9. Letter IX
FROM PIDGIE TO BENNIE.
Tremont House, Boston, August 27th, 1846.
You will see, dear Bennie, that I am once more on dry land, and a very nice place it is that I have anchored in. Shortly after I last wrote to you, the Go-Ahead had her full complement of mackerel, and, with hearty rejoicing, we set sail for home. Fortunately, the wind was fair, and in a few days we came in sight of Marblehead, which had lost none of its peculiarities during our absence.
David and I were right sorry that the time of our parting was so near; but Clarendon gave him a warm invitation to visit us in Virginia. Captain Cobb did not think it at all unlikely that we might have a visit from his son one of these days, for New England boys think nothing of being a few hundred miles from home.
I did not, however, bid David good by at Marblehead, for he promised to come up to Boston and show me the lions. On Saturday, he appeared at the Tremont, and I scarcely knew him, for he looked so nice in a suit of new clothes. Clarendon was glad to give me into his hands, for he is enjoying himself in his own way with some very pleasant young gentlemen, to whom he brought letters of introduction.
There is no use in saying that New-Englanders are not hospitable, for brother has been invited out every day, and he says that the dinners are quite equal to any that he has seen at home, and that the conversation is the most intelligent to which he ever listened. David actually began dancing for joy at this remark; for he thinks Boston men of the present day are superior to all the rest of the human race.
You will wonder why we stay here; but the truth is, that we have no money to get home, as brother has not yet received the drafts from Virginia that he expected to meet him on his return from the Banks. While waiting for them to come on, I am determined to see all that I can, and we cruise off every morning and evening on a voyage of discovery.
Yesterday I visited the Chinese Museum, and there will be no use now in my going to China itself, for I can tell how every thing looks almost as well as if I had been there. Then I saw the Institution for the Blind at South Boston, and another for the Insane at Charlestown. David and I just jump into the omnibus, and away we go to any of the surrounding towns. I think I like Cambridge best of all of them, and, if 'ma sees fit, I should prefer to go to Harvard University, for they have a beautiful library full of nice books, and it is so near to Mount Auburn, and I could spend a day there every week with pleasure. I don't see why we can't have such beautiful burial-places in Virginia, for some of our land is quite as fine. I know of a spot now which could be made such a sweet one with a little pains. Why can't we have just such a lovely cemetery? I will tell you more about it, and some of the pretty monuments, when I return.
You should have seen David and I dining together at the Tremont to-day, quite like two young gentlemen; for brother was invited out, and he begged David to take his place. I must own that my friend's house at Marblehead was rather a shabby old affair, and he has been brought up in the plainest way; yet he does not show the least awkwardness at our elegant table, but has the air of one quite accustomed to luxury. He handles a silver fork with the greatest freedom, takes the name of every dish readily from the bill of fare, and orders the waiters round as if they were his own particular servants, only in such a conciliatory way, that they seem delighted to do any thing for him.
On Sunday morning we went to a Swedenborgian church, which is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. It has a large window of stained glass at one end, of such a color that it makes every thing look as if the light of the setting sun was falling upon it. There was a curious sort of tower opposite this window, with a kind of niche in it for a large Bible, which the minister took out with the greatest reverence, and he read from it all the prayers and psalms which were used. I liked the service very well, but, of course, I prefer our own.
In the afternoon, David took me to Trinity Church, and I was perfectly delighted to hear our dear liturgy again, after being so long deprived of it. Some of the people did not kneel down, but I could not help doing it, for my heart was so full.
Just as we were coming out of church, I observed one of the sweetest young ladies that I ever saw, who looked as if she had been crying, and yet there was a happy smile on her face. I was wondering why she looked so familiar to me, when she said, in a perfectly musical voice, to some one near her,--"Is it not delightful to worship God with his own chosen people once more?"
I turned to see who she thus addressed, and, notwithstanding the change in his dress, at once recognized Richard Colman. I cannot describe to you the joy I felt at finding him thus restored to his sister. Before I thought that I was among strangers, I flew to his side, and exclaimed,--"O, I am so glad that you have got your sister! I hope you will never leave her again."
"He never will," Miss Louisa replied; for poor Dick was too much overcome by the suddenness of my greeting to answer me. "You," she said, looking at David and myself, "are, I doubt not, the little friends that my brother has been telling me about. Come tomorrow and see us in Chestnut Street, for I am anxious to make your acquaintance."
Dick then joined in this invitation, and David accepted it for both of us.
We called upon Miss Colman the next day, and received a warm welcome; but, of course, she did not allude to her brother's long absence, only now and then as she looked at him her beautiful dark eyes would fill with tears. O, Bennie, if you could only see her! for she is the most lovely being that I ever met; but I hope that you may some day, for Dick half promised Clarendon to pay us a visit, and I am going to get mamma to write and beg his sister to come on with him.
I am so impatient now for Clarendon's letters to come! After we are once started, we shall not stop till we reach Virginia. Yet I shall be sorry to leave this same Yankee land, with its morality, its intelligence, and its kindness. If for nothing else, I shall bless this fishing excursion for having opened my eyes to the virtues of the excellent people whom I really used to despise. Though a Virginian still in heart, I can join David heartily in crying,--"Hurrah for New England now and for ever!" Till we meet, which will, I trust, be soon, your affectionate cousin,