Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Review of The Fortune Hunter,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. XII: Literary Criticism - part 04 (1902), pp. 207-210


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[page 207:]

THE FORTUNE HUNTER; OR THE ADVENTURES OF A MAN ABOUT TOWN. A NOVEL OF NEW YORK SOCIETY. BY MRS. ANNA CORA MOWATT, AUTHOR OF FASHION, ETC. NEW YORK: WILLIAM TAYLOR.

[Broadway Journal, Aug. 2, 1845.]

WE have received this novel at too late a period to do more than mention it this week, and make an extract from its pages. Hereafter we shall do it that full justice which is demanded by the celebrity and varied talent of its fair author. As a specimen more of manner than matter, we copy the whole of Chapter IV:

“Oh! Love, young Love, bound in thy rosy bands!”

BYRON.

“PRAY, Miss Walton — Arria — pray do not so quicken your pace,” said Mr. Chadwick, a few moments after he and Miss Walton had left the house of the Clintons.

“Excuse me; I was hurrying home, like another Cinderella — for the hour at which I was order —— at which I promised to return, has already struck. Had we not better make haste?”

“Must you, then, abridge a pleasure which I have so seldom enjoyed — so long anticipated, that of acting as your protector, and being alone with you?” said he, in a tremulous voice.

Arria replied not, but her step — perhaps unconsciously — became slower. More than a square further they walked in perfect silence.

“Arria!”

“Mr. Chad” ———

“Say Edgar, rather; have we not known each other [page 208:] long enough for you to call me by that name? To me it seems as though you had been a familiar spirit, ever since I learned to dream of woman. You are the Egeria that, in my earliest youth, I pictured to myself, and thought I could love — the one being in whom I find my beau ideal, in manhood, and whom, therefore, I do love! Am I presumptuous in saying this? Have I hoped too much, because you evinced toward me the same frank and affectionate manner with which you delight your friends? Was it all my own hopeful folly, when I fancied sometimes that I had awakened your — your — sympathy? Nay, that was not the word I should Lave used, for I know how frilly you sympathize with all around you. I-yon- dear Aria! Will you not permit me to call you by that name?”

The timid glance — the moist eve a moment lilted to his — the trembling arm he held within his own — these spoke all that Arria’s tongue refused to express.

“I have not, then, deceived myself!” murmured Edgar, in a voice tremulous with happiness. “You listen to me — you do not turn away? You — oh! you have been all the world to me, and you permit the to hope that I am something to you. The thought of you, Arria, has for many anxious months formed my whole happiness. Do you believe it in my power to form yours? Will you trust it in my keeping?”

“If I can always make you feel as joyful us now, my happiness will be secured;” half whispered Arria.

“You will consent, then, ever to remain near me, and cheer my hours of solitude; ever to teach me such sweet and holy lessons of truth and goodness as I have already — learned from your lips — to give me sonic foretaste of that abode of future happiness, in the reality of which only the existence of such beings as you are could make me believe? And what have I to offer in return?”

Edgar fancied he heard Arria breathe “your love!” — but it was the expression of her countenance rather than the movement of her lips which conveyed the idea. [page 209:]

“I have only the wealth of the heart to lay at your feet,” he continued, with a touch of humor which was natural to him: “and that will not purchase ‘house and lands;’ and all else that, if we had the fairy’s wishing cap, we might desire. I am but a young student, with all the gold I may ever possess not yet disencumbered from the rough soil of my brains. But as I am now, even so was my father thirty years ago, and he rides in his carriage to-day. I have health, I have energy, and I hope ordinary abilities. Is not this all that a young man in this happy land need desire? Some foreigner says that it is as easy for an American to make a fortune when he has none, as it is for him to spend one if he chances to have one left to him. I think my prospects bright while Arria smiles, and should they ever be darker” ——

“Her smile must brighten them still?”

“It shall — it will! Come the worst that Fate can send, that smile shalt disarm her wrath. With you to protect, what an incentive shall I have for exertion! And have I indeed secured to myself such a life long source of joy! I can hardly credit my own happiness. Ah! Arria, will you never repent that you consented to become the light of the poor student’s home?”

“Shall I ever love him less? You question my love when you ask.”

“I would as soon question” ———

“Hush! Speak lower; we are just home. Bid me a hasty good night! I am afraid that that is Mrs. Lemming at the window.”

“You shall not thus fear her long, loveliest and best beloved!”

“Hush! hush!” whispered Arria timidly. “Leave me now, I beg of you.”

“Adieu, then, mine own Arria — mine for ever!”

“Adieu, de — dear Edgar!

She had hardly uttered the words before the door opened and she sprang into the house. But they resounded in Edgar’s cars when he sought his pillow that [page 209:] night in his dreams; in his dreams they were re-uttered in the same tenderly harmonious tone: and when the morning sun fell brightly on the placid countenance of the sleeper, he awoke to spring up, repeating to himself, “de — dear Edgar!

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Review of The Fortune Hunter)