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found him quite sober; his eldest son, he said, had gone to the store, four miles off, to get a jug of rum; and as he must work alone, it would take him some time to make and set the shoe. The gentleman was requested to walk into the house to rest himself, while the smith was at work. The house, on the outside, presented every appearance of poverty and wretchedness ; it had battens on the roof for shingles, and the top of the chimney ascended but a few inches above the ridge-pole. Yet the outward aspect of the house was princely when compared with the interior. It had been intended for three rooms on the floor, but there was neither lath, plaster, or jointed boards, by way of partition, to be seen-a few rough boards marked, rather than made, a distinction in the building. The garret,--for the house was only one story high,—was ascended by a short ladder. The furniture in this part of the premises consisted of two beds,-if such a mass of rags as were exhibited to view could be so called,—with some tattered blankets, which showed that a portion of the family slept there. Three wooden bottomed chairs, a table, a milk-pan, and a few tin measures, made up a good part of the moveables in the lower story. There was a large quantity of ashes in the fire-place, covered with potato-skins, and a kettle standing near, which bore evident marks of recent use in making hasty-pudding. There was a window and two port-holes in the main room; several panes of glass had been broken in the window, their places being supplied by bundles of rags. A dirty singed cat slept close to the ashes;
when her mistress attempted to drive her away, she slowly arose, and stretching one leg after another, and partially opening her eyes, leisurely moved off. She was just such a grimalkin as a rat would like to see—one too indolent to do him any harm. Near one of the beds, a short-legged big-headed, mongrel, surly dog reared himself to eye the stranger, but on his growling several times, the woman gave him a kick, and sent him yelping out of doors. By way of treating her guest with great civility, the mistress of the house took up the broom, and began to sweep a spot for him to place his chair. was sorry,” she said, “that her house was so dirty, but her child had been sick for several days, and had taken up all her time.” The traveller had not before noticed a child in one of the beds, of about three years old, pale, emaciated, and listless. The mother observed “that within two days it had been very sick, and that she had not had a drop of rum to give her, but hoped her son Jim would be along soon from the store, and then she should have something to offer the gentleman to drink.” In a short time, the son made his appearance.
He was a tall athletic fellow, whose whole dress consisted of a tow-cloth shirt and pantaloons; he was bare-footed and bare. headed ; when he went to the store, he had borrowed his father's hat to wear, but on entering the house he threw it off. His hair was long and matted, looking defiance to comb or brush, things which it had never known. His brawny arms were naked, his shirt sleeves being rolled up; and his whole appearance was that of Caliban's, before he had been taught human language by Prospero ; but there was a good nature in his face, unlike the expression of Sycorax's son; and after he had drank his fill, he seemed ready to say,
"I pray thee, let me bring thee where crabs grow;
Young sea-mells from the rock.” Jim's arrival was a jubilee; the jug went round briskly, and each one poured out what he wanted into a tin dipper, or broken mug, and diluting the liquor a little with some excellent water, took a hearty swig. The mother sweetened some of the rum with maple-sugar, and mixing with it a little milk and water, gave it to the child as food and medicine. The little wretch raised her head to take the dose, as familiarly as she would to have drank a cup of pure milk. “ There dear, it will do you good,” said the mother, “now go to sleep, and get well.” Turning to the stranger, she said, "she hoped the gentleman would drink with them, if they were poor folks;" but he politely declined, much to their disappointment.
After the father and son had gone into the shop to resume their labors, the traveller made some inquiries of the woman about her family. He found she had five children living “ Jim" was the first-born; the two next were boys, then gone a fishing; the fourth was a daughter, then about thirteen years old ; and the one in the bed
the number. “Lucy, the eldest daughter," she said, "did not live at home, but with Deacon Thompson,
a very nice man, who had sent her to school, and she could now read the Bible and the newspaper. No one of the family but Lucy took to learning; in fact, they did not know a letter of the alphabet.” The traveller now recollected his bundle of books, and brought it from his chaisebox into the house. On examining it he found that the assortment was such, as to form a pretty little library for Miss Lucy. Taking out his pencil, he wrote a note in one of the books to Deacon Thompson, presenting the whole of them to Miss Lucy Danforth, then under his care, requesting him to see that she was not deprived of them by any one. The horse being shod, Jim was hired to set off to the Deacon's with the bundle—the poor fellow not knowing that he was carrying a present to his sister. The traveller continued his journey, and the incident soon passed from his mind, amid the pleasures and cares of the world.
Some few years after this event, the traveller was called to see his friends on the same route. As he passed the site of old Danforth’s blacksmith shop, he saw that new buildings had been erected; and he internally exclaimed, thinking that the place had passed into the hands of some new proprietor,
so pass away the wicked.” The traveller had proceeded but a mile or two, when he saw that a thunder-cloud hung on his rear, and that it was time for him to seek a shelter. As he was driving by a good looking farm-house, he saw a venerable gentleman standing at the door, apparently watching, with great anxiety, the approaching tornado. Bowing to the traveller,
he invited him to put his horse in the barn, or under the shed, and to tarry with him until the storm should have passed over. The invitation was gratefully accepted. The shower was preceded by a "mighty wind.” While this was passing over, the good old man remained quiet; but so soon as the thunder began to roar, he seemed much agitated. He was sitting in the middle of the room, at a table, on which was placed an open Bible, from which he read a few verses, as a sort of propitiatory offering to the “God who speaketh in the thunder, and rideth upon the wings of the wind.” Seeing the traveller perfectly unmoved, and even enjoying the sublimity of the scene, the old man lifting up his pale face, inquired, “if he did not feel terrified at such a demonstration of God's wrath ?” “No," was the reply; “I do not consider it such a demonstration, but rather a proof of his goodness. This phenomenon is resolved to causes as natural as the flowing of the brook which bubbles by your door; and probably more have been drowned in its lovely waters, than have ever been killed by lightning within fifty miles of you.” After a pause, the old man said, he believed that was true ; and mentioned several who had been drowned in his neighborhood, but could think of but one who had been killed by lightning. The traveller remarked, that God was never angry; it was only a human phrase. He sometimes punished, in justice, but not so often by fire as by pestilence. The very thunder and lightning, he added, was sent for our benefit, as it was a great purifier of the air. "Well, that is true," said the old man. The