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Hills of the Shatemuc   By: (1819-1885)

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First Page:

COLLECTION

OF

BRITISH AUTHORS

VOL. CCCLI.

THE HILLS OF THE SHATEMUC

BY

ELIZABETH WETHERELL.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

THE

HILLS OF THE SHATEMUC

BY

ELIZABETH WETHERELL,

AUTHOR OF "THE WIDE WIDE WORLD."

A wise man is strong. Proverbs xxiv.5.

AUTHOR'S EDITION .

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

LEIPZIG

BERNHARD TAUCHNITZ

1856.

THE HILLS OF THE SHATELUC.

VOL. I.

CHAPTER I.

Low stirrings in the leaves, before the wind Wakes all the green strings of the forest lyre. LOWELL.

The light of an early Spring morning, shining fair on upland and lowland, promised a good day for the farmer's work. And where a film of thin smoke stole up over the tree tops, into the sunshine which had not yet got so low, there stood the farmer's house.

It was a little brown house, built surely when its owner's means were not greater than his wishes, and probably some time before his family had reached the goodly growth it boasted now. All of them were gathered at the breakfast table.

"Boys, you may take the oxen, and finish ploughing that upland field I shall be busy all day sowing wheat in the bend meadow."

"Then I'll bring the boat for you, papa, at noon," said a child on the other side of the table.

"And see if you can keep those headlands as clean as I have left them."

"Yes, sir. Shall you want the horses, father, or shall we take both the oxen?"

"Both? both pairs , you mean yes; I shall want the horses. I mean to make a finish of that wheat lot."

"Mamma, you must send us our dinner," said a fourth speaker, and the eldest of the boys; "it'll be too confoundedly hot to come home."

"Yes, it's going to be a warm day," said the father.

"Who's to bring it to you, Will?" said the mother.

"Asahel can't he when he brings the boat for papa?"

"The boat won't go to the top of the hill," said Asahel; "and it's as hot for me as for other folks, I guess."

"You take the young oxen, Winthrop," said the farmer, pushing back his chair from the table.

"Why, sir?" said the eldest son promptly.

"I want to give you the best," answered his father, with a touch of comicality about the lines of his face.

"Are you afraid I shall work them too hard?"

"That's just what I'm afraid they'd do for you."

He went out; and his son attended to his breakfast in silence, with a raised eyebrow and a curved lip.

"What do you want, Winthrop?" the mother presently called to her second son, who had disappeared, and was rummaging somewhere behind the scenes.

"Only a basket, mamma," came from the pantry.

His mother got up from table, and basket in hand followed him, to where he was busy with a big knife in the midst of her stores. Slices of bread were in course of buttering, and lay in ominous number piled up on the yellow shelf. Hard by stood a bowl of cold boiled potatoes. He was at work with dexterity as neat handed and as quick as a woman's.

"There's no pork there, Governor," his mother whispered as he stooped to the cupboard, "your father made an end of that last night; but see here "

And from another quarter she brought out a pie. Being made of dried apples, it was not too juicy to cut; and being cut into huge pieces they were stowed into the basket, lapping over each other, till little room was left; and cheese and gingerbread went in to fill that. And then as her hands pressed the lid down and his hands took the basket, the eyes met, and a quick little smile of great brilliancy, that entirely broke up the former calm lines of his face, answered her; for he said nothing. And the mother's "Now go!" was spoken as if she had enough of him left at home to keep her heart warm for the rest of the day.

The two ploughmen set forth with their teams. Or ploughboys rather; for the younger of them as yet had seen not sixteen years. His brother must have been several in advance of him.

The farmhouse was placed on a little woody and rocky promontory jutting out into a broad river from the east shore. Above it, on the higher grounds of the shore, the main body of the farm lay, where a rich tableland sloped back to a mountainous ridge that framed it in, about half a mile from the water... Continue reading book >>




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