You loved, and he did love!
Mariana. To say he did
Were to affirm what oft his eyes avouched,
What many an action testified—and yet,
What wanted confirmation of his tongue.”
On the right bank of the Mississippi river, a few miles above New Orleans, was situated the plantation of Colonel Dumont, which he had chosen to designate by the expressive appellation of “Bellevue;” though, it would seem, from the level nature of the country, it could not have been chosen on account of any fitness in the term.
In territorial extent, in the number of slaves employed, and in the quantity of sugar annually produced, the plantation of Colonel Dumont was one of the most important on the river. This fact, added to the possession of immense estates in the city, rendered its owner a man of no small consequence in the vicinity. But, more than this, Colonel Dumont was beloved and respected for his many good qualities of mind and heart. In the late war with England he had served in the army, and as an officer had won an enviable distinction by his courage and his talents. Coming unexpectedly into the possession of this estate by the death of an uncle, he retired, at the close of the war, from a profession to which a genuine patriotism alone had invited him, and devoted himself entirely to the improvement of his lands.
Colonel Dumont had been married; but, after a single year of happiness in the conjugal state, his wife died, leaving him an only daughter in remembrance of her. This child, at the opening of the tale, was within a few years of maturity,—the image of her father’s only love,—not less fair, not less pure and good.
Emily Dumont was a beautiful girl, fair as the lily, gentle as the dove. She was of a medium height, and of slender and graceful form. Her step was light and elastic, and, if there was any poetry in her light, elegant form, there was more in her easy, fairy-like motion. Her features were as daintily moulded as her form. Her eye was light blue, soft, and beautifully expressive of a pure heart. She was a little paler than the connoisseur in female loveliness would demand in his ideal, and her expression was a little inclined to sadness; but it was a sadness—or rather a sweet dignity—more winning than repulsive to the gazer.
Emily Dumont, highly as fortune had favored her in the bestowal of worldly goods and personal beauty, was still more blessed in the gifts of an expansive mind and a gentle heart; and mind and heart had both been faithfully cultivated by the assiduous care of her devoted father. She was a true woman,—not a mere plaything to while away a dandy’s idle hours, not a piece of tinsel to adorn the parlor of a nabob, but a true woman,—one fitted by nature and education to adorn all the varied scenes of life. Although brought up in unclouded prosperity, amid luxury and affluence, she was still prepared for the day of adversity, if it should ever come.