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things for his sister, had not had any particular sum in

2023-12-01 12:21:32 [software] source:Headwind and Evil Waves Network

{ William Shakespeare, "The Taming of the Shrew", III.ii.240}

things for his sister, had not had any particular sum in

ELINOR was all anxiety to learn the result of the interview; and Mary Van Alstyne also naturally felt much interest in the subject, as she, too, was a cousin of William Stanley, their mothers having been sisters. Elinor soon discovered that the sailor had borne a much better examination than either of her friends had expected; he had made no glaring mistake, and he had answered their questions on some points, with an accuracy and readiness that was quite startling. He evidently knew a great deal about the Stanley family, their house, and the neighbourhood; whoever he was, there could he no doubt that he had known Mr. Stanley himself, and was very familiar with the part of the country in which he had resided. Altogether, the personal resemblance, the handwriting, the fact of his being a sailor, the papers he had shown, the plausible statement he had given, as to his past movements, and his intimate knowledge of so many facts, which a stranger could scarcely have known, made up a combination of circumstances, quite incomprehensible to the friends at Wyllys-Roof. Still, in spite of so much that appeared in his favour, Mr. Wyllys declared, that so far as his own opinion went, he had too many doubts as to this man's character, to receive him as the son of his friend, upon the evidence he had thus far laid before them. The circumstances under which he appeared, were so very suspicious in every point of view, that the strongest possible evidences of his identity would be required, to counteract them. The length of time that had passed since the wreck of the Jefferson, the long period during which his father's property had been left in the hands of others, and the doubtful character of the channel through which the claim was at length brought forward--all these facts united, furnished good grounds for suspecting something wrong. There were other points too, upon which Mr. Wyllys had his doubts; although the general resemblance of this individual to William Stanley, was sufficient to pass with most people, allowing for the natural changes produced by time, yet there were some minor personal traits, which did not correspond with his recollection of Mr. Stanley's son: the voice appeared to him different in tone; he was also disposed to believe the claimant shorter and fuller than William Stanley, in the formation of his body and limbs; as to this man's gait, which was entirely different from that of William Stanley, as a boy, nearer observation had increased Mr. Wyllys's first impression on that subject. On these particular points, Mrs. Stanley and Hazlehurst were no judges; for the first had scarcely seen her step-son, the last had only a child's recollection of him. Nor could Miss Agnes's opinion have much weight, since she had seldom seen the boy, during the last years he passed on shore; for, at that time, she had been much detained at home, by the ill health of her mother. Hazlehurst had watched the claimant closely, and the interview had silenced his first misgivings, for he had been much struck with two things: he had always heard, whenever the subject of William Stanley's character had been alluded to before him, that this unfortunate young man was sullen in temper, and dull in mind. Now, the sailor's whole expression and manner, in his opinion, had shown too much cleverness for William Stanley; he had appeared decidedly quick-witted, and his countenance was certainly rather good-natured than otherwise. Mr. Wyllys admitted that Harry's views were just; he was struck with both these observations; he thought them correct and important. Then Hazlehurst thought he had seen some signs of intelligence between Clapp and the sailor once or twice, a mere glance; he could not be positive, however, since it might have been his own suspicions. As to the volume of the Spectator, he had felt at first morally certain that he had read that very volume at Greatwood, only four years ago, but he had since remembered that his brother had the same edition, and he might have read the book in Philadelphia; in the mean time he would try to recall the circumstances more clearly to his mind; for so long as he had a doubt, he could not swear to the fact. He knew it was not the octavo edition, at Greatwood, that he had been reading, for he distinctly remembered the portrait of Steele in the frontispiece, and Addison's papers on the Paradise Lost, which he had been reading; that very portrait, and those papers, were contained in the volume handed to him by Clapp. Both Mr. Wyllys and Hazlehurst were gratified to find, that Mrs. Stanley differed from them less than they had feared. She confessed, that at one moment her heart had misgiven her, but on looking closely at the sailor, she thought him less like her husband than she had expected; and she had been particularly struck by his embarrassment, when she had asked him to describe the furniture of the drawing-room at Greatwood, the very last summer he had been there, for he ought certainly under such circumstances, to have remembered it as well as herself; he had looked puzzled, and had glanced at Mr. Clapp, and the lawyer had immediately broken off the examination. Such were the opinions of the friends at this stage of the proceedings. Still it was an alarming truth, that if there were improbabilities, minor facts, and shades of manner, to strengthen their doubts, there was, on the other side, a show of evidence, which might very possibly prove enough to convince a jury. Hazlehurst had a thousand things to attend to, but he had decided to wait at Wyllys-Roof until the arrival of Mr. Ellsworth.

things for his sister, had not had any particular sum in

{ "Addison's papers on the Paradise Lost" = in fact, Addison's essays on Paradise Lost are contained in volumes four and five of the Spectator}

things for his sister, had not had any particular sum in

Leaving those most interested in this vexatious affair to hold long consultations together in Mr. Wyllys's study, we must now proceed to record a visit which Miss Agnes received from one of our Longbridge acquaintances, and we shall therefore join the ladies.

"I am sorry, my dear, that the house is not so quiet as we could wish, just now," said Miss Agnes to Jane, one morning, as she and Elinor were sitting together in the young widow's room.

"Thank you, Aunt; but it does not disturb me, and I know it is not to be avoided just now," said Jane, languidly.

"No, it cannot be helped, with this troublesome business going on; and we shall have Mrs. Creighton and Mr. Ellsworth here soon."

"Pray, do not change your plans on my account. I need not see any of your friends; I shall scarcely know they are here," said Jane, with a deep sigh.

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