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76 CHAPTER XIV. Retrospective. What I learn on another visit to Covert’s house. I return to the office, and get a letter. how the time rolled on! The summer was nearly over, when the engagement was made to go and see Wigglesworth , as mentioned in Chapter Thirteen, and I had been the better part of two years with Covert. I had passed Cape Twenty-one, in the mean time, and was now legally a man. Violet, the good soul, celebrated the event by a grand supper , to which came Tom Peterson, and seven or eight of my more intimate cronies; and you may be sure that I did not forget Wigglesworth, although the latter was quite infirm, nor the progressive Nathaniel, nor Jack either. Wigglesworth , poor fellow, insisted upon repenting for his sins; but still he had been at the supper and was persuaded into having a good time. I saw less of Inez than formerly, for she had taken up her permanent abode in half of Mrs. Fox’s Cottage at Hoboken , where she amused herself with a garden and Nancy’s 77 children, of whom she was fond. Still I found time to make her an occasional visit. And whenever I went of a Sunday afternoon, which was my most frequent period of leisure, I was sure to bring home, for Violet, a huge bouquet; the source of which I made a great mystery of. And hence it came that Ephraim let off many jokes, at which nobody laughed more heartily than himself. My good parents, all this while, had jogged on happily together, neither poor nor rich; although Ephraim had found it necessary to increase and enlarge his business, and the old milk depot was now transformed into quite an extensive provision or grocery store, doing a good business and bringing to us all a very fair income. Violet continued to help her husband about the store; for she would have it so, and could never, she said, be contented unless she had something stirring and lively to employ her mind and body about. The excellent couple; how really, and how simply, they enjoyed life. With all their industry they had a wise way of never getting excited, nor overworking themselves, nor crying over spilt milk—or as Ephraim professionally used to say, sour milk. As for me, what little I had picked up of law, was not of much account. The lapse of time had never reconciled me to the profession; although incidents and acquaintance and excitement, such as we in New York can easily meet with, diverted my attention from the despondency that 78 had began to come upon me when I had been a student for the first few weeks. Inez too, had a share in rousing my gayety, and the vivacity that always resides in young veins. My feelings toward the Spaniard could not be called by any means a profound love; at least so it seemed to me. For the only test I could imagine, gave that supposition a denial—I imagined how I should feel if Inez were to leave the city and never return; and, much as I liked the girl, I felt that her departure wouldn’t break my heart. So I have picked up some threads of my story that had fallen away; and find myself at the morning of the day, where I was to go that night, and see Wigglesworth. I had made an engagement to that effect, it will be remembered, two evenings before. This day was quite a day in my fortunes. First of all a discovery. Could I mistake those affectionate eyes, and the nimble fingers that had tied the handkerchief around poor Billjiggs’ broken head? There, too, was the very same placid expression, and the goodness of heart, and the willingness to oblige. Covert had been kept home by illness, and Wigglesworth being also absent, an unusual thing for him, I was under the necessity of going up to the lawyer’s house several times. One of these times, in the room where I had to wait a while, there was an old portrait of a lady that seemed to me like one I had seen in a dream. It was a Quakeress, with the neat cap and neckerchief, painted with the manner of looking at you, which gives such vividness to a really good 79 portrait. A long long time this picture riveted my attention ; and then the truth came...


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