Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/205

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199
PETER GOLDTHWAITE'S TREASURE.

to the Revolution. Bills of a thousand pounds were intermixed with parchment pennies, and worth no more than they.

'And this, then, is old Peter Goldthwaite's treasure!' said John Brown. 'Your namesake, Peter, was something like yourself; and, when the provincial currency had depreciated fifty or seventy-five per cent., he bought it up, in expectation of a rise. I have heard my grandfather say, that old Peter gave his father a mortgage of this very house and land, to raise cash for his silly project. But the currency kept sinking, till nobody would take it as a gift; and there was old Peter Goldthwaite, like Peter the second, with thousands in his strong box, and hardly a coat to his back. He went mad upon the strength of it. But, never mind, Peter! It is just the sort of capital for building castles in the air.'

'The house will be down about our ears!' cried Tabitha, as the wind shook it with increasing violence.

'Let it fall!' said Peter, folding his arms, as he seated himself upon the chest.

'No, no, my old friend Peter,' said John Brown. 'I have house-room for you and Tabby, and a safe vault for the chest of treasure. To-morrow we will try to come to an agreement about the sale of this old house. Real estate is well up, and I could afford you a pretty handsome price.'

'And I,' observed Peter Goldthwaite, with reviving spirits, 'have a plan for laying out the cash to great advantage.'

'Why, as to that,' muttered John Brown to him-