And thus saying, Uncle Joseph rose, and bidding them good night, left them to their own reflections, which were not of the most pleasant character, especially as the mother could not deny the allegation he had made.
During the next summer, Mr. Ludlow, whose business was no longer embarrassed, and who had become satisfied that, although he should sink a large proportion of a handsome fortune, he would still have a competence left, and that well secured—proposed to visit Saratoga, as usual. There was not a dissenting voice—no objecting on the score of meeting vulgar people there. The painful fact disclosed by Uncle Joseph, of their plebeian origin, and the marriage of Mr. Armand—whose station in society was not to be questioned—with Mary Jones, the watchmaker’s daughter, had softened and subdued their tone of feeling, and caused them to set up a new standard of estimation. The old one would not do, for, judged by that, they would have to hide their diminished heads. Their conduct at the Springs was far less objectionable than it had been heretofore, partaking of the modest and retiring in deportment, rather than the assuming, the arrogant, and the self-sufficient. Mrs. Armand was there, with her sister, moving in the first circles; and Emily Ludlow and her sister Adeline felt honored rather than humiliated by an association with them. It is to be hoped they will yet make sensible women.
“I am hopeless!” said the young man, in a voice that was painfully desponding. “Utterly hopeless! Heaven knows I have tried hard to get employment! But no one has need of my service. The pittance doled out by your father, and which comes with a sense of humiliation that is absolutely heart-crushing, is scarcely sufficient to provide this miserable abode, and keep hunger from our door. But for your sake, I would not touch a shilling of his money if I starved.”
“Hush, dear Edward!” returned the gentle girl, who had left father, mother, and a pleasant home, to share the lot of him she loved; and she laid a finger on his lips, while she drew her arm around him.
“Agnes,” said the young man, “I cannot endure this life much longer. The native independence of my character revolts at our present condition. Months have elapsed, and yet the ability I possess finds no employment. In this country every avenue is crowded.”
The room in which they were overlooked the sea.
“But there is another land, where, if what we hear be true, ability finds employment and talent a sure reward.” And, as Agnes said this, in a voice of encouragement, she pointed from the window towards the expansive waters that stretched far away towards the south and west.
“America!” The word was uttered in a quick, earnest voice.
“Agnes, I thank you for this suggestion! Return to the pleasant home you left for one who cannot procure for you even the plainest comforts of life, and I will cross the ocean to seek a better fortune in that land of promise. The separation, painful to both, will not, I trust, be long.”