Page:A New England Tale.djvu/216

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A NEW-ENGLAND TALE.

"I was right," he exclaimed, "it is by your authority, and at your instigation, that I am dogged from place to place by that impertinent fellow; you have entered into a holy league; but know, Miss Elton, there is a tradition in our family, that no Erskine was ever ruled by bis wife; and the sooner the lady who is destined to be mine learns not to interfere in my affairs, the more agreeable it will be to me, and the more safe for herself."

Jane's indignation was roused by this strange attack; and resuming her composure, she said, "If you mean that I shall understand you, you must explain yourself, for I am ignorant and innocent of any thing you may suspect me of."

"Thank heaven!" replied Erskine, "I believe you, Jane; you know in the worst of times I have believed you; and it was natural to be offended that you should distrust me. You shall know the 'head and front of my offending.' The sins that have stirred up such a missionary zeal in that body of quakerism, will weigh very light in the scales of love."

"Perhaps," said Jane gravely, "I hold a more impartial balance than you expect."

"Then you do not love me, Jane, for love is, and ought to be, blind; but I am willing to make the trial, I will never have it repeated to me, that 'if you knew all, you would withdraw your affections from me.' No one shall say that you have not loved me, with all my youthful follies on my head.' I know you are a little puritanical; but that is natural to one who has had so much to