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[84] whosesoever garden their wandering fancy impels them, and supposing this boy to be one of his own neighbors, Mr. Bliss continued his work and quickly forgot that he was not alone. In a few minutes, he heard a voice close behind him, a strange voice, high pitched and whining.

It said, ‘Are you the man that carries on the printing office?’ Mr. Bliss then turned, and resting upon his hoe, surveyed the person who had thus addressed him. He saw standing before him a boy apparently about fifteen years of age, of a light, tall, and slender form, dressed in the plain, farmer's cloth of the time, his garments cut with an utter disregard of elegance and fit. His trousers were exceedingly short and voluminous; he wore no stockings; his shoes were of the kind denominated “high-lows,” and much worn down; his hat was of felt, “one of the old stamp, with so small a brim, that it looked more like a two-quart measure inverted than anything else;” and it was worn far back on his head; his hair was white, with a tinge of orange at its extremities, and it lay thinly upon a broad forehead and over a head “rocking on shoulders which seemed too slender to support the weight of a member so disproportioned to the general outline.” The general effect of the figure and its costume was so outre;, they presented such a combination of the rustic and ludicrous, and the apparition had come upon him so suddenly, that the amiable gardener could scarcely keep from laughing.

He restrained himself, however, and replied, ‘Yes, I'm the man.’

Whereupon the stranger asked, ‘Don't you want a boy to learn the trade?’

‘Well,’ said Mr. Bliss, ‘we have been thinking of it. Do you want to learn to print?’

‘I've had some notion of it,’ said the boy in true Yankee fashion, as though he had not been dreaming about it, and longing for it for years.

Mr. Bliss was both astonished and puzzled—astonished that such a fellow as the boy looked to be, should have ever thought of learning to print, and puzzled how to convey to him an idea of the absurdity of the notion. So, with an expresssion in his countenance, such as that of a tender-hearted dry-goods merchant might be supposed

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Amos Bliss (4)
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