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10. I saw the girl's hand move quickly up his arm, until it rested on his shoulder, and now she leaned to him still closer.
11. “Come in. We'll try what can be done for you.” There was a change in the man's voice that made me wonder. I entered a large room, in which blazed a brisk fire. Before the fire sat two stout lads, who turned upon me their heavy eyes, with no very welcome greeting. A middle-aged woman was standing at a table, and two children were amusing themselves with a kitten on the floor.
12. "A stranger, mother," said the man who had given me so rude a greeting at the door; “and he wants us to let him stay all night."
13. The woman looked at me doubtingly for a few moments, and then replied coldly, “We don't keep a public house.”
14. “I'm aware of that, ma'am," said I; “but night has overtaken me, and it's a long way yet to G-." 15.
“ Too far for a tired man to go on foot," said the master of the house, kindly, “so it's no use talking about it, mother; we must give him a bed.”
16. So unobtrusively that I scarce noticed the movement, the girl had drawn to her mother's side. What she said to her I did not hear, for the brief words were uttered in a low voice; but I noticed, as she spoke, one small, fair hand rested on the woman's hand.
17. Was there magic in that touch? The woman's repulsive aspect changed into one of kindly welcome, and she said, “Yes, it's a long way to G— I guess we can find a place for him.”
18. Many times more, during that evening, did I observe the magic power of that hand and voice—the one gentle yet potent as the other. On the next morning, breakfast being over, I was preparing to take my departure when my host informed me that if I would wait for half an hour he would give me a ride in his wagon to G
business required him to go there. I was very well pleased to accept of the invitation.
19. In due time, the farmer's wagon was driven into the road before the house, and I was invited to get in. I noticed the horse as a rough-looking Canadian pony, with a certain air of stubborn endurance. As the farmer took his seat by my side, the family came to the door to see us off.
20. “Dick!” said the farmer in a peremptory voice, giving the rein a quick jerk as he spoke. But Dick moved not a step. “Dick! you vagabond ! get up." And the farmer's whip cracked sharply by the pony's ear.
21. It availed not, however, this second appeal. Dick stood firmly disobedient. Next the whip was brought down upon him with an impatient hand; but the pony only reared up a little. Fast and sharp the strokes were next dealt to the number of half-a-dozen. The man might as well have beaten the wagon, for all his end was gained.
22. A stout lad now came out into the road, and, catching Dick by the bridle, jerked him forward, using, at the same time, the customary language on such occasions, but Dick met this new ally with increased stubbornness, planting his fore feet more firmly and at a sharper angle with the ground.
23. The impatient boy now struck the pony on the side of the head with his clenched hand, and jerked cruelly at his bridle. It availed nothing, however; Dick was not to be wrought upon by any such arguments.
24. “Don't do so, John!” I turned my head as the maiden's sweet voice reached my ear. She was passing through the gate into the road, and, in the next moment, had taken hold of the lad and drawn him away from the animal. No strength was exerted in this; she took hold of his arm, and he obeyed her wish as readily as if he had no thought beyond her gratification.
25. And now that soft hand was laid gently on the pony's neck, and a single low word spoken. How instantly were
the tense muscles relaxed-how quickly the stubborn air vanished.
26. “Poor Dick!” said the maiden, as she stroked his neck lightly, or softly patted it with a child-like hand. “Now, go along, you provoking fellow !” she added, in a half-chiding, yet affectionate voice, as she drew up the bridle.
27. The pony turned toward her, and rubbed his head against her arm for an instant or two; then, pricking up his ears, he started off at a light, cheerful trot, and went on his way as freely as if no silly crotchet had ever entered his stubborn brain.
28. “What a wonderful power that hand possesses!” said I, speaking to my companion, as we rode away.
29. He looked at me for a moment, as if my remark had occasioned surprise. Then a light came into his countenance, and he said briefly, “She's good! Every body and every thing loves her.”
30. Was that, indeed, the secret of her power? Was the quality of her soul perceived in the impression of her hand, even by brute beasts! The father's explanation was doubtless the true one. Yet have I ever since wondered, and still do wonder, at the potency which lay in that maiden's magic touch. I have seen something of the same power, showing itself in the loving and the good, but never to the extent as instanced in her, whom, for want of a better name, I must still call “Gentle Hand.”
DEFINITIONS.-2. Vi-çin'i-ty, neighborhood. 16. Un-ob-try'sĩve-ly, not noticeably, modestly. 17. Re-půl'sïve, repelling, forbidding. 18. Po'tent, powerful, effective. Höst, one from whom another receives food, lodginy, or entertainment. 20. Pěr'emp-tory, commanding, decisive. 21. A-vāiled', was of use, had effect. 22. Al-ly', a confederate, one who unites with another in some purpose. 25. Těnse, strained to stiffness, rigid. Re-lăxed', loosened. 26. Chīd'ing, scolding, rebuking. 27. Crðtch'et, a perverse fancy, a whim. 30. In'stançed, mentioned as an example.
IV. THE GRANDFATHER.
Charles G. Eastman (b. 1816, d. 1861) was born in Maine, but removed at an early age to Vermont, where he was connected with the press at Burlington, Woodstock and Montpelier. He published a volume of poems in 1848, written in a happy lyric and ballad style, and faithfully portraying rural life in New England.
1. THE farmer sat in his easy-chair
Smoking his pipe of clay,
Was clearing the dinner away;
2. The old man laid his hand on her head,
With a tear on his wrinkled face,
Had sat in the self-same place;
eye, “Don't smoke!” said the child, “ how it makes you cry!”
3. The house-dog lay stretched out on the floor,
Where the shade, afternoons, used to steal;
Was turning the spinning-wheel,
4. Still the farmer sat in his easy-chair,
While close to his heaving breast,
Of his sweet grandchild were pressed ;
DEFINITIONS.—1. Hāle, healthy. 3. Măn'tel-tree, shelf over a fire-place. Plod'ded, went slowly. 4. Heav'ing, rising and falling.
V. A BOY ON A FARM.
Charles Dudley Warner (b. 1829, was born at Plainfield, Mass. In 1851 he graduated at Hamilton College, and in 1856 was admitted to the bar at Philadelphia, but moved to Chicago to practice his profession. There he remained until 1860, when he became connected with the Press at Hartford, Conn., and has ever since devoted himself to literature “My Summer in a Garden," “ Saunterings,” and “ Backlog Studies" are his best known works. The following extract is from “Being a Boy."
1. Say what you will about the general usefulness of boys, it is my impression that a farm without a boy would very soon come to grief. What the boy does is the life of the farm. He is the factotum, always in demand, always expected to do the thousand indispensable things that nobody else will do. Upon him fall all the odds and ends, the most difficult things.
2. After every body else is through, he has to finish up. His work is like a woman's,-perpetually waiting on others. Every body knows how much easier it is to eat a good dinner than it is to wash the dishes afterwards. Consider what a boy on a farm is required to do; things that must be done, or life would actually stop.
3. It is understood, in the first place, that he is to do all the errands, to go to the store, to the post office, and to carry all sorts of messages. If he had as many legs as a centiped, they would tire before night. His two short limbs seem to him entirely inadequate to the task. He would like to have as many legs as a wheel has spokes, and rotate about in the same way.
4. This he sometimes tries to do; and the people who have seen him “turning cart-wheels” along the side of the
6 road, have supposed that he was amusing himself and idling his time; he was only trying to invent a new mode of locomotion, so that he could economize his legs, and do his errands with greater dispatch.
5. He practices standing on his head, in order to accustom himself to any position. Leap-frog is one of his