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“ I will say no more at present, except that I am, and ever will be, “ Your truly attached Sister,
I had courage to finish the letter, and then it dropped from I was bewildered, stupified, maddened. As my
sister said, I did indeed feel. Was it possible ? -- Janet, who had - Mercy on me! I threw myself on the bed, and there I remained till the next morning in a state most pitiable.
It is only those who have been deceived in their first attachment who can appreciate my agony of feeling. For the first few hours I hated the whole world, and had then the means been at hand, should in all probability have hastened into another ; but gradually my excitement abated :-I found relief in tears of sorrow and indignation. I arose at daylight the next morning, worn out with contending feelings, heavy and prostrated in mind. I went out stood on the beach, the keen breeze cooled my fevered cheek. For hours I leant motionless upon an anchor all hope of future happiness abandoned for ever.
WHICH IS ALL ABOUT LOVE.
BRAMBLE CONFIDES TO ME ALL HIS
ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE TENDER PASSION.
To conceal from Bramble or Bessy the state of mind to which I was reduced was impossible: I was in a condition of prostration against which I could not rally ; and I believe that there never was a person who had been disappointed in his first love, who did not feel as I did — that is, if he really loved with a sincere, pure, and holy feeling; for I do not refer to the fancied attachments of youth, which may be said to be like the mere flaws of wind which precede the steady gale. I could not, for several days, trust myself to speak — I sat silent and brooding over the
words, the looks, the smiles, the scenes which had promised me a store of future happiness; such as would probably have been the case, as far as we can be happy in this world, had I fixed my affections upon a true and honest, instead of a fickle and vain,
had I built my house upon a rock, instead of one upon the sand — which, as pointed out by the Scriptures, had been washed away, and had disappeared for ever! Bramble and Bessy in vain attempted to gain from me the cause of my dejection ; I believe that they had many conversations upon it when I was absent, but whatever may have been their surmises, they treated me with every kindness and consideration. About a week after I had received the letter, Bramble said to me, “ Come, Tom, we have had an easterly wind for ten days now; they are going off in a galley to-morrow
-suppose we go too — it's no use staying here moping, and doing nothing. You've been out of sorts lately, and it will do you good." I thought so too, and consented; but the other pilots were not ready, and our departure was deferred till the day after. Bramble had acquainted me in the morning with this delay: I was annoyed at it, for I was restless, and wished for change. My bundle had been prepared; I had passed the best part of the night in writing to Virginia, and was, as people very often are when under such oppressed feelings, in any thing but a good humour at being obliged to remain another day at Deal. I had walked out to the beach after we had breakfasted, and had remained there some time. Bramble had gone out in the direction of the post-office, and I asked him to inquire if there was a letter for me, for I thought it very likely that Virginia might have written to me again. I had remained for an hour on the beach, when I recollected that my knife required to be sharpened, and I walked round the cottage to the backyard, where there was a small grindstone. I had not put my knife to it, when I heard Bramble come in and say to Bessy,
“ Well, girl, I've found it all out, for you see I thought old Anderson might know something about it; or, if he did not, he could inquire ; and I've got the whole story. Here's Anderson's letter. I thought there must be something of that sort."
Here there was a pause, as if Bessy was reading the letter.
“ Only to think she's run away with a young lord,” said Bramble.
“ So it seems,” replied Bessy ; “I'm sorry for poor Tom, for he feels it severely."
“ I'm not sorry," rejoined Bramble ; "she wasn't deserving of him; and, Bessy, I'm glad for your sake."
“ Don't say that, father'; Tom will never think of me, nor do I care about him."
“I don't exactly believe that, Bessy, for all you say so. wish, and you know it, Bessy, to see you and Tom spliced before I die; and I thank Heaven that this false girl is out of the way ; - I've more hopes now."
“ Marriages are made in heaven, father," replied Bessy ; “ pray don't say any thing more about it. It will be time enough for me to think of Tom when Tom appears to think of me. I shall always love him as a brother.”
6 Well, God's will be done! We must now try and console him, poor fellow; and I'm very glad that we're off to-morrow. Salt water cures love, they say, sooner than any thing else."
“ It may, perhaps," replied Bessy; “ but I feel that if I were once really in love, the whole ocean itself could not wash my love out. However, women are not men.”
“ That's true. You hug your love as you do your babies, all day long, and never tire. Now, you see, a man gets tired of nurs. ing in no time; I never was in love but once."
" Oh ! father, I've heard that story so often."
“Well, then, you sha'n't hear it again. Now, I'll go out, and see where Tom may be. I suppose he's looking at the wind, and thinking how it changes like a woman. But I'll light my pipe first."
“ Do, father; and while Tom looks at the wind, and thinks of women, do you just watch the smoke out of your pipe, and think of men, and their constancy."
“ Well, I will, if it pleases you. Put the letter by, Bessy, for I shouldn't like Tom to see it. What have you got for dinner ? ”
“ I left that to Mrs. Maddox; so I can't tell. But there's cold pudding in the larder; I'll put it out for Tom.”
Nay, Bessy, you must not jest with him.” “ Am I likely, think you, father? ” replied Bessy ; “ can't I feel for him?" “ Come, come, dearest, I didn't mean to make
you cry." " I'm not crying, but I'm very sorry for Tom, and that's the truth. Now go away with your pipe, and leave me alone."
It was impossible for me to have returned without being perceived, and I therefore remained during the whole of this convers. ation. I was annoyed to discover that they knew my secret; and still more vexed at the remainder of this colloquy, by which I discovered that Bramble had so completely set his heart upon an union between me and Bessy, which I considered as impossible. I felt, as all do at the time, as if I never could love again. I walked away, and did not return home till dinner-time. Bramble and Bessy were very kind, although they did not talk much; and when I went away the next day I was moved with the affectionate farewell of the latter.
It was a beautiful night, and we were running before the east wind, the Portland light upon our starboard beam ; the other men in the boat had laid down in their gregos and pilot jackets, and were fast asleep, while Bramble was at the helm steering; and I, who was too restless in my mind to feel any inclination to repose, was sitting on the stern sheets beside him.
“ Do you see the line of the Race ? ” said Bramble ; "it seems strong to-night."
Bramble referred to what is called by the mariners the Race of Portland; where the uneven ground over which the water runs creates a very heavy sea even in a calm. Small smuggling vessels and boats, forced into it in bad weather, have often foundered. The tide, however, runs so rapidly over it, that you are generally swept through it in a few minutes, and then find yourself again in comparatively smooth water.
“ Yes," replied I; “ it is very strong to-night, from the long continuance of the easterly wind."
“ Exactly so, Tom,” continued Bramble: “ I've often thought that getting into that Race is just like falling in love."
“Why so ?" replied I, rather pettishly; for I was not pleased at his referring to the subject.
“ I'll tell you why, Tom,” said Bramble ; " because, you see, when we get into the Race, it's all boiling and bubbling and tossing about rudder and sails are of no use; and you are carried along by a fierce tide, which there's no resisting, with no small damage to the upper works, until you are fairly out again, and find breath to thank God for it. Now, ar'n't that like love?"
6 I suppose it is, as you say so ; you know best.”
“ Well, I think I do know best ; because, you see, I have long be clear of it. I never was in love but once, Tom; did I ever tell you about it?”
“ Never,” replied I.
“ Well, then, as 'twill pass time away, I'll just give you the long and the short of it, as the saying is. When I was just about twenty, and a smart lad in my own opinion, I was on board of a transport; and we had gone round to Portsmouth with a load of timber for the dock-yard. It was not my first trip there, for you see the transport was employed wholly on that service; and during my cruizing on shore I had taken up my quarters at the Chequer Board, a house a little way from the common Hard, in the street facing the dock-yard wall; for, you see, Tom, it was handy to us, as our ship laid at the wharf, off the mast pond, it being just outside the dock-yard gates. The old fellow who kept the house was as round as a ball, for he never started out by any chance from one year's end to another: his wife was dead; and he had an only daughter, who served at the bar, in a white cap with blue streamers; and when her hair was out of papers, and she put on clean shoes and stockings, which she did every day after dinner, she was a very smart neat built little heifer ; and, being an only daughter, she was considered as a great catch to any one who could get hold of her. She had quite the upper hand of her father, who dared not say a word ; and with others she would give herself no few airs. At one time she would be as sweet as sugar, and the next, without any cause, she'd wonder at your imperance.' It was difficult to know how to take her : it's a bad thing for a girl to have a great