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Pretty Jane and the Pedlar.
AND how busy was the happy girl
with her preparations. What gaily
dyed woolen coverlets ; what eoft, fleecy
blankets, what elaborate patch-work
quilts, were packed in the capacious wal
nut chest that had been provided for
their reception I what well bleached and
nicely sewed bed-linen, what delicately
fringed table-cloths and napkins, cun
ningly marked with her Initials in red
and blue cotton, or, when their texture
was something to be proud of, with her
name in full, what dainty wearing ap
parel lay, In snow-white and glossy
piles, In the case of drawers which tow
ered to the celling of her little chamber 1
In this apartment, one afternoon of a
sweet summer day, she sat near the win
dow which opened upon a porch, run
ning along the front of the cottage, .
tambouring, with fine flaxen thread cf
her own spinning, the transparent mus
lin that was to be her wedding-robe.
Her mind was so thronged with pleasant
thoughts that though a step Bounded
upon the porch Bhe did not hear it, but
when a shadow from without fell upon
her work, she started in trepidation
from her seat, for with a modest reserve,
which, in those days, was neither ridi
culed nor condemned, her bridal outfit
was kept sacred from any but some
rarely privileged eye. She turned toward
the window, and saw before it a stranger,
a tall, powerfully made man, with a
high flush of health glowing upon his
cheek through the olive tint which
otherwise would have seemed to shade
too darkly his bold, but well formed fea
tures. His dress was rich and showy,
and of a style quite new in that remote
settlement, while the heavy whiskers
and slight mustache, then not natural
ized among us, gave him more the aspect
of a foreigner than a denizen of any sec
tion of the country. The manner of
easy assurance with which he gazed in
upon her, was not less novel to Jane,
and it was with some effort that she
composed herself to await his commands.
"This house had once an occupant
named Blade, the Widow Blade," said he,
slightly raising his fine beaver from his
thick, black hair ; "can you tell me if
. she is alive ? and if bo, is she still here?"
Jane cave a brief affirmative, and hur
ried out to call her mother from the
" kitchen, a new apartment which had
been added to the main building, while
the stranger sauntered familiarly into
the sitting-room. In a few moments
the widow joined him, and courteously
invited him to a seat.
He threw himself into a high-backed
chair, of which the narrow seat
was constructed of interwoven strips
of cloth, and, fixing his dark eyes on
her face, remarked, "You live in a flour
ishing country, Mistress Blade ; I did
not expect to see such heavy crops in
your fields, nor so much of this pretty
trumpery about your house;" ' and be
carelessly blew upon the floor some of
the broad petals of a damask rose which
he bad snapped from a bush on his way
through the garden. -
"We think more of beautifying the
outsides of our habitations now, than
when the settlement was new," she re
plied, quietly; "as to the land, hard la
bor and long experience in tilling it have
made most of it yield well. I have had
good crops on my little farm for several
yearB, but not any equal to what is now
In prospect." ( ,
"And the world seems to have gone
especially well with yourself," rejoined
v the stranger. -"Yes,
thanks to Providence ! and the
widow stopped her knitting for a mo.
ment with her accustomed devoutness ;
NEW BLOOMFIELD, TTJESDA.Y,
"the world has indeed gon well with
me, far beyond my deserts."
"That may be, though no doubt, you
would rather say it yourself than hear it
from others," said he, "but you should
not let your prosperity spoil your mem
ory for old frlouds." '
"I am not one to forget those that I
have once called friends," she returned,
with Bome asperity at the want of re
spect implied by the smile which curl
ed his Hp.
The visitor rose from his teat, and
drawing his hand from the vest, in
which he had held it with seeming care
lessness, he extended it toward her. She
glanced alternately upon it and his face,
and then growing quite pale, exclaimed,
'I cannot be mistaken lu that hand I
you must, indeed, be my own lost boy,
George Blade I "
"Iudeed it is, mother, your own boy,
in flesh and blood, aud nothing elee.that
you should look bo bewildered," he re
turned, without any change of manner ;
"now, if I had come back lean and rag
ged, looking as if I had lived upon
husks, and slept as well as fed among
swine, like the prodigal you used to
preach to me about, you'd have known
me well enough, but it seems almost,
too much for you to believe that I should
have returned like a gentleman."
The mother had extended her arras to
give vent to her feelings upon the neck
of her son, but a pang, Buch as she had
not known since the years of his boyish
transgressions, smote her heart at the
light, mocking tones with which he
sought to evade her welcome, and a gush
of tearB rolled down her cheeks.
"Tut tut, mother I -Where's the use
of crying " said he, "you are not sorry
to see me, I suppose, and as to crying
for joy, though 1 have heard that you
women could do that, it seemed so ridic
ulous that I never believed it. Wipe
your eyeB, and, to change the subject,
tell . me who that pretty girl is, that
stared at me as if I had been an alligator
she that called you mother "
"My adopted daughter, George, a dear,
blessed child, who is the greatest com
fort of my life."
"Adopted 1-hah-is thet all ? the
thought struck me that you might have
provided yourself with another husband,
and me with a new stock of brothers and
Bisters, and I felt almost sure of it when
you spoke of the old place as your own."
"No, George, the place is, indeed,
mine, but it was purchased by my own
earnings, and has been embellished,
chiefly ,by the labors of my Pretty Jane,"
returned the widow, gravely.
"Jane Jane," he repeated, as if try.
ing to refresh his memory.
"Have you, indeed, then forgotten
her the child of poor Margaret Wil
mot?" and believing that the remi
niscence would be a painful one, with
her usual delicacy she avoided hia eye,
that she might not seem to be watching
"Wilmot-Jane Wilmot," said George,
and for the first time he spoke as if not
altogether at ease ; "I think I have a
recollection of her a puny, cowardly
little thing ; but, of course, she remem
bers nothing of me?"
"She indistinctly . remembers her
mother's death, and you were with me
some months after it. She has, at all
events, often heard of you."
"And no good of me, I suppose you
would say, if you were not too civil to
speak your mind. Well, there will be
time enough to make it all up yet. But
I am glad to hear that there are no other
interlopers to put my nose out of joint,
for as you are a woman of property, I
may have a chance to become a man of
consequence in these parts."
Their dialogue was interrupted by the
re-appearance of Jane, who, when her
first surprise was over, vainly endeavor
ed to force a feeling of sympathy with
what she presumed must be the happi
ness of her foster mother. There had
always been a gloomy association In her
mind with the name of George Blade.
She now saw nothing In hia counte
nance, nor In the bold familiarity of hia
address, to remove the unpropltious im
pression. As to his mother, there was
too much in the restless flashing of his
eye, and In the reckless scoffing of his
tongue, not to remind her of hia early
: temper and , habits, and her thankful
ness for his return was alloyed with fear.
George Blade assiduously sought to re-
vlve the acquaintances of hia boyhood :
but he made no friends either among
those who remembered him, or others to
whom ho was an entire stranger. His
companionship wns not, indeed, avoid
ed, for his conversation abounded with
entertain lii and not Improbable narra
tives of adventure in various foreign
lauds-; but the objects of his wandering
were never named, and It was not
strange that, among a sober aud un
sophisticated people, the pursuits which
seemed to preclude revealment should
have been suspected as contraband.
Thrown constantly luto his society,
Jane felt not only the distrust of him
communicated by others, but the invol
untary repulsion of a pure spiritagalnst
one of evil. Though he was compara
tively guarded In his expressions while
In her presence, yet she knew that he
was sensual, rapacious, unfeeling and
unprincipled. A more private reason
Boon added to her dislike. At first he
had assumed toward her an unskillful
semblance of brotherly prudence and
fondness, but before long he changed it
for the bearing If not the language of
passion, and in this there was nr coun
terfeiting, for it must have been a callous
nature that could have resisted the pow
er of her extreme beauty and loveliness.
His mother perceived it, and attempted
to warn him from any decisive purpose,
by informing him of the projected mar
riage, but Bhe was heard without effect.
"That is a daiuty, lily-faced spark of
yours, Jane," said George, with an inso
lent sneer, when the young pastor had
left the bouse, after his first visit to his
intended bride; "he looks as if he had
been laid on a book-shelf all his days,
for the preservation of his complexion.
How he must tremble at the thoughts of
wind and weather!"
"His profession does not subject him
to much exposure," replied Jane, with
out seeming to have noticed the sarcasm
of his language; "but though be looks
delicate, his health is sound."
"His waist is as slim, and his hand is
as soft as a lady's" pursued George ; "it
would go hard with him to be forced to
any manly exertion. I suppose you
have made up your mind, Jane, to be
master as well as mistress, and to look
after the out-door business yourself."
"I trust I shall be able and willing to
do all that will be required of me,"
answered Jane, as placidly as before.
"It is very well that you have prepar
ed yourself beforehand to be properly
submissive," said he, lowering his browB
still more darkly ; "for there is no such
tyrant as your bookish man. He thinks
that humble Bervice is his due from his
wife for the honor he does her by yoking
himself with so weak a creature. Has
this young Walton made you sensible,
Jane, of the honor in store for you, and
taught you to act accordingly V"
"And is )t not an honor.George Blade,"
said Jane, now coloring, and with an
unwonted fire in her soft, blue eye ; "is
it not an honor to an humble girl like
myself, without fortune, flue manners,
or high connections, that a man like
Lewis Walton, learned, accomplished
and looked up to, should choose her to
be bis wife ?" ,
"An honor to you, Jane, to be the
wife of a poor milksop of A country par
Bon I why I have Been kings' daughters
in my travels, and never one as fit to
wear her gold and jewels as such as you
would have been 1 It Is a man who has
lived among men, instead of books, that
knowa how to value a woman. He
would glory In beauty like yours, and
wear his life out, if that should be re
quired, in struggling for the means to
set it off, and show it to the world as it
deserves. He would be your slave, Jane,
and that gladly, and not make you his.
You are inexperienced and unsuspect
ing, and don't understand the step you
are taking. Let me advise you ; choose
a man of the world for a husband, and
one who would worship you as if you
were a queen or an angel. Let me find
find you your wedding ring, Pretty
He threw his round her, and attempt
ed to force upon her hand a ring of
value, which he had drawn from his
own. Bhe flung it from her as If its
pressure had stung her, and pale with
indignation and abhorrence, broke from
his clasp. Her expression of loathing
was too much for the self-love of the re
pulsed suitor. For an instant he grew
pale as herself, but, with an effort to
control his irritation, he changed the
DECEMBER SO, 1831.
insinuating smile with which he had
sought to persuade her, to one of min
gled pity and disdain, and said, though
in a husky and broken voice, "As you
please, Jane, as you please. I have no
notion to urge you. There are plenty,
though, who would think the offer you
have refused a greater honor than the
one you have accepted ;" and turning
on his heel, he sauntered whistling
away ; yet the workings of his counte
nance betrayed a conflict of evil feelings.
"Are the clothes in order that I asked
you to look after ?" inquired George of
his mother, the same evening of his un
lucky interview with Jane; "I shall
need them to-night," he added, "for I
Intend to pack up and be off early in the
morning for N ."
"Why, what can take you there bo
soon again, George ? you have been at
N already three or four times, and in
os many weeks," said she.
"Bo I have, and now I intend to stay
awhile. There would be little satisfac
tion for me here while men, women and
children are sweating to death in the
harvest fields. It is dull work enough
to pass one's time among tbem when
they can take liberty to amuse them
selves." He accordingly set off for the market
town the next day, and though hia
mother received no direct communica
tion from him during the month that
followed, few days passed in which she
did not incidentally obtain intelligence
of his pursuits. They were now undls
gulsedly those of a gambler.
During the absence of the young cler
gyman the officers of the congregation
had held deliberations upon the selec
tion of a parsonage, for the church was
a new one, and, as yet, had not possessed
that appendage ; one which, on the mar
riage of the pastor, would become ne
cessary. The result was conveyed to
him on his return , that the old house
which had been the last habitation of
poor Margaret Wllraot, was to be pur
chased and fitted up for the purpose.
Since her time it had been seldom
tenanted, for it bad neither ground nor
out-buildlngs to render it a suitable place
for a farmer, and was too secluded in its
situation to be a desirable residence to a
person engaged in any other than the
business of agriculture.
But for the present object It appeared
all that could be required. It was in con
venient vicinity to the church, was
pleasantly located, and was a substantial
building, which could be made a comfor
table and a not inelegant abode. The
requisite repairs and alterations were im
mediately commenced, and were carried
on wnn bo rnucn vigor tnat it was an
ticipated they would be completed
against the end of the epproachlng bar
vest. At that time it wns decided that,
if all things could be In readiness, the
marriage should take place.
The harvest was nearly over. The
interior work of the house was so far
advanced that Mr. Walton had already
moved into it many of the simple but
numerous articles of furniture it requir
ed, when he was summoned to attend
an ecclesiastical assembly in session
at about a day's journey off.
On the evening of hia departure he
called at the cottage to take leave of Jane
and receive from Widow Blade a pack
age which she requested him to deliver
to a friend on his way through N .
He reproached her jestingly for her re
fusal to communicate, either to himself
or Jane the nature of its contents, and
then said to the latter
"Supposing you walk with me aa far
as the ' parsonage, Jane ? the coach
will not be along until dark, and I shall
have time to be at the tavern to meet it
even if I stop some minutes on the way.
I should like before I go to have your
opinion of some additions that I made
to-day to our little household arrange
ments. Your mother will spare you,
will you not, dear madam ? I ehall
have so short a while to detain her, that
she will be with you at the farthest,
He gave hia arm to Jane, and they
strolled slowly down the lane, which
had years since, been opened to join the
one leading from the old stone house to
the turnpike road. The widow stood on
her little porch, looking fondly but
thoughtfully after them, when, as they
disappeared at the turn of the road, her
son presented himself at the gate. His
face was flushed with hasty walking,
and scarcely offering any greeting, ho
threw himself on a bench beside her and
wiped the perspiration from his brow.
Much as she had heard of him to give
her pain and displeasure, she addressed
him with her usual mildness.
"You look tired and over-heated,
George would you not be the better of
some supper to refresh, you ?"
"No no I am in too great a hurry to
think about eating; I must be at the
road again when the coach comes along,
for I want to get "back to N to- (
"What hurries you? what is your
errand?" she asked with something of
"I is Boon told money I must have
some money, and that not a little. It la
a long time since I asked any of you,"
he added, forcing a laugh, though his
eye fell beneath hers; "and It is nothing
but fair that you should make up for it
by giving me what I am entitled to in a
"You have, justly, no claim upon me
for money, George I grieve to say It,"
answered his mother ; "for I never re
received a child's duty from you. And,
besides, a few weeks ago you boasted of
your heavy purse, and of the ease with
which you could keep it filled ; why do
you so soon come to me ?"
"Ask me no questions, mother, I am
in no humor to answer them. Just
supply me with what I want, and when
I have more time, perhaps, I may give
an account of myself."
"I have had accounts of you to my
sorrow, George, and even if I had it to
spare, my conscience would not allow
me to furnish you with money while I
have reason to fear that every dollar
would sink you deeper in iniquity. Be
lieve me, I would a thousand times
rather have heard of you as filling a
Christian's grave in the farthest corner
of the earth, than to have you near me
and living your present course of life."
"You are as good at preaching as ever,
mother ; but, to come to the point, do
you say that you have no money f I
know that you had several hundred dol
lars by you when I left you last."
"Bo I had, but It was laid up as a
marriage portion, for Jane. I could not
think of letting her leave me ' empty
handed, for she has always been as a
daughter, and a dutiful one, to me, and
it is right that I should do a mother's
part toward her. For years I thought
of you as among the dead, but when
you returned to me most gladly I would
have accorded to you a son's claim npon
my little estate, had I found you worthy
of it. You have not proven yourself bo,
aud I cannot rob the child of my adop
tion even for the child of my blood. It
goes very hard with me to decide against
you, George, but it la my duty, and I
must do it."
"So, then, I need not flatter myself
that you are going to write a new will
in my favor," Bald George, with a sneer
ing cnile; "I heard a whisper, within
few days, that a year or two ago you had
made one for the benefit of Jane. Is it
. "Yes, George."
"A complete, regular will, is it?
signed, witnessed and sealed ? You have
no doubt, also been prudent enough to
place it where it can't be meddled with
"It is In safe hands.those of my friend
and old neighbor, Robert Merrll."
"What, Merrll the popular sheriff ?
why, you have chosen quite a great
man to attend to your concerns, mother,
I did not think you were so ambitious ;"
then, after a moment's pause, he added
more seriously, "I don't intend to say
anything against the claims of Jane.
Had you acted by me like a mother, and
as I wished, they would not have Inter
fered with mine. You must have seen
I know you did see my love for the
girl. If your Influence had been used to
recommend me to her regard ; such in
fluence as you possess, for she worships
you ; you might have made her your
daughter in reality, and have been the
means of settling me to the sober course
of life that would have contented your
"I would not have desired Jane to be
your wife, George, even if she had not
been engaged to another, for one of your
disposition, to say nothing of your hab
its, could not have made her happy."
"After all, this trig young parson U
not quite disinterested in marrying your