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Thankful Blossom
by [?]

Capt. Brewster did not reply. From certain arch gestures and wreathed smiles with which this forward young woman accompanied her statement, it would seem to be implied that the gentleman who stood before her was the nobleman alluded to. At least, he so accepted it, and embraced her closely, her arms and part of her mantle clinging around his neck. In this attitude they remained quiet for some moments, slightly rocking from side to side like a metronome; a movement, I fancy, peculiarly bucolic, pastoral, and idyllic, and as such, I wot, observed by Theocritus and Virgil.

At these supreme moments weak woman usually keeps her wits about her much better than your superior reasoning masculine animal; and, while the gallant captain was losing himself upon her perfect lips, Miss Thankful distinctly heard the farm-gate click, and otherwise noticed that the moon was getting high and obtrusive. She half released herself from the captain’s arms, thoughtfully and tenderly–but firmly. “Tell me all about yourself, Allan dear,” she said quietly, making room for him on the wall,–“all, everything.”

She turned upon him her beautiful eyes,–eyes habitually earnest and even grave in expression, yet holding in their brave brown depths a sweet, childlike reliance and dependency; eyes with a certain tender, deprecating droop in the brown-fringed lids, and yet eyes that seemed to say to every man who looked upon them, “I am truthful: be frank with me.” Indeed, I am convinced there is not one of my impressible sex, who, looking in those pleading eyes, would not have perjured himself on the spot rather than have disappointed their fair owner.

Capt. Brewster’s mouth resumed its old expression of discontent.

“Everything is growing worse, Thankful, and the cause is lost. Congress does nothing, and Washington is not the man for the crisis. Instead of marching to Philadelphia, and forcing that wretched rabble of Hancock and Adams at the point of the bayonet, he writes letters.”

“A dignified, formal old fool,” interrupted Mistress Thankful indignantly; “and look at his wife! Didn’t Mistress Ford and Mistress Baily, ay, and the best blood of Morris County, go down to his Excellency’s in their finest bibs and tuckers, and didn’t they find my lady in a pinafore doing chores? Vastly polite treatment, indeed! As if the whole world didn’t know that the general was taken by surprise when my lady came riding up from Virginia with all those fine cavaliers, just to see what his Excellency was doing at these assembly balls. And fine doings, I dare say.”

“This is but idle gossip, Thankful,” said Capt. Brewster with the faintest appearance of self-consciousness; “the assembly balls are conceived by the general to strengthen the confidence of the townsfolk, and mitigate the rigors of the winter encampment. I go there myself rarely: I have but little taste for junketing and gavotting, with my country in such need. No, Thankful! What we want is a leader; and the men of Connecticut feel it keenly. If I have been spoken of in that regard,” added the captain with a slight inflation of his manly breast, “it is because they know of my sacrifices,–because as New England yeomen they know my devotion to the cause. They know of my suffering–“

The bright face that looked into his was suddenly afire with womanly sympathy, the pretty brow was knit, the sweet eyes overflowed with tenderness. “Forgive me, Allan. I forgot–perhaps, love–perhaps, dearest, you are hungry now.”

“No, not now,” replied Captain Brewster, with gloomy stoicism; “yet,” he added, “it is nearly a week since I have tasted meat.”

“I–I–brought a few things with me,” continued the girl, with a certain hesitating timidity. She reached down, and produced a basket from the shadow of the wall. “These chickens”–she held up a pair of pullets–“the commander-in-chief himself could not buy: I kept them for MY commander! And this pot of marmalade, which I know my Allan loves, is the same I put up last summer. I thought [very tenderly] you might like a piece of that bacon you liked so once, dear. Ah, sweetheart, shall we ever sit down to our little board? Shall we ever see the end of this awful war? Don’t you think, dear [very pleadingly], it would be best to give it up? King George is not such a very bad man, is he? I’ve thought, sweetheart [very confidently], that mayhap you and he might make it all up without the aid of those Washingtons, who do nothing but starve one to death. And if the king only knew you, Allan,–should see you as I do, sweetheart,–he’d do just as you say.”