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ability. The business in which his thriving brothers were engaged was the importation and sale of hardware and cutlery, and that spring his services were required at the “store.” “By all the martyrs of Grub Street [he exclaims], I’d sooner live in a garret, and starve into the bargain, than follow so sordid, dusty, and soul-killing a way of life, though certain it would make me as rich as old Croesus, or John Jacob Astor himself!” The sparkle of society was no more agreeable to him than the rattle of cutlery. “I have scarcely [he writes] seen anything of the s since your departure; business and an amazing want of inclination have kept me from their threshold. Jim, that sly poacher, however, prowls about there, and vitrifies his heart by the furnace of their charms. I accompanied him there on Sunday evening last, and found the Lads and Miss Knox with them. S was in great spirits, and played the sparkler with such great success as to silence the whole of us excepting Jim, who was the agreeable rattle of the evening. God defend me from such vivacity as hers, in future, — such smart speeches without meaning, such bubble and squeak nonsense! I'd as lieve stand by a frying-pan for an hour and listen to the cooking of apple fritters. After two hours' dead silence and suffering on my part I made out to drag him off, and did not stop running until I was a mile from the house.” Irving gives his correspondent graphic pictures of the social warfare in which he was engaged, the “host of rascally little teaparties” in which he was entangled; and some of his portraits of the “divinities,” the “blossoms,” and the beauties of that day would make the subjects of them flutter with surprise in the church-yards where they lie. The writer was sated with the “tedious commonplace of fashionable society,” and languishing to return to his books and his pen. In March, 1812, in the shadow of the war and the depression of business, Irving was getting out a new edition of the “Knickerbocker,” which Inskeep was to publish, agreeing to pay $1,200 at six months for an edition of fifteen hundred. The modern publisher had not then arisen and acquired a proprietary right in the brains of the country, and the author made his bargains like an independent being who owned himself. Irving's letters of this period are full of the gossip of the town and the matrimonial fate of his acquaintances. The fascinating Mary Fairlie is at length married to Cooper, the tragedian, with the opposition of her parents, after a dismal courtship and a cloudy prospect of happiness. “Goodhue is engaged to Miss Clarkson, the sister to the pretty one. The engagement suddenly took place as they walked from church on Christmas Day, and report says the action was shorter than any of our naval victories, for the lady struck on the first broadside.” The war colored all social life and conversation. “This war [the letter is to Brevoort, who is in Europe] has completely changed the face of things here. You would scarcely recognize our old peaceful city. Nothing is talked of but armies, navies, battles, etc.” The same phenomenon was witnessed then that was observed in the war for the Union : “Men who had loitered about, the hangers-on and encumbrances of society, have all at once risen to importance, and been the only useful men of the day.” The exploits of our young navy kept up the spirits of the country. There was great rejoicing when the captured frigate Macedonian was brought into New York, and was visited by the curious as she lay wind-bound above Hell Gate. “A superb dinner was given to the naval heroes, at which all the great eaters and drinkers of the city were present. It was the noblest entertainment of the kind I ever witnessed. On New Year's Eve a grand ball was likewise given, where there was a vast display of great and little people. The Livingstons were there in all their glory. Little Rule Britannia made a gallant appearance at the head of a train of beauties, among whom were the divine H , who looked very inviting, and the little Taylor, who looked still more so. Britannia was gorgeously dressed in a queer kind of hat of stiff purple and silver stuff, that had marvelously the appearance of copper, and made us suppose that she had procured the real Mambrino helmet. Her dress was trimmed with what we simply mistook for scalps, and supposed it was in honor of the nation; but we blushed at our ignorance on discovering that it was a gorgeous trimming of marten tips. Would that some eminent furrier had been there to wonder and admire " '' With a little business and a good deal of loitering, waiting upon the whim of his pen, Irving passed the weary months of the war. As late as August, 1814, he is still giving Brevoort, who has returned, and is at Rockaway Beach, the light gossip of the town. It was reported that Brevoort and Dennis had kept a journal of their foreign travel, “which is so exquisitely humorous that Mrs. Cooper, on only looking at the first word, fell into a fit of laughing that lasted half an hour.” Irving is glad that he cannot find Brevoort's flute, which the latter requested should be sent to him : “I do not think it would be an innocent amusement for you, as no one has a right to entertain himself at the expense of others.” In such dallying and badinage the months went on, affairs every day becoming more serious. Appended to a letter of September 9, 1814, is a list of twenty well-known mercantile houses that had failed within the preceding three weeks. Irving himself, shortly after this, enlisted in the war, and his letters there

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