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THE

REPUBLIC OF LETTERS.

“ BUY A BROOM?"*

CHAPTER L

A

One beautiful afternoon, about the beginning of the barley and wheat harvest, young Frederick Hume arose from his desk, where, for several hours, he had been plodding at his studies, and, to unbend himself a little, went to his window, which commanded a view of the neighbouring village of Holydean. A stillness almost like that of the Sabbath reigned over the hamlet, for the busy season had called the youngsters forth to the field, the sunburnt sickleman and his fair partner. Boys and girls were away to glean: and none were left but a few young children who were playing quietly on the green; two or three ancient grandames who sat spinning at their doors in the rich sunlight; and here and there a happy young mother, exempted by the duties of nurse from the harvest toils. single frail octogenarian, who, in hobbling to the almost deserted smithy, had paused, with the curiosity of age, to look long beneath his upraised arm after the stranger horseman, who was just going out of sight at the extremity of the village, completed the picture of still and quiet life which our student was now contemplating. After raising the window, and setting open the door to win into his little apartment the liquid coolness which was nestling among the green fibrous leaves around the casement, he had resumed his station and was again looking towards the village, when, hearing a light foot approach the door of his study, he turned round, and a young female stranger was before him. On seeing him she . paused at the threshold, made a sort of reverence, and seemed

* We have much satisfaction in being enabled to commence our fourth volume with this beautifully passionate story. It is from the pen of Thomas Aird, Esq. and first appeareu in Blackwood's Mägazine.

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