follows:
"Do not be alarmed at my telling you that, when you receive this, I
will be on a journey of two or three hundred miles in extent, and may
not return for weeks. Believe me, that my purpose is a good one. I
hope to be back much sooner than I have said. When I do get home, I
know you will approve of what I have done. My errand is one of Mercy.
"Humbly and faithfully yours, JENNY."
It was some time before Mr. Lofton's mind grew calm and clear,
after reading this note. That Jenny's absence was, in some way,
connected with Mark, was a thought that soon presented itself. But, in
what way, he could not make out; for he had never heard the name of
the ship in which his grandson sailed, and knew nothing of her
expected arrival home.
By the time Mr. Jones appeared, ready to start on the proposed
mission to New York, Mr. Lofton had made up his mind not to attempt
to follow Jenny, but to wait for some word from her. Not until this
sudden separation took place did Mr. Lofton understand how necessary
to his happiness the affectionate girl had become. So troubled was he
at her absence, and so anxious for her safety, that when night came he
found himself unable to sleep. In thinking about the dangers that
would gather around one so ignorant of the world, his imagination
magnified the trials and temptations to which, alone as she was, she
would be exposed. Such thoughts kept him tossing anxiously upon his
pillow, or restlessly pacing the chamber floor until day dawn. Then,
from over-excitement and loss of rest, he was seriously indisposed—so
much so, that his physician had to be called in during the day. He
found him with a good deal of fever, and deemed it necessary to resort
to depletion, as well as to the application of other remedies to allay
the over-action of his vital system. These prostrated him at once—so
much so, that he was unable to sit up. Before night he was so
seriously ill that the physician had to be sent for again. The fever
had returned with great violence, and the pressure on his brain was so
great that he had become slightly delirious.
During the second night, this active stage of the disease
continued; but all the worst symptoms subsided towards morning.
Daylight found him sleeping quietly, with a cool moist skin, and a
low, regular pulse. Towards mid-day he awoke; but the anxiety that
came with thought brought back many of the unfavorable symptoms, and
he was worse again towards evening. On the third day he was again
better, but so weak as to be unable to sit up.
How greatly did old Mr. Lofton miss the gentle girl, who had become
almost as dear to him as a child, during this brief illness, brought
on by her strange absence. No hand could smooth his pillow like hers.
No presence could supply her place by his side. He was companionless,
now that she was away; and his heart reached vainly around for
something to lean upon for support.
On the fourth day he was better, and sat up a little. But his
anxiety for Jenny was increasing. Where could she be? He read her
brief letter over and over again.
"May not return for weeks," he said, as he held the letter in his
hand. "Where can she have gone? Foolish child! Why did she not
consult with me? I would have advised her for the best."
Late on the afternoon of that day, Jenny, in company with Mark, the
latter in the dress of a seaman in the United States service, passed
from a steamboat at the landing near Fairview, and took their way
towards the mansion of Mr. Lofton. They had not proceeded far, before
the young man began to linger, while Jenny showed every disposition to
press on rapidly. At length Mark stopped.
"Jenny," said he, while a cloud settled on his face, "you've had
your own way up to this moment. I've been passive in your hands. But
I can't go on with you any further."
"Don't say that," returned Jenny, her voice almost imploring in its
tones. And in the earnestness of her desire to bring Mark back to his
grandfather, she seized one of his hands, and, by a gentle force, drew
him a few paces in the direction they had been going. But he resisted
that force, and they stood still again.
"I don't think I can go back, Jenny," said Mark, in a subdued
voice: "I have some pride left, much as has been crushed out of me
during the period of my absence, and this rises higher and higher in
my heart the nearer I approach my grandfather. How can I meet him!"
"Only come into his presence, Mark," urged Jenny, speaking tenderly
and familiarly. She had addressed him as Mr. Clifford, but he had
forbidden that, saying—
"To you my name is Mark—let none other pass your lips!"
"Only come into his presence. You need not speak to him, nor look
towards him. This is all I ask."
"But, the humiliation of going back after my resentment of his
former treatment," said Mark. "I can bear anything but this bending
of my pride—this humbling of myself to others."
"Don't think of yourself, Mark," replied Jenny. "Think of your
grandfather, on whom your absence has wrought so sad a change. Think
of what he must have suffered to break down so in less than two
years. In pity to him, then, come back. Be guided by me, Mark, and I
will lead you right. Think of that strange dream!"
At this appeal, Mark moved quickly forward by the side of the
beautiful girl, who had so improved in every way—mind and body
having developed wonderfully since he parted with her—that he was
filled all the while by wonder, respect and admiration. He moved by
her side as if influenced by a spell that subdued his own will.
In silence they walked along, side by side, the pressure of thought
and feeling on each mind being so strong as to take away the desire
to speak, until the old mansion house of Mr. Lofton appeared in view.
Here Mark stopped again; but the tenderly uttered "Come," and the
tearful glance of Jenny, effectually controlled the promptings of an
unbroken will. Together, in a few minutes afterwards, they approached
the house and entered.
"Where is Mr. Lofton?" asked Jenny of a servant who met them in the
"He's been very ill," replied the servant.
"Ill!" Jenny became pale.
"Yes, very ill. But he is better now."
"Where is he?"
"In his own chamber."
For a moment Jenny hesitated whether to go up alone, or in company
with Mark. She would have preferred going alone; but fearing that, if
she parted even thus briefly from Mark, her strong influence over him,
by means of which she had brought him, almost as a struggling
prisoner, thus far, would be weakened, and he tempted to turn from
the house, she resolved to venture upon the experiment of entering
Mr. Lofton's sick chamber, in company with his grandson.
"Is he sitting up?" she asked of the servant.
"He's been sitting up a good deal to-day, but is lying down now."
"He's much better?"
"Come," said Jenny, turning to Mark, and moving towards the
stairway. Mark followed passively. On entering the chamber of Mr.
Lofton, they found him sleeping.
Both silently approached, and looked upon his venerable face,
composed in deep slumber. Tears came to the eyes of Mark as he gazed
at the countenance of his grandfather, and his heart became soft as
the heart of a child. While they yet stood looking at him, his lips
moved, and he uttered both their names. Then he seemed disturbed, and
moaned, as if in pain.
"Grandfather!" said Mark, taking the old man's hand, and bending
Quickly his eyes opened. For a few moments he gazed earnestly upon
Mark, and then tightened his hand upon that of the young man, closed
his eyes again, and murmured in a voice that deeply touched the
"My poor boy! My poor boy! Why did you do so? Why did you break my
heart? But, God be thanked, you are back again! God be thanked!"
"Jenny!" said the old man, quickly, as he felt her take his other
hand and press it to her lips. "And it was for this you left me! Dear
child, I forgive you!"
As he spoke, he drew her hand over towards the one that grasped
that of Mark, and uniting them together, murmured—
"If you love each other, it is all right. My blessing shall go with
How mild and delicious was the thrill that ran through each of the
hearts of his auditors. This was more than they expected. Mark
tightly grasped the hand that was placed within his own, and that
hand gave back an answering pressure. Thus was the past reconciled
with the present; while a vista was opened toward a bright future.
Little more than a year has passed since this joyful event took
place. Mark Clifford, with the entire approval of his grandfather,
who furnished a handsome capital for the purpose, entered, during the
time, into the mercantile house of his father as a partner, and is now
actively engaged in business, well sobered by his severe experience.
He has taken a lovely bride, who is the charm of all circles into
which she is introduced; and her name is Jenny. But few who meet her
dream that she once grew, a beautiful wild flower, near the banks of
Old Mr. Lofton could not be separated from Jenny; and, as he could
not separate her from her husband, he has removed to the city, where
he has an elegant residence, in which her voice is the music and her
smiles the ever present sunshine.