Open main menu

Page:Sketch of Connecticut, Forty Years Since.djvu/77

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

easily take refreshment, he slipped the strap over his neck with such an ill grace, as to dislodge the cap, which he said he was obliged always to keep over his wound, because the "air made it ache tormentedly." This unfortunate occurrence discovered an unscalped head, with a thick growth of hair. The wrinkles, with which he had plaited his forehead, suddenly disappeared before the emotion, which put disguise to flight; for, though probably long inured to dissimulation, he could not without some compunction be stripped of his mask, in the presence of abused goodness. "You are the man," said the Lady in a calm voice, "who, a short time since, requested charity for a houseless wife and seven children, whose little home, erected by your industry, was burnt at midnight. You wept, as you said, that your eldest daughter, who was sick, perished in the flames. Did you not tell me the name of the village within the borders of Massachusetts, where your family remained, shelterless, and that you were in haste to gain a little aid, that you might return and comfort them?" To this mild appeal the dissembler had no answer. He would have repelled anger with impudence, but undeserved gentleness silenced him. Busying himself to collect his cap, hat and staff, he unconsciously found his useless limb, very serviceable in facilitating his exit. "Fear not," said the Lady, "that I shall reclaim the alms I have given you. But remember, though you may sometimes deceive your fellow-creatures, there is a Judge whom you cannot escape, whose "eyes are