Unhappy Elopement” is a tiny melodrama involving elopement, death, and a family’s separation; while it’s by a preacher, it has no overt moral—unusual for The Youth’s Companion.

[Narrative] “Unhappy Elopement,” by A Methodist Preacher in Maine (from The Youth’s Companion, November 22, 1849; p. 118)

About fifty-five years ago, a young British officer, whose name was Duke, stopping at Philadelphia, became acquainted with a wealthy family by the name of Campbell, that resided in that city. A mutual attachment was formed between the young officer and a daughter of that family about sixteen years of age. Her name was Mary. But her parents strongly opposed their marriage, and they eloped and went to the Province of New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia, and were married—and she never saw nor heard of her parents or friends again; neither have any of her descendants heard from the Campbell family to this day. They then resided in Annapolis, N. Y. Mary lived till she had three children, and died; leaving two little girls and an infant son, Margaret, Jane and James. Margaret remembered hearing her mother express her sorrow for leaving her wealthy parents and excellent home in Philadelphia, while she said, “husband, when I am dead, carry these two girls to my mother, but do with this infant boy as you please.” Margaret, the oldest of the two girls, saw her father after her mother was buried, when he took the little boy and went away burdened with grief, to carry him to England to his parents, leaving her and her sister with a family in the place to wait till he should return. And long did they look for their father to come and carry them to Philadelphia, which had been their mother’s home; but they looked in vain; they never heard of their father again. Little Margaret and Jane were left orphans in a strange land. They found no friends, they were separated far apart in different families, and did not see each other for many years, while they suffered many hardships and privations. Margaret was young, yet she could see her mother’s bedding, her rich clothing, and her jewelry of gold in common use in the family, and she was treated as a servant. She lived in that family till she was ten years old, when a gentleman from the State of Maine was there, and saw her bringing wood barefooted in the snow. He asked her where she belonged, and learned some of her history, and then told her if she would go and live in his family, she should have a better home. She concluded to run away, and went and lived in his family—was kindly used, and treated like one of his own daughters. That was her home until she was married to that gentleman’s nephew, who was at that time in business with his uncle. Mrs. Margaret —— then sent for her sister, whom she had not seen since their first separation, after the death of their mother. They both became married and settled, and became consistent members of the Methodist E. Church. Margaret died six years ago, and left a husband and children to mourn her loss. A few years before she died, she saw an old lady, Mrs. Q., from London, who told her that some years before, she saw a young man married in London, whose name was James Duke—and when she told his age, and that he was an orphan, and had two sisters somewhere in America, there remained hardly a doubt but he was her brother. He held some office in the British Government, and probably must have had friends of wealth and influence. But nothing more is known, only it is supposed that his father carried him home to London, and was lost on his way back to take care of his little girls. Margaret, we trust has gone to a better home. Part of her children are married, and one of her daughters is the wife of the author of this sketch.—A Methodist preacher in Maine.

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