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Bennett, Emerson, 1822-1905 [1851], The league of the Miami. (Lorenzo Stratton, Cincinnati) [word count] [eaf470T].
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The same evening on which we have
introduced the League, on the bank of
the beautiful Ohio, about a stone's throw
westward of Molly Magore's residence,
on an old log half buried in the ground,
were seated two lovers. We say lovers,
for in this opinion we should have been
borne out by any who had seen them;
for there is a look about true lovers not
easily mistaken.

The lady was a beautiful being of
seventeen—airy and graceful in formation.
Her skin was clear, smooth, of a
pearly cast, and of the very finest texture.
Her hair was silken, of a rich golden
hue, and flowed in long, handsome ringlets
adown the sides of her head, and
around a neck of that exquisite symmetry
we so much admire in sculptural display.
But the most charming of all were her
features; so divine of mould—so full of a
soul of purity, and truth—so full of intellectual
power. Her eyes, large, and blue,
or rather of a color between the gray and
blue, were very expressive; and, through
the silken fringes of long lashes, had a
soft, modest, languid expression. Above
these, on a finely-shaped forehead, were
brows penciled to correspond—rounded
gently over toward a nose of middling
size, bordering a little on the Grecian—
below which was a mouth, classic in
shape, surmounted by two very tempting
lips. Her cheeks were soft as the down
of a peach; very slightly tinted with an

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intellectual flush — which comes and
departs as 'twere the tale-bearer of the
soul. Her dress was white, and suited
well her form and complexion. Her attitude,
at the moment introduced, was one
of graceful ease. Her bonnet held in
hands whose pretty tapering fingers were
unconsciously toying with the ribbon —
her face turned a little round—the fringes
of her eyes lifted, and the eyes themselves
gazing earnestly, yet modestly,
upon the other, who was pointing out the
thousand beauties around them — her
countenance richly animated with the
description—all taken together made her
look interestingly lovely.

Her companion was one of Nature's
noblemen; so stamped by her, there was
no mistaking him. To judge from his
appearance, as the sat there, he was some
twenty-four years of age, some six feet in
stature, and handsomely proportioned.
His features were open, bold, and manly,
expressive of a soul full of high thoughts
and generous deeds. It was one of those
countenances we ever love to gaze upon,
as giving us the strongest assurance we
are in the presence of a man. He was
one of those who are brave in the hour
of danger, yet never boast; one who
would do a noble, generous action, without
seeking the reward even of gratitude;
one who could love, love with his whole
soul, yet could not betray; one who
feared not an enemy; one who would
give his life for a friend. His hat removed,
exhibited a large, well shaped
head, clustering with curls of dark brown
hair; a forehead high and broad, seemingly
pressed with impulsive thought, if
we may so be allowed the expression.
His large, fascinating, hazel eye gleamed
and sparkled with the true poetry of an
impulsive soul. The whole shape of his
features inclined to the oval, and were
very striking — devoid of all sinister, or
deceitful expressions; yet connected with
a truthful look of firmness of purpose
when roused, that might be classed as a
species of headstrong hardihood. His
mouth was well shaped, and, when animated,
there lingered around it a very
pleasing smile. He was one of old Kentucky's
noble sons — (and, with all due
respect to other States, we will say Kentucky
has produced many), full of fire,
and fight — life, and love. He could be
as stern as a despot, in the presence of a
foe; mild as a lamb, in the presence of a
friend. His eyes could flash fire, or
gleam tenderly with love. Such was
Edward Langley.

Born of one of the first families in
Kentucky, he had early been sent to
school, and had received what is termed
a liberal education. With a mind naturally
strong—an ardent temperament—a
bold, manly air — a great flow of language—
he was one well calculated to
meet with success among the fairer sex.
He had admired a goodly number of
ladies, but had never loved any until, in
one of his occasional rambles, he had
chanced to meet with the gentle being
now by his side. He had seen her first
on the very spot, seated upon the very
log, where they now were; and had gazed
with admiration—delight—ay, even with
love upon her; had sought her acquaintance;
and had found in her all he had
hoped — all he had wished to find in
woman. For some months he had strictly
paid her his addresses; and, as may be
divined, not without success — for Cicely
Vandemore was one to love. Deeming
this explanation sufficient to throw a little
light upon matters as they stood, we shall
again proceed.

The sun was slowly sinking beyond the
western verge, and his soft, golden rays
dipped gently into the silvery bosom
of La Belle Riviere—still, and sweetly

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[figure description] Page 029.[end figure description]

flowing along a few feet below the lovers.
Everything around lay in a dreamy, enchanting
light. Far, far away to their
left, stretched the green wooded hills,
softly fading into blue. Around them
Nature had spread her velvet robe of
green, and flowers had sprung up and
scented the breeze which gently fanned
them. Before them, smoothly gliding
along, its little prow scarce making a ripple,
was a small skiff, in which was seated
a young man, whose oar, as he lazily
raised it, sparkled brilliantly in the lingering
sunlight. On the opposite side of
the river lay the pleasant little town of
Cincinnati, with here and there a lounger
to be seen, who had strolled down to the
river's edge, to partake of the calm beauty
of the evening, and gaze into the Ohio.
It was a night, and an hour for love.

For some moments Edward Langley
had held the attention of Cicely enchained
by his rich voice, and eloquent discourse;
when, suddenly noticing the little skiff
which seemed to near them, half intentionally,
without showing any design of landing,
he changed his discourse, and said:

“O, look at that beautiful, tiny boat,
Cicely; how pleasantly, how gracefully
it rides on the silvery water! See how
the oars, that propel it, flash in the dying
light of day! Is it not beautiful?”

“It is,” answered Cicely, her features
glowing with pleasure.

“May I not make an emblem,

“Why do you ask me, Mr. Langley?”

“There, there it is again; Mr. Langley!
Why will you not call me Edward?
Mr. sounds so formal. Come, sweet one,
call me Edward, will you?

“I will, Edward,” replied she, modestly
looking down.

“Ah! thank you—thank you! Always
call me Edward, I pray. But come, the
emblem, do you cousent?”

“I do, Edward.”

Edward gazed at her earnestly, and
tenderly, for a moment, and then replied:

“The stream before us, I shall call the
stream of time; you little boat gliding
peacefully along, is life; the voyagers—
for there should be two — ourselves;
while thus may the oar of Hope — which
softly propels us onward — flash in the
light of Heaven, as we near the shadows
of eternity, as does the oar of yon boatman
flash in the light of closing day,
which is soon to be lost in the shadows
of night.”

“O beautiful emblem!” exclaimed
Cicely, with animation; and then, suddenly
recollecting she formed one portion
of it, she paused, and hung her head
with a modest blush.

“Ah! why do you look down, my
pretty one? Have you changed your
mind thus suddenly?” inquired Edward
with a smile.

“I—I was not thinking of my forming
one portion of it,” replied Cicely, with
hesitation, while the color deepened on
her features.

“But would you object, sweet Cicely?”
asked the other, in a calm, tender tone.

Cicely was silent.

“O, why should I not tell you?” exclaimed
he, suddenly — impulsively —
“the scene, the hour is fitted for it! I
will — I will unburden my soul! Cicely
Vandemore, I love you! love you with a
heart that never loved — never can love

“Nay, Edward,” said Cicely, starting,
her features paling, “do not talk of this,
now I beg of you!”

“I must, Cicely — I must! my soul
is full: I must give vent to my thoughts,
my feelings; they are like the pent-up
waters of a mighty stream—which,
having found a little release, rush on
with an overwhelming force! O, Cicely

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[figure description] Page 030.[end figure description]

Vandemore, I repeat, I love you! I
loved you when first I saw you; and I
love with no idle, school-boy's passion.
Mine is the love — deep and seated — of
one who has read mankind as a book;
ay, read their very souls. If I loved
when first I saw you, how much has my
love been deepened since; you have
become the very essence of my being —
my second existence; so that life, without
you, would be robbed of all its
charms: for a mind, like mine, that has
reveled in the gorgeous halls of the
future — created by Fancy and Hope —
cannot survive their illusions being destroyed,
save in the gloomy dungeons of
dark despair. I have never before spoken
to you of love, and the future; but now
I ask, sincerely ask, will you be mine?
I am rich; I have wealthy connections;
you shall have every thing you desire.
Slaves shall be at your command — your
life shall be watched as the tenderest
flower, and not a chilling blast shall blow
upon you. I will guard you as a trust,
to me consigned, from heaven. O, say,
Cicely Vandemore, speak with a whole
soul, and say you will be mine! I listen
to the first tones of your sweet, sweet
voice, with the trembling anxiety of a
criminal to his jury.” He ceased; and
his features glowing, his eyes sparkling,
turned full upon her.

Cicely, for some moments, did not,
could not answer. Pale and trembling
had she listened to his rapturous, passionate
bursting forth of a noble, impulsive
soul in a torrent of love. She would have
checked him, but she could not — his
words held her spell-bound. They went
to her soul, and stirred up within her new
thoughts. A thrill — a wild, passionate
thrill — shot through her. Her features
paled, and flushed; her heart wildly palpitated.
She was struggling between duty
and love. It was a terrible struggle — a
delicious agony. But Cicely had a strong,
well formed mind: she believed that duty
strove rightly against love, and though it
should rend her heart—make her miserable
for life—she must yield to the former.
She had never before thought of this so
seriously. She had loved Edward Langley,
without knowing she loved him.
Pleased—charmed with his society—she
had thought not where it would end. But
now a crisis had come, and her eyes were
opened; she felt she was a poor orphan
girl, and her sensitive mind told her it
was not mete for her to mate with one so
much her superior in riches, and connexions.
Had he been poor, she would have
rushed to his arms—clung to him forever;
he was rich—she must reject him. Such
were the thoughts, and feelings, that
rushed with lightning rapidity through
the mind of Cicely, in those few moments,
as we have before called them, of delicious
agony. But her resolution was at
length taken; her mind gradually settled
to a quiet calm; and, rising from her
seat, in a firm tone, she replied:

“Edward Langley, this must not, cannot

“How!” exclaimed he, suddenly,
turning pale as death—his features quivering
with the force of something that
seemed to crush his hopes—“you reject
me, Cicely?”

“Listen, Edward.”

“No, no! I cannot—cannot, Cicely; I
cannot listen to a refusal from you,” and
his features writhed in agony. “You do
not know me, Cicely; better strike a dagger
at once to my heart! Oh! great
Heaven! must I bear it?” and he buried
his face in his hands.

Cicely—as white as a sheet—trembling
like an aspen — summoned all her moral
courage, and again proceeded:

“Nay, nay, dear Edward, hear me!”

“Ha! you called me dear, did you

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[figure description] Page 031.[end figure description]

not — dear Edward?” cried he, looking
up, wildly. “Say that again, Cicely; it
came to my soul like the light of a pharos
to the mariner in a storm. O, say it

“And why should I not? for, frankly,
I will say, I love you!”

“Heavens! what do I hear? love me!
have I then foolishly been repining for
nought? O, Cicely, do I understand you

“Will you listen to me calmly?”

“I will, I will; go on!”

“Frankly, then, I say I love you, but
can never be yours!”

“Never be mine?” repeated he, in
trembling tones — “never be mine! I
cannot comprehend—I cannot understand
you! one moment you raise me to the
pinnacle of hope — the next, engulph me
in despair!”

“If you will listen to me,” said Cicely,
much affected, “I will explain. You love
me, I believe — I know; but Edward
Langley, you are wealthy; you move in
the best circles of society; you have rich,
influential connexions: I, on the contrary,
am poor; I have no friends, save good
old Molly, whom God preserve, for she
has been to me a mother,” and the tears
started to her eyes.

“But why do you mention this, dearest
Cicely? the very obstacles you think
you have raised, but serve to endear you
to me. Be mine, Cicely — be mine, and
you shall never want for friends. Had
you been rich, perchance I should not
have loved you; at least, I should never
have plead for you as I now plead. I
apprehended your almost too sensitive
mind would lead you into these reflections;
but cast them aside, I pray.
What are wealth and connexions to
me, if through them I be made unhappy?
better far had I been born a
beggar. Come, dearest Cicely, make
me happy, by one word, will you — will
you not?”

“It cannot—no! it cannot be,” gasped
Cicely, and she sank upon her seat.

“Oh God!” cried Edward; and he
clasped his head in his hands, and swayed
to and fro like one in severe pain.

“Oh! do not—do not let my words so
grieve you, Edward,” said Cicely, tenderly,
gazing upon him in an agony no
less than his own; “be calm, dear Edward—
be calm, or you will unnerve me.
You will find some other more worthy
of you, per—perchance, Ed—”

She could say no more—her voice faltered
into silence, while the tears rolled
down her cheeks.

Edward, for some moments, made no
reply; and both sat buried in agonizing

In the meantime, the sun had disappeared,
and the shadows of evening were
softly creeping over the surrounding landscape.
The boat they had been watching
a few moments before, had shot in to the
shore, and lay concealed a few rods below
them, in a cluster of bushes; while the
individual occupying it, had crawled
stealthily up the bank, and, in a place of
concealment, was anxiously watching
them — for what purpose will be shown

Edward, at length, raised his head.
His features were white, but rigid as
marble — save the slight quiver of his
bloodless lips — both of which were compressed
with a stern, fixed determination.
He spoke, but his voice was changed —
more hollow.

“Cicely, you have decided my fate.
We part—part, perchance, forever; and
all my hopes, my dreams, are crushed
and faded. Night shadows are stealing
over the earth, let us return.”

Cicely looked at him in wonder; she
could scarce comprehend the fearful

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change; but, without daring to trust her
voice in reply, she arose—gave him her
arm—and both walked, in gloomy silence,
to the residence of Molly Magore; where,
as they parted, in a sad, constrained
manner, the farewells of both trembled
on the air, in mournful tones.

The figure, who had watched them on
the bank of the river, watched them to
the house, then hurriedly returned to his
place of concealment; and, directly after,
a boat might have been seen shooting
swiftly across the river to Cincinnati.

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