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Treachery inside the walls had assisted Zulime and Daniel Clark, the MYRA him. The Spanish Governor, himself, CLARK GAINES of the great lawsuit, was charged with connivance. He was was born. She was placed, immehurried down the Mississippi, placed diately after her birth, in the family of upon a ship lying in the pass, just ready Col. S. B. Davis, the brother-in-law of to sail, and fled to France, never to re- M. Boisfontaine, and spent her child. turn.
hood in his household. Zulime was not acknowledged. She In these years, it would appear, she was never known to the world as the never knew her mother. It was long, wife of Daniel Clark, during his life- long after, and under very changed cirtime.
cumstances, when the infant had grown Afterward, this prosecution and con- to be a mature woman, before the viction were questioned by the oppo- mother and daughter met in recogninents of Mrs. Gaines. They produced tion. Her father she did not know as in court the record of an ecclesiastical such. Perhaps in the dim memories of court-proceeding, in which a certain her childhood there is still associated Jerome De Granges was charged with the appearance of a tall and handsome bigamy, but where the evidence failed man, who smiled upon her, kissed her, to show his guilt, and he was dis- and filled her arms with pretty presents. charged. This, they said, is the trial But beyond this fading photograph on of De Granges.
It proves innocence. these delicate recollections of her earliest It proves there could have been no legal years, Myra never knew her father. marriage between Zulime and Daniel His election to Congress, in 1806, Clark, for she was already the lawful took Clark to Washington. He parted wife of a living man, It proves that from bis wife, and sailed for Philadelthe claimant of this property, the child phia. Letters reached her, bringing of Daniel Clark and Zulime, was not a news of his arrival. Then communicalawful child and not an heir to her tion ceased. Zulime waited patiently, father's estate.
but no word came from him. He may All admitted that De Granges fled have written; it is said that the busifrom the country. But Judge Catron ness partners of Clark, through whom intimated that persecution by powerful his correspondence passed, suppressed and wealthy enemies drove him away. the letters to his wife, and destroyed
The decisions of the Court, however, those which she gave them to be forare written. They leave it to be in- warded to him. ferred that there was another prosecu- At any rate, the relationship between tion in the civil courts, and though the the two ceased forever. Husband and record of it was never found, upon the wife, or lover and mistress; bound in most diligent search in every depository law and purity, or led by license and of records in New Orleans, still this passion; their association dissolved, and was not conclusive against its possible was never renewed. They barely saw existence, for the official papers of the each other again, years after; and when French and Spanish Governments had they did, Zulime was the wife-truly been widely scattered and lost, upon and formally wedded—of another man ! the transfer of the Territory to the Her sisters say she was “hurt" by United States.
the refusal of Clark to acknowledge her The confidential agent of Daniel as his wife. She may have felt that her Clark, in the control of several of his relation to him was a pure and proper large estates, was M. Boisfontaine, a one. Licentious New Orleans might refugee from St. Domingo, and appa- lightly regard the marriage-tie, or little rently a gentleman of culture and hon- care for its absence, but she was truly a or. His relations with Mr. Clark were wife.* intimate. In his house, in New Orleans, in July, 1805, MYRA, the daughter of * These were days of loose morality in New
The correspondence ceased. Clark jealousy and bitterness, went to Baltiwrote not, or his letters failed to reach more, and followed her husband in his her. She may have written-doubtless carriage to a party at the home of the she did. He may have received them young lady with whose name his had -perhaps he did, and tossed them idly been connected. From her hackneyby.
coach, outside, faint with fatigue and At last there came a report on the exhaustion, but filled with the fury of wings of gossiping tongues that he was her scorned love, her eyes blinded by paying his court to a beautiful lady of tears, her nerves quivering with excitethe North. They were engaged to be ment, she looked at the illuminated married !
mansion, saw the flashing of lights, Stung to the quick, Zulime resolved heard the swell of the music, the measupon a bold step. She followed to ured tread of dancers, and at last-bitPhiladelphia. She hurried to Mr. Coxe, ter, bitter sight !--the well-known form and demanded to know the truth of of the man she loved came out upon the these stories. She thundered in his ear veranda, and paced slowly along, with the fact that she was married to Daniel a fair girl hanging upon his arm. Clark. She was his wife. Who was It was true, then. She went back to this woman who had won away her Philadelphia husband? Where was the false husband A few weeks afterward she married who had been unfaithful to her ?
Mr. Gardette.* Mr. Coxe smiled.
Zulime was a Frenchwoman, Mr. Coxe asked for the proof of her Daniel Clark died on the 16th of marriage. Alas, she could find none. August, 1813. The preceding illness She searched for records, but they were was brief and severe. Few friends were lost or destroyed. The priest had dis about him. Boisfontaine, the agent, appeared. He had gone to Ireland. says he was continually with bim. The witnesses were out of reach, and Lubin, a faithful body-servant, was depossibly beyond all knowledge.
voted in his attentions. Mr. Relf, his Mr. Coxe said, Why be so foolish as partner, was near him in the last to persist in so absurd a claim ? Why hours. insist upon this idea, which you can What took place on the day of his bring no testimony to support? What death? figure can you make in assertion of The establishment of Mrs. Gaines yourself as a wife, if Daniel Clark, the claim carries with it this statement of great merchant, the powerful politician, facts: is against you?
Clark had made his will in 1811. She saw a lawyer. He was probably He appointed his partners, Richard a confidant as well as friend of Mr. Relf and Beverly Chew, his executors, Coxe. He produced a letter from Mr. and made his mother, Mary Clark, sole Clark, announcing his - engagement to legatee. Miss C-, of Baltimore.
But he made another will in 1813. One against many, Zulime succumbed. In that he declared Myra Davis to be
Her daughter Myra would have his daughter, and only legitimate child, fought and triumphed.
and left to her the whole of his estate ! There is a story that Zulime, sad with Col. Joseph Deville, Degontine Belleher lost and aching heart, stung with chasse, James Pitot, and Chevalier De
la Croix, were executors. All were wellOrleans. Private virtue was held of little value.
known citizens of New Orleans and Scarcely a prominent merchant had a lawful wife; yet none were without an establishment, a mis
intimate personal and business friends tress, and, in most cases, a numerous family. A of Clark. gentleman of an older day than this, who knew the
Such a will, it is asserted, did exist merchants of forty years ago, in the Crescent City, could then hardly count one, in thirty of his acquaintance, who was lawfully married.
This marriage took place in August, 1808.
previous to Daniel Clark's death. It fort, and even elegance, was a man of was entirely in his handwriting, duly marked character, subject to serious signed and sealed. He had shown it to outbreaks of temper, when provoked, several intimate friends, read it to some, and received at his mansion no very informed others of its contents, and wide circle of society. Myra had a spoken of its existence to others still. limited acquaintance and few intimate Four months before his death, says M. friends. At this distance of forty years, Boisfontaine, he spoke to me of a new there are very few persons in Wilmingwill. Twenty-five days before his death, ton who retain a distinct knowledge of he said, “It is done.” Ten days later Colonel Davis' daughter Myra. he handed a package to the Chevalier The current of life shifted. There De la Croix for his inspection, in my came to her guardian's home a young presence, saying, “It is my will.” The gentleman from New York, William day before his death he again referred Wallace Whitney. He brought with to it, and said it was placed in his pri- him ample letters of introduction; but vate room, in a "little black case." for some reason, Colonel Davis failed to
The end drew near. Under the fervid regard bim favorably. If he met with summer sun, the rich merchant was no very warm response in that quarter, dying. Two hours before he died, he however, he had ample compensationonce more referred to the subject which he gained the love of Myra. seemed so much to agitate him.
At this discovery, her guardian grew It was natural that it should do so. fearfully angry. He forbade the correIt was justice to his daughter—the child spondence between the lovers. He intiof the woman whom he had loved. mated that he had another and more
In this last moment he solemnly distinguished alliance in view. From charged Boisfontaine and Lubin to fail some of his disclosures she gained the not in handing to De la Croix, when all first intimation that he was not her should be over, the precious "little father. black case.”
The correspondence, of course, conThen he became unconscious
tinued. At length Whitney wrote to And then, says Mrs. Gaines—then, say Colonel Davis that he would again visit the witnesses whose depositions support his house, and assert the propriety of her-Relf, the partner, turned to the his addresses, and claim from him an armoire, took up the bunches of keys, acknowledgment of his position as a and left the room. Lubin followed suitor. At this, the wrath of the guardhim a moment after, and passed the ian knew no bounds. He raged and door of the private room. He tried to threatened. He would shoot the audaenter, but it was locked. He heard a cious lover. He would challenge him. noise, as of rustling among papers. He should not leave Wilmington alive.
When the little black case came to be Myra became seriously alarmed. examined, no will was there!
In this condition of affairs, she reInstead of it, Messrs. Relf and Chew solved that she must meet her lover, produced the will of 1811. It was ad- and warn him not to come. This she mitted to probate; and they assumed must do in secret. She secured the charge of the dead merchant's great services of a faithful servant, to take estates.
her, late at night, in the carriage to In 1812, Colonel Davis, with his Wilmington. Retiring to her chamber, family, including his little daughter she waited till the household sank into Myra, removed to Philadelphia, and quiet, and then hurried down to meet some years later he took up his resi- the old coachman. The night was dark dence at a handsome place on the out- and stormy. Rain fell in torrents. She skirts of Wilmington. Here passed the had hastily gathered a slender supply later years of Myra's girlhood. Her of clothing into her trunk, and the sersupposed father, though living in com- vant helped her carry it to the carriage.
In trembling anxiety lest the hounds, ing was already far spent, and all was which had been carefully tied up by the ready for the ceremony, when it was servant, might still give an alarm, or discovered that no license had been that some other mischance should be procured. The bride_room was tray them, the frightened girl sprang noyed, the bride trembled, the bridesinto the carriage, and they drove silent maids fluttered with additional tremors ly down the avenue. Apprehensive of
of excitement. A messenger was depursuit, they fancied they heard noises spatched, to ride with all speed, upon behind them. They did not pause to the swiftest horse in the stables, to Wilopen the avenue-gates, but pressed the mington, to procure the license. But a horses against them, and burst them stupid servant gave him, instead, an old outward. Hurrying down the road, the blind animal, who stumbled and blunturnpike-gate was closed and fastened. dered along in the rain and mud. They dared not call the keeper, lest his Finding a magistrate with difficulty, it suspicions should be aroused. A rush was ten o'clock before he returned and from the horses burst this new obstacle. the ceremony could proceed.
Midnight had chimed from the old Just as it was over, says the old lady, town-clock on Market-street Hill, when who was then the fair young brides they drove into Wilmington. A light maid, the storm, which had prevailed in the window of a familiar dwelling during all the evening, ceased. The signalled the wet and trembling girl. wind fell, the night calmed, and from An intimate female friend, who had among the scattered clouds the moon been apprised of the intended flight by shone with peaceful rays across the a brief note in the course of the day, lawn. was patiently waiting for her. On the Was it a premonition for the bride? breast of her companion she sobbed her Mr. Whitney took his wife to New relief. So far, all was safe.
York, and they dwelt for perhaps two Mr. Whitney was expected to come years at Binghamton, the home of his by the steamboat from Baltimore. He family. would land, on the river-side, at New It was a season of rest before a lifeCastle, five miles away. At daylight, time of labor; two years of peace before Myra set out to intercept him. Not thirty of contention and struggle. meeting him, she took the boat for Bal Mrs. Whitney had learned her parenttimore, hoping she might see him there. age. From Davis himself she gathered Instead of that, he had set out at the that she had been deceived, during all same time she did, and they unknow- her girlhood. Little by little, she ingly crossed each other's paths. For- pieced together the fragments of evitunately, her friends at New Castle de- dence, till at last the Truth burst upon tained him, when he arrived ; and on her—that the wealth of her father, Daniel her prompt return, they happily met. Clark, of New Orleans, who died twenty
The guardian's anger spent its force. years ago, was justly hers! He learned that the lovers were about This Truth took possession of her life. to be married, in Philadelphia. Myra It was her inspiration. It absorbed her was of age. He had much to lose by faculties, and gave but one color to her declining a reconciliation. He offered thoughts. She took it up as the indus her his home for her wedding; and she to a life of exertion. Seized by this gladly accepted.
conviction, she has been, since that Early in the autumn, when (as one moment, only the embodiment of a of the bridesmaids, at this distance of Purpose, fixed, resolute, mad. She has thirty-six years, tells us), the fires were been a thousand times thwarted; she lighted on the hearths, the wedding has never failed. Against opposition, took place.
over difficulties, in spite of obstacles, The Genius of the Romantic seemed she has accepted no result but Success, still to be the ruling spirit. The even and never doubting that she would at
tain it, thirty-four years' battle has ed, and the Chief-Justice (whose interbrought victory at last.
est through bis relative seems to have Seven times, now, has her case ceased), and Judge Grier, joined him, claimed the attention of the highest Catron's opinion is most unfriendly, and court of law. First there was a decision reviews with caustic severity the appain 1839, which did not assist her. rently weak points in the claimant's Again in 1841; this was technical, but case. In summing up, he said : favorable. Again in 1844, with similar “If the decision in 12th Howard result. In 1847 she first gained decided [his own opinion of 1851] be over
Justice Wayne, her steady thrown, ruin must be the consequence friend, alınost her advocate, declared to very many who have had confidence for the Court that her claim to property in its soundness." in New Orleans, now occupied by parties Relying upon it as conclusive, an whose title came from Relf and Chew, immense amount of the disputed propexecutors of the will of 1811, was valid. erty had changed hands, and become He decided that she was the legitimate vastly improved, in the intervening nine daughter of Daniel Clark, and conse- years. He added (this is directly denied quently, under the laws of Louisiana, by Judge Davis in the decision of 1868) could not be dispossessed entirely, as that Clark was a ruined man at his the will of 1811 assumed to do. She
“ His failure was very large; must be “forced heir” to a portion. his estate was wholly insolvent. The In this case, Chief-Justice Taney did purchasers have in fact paid his debts not sit, a near family relative being in- to a large amount. Many of them are terested ; Justice McLean did not; and yet unpaid.” The property claimed, he Justice Catron, being indisposed, did said, “bas probably increased in value not. It was the first decided success. five hundred-fold since 1820," the date
In 1851 came adversity. Judge Ca- of Relf and Chew's sales, whence the tron pronounced the opinion of the defendants derived their title. Court, unfavorable to every claim which Judge Grier was scarcely less proMrs. Gaines set up. A bill in equity, nounced in his views. He closed his claiming the share to which her mother dissent with these vigorous words: (Zulime) would, as the legal wife of “I wholly dissent from the opinion Daniel Clark, be entitled by the Louisi- of the majority of the Court in this ana law, in spite of the will of 1811, case, both as to the law and the facts. was summarily dismissed, on the ground But I do not think it necessary to vinthat she was not the legitimate child of dicate my opinion by again presenting Daniel Clark.
to the public view a history of the To this, of course, Judge Wayne, scandalous gossip which has been buried joined by Judge Daniel, dissented. under the dust of half a century, and
But again, in 1860, there was a new which a proper feeling of delicacy decision. In the interim, the destroyed should have suffered to remain so; I will of 1813 had been admitted to therefore dismiss the case, as I hope, probate, and this probate, upon appeal, for the last time, with the single resustained in the Louisiana courts, its mark, that if it be the law of Louisiana contents being established by the rec- that a will can be established by the ollections of those who heard it read dim recollections, imaginations, or inby Clark. This important point, gained ventions of anile gossips, after forty-five in 1856, had claimed victory from the years, to disturb the titles and possesjaws of defeat. The whole case-law, sions of bona fide purchasers, without fact, technicalities, side-issues, every notice, of an apparently indefeasible thing—was reviewed, and upon every legal title, Haud equidem invideo, miror point decided in favor of Mrs. Gaines, magis." (I do not indeed envy your Justice Wayne once more speaking for position, but rather wonder at it.) the Court. Justice Catron again differ- The particular case decided was