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you in it.”
say, if the truth be told, I thought that all was not right.”
“ I hope he will see his error, and amend it,” said the pastor.—“ But here comes Nicholas Clinton.”
The pastor found that the latter was taking his leave of the farm, and that he was about to go he knew not whither. A kind smile from the benevolent old gentleman, invited him to pause in his hasty progress from the house, and to turn back. The pastor held out his hand, Clinton took it, and bade him farewell.
“ No," was the rejoinder, “ you must walk along with me; and, perhaps, while we improve our acquaintance, I may persuade you not to forsake the wilderness altogether just yet, because one unpleasant affair has troubled
" Clinton appeared to hesitate; but presently, with a very ingenuous manner, accepted the proposal, and after exchanging many adieus with the females of the farm, set forward with the pastor across a romantic country, to the house which the latter occupied, occasionally stopping with him to admire some striking feature of the extensive landscape, some new beauty in the water, the earth, or the sky.
In front of the settlement of farmer Joshua, they passed the glassy fishing-water, caļled the Trout-pool, on the bank of which Clinton himself had discovered Jane. The bark in which he was, when he first saw her, had been a little in advance of the others, and as he was raising the spear in his hand to strike one of the fish which were gathered around his boat, attracted by the lights hung out, the appearance of a female figure sitting by the edge of the water, close at hand, startled
him. He rowed to the bank, and her plaintive entreaties for succour became audible to his ear. In the other boats were the settler and his sons, and these, being summoned near, unanimously agreed to take her directly to the nearest house, which was that of farmer Joshua. It was done; and after Jane had a little recovered from the effects of her long and trying journey, she was permitted to remain in the farm, on condition that she would assist the females in the labours of the interior. Clinton pointed out the exact spot where he had first seen her, and described these particulars to the pastor, who was much interested in the recital, and wished that he had spoken to her on his recent visit.
Their route was toward the chain of hills or mountains which bounded the broad valley on the south and southWest. The sun was setting in the horizon behind the most remote of these elevations, and coloured, with the most splendid tints, the light vapours which played about them, while the great plain of the sky was softening into evening's milder hues. The atmosphere was delightful; the sod soft and green; and the groves which opened before them, seemed “ for contemplation formed.”
At length they struck into a pine-wood, where trees, most of whom age had overthrown, lay embedded in the soil, and formed a natural road a quarter of a mile in length, all superfluous branches and bushes having been cut away, and the interstices between the fallen logs filled up, by the care of the pastor's grandson. The way narrowed beyond this, and became dim and uneven—it had been left so by the taste of Arthur Lee, who had permitted the feathery evergreens to grow here without pruning, and the yellow-pines to overshadow the ascend
ing ground in their native majesty. A spring of water, like crystal, murmured pleasantly along by the feet of the travellers; and the cooing of the American wild-dove was heard at intervals. The pastor pointed out to his young companion a pair of these birds, which were perched on the top of a tall larch tree. Clinton stepped backwards, and viewed them with admiration as they were defined against the western sky, which showed to advantage their delicate forms, their rich azure down, and the tints of green, crimson, and gold, which, with every motion they made, were seen to variegate their breasts and wings.
The ground rose steeper, and the sweet scents of a garden and orchard mingled upon the air. “I can smell,” said Clinton, “ some of the fruits of England, and could almost fancy that I were now approaching one of her happy, rural cottages.”
The pastor looked surprised: “ England ! have you been in England ?”
Clinton would have corrected himself, but the pastor added, “ I now know you are a countryman of mine-I feel convinced of it!"
“ I am,” said Clinton : “ but—as my friends theremove rather in an-elevated circle-I had not wished—”
“Say not a word more,” said the pastor: "when you are disposed to give me your confidence freely, I will receive it; in the meantime I bid you welcome to my little domain, for we are now on the borders of it.”
The conversation that had taken place between the pastor and Clinton since they left the farm, had been so interesting and various, that it had served very much to familiarise them with each other. The pastor was na
turally of an unsuspicious temper; and the easy, fascinating talk of the young man, abounding with sentiment and poetry, charmed him insensibly; although he regretted to perceive that he was tinctured with modern scepticism.
A turn led them to the outskirts of the orchard, which was spread over the declivity of a dell, and abounded with the fruits of Europe. Clinton expressed in lively terms his admiration of the scenery, and the pastor's eye ranged around with blameless pride and pleasure. Although night was just setting in, yet the brightness of the sky, and the purity of the air, occasioned all objects to appear distinctly defined, the shadows only investing them with a softness and solemnity peculiarly captivating to the imagination.
The house stood surrounded by a garden at the bottom of the dell, its glistening white walls contrasted with the dark groves that clothed the hill facing the orchard. On the right, a descent of water, over a precipice, fell into a circular basin, whence it foamed along the ground in a deep, but narrow channel, about a hundred yards from the house, and at a little distance was employed to turn a picturesque mill.
An irregular path conducted from the elevated spot, where now stood the pastor and Clinton, to the door of the house, first passing down a slope of the dell, through the midst of the orchard, and then through the garden.
“ This is a very wilderness of sweets,” observed Clinton, as he began to descend. “Stop!” exclaimed the pastor ; my grandchildren
Hark! that is Lucy. They are very happy you hear, Mr. Clinton.”
The clear, ringing laugh of a youthful female came upon Clinton's ear; it sounded from within the recesses of the orchard on his right, and while he looked that way, the pastor elevated his voice, and called aloud the names of Arthur and Lucy.
He was directly joined by the delighted brother and sister, who welcomed him home in the most affectionate manner. The stranger was then introduced, and in a few minutes the little party moved toward the house on the most cordial terms.
But the innocent gaiety, the uncorrupted bliss, of these attached relatives, had the immediate effect of saddening Clinton; therefore perceiving that they had many questions to ask and answer, which were of no interest to him, he availed himself of the opportunity, slackened his steps, followed more slowly, and gave the 'reins to his thickcoming fancies.
Arthur presently noticing his being considerably behind, turned back to him, and the pastor and the young lady stood still in the garden until both came up with them again. A seat of curled-maple, within a summerhouse, was approached, and the four sat down on it, while the pastor related to his grandchildren the occurrence which had been the means of separating Clinton from farmer Joshua, on hearing which, they expressed a generous indignation and sympathy.
Clinton, while the pastor was speaking, employed himself in mentally painting the characters of the persons among whom his lot was thus unexpectedly cast.
The young lady was about the age of eighteen, her brother, a few years older : their English dress was neat and unpretending; their countenances beamed with in