Among the friends whom I visited in Ontario County, and with whom I passed several pleasant weeks, were two cousins of mine whom I had not seen for many years, since we were children in fact, but who gave me a most cordial welcome, and made much of me while I was there. They knew absolutely nothing of my unhappy history-no unpleasant rumor even respecting me, had ever penetrated that quiet quarter of the State. I told them what I pleased of my past career, from boyhood to the present time, and to them I was only a tolerably successful doctor, who made money enough to live decently and dress well, and who was then suffering from overwork and badly in need of recuperation. This, indeed, was the ostensible reason for my visit to Ontario. I was somewhat shattered; my old prison trials and troubles began to tell upon me. I used to think sometimes that I was a little “out of my head;” I certainly was so whenever I entered upon one of my matrimonial schemes, and I must have been as mad as a March hare when I attempted to kidnap Sarah Scheimer’s boy. After all the excitement and suffering of the past few years, I needed rest, and here I found it.
My cousins were more than well-to-do farmers; they were enormously rich in lands and money. Just after the war of 1812, their father, my uncle, and my own father, had come to this, then wild and almost uninhabited, section of the State to settle. Soon after they arrived there my father’s wife died, and this loss, with the general loneliness of the region, to say nothing of the fever and ague, soon drove my father back to Delaware County to his forge for a living, and to the day of his death he was nothing more than a hard-working, hand-to-mouth-living, common blacksmith.
But my uncle stayed there, and, as time went on, he bought hundreds of acres of land for a mere song, which were now immensely valuable, and had made his children almost the richest people in that region. My Cousins were great farmers, extensive raisers of stock, wool-growers, and everything else that could make them prosperous. There seemed to be no end to their wealth, and their fiat farms, spread out on every side as far as the eye could see.
And if my father had only stayed there, I could not help but think what a different life mine might have been. Instead of being the adventurer I was, and had been ever since I separated from my first and worst wife-doing well, perhaps, for a few weeks or a few months, and then blundering into a mad marriage or other difficulty which got me into prison; well-to-do to-day and to-morrow a beggar—I, too, might have been rich and respectable, and should have, saved myself a world of suffering. This was but a passing thought which did not mar my visit, or make it less pleasant to me. I went there to be happy, not to be miserable, and for three months I was happy indeed.
From there I went to my birthplace in Columbia County, revisiting old scenes and the very few old friends and acquaintances who survived, or who had not moved away. I spent a month there and thereabouts, and at the end of that time I felt full restored to my usual good health, and was ready to go to work again, not in the matrimonial way, but in my medical business, that was enough for me now.