Page:A New England Tale.djvu/218

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207
A NEW-ENGLAND TALE.

Still he said none but a Quaker would have thought of meddling with the affairs of people who were strangers to him—however, that might be pardoned: as he said before, he supposed every Quaker was bound officiousness, by an oath, or an affirmation, for tender conscience' sake. "But my sweet judge, you do not look propitious," Erskine continued after this misty preamble, from which Jane could gather nothing but that his prejudices and pride had thrown a dark shadow over all the virtues of Mr. Lloyd.

"I cannot, Erskine, look propitious on your sneers against the principles of my excellent friend."

"Perhaps," replied Erskine tartly, "his practice will be equally immaculate in your eyes. And now, Jane, I beseech you for once to forget that Mr. Lloyd is your excellent friend; a man who bestowed some trifling favours on your childhood, and remember the rights of one to whom you at least owe your love—though he would neither accept that, nor your gratitude, as a debt."

Jane assured him she was ready to hear anything and everything impartially that he would tell her. He replied, that he detested stoical impartiality; that he wished her to enter into his loves and his hates, without expecting a reason in their madness. But since you must have the reason, I will not withhold it. As I told you, I submitted to a thousand vexatious, little impertinences': he is plausible and gentlemanly in his manners, so there was nothing I could resent, till after a con-