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0105_001E Thankful Blossom Bret Harte

Chapter II

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"Well, father," said Thankful, taking a seat on a table, and swinging her little feet somewhat ostentatiously toward him, "I was with Capt. Allan Brewster of the Connecticut Contingent."

"That man?"

"That man!"

"I forbid you seeing him again."

Thankful gripped the table with a hand on each side of her, to emphasize the statement, and swinging her feet replied,--

"I shall see him as often as I like, father."

"Thankful Blossom!"

"Abner Blossom!"

"I see you know not," said Mr. Blossom, abandoning the severely paternal mandatory air for one of confidential disclosure, "I see you know not his reputation. He is accused of inciting his regiment to revolt,--of being a traitor to the cause."

"And since when, Abner Blossom, have YOU felt such concern for the cause? Since you refused to sell supplies to the Continental commissary, except at double profits? since you told me you were glad I had not polities like Mistress Ford--"

"Hush!" said the father, motioning to the parlor.

"Hush," echoed Thankful indignantly. "I won't be hushed! Everybody says 'Hush' to me. The count says 'Hush!' Allan says 'Hush!' You say 'Hush!' I'm a-weary of this hushing. Ah, if there was a man who didn't say it to me!" and Mistress Thankful lifted her fine eyes to the ceiling.

"You are unwise, Thankful,--foolish, indiscreet. That is why you require much monition."

Thankful swung her feet in silence for a few moments, then suddenly leaped from the table, and, seizing the old man by the lapels of his coat, fixed her eyes upon him, and said suspiciously. "Why did you keep me from going in the company-room? Why did you bring me in here?"

Blossom senior was staggered for a moment. "Because, you know, the count--"

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"And you were afraid the count should know I had a sweetheart? Well, I'll go in and tell him now," she said, marching toward the door.

"Then, why did you not tell him when you slipped out an hour ago? eh, lass?" queried the old man, grasping her hand. "But 'tis all one, Thankful: 'twas not for him I stopped you. There is a young spark with him,--ay, came even as you left, lass,--a likely young gallant; and he and the count are jabbering away in their own lingo, a kind of Italian, belike; eh, Thankful?"

"I know not," she said thoughtfully. "Which way came the other?" In fact, a fear that this young stranger might have witnessed the captain's embrace began to creep over her.

"From town, my lass."

Thankful turned to her father as if she had been waiting a reply to a long-asked question: "Well?"

"Were it not well to put on a few furbelows and a tucker?" queried the old man. "'Tis a gallant young spark; none of your country folk."

"No," said Thankful, with the promptness of a woman who was looking her best, and knew it. And the old man, looking at her, accepted her judgment, and without another word led her to the parlor door, and, opening it, said briefly, "My daughter, Mistress Thankful Blossom."

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Thankful Blossom
Bret Harte

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