Page:A New England Tale.djvu/16

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A
NEW-ENGLAND TALE.




CHAPTER I.


Oh, ye! who sunk in beds of down,
Feel not a want but what yourselves create,
Think for a moment on his wretched fate,
Whom friends and fortune quite disown.—Burns.


Mr. Elton was formerly a flourishing trader, or, in country phrase, a merchant, in the village of ———. In the early part of his life he had been successful in business; and having a due portion of that mean pride which is gratified by pecuniary superiority, he was careful to appear quite as rich as he was. When he was at the top of fortune's wheel, some of his prying neighbours shrewdly suspected, that the show of his wealth was quite out of proportion to the reality; and their side glances and prophetic whispers betrayed their contempt of the offensive airs of the purse-proud man.

The people in the village of ——— were simple in their habits, and economical in their modes of life; and Mr. Elton's occasional indulgence in a showy piece of furniture, or an expensive article of dress for himself or for his wife, attracted notice, and, we fear, sometimes provoked envy, even