The sun that shines on eastern Massachusetts, specially on buttercups and dandelions, and providentially on potatoes, looks down on no greener fields in these days than it saw in the spring of 1775, fenced in and fenced off by the zigzag snake-fences of ’Zekiel Parsons’s farm.
“About this time,” as almanacs say, young orchards were misty with buds, red maples on the highway shone in the clear light, and a row of bright tin pans at the shed door of the farm-house testified to a sturdy arm and skilful hand within, — arm and hand both belonging to no less a person than Miss Sally, ’Zekiel Parsons’s only daughter, and the prettiest girl in Westbury; a short, sturdy, rosy little maid, with hair like a ripe chestnut shell, bright blue eyes full of mischief and such a sunny, healthy, common-sense character, one is almost afraid to tell of it, it is so out of date now.
But of what use is it to describe her? How can I impress upon moderns how enlivening and refreshing was her aspect, as she spun, or scoured pans, in a linsey-woolsey petticoat and white short gown, wearing her pretty curls in a crop? George Tucker knew it all without telling; and so did half a dozen of the Westbury boys, who haunted the picket fence round ’Zekiel’s garden every moonlight night in summer, or scraped their feet by the half hour together on his door-step in winter evenings. Sally was a belle; she knew it and liked it, as every honest girl does; — and she would have been a belle without the aid of her father’s wide farm and pine-tree shillings; for she was fresh and lovely, with a spice of coquetry, but a true woman’s heart beneath it all.