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CHAPTER V. 


THE long expected Monday at length arrived, and Miss Emmerson and Julia, taking an affectionate leave of their relatives in the city, went on board the steam-boat under the protection of Charles Weston. Here a new scene indeed opened on our heroine; for some time she even forgot to look around her in the throng in quest of Antonio. As the boat glided along the stream, she stood leaning on one arm of Charles, while Miss Emmerson held the other, in delighted gaze at the objects, which they had scarcely distinguished before they were passed.

"See, dear Charles," cried Julia, in a burst of what she would call natural feeling--"there is our house-- here the summerhouse, and there the little arbour where you read to us last week Scott's new novel-- how delightful! every thing now seems and feels like home."

"Would it were a home for us all," said Charles, gently pressing her arm in his own, and speaking only to be heard by Julia, "then should I be happy indeed."

Julia thought no more of Antonio; but while her delighted eye rested on the well known scenes around their house, and {as} she stood in the world, for the first time, leaning on Charles, she thought him even nearer than their intimacy and consanguinity made them. But the boat was famous for her speed, and the house, garden, and every thing Julia knew, were soon out of sight, and she, by accident, touching the picture which she had encased in an old gold setting of her mother's, and lodged in her bosom, was immediately restored to her former sense of things. Then her eye glanced rapidly round the boat, but discovering no face which in the least resembled disguise, she abandoned the expectation of meeting her lover before they reached Albany. Her beauty drew many an eye on her, however, and catching the steady and admiring gaze of one or two of the gentlemen, Julia's heart beat, and her face was covered with blushes.

She was by no means sure that Antonio would appear as a coachman--this was merely a suggestion of her own; and the idea that he might possibly be one of the gazers, covered her with confusion: her blushes drew still more attention and admiration upon her; and we cannot say what might have been the result of her fascinations, had not Charles at this instant approached them, and pointing to a sloop they were passing at the time, exclaimed--

"See, madam--see, Julia--there is our travelling equipage on board that sloop, going up to meet us in Albany."

Our heroine looked as directed, and saw a vessel moving with tolerable rapidity up the river, within a short distance from them. On its deck were a travelling carriage and a pair of horses, and by the latter stood a man who, by the whip in his head, was evidently the driver. His stature was tall and athletic; his complexion dark to near blackness; his face was buried in whiskers; and his employer had spoken the truth when he said he had as good an eye as any men in America--it was large, black, and might be piercing. But then he had but one--at least the place where the other ought to be, was covered by an enormous patch of green silk. This then was Antonio. It is true, he did not resemble Apollo, but his disguise altered him so that it was difficult to determine. As they Moved slowly by the vessel, the driver recognised Charles, having had an interview with him the day before, and saluted him with a low bow--his salutation was noticed by the young man, who slightly touched his hat, and gave him a familiar nod in return--Julia, unconsciously, bent her body, and felt her cheeks glow with confusion as she rose again. She could not muster resolution to raise her eyes towards the sloop, but by a kind of instinctive coquetry dragged her companion to the other side of the boat. As soon as she was able to recover her composure, Julia revolved in her mind the scene which had just occurred. She had seen Antonio--every thing about him equalled her expectations--even at the distance, she had easily discerned the noble dignity of his manners--his eye gave assurance of his conscious worth--his very attitude was that of a gentleman. Not to know him for a man of birth, of education and of fortune, Julia felt to her would be impossible; and she trembled lest others, as discerning as herself, should discover his disguise, and she in consequence be covered with confusion. She earnestly hoped his incog. would ever remain unknown, for her delicacy shrunk at the publicity and notoriety which would then attend his attachment. It was certainly delightful to be loved, and so loved--to be attended, and so attended; but the heart of Julia was too unpractised to relish the laugh and observations of a malignant world. "No, my Antonio," she breathed internally, "hover around me, shield me from impending dangers, delight me with your presence, and enchant me with your eye; but claim me in the guise of a gentleman and a hero, that no envious tongue may probe the secrets of our love, nor any profane scoffer ridicule those sensitive pleasures that he is too unsentimental to enjoy." With these, and similar thoughts, did Julia occupy herself, until Charles pointed out to her the majestic entrance to the Highlands. Our heroine, who was truly alive to all the charms of nature, gazed with rapture as the boat plunged between the mountains on either hand, and turned a wistful gaze down the river, in the vain hope that Antonio might, at the same moment, be enjoying the scene--but the sluggish sloop was now far behind, and the eye of Antonio, bright as it was, could not pierce the distance. Julia felt rather relieved than otherwise, when the vessel which contained her hero was hid from view by a mountain that they doubled. Her feelings were much like those of a girl who had long anxiously waited the declaration of a favourite youth, had received it, and acknowledged her own partiality. She felt all the assurance of her conquest, and would gladly, for a time, avoid the shame of her own acknowledgment. The passage up the Hudson furnishes in itself so much to charm the eye of a novice, that none but one under the extraordinary circumstances of our heroine, could have beheld the beauties of the river unmoved. If Julia did not experience quite as much rapture in the journey as she had anticipated, she attributed it to the remarkably delicate situation she was in with her lover, and possibly to a dread of his being detected. An officer of his rank and reputation must be well known, thought she, and he may meet with acquaintances every where. However, by the attention of Charles, she passed the day with a very tolerable proportion of pleasure. Their arrival at Albany was undistinguished by any remarkable event, though Julia looked in vain through the darkness of the night, in quest of the fertile meadows and desert islands which Anna had mentioned in her letter. Even the river seemed straight and uninteresting. But Julia was tired--it was night--and Antonio was absent.

The following morning Miss Emmerson and her niece, attended by Charles, took a walk to examine the beauties of Albany. It did not strike our heroine as being so picturesque as it had her friend; still it had novelty, and that lent it many charms it might have wanted on a more intimate acquaintance. Their forenoon, however, exhausted the beauties of this charming town, and they had returned to the inn, and the ladies were sitting in rather a listless state when Charles entered the room with a look of pleasure, and cried "he is here."

"Who!" exclaimed Julia, starting, and trembling like an aspen.

"He!--Tony," said Charles, in reply.

Julia was unable to say any more; but her aunt, without noticing her agitation, asked mildly, "And who is Tony?"

"Why Anthony, the driver--he is here and wishes to see you."

"Show him up, Charles, and let us learn when he will be ready to go on."

This was an awful moment to Julia--she was on the eve of being confronted, in a room, for the first time, with the man on whom she felt that her happiness or misery must depend. Although she knew the vast importance to her of good looks at such a moment, she looked unusually ill--she was pale from apprehension, and awkward and ungraceful from her agitation. She would have given the world to have got out of the room, but this was impossible--there was but one door, and through that he must come. She had just concluded that it was better to remain in her chair than incur the risk of fainting in the passage, when he entered, preceded by Charles. His upper, and part of his lower lip, were clean shaved; a small part of one cheek and his nose were to be seen; all the rest of his face was covered with hair, or hid under the patch. An enormous coloured handkerchief was tied, in a particular manner, round his neck; and his coat, made of plain materials, and somewhat tarnished with service, was buttoned as close to his throat as the handkerchief would allow. In short, his whole attire was that of a common driver of a hack carriage; and no one who had not previously received an intimation that his character was different from his appearance, would at all have suspected the deception.

"Your name is Anthony?" said Miss Emmerson, as he bowed to her with due deference.

"Yes, ma'am, Anthony--Tony Sandford," was the reply--it was uttered in a vulgar nasal tone, that Julia instantly perceived was counterfeited: but Miss Emmerson, with perfect innocency, proceeded in her inquiries.

"Are your horses gentle and good, Tony?" adopting the familiar nomenclature that seemed most to his fancy.

"As gentle as e'er a lady in the land," said Tony, turning his large black eye round the room, and letting it dwell a moment on the beautiful face of Julia--her heart throbbed with tumultuous emotion at the first sound of his voice, and she was highly amused at the ingenuity he had displayed, in paying a characteristic compliment to her gentleness, in this clandestine manner--if he preserves his incognito so ingeniously he will never be detected, thought Julia, and all will be well.

"And the carriage," continued Miss Emmerson, "is it fit to carry us?"

"I can't say how fit it may be to carry sich ladies as you be, but it is as good a carriage as runs out of York."

Here was another delicate compliment, thought Julia, and so artfully concealed under brutal indifference that it nearly deceived even herself.

"When will you be ready to start?" asked Miss Emmerson.

"This moment," was the prompt reply--"we can easily reach Schenectady by sundown."

Here Julia saw the decision and promptitude of a soldier used to marches and movements, besides an eager desire to remove her from the bustle of a large town and thoroughfare, to a retirement where she would be more particularly under his protection. Miss Emmerson, on the other hand, saw nothing but the anxiety of a careful hireling, willing to promote the interest of his master, who was to be paid for his conveyance by the job--so differently do sixty and sixteen judge the same actions! At all events, the offer was accepted, and the man ordered to secure the baggage, and prepare for their immediate departure.

"Why don't you help Antonio on with the baggage, Charles?" said Julia, as she stood looking at the driver tottering under the weight of the trunks. Charles stared a moment with surprise--the name created no astonishment, but the request did. Julia had a habit of softening names, that were rather harsh in themselves, to which he was accustomed. Peter she called Pierre; Robert was Rubert {sic}; and her aunt's black footman Timothy, she had designated as Timotheus: but it was not usual for ladies to request gentlemen to perform menial offices--until, recollecting that Julia had expressed unusual solicitude concerning a dressing-box that contained Anna's letters, he at once supposed it was to that she wished him to attend. Charles left the room, and superintended the whole arrangements, when once enlisted. Julia now felt that every doubt of the identity of her lover with this coachman was removed. He had ingeniously adopted the name of Anthony, as resembling in sound the one she herself had given him in her letters. This he undoubtedly had learnt from Anna-- and then Sandford was very much like Stanley--his patch, his dress, his air--every thing about him united to confirm her impressions; and Julia, at the same time she resolved to conduct herself towards him in their journey with a proper feminine reserve, thought she could do no less to a man who submitted to so much to serve her, than to suffer him to perceive that she was not entirely insensible to the obligation.

Our heroine could not but admire the knowing manner with which Antonio took his seat on the carriage, and the dexterity he discovered in the management of his horses--this was infallible evidence of his acquaintance with the animal, and a sure sign that he was the master of many, and had long been accustomed to their service. Perhaps, thought Julia, he has been an officer of cavalry.

In the constant excitement produced by her situation, Julia could not enter into all the feelings described by her friend, during the ride to Schenectady. Its beauties might be melancholy, but could she be melancholy, and Antonio so near? The pines might be silvery and lofty, but the proud stature of majestic man, eclipsed in her eyes all their beauties. Not so Charles. He early began to lavish his abuse on the sterile grounds they passed, and gave any thing but encomiums on the smoothness of the road they were travelling. In the latter particular, even the quiet spirit of Miss Emmerson joined him, and Julia herself was occasionally made sensible that she was not reposing "on a bed of roses."

{sterile grounds = the sandy "pine barrens" between Albany and Schenectady were notorious for their lack of scenic beauty}

"Do I drive too fast for the ladies?" asked Antonio, on hearing a slight complaint and a faint scream in the soft voice of Julia. Oh, how considerate he is! thought our heroine--how tender!--without his care I certainly should have been killed in this rude place. It was expected that as she had complained, she would answer; and after a moment employed in rallying her senses for the undertaking, she replied in a voice of breathing melody--

"Oh! no, Antonio, you are very considerate."

For a world Julia could not have said more; and Miss Emmerson thought that she had said quite as much as the occasion required; but Miss Emmerson, it will be remembered, supposed their driver to be Anthony Sandford. The hero, himself, on hearing such a gentle voice so softly replying to his question, could not refrain from turning his face into the carriage, and Julia felt her own eyes lower before his earnest gaze, while her cheeks burned with the blushes that suffused them. But the look spoke volumes--he understands my "Antonio," thought Julia, and perceives that, to me, he is no longer unknown. That expressive glance has opened between us a communication that will cease but with our lives. Julia now enjoyed, for the remainder of their journey to Mr. Miller's, one of the greatest pleasures of love--unsuspected by others, she could hold communion with him who had her heart, by the eyes, and a thousand tender and nameless little offices which give interest to affection, and zest to passion.

They had now got half way between the two cities, and Charles took a seat by the side of the driver, with the intention, as he expressed himself, of stretching his legs: the carriage was open and light, so that all of the figures of the two young men could be seen by the ladies, as well as their conversation heard. Charles never appeared to less advantage in his person, thought Julia, than now, seated by the side of the manly and noble Antonio. The figure of Charles was light, and by no means without grace; yet it did not strike the fancy of our heroine as so fit to shield and support her through life, as the more robust person of his companion. Julia herself was, in form, the counterpart of her mind--she was light, airy, and beautifully softened in all her outlines. It was impossible to mistake her for any thing but a lady, and one of the gentlest passions and sentiments. She felt her own weakness, and would repose it on the manly strength of Antonio.

"Which do you call the best of your horses?" asked Charles, so soon as he had got himself comfortably seated.

"The off--but both are true as steel," was the laconic reply. The comparison was new to Julia, and it evidently denoted a mind accustomed to the contemplation of arms.

"How long have you followed the business of a driver, Tony?" said Charles, in the careless manner of a gentleman when he wishes to introduce familiarity with an inferior, by seeming to take an interest in the other's affairs. Julia felt indignant at the freedom of his manner, and particularly at the epithet of "Tony"--yet her lover did not in the least regard either--or rather his manner exhibited no symptoms of displeasure--he has made up his mind, thought Julia, to support his disguise, and it is best for us both that he should.

"Ever since I was sixteen I have been used to horses," was the reply of Antonio to the question of Charles--Julia smiled at the ambiguity of the answer, and was confirmed in her impression that he had left college at that age to serve in the cavalry.

"You must understand them well by this time," continued Charles, glancing his eye at his companion as if to judge of his years--"You must be forty"--Julia fidgeted a little at this guess of Charles, but soon satisfied herself with the reflection that his disguise contributed to the error.

"My age is very deceiving," said the man; "I have seen great hardships in my time, both of body and mind."

Here Julia could scarcely breathe through anxiety. Every syllable that he uttered was devoured with eager curiosity by the enamoured girl--he knew that she was a listener, and that she understood his disguise; and doubtless meant, in that indirect manner, to acquaint her with the incidents of his life. It was clear that he indicated his age to be less than what his appearance would have led her to believe--his sufferings, his cruel sufferings had changed him.

"The life of a coachman is not hard," said Charles.

"No, sir, far from it--but I have not been a coachman all my life."

Nothing could be plainer than this--it was a direct assertion of his degradation by the business in which he was then engaged.

"In what manner did you lose your eye, Tony," said Charles, in a tone of sympathy that Julia blessed him for in her heart, although she knew that the member was uninjured, and only hidden to favour his disguise. Antonio hesitated a little in his answer, and stammered while giving it--"It was in the wars," at length he got out, and Julia admired the noble magnanimity which would not allow him, even in imagination, to suffer in a less glorious manner--notwithstanding his eye is safe and as beautiful as the other, he has suffered in the wars, thought our heroine, and it is pardonable for him to use the deception, situated as he is--it is nothing more than an equivoque. But this was touching Charles on a favourite chord. Little of a hero as Julia fancied him to be, he delighted in conversing about the war with those men, who, having acted in subordinate stations, would give a different view of the subject from the official accounts, in which he was deeply read. It was no wonder, therefore, that he eagerly seized on the present opportunity to relieve the tedium of a ride between Albany and Schenectady.

{equivoque = double meaning, a pun}

"In what battle," asked Charles, quickly; "by sea or by land?"

"By sea," said Antonio, speaking to his horses, with an evident unwillingness to say any more on the subject.

Ah! the deception, and the idea of his friend Lawrence, are too much for his sensibility, thought Julia; and to relieve him she addressed Charles herself.

"How far are we from Schenectady, cousin Charles?"

Antonio, certainly, was not her cousin Charles; but as if he thought the answering such questions to be his peculiar province, he replied immediately--

"Four miles, ma'am; there's the stone."

There was nothing in the answer itself, or the manner of its delivery, to attract notice in an unsuspecting listener; but by Julia it was well understood--it was the first time he had ever spoken directly to herself--it was a new era in their lives--and his body turned half round toward her as he spoke, showed his manly form to great advantage; but the impressive and dignified manner in which he dropped his whip towards the mile-stone, Julia felt that she never could forget--it was intended to mark the spot where he had first addressed her. He had chosen it with taste. The stone stood under the shade of a solitary oak, and might easily be fancied to be a monument erected to commemorate some important event in the lives of our lovers. Julia ran over in her mind the time when she should pay an annual visit to that hallowed place, and leaning on the arm of her majestic husband, murmur in his ear, "Here, on this loved spot, did Antonio first address his happy, thrice happy Julia."

"Well, Tony," said the mild voice of Miss Emmerson, "the sun is near setting, let us go the four miles as fast as you please."

"I'm sure, ma'am," said Antonio, with profound respect, "you don't want to get in more than I do, for I had no sleep all last night; I'll not keep you out one minute after night"--so saying, he urged his horses to a fast trot, and was quite us good as his word. How delicate in his attentions, and yet how artfully has he concealed his anxiety on my account under a feigned desire for sleep, thought Julia.

If any thing had been wanting either to convince Julia of the truth of her conjecture, or to secure the conquest of Antonio, our heroine felt that this short ride had abundantly supplied it.

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