Welcome to PhiloLogic  
   home |  the ARTFL project |  download |  documentation |  sample databases |   
Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
To look up a word in a dictionary, select the word with your mouse and press 'd' on your keyboard.

Previous section

Next section

CHAPTER XX. Tears and smiles.

[figure description] Page 193.[end figure description]

A few weeks after the election, I sat in the private
office arranging some papers, when Mr.
Marisett came in, and seated himself at his desk.
He remained almost an hour, with his eyes cast
down, and his lips compressed in his peculiar manner,
conveying to the mind an impression of firmness,
which I have sometimes felt, when gazing on
a granite pillar.

“I have been defeated,” he spoke at length,
“in the only attempt I ever made to gain popular
favor. I was a fool to make an adventure
where I had no experience, and where I could
have no controlling influence, and where success
could be insured neither by calculation nor merit.
Henceforth, Mr. Franco, we will act with more

“I certainly shall try to,” I said, holding up
my arm, which I was still obliged to wear in a
sling; “but I was not aware that any one beside
myself had shown any want of discretion in the

“I mean in choosing the object, and not in

-- 194 --

[figure description] Page 194.[end figure description]

pursuing it,” he said. “However, it may prove
fortunate for me that I lost the election. I have
almost matured in my mind a plan, which will, if
I carry it into operation, gain me more renown,
and greater means of usefulness, than if I had
been fifty times a member of Congress. I have
not named the subject to my partners yet, but I
shall to-morrow, and if we determine to carry it
into execution, we shall have occasion to send you
off on an agency.”

I replied that nothing would give me greater
happiness than to be instrumental in advancing
his interests, but that I should greatly prefer doing
it at home, if I could as well.

Mr. Marisett looked me full in the face, and I
blushed; for I thought he suspected the cause of
my unwillingness to go abroad. I may have
been mistaken, but the thought made me feel uneasy
and confused, and when I had finished my
writing, I bade him good night, and retired to my

I felt unhappy at the prospect of leaving Georgiana,
for I considered it as certain that I should
be compelled to do so. Mr. Marisett was one of
those men who never allow any one to share in
their thoughts, but wait until their plans are matured
in their own minds before they expose them

-- 195 --

[figure description] Page 195.[end figure description]

to others. His manner with his partners was

“Well, gentlemen, I have thought of entering
into such and such an arrangement; what do you
think of it?”

Perhaps one of them would venture to make
an objection.

“Well, gentlemen,” he would reply, “my
mind is made up; we will do as I propose.”

But it was only in affairs of importance that he
was thus positive; in matters of minor concern
he would always yield his own opinion with the
best grace imaginable.

The next day, Mr. Marisett told me he had
consulted with his partners, and that he had determined
on carrying his plans into execution.
It was nothing less that an attempt to get the control
of the cotton market into his hands. It was
a stupendous undertaking; but Mr. Marisett was
a conqueror in business, and nothing with him
appeared difficult of accomplishment, where industry,
foresight, or calculation, could be of avail.
The entire plan of operations by which he expected
to effect his object, I never knew; for it
was his practice never to give one man any further
insight into his views than what was actually
necessary to enable him to perform the particular

-- 196 --

[figure description] Page 196.[end figure description]

duty assigned to him. But with me, Mr. Marisett
had generally been less reserved; on this occasion,
however, he merely told me that I must
get myself in readiness to leave for New Orleans
at the end of the week; that I must make
all possible haste in getting to my place of destination;
and that my instructions were not to be
opened until I got there.

Although this proof of confidence was gratifying
to my pride, I would gladly have remained in
his office at home, if I could; for I had still a
hope of being able to overcome the scruples of
Georgiana, and I was afraid that, in my absence,
my cousin would succeed, by his hypocrisy, in
gaining her affections.

The bare thought of such an event almost distracted
me, and once I determined to tell Mr.
Marisett that I could not go. But a second
thought reminded me of the honor and profit
which I should gain by going; and that I should
thereby triumph over my cousin, and heap coals
of fire on his head; so pride, and revenge, and
avarice, at last overpowered love. But it was a
hard struggle. And yet I would not have resigned
Georgiana De Lancey for the whole world;
but I was willing, seemingly, to give her up for a

-- 197 --

[figure description] Page 197.[end figure description]

season, that I might thereby gratify the darling
passion of my soul.

The few days which were left me for preparation,
flew away more rapidly than time had ever
flown by me before; and the last night in which I
was to sleep under the same roof with Georgiana,
had arrived. It was late in the evening
when I closed a letter to my parents, informing
them of my intended journey. It could make but
little difference, whether a thousand or a hundred
miles separated us; and yet I could not refrain a
tear, at the thought of being farther removed from
them. I sealed my letter, and hastened out of the
office, where I had been writing alone. As I
passed through the hall, with the intention of going
up to my chamber, I saw Georgiana sitting by
herself in the parlor. She appeared sad. I
stopped a moment at the door; she raised her
eyes; I fancied there was an invitation in their
glance, and I entered and sat down. But it was
a long time before I could speak; my utterance
was choked, and I made many attempts before I
could articulate a syllable. Georgiana was very
pale, and but for the tremulous motion of her lips,
she would have looked like a corpse. I had never
seen her look so sad and dejected before. At last
I spoke.

-- 198 --

[figure description] Page 198.[end figure description]

“I shall leave you to-morrow, Miss De Lancey,”
I said, “and as this may be the last time I
shall ever be allowed the privilege of speaking to
you alone, I cannot leave you, without telling you
once more that I love you. I know it is unreasonable
in me, so worthless, to hope that you, who
are so worthy, should return love for love, or even
cold esteem for warm and glowing passion. I
know it is even wicked to indulge in the unholy
dream of being united to one so much above me.
But our affections are not always under our own
control; and madness though it be in me to love,
still I must love, because it is madness. I do love
you, dear Georgina; how well, I cannot speak.
And my love is not lessened, because I feel how
unworthy I am of you. The heart yearns for
something higher and holier than itself; as you,
when you first felt guilt in your soul, looked up
and sought communion with the Holy Spirit.
You found the purity for which you sought. O!
that my heart might find the purity after which it

Georgiana made no reply, but she covered her
face with her hands, and sobbed aloud.

“O that I could leave you,” I continued, “knowing
that you feel an interest in my welfare! I
could then go with a free and buoyant spirit; but

-- 199 --

[figure description] Page 199.[end figure description]

if otherwise, it will be a weary road that I shall

Georgiana continued to sob, and I felt it would
be ungenerous to press her to make a confession,
which her religious scruples forbade, let her inclinations
be what they might. I took her hand,
which hung by her side, and pressing it to my lips,
bade her good bye, and left her. I felt assured
that she loved me. It was enough.

The next morning I did not see her; but the
kindhearted house keeper met me at the door as I
was leaving, and I whispered in her ear to remember
me to Miss Georgy.

Mr. Marisett accompanied me to the steam-boat,
and as he put the package into my hands which
contained my instructions, he told me that it depended
upon the prudence of my conduct in New
Orleans, whether I was admitted as a partner in
the firm of Marisett & Co. on my return. He
shook me cordially by the hand, and bade me
farewell. I stepped on board the boat; the last
bell was ringing, and as I was elbowing my way
along the deck, a small package was suddenly
thrust into my hands. I turned to see from whom
it came. “Cast off,” exclaimed the pilot; a slight
boyish figure sprang ashore; the fasts were cut
loose, and away we darted through the water. I

-- 200 --

[figure description] Page 200.[end figure description]

looked long and anxiously, but the slight form
was lost in the crowd, and I saw it no more.

The letter which had been put into my hand so
mysteriously, was directed to me in a pretty woman's
hand, which I recognised immediately as
Georgiana's. I sought out a retired spot, and
tearing open the envelope with a beating heart
and trembling hands, read as follows:

Dear Harry,

“My conscience upbraids me with having
broken the golden rule, in my intercourse with
you, and I cannot allow you to leave me, under a
false impression of my feelings. I am afraid I
have not been sufficiently plain, when you have
spoken to me on the subject, in giving you to understand
that my mind is unalterably fixed, never
to unite myself to one, whose heart has not been
bowed under the conscious burden of his sins;
for my promise has been passed, mentally only,
I own, but I cannot break it. It is registered
above. Had I known you before the vow was
made, perhaps it never would have been; but it
is, and I am bound by it. Our hands, dear Harry,
may never be united, but our hearts may be.
I cannot dissimulate, I do love you; how well I
love you, let this confession witness. If it be

-- 201 --

[figure description] Page 201.[end figure description]

sinful in me, I trust that He, in whom is all my trust,
will pardon me, and deliver me from my bondage.
And my constant prayer to Him is, that he will
bring you to the foot of that Cross, where alone I
can meet you.

“I know that I am overstepping the worldly
line of propriety in making this confession to you,
but what has the world to do with you and me?
I know the integrity of my own heart, and I have
no fears of yours. Dear Harry, you will not
love me less because I do not deceive you. If I
were indifferent to you, I could not deceive you;
how then can I, regarding you as I do, fulfil the
law, by allowing you to leave me, with painful
suspicions in your mind, and ignorant of the true
state of my affections? Would I that others
should do so to me? Life is too short for deceit;
the time is too near at hand when all things shall
be revealed.

“Once more let me entreat you to put on the
armor of faith. Repent; confess your sins;
pray; read your bible. Forgive me, that I, who
am so ignorant, should thus dictate to you.
Attribute this too great zeal— to love for your

“May the God of all grace defend you, support
you, and convert you.

Georgiana De L.”

-- 202 --

[figure description] Page 202.[end figure description]

I read this precious letter a thousand times; I
studied it, and weighed every word; I dissected
every sentence, but the flattering hope of my
breast found no spot whereon to alight. True, to
be assured by Georgiana herself that she loved
me, was a bliss to which I had never even dared
to aspire; but to be told by her that she loved
me, and that she could never be mine, was a
depth lower in wretchedness than I had ever
even feared.

-- 203 --

Previous section

Next section

Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
Powered by PhiloLogic