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considered remarkable. While in one book she revels in descriptions of
home-scenes and characters, in another she presents her readers with
events and incidents that bear a strong resemblance to the startling
and melo-dramatic productions of many of the modern romance writers of
This peculiarity, however, may be accounted for by the fact that she
writes--as she herself confesses--entirely from impulse.
When her mind is clouded by sorrow--and she has been oppressed with many
bitter griefs--she seeks to remove the cause of her despondency by
creating a hero or heroine, afflicted like herself, and following this
individual through a train of circumstances which, she imagines, would
naturally occur during a life of continued gloom and sorrow.
On the other hand, when life appears bright and beautiful to her, then
she tells a tale of joy; a story of domestic life, for where does pure
happiness exist except at the fireside at home?
It must have been during one of these bright intervals of her life that
description of the delights of home, which, although occasionally
obscured by grief, and in some instances, by folly, are rendered still
more precious by their brief absence.
_New York_, August 15th, 1854.
In one of father La Fontaine's books, may be found a description of a
lovely valley, the residence of a beautiful and modest maiden, and of
the heroine of this Arcadia he writes:
"There stands our heroine, as lovely as the valley, her home, and as
virtuous and good as her mother, who has devoted a lifetime to the
education of her daughter."
But with the history of this maiden he weaves the workings of an evil
genius, which in the end is triumphant; for even the pure are
contaminated after they arrive at that period when they consider that
vice has its virtues.
Our story is located near the beautiful Lake Wenner, in a valley which
much resembles that described by La Fontaine. As we enter this valley,
the first object that meets our view is a small red-colored cottage. A
vine twines itself gracefully over one of the windows, the glass panes
of which glisten through the green leaves, which slightly parted,
disclose the sober visage of an ancient black cat, that is demurely
looking forth upon the door yard. She has chosen a sunny spot on the
window sill, for the cheering beams of the sun are as grateful to a cat,
as is the genial warmth of the stove to an old man, when winter has
resumed his sway upon earth. If we should enter the cottage, we would in
all probability find the proprietor of the little estate seated in his
old arm-chair, while his daughter-in-law--but more of this anon.
From the cottage the ground descended in a slight slope, which
terminated in a white sandy beach at the margin of the lake. Near the
beach were fastened the small skiffs, which swayed to and fro amongst
the rushes, where the children delighted to sail their miniature ships.
From the rear of the house the little valley extended itself in
undulating fields and meadows, interspersed with barren hillocks and
thrifty potato patches. In the fields could be heard the tinkling of the
cow-bells, the bleating of lambs, and the barking of a dog as he
gathered together his little flock. Carlo was a fortunate dog, for the
farm was so small that he could keep his entire charge within sight at
Near the centre of the valley stood a large tree, the widely spread
branches of which shaded a spring, which gushed forth from beneath a
huge moss-covered stone. This was the favorite place of resort of a
beautiful maiden, who might be seen almost every summer evening
reclining upon the moss that bordered the verge of the spring.
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