“Friend, you look as if you were in trouble; step up and have something to drink.”
I gladly accepted the invitation to partake of the first glass of liquor I had tasted in three years. It was something, too, everything to be addressed thus kindly. I told this worthy landlord my whole story; how I had been trapped by the two milliners, and how I had subsequently suffered. He had read something about it in the papers; he felt as if he knew me; he certainly was sorry for me; and he proved his sympathy by giving me what then seemed to me the best supper I had ever eaten, a good bed, a good breakfast, a package of provisions to carry with me, and then sent me on my way with a comparatively light heart.
It rained, snowed, and drizzled all day long. I tramped through the wet snow ankle deep, but made nearly forty miles before night, and then came to a public house which I knew well. When I was in the bar-room drying myself and warming my wet and half-frozen feet, I could not but think how, only a few years before, I had put up at that very house, with a fine horse and buggy of my own in the stable, and plenty of money in my pocket. The landlord’s face was familiar enough, but he did not know me, nor, under my changed circumstances, did I desire that he should. Supper, lodging, and breakfast nearly exhausted my small money capital; I was worn and weary, too, and the next day was able to walk but twenty miles, all told. On the way, at noon I went into a farm house to warm myself. The woman had just baked a short-cake which stood on the hearth, toward which I must have cast longing eyes, for the farmer said:
“Have you had your dinner, man?”
“No, and I have no money to buy any.”
“Well, you don’t need money here. Wife, put that short-cake and some butter on the table; now, my man, fall to and eat as much as you like.”
I was very hungry, and I declare I ate the whole of that short-cake. I told these people that I had been in better circumstances, and that I was not always the poor, ragged, hungry wretch I appeared then. They made we welcome to what I had eaten and when I went away filled my pockets with food. At night I was about thirty miles above Concord. I had no money, but trusting to luck, I got on the cars -the conductor came, and when he found I had no ticket, he said he must put me off. It was a bitter night and I told him I should be sure to freeze to death. A gentleman who heard the conversation at once paid my fare, for which I expressed my grateful thanks, and I went to Concord.