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The Hero of Hill House   By:

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This eBook was produced by Joel Erickson, Charles Franks, Juliet Sutherland




Home and Mother

The Stricken Home

Austin and His Father

Austin Goes to His Father

Humiliation for Austin

To the Country Again

The Runaway

Wayside Friends

The Captain's Guest

With Uncle John Again

Austin Takes Care of Himself

The Revival

The Young Church Member

Home Again

The Battle of Two Wills

Seeking New Pasture

To the Hay Fields

Six Weeks of Haying

Indecision and Restlessness

Mother Hilman's Opinion

Like the Troubled Sea

Planning for Themselves

Austin and Amy

A Shopping Expedition

Harry Hill

Uncle Philip's Children

The Family Circle Narrows

A Stormy Season

Austin's New Home

The Opinions of Parson Hawley and His Wife




It was the evening of a quiet day in late autumn, and the inmates of the little farm home were gathered safely together around the supper table. I say the family, but they were not all there. Father's place was vacant, for he had gone to town that afternoon and would not be home till late bedtime. His reason for being late was the great shadow over this otherwise happy home. The children, down to baby Doyle, three years old, knew that when he came, he would be in no condition to be seen in the presence of his children, and that money which was needed badly in his home would have been spent for strong drink.

But all the others were there. Mother sat in her place at the foot of the table, and little Doyle sat at her right hand in his high chair. The others were ranged on both sides of the table, leaving the vacant place at the head. There were eight children in all, the eldest a boy of sixteen, and the youngest little Doyle. The three older children were boys, George and Wilbur, sixteen and fifteen years old, respectively, and Austin, aged thirteen. Then were two girls, Amy and Nell. After them came Harry, a fine little fellow of seven, Lila, a tiny girl of five, and last of all the baby.

Every child was robust and rosy, ready for a hearty meal and all the fun that was to be had. Mother sat as queen, a dear, beloved queen, and the children as they talked back and forth in happy freedom turned to her for reference and sanction in all that was said. There was not one but bowed in adoration at the beautiful mother's feet. And her eyes, how lovingly they rested upon them! And how she seemed to be treasuring them in her heart! This was indeed her kingdom, and she was happy. But of course there was a sadness in her happiness, because her husband and the father of her children was choosing a path that took him out of the family circle. But since such was his choice, she was determined to make it up to her lads and lassies to the best of her ability, and throw her teaching and daily instruction against the influence of their father. She was making this evening pleasant that they might forget the shadow that hung over them.

With supper over and the evening chores done, the family gathered about the fireside, some read, the little ones played, and Mother busied with her sewing. An atmosphere of peace rested upon them, in spite of the shadow that hangs over every home into which the demon drink has entered.

"Doyle, Lila, it is time for little people to be in bed. Harry, you have no lessons, you had better go to bed also," said the mother.

"So soon, Mother? May we not play a little longer?"

"Bedtime now, little man, and run along without waiting for more play."

Three little people trooped off to bed to be tucked in a little later after the good night kisses and evening prayers. Soon the girls went sleepily off to bed with a good night kiss. Just Mother and her boys were left, and now was the time for a quiet talk with them. A gentle word from her and the conversation was begun.

Softly she led them on till they were telling her of their doings among the boys, and their plans and hopes. It was only a friendly visit, but into it she put wise counsel as well as thoughtful understanding... Continue reading book >>

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