Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/436

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rather shy of, if she had seen him under other circumstances. But though his face was odd, it looked kindly upon her, and it was a kind tone of voice in which his question had been put; so he seemed to her like a friend. “What is all this?” repeated the old gentleman. Ellen began to tell what it was, but the pride which had forbidden her to weep before strangers gave way at one touch of sympathy, and she poured out tears much faster than words as she related her story, so that it was some little time before the old gentleman could get a clear notion of her case. He waited very patiently till she had finished; but then he set himself in good earnest about righting the wrong. “Hallo! you, sir!” he shouted, in a voice that made everybody look round; “you merino man! come and show your goods: why aren’t you at your post, sir?”—as Mr. Saunders came up with an altered countenance—“here’s a young lady you’ve left standing unattended to I don’t know how long; are these your manners?”

“The young lady did not wish anything, I believe, sir,” returned Mr. Saunders, softly.

“You know better, you scoundrel,” retorted the old gentleman, who was in a great passion; “I saw the whole matter with my own eyes. You are a disgrace to the store, sir, and deserve to be sent out of it, which you are like enough to be.”

“I really thought, sir,” said Mr. Saunders, smoothly,—for he knew the old gentleman, and knew very well he was a person that must not be offended,—“I really thought—I was not aware, sir, that the young lady had any occasion for my services.”

“Well, show your wares, sir, and hold your tongue. Now, my dear, what did you want?”

“I wanted a little bit of this gray merino, sir, to show to mamma;—I couldn’t buy it, you know, sir, until I found out whether she would like it.”

“Cut a piece, sir, without any words,” said the old gentleman. Mr. Saunders obeyed.

“Did you like this best?” pursued the old gentleman.

“I liked this dark blue very much, sir, and I thought mamma would; but it’s too high.”