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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
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CHAPTER XV. Letters from Home.

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Let not the reader think, because I have so
long omitted to make mention of my parents, that
I had forgotten them. Not so; my affection for
them and my sister was undiminished.

As soon as I made an engagement with Mr.
Marisett, I wrote to my father, informing him of
the change in my prospects, and by return of
mail, I received the three following letters:

(From my father.)

My dear Boy,

I was happy to hear from you again, and
to learn that you had obtained a situation to your
mind. I hope you will so conduct yourself in it
as to merit the approbation of your employer. I
know the house of Marisett well; I had dealings
with them before the embargo.

From the great length of time which had elapsed
since you left home, without our having heard
a word about you, your mother began to grow
very uneasy on your account, although I told
her it was extremely indecorous in her, and

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assured her that I had no doubt you were doing
well, and that we should see you some time or

Your cousin, I hear, has been fortunate in his
speculations; he is a great credit to his parents;
he is a fine gentlemanly fellow, and as you will
probably meet him in New York, I hope you will
try to model yourself after him. Your mother
and sister, I suppose, will urge you to come
home, but you know that business must be attended
to. Don't make any sacrifices for the
sake of coming home. Many of your young acquaintances
have been married, some have died,
and all are doing well.

Enclosed I send you a small draft, which you
are at liberty to use according to your discretion.
&c. &c.

H. France.

My yearning affections shrunk within me as I
read my father's letter. His allusions to my
cousin made the blood boil within me, and I vowed
to myself never to return home until my prospects
were at least equal to his. I could not
think that my father intended to taunt me with
my cousin's superiority; but in effect he did so,
and I could hardly refrain from tearing his letter

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to pieces. The draft enclosed was the most incomprehensible
part of the letter; it was for five
hundred dollars. By what means he had procured
this amount of money, I could not imagine.

The letter from my mother was as follows:

Dear, DEAR Harry,

Is it true that my dear boy is alive and
well! O, Harry, I have read your letter over and
over; and your poor sister has read it, and cried
over it, and prayed over it. I put it under my
pillow when I lay down at night, that I may be
able to press it to my lips when I wake in the
morning. Your father tells me it is weak in me
to do so, but it is a weakness caused by the
strength of my love for you. O, Harry, my dear
boy, I have had such dreams about you! but
they were only dreams, and I will not distress you
by relating them. Let us give thanks to our
heavenly Father for all his mercies. When we
received your letter, it was my wish to return
thanks publicly through Doctor Slospoken; but
your father would not give his consent. What
the neighbors all thought, I cannot say. But my
dear Harry, why did you not come home? to
your own home? Do not think, my dear child,

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that you will be more welcome to your home and
your mother's heart, if you bring the wealth of
the Indies with you. If you be covered with
jewels your mother will not see them, and if you
be clothed in rags, she will only see her child.

From your affectionate mother,

S. Franco.

“P. S. Enclosed is a ten dollar bill; it is all
the money I have now; your father tells me he
has sent you more.

“Once more good bye; and that our heavenly
Father may bless you, is the heartfelt prayer of
my dear son's affectionate mother,

“S. F.

“N. B. Come home immediately.”

The other letter was from my sister; it read

My DEAR Brother,

Your letter has made us all happy; how
happy I cannot express; for we had mourned for
you as one that was dead. I cannot, in a letter,
relate to you all that has been said and done since
we heard from you; but may be assured we
have been almost beside ourselves with joy, and
all our talk has been, Harry, Harry, Harry.

“There have been great changes in our village

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since you left. There have been great speculations
going on, and father has been offered a great
price for our garden, which has been laid out into
building lots, with a street running right
through my flower beds, which is to be called
Franco avenue. There are no houses built upon
the street yet, but the ground plan has been most
beautifully lithographed, and hung up in our parlor,
in a gilt frame. Our house is newly painted,
and is to be called the mansion house; a company
have agreed to purchase it, and convert it into a
hotel. They have already paid fifty dollars to
make the bargain binding. Father can get as
much money as he wants from a new bank which
has been set up here. Every body has grown
rich, and our cousin, they say, has made a splendid
fortune in New York, by selling his father's
orchard for building lots. He cuts a great dash
when he comes home, but I am certain that you,
dear brother, will outshine him, when you come
home, which I hope will be soon. Don't disappoint
us, and do let us know when we may expect

“From your affectionate sister,

Mary Franco.

“P. S. I have promised you to a young lady
whose father has just made a large fortune.”

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How cold, cheerless, and benumbing is the affection
of a man, even though he be your father,
when contrasted with the warm, pure, and overflowing
affections of a woman. The letters of
my mother and sister were balmy to my soul;
they contained expressions which I could treasure
up in my heart. But my sister's letter was
full of pleasant news which excited my hopes to
the highest degree. The mansion house and
Franco street sounded very well, and I repeated
them over a dozen times. The allusions to my
cousin gave additional strength to my ambition
to excel him He had received his property from
his father, but I had thus far received no assistance
from mine, and it would be a proud boast
if I could succeed in raising myself to a level
with him, by my own exertions. I resolved to
try; and if I should ever succeed in gaining the
hand of Georgiana De Lancey, on what an exalted
eminence would the possession of her alone
place me; how proudly I could then look down
on my cousin, and with what feelings of envy
would he regard one whom he had pretended to

Thoughts like these haunted me continually;
they nerved me to persevere in my duties, and
solaced me when I was weary or dejected.

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The first interruption to my bright dreams, was
that which occurred at Mrs. Brown's party,
When I went home, I met Mrs. Butler in the hall;
she was surprised at seeing me return so soon. I
told her I felt unwell.

“Dear soul,” said the good woman, “let me
warm your bed, and give you some boneset tea.”

I thanked her for her kindness, but refused it.
My malady was not one that could be affected by
a warming pan, nor by that best of all herbs,
boneset. I went up to my chamber and spent the
remainder of the night in tossing upon the bed,
striving in vain to dispel the apparition of Georgiana
De Lancey, with my cousin seated by her

In the morning Mrs. Butler told me that when
Georgiana came home, she asked particularly
about me, and that she appeared alarmed when
she heard I was unwell. This intelligence revived
me; to know that Georgiana had expressed
any anxiety on my account, made my heart leap
with pleasure. I went down to the counting-room,
feeling happier than I ever felt before.

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