His prying eye, however, detected an old chest in the corner, half covered with deer and other skins, and the key of this chest was in the lock.
The pedlar rose cautiously, and listened.
The young man was evidently preparing the venison steaks from the noise he made, an occupation which he accompanied with the low, Indian humming.
The pedlar went on the points of his toes to the chest, carefully turned the key, and opened it. With a quick hand he turned over its contents, looking round cautiously.
After some search, he drew forth a silver spoon, and what seemed to be a necklace of red beads, the two ends of which were brought together by a circular gold plate. Just as the pedlar thrust these objects into his capacious breast-pocket, the door opened, and Verty entered.
But the boy did not observe him—he quickly and cautiously closed the chest, and began examining one of the skins on the lid.
Verty looked up from the steaks in his hand, observed the occupation of the pedlar, and began to laugh, and talk of his hunting.
The pedlar drew a long breath, returned to his pack, and sat down.
As he did so, the old Indian woman came in, and the boy ran to her, and kissed her hand, and placed it on his head. This was Indian fashion.
“Oh, ma mere!” he cried, “I’ve seen Redbud, and had such a fine time, and I’m so happy! I’m hungry, too; and so is this honest fellow with the pack. There go the steaks!”
And Verty threw them on the gridiron, and burst out laughing.
In a quarter of an hour they were placed on the rude table, and the three persons sat down—Verty laughing, the old woman smiling at him, the pedlar sullen and omnivorous.
After devouring everything on the table, the worthy took his departure with his pack upon his shoulders.
“I don’t like that man, but let him go,” said Verty. “Now, ma mere, I’m going out to hunt a bit for you.”
The old woman gazed fondly on him, and this was all Verty needed. He rose, called the dogs, and loaded his gun.
“Good-bye, ma mere” he said, going out; “don’t let any more of these pedlar people come here. I feel as if that one who has just gone away, had done me some harm. Come, Longears! come, Wolf!”
And Verty took his way through the forest, still humming his low, Indian song.
MR. ROUNDJACKET MAKES HIMSELF AGREEABLE.
On the morning after the scenes which we have just related, Mr. Roundjacket was seated on his tall three-legged stool, holding in his left hand the MS. of his poem, and brandishing in his right the favorite instrument of his eloquence, when, chancing to raise his eyes, he saw through the window an approaching carriage, which carriage had evidently conceived the design of drawing up at the door of Mr. Rushton’s office.