Page:A New England Tale.djvu/101

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A NEW-ENGLAND TALE.

Hull. He would have rejoiced to have offered Jane a home, but he had no right to interfere; be was a stranger, and he well knew, that Mrs, Wilson would not consent to any arrangement that would deprive her of Jane's ill-requited services,—such services as money could not purchase.

It was, too, about this period, that Mr. Lloyd went, for the first time, to visit Philadelphia. Jane had passed a day of unusual exertion, and just at the close of it she obtained her aunt's reluctant leave to pay a visit to Mary Hull. It was a, soft summer evening; the valley reposed in deep shadow; the sun was sinking behind the western mountains, tinging the light clouds with a smiling farewell ray, and his last beams lingering on the summits of the eastern mountain, as if "parting were sweet sorrow." Jane's spirits rose elastic, as she breathed the open air; she felt like one who has just issued from a close, pent-up, sick room, and inspires the fresh pure breath of morning; she was gayly tripping along, sending an involuntary response to the last notes of the birds that were loitering on "bush and brake," when Edward Erskine joined her; she had often seen him at her aunt's, but, regarding him as the companion of her cousins, she had scarcely noticed him, or had been noticed by him. He joined her, saying, "It is almost too late to be abroad without a companion."

"I am used," replied Jane, "to be without a companion, and I do not need one."

"But, I hope you do not object to one? It would be one of the miseries of human life, to see