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THE

IMPROVED

ILLUSTRATED READER .

FIFTH

BOOK.

1.—THE TOWN PUMP. gnaw a-slope' ca-pa-cious im-par-tial beau-ti-ful-ly tough

bus-iness de-lic-ious in-ter-rupt' de-lir-i-um trough fierc-er el-o-quence pop-ul-ace hos-pit-a-ble waist moist-ened ex-hib-it

phys-ic-ian min-i-a-ture an-guish stom-ach

fi-er-y ru-bi-cund re-luc-tant-ly a-piece' team-ster guard-ian treas-ur-er su-pe-ri-or

[NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (b. 1804, d. 1864). His earliest literary productions, written for periodicals, were published in two volumes the first in 1837, the second in 1842—under the title of “Twice-Told Tales." “Mosses from an Old Manse,” another series of tales and sketches, was published in 1845. From 1846 to 1850 he was surveyor of the port of Salem. In 1852 he was appointed United States consul for Liverpool. After holding this office four years, he travelled for some time on the continent. His most popular works are “The Scarlet Letter,” a work showing a deep knowledge of human nature, “ The House of Seven Gables,” “The Blithedale Romance,” and “The Marble Faun," an Italian romance, which is regarded by many as the best of his works. Being of a modest and retiring disposition, Mr. Hawthorne avoided publicity. Most of his works are highly imaginative. As a prose writer he has no superior among American authors. He died at Plymouth, New Hampshire, while on a visit to the White Mountains for his health.]

(SCENE.-The corner of two principal streets. The Town Pump talking through its nose.]

1. Noon, by the north clock! Noon, by the east ! High noon, too, by those hot sunbeams which fall, scarcely aslope, upon my head, and almost make the water bubble and smoke in the trough under my nose. Truly, wo public characters have a tough time of it! And among all the town officers, chosen at the yearly meeting, where is he that sustains, for a single year, the burden of such manifold duties as are imposed upon the Town Pump?

2. The title of town treasurer is rightfully mine, as guardian of the best treasure the town has. The overseers of the poor ought to make me their chairman, since I provide bountifully for the pauper, without expense to him that pays taxes. I am at the head of the fire department, and one of the physicians of the board of health. As a keeper of the peace, all water-drinkers confess me equal to the constable. I perform some of the duties of the town-clerk, by publishing notices, when they are pasted on my front.

3. To speak within bounds, I am the chief person of the municipality, and exhibit, moreover, an admirable pattern to my brother officers, by the cool, steady, upright, down right, and impartial discharge of my business, and the constancy with which I stand to my post. Summer or winter, nobody seeks me in vain; for, all day long I am seen at the busiest corner, just above the market, stretching out my arms to rich and poor alike ; and at night I hold a lantern over my head, to show where I am, and to keep people out of the gutters.

4. At this sultry noontide, I am cup-bearer to the parched populace, for whose benefit an iron goblet is chained to my waist. Like a dram-seller on the public square, on a muster-day, I cry aloud to all and sundry, in my plainest accents, and at the very tip-top of my voice, “Here it is, gentlemen! Here is the good liquor ! Walk up, walk up, gentlemen, walk up, walk up! Here is the superior stuff! Here is the pure ale of father Adam ! better than Cognac, Hollands, Jamaica, strong beer, or wine of any price; here it is, by the hogshead

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