We left Philadelphia at a very early hour the next morning, and, after a very long and somewhat tedious journey, arrived in safety at the busy village of Littleton. Mr. Egmont conducted me to an hotel till he could make the necessary enquiries for finding my uncle. I knew he resided about three miles from the village, but was unable to say in what direction. Mrs. Egmont invited me to accompany them to their friends, who lived in the village, and rest before seeking my uncle; but, as I had arrived so near the termination of my journey, I wished to reach the home of my uncle without further delay. After accompanying Mrs. Egmont to their friends, Mr. Egmont returned to the hotel, where I awaited him. I was seated near a window, in the sitting-room, and heard him making enquiries of one and another for Mr. Wayland my uncle. No one seemed to know anything of the person he sought. As the landlord passed that way, he turned to him and enquired if he knew a farmer in that vicinity by the name of Wayland? He replied that, having resided only for a short time in Littleton, his acquaintance did not, as yet, extend beyond the limits of the village, and that he knew of no such person. I was beginning to fear that my uncle had removed to some other place, as I had not heard anything from him for a considerable time, when a ragged-looking boy, apparently about twelve years of age, made his way up to Mr. Egmont, and said—
“I can tell you where Mr. Wayland lives. He lives about three miles from here, on the Waterford Road. I knows you see, for I worked for him this fall, pickin’ pertaters.”
Giving the boy a piece of silver as he thanked him for his information, Mr. Egmont came to inform me that, when I had partaken of the dinner he had ordered for me, he would accompany me to the home of my uncle.
The lad before mentioned had given Mr. Egmont so accurate a description of my uncle’s residence that, when we came in view of the square, old-fashioned farm-house, described by the boy, we at once knew it to be my uncle’s home. As we came in sight of the house, the question—how will they receive me?—arose in my mind; but the recollection which I retained of my uncle was of so pleasing a character that I had little doubt of meeting with a cordial welcome. As we drew near, I observed an elderly-looking man in the yard, engaged in mending some farming implement. From the appearance of the place, it seemed that the front entrance was but little used, the front door and blinds being closely shut. I was at that time wholly unacquainted with the habits and customs of country people. As we drove up to the gate, the man I had before observed, paused in his employment, and regarded us, as I thought, with no little surprise. Surely, thought I, this man cannot be my uncle Wayland. At the time of his visit to my mother he was a young and fine-looking man; but the man I now beheld was bowed as it were by age, and his hair was nearly white. I should have remembered that since I had seen him he had laid both of his loved children in the grave. True it is that sorrow causes premature old age; but, upon a second look at his countenance, I could clearly trace his resemblance to my mother. His eyes, when he raised them to look at us, so strongly resembled hers that my own filled with tears, which I hastily wiped away.