With my twenty dollars I went to Portsmouth, where I speedily felt that I was among old and true friends. I had not been there a day before I was called upon to take care of a young man who was sick, and after a few weeks charge of him I received in addition to my board and expenses, three hundred dollars. I was now enabled to clothe myself handsomely, and I did so and went to Newburyport, where I remained several weeks and made a great deal of money.
In the spring I went to White River Junction, and while I was in the hotel taking a drink with some friends, who should come into the bar-room but the Lake Village tailor from whom I had borrowed the overcoat which I had even then on my back. I was about to thank him for his kindness to me when he took me aside and said reproachfully:
“Doctor, you wore away my overcoat and this is it, I think.”
“Good heavens! didn’t John Blaisdell pay you for the coat? He told me he would; its little enough out of what he owes me.”
“He never said a word to me about it,” was the reply. I told the tailor the circumstances; I did not like to let him to know that I had then about seven hundred dollars in my pocket; I wished to appear poor as long as there was a chance to collect any of my Meredith and Lake Village bills; so I offered him three dollars to take back the coat. He willingly consented and that was the last of the “Blossom” business with the Blaisdells.
I was bound not to leave this part of the country without revisiting Windsor, and I went there, stopping at the best house in the town, and, I fear, “putting on airs” a little. I had suffered so much in this place that I wanted to see if there was any enjoyment to be had there. Satisfaction there was, certainly-the satisfaction one feels in going back under the most favorable circumstances, to a spot where he has endured the very depths of misery. After a good dinner I set out to visit the prison. Here was the very spot in the street where, only a few months before, I, a ragged beggar, had divided my mere morsel of money with the poor woman from Rutland. What change in my circumstances those few months had wrought. I had recovered my health which bad food, ill usage, and imprisonment had broken down, and was in the best physical condition. The warden’s old coat and pantaloons had been exchanged for the finest clothes that money would buy. I had a good gold watch and several hundred dollars in my pocket. I had seen many of my old friends, and knew that they were still my friends, and I was fully restored to my old position. My three years’ imprisonment was only a blank in my existence; I had begun life again and afresh, precisely where I left off before I fell into the hands of the two Vermont milliners.
All this was very pleasant to reflect upon; but do not believe I thought even then, that the reason for this change in my circumstances, and changes for the better, was simply because I had minded my business and had let women alone.