“Are you, though? Well, I guess I’ll go along with you. Is it far off?”
“Only in the next street.”
The pedler, it must be acknowledged, had a thoroughly countrified appearance. He was a genuine specimen of the Yankee,—a long, gaunt figure, somewhat stooping, and with a long aquiline nose. His dress has already been described.
As Dawkins beheld him entering with Paul, he turned up his nose in disgust at what he considered Paul’s friend.
What was his consternation when the visitor, approaching him with a benignant smile, extended his brown hand, and said, “How d’ye do, George? How are ye all to hum?”
Dawkins drew back haughtily.
“What do you mean?” he said, pale with passion.
“Mr. Dawkins,” said Paul, with suppressed merriment, “allow me to introduce your cousin, Mr. Stubbs.”
“Jehoshaphat Stubbs,” explained that individual. “Didn’t your father never mention my name to you?”
“Sir,” said Dawkins, darting a furious glance at Paul, “you are entirely mistaken if you suppose that any relationship exists between me and that—person.”
“No, it’s you that are mistaken,” said Mr. Stubbs, persevering, “My mother was Roxana Jane Dawkins. She was own sister to your grandfather. That makes me and your father cousins Don’t you see?”
“I see that you are intending to insult me,” said Dawkins, the more furiously, because he began to fear there might be some truth in the man’s claims. “Mr. Prescott, I leave you to entertain your company yourself.”
And he threw on his hat and dashed out of the counting-room.
“Well,” said the pedler, drawing a long breath, “that’s cool,—denyin’ his own flesh and blood. Rather stuck up, ain’t he?”
“He is, somewhat,” said Paul; “if I were you, I shouldn’t be disposed to own him as a relation.”
“Darned ef I will!” said Jehoshaphat sturdily; “I have some pride, ef I am a pedler. Guess I’m as good as he, any day.”
Mr. Mudge’s fright.
Squire Newcome sat in a high-backed chair before the fire with his heels on the fender. He was engaged in solemnly perusing the leading editorial in the evening paper, when all at once the table at his side gave a sudden lurch, the lamp slid into his lap, setting the paper on fire, and, before the Squire realized his situation, the flames singed his whiskers, and made his face unpleasantly warm.
“Cre-a-tion!” he exclaimed, jumping briskly to his feet.
The lamp had gone out, so that the cause of the accident remained involved in mystery. The Squire had little trouble in conjecturing, however, that Ben was at the bottom of it.
Opening the door hastily, he saw, by the light in the next room, that young gentleman rising from his knees in the immediate vicinity of the table.