Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/195

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189
PETER GOLDTHWAITE'S TREASURE.

are his figures, denoting the amount of the treasure; and this, at the bottom, is, doubtless, a reference to the place of concealment. But the ink has either faded or pealed off, so that it is absolutely illegible. What a pity!'

'Well, this lamp is as good as new. That's some comfort,' said Tabitha.

'A lamp!' thought Peter. 'That indicates light on my researches.'

For the present, Peter felt more inclined to ponder on this discovery, than to resume his labors. After Tabitha had gone down stairs, he stood poring over the parchment, at one of the front windows, which was so obscured with dust, that the sun could barely throw an uncertain shadow of the casement across the floor. Peter forced it open, and looked out upon the great street of the town, while the sun looked in at his old house. The air, though mild, and even warm, thrilled Peter as with a dash of water.

It was the first day of the January thaw. The snow lay deep upon the house-tops, but was rapidly dissolving into millions of water-drops, which sparkled downwards through the sunshine, with the noise of a summer shower beneath the eaves. Along the street, the trodden snow was as hard and solid as a pavement of white marble, and had not yet grown moist in the spring-like temperature. But, when Peter thrust forth his head, he saw that the inhabitants, if not the town, were already thawed out by this warm day, after two or three weeks of winter weather. It gladdened him,—a gladness with a sigh breathing through it,—to see the stream of ladies, gliding along the slippery