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"What would you say if I should tell you that had actually professed love for me? Now I can see you with both hands up, eyes and mouth wide open. But don't be over scrupulous. Trust me, I will tell you the whole truth. I cannot at present give you. any further particulars about the matter than that I felt foolish enough, and gave as cautious a turn to it as I could, for which I am destined to suffer her future hostility."
At other times, it was busybody matchmakers who did their best to involve Aaron in marriages of the purse. His cousin Thaddeus Burr of Fairfield, for example, who had a wealthy, and apparently willing, lady all picked for him. "T. B. has been here," he complained to Ogden. "You will conclude we had some confab about Miss We had but little private chat, and the whole of that little was about her. He would now and then insinuate slyly what a clever circumstance it would be to have such a wife with her fortune. T. Burr, by his kindness to me, has certainly laid me under obligations, which it would be the height of ingratitude in me to ever forget; but I cannot conceive it my duty to be in the least influenced by these in the present case. . I can never believe that too great deference to the judgment of another, in these matters, can arise from any greatness of soul. It appears to me the genuine offspring of meanness. . I rallied my thoughts and set forth, as well as I was able, the inconveniences and uncertainty attending such an affair. I am determined to be very blunt the next time the matter is urged."
"Steadily, Aaron," Ogden replied. "Money is
alluring, and there is a pleasure in gratifying a friend; but let not a fortune buy your peace, nor sell your happiness. Perhaps she is worthy your love, and, if I could think she was, I would not say a single thing to discourage you. Be cautious, Aaron; weigh the matter well. Should your generous heart be sold for naught, it would greatly hurt the peace of mine. Let not her sense, her education, her modesty, her graceful actions, or her wit betray you."
Aside from that, "I have now and then an affair of petty gallantry," Aaron admitted to his friend in February, 1775. "I have lately been engaged in a correspondence of a peculiar nature. I write once, and sometimes twice a week, to a young lady who knows not that she ever received a line from me. The letters, on both sides, are mostly sentimental. Those of the lady are doubtless written with more sincerity, and less reserve, than if she knew I had any concern in them. Mr. received a letter from Miss He is very little versed in letter writing, and engaged, or rather permitted me to answer it, not thinking thereby to embark in a regular correspondence. I have had many scruples of conscience about this affair, though I entered into it not with any sinister view, but purely to oblige I should be glad to know your opinion of it. You will readily see the advantage I have He is of an unsuspicious make, and this gives me an opportunity (if I had any inclination) to insert things which might draw from her secrets she would choose I should be ignorant of. But I would suffer crucifixion rather than be guilty of such unparalleled meanness. On the contrary I have
carefully avoided saying anything which might have the least tendency to make her write what she would be unwilling I should see.'
He might, of course, have stopped writing to the lady; but it was an intrigue of sorts, and Aaron loved intrigues.
And then once he allowed himself to figure in an episode which seems hitherto to have escaped the attention of history. He eloped with a prominent young lady of Elizabethtown; but the ferry which was to have conveyed them to the minister's house. was delayed, and the proceedings were interrupted, in fact, definitely postponed, by the arrival of the lady's father, accompanied by several of her indignant brothers. The bride-to-be was taken home and subjected to rigorous parental discipline; the eloping groom was quite thoroughly ducked in the Kill von Kull.
"Could you to battle march away,
And leave me here complaining,
Ah non, non, non, pauvre Madelon