Part 4 out of 5
and flowing mane and tail, and his glossy, reddish-brown body, I
thought that he was the handsomest horse I had ever seen. He
loved to go fast, and when Mr. Harry spoke to him to slow up
again, he tossed his head with impatience. But he was too
sweet-tempered to disobey. In all the years that I have known
Fleetfoot, I have never once seen him refuse to do as his master
"You have forgotten your whip, haven't you Harry?" I heard Miss
Laura say, as we jogged slowly along, and I ran by the buggy
panting and with my tongue hanging out.
"I never use one," said Mr. Harry; "if I saw any man lay one on
Fleetfoot, I'd knock him down." His voice was so severe that I
glanced up into the buggy. He looked just as he did the day that he
stretched Jenkins on the ground, and gave him a beating.
"I am so glad you don't," said Miss Laura. "You are like the
Russians. Many of them control their horses by their voices, and
call them such pretty names. But you have to use a whip for some
horses, don't you, Cousin Harry?"
"Yes, Laura. There are many vicious horses that can't be controlled
otherwise, and then with many horses one requires a whip in case
of necessity for urging them forward."
"I suppose Fleetfoot never balks," said Miss Laura.
"No," replied Mr. Harry; "Dutchman sometimes does, and we have
two cures for him, both equally good. We take up a forefoot and
strike his shoe two or three times with a stone. The operation
always interests him greatly, and he usually starts. If he doesn't go
for that, we pass a line round his forelegs, at the knee joint, then go
in front of him and draw on the line. Father won't let the men use a
whip, unless they are driven to it."
"Fleetfoot has had a happy life, hasn't he?" said Miss Laura,
looking admiringly at him "How did he get to like you so much,
"I broke him in after a fashion of my own. Father gave him to me,
and the first time I saw him on his feet, I went up carefully and put
my hand on him. His mother was rather shy of me, for we hadn't
had her long, and it made him shy too, so I soon left him. The next
time I stroked him; the next time I put my arm around him. Soon
he acted like a big dog. I could lead him about by a strap, and I
made a little halter and a bridle for him. I didn't see why I shouldn't
train him a little while he was young and manageable. I think it is
cruel to let colts run till one has to employ severity in mastering
them. Of course, I did not let him do much work. Colts are like
boys a boy shouldn't do a man's work, but he had exercise every
day, and I trained him to draw a light cart behind him. I used to do
all kinds of things to accustom him to unusual sounds. Father
talked a good deal to me about Rarey, the great horse-tamer, and it
put ideas into my head. He said he once saw Rarey come on a
stage in Boston with a timid horse that he was going to accustom
to a loud noise. First a bugle was blown, then some louder
instrument, and so on, till there was a whole brass band going.
Rarey reassured the animal, and it was not afraid."
"You like horses better than any other animals, don't you, Harry?"
asked Miss Laura.
"I believe I do, though I am very fond of that dog of yours. I think I
know more about horses than dogs. Have you noticed Scamp very
"Oh, yes; I often watched her. She is such an amusing little
"She's the most interesting one we've got, that is, after Fleetfoot.
Father got her from a man who couldn't manage her, and she came
to us with a legion of bad tricks. Father has taken solid comfort
though, in breaking her of them. She is his pet among our stock. I
suppose you know that horses, more than any other animals, are
creatures of habit. If they do a thing once, they will do it again.
When she came to us, she had a trick of biting at a person who
gave her oats. She would do it without fail, so father put a little
stick under his arm, and every time she would bite he would give
her a rap over the nose. She soon got tired of biting, and gave it up.
Sometimes now, you'll see her make a snap at father as if she was
going to bite, and then look under his arm to see if the stick is
there. He cured some of her tricks in one way, and some in
another. One bad one she had was to start for the stable the minute
one of the traces was unfastened when we were unharnessing. She
pulled father over once, and another time she ran the shaft of the
sulky clean through the barn door. The next time father brought
her in, he got ready for her. He twisted the lines around his hands,
and the minute she began to bolt, he gave a tremendous jerk, that
pulled her back upon her haunches, and shouted, 'Whoa!' It cured
her, and she never started again, till he gave her the word. Often
now, you'll see her throw her head back when she is being
unhitched. He only did it once, yet she remembers. If we'd had the
training of Scamp, she'd be a very different animal. It's nearly all in
the bringing up of a colt, whether it will turn out vicious or gentle.
If any one were to strike Fleetfoot, he would not know what it
meant. He has been brought up differently from Scamp.
"She was probably trained by some brutal man who inspired her
with distrust of the human species. She never bites an animal, and
seems attached to all the other horses. She loves Fleetfoot and
Cleve and Pacer. Those three are her favorites."
"I love to go for drives with Cleve and Pacer," said Miss Laura,
"they are so steady and good. Uncle says they are the most trusty
horses he has. He has told me about the man you had, who said
that those two horses knew more than most 'humans.'"
"That was old Davids," said Mr. Harry; "when we had him, he was
courting a widow who lived over in Hoytville. About once a
fortnight, he'd ask father for one of the horses to go over to see her.
He always stayed pretty late, and on the way home he'd tie the
reins to the whip-stock and go to sleep, and never wake up till
Cleve or Pacer, whichever one he happened to have, would draw
up in the barnyard. They would pass any rigs they happened to
meet, and turn out a little for a man. If Davids wasn't asleep, he
could always tell by the difference in their gait which they were
passing. They'd go quickly past a man, and much slower, with
more of a turn out, if it was a team. But I dare say father told you
this. He has a great stock of horse stories, and I am almost as bad.
You will have to cry 'halt,' when we bore you."
"You never do," replied Miss Laura. "I love to talk about animals. I
think the best story about Cleve and Pacer is the one that uncle
told me last evening. I don't think you were there. It was about
stealing the oats."
"Cleve and Pacer never steal," said Mr. Harry. "Don't you mean
Scamp? She's the thief."
"No, it was Pacer that stole. He got out of his box, uncle says, and
found two bags of oats, and he took one in his teeth and dropped it
before Cleve, and ate the other himself, and uncle was so amused
that he let them eat a long time, and stood and watched them."
"That was a clever trick," said Mr. Harry. "Father must have
forgotten to tell me. Those two horses have been mates ever since I
can remember, and I believe if they were separated, they'd pine
away and die. You have noticed how low the partitions are
between the boxes in the horse stable. Father says you wouldn't put
a lot of people in separate boxes in a room, where they couldn't see
each other, and horses are just as fond of company as we are.
Cleve and Pacer are always nosing each other. A horse has a long
memory. Father has had horses recognize him, that he has been
parted from for twenty years. Speaking of their memories reminds
me of another good story about Pacer that I never heard till
yesterday, and that I would not talk about to any one but you and
mother. Father wouldn't write me about it, for he never will put a
line on paper where any one's reputation is concerned."
CHAPTER XXVI THE BOX OF MONEY
"THIS story," said Mr. Harry, "is about one of the hired men we
had last winter, whose name was Jacobs. He was a cunning fellow,
with a hangdog look, and a great cleverness at stealing farm
produce from father on the sly, and selling it. Father knew
perfectly well what he was doing, and was wondering what would
be the best way to deal with him, when one day something
happened that brought matters to a climax.
"Father had to go to Sudbury for farming tools, and took Pacer and
the cutter. There are two ways of going there one the Sudbury
Road, and the other the old Post Road, which is longer and seldom
used. On this occasion father took the Post Road. The snow wasn't
deep, and he wanted to inquire after an old man who had been
robbed and half frightened to death, a few days before. He was a
miserable old creature, known as Miser Jerrold, and he lived alone
with his daughter. He had saved a little money that he kept in a
box under his bed. When father got near the place, he was
astonished to see by Pacer's actions that he had been on this road
before, and recently, too. Father is so sharp about horses, that they
never do a thing that he doesn't attach a meaning to. So he let the
reins hang a little loose, and kept his eye on Pacer. The horse went
along the road, and seeing father didn't direct him, turned into the
lane leading to the house. There was an old red gate at the end of
it, and he stopped in front of it, and waited for father to get out.
Then he passed through, and instead of going up to the house,
turned around, and stood with his head toward the road.
"Father never said a word, but he was doing a lot of thinking. He
went into the house, and found the old man sitting over the fire,
rubbing his hands, and half-crying about 'the few poor dollars,' that
he said he had had stolen from him. Father had never seen him
before, but he knew he had the name of being half silly, and
question him as much as he liked, he could make nothing of him.
The daughter said that they had gone to bed at dark the night her
father was robbed. She slept up stairs, and he down below. About
ten o'clock she heard him scream, and running down stairs, she
found him sitting up in bed, and the window wide open. He said a
man had sprung in upon him, stuffed the bedclothes into his
mouth, and dragging his box from under the bed, had made off
with it. She ran to the door and looked out, but there was no one to
be seen. It was dark, and snowing a little, so no traces of footsteps
were to be perceived in the morning.
"Father found that the neighbors were dropping in to bear the old
man company, so he drove on to Sudbury, and then returned home.
When he got back, he said Jacobs was hanging about the stable in
a nervous kind of a way, and said he wanted to speak to him.
Father said very good, but put the horse in first. Jacobs unhitched,
and father sat on one of the stable benches and watched him till he
came lounging along with a straw in his mouth, and said he'd made
up his mind to go West, and he'd like to set off at once.
"Father said again, very good, but first he had a little account to
settle with him, and he took out of his pocket a paper, where he
had jotted down, as far as he could, every quart of oats, and every
bag of grain, and every quarter of a dollar of market money that
Jacobs had defrauded him of. Father said the fellow turned all the
colors of the rainbow, for he thought he had covered up his tracks
so cleverly that he would never be found out. Then father said, 'Sit
down, Jacobs, for I have got to have a long talk with you.' He had
him there about an hour, and when he finished, the fellow was
completely broken down. Father told him that there were just two
courses in life for a young man to take; and he had gotten on the
wrong one. He was a young, smart fellow, and if he turned right
around now, there was a chance for him. If he didn't there was
nothing but the State's prison ahead of him, for he needn't think he
was going to gull and cheat all the world, and never be found out.
Father said he'd give him all the help in his power, if he had his
word that he'd try to be an honest man. Then he tore up the paper,
and laid there was an end of his indebtedness to him.
"Jacobs is only a young fellow, twenty-three or thereabout, and
father says he sobbed like a baby. Then, without looking at him,
father gave in account of his afternoon's drive, just as if he was
talking to himself. He said that Pacer never to his knowledge had
been on that road before, and yet he seemed perfectly familiar with
it, and that he stopped and turned already to leave again quickly,
instead of going up to the door, and how he looked over his
shoulder and started on a run down the lane, the minute father's
foot was in the cutter again. In the course of his remarks, father
mentioned the fact that on Monday, the evening that the robbery
was committed, Jacobs had borrowed Pacer to go to the Junction,
but had come in with the horse steaming, and looking as if he had
been driven a much longer distance than that. Father said that
when he got done, Jacobs had sunk down all in a heap on the
stable floor with his hands over his face. Father left him to have it
out with himself, and went to the house.
"The next morning, Jacobs looked just the same as usual, and went
about with the other men doing his work, but saying nothing about
going West. Late in the afternoon, a farmer going by hailed father,
and asked if he'd heard the news. Old Miser Jerrold's box had been
left on his door step some time through the night, and he'd found it
in the morning. The money was all there, but the old fellow was so
cute that he wouldn't tell any one how much it was. The neighbors
had persuaded him to bank it, and he was coming to town the next
morning with it, and that night some of them were going to help
him mount guard over it. Father told the men at milking time, and
he said Jacobs looked as unconscious as possible However, from
that day there was a change in him. He never told father in so
many words that he'd resolved to be an honest man, but his actions
spoke for him. He had been a kind of sullen, unwilling fellow, but
now he turned handy and obliging, and it was a real trial to father
to part with him."
Miss Laura was intensely interested in this story. "Where is he
now, Cousin Harry?" she asked, eagerly. "What became of him?"
Mr. Harry laughed in such amusement that I stared up at him, and
even Fleetfoot turned his head around to see what the joke was.
We were going very slowly up a long, steep hill, and in the clear,
still air, we could hear every word spoken in the buggy.
"The last part of the story is the best, to my mind," said Mr. Harry,
"and as romantic as even a girl could desire. The affair of the
stolen box was much talked about along Sudbury way, and Miss
Jerrold got to be considered quite a desirable young person among
some of the youth near there, though she is a frowsy-headed
creature, and not as neat in her personal attire as a young girl
should be. Among her suitors was Jacobs. He cut out a blacksmith
and a painter, and several young farmers, and father said he never
in his life had such a time to keep a straight face, as when Jacobs
came to him this spring, and said he was going to marry old Miser
Jerrold's daughter. He wanted to quit father's employ, and he
thanked him in a real manly way for the manner in which he had
always treated him. Well Jacobs left, and mother says that father
would sit and speculate about him, as to whether he had fallen in
love with Eliza Jerrold, or whether he was determined to regain
possession of the box, and was going to do it honestly, or whether
he was sorry for having frightened the old man into a greater
degree of imbecility, and was marrying the girl so that he could
take care of him, or whether it was something else, and so on, and
so on. He had a dozen theories, and then mother says he would
burst out laughing, and say it was one of the cutest tricks that he
had ever heard of.
"In the end, Jacobs got married, and father and mother went to the
wedding. Father gave the bridegroom a yoke of oxen, and mother
gave the bride a lot of household linen, and I believe they're as
happy as the day is long. Jacobs makes his wife comb her hair, and
he waits on the old man as if he was his son, and he is improving
the farm that was going to rack and ruin, and I hear he is going to
build a new house."
"Harry," exclaimed Miss Laura, "can't you take me to see them?"
"Yes, indeed; mother often drives over to take them little things,
and we'll go, too, sometime. I'd like to see Jacobs myself, now that
he is a decent fellow. Strange to say, though he hadn't the best of
character, no one has ever suspected him of the robbery, and he's
been cunning enough never to say a word about it. Father says
Jacobs is like all the rest of us. There's mixture of good and evil in
him, and sometimes one predominates, and sometimes the other.
But we must get on and not talk here all day. Get up, Fleetfoot."
"Where did you say we were going?" asked Miss Laura, as we
crossed the bridge over the river.
"A little way back here in the woods," he replied. "There's an
Englishman on a small clearing that he calls Penhollow. Father
loaned him some money three years ago, and he won't pay either
interest or principal."
"I think I've heard of him," said Miss Laura "Isn't he the man whom
the boys call Lord Chesterfield?"
"The same one. He's a queer specimen of a man. Father has always
stood up for him. He has a great liking for the English. He says we
ought to be as ready to help an Englishman as an American, for we
spring from common stock."
"Oh, not Englishmen only," said Miss Laura, warmly; "Chinamen,
and Negroes, and everybody. There ought to be a brotherhood of
"Yes, Miss Enthusiasm, I suppose there ought to be," and looking
up, I could see that Mr. Harry was gazing admiringly into his
"Please tell me some more about the Englishman," said Miss
"There isn't much to tell. He lives alone, only coming occasionally
to the village for supplies, and though he is poorer than poverty, he
despises every soul within a ten-mile radius of him, and looks
upon us as no better than an order of thrifty, well-trained lower
"Why is that?" asked Miss Laura, in surprise.
"He is a gentleman, Laura, and we are only common people. My
father can't hand a lady in and out of a carriage as Lord
Chesterfield can, nor can he make so grand a bow, nor does he put
on evening dress for a late dinner, and we never go to the opera
nor to the theatre, and know nothing of polite society, nor can we
tell exactly whom our great-great-grandfather sprang from. I tell
you, there is a gulf between us and that Englishman, wider than the
one young Curtius leaped into."
Miss Laura was laughing merrily. "How funny that sounds, Harry.
So he despises you," and she glanced at her good-looking cousin,
and his handsome buggy and well-kept horse, and then burst into
another merry peal of laughter.
Mr. Harry laughed, too. "It does seem absurd. Sometimes when I
pass him jogging along to town in his rickety old cart, and look at
his pale, cruel face, and know that he is a broken-down gambler
and man of the world, and yet considers himself infinitely superior
to me a young man in the prime of life, with a good constitution
and happy prospects, it makes me turn away to hide a smile."
By this time we had left the river and the meadows far behind us,
and were passing through a thick wood. The road was narrow and
very broken, and Fleetfoot was obliged to pick his way carefully.
"Why does the Englishman live in this out-of-the-way place, if he
is so fond of city life?" said Miss Laura.
"I don't know," said Mr. Harry. "Father is afraid that he has
committed some misdeed, and is in hiding; but we say nothing
about it. We have not seen him for some weeks, and to tell the
truth, this trip is as much to see what has become of him, as to
make a demand upon him for the money. As he lives alone, he
might lie there ill, and no one would know anything about it. The
last time that we knew of his coming to the village was to draw
quite a sum of money from the bank. It annoyed father, for he said
he might take some of it to pay his debts. I think his relatives in
England supply him with funds. Here we are at the entrance to the
mansion of Penhollow. I must get out and open the gate that will
admit us to the winding avenue."
We had arrived in front of some bars which were laid across an
opening in the snake fence that ran along one side of the road. I sat
down and looked about. It was a strange, lonely place. The trees
almost met overhead, and it was very dim and quiet. The sun could
only send little straggling beams through the branches. There was
a muddy pool of water before the bars that Mr. Harry was letting
down, and he got his feet wet in it. "Confound that Englishman,"
he said, backing out of the water, and wiping his boots on the
grass. "He hasn't even gumption enough to throw down a load of
stone there. Drive in, Laura, and I'll put up the bars." Fleetfoot took
us through the opening, and then Mr. Harry jumped into the buggy
and took up the reins again.
We had to go very slowly up a narrow, rough road. The bushes
scratched and scraped against the buggy, and Mr. Harry looked
very much annoyed.
"No man liveth to himself," said Miss Laura, softly. "This man's
carelessness is giving you trouble. Why doesn't he cut these
branches that overhang the road?"
"He can't do it, because his abominable laziness won't let him,"
said Mr. Harry. "I'd like to be behind him for a week, and I'd make
him step a little faster. We have arrived at last, thank goodness."
There was a small grass clearing in the midst of the woods. Chips
and bits of wood were littered about, and across the clearing was a
roughly-built house of unpainted boards. The front door was
propped open by a stick. Some of the panes of glass in the
windows were broken, and the whole house had a melancholy,
dilapidated look. I thought that I had never seen such a sad-looking
"It seems as if there was no one about," said Mr. Harry, with a
puzzled face. "Barron must be away. Will you hold Fleetfoot,
Laura, while I go and see?"
He drew the buggy up near a small log building that had evidently
been used for a stable, and I lay down beside it and watched Miss
CHAPTER XXVII A NEGLECTED STABLE
I HAD not been on the ground more than a few seconds, before I
turned my eyes from Miss Laura to the log hut. It was deathly
quiet, there was not a sound coming from it, but the air was full of
queer smells, and I was so uneasy that I could not lie still. There
was something the matter with Fleetfoot, too. He was pawing the
ground and whinnying, and looking, not after Mr. Harry, but
toward the log building.
"Joe," said Miss Laura, "what is the matter with you and Fleetfoot?
Why don't you stand still? Is there any stranger about?" and she
peered out of the buggy.
I knew there was something wrong somewhere, but I didn't know
what it was; so I stretched myself up on the step of the buggy, and
licked her hand, and barking, to ask her to excuse me, I ran off to
the other side of the log hut. There was a door there, but it was
closed, and propped firmly up by a plank that I could not move,
scratch as hard as I liked. I was determined to get in, so I jumped
against the door, and tore and bit at the plank, till Miss Laura came
to help me.
"You won't find anything but rats in that ramshackle old place,
Beautiful Joe," she said, as she pulled the plank away; "and as you
don't hurt them, I don't see what you want to get in for. However,
you are a sensible dog, and usually have a reason for having your
own way, so I am going to let you have it."
The plank fell down as she spoke, and she pulled open the rough
door and looked in. There was no window inside, only the light
that streamed through the door, so that for an instant she could see
nothing. "Is any one here?" she asked, in her clear, sweet voice.
There was no answer except a low, moaning sound. "Why, some
poor creature is in trouble, Joe," said Miss Laura, cheerfully. "Let
us see what it is," and she stepped inside.
I shall never forget seeing my dear Miss Laura going into that wet
and filthy log house, holding up her white dress in her hands, her
face a picture of pain and horror. There were two rough stalls in it,
and in the first one was tied a cow, with a calf lying beside her. I
could never have believed, if I had not seen it with my own eyes,
that an animal could get so thin as that cow was. Her backbone
rose up high and sharp, her hip bones stuck away out, and all her
body seemed shrunken in. There were sores on her sides, and the
smell from her stall was terrible. Miss Laura gave one cry of pity,
then with a very pale face she dropped her dress, and seizing a
little penknife from her pocket, she hacked at the rope that tied the
cow to the manger, and cut it so that the cow could lie down. The
first thing the poor cow did was to lick her calf, but it was quite
dead. I used to think Jenkins' cows were thin enough, but he never
had one that looked like this. Her head was like the head of a
skeleton, and her eyes had such a famished look, that I turned
away, sick at heart, to think that she had suffered so.
When the cow lay down, the moaning noise stopped, for she had
been making it. Miss Laura ran outdoors, snatched a handful of
grass and took it in to her. The cow ate it gratefully, but slowly, for
her strength seemed all gone.
Miss Laura then went into the other stall to see if there was any
creature there. There had been a horse. There was now a lean,
gaunt-looking animal lying on the ground, that seemed as if he was
dead. There was a heavy rope knotted around his neck, and
fastened to his empty rack. Miss Laura stepped carefully between
his feet, cut the rope and going outside the stall spoke kindly to
him. He moved his ears slightly, raised his head, tried to get up,
fell back again, tried again and succeeded in staggering outdoors
after Miss Laura, who kept encouraging him, and then he fell
down on the grass.
Fleetfoot stared at the miserable-looking creature as if he did not
know what it was. The horse had no sores on his body, as the cow
had, nor was he quite so lean: but he was the weakest, most
distressed-looking animal that I ever saw. The flies settled on him,
and Miss Laura had to keep driving them away. He was a white
horse, with some kind of pale-colored eyes, and whenever he
turned them on Miss Laura, she would look away. She did not cry,
as she often did over the sick and suffering animals. This seemed
too bad for tears. She just hovered over that poor horse with her
face as white as her dress, and an expression of fright in her eyes.
Oh, how dirty he was! I would never have imagined that a horse
could get in such a condition.
All this had only taken a few minutes, and just after she got the
horse out, Mr. Harry appeared. He came out of the house with a
slow step, that quickened to a run when he saw Miss Laura
"Laura!" he exclaimed, "what are you doing?" Then he stopped and
looked at the horse, not in amazement, but very sorrowfully.
"Barron is gone," he said, and crumpling up a piece of paper, he
put it in his pocket. "What is to be done to these animals? There is
a cow, isn't there?"
He stepped to the door of the log hut, glanced in, and said, quickly:
"Do you feel able to drive home?"
"Yes," said Miss Laura.
"Sure?" and he eyed her anxiously.
"Yes, yes," she returned; "what shall I get?"
"Just tell father that Barron has run away and left a starving pig,
cow, and horse. There's not a thing to eat here. He'll know what to
do. I'll drive you to the road."
Miss Laura got into the buggy and Mr. Harry jumped in after her.
He drove her to the road and put down the bars; then he said: "Go
straight on. You'll soon be on the open road, and there's nothing to
harm you. Joe will look after you. Meanwhile I'll go back to the
house and heat some water."
Miss Laura let Fleetfoot go as fast as he liked on the way home,
and it only seemed a few minutes before we drove into the yard.
Adele came out to meet us. "Where's uncle?" asked Miss Laura.
"Gone to de big meadow," said Adele.
"She had de colds and chills, and entered into de bed to keep
warm. She lose herself in sleep now. You not go near her."
"Are there none of the men about?" asked Miss Laura.
"No, mademoiselle. Dey all occupied way off."
"Then you help me, Adele, like a good girl," said Miss Laura,
hurrying into the house. "We've found a sick horse and cow. What
shall I take them?"
"Nearly all animals like de bran mash," said Adele.
"Good!" cried Miss Laura. "That is the very thing. Put in the things
to make it, will you please, and I would like some vegetables for
the cow. Carrots, turnips, anything you have; take some of those
you have prepared for dinner to-morrow, and please run up to the
barn, Adele, and get some hay, and corn, and oats, not much, for
we'll be going back again; but hurry, for the poor things are
starving, and have you any milk for the pig? Put it in one of those
tin kettles with covers."
For a few minutes, Miss Laura and Adele flew about the kitchen,
then we set off again. Miss Laura took me in the buggy, for I was
out of breath and wheezing greatly. I had to sit on the seat beside
her, for the bottom of the buggy and the back were full of eatables
for the poor sick animals. Just as we drove into the road, we met
Mr. Wood. "Are you running away with the farm?" he said with a
laugh, pointing to the carrot tops that were gaily waving over the
Miss Laura said a few words to him, and with a very grave face he
got in beside her. In a short time, we were back on the lonely road.
Mr. Harry was waiting at the gate for us, and when he saw Miss
Laura, he said, "Why did you come back again? You'll be tired out.
This isn't a place for a sensitive girl like you."
"I thought I might be of some use," said she, gently.
"So you can," said Mr. Wood. "You go into the house and sit
down, and Harry and I will come to you when we want cheering
up. What have you been doing, Harry?"
"I've watered them a little, and got a good fire going. I scarcely
think the cow will pull through. I think we'll save the horse. I tried
to get the cow out-doors, but she can't move."
"Let her alone," said Mr. Wood. "Give her some food and her
strength will come to her. What have you got here?" and he began
to take the things out of the buggy. "Bless the child, she's thought
of everything, even the salt. Bring those things into the house,
Harry, and we'll make a bran mash."
For more than an hour they were fussing over the animals. Then
they came in and sat down. The inside of the Englishman's house
was as untidy as the outside. There was no upstairs to it only one
large room with a dirty curtain stretched across it. On one side was
a low bed with a heap of clothes on it, a chair and a washstand. On
the other was a stove, a table, a shaky rocking-chair that Miss
Laura was sitting in, a few hanging shelves with some dishes and
books on them, and two or three small boxes that had evidently
been used for seats.
On the walls were tacked some pictures of grand houses and ladies
and gentlemen in fine clothes, and Miss Laura said that some of
them were noble people. "Well, I'm glad this particular nobleman
has left us," said Mr. Wood, seating himself on one of the boxes,
"if nobleman he is. I should call him in plain English, a scoundrel.
Did Harry show you his note?"
"No, uncle," said Miss Laura.
"Read it aloud," said Mr. Wood. "I'd like to hear it again."
Miss Laura read:
J. WOOD, Esq., Dear Sir: It is a matter of great regret to me that I
am suddenly called away from my place at Penhollow, and will
therefore not be able to do myself the pleasure of calling on you
and settling my little account. I sincere hope that the possession of
my live stock, which I make entirely over to you, will more than
reimburse you for any trifling expense which you may have
incurred on my account. If it is any gratification to you to know
that you have rendered a slight assistance to the son of one of
England's noblest noblemen, you have it. With expressions of the
deepest respect, and hoping that my stock may be in good
condition when you take possession,
I am, dear sir, ever devotedly yours,
HOWARD ALGERNON LEDUC BARRON.
Miss Laura dropped the paper. "Uncle, did he leave those animals
"Didn't you notice," said Mr. Wood, grimly, "that there wasn't a
wisp of hay inside that shanty, and that where the poor beasts were
tied up the wood was knawed and bitten by them in their torture
for food? Wouldn't he have sent me that note, instead of leaving it
here on the table, if he'd wanted me to know? The note isn't dated,
but I judge he's been gone five or six days. He has had a spite
against me ever since I lent him that hundred dollars. I don't know
why, for I've stood up for him when others would have run him out
of the place. He intended me to come here and find every animal
lying dead. He even had a rope around the pig's neck. Harry, my
boy, let us go and look after them again. I love a dumb brute too
well to let it suffer, but in this case I'd give two hundred dollars
more if I could make them live and have Barron know it."
They left the room, and Miss Laura sat turning the sheet of paper
over and over, with a kind of horror in her face. It was a very dirty
piece of paper, but by-and-by she made a discovery. She took it in
her hand and went out-doors. I am sure that the poor horse lying on
the grass knew her. He lifted his head, and what a different
expression he had now that his hunger had been partly satisfied.
Miss Laura stroked and patted him, then she called to her cousin,
"Harry, will you look at this?"
He took the paper from her, and said: "that is a crest shining
through the different strata of dust and grime, probably that of his
own family. We'll have it cleaned, and it will enable us to track the
villain. You want him punished, don't you?" he said, with a little,
sly laugh at Mist Laura.
She made a gesture in the direction of the suffering horse, and
said, frankly, "Yes, I do."
"Well, my dear girl," he said, "father and I are with you. If we can
hunt Barron down, we'll do it." Then he muttered to himself as she
turned away, "She is a real Puritan, gentle, and sweet, and good,
and yet severe. Rewards for the virtuous, punishments for the
vicious," and he repeated some poetry:
"She was so charitable and so piteous,
She would weep if that she saw a mouseCaught in a trap, if it were
dead or bled."
Miss Laura saw that Mr. Wood and Mr. Harry were doing all that
could be done for the cow and horse, so she wandered down to a
hollow at the back of the house, where the Englishman had kept
his pig. Just now, he looked more like a greyhound than a pig. His
legs were so long, his nose so sharp, and hunger, instead of making
him stupid like the horse and cow, had made him more lively. I
think he had probably not suffered so much as they had, or perhaps
he had had a greater store of fat to nourish him. Mr. Harry said that
if he had been a girl, he would have laughed and cried at the same
time when he discovered that pig. He must have been asleep or
exhausted when we arrived, for there was not a sound out of him,
but shortly afterward he had set up a yelling that attracted Mr.
Harry's attention, and made him run down to him. Mr. Harry said
he was raging around his pen, digging the ground with his snout,
falling down and getting up again, and by a miracle, escaping
death by choking from the rope that was tied around his neck.
Now that his hunger had been satisfied, he was gazing contentedly
at his little trough that was half full of good, sweet milk. Mr. Harry
said that a starving animal, like a starving person, should only be
fed a little at a time; but the Englishman's animals had always been
fed poorly, and their stomachs had contracted so that they could
not eat much at one time.
Miss Laura got a stick and scratched poor piggy's back a little, and
then she went back to the house. In a short time we went home
with Mr. Wood. Mr. Harry was going to stay all night with the sick
animals, and his mother would send him things to make him
comfortable. She was better by the time we got home, and was
horrified to hear the tale of Mr. Barron's neglect. Later in the
evening, she sent one of the men over with a whole box full of
things for her darling boy, and nice, hot tea, done up for him in a
covered dish. When the man came home, he said that Mr. Harry
would not sleep in the Englishman's dirty house, but had slung a
hammock out under the trees. However, he would not be able to
sleep much, for he had his lantern by his side, all ready to jump up
and attend to the horse and cow. It was a very lonely place for him
out there in the woods, and his mother said that she would be glad
when the sick animals could be driven to their own farm.
CHAPTER XXVIII THE END OF THE ENGLISHMAN
IN a few days, thanks to Mr. Harry's constant care, the horse and
cow were able to walk. It was a mournful procession that came
into the yard at Dingley Farm. The hollow-eyed horse, and lean
cow, and funny, little thin pig, staggering along in such a shaky
fashion. Their hoofs were diseased, and had partly rotted away, so
that they could not walk straight. Though it was only a mile or two
from Penhollow to Dingley Farm, they were tired out, and dropped
down exhausted on their comfortable beds.
Miss Laura was so delighted to think that they had all lived, that
she did not know what to do. Her eyes were bright and shining,
and she went from one to another with such a happy face. The
queer little pig that Mr. Harry had christened "Daddy Longlegs,"
had been washed, and he lay on his heap of straw in the corner of
his neat little pen, and surveyed his clean trough and abundance of
food with the air of a prince. Why, he would be clean and dry here,
and all his life he had been used to dirty, damp Penhollow, with
the trees hanging over him, and his little feet in a mass of filth and
dead leaves. Happy little pig! His ugly eyes seemed to blink and
gleam with gratitude, and he knew Miss Laura and Mr. Harry as
well as I did.
His tiny tail was curled so tight that it was almost in a knot. Mr.
Wood said that was a sign that he was healthy and happy: and that
when poor Daddy was at Penhollow he had noticed that his tail
hung as limp and as loose as the tail of a rat. He came and leaned
over the pen with Miss Laura, and had a little talk with her about
pigs. He said they were by no means the stupid animals that some
people considered them. He had had pigs that were as clever as
dogs. One little black pig that he had once sold to a man away
back in the country had found his way home, through the woods,
across the river, up hill and down dale, and he'd been taken to the
place with a bag over his head. Mr. Wood said that he kept that pig
because he knew so much.
He said the most knowing pigs he ever saw were Canadian pigs.
One time he was having a trip on a sailing vessel, and it anchored
in a long, narrow harbor in Canada, where the tide came in with a
front four or five feet high called the "bore." There was a village
opposite the place where the ship was anchored, and every day at
low tide, a number of pigs came down to look for shell-fish.
Sometimes they went out for half a mile over the mud flats, but
always a few minutes before the tide came rushing in they turned
and hurried to the shore. Their instincts warned them that if they
stayed any longer they would be drowned.
Mr. Wood had a number of pigs, and after a while Daddy was put
in with them, and a fine time he had of it making friends with the
other little grunters. They were often let out in the pasture or
orchard, and when they were there, I could always single out
Daddy from among them, because he was the smartest. Though he
had been brought up in such a miserable way, he soon learned to
take very good care of himself at Dingley Farm, and it was
amusing to see him when a storm was coming on, running about in
a state of great excitement carrying little bundles of straw in his
mouth to make himself a bed. He was a white pig, and was always
kept very clean. Mr. Wood said that it is wrong to keep pigs dirty.
They like to be clean as well as other animals, and if they were
kept so, human beings would not get so many diseases from eating
The cow, poor unhappy creature, never, as long as she lived on
Dingley Farm, lost a strange melancholy look from her eyes. I have
heard it said that animals forget past unhappiness, and perhaps
some of them do. I know that I have never forgotten my one
miserable year with Jenkins, and I have been a sober, thoughtful
dog in consequence of it, and not playful like some dogs who have
never known what it is to be really unhappy.
It always seemed to me that the Englishman's cow was thinking of
her poor dead calf, starved to death by her cruel master. She got
well herself, and came and went with the other cows, seemingly as
happy as they, but often when I watched her standing chewing her
cud, and looking away in the distance, I could see a difference
between her face and the faces of the cows that had always been
happy on Dingley Farm. Even the farm hands called her "Old
Melancholy," and soon she got to be known by that name, or Mel,
for short. Until she got well, she was put into the cow stable,
where Mr. Wood's cows all stood at night upon raised platforms of
earth covered over with straw litter, and she was tied with a Dutch
halter, so that she could lie down and go to sleep when she wanted
to. When she got well, she was put out to pasture with the other
The horse they named "Scrub," because he could never be, under
any circumstance, anything but a broken-down, plain-looking
animal. He was put into the horse stable in a stall next Fleetfoot,
and as the partition was low, they could look over at each other. In
time, by dint of much doctoring, Scrub's hoofs became clean and
sound and he was able to do some work. Miss Laura petted him a
great deal. She often took out apples to the stable, and Fleetfoot
would throw up his beautiful head and look reproachfully over the
partition at her, for she always stayed longer with Scrub than with
him, and Scrub always got the larger share of whatever good thing
Poor old Scrub! I think he loved Miss Laura. He was a stupid sort
of a horse, and always acted as if he was blind. He would run his
nose up and down the front of her dress, nip at the buttons, and be
very happy if he could get a bit of her watch-chain between his
strong teeth. If he was in the field he never seemed to know her till
she was right under his pale-colored eyes. Then he would be
delighted to see her. He was not blind, though, for Mr. Wood said
he was not. He said he had probably not been an over-bright horse
to start with, and had been made more dull by cruel usage.
As for the Englishman, the master of these animals, a very strange
thing happened to him. He came to a terrible end, but for a long
time no one knew anything about it. Mr. Wood and Mr. Harry
were so very angry with him that they said they would leave no
stone unturned to have him punished, or at least to have it known
what a villain he was. They sent the paper with the crest on it to
Boston. Some people there wrote to England, and found out that it
was the crest of a noble and highly esteemed family, and some earl
was at the head of it. They were all honorable people in this family
except one man, a nephew, not a son, of the late earl. He was the
black sheep of them all. As a young man, he had led a wild and
wicked life, and had ended by forging the name of one of his
friends, so that he was obliged to leave England and take refuge in
America. By the description of this man, Mr. Wood knew that he
must be Mr. Barron, so he wrote to these English people, and told
them what a wicked thing their relative had done in leaving his
animals to starve. In a short time, he got an answer from them,
which was, at the same time, very proud and very touching. It
came from Mr. Barron's cousin, and he said quite frankly that he
knew his relative was a man of evil habits, but it seemed as if
nothing could be done to reform him. His family was accustomed
to send a quarterly allowance to him, on condition that he led a
quiet life in some retired place, but their last remittance to him
was lying unclaimed in Boston, and they thought he must be dead.
Could Mr. Wood tell them anything about him?
Mr. Wood looked very thoughtful when he got this letter, then he
said, "Harry, how long is it since Barron ran away?"
"About eight weeks," said Mr. Harry.
"That's strange," said Mr. Wood. "The money these English people
sent him would get to Boston just a few days after he left here. He
is not the man to leave it long unclaimed. Something must have
happened to him. Where do you suppose he would go from
"I have no idea, sir," said Mr. Harry.
"And how would he go?" said Mr. Wood. "He did not leave
Riverdale Station, because he would have been spotted by some of
"Perhaps he would cut through the woods to the Junction," said
"Just what he would do," said Mr. Wood, slapping his knee. "I'll be
driving over there to-morrow to see Thompson, and I'll make
Mr. Harry spoke to his father the next night when he came home,
and asked him if he had found out anything. "Only this," said Mr.
Wood. "There's no one answering to Barron's description who has
left Riverdale Junction within a twelvemonth. He must have struck
some other station. We'll let him go. The Lord looks out for
fellows like that."
"We will look out for him if he ever comes back to Riverdale,"
said Mr. Harry, quietly. All through the village, and in the country
it was known what a dastardly trick the Englishman had played,
and he would have been roughly handled if he had dared return.
Months passed away, and nothing was heard of him. Late in the
autumn, after Miss Laura and I had gone back to Fairport, Mrs.
Wood wrote her about the end of the Englishman. Some Riverdale
lads were beating about the woods, looking for lost cattle, and in
their wanderings came to an old stone quarry that had been disused
for years. On one side there was a smooth wall of rock, many feet
deep. On the other the ground and rock were broken away, and it
was quite easy to get into it. They found that by some means or
other, one of their cows had fallen into this deep pit, over the steep
side of the quarry. Of course the poor creature was dead, but the
boys, out of curiosity, resolved to go down and look at her. They
clambered down, found the cow, and, to their horror and
amazement, discovered near-by the skeleton of a man. There was a
heavy walking-stick by his side, which they recognized as one that
the Englishman had carried.
He was a drinking man, and perhaps he had taken something that
he thought would strengthen him for his morning's walk, but which
had, on the contrary, bewildered him, and made him lose his way
and fall into the quarry. Or he might have started before daybreak,
and in the darkness have slipped and fallen down this steep wall of
rock. One leg was doubled under him, and if he had not been
instantly killed by the fall, he must have been so disabled that he
could not move. In that lonely place, he would call for help in
vain, so he may have perished by the terrible death of starvation
the death he had thought to mete out to his suffering animals.
Mrs. Wood said that there was never a sermon preached in
Riverdale that had the effect that the death of this wicked man had,
and it reminded her of a verse in the Bible: "He made a pit and he
digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made." Mrs. Wood
said that her husband had written about the finding of Mr. Barron's
body to his English relatives, and had received a letter from them
in which they seemed relieved to hear that he was dead. They
thanked Mr. Wood for his plain speaking in telling them of their
relative's misdeeds, and said that from all they knew of Mr.
Barron's past conduct, his influence would be for evil and not for
good, in any place that he choose to live in. They were having their
money sent from Boston to Mr. Wood, and they wished him to
expend it in the way he thought best fitted to counteract the evil
effects of their namesake's doings in Riverdale.
When this money came, it amounted to some hundreds of dollars.
Mr. Wood would have nothing to do with it. He handed it over to
the Band of Mercy, and they formed what they called the "Barron
Fund," which they drew upon when they wanted money for buying
and circulating humane literature. Mrs. Wood said that the fund
was being added to, and the children were sending all over the
State leaflets and little books which preached the gospel of
kindness to God's lower creation. A stranger picking one of them
up, and seeing the name of the wicked Englishman printed on the
title-page, would think that he was a friend and benefactor to the
Riverdale people the very opposite of what he gloried in being.
CHAPTER XXIX A TALK ABOUT SHEEP
MISS LAURA was very much interested in the sheep on Dingley
Farm. There was a flock in the orchard near the house that she
often went to see. She always carried roots and vegetables to them,
turnips particularly, for they were very fond of them; but they
would not come to her to get them, for they did not know her
voice. They only lifted their heads and stared at her when she
called them. But when they heard Mr. Wood's voice, they ran to
the fence, bleating with pleasure, and trying to push their noses
through to get the carrot or turnip, or whatever he was handing to
them. He called them his little Southdowns, and he said he loved
his sheep, for they were the most gentle and inoffensive creature
that he had on his farm.
One day when he came into the kitchen inquiring for salt, Miss
Laura said: "Is it for the sheep?"
"Yes," he replied; "I am going up to the woods pasture to examine
"You would like to go too, Laura," said Mrs. Wood. "Take your
hands right away from that cake. I'll finish frosting it for you. Run
along and get your broad-brimmed hat. It's very hot."
Miss Laura danced out into the hall and back again, and soon we
were walking up, back of the house, along a path that led us
through the fields to the pasture. "What are you going to do,
uncle?" she said; "and what are those funny things in your hands?"
"Toe-clippers," he replied; "and I am going to examine the sheeps'
hoofs. You know we've had warm, moist weather all through July,
and I'm afraid of foot-rot. Then they're sometimes troubled with
"What do you do if they get foot-rot?" asked Miss Laura.
"I've various cures," he said. "Paring and clipping, and dipping the
hoof in blue vitriol and vinegar, or rubbing it on, as the English
shepherds do. It destroys the diseased part, but doesn't affect the
"Do sheep have many diseases?" asked Miss Laura. "I know one of
them myself that is the scab."
"A nasty thing that," said Mr. Wood, vigorously; "and a man that
builds up a flock from a stockyard often finds it out to his cost."
"What is it like?" asked Miss Laura.
"The sheep get scabby from a microbe under the skin, which
causes them to itch fearfully, and they lose their wool."
"And can't it be cured?"
"Oh, yes! with time and attention. There are different remedies. I
believe petroleum is the best."
By this time we had got to a wide gate that opened into the pasture.
As Mr. Wood let Miss Laura go through and then closed it behind
her, he said, "You are looking at that gate. You want to know why
it is so long, don't you?"
"Yes, uncle," she said; "but I can't bear to ask so many questions."
"Ask as many as you like," he said, good-naturedly. "I don't mind
answering them. Have you ever seen sheep pass through a gate or
"Oh, yes, often."
"And how do they act?"
"Oh, so silly, uncle. They hang back, and one waits for another,
and, finally, they all try to go at once."
"Precisely; when one goes they all want to go, if it was to jump
into a bottomless pit. Many sheep are injured by overcrowding, so
I have my gates and doors very wide. Now, let us call them up."
There wasn't one in sight, but when Mr. Wood lifted up his voice
and cried: "Ca nan, nan, nan!" black faces began to peer out from
among the bushes; and little black legs, carrying white bodies,
came hurrying up the stony paths from the cooler parts of the
pasture. Oh, how glad they were to get the salt! Mr. Wood let Miss
Laura spread it on some flat rocks, then they sat down on a log
under a tree and watched them eating it and licking the rocks when
it was all gone. Miss Laura sat; fanning herself with her hat and
smiling at them. "You funny, woolly things," she said "You're not
so stupid as some people think you are. Lie still, Joe. If you show
yourself, they may run away."
I crouched behind the log, and only lifted my head occasionally to
see what the sheep were doing. Some of them went back into the
woods, for it was very hot in this bare part of the pasture, but the
most of them would not leave Mr. Wood, and stood staring at him.
"That's a fine sheep, isn't it?" said Miss Laura, pointing to one with
the blackest face, and the blackest legs, and largest body of those
"Yes; that's old Jessica. Do you notice how she's holding her head
close to the ground?"
"Yes; is there any reason for it?"
"There is. She's afraid of the grub fly. You often see sheep holding
their noses in that way in the summer time. It is to prevent the fly
from going into their nostrils, and depositing an egg which will
turn into a grub and annoy and worry them. When the fly comes
near, they give a sniff and run as if they were crazy, still holding
their noses close to the ground. When I was a boy, and the sheep
did that, we thought that they had colds in their heads, and used to
rub tar on their noses. We knew nothing about the fly then, but the
tar cured them, and is just what I use now. Two or three times a
month during hot weather, we put a few drops of it on the nose of
every sheep in the flock."
"I suppose farmers are like other people, and are always finding
out better ways of doing their work, aren't they, uncle?" said Miss
"Yes, my child. The older I grow, the more I find out, and the
better care I take of my stock. My grandfather would open his eyes
in amazement, and ask me if I was an old women petting her cats
if he were alive, and could know the care I give my sheep. He used
to let his flock run till the fields were covered with snow, and bite
as close as they liked, till there wasn't a scrap of feed left. Then he
would give them an open shed to run under, and throw down their
hay outside. Grain they scarcely knew the taste of. That they would
fall off in flesh, and half of them lose their lambs in the spring,
was an expected thing. He would say I had them kennelled, if he
could see my big, closed sheds, with the sunny windows that my
flock spend the winter in. I even house them during the bad fall
storms. They can run out again. Indeed, I like to get them in, and
have a snack of dry food, to break them in to it. They are in and
out of those sheds all winter. You must go in, Laura, and see the
self-feeding racks. On bright, winter days they get a run in the
cornfields. Cold doesn't hurt sheep. It's the heavy rain that soaks
"With my way I seldom lose a sheep, and they're the most
profitable stock I have. If I could not keep them, I think I'd give up
farming. Last year my lambs netted me eight dollars each. The
fleeces of the ewes average eight pounds, and sell for two dollars
each. That's something to brag of in these days, when so many are
giving up the sheep industry."
"How many sheep have you, uncle?" asked Miss Laura.
"Only fifty, now. Twenty-five here and twenty-five down below in
the orchard. I've been selling a good many this spring."
"These sheep are larger than those in the orchard, aren't they?" said
"Yes; I keep those few Southdowns for their fine quality. I don't
make as much on them as I do on these Shropshires. For an
all-around sheep I like the Shropshire. It's good for mutton, for
wool, and for rearing lambs. There's a great demand for mutton
nowadays, all through our eastern cities. People want more and
more of it. And it has to be tender, and juicy, and finely flavored,
so a person has to be particular about the feed the sheep get."
"Don't you hate to have these creatures killed that you have raised
and tended so carefully?" said Miss Laura with a little shudder.
"I do," said her uncle; "but never an animal goes off my place that
I don't know just how it's going to be put to death. None of your
sending sheep to market with their legs tied together and jammed
in a cart, and sweating and suffering for me. They've got to go
standing comfortably on their legs, or go not at all. And I'm going
to know the butcher that kills my animals, that have been petted
like children. I said to Davidson, over there in Hoytville, 'If I
thought you would herd my sheep and lambs and calves together,
and take them one by one in sight of the rest, and stick your knife
into them, or stun them, and have the others lowing, and bleating,
and crying in their misery, this is the last consignment you would
ever get from me.'
"He said, 'Wood, I don't like my business, but on the word of an
honest man, my butchering is done as well as it can be. Come and
see for yourself.'
"He took me to his slaughter-house, and though I didn't stay long, I
saw enough to convince me that he spoke the truth. He has
different pens and sheds, and the killing is done as quietly as
possible; the animals are taken in one by one, and though the
others suspect what is going on, they can't see it."
"These sheep are a long way from the house," said Miss Laura;
"don't the dogs that you were telling me about attack them?"
"No; for since I had that brush with Windham's dog, I've trained
them to go and come with the cows. It's a queer thing, but cows
that will run from a dog when they are alone will fight him if he
meddles with their calves or the sheep. There's not a dog around
that would dare to come into this pasture, for he knows the cows
would be after him with lowered horns, and a business look in
their eyes. The sheep in the orchard are safe enough, for they're
near the house, and if a strange dog came around, Joe would settle
him, wouldn't you, Joe?" and Mr. Wood looked behind the log at
I got up and put my head on his arm, and he went on: "By and by,
the Southdowns will be changed up here, and the Shropshires will
go down to the orchard. I like to keep one flock under my fruit
trees. You know there is an old proverb 'The sheep has a golden
hoof.' They save me the trouble of ploughing. I haven't ploughed
my orchard for ten years, and don't expect to plough it for ten years
more. Then your Aunt Hattie's hens are so obliging that they keep
me from the worry of finding ticks at shearing time. All the year
round, I let them run among the sheep, and they nab every tick
"How closely sheep bite," exclaimed Miss Laura, pointing to one
that was nibbling almost at his master's feet.
"Very close, and they eat a good many things that cows don't relish
bitter weeds, and briars and shrubs, and the young ferns that come
up in the spring."
"I wish I could get hold of one of those dear little lambs," said
Miss Laura. "See that sweet little blackie back in the alders. Could
you not coax him up?"
"He wouldn't come here," said her uncle kindly; "but I'll try end get
him for you."
He rose, and after several efforts succeeded in capturing the
black-faced creature, and bringing him up to the log. He was very
shy of Miss Laura, but Mr. Wood held him firmly, and let her
stroke his head as much as she liked. "You call him little," said
Mr. Wood; "if you put your arm around him, you'll find he's a
pretty: substantial lamb. He was born in March. This is the last of
July; he'll be shorn the middle of next month, and think he's quite
grown up. Poor little animal! he had quite a struggle for life. The
sheep were turned out to pasture in April. They can't bear
confinement as well as the cows, and as they bite closer they can
be turned out earlier, and get on well by having good rations of
corn in addition to the grass, which is thin and poor so early in the
spring. This young creature was running by his mother's side,
rather a weak-legged, poor specimen of a lamb. Every night the
flock was put under shelter, for the ground was cold, and though
the sheep might not suffer from lying out-doors, the lambs would
get chilled. One night this fellow's mother got astray, and as Ben
neglected to make the count, she wasn't missed. I'm always
anxious about my lambs in the spring and often get up in the night
to look after them. That night I went out about two o'clock. I took
it into my head, for some reason or other, to count them. I found a
sheep and lamb missing, took my lantern and Bruno, who was
some good at tracking sheep, and started out. Bruno barked and I
called, and the foolish creature came to me, the little lamb
staggering after her. I wrapped the lamb in my coat, took it to the
house, made a fire, and heated some milk. Your Aunt Hattie heard
me and got up. She won't let me give brandy even to a dumb beast,
so I put some ground sugar, which is just as good, in the milk, and
forced it down the lamb's throat. Then we wrapped an old blanket
round him, and put him near the stove, and the next evening he
was ready to go back to his mother. I petted him all through April,
and gave him extras different kinds of meal, till I found what
suited him best; now he does me credit."
"Dear little lamb," said Miss Laura, patting him, "How can you tell
him from the others, uncle?"
"I know all their faces, Laura. A flock of sheep is just like a crowd
of people. They all have different expressions, and have different
"They all look alike to me," said Miss Laura.
"I dare say. You are not accustomed to them. Do you know how to
tell a sheep's age?"
"Here, open your mouth, Cosset," he said to the lamb that he still
held. "At one year they have two teeth in the centre of the jaw.
They get two teeth more every year up to five years. Then we say
they have 'a full mouth.' After that you can't tell their age exactly
by the teeth. Now, run back to your mother," and he let the lamb
"Do they always know their own mothers?" asked Miss Laura.
"Usually. Sometimes a ewe will not own her lamb. In that case we
tie them up in a separate stall till she recognizes it. Do you see that
sheep over there by the blueberry bushes the one with the very
"Yes, uncle," said Miss Laura.
"That lamb by her side is not her own. Hers died and we took its
fleece and wrapped it around a twin lamb that we took from
another ewe, and gave to her. She soon adopted it. Now, come this
way, and I'll show you our movable feeding troughs."
He got up from the log, and Miss Laura followed him to the fence.
"These big troughs are for the sheep," said Mr. Wood, "and these
shallow ones in the enclosure are for the lambs. See, there is just
room enough for them to get under the fence. You should see the
small creatures rush to them whenever we appear with their oats,
and wheat, or bran, or whatever we are going to give them. If they
are going to the butcher, they get corn meal and oil meal.
Whatever it is, they eat it up clean. I don't believe in cramming
animals. I feed them as much as is good for them, and not any
more. Now, you go sit down over there behind those bushes with
Joe, and I'll attend to business."
Miss Laura found a shady place, and I curled myself up beside her.
We sat there a long time, but we did not get tired, for it was
amusing to watch the sheep and lambs. After a while, Mr. Wood
came and sat down beside us. He talked some more about
sheep-raising; then he said, "You may stay here longer if you like,
but I must get down to the house. The work must be done, if the
weather is hot."
"What are you going to do now?" asked Miss Laura, jumping up.
"Oh! more sheep business. I've set out some young trees in the
orchard, and unless I get chicken wire around them, my sheep will
be barking them for me."
"I've seen them," said Miss Laura, "standing up on their hind legs
and nibbling at the trees, taking off every shoot they can reach."
"They don't hurt the old trees," said Mr. Wood; "but the young
ones have to be protected. It pays me to take care of my fruit trees,
for I get a splendid crop from them, thanks to the sheep."
"Good-bye, little lambs and dear old sheep," said Miss Laura, as
her uncle opened the gate for her to leave the pasture. "I'll come
and see you again some time. Now, you had better go down to the
brook in the dingle and have a drink. You look hot in your warm
"You've mastered one detail of sheep-keeping," said Mr. Wood, as
he slowly walked along beside his niece. "To raise healthy sheep
one must have pure water where they can get to it whenever they
like. Give them good water, good food, and a variety of it, good
quarters cool in summer, comfortable in winter, and keep them
quiet, and you'll make them happy and make money on them."
"I think I'd like sheep-raising," said Miss Laura; "won't you have
me for your flock mistress, uncle?"
He laughed, and said he thought not, for she would cry every time
any of her charge were sent to the butcher.
After this Miss Laura and I often went up to the pasture to see the
sheep and the lambs. We used to get into a shady place where they
could not see us, and watch them. One day I got a great surprise
about the sheep. I had heard so much about their meekness that I
never dreamed that they would fight; but it turned out that they
did, and they went about it in such a business-like way, that I could
not help smiling at them. I suppose that like most other animals
they had a spice of wickedness in them. On this day a quarrel arose
between two sheep; but instead of running at each other like two
dogs they went a long distance apart, and then came rushing at
each other with lowered heads. Their object seemed to be to break
each other's skull; but Miss Laura soon stopped them by calling out
and frightening them apart. I thought that the lambs were more
interesting than the sheep. Sometimes they fed quietly by their
mothers' sides, and at other times they all huddled together on the
top of some flat rock or in a bare place, and seemed to be talking
to each other with their heads close together. Suddenly one would
jump down, and start for the bushes or the other side of the
pasture. They would all follow pell-mell; then in a few minutes
they would come rushing back again. It was pretty to see them
playing together and having a good time before the sorrowful day
of their death came.
CHAPTER XXX A JEALOUS OX
MR. WOOD had a dozen calves that he was raising, and Miss
Laura sometimes went up to the stable to see them. Each calf was
in a crib, and it was fed with milk. They had gentle, patient faces,
and beautiful eyes, and looked very meek, as they stood quietly
gazing about them, or sucking away at their milk. They reminded
me of big, gentle dogs.
I never got a very good look at them in their cribs, but one day
when they were old enough to be let out, I went up with Miss
Laura to the yard where they were kept. Such queer, ungainly,
large-boned creatures they were, and such a good time they were
having, running and jumping and throwing up their heels.
Mrs. Wood was with us, and she said that it was not good for
calves to be closely penned after they got to be a few weeks old.
They were better for getting out and having a frolic. She stood
beside Miss Laura for a long time, watching the calves, and
laughing a great deal at their awkward gambols. They wanted to
play, but they did not seem to know how to use their limbs.
They were lean calves, and Miss Laura asked her aunt why all the
nice milk they had taken had not made them fat. "The fat will
come all in good time," said Mrs. Wood. "A fat calf makes a poor
cow, and a fat, small calf isn't profitable to fit for sending to the
butcher. It's better to have a bony one and fatten it. If you come
here next summer, you'll see a fine show of young cattle, with fat
sides, and big, open horns, and a good coat of hair. Can you
imagine," she went on, indignantly, "that any one could be cruel
enough to torture such a harmless creature as a calf?"
"No, indeed," replied Miss Laura. "Who has been doing it?"
"Who has been doing it?" repeated Mrs. Wood, bitterly; "they are
doing it all the time. Do you know what makes the nice, white veal
one gets in big cities? The calves are bled to death. They linger for
hours, and moan their lives away. The first time I heard it, I was so
angry that I cried for a day, and made John promise that he'd never
send another animal of his to a big city to be killed. That's why all
of our stock goes to Hoytville, and small country places. Oh, those
big cities are awful places, Laura. It seems to me that it makes
people wicked to huddle them together. I'd rather live in a desert
than a city. There's Ch o. Every night since I've been there I pray to
the Lord either to change the hearts of some of the wicked people
in it, or to destroy them off the face of the earth. You know three
years ago I got run down, and your uncle said I'd got to have a
change, so he sent me off to my brother's in Ch o. I stayed and
enjoyed myself pretty well, for it is a wonderful city, till one day
some Western men came in, who had been visiting the slaughter
houses outside the city. I sat and listened to their talk, and it
seemed to me that I was hearing the description of a great battle.
These men were cattle dealers, and had been sending stock to Ch
o, and they were furious that men, in their rage for wealth, would
so utterly ignore and trample on all decent and humane feelings as
to torture animals as the Ch o men were doing.
"It is too dreadful to repeat the sights they saw. I listened till they
were describing Texan steers kicking in agony under the torture
that was practised, and then I gave a loud scream, and fainted dead
away. They had to send for your uncle, and he brought me home,
and for days and days I heard nothing but shouting and swearing,
and saw animals dripping with blood, and crying and moaning in
their anguish, and now, Laura, if you'd lay down a bit of Ch o
meat, and cover it with gold, I'd spurn it from me. But what am I
saying? you're as white as a sheet. Come and see the cow stable.
John's just had it whitewashed."
Miss Laura took her aunt's arm, and I walked slowly behind them.
The cow stable was a long building, well-built, and with no chinks
in the walls, as Jenkins's stable had. There were large windows
where the afternoon sun came streaming in, and a number of
ventilators, and a great many stalls. A pipe of water ran through
the stalls from one end of the stable to the other. The floor was
covered with sawdust and leaves, and the ceiling and tops of the
walls were whitewashed. Mrs. Wood said that her husband would
not have the walls a glare of white right down to the floor, because
he thought it injured the animals' eyes. So the lower parts of the
walls were stained a dark, brown color.
There were doors at each end of the stable, and just now they stood
open, and a gentle breeze was blowing through, but Mrs. Wood
said that when the cattle stood in the stalls, both doors were never
allowed to be open at the same time. Mr. Wood was most
particular to have no drafts blowing upon his cattle. He would not
have them chilled, and he would not have them overheated. One
thing was as bad as the other. And during the winter they were
never allowed to drink icy water. He took the chill off the water
for his cows, just as Mrs. Wood did for her hens.
"You know, Laura," Mrs. Wood went on, "that when cows are kept
dry and warm, they eat less than when they are cold and wet. They
are so warm-blooded that if they are cold, they have to eat a great
deal to keep up the heat of their bodies, so it pays better to house
and feed them well. They like quiet, too. I never knew that till I
married your uncle. On our farm, the boys always shouted and
screamed at the cows when they were driving them, and
sometimes they made them run. They're never allowed to do that
"I have noticed how quiet this farm seems," said Miss Laura. "You
have so many men about, and yet there is so little noise."
"Your uncle whistles a great deal," said Mrs. Wood. "Have you
noticed that? He whistles when he's about his work, and then he
has a calling whistle that nearly all of the animals know, and the
men run when they hear it. You'd see every cow in this stable turn
its head, if he whistled in a certain way outside. He says that he got
into the way of doing it when he was a boy and went for his
father's cows. He trained them so that he'd just stand in the pasture
and whistle, and they'd come to him. I believe the first thing that
inclined me to him was his clear, happy whistle. I'd hear him from
our house away down on the road, jogging along with his cart, or
driving in his buggy. He says there is no need of screaming at any
animal. It only frightens and angers them. They will mind much
better if you speak clearly and distinctly. He says there is only one
thing an animal hates more than to be shouted at, and that's to be
crept on to have a person sneak up to it and startle it. John says
many a man is kicked, because he comes up to his horse like a
thief. A startled animal's first instinct is to defend itself. A dog will
spring at you, and a horse will let his heels fly. John always speaks
or whistles to let the stock know when he's approaching."
"Where is uncle this afternoon?" asked Miss Laura.
"Oh, up to his eyes in hay. He's even got one of the oxen harnessed
to a hay cart."
"I wonder whether it's Duke?" said Miss Laura.
"Yes, it is. I saw the star on his forehead," replied Mrs. Wood.
"I don't know when I have laughed at anything as much as I did at
him the other day," said Miss Laura. "Uncle asked me if I had ever
heard of such a thing as a jealous ox, and I said no. He said, 'Come
to the barnyard, and I'll show you one.' The oxen were both there,
Duke with his broad face, and Bright so much sharper and more
intelligent looking. Duke was drinking at the trough there, and
uncle said: 'Just look at him. Isn't he a great, fat, self-satisfied
creature, and doesn't he look as if he thought the world owed him a
living, and he ought to get it?' Then he got the card and went up to
Bright, and began scratching him. Duke lifted his head from the
trough, and stared at uncle, who paid no attention to him but went
on carding Bright, and stroking and petting him. Duke looked so
angry. He left the trough, and with the water dripping from his
lips, went up to uncle, and gave him a push with his horns. Still
uncle took no notice, and Duke almost pushed him over. Then
uncle left off petting Bright, and turned to him. He said Duke
would have treated him roughly, if he hadn't. I never saw a
creature look as satisfied as Duke did, when uncle began to card
him. Bright didn't seem to care, and only gazed calmly at them."
"I've seen Duke do that again and again," said Mrs. Wood. "He's
the most jealous animal that we have, and it makes him perfectly
miserable to have your uncle pay attention to any animal but him.
What queer creatures these dumb brutes are. They're pretty much
like us in most ways. They're jealous and resentful, and they can
love or hate equally well and forgive, too, for that matter; and
suffer how they can suffer, and so patiently, too. Where is the
human being that would put up with the tortures that animals
endure and yet come out so patient?"
"Nowhere," said Miss Laura, in a low voice "we couldn't do it."
"And there doesn't seem to be an animal," Mrs. Wood went on, "no
matter how ugly and repulsive it is, but what has some lovable
qualities. I have just been reading about some sewer rats, Louise
Michel's rats "
"Who is she?" asked Miss Laura.
"A celebrated Frenchwoman, my dear child, 'the priestess of pity
and vengeance,' Mr. Stead calls her. You are too young to know
about her but I remember reading of her in 1872, during the
Commune troubles in France. She is an anarchist, and she used to
wear a uniform, and shoulder a rifle, and help to build barricades.
She was arrested and sent as a convict to one of the French penal
colonies. She has a most wonderful love for animals in her heart,
and when she went home she took four cats with her. She was put
into prison again in France and took the cats with her. Rats came
about her cell and she petted them and taught her cats to be kind to
them. Before she got the cats thoroughly drilled one of them bit a
rat's paw. Louise nursed the rat till it got well, then let it down by a
string from her window. It went back to its sewer, and, I suppose,
told the other rats how kind Louise had been to it, for after that
they came to her cell without fear. Mother rats brought their young
ones and placed them at her feet, as if to ask her protection for
them. The most remarkable thing about them was their affection
for each other. Young rats would chew the crusts thrown to old
toothless rats, so that they might more easily eat them, and if a
young rat dared help itself before an old one, the others punished
"That sounds very interesting, auntie," said Miss Laura. "Where
did you read it?"
"I have just got the magazine," said Mrs. Wood; "you shall have it
as soon as you come into the house."
"I love to be with you, dear auntie," said Miss Laura, putting her
arm affectionately around her, as they stood in the doorway;
"because you understand me when I talk about animals. I can't
explain it," went on my dear young mistress, laying her hand on
her heart, "the feeling I have here for them. I just love a dumb
creature, and I want to stop and talk to every one I see. Sometimes
I worry poor Bessie Drury, and I'm so sorry, but I can't help it. She
says, "What makes you so silly, Laura?"
Miss Laura was standing just where the sunlight shone through her
light-brown hair, and made her face all in a glow. I thought she
looked more beautiful than I had ever seen her before, and I think
Mrs. Wood thought the same. She turned around and put both
hands on Miss Laura's shoulders. "Laura," she said, earnestly,
"there are enough cold hearts in the world. Don't you ever stifle a
warm or tender feeling toward a dumb creature. That is your chief
attraction, my child: your love for everything that breathes and
moves. Tear out the selfishness from your heart, if there is any
there, but let the love and pity stay. And now let me talk a little
more to you about the cows. I want to interest you in dairy matters.
This stable is new since you were here, and we've made a number
of improvements. Do you see those bits of rock salt in each stall?
They are for the cows to lick whenever they want to. Now, come
here, and I'll show you what we call 'The Black Hole.'"
It was a tiny stable off the main one, and it was very dark and cool.
"Is this a place of punishment?" asked Miss Laura, in surprise.
Mrs. Wood laughed heartily. "No, no; a place of pleasure.
Sometimes when the flies are very bad and the cows are brought
into the yard to be milked and a fresh swarm settles on them, they
are nearly frantic; and though they are the best cows in New
Hampshire, they will kick a little. When they do, those that are the
worst are brought in here to be milked where there are no flies.
The others have big strips of cotton laid over their backs and tied
under them, and the men brush their legs with tansy tea, or water
with a little carbolic acid in it. That keeps the flies away, and the
cows know just as well that it is done for their comfort, and stand
quietly till the milking is over. I must ask John to have their
nightdresses put on sometimes for you to see. Harry calls them
'sheeted ghosts,' and they do look queer enough sending all round
the barnyard robed in white."
CHAPTER XXXI IN THE COW STABLE
"ISN'T it a strange thing," said Miss Laura, "that a little thing like a
fly, can cause so much annoyance to animals as well to people?
Sometimes when I am trying to get more sleep in the morning,
their little feet tickle me so that I am nearly frantic and have to fly
out of bed."
"You shall have some netting to put over your bed," said Mrs.
Wood; "but suppose, Laura, you had no hands to brush away the
flies. Suppose your whole body was covered with them; and you
were tied up somewhere and could not get loose. I can't imagine
more exquisite torture myself. Last summer the flies here were
dreadful. It seems to me that they are getting worse and worse
every year, and worry the animals more. I believe it is because the
birds are getting thinned out all over the country. There are not
enough of them to catch the flies. John says that the next
improvements we make on the farm are to be wire gauze at all the
stable windows and screen doers to keep the little pests from the
horses and cattle.
"One afternoon last summer, Mr. Maxwell's mother came for me
to go for a drive with her. The heat was intense, and when we got
down by the river, she proposed getting out of the phaeton and
sitting under the trees, to see if it would be any cooler. She was
driving a horse that she had got from the hotel in the village, a
roan horse that was clipped, and check-reined, and had his tail
docked. I wouldn't drive behind a tailless horse now. Then, I wasn't
so particular. However, I made her unfasten the check-rein before
I'd set foot in the carriage. Well, I thought that horse would go
mad. He'd tremble and shiver and look go pitifully at us. The flies
were nearly eating him up. Then he'd start a little. Mrs. Maxwell
had a weight at his head to hold him, but he could easily have
dragged that. He was a good dispositioned horse, and he didn't
want to run away, but he could not stand still. I soon jumped up
and slapped him, and rubbed him till my hands were dripping wet.
The poor brute was so grateful and would keep touching my arm
with his nose. Mrs. Maxwell sat under the trees fanning herself
and laughing at me, but I didn't care. How could I enjoy myself
with a dumb creature writhing in pain before me?"
"A docked horse can neither eat nor sleep comfortably in the fly
season. In one of our New England villages they have a sign up,
'Horses taken in to grass. Long tails, one dollar and fifty cents.
Short tails, one dollar.' And it just means that the short-tailed ones
are taken on cheaper, because they are so bothered by the flies that
they can't eat much, while the long-tailed ones are able to brush
them away and eat in peace. I read the other day of a Buffalo coal
dealer's horse that was in such an agony through flies, that he
committed suicide. You know animals will do that. I've read of
horses and dogs drowning themselves. This horse had been clipped
and his tail was docked, and he was turned out to graze. The flies
stung him till he was nearly crazy. He ran up to a picket fence, and
sprang up on the sharp spikes. There he hung, making no effort to
get down. Some men saw him, and they said it was a clear case of
"I would like to have the power to take every man who cuts off a
horse's tail, and tie his hands, and turn him out in a field in the hot
sun, with little clothing on, and plenty of flies about. Then we
would see if he wouldn't sympathize with the poor, dumb beast. It's
the most senseless thing in the world, this docking fashion.
They've a few flimsy arguments about a horse with a docked tail
being stronger-backed, like a short-tailed sheep, but I don't believe
a word of it. The horse was made strong enough to do the work
he's got to do, and man can't improve on him. Docking is a cruel,
wicked thing. Now, there's a ghost of an argument in favor of
check-reins, on certain occasions. A fiery, young horse can't run
away, with an overdrawn check, and in speeding horses a tight
check-rein will make them hold their heads up, and keep them
from choking. But I don't believe in raising colts in a way to make
them fiery, and I wish there wasn't a race horse on the face of the
earth, so if it depended race on me, every kind of check-rein would
go. It's pity we women can't vote, Laura. We'd do away with a good
Miss Laura smiled, but it was a very faint, almost an unhappy
smile, and Mrs. Wood said hastily, "Let us talk about something
else. Did you ever hear that cows will give less milk on a dark day
than on a bright one?"
"No; I never did," said Miss Laura.
"Well, they do. They are most sensitive animals. One finds out all
manner of things about animals if he makes a study of them. Cows
are wonderful creatures, I think, and so grateful for good usage
that they return every scrap of care given them, with interest. Have
you ever heard anything about dehorning, Laura?"
"Not much, auntie. Does uncle approve?"
"No, indeed. He'd just as soon think of cutting their tails off, as of
dehorning them. He says he guesses the Creator knew how to
make a cow better than he does. Sometimes I tell John that his
argument doesn't hold good for a man in some ways can improve
on nature. In the natural course of things, a cow would be feeding
her calf for half a year, but we take it away from her, raise it as
well as she could and get an extra quantity of milk from her in
addition. I don't know what to think myself about dehorning. Mr.
Windham's cattle are all polled, and he has an open space in his
barn for them, instead of keeping them in stalls, and he says they're
more comfortable and not so confined. I suppose in sending cattle
to sea, it's necessary to take their horns off, but when they're going
to be turned out to grass, it seems like mutilating them. Our cows
couldn't keep the dogs away from the sheep if they didn't have
their horns. Their horns are their means of defense."
"Do your cattle stand in these stalls all winter?" asked Miss Laura.
"Oh, yes, except when they're turned out in the barnyard, and then
John usually has to send a man to keep them moving or they'd take
cold. Sometimes on very fine days they get out all day. You know
cows aren't like horses. John says they're like great milk machines.
You've got to keep them quiet, only exercising enough to keep
them in health. If a cow is hurried or worried or chilled or heated,
it stops her milk yield. And bad usage poisons it. John says you
can't take a stick and strike a cow across the back, without her
milk being that much worse, and as for drinking the milk that
comes from a cow that isn't kept clean, you'd better throw it away
and drink water. When I was in Chicago, my sister-in-law kept
complaining to her milkman about what she called the 'cowy' smell
to her milk. 'It's the animal odor, ma'am,' he said, 'and it can't be
helped. All milk smells like that.' 'It's dirt,' I said, when she asked
my opinion about it. 'I'll wager my best bonnet that that man's cows
are kept dirty. Their skins are plastered up with filth and as the
poison in them can't escape that way, it's coming out through the
milk, and you're helping to dispose of it.' She was astonished to
hear this, and she got her milkman's address, and one day dropped
in upon him. She said that this cows were standing in a stable that
was comparatively clean, but that their bodies were in just the state
that I described them as living in. She advised the man to card and
brush his cows every day, and said that he need bring her no more
"That shows how you city people are imposed upon with regard to
your milk. I should think you'd be poisoned with the treatment
your cows receive; and even when your milk is examined you can't
tell whether it is pure or not. In New York the law only requires
thirteen per cent. of solids in milk. That's absurd, for you can feed
a cow on swill and still get fourteen per cent. of solids in it. Oh!
you city people are queer."
Miss Laura laughed heartily. "What a prejudice you have against
large towns, auntie."
"Yes, I have," said Mrs. Wood, honestly. "I often wish we could
break up a few of our cities, and scatter the people through the
country. Look at the lovely farms all about here, some of them
with only an old man and woman on them. The boys are off to the
cities, slaving in stores and offices, and growing pale and sickly. It
would have broken my heart if Harry had taken to city ways. I had
a plain talk with your uncle when I married him, and said, 'Now
my boy's only a baby and I want him to be brought up so that he
will love country life. How are we going to manage it?'
"Your uncle looked at me with a sly twinkle in his eye, and said I
was a pretty fair specimen of a country girl, suppose we brought up
Harry the way I'd been brought up. I knew he was only joking, yet I
got quite excited. 'Yes,' I said, 'Do as my father and mother did.
Have a farm about twice as large as you can manage. Don't keep a
hired man. Get up at daylight and slave till dark. Never take a
holiday. Have the girls do the housework, and take care of the
hens, and help pick the fruit, and make the boys tend the colts and
the calves, and put all the money they make in the bank. Don't take
any papers, or they would waste their time reading them, and it's
too far to go the postoffice oftener than once a week; and' but I
don't remember the rest of what I said. Anyway, your uncle burst
into a roar of laughter. 'Hattie,' he said, 'my farm's too big. I'm
going to sell some of it, and enjoy myself a little more.' That very
week he sold fifty acres, and he hired an extra man, and got me a
good girl, and twice a week he left his work in the afternoon and
took me for a drive. Harry held the reins in his tiny fingers, and
John told him that Dolly, the old mare we were driving, should be
called his, and the very next horse he bought should be called his
too, and he should name it and have it for his own; and he would
give him five sheep, and he should have his own bank book and
keep his accounts; and Harry understood, mere baby though he
was, and from that day he loved John as his own father. If my
father had had the wisdom that John has, his boys wouldn't be the
one a poor lawyer and the other a poor doctor in two different
cities; and our farm wouldn't be in the hands of strangers. It makes
me sick to go there. I think of my poor mother lying with her red
hands crossed out in the churchyard, and the boys so far away, and
my father always hurrying and driving us I can tell you, Laura, the
thing cuts both ways. It isn't all the fault of the boys that they leave
Mrs. Wood was silent for a little while after she made this long
speech, and Miss Laura said nothing. I took a turn or two up and
down the stable, thinking of many things. No matter how happy
human beings seem to be, they always have something to worry
them. I was sorry for Mrs. Wood for her face had lost the happy
look it usually wore. However, she soon forgot her trouble, and
"Now, I must go and get the tea. This is Adele's afternoon out."
"I'll come, too," said Miss Laura, "for I promised her I'd make the
biscuits for tea this evening and let you rest." They both sauntered
slowly down the plank walk to the house, and I followed them.
CHAPTER XXXII OUR RETURN HOME
IN October, the most beautiful of all the months, we were obliged
to go back to Fairport. Miss Laura could not bear to leave the farm,
and her face got very sorrowful when any one spoke of her going
away. Still, she had gotten well and strong, and was as brown as a
berry, and she said that she knew she ought to go home, and get
back to her lessons.
Mr. Wood called October the golden month. Everything was quiet
and still, and at night and in the morning the sun had a yellow,
misty look. The trees in the orchard were loaded with fruit, and
some of the leaves were floating down, making a soft covering on
In the garden there were a great many flowers in bloom, in flaming
red and yellow colors. Miss Laura gathered bunches of them every
day to put in the parlor. One day when she was arranging them, she
said, regretfully, "They will soon be gone. I wish it could always
"You would get tired of it," said Mr. Harry, who had come up
softly behind her. "There's only one place where we could stand
perpetual summer, and that's in heaven."
"Do you suppose that it will always be summer there?" said Miss
Laura, turning around, and looking at him.
"I don't know. I imagine it will be, but don't think anybody knows
much about it. We've got to wait."
Miss Laura's eyes fell on me. "Harry" she said, "do you think that
dumb animals will go to heaven?"
"I shall have to say again, I don't know," he replied. "Some people
hold that they do. In a Michigan paper, the other day, I came
across one writer's opinion on the subject. He says that among the
best people of all ages have been some who believed in the future
life of animals. Homer and the later Greeks, some of the Romans
and early Christians held this view the last believing that God sent
angels in the shape of birds to comfort sufferers for the faith. St.
Francis called the birds and beasts his brothers. Dr. Johnson
believed in a future life for animals, as also did Wordsworth,
Shelley, Coleridge, Jeremy Taylor, Agassiz, Lamartine, and many
Christian scholars. It seems as if they ought to have some
compensation for their terrible sufferings in this world. Then to go
to heaven, animals would only have to take up the thread of their
lives here. Man is a god to the lower creation. Joe worships you,
much as you worship your Maker. Dumb animals live in and for
their masters. They hang on our words and looks, and are
dependent on us in almost every way. For my own part, and
looking at it from an earthly point of view, I wish with all my heart
that we may find our dumb friends in paradise."
"And in the Bible," said Miss Laura, "animals are often spoken of.
The dove and the raven, the wolf and the lamb, and the leopard,
and the cattle that God says are his, and the little sparrow that can't
fall to the ground without our Father's knowing it."
"Still, there's nothing definite about their immortality," said Mr.
Harry. "However, we've got nothing to do with that. If it's right for
them to be in heaven, we'll find them there. All we have to do now
is to deal with the present, and the Bible plainly tells us that 'a
righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.'"
"I think I would be happier in heaven if dear old Joe were there,"
said Miss Laura, looking wistfully at me. "He has been such a good
dog. Just think how he has loved and protected me. I think I should
be lonely without him."
"That reminds me of some poetry, or rather doggerel," said Mr.
Harry, "that I cut out of a newspaper for you yesterday;" and he
drew from his pocket a little slip of paper, and read this:
"Do doggies gang to heaven, Dad?
Will oor auld Donald gang?
For noo to tak' him, faither wi' us,
Wad be maist awfu' wrang."
There was a number of other verses, telling how many kind things
old Donald the dog had done for his master's family, and then it
closed with these lines:
"Withoot are dogs. Eh, faither, man,
'Twould be an awfu' sin
To leave oor faithfu' doggie there,
He's certain to win in.
"Oor Donald's no like ither dogs,
He'll no be lockit oot,
If Donald's no let into heaven,
I'll no gang there one foot."
"My sentiments exactly," said a merry voice behind Miss Laura
and Mr. Harry, and looking up they saw Mr. Maxwell. He was
holding out one hand to them, and in the other kept back a basket
of large pears that Mr. Harry promptly took from him, and offered
to Miss Laura "I've been dependent upon animals for the most part
of my comfort in this life," said Mr. Maxwell, "and I sha'n't be
happy without them in heaven. I don't see how you would get on
without Joe, Miss Morris, and I want my birds, and my snake, and
my horse how can I live without them? They're almost all my life
"If some animals go to heaven and not others, I think that the dog
has the first claim," said Miss Laura. "He's the friend of man the
oldest and best. Have you ever heard the legend about him and
"No," said Mr. Maxwell.
"Well, when Adam was turned out of paradise, all the animals
shunned him, and he sat bitterly weeping with his head between
his hands, when he felt the soft tongue of some creature gently
touching him. He took his hands from his face, and there was a
dog that had separated himself from all the other animals, and was
trying to comfort him. He became the chosen friend and
companion of Adam, afterward of all men."
"There is another legend," said Mr. Harry, "about our Saviour and
a dog. Have you ever heard it?"
"We'll tell you that later," said Mr. Maxwell, "when we know what
Mr. Harry showed his white teeth in an amused smile, and began
"Once upon a time our Lord was going through a town with his
disciples. A dead dog lay by the wayside, and every one that
passed along flung some offensive epithet at him. Eastern dogs are
not like our dogs, and seemingly there was nothing good about this
loathsome creature, but as our Saviour went by, he said, gently,
'Pearls cannot equal the whiteness of his teeth.'"
"What was the name of that old fellow," said Mr. Maxwell,
abruptly, "who had a beautiful swan that came every day for
fifteen years, to bury its head in his bosom and feed from his hand,
and would go near no other human being?"
"Saint Hugh, of Lincoln. We heard about him at the Band of Mercy
the other day," said Miss Laura.
"I should think that he would have wanted to have that swan in
heaven with him," said Mr. Maxwell. "What a beautiful creature it
must have been. Speaking about animals going to heaven, I dare
say some of them would object to going, on account of the
company that they would meet there. Think of the dog kicked to
death by his master, the horse driven into his grave, the thousands
of cattle starved to death on the plains will they want to meet their
owners in heaven?"
"According to my reckoning, their owners won't be there," said Mr.
Harry. "I firmly believe that the Lord will punish every man or
woman who ill-treats a dumb creature just as surely as he will
punish those who ill-treat their fellow-creatures. If a man's life has
been a long series of cruelty to dumb animals, do you suppose that
he would enjoy himself in heaven, which will be full of kindness
to every one? Not he; he'd rather be in the other place, and there
he'll go, I fully believe."
"When you've quite disposed of all your fellow-creatures and the
dumb creation, Harry, perhaps you will condescend to go out into
the orchard and see how your father is getting on with picking the
apples," said Mrs. Wood, joining Miss Laura and the two young
men, her eyes twinkling and sparkling with amusement.
"The apples will keep, mother," said Mr. Harry, putting his arm
around her. "I just came in for a moment to get Laura. Come,
Maxwell, we'll all go."
"And not another word about animals," Mrs. Wood called after
them. "Laura will go crazy some day, through thinking of their
sufferings, if some one doesn't do something to stop her."
Miss Laura turned around suddenly. "Dear Aunt Hattie," she said,
"you must not say that. I am a coward, I know, about hearing of
animals' pains, but I must get over it. I want to know how they
suffer. I ought to know, for when I get to be a woman, I am going
to do all I can to help them."
"And I'll join you," said Mr. Maxwell, stretching out his hand to
Miss Laura, She did not smile, but looking very earnestly at him,
she held it clasped in her own. "You will help me to care for them,
will you?" she said.
"Yes, I promise," he said, gravely. "I'll give myself to the service of
dumb animals, if you will."
"And I, too," said Mr. Harry, in his deep voice, laying his hand
across theirs. Mrs. Wood stood looking at their three fresh, eager,
young faces, with tears in her eyes. Just as they all stood silently
for an instant, the old village clergyman came into the room from
the hall. He must have heard what they said, for before they could
move he had laid his hands on their three brown heads. "Bless you,
my children," he said, "God will lift up the light of his countenance
upon you, for you have given yourselves to a noble work. In
serving dumb creatures, you are ennobling the human race."
Then he sat down in a chair and looked at them. He was a
venerable old man, and had long, white hair, and the Woods
thought a great deal of him. He had come to get Mrs. Wood to
make some nourishing dishes for a sick woman in the village, and
while he was talking to her, Miss Laura and the two young men
went out of the house. They hurried across the veranda and over
the lawn, talking and laughing, and enjoying themselves as only
happy young people can and with not a trace of their seriousness of
a few moments before on their faces.
They were going so fast that they ran right into a flock of geese
that were coming up the lane. They were driven by a little boy
called Tommy, the son of one of Mr. Wood's farm laborers, and
they were chattering and gabbling, and seemed very angry. "What's
all this about?" said Mr. Harry, stopping and looking at the boy.
"What's the matter with your feathered charges, Tommy my lad?"
"If it's the geese you mean," said the boy half crying and looking
very much put out, "it's all them nasty potatoes. They won't keep
away from them."
"So the potatoes chase the geese, do they?" said Mr. Maxwell,
"No, no," said the child, pettishly; "Mr. Wood he sets me to watch
the geese, and they runs in among the buckwheat and the potatoes
and I tries to drive them out, and they doesn't want to come, and,"
shamefacedly, "I has to switch their feet, and I hates to do it, 'cause
I'm a Band of Mercy boy."
"Tommy, my son," said Mr. Maxwell, solemnly "you will go right
to heaven when you die, and your geese will go with you."
"Hush, hush," said Miss Laura, "don't tease him," and putting her
arm on the child's shoulder, she said, "You are a good boy,