« PreviousContinue »
BY J. FENIMORE COOPER, ESQ.
“ HOMEWARD BOUND,” “THE PILOT," "THE SPY,”
IN THREE VOLUMES.
RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.
When Mr. Effingham determined to return home, he sent orders to his agent to prepare his town house in New York for his reception, intending to pass the winter in it, and to visit his country residence when the spring should fairly open. Accordingly, Eve now found herself at the head of one of the largest establishments in the largest American town, within an hour after she had landed from the ship. Fortunately for her, however, her father was too just to consider a wife or a daughter
a mere upper servant; and he rightly judged that a liberal portion of his income should be assigned to the procuring of that higher quality of domestic service, which can alone relieve the mistress of a household from a burthen so heavy to be borne. Unlike so many of those around him, who would spend on a single pretending and comfortless entertainment, in which the ostentatious folly of one, contends with the ostentatious folly of another, a sum that, properly directed, would introduce order and system into a family for a twelvemonth, by commanding the time and knowledge of those whose study they had been, and who would be willing to devote themselves to such objects, and who would then permit their wives and daughters to return to the drudgery to which the sex seems doomed in this country: he first bethought him of the base of social life, before he aspired to its parade. As a man of the world, Mr. Effingham possessed the requisite knowledge, and as a man of justice, the requisite fairness, to permit those who depended on him so much for their happiness,
to share equitably in the good things that Providence had so liberally bestowed on bimself. In other words, he made two people comfortable by paying a generous price for a housekeeper ; his daughter, in the first place, by releasing her from cares that, necessarily, formed no more a part of her duties than it would be a part of her duty to sweep the pavement before the door; and, in the next place, a very respectable woman, who was glad to obtain so good a home on such easy terms. To this simple and just expedient, Eve was indebted for being at the head of one of the quietest, most truly elegant, and best ordered establishments in America, with no other demand on her time than that which was neces. sary to issue a few orders in the morning, and to examine a few accounts once a week.
One of the first, and the most acceptable of the visits that Eve received, was from her cousin Grace Van Courtlandt, who was in the country at the moment of her arrival, but who hurried back to town to meet her old schoolfellow and kinswoman, the instant she heard