Page:A New England Tale.djvu/175

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me, to reveal to you the sin, and the disgrace, and the abomination, of one that I have brought up as my own—who has fed upon my children's bread."

"Madam," interrupted Erskine, "you may spare yourself and me any more words. I ask for the cause of all this uproar."

Mrs. Wilson would have replied angrily to what she thought Erskine's impertinence, but, remembering that it was her business to conciliate not offend him, she, after again almost exhausting his patience by protestations of the hardship of being obliged to uncover the crimes of her relation, of the affliction she suffered in doing her duty, &c. &c. told him, with every aggravation that emphasis and insinuation could lend to them, the particulars of her discovery.

With unusual self-command he heard her through; and though he was unable to account for the suspicious circumstances, he spurned instinctively the conclusion Mrs. Wilson drew from them.

Her astonishment, that he neither expressed horror, nor indignation, nor resentment towards the offender, was not at all abated when he only replied by a request to speak alone with Miss Elton.

Mrs. Wilson thought he might intend the gathering storm should burst on Jane's head; or, perhaps, he would advise her to fly; at any rate, it was not her cue, to lay a straw in his way at present. She even went herself and gave the request to Jane, adding to it a remark, that as she