The first idea of this little story was suggested to the author by a printed account of a trial which actually took place, early in the present century, in the United States... It may not be amiss to add, for the benefit of incredulous readers, that all the ''improbable events'' in the story are matters of fact, taken from the printed narrative. Anything which ''looks like truth'' is, in nine cases out of ten, the invention of the author.
the mismanagement of sheep and oxen in particular, they looked at John Jago, while they talked to me. On occasions of this sort--and they happened frequently--Naomi struck in resolutely at the right moment, and turned the talk to some harmless topic. Every time she took a prominent part in this way in keeping the peace, melancholy Miss Meadowcroft looked slowly round at her in stern and silent disparagement of her interference. A more dreary and more disunited family party I never sat at the table with. Envy, hatred, malice and uncharitableness are never so essentially detestable to my mind as when they are animated by a sense of propriety, and work under the surface. But for my interest in Naomi, and my other interest in the little love-looks which I now and then surprised passing between her and Ambrose, I should never have sat through that supper. I should certainly have taken refuge in my French novel and my own room.
At last the unendurably long meal, served with ostentatious profusion, was at an
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