Which treats of two strange characters I met at the independent temperance hotel.
Having got rid of the major, I desired to change my clothing before supper, and was shown to a snug little room up stairs by a damsel of such exquisite beauty and bashfulness, that my whole soul seemed melting within me, so quickly did her charms enslave me. In answer to a question that hung trembling upon my lips, and which I had only power to put in broken accents, for she passed me the candle, and as she did so, I touched her hand, and saw her bosom heave gently, and her eyes fill with liquid light, out of which came the language of love, she said, with a smile and a lisp, that they called her Bessie. Nature had been all bountiful in bestowing her gifts, for surely, thought I, the nation can boast of no prettier Bessie. I thought of the garden of Eden, of the palm groves of Campania, of every rural beauty that just then beguiled my fancies. But in neither of them did there seem happiness for me without Bessie for the idol of my worship. I had, indeed, touched the hidden spring of her sympathy, and as it gushed forth in unison with my own, I read the flutterings of her heart in her crimsoning cheeks, and contemplated the bounties of that Providence which forgets not the humblest of its creatures. “Oh, sir,” said she, “what will my father say?” and she attempted a frown, and started back as I stole a kiss of the cheek now suffused with blushes. Then with an arch toss of the head, she turned her great black eyes rogueishly upon me, and said in a half whisper that I must not attempt it again. But I could not resist the magic of her glance, while, together with the cherry-like freshness of her lips, and the raven blackness of those glossy curls that hung so ravishingly over her fair blushing cheeks, discovering a delicately arched brow, and enhancing the sweetness of her oval face, carried me away captive, and made it seem as if heaven had created our loves to flow on in one unhallowed stream of joy. Her dapper figure was neatly set off with a dress of black silk, buttoned close about the neck, and showing the symmetry of her bust to great advantage; and over this she wore an apron of brown silk, gimped at the edge, and her collar and wristbands were of snowy white linen. “Heaven knows I would not harm thee, for thou art even too fair; only a knave would rob one so innocent.” And I held her tremblingly by the hand, in the open door, as she attempted to draw herself away, beseeching me with a bewitching glance to “remember her youth.” Bessie was the landlord’s daughter; and though she was scarce passed her seventeenth summer, had became so famous for her beauty, as to number her admirers in every village of the county; and many were the travelers that way who tarried to do homage to her