It is with more or less regret that the writer finds he has reached the point where he must say goodbye; and he only does so with the understanding that just as soon as further stirring events worth narrating come to pass, it will be his pleasure, as well as duty, to place them between the covers of another book in this series.
+THE OBLONG BOX.+
* * * * *
Some years ago, I engaged passage from Charleston, S.C., to the city of New York, in the fine packet-ship Independence, Captain Hardy. We were to sail on the fifteenth of the month (June), weather permitting; and, on the fourteenth, I went on board to arrange some matters in my stateroom.
I found that we were to have a great many passengers, including a more than usual number of ladies. On the list were several of my acquaintances; and among other names, I was rejoiced to see that of Mr. Cornelius Wyatt, a young artist, for whom I entertained feelings of warm friendship. He had been with me a fellow-student at C——University, where we were very much together. He had the ordinary temperament of genius, and was a compound of misanthropy, sensibility, and enthusiasm. To these qualities he united the warmest and truest heart which ever beat in a human bosom.
I observed that his name was carded upon three staterooms; and, upon again referring to the list of passengers, I found that he had engaged passage for himself, wife, and two sisters—his own. The staterooms were sufficiently roomy, and each had two berths, one above the other. These berths, to be sure, were so exceedingly narrow as to be insufficient for more than one person; still, I could not comprehend why there were three staterooms for these four persons. I was, just at this epoch, in one of those moody frames of mind which make a man abnormally inquisitive about trifles: and I confess, with shame, that I busied myself in a variety of ill-bred and preposterous conjectures about this matter of the supernumerary stateroom. It was no business of mine, to be sure; but with none the less pertinacity did I occupy myself in attempts to resolve the enigma. At last! I had not arrived at it before. “It is a servant, of course,” I said; “what a fool I am, not sooner to have thought of so obvious a solution!” And then I again repaired to the list—but here I saw distinctly that no servant was to come with the party; although, in fact, it had been the original design to bring one—for the words “and servant” had been first written and then overscored. “Oh, extra baggage to be sure,” I now said to myself—“something he wishes not to be put in the hold—something to be kept under his own eye—ah, I have it—a painting or so—and this is what he has been bargaining about with Ficolino, the Italian Jew.” This idea satisfied me, and I dismissed my curiosity for the nonce.