This town is so different from anything I have ever known that I cannot imagine it has changed from a condition which was once familiar to me. At Bixbury, however, I think the case will be otherwise. If there are changes there I shall notice them. In a little place like that, however, I have hopes that the changes will not be great."
And when he had been with me about a month I insisted that he should take a holiday and visit Bixbury, for I knew that to do this was the great desire of his heart. He could easily reach his native place by rail, but believing that he would rather not go at all than travel on a train, I procured a saddle-horse for him, and when I had given him full directions as to the roads, he set out.
He held out his hand, and I stood up by him and took it. It was as much a flesh and blood hand as my own. "What is your name?" I asked. "You have not yet told me that." "I am Amos Kilbright, of Bixbury," he answered. "You have not revisited your native place?" I said.
In four days he returned. "How did you find Bixbury?" I asked of him. "There is no longer such a place," he answered, sadly. "I found a town of that name, but it is not the Bixbury in which I was born. That has utterly disappeared." And, after this, he never again alluded to his native place.
"Yes," he replied; "my daughter, who was but two years old when I left her, married Lemuel Scott, of Bixbury, who moved to this town soon after old Mr. Scott was born. It was, indeed, on account of this good old man that I became materialized.
We can prove by records, still to be seen in Bixbury, that said person died in seventeen eighty-five. On the other hand, if you choose to assert that he is, or was, anybody else, how are you going to prove it? All that you can say is that the person you refer to came from, you knew not where, and has gone, you know not where.
When he had lived in Bixbury he had been a surveyor and a farmer, and now when he finished his copying duties for the day, or when I had no work of that kind ready for him, it delighted him much to go into my garden and rake and hoe among the flowers and vegetables.
His name was Amos, and he was a Bixbury man. From what part of the country do you come, sir?" "My name is Amos, and I was born in Bixbury." Old Mr. Scott sat up very straight in his chair. "Young man, that seems to me impossible!" he exclaimed. "How could there be any Kilbrights in Bixbury and I not know of it?"
My introduction of him as a friend from Bixbury helped him much in respect to patronage, and having devoted all his spare time during the autumn and winter to study and the formation of business connections, he secured enough profitable employment for the coming season to justify him in taking to himself a wife; and his marriage with Miss Budworth was appointed for the middle of April.
It is my purpose, sir, to labor with you in any manner which you may deem fit, and in which I may be found serviceable until I have gained sufficient money to travel to Bixbury, and there endeavor to establish myself in some worthy employment. I had at that place a small estate, but of that I shall take no heed.