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The twins, favoured by the noise, and animated by a purely feminine instinct, discovered that under the quilt was a capital place for playing “keep house,” and had accordingly emigrated thither from the window-seat, where they had formerly resided. As they crept carefully under the opposite side, they were, at first, undiscovered; but growing more venturesome, Susan, who was a little the tallest, tried if she could “stand up straight' under the centre of the quilt.
Most unfortunate undertaking !—for, her head came in contact with the tea-tray; the lamp which it bore was upset; and, at the same moment, her sister, in trying to move one of the supporting chairs, brought the whole establishment once more to the carpet. Harriet sprang
from the piano, and snatched the lamps; one of the heavy candlesticks struck Sarah Ann in its descent; while Susan, completely enveloped, thought she was smothering in the centre of the quilt, and screamed in harmony. Of course, for a moment or two, there was total darkness, and when Hannah opened the door to announce tea, the whole room was a scene of unprecedented confusion.
The world's charity, and the world's condemnation !
He never left a single shilling,
His widow to console.
RS. SMITH was a member of the Congregational church, which numbered but a few. The Episcopalians were the aristocrats of the town,
at least, they were so called by all the rest, though the Presbyterians had the finest church, and the highest steeple; and the organ in the Lutheran church was far the best. The Congregationalists, therefore, came some way behind, and numbered but three wealthy men in their society; though Elder Whiting was a man of great influence, and Deacon Morrison would have been if he could. However, Mr. Townsend found his time and patience fully taxed to keep his congregation in order, small as it was; and his wife did much to assist him by her gentle and popular manners, and great tact—that woman's talent.
It was in the afternoon after Mrs. Harden's quilting, Miss Martin had commenced an engagement of three days at Mrs. Smith's, and the two ladies were deep in the mysteries of “ripping and turning." Suddenly a knock at the front door startled them, and Mrs. Smith hurried into an adjoining room to give a few preliminary instructions to the girl, who was going through the hall.
“If it's Miss Barnard,” said Mrs. Smith, "show her into the parlour and roll up the curtains; tell her I'll be in in a second. However, it may be only Mrs. Morrison, and she may come right into the sitting-room-I won't change my cap for her. Oh! and Susan, if it's old Mrs. Shoefelt, just tell her I've run out, and you
don't know when I'll be in. I did run out of the sittingroom," said the conscientious lady, as she applied her ear to the key-hole.
Now, it so chanced, that the visitor was neither of the above mentioned ladies, and Susan was at a loss how to dispose of her; but not noticing the girl's hesitation, and seeing the sittingroom door ajar, Mrs. Townsend solved the difficulty by walking directly in, as she heard Mrs. Smith was at home.
Miss Martin rose, in a flutter of consequence, to see her. “Mrs. Smith would be in in half a minute ;-would Mrs. Townsend be so good as to excuse the looks of the room. Dressmakers made so many chips;' but it was clean dirt, after all.
Mrs. Townsend smiled very kindly, and replied — “We all know what dressmaking is," and then hoped that she had not interrupted them as Mrs. Smith entered the room.
That lady was all smiles and cordiality. Again and again her visitor was urged to stay to tea, at least to take off her bonnet and sit an hour or two; but, after repeated refusals, the conversation took another turn.
“I suppose you 're out making calls, then?” said Miss Martin, affably. Miss Martin was also one of Mr. Townsend's charge, and consequently took the visit partly to herself.
“Yes," was the reply, “I have just come from Mrs. Jackson's."
“Now, do tell me," said Mrs. Smith, “what's your opinion
about that match? Do you think they'll be married before the year's up?"
“May I ask what match ? I confess to a lamentable ignorance of the news of the day.”
“Why Mrs. Jackson and her husband's brother, of course," replied Mrs. Smith. “I suppose you know they are engaged ?"
“Mrs. Jackson!” said her visitor, with a start of unfeigned astonishment. “Did I understand you, Mrs. Smith ?”
“Why where do you live, not to hear the news? I thought every one knew how devoted he had been to her, from the day the was a widow. He's been up three times from New York, and every time he comes they ride out together, and are gone all the forenoon.”
“Besides, she's leaving off her mourning," added Miss Martin. “I saw her in the street last week without her veil, and she had on a mouseline-de-laine dress with white stripes in it. As to that, however, she might just as well not have worn any veil at all, for she never has it over her face. If people put on mourning, I don't like to see it done half-way. Good deep crape and bombazine, say I, if any one's going in black for a near friend, not to say busband.”
“ Yes,” said Mrs. Smith, “I remember that I wore a double crape vcil till the very Sunday before I was married to Mr. Smith. I really felt sorry to take off black at all, it was so becoming. Everybody told me I never looked so well in the world.”
Mrs. Townsend could scarcely repress a smile at this remarkably naire confession, but said, quite earnestly—“I see nothing particular in Mr. Edward Jackson's attentions; I am should expect the same kindness from my husband's brother,
were I similarly situated. She has no other person to consult in her business.”
“Well, there it is again. It was such a queer move for her to go on with that factory. In the first place, it's all covetousness on her part; she wants to be a rich young
widow, I suppose. Though, as for being young, she never will see thirty again to my knowledge. Then the men all admire her spirit' so much, and she knew it beforehand. It serves to make her talked about.” Mrs. Smith delivered these opinions oracularly, and Miss Martin joined in with
“I should a thought Mrs. Jorden might have afforded to have stayed the winter with her sister, at least. Flying here, and flying off again before ever any of us had a chance to see her; but it's all of a piece with the whole family—they're just as selfish, and just as close as they can be. If it wasn't for Jane, Mrs. Jackson's girl, we never should know what was going on.”
“By the by, Jane says,” continued Mrs. Smith, “that Mr. Edward Jackson always kisses her when he comes and goes, and that her little boy already calls him pa.' Of course, it's nothing to me; but I do like to see people behave themselves, and they might have waited till Mr. Jackson's grave-stone was up, the least."
Mrs. Townsend was truly shocked at the coarseness of the last remark; but she had waited for a pause in the conversation to suggest an explanation of Marian's absence. “Mrs. Jackson was speaking of her sister's health this after
She is very much alarmed about her. Of course, you know how delicate she has been this winter, and that her physician said he could not answer for the consequences if she stayed north."