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A wise man is strong.

Proverbs xxiv, 5.



346 & 848 BEOADWAY.



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S56, by

In the Clerk 1 !

Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southeix
District of New York.



CHAP. I. Looking over the Hills 1

II. Footsteps following 11

III. The governor baking hoe-cakes 17

IV. Fishing, off Point Bluff, for mackerel and fortunes 26

V. Making a net of an old dictionary and grammar 40

VI. Comes back to common tackle .51

VII. Discussion over a pan of potatoes 62

Vni. Down to Cowslip's Mill, of a June evening 72

IX. Bright Spot 83

X. Theories and Huckleberries..... 96

XL The ploughs and the ladies 114

XH. Boxes packed for Shagarack 123

XIII. Junior and Sophomore 133

XTV. A quotation from Plato, and a letter from home 141

XV. Leaving the Hills 150

XVI. Michael and the wheelbarrow 160

XVII. A little extra-strong machinery 171

XVIII. Rufus in a ruffled shirt, and Mr. Haye in cameo 185

XIX. Catching a Clam 198

XX. As to money-bags 213

XXI. The bursting of a shell 224




CHAP. XXII. The governor's palace 236

XXIII. On self-command 245

XXIV. Mr. Underbill's mission 253

XXV. Clam and her mistress 266

XXVI. The brother and sister 275

XXVII. Lawsnits, friendly and not .' 290

XXVIII. Elizabeth goes to the University .. 306

XXIX. Moonlight on the Shatemuc. 320

XXX. Daylight on Wut-a-qut-o 331

XXXI. The Cotton business 345

XXXII. Before Chancellor Justice 359

XXXHI. Life work 369

XXXIV. Other work. 375

XXXV. Another night en the Julia Ann , 392

XXXVI. Miss Haye's breakfast 410

XXXVII. The governor's supper 426

XXXVIII. Wood-cutting on Shahweetah 434

XXXIX. Old Karen's song 443

XL. Proposals 453

XLI. Flint and steel 468

XLII. Something wanted for company 484

XLIII. The election for Governor 494

XLIV. General Review 505



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


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

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

" Boys, you may take the oxen, and finish ploughing that up-
land field — I shall be busy all day sowing wheat in the bend

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The farmhouse was placed on a little woody and rocky promon-
tory jutting out into a broad river from the east shore. Above it,
on the higher grounds of the shore, the main body of the farm


lay, where a rich tableland sloped back to a mountainous ridge
that framed it in, about half a mile from the water. Cultivation
had stretched its hands near to the top of this ridge and driven
back the old forest, that yet stood and looked over from the other
side. One or two fields were but newly cleared, as the black
stumps witnessed. Many another told of good farming, and of a
substantial reward for the farmer ; at what cost obtained they did
not tell.

Towards one of these upland fields, half made ready for a
crop of spring grain, the boys took their way. On first leaving
the house, the road led gently along round the edge of a little
bay, of which the promontory formed the northern horn. Just
before reaching the head of the bay, where the road made a sharp
turn and began to ascend to the tableland, it passed what was
called the bend meadow.

It was a very lovely morning of early Spring, one of those
days when nature seems to have hushed herself to watch the buds
she has set a swelling. Promising to be warm, though a little
freshness from the night still lingered in the air. Everywhere on
the hills the soft colours of the young Spring-time were starting
out, that delicate livery which is so soon worn. They were more
soft to-day under a slight sultry haziness of the atmosphere — a
luxurious veil that Spring had coyly thrown over her face ; she
was always a shy damsel. It soothed the light, it bewitched the
distance, it lay upon the water like a foil to its brightness, it lay
upon the mind with a subtle charm winning it to rest and enjoy.
It etherealized Earth till it was no place to work in. But there
went the oxen, and the ploughmen.

The one as silently as the other ; till the bay was left behind
and they came to the point where the road began to go up to the
tableland. Just under the hill here was a spring of delicious
water, always flowing ; and filling a little walled up basin.

Will, or Will Rufus, as his father had long ago called him,
had passed on and begun to mount the hill. Winthrop stopped
his oxen till he should fill a large stone jug for the day. The jug
had a narrow neck, and he was stooping at the edge of the basin,
waiting for the water to flow in, when his head and shoulders
made a sudden plunge and the jug and he soused in together.
Not for any want of steadiness in either of them ; the cause of
the plunge was a worthless fellow who was coming by at the mo-
ment. He had a house a little way off on the bay. He lived by
fishing and farming alternately ; and was often, and was then,
employed by Mr. Landholm as an assistant in his work. He was


on his way to the bend meadow, and passing close by Winthrop at
the spring, the opportunity was too good to be resisted ; he tipped
him over into the water.

The boy soon scrambled out, and shaking himself like a great
water-dog, and with about as much seeming concern, fixed a calm
eye on his delighted enemy.

" Well, Sam Doolittle, — what good has that done anybody ? "

" Ha'n't it done you none, Governor ? "

« What do you think ? "

" Well ! I think you be a cool one — and the easiest customer
ever I see."

" I've a mind it shall do somebody good ; so see you don't
give my father any occasion to be out with you , for if you do, I'll
give him more."

" Ay, ay," said the man comfortably, " you won't tell on me.
Hi ! here's somebody ! "

It was Rufus who suddenly joined the group, whip in hand,
and looking like a young Achilles in ploughman's coat and trousers.
No fc Achilles' port could be more lordly ; the very fine bright
iiazel eye was on fire ; the nostril spoke, and the lip quivered ;
though he looked only at his brother.

" What's the matter, Winthrop ? "

" I've been in the water, as you see," said his brother com-
posedly. " I want a change of clothes, rather."

" How did you get into the water ? "

11 Why, head foremost — which wasn't what I meant to do."

"Sam, you put him in ! "

a He, he ! — well, M?. Rufus, maybe I helped him a leetle."

" You scoundrel ! " said Rufus, drawing the whip through hia
fingers ; " what did you do it for ? "

" He, he ! — I didn't know but what it was you, Will."

For all answer, the ox-whip was laid about Sam's legs, with
the zest of furious indignation; a fury there was no standing
against. It is true, Rufus's frame was no match for the hardened
one of Mr. Doolittle though he might be four or five years the
elder of the two boys ; but the spirit that was in him cowed Sam,
in part, and in part amused him. He made no offer to return the
blows ; he stood, or rather jumped, as the whip slung itself round
his legs, crying out,

" Lay it on. Will !— Lay it on ! Hi— That's right— Tuck it on,
Will ! "

Till Will's arm was tired ; and flinging away from them, in a
towering passion still, he went up the hill after his oxen. Sam
rubbed his legs. •


u I say, Governor, we're quits now, ben't we ? " he said in a
sort of mock humble good-humour, as Winthrop was about to fol-
low his brother.

" Yes, yes. Be off with yourself ! "

"I wish it had ha' been 'tother one, anyhow," muttered Sam.

Not a word passed between the brothers about either the
ducking or the flagellation. They spoke not but to their oxen.
Rufus's mouth was in the heroic style yet, all the way up the
hill; and the lips of the other only moved once or twice to

The day was sultry, as it had promised, and the uphill lay of
the ground made the ploughing heavy, and frequent rests of the
oxen were necessary. Little communication was held between
the ploughmen nevertheless; the day wore on, and each kept
steadily to his work and seemingly to his own thoughts. The
beautiful scene below them, which they were alternately facing
and turning their backs upon, was too well known even to delay
their attention ; and for the greater part .of the day probably
neither of them saw much beyond his plough and his furrow.

They were at work on a very elevated point of view, from which
the channel of the river and the high grounds on the other side
were excellently seen. Valley there was hardly any ; the up-spring-
ing walls of green started from the very border of the broad white
stream which made its way between them. They were nowhere les3
than two hundred feet high ; above that, moulded in all manner
of heights and hollows; sometimes reaching up abruptly to
twelve or fourteen hundred feet, and sometimes stretching away
in long gorges and gentle declivities, — hills grouping behind hills.
In Summer all these were a mass of living green, that the eye
could hardly arrange ; under Spring's delicate marshalling every
little hill took its own place, and the soft swells of ground stood
back the one from the other, in more and more tender colouring.
The eye leapt from ridge to ridge of beauty ; not green now, but
in the very point of the bursting leaf, taking what hue it pleased
the sun. It was a dainty day; and it grew more dainty as the
day drew towards its close and the lights and shadows stretched
athwart the landscape again. The sun-touched lines and spots of
the mountains now, in some places, were of a bright orange, and
the shadows between them deep neutral tint or blue. And the
river, apparently, had stopped running to reflect.

The oxen were taking one of their rests, in the latter part of
the day, and Winthrop was sitting on the beam of his plough,
when for the first time Rufus came and joined him. He sat


down in silence and without so much as looking at his brother ;
and both in that warm and weary day sat a little while quietly
looking over the water ; or perhaps at the little point of rest, the
little brown spot among the trees on the promontory, where home
and mother and little baby sister, and the end of the day, and the
heart's life, had their sole abiding-place. A poor little shrine, to
hold so much !

Winthrop's eyes were there, his brother's were on the dis-
tance. When did such two ever sit together on the beam of one
plough, before or since! Perhaps the eldest might have seen
nineteen summers, but his face had nothing of the boy, beyond
the fresh colour and fine hue of youth. The features were ex-
ceedingly noble, and even classically defined ; the eye as beau-
tiful now in its grave though tfulness as it had been a few hours
before in its fire. The mouth was never at rest ; it was twitch-
ing or curving at the corners now with the working of some
hidden cogitations. The frame of the younger brother was less
developed ; it promised to be more athletic than that of the elder,
with perhaps somewhat less grace of outline ; and the face was not
so regularly handsome. A very cool and clear grey eye aided the
impression of strength ; and the mouth, less beautifully moulded
than that of Rufus, was also infinitely less demonstrative. Rufus's
mouth, in silence, was for ever saying something. Winthrop's for
the most part kept its fine outlines unbroken, though when they
did give way it was to singular effect. The contrast between the
faces was striking, even now when ooth were in repose.

The elder was the first to break silence, speaking slowly and
without moving his eye from its bent.

"Governor, — what do you suppose lies behind those moun-
tains ? "

" What ? ' — said Winthrop quickly.

The other smiled.

" Your slew understanding can make a quick leap now and

" I can generally understand you," said his brother quietly.

Rufus added no more for a little, and Winthrop let him

« We've got the farm in pretty good order now," he re-
marked presently in a considerate tone, folding his arms and
looking about him.

" Papa has," observed Winthrop. " Yes — if those stumps
were out once. We ought to have good crops this year, of most
things ."


" I am sure I have spent four or five years of my life in hard
work upon it," said the other.

" Your life ain't much the worse of it,'* said Winthrop, laugh-

E-ufus did not answer the laugh. He looked off to the hills
again, and his lips seemed to close in upon his thoughts.

" Papa has spent more than that," said the younger brother
gravely. " How hard he has worked — to make this farm ! "

" Well, he has made it."

" Yes, but he has paid a dozen years of his life for it. And
mamma! "

" It was a pretty tough subject to begin with," said the elder,
looking about him again. " But it's a nice farm now ; — it's the
handsomest farm in the county ; — it ought to pay considerable
now, after this."

u It hasn't brought us in much so far," observed Winthrop,
" except just to keep along ; — and a pretty tight fit at that."

" The house ought to be up here," said Rufus, considering
the little distant brown speck; — "it would be worth twice as

"What would?"

« Why !— the farm ! "

" The house wouldn't," said Winthrop, — " not to my notions.' 1

" It's confoundedly out of the way, down there, a mile off
from the work."

" Only a quarter of that, and a little better," said Winthrop

" A little worse ! — There's a great loss of time. There would
be twice as much work done if the house was up here."

"/couldn't stand it," said Winthrop. "How came it the
house was put down there ? "

" Papa bought the point first and built the house, before ever
he pushed his acquirements so far as this. He would be wise,
now, to let that, and build another up here somewhere."

" It wouldn't pay," said the younger brother ; " and for one,
I'm not sorry."

" If the farm was clear," said the elder, " I'd stand the chance
of it's paying; it's that keeps us down."

" What ? "

" That debt."

"What debt?"

" Why, the interest on the mortgage."

" I don't know what you are talking of."


" Why," said Rufus a little impatiently, " don't you know
that when papa bought the property he couldn't pay off the whole
price right down, and so he was obliged to leave the rest owing,
and give security."

" What security ? "

" Why, a mortgage on the farm, as I told you."

" What do you mean by a mortgage ? "

"Why he gave a right over the farm — a right to sell the
farm at a certain time, if the debt was not paid and the interest
upon it."

" What is the debt ? "

" Several thousands, I believe."

" And how much does he have to pay upon that every year ? "

"I don't know exactly — one or two, two or three hundred
dollars ; and that keeps us down, you see, till the mortgage is
paid off."

" I didn't know that."

They sat silent a little time. Then Winthrop said,

" You and I must pay that money off, Will."

« Ay but still there's a question which is the best way to

do it," said Rufus.

" The best way, I've a notion," said Winthrop looking round
at his cattle, — " is not to take too long noon-spells in the after-

" Stop a bit. Sit down ! — I want to speak to you. Bo you
want to spend all your life following the oxen ? "

Winthrop stopped certainly, but he waited in silence.


" What do you want to do ? "

" I don't know — something "

" What is the matter/Will ? "

" Matter ? " — said the other, while his fine features shewed the
changing lights and shadows of a summer day, — " why Winthrop,
that I am not willing to stay here and be a ploughman all my
life, when I might be something better ! "

The other's heart beat. But after an instant he answered

" How can you be anything better, Will ? "

" Do you think all the world lies under the shadow of Wut a-

" What do you mean ? "

" Do you think all the world is like this little world which
those hills shut in ? "


" No," — said Winthrop, his eye going over to the blue depths
and golden ridge-tops, which it did not see ; " — but "

" Where does that river lead to ? "

" It leads to Mannahatta. What of that ? "

" There is a world there, Winthrop, — another sort of world, —
where people know something ; where other things are to be done
than running plough furrows ; where men may distinguish them-
selves ! — where men may read and write ; and do something
great ; and grow to be something besides what nature made them !
— I want to be in that world."

They both paused.

" But what will you do, Rufus, to get into that world ? — we
are shut in here."

"Jam not shut in ! " said the elder brother ; and brow and
lip and nostril said it over again ; — " I will live for something
greater than this ! "

There was a deep-drawn breath from the boy at his side.

" So would I, if I could. But what can we do ? "

How difficult it was to do anything, both felt. But after a
deliberate pause of some seconds, Rufus answered,

" There is only one thing to do. — I shall go to College."

" To College !— Will ? "

The changes in the face of the younger boy were sudden and
startling. One moment the coronation of hope; the next mo-
ment despair had thrown the coronet off; one more, and the hand
of determination, — like Napoleon's, — had placed it firmly on his
brow j and it was never shaken again. But he said nothing ; and
both waited a little, till thoughts could find words.

" Rufus, — do papa and mamma know about this ? "

" Not yet."

" What will they think of it ? "

I don't know — they must think of it as I do. My mind is
made up. I can't stay here."

" But some preparation is necessary, Rufus, ain't it ? — wo
must know more than we do before we can go to College, mustn't
we ? How will you get that ? "

" 1 don't know, I will get it. Preparation ! — yes ! " .

" Father will want us both at home this summer."

" Yes — this summer — I suppose we must. We must do some*
thing we must talk to them at home about it, — gradually."

" If we had books, we could do a great deal at home."

" Yes, if, But we haven't. And we must have more time,

We couldn't do it at home."


*" Papa wants us this summer. — And I don't see how he can
spare us at all, Rufus."

" I am sure he will let us go," said the other steadily, though
with a touch of trouble in his face.

" We are just beginning to help him."

u We can help him much better the other way," said Rufus
quickly. " Farming is the most miserable slow way of making
money that ever was contrived."

" How do you propose to make money ? " inquired his brother

" I don't know ! I am not thinking of making money at pres-
ent ! "

" It takes a good deal to go to College, don't it ? "

" Yes."

And again there was a little silence. And the eyes of both
were fixed on the river and the opposite hills, while they saw
only that distant world and the vague barrier between.

" But I intend to go, Winthrop," said his brother looking at
him, with fire enough in his face to burn up obstacles.

" Yes, you will go," the younger said calmly. The cool grey
eye did not speak the internal, " So will I ! " — which stamped it-
self upon his heart. They got up from the plough beam.

*' I'll try for't," was Rufus's conclusion, as he shook himself.

" You'll get it," said Winthrop.

There was much love as well as ambition in the delighted
look with which his brother rewarded him. They parted to their
work. They ploughed the rest of their field : — what did they
turn over besides the soil ?

They wended their slow way back with the oxen when the
evening fell ; but the yoke was off their own necks. The linger-
ing western light coloured another world than the morning had
shined upon. No longer bondsmen of the soil, they trode it like
masters. They untackled their oxen and let them out, with the
spirit of men whose future work was to be in a larger field.
Only Hope's little hand had lifted the weight from their heads.
And Hope's only resting point was determination.


A quiet smile played round his lips,

As the eddies and dimples of the tide

Play round the hows of ships,

That steadily at anchor ride. *

And with a voice that was full of glee,

He answered, " ere long we will launch

A vessel as goodly, and strong, and stanch,

As ever weathered a wintry sea.


" The ploughing's all done ; thank fortune ! " exclaimed Rufus
as lie came into the kitchen.

" Well, don't leave your hat there in the middle of the floor,"
said his mother.

" Yes, it just missed knocking the tea-cups and saucers off the
table," said little Asahel.

" It hasn't missed knocking you off your balance," said his
brother tartly. " Do you know where your pwn hat is ?."

" It hain't knocked me off anything ! " stid Asahel. " It
didn't touch me ! "

" Do you know w'iere your own hat is ? "

Online LibrarySusan WarnerThe hills of the Shatemuc [electronic resource] → online text (page 1 of 46)