Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

landlord, appearing, to levy contributions on my purse, with a long bill in his hand.

I rose the next morning with the sun, and descended my ladder. The family were all stirring. The father and sons were at the plough, the mother was getting ready breakfast, and the two girls were at their spinning-wheels. The sound of these instruments was not quite so harmonious as that of a piano ; but I know not whether a woodland nymph giving rapid motion to her spinning-wheel, be not a more captivating object than a haughty town-dame running her fingers disdainfully over the keys of a harpsichord.

Mary's breast knew not the restraint imposed by the depravity of the world.

When I came down, she replied to my salutations of the morning, by saying, (her spinningwheel still in rapid motion) Oh! Sir! I am so sorry! indeed ! indeed! indeed !-upon my word and honour-your little dog is gone back home!

My dog, cried I, gone back home! I fear, Miss, you advised him to go.

No Sir, returned the girl, indeed ! indeed! a double indeed! a hundred indeeds! I asked

him to stay

· Do Mary, said the mother, hush your nonsense. Could your asking make the dog stay?

Why, mother, said the girl, I reckoned by his going to lie down at the door, that he wanted to go back; so I talked to him, and told him if


he knew when he was well off he would stop and be my dog.

Your dog, cried the mother. How came that about?

Why, mother, replied the girl, did I not make the gentleman promise me last night, that he would leave the dog under my care till he travelled this road again. Pish! said the mother, you cannot child take care of yourself.

The brother entered just as the last sentence escaped the lips of the girl. What! Mary, said he. So you made the gentleman promise he would travel this road again!

Do, Wilmot, said the girl, hush. Don't take me up before I am down.

Fags ! Mary, said Wilmot, I believe you will be both up and down often enough yet before

die. We have all our ups and downs in the world.

Do mother, cried the girl, tell Wilmot to hush. I know what! I wont mend his coat that's out of elbows--I wont for spite—and then he can't go to the dance at Newgate.

Yes, said Wilmot, I can go to the dance at Newgate.

Yes, said Mary, but will Rose dance with you ?

No niatter, rejoined Wilmot, I will get Eliza to patch the elbows. You'll do it for me ElizaI know now for a flying squirrel's nestr-and I'll save the prettiest one for Eliza.

you die.

I'll patch your elbows for you brother, said the other girl. Is the squirrel's nest on the plantation.

And when the stranger's dog, said Mary, comes back, I shall be better off than Eliza.

And when the stranger comes back, said Wilmot, What then?

What then? Mr. Inquisitive, said Mary, why I reckon father will not shut his door against him.

Not I, said the father, putting on his coat as he entered the room. We are all fellow-travellers in this vale of tears; and it becomes us in our pilgrimage to behave with loving kindness to each other. The stranger shall always find a home under this roof.

Sir, said I, I acknowledge your hospitality. But no man ought to account himself at home till he enters into the house of his heavenly father.

Right, Sir, said the man. We are only sojourners here below. Our race is soon run. Our duty is to tarry here patiently till we are received into the house of our common father; and heaven will will be doubly sweet to him who has borne afflictions without repining.

The family now sat down to breakfast, and the stranger within their gates. But where, said the father, is Bill ?

Why I reckon, said Wilmot, Bill is gone to look for the gentleman's dog. I heard him halloo in the woods.

In a few minutes Bill returned, skipping like a young hart upon the mountain's.

Well, Bill, said Wilmot, what is become of

the dog

Why I reckon, cried Bill, he is gone back to the Great Falls. If I had know'd he intended to go, I would have tied him up in the stable. He was a right pretty dog. He was just such ano- . ther as Jack Hatchet bought of 'Squire Carler's driver.

The morning was ushered in with rain, which continued throughout the day. It was the wet season in April, a time very favourable to the planting of tobacco.

I, therefore, continued housed. I had got into pleasant quarters ; and I opposed but feebly. Mr. Strangeways, who insisted with much hospitality that I should tarry another night under his roof.

I passed the day in talking with Mary, and gazing on her dark eyes. She had dressed herself with no little coquetry ; and I could perceive when she contemplated her white frock and blue sash, that she thought herself a finer lady to-day than she was yesterday. Enviable Maid ! with her, dress and happiness were synonimous terms.

We had breakfasted next morning, and the old man was gone to cultivate his tobacco, when a pedlar came to the door. The appearance of

Sam Lace lighted up joy in the eyes of Mary and Eliza.

The pedlar first exhibited his ballads. “Here,” said he, “is the whole trial, examination, ss and condemnation of Jason Fairbanks, who

was executed at Philadelphia for cutting off

Peggy Placket's head under a hedge on the “ road to Frankfort."

Lord ! said Eliza, what a wicked fellow. I would not live in one of those great big towns for all the world! But I wonder whether it is true ?

True! replied Mary, certainly it is. Don't you see it is in print.

“ And here,” cried the pedlar, “is the account “ of a whale, that was left ashore by the tide in “ the bay of Chesapeak, with a ship of five thou“sand tons in his belly, called the Merry Dane of Dover. She was the largest ship ever known.” And is that true too? said Eliza.

True! cried Mary. How can you ask such a question ? Do

Do you think they would put it in print if it was not true?

Come pedlar, said I, let us examine the cor tents of your box. Have you any ear-sings?

At this interrogation I could perceive the bosom of Mary rise to her chin.

Yes Sir, said the fellow, I have ear-rings that would be an ornament to the ears of the President's lady. I have them at all prices—from five dollars down to one and a half. My five

« AnteriorContinuar »