“Much had happened in his absence. His friend, after living three or four years with his wife in Europe, was separated from her—not, however, by a regular divorce—and she had disappeared, and had not since been heard of. It was reported that she was dead. She had left with her husband a son, two or three years old, at that time a sickly little fellow, scarcely expected to live. It was supposed that the mother had discovered that it was her money, and not herself, that her husband cared for, and, perhaps, too, may have imagined him to be still thinking of his first love, who, indeed, was said to have in some way fomented the quarrel between them, though how, or to what end, was never known. She, by-the-way, after an absence of some years from New York, suddenly reappeared there, and married a wealthy old Knickerbocker, who died not long afterward, and left her his property. She became eminent in society, and was intimate with all the most distinguished people. Her former lover returned from Europe, with his little son, and, I believe, settled somewhere in the neighborhood of New York. They met, and, I understand, came to be on very friendly terms with one another, but the conditions of their lives would have prevented the possibility of marriage, even had they desired it.
“Well, it was before the old Knickerbocker’s death that he I am telling you of first arrived in the city. He gave up medicine, and devoted himself to other studies; and, in the course of a few years, he found himself occupying the chairs of History and of Science at the University of New York. He also paid some attention to politics, and became, for a while, a person of really considerable renown and distinction. He was respected by the most influential persons in the city. Among the rest, he became acquainted with the widow—as she was by this time—of the Knickerbocker—and she showed him every kindness and attention. But he did her the injustice of not believing her kindness genuine; he imagined that she cared for nothing but fashion and display, and was polite to him only because she thought he would add a little to her drawing-rooms. At length, a sudden weariness of his mode of life coming over him, he resigned his public positions, and his professorships, and took lodgings in the family of a poor clergyman in Boston. While there, he took up the study of divinity, and, before long, was fully qualified for ordination. But, at this time, he fell, all at once, dangerously ill, and lay at death’s door.
“He owed his life to the care that the daughter of the clergyman took of him. She was a sweet, gentle girl, a good deal younger than he; but she grew to love him—perhaps because she had saved him from death. When he recovered, they were married, and found a great deal of happiness; there was no more passionate love, for him, of course; but he could feel gratitude, and tenderness, and a steady and deep affection. They had two children, and when they were five or six years old, the parents moved to the country, and took a house in an out-of-the-way village.”