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The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 5. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), Tales and Sketches (search)
ers, as we were wont to call them, was an event of no ordinary interest in the generally monotonous quietude of our farm-life. Many of them were well known; they had their periodical revolutions and transits; we could calculate them like eclipses or new moons. Some were sturdy knaves, fat and saucy; and, whenever they ascertained that the men folks were absent, would order provisions and cider like men who expected to pay for them, seating themselves at the hearth or table with the air of Falstaff,—, Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn? Others, poor, pale, patient, like Sterne's monk, came creeping up to the door, hat in hand, standing there in their gray wretchedness with a look of heartbreak and forlornness which was never without its effect on our juvenile sensibilities. At times, however, we experienced a slight revulsion of feeling when even these humblest children of sorrow somewhat petulantly rejected our proffered bread and cheese, and demanded instead a glass of cider.