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without it, his life should be devoted to the achievement of this only object, and he would pursue Percy unceasingly until the opposition of their persons in fair conflict was granted.
So persecuted, Charles Percy at length, reluctantly and with a heavy heart, consented to yield the unhappy man his wish, and they met one morning, accompanied by their seconds, among the voiceless and then seldom trodden solitudes of Hoboken. It was the first time Percy had seen Stanford since their reconciliation. Heavens! what a change! His fine form had dwindled to a skeleton ; his cheeks had fallen in, and his eyes glared wildly and with singular lustre from their deep sockets. With a sick sensation at the heart, Percy saw at a glance that such a man was no longer to be moved by words of expostulation. Once only, catching the stern and strange gaze of Stanford upon him, he advanced a step, making an imploring gesture, but the half-crazed British officer smiled as he turned away, and the sport of a triumphant devil was in his smile.
Beneath the serenity of early day, the usual preparations for human slaughter in an honorable way, according to the newest refinements of the fashion, went on, and Percy took his position mechanically, with his melancholy eye fixed upon Stanford, all in sorrow and pity, and with a suddenly-formed presentiment of evil sinking deeply and heavily in his heart. It would seem that he had never wholly given up the hope of some mild termination to the most unhappy affair, until he met Stanford on the ground, marked the terrible ravages of mental anguish, and saw the freezing character of his unnatural smile. He had still refused and delayed the meeting until the very day before that appointed for his marriage, when reflection in regard to Stanford came upon him more seri. ously than ever, and he flew from racking thoughts to the hasty resolution of accepting at once the challenge, that an end might be put in any way to so dreadful a dilemma, rather than carry with him the serpent of bitter anxiety into the paradise of Cornelia's arms.
The preliminaries being arranged, the seconds stepped aside, and the usual words were spoken. Percy never raised his weapon, but stood mutely, with that same sorrowful, and as it proved, prophetic gaze fixed upon the ghastly face of his transformed friend, until a dozen echoes answered the report of a pistol, and he fell with the ice-bolt of death in his heart, to be carried home on his bridal day a corpse !
Shall we paint here the shrieking Cornelia, in her summer wreaths and wedding robes ? No. We will only pause to mention the terrible oath of Stephen Percy. He had heard that Stanford was driven to this unjust and desperate act chiefly by the violent urging of one man in Canada ; an officer, who with relentless cruelty insisted upon the blood of young Percy. Stephen knelt by his brother's corpse, solemnly for. gave the madman Stanford, and sternly swore if ever he met this other officer, to render him up a bleeding sacrifice upon the grave of Charles.
Poor Stanford ! Percy died without a groan; but oh ! how wild and desolate the fate left for his demented murderer!
Let us hurry over eighteen months, and learn the startling sequel of
'I say thou liest, and will maintain what thou saidst is false, in thy heart's blood!'
RICHARD TUX SROOND. *DEAD, for my life. Even so; my tale is told.'
LOVE'S LABOR LOST.
"Percy, I'm sorry you 're come,' exclaimed Lester Depeyster, a wealthy bon vivant, to Stephen Percy, as the latter entered one evening the principal apartment of a hotel in ancient Gotham. It was late in the evening, and Depeyster sat at the head of a dining-table, upon which now appeared only decanters and bottles of wine, glasses, and such accompaniments as are usually left with guests disposed for a long sitting after dinner. It had been a birth-day or some other festival, with Lester Depeyster, and the dinner had been of his giving. A number of his congenial friends had been invited, and Stephen Percy was among them. Other engagements had prevented the attendance of Percy in time for dinner, and he but sought the hotel in the evening to tender congratulations to his companion from boyhood, on the happiness of the occasion, and in a glass of generous wine, invoke a long continuance of friendship, prosperity and enjoyment. Some of the guests had already taken their departure, while some of those remaining began to give warm evidence of having done full honor to the hospitality of their host. Several young men were disputing loudly and earnestly at the lower end of the table, with one who was arguing and maintaining his point alone, with great spirit and determination. The hour of ceremony was past, and Percy, without engaging much attention, passed in with a general bow to the company to a seat beside Depeyster.
• You are sorry I'm come ?' said Stephen, in a tone expressing at once astonishment and inquiry; · did I misunderstand you
?' • No, no;' replied Depyster, that's what I said ; I am very sorry you ’re come; but no matter; you're here now. Come, let me fill for
• The wine will hardly taste well without an explanation of that,' said Percy, in a marked and deliberate manner.
• Not now, not now,' returned Depeyster; 'but come; it is perhaps no matter; now I cannot explain : any other time I will. Stephen Percy, here's Privateers and Merchantmen in the Battery-hollow! When you and I can't drink that together, let us never more shake hands.'
An enthusiastic smile broke out instantly on the faces of the two friends, and their hands joined in a strong grasp as they tossed off the wine.
The circular "hollow,' about three feet deep and some two hundred yards in circumference, then, and until some fifteen or twenty years since, occupying one section of the Battery, was a famous play-ground of the boys of New York. Many a young heart ached, and many an old one sighed, when the wise worthies of Gotham, those potent, grave, reverend and turtle-fed gentlemen of the City Hall, sent a detatchment of town-carts to haul brick-bats and building-rubbish, saw-dust and oyster-shells, mud monuments erected to oblivious street inspectors, and all
the other vile superfluities of the streets, and to‘dump'them into that beautiful green hollow. It was an agrarian measure, alike hateful to rich and poor among the juveniles. Nor was the risen generation much opposed to them in sentiment, for that same sporting-ground of the boys had been the courting promenade of their fathers and mothers, and every association of early mirth and dawning love made the spot sacred to affection, with young and old. The city legislators of that period may shake in their shoes even now, when they learn that there was a despe. rate conspiracy on foot, and bold-spirited delegates with 'shining morning faces' actually went from school to school agitating a general insurrection of the boys, to duck the aldermen in the Collect for filling up the hollow in the Battery! Had there been such a facility as a fountain in the Park then, there would have been a christening of the Common Council to a certainty ; and posterity would have been left in possession of one original reason for aldermen being so proverbially hollowheaded.
It was to this delightful play-ground which Depeyster alluded in his toast, calling to Percy's memory also a popular game in which they had often participated together, and perhaps not yet forgotten in New York, known under the cognomination of Privateers and Merchantmen.'
An hour passed away rapidly and merrily, as hours generally do when two old friends get together under such circumstances; and the disputants at the other end of the table, who had been less noisy for a time, again grew heated ; the one who was most prominent before, now speaking with open anger and violence.
• Who is that?' enquired Stephen Percy of Depeyster.
• He was an officer in the British army,' replied the host; 'a long time stationed in Canada, and just now arrived here on a visit to this city alone, having resigned his commission. He is a brave fellow, and generous-hearted too, but Quixotic and wild in sentiment. He has been at loggerheads with our young countryman there, ever since he sat down, and I fear it will end in a serious quarrel yet.'
• These words were hardly more than uttered, when the gentleman spoken of, raising his voice still higher, said to one seated opposite :
“Sir, you never was more mistaken in your life, for I tell you, Commodore Rodgers is emphatically a coward.'
Stephen Percy bent forward and darted a piercing glance at the speaker; then slowly emptied his glass, and while Depeyster was turning to converse with another, he touched a waiter on the shoulder and left the room. The waiter followed him. • Take this card to that gentleman who is speaking loud, and say
that I desire a single moment's conversation with him,' said Percy, and the waiter returned into the dining-room.
Commodore Rodgers is my friend, Sir,' said Stephen Percy, as the person he sent for appeared ; - he is now absent at sea. Without ill-will, Sir, and addressing you as a gentleman, I must request you to return before the company and retract the assertion you have just made.'
A very modest request, Sir,' said the stranger, with a provoking smile; · and should I be so unreasonable as to refuse, perhaps you
will challenge me ?
• You shall neither insult my friend, Sir, nor laugh at me. You have my card, Sir,' said Percy, sternly.
“Yes,' said the stranger, taking it from his pocket; 'your name is Percy, I see; Percy is a good name; and you seem to be of the Hotspur family too. You want to quarrel ?'
• I want and will have justice done to a brave and honorable man, Sir, and am ready to lose my own life rather than suffer any slanderous tongue to take from him one particle of his glorious reputation. The assertion you made, Sir, was
• There, that 'll do; it can all be very handsomely arranged without any useless expenditure of epithet, worthy Sir. Allow me to ask you, do you rise early ?'
* If I do not, Sir, I can change a custom to suit occasion.'
• Then I think we can agree, and without making any noise about the matter: you just bring a friend and meet me somewhere quietly as soon after day-break as you please, to
morrow morning.' • I'll accommodate you, Sir,' said Percy; "and your humour jumps very well with my own. I'll have a boat ready, and we'll take a sail or a row to Governor's Island.'
“Sir, I honor you for the suggestion. I'm told a morning trip to that lovely spot is truly enchanting. Now, never mind exchanging cards, but let us go back, arm in arm, if you 'll allow me; and we must take wine together, just for the sport of throwing these gaping young countryman of yours off the scent of what's in the wind.
And in this manner the two engaged duellists returned to the diningtable, apparently upon the pleasantest terms that could spring from the natural contact of genial dispositions.
The next morning a light boat, with a single sail swelling roundly to a June breeze, swept out from the Battery-beach, over the sportive white-caps of the bay toward Governor's Island. Two men guided the little vessel, while four others, of more refined appearance, with their foreheads bared to the refreshing air from the ocean, sat in easy conversation, their minds irresistibly attuned to composure by the mellow beauty of such a morning before sunrise.
A lovely, a very lovely bay! said the young stranger, whose name yet remained untold, as it was unasked. Mr. Percy, I have looked with delight upon the bays of Naples and of Dublin; and were I an American, I would swear this of New York is the most beautiful bay in the world. I will not deny, Sir, that it may be early associations, together with the other enchantments of country and home, (so seldom analyzed while we are so happy in them without examination,) which cause me to love the shores and waves of Dublin bay better than any
other waves and shores in the world; for, Sir, I am an Irishman; but were I born here on your Indian island of Mannahatta, I would not change it for any other spot in Christendom.'
The volatile young Irishman, actually in defiance of the solemn business before him, broke into song, and the eloquent words of Erin go Bragh,' were given to the breeze that went sweeping by.
Stephen Percy, was a man of iron nerve and deadly skill with the pistol ; and a strange sensation of weakness stole into his lion heart, as VOL. XXIV.
he listened to this extraordinary exposition of sentiment and cool recklessness in the same breath. It was nothing akin to fear, which struck him, but rather a sadness, a regret for the act he was about to engage in, as he listened to his opponent's singing:
BURIED and cold, when my heart stills its motion,
Erin ma vournenn, Erin go bragh!'
They were soon on the island, and a few moments sufficed them for preliminaries. The word was given ; they fired; and the ball of Stephen Percy dashed through the forehead of his adversary, who fell dead without a groan.
All had been so secret, so little was to be gained, so much difficulty to be feared from exposure, that the seconds agreed to convey the body to the city and have it interred privately; which was done, and the unhappy fate of that ill-directed young enthusiast was probably never known to his friends.
Not long after, Percy happening in company with his friend Lester Depeyster, said thoughtfully, Lester, why did you say that evening I took wine with you and your friends, that you were sorry I had come ?? You promised to explain.'
"I will, I will ;' replied Depeyster. You remember that fiery young fellow from Canada, who was so noisy at the table ? A strange character; very impetuous and violent? By the way, I have not seen him since, and nobody knows what has become of him.'
* I remember,' said Percy.
• Well, the moment before you entered the room, he had been boasting that it was himself who had awakened excitement against that Col. Stanford in Canada, and his threats, sneers, and arguments had driven that officer at length back to New-York to shoot your brother Charles.'
· Heaven and earth! how strange!' mentally ejaculated Stephen Percy.
It remains only to be added, that the unfortunate Stanford, having returned to Canada with reason shattered forever, and being transferred by his relatives to a lunatic asylum in England, he there died about the same time that the young Irishman was shot on Governor's Island.
There was a kind old maiden lady buried a very short time since in a New-York church-yard ; and there now reposes the dust of one named in this story as Cornelia Neville.
My thrifty spouse, her taste to please,
With rival dames at auctions vies;
And every thing she dotes on buys.
Such costly wares, so wisely sought!
Wanted, because they may be bought.