The Daguerreian Society

From "Ballou's Pictorial" (Boston) July 17, 1858; (Vol. XV., No. 3) 
pages 38-39.

[Written for Ballou's Pictorial.]

T H E   D A G U E R R E O T Y P E.



   My cousin Fred was a great favorite.  He certainly was un-
commonly good looking.  He was tall, and well-formed, had
roguish black eyes, splendid whiskers and hair, which curling a
little was thrown back gracefully from a forehead sufficiently high
and full.  He talked well; that is to say, so as to make people
satisfied with themselves and him; said the most common-place
things in such an irresistible manner as to make himself esteemed
a real wit.  He was fully aware of his good points, and made the
most of them.  It is hardly necessary to add that he was an ego-
tist, and that without being really a flirt, he was addicted to the
habit so common among the lords of creation of flattering him-
self that all the ladies were in love with him.  He was for a long
time a student in my father's office, and a member of our family.
I was his favorite cousin, and to me he showed the little serious
corner of his heart; for he was really affectionate and sympa-
thetic and loving of his friends, although many people would not
have believed it.  He walked one morning into the parlor where
I was practising, enveloped in a new gray suit which I had never
seen before, and looking as wicked as mischief itself.
   "Well, Amy," said he, "I'm ready.  Farewell."
   "Farewell," replied I, looking round.  "So you are ready--
ready for what?"
   "My journey, of course."
   "To be sure; but where are you going?"
   "Why, I am sure I thought I told you.  I am going out West."
   "Well that's very comfortable news for you to interrupt my
lesson with; very comfortable too for me to believe that the in-
terruption will be the last till your return.  How long shall you
   "I shan't be back before next week.  You'll miss your broth-
er, Amy wont you?"
   "Miss you?  I shall miss you dreadfully."
   I then began to realize how much I was going to lose.  I knew
that his "before next week" meant an indefinite length of time.
He was serious now.  He only wanted some on to interpret his
words; and I was beginning to be serious too.
   "You will write to me, won't you, Amy? and direct 'Out
   "No, you naughty boy, I wont write a word.  You might have
told me you were going before."
   "If you have any messages to send to the people, there is time
for them now."
   "You ought not to take me so by surprise."
   "What was the need of your feeling sorry any longer?  I
couldn't bear to see you sorry.  Come, don't pout any more.  You
look a great deal prettier when you smile."
   I knew this was true; but I wouldn't smile until I had an occa-
sion for it, which came soon enough.
   "Well, really, Fred, when shall I see you again?"
   "O, in a little while.  When I'm married I'll sen for you to
come and live with me.  There's the carriage for me.  Good-by,
Amy.  Be a good girl, and don't forget your brother."
   He was off in a moment, and I went again to my practising,
until I happened to remember that Fred was gone perhaps for
years, and I couldn't practise if it had been to save my life; so I
sat down in a low chair behind the door and began to have a good
hearty cry.  In the midst of this interesting operation I was in-
terrupted by some one pulling my handkerchief from my eyes.
Fred stood before me.
   "Why, Fred, I thought you had gone out West?"
   "So I did, but I've come back again.  You see I had my da-
guerreotype taken for you, and I forgot to leave it, so I came back
with it.  Now aint you delighted?"  And indeed I was, though
of course I knew this was not the reason of his coming back; and
he put in my hand a small box containing a daguerreotype.
   "There," said he, "isn't that as good as life?"  Don't I make
a splendid picture?"
   I opened it and found the picture of a young lady, very young,
not more than fifteen or sixteen, almost childish in the perfect
simplicity of attitude and dress, and yet in the earnest, serious ex-
pression of the eyes, and the deep repose of the features, there
was denoted maturity beyond the age.  Fred had been leaning his
head upon his hand, and had not observed my start of surprise,
so that I considered it for a long time attentively.  All at once he
started up, saying:
   "You don't speak, Amy."  And then looking at the picture in
my hand, he smiled a little differently from his usual careless
manner, and said, "You think I have changed some, don't you?
Well, I have made a mistake, for which I was sorry at first, but I
don't care now.  Here is the box I designed for you."  And he
passed me a very fine likeness of himself.
   But as Fred was with me, it must be confessed I was much
more interested in the strangely beautiful and interesting new face
presented to me.  Fred was silent, and at last put out his hand to
take it.
   "Tell me, Fred, who this is."
   "I should be happy to do so, but cannot."
   "Don't you know?"
   "Certainly not, or I could tell you."
   "Well, then, tell me how it came into your possession."
   "With the greatest pleasure,  I found it."
   "Don't be so provoking.  I want to know everything about it
that you know: where you found it, and when, and how."
   "Well, Miss Curiosity, I found it this morning."
   "And so this was the occasion of your being left by the cars?"
   "Precisely so.  Immediately before me a carriage stopped, con-
taining quite a large party of gentlemen and ladies.  I imagined
they would be fellow-travellers, and was going to interest myself
in them, when my old college chum, Alfred Clarke, came along.
I was so delighted to see him that I forgot everything else, and
did not even notice that the car bell was just ringing for passen-
gers to take their seats.  In the bustle of the crowd, and confu-
sion caused by Clarke's voice, I heard distinctly the voice of a
lady saying, 'Good-by, Edward" and the answer in Edward's
manly tones, 'Good-by, Alice.'  There was a peculiar sweetness
in the lady's voice which impelled me to look; but Clarke talked
on, until suddenly, as the car started, he left me and jumped on.
I started to follow him, but my foot struck something and I stum-
bled.  I picked myself up, and found this little box, which I at
first supposed to be the one I had designed to leave with you.
Opening it mechanically, I discovered my mistake, and also found
to my chagrin that the cars were under full speed, and I must
make a virtue of necessity, and wait till to-morrow.  But aint you
glad?  You haven't said one word about my picture.  Don't you
find it charming?"
   "You haven't given me a chance to speak a word," said I,
taking the two pictures and placing the side by side.  "What
a handsome couple."
   "Amy," said Fred, quite gravely.
   "Well, Fred."
   "Don't you have any suspicion who the original of this picture
--this Alice is?"
   "How do you know it is Alice?"
   "Why, I heard here called Alice this afternoon.  That voice
could belong to nobody else."
   Poor Fred!  I saw that he was too much interested in the un-
known.  But as if to confirm his impression, my eye fell upon a
few words in delicate pencil writing upon the corner of the box
which had contained the picture, and which had passed before un-
noticed by both of us.  "Au revoir.--A."
   "There, Amy," continued he, "is confirmation enough that
my impression was true.  And now how am I to find her out?
You see it makes me very sorry to have to keep this article which
belongs to somebody else."
   "Don't trouble yourself.  I have no such conscientious scru-
ples; I shall be delighted to possess anything so beautiful.  I'll
take it off your hands."
   "But it is my duty to find the real owner, my obliging little
   "You have only to advertise for a nice young man named Ed-
ward, and he will be the owner."
   I said it on purpose to make him jealous, and I succeeded; but
he would not show it, and adopted my idea immediately.
   "Yes, I will advertise it.  Edward has gone off in the cars,
but Alice will come for it; and if it is at all correct she will have
no difficulty in proving property.
   "O, but Fred, it's really too bad to have to give up so beautiful
an article; and then to find the lady and learn that she is engaged
would be provoking.:  I did enjoy teasing him, it must be con-
fessed, and I felt myself entitled to some revenge for all the times
he had teased me.  "And then if you advertise, you will have to
stay a few days longer, or you might leave it with me."
   "O, yes, of course I shall stay myself."
   The picture was duly advertised, and Fred lingered more than
a week; but no person came to claim it.  But as the probability
of his finding the owner grew less, his interest in it did not at all
decrease.  At last, however, he could stay no longer, and left,
taking his treasure with him; for I could not persuaded him it was
best for him to leave it with me.
   He went out West, and went about considerably, and finally he
located himself in one of the flourishing villages on the Missis-
sippi, which would be, he said, a city before a hundred years.  He
was very successful.  Everybody said he was destined to be a
great man, wealthy, and perhaps the governor of the next new
State; and many of our mutual friends began to offer me con-
gratulations, in all simplicity of heart imagining that if he was
the governor I must necessarily in the course of time be the gov-
ernor's wife.  Others wondered that he did not return and seek a
wife among the many fair friends he had left behind.  The secret
of the picture remained between us two.  We had come to talk
about it very seriously; and if ever a man was in love sincerely
and earnestly, he was; not, he firmly protested, with the beautiful
fair, or sweet little mouth, or fair round arm, but he argued, this
picture must have an original, and this representation of her de-
clares that she must have a character very lovely, and by no
means common.  "I shall find her some day, and I shall certain-
ly wait till I do.:  I shared his faith.  It really seemed to me so
much a reality that I began at last almost to imagine that I had
seen her, and in my conversation with Fred, and letters to him,
invariably spoke of my future cousin-in-law Alice.
   And so the years went be.  Fred's yearly visits had been short,
and gradually, as he became more and more devoted to business,
his letters became shorter and less frequent.  I began to wish he
would find Alice soon, or cease waiting for her.  I feared for him
the passing away of those delicate perceptions which are so de-
sirable in a gentleman, and which familiar intercourse with refined
ladies is so well calculated to bring out.  And as Fred was be-
coming so old that it was no more the same pleasure for him to
give so much attention to the ladies, as he had become less in-
clined to it from the fact that he was so much interested in Alice,
and as he was so constantly and so successfully engaged in busi-
ness, I feared that selfishness into which people in his circumstan-
ces are so liable to grow.  I doubted not that he would find
some one whom he would love and marry, even should he not
find Alice, for almost all men, I believe, may transfer an affection,
however devoted, to another object than the one on which it is
first placed.  But I feared that Fred's love was becoming to him
an unreal thing, and that the benefit which naturally results to a
young man from the fact of his loving, would not be to him, and
that in case he should transfer his affections it would be too late.
I will give a few extracts from Fred's letters, which will indicate
the progress of this little story.  The first was received about four
years after he first went away.  Here it is.

   "I was at church last evening, and sat in the gallery, and on
the opposite side of the church, below, I saw the face which has
haunted me so long.  Though I had been expecting it, yet you
may believe that I was at first incredulous.  But there was no
mistake.  Of this I was convinced, as I watched her closely dur-
ing the remainder of the services.  Her companions were stran-
gers to me, and I determined not to lose sight of them until I had
found some one who could give me information respecting them.
I asked my neighbors on each side.  I believe they thought me
deranged; but they were as ignorant as myself.  All my efforts
to reach them as we came out were unsuccessful.  I lost them in
the crowd, and it was impossible for me to find them or learn
anything more of them; but it gave me great joy, a new hope, a
proof that sometime I shall see her.  Alice is living, nor far from
me perhaps, perhaps in this very city (for we are a city now).  Of
course you cannot imagine my feelings, but you can and will sym-
pathize with your brother Fred."

   After a few months, during which Fred had made constant and
unavailing search, irresistibly impelled by the circumstance which
had revived his hope, I received another letter, from which I make
and extract.

   "O, Any, the worst has come to my knowledge, such as I
could and would never believe; and I am not ashamed to ask
you for your sympathy.  The secret of my heart, its hope and
fear and happiness, and now its great grief, which have been and
shall be secret to all the world besides, are still open to you.  Alice
is found, and, how shall I write it, lost forever to me.  Last week
(I have not felt equal to the task of writing it before), on Friday,
I was very agreeably surprised by a visit from my friend Clarke.
He is settled in my neighborhood--that is, not a hundred miles
from me.   I hadn't seen him before for many months; he had
been married since, and was looking as delighted and happy as a
man ought under any circumstances.  Of course I was not slow
in offering my congratulations, since I fancied I could sympathize
in his joy.  The hope of soon meeting Alice, and being perfectly
happy myself, was ever present, and I was particularly hopeful
this morning.  You may imagine I was good-natured, for I could
even endure patiently to hear Clarke's praises of his bride.  'Just
wait,' I thought to myself, 'till you see my Alice.'
   "'I'll tell you what it is, Winchester,' said he, 'you must fol-
low my example.  You are old enough certainly, and ought to be
married.  I know a lady that will just suit you, a lovely little
creature, a cousin of my wife, who--'
   "'I'm much obliged to you,' 'I replied drily, 'I've no doubt
you are a good judge.  Possibly I can suit myself as well as you
have done.'
   "'You are engaged already perhaps?'
   "'Confound the man,' I thought, 'why can't he stop.' And
I replied that I was quite at liberty, but I could not see that that
obliged me to care anything about his wife's cousin.  I was fast
losing my temper.
   "'There's where you are right.' replied Clarke, whose temper
was proof against any assault.  'I see how it is.  I wish you all
success, and at any time we shall be delighted to see you at our
house.  What changes have been since we came out here nearly
five years ago.  Do you remember that morning we met, as I was
on my way, when you came near being the occasion of my being
left behind?"
   "'Yes, I have occasion to remember it.  You made me so late
that I could not go that day, as I had been intending to.'
   "'Really, that was unfortunate.  I'd no idea you were on the
point of such a journey.'
   "'Nor I you.'
   "'But you were also the occasion of my meeting with a loss,
quite serious at the time, though it was afterwards replaced.  It
was a miniature which I was just going to show you, and had
taken from my pocket for the purpose, when I perceived the bell
had stopped, and the cars were just starting.  For a moment I
forgot the box which contained the picture, and only knew that
it was gone after I was seated in the cars.  If I had only known
you were going with me, I might have spared myself much vexa-
tion, for we would have had plenty of leisure to talk.  But it is
as well; since now I have the original, of course the picture is of
comparatively little value.'
   "You can faintly imagine my feelings as I heard him, as the
truth gradually dawned upon me that the idol of my thoughts
during all my sleeping and waking hours for so many years, was
the wife of my friend, was even at the time I began to worship
her betrothed to him.  And I knew too that this might have been
prevented if I could have started with him that day and seen the
picture as he designed; yet scarcely wishing that I could have
been spared the agony of the pursuit, if at the same time I
must relinquish all those sweet hopes of the past.  Certainly not
knowing what I wished, and scarcely what I said, I replied that a
great deal of vexation might have been spared me if I could have
known it, for--I could not finish my sentence.
   "'Good heavens!  Winchester, what ails you?  You are as
pale as death.'
   " I was very weak, but feeling the necessity of a great effort,
and controlling my physical powers by the strong power of will,
I arose, and assisted by Clarke, walked to the window which he
had opened, believing it might be the effect of the warm room.
   "'Are you subject to such attacks, Winchester?'
   "'O, no.  I shall be better directly.'
   "'You need change of scene, and a little rest.  You must
come and spend a few weeks with us; Alice, that is my wife,
would make you very welcome.  You are really ill,' said he, with
much anxiety in his tone.
   "And I felt that to hear the name of my own beloved thus pro-
nounced by another was more that I could bear.  But it would
not do to yield to my weakness; the power of my will conquered
for the time, and I replied to him that I could not leave imme-
diately, and that when I could, I should be most happy to visit
him.  Fortunately it was near the time when he was to leave for
home, and as I assured him that I did not need him at all, and as
I seemed better, he left me--fortunately, I said, for I could not
have endured his presence any longer then.  Of the following
day I will say nothing; it will be only necessary for me to tell
you what I have done to-day, as the result of my reflections.  I
have looked my last at that face you know so well; I have sealed
up the box, and within it I enclosed a note of which the following
is a copy, and mailed it to Clarke this morning:

   "'Of course you did not imagine, my friend, that I found your
picture, any more that I thought I was learning to love the be-
loved of my friend.  In one respect you may congratulate your-
self that it has been in my possession.  No unappreciative eye
has ever for a moment rested upon it.  More carefully that I
have guarded my own soul from injury, have I guarded this rep-
resentation of you Alice, whom I fondly hoped to find and ap-
propriate to myself.  With this hope removed, knowing what the
reality is, I cannot if I would, and I would not retain that
which has been by me most valued of anything on earth.  I send you
back your property, realizing while I do it that good as it is, it is
comparatively worthless, now that you have the original, and to me
it was beyond price.  You will understand, my friend, why I
cannot visit you now.  I could not endure to see Mrs. Clarke at
present nor you either, even though I remain as ever, and wish-
ing you all possible happiness, your true friend.  I shall try to
make arrangements for visiting the East very soon.'

   "So, Amy, you may be looking out for me before too long.  I
shall write you again before I start."

   In the course of four or five weeks I received the following:

   "I shall not be at home this spring, Amy, and you'd better
burn my last letter.  It's all nonsense.  I'll try and see if I can
be patient enough to tell you all that has happened since.  I told
you, I believe, of my sending the miniature to Clarke.  He was
so much astonished and affected by what I wrote then that he
started immediately and came back to me.
   "'This will never do, Winchester,' said he, rushing into my
room; 'there's no use of your running away from us so.  Mrs.
Clarke has commissioned me to bring you home with me; she is
very anxious to make your acquaintance, and you must come.'
   "'You have not--'
   "'Been such a fool as to tell her you are in lover with her.
Of course not.  It is not best to yield to difficulties; face them.'
   "'So I intend to do; but do not ask me to visit you at your
home; I cannot do it.  I am going East soon.'
   "'But that will be of no use; you must come with me.  That
was an unfortunate affair about the picture; but you must accus-
tom yourself to things just as they are.'
   "His manner hurt me.  I felt provoked with him for seeming
so indifferent to my great sorrow, which I had confided to him
mostly as a necessary part of the duty of returning the picture.
I had at least expected him to respect it and regard my wishes.
He only seem bent upon subjecting my feelings to the severest
   "'You have no right to insist upon this, Clarke, and--'
   "'I tell you, Fred, I will take no refusal.  I do not wish to
subject you to unnecessary annoyance, but I am convinced that it
is only be seeing Mrs. Clarke that the effects of your mistake will
pass away.  I am not going to consent to have you miserable,
and despairing, and imagining yourself the victim of misplaced
affection, casting off my friendship as well as that of my wife,
when by acting as a man of sense you may save yourself from an
unhappy future.  I tell you if you don't come, I'll tell Alice all
about you.'
   "'I am not convinced by your argument nor moved by your
threats, Clarke, but since you have determined a course of action
for me, I will satisfy you; I will go with you.  You may have
the privilege of seeing how much I can suffer, if you are so
anxious, though I warn you it will probably result in the dissolu-
tion of our friendship.  I am ready to accompany you at any
   "'No you are not; you are to make arrangements to stay a few
weeks at least.'
   "I obeyed him mechanically, for to the whole arrangement I
was forcing myself into an indifference of feeling, and my man-
ner showed it.  Clarke did not mind me at all; he seemed de-
lighted, and I should have been constantly more and more pro-
voked only for the fact that I was determined to be indifferent.
You would hardly believe me if I should tell you that I retained
my indifference as we were approaching Clarke's house, so I will
confess to you that it was quite otherwise.  However, I had deter-
mined to make a martyr of myself.  But you are anxious to hear
the result, and do not care so much about my reflections by the
way.  Clarke has a cozy little home, and he took me into his par-
lor, charmingly neat and tasteful, as I should know Alice would
make it, and said he would speak to his wife.  He came back in
a few minutes accompanied by Mrs. Clarke, a charming little wo-
man, but not at all my Alice; and yet strangely enough her
name is Alice.  She made me very welcome in the same voice
which had been so long ringing in my ears.  Of course I was
very glad that Clarke had forced me to accept of his invitation.
Yet it was very strange; of course I count not understand it.
The miniature had not been disowned by Clarke; it must have
been the one he had lost, and who but his betrothed would have
given him her face with a tender message?  Then too he had
said the picture was less valuable to him since he had the original.
What could he have meant?  And when I had been perplexing myself with
these thoughts I would look at Mrs. Clarke, half ex-
pecting to discover in her some resemblance to the picture.  It
was quite impossible; Mrs. Clarke has a fair round face, and the
most beautiful light brown hair waving about her brow and fall-
ing in graceful curls.  She is entirely different from the Alice of
whom I have dreaming so long; and when I looked inquir-
ingly at Clarke, his calm face betrayed no suspicion of my em-
   "Mrs. Clarke left us after a little while, and I was just going
to embrace the opportunity to interrogate Clarke concerning the
strange affair, when my attention was arrested by the calm sweet
voice of a lady singing.  It came in through the open window.
I looked out involuntarily, but saw only the skirt of a dress and
a straw hat swinging by the string, as they disappeared though
one of the doors leading into the house.  In another moment she
was with us, her hands full of wild flowers, the heavy braids of
dark hair scarcely disturbed by the wind, the color just a little
deepened on her cheeks, and her eyes sparkling with great ani-
mation, the sweet little mouth parted just ready to speak, when
she stopped on observing a stranger.  O, Amy, it was my idol--
my worshipped one.  Of all the thoughts that crowded through
my mind at that instant, I remember only that I expected Clarke
to introduce me to his wife, thinking he had been playing some
game with me, and great was my surprise and delight when he
   "'Mr. Winchester, permit me to introduce you to my sister
   "I'm sure I don't know what I said.  I think I must have
acted like a fool.  I was beside myself with joy.  Alice, no,
Annie, was the sister of my friend.  You see that 'A' may stand
for Annie as well as Alice, and I never was very particular about
the name.  But then Clarke knew that I was in love with his sis-
ter, and how I had worshipped her picture, yet he had insisted
upon my visiting him.  Evidently he was willing I should talk love
to Annie, and I promised myself I would do it the first opportu-
nity.  Ah, Amy, you should see her!  The picture taken so long
ago, beautiful as it is, does no justice to her as she is now, in the
full glory of her womanly perfection.  How angry I was with
myself for my awkwardness, and I do not remember one word of
what I said while Annie was in the room, and should believe that
I did not speak had I not been positively informed that I did.
   "'You are under great obligations, Annie,' said Clarke, 'to
my friend for the care which he bestowed upon your miniature, which
I was so careless as to lose so long ago.  You know I told you the
other day that it was found.'
   "Annie's look of inquiry satisfied me that Clarke had not be-
trayed me.  I was grateful and looked imploringly at him, and
he told his sister the story of his losing and my finding her min-
iature very correctly, except for a few embellishment of his own,
which he could not resist the temptation to insert, though he was
kind enough to pass quietly over my real feelings.  Well, Amy,
the whole story may be told in a few words now.  Clarke gave
me his free consent to win if I could his beautiful sister, and--
and--it's all settle between us now.
   "One thing puzzled me very much, that Mrs. Clarke should be
named Alice, and that her voice should have sounded so familiar
to me; and her husband has confessed to me that his acquain-
tance with his wife and his interest in her commenced that very
day on which he left me.  She was coming out West to visit
some relatives, and by means of mutual friends they became ac-
quainted.  Was in not a strange coincidence?  But I cannot stop
to write any more now.  You shall visit us both soon, and till
then farewell."
  I have visited them.  My cousin Annie and I are the best of
friends, and Fred declares it is a sweeter name than Alice, and
says that Annie's voice is much more musical than that of Alice.
It was quite a long time before we learned to call her by her right
name.  Fred proposed to give the mane of Alice to their little
daughter, but Annie declared she would always be jealous of any
one who bore that name, even if it were her own daughter.  She
insisted that the child should have my name.
   Fred does not seem quite so splendid since his marriage.  He
is a kind husband, and agreeable enough to other people, but he
seems to me a vast deal more like other men, more common-place,
and not at all invested with that peculiar faculty of being inter-
resting for which everybody used to give him credit.  I cannot but
wonder as I witness the enthusiastic affection with which Annie
regards him, and I always say to myself, it is all owing to the
flatter which he bestowed so profusely upon her before he ever
saw her, by means of that picture, which I need scarcely say is
placed safely away, as Fred says, for the especial benefit of "our

Posted for your enjoyment.      Gary W. Ewer       

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