« السابقةمتابعة »
that she owed her preservation to Jesse. This in- you will not despair. Be sure of one tbing, that flamed their mutual love, and encouraged the young you have my heart, and that no one else shall ever man to make a second attempt to obtain the father's have my hand." consent to their marriage.
They sat and talked for half an hour, both being It was the season of hay-making; and all hands in the deepest distress. Then looking towards the were busy in the meadow on Tuesday, when Jesse, meadow, they saw Mr. Steinbach coming to learn seeing the old man coming alone from the house, the result of Legislator Blarney's courtship. This about 11 o'clock, met him at a distance, and mod-worthy had gotten such a decided rebuff, that he estly renewed his application. But two circum- gave up his suit at once, and resolved 10 try hislnek stances made the application most unseasonable. elsewhere among his twenty sweet-hearts. Whea The one was, that lawyer-or rather now, Legis- Jesse saw the old man approaching the house, he has 5 lator--Blarney had arrived an hour before to make tened up stairs to pack up his things for a move to a his proposal of marriage to Elizabeth; and after some other quarters. He was at no loss for employ- jói an hour's conversation with him, Mr. Steinbach ment. So great was his reputation for industry, skill had left the house to give him a clear field for urg- and honesty, notwithstanding the bad name of his kin. ing his suit. The other circumstance was, that dred, that iwo or three rich farmers had offered bin Blarney had just told him of sundry lawless doings liberal wages, if he would enter their service. He of the Ballentynes; for which several of the family determined now to go to Mr. Staufer, sour miles were liable to confinement in the Penitentiary. off, who had applied to him a few days before to Among other crimes, they had been detected in take the management of one of his farms. He stealing horses ; for which old Tom and young shunned the sight of Mr. Steinbach, who soon reDick had been committed to jail, and the Sheriff turned from the meadow in quite an ill humor with was in pursuit of two others. One of the daugh- his daughter, on learning how she had sent off Lego ters too had deserted her husband and eloped with islator Blarney with an empty basket. Half an a married man.
hour afterwards, just as the hay.makers were comThese things had embittered Mr. Steinbach's ing to dinner, Jesse embraced his beloved, and feelings against this wretched family, so that when trudged away with a bundle of clothes under bá he heard Jesse's application, he flew into a passion, arm. The rest of his worldly goods he had picked reproached him for the crimes of his kindred, called up in bis chest, intending to send for them obes him a presumpluous beggar, and ordered him to he should have found a new home, leave his house that day, and never to set foot in it again. Jesse was astounded and mortified and insulted
CHAPTER III. by this bitter and unfeeling reply. Never before
ABSENCE AND RECONCILIATION. had his friend and patron used such language to him. He staggered towards the house, stopping In order to wean bis danghter from her altechseveral times by the way, to recorer himself and ment to Jesse, Mr. Steinbach soon sent her away. think on the scene which had just occurred, and on a long visit to her relations in Pennsylvania. his banishment from his hitherto pleasant home and Her brother George, who conducted her on the his ever dear Elizabeth. As he entered the back journey, returned in about a month, having left bis duor of the house, he saw Blarney leaving the front sister to recover from the pangs of love in a door to mount his horse at the gate. Elizabeth strange land and among a people hitherto unknowi was sitting in the room, her face flushed with in- to her. dignation; and when she saw Jesse, exclaimed, Meanwhile Jesse had engaged himself as ster
* What do you think, Jesse ; that vile Blarney ard to Mr. Staufer, and applied himself diligendy has had the impudence to make me an offer of to his business, until the approach of Christmas marriage, and to tell me that father is anxious for gave him leisure to amuse himself. He then me to marry him. But, Jesse, what is the maller mounted a horse, with saddle-bags and all the bawith you, that you look so miserable : has father biliments of a traveller, and disappeared from the refused you again ?"
neighborhood. His course was easi ward, but de “Noi only so, dear Elizabeth ; he has insulted one knew whither he went; nor, when he returned me and ordered me away from the honse. It ap- a month afterwards, did any learn where he had pears that my wretched kindred have been doing been. A month after his return Elizabeth retorned worse than ever, and I have to bear their iniqui- home with two of her Pennsylvania cousins; but ty."
there was no evidence that Jesse had seen her in When Lizzy beard these things she burst into Pennsylvania. tears, and said,
Before this we may add, long before this–M:: “Dear Jesse, though all the world should for. Steinbach's anger against Jesse had subsided and sake you, I will not. If you must leave us, I hope his old esteem for him returned in full force. He that you will not go far away; and above all, that also missed his valuable services, and was particu
THE HOUSE AND ITS APPURTENANCES.
larly desirous to commit his farms to his able man-mas holidays in Shenandoah, and on the very New agement, his own health being indifferent, and Year's Eve on which Elizabeth disappeared, he George being an unskillful manager. He therefore had attended her on horseback from her father's 10 offered Jesse a most liberal salary, if he would re- Major Hollman's; and had, it was believed, renewturn to his house and superintend his business. He ed his suit to her, and got another indignant refusal presomed that long absence had cooled the passion on the way--so at least the company thought from which Lizzy and Jesse had 'entertained for each what they observed during the evening. They other; and all uneasiness on this score vanished, when could perceive evident signs of contemptuous averJesse and Lizzy both declared to him, on his ask- sion on her part, and ill-concealed mortification on ing them about it, that they would take no farther his. He was believed to be capable of revenging steps towards gelling married, and would give him himself on her in any way that he mighi deem no futore trouble on the subject. Lizzy made only prudent, and would have been strongly suspected this condition, to which the old man assenied, that of having somehow or other made way with her, he should never ask her to marry any man, but let if it had not been known that she had arrived safely her take her own time to choose a husband for at home; and that he had gone to his lodging and herself.
had before day taken the stage on his return to Thus was Jesse not only reinstated but promot- Richmond. ed, to his own great satisfaction, as well as to that of all the family; and every thing went on smoothly
CHAPTER IV. and soccessfully, until the next New Year's Eve, when Lizzy so mysteriously disappeared. No premonitory symptoms of this event occurred to alarm For the better elucidation of our story, we must the family; no tokens of love or resentment ; no now describe Mr. Steinbach's house. The buildindications of conspiracy or plot; no secret meet- ing was of stone, two stories high above the baseings were detected; no unusual visitors came to ment or cellar. The main building was oblong; a the house ; no change of behavior in any of the passage ran through the middle from front to rear, the family, nor signs of mental agitation ; except on the left were two rooms in the lower story, first that Elizabeth had for a month or two complained the old people's bed-chamber; second, the spin-room more frequently of being unwell, and occasionally for the women. Above these rooms were two othseemed to be rather more moody and melancholy ers of the same size, used as bed-chambers for the than she had wont to be. But all these things re- unmarried females. A small private staircase led solved themselves into the single fact, that her from the spin-room into them. In the passage was bealth was not as good as usual. Of course she the main staircase, beginning near the door of the would therefore be more thoughtful and sad. She spin-room. had always been given to occasional fits of dreamy On the opposite side of the passage was the large abstraction and despondency; so the family felt family store-room, and a small store-room next the hitle concern at this not alarming aggravation of kitchen. The kiichen projected from the end of ker osoal symptoms.
the main building like a wing, and communicated As to the relations of Lizzy and Jesse, there was with the family room and store-room.
In the se. nothing to eseile atiention ; they seemed to be very cond story at ihis end were iwo bed-rooms in the good friends, as they had alrays been ; but no sign main building, and one over the kitchen for the appeared of passionate attachment or of particular hired men. At this time slaves were almost un
known in Shenandoah. Therefore the kitchen As to Legistator 'Blarney, he had in the spring, was clean, and often used as an eating.room. Unbeen elected the second lime by an indreased ma- der the roof was a rude garret extending the whole jorily; for his popularity increased as he became length of the house, and used only for stuwing more practiced initie craft of demagogy. But he away lumber. Over the kitchen rooms was a was less successful with the girls than with the smaller garret of the same kind, which could be eovereign voters of the county. He offered his entered only by a ladder through a'trap-door, and dirty hand-morally dirty it was—10 iwo other this ladder was not kept in the house, but had 10 heiresses of influential families, within two months be brought from an outhouse when wanted. asler Elizabeth had so bluntly discarded him--but' The cellar or basement of the main house was in vain ; female eyes saw nothing attractive in his divided like the stories above. The passage through person, and female perspicacity detected the on-the middle might be entered from the passage above principled impostor and shallow coscomb, onder by means of a stair-way under the main stairs, or the brazen impudence that concealed them from by an out-side door on the lower side of the house many of the other ses.
next to the river, where by the slope of the ground OL late he had renewed his visits to Mr. Stein- the basement wall was all above ground. bach's
, and his panicular attentions to Elizabeth. Under the kitchen was a fine spring gushing out He had come up from Richmond to spend the Christ' of the limestone rocks, with a shallow pool for
RUMORS AND APPARITIONS.
keeping milk and butter. Under the family room the cliff and contended with the limestone rocks. was the main cellar, where potatoes and other Here was the best place on the farm for catching things were stored in the winter. Under the two fish with hook and line. chambers at the other end of the house were two rooms of the same size, which had been little used for some years. The one next the river had been
CHAPTER V. intended for a wash room ; but was disapproved opon trial, and a wash-house had been built out. side by the spring branch. The other apartment When all possible means had been used during under the spin-room and next the front of the two days, both by the family and the neighbors, to house, being deeper under the ground, was fit for discover what had become of Elizabeth—and not a cellar, but was litile used.
a single sign or circumstance had appeared, that When Jesse Ballentyne was made steward, he could justify even a conjecture on the subjectwanted a room for himself, and got Mr. Steinbach's they all gave up in despair for the present, cos
I consent to occupy the old wash-room in the base- fessing that Divine Providence only could solve the ment. He took up the old floor and laid a new one mystery. with his own ingenious hands. To keep the floor Not only did this strange event fly on the wings sound and dry, he dug the ground deeper, and thus of rumor through all the country around, but it esmade an empty space between the sleepers and the cited the highest curiosity and deepest perplexity, sier ground. Having thus made himself a comfortable and various degrees of sympathy and sorrow, among room, he put into it his bed, his table and his chest. the neighbors. It was for days and weeks the He also built a closet of boards in one corner for daily and nightly subject of remark and inquiry and keeping his smaller tools, his books, and a dozen conjecture. All that pretended to any skill or saother things.
gacity in human affairs, studied the subject and Such were the arrangements of the house. You framed a theory; and the discussion of these twenmay judge, good reader, whether such a house was ty theories engrossed the conversation of many: adapted to hide a person so effectually, that the whilst those who had brooding imaginations and closest search could not detect a trace of the lost superstitious fancies, saw visions and dreamed one.
dreams about the lost Elizabeth. It was chiefly The out-houses were of the common sort, and the wives and grandmothers who saw the visions afforded no extraordinary means of concealinent. and the young men and maidens who dreamed the We need not describe them particularly ; but it is dreams. But this rule, though general, had its exproper to notice the principal features of the grounds ceptions. A young fellow, named Abraham Ficknear the house.
ler, was riding by a grave-yard in the dosk of the We have already remarked that the house had evening, and seeing a white calf browsing among the high-road in front—about fifiy yards distant- some bushes, conceived it to be a ghost and of and the river—a branch of the Shenandoah-at the course Lizzy's ghost—a sure sign to him and others distance of fifty yards in the rear. The river af- that she was dead, and had been murdered, but ter flowing past the house, struck against a rocky whether by her old sweetheart, Jesse Balleatyne, et hill which crossed the line of its course, and was her rejected lover, Blarney, was uncertain. thereby turned off by a sudden curve in a direction On the 4th of January, Mrs. Strags called apon away from the house. It had worn the limestone her neighbor, Mrs. Clark, 10 tell and to hear things rocks of the hill into a cliff, eighty or a hundred on the all-engrossing topic. The snow that bad feet high, and in full view to a person standing in fallen between the old year and the new, still lay the back door of the house. The end of the house on the ground and a sharp North-Wester was blowoccupied hy Jesse Ballentyne was near the foot of ing frustily. Mrs. Straus was scarcely within Mro. this hill, the ravine of the spring at the other end, Clark's room, before a huge fire in a huge fireplace, opened a convenient way of access to the river, than she opened her mouth and said, where it was shallow and easily forded-about fifty “ Law me, how colt it is tis morning, Mrs. Clark, yards above the nearest part of the high cliff. aint it now ?" The hill of the cliff was crowned with a wood; “Yes, that it is," said Mrs. Clark ; "come sit and the fields of the farm lay all around on both down by the fire." sides of the river. With the exception of this hill, While Mrs. Straus was spreading out her hands the land was either gently undulating, or flat where before the comfortable fire, and preparing to open the river had formed alluvial bottoms.
the subject of her visit, Mrs. Clark anticipated ber We have nothing farther to say in the way of by asking, local description, but to remark that the river, gen- " Have you hearn any thing about Lizzy Stoneerally so shallow in dry weather, that a lamb could back, Mrs. Straus?" ford it, had worked out a hole fifty yards long and “Wy, yes, I was chist coin to tell you apost it: six or eight feet deep, where it struck the base of Straus saw her last night."
* You dont say so!" exclaimed Mrs. Clark, “ do letter was found in the post-office, five miles from tell me all about it."
Mr. Şieinbach's-not brought there by mail, but * Wy, he was coming home from Barner's still- dropped into the letter-box by some person unhouse, wit a chuk of whiskey, a little before be known--addressed to Mr. Steinbach. On being time, and chist as he cot to te place were te roat opened it was found to be anonymous, and written takes off to Hansberger's mill, he seet Lizzy, as in a hand which none of the family recognized. It plain as any ting, stanin in te forks of te roat, lookin was in these words : straight at him : and she axt him wich was te way to Machor Hollman's. He was so sceart he could'nt
DEAR SIR.--I write for the purpose of comfort
ing you and your family concerning your lost daughspeak, an he tinks he fainted away, for he could'nı
Be assured that she is safe, and will be resee any ting for a minute, an wen he cot his eye stored to you in due time. Meanwhile she will be sight akin, she was
Pore kal, she is mur
kindly treated; her honor, her safety and her comtered, I reckon, and her sperret is walkin apout in fort will be guarded with sedulous care. The cause le night.” * Well," said Mrs. Clark, “that's strange, what
and manner of her temporary absence, and her preyou tell me. And dont you think that my Betsy the time comes for an explanation. Thus much
sent situation, must remain a secret from you nntil bere had a dream about her last night. She saw her in her sleep, looking as pale as a corpse, stand- only can I now reveal to you ;-- it is not an enemy ing by her bedside ; and she heard her sithe, and that hath done this--nior was it done by violence.
Rest satisfied with the assurance now given, until say in a complainin way, like, that she was dead,
you hear more. and that she died for true love. So, I reckon, she
Your friend, must be dead, or people would'nt be seeing her so.”
A. Z. Let this serve as a specimen of the rumors afloat concerning the lost Elizabeth. Another sort of This was a surprising communication; and though reinor was, that she had been seen alive and well it raiher increased the mystery, and no one could somewhere in a distant part of the country. At first conjecture by whom it was written, yet it had a conLegislator Blarney was suspected to have carried soling influence upon the feelings of the afflicted hes off or made.way with her in some manner; but parents. Still it might have been intended to mison investigation this proved to be nearly or quite lead them. If Elizabeth had been murdered or impossible, as he slept, the night of Lizzy's disap- forcibly abducted, the guilty agent may have depearance, at a house four miles distant, and at 5 signed by this letter to avoid detection, rather than o'clock in the morning took the stage for Richmond. to relieve the parents from unnecessary distress.
Had Jesse Ballentyne disappeared at the same One week later, another incident happened of a time, he would at once have been charged with her still more extraordinary nature. abduction ; but when the party returned home on The night was moonshiny and the ground was New Year's eve, he retired immediately to his covered with fresh snow. Mr. and Mrs. Steinbach room in the basement, as she did to hers in the up- had gone to bed at ten o'clock and had soon fallen per story, and not only was he at breakfast the asleep. After a nap of two or three hours, Mrs. next morning, but he partook in the general and Steinbach awoke. The bright moon shone through repeated searches after her, and appeared very much the room and made every object visible. Happento sympathize with the family in their distress on ing to direct her eyes towards the door, she was her account. The only thing remarkable in his surprised to see it half open and what seemed to be behaviour was that he did not seem to despair, like a female in night clothes, standing in the opening the rest, but endeavored to comfort the family with and looking steadfastly upon the bed. She thought assurances that she must be alive and would yet that she distinguished the person and features of
Elizabeth ; but imagining that it must be her ghost, " If any fatal accident had befallen her (said he) she was speechless with fear, and shut her eyes to some positive evidence of it must have been dis- avoid the horrifying sight. She then thought that Covered. Though her disappearance is unaccoun- she heard the lightiripping of feet approaching the table ; yet the fact that it is so, ought to convince bed--and oh ! horrible! she had a sensation, as if us that the mystery will be cleared up some day to the spectre were by the bedside and breathed upon
her. She uttered a groan--she almost screamed, When asked how he thought it possible that she like a sleeper under the night-mare. The awful should be alive and yet no trace of her appear; he visitant seemed startled, and tripped hastily out of answered, " That is what I shall not undertake to the room, drawing the door to after her. explain ; yet something within me whispers that The groan and suppressed scream of his wife, God will unfuld the mystery in due time, and we awakened Mr. Steinbach. He started up to a sitshall see her alive and well, though it is not for me ting posture, just as the spectre vanished through to say how or when."
the door. Just one week after Lizzy's disappearance, a He called ont,“ Who is there?"
top of it."
Mrs. Steinbach now opened her eyes and ex-jin the morning. One of two suppositions most claimed, “ There it is,--there!"
therefore be true; it was not Elizabeth who had " Where ?"
appeared, or she was then in the house. Jesse's • Why, there, by the clothes-press. Dont you proposal of a search was therefore adopted. The see it ?"
eleven persons composing the bousehold began af. " See what?"
ter breakfast to search the house from the garrets Why, Lizzy's ghost."
10 the cellars. Every nook and cofner was dili. “ Tut! That is only your white apron hanging gently examined: not a coddy-hole, closet, chest, on the chair, and your neckerchief and cap on the clothes-press, bed, clothes "heap, lumber pile, bar.
rel, hogshead, grain, or potam, hutch, escaped the So it is; I see plainly now what it is. Oh how general scrutiny: The walls were inspected to glad I am that it was nothing else !"
see if any secret door or crack indicated a hiding. · Yes, but it was something else."
place; especially in the cellars and basement rooms. “How? What! Did you see any thing else ?" When they came to Jesse's room, he left the others
“ Yes, I saw some one pass out through the to manage the search, only suggesting (as if to redoor, as I woke."
move all suspicion from himself) that they should “Which? The passage-door?"
examine the new floor which he had laid, to see Yes."
that no trap-door led to a hiding-place beneath. " Was she dressed in white ?"
They did so; they found the floor tightly nailed Partly in white; but she had on a blue or grey down. It sounded hollow when they strack apoi petticoat."
it; but as all was tight and fast, this signified no“Oh me! Then I am afraid it was Lizzy." thing to the purpose.
When they came to the Afraid it was Lizzy, wife! Why should you be small closet, which he had built in the corner, they afraid of seeing poor Lizzy ?"
examined it minutely, both floor and walls, but ob“Oh dear, no ; not afraid of her, but of her spi- serving nothing suspicious, they were perfectly rit !"
satisfied that no hiding-place existed there. So “Still it would be Lizzy, dear wife, but more after they had finished the search, the voanimous likely it was Mary Baumgartner or Molly Koontz." conclusion was, that Mrs. Steinbach-was mistaken
* No, no, husband, I saw her face, and I am as to the person whom she had seen : she herself dreadfully afraid it was Lizzy."
being only half-persuaded of her mistake. One “Still afraid ! Would you not like to see poor circumstance, however seemed to confirm her first Lizzy again ?"
impression. Both she and the washer-girl affirm. “Yes, I should like to see herself above all ed, that some of Lizzy's wearing appareband some things. But if it was her ghost, how dreadful that bed-clothes had been taken away within a few days, would be."
and probably the last night; but as this circum“It was no ghost, wife; depend upon it, it was stance was inconsistent with the result of the searchy no ghost. Slip up stairs, wife, and see if the girls ihe general conclusion was that this also must-te are in their beds, and I will look into the passage." a mistake.
“I cant go by myself, do you first look into the Five or six days after this, Mr. Steinbach repassage, and then go with me up the little stairs.” ceived another letter from the Post-office, which
Mr. Steinbach rose and examined both the pas- astonished him more than the former letter, for it sage and the store-room; bat seeing no one, he re- was in the name and hand-writing of his lost daughturned, and with his wife went through the door ter, and bore every matk of authenticity. She leading into the spin-room, and then up the private assured her parents of her safety, and besought stairs to the bed-room of the hired girls, both of them to lay aside all uneasiness about her sitoawhom they found in bed and fast asleep.
tion,-it being one that she had chosen for herself, The next morning they communicated the night's for a reason that she could not now explain to them, adventure to the household. The girls both de- but would at a future time. She expressed hier clared that they had not left their room after they deep regret that a paper, which she had left in her went to bed. Mrs. Steinbach insisted that she dis- room when she disappeared, had not fallen into tinguished the features of Elizabeth in the myste-their hands ; as it would have assured them of her rious visitant. She still believed firmly that it was safety, and have saved them from much of their her ghost, but in this neither Mr. Steinbach nor distress on heř account. Jesse Balientyne agreed with her. They express- This letter was post-marked Richmond! A stried the opinion that if it was Elizabeth, she must be king circumstance, because Legislator Blarney, concealed somewhere in or near the house, and her rejected and apparently
, hated lover, was there
. proposed another search. The shower of new What complicated and inconsistent and amazing snow, which had fallen before bed-time and was circumstances did the whole case present! succeeded by fair weather, lay all unmarked by It is hard to say wheçher the good old people footsteps around the house, when the farnily rose were more comforted or distressed by this letter.