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indispensable co-operation the Man of Fancy had taken the pre. caution to secure.
When the festivity of the banquet was at its most ethereal point, the Clerk of the Weather was observed to steal from the table, and thrust his head between the purple and golden curtains of one of the windows.
• My fellow-guests,” he remarked aloud, after carefully noting the signs of the night, “I advise such of you as live at a distance, to be going as soon as possible; for a thunder-storm is certainly at hand.”
“Mercy on me!" cried Mother Carey, who had left her brood of chickens, and come hither in gossamer drapery, with pink silk stockings, “ How shall I ever get home ?"
All now was confusion and hasty departure, with but little superfluous leave-taking. Tho Oldest Inhabitant, however, truo to the rule of those long-past days in which his courtesy had been studied, paused on the threshold of the meteor-lighted hall, to express his vast satisfaction at the entertainment.
“ Novor, within my memory," observed the gracious old gentleman, "has it boen my good fortune to spend a pleasantor evening, or in more select society."
The wind here took his breath away, whirled his threc-cornered hat into infinito space, and drowned what further compliments it had been his purpose to bestow. Many of the company had bespoken Will o' the Wisps to convoy them home; and the host, in his general beneficence, had engaged the Man in the Moon, with an immense horn lantern, to be the guide of such desolate spinsters as could do no better for themselves. But a blast of the rising tempest blow out all their lights in the twinkling of an eye. How, in the darkness that ensued, the guests contrived to get back to rth, or whether the greater part of them contrived to get back at all, or are still wandering among clouds, mists, and puffs of tempestuous wind, bruised by the beams and rafters of the overthrown castle in the air, and deluded by all sorts of unreali. ties, are points that concern themselves, much more than the writer or the public. People should think of these matters, before bey. trust themselves on a pleasure-party into the realm of Nowbere.
YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN.
Young Goodman Brown came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife. And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.
" Dearest heart," whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, “prythce, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she's a feard of herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!"
" My love and my Faith,” replicd young Goodman Brown, “ of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou cahcst it, forth and back again, must needs be done 'twixt now and sunrise. What, my swect, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we but three months married !"
“ Then God bless you !" said Faith, with the pink ribbons, " and may you find all well, when you come back."
“Amen !” cried Goodman Brown. “Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee."
So they parted; and the young man pursued his way, until, being about to turn the corner by the meeting-house, he looked back and saw the head of Faith still peeping after him, with melancholy air, in spite of her pink ribbons.
"Poor little Faith !” thought he, for his heart smole him. " What a wretch am I, to leave her on such an errand! She talks of dreams, too. Methought, as she spoke, there was trouble in her face, as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done to-night. But, no, no! 't would kill her to think it. Well; she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven."
With this excellent resolve for the future, Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil pur. pose. He had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind. It was all as lonely as could be; and there is this peculiarity in such a soli. tude, that the traveller knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overheard ; so that, with lonely footsteps, he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.
“There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree,” said Goodman Brown to himself; and he glanced fearfully behind him, as he added, “What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow !”
His head being turned back, he passed a crook of the road, and looking forward again, beheld the figure of a man, in grave and decent attire, seated at the foot of an old tree. He arose, at Good. man Brown's approach, and walked onward, side by side with
"You are late, Goodman Brown," said he. “ The clock of the Old South was striking, as I came through Boston ; and that is full fifteen minutes agone."
" Faith kept me back awhile,” replied the young man, with a tremor in his voice, caused by the sudden appearance of his companion, though not wholly unexpected.
It was now deep dusk in the forest, and deepest in that part of
it where these two were journeying. As nearly as could be discerned, the second traveller was about fifty years old, apparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a con. siderable resemblance to him, though perhaps more in expression than features. Still, they might have been taken for father, and
And yet, though the elder person was as simply clad as the younger, and as simple in manner too, he had an indescribable air of one who knew the world, and would not have felt abashed at the governor's dinner-table, or in King William's court, were it possible that his affairs should call him thither. But the only thing about him, that couid be fixed upon as remarkable, was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent. This, of course, must have been an ocular deception, assisted by the uncertain light.
“Come, Goodman Brown !" cried his fellow-traveller, “ this is a dull pace for the beginning of a journey. Take my staff, if you are so soon weary.”
“Friend,” said the other, exchanging his slow pace for a full stop, “having kept covenant by meeting thee here, it is my pur. pose now to return whence I came. I have scruples, touching the matter thou wot'st of.”
“Sayest thou so ?” replied ho of the serpent, smiling apart. “Let us walk on, nevertheless, reasoning as we go, and if I convince thee not, thou shalt turn back. We are but a little way in the forest, yet."
« Too far, too far!” exclaimed the goodman, unconsciously resuming his walk. “My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father bofore him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs. And shall I be the first of the name of Brown, that ever took this path and kept”
“Such company, thou wouldst say," observed the elder person,