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INDIA:

THE

PEARL OF PEARL RIVER.

CHAPTER I.

THE COLLEGIAN'S SUPPER.

“Filled is life's goblet to the brim.”- Longfellow.

“ INDIA!" exclaimed Mark Sutherland, rising at the head of his table, and waving high the brimming glass, while his fine dark countenance lighted up with enthusiasm. A young Ajax in athletic beauty and strength, stood the Mississippian, until

"India!" responded his friend Lauderdale, from the foot of the table.

"India !" echoed the young men around the board, as they all arose, and, standing, honoured the toast. Then the glasses jingled merrily down upon the table, and then

“Now that in blind faith we have worshipped your goddess-who is India? Is it a woman or a quarter of the globe-your idolatry ?”

(25)

'India!” ejaculated the young Southerner with fer.

“India!

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“Oh! & woman! friend, a woman! Why, . beast bad scarce been

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than to have harboured such a question! Fill high your glasses again, and

« "'Twixt the red wine and the chalice'

let me breathe her beauty's name. Gentlemen, are you ready?—The Pearl of Pearl River !"

“The Pearl of Pearl River!" responded Lauderdale.

“The Pearl of Pearl River!" re-echoed all those gay youths, as this toast was also quaffel standing, and the empty glasses rattled down upon the table.

This was the parting toast, and the company broke up to separate. The young guests all crowded around their youthful host with adieus, regrets, congratulations, and kind wishes; for all these opposite phrases were equally appropriate, as will be seen.

Mark Sutherland was the son and nephew of the celebrated Pearl River planters—the three brothers Sutherland. He was the prospective possessor of three immense estates-being the heir of the first, betrothed to the heiress of the second, and co-heir with her to the third extensive plantation. He had just concluded a brilliant collegiate course with distin. guished honour; he was soon to return south, to enter upon his patrimony, and claim the hand of his affianced bride, before he set forth upon his European travels. And this was his valedictory enter. tainment, given to his classmates. For him, indeed

“ Filled was life's goblet to the brim !"

No wonder those fine strong eyes danced with an ticipation as he shook hands right and left. He was, up to this time, a frank, thoughtless, joyous, extravagant fellow-selfish because he knew nothing of sorrow, and wasteful because he knew nothing of want Affluent in youth, health, and love-affluent in wealth, honour, and homage-he seemed to consider gold valueless as dust, and deference only his just due. He “the heir of all the ages” past of thought and toil, had entered upon his intellectual inheritance with great éclat; but as yet not one mite had he added to the store; not one thought had he bestowed upon the great subjects that now engross all earnest minds. Too full of youthful fire, vitality, love, hope, and joy, for any grave thought or feeling to find room in his brain or heart, was the planter's son. How, indeed, could earnest thought find entrance through such a crowd of noisy joys to his heart? He stood upon the threshold of the past, indeed, and his face was set forward towards the future; but not one onward step had he taken. Why should he trouble himself? The bounteous future was advancing to him, smiling, and laden with all the riches of life and time.

But he stood, receiving the adieus of his young friends, and dealing out wholesale and retail invitations for all and each to come and visit him, for an indefinite length of time, or until they were tired. At last they were all gone, except Lauderdale, his chum, who was passing some days with him, as his guest, at the Minerva House.

"You are an enviable dog, Sutherland,” exclaimed the latter, clapping him sharply upon the shoulder. " You are a deuced enviable villain! By my soul, it

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