Page:A New England Tale.djvu/110

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A NEW-ENGLAND TALE.

"Oh miss, he is not fit for you to take, he has had a dreadful spell with the whooping-cough and the measles, and they have left him kinder sore and rickety; he has not looked so chirk as he does to-day since we left Buffalo." Jane persisted in her kind offer, and the woman turned again to Mrs. Wilson—"Can't you call to mind, ma'am, Polly Harris, that lived five years at your brother Squire Elton's?"

"Yes, yes, I recollect you now; but you married and went away; and people should get their victuals where they do their work."

"I did not come to beg," replied the woman.

"That may be," said Mrs. Wilson, "but it is a very poor calculation for the people that move into the new countries to come back upon us as soon as they meet with any trouble. I wonder our Select Men don't take it in hand."

"Ah, ma'am!" said the woman, "I guess you was never among strangers; never knew what it was to long to see your own people. Oh it is a heart sickness, that seems to wear away life!"

"Whether I was, or was not, I don't know what that signifies to you; I should be glad to know what your business is with me, if you have any, which I very much doubt."

"I am afraid, ma'am, you will not see fit to make it your business," said the poor woman, and she sighed deeply, and hesitated, as if she was discouraged from proceeding, but the piteous condition of her children stimulated her courage. "Well, ma'am, to begin with the beginning of my