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generally-I found it difficult to trace the resemblance between its brilliant colours, and the purplish brown blotches on the poor boy's leg.
But the superstition once received, imagination supplies all deficiencies. A firm belief in some inscrutable connexion between the spots on the snake and the spots on the wounded person is universal in this region, as I have since fre. quently heard.
During our walk homeward, sauntering as we did to prolong the enjoyment, my hostess gave me a little sketch of her own early history, and she had interested me so strongly by her unaffected kindliness, and withal a certain dash of espiéglerie, that I listened to the homely recital with a good deal of pleasure.
“ I was always pretty lucky” she began—and as I looked at her benevolent countenance with its broad expansive brow and gentle eyes, I thought such people are apt to be “ lucky” even in this world of disappointments.
“ My mother did ’n’t live to bring me up,” she con. tinued, “ but a man by the name of Spangler that had no children took me and did for me as if I had been his own; sent me to school and all.
His wife was a real mother to me. She was a weakly woman, hardly ever able to sit up all day. I don't believe she ever spun a hank of yarn in her life ; but she was a proper nice woman, and Spangler loved her just as well as if she had been ever so smart."
Mrs. Danforth seemed to dwell on this point in her friend's character with peculiar respect,--that he should love a wife who could not do her own work. I could not help telling her she reminded me of a man weeping
for the loss of his partner-his neighbours trying to comfort him, by urging the usual topics; he cut them short, looking up at the same time with an inconsola. ble air—"Ah! but she was such a dreadful good creature to work !”
Mrs. Danforth said gravely, Well, I suppose the poor feller had a family of children to do for ;" and after a reflective pause continued—“ Well, Miss Span. gler had a little one after all, when I was quite a big girl, and you never see folks so pleased as they! Mr. Spangler seemed as if he could not find folks enough to be good to, that winter. He had the prayers
of the poor, I tell ye. There was ’nt a baby born anywheres in our neighbourhood, that whole blessed winter, but what he found out whether the mother had what would make her comfortable, and sent whatever was wanted.
“ He little thought that baby that he thought so much on was going to cost him so dear. His wife was never well again! She only lived through the summer and died when the frost came, just like the flowers; and he never held up his head afterwards. He had been a professor for a good many years, but he did ’nt seem then to have neither faith nor hope. He would ’nt hear reason from nobody. I always thought that was the reason the baby died. It only lived about a year. Well, I had the baby to bring up by hand, and so I was living there yet when Mr. Spangler took sick. He seemed always like a broken-hearted man, but still he took comfort with the baby, and by and bye the little dear took the croup and died all in a minute like. It began to be bad after tea and it was dead before sun. rise. Then I saw plain enough nothing could be done
for the father. He wasted away just like an April
I took as good care on him as I could, and when it came towards the last he would ’nt have any body else give him even so much as a cup of tea.
He set his house in order if ever any man did. He settled up his business and gave receipts to many poor folks that owed him small debts, besides giving away a great many things, and paying all those that had helped take care of him. I think he knew what kind of a feller his nephew was, that was to have all when he was gone. ;
Well, all this is neither here nor there. George Danforth and I had been keeping company then a good while, and Mr. Spangler knew we'd been only waiting till I could be spared, so he sent for George one day and told him that he had long intended to give me a small house and lot jist back of where he lived, but, seein things stood jist as they did, he advised George to buy a farm of his that was for sale on the edge of the village, and he would credit him for as much as the house and lot would have been worth, and he could pay the rest by his labour in the course of two or three years. Sure enough, he gave him a deed and took a mortgage, and it was so worded, that he could not be hurried to pay, and every body said it was the greatest bargain that ever was. And Mr. Spangler gave me a nice settin out besides.- -But if there is n't the boys comin in to dinner, and I bet there's nothin ready for 'em !” So saying, the good woman quickened her pace, and for the next hour her whole attention was absorbed by the “ savoury cates,” fried pork and par. snips.
L. CHAPTER VI.
A trickling stream from high rock tumbling down,
SPENCER.—House of Sleep,
While pensive memory traces back the round
WHEN we were quietly seated after dinner, I re. quested some further insight into Mrs. Danforth's early history, the prosy flow of which was just in keeping with the long dreamy course of the afternoon, unbroken as it was by any sound more awakening than the ceaseless click of knitting-needles, or an occasional yawn from the town lady who found the farniente rather burdensome.
She smiled complacently and took up the broken thread at the right place, evidently quite pleased to find she had excited so much interest.
“ When Mr. Spangler's nephew came after he was dead and gone, he was very close in asking all about the business, and seein' after the mortgages and such like. Now, George had never got his deed recorded. He felt as if it was ’nt worth while to lose a day's work, as he could send it any time by one of his neighbours. But when we found what sort of a man Mr. Wilkins was, we tho't it was high time to set about it. He had talked a good deal about the place and said the old man must have been crazy to let us have it so cheap, and once went so far as to offer my husband a hun. deed dollars for his bargain. So John Green, a good neighbour of ours, sent us word one morning that he was going, and would call and get the deed, as he knew we wanted to send it up, and I got it out and laid it ready on the stand and put the big bible on it to keep it safe.
But he did not come, something happened that he could not go that day: and I had jist took
up the deed to put it back in the chest, when in came Wilkins. He had an eye like a hawk; and I was afraid he would see that it was a deed, and ask to look at it, and then I couldn't refuse to hand it to him, you know, so I jist slipped it back under the bible before I turned to ask him what was his will.
6. Did n't John Saunderson leave my bridle here?' says he. So I stepped into the other room and got it, and he took it and walked off without speaking a word
; and when I went to put away the deed, it was gone!
“My husband came in while I sat crying fit to break my heart; but all I could do I could not make him be. lieve that Wilkins had got it. He said I had put it somewhere else without thinking, that people often felt just as sure as I did, and found themselves mistaken after all. But I knew better, and though I hunted high