Moral Tales: Strange Adventures

From The New-York mirror, and ladies’ literary gazette, Volume 4, 1827

Although the following little tale may apparently carry with it much of the air of fiction, yet it is all substantially correct, and but the bare recital of events that have actually transpired.

Near the close of the last century, Captain S., a native of New-England, who, at an early age was entrusted with the command of a mercantile vessel, made a voyage to one of the West-India islands. Having reached his destined port, disposed of his cargo, and made the necessary preparations for his return, one day as he was walking the streets of the large and flourishing port at which his vessel was anchored, he observed a well-dressed female walking near him and in the same direction. Her features, though bearing the evident marks of sorrow and dejection, were beautiful, and her whole appearance uncommonly interesting. Struck with her beauty and her prepossessing and dignified demeanor, Captain S. politely inquired whether she might be walking far in his direction, acquainting her at the same time with the house of his lodgings, to which he was then repairing. She assured him she was going directly to the same house he had mentioned. Captain S. then proffered his services in conveying a basket of considerable size, which she carried in her hand. She thanked him in a soft and tremulous tone of voice, and timidly delivered him the basket. Captain S. took the little burden from her hand, wholly unconscious of what it contained; and little dreaming what to his future life would be the consequences of the action of that moment. He observed, however, as he took the basket, that there was a singular hesitation in her manners, and that her. cheeks were crimsoned by a deep blush; but imputing it to no other cause than maiden timidity, he walked on in silence. The lady soon remarked, that she must make a call at the house then at hand, for a few moments, and, if he would convey the basket to his lodgings, she would soon be there to take charge of it herself. And throwing an anxious look on Captain S. and his charge, she immediately disappeared. Captain S. proceeded to his boardinghouse, and deposited the basket in the hall. He seated himself at the dinner table, and jovially related his adventure with the fair unknown. His host, better acquainted with the manners of the town, and the impositions which had sometimes been played off on strangers, smiled, and rallied him on the possibility of his basket’s containing something more than a dead weight, as he had humourously termed his burden. At this moment the cries of an infant were heard in the direction of the basket. Captain S. was astonished, and not a little chagrined at this sudden proof of what his host had just suggested. Unmoved, however, by the laugh which was now turned merrily upon him, he proceeded to the basket, and found it contained not a dead weight, but a living, healthy, and handsome looking female infant. No mother appeared to claim or offer it protection. Captain S. although incensed at the trick, and highly vexed with that credulous and honest simplicity in himself, which had thus rendered him the dupe of female artifice, was, not withstanding, endued with too much philanthropy, and too much humanity of feeling, to suffer his charge to be neglected. He procured a nurse for the present, and before he left the island made ample provision for the future support of the child. He now returned home, and did not visit the place till some years after, when he found his former helpless ward had become an interesting little prattler. He soon became much attached to her, and no longer regretted the incident which gave him, as he termed her, his adopted daughter. During the following twelve years Captain S. frequently visited the island, and always provided liberally for the support and education of the child that was thrown on his benevolence, without any of that regret, that drawback of feeling, which so often attends the ostensive generosity of the penurious, and destroys the merit of their charities. His heart was warmed by generous impulses, and required not the aid of arithmetical calculation to measure the bounds of its munificence. He always manifested toward her the affection and tenderness of a parent, and took a parent’s interest in her welfare. She had now arrived at the age of fourteen—an age, which, in that soft climate, confers all the maturity of womanhood, and more perfectly, perhaps, than any other period, opens the blossom of female beauty. She was esteemed as possessing an uncommon share of beauty and vivacity. And such was Captain S’s attachment that it was generally supposed that his was other than a parental affection, and it soon became rumoured in town that he was about to lead her to the hymeneal altar. Captain S. was at this time making preparations to return to New-England. One day as he stood on the wharf at which his vessel was moored, a billet was put into his hands by a person who immediately disappeared. He perused and found it a polite request of attendance to dine at a house in the city, which was particularized in the billet. The house and family who occupied it were to him perfectly unknown ; and so singular were all the circumstances attending the invitation, that he, for some time, hesitated whether it would be expedient to accept it. Curiosity, however, soon conquered his doubts, and he resolved to attend. At the appointed hour he arrived at the house, and was ushered into an elegant apartment by a lady who called him by name, and introduced herself by the name of Miss W., assuring him, at the same time, that the cause of his invitation should be the subject of a future explanation. Captain S. thought he had seen the countenance of his fair entertainer before; but he was unable to recall to mind when, or where, it might have happened ; and the hour which succeeded, spent in lively conversation on the leading topics of the day, brought nothing with it to assist his memory or allay his curiosity; and yet it brought along with it an increasing gratification, a pleasing interest which he had never before experienced. A happy dream of uncertainty, if the expression be allowed, was floating over his mind, and sensations were awakened in his bosom which he was conscious he had before, on some occasion or other, felt, and he knew that these sensations had been happy ones, and yet his memory was unable to identify them.


Published in: on January 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm  Comments (1)  

A Good-natured Kiss

As to the salute, the ‘pressure of the lips— that is an interchange of affectionate greeting, or tender farewell, sacred to the dearest connexions alone. Our parents—our brothers—our near kindred—our husband—our lover, ready to become our husband,—our bosom’s inmate, the friend of our heart’s core—to them are exclusively consecrated the lips of delicacy,—and woe be to her who yields them to the stain of profanation!

By the last word, I do not mean the embrace of vice, but merely that indiscriminate facility which some young .women have in permitting what they call a good-natured kiss. These goodnatured kiss have often very bad effects, and can never be permitted without injuring the fine gloss of that exquisite modesty, which is the fairest garb of virgin beauty.


Published in: on February 18, 2010 at 11:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jane Austen’s 234th Birthday

It is never polite to mention a lady’s age, but since she is deceased we shall make an exception.

I invite you to visit another of my blogs, Carla’s Pathways, as I reminisce –

Recalling the Ball on Jane Austen’s 234th Birthday!

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 12:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Revived

It was six o’clock in the morning of last Thursday (Christmas morning), when Nathan Stoddard, a young saddler, strode through the vacant streets of one of our New England towns, hastening to begin his work. The town is an old-fashioned one, and although the observance of the ancient church festival is no longer frowned upon, as in years past, yet it has been little regarded, especially in the church of which Nathan is a member. As the saddler mounted the steps of his shop, he felt the blood so rush along his limbs, and tingle in his fingers, that he could not forbear standing without the door for a moment, as if to enjoy the triumph of the warmth within him over the cold morning air. The little stone church which Nathan attends stands in the same square with his shop, and nearly opposite. It was closed, as usual on Christmas day, and a recent snow had heaped the steps and roof, and loaded the windows. Nathan thought that it looked uncommonly beautiful in the softening twilight of the morning.


Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 6:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Cotswold Village

Traversing around the world wide web I recently landed in the Cotswolds of England, famous for thatched roofed cottages and the Cotswold Lion, a very wooly sheep.

An interesting book came to my attention, written by one J. Arthur Gibbs in 1888, called A Cotswold Village or Country Life and Persuits in Gloucestershire. It is about life in the Cotswolds in the late 19th century.

Mr. Gibbs was a devout believer and this book was a tribute to the Creator that he served. An excerpt from his diary shortly before his passing (prior to the third publication of the book) read:

“Do not neglect the creeping hours of time: ‘the night cometh when no man can work.’ All time is wasted unless spent in work for God. The best secular way of spending the precious thing that men call time is by making always for some grand end–a great book, to show forth the wonders of creation and the infinite goodness of the Creator. You must influence for good if you write, and write nothing that you will regret some day or think trivial.”

I think these are words worthy of rememberence and wisdom worth heeding for this aspiring authoress.

Read A Cotswold Village online.

Here’s a page with some great photos of the Cotswolds today – doesn’t seem to change much which is nice enough for me!

Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 5:58 am  Leave a Comment  

I Love to Tell the Story

I love to tell the story
of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory,
of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story,
because I know ’tis true;
it satisfies my longings
as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story,
’twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and his love.

I love to tell the story;
more wonderful it seems
than all the golden fancies
of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story,
it did so much for me;
and that is just the reason
I tell it now to thee.

I love to tell the story;
’tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it,
more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story,
for some have never heard
the message of salvation
from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story,
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
’twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long.

Arabella Katherine Hankey ~ 1866

Published in: on November 13, 2009 at 12:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes by Ella Cheever Thayer


Long before the internet chat rooms and social networking was ever thought of, the Victorians had their own means of long-distance romances across the wire . . . the telegraph.   Here is a glimpse into the courting conversations of one such couple.

Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes

by Ella Cheever Thayer (1880)


Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 5:42 am  Comments (5)  

Yesterday’s News


As a writer/researcher, genealogist, and history aficionado I just love researching news of yesteryear. Did you know that the New York Times has archived articles going back to 1851? The Times Machine will take you back in time to read yesterday’s news.  They also have a blog called The Times Traveler that features yesterday’s news which highlights news from 100 years ago to the day (updated daily).

Here are some additional links:

International News Historical Archives, list of many links

Chronicling America – Library of Congress

Newspaper Archive

19th Century Newspaper Collection, 1803-1898

British Newspapers, 1900-1900

Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  



“My beloved spoke and said unto me, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For the winter is past; the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear upon the eath; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.’” Song of Solomon 2:10-12

O voice of the Belovèd!
Thy bride hath heard Thee say,
“Rise up, My love, My fair one,
Arise and come away.
For lo, ’tis past, the winter,
The winter of thy year;
The rain is past and over,
The flowers on earth appear.

“And now the time of singing
Is come for every bird;
And over all the country
The turtle dove is heard;
The fig her green fruit ripens,
The vines are in their bloom;
Arise and smell their fragrance;
My love, My fair one, come!”

Yea, Lord! Thy Passion over,
We know this life of ours
Hath passed from death and winter
To leaves and budding flowers;
No more Thy rain of weeping
In drear Gethsemane;
No more the clouds and darkness,
That veiled Thy bitter Tree.

Our Easter Sun is risen!
And yet we slumber long,
And need Thy Dove’s sweet pleading
To waken prayer and song.
Oh breathe upon our deadness,
Oh shine upon our gloom;
Lord, let us feel Thy presence
And rise and live and bloom.

Words: Jack­son Ma­son, in Sup­ple­ment­al Hymns to Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1889.

Music: “O Voice,” Jo­seph Barn­by (1838-1896)
Al­ter­nate tune: “Werde Munter,” Johann Schop, 1642

Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Refining Fire

“No words can express how much the world owes to sorrow. Most of the Psalms were born in a wilderness. Most of the Epistles were written in a prison. The greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers have all passed through the fire. The greatest poets have “learned in suffering what they taught in song.” In bonds Bunyan lived the allegory that he afterwards wrote, and we may thank Bedford Jail for the Pilgrim’s Progress. Take comfort, afflicted Christian! When God is about to make pre-eminent use of a person, He puts them in the fire.”

~ George MacDonald

Published in: on January 9, 2009 at 12:55 am  Comments (1)