Page:A New England Tale.djvu/41

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80
A NEW-ENGLAND TALE.

and with faltering steps, and without allowing herself time to look again at any thing, hastily passed through the little court yard in front of their house.

The morning was dear and bright; and stimulated by the pure air, and nerved by the counsels Mary suggested as they walked along, Jane entered her new home with a composed, timid manner.

Perhaps her timidity appealing to Mrs. Wilson's love of authority, produced a softer feeling than she had before shown to Jane; or perhaps, (for scarcely any nature is quite hardened,) the forlornness of the child awakened a transient sentiment of compassion,—she gave her her hand, and told her she was welcome. The children stared at her, as if they had never seen her before, but Jane's down-cast eye, a little clouded by the gathering tears, saved her from feeling the gaze of their vulgar curiosity.

Jane, in entering the family of Mrs. Wilson, was introduced to as new a scene as if she bad been transported to a foreign country.

Mrs. Wilson's character might have been originally cast in the same mould with Mr. Elton's, but circumstances had given it a different modification. She had married early in life a man, who, not having energy enough for the exercise of authority, was weak and vain, tenacious of the semblance, and easily cozened by the shadow, when his wife retained the substance. Mrs. Wilson, without having the pride of her nature at all subdued, became artful and trickish; she was sordid and os-