• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Chapter X
 Chapter XI
 Chapter XII
 Chapter XIII
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Peter and Polly, or, Home-life in New England a hundred years ago
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00028335/00001
 Material Information
Title: Peter and Polly, or, Home-life in New England a hundred years ago
Alternate Title: Home-life in New England a hundred years ago
Physical Description: 268 p. : ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Douglas, Marian, 1842-1913
James R. Osgood and Company ( Publisher )
Welch, Bigelow & Co
University Press (Cambridge, Mass.) ( Printer )
Publisher: J.R. Osgood and Co.
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: Electrotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co. ; University Press
Publication Date: 1876
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Aunts -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Clergy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Parsonages -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- New England   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1876
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
United States -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Marian Douglas.
General Note: Title page printed in colors in double ruled border.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00028335
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002225499
notis - ALG5774
oclc - 37033616
lccn - 16003399

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Chapter I
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Chapter II
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Chapter III
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    Chapter IV
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
    Chapter V
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    Chapter VI
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
    Chapter VII
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
    Chapter VIII
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
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        Page 179
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        Page 189
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        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
    Chapter IX
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
    Chapter X
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
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        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
    Chapter XI
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
    Chapter XII
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
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        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
    Chapter XIII
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
    Back Cover
        Page 269
        Page 270
    Spine
        Page 271
Full Text



Baldwin Library






PETER AND POLLY,


OR


HOME-LIFE IN NEW ENGLAND


A HUNDRED YEARS AGO.


BY

MARIAN DOUGLAS.


BOSTON:
JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY,
LATE TICKNOR & FIELDS, AND FIELDS, OSGOOD, & Co.
1876.



























COPYRIcGHTr, 1876.7
By JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO.























UNIVERSITY PRESS WELCH, BIGEULOW & CO.,
CAMBRlfIDG













PETER AND POLLY.



CHAPTER I.

IT was the autumn of 1775, and the pale
sunlight of the Indian summer gave a
yellow tinge to the dry russet leaves yet
clinging to the boughs of the giant oak that
overshadowed the old Austin homestead, a
substantial dwelling-house in a pleasant village
in Massachusetts.
It was a hospitable, comfortable-seeming
home, with two stories in front, and a "lean-to"
roof, reaching groundward, in the rear, while a
queer, bird-house-like porch sheltered the front
door, that now swung open, letting the wind
blow in the withered leaves. The sitting-





PETER AND POLLY


room within was, as well, a cheery, home-like
place, where a tall clock, with elaborate brass
ornaments, stood in one corner, and, loudly
ticking, told the flight of time; and where, in
the fireplace, set round with gayly painted tiles,
after the Dutch fashion, a fire of green ash was
burning, that filled the air with the faint fra-
grance of its scented flames.
The room was strewn with articles of wear-
ing-apparel for all seasons, while over the nar-
row winding stairs that led to the chambers
above, ascending and descending like the an-
gels of Jacob's ladder, little Peter and Polly
Austin were constantly passing, busily making
preparations for a long journey, and a lengthy
stay with some unknown relatives in New
Hampshire.
They were twins, and had just reached the
sweet years of indiscretion, being now thirteen,
- an age for them the more perilous, because,
having lost their mother by death the year
previous, they had now been compelled to part





PETER AND POLLY


with their father, a young physician, who, hav-
ing received a commission in the new Colonial
Army, had, three days before, ridden away to
report himself at Cambridge, bidding them
"good by" with tearful eyes, not knowing
when he should return. He had not left,
however, without making every arrangement
he deemed possible for the care of his chil-
dren during his absence, a subject which had
caused him great anxiety. A worthy middle-
aged couple, who had lately come to the place
from Charlestown, where, in the stirring days
of June, their house had been burned by Brit-
ish fire, and the man's right hand been par-
tially disabled by a random shot, had already
found shelter under his roof, and were grateful
to accept the care of his land and buildings
while he should be away. But, though excel-
lent persons in their place, they were scarcely
those to whom the watchful father cared to
intrust the guidance of his thoughtful son and
of his daring little Polly; and it was with a





PETER AND POLLY.


sense of relief that he received an unexpected
letter from his sister Nancy, who resided in a
small but thrifty township in New Hampshire,
saying that three men from her vicinity were
shortly to be in his neighborhood on business,
and if, as a patriot should, he intended to
enter the army, she trusted he would allow his
children to be sent, in their company, to her
home, where, until his return, she would watch
over them with all of a Christian's faithfulness
and all of a mother's love."
"Tut! tut! tut said Dr. Austin, on read-
ing this epistle; Nancy promises too much."
Yet, notwithstanding, his heart, always sensi-
tive to kindness, warmed, as he read, toward
the almost stranger sister whom he had only
seen for a few brief times since her marriage,
when he was but a boy himself. He recalled,
with brotherly pride, the many tributes to her
beauty and grace to which he had listened,
and remembering with pleasure that her hus-
band, whom he had met but twice, had, on





PETER AND POLLY. 9

those occasions, shown himself to have the
manners of a gentleman, and that he was,
moreover, spoken of by those that knew him
better than himself as a person of character
and position, as well as wealth, he gratefully
concluded at once to accept the invitation,
not even thinking, after the manner of parents
of to-day, of consulting beforehand the wishes
and opinions of two human fledglings of thir-
teen.
The three men foretold had in due time ap-
peared, and, all excitement at the thought of
going with them next morning, a new sense
of self-consequence half consoling them for
their father's departure, Peter and Polly, this
bright November afternoon, gathered together
their trinkets and treasures, anxious to carry
as many as possible away with them.
But you must leave most of them behind,"
forewarned Mrs. Ellis, the housekeeper from
Charlestown; "all your luggage, big and lit-
tle, you must get into those two bags." And





PETER AND POLLY.


she pointed to two long sacks, woven of coarse
green and red yarn, with leather tops and bot-
toms, which stood partially filled upon the
floor.
Peter won't need," said Polly, "as much
room for his things as I shall for mine. I must
get in all my best clothes." For Polly was, at
this time, a practical negative answer to the
prophet's inquiry, Can a maid forget her or-
naments ? There are my short gowns and
my red stuffed petticoat, and my neckerchiefs,
and my tuckers, and my best long gown, and-"
"And what now ?" broke forth Peter, in-
dignantly interrupting his sister's inventory.
"I suppose you think you can have the fill-
ing of both bags yourself; but there are my
Caesar and Virgil, and my Dictionary and
Grammar, and my Introduction to the Mak-
ing of Latin Father said they must be car-
ried, and if Aunt Nancy knows a minister, or
any other fit man, I shall be sent to him to be
taught." For, if Polly was vain of her girlish





PETER AND POLLY.


finery, Peter was equally so of his reputation
as a scholar, for his quickness in regard to
books had already made his friends foresee for
him college honors, and the then thrice-cov-
eted laurels of a "learned man "; while Polly,
though a ready reader of anything akin to
stories, of which, either written or told, she
was passionately fond, was by no means in-
clined to hard study. She was not even yet
quite perfect in the Catechism; her spelling
was always original, and her pothooks" were
the most forlorn of their species, though much
good paper and many goose-quills she had
ruined in following the copies given her at
the village "reading and writing school."
"But those Latin books, and the sum-book,
and the Psalter and the Catechism, and the
Bible with the letter in it that we must give
Cousin Keziah Hapgood, if she is living near
Aunt Nancy, are all the books we can take;
so you may as well put those two 'World
Displayeds' back on the shelf."





12 PETER AND POLLY.

"Yes, indeed!" confirmed Mrs. Ellis, au-
thoritatively; "there is no room for them in
the bags ; and, if there were, books are too
costly things for you to be carrying round the
country, and, ten to one, losing in the end.
I've heard your father say he paid twenty-six
pounds for that set of books, and that's a great
price to give for something you can't eat, nor
drink, nor wear. Put them up, Peter."
Peter obeyed promptly, like one who had
learned to mind what he was told, and re-
placed the books, with a sigh, in the small
mahogany "buffet," that contained what was
then a valuable and expensive library. It
was made up chiefly, after the fashion of the
day, of those theological works and printed
sermons which the children of the Puritans
seemed to take such delight in perusing. Con-
troversial statements regarding the Order of
the Churches," the Rise of Antinomianism,"
and the "New Light Ministry," "Election
Sermons," and, vastly different, Sermons on





PETER AND POLLY


Election," mournful funeral discourses, and
sentimental wedding ones, with a sweetness
caught from Solomon's Song, all were there;
but it was to the lowest of the small shelves
of the buffet that Peter's eyes turned with
longing regret. There were gathered what
he deemed his treasures; a stout edition of
Shakespeare, a well-worn Pilgrim's Progress,"
and a less prized "Paradise Lost," which, after
all, was not unvalued by the reflective lad,
who had never owned a child's or a young
person's book in his life, and who, shut in to
them as he had been, for lack of other reading,
had found in each of these volumes a voiceless
friend, all the dearer because he realized that
what was best in them lay just beyond his
reach, and that to-morrow would give new
meaning to what he had learned to-day.
"Midsummer Night's Dream" was, to Polly
and himself, the most charming of fairy tales;
"Macbeth," an unfailing source of delightful
horrors as a ghost-story; Milton's warlike an-






PETER AND POLLY.


gels, well-matched foes who fought bravely;
and Bunyan's Pilgrim, as real an existence as
the Pilgrim Fathers. But the "World Dis-
played," in twenty diminutive volumes, with
brown covers, filled with pictures of scenes in
foreign lands, was most precious of all. It
was, as the title said, "a curious collection of
travels"; and Peter and Polly, who, in body,
had scarcely been beyond their native town,
had, in soul, with these old voyagers, been
round and round the world, searching for
Prester John, discovering the East Indies,
setting up the cross of conquest on palmy
isles, watching the glittering icebergs on the
Arctic Sea, sitting in Hottentot huts, or roam-
ing through gold-decked palaces.
To leave these books behind, was to Peter
a sore trial; and as he replaced on the shelf
the two volumes he had especially chosen to
take with him, even Polly's heart was softened
by the sight of his disconsolate face.
"There is one comfort, Peter," she said;





PETER AND POLLY.


"there is no make-believe in our going to
New Hampshire. We've always wanted to
travel, and I can't help wishing, if we could
get out of it safely, that we might meet a
squad of British soldiers, or some roaming
Indians, or a cross bear and some cubs, or
anything of that kind, so as to have some
adventures on the road."
You want to see cross bears?" said Peter,
contemptuously. "You, who are afraid of
your shadow!"
0, yes, I 'm afraid at the time," returned
Polly, nothing daunted; "but dangers, when
they are well over, are such charming things
to talk about."
Next to having fine clothes, to be the hero-
ine of hair-breadth escapes, was, just then, the
dearest object of Polly's ambition. As for
filling the bags," she resumed -
"About that," said Mrs. Ellis, there need
be no disputing between you; I will attend
to the packing myself; and, Polly, when you






16 PETER AND POLLY

are gone, I hope you will work on your sam-
pler, and be sure and take your stitches even,
so as not to have to do them over. There has
been silk enough, now, picked out of it to
make another good one, and it's a pity to
waste materials in times like these."
Polly flushed; her sampler was a sore sub-
ject. She had commenced it with the thought
that it would prove a marvel of its kind, as
indeed it had. It was a long square of yellow-
brown canvas, surrounded, on three sides,
with a wreath where fruit and flowers and
birds were mingled; while underneath, trees,
buildings, and beasts, such as "never were
by sea or shore," were wrought in many-
colored silks; but, alas! Polly, not content
with regular patterns, had ventured to draw
upon her imagination for designs, with most
unsatisfactory results. Even the central verse,
the only thing in which she had not sought to
be original, for, with slight variations, it was
the standard one of the time for the purpose,





PETER AND POLLY.


"Polly Austin is my name,
America my nation;
Massachusetts is my State,
And Christ is my Salvation,"

was as sorry a specimen of needlework as of
poetry.
"It was," thought Polly, "exceedingly cruel
in Mrs. Ellis to allude to this sampler before
Peter"; whose brotherly comments on her
fancy-work were wont to be more frank than
agreeable; so, starting up, "If we are going
to the graveyard, we may as well go now,"
she said.
The graveyard was a small, stone-walled
enclosure, on one side of the meeting," as the
meeting-house itself was often called, treeless,
except a growth of wild cherry along its edges,
and one young elm, that waved over what
Polly styled "the black corner," where the
village negroes were buried. Many of the
graves were unmarked; but what stones there
were, were rich in epitaphs, from the long







PETER AND POLLY.


Latin inscription over the minister's resting-
place to the odd rhymes on the humbler head-
stones of the flock. Without staying to read
them again, Polly knew every verse there.
She had spelled them out Sunday noons in
summer, when, between morning and after-
noon services, she had rambled among the
graves, and fed the brown sparrows with the
crumbs of her luncheon.

"A Pious Soul, on wings of Love,
And Feathers of an Holy Dove,
He bid this weary world Adieu
And wisely up to Heaven flew."

"She was kind to all, She seemed contented,
She lived beloved and Died lamented."

Reader
Behold as you pass by
as You are now Soe,
Once was I as I am
Now Soe You Must be
Prepare for Death
and Follow me."

It had never occurred to Polly that there





PETER AND POLLY


was anything in stanzas like these to awaken
a smile. The graveyard was, to her, a very
awful place, that still had a certain fascination
that made her like to visit it, with her little
schoolmates or with Peter; but nothing could
have persuaded her to enter there alone.
The ground all around the place was com-
pletely covered by a close network of running
blackberry-vines, still beautiful, and in many
places green, after the sharp October frosts,
but catching and clinging unmercifully as the
children passed through them to the farther
end, where their mother slept peacefully by
two little Timothies and a small Miranda, in-
fant children, whose resting-place was marked
by three small black stones, adorned by
curiously carved and exceedingly ill-visaged
cherubs. Polly stooped down and laid her
hand, as if for "farewell," tenderly upon her
mother's grave, while Peter stood by in true
awkward boy-fashion, feeling that a last visit
to such a place was a time when it would be






PETER AND POLLY.


proper to do or say something, and not know-
ing what.
"Polly !" he said at last, taking out of his
breeches-pocket a carefully folded square of
paper, "I think here would be a good place
to read this over again."
He found, near by, a little space of grass free
from the thorny vines, and the two children
sat down, their arms around each other, to
read together their father's farewell letter.

MY DEAR CHILDREN: As, by the Providence
of God and the Need of my Country, I am Now
called to Part with You for a Season, I leave be-
hind a few Words of Counsel, that, when I am
Away, may serve to remind You Both of your
Father and your Duty. You are now going to
Reside for the Present in what is to you a Strange
Place, and where I have No Friends to whose Care
I can Commend you, save my Sister and Her
Husband, unless it may Prove so that Miss Keziah
Hapgood, that Excellent Cousin of your Mother,
and Doubly Dear for Her Sake, may still be





PETER AND POLLY.


living somewhere in the neighborhood of your
Aunt.
As you will, therefore, be thrown among Stran-
gers, I Hope that your Conduct will be Discreet
even beyond Your Years. Let Your Behaviour to
your Elders be marked by Docility, Reverence, and
Obedience to Instruction. In company, Avoid
alike a Pert and Forward Demeanor and a Sul-
len, Silent one. Be Emulous without Envy, Kind
without Servility, and by Patience, Forbearance,
and Truthfulness, merit the Reward of an approv-
ing Conscience, however the World may Regard
you.
As Concerns the Cultivation and Improvement
of your Minds, I have written to your Uncle to
Procure, for Peter, a Master in Latin and Greek,
that He may be properly fitted for College, and
to give Polly as good Schooling as lies in his
Power to Bestow; but, as I fear that, at Present,
you will have few Opportunities for Reading,
therefore I trust you will the more Carefully peruse
whatever Good Books you may be able to Obtain
and think over Attentively what You have Read,






PETER AND POLLY.


so if not Able to Learn all I could wish, You will
be constantly Adding something to your Store of
Knowledge.
Finally, never Forget your Mother's Counsels,
nor Cease to give Good Attention to Reading the
Bible and to Prayer, for, without God's Blessing,
we can never be Happy in this World or Reign in
the Next.
Whether it may be the Design of an All-Wise
Providence to Return me to You again, or wheth-
er, for the Last Time, I have Looked upon You,
May you ever Remember me with True Affection,
Knowing my Highest Wish is for your Prosperity,
and my constant Prayer that you may be Useful
on Earth and Blessed in Eternitie.
Your loving Father,
PETER AUSTIN.


Polly took out her blue-bordered handker-
chief and wiped her eyes; she was not
ashamed to have even Peter see her tears,
they seemed so poor a tribute of her sorrow
for her father's absence. If she could only






PETER AND POLLY.


see him," she thought, "and tell him how
much she loved him, and how good and faith-
ful she meant to be."
She rose, and as she did so Peter laid his
hand gently upon her arm. "There is one
thing, Polly!" he said, that I have been
thinking about, and that is, you and I have
got to be all the family of us there is, now,
and if you will stick by me, I will stick by
you ; won't you, Polly ? "
"Stick by you?" said Polly; "yes, Peter,
through thick and thin, whatever comes -
but, don't you think we should be happier if
we did n't tease each other quite so much; if
I should give up calling you 'Book-worm,'
and you should have a little less to say about
my clothes ?"
Yes," said Peter, we should: I don't like
teasing any better than you do; but, about
your clothes, you are too riggish, Polly."
"Well, if I 'm riggish, you 're priggish,"
retorted Polly. If I were a boy, I would n't






PETER AND POLLY.


sit down with my cue half braided, and my
nose in an old Latin book, as you will."
Just then a magnificent golden flicker,
lingering when his mates were flown, lighted
on one of the cherry-trees near, and watching
the gleam of his wings the children forgot
the dispute fast arising out of their resolutions
to be peaceful and considerate.















CHAPTER II.

U P in the morning, fluttering and twit-
tering like a swallow making ready
for flight, was Polly, before the cocks had
begun to crow or the stars grow dim by the
pale light of the pretty green candle colored
with bayberry-wax, making herself fine before
the little looking-glass, quite as anxious as to
her appearance as would become a bride on
her wedding morning; for "to-day," thought
Polly, "my path will take a new turn."
Good or ill, dark or bright, an untried ex-
istence lay before her. Far away in more
newly settled New Hampshire, who knew what
strange adventures might befall her? Her
head was full of Indian stories, which made





PETER AND POLLY.


up half of the old women's talk in those days,
and all she knew of the locality to which
she was going was, that it was a township
not far from the place where, some seventy-
eight years before, the lion-hearted Mrs.
Dustin had fled from her tormentors, with
a string of Indian scalps. That was long,
long before, and tomahawks were not to Polly's
taste; but she had also listened breathless to
the story of the fair Mrs. Howe, the "'beau-
tiful captive" who, only twenty years before,
had been carried from Hinsdale, New Hamp-
shire, and sold to the French in Canada;
and of a little Rachel Meloon, who had been
borne away from Salisbury, and, after dwell-
ing nine years with the savages in their wig-
wams, had been brought back to her friends,
an Indian at heart, singing their songs and
speaking their tongue, and sorrowing, wher-
ever she went, for her dusky friends of the
forest. Reckless Polly, looking in the mirror
at the earnest, glowing little face it showed,





PETER AND POLLY.


felt, as she had said, that "if she and Peter
only came safely through, she was quite ready
for anything" ; the more excitement the bet-
ter; for she had quite as wild a love for
adventure as if she had been brought up on
dime novels instead of the "Assembly's Cate-
chism."
"If anything should happen," thought Polly,
"it is a good thing to be looking your best;
then if people get into trouble they have
something to help themselves out."
She stooped just then to buckle her shoe.
Certainly, her feet were something to be proud
of, so slender and shapely, with such finely
turned ankles, such daintily arched insteps;
" it was quite a pleasure to look at them,"
Polly thought; and, if any one knew, she
ought, for she had often taken pleasure in
mounting a high chair for the sake of a peep
at them, in the little bedroom mirror. But
this morning she was less satisfied with their
looks than she was wont, for the stockings






PETER AND POLLY.


which Mrs. Ellis had laid by for' her to put
on were of gray woollen yarn, not the finest,
and now that they were on, she saw that the
legs were too large, and "bagged" about the
ankles. This was an affliction indeed. Polly
caught just that instant a glimpse of a little
pair of white silk stockings with lovely clocks,
which lay in the unclosed top of one of the
bags. She looked at them with longing eyes.
"The soul that hesitates is lost." "There is
plenty of time, and no harm in just trying
them on," shethought; and drawing them up
very straightly with her garters close tied,
they looked even prettier than she had ex-
pected when she pulled off the others; so much
so, that she could not help rolling up the gray
woollen ones in a ball, and stuffing them as
far as she could beneath the other contents
of the bag. When she had done this, had it
not been for a certain restless pricking of her
conscience, she would have felt quite satisfied,
the rest of the clothes provided for her to ride






PETER AND POLLY.


in being, in truth, quite too good for the oc-
casion; for Mrs. Ellis, who, since her coming
to the house, had taken charge of her ward-
robe, had shared fully in her love of dress,-
perhaps, indeed, was the chief cause of it by
her injudicious conversation. She, in her
maiden days, had been a seamstress in great
Boston, and all her talk now was of the men
and women of fashion she had seen in the
fine houses there: bewitching gallants dressed,
for great dinners, in peach-blossom velvet
trimmed with silver-lace; matrons with plumed
heads, like crested cockatoos; and fair young
maidens, in "raiment of wrought needlework,"
with love-locks on their foreheads and roses
on their breasts.
Dr. Austin was free-hearted and indulgent,
and Mrs. Ellis, in assuming the care of Polly's
outfit, had made it, for "a growing girl," al-
most an extravagant one. The gown the lit-
tle girl was to wear to-day was of imported
worsted damask, re-dyed black for Polly to






30 PETER AND POLLY.

wear as mourning for her mother; but her
cloak, which had been made with a thought
of long-continued future use, was of scarlet
broadcloth trimmed with sable fur, and her
best gown, also of worsted damask, was blue
and white, and flowered with red.
"Very fine indeed," Polly thought, and cal-
culated to make an impression on all behold-
ers. Even her ambition, in regard to her pro-
spective appearance, was satisfied as to her
clothes. Polly's careless spirits, however, all
vanished, when, just as her toilet was com-
pleted, she clasped around her throat the little
mourning-necklace which her father had given
her, according to the custom of the time, at her
mother's funeral. The memento, thoughtlessly
worn till then, now that she was to leave all
the scenes with which she was familiar, brought
back to her thought so many tender memo-
ries, that the quick tears sprang at once to
her blue eyes. She was fairly sobbing when
Mrs. Ellis opened the door. "What! home-





PETER AND POLLY. 31

sick before you start? That will never do!"
she said; "keep up your spirits; you have
a long journey before you, and, if you get
hungry, you can eat, as you ride, one of the
honey-cakes I shall put in your pocket."
The three men who were to bear the twins
away rode up to the door in good season,
mounted and ready to depart. Before they
came, Polly had tried to give her thoughts of
them a romantic coloring ; but Peter had said,
"They must be three cowardly loons, else
they would not have come all the way from
New Hampshire with no thought of joining
the army."
When she came to start, Polly found, to her
dismay, that Peter was to "sit double" with
the youngest and handsomest rider, and the
owner of the best horse, and was to keep in
advance of the rest of the party; the next
most attractive stranger, as far as she could
discern, in the gray light, for it was scarcely
morning when they came, was to ride with the






PETER AND POLLY.


saddle-bags; while she, of course, fell to the
last of the three, and was to sit on a pillion
behind him.
It was not a pretty pillion. Almost dark as
it was, Polly could see the feathers, with which
it was stuffed, looking out through its worn
covering. It was an old bony horse, and the
rider was worst of all. Polly's vain little heart
failed her as Mr. Ellis lifted her to the seat
behind him. "Good by! and don't let Peter
spoil his satin breeches," called Mrs. Ellis; and
that was her last farewell.
Polly waved one hand, while with the other
she clung to the man in front, and the tears
ran down her cheeks. The growing day, that
showed her companion more plainly, did not,
alas lend him attractions, -a man of fifty,
wrinkled, cross-eyed, and ill shaven; his hair
combed back and braided in a cue, tied round
with a piece of eel-skin and plentifully pow-
dered, which was his only attention to dress
as a fine art; his coat, of poorly woven home-





PETER AND POLLY


spun, badly cut and worse made; his breeches
and long waistcoat of buckskin, old and black-
ened in places; his cocked hat, which had
seen hard service, much the worse for wear;
while, sure signs of a sloven, there were marks
of candle-drippings on his sleeve, sprinklings
of hair-powder on his shoulders, and scatter-
ings of snuff on the dingy ruffle of his shirt.
Polly, who was not accustomed to "judging
righteous judgment," but to rating people by
outside show, was more and more prejudiced
against him as they jogged along; for in ad-
dition to his untidy looks, he paid no more
attention to her than if she had been a sack
/ of meal laid on behind him.
Why should he? One little girl was not
of much account to him. He was the father
of fourteen children, and, though the eldest of
them were now grown, by a second marriage
to a widow with five he had made his house
so full of little folks, that, when he had a
chance to be quiet, he was glad enough to






PETER AND POLLY.


embrace it. In truth, his heart to-day was too
heavy to say much. Mr. Burbean, for that
was his name, was not of the stuff that pa-
triots are made of, and the call of Freedom
woke in him no very ardent response. But he
was an honest, well-meaning man, and a kind
father and husband, and he knew what war
was better than Polly did. By and by he
began to mutter to himself, quite unconscious
of a listener. "There's a hard time coming,
there's a hard time coming," he repeated.
"Breadstuffs will be high, and cattle will be
scarce, and the border Injuns will be all
hawkin' round, and the paper-money Little
girl!" he said, suddenly remembering her, and
turning round so quickly that Polly was nearly
startled off her seat, -"little girl! do you
know how long your father thinks this war is
going to last?"
"No, sir, I do not," replied Polly, respect-
fully; "but I heard him say, last summer,
General Washington thought it would be over


34





PETER AND POLLYE 35

pretty soon, and he should eat his Christmas
dinner at home in Virginia."
Christmas ?" said Mr. Burbean, "that
comes in December, don't it? We don't
make any account of it in our region. It's
a kind of a Popish day, anyhow."
"I guess father don't expect there will be
any peace at present. He said he thought he
might be gone a long time," said Polly, al-
most with a sob at the thought.
I guess he don't! I see your father once,
and he looked like a man of sense," responded
Mr. Burbean.
He is a man of sense," confirmed Polly,
her heart warming for the first time towards
her companion. Then they rode on again in
silence. The road was rough, for there had
been a great rain the month before, a wild
storm, when in the White Mountains a new
river had broken forth, and the channel of
the Saco had been divided in its midst.
Here and there the road was badly gullied,






PETER AND POLLY.


and, as the old horse was given to stumbling,
Polly, on her pillion, had a constant thought
as to what might become of her. On, on
they went, now coming to some small village,
where every man they saw had some question
to ask, as to "how things looked where they
had been," and "what was the news from
the army." To all inquiries Mr. Burbean
replied, in the same words he had muttered
to himself, "There's a hard time coming.
Breadstuffs will be high, and cattle will be
scarce, and the border Injuns will be hawkin'
round, and the paper-money won't be worth
a crop of fire-weed. As for the army, some
said it was a little easier now, but they'd been
short for food and clothing and rum; some
of the soldiers' time was up, and a good
many of 'em were getting discouraged."
"Well, well," was the cheering answer of
more than one individual, "there are better
times coming. Benedict Arnold is up in the
North, and when he is in motion we are sure





PETER AND POLLY.


of good news." "He ought," said one young
man, whom they found sitting on a rock by
the way, and polishing an old Queen Anne
musket, "to have been in Washington's place.
He's the man for the day."
"Well, no," said Mr. Burbean, shaking his
head; "he's a brave man, Arnold is, but he
ain't a prudent one. In the dark one needs
prudence, and there's a hard time coming, -
a hard time coming."
This dreary prophecy, often repeated,
weighed down poor Polly's heart; it seemed
in unison with the gloomy November wind
that wailed through the naked trees with the
voice of coming winter; but, as she rode on,
all other feelings were soon lost in a sense
of physical discomfort. Her shoulders were
well protected by her red cloak, but, in order
to shield it from being spattered with mud,
Mrs. Ellis had pinned it up all around, and
covered it with a brown, home-made shawl.
The air was sharp and keen, and her limbs,





PETER AND POLLY.


covered with the thin silk stockings, grew
colder and colder, till a chill ran over her,
and she shivered so she could scarcely cling
to her companion, though, on that stumbling
horse, she dared not loosen her hold upon
him for an instant. When she had left her
home, she felt glad that, in the dim morning
light, Mrs. Ellis had not noticed how her feet
were dressed; now, she was half sorry that
her folly had not been discovered, and she
compelled to wear something warmer. On,
on they went. "No haste, no rest," was Mr.
Burbean's motto as well as Goethe's. Peter
and his companion, on a dashing steed, quite
a marvel in those days, when, often ill-bro-
ken and commonly overworked, the farmers'
horses were a sorry set, were far in advance
of them. Seth Brown, with the saddle-bags,
though better mounted than they, was gen-
erally some distance in the rear, owing to his
disposition to stop at nearly every farm-house
for a little talk and a drink of cider. Slowly





PETER AND POLLY. 39

forward the old white horse plodded on: now
up some rocky hillside, shaded with white-oak
from which the autumn wind had not yet
stripped the dry and withered leaves; now
through a "valley of dry bones," where some
makeshift settler had sought to make a forest-
clearing by girdling the trees, and where, dead
and decaying, the tall trunks were falling down
against each other, and the ground was strewn
with dry and broken branches; and now
through the solemn temples of the tall pines,
where, "no feller having come up against
them," the great trees rose from a hundred
and fifty to two hundred feet, upon either side
the road, and where, far above, the low mur-
mur of their boughs seemed to Polly like a
voice from a world unknown. The king's
mark, "G: R.," was cut deeply in the bark of
the tallest and finest of them. They were not
common trees in the region where she had
lived, but Polly had heard of them often, "his
Majesty's pines," that were the property of





PETER AND POLLY.


the crown, and which no one could cut,
even if owning the land on which they grew,
without incurring a heavy fine. Here and
there the road took a strange turn, which
had probably been given it by the men who
laid it out, years before, so as to take advan-
tage of the beaver-dams, which were safe and
convenient crossings of the running streams,
thus saving, at first, the expense of making
bridges. Now, the way lay beside a small
pond, and the freezing wind, blowing across
the water, beat against poor Polly pitilessly.
But at last they came out into a clear place,
and were climbing a steep hillside, when Mr.
Burbean, looking up at the sky, vouchsafed
another remark. "Little girl," he said, "you're
used to a clock, ain't you?"
"Yes, sir, I am," replied Polly.
Well, I ain't," he returned; "I don't know
anything about luxuries, but I can tell when
noon comes as well as anybody. It's 'most
here now, and at the next house I 'll stop and
get dinner."






PETER AND POLLY. 41

"And warm ourselves," Polly added, her
teeth chattering, and her feet and limbs be-
numbed in her silk stockings.
The next house proved to be a comfortable
log-dwelling, surrounded with fields, several
of them black from being burnt over, the May
before, to rid them of the troublesome trees.
A herd of swine were scampering in and out
of an enclosed piece of oak wood, on one side
of the road, and a shock-headed child was
amusing himself by shouting to them and
pelting them with sticks. Inside of the house
there was a good-sized room, lighted by two
diminutive windows, with four small panes of
glass in each, while a square opening over-
head led, by means of a ladder, to a dark loft
above. A young woman with two children
clinging to her was cutting pumpkin in strips
to dry; and a brisk old dame, her gray hair
drawn straight back without a cap, dressed in
coarse butternut-colored cloth, with a pair of
rough home-made moccasins on her feet, met






PETER AND POLLY.


the travellers at the door," as they rode up,
saying "her men-folks were away, making
cider, but she would give them for dinner as
good as she had herself, and that was baked
pumpkin and milk."
Mr. Burbean ate his from the shell, but
Polly's was served up to her in a wooden
bowl. It was good enough, but she was too
cold to eat. She drew a small stool to the
fireplace and crouched down as near to the
blaze as possible. The children and young
woman stared at her, full of curiosity; while
the old grandmother surveyed her with that
look of contempt with which the hard-working,
hard-faring new settlers were wont to regard
anything that seemed like an approach to the
effeminacy of fashionable life.
"You cold?" she asked, at length, indiffer-
ently.
Yes, madam, my feet are," said Polly, for
they really ached.
"I should think so," said the old woman;





PETER AND POLLY. 43

"those silk stockings look more nice than
wise."
The rough truth of the speech cut Polly to
the quick. The tears came, and in a minute
more she was sobbing. Mr. Burbean, with his
mouth full of pumpkin, heard the sound, and
felt called on to explain.
Her mother's died, and her father's gone
into the army; that's what's the matter of
her," he said.
"Gone into the army?" asked the woman,
her wrinkled face losing its hardness in an in-
stant. Well, I would n't cry any more, if I
was you," she said, turning to Polly ; "it won't
do him any good, and I'11 get you some old
stockings to draw on your legs, and keep 'em
warm. And what's the news from the war ?"
she asked Mr. Burbean.
"Dark," was the reply. "There's a hard
time coming. Breadstuffs will be high, and -"
"Hard times! and what's that to scare
me?" asked the old woman, her eye flashing,






PETER AND POLLY.


and the color coming into her face; "have I
lived so easy that I should be frightened by
'em ? :Hard times! My father and mother
fit with the Injuns before I was born, and I
myself, when I was four years old, see my
Uncle John lying dead with his scalp off; and
me and my husband, hain't we warred for
everything we've had? We've fit for our
sheep with the wolves, and our pigs with the
bears, and our geese with the foxes, and our
chickens with the skunks, and we've cut the
trees, and burnt the brush, and dug, and hoed,
and fit with the land for all the crops we've
raised. If you want anything, you've got to
strike for it, and I ain't the kind that wants to
lie down, and have them Britishers step on us,
as if we were caterpillars. I hain't forgotten
about them Connecticut River grants. There's
been some queer works here in New Hamp-
shire. Hard times! I'm willing to have 'em,
if some of them old wigs in Porchmouth only
can be brought down where they belong!"






PETER AND POLLY. 45

"Well, we '11 hope all will prove for the
best," said Mr. Burbean, fidgeting round on
his leather-bottomed chair. He had the inter-
ests of his fourteen children, to say nothing
of his second wife's little brood, to think about,
and the vision of outside troubles was, to him,
doubly perplexing.
The old woman, having expressed her mind,
now climbed up the ladder into the loft, and
came down with a pair of long stockings dyed
yellow with onion-skins. The feet were nearly
worn out, and the legs were full of holes, but,
"if keeping warm is what you want, they will
answer for you," she said to Polly.
Polly had been too nearly frozen to be vain,
and, humbly thanking the giver, she meekly
*drew them on, putting them over shoes, buck-
les, and all, as, between their large size and
the holes in them, it was easy to do.
The hostess would take no pay for their
dinner from Mr. Burbean ; but Polly wished to
seem grateful, and presented the children with






PETER AND POLLY.


all the cakes that Mrs. Ellis had stowed away
in the pretty patchwork pocket tied on under
her gown, to say nothing of a yard of red
shoe-binding she gave to the young woman.
The afternoon ride was much like the
morning's, through pine woods and oak, past
meadows and clearings, over shaky bridges,
up steep hills, into lonesome valleys; almost
the same, only Polly was vastly more com-
fortable, or would have been, had she not
found that, since through excitement she had
almost forgotten to eat her breakfast before
starting, and since at noon she had felt too
chilled and sad to touch her baked pumpkin,
and since her honey-cakes were given away,
she was quite without food and exceedingly
hungry. "0, so hungry!" she thought, and
remembered numerous half-starved voyagers
she had read about in the "World Dis-
played." The old horse was coming down a
long hill, when Mr. Burbean stopped and
pointed to a house a little way beyond.






PETER AND POLLY.


"There's the Winsley Tavern; we shall stop
there to-night," he said. Just then they heard
a sound behind, and Seth Brown with the
saddle-bags rode past. I 'll be at Winsley's
first," he called, and waved his hat.
It was a cheery-looking place to Polly, in the
rosy light of the November sunset, now burn-
ing in the west. Here, at last," she thought,
" I shall find both fire and supper." It was a
large house built against the side of a hill, so
that the barn, stables, and cart-houses were
all on a level with its chambers, the bar-room
being on the second story, yet having a ground-
entrance. A tall staff, on one side, swung
aloft the sign-board, which bore upon it a new
device, "The Liberty Tree," painted in bright-
est green. It was a busy time of year, and
even Polly, with her inexperienced eyes, saw
at once the house must be full of company.
Well-dressed and ill-dressed, in broadcloth and
homespun, buckskin breeches and rawhide
leggins, all were there, and, waiting her arrival,






PETER AND POLLY.


close by the immense horse-block, was Peter,
his face aglow with delight.
0 Polly !" he asked, as he helped her to
alight, "did you ever have so good a ride ?"
But just then looking down, What's this?"
he asked ; "you, you, of all girls, Polly Aus-
tin! how came you to have those horrid
yellow rags on your feet? Come in, come
into the house, as quickly as you can, and
don't let anybody see you!"
Poor Polly, completely humiliated, slunk
after him, and he led the way down through
a side door, where he thought they would be
unobserved; for Peter had reached the house
some time before, and, boy like, already felt
acquainted there.
Polly, the first instant she could, twitched
off the yellow stockings and revealed the
offending silk ones beneath.
"Well, Polly, if you are not a fool, there
never was one!" was Peter's plain-spoken
remark on seeing them.





PETER AND POLLY. 49

"But that's a monstrous wicked speech to
make, if I was," retorted Polly, sharply, never
slow in her own defence.
But 0, the supper they had, when supper
came! broiled pigeons and cream toast! What
delicious fare it seemed to poor half-starved
Polly while Peter, sitting by, stopped eating
every now and then, to tell about his ride,
which had been as gay as his sister's had been
dull; for the person that he rode with, instead
of "a cowardly loon," had proved to be a
"most wonderful, companionable man," en-
tertaining him with wild tales of the French
War, and of Indian hunters, that had been
"as good as a book," he said.
"That is the best praise you can give,"
said Polly; "but there are things in the
world I like better than books; lovely gen-
teel people to talk with, and beautiful things
to see, and merry times and romantic adven-
tures, all of one's own! And Polly sighed,
and helped herself to pigeon for the third time.














CHAPTER III.


T was gratifying to the young people, next
morning, to find that they were to stay
over the day at the tavern. Peter's compan-
ion had business in the neighborhood. Mr.
Burbean, well paid beforehand for his charge,
saw that Polly, though used to horseback rid-
ing, from jogging round with her father, on
his visits to his patients, was not strong
enough for journeying two days in succession;
and Seth Brown, stirring up great mugs of
flip in the bar-room, was only too glad to
make an excuse for stopping, by saying, he
thought it best the saddle-bags should not
go on before their owners.
Peter and Polly had such fresh young eyes,





PETER AND POLLY.


so eager to see, and finding so much of in-
terest in everything they saw, that it is possi-
ble they looked about the premises quite as
much as was proper; for, except the chambers,
there was scarcely a room into which they did
not peer. Peter led the way, and Polly, who
felt a cold coming on, and whose limbs were
stiff, but whose spirit was as willing as her
flesh was weak, hobbled after, wherever he
went. They put their heads into the great
kitchen, where, out of the big chimney oven
so large that a child of ten could have gone
into it, a red-faced cook was taking huge iron
pots of smoking baked beans; into the parlor,
with its sanded floor, its fine looking-glass,
and its bright, glowing fireplace, holding
wood six feet long, to which Polly was always
coming back, and fluttering about like a moth
around a candle, warming her chilly, silken-
dressed feet ; into the little room where a
barber was dressing over a short white wig,
with curling-irons, and a half-dozen men sat





PETER AND POLLY.


by, each wishing to be the first to have his
cue re-braided and his face clean shaved, for
the barber was a busy man in those beardless
days; into the entry of the bar-room, filled
with the odor of tobacco-smoke and toddy,
and of the loud sound of oaths from some
men quarrelling over a game of cards, the
first real profanity that Polly, brought up in a
Puritan town, where the laws against it had
not yet spent their force, had ever heard.
As for the bar-room itself, where there was
the usual display of jugs and mugs and tank-
ards and runlets and flowing bowls, in spite
of the recent great rise in the cost of spirits,
only Peter had a glimpse of it; for, as he said,
"it was no place for a girl to look into."
"Nor for you, either, where they take the
name of God in vain," said Polly, solemnly
shaking her head.
But when Peter, anxious to extend his
observations further, went out into the wide
stable-yard, Polly put on her shawl and





PETER AND POLLY. 53

daringly followed after. There stood a half-
dozen great carts, from which the oxen had
been taken to rest and be fed. Two or three
of them were filled with new spinning-wheels,
held firmly in their places by bags of wool,
perhaps the property of some enterprising
manufacturer. A sunburnt hostler, lazy and
slow-motioned, and ready to have a word
with any one, was unloading a clumsy vehicle
in one corner.
"If you will look under that shed you'll
find something mebbe you hain't seen be-
fore!" he called to Peter, as he came by.
It's a chaise; once in a while one stops
here, but not often; a cart with two tongues,
my little brother Peleg calls it, and a good
many folks round here never see one."
Never saw one said Polly, with a slight-
ly contemptuous accent. Chaises are very
common things where I came from; I have
often ridden in them myself." And with a
glance in the direction indicated, but without





PETER AND POLLY.


stopping to examine the wonder, she drew
her shawl closer, and, leaving Peter behind,
hurried into the house, glad to get in from
the bleak outdoor air, and to warm her feet
by the fireplace.
Sitting on a long settle on the side of the
room were two men; the one, a ruddy, blue-
eyed fellow, in a teamster's striped frock and
long leggins and coarsely made shoes, with-
out buckles, who sat playing with an ox-
goad and talking with the other, an older
man, with a droll little white wig, and a com-
plete suit of coarse brown homespun.
"Very common people in very common
clothes," was Polly's comment. She wished
the great magnates who had come in the
chaise-a handsome man in fine broadcloth,
and his wife in a silk dress, with muffled
sleeves fastened by glittering buttons- would
only stay where she could take notice of
them. But as there was nothing else to do,
Polly listened to what the two men were
saying.





PETER AND POLLY.


List! said the younger man; I ain't;
but if the war holds out I shall; and when
I go into the army I sha' n't come back till
it's over. There were some young blades
I knew, all in a hurry to be off as soon as
they heard of Lexington; and now that the
rations are cut down, and they find that sol-
diering is hard work and poor pay, they are
grumbling to get home again. 'Fighting and
fifing are two things,' as John Millin used to
say."
"Ah, what's become of John ?" asked the
elder. "I remember seeing him when he
first came up from Portsmouth, just married,
dressed in scarlet and gold-lace, and his wife
as pretty as a picture, with eyes like two
stars."
"They were dull enough before she died,"
said the younger man, faded with tears;
John and she are both gone, and their last
days were full of trouble that all came from
getting in debt."






56 PETER AND POLLY.

"Ah, that's bad! How so?" asked the
other. His father was a rich man, ships
going and coming, a troop of black servants,
and a table covered with silver."
John had too much money when he was
young, and was too venturesome in using it,"
said the first speaker. "As soon as he was
heir to the property, he married and came up
to this part of the country to lay out new
townships. He had an idea that money would
grow on new lands as pigeon-plants spring up
on a clearing. But Pine Abel, -you know
who he is, -'t was a name he got when he
had a mast contract, and made a good thing
for himself looking after the king's woods, -
he was too sharp for John. He joined with
him in buying and selling lands, but it some-
how happened, whatever way things went,
the gains were always Abel's and the losses
John's. By and by a ship went down, on its
way to England, that John Millin partly
owned, as well as half its cargo of timber






PETER AND POLLY.


and spars; and then he got into a lawsuit
about some Connecticut River grants he was
concerned about; and, first one thing and
then another, his property all seemed to go
like dew before the sun. He was in debt,
and his land went here and his money there
to pay his creditors. Old Justice Cram took
his house and part of the furniture, but Pine
Abel was the hardest of all. He took his
cattle and his clothes and his bedding, his
watch and his knee-buckles, and his wife's
gold beads; and as things grew worse and
worse, and John grew poorer and poorer, he
kept sending the sheriff till there was noth-
ing left to lay hands on. He took their and-
irons out of the fireplace, and the brass
kettle, and their last knife and fork; and,
when there was n't anything else, a bag of
wheat that John had planted and raised, and
thrashed himself, and expected to have to live
on. That broke John down; he hadn't
been used to hard times when he was a boy,






PETER AND POLLY.


and when that happened he gave up, sick,
and was as crazy as a loon. His wife bor-
rowed a bed of my sister Betty for him to
lie on, and I went and sat up with him three
nights running; and the fourth morning I
went down to the house, a miserable place
it was too, made of half-fitting logs with one
small isinglass window ; the doors were open,
and I went in and looked everywhere, but
there was n't any one to be seen. The
sheets were turned down from the bed where
John had been, but he was gone. I went
out and searched through the fields near by,
and up in the pasture I looked about and
called, 'Rob! Rob!' that was the name
of John's little boy about ten years old, -
but nobody answered. At last, down in a
bushy place, the first I knew I came upon
Rob, sitting half hid by the tall weeds. He
was white as a sheet, and his eyes were
fierce and shining as a wild-cat's. 'Touch
him if you durst!' he said; and then he saw






PETER AND POLLY. 59

who it was, and he came to me and began
to cry, and he called his mother, she was
hid close by, and she told me all about it.
All through the night before John was out
of his head, and kept saying he was dying,
and that Abel would come and take his
body for debt; and when the breath did
leave him she knew Abel could do that and
she was afraid he might, so she and Jock
Adams he was a fellow near, not very
quick-witted, but kinder than many folks that
are- took the corpse and carried it out into
the pasture and hid it under some elder-
bushes. There he lay, the great white flow-
ers 't was July nodding and waving like
white feathers over him.
"'Don't fret yourself, Mrs. Million said I;
'Abel's heart is hard enough for anything, but
attaching a corpse is ghostly work, and he
knows how folks look at it too well to try it.
I'll make a coffin, and you go right ahead with
the funeral.' So I nailed up a coffin and put






PETER AND POLLY.


him in it, and we got bearers, and the minis-
ter made a prayer; but I felt easier myself
when the ground was over him. And you
ought to have seen that boy, Rob, at the
funeral: he just sat by the coffin and watched
for the sheriff, his great eyes like burning
coals. It almost scared me."
"But what became of John's wife ?"
0, she's gone too. She was a sickly crea-
ture, and after her husband died, she failed
fast, though she lived nearly three years. As
for Rob, just before she died she 'prenticed
him to a man named Dow, a shoemaker. I
think her mind was broken when she did it.
Dow's sister, a crafty-tongued woman, tended
her in her sickness, and doubtless influenced
her when her mind was wandering. It is, I
fear, a hard place for the poor boy."
Polly's romance-loving heart thrilled with
indignant pity as she listened to this tragic
tale. Her sympathies went out toward this
unknown, much-suffering Rob." She wished






PETER AND POLLY. 61


she could see him and tell him how sorry she
was for all his trials. But that will never
be!" she said, as she retold the story to
Peter, when, half an hour after, he came in.














4 '-.
JLz .47






( /0 A -&\\' 0 '







CHAPTER IV.


P OLLY'S heart beat very fast, when, on
the last day of their journey, the old
horse began to quicken his pace, and Mr. Bur-
bean pointed to a black weather-beaten build-
ing, on two sides of which an old barricade
was standing, built of hewn logs to the height
of the roof, with a sentry-box still perched in
the corner. "Little girl," he said, "that's the
old garrison; we are getting to the village,
and you will know your uncle's, for it's next
to the meeting, and the largest house in the
place."
Polly sat up very straight, and tried to look
her best as she rode up the street, the village
dogs barking, and the ever-present hogs grunt-






PETER AND POLLY. 63

ing, and scampering, this way and that, before
them.
It was really a pleasant place, for, though
most of the dwellings were small and un-
painted, they were tidily kept, and most of
them recently built, giving a new, fresh look
to the village, to which she had not been ac-
customed in her Massachusetts home.
The meeting-house was a substantial-look-
ing building, with a square porch at one end,
surmounted by a belfry yet waiting for a bell;
and next it, separated by the graveyard, and
with a thrifty orchard of immense pear and
apple trees beyond it, for there were "giants
in those days" in the fruit-grower's world, -
stood her Uncle Philbrick's home, a large,
handsome house, painted of a light yellow
color, and with a multiplicity of windows
which even inexperienced Polly realized must
have cost a pretty penny, considering the price
of glass.
How lovely and genteel it is she thought,






PETER AND POLLY.


as she dismounted at the horse-block, beside
which Peter, already arrived, was waiting as
he had done at the inn. No vulgar block,"
she noticed, with her grandeur-loving eyes,
like the pine stumps which served that pur-
pose by so many houses, but a fine round of
well-cut stone.
"And how lovely and genteel she is !" she
thought again, when the ddor opened and her
aunt came out to meet her; a handsome wo-
man of nearly fifty, with keen black eyes,
trim figure, and wonderful pink and white
complexion, whose fairness was enhanced by
a small black patch on her left cheek. Her
dress was of homespun, but of the nicest qual-
ity, her cap-border was trimmed with fine lace,
and her flowered silk neckerchief, where it
crossed her bosom, was fastened with a pin of
brilliant stones set in silver.
Polly returned her kiss with warmth. She
was quite sure she should like her, only she
wished her black eyes were not quite so sharp;





PETER AND POLLY. 65

they seemed to see at a glance everything
about her. And Polly wished the pins were
out of her cloak, that it might display its
beauty, so as to make a favorable impression
upon her aunt.
Have the saddle-bags come?" she asked
Peter. He nodded in answer, but Polly no-
ticed that he had his most sober face.
Won't you come in and have a drink of
cider ?" said Mrs. Philbrick to Mr. Burbean,
who, having helped his charge to alight, was
drawing up the bridle to move on.
No, madam, I thank you," he answered,
deferentially. "I 've had to come on slowly,
so as not to tire the little girl; and as I left
four of the children ailing, I want to get
home."
But I would like to ask you," said Mrs.
Philbrick, stepping up by his horse's side,
"what people are saying, and how things look
where you have been?"
Well, I think things look dark," he an-






PETER AND POLLY.


swered; "here we are, a weakly young coun-
try, at war with a strong old one. It's like a
small cub fighting with a grown bear. As far
as I can see, there's a hard time coming.
Breadstuffs will be high, and cattle will be
scarce, and the paper-money-"
"What do people say about that ?" inter-
rupted Mrs. Philbrick, anxiously.
"Well, some have hopes'of it, and some
hain't," was the reply; "but for my part, I
think it will be sure to bring trouble."
It's a ruinous, mischievous thing, having
it," said Mrs. Philbrick; I don't know where
't will end. My husband says-" She hesi-
tated, stopped, and began again, "But we
ought to be willing to make sacrifices for
our country, and I'm sure we do. We wear
homespun all the time, and make herb-tea
three times a day; and as for killing sheep, my
husband thinks the farmers ought to agree to
raise all the lambs to grow wool for the army.
I don't think there is any one more ready to





PETER AND POLLY 67

suffer than my husband and myself, as far as
we have opportunities."
"Yes, madam, and we sha'n't be likely to
lack 'em," said Mr. Burbean, a little ner-
vously, as if conscious he was nearing a dan-
gerous subject.
"And as for giving, I don't know who's
done more than we," continued Mrs. Phil-
brick; "yarn, to knit stockings for the sol-
diers, and lead, and some pewter we ought
not to have spared, to run into bullets, and
flannel for blankets; and my husband gave
more money than any one to fit out the last
company with knapsacks and guns and bayo-
nets."
You never heard of my joining in saying
your husband had n't done enough," returned
Mr. Burbean, desirous to protect himself from
any thought of blame. "It's a monstrous
raw day," he added, turning the subject, "and
you must n't stand out o' doors, madam." He
gave his horse a cut with the short stick which





PETER.AND POLLY


he carried by way of a whip, and started off,
though Mrs. Philbrick would evidently have
liked to detain him longer.
"Come in, niece come in, nephew! said
Aunt Nancy, when he rode away, and led
first into a long, wide hall, then into a parlor
dark as Egypt, from the inside wooden shut-
ters being closely drawn, then" into a hand-
some sitting-room, of which the snow-white
floor was sprinkled with shining sand, and the
walls were covered with panel-work painted
bright blue. A tray, with wineglasses and a
silver tankard, adorned the heavy mahogany
sideboard, and in the corner stood a tall clock
with glistening peacock's feathers nodding
over it.
"What a lovely, genteel place!" thought
Polly again ; and yet her first sense of delight
seemed somehow to have flown. Perhaps,
she reasoned, it was because she was so cold;
for she was shivering, and in the wide fireplace,
with its elegant brass andirons, only a feeble






PETER AND POLLY.


blue flame was fluttering over two moist green
sticks.
Aunt Nancy helped Polly to take off her
wrappings. She looked sharply at the scarlet
cloak. "A very showy garment," she re-
marked, as she folded it up; and, taking off
the protecting veil from Polly's fine musk-
melon hat," she examined it carefully, as if
with a milliner's critical eye.
If you want to warm your feet, you may
come into the kitchen," she said, at last. And
Peter and Polly followed into a large room
that looked dark and cheerless, spite of the
great fire on its hearth, from its walls being
painted a dull Indian red, -a common color
for working-rooms in those days. There were
large beams in the ceiling, from which hung
long strings of dried apples, tufts of herbs,
bunches of onions, crook-necked squashes, and
the glowing flame of bell-peppers. A tall girl,
with a mulatto's complexion and crisp hair,
but with something in her features and bear-






70 PETER AND POLLY.

ing that suggested Indian blood as well, was
stirring, with a long wooden stick, a kettle
of boiling hominy that hung from the crane
over the fire. She looked out of the corners
of her eyes at the new-comers, as she moved
about doing her housework; and when she
sat down with a pan of apples to be pared,
she changed the place of her chair so as to
be where she could still watch them. Under
Aunt Nancy's eyes and the girl's, poor Polly
felt between two fires. If she could only
have something to eat, perhaps it would seem
more cheerful," she thought, as she smelt the
hominy, for her long ride had made her hun-
gry; but Mrs. Philbrick made no mention of
luncheon, and she concluded she must wait
for the family supper.
"You had better warm your feet," said
Aunt Nancy; for Polly, sitting before the fire,
had kept those offending members tucked
away under her dress in a most peculiar fash-
ion. Polly put them out towards the blaze,






PETER AND POLLY.


timidly. What lumpy ankles she had! What
gouty-seeming legs She had changed about
to-day, and by dint of pulling and tugging, and
breaking a few stitches, had succeeded in
drawing on her silk stockings over the legs of
the yellow woollen ones. The feet she had
nearly cut away. Aunt Nancy spied the
trouble in a minute.
You have n't put those nice silk ones over
another pair of stockings, have you ?" she
asked.
Yes, madam," returned Polly, not know-
ing how to evade.
"But you don't wear silk stockings every
day, do you ?" continued her questioner.
"0, no!" replied Polly; but looking up, and
seeing a pair of handsome jewelled knobs in
her aunt's ears, she thought it best to main-
tain her position as a young woman of fash-
ion, "O, no but I have a good many pairs
of them, a good many pairs."
Aunt Nancy's face clouded. "Well, if you






72 PETER AND POLLY.

have, I hope you don't expect to wear them
here," she said, in a somewhat severe tone.
"Little girls like you, I am sure, have no need
of finery; and, even if you were older, it is
more becoming for young women in times
like these to be learning how to card and spin
and weave, than to be thinking about bedizen-
ing themselves with rich clothes."
"But father," began Polly, by way of
apology, "bought and had made for me a
good many things before I came, because he
thought it would be harder to get them here,
and be troublesome for you beside; so he
bought what he thought would last a long
while, just as he got Peter's Latin books, so
that he could have them for study as soon as
he could get a teacher, to be fitted for college."
Aunt Nancy's face darkened again. "As
for Peter," she said, turning to him, as he
stood gloomily looking toward the fire, "your
father writes me that you are exceeding fond
of your books, and an apt scholar for your





PETER AND POLLY


years. I am very glad to find you have im-
proved your advantages, for, I fear, in times
like these, people will not have much leisure
for study. A great many young men have
gone to the war,,and those that are left have
to do double duty; some schools are being
closed for lack of teachers, and college educa-
tions will have to be scarce."
"But Peter," piped in Polly, always a little
too ready to put in a word, "must study,
whatever comes; for father says it 's a pity
not to have him get all the learning he can,
when he is such a forward lad; and father left
word -"
Peter shook his head savagely, to make her
stop.
Your father left word, I trust," said Aunt
Nancy, with impressive solemnity, "that you
should be obedient children, and do as your
uncle and I see fit. We shall give you every
advantage we think it right for you to have;
and if we deny you anything, we shall expect






PETER AND POLLY.


you to realize that we know what is best for
you, and do it for your good."
Polly saw the odd-looking colored girl
glance up from her apple-paring with a queer
twinkle in her black eyes. She was evidently
pleased to have some one come in for a share
of her mistress's counsels and reprimands.
When you have warmed your feet, you
had better come up stairs to your bedroom,
and change your stockings, and I will help
you to unpack your bags," said Aunt Nancy,
after a long silence that had followed her
last remark ; and Polly, completely subjugated,
obeyed without a word.
It was a neat little chamber that she found
ready for her reception. Its high-heaped,
single bed, with its heavy quilt of blue and
white woollen, was partially concealed by
"hangings" of checked linen of the same
color, and a snowy curtain, wrought with blue
yarn, hung at the window; but Polly's troub-
led eyes at once perceived that there was no





PETER AND POLLY. 75

looking-glass upon the wall, and, what was
worse, the one window looked out upon the
graveyard, where the autumn wind now chased
the dead leaves to and fro, over mounds cov-
ered with the brown frozen grass, desolate,
unmarked graves, for there were but four or
five headstones in the whole enclosure. As
for unpacking the bags, Aunt Nancy certainly
performed her task thoroughly. She pulled
out every article, and examined it minutely
before she laid it by. She noticed the trim-
ming of the dresses, the quality of the linen
under-garments, the sewing of the patchwork
pocket, and the starching of the tuckers;
she contemptuously sniffed at the sight of the
unlucky sampler, and even peered into Polly's
box of mementos, locks of hair and scraps of
copied verses, the costless keepsakes of her
childish friends.
"There is a cousin of my mother's living
near here, is there not ?" asked Polly, "a lady
named Miss Keziah Hapgood. My father





PETER AND POLLY.


wanted me to find if there was, and to go and
visit her if she asked me, for he was sure she
would be kind to me for my mother's sake."
"There is such a person," answered Mrs.
Philbrick, coldly, and counting over Polly's
pairs of stockings as she did so, but she does
not live near here, and she is not a per-
son I have -a great deal to do with," she
added slowly, as if reflecting what to say. "As
for your clothes, I fear they are unseemly fine
for a girl of your age," she remarked, when her
scrutiny of them was completed.
Poor Polly! The charm had flown from
Aunt Nancy. She seemed plainer to her than
even Mr. Burbean in his coarse- coat and
greasy buckskins. She quite envied Peter his
boy's privileges; for he, meanwhile, had left
the house and gone down to his uncle's store,
the only one in the neighborhood.
The store was a long, low building with
two doors, outside of which a half-dozen ox-
teams were standing, while within the room





PETER AND POLLY.


was almost filled by customers and village
loungers.
At one end a great fire was roaring, and
round it a group of teamsters was gathered,
while near by was a small counter set with
mugs and glasses in front of a deep shelf dis-
playing jugs and decanters and various pew-
ter measures. Behind the counter stood a
handsome man of fifty-five, busy, when Peter
entered, in filling from a brown jug a wooden
bottle for a red-faced man wearing a shoe-
maker's apron. He came forward and greeted
Peter cordially. And this is the nephew
who has come to be a son to me!" he said,
taking the boy's hand warmly in his own;
"but since we shall have 'plenty of time to
talk together, and as to-day is one of my busi-
est, when, as you see, I am taking a clerk's
place, I trust you will look about for yourself
till I am at leisure."
Peter, thus encouraged, and anxious to
guess at his future, boy like, sauntered round






78 PETER AND POLLY.

with his eyes wide open to see everything to
be seen.
What a busy, busy place it was!
There were more customers than Mr. Phil-
brick and his assistant could possibly attend
to. Here was a woman trying to barter some
green cheeses, flavored with johnswort and
tanzy, in part payment for a linen-wheel;
there, a rough-looking boy was endeavoring
to dispose of a half-dozen hog-yokes, made by
himself; while a coquettish miss, with her
hair drawn over an immensely high cushion,
was making a poor bargain, for herself, by
exchanging a quantity of woollen yarn for a
tall horn comb and a necklace of showy
beads. Suddenly the loud talk around the
fireplace was checked; a little man with rosy
face and snow-white wig appeared at the door;
Mr. Philbrick hastened immediately to serve
him, bowing low and respectfully; and with-
out being told, even Peter was at once aware
of the presence of the village preacher.





PETER AND POLLY.


From floor to ceiling the store was filled
with articles of merchandise. Home-made
cloths, linen, tow, and woollen, wooden ware
of all kinds, "wheels within wheels," candle-
sticks and warming-pans, hoes, rakes, and
shovels, medicines for the sick, and ribbons
and laces for the would-be fair,- nothing was
wanting. In the back part of the building
were large bins heaped with grain, and one
small apartment divided from the main room
was partially filled with skins and furs; for
Mr. Philbrick had driven, heretofore, a brisk
trade with hunters and trappers. Black-bear
skins and gray wolves', silver fox and red,
mountain cat and wolverine, glossy mink and
soft brown beaver, -how many brookside
builders, how many fierce wild creatures of
the forest, were represented by those heaps
of fur! As for the piles of deer and moose
hides, Peter scarcely gave them a look.
Surely, there was enough both to see and
to hear in this little store; yet Peter gazed






PETER AND POLLY.


about with a stranger's homesick heart, and,
for some unknown reason, felt by no means
drawn toward his uncle. He wondered at
himself that he was not; for Mr. Philbrick
seemed, certainly, as his father had described
him, "a gentleman, both in looks and bear-
ing"; not tall, but straight, with finely shapen
limbs, a beauty much appreciated in those
days. His complexion was clear, and his
features handsome, only his eyes had a cold,
hard look, and the smile which constantly
played about his mouth had a frigid bright-
ness, like ice in the sun. His dress, like his
wife's, was of the best quality of homespun;
but the value of his shoe and knee buckles,
and the fineness of his shirt-ruffles, proved
him to be by no means forgetful of the re-
finements of dress. The throng of customers,
many of whom had a considerable distance to
go home, all departed before the brief autumn
day had fairly passed, and Mr. Philbrick threw
round him his long cloak to go home to his
supper.






PETER AND POLLY.


"Nephew," he said, as Peter walked beside
him, "I have heard, from your father, of your
ready parts and your industry as a scholar,
and, when circumstances permit, we shall be
most happy to obtain for you some master
who will be able to further you in your
studies. Till then, with all respect to the
Greek and the Latin, I think the best thing
you can do is to try and obtain a practical
knowledge, both of the use and the proper-
ties of figures, such as you will acquire in
trade; and for this purpose I intend to give
you a place at the little counter near the
fireplace, where you found me, myself, to-
day. It will be light work,-all you will have
to do is to measure out for the various cus-
tomers the different kinds of spirits they may
want, and to see to keeping their scores,-
very light work; or, if some woman comes in
and wants a bodkin, or some cap-lace, or such
trifling thing, if you are not otherwise busy,
you can attend to her;-no hard labor, and






PETER AND POLLY.


a great deal of knowledge to be gained.
Everything in its place, my lad; Greek and
Latin in theirs, and trade in its own. You
will always be the wiser for a little practical
knowledge of the use of figures."
More sober-looking young folks are seldom
seen than the two who sat opposite each
other at Mrs. Philbrick's supper-table. The
keen-eyed maid-servant glanced first at one,
then at the other, and then smiled to herself,
when she brought in a plate of hot fire-cakes.
Polly's heart was so full of her troubles
that even her traveller's appetite was gone;
the hominy tasted to her like "bread of af-
fliction," the catnip tea like a bitter draught.
She almost wished her cup could have been
filled from the little pot that stood by her
aunt's plate, and from which she replenished
her husband's teacup and her own. That
little pot breathed round it an odor which
made Polly think of what she did not, could
not believe would be in any honest American





PETER AND POLLY


house. "That was too much to suspect of
people!" she thought, as she trifled with her
pretty little silver teaspoon. It was marked
on the handle, "J. Million "
"Millin? Million ?" what was it connected
with that name? At last it came to her, -
the teamster's story of the young bridegroom
in the gold-laced coat, and the dark-eyed boy
watching his father's corpse under the white-
blossomed elder. "The same name," she
thought, too full of her own dull forebodings
to dwell long on anything not directly con-
cerning herself.
"Polly," said Peter, when, after supper, they
were alone together for a few moments,-
"Polly, I am afraid we sha' n't be very happy
here."
"Afraid?" said Polly; "I am monstrous
miserable already!"
"Uncle Philbrick wants me to help in the
store, and, if I do, how can I study at all ?"
asked Peter.





PETER AND POLLY.


"And Aunt Nancy only likes to have me
wear dreadful clothes," bemoaned Polly.
"Well," said Peter, as his father had wished,
discreet beyond his years, "if we are not
happy, let us keep our mouths shut and be
quiet; that is the be, t thing that people in
trouble can do."
Becky, the mulatto-girl, went up with Polly
to her room at night, to carry the candle and
see her in bed. "Ye'r getting lonesum ? And
how d'ye think ye'r goin to like ?" she asked,
trying to make acquaintance. But Polly, just
ready to cry, was in no mood to be approached,
and gave, perhaps, too curt a reply. The girl
felt it. She laid down Polly's little mourning
necklace, which she had taken up to examine,
and snatched up the candle with a malicious
twinkle in her eyes. "I hope yer'll sleep well,
but I should n't like to be so near that grave-
yard; more'n one have seen them dead folks
walking, she said, shutting the door as she did
so, and hurrying down stairs, chuckling to
herself.





PETER AND POLLY.


Poor Polly drew the curtains close, and hid
her head under the sheet, till she heard the
great clock below strike the hour of midnight.
It seemed such a gloomy, dreary place she was
in! like a queen in a dungeon-cell, or a maid
forlorn in a castle-tower; and then it was such
a perplexing puzzle! Her aunt's inconsistent
harshness in speaking of Polly's fine clothes,
and her evident fondness for wearing them
herself; the boastful mention of herb-tea to
Mr. Burbean, and the little pot by her plate;
the fine house, the costly table-china, the odd
servant-girl with her Indian form and her mu-
latto skin and her twinkling eyes, all to her
were mysteries. Wondering over them, she
dropped asleep. Peter, in the little chamber
on the other side of the house, sat up for a
long while and looked out of the window at
the orchard, where the tall trees stood, leaf-
less and cheerless in the white moonlight.
His boy life had but one ambition. "Come
what may," he said, over and over to him-





PETER AND POLLY.


self, "I will, in some way, be fitted for col-
lege!"
Had Polly been older and shrewder, she
would not have seen so much to surprise her
in her uncle's and aunt's demeanor. Their
conduct was, in a worldly view, a perfectly
natural course. Abel Philbrick had in his
boyhood been poor himself and thrown with
men of wealth. The sense of contrast between
his position and theirs had nursed in him an
intense desire for riches and power, which had
made itself the guiding motive of his life. By
perseverance, sagacity, strict economy, and the
most untiring industry, he had become pos-
sessed of what was in those days a considera-
ble fortune, while yet a young man, and could,
had he so chosen, have made himself a pleasant
home in one of the older towns of New Eng-
land. But, to be "second in Rome was not
to his mind; and he accordingly turned his
thoughts toward the younger settlements in
New Hampshire, where, thought he, "I could






PETER AND POLLY.


lead instead of follow, and my power, if lim-
ited, would be undisputed."
But the way of a would-be leader is not
always a primrose path. The sturdy settlers
in the neighborhood to which he came were
as independent thinkers as himself, and their
wives in their tow aprons were by no means
inclined to pay much deference to his hand-
some bride in her wedding brocade. In fact,
they soon found themselves standing quite
alone in society. But if not loved or ad-
mired, Abel Philbrick soon made himself an
object of fear. He was the only person in
the neighborhood whose property enabled
him to be a habitual money-lender to the
hard-pressed men, frequently in want of the
actual necessities of life about him. He es-
tablished, also, a small store, where he sold
largely upon trust, and made sharp bargains
in barter-trades. Woe to the delinquent
debtor when pay-day came round He found
he must deal with a man who, "even to the






88 PETER AND POLLY.

uttermost farthing," would demand his own
with usury"; and that, too, in a time when
there was scarcely an article of food, clothing,
or household stuff which it was not allow-
able for a creditor to seize upon. Improved
lands thus came into his possession, cleared
and made fit for cultivation by their first
unfortunate holders; cattle which luckless
farmers had sought to raise for themselves
browsed in his pastures and fed in his stalls.
His fine new house was filled with looking-
glasses, tables, silver and pewter ware, and-
irons and candlesticks, which had once be-
longed to other owners. It is impossible to
conceive the bitterness of feeling which those
who had, sometimes justly, been obliged to
yield up such articles of household use and
necessity, and were suffering for the want of
them, often felt toward the person that had
taken them. But the doubtfully gotten wealth
which had made Mr. Philbrick many secret
enemies in his own township had served to





PETER AND POLLY 89

recommend him in other communities. Con-
scious that his new fortunes made him more
nearly their equal, he revived his old ac-
quaintance with two or three families residing
near Portsmouth, and through their influ-
ence and favor he received from the Gov-
ernor and Council an appointment as agent,
or under-surveyor, of The King's Woods."
It was his care to see that none of the tall
white-pines, which, by British law, were re-
served for the use of the royal navy, were
cut without his authority. The largest of
these trees were marked, and a register was
kept of them, and a considerable fine exacted
from any one who had been found disobeying
the law by cutting one, or from any hapless
husbandman who, in clearing his own land,
had been so unfortunate as to damage one
growing upon it. In the exactions of these
fines Mr. Philbrick was exceedingly strict,
and would abate nothing; though some sus-
picious persons hinted their doubts if the





PETER AND POLLY.


king's treasury was ever much richer for
his extreme zeal in collecting them. Year
by year, Mr. Philbrick's fortune increased,
while his ambition grew with it, and his
style of living became more costly. His
wife sent to Portsmouth for stiff silk dresses
and real laces. Their table was set with
daintiest china, and. as a crowning act, they
purchased a chaise, in which, over the rough
roads around, they scarcely dared to ride
about. But at last even they found them-
selves under a shadow. The trouble between
the mother-land and our own became more
and more an acknowledged fact. "The air
was full of freedom." The plain-spoken com-
mon people woke to a new sense of their
dignity as "sons of liberty." Mr. Philbrick
thought it best to overlook the wanton cut-
ting of King George's pines for the present.
He said nothing, and hoped the gathering
storm would pass. by; but no, the feeling
was too deep to be transient. The leading


90





PETER AND POLLY.


spirit of the place was the minister, a dar-
ing little man, Parson Piper, who loved to
rule by nature, and whose office in those
days gave to him the power to do so in reality.
An ardent politician, who never knew the
name of fear, and whom a little opposition
would only rouse to make more outspoken,
his sermons were at this time about as peace-
breathing as the Marseillaise Hymn. In his
pastoral calls, his conversation stirred up the
people to resistance to oppression like the
sounding of a fife. By and by, the reports
came of the battles of Lexington and Con-
cord, and afterwards of Bunker Hill. Like
one man, the people were united. Poor
" Pine Abel," as in derision he was called,
found himself in a hard place. Some zealous
patriots banded themselves together not to
buy anything at his store, or have any deal-
ings with him, until his position should be
satisfactorily explained. Brown Beck," a
slave-girl of mixed white, Indian, and negro


91





PETER AND POLLY.


blood, whom Mr. Philbrick, like most of his
possessions, had taken in payment for debt,
brought to her mistress a startling tale of a
plan by some lawless young fellows of pay-
ing up old scores by riotous proceedings
against her master. It never seemed to oc-
cur to her master and mistress that Brown
Beck was "as good to carry as to fetch,"
and, by her exaggerated revelation of affairs
in the household, of the little pot by her
mistress's plate, and of mysterious words
dropped by her master, had done much to
awaken prejudice against them, and even to
sow suspicions which were wholly unfounded
among the lower classes of the village gossips.
Mr. Philbrick found he must take a de-
cided stand, although, in truth, beyond his
own interests, he had little concern as to what
form public affairs might assume. Accord-
ingly, in a gathering of the townsfolk, he
took the opportunity of declaring his position
in a speech, whose fervor, he thought, would






PETER AND POLLY.


make amends for his delay. He urged the
young men to enter the newly formed army,
and called on parents to offer their sons, and
wives their husbands, on the altar of freedom.
His wife laid by her costly dresses, and
talked of economy, frugality, and devotion to
her country wherever she went; for poor
Aunt Nancy was fond of display, and must
make a show of her patriotism, as she had
done before of her wealth and station. Be-
sides, Brown Beck's accounts had sorely
frightened her. She thought if her brother
should enter the army, and her niece and
nephew come to her during his absence, their
presence would be, in a measure, a protec-
tion to her husband; for, with all her faults,
she was a devoted wife. But when Peter
and Polly appeared, Polly with the fine
clothes which she feared would scandalize
the frugal-minded- neighbors, whom now she
wished to please; and Peter with a letter
from his father requesting the procurement





94 PETER AND POLLY.

for him of some teacher in Latin and Greek,
just when the penny-saving Mr. Philbrick
(whose best clerk had left for the army) had
concluded to make him of service in the
store, she was perplexed and troubled.
She had other troubles as well, for her hus-
band's business anxieties she made her own,
and just then he was full of them. He had
lent large sums of money in such a way, that,
could he have collected his dues as usual, it
would have added greatly to his wealth to
have done so. As it was, should his debtors
choose to pay in the newly issued paper cur-
rency, of which, with his shrewd eyes, he al-
ready stood in dread, what then?
That was what Aunt Nancy was always
asking herself when she had a sharp word
for Brown Beck or a cross look for Polly.















CHAPTER V.

T was a bright Sunday morning in De-
cember. Polly sat in her uncle's great
pew in the meeting-house, slyly looking around
her, it is to be feared, rather than listening to
the sermon. She had on her fine hat and
her scarlet cloak trimmed with fur; but she
had been made to wear her common dress
rather than her best one, and over her shoul-
ders was pinned a checked homespun necker-
chief, to make her look more as a "girl of the
period should, in her Aunt Nancy's eyes.
The meeting-house was yet unfinished ; for,
although
Great church, high steeple,
Proud committee, poor people,"






PETER AND POLLY.


was a descriptive rhyme of the time, it was
still true that "pay as you go" was more the
motto of church-builders than it is to-day. It
was now seven years since the raising of the
meeting-house-frame; but though, every town-
meeting since, some appropriation had been
made, there was still much remaining to be
done toward completing the building. There
was, as yet, no gallery in the place designed
for it, and some of the gallery windows were
unglazed, and boarded up until glass could be
procured; the floor of the house had been
" lotted," that is, the aisles and the location
of each pew had been chalked upon the floor,
and a committee had been appointed to decide
what families should build upon the different
lots, -but times were hard, and only three
men, Justice Cram, Mr. Philbrick, and the vil-
lage doctor, had availed themselves of the
right to erect one, though, at the public ex-
pense, a pew had also been provided for the
minister's family. The rest of the audience






PETER AND POLLY.


still sat on benches. They were very grand
and genteel things to have, those pews "with
winscot work." Polly felt quite like a superior
being, as, seated in her uncle's, she peered
round at the congregation a little more than
was becoming a temple worshipper; at the old
men in their red flannel caps, and the old wo-
men with their great muffs ; at Parson Piper's
large brood of little folks all trying to get their
feet on one small foot-stove; at the solemn-
looking deacons, who, like the minister, faced
the assembly, while in front of their seat hung
on hinges a semicircular board, which served
as a table on sacramental days.
Parson Piper, this morning, looked unusu-
ally bright and rosy, and in his fervent sup-
plications for the triumph of freedom's cause,
and the protection of freedom's army, so lost
thought of all around him, as nearly to forget
to pray for poor Mr. Burbean, who had sent
in a note, having just buried his fourteenth
child.






98 PETER AND POLLY.

After the long prayer, Parson.Piper lined
out a hymn, one of Tate and Brady's, which
collection had not, in this country place, yet
given way to the more modern Watts. How
one of the deacons scowled during the sing-
ing Polly could not help seeing his discom-
fiture. A bass-viol had just been introduced
into the singers' seat, a large square, walled in
like a pen, opposite the pulpit, with a long
table for the singers to lay their books upon.
Against the use of this instrument the deacon
had testified in vain. The Lord's house is
not the place for fiddling," he had said, and its
profane notes were never heard but his face
showed forth his disapprobation. But one
good thing the viol did: it helped to drown
the singers' voices; for music then, through-
out the country, was a little-cared-for art, and
in this inland parish had been more neglected
even than in other places; the Rev. Shear-
jashub Smith, Parson Piper's predecessor, hav-
ing been a narrow-minded man of the pattern






PETER AND POLLY.


of fifty years before, looking with disfavor on
all new movements, and thinking singing by
note, instead of by rote, a dangerous innova-
tion little short of sin.
When the text was given out, "The arms
of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord
upholdeth the righteous," everybody knew that
the sermon would be one for the times. Polly
wondered, as she listened, whether old King
George's ears were not burning, over the sea ;
she was sure they would be, could he have
been in her place.
On one side of the meeting-house, directly
in the range of Polly's gaze, was a long bench,
on which the boys were seated. Here sat
half a dozen lads, of about ten or twelve years,
and one somewhat older, fifteen or thereabouts.
He was coarsely dressed, and in garments far
too thin for the day. His tow frock had a
poverty-stricken look, and it made Polly al-
most shiver to see it in that unwarmed house.
Round his neck, however, was a warm black





PETER AND POLLY.


and red woollen muffler. That was better than
nothing, Polly thought, for she had a tender
heart, and never saw anything like discomfort
without a desire to relieve it; yet she did not
quite dare to pity him, when by chance he
turned his head and she saw his face fully. It
had such a daring, resolute look, such a fixed
expression of determined purpose, that pity
seemed an unworthy feeling to have for him.
And still there was a patient sadness in his
large dark eyes, that made even Polly sure he
was not only poor, but lonely and in trouble.
She was wondering what that trouble might be,
when Price Hodgkins, the tithing-man, a dis-
tant relative of her uncle, and a clerk in his
store, came up the aisle. It was part of the
tithing-man's duties to prevent travel on the
Sabbath, and to maintain order in the Sunday
services, to drive out the dogs from the sanc-
tuary, and to see that the boys, who were boys
even in those days, were not carrying things
with too high a hand. Such persons were not




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