Imatges de pÓgina
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and, as it was a fine evening, I offered to accompany him.

He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and as we walked out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing.

"Poor Mary!" at length, broke, with a heavy sigh, from his lips.

"And what of her?" asked I:

thing happened to her?"

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"has any

What," said he, darting an impatient glance, "is it nothing to be reduced to this paltry situation-to be caged in a miserable cottage to be obliged to toil almost in the menial concerns of her wretched habitation?" "Has she then repined at the change?"

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Repined! she has been nothing but sweetness and good humour. Indeed, she seems in better spirits than I have ever known her; she has been to me all love, and tenderness, and comfort!"

"Admirable girl!" exclaimed I. "You call yourself poor, my friend; you never were so

rich-you never knew the boundless treasures of excellence you possessed in that woman.'

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"Oh! but, my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage were over, I think I could then be comfortable. But this is her first day of real experience: she has been introduced into a humble dwelling-she has been employed all day in arranging its miserable equipments—she has, for the first time, known the fatigues of domestic employment-she has, for the first time, looked round her on a home destitute of every thing elegant,-almost of every thing convenient; and may now be sitting down, exhausted and spiritless, brooding over a prospect of future poverty."

There was a degree of probability in this picture, that I could not gainsay, so we walked on in silence.

After turning from the main road up a narrow lane, so thickly shaded by forest trees as to give it a complete air of seclusion, we came in sight of the cottage. It was humble enough in its

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appearance for the most pastoral poet; and yet it had a pleasing rural look. A wild vine had overrun one end with a profusion of foliage; a few trees threw their branches gracefully over it; and I observed several pots of flowers tastefully disposed about the door, and on the grass plot in front. A small wicket gate opened upon a footpath that wound through some shrubbery

to the door. Just as we approached, we heard the sound of music-Leslie grasped my arm; we paused and listened. It was Mary's voice singing, in a style of the most touching simplicity, a little air of which her husband was peculiarly fond.

He

I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. stepped forward to hear more distinctly. His step made a noise on the gravel walk. A bright beautiful face glanced out at the window and vanished—a light footstep was heard-and Mary came tripping forth to meet us: she was in a pretty rural dress of white; a few wild flowers were twisted in her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek; her whole counte

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nance beamed with smiles-I had never seen

her look so lovely.

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My dear George," cried she, “I am so glad you are come! I have been watching and watching for you; and running down the lane, and looking out for you. I've set out a table under a beautiful tree behind the cottage; and I've been gathering some of the most delicious strawberries, for I know you are fond of them

-and we have such excellent cream-and every thing is so sweet and still here-Oh!" said she, putting her arm within his, and looking up brightly in his face, "Oh, we shall be so happy!"

Poor Leslie was overcome.-He caught her to his bosom-he folded his arms round herhe kissed her again and again-he could not speak, but the tears gushed into his eyes; and he has often assured me that though the world has since gone prosperously with him, and his life has, indeed, been a happy one, yet never has he experienced a moment of more exquisite felicity.

RIP VAN WINKLE.

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