Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/187

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181
PETER GOLDTHWAITE'S TREASURE.

hied him to the garret. It was but scantily lighted up, as yet, by the frosty fragments of a sunbeam, which began to glimmer through the almost opaque bull's eyes of the window. A moralizer might find abundant themes for his speculative and impracticable wisdom in a garret. There is the limbo of departed fashions, aged trifles of a day, and whatever was valuable only to one generation of men, and which passed to the garret when that generation passed to the grave, not for safe keeping, but to be out of the way. Peter saw piles of yellow and musty account-books, in parchment covers, wherein creditors, long dead and buried, had written the names of dead and buried debtors, in ink now so faded, that their mossgrown tombstones were more legible. He found old, moth-eaten garments all in rags and tatters, or Peter would have put them on. Here was a naked and rusty sword, not a sword of service, but a gentleman's small French rapier, which had never left its scabbard till it lost it. Here were canes of twenty different sorts, but no gold-headed ones, and shoe-buckles of various pattern and material, but not silver, nor set with precious stones. Here was a large box full of shoes, with high heels and peaked toes. Here, on a shelf, were a multitude of phials, half filled with old apothecary's stuff, which, when the other half had done its business on Peter's ancestors, had been brought hither from the death-chamber. Here,—not to give a longer inventory of articles that will never be put up at auction,—was the fragment of a full-length looking-glass, which, by the dust and dimness of its surface, made the picture of these old things look