Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/191

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'So there was, Mr. Peter,' answered Tabitha; 'and she was near about a hundred years old. She used to say, that she and old Peter Goldthwaite had often spent a sociable evening by the kitchen fire,—pretty much as you and I are doing now, Mr. Peter.'

'The old fellow must have resembled me in more points than one,' said Peter, complacently, 'or he never would have grown so rich. But, methinks, he might have invested the money better than he did,—no interest!—nothing but good security!—and the house to be torn down to come at it! What made him hide it so snug, Tabby?'

'Because he could not spend it,' said Tabitha; 'for, as often as he went to unlock the chest, the Old Scratch came behind and caught his arm. The money, they say, was paid Peter out of his purse; and he wanted Peter to give him a deed of this house and land, which Peter swore he would not do.'

'Just as I swore to John Brown, my old partner,' remarked Peter. 'But this is all nonsense, Tabby! I don't believe the story.'

'Well, it may not be just the truth,' said Tabitha; 'for some folks say, that Peter did make over the house to the Old Scratch; and that's the reason it has always been so unlucky to them that lived in it. And as soon as Peter had given him the deed, the chest flew open, and Peter caught up a handful of the gold. But, lo and behold!—there was nothing in his fist but a parcel of old rags.'

'Hold your tongue, you silly old Tabby!' cried Peter, in great wrath. 'They were as good golden guineas as ever bore the effigies of the king of Eng-