Welcome to PhiloLogic  
   home |  the ARTFL project |  download |  documentation |  sample databases |   
Bennett, Emerson, 1822-1905 [1851], The league of the Miami. (Lorenzo Stratton, Cincinnati) [word count] [eaf470T].
To look up a word in a dictionary, select the word with your mouse and press 'd' on your keyboard.

Previous section

Next section


We must now return to Cicely, whom
we left in the hands of her captors. At
the place of their landing, were three
swift-footed horses—on one of which she
was mounted, with the strongest of the
party behind her; and, in company with
the others, borne swiftly away. On, on

-- 066 --

[figure description] Page 066.[end figure description]

they dashed in sullen silence—over field
and wood—over highlands and marshy
places—now in total darkness—now in
the vivid light of the almost incessant
lightning—the rain in torrents fairly
drenching them, while the hoarse-voiced
thunder seemed bursting forth in mockery.

So it seemed to Cicely, poor girl, who
felt her guardian angel had deserteed her.
Why was she torn thus rudely from her
peaceful home? For what base end?
Who were her captors? Where would
be her destination? were questions which
she asked herself an hundred times, and
an hundred times was she lost in the
maze of bewilderment. She could learn
of none, for none would give her answer;
and yet, on, on they sped, in their bold
career. She did not cry out, for she
knew it would be useless—would only
subject her to much severer usage. But
one thing she could do—one thing she
did do—she poured forth, from her heart,
a silent, earnest prayer to the God of the
helpless; and, feeling herself under His
protecting arm, resigned herself to her

At length, after some two hours hard
riding, they came to a halt before a rude
old cottage, made of logs, where she
was assisted to dismount, and conducted
within; while the others, a moment or
two later—judging from the sound—rode
swiftly away.

If Cicely was surprised at her capture,
she was no less surprised when, conducted
to the door by one of the party, she
found it opened by a young, handsome,
richly dressed lady—some twenty-two
years of age—who welcomed her with a
courteous smile, and, taking her by the
hand, led her into a room furnished in
wery costly style. As Cicely cast her
eyes around, wonder, for the time, held
her speechless. And well might she
wonder, to see an old cottage like that—
far back in the country—furnished in
such luxurious extravagance, compared
with her own more humble mode of life!
The walls were wainscotted in a beautiful
manner, and were adorned with numerous
engraved pictures, of the French school,
with one or two paintings. On one side
was a large mirror, opposite to which was
a mantel-piece, tastefully carved, supporting
two large glass lamps, with a bright,
blazing fire beneath. The floor was
covered by a beautiful carpet, on which
were several chairs, &c. All this Cicely
took in at a glance, but was at a loss to
comprehend its meaning. Did she dream?
she rubbed her eyes—but no, all was
real; while the voice of her young hostess,
who had noticed this effect on Cicely,
was well calculated to dispel her doubts,
as, in a gentle tone, she said:

“Will you approach the fire, Miss? for
you must be somewhat chilled—riding
so far in the rain—although the night is
warm. This fire was prepared for you,

Cicely started, turned her face full
upon the other, and gazed, for a moment,
without reply. She was tall, and graceful,
with black hair, and large, lustrous
black eyes, the expression of which—
combined with the rest of her features,
and round, swelling bust—was rather
voluptuous. The contour of her face
was Grecian, and very expressive, particularly
her mouth and eyes. In the
whole expression of her countenance,
there was something very winning; and
yet, a something—you could scarce tell
wherefore—that left a disagreeable impression
on your mind; a sort of instinet
told you all was not right—that something
yet was back you had not fathomed.
Cicely felt this, as she gazed upon her,
and taking the seat which the other
politely proffered, she thus made answer:

-- 067 --

[figure description] Page 067.[end figure description]

“For me, say you, this fire was prepared?”

“Even so, Miss.”

“How knew you I was coming here?
where am I? what is the meaning of
this? and who are you? Oh! speak to
me, good lady—tell me all, and truly;
for my brain is in a feverish whirl of bewilderment.”

“You question like a school-girl,” replied
the other, with a laugh. “But
come, I have a change of dress for you.
You will take cold in that.”

Saying which, she turned—entered
another apartment—and soon returned,
bringing a large amount of female apparel,
among which was a beautiful silk
dress. “Here,” said she, holding up the
latter article—“see, is it not fine? Come,
my lady, let us shift the scene;” and
taking hold of Cicely, she commenced
disrobing her.

“Are you crazy?” asked Cicely, her
astonishment increasing at such strange

“ 'Tis you, only, who are a little
touched,” replied the other, quietly, still
pursuing her vocation.

“Nay, lady,” said Cicely, half alarmed,
with a show of resistance, “I object to

“Sorry—because it must be done.”

“Must, say you?”

“Must, I said.”

Cicely saw she was determined, and
acquiesced. In a few minutes she was
apparelled in a dry suit; and, sooth to
say, the beautiful silk dress became her
person well.

“Ah! now you look fine,” said the
other, with a smile, casting her head a
little one side, with a coquettish air, and
stepping back a pace or two, to admire

“Oh! I beseech you, if you have the
heart in you of a woman—I beseech
you inform me the meaning of this! for
I am nearly crazy!” cried Cicely wringing
her hands in an agony of painful

“You are a beautiful being,” replied
the other, with a laugh—at the same
time approaching and stirring the fire.

Cicely started—a wild thought rushed
through her brain—the being before her
must be mad! if not, why acted she thus

“Truly, I pity you, lady,” said Cicely,
sweetly, gazing earnestly upon the other.

As the electric spark suddenly shocks
the nerves, when brought in contact,
making the person start involuntarily—so
acted the words of Cicely upon the other.
She suddenly started—drew herself up
to her full hight—her features set, with
a look of angry scorn—her lips slightly
curled—her eyes flashing fire, as she

Pity me! you pity me! ha, ha! you
look well pitying me! It becomes you
well, most noble lady—indeed it does!
Charity should not begin at home, in this
instance! O no, certainly not!”

“Good Heavens! lady, I have unwittingly
offended you. Pardon me! pardon
me! I did not mean offense—indeed
I did not!” replied Cicely, earnestly,
gazing upon the other with a beseeching

The other looked at her steadily a
moment, but seeing nothing but what
was truthful in the look and manner of
Cicely, relaxed her features to a softened
expression, and, approaching, took hold
of her hand.

“I believe you,” returned she; “your
countenance has the cast of truth. But
hereafter, beware of your expressions; for
know, that nothing is more offensive to a
degraded woman, than pity. You may
scorn her—trample upon her—in fact,
do anything but pity; for that at once

-- 068 --

[figure description] Page 068.[end figure description]

shows your worth, and her degradation—
rouses up her pride, kindled by unbridled
passion, and makes her your most bitter

“But what mean you, lady, by talking
thus of degradation? Surely you are not

The other smiled a sad smile, and then,
with a sigh, said:

“You are very simple—very innocent.
You have seen but little of the world.
How are you called!”

“Cicely Vandemore.”

“A pretty name,” said the other,
musing—“a very pretty name; mine is

“But what do you do here, lady?
Why live you here in this seeming costly
style? Why was I brought hither? Oh!
pray tell me.”

“Hark!” said Mary, listening—“he

At this moment the door opened, and
a gentleman of small stature—handsome
features—richly caparisoned in the military
dress of a United States' officer—
walked into the room—made a very
graceful bow to the ladies—and, approaching,
seated himself near the fire.

It was Aaron Burrand.

Significant glances, unperceived by
Cicely, passed between him and Mary,
who immediately left the room.

“A disagreeable evening, this, without,”
said Burrand, in a voice peculiar
for its musical tones, turning to Cicely,
who was seated some little distance from

Cicely turned her face toward him as
he spoke, and her eyes met his. She
would have quickly withdrawn her gaze;
but there was something so peculiar, so
fascinating, in the glance of his dark eye,
that it seemed to her the command of
her vision was powerless, while a secret
awe crept over her. Burrand, in an
instant, saw his power—a power which,
as yet, had never in one instance failed
him—and a smile of peculiar meaning
played around his mouth, as he continued:

“Lady, I am about to pay you a compliment;
take no offense, I pray you. I
have traveled much, and far—have
passed among all ranks of society—
have noticed mankind well, particularly
the gentler sex—but I must award to
you the distinction of being the loveliest
woman on which my eyes have ever

“Sir,” replied Cicely, with a blush, “I
know not the meaning of this untimely
compliment—so full of vain flattery.”

“Truth, lady, should never be called
vain flattery. Flattery is a word I de
spise, and never yet have stooped to use.
No, believe me, it was but truth I spoke.”

Cicely, embarrassed, made no reply.

“Burrand gazed upon her a moment,
and again resumed:

“You are young and handsome; and
have seen some sixteen summers, probably?”

“Seventeen, sir.”

“Ah! seventeen—that teeming age—
so full of the bright and romantic—so
full of thoughts of mind, almost matured—
interwoven with the poetical frivolities
of youth, ere yet stern Care has o'er us
walked and left his foot-prints on our features.
It is an age which I would love
to linger on in converse yet for hours, so
many by-gone associations in my mind
doth it call up; but it may not be;” and
he hove a sigh, and his features assumed
a saddened expression.

Cicely gazed on him earnestly; his
sadness interested her far more than his
compliments had done. For sorrow there
was a chord in her breast that would ever
vibrate; besides there was something
about him that excited a curiosity to know

-- 069 --

[figure description] Page 069.[end figure description]

“If you will not consider me presumptuous,
may I be allowed to know your
name?” said Burrand, after a slight
pause, marking the effect of his previous
language. “I, somehow, feel an interest
in your welfare.”

“My name, sir, is Cicely Vandemore.”

Burrand suddenly gave a start; a
thought flashed across his brain, which,
at first had weight, but which, with a
“pshaw,” he immediately discarded.

“I like the name of Vandemore,” returned
he, with a gentle smile; “it
sounds familiar. In my younger days,
I knew one of that name, then living in
the East.”

“It was from the East my father
came, some seven years since,” returned

“From what part?”

“We lived, for a time, in the State of

“Then you remember, without doubt,
that beautiful land. I say beautiful, for
there Nature is so diversified, one can
forever gaze without ennui. I, like yourself,
am from the East; and I recall, with
feelings of pleasure, the sunny days I
have spent in old Connecticut. I love to
let memory linger upon her hills, and fertile
valleys, and, in fancy, walk again
upon the green-coated banks of some of
her many streams. I was younger then,
and more innocent than now. I had not
then read the dark page the world has
since to me unfolded—a page, fair lady,
I hope, sincerely hope, you will never
read. Then, lady, I knew what it was
to love, and to lose her I loved. Ah!
me, my life were a sad tale to unfold.
When I look upon you, gentle Cicely,
methinks I see the angel of my first adoration.
She was like you—in form and
features much the same. I hope your
fate may long be unlike hers; though we
cannot tell what destiny has for us in
store;” and he sighed, cast his eyes upward
with a devout look, and then fastened
them upon hers, with a languid,
fascinating expression.

Cicely for some time did not remove
her gaze: she fancied the stranger
(stranger to her) was unhappy; she felt
herself drawn to him by a something she
could not account for; she thought it was
pity—perhaps it was; but, at all events,
so much by his look, words, voice, and
manner, was her mind engrossed, that,
for the moment, she had forgotten where
she was, or that she had been torn from
her home.

“Have you ever loved, Cicely?”
asked Burrand, at length, in a calm-toned

Those magic words recalled her; her
mind reverted, instantly, to Langley—to
Molly—to her capture; the color flew
swiftly over her features, and, retreating,
left them pale; she glanced hurriedly
around the room, and her voice trembled,
as she inquired:

“Oh! sir, tell me where I am? why
am I here?”

Burrand saw in an instant that he had
missed his aim; and thinking frankness
would now go farther with her than dissembling,
thus replied:

“Lady, you are beneath the roof of
one who loves you. For you, in this
costly style, this cottage was prepared.”

“How, sir!” said she, rising to her
feet, her features glowing with excitement,
“would you mock me? Would
one that loved me tear me from my home
by ruffian hands, think you? No, sir;
love wears no garb to cover foul design
like this!”

“Ah! lady, you little know what love
will do. Believe me, when I say, I have
loved you long and ardently.”

“You, sir—you? Heavens! it is impossible:
I never saw you until new.”

-- 070 --

[figure description] Page 070.[end figure description]

“Not so with me, lady; I have watched
you, hour by hour, when you little
thought that you were seen.”

“And it is to you, then, that I am indebted
for my capture?”

“ 'Tis true.”

“Then have you acted base and cowardly!
unworthy of a man who wears
such epaulets upon his shoulder!” said
Cicely, her eyes flashing, her features
reddening. “Go, tear them off, I pray
you; for you have disgraced the land
which gave you rank!”

“But be calm, Cicely, and listen to

“Reason with a madman? with a man
who has done a crime, heinous in the
sight of the law? do not talk of such absurdities!”

“Listen, lady!” said Burrand, throwing
on her one of his most winning
glances; “listen, Cicely, I pray you, for
one brief moment, if no more. Will you
not be seated?”

“Proceed, then,” said Cicely, as she
resumed her seat.

“Twenty-five years agone, I loved a
beautiful being like yourself. Every
thing that was captivating was thrown
around her, and I loved with a passion
fierce and burning as the fires of Etna.
I sought her hand, and was accepted, but
on conditions that I should win a name,
by daring deeds, that should stand high
among my countrymen—that after time
should write upon the scroll of history.
Ambition was my god; and I rushed on,
to serve my country, and win the idol of
my heart. These trappings tell you that
one end, at least, I gained—and, alas!
but one. I came to claim the treasure
of my secret thoughts, but she was
gone—was dead,” and Burrand passed
his hand across his eyes. “Lady, I have
stood amid the roar of battle—even
before the walls of Quebec—and there
supported one, in his dying moments,
whose name is now immortal; I have
seen death in all its various dreadful
shapes—I have seen my friends mown
down like grass—I have seen some of
my brightest visions fade—but never,
until the moment when they told me she
was dead, did I tremble. Well, that is
past; and I have lived, and sought to
cover an aching heart by schemes of
glory. Partly had I succeeded when I
saw you, and all the feelings of my heart
were again revived; all those old associations
again awakened. I would have
sought your hand at once, but another
stood in my way. I waited until I found
he was discarded; and then—and then—
pardon me, lady, I dared not address you,
for fear I should be rejected; and yet, I
dared to do what I have done. O, give me
but hope, fair Cicely, and I will crown
you with rosy garlands of immortality.

“Hope nothing from me, sir,” said
Cicely, gently, but firmly; “my heart is

“Oh! say not that—say not that!”
cried Burrand suddenly springing forward,
dropping upon one knee, clasping
one of her hands in his own, ere she was
aware of his intentions, and looking earnestly
into her eyes, with that powerful,
fascinating expression, so peculiar to
him—“say not that, dearest Cicely; let
me have one bright dream to cheer me
on, and coming time shall shadow forth
such conceptions of a spirit as shall astonish
the world! Lady, there is much
in store, locked in the treasury of the
future, that you dream not of. As yet,
you know me not; but you shall one day
hear my name pronounced first among
the first that win a nation's praise. For
you—for you will I toil harder—longer;
I will build for you a car, surrounded by
honor, wealth, beauty, and power; and
you shall glide adown the stream of time,

-- 071 --

[figure description] Page 071.[end figure description]

loved among the loved, honored among
the honored.”

As he spoke, Cicely gazed earnestly
into those dark eyes, that, with all the
power of the master mind of Burrand,
were throwing their soft gleams into her
own; listened to those words that told
with such musical tones—and felt herself
awed, yet charmed, as one feels in
gazing upon the fascinating serpent. Her
soul seemed impelled forward, while
reason stood stationary, mute.

“Come, sweet Cicely, consent to be
the idol of my future dreams!” continued
Burrand, who had marked the effect
he had wrought upon her; and, emboldened,
he gently passed his arm around
her waist, and partly drew her to him.

Cicely did not resist; it seemed to her
some mighty secret force impelled her
onward; she felt there was something
terrible in that gaze, and yet she did not
withdraw her eyes.

“Ah! you will be mine!” cried Burrand,
while his dark, hellish design suddenly
flashed across his features in a
peculiar smile.

But he had counted too much. That
smile broke the charm, and Cicely sprang
from him with the cry of—

“Never! Oh God! save me from
this dark man—this devil in human
form!” and she shuddered, as she
thought of her escape from the fatal

Burrand started to his feet; a terrible
expression came over his features; his
powers, for the first time in his life, had
faited by an imprudent step, and he
inwardly cursed himself for it. Turning
to Cicely, he said:

“You must be mine! you shall be
mine! I'll talk no more to-night. You
have one week to contemplate. One
week from to-night, remember! Mary!”

Mary entered the room.

“Let not Cicely leave this house on
any pretext—on any consideration whatever—
as you value your life. If she
escape, beware—beware!” and turning
upon his heel, he abruptly left the cottage,
mounted a horse in waiting, and rode
swiftly away; while Cicely, overcome by
powerful thoughts, sank fainting into the
arms of Mary.

Previous section

Next section

Bennett, Emerson, 1822-1905 [1851], The league of the Miami. (Lorenzo Stratton, Cincinnati) [word count] [eaf470T].
Powered by PhiloLogic