Page:A New England Tale.djvu/215

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204
A NEW-ENGLAND TALE.

with sweet smiles and sweet talk for one year at least. But there comes he that will make the bird sing, when it won't sing to any one else; and so, my dear, to escape chilling a lover's atmosphere, or being melted in it, I shall make my escape."

Jane would gladly have followed her, but she sat still, after hastily throwing aside her hat, and seizing the first book that she could lay her hands upon, to shelter her embarrassment. She sat with her back to the door.

Edward entered, and walking up to her, looked over her shoulder as if to see what book had so riveted her attention. It chanced to be Penn's "Fruits of Solitude." "Curse on all quakers and quakerism!" said he, seizing the book rudely and throwing it across the room; "wherever I go, I am crossed by them."

He walked about, perturbed and angry. Jane rose to leave him, for now, she thought, was not the time to come to an explanation; but Erskine was not in a humour to be opposed in any thing. He placed his back against the door, and said,

"No, Jane, you shall not leave me now. I have much to tell you. Forgive my violence. There is a point beyond which no rational creature can keep his temper. I have been urged to that point; and, thank Heaven, I have not learnt that smooth-faced hypocrisy that can seem what it is not."

Jane trembled excessively. Erskine had touched the 'electric chain;' she sunk into a chair, and burst into tears.