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“ Mark how a plain tale shall put you down."-Shakspeare.

6 Have you heard the news?” said Mrs. Brown to Mrs. Green, as they met, one morning, at the principal store in the village of Thebes, a place which all our topographers have most unaccountably forgotten to insert in their maps of the State of New York.

“No," replied Mrs. Green. “ It is a long time since there was any news in Thebes."

“ Well,” said Mrs. Brown, “the Wilson House is taken at last."

6 Indeed!-And who has taken it?”


“Oh! I don't know; but my Phillis saw the windows open this morning; and old Polly Splatterfloor busy white-washing.'

“ I wonder," observed Mrs. Green, " that Phillis did not ask Polly. Of course she could have told who hired her.”

“Why, to tell the truth," answered Mrs. Brown, “ Phillis did inquire, and Polly said the name of the family was either Jones, or Clark, or Thomson; though she could not exactly remember which. But Polly is so stupid that she never can understand names, and Phillis so giddy that she always forgets them.”

“ Did Phillis make no further inquiries?” asked Mrs. Green.

“ To be sure she did,” replied Mrs. Brown. “But you know old Polly Splatterfloor is so deaf that she can scarcely hear, and has so few teeth that she can scarcely speak, and is, besides, apt to be cross when she is white-washing. So she told Phillis to mind her own business, and make haste home with her market-basket, and not stand there hindering her.”

Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Green having finished their purchases at the store, walked on together, making various conjectures to each other about the people that had taken the Wilson House, which was one of the best in the town, and which originally

belonged to a family of that name, who had long since removed to the metropolis.

As is the case in most American villages, the female population of Thebes far outnumbered the male; and the matrimonial market being extremely deficient in the article of young men, the ladies, in default of other occupation, were much addicted to reforming the world and improving the condition of the universe. They not only kept a close watch over the little community immediately around them, but they had lately taken the Pelew Islands under their protection, and had formed a society for the purpose of supplying the wants (both mental and physical) of these amiable savages—the history of Prince Lee Boo having convinced them that his countrymen were a people whose capacities were great, and whose necessities were numerous.

One learned Theban, a lady, whose chief study was that voluminous work miscalled the Library of Entertaining Knowledge, was engaged in writing a series of papers on Natural Science, to be translated into Pelew, whenever a professor of that language could be found; and another was employed on an octayo of six hundred pages, designated “a Synopsis of Ancient History," also to be translated by the same linguist, and for the especial benefit of the same benighted islanders.

But the largest proportion of the members of this praise-worthy society being ladies whose stockings were but narrowly striped with blue, they were content to be employed in making up long flannel jackets, substantial quilted bonnets, and thick double calico wrappers, to supersede the airy costume of the females of Pelew; who, though living in the vicinity of the equator, were, as yet, strangers to the comforts of warm clothing.

The weekly meetings of the Pelew Island Society were held in a ci-devant school-room directly opposite to the Wilson House-and on the day subsequent to that on which our story commences, the ladies all happened to find themselves at the place of rendezvous, by two o'clock in the afternoon, an hour before the usual time. There was much discussion on the new tenants of the Wilson House—the owner of which lived, as we have stated, in the city. And Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Green gave in their evidence.

Mrs. Petty fact deponed that her son Johnny (a boy of ten years old, who lived mostly about the wharves) had seen, early that morning, a number of packing-boxes landed from a tow-boat and put into two carts. The boxes were escorted by a man servant, a stout mulatto, very much marked with the small-pox, or, perhaps, only the varioloid. He was

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