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Old Caravan Days   By: (1847-1902)

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OLD CARAVAN DAYS

BY

MARY HARTWELL CATHERWOOD

CONTENTS.

I. THE START

II. THE LITTLE OLD MAN WITH A BAG ON HIS BACK

III. THE TAVERN

IV. THE SUSAN HOUSE

V. THE SUSAN HOUSE CELLAR

VI. MR. MATTHEWS

VII. ZENE'S MAN AND WOMAN

VIII. LITTLE ANT RED AND BIG ANT BLACK

IX. THE GREAT CAMP MEETING

X. THE CRY OF A CHILD IN THE NIGHT

XI. THE DARKENED WAGON

XII. JONATHAN AND THRUSTY ELLEN

XIII. FAIRY CARRIE AND THE PIG HEADED MAN

XIV. SEARCHING

XV. THE SPROUTING

XVI. THE MINSTREL

XVII. THE HOUSE WITH LOG STEPS

XVIII. "COME TO MAMMA!"

XIX. FAIRY CARRIE DEPARTS

XX. SUNDAY ON THE ROAD

XXI. HER MOTHER ARRIVES

XXII. A COUNTRY SUNDAY SCHOOL

XXIII. FORWARD

XXIV. THE TOLL WOMAN

XXV. THE ROBBERS

XXVI. THE FAIR AND THE FIERCE BANDIT

XXVII. A NIGHT PICTURE OF HOME

OLD CARAVAN DAYS.

CHAPTER I.

THE START.

In the year eighteen hundred and fifty seven, on the fifth day of June, the Padgett carriage horses faced the west, and their mistress gathered the lines into her mitted hands.

The moving wagon was ready in front of the carriage. It was to be driven by Zene, the lame hired man. Zene was taking a last drink from that well at the edge of the garden, which lay so deep that your face looked like a star in it. Robert Day Padgett, Mrs. Padgett's grandson, who sat on the back seat of the carriage, decided that he must have one more drink, and his aunt Corinne who sat beside him, was made thirsty by his decision. So the two children let down the carriage steps and ran to the well.

It was like Sunday all over the farm, only the cattle were not straying over the fields. The house was shut up, its new inhabitants not having arrived. Some neighbor women had come to bid the family good bye again, though it was so early that the garden lay in heavy dew. These good friends stood around the carriage; one of them held the front door key in trust for the new purchaser. They all called the straight old lady who held the lines grandma Padgett. She was grandma Padgett to the entire neighborhood, and they shook their heads sorrowfully in remembering that her blue spectacles, her ancient Leghorn bonnet, her Quaker shoulder cape and decided face might be vanishing from them forever.

"You'll come back to Ohio," said one neighbor. "The wild Western prairie country won't suit you at all."

"I'm not denying," returned grandma Padgett, "that I could end my days in peace on the farm here; but son Tip can do very little here, and he can do well out there. I've lost my entire family except son Tip and the baby of all, you know. And it's not my wish to be separated from son Tip in my declining years."

The neighbors murmured that they knew, and one of them inquired as she had often inquired before, at what precise point grandma Padgett's son was to meet the party; and she replied as if giving new information, that it was at the Illinois State line.

"You'll have pretty weather," said another woman, squinting in the early sun.

"Grandma Padgett won't care for weather," observed the neighbor with the key. "She moved out from Virginia in the dead o' winter."

"Yes; I was but a child," said grandma Padgett, "and this country one unbroken wilderness. We came down the Ohio River by flatboat, and moved into this section when the snow was so deep you could ride across stake and rider fences on the drifts."

"Folks can get around easier now, though," said the squinting neighbor, "since they got to going on these railroads."

"I shipped part of my goods on the railroad," remarked grandma Padgett with a laugh. "But I don't know; I ain't used to the things, and I don't know whether I'd resk my bones for a long distance or not. Son Tip went out on the cars."

"The railroads charge so high," murmured a woman near the back wheels. "But they do say you can ride as far West as you're a goin' on the cars."

"How long will you be gettin' through?" inquired another.

"Not more than two or three weeks," replied grandma Padgett resolutely... Continue reading book >>




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