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God's Green Country A Novel of Canadian Rural Life   By: (1888-1976)

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God's Green Country

A NOVEL OF CANADIAN RURAL LIFE

By ETHEL M. CHAPMAN

THE RYERSON PRESS TORONTO 1922

To The Memory of a Friend whose Vision Saw an Arcadia for Every Field of the Green Country and whose Brief Years of Sympathy and Service were Given to Make it Real for One Spot in Rural Ontario

CONTENTS

Chapter I. 18 Chapter II. 34 Chapter III. 44 Chapter IV. 57 Chapter V. 72 Chapter VI. 92 Chapter VII. 107 Chapter VIII. 114 Chapter IX. 132 Chapter X. 152 Chapter XI. 178 Chapter XII. 193 Chapter XIII. 211 Chapter XIV. 220 Chapter XV. 230 Chapter XVI. 245 Chapter XVII. 252 Chapter XVIII. 262 Chapter XIX. 281

God's Green Country

CHAPTER I.

" Do you hear the children weeping, O my brothers, Ere the sorrow comes with years? They are leaning their young heads against their mothers, And that cannot stop their tears. The young lambs are bleating in the meadows; The young birds are chirping in their nest; The young fawns are playing with the shadows; The young flowers are blowing toward the West But the young, young children, O my brothers, They are weeping bitterly! They are weeping in the playtime of the others, In the country of the free. " Mrs. Browning.

Something was wrong a little more than usual at the Withers farm.

A spirit of foreboding seemed to hang in the quietness of the untravelled road past the gate, in the clamorous squeaks of the new litter of Tamworths in the barnyard, nosing sleepily into their mother's side. It seemed to come up from the swamp in the spring night's pollen scented breath, like the air in a little close parlor after an anchor of hyacinths has been carried out on a coffin.

Billy felt the weight in the atmosphere, but he was too young to analyse it. Of all the old human emotions stirring the ten long bitter years of his short life, fear had been the most exercised; and it was fear that troubled him now fear of his father. Because it had been there always, he had never wondered about it. He knew that somehow, in spite of it all, he would grow up then he would put the Swamp Farm and all he could forget about it as far away from him as possible. In the meantime, with the merciful forgetfulness of childhood, he enjoyed whatever passing pleasures came between. Just now he was down by the milk house with little Jean, bending over her pathetic garden of four potato plants and a pansy. Billy had never had a garden for himself. It was too much like playing. Besides, as far back as he could remember he had had quite as much gardening as he wanted, taking care of the "hoed crops." It was good, though, to see Jean take the potato top affectionately in her little cupped hands, proud that she had made it grow. Billy was glad she was a girl, so she could have time for such things. Not that he minded work, of course, he soliloquized. He remembered how he had begged daily to go to help his grandfather before he died.

It was working with his father that was disagreeable. Come to think of it, it was the dread of that more than anything else that was bothering him to night. In the morning the potato planting started. It wasn't difficult to get help just then, but for some reason of his own Dan Withers had decided to take Billy out of school and "break him in" to farm work, just when he was getting ready to try the entrance, too, and the entrance meant such a long step towards qualifying for a job away from home!

Moreover, Billy liked to go to school. It was so different to work where the teacher showed you how without calling you a stupid oh, lots of names and praised you sometimes. Remembering past experiences working with his father his heart sank. Somehow he was just beginning to wonder why, but not for years yet would he realize the injustice of being brought into the world entirely without his own willing, only to be made the prey of a chain of cruel circumstances... Continue reading book >>




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