Homeward Bound And Home As Found
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
These two books form one continuous novel, and might properly be called Eve Effingham, under which name, indeed, the second part was published in England. Cooper's original intention was to make the work a study of American society; and so he began the story with the return of an American family long resident in Europe to their home in New York City. But, as he says in the preface to Homeward Bound: "As a vessel was introduced in the first chapter, the cry was for `more ship,' until the work has become `all ship'; it actually closing at, or near, the spot where it was originally intended it should commence." Home as Found, the continuation, rather than the sequel, of Homeward Bound, contains few incidents, being almost wholly composed of cynical observations upon American social customs and types of character. In order to retaliate upon a number of his fellow citizens at Cooperstown, New York, who had endeavored to force him to make a gift of a portion of his estate for a public park, and had grossly insulted him upon his refusal, he shifted the scene from New York City to the interior town, under the name of Templeton, and caricatured the most disagreeable of his opponents. The public inferred that Cooper was drawing his own character in that of John Effingham, and from this time forward the name of Effingham was often derisively applied to him in the many controversies in which his contentious disposition involved him. In 1842, when Cooper was engaged in a libel-suit, he was satirized in an anonymous novel entitled The Effinghams; or, Home as I Found It, by the Author of the Victims of Chancery.
EVE EFFINGHAM, who lost her mother in infancy, nevertheless claimed that she was spoiled by having too many and too indulgent parents. Her old nurse, Nanny Sidley, mothered her as if she were a young child long after she had become a brilliant young woman, able to speak up for herself in several European languages. One day, when Miss Effingham had been maintaining an animated conversation in Italian with her teacher and companion, Mademoiselle Antoinette Viefville, Nanny burst into tears and implored Eve not to estrange herself entirely from her poor old nurse.
Then Eve's father, Edward Effingham, had made it his chief concern in life to take the place, so far as possible, of the dead mother. Love had taught his soul, which was indeed by nature a gentle one, an insight into the heart of a girl that many mothers, even, do not possess—certainly do not employ.
And, last, there was her father's cousin, John Effingham, who was a second father to her. He possessed a more aggressive nature than her father and therefore, while indulging her in material things, contended with her manfully as an intellectual equal, greatly to the benefit of her mind and her manners. At an age when young girls usually have their heads filled with romantic nonsense, she knew men so well that she could recognize and admire the best of them without adoring any.
Cousin John had been an unsuccessful suitor for the hand of her mother, and upon his rejection, being a man of independent fortune, disappeared for a number of years from the knowledge of his friends. On learning that Mrs. Effingham was dead he returned, and thereafter the two cousins, united by their common love for the dead woman and her little daughter, became inseparable companions.
Edward Effingham lived on a large estate upon Lake Otsego, in central New York. Since the days when Natty Bumppo fished in the crystal waters of the lake and hunted in the primeval forest along its shores, civilization had made great inroads upon the locality. A little town had arisen, named Templeton, seemingly from the number of its churches, which lifted their unpainted spires to heaven—about two to every hundred of the population. Aristabulus Bragg, the one lawyer in the village, was wont to boast to those contemplating settlement in Templeton: "It has as complete a set of churches as any village in the State. If your denomination is not represented, sir, we shall begin at once to remedy the deficiency."
"Set of casters, rather," growled John Effingham, one of those to whom the remark was made; "for a stronger resemblance to vinegar-cruets and mustard-pots than is borne by these architectural prodigies, eye never beheld."
Edward Effingham's house had been designed by a local architect named Doolittle; his Cousin John took hold of it and converted it from an absurdly proportioned Gothic edifice, shooting with bare sides up to four crenelated towers, into a rambling picturesque pile, by erecting a number of low, irregularly shaped buildings against it and about it. This new order of architecture—" Effingham upon Doolittle," as the remodeler called it,—made for homely comfort as well as sightliness, and therefore justified the unassuming name of the house—the "Wigwam." It was furnished with every convenience, not to say luxury. It held the combined libraries of the two cousins, both book-lovers, and yet possessed of complementary tastes that led to remarkably few duplications of volumes.
But books and the companionship of men, however wise and learned, will not suffice for the education of a young lady; so when Eve reached the age of seventeen, her father decided to take her for a sojourn of several years in Europe, and of course Eve compelled "Cousin John" to go with them.
After three years spent in France, Italy, Germany, and England, the party took ship at London for New York on the packet-liner Montauk, Captain Truck commanding. The Montauk was a stanch and comfortable kettle-bottomed vessel, and Captain Truck was the oldest and most trusted navigator of the line. In the three days' voyage from London to Ports-mouth, where the ship stopped to take on the rest of its cabin passengers, coming by train from London, the Captain and the Effinghams had become the best of friends.
Arrived at Portsmouth, the party stood with the Captain on deck, commenting upon the embarking passengers who were to be their companions for the voyage across the Atlantic, which they expected would be of not more than a month's duration.
A young man, bewhiskered and flashily dressed, accompanied by several porters carrying a prodigious number of hat-boxes and portmanteaus, was the first to step on board.
"A peer of the realm in his robes!" whispered Eve in mock tones of awe.
"More likely a valet running away with his master's ward-robe," growled John Effingham, who regarded the mere existence of a fop as a sort of personal insult.
Eve's hyperbole apparently was nearer right than John's detraction, for the Captain informed them that the passenger was booked as Sir George Templemore.
Two passengers followed, whom none could fail to recognize as gentlemen, each accompanied by a servant. One, evidently an Englishman, was tall, blond, well built, handsome, —the type of the university man. "He should have been Sir George," said Eve.
The other gentleman was sui generis; it was impossible to assign him to any class or even nationality. Mademoiselle Viefville became at once intensely interested in the problem in personality which he presented, and so did Eve, even though she unconsciously averted her eyes, that had calmly scrutinized his predecessors, when his face suddenly changed its expression from the thoughtful, almost melancholic, to the radiantly friendly, as he smiled in noticing and acknowledging the interest in him of the party on the deck.
"A Continental," said Mademoiselle; "jamais anglais. French, I hope, but probably Swiss; maybe north Italian. What is his name?" she inquired of the Captain.
"The two men are registered as Sharp and Blunt."
"H'm! rather ominous," remarked John Effingham. "It is quite probable that the first very positive name is to be construed in the comparative degree, and that the second is a synonym of the old nom de guerre, `Cash.' Do they hunt together?" he inquired of Captain Truck.
"Don't be alarmed," said the Captain. "Whether or not their names are assumed, they are not card-sharpers, for I know the faces of all of that gentry who work the Atlantic ferry, and these men are strangers to me."
"Do persons, then, actually travel with borrowed names in these days?" asked Eve.
"That they do, and with borrowed money, too."
"Please, Capitaine, find out w'ich is Monsieur Sharp an' w'ich is Monsieur Blunt?" requested Mademoiselle Viefville.
The Captain stepped forward and spoke to the two passengers, and the Effingham party saw him introduce them to each other. He then brought them back with him and introduced them to the Effinghams. The blond Englishman proved to be Mr. Sharp, the other Mr. Blunt. When the Captain saw the passengers bowing formally to each other he said:
"Not according to Vattel, ladies and gentlemen. A nod is like setting a topgallant-sail in passing a ship at sea; it means nothing at all. Shake hands; that means we're all friends so long as we're on the Montauk—how much longer, you may decide afterwards."
His passengers laughed, and all cordially shook hands.
Just before the vessel loosed from the pier, Mr. Grab, the civil officer of Portsmouth, came on board with a warrant for the arrest of a steerage passenger, a young man who had married a young lady of some fortune against the will of her uncle and guardian. The uncle was bringing against the bridegroom an action for debt. The young man's story was known pretty well among his fellow passengers, and had indeed reached the Captain's ears. It was that the guardian had been using the ward's money and feared that he might be called upon for an accounting by her husband.
Captain Truck examined the warrant. "Yes, Robert Davis is on board. You may take him."
"I don't know Davis by sight. Kindly point him out," said Mr. Grab. By this time all the passengers were observing the colloquy.
"I never introduce steerage passengers," said the Captain. "Take your man, but don't delay the ship. Throw off that rope there!" he added, addressing a sailor.
"Call Robert Davis!" cried Mr. Grab, affecting an authority he had no right to assume.
"Robert Davis!" echoed twenty voices, including that of the bridegroom, who almost betrayed himself by excess of zeal. No one answered.
"Can you tell me which is Robert Davis, my little fellow ? " Mr. Grab asked of a flaxen-haired boy. The child knew, but shook his head.
"Come, here's sixpence if you tell me." The boy shook his curls again and walked away from temptation.
"C'est un esprit de corps admirable!" exclaimed Mademoiselle Viefville. "I could devour that boy."
Mr. Grab scrutinized the passengers. He noted the pale self-conscious face of a woman, and asked her if she were not Mrs. Davis. She confessed that she was. "Point out your husband." She refused, but the bridegroom betrayed himself to everyone who was not in the secret but the officer, by instinctively moving as if to go to her rescue.
"If the husband will not deliver himself up, I shall be compelled to take his wife ashore in his stead," said Mr. Grab, with a very stern look.
"Is this an arrest for crime or a demand for debt?" asked Mr. Blunt quickly, to forestall the husband betraying himself.
A dozen voices, among them again the bridegroom's, assured him there was no crime, not even a just debt; that the whole affair was a scheme to compel a wronged ward to release a fraudulent guardian from his liabilities.
"Debt or crime, it's all the same to the law," said the officer.
"But not the same to honest citizens, who ought to resist such illegal action as you propose, but who might hesitate to do so in favor of a rogue. I now tell you you are disgracing your uniform. You have no right to arrest a wife for a husband, as you well know, as do I and all here "—and the crowd, who had not known it before, shouted their assent.
"Clever as Mark Antony!" said John Effingham. "Since it is not possible that he is an ancient Roman, you may depend upon it he's a Yankee lawyer, Mademoiselle Viefville."
Mr. Grab now realized he had met his match, but he stood his ground.
"Whoever interferes with an officer in charge of a prisoner is guilty of a rescue. Mistakes of arrest can be rectified only by a magistrate."
"Not the arrest of a woman for a man. In such a case there is design, and not a mistake. If you take that woman from the ship you do it at your peril."
"Gentlemen, gentlemen! let there be no warm words," said the Captain. "Be friendly; shake hands. Mr. Blunt, Mr. Grab; Mr. Grab, Mr. Blunt."
Neither adopted the suggestion.
"I always introduce my cabin passengers, and if you don't look sharp, Mr. Grab, you will go as one with us to New York. It's time to sail, and we run by the clock. Lay forward, men, and heave away!" And he sprang to the wheel.
Mr. Grab jumped into the boat of the waterman who had brought him. As the painter was cast off, the Captain relinquished the wheel to the pilot, and, taking Robert Davis by the arm, appeared with him at the gangway.
"Mr. Grab, Mr. Davis; Mr. Davis, Mr. Grab. I never introduce steerage passengers, but I've decided to put Mr. and Mrs. Davis in the bridal room. You may assure Mrs. Davis's uncle that she shall receive every attention."
"You have not heard the last of this, Captain Truck," answered the officer. "It will be an easy matter for one of his Majesty's cruisers to overtake your piratical old tub."
Captain Truck regarded it as an idle threat; but when, two days afterward, a sloop of war was observed following the Montauk, as she ran merrily along in the English Channel before a stiff breeze, the Captain thought there might have been something in it. Once before he had been overtaken while in English waters, and brought back to Portsmouth because a subordinate had been smuggling tobacco. Possibly in revenge Mr. Grab had laid information of a similar charge against the Montauk. If so, Captain Truck did not purpose to lose time for his company on this occasion by going back, if he could help it, preferring to settle the matter on his return trip.
"We are now on the highway of nations," said Captain Truck, "and I intend to travel it without being jostled. The sloop is ten miles astern of us. Now `a stern chase is a long chase.' In the present trim, and with this breeze, there is no ship in the British navy can gain ten miles in as many hours on the Montauk, clumsy old hulk as she is. We are safe, then, for the present."
By night the sloop had not gained a mile upon the liner, but as the wind was lessening Captain Truck decided to give the slip to his pursuer, if pursuer she were, by running in the darkness through a narrow passage between the Scilly Islands and the Land's End. In the morning he found the sloop still at the Montauk's heels. The wind had shifted more to the north, and freshened. He decided to run before it southward into the Bay of Biscay, and thence, having shaken off pursuit, take the southern route to New York.
Day after day, however, the cruiser persistently followed. Luckily the breeze continued, but the liner was not able to gain enough distance to permit it to make ports in the Azores or Canaries. The breeze developed into a gale, and at last into a terrible hurricane that swept off all the rigging from the Montauk but the foremast, and drove her dangerously near the Moroccan coast before it subsided. They lost sight of the English ship, whose name by this time they had discovered was the Foam, and supposed that it had not weathered the storm.
An American store-ship bound to New York from the Mediterranean squadron hove in sight. The steerage passengers and the Davises were transferred to this; the cabin passengers preferred the comforts of the crippled vessel to the cramped quarters of the store-ship.
Working up along the African coast the Montauk came upon a Danish vessel that had evidently been driven ashore in the hurricane. A landing party discovered signs of an Arab encampment, which indicated that the Danish sailors had been carried into captivity. As the masts of the abandoned wreck were intact, Captain Truck decided to remove them and set them in the Montauk. He found a small harbor behind a reef near the wreck, where he anchored the liner, and, leaving his passengers on the Montauk, took all his seamen to the Dane to dismantle her.
At this juncture the Arabs returned for further loot in the Dane. Naturally they preferred new conquest, and so at-tacked the Montauk. Blunt, by his generalship in confining the Arabs to a quarter of the deck, which he commanded with the single cannon on board, and by his diplomacy in revealing this to the sheik, and treating with him on the strength of it, disposed of the invaders at the cost of their looting one portion of the ship, which included the room of Sir George Templemore.
The new masts were stepped in place, and the Montauk proceeded without further mishaps or adventures to New York. Off Sandy Hook, the crew and passengers were astonished at coming upon their old pursuer, the Foam, which was evidently lying in wait for them.
The Captain of the sloop of war came on board the Montauk with a civilian. Captain Truck began introducing them to the passengers. When he came to the gentleman known as Mr. Sharp, the English Captain cried: " George Templemore, as I'm alive! Then it wasn't a man who impersonated you who sailed on the Montauk, after all!"
"What do you mean, Ducie?" asked Templemore, wishing to verify his own suspicions.
"Why, Mr. Green here is after a defaulter who, he heard, was running off to New York under your name. The amount involved is twenty thousand pounds, and the Admiral detailed me to bring him back. You led us a devil of a chase, and it proved to be a wild-goose one, after all."
"I think not, Captain Ducie," said Captain Truck. "The fellow you are after is, out of question, on board this ship."
The false Sir George Templemore made restitution of all the stolen money that remained, which was within a thousand pounds. Mr. Green, however, was relentless. He was of that order of Englishmen who cannot realize that their country is not supreme in every corner of the globe. He ordered Captain Truck to return the defaulter's passage-money. Truck re-fused this preposterous demand, and said: "The man has paid me thirty-five pounds for passage to New York. I shall land him there, and deliver the money to the company." There-upon Mr. Green said sneeringly: "Undoubtedly you will take him to New York, if you can, for the sake of the thousand pounds he has yet to account for."
Captain Truck, angered at the insult, said to his mate: "Mr. Leach, go on deck and send down through the skylight a single whip that we may whip this polite personage on deck, and rig another on the yard to send him into his boat like an anker of gin."
Mr. Green returned with Captain Ducie to the Foam, but not in such an unceremonious manner as Captain Truck had ordered. On the Montauk's arrival at New York, it was found that the impostor had cut his throat with his razor, which implement, together with all of his effects that the Arabs had left him, was thereupon seized by the inexorable Mr. Green.
The real Sir George Templemore explained how he came to take the name of Sharp. "It is my servant's name. Finding, to my surprise, that another passenger had assumed my own name, I chose this, to see the end of the adventure."
"Since confessions are in order," said the gentleman known as Mr. Blunt, "I would say that I recognized Sir George Temple-more at the time of taking passage, and, expecting to see some sort of comedy enacted upon the voyage, I took the antithesis of his assumed name for my own. I am Paul Powis, at your service."
"Powis!" cried John Effingham with a start. "Not the son of Francis Powis of Charleston ?"
"I am his adopted son. I never knew my real father. He left my mother a short time before my birth; and, upon her death shortly afterward, Mr. Powis, who had been my father's unsuccessful rival for her hand, adopted me. My father's name was Assheton."
"And your mother's maiden name?" cried John Effingham, trembling with eagerness.
"Then I am your father, although till now I never knew I had a son. When I was a young man, I met a great disappointment. I hid my identity under the name of Assheton, and sought an entire change of scene in the South. There I met Mildred Warrender. She was in love with a noble young man, Francis Powis. Miss Warrender was a very attractive woman, and, in my bitter frame of mind, I wickedly exerted myself to fascinate her. I succeeded. I did not truly love her; remorse seized me after our marriage, and, making pro-vision for her future, I abandoned her. I did not know or consider that she might bear a child, and nothing was said of your birth in the account that I received of her death. I am a wicked old man; but already I have been grievously punished. Can you forgive me, Paul—my son?"
Already the two men had been greatly drawn to each other, and the fact that John was the cousin of Eve, between whom and Paul a tender understanding had developed during the voyage, made the revelation of his fatherhood the most welcome in the world.
Paul inherited an ample fortune from his adopted father, and therefore had taken time in choosing his profession. He studied law, art, navigation, and other diverse subjects, traveling a great deal to pursue his investigations. He was now prepared to settle down to one congenial vocation—that of Eve Effingham's husband.
Sir George Templemore intended to go with the party to the Wigwam in Templeton, but meeting a very attractive cousin of Eve, Miss Grace Van Cortlandt, in New York, he remained in the city until it had become time for him to return home. Then, his visit not yet being completed, he persuaded Miss Van Cortlandt to conclude it with him in England—as Lady Templemore.
Mademoiselle Viefville found much in Templeton to marvel at, especially that, among so many meeting-houses, there should not be one eglise, a real church. "What shall a poor French girl do who wants to be married?" she said to Aristabulus Bragg, the lawyer who was descanting to her upon the religious conveniences of the town. He seized the opportunity afforded by the remark to say, "If it is me you will marry, madeemoysell, I'll see that one is built special for the purpose."
"O Aristabule!" she exclaimed, sinking into his arms, "it has been the dream of my life to marry an avocat."