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Full text of "Richard Baxter : a story of New England life of 1830 to 1840"



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Cornell University 
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The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

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http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924022161917 



Cornell University Library 
PS 2150.J87R5 1904 



Richard Baxter :a story of New England I 




3 1924 022 161 917 



RICHARD 
BAXTER 

A STORY OF NEW ENG 
LAND LIFE OF 1830 TO 1840 

By EDWARD F. JONES 

EX-tlEUT. GOVlEBKrOB STATE OF nITW TORK 

Author of "Uncle Jerry," "The Origin of the 
Flag, " and the phrase "He Pays the Freight" 

Illustrated 



PUBLISHED BY 

JONES OF BINGHAMTON 

BINGHAMTON, N. Y. 
THE JONES SCALE WORKS PRESS 

1904 



eft 



Copyright 1903 

BY 

THE GRAFTON PRESS 



First Impression Notemees, igoj 



To 

An Adopted Daughter 

Whose constant encouragement, unceasing patience and 

untiring industry have made its preparation 

possible, this book is affectionately 

dedicated by its blind 

author. 





<^tuTa/rc/L ^ 




PUBLISHER'S INTRODUCTION 

With the publication of this volume a unique figure is 
added to the ranks of American novel-writers, and a 
quaintly interesting example of American versatility 
claims the attention of the reading-public. That a man 
should command a regiment at a crisis in our country's 
history, that he should organize and successfully de- 
velop a great commercial industry, that he should serve 
for a period of years as lieutenant-governor of his state, 
winning for himself the popular devotion of his fellow- 
citizens, — this would seem enough of labor and achieve- 
ment for one life time; but at the age of seventy-five, 
in the decline of years and almost blind, to surmount 
all this with such a contribution to our present-day liter- 
ature as "Eichard Baxter," is indeed a remarkable per- 
formance. 

Edward F. Jones was born in Utica, New York, 
June 3d, 1828. His early years were spent on a Massa- 
chusetts farm, where he acquired that intimacy with 
"life close to the soil" which has made him the constant 
friend and patron of fairs and farmers' gatherings, and 
has given him the insight into rural life revealed in the 
pages of "Richard Baxter." It is not, perhaps, too 
much to say that these early experiences, together with 
"every-day manners," — ^their natural accompaniment, — 
have made for General Jones more personal friends 

Til 



viii PUBLISHER'S INTRODUCTION 

than any other public or private citizen of his adopted 
state can boast. 

At the outbreak of the Civil War General Jones was 
in command of the famous Sixth Massachusetts regi- 
ment which was attacked during its memorable march 
through Baltimore. The timely arrival of his command 
at Washington on the evening of the nineteenth of AprUj 
1861, was a telling blow at a crucial moment in the be- 
ginning of a great conflict. "Thank God you are here !" 
exclaimed President Lincoln on this occasion, "for had 
you not arrived to-night we should have been in the 
hands of the rebels before morning." 

At the close of the war, in October, 1865, General 
Jones removed to Binghamton, New York, for the pur- 
pose of establishing a scale works. This enterprise, 
begun in a modest fashion, has grown under skilful man- 
agement and advertising until it is now known through- 
out the world. Few persons are not familiar with the 
phrase, "Jones, he pays the freight," which was adopted 
as a slogan for the business twenty years ago. 

For a period of six years, beginning in 1885, General 
Jones served as lieutenant governor of the State of New 
York. In public office he was guided by the same care- 
ful methods that had previously distinguished him for 
integrity and ability, and which so inspired the confi- 
dence of political opponents that he was chosen as the 
head of the Capitol Commission, controlling the expen- 
diture of more than a million dollars. 

For thirty-eight years General Jones has been a large 
employer of labor in Binghamton, and his business more 
than any other agency has made that city well known. 



PUBLISHER'S INTRODUCTION ix 

The farmers as a dass are especially under obligations 
to him for bringing the price of scales within their reach. 
Today, at the age of seventy-five, although blind and 
in the decline of life, the spirit and energy of this man 
remain unflagged. Turning to authorship, he imder- 
took the writing of a tale of rural life in New Hamp- 
shire, which embodies many actual experiences of his 
own early days. The present volume is the fruit of his 
labors. "Richard Baxter" in many respects is like its 
author — simple, strong, sincere, and filled with a love 
of honest living and honest men. 



INTRODUCTION 

BY THE 

REV. EDWARD FREDERICK TREFZ, D.D. 

First Conghegational Chuech. 

BiNGHAMTON, N. Y., October 21, 1903. 
My Dear General Jones: 

In your portrayal of Richard Baxter, you have 
made an analysis of the skepticism of modern days 
that seems to me to be just and true. As a psycho- 
logical exhibition, it has the strength of George Eliot 
or Hawthorne. You have avoided the mere super- 
ficial aspect of the case, by taking the man as the 
ground of conflict between the traditions of birth 
and environment and the reasoning of his conscious 
self toward the thing that, in itself, was true. Your 
skillful and inevitable conclusion — ^bringing him to a 
knowledge of truth through the overt act of prayer, 
I regard as the most reasonable argument against 
continued skepticism that could possibly be made. 

I hope that your book will have a wide circulation, 
and I hope that the regeneration or evolution of 
Richard Baxter will become the topic of many ser- 
mons. It is, in a large sense, a tremendous sermon, 
and. If I were to select a text for it, I would choose 
the words of the Master, when He said: "He that 
doeth my will shall know of the doctrine." 
Very truly yours, 

Edwakd Fkederick Trefz. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Portrait of General Jones^ vii 

"Caesar, come up here an' be an angel" .... 46 

Sam and His Mother Dispossessed 110 

Aunt Nancy's Cottage 128 

"Tell me, O Rock of Ages, Granite God" . . . 1S4 

"He turned in here. Bill" 182 

Clippings from The Boston Courier .... 188-189 
The Signers of the Declaration of Independence . 200 

Page of Account Book 218 

Parson Snodgrass Races 232 

Music of "Uncle Ned" 234 

New England Primer 270-274 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. The Old Meeting-house 1 

II. Sordid Thoughts 3 

III. Cupid Tries for a Hearing .... 8 

IV. The Honest Lawyer 19 

V. The Hypocrite 25 

VI. The Proposal 30 

VII. A True Woman 33 

VIII. "Now or Never" 38 

IX. Mary Miles 40 

X. A Briefless Lawyer 42 

XI. "Good-bye, Sally" 53 

XII. The Knitter 56 

XIII. Courting 64 

XIV. An Angry Father 77 

XV. The Auction 84 

XVI. Love Asserts Itself 98 

XVII. Death by the Roadside 101 

XVIII. "Richard, My Richard!" .... 106 

XIX. "Over the Hills to the Poorhouse" . 109 

XX. The Love Wail 115 

XXI. The Poorhouse 118 

XXII. School Fellows 125 

XXIII. Aunt Nancy's Home 127 

XXIV. The Philosopher 130 

XXV. "Thar's Only One Dern Fool in Sight" 132 

XXVI. "Hosses Is Very Much Like Wimmin" 142 

XXVII. The Satisfaction Found 149 

XXVIII. Three Appeals to God 152 

XXIX. Did He Love Her? 158 

XXX. "I'll Clip the Wattles of That Turkey 

Cock" 161 

Zlll 



XIV 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAOB 

XXXI. Triumph of Wrong l67 

XXXII. Town Meeting 172 

XXXIII. A Diamond in the Rough .... 178 

XXXIV. "Go Slow, Old Pal." ...... 190 

XXXV. Poorhouse Religion 195 

XXXVI. "The Prisoner, Your Honor, Is Dead" 198 

XXXVII. "He Doeth All Things Well" ... 204, 

XXXVIII. The Red Life-Blood Spurted Out . 206 

XXXIX. An Appeal for Justice 209 

XL. The Cachet 212 

XLI. Eben Drisco's Ghost 221 

XLII. Only Six Friends 227 

XLIII. Parson Snodgrass Races 230 

XLIV. "God Help You! God Bless You" . 2.^4 

XLV. The New Trial 238 

XL VI. Cassar Augustus Testifies .... 245 

XL VII. "Nebber Heah Dat 'Bout Dis Niggah" 250 

XLVIII. Triumph of Right 255 

XLIX. "The Devil's to Pay" 258 

L. Scepticism 262 

LI. "The Lord Is My Shepherd" . . . 264i 

LII. Childhood Memories 268 

LIII. The Secret Revealed 277 

LIV. "I'll Never Be Laid Out in Them 

Sheets" 283 

LV. Retribution 292 

LVI. The Death of Aunt Nancy .... 294. 

LVIL "Who Kissed Henrietta?" . . . . SOO 

LVIII. A Self-Made Man 311 

LIX. Diary Extracts 313 

LX. "Pray, Richard, Pray" 317 

LXI. Parson Snodgrass Turned Out . . . 320 

LXII. The Goose 328 



RICHARD BAXTER 



RICHARD BAXTER 

CHAPTER I 

The Old Meeting House 

THE meeting house at Manning's Comers 
was an ancient, weather-beaten structure, 
erected, according to figures over the door, 
in A. D. 1780. The spire or steeple was a modest 
aiFair, tapering toward the sky, the accepted location 
of Heaven. Surmounting the steeple as a finial and 
in contrast with the never changing Heavenly guide 
which supported it, was a weather-cock, that whiffled 
about with the slightest change of air. The spire, 
ungainly and lacking in symmetry, never changed in 
its perpendicularity, but held steadily and faithfully, 
a true exponent of the unchanging doctrines preached 
in the little meeting house beneath. The weather- 
cock not only swung from north to south and east to 
west, but in its shiftings took in all of the inter- 
mediate points of the compass, representing, as one 
might say, the many changing religious beliefs. 

At the base of the steeple was a square belfry, in 
which hung a cone of metal, commonly called a bell. 

1 



2 RICHARD BAXTER 

There was no harmony or melody in the sounds which 
the clapper beat out of it. Some base alloy had been 
melted into its casting and there was no more melody 
in its clanging than came from the bell on the neck 
of the old cow that led the herd which was feeding in 
the pasture below. 

The building was roofed with heavy split shingles 
and the sides covered with clapboards, also split from 
the pitch pine log whose resinous fibres made them as 
near "last forever" as was possible for any material. 

The auditorium of the meeting-house was divided 
into square pews, with seats on four sides, which 
placed some of the occupants back and others side- 
ways to the preacher; but all were in full view of the 
head of the family. In the rear stood the pulpit, 
about six feet above the pews, and over it, suspended 
from the ceiling, a circular sounding board, six feet 
in diameter, which was intended to give emphasis to 
the truth uttered by the preacher; At the front, over 
the vestibule, was the choir loft, usually occupied 
during service by some half-dozen men and women, 
who sang, accompanied by a violoncello, a bass viol, 
and sometimes, though always under protest from 
the puritanical, that "devil's delight," the fiddle. 

In this quaint old meeting-house, on a pleasant 
spring Sunday afternoon, are several of the people 
with whom our readers will become acquainted if they 
follow the fortunes of Richard Baxter. 



CHAPTER II 

SOEDID ThOUGBUTS 

THE farm at Manning's Comers had passed 
from father to son for several generations. 
The late owner, Deacon Daniel Manning, 
was a typical New England farmer. As a boy he 
had had such advantage of education as could be ob- 
tained in the district school each winter. A strong 
boy's service on a farm was of too much value to 
permit of attendance at summer schools, which were 
rare at that period, except in the villages. His father 
had been a deacon before him and had brought Daniel 
up not only to walk in the paths of righteousness, but 
to believe in all the professions of the orthodox 
church. Being of a sober turn of mind he took 
naturally to religious habits, and trained his son 
John to follow his footsteps, which he faithfully did, 
so far as professions and forms demanded; but there 
was no religion in his heart. 

Deacon Manning had inherited the finest farm in 
the county, and was, as the world goes, a successful 
man. Every year he had added acres and dollars to 
his possessions, all of which, at his death, he be- 
queathed to John without other condition than that 
he must take good care of his mother, which trust the 
son faithfully performed until her death, which just 
occurred at the opening of our story. 

If ever a man a.ppreciated a mother in a pecuniary 



4i RICHARD BAXTER 

sense it was John Manning, and her death was in that 
respect indeed a loss, leaving a void that could not be 
filled. Beyond that, there was no sentiment. Mrs. 
Manning was a weak woman, always subservient to 
her husband. From the death of his father several 
years previous, John had been master and she had 
never known any will but his since she had become a 
widow. 

John was in many respects wonderfully like his 
father. 

He was a fine specimen of physical manhood, tall, 
broad-shouldered, full-chested, and well developed. 
Powerful muscles, large bones, well-covered with sound 
flesh, but not an ounce of adipose tissue. Physically 
speaking, were there to have been a selection of the 
survival of the fittest he would have been among the 
first chosen. He was good-looking, and might have 
been called handsome had it not been for his square 
jaw, that gave a hard and almost cruel look to his 
face. His hair was brown and his eyes of that merci- 
less steel blue, forbidding a second appeal. It was 
his misfortune to be an only child, and his natural 
selfishness was greatly increased by never having had 
to share with anyone. Viewed as an animal, he was a 
fine specimen and would have taken the blue ribbon at 
a man-show. 

John Manning lacked in his composition one of the 
most beneficent elements of humanity, consideration 
for others. He was cold in his nature as frost, never 
having even blushed; for the fluid that circulated 
through his veins had never the warmth of a blush. 



SORDID THOUGHTS & 

Shrewd, calculating and "near, very near," so close 
that he came almost to dishonesty was John Manning. 
No one ever got the better of him in any trade or 
swap, yet all his business transactions were strictly 
within the law. He would not rob anyone nor permit 
anyone to rob him. If there was a doubt, however, in 
the claim, he always took the benefit of the doubt. An 
honest man so far as the world knew, rendering unto 
Caesar that which was Caesar's, but the stamp on the 
penny must not be so worn as to be doubtful. 

He was a member of the orthodox church in the best 
of standing, faithful in his religious duties, even to 
the habit of daily prayer and formal appeals to God 
at meals ; thus following strictly the teachings of the 
old deacon, his father. 

It could not be truthfully said that he was a hard- 
hearted man, for alas! he had no heart. A friend 
who knew him well used to say that when John Man- 
ning was made, just as they were closing up the work, 
they found his heart lying on the table. It was too 
much of a job to take him to pieces and put the heart 
in the proper place, so they threw in a few more brains 
and closed up the work. 

Such was our young farmer when he started in 
quest of a woman to be his wife. He did not take the 
usual course of a man seeking a love-mate for life, but 
went about his purpose as if looking for a horse to 
put into the team with one that he had, one that would 
puU strong and even, and not balk or be fractious. 
He had but little knowledge of the young women of 
his neighborhood, not having been attracted toward 



6 RICHARD BAXTER 

them by any of the inspirations or passions that, since 
the world began, have drawn the sexes together. There 
never had glowed in his breast that indescribable thrill 
inspired by the opposite sex, that should be natural 
for every man to feel. Woman to him was only a 
part of the divine scheme for the continuance of the 
human race. At the age of thirty he had never given 
a moment's thought to the subject of marriage; but 
when his mother died, the necessity of having a woman 
in the house became fully apparent, and he began to 
look about among his female acquaintances for a suit- 
able one to marry. 

As he sat in meeting that Sunday afternoon, certain 
qualifications ran through his mind. She must be 
young, strong and healthy, else she could not do the 
work. He knew it was hard, for he had always seen 
his mother drudging at it. From his earliest, recol- 
lections she was up and busy at break of day. She 
toiled all day, and, for aught he knew, all night. It 
must have been this kind of a woman that a writer had 
in mind when he said : 

Man's work is from sun to sun. 
Woman's work is never done. 

The woman he should marry must be familiar with 
every detail of the housework of a farm: able to 
milk, make butter and cheese, salt the beef and pork, 
cure hams, make sausages, cook the food for the fam- 
ily, wash and iron, clean and scrub, make soft soap; 
in fact, she must know how and be willing to turn her 
hand to everything that demanded attention in the 



SORDID THOUGHTS 7 

farmer's home. As for her looks, it was a matter of 
secondary consideration. He wished her to be young- 
er than himself, or she might not take kindly to his 
authority. 

It was on the Sunday following the burial of his 
mother. His mind wandered from the sermon and 
followed his eyes from pew to pew, scanning each de- 
mure girl face, and wondering whether the owner pos- 
sessed the requirements that he mentally demanded. 
The bright blue ej'es and pink cheeks of Josie May 
were not contrasted in his calculations with the black 
eyes and plump face of Jennie Brown, and beauty was 
not a factor in the problem; for he was thinking he 
had heard that Farmer Gibson realized two cents a 
pound more for the butter made by his daughter Sally 
than anyone else in town. Oblivious of the sermon, 
he solved a mathematical problem, the elements of 
which were: so many cows, so much butter to a cow, 
two cents a pound premium, would amount in a year 
to a certain round sum. This settled the matter in 
his mind, for the moment, and he determined to take 
Sally Gibson seriously into consideration. He was 
awakened out of his dream by the preacher exclaim- 
ing, "Lay not up thy treasures where moth and rust 
will corrupt." 

After meeting, he lingered for a moment on the 
steps, shook hands in a mechanical sort of way with 
Farmer Gibson, passed around to the meeting-house 
shed, backed out his horse and wagon and drove away. 



CHAPTER III 

Cupid Teies for a Hearing 

TWO young farmers of the neighborhood, 
Sam Drisco and Bill Johnson, were walking 
toward home together. 

"I say, Sam, when did you hear from Dick Baxter?" 

"Had a letter last week." 

"When is he comin' home?" 

"College gets through about the middle of June, 
but he hasn't any home, and I don't know what he's 
going to do." 

"Why don't he go an' live with Aunt Nancy?" 

"Well, it isn't any place for him, though I s'pose 
she'd be glad to have him. She always took to him 
as if he'd been her own boy." 

"Dick's a queer specimen, ain't he?" 

"What is there queer about him?" 

"Well, he's so awful pious. I s'pose he's goin' to 
be a parson, ain't he.'*" 

"No, he's been studying law and expects to prac- 
tice." 

"Anybody's as pious as he is ought not to waste 
their piety " 

"You speak. Bill, just as if you didn't think Dick 
was as good as he pretends to be." 

"No, I b'lieve it's all straight goods with him. Did 
ye notice John Mannin' a gawpin' 'round the meetin'- 



CUPID TRIES FOR A HEARING 9 

house this mornin', as ef he was a-lookin' fer some- 
body? I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut thet he was 
kinder s'archin' fer someone to run his shebang, now 
thet the ole woman's dead." 

"Can't bet with me," said Sam, "for when I bet, I 
bet to win, and you can't win anything if two fellows 
bet the same way." 

"Thet's so, thet's so," replied Bill. "I seen him 
more'n once a-lookin' over the back of ole Sol Gibson's 
head, 's if he was a-tryin' to count the few hairs thet 
the ole man hed left. But he wan't thinkin' of ole 
Gib's gray hairs ; he was kinder cal'latin' in his mind 
how Sally would fill the bill; not 'cause she has nice 
golden-brown hair an' a plump figger an' a putty 
face, but 'cause she's a smart gal an' her father has 
money." 

It was well known in the neighborhood that Sam 
Drisco looked with longing eyes toward Sally, and 
more than likely Bill was trying to stir him up a little, 
by connecting her in this indirect sort of way with 
John Manning. It had its effect on Sam, who sharply 
rejoined: 

"Do you suppose that Sarah Gibson would take up 
with such a fellow as John Manning, the meanest, 
nighest, most close-fisted, hardest-hearted, narrowest- 
minded man in this town, a man who has no more 
blood in his heart than there is in a turnip.'"' 

BiU replied: "He may not have any blood in his 
old turnip, but he's got the best farm in this township. 
Five hundred acres of woodland down in Pennsylvany, 
an' they say thet thar's coal er iron on it, I dunno 



10 RICHARD BAXTER 

which. An' he's got money in the bank, too ; lots of 
it. Why, his grandfather left him three thousan' 
dollars, an' then he wan't but three year ole, an' it's 
more'n thribled sence. An' ye know they said when 
the ole deacon died thet thar was more'n a hat full of 
bank stocks an' bonds, an' nobody knows how many 
mortgages, 'cept the poor folks thet he pinched fer in- 
terest. An' talk 'bout Sally Gibson not takin' him if 
she has a chance, I tell ye thar ain't a gal in this 'ere 
county thet wouldn't- jump at his gold hook 's quick's 
he throws it into the brook. Now, mind what I tell 
ye, if ye count on Sal Gibson's refusin' him, ye'U be 
everlastin'ly disapp'inted. An' 'sides all thet, thar 
ain't a man in this 'ere town 's got any better idee of 
the value of filthy lucre than has ole Sol Gibson. An' 
whether Sally was willin' er not, ole Sol's fetched 
his fam'ly up to do as he says, an' he'll make Sal 
marry John Mannin' if he looks thet way fer a 
wife." 

After this outbreak of Bill's, Sam stopped short. 
"I guess I'll go home cross lots," he said, and started 
toward the fence on the north side of the road. 

"Hum cross lots!" said Bill. "Ye'U hev to go 
round the world afore ye reach hum in thet d'rection. 
Oho, oho," he said, laughing heartily, "go ahead, 
Sam, I wish ye good luck." 

Sam had just remembered that old Gibson and his 
wife drove away from the meeting-house by the North 
road and that Sally and her little brother Johnnie 
had turned into what was known as the Wood road, 
through the Clay tract. This was not a highway, but 



CUPID TRIES FOR A HEARING 11 

a road that had been opened and used to get wood 
and lumber out of the forest into the main road. It 
was too rough for carriage use, or any except heavy 
teaming; but was quite passable for pedestrians, who 
could pick their way. 

The shade in the forest on this warm Sunday after- 
noon was delightfully pleasant. The odors of spring 
filled the air. This April day was unusual for the 
season and challenged a day in June. There was a 
spring freshness to everything that blended well with 
the nature of Sally Gibson. Every form of life har- 
monized with her joyous nature that day. Surely it 
was spring-time with her. She lingered, inhaling the 
sweet perfumes, and feasting her eyes on the colors 
of the prisms painted by God on the wild-wood flow- 
ers. The special object of her quest she did not find. 
She searched in vain for the trailing arbutus. 

Sam knew that by striking directly across the woods 
he would be likely to intercept Sally before she 
reached the highway, and he could have a little walk 
in the woods with her, beside the river, remembering 
aU at once the words of the old song: 

"There's a path by the river 
O'ershadowed with trees. 
Where two people can walk. 
And may talk if they please." 

They had sung this, and many another song, psalm 
and hymn at singing-school, meeting and otherwheres, 
each with a hand holding the same book, the little 



12 RICHARD BAXTER 

fingers hooked together like two twigs of wood, with 
as little feeling as if they were bent twigs, the clasp 
being as passionless as it was innocent. Ah, but that 
was when they were girl and boy. 

He thought as he hurried through the woods that if 
he could find some trailing arbutus it would afford an 
excuse for following Sally. 

Although she had always treated him kindly, there 
had not been sufficient encouragement to warrant him 
in talking love. They had been children together for 
many years, as their families were quite close neigh- 
bors, until Farmer Gibson had sold his farm and 
moved over on the North road. They had been 
through childhood, Sal and Sam to each other, but 
when she reached the dignity of discarding pantalettes 
and lengthening her dresses to womanly proportions, 
he called her Sally. The remarks of his comrade, Bill 
Johnson, had stirred his heart to its depths, and he 
determined to find out if Sally really cared for him. 
As he started over the fence he was quite sure that it 
was the simplest thing in the world to make his declar- 
ation to Sally, and had high hopes in her reply ; but as 
he stooped to gather some trailing arbutus, his cour- 
age began to fail, and even the sweet scent of the flow- 
ers gave him no inspiration. He stopped for a mo- 
ment and then exclaimed:. 

"Sam Drisco, are you so much of a coward as to 
be afraid of Sally Gibson, whom you have known since 
you were babies together ?" 

He braced up and hurried on, perceived her a short 
distance in front of him, and was glad to see that her 



CUPID TRIES FOR A HEARING 13 

little brother was quite a way ahead, busily engaged in 
chasing a wild hare that was humping itself with all 
its might to escape, having a natural instinct of what 
might happen if he fell into the hands of a boy. The 
noise of Sam's step crackling the underbrush attracted 
Sally's attention. She turned, and her eyes twinkled 
with merriment as he saluted her with "Good after- 
noon. Miss Gibson." 

"Miss Gibson, indeed!" she responded. "What's 
the matter with you, Sam?" 

She laughed, and he joined therein, without know- 
ing why, as he saw nothing funny and felt very far 
from a laughing mood. At last he recovered his cour- 
age, and said quite in his old boyish way : 

"Sally, see what I've brought you. These May 
flowers are the first of the season. Some of them I 
took from under the snow. I thought you'd like 
them." 

"I do," she said, as she took them, and putting the 
little bunch to her nostrils, "How sweet they are." 

"Do you remember, Sally, how many times we have 
been out together in the wood beyond the old South 
road and picked May flowers.?" 

"Yes, Sam, I shall never forget. We were very 
happy when you and I were boy and girl." 

He continued: 

"Have you forgotten, Sally, the day we went to 
the woods and played that we were lost ; lay down on 
the turf at the foot of a large oak and covered our- 
selves all over with leaves, playing we were babes in 
the- woods ; and how frightened you were at a big 



14. RICHARD BAXTER 

snake that came crawling across below our feet? You 
ran and screamed and I ran after you, calling you my 
little wife, saying that I was your big husband and 
wouldn't let any snakes hurt you." 

Just at that moment they reached the bars, on the 
highway, and she called : 

"Johnnie, Johnnie, come,, my dear. Here is father, 
and we had better ride home." 

Sam let down the upper bars and she quickly 
jumped over the other two, as if anxious to end the 
interview. 

"Thank you very much for the flowers," she said, 
as Farmer Gibson drove up. Sally and Johnnie 
climbed quickly into the wagon. The cut of old Gib- 
son's whip was not felt half as much on the old mare's 
back as was Sally's cut on Sam's heart. 

It took but a moment to replace the bars, and he sat 
down at the foot of a tree, to think. It was quite 
clear to him that he had lost a golden opportunity. 
Would he ever have another? 

As the wagon started Sally said, "Good-bye, Mr. 
Drisco," Johnnie sang out, "Good-bye, Sam," and the 
old woman, in an undertone, repeated, "Good-bye, Mr. 
Drisco, indeed! What's up now, SaUy?" But seeing 
the flush on Sally's face she did not press an 
answer. 

Sally had intended to walk home and had so told 
her father when she left him at the meeting-house, as 
he drove down the road to see Jim Budson, whom he 
wanted to work for him on the morrow. Why did she 
change her intention just at the moment when one not 



CUPID TRIES FOR A HEARING 15 

skilled in the mysteries of a woman's heart might have 
supposed she would invent some excuse tor continuing 
her walk, rather than one to cut it short? When she 
would have given the world to stay, why did she go? 
Ah, why? She herself could not have told. 

What is the control that so often makes the young 
woman say no when she would gladly say yes? It is 
not perversity; it is not coquettishness, except in the 
case of the bom flirt. We are speaking of women 
with hearts, not of syrens who wantonly lead men on 
to disappointment. Is there a dividing line between 
maidenhood and womanhood that, once crossed, can 
never be re-crossed? Does the avowal of an honest 
love constitute the crossing of that line? 

Johnnie spied the little bunch of trailing arbutus 
and cried out : "Here, Sal, give me them posies." 

Sally stretched her arm beyond his reach and John- 
nie said to his mother : "Ma, make Sal give me them 
posies." 

Generally the little tyrant had his way with his 
mother, but a memory passed through her conscious- 
ness, and for a moment she was a girl again. Was it, 
perhaps, a hidden romance that brought that blush? 
A dormant sentiment that had lain many years deep 
under the practicalities of life? Was it possible in 
the case of this plain-featured, unromantic-looking 
old woman that there was still smoldering under the 
ashes of the fire that Cupid had kindled so many years 
ago, a little of youth's young dreams ? Who knows ? 
It is not for us to search the mysteries of her life. 
We must go forward, not backward. Still, a few 



16 RICHARD BAXTER 

words relating to the marriage of Mrs. Gibson will 
give a better understanding of conditions. 

Martha Angier was a lovely girl, who had the mis- 
fortune to lose her parents when she was but six years 
old. She had been brought up as an unwelcome in- 
truder in the family of an uncle, where there was no 
room for her either in heart or home, there being al- 
ready six children, who naturally took precedence. 
She had grown to womanhood without ever having 
known the joys of filial love. When in due course of 
events the lover appeared on the scene, the promises of 
a future heaven had no attraction for her ; additional 
happiness was not possible. But alas ! the end came 
suddenly. Her lover was accidentally killed by the 
premature discharge of his gun, while hunting. She 
had asked him to get for her some gray squirrel-skins 
with which to make a muff. The pen that was unable 
to describe the height of her happiness lacks the power 
to portray the depth of her misery. Martha's uncle 
and aunt, neither of whom had ever loved, only toler- 
ated her, looked upon the death of the lover as a per- 
sonal affront to them, for which she was to blame ; and 
in her agony she often called herself a murderess. 
Another year of misery followed, her life became in- 
tolerable, and the idea of relief by suicide often came 
to her mind. She received a proposal of marriage 
from Solomon Gibson. She told him of her lover, but 
as he was dead, this aroused no jealousy. He offered 
a home. The hell in which she lived was not a home. 
Her uncle and aunt said that if she did not marry 
Sol Gibson she would have to shift for herself. She 



CUPID TRIES FOR A HEARING 17 

did marry Solomon Gibson and secured a home, but 
never happiness, for Gibson was a hard man, made 
harder by the refusal of Susan Drisco to become his 
wife. 

Quickly recovering, Mrs. Gibson told Johnnie to 
keep still, he could not have the flowers. All was 
quiet, only interrupted by old Gibson's "g'lang," but 
the episode had set him to thinking, and if he had 
spoken his thoughts his utterance would have 
been: 

"Oho, Sam Drisco, is it ! That's the way the wind 
blows. Wall, he can't hev SaUy. He ain't got noth- 
in' only a mighty poor farm thet's mortgaged fer 
more'n it's wuth an' a good 'eal more'n 't'll sell fer, an' 
a bed-ridden ole mother thet's nuthin' but a care to 
'im. I hate 'em both." He, in his mind, ran back 
to the time when this bed-ridden old mother was the 
prettiest girl in the township, and he and other young 
fellows had made love to her, all of whom she rejected, 
taking Eben Drisco, Sam's father. As the old man 
thought of all of these things a bitterness came over 
him, and he uttered a vigorous "g'lang," suddenly 
striking the old mare, who gave a jump, nearly throw- 
ing Sally and her mother over the back seat. The old 
woman, catching hold to save herself, cried out : 

"Why, Solomon, what is the matter.'"' 

"Nothin'j" he muttered as he stopped the old horse 
and got down from the wagon to fix the trace which 
had been broken by the sudden jerk. Mr. Gibson re- 
sruned his place, and the ride home was without fur- 
ther event or speech, except the habitual "g'lang." 



18 RICHARD BAXTER 

On reaching home, Sally, unobserved, carried a cup 
of water to her room. Then, taking from her bosom 
the little nosegay that she had hidden from Johnnie, 
she pressed it to her lips, placed it in the water, and 
hid the cup behind the mirror on her dressing-table. 



CHAPTER IV 

The Honest Lawyer 

THE county town in country districts was usu- 
ally the centre of civilization for that lo- 
cality. 

There was the court-house and near by, the jail, 
often an academy, the country stores in which were 
sold wet and dry-goods of every name and nature, 
hardware, agricultural implements, and in fact every- 
thing likely to be wanted by a farming community. 
Around the square, near the court-house, were the old- 
fashioned tavern, barrooms that had not then assumed 
the dignity or title of saloons, insurance agencies, and 
lawyers' offices. 

Directly across the square, facing the court-house, 
in Mendon, was a little two-story wooden building, 
with which our tale has much connection. On the 
lower floor, as the red and white pole indicated, was a 
barber shop. Bill Muggins, the barber, had never 
heard of a tonsorial parlor. You could get a hair-cut 
for ninepence and a shave for f ourpence ha'penny, to- 
gether with all the gossip of the neighborhood. Up the 
staircase, the treads of which had been worn thin by 
the heavy cowhides of generations of farmers who had 
shuffled up those stairs desiring the aid of the law in 
getting them justice, was the office of Abraham Baxter. 

Many a man went up into that dingy little office, 

19 



20 RICHARD BAXTER 

as angry as could be, determined to get even with his 
neighbor for a wrong, generally fancied, and went 
down again somewhat cooled oif and guessed he 
wouldn't sue. Abraham Baxter was an old-fashioned 
lawyer, so old-fashioned, indeed, that he was known 
far and wide as one of a species which perhaps is ex- 
tinct, as we hear no mention of it now, (item, an honest 
lawyer) who used his experience and knowledge of 
the law to settle difficulties and not to engender strife. 

The weather-worn old sign on the front of the 
building read: "Abraham Baxter, Attorney and 
CounseUor-at-Law." His practice as an attorney had 
long since ceased, but his opinion as a counsellor was 
considered of much value, not only by his clients, but 
by his associates of the Bar of the county of Mendon, 
which was also the name of the township. 

It used to be told of him that when about to be con- 
sulted by a client he would say: "If you have an 
honest claim, I will take your case, but if you have not, 
go to someone else, for there are other lawyers here in 
town who can do better for you, as I will not help you 
to oppress or rob anybody." Many a would-be client 
left his office without further consultation. 

He had been the confidential adviser of more than 
two generations of the people of that locality. To 
him was confided, without hesitation, their secrets, and 
in many a family he had the key to the door of the 
closet where hung its skeleton. But never a word of 
scandal or gossip' went from that old man's lips to 
raise the flush of shame on or pale with fear the face 
of anyone. His clients were his friends, and not one 



THE HONEST LAWYER 21 

ever regretted placing confidence in Abraham Baxter. 

An incident or two may explain the reason for the 
remark often made by other lawyers : "C»nf ound old 
Baxter; the law will not be worth anything in this 
county as long as he lives. If he had his way he'd 
shut up the court-house, except for criminal prosecu- 
tions, and on these the Lord knows he's hard enough." 

A man would come to him with his heart full of 
anger for some fancied wrong, determined to sue his 
neighbor at once. After having talked a while with 
"Father Abraham," as he was familiarly called, he 
would go away forgiving his grievance. In other 
cases the opponent would be called in, and everything 
satisfactorily settled. 

This method of practicing law brought little money 
to Abraham Baxter. He died poor, and would have 
had a scanty living had it not been for the fact that 
the majority of the legal papers in the county were 
written in his beautiful, square, copper-plate hand. 

The last time that he appeared in court as an attor- 
ney was in support of a will. Its probate had been 
opposed on the ground of forgery, the amount in con- 
test being something over $20,000. His client had 
promised him a fee of ten per cent, if he won the case. 
The liberality of the offer aroused his suspicion; but 
after having carefully examined all the facts that 
could be reached, he came to the conclusion that the 
will was the last will and testament of Abijah Ochle- 
tree. He went into the case with a full belief that he 
was in the right. He had an ambition to win, and a 
desire for the fee, which he sadly needed. 



23 RICHARD BAXTER 

It is unnecessary to go into the details of the trial. 
The evidence had all been submitted and it was the 
opinion of those who had listened to the case that the 
jury would render a verdict in his favor without leav- 
ing their seats. In closing with quite an extended 
peroration he said : "Your Honor, and gentlemen of 
the jury, the evidence clearly shows that this will 
which I hold in my hand bears the genuine signature 
of Abijah Ochletree." Holding the open sheet be- 
tween his eyes and the window, he continued : "Your 
Honor and gentlemen of the jury, the evidence is as 

clear as God's sunlight -" At that moment he 

stopped, turned pale, looked staringly at the sheet he 
held between him and the light, threw down the will, 
and in an agitated tone said : "Your Honor, I with- 
draw from this case." 

He picked up his papers which were scattered on 
the table, put them into his green baize bag, and 
walked out of the court-room. 

Since the last word he had spoken, silence had 
reigned. It was the silence of astonishment. The 
opposing lawyer, as the door closed on Abraham Bax- 
ter, picked up the will and held it to the light, then 
turning quickly to the presiding judge: "Your 
Honor," he said, "I desire to make an unusual motion, 
which I think under the circumstances Your Honor 
will grant. That is, to re-open this case for the pur- 
pose of re-submitting exhibit A, this will, to the jury 
for examination. The date of this will is March 1, 
1825. The water-mark shows that the paper on 
which it is written was not made until 1827." The 



THE HONEST LAWYER 23 

judge directed the jury to render a verdict against 
the genuineness of the will, which they did, without 
leaving their seats. 

It was a remarkably clever forgery, and had it not 
been for the water-mark in the paper, would never 
have been discovered, for all the evidence was in favor 
of its validity. The genuineness of the signature of 
the testator received the support of all those who had 
been familiar with it when the testator was living. It 
was a holograph will, and there did not seem to be 
the dot of an i or the crossing of a t, the tail of a g or 
y that had been neglected. The two witnesses, who 
it was alleged had appended their names "in the pres- 
ence of the testator and of each other," were dead. 
The selection of witnesses who had died since the ex- 
ecution of the will showed the great shrewdness of the 
forger. 

Abraham Baxter had always prided himself, as we 
have seen, upon the integrity of the causes which he 
advocated, and the outcome of this suit so mortified 
him that he never entered the court-house again, nor 
would he take a case that required his appearance in 
court. 

Such, as a lawyer, was the deep sense of honor, the 
passion for justice and the sterling character, of 
Abraham Baxter. 

[Note. — The writer has submitted this incident, 
which is a true occurrence, to many lawyers, and has 
never found one who said that he would have done as 
Abraham Baxter did, that is, have abandoned the case. 
They generally responded that it "is the first duty 



M RICHARD BAXTER 

of a lawyer to protect the interest of his client"; 
"contrary to the ethics of the profession"; "stick to 
your client, right or wrong" ; "never under any obli- 
gation to furnish evidence for the other side"; "we 
don't hear of any such kind of fool nowadays" ; "you 
say that this lawyer died poor. Well, I can readily^ 
believe that."] 



CHAPTER V 

The Hypocrite 

ON the death of his mother, Richard Baxter, 
at the age of fourteen, left home for school, 
where he spent three years, and then four 
years in college. His father (Abraham Baxter) died 
during the last year of his collegiate course, leaving 
to him his law Hbrary, an unsullied name, and the title 
"an honest lawyer." He desired that his son should 
adopt some other vocation than the law, wishing him 
to be an honest man, and knowing how difficult that 
was for a lawyer. 

Richard admired his father when living, and now 
deeply honoring his memory, resolved to follow in his 
footsteps. He was a young man of good, not bril- 
liant talents, had been graduated with a fair propor- 
tion of honors, and a reputation for sterling integ- 
rity; and was. Indeed, a good specimen of American 
mediocrity. He appreciated that he did not know it 
all, an advantage over most young men. He was too 
modest for sudden success, and on leaving college bade 
fair to become a plodder. 

He took possession of the old law office just as his 
father had left it. The village painter desired to 
paint over the old sign, but this to Richard seemed 
sacrilege ; to put up a new sign, vanity ; and during 

25 



26 RICHARD BAXTER 

his life the old one was never changed, except by the 
weather, and that worked its usual spell. 

Richard was an athlete in form, but had no passion 
for athletic sports, although he had taken part therein 
during his collegiate career. He was a handsome man, 
and had the great good fortune never to have appreci- 
ated the fact. Many a girl had looked at him and 
wondered why she could not get Dick Baxter to flirt 
just a little. But he never thought of it, and so 
passed into manhood without the usual experience of 
most young men. 

For the opposite sex he had the greatest respect, 
and treated every woman as mother or sister, accord- 
ing to her age. 

The thoughts uppermost in his mind were those on 
religious subjects. He had been educated in the rigid 
dogmas of the Presbyterian faith, but did not accept 
them. Still you could not have found a college as- 
sociate who would not have said that Dick Baxter was 
the most pious man in his class ; though he knew that 
he was a hypocrite, and despised himself for it. 
"What ought I to do?" was a constant self -query. 
"I would believe if I could, God knows I would." 

This appeal to God, in Whom he had no belief, was 
only an expression inspired by the custom so prevalent 
In all Christian communities. Had he acknowledged 
being an agnostic, the little Presbyterian world in 
which he dwelt would have deemed him worse even than 
a Roman Catholic, and cast him out as a social leper. 
These people would tolerate a drunkard, a thief, or 
even a murderer ; but an infidel, never. In their opin- 



THE HYPOCRITE 27 

ion, a man who had no belief was an outcast, for 
whom burning at the stake was quite too good. 

The opinions of the community in which Richard 
Baxter lived, or even its intolerance of an infidel, were 
not the principal reasons that prevented his throwing 
oflF the despicable cloak of hypocrisy ; for paradoxical 
as it may seem, he was as honest a man as ever lived ; 
in every moral essential a good man whose life was 
above reproach. He felt himself to be a victim of 
intellectual malformation, and often wondered how it 
was that the great boons of belief and faith were de- 
nied to him, while the ignorant, uneducated mass be- 
lieved, or at least thought that they believed. They 
could not know the depths of their profession. Re- 
ligion, in his opinion, could only be their habit. 

While at law school, he had lived where there were 
many Roman Catholics, simple, ignorant people, whose 
unwavering confidence in their church challenged his 
admiration. 

He was called from his bed one night by a messen- 
ger who informed him that Patrick Moriarty, an 
Irishman whom he had often met in his walks outside 
the town, was dying, and "would Mr. Baxter go and 
make his will.'"' 

He found at the home of the Moriarties, not only 
Patrick at the point of death, but also his wife 
Bridget. 

The man was in bed at one side of the room, and on 
a cot opposite lay his wife. After the will was made 
Patrick asked some of the bystanders to move his 
wife's cot over to the side of his bed, and to her he 



28 RICHARD BAXTER 

said: "Bridget, me darlint, come over here, an' Oi'U 
take yer hand, an' we'll walk through purgatory to- 
gither, as we've ben walkin' togither fer nigh forty 
year, an' it'll only be half as far." The priest had 
been there and administered the Holy Communion, 
and anointed them with oil. The cot was moved 
over to the side of the bed on which Patrick was lying, 
as still as if already dead. Her hand was placed in 
his, too feeble to reach for it. She was very restless. 
All at once he aroused himself, and speaking quite 
sharply said: "Bridget, kape still, ye'U wipe the 
grase all off ye." Then, closing his eyes, he started 
at once on his long journey; but his wife was not 
ready to go with him. 

This incident made a lasting impression on Richard 
Baxter, and from that moment he respected the simple 
faith of the humble Christian. 

As before said, Richard did not continue his hype 
critical life through fear of consequences, but as a 
matter of conscience. He weighed everything on the 
scales of good, not those of truth. "Is it good.''" not 
"Is it true.'"' was his test of value. The good of his 
fellow man was the desire of his life. He had many 
times asked himself the question, "Is man better for 
having a religion?" the answer always being in the 
affirmative. He had studied all the religions of the 
world and had never found a heathen who would not 
have been more of a heathen without his religion. 

Richard Baxter continued his dual position on re- 
ligion at the dictate of his conscience, arguing: "I 
am harming no one but myself by my course. 'Tis 



THE HYPOCRITE 29 

true I am deceiving everybody, but I injure no one in 
so doing." 

He was looked upon as a model Christian, and al- 
though the model was a false one, good came from It. 
No good would come from an avowal of his real senti- 
ments ; nothing but evil could follow such a course. 
Doubts would be sown where perfect faith was now 
triumphant. ' He had always treated everyone's hon- 
est religious belief, no matter how absurd it appeared 
to him, with the utmost respect, having never by act, 
word or look done aught to lessen the faith of anyone 
in the religion which he professed. He realized that 
to do so would be worse than robbery. It would be 
indeed a wicked act to take away a person's faith on 
the ground that in his opinion it was false, when he 
had nothing better to offer in its place. 

Richard Baxter was an encyclopedia on religion. 
There was not a minister of the gospel in all that re- 
gion who knew the Bible so well as he. But with all 
his knowledge he could never be induced to give an 
opinion on any religious subject nor drawn into an 
argument. When asked questions he was always 
ready to give facts, but never opinions. When forced 
into a corner, his reply always was, "I have never been 
given authority or ability to interpret the Scriptures." 

No one ever appealed to him for help, pecuniary or 
otherwise, who did not meet with a cheerful response. 
The poor could always obtain legal advice without, 
cost. Often had he appeared in court without fee, to 
defend them against oppression and wrong. 



CHAPTER VI 
The Peoposai. 

ON the afternoon of the opening of our story, 
John Manning resumed consideration of the 
eligible girls. He had a large field from 
which to choose, as the neighborhood included parts of 
three towns. He had seen Bill and Sam together, and 
as he returned, Bill was alone. 

"Lost Sam, have you.-"' he asked. "Where has he 
gone.!"' 

"Cross lots, over on the North road." 

John Manning had long known of Sam Drisco's 
liking for Sally Gibson. It had not until that mo- 
ment been a matter of any concern ; but now, having 
Sally in mind, he felt Drisco to be an intruder. He 
was so intensely egotistic and knew so little of woman 
nature, that he assumed it to be only necessary for 
him to condescend to inform any woman that he had 
selected her. 

Ah, how little did he know a woman's heart ! 

The next morning he drove over to the Gibson 
farm, and seeing the old man at work by the wayside, 
hailed him with a "Good-morning." Mr. Gibson ap- 
proached the wagon and put out his brawny hand, re- 
turning the salute with a "Howdy, howdy." Man- 
ning was not accustomed to waste any time in discuss- 
ing the weather, crops or any other make-talk subject. 



THE PROPOSAL 31 

In this case, as was his habit, he came directly to the 
point, saying: "Mr. Gibson, you know that mother 
is dead, and my affairs at home are badly broken up. 
I can't find any good woman to run. things, and I 
think I'd better get married." 

"Surely, surely," said the old man. 

"I've been thinking over all th^ girls in the neigh- 
borhood and have concluded that your SaUy is the best 
of the bunch, and everything being satisfactory aU 
around, as of course it must be, we had better get 
married." 

To say that the old man was astonished sets forth 
the condition of his mind very mildly. "W'y, Mr. 
Mannin'," he hesitatingly said, "I didn't know thet 
you an' SaUy was much more'n jest acquainted. 
Hadn't seen ye round our house, an' didn't know thet 
you an' her hed ben a-keepin' comp'ny. Wall, young 
folks is mighty sly. Wonder 'f Mis' Gibson knows 
anything 'bout it. Thar ain't ben nothin' said to me." 

"There hasn't been anything said to anybody. I'm 
not the man to waste my time chasing after girls. I 
only made up my mind last night to marry her, and 
of course haven't said anything to her about it." 

"Surely, surely." 

"You know, Mr. Gibson, that I'm pretty fore- 
handed, and not a man that any girl is likely to say 
no to." 

"Surely, surely," rephed the old man. "Thet's all 
true 'nough, an' I don't mind a-sayin' right out thet 
I shouldn't object to yer marryin' my Sal, ef it's 
'greeable all 'round. Sal's a good gal, good's any on 



32 RICHARD BAXTER 

'em, but she's a leetle high strung, an' kinder inde- 
pendent sometimes, an' she might not 'gree to it." 

"She'll do as you say, won't she?" 

"Wall, she alius has, but I hain't never said nothin' 
to 'er 'bout gittin' marri'd, an' she might kick, ye 
know." 

"Is anybody keeping company with her.'"' 

"No, 'tain't got to thet yit; but I've thought for 
some time thet Sam Drisco was kinder sneakin' 'round 
arter her ; but she can't hev him, even if she never gits 
marri'd." 

"Sam Drisco," sneered Manning. "I can fix him. 
He's of no account. I've a mortgage on his farm 
that's past due, and the interest will more than eat up 
his personal property." 

"Surely, surely. This thing's all right atween you 
an' me, but I think you'd better go 'bout it in the ord'- 
nary way, waste a leetle time a-courtin' an' sich like, 
'cause wimmin is queer critters, an' sometimes ye can 
an' sometimes ye can't." 

"All right, Mr. Gibson, as long as you and I under- 
stand each other I guess I won't have any trouble fix- 
ing it ; but I'll accept your advice." 

The attempts of John Manning to "court" Sally 
Gibson, as well as those of her father to drive her into 
his arms were, as might have been expected, miserable 
failures. 



CHAPTER VII 

A Tkue Woman 

IN the village of Mendon lived a unique character, 
a woman who was the village "Jack-at-all-trades," 
being able to turn her hand with equal facility to 
the trimming of a bonnet, making a new dress, mak- 
ing over an old one, or cutting down the father's worn 
suit for the next generation. She could help out in 
the spinning, if anybody's "old woman" (the usual 
but by no means disrespectful term in which most 
men spoke of their wives) was behind with her work. 
If the mother was sick, they called in "Mis' Miles" to 
"nuss" her and help care for the family. In fact, 
"Mis' Miles" was the most important functionary of 
the place. 

She and her daughter lived in an humble cottage at 
the edge of the village. The extent of the premises 
was about one-half an acre, on which were the little 
house, a hen coop, a small kitchen-garden and a mort- 
gage, the last being an anxiety that haunted the 
widow day and night. The first of April, when the 
interest became due, had more terrors for her than 
the Day of Judgment. 

Being a reKgious woman, strong in the faith and 
fully conscious of the rectitude of her life, she had no 
fear for the "hereafter." "Give us this day our daily 
bread" was to her the most important line in the 

33 



34 RICHARD BAXTER 

Lord's prayer, which she never omitted morning or 
evening. 

Like so many other people, she had seen better days. 

She wedded a well-to-do man, and passed her mar- 
ried life in a large city where she had all the advan- 
tages of good society. As is often the case, Mr. Miles 
lived up to his income, and made no provision for a 
"rainy day." In the prime of life he succumbed to 
an attack of typhus, leaving his wife and child prac- 
tically penniless. 

The great problem of "how to live" demanded solu- 
tion. Mrs. Miles was a woman of good physique and 
sound health. Her early associations naturally sug- 
gested a return to country life. She must earn her 
living and there were no genteel avenues open for 
her. It was work, absolute labor that confronted her, 
and she met it "manfully." 

After the settlement of her affairs and the disposal 
of household effects, there were but a few hundred 
dollars left. 

She decided to go into the country ; but where ? To 
one place she would not go, to the home of her child- 
hood, which she had left on the high wave of good 
fortune. No, she could not bring herself to bear that ; 
but would seek some locality where it would be im- 
possible for her history to be known, being well aware 
of the curiosity of country people and their suspicious 
nature, when one did not turn himself inside out for 
inspection and inquisition. 

How to meet this troublesome matter perplexed her 
much, and she often dreamed of being tried by the 



A TRUE WOMAN 35 

sewing society of some country town. "Who is she?" 
"Where did she come from?" "What's she doing 
here?" "Widow, did you say?" "How long has her 
husband been dead?" "Did he leave any property?" 
"How's she going to live?" "I wonder if she's re- 
spectable? Good many of these city folks ain't, you 
know. Can't teU by folks' looks, you know." 

Mrs. Miles was a brave woman and ready to obey 
the laws of necessity. Hardly knowing why, she se- 
lected Mendon as the place in which to take refuge. 

Before leaving the city, she sold all her fine cloth- 
ing, even down to the last under-garment, shoes and 
stockings, and provided herself clothing suitable to 
the new position in society which misfortune forced 
her to occupy. 

Her daughter Mary would remain at boarding- 
school, as her tuition had been paid for the year. 

Mrs. Miles arrived in Mendon by stage one pleasant 
spring day, intending to remain at the tavern until 
she could mature her plans. She called on the minis- 
ter and the doctor, both pleasant old gentlemen, who 
received her kindly, and after examining her letters, 
and finding her sound in faith and practice, oblig- 
ingly permitted a reference to them. 

On the morning after her arrival, the town was 
panic-stricken by a smallpox scare. At first, it was 
the whole of the east village that had the dreaded dis- 
ease ; then it was more than a dozen. It finally dwin- 
dled to one suspect, a poor Canadian hired man on 
Silas Brown's farm. He was warned at the risk of his 
life not to leave the little shanty where he slept. 



36 RICHARD BAXTER 

The Selectmen hurriedly met to see what could be 
done. A resolution was promptly adopted, declaring, 
"the shanty on Silas Brown's farm, where that blasted 
Canuck has the smallpox, be and hereby is declared a 
pest-house, according to the law so made and pro- 
vided." 

That the man must be cared for was a foregone 
conclusion, but by whom.? They felt quite certain 
that no one could be found ; when their anxious delib- 
erations were interrupted by the' appearance of a 
strange woman, who told them that she was a nurse, 
immune, having had the smallpox, and competent to 
take entire charge of the case, without the aid of a 
doctor. The satisfaction of the Selectmen, as well 
as of the whole town, was unbounded, and Mrs. M" 
entered at once upon her duties and carried the t 
through successfully, surprising even herself. 

She was a woman who had a wonderful ability to 
conform to circumstances and adapt herself to the 
situation. She took the position of nurse, in this 
case, to test her ability to meet any requirements that 
might arise, believing that there could be no better 
introduction for her. 

Alexis, a Canadian with an unpronounceable sur- 
name, was the patient. He appreciated what she did 
for him and never after missed an opportunity to re- 
pay all that he in his humble capacity could. 

While Mrs. Miles had been caring for Alexis, the 
town gossips had thoroughly discussed her. That 
was as far as they could go, for when she appeared 
among them, they found that although she did not 



A TRUE WOMAN STf 

"put on airs," she was not a woman of wKom they 
could ask questions for the gratification of a vulgar 
curiosity. 



CHAPTER VIII 

" Now OE Nevee " 

SALLY, on returning from town one day, met 
Sam Drisco, who said to himself as he saw her 
coming, "Now or never." He was quite well 
aware of the situation existing at the Gibson farm, as 
John Manning's attempt at making Sally his wife 
was town gossip, and to him it seemed that his only 
chance was, as he said, "now or never." He ap- 
proached Sally, looking her full in the eyes, extended 
his hand, and said : 

"God only knows, Sally, how glad I am to see you." 

She replied with all her natural frankness: 

"Sam, I am glad to see you." 

They looked at each other for a moment, and with- 
out a word left the highway and turned into a path 
that led into the deep woods, beyond sight from the 
road. They walked side by side for a few moments, 
then : "Let us sit down upon this log," began Sam, 
"I have something I wish to say to you." 

He poured out his heart, telling how his life was 
one longing for her, closing with: "Sally, Sally, I 
love you beyond my power to tell. I want you to be 
my wife," and held out his hand, which she frankly 
took. 

"Oh, Sam, you cannot love me more than I love you, 
but it cannot, cannot be. Father says that I must 



"NOW OR NEVER" S9 

marry John Manning, but I never will. I cannot 
marry you, Sam, for I dare not. He is so hard and 
bitter against you." 

"Sally, I am a man, you are a woman. Why 
should we be governed by an unreasonable father? 
Oh, come with me, Sally, and we shall be so happy." 

"No, no, dear Sam, I dare not; though I cannot 
marry you, I will never marry John Manning, nor 
anyone else." 

They talked for a long time, but Sally could not be 
turned from what she believed to be her duty. 



CHAPTER IX 

Maey Miles 

WE have omitted to notice, though it was an 
event of sufBcient importance in the history 
of Mendon to make it worth chronicling, 
the advent of Mrs. Miles' daughter Mary, who had 
been left at school when the mother had come to 
Mendon. 

It is a difficult task to describe her. The simplest 
way would be to say that she was Mary Miles, unique 
in herself, a type of her own. It is not easy to detail 
the apparel of a well-dressed young lady. There is 
such a harmonious blending of color and style that 
no salient points attract attention. So it was with 
Mary. In form she fulfilled the requirements of the 
sculptor; in feature she realized the artist's dream. 
And still her face was not pretty, but it was beauti- 
ful, for therein were portrayed all the characters of 
perfect womanhood. In her character there was not 
an apparent defect. She at once became a great fa- 
vorite in the village, as she had always been with all 
who had ever known her. 

For a wonder she was held in equal esteem by both 
sexes, young and old, but especially by the aged; for 
to them she showed such unusual respect and courtesy 
that they could not help loving her. The little jeal- 
ousies which so often exist among young women were 

40 



MARY MILES 41 

not present in this case. Her loveliness disarmed 
them all, and although the daughter of Widow Miles, 
the nurse, seamstress and general woman-of-all-work, 
who served those who demanded her services by the 
day, she was everywhere received in the best society of 
Mendon, as a social equal. 

A natural Christian, it required on Mary's part but 
little effort to be good. The right path was always 
open, the other never suggested. She was not en- 
titled, therefore, to such credit as are those who resist 
temptation. 

Unlike many of the naturally good people, she was 
not selfish and cold-blooded, but had a warm heart, 
and was extremely charitable toward the shortcomings 
of others, especially of those of her own sex. 



CHAPTER X 

A Briefless Lawyer 

RICHARD BAXTER was what is known to 
the profession as a briefless lawyer. For 
such condition he was alone to blame. Many 
a profitable case he had turned away because he 
thought his client in the wrong. He had inherited 
from his father the integrity that bade fair to ruin 
his prospects as a lawyer, and had often considered 
the advisability of trying some other means of getting 
a living. 

He had sat many a day watching the spiders build- 
ing their cobwebs. He never disturbed them, a super- 
stition which he could neither explain nor understand 
protected them. To his view they were as frail as re- 
ligious faith, easy to destroy, but impossible to re- 
build. 

As he watched he listened for the client's footsteps 
on the creaking old stairs ; but in vain. The small in- 
come from drawing deeds, contracts and other legal 
instruments hardly sufficed to pay for his food. His 
clothes had the shiny evidence of having seen better 
days, and his body showed lack of nourishment. He 
was getting despondent and melancholy and could not 
study or think. Had it not been for his pride he 
would have done manual labor. 

"Would I not have greater respect for myself," he 

42 



A BRIEFLESS LAWYER 43 

soliloquized, "if I were earning an honest living by 
the sweat of my face, than sitting here brooding over 
my misfortunes? Why should I have any regard for 
the opinion of those who sit like hungry vultures 
waiting the outcome of my problem?" 

He remembered reading a notice tacked up at the 
post-office: "Wanted — ^Wood Choppers. Will pay 
fifty cents per cord. Joseph Barker." Joseph Bar- 
ker was the owner of a wood lot about a mile and a 
half out on the Sheldon road, which he had begun 
clearing. 

"Wood chopper, indeed!" Then, looking at his 
soft, white hands, he mused a while, and turning 
toward a little mirror that stood on a mantel, saw his 
gaunt face, which he saluted with: "Pauper, that's 
just what you are. Nothing more, nothing less. No, 
that's wrong, you are something more. You are — ^a 
—fool." 

He was behind with his rent, and that morning the 
barber who owned the building had said to him that 
Squire Canfield wanted to hire the office and if Mr. 
Baxter couldn't pay he wished he'd move out, for he 
could not wait longer for his rent. Richard felt 
greatly mortified to think that the little, insignificant, 
illiterate, one-legged barber was in a position to tell 
him, a gentleman born, a college graduate and a law- 
yer, to pay his rent or move out. It was quite cer- 
tain, however, that he had no longer use for the 
premises as a law office. 

His father had occupied that office for a lifetime. 
Richard remembered with what pride and hopes of 



44 RICHARD BAXTER 

success he had taken possession on his graduation 
from the law school. Were all his ambitions to be 
crushed and his prospects ruined? How would his 
father have felt could he have foreseen the blasting of 
the cherished hopes for the success of his dearly be- 
loved son? 

He looked around the office and every piece of the 
old furniture seemed to say in chorus, "This must not 
be"; and jumping to his feet, he defiantly shouted, 
"And it shall not be!" 

He determined that he would not give up yet, and 
soon completed his plans, which were to chop wood 
and earn money enough to pay his rent and keep the 
office, at least until he could go over all the papers 
that his father had left, take care of those that were 
of any value and destroy the rest. After freeing 
himself from debt he would seek other fields and begin 
anew. He had in his wardrobe an old corduroy boat- 
ing-suit that would serve him well for working 
clothes. Knowing that he could not put in a full 
day's work at first, he would attempt but half a day. 
Just as he had settled on this course, old Caesar, a 
negro who had "chored" for Abraham Baxter many 
years until his death, and had known "young Massa 
Baxtah eber since he was knee-high to a hoppergrass," 
came shuffling up the old staircase, and as he entered 
the door, took off his cap, bowed his head, and scrap- 
ing the floor with his right foot, saluted: 

"Good-mawnin', Massa Baxtah. W'y, honey w'at's 
de mattah ? Bettah not go down get shaved dis mawn- 
in', foh de blessed face is so long dat it cost double. 



A BRIEFLESS LAWYER 45 

Dis niggah dunno much, but dis niggah knows w'at's 
de mattah wid Massa Baxtah. He done gone an' got 
no money to pay rent." 

"How do you know that, Casar?" 

"Kase, dis mawnin' I hab some wood to split foh de 
babah, down in de ya'd, an' Massa Postmastah he 
come 'long an' he say, 'Good-mawnin', Caesar,' an' den 
he stop an' he say to dis niggah, 'Cassar, w'at kine ob 
niggah be you?' an' I says, 'Massa Postmastah, I'se 
coal-brack niggah, I is.' Ya, ha, ha! Ya, ha, ha!" 
and Csesar laughed until it seemed to Richard that the 
shovel and tongs danced on the hearth. He was quite 
sure that the grim old portrait of George Washington 
relaxed its solemn features, and at least smiled. 

As was intended by the friendly negro, the laugh 
became infectious, and Richard joined quite heartily. 
After a moment he said : 

"Caesar, you have not told me how you know that 
I am short of money." 

"Well, boss, it was dis way. Massa Postmastah he 
go into de babah shop to get shave, an' foah soon I 
heah him say 'Baxtah' ; den I knows dat it was you 
dat was bein' slandahed, an' I jes' cock up dat long 
eah. Ye know, Massa Baxtah, dat dis 'ere niggah 
hab one long eah an' one short one." 

"Yes, that's all right, Csesar, but go on and tell 
your story." 

"Well, den, Massa Baxtah, dis niggah, ole brack 
Caesar, he play 'possum, an' Massa Babah he say, 
'Massa Postmastah, dat young Baxtah up de stahs is 
dat hard up dat he can't pay de rent, an' I'se done 



46 RICHARD BAXTER 

goin' to turn him out, foh Massa Canfield he want dat 
office.' " 

"Yes, Cassar, it is true that I am short of money 
just now, but it will come out all right bye-and-bye." 

"Yes, yes, Massa Baxtah, dat's all right. Bye'n- 
bye long way off sometimes, but dis niggah got money 
now. Ye see, Massa Richa'd, it am dis way. Caesar 
is de ole brack niggah, an' foah long time de Lawd 
He say, 'Csesar, ye mis'ble brack niggah, wha' is ye? 
I wants ye now. You's no use down dah, you's on'y 
in de way. Ye ha'r's all gone, ye teef s all gone, you's 
got de rumaticks an' can't work no moah. Come up 
heah an' be an angel. I'se got some big brack wings 
foh ye, an' I'se a ha'p foh ye, wif a t'ousan' strings.' 
An' I say, 'Yes, good Lawd, I'se comin', hev Petah 
hoi' open de gate.' An' ye see, Massa Richa'd, dis 
ole Caesar is no common niggah. He's 'spect'ble, an' 
he wants to leave dis worl' in a 'spect'ble mannah ; so 
ole Caesar, he done gone an' sabe money to put ole 
Caesar in de groun' in a 'spect'ble mannah. I'se got 
twenty-seben doUahs hid undah de chimbley-stone, 
an' honey, I gibs ye all on'y two doUahs, an' de s'lect- 
men can bury ole Ceesar. Dey'U hab to put dis ole 
niggah in de groun'. Live niggah bery 'fensive, but 
dead niggah, whew ! nobody lib in same town wif dead 
niggah. I'd gib ye all, Massa Richa'd, on'y I wants 
de music w'en dey puts ole Caesar undah de groun'. 
I'se 'ranged wif Eph Mo'gan foh de fife an' Ike 
Brown foh de drum, two doUahs foh bof . Dat's w'y, 
Massa Richa'd, dat ole niggah Caesar doan' gib Massa 
Richa'd de whole ob dat money." 




"Caesar^ come up Beali an' be an angel. I'se got some 
big brack wings fob ye^ an' I'se a ha'p foh ye, wif a 
tousan' strings." 



A BRIEFLESS LAWYER 47 

That Richard Baxter was deeply touched at this ex- 
hibition of friendship by the old negro need not be 
said. He exclaimed: "Thank God, I have one 
friend." Tears filled his eyes, and rising, he went 
across the room to where Caesar stood near the door, 
grasped his hand and shook it warmly, saying: 

"You are very kind, Caesar, but I cannot take your 
money. I hope and pray to soon end my trouble." 

"Pray foh help. Dat's aU right, if ye knows how 
to pray. 'Tain't no good prayin' 'less ye does some- 
t'ing. De good Lawd helps dem w'at helps demselfs. 
De Lawd nevah bring dis niggah nuffin. He alius 
hab to go get it. Ole Caesar he want some chicken, 
an' he prayed de Lawd foh chicken. Dis niggah he 
pray foh free nights, dis niggah get no chicken. De 
Lawd nevah hcah dis niggah. Den ole Cassar pray 
de Lawd sen' dis niggah foh dat chicken, an' he hab 
de chicken de fust time." 

Richard told old Cassar that he proposed to chop 
wood. This disgusted Caesar beyond his power of 
expression. The idea of a "gemmen choppin' wood" 
was more than he could tolerate, and he hesitated 
about lending his axe to Richard. Richard said to 
him: 

"I can't beg and I will not borrow. Would you 
have me steal.""' 

"No, dis niggah doan' 'vocate any man to steal. 
Ole Csesar nevah steal nuffin' in dis worl' — on'y 
chicken," he added, after a sHght pause ; then resum- 
ing, meditatively, "No moah sin foh de niggah take 
chicken dan foh white man take 'brellah." 



48 RICHARD BAXTER 

Caesar finally consented to lend his axe. 

Early the next morning Richard, dressed in cordu' 
roy suit, started for the woods. He went early, be- 
fore the villagers were up, not ashamed exactly, but 
very well satisfied that he was doing no wrong; still, 
he would rather not be seen, not just then, until he 
had gotten a little used to the situation himself. 

It is hardly worth while to follow him through the 
hardening process of backache, armache and blistered 
hands. But Richard was not the man to put his hand 
to the plow and turn back. Every day when it did 
not storm he went regularly to his work, with which he 
spent the forenoon. In the afternoon he busied him- 
self sorting out his father's old papers, for he had 
nearly concluded that as the law had abandoned him, 
he would in turn forsake it and get an honest living 
some other way. 

Of course it wasn't three days before the whole 
town were discussing this, as it was called, freak of 
Dick Baxter's. 

It did not take long for him to earn money enough 
to pay up his rent, but he still continued his morning 
work. He became healthy and hearty, lost his de- 
spondency and his woe-begone appearance. He 
claimed to have discovered the elixir of health, but 
none of his friends wanted any of the medicine. With 
vigorous health came happiness and visions of success 
in his chosen profession, and with them, renewed ef- 
forts to increase his knowledge of the law. The de- 
velopment of his muscles stimulated his brain. He 
determined not to give up the old office, so sacred to 



A BRIEFLESS LAWYER 49 

him, for its memories of his revered father. He 
laughed as he asked himself: 

"How would a sign look : 'Richard Baxter, Wood 
Chopper and Attorney-at-Law' ?" 

In clearing up the office and assorting his father's 
old papers, he had omitted to open a little drawer in 
the desk, which stuck fast. He borrowed a chisel and 
forced the drawer open, finding therein a sealed letter, 
addressed to himself, in his father's well-known hand. 
He hastily broke the seal. It bore date but a short 
time before his father's death. The letter read as 
follows : 

"My Dear Son Richard : Your last letter informs 
me that you have determined to adopt the law as your 
profession for life. Although I have advised you, 
influenced by the hard lessons of my own experience, 
to seek a Hving in some other vocation, I must confess 
that I am not sorry. I would, if it were possible, 
point out to you the pitfalls in your path, but it would 
be useless, and it is better that you find them for 
yourself. 

"My dear Richard, be true to your God and He 
wiU be true to you. I am sorry to have noticed in 
some of your late letters an uncertain state of mind, 
as if you were wavering in your faith. I hope that 
this is not so. 

"Never be tempted to defend or to prosecute a 
wrong cause. 

"Be an honest lawyer. It is not the road to wealth, 
but it will insure you at least self-respect. The law 



50 RICHARD BAXTER 

is a noble profession, but to its shame it must be ad- 
mitted that there is no crime so dastardly nor no 
cause so unrighteous that a lawyer cannot be procured 
to defend it. 

"On the shelves of this old bookcase are thirty vol- 
umes of Pickering's Reports. In them you will find 
treasure. As my last request I beseech you to read 
them carefully. I want you to read them, not to pick 
them up and skim them over, but to make a systematic 
business of it. Take volume one, read the title page ; 
then every one to finis. After having read it through, 
I wish you, on the last page, to write and sign the 
following : 

" 'This is to certify that I, Richard Baxter, have 
complied with my father's last request, and have read 
every word in this first volume of Pickering's Re- 
ports' ; and so on, as fast as you have the time to read 
each volume, to the last. 

"Also, I wish that you never part with this desk- 
bookcase. It was my father's, it is your father's, and 
will soon be yours. 

"Farewell, my dear Richard. I am, 
"Your aiFectionate Father, 

"Abkaham Baxtek." 

"Well, my father always was queer. I do not un- 
derstand what he means by treasure in Pickering's 
Reports. Oh, I have it. I remember the fable of the 
old man on his death-bed telling his sons that on his 
farm was hidden a pot of gold. As soon as the old 
man was buried, they began digging in search of the 



A BRIEFLESS LAWYER 61 

hidden treasure ; and they dug the old farm over and 
over again, until it became so fertile that it produced 
the pot of gold many times. So, no doubt father 
thought that if I read Pickering's Reports studiously 
I should indeed find treasures in the end. However, 
it matters not what he thought; I will do as he 
wished." And from the day of the finding of that 
letter, he never missed, except on the Sabbath, reading 
more or less, according to the time he had to spare, 
until the task was finished. 

His health, strength and mind were so much im- 
proved by his wood chopping that he continued it for 
a while, notwithstanding the fact that it was no longer 
a necessity, having earned enough to free himself from 
debt. 

His afternoons he devoted to his office, although his 
clients were few and not very remunerative. 

The task of looking over and sorting the papers 
left by his father was a greater one than he had ex- 
pected, and he found so little wheat to so much chaff, 
that he was tempted to make a bonfire of the whole 
lot. It is quite probable that he might have done so 
had he not occasionally come across some memoranda 
concerning people of the village. 

One day while dusting these old volumes of Picker- 
ing, he thought to look at the last one, remarking to 
himself: "Fifteen volumes more before I reach the 
final fmis." He opened the book and was surprised 
to find the last two blank leaves sealed together, with 
a writing between the leaves. Under f,nis on the last 
page was written : 



S2 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Dear Richard: I have every confidence in you. 
I know that you will respect my last wish. 
"Your affectionate Father, 

"Abkaham Baxter." 

Whatever might have been Richard's inclination to 
break the seal, there was none now. He replaced the 
book on the shelf and resumed his weary task, in their 
regular order through the dull pages of Pickering. 



CHAPTER XI 

" GrOOD-BYE, SaLLY " 

IN the old first-growth pine forest, on the opposite 
side of the road from the Gibson farm, the trees 
were of immense size and limbless to a great 
height. The ground, free from underbrush, was cov- 
ered with a thick carpet of pine needles, which emitted 
a pleasant balsamic odor. This had been Sally's fa- 
vorite playground in childhood, and as she grew older, 
the beautiful spot, from late experience, had become 
more dear to her. 

On the log where she and Sam sat that lovely after- 
noon (their last meeting), she had sat many times be- 
fore, sewing, knitting, reading, or dreaming, as the 
mood had seized her. 

She had been seen with Sam in the woods by one of 
the farm hired men, who thought to make favor by 
telling Mr. Gibson. This was especially unfortunate, 
as the old man had just been discussing with his wife, 
Sally and her relations with John Manning. Mrs. 
Gibson, in her defense of Sally, had said many bitter 
things which had worked the old man up to a greater 
fury than she had ever seen him in before. 

As he passed out of the house, he met his sneaking 
hired man, who told him that he had seen Sam and 
Sally in the woods together. This added to his anger 
and he went into his tool shop, took down his rifle, 

63 



m RICHARD BAXTER 

hastily loaded it, and crossed the road into the woods, 
with murder in his heart. 

The hired man saw him go toward the woods with 
rifle in hand, but not daring to interfere, he ran quick- 
ly into the house and hastily said : 

"Oh, Mis' Gibson, Sally an' Sam Drisco are over 
there in the woods, an' Mr. Gibson's gone over with 
his gun." 

The old woman was out of the house and across the 
road quicker than can be told, and out of sight into 
the woods. She knew Sally's favorite spot, as they 
had spent many a happy hour there together, and 
hastened directly toward it. As she saw the old man 
she tried to scream, but could not, being dumb with 
terror. The gun was aimed and Sally sprang in 
front of Sam. With an effort, nerved by desperation, 
Mrs. Gibson leaped to the side of her husband and 
clinched his arm as he pulled the trigger, turning the 
gun to one side just enough to let the bullet whizz 
harmlessly by the heads of the lovers. 

Mrs. Gibson fell in a faint, and Sam sprang toward 
the would-be murderer, who, seeing that he had failed, 
was about to reload. Sam seized the gun, which old 
Gibson strove to retain. There could be but one out- 
come between the one, young and strong, and the 
other, old and weak. Sam raised the rifle as if to 
brain the old man, but a scream from behind him 
brought the realization that it was her father whom 
he was about to strike down and perhaps kill. He 
handed the gun back to Mr. Gibson and stood eying 
him as one would eye a wild beast, crouched to leap. 



"GOOD-BYE, SALLY '» 55 

The old man was dazed, as if he had just awakened 
from a dream, seeming not to realize the situation. 
Without a word, he turned and went through the 
bushes, toward the house. 

Meanwhile Sally went to the assistance of her 
mother, who soon revived. They were instantly in 
each other's arms, sobbing as if life's fountains were 
breaking up. Sally turned to Sam, who eagerly 
clasped her in his arms and kissed her again and 
again. It was the first time, and with all the passion 
of possession. Then he held her at arm's length and 
looked at the face he loved so well, down which were 
flowing torrents of tears. She loosened the grasp of 
his hands and clung around his neck. Again their 
lips met. Where was her coyness, her reserve, her 
maidenly modesty? All gone. Nature was reigning. 

The term of this ecstasy was but momentary. The 
realities of the situation pressed their claims. They 
separated, looking at each other for a moment, when 
Sally extended her hands, which Sam eagerly seized. 

"Good-bye, Sam, dear Sam. God help us !" 

"Good-bye, Sally, good-bye. God bless you," he 
with great difficulty uttered. 

They never met again in this life. Have they ever 
met again? 

Mrs. Gibson stood motionless, gazing at this life's 
episode, this rending of hearts, so soon to be followed 
by rending of lives. Sally went immediately to the 
side of her mother, placed a supporting arm around 
her, and without a word they left the wood. 

As Sally turned into the road, she looked back and 
waved her hand to Sam, who quickly responded. 



CHAPTER XII 

The Knittee 

AMONG the noticeable characters of the neigh- 
borhood was a quaint old woman, who, al- 
though she has only a neighborly connection 
with our story, is, on her own merits, entitled to a 
few pages therein. 

Aunt Nancy was about seventy-five years old, 
hearty and healthy; a good woman, beloved by all 
who knew her. She was a widow, whose husband had 
been dead but a few years. He had left to her a com- 
fortable income, more than she, with her economical 
habits, could possibly spend. She was always benevo- 
lent and also charitable, a distinction and a diff- 
erence. 

Everybody in the neighborhood knew her as the 
"knitter." Knitting was with her a dissipation. She 
would knit in season and out of season. A very de- 
vout, pious woman; and although truly and conscien- 
tiously religious, she did knit on Sundays. But her 
Sunday stockings, as she called them, were always put 
in the missionary box. She used to say that as she 
could not read with any enjoyment she knit to keep 
the devil away, and that it was much less sin to knit 
on Sunday than to talk wicked gossip, or what was 
quite as bad, to think it. 

She had as keen a scent for scandal as a fox hound 

6fi 



THE KNITTER 57 

for his game, but her perception was used to avoid 
defamatory talk. She would often say, "Now, s'pose 
thet was you, how would you like to hev it talked 
'bout? Less talk 'bout suthin' else." 

Whenever the subject of matrimony came under 
discussion she would remark, "Ye know, I don't b'lieve 
in long engagements." 

Jonas Bond, her late husband, was a very peculiar 
man; a good and just man, who always intended to 
do right. He did not mean to be, and was not really, 
a hard man. His feelings were deep, especially his 
kindly ones, so deep that they seldom rose to the sur- 
face. He certainly did not wear his heart on his 
sleeve for daws to peck at. 

By the death of his father he came into possession 
in early life of a good farm, and was termed "fore- 
handed." His temperament was not cold, but quiet; 
a man of few words. In fact, he would not have been 
more sparing of them had there been a word tax of 
one cent each to be paid on utterance. He improved 
on the scriptural injunction, let your communications 
be yea, yea, and nay, nay, by yes and no, with a pre- 
ponderance of the latter. 

This undemonstrative, apparently emotionless man, 
fell in love. One would have supposed that Jonas 
Bond was immune, and no matter how virulent the 
epidemic, would have escaped. 

When his engagement was announced, no one to 
whom the conundrum was proposed could guess to 
whom, and when told that it was little Almira Jane 
Watkins and that she had the disease even worse than 



68 RICHARD BAXTER 

Jonas, it could hardly be believed. The idea that 
this great coarse-fibred man should love such a doll 
of a girl, the little kitten, as she was known by her 
mates, or on the other hand, that the diminutive, 
aesthetic piece of femininity should love one of such 
contrast as Jonas Bond, was beyond comprehension, 
and furnished talk until the wedding, not long de- 
ferred after the fact of the engagement had become 
the property of the neighboring gossips. 

She was so small and he so large that he could carry 
her about on his shoulder, take her in his lap and 
cuddle her in his bosom as he would any child. 

The gossips of the neighborhood expected him to 
tire of his plaything, but he did not. 

Soon the frail flower faded, withered and died. 
The baby boy she left did not compensate for her 
loss. This great strong man bowed under his anguish 
and could not be reconciled. It seemed to him that 
no one had ever before lost, suffered as he suffered; 
but, day by day, the necessities of daily duties pressed 
for recognition, and his friends at last had hopes that 
he would again become a rational being. 

What troubled him most was to get a proper person 
to take care of the baby boy. He would not part with 
it. To him it was a portion of its lost mother. At 
night it was his care, but in the daytime it was left 
to the tender mercies of the ignorant Canadian woman 
who did the farm housework. One night the child 
had been more than usually fretful, and its father had 
walked the floor all night, in a vain effort to quiet it. 
At daybreak he laid the child on the bed, and in a fit 



THE KNITTER 59 

of desperation said, "You shall have a mother before 
another night." 

He hitched up his old horse and drove to Neighbor 
Brown's, and asked Mrs. Brown if she knew of a good 
motherly woman to take care of the baby. 

"Now," said she, "Jonas, it's a pow'rful short time 
sence Almiry Jane died, an' some folks might think it 
scand'lous fer you to git marri'd so soon. Thar's 
a-plenty of good wimmin thet 'ud marry ye, pertick- 
erly bein' as you've got sich a good farm, but you 
can't hire none of 'em to go an' take care of thet poor 
baby, 'cause thet might make more scandal." 

Mrs. Brown had known Jonas ever since he was a 
baby, and felt authorized to talk motherly to him. 

She was busy washing her dishes, but stopped to 
count off on her fingers nine or ten proper women for 
Jonas to marry, and probably would have added more 
had she had more fingers. But Jonas said : 

"Thet's 'nuff. I'll go an' marry one of them wim- 
min afore night, if she'll hev me." 

Some of them were widows, to whom Jonas did not 
take very kindly, and he said to Mrs. Brown : 

"I'd ruther not hev second-hand goods, but I s'pose 
I'll hev to take my chance the same's in buyin' a cow. 
But I alius feel safe as long's the breed's good." 

"You'd better go an' look at them wimmin jes' as 
they come on the road, an' not omit any on 'em 'cause 
yer sot ag'in widders." 

After finishing her breakfast dishes she wiped her 
hands on her apron and sat down to discuss in detail 
the merits of the list of eligibles she had mentioned. 



60 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Wall, thar, Jonas, in the beginnin' an' fust on the 
road is Widder Munson. She's a right smart woman ; 
some folks says she's a leetle too smart to be comfort- 
'ble to live with. Her husband was a minister of the 
gospel, an' orter ben sanctified 'nufF to live with mos' 
any woman; but my ole man says, an' he's a putty 
good jedge of human nater, thet he don't know whar 
Mis' Munson's husband went to when he died, but 
wharever 'twas, he don't b'lieve thet he's ever ben 
scary. She's a putty high stepper, an', Jonas, I 
don't b'lieve thet ye want 'er, but ye kin go an' see 
fer yerself. She's good-lookin' an' w'ars good close. 
Then, thar's my niece, er ruther, my ole man's niece, 
Mary Brown; mighty nice gal, but 'tain't no use to 
bother 'bout her, 'cause she's good's engaged to thet 
young Gates thet keeps store in Mendon." 

Mr. Brown, coming out of the bam where he had 
been doing his chores, noticed a rig standing in the 
road at the front of the house. He came in to see 
who the visitor was, and finding Jonas Bond, shook 
hands and sat down to have a neighborly talk. 

"Spring's pow'rful late. Got yer oats in yit? 
My groun's too wet, an' I'm all behind with my work." 

"Wall," broke in Mrs. Brown, "if yer all behind 
with yer work, ye'd better go an' 'tend to it, fer we's 
a-talkin' over Jonas' private afi'airs an' we don't want 
yer help." 

The old man rheumatically raised himself from his 
chair and meekly said: "Yes, mother, I kin take a 
hint, ye needn't speak no plainer," and went out, 
Mrs. Brown went on : 



THE KNITTER 61 

"Thar's nothin' in the world thet I'd like better, 
Jonas, ef I wam't so ole, than to take thet leetle crit- 
ter of yourn to raise. I want a baby dreffully, fer 
my gran'childem air so fur off they aim't no use to 
me. Kinder queer, ain't it, but none of my childem 
was half so precious as my gran'childem. Lemme 
see; we was a-talkin' 'bout my niece. Good gal, but 
she's out of the calkerlation, an', come to think 'bout 
it, I dunno's you'd want 'er anyhow. Wall, next on 
thet road's Mehitable Calkins. She's a proper good 
gal. She's got a class in Sunday-school, an' Parson 
Whitin' says she's one of the elect. Thar's never 
ben nothin' said agin her character, but then, I dun- 
no's you'd want 'er. I wouldn't ef I was a man. 
She's nigh onto forty year ole, all skin an' bones, 
nothin' but a skel'ton. No, sir; I'd as soon lay in a 
chist of j'iner's tools as to git into bed with her. 
Guess ye don't want 'er, do ye, Jonas ? A man nater- 
'lly wants suthin' 'sides character an' bones fer a wife, 
don't he? Now, lemme see — ^thar, thet pot's a-b'ilin' 
over. I mus' 'tend to thet er I'll hev the kitchen floor 
to mop, an' it's only yistiddy thet I cleaned all up." 
Returning, Mrs. Brown said: 

"Lemme see! Who was we a-talkin' 'bout.'' Oh, 
we was talkin' 'bout Mehitable. I alius call 'er Miss 
Scraggles. Don't s'pose she's to blame fer bein' thin. 
Yer good bait, Jonas, with yer nice farm, an' yer 
putty well fixed, too. Yer orter ketch a good fish, but 
yer kinder hampered, bein' in sich a hurry. Wimmin, 
ye know, Jonas, is queer critters. They's suthin' like 
fish. When I was a gal I used to go fishin' with my 



62 RICHARD BAXTER 

brother Bill. I'd hold a nice bait right afore a fish's 
nose an' it wouldn't even open its mouth, but turn an' 
swim away jest as if he didn't see it. But ye draw it 
away towards another fish, then he'd grab quick. 
Yes, fish's queer critters, an' so's wimmin. Lemme 
see ! Thar's Lucy Todd. I hain't nuthin' ag'in her, 
only she giggles. My, I dunno but she'd giggle at 
her own fun'ral. I seen her do it at the time they 
buried her mother. Then, thar's thet ole maid. Mis' 
Skinner. She's alius cross. She hain't got no milk 
of human kindness in her buzzum. She wouldn't be 
good fer nuthin' to nuss a baby. Wall, thar's Julia 
Johnson, but she's red-headed. Hev ye got any prej- 
udice ag'in red-headed folks.? I hain't. I've knowed 
jest as good red-headed wimmin as any other kine. 
My, I 'member Parson Whitin's third. She was red- 
headed. She was jest as good a woman as ever lived, 
an' when she died, thar was more real mourners at her 
fun'ral than ever I seen in the meetin-house afore. 
Thar's 'nuther one I'se 'memberin'. Thet's Nancy 
Pringle. She's ole an' humbly, but she mus' be good 
er she'd a killed thet ole she-devil of a step-mother of 
hern afore this. If thar's any virtue in trial an' trib- 
ulation, she's a saint. Them's all the gals an' wim- 
min thet I now think on wuth mentionin' ; an' mind ye, 
I don't recommend any on 'em. They say marriage 
is a lottery, but ef ye git any of these wimmin 'twon't 
be long afore ye knows whether ye got a prize er 
suthin' ye don't want." 

Jonas thanked Mrs. Brown and said he'd "go an' 
try 'em," bade her good-morning and mounted his 



THE KNITTER 63 

wagon, feeling that he had not received the help that 
he came for. As he drove out of the yard Mrs. Brown 
rushed from the house and fairly shouted: 

"Say, Jonas, whatever ye do, keep away from them 
air Blossom gals. They's pizener than the smallpox 



CHAPTER XIII 

Courting. 

IT is of no use following Jonas all that long day. 
After getting Mrs. Brown's eligible list of wid- 
ows, old maids, and young girls, he started on his 
tour of inspection. People on whom he called thought 
him to be demented. It certainly was a crazy way to 
get a wife. 

At every place he bluntly told his story. Some of 
the widows laughed at him, others invited him to call 
again; but that would not answer, as he was deter- 
mined that his boy should have a mother that night, 
and could have quoted from the pirate's song, "This 
night or never my bride you shall be." As to the old 
maids, they would have none of him, and considered 
themselves insulted ; while the young girls simply tee- 
heed and ran into the house. It was nearly dark when 
he reached the last name on the list, that of Nancy 
Pringle. 

Before he came in sight of the house, which was 
around the comer, he saw evidences of Jonathan 
Pringle's peculiarity. It is said that every man has 
a hobby, which in Jonathan's case was the auction 
mania. Mrs. Pringle could control her husband in 
everything but this. He never heard of an auction 
within twenty miles that he did not attend, and always 
came home with a lot of useless truck. Carts, wagons, 

64 



COURTING 65 

sleds, plows, harrows, fanning mills, anything and 
everything that could be bought cheaply, were 
brought home and distributed beside the road. It 
was all "for sale," but nothing was ever sold. Old 
wagons had stood beside the road for twenty years, 
until they had fallen to pieces. 

Jonas pulled up his horse, looked to the right and 
to the left, and said to himself, "If Nancy is as shift- 
less as the ole man, I don't want 'er. But then — ^the 
boy must hev a mother," and he drove on. 

Having been rebuffed so many times, he was about 
discouraged, and felt very much inclined to think that 
the last criticism that he had received, from the tongue 
of an attractive widow, "You're a born fool. Do you 
suppose any decent woman is going to marry a man 
without even time to wash her face?" might be true. 
He would try this last on his list. 

Jonathan Pringle was a very worthy man, and his 
seven girls were respectable, not attractive. As he 
could not dower them, they were getting a little shop- 
worn. The eldest, Nancy, thirty-eight years old, was 
a child of his first wife, and she and the step-mother 
had never agreed. Mrs. Pringle, the second, had 
tried every means that she could think of to get rid of 
Nancy, except poison, and Nancy was quite convinced 
that that method had more than once been thought of. 

It was nearly dark when Jonas Bond drove into the 
yard. He had known Mr. Pringle for a long time. 
Without ado he began : 

"Good-evenin', Mr. Pringle." 

"Good-day, Neighbor Bond." 



66 RICHARD BAXTER 

"I s'pose ye know, Mr. Pringle, thet, I lost my wife 
'bout three months ago, an' she left me a little 
baby." 

"Jest so." 

"I can't hire a suitable woman to come an' keer for 
the baby, 'cause I'm a widderer." 

"Eggsactly. Jest so." 

"An' I've made up my mind thet the child shall 
hev a mother." 

"Jest so ! Jest so !" 

"I want a wife." 

"Jest so !" 

"Mis' Brown, she thet lives over on the Creek road, 
spoke well of your daughter Nancy, an' I thought I'd 
come an' see 'er." 

"Jest so! I sartinly can't object to you an' Nancy 
a-keepin' comp'ny ef ye both wants to. She's of age, 
I s'pose ye know," and he laughed a queer little laugh. 

"Yes, I know 't Nancy ain't young. We used to 
go to the ole brick schoolhouse together a good many 
years ago." 

"Jest so !" 

"But I ain't got no time to waste a-keepin' comp'ny 
with any woman. Thet ain't what I'm arter. I want 
a wife right off now, to-night. I want to take *er 
hum with me, in this 'ere wagon, now!" 

"Wall, I never! Jest so!" 

The old man was struck aghast by the strange 
proposition. It was only the novelty of the proceed- 
ing that made him hesitate. 

"Ye'd better go in, Mr. Bond, an' hev a talk with 



COURTING 67 

Nancy, an' I'll talk the matter over with Mis' 
Pringle." 

Jonas went into the house and was shown into the 
best room. 

As Nancy entered, he said : 

"Ye remember me, don't ye?" 

"Oh, yes, how could I fergit ye?" 

"Wall, I'm glad ye remember me. Ye hearn, didn't 
ye, thet my little wife died 'bout three months ago, 
an' left me a little baby? Wall, I'm a-lookin' fer 
some good woman to take care of thet little baby." 

Nancy made no reply, but stood with eyes down- 
cast, blushing with embarrassment, which greatly in- 
creased as Jonas continued: 

"I've come, Nancy, to ax ye to be my wife." 

No reply. Before she was embarrassed, now thun- 
derstruck, and countless emotions almost stagnated 
her thoughts. She had dreamed for many years and 
hoped for the lover who would come and rescue her 
from her miserable existence. Here was the long- 
looked-for deliverance, in this middle-aged man, who 
was older than his years. 

"Won't ye ans'er me?" 

"Please not now. Give me time to think on it. 
It's all so sudden like. I'll talk with my father to- 
morrow." 

"To-morrow won't do. I mus' hev a wife to-night." 

"To-night? Oh, no, I couldn't think on it." 

During this conversation in the best room, Mr. 
Pringle was in the kitchen telling his wife of Bond's 
queer proposition. 



68 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Wants to marry to-night? Wall, these widderers 
is alius in a ter'ble hurry. I 'member one, but he 
wa'n't quite so fast 's this man. Wonder what she'll 
say to him.'' Guess she'll refuse 'im. Ole maids is 
orful pertickeler." 

Jonathan saw his chance to hit back, and said: 
"Ya-as, jest so! I recoUec' an experience thet I hed 
with an ole maid once." 

Mrs. Pringle didn't feel called upon to notice this 
side-thrust, being too anxious as to what Nancy would 
do. She soliloquized: "She never hed sich a oppor- 
tunity, an' she'll never git another. She shall marry 
him. I was fool 'nough to let slip a good chance to 
git rid on her five year ago." Then, turning to her 
husband : 

"Jonathan, you go and talk to Mr. Bond, an' don't 
ye let him git away; an' send Nancy to me." 

Nancy came and was scarcely in the room when her 
step-mother asked: 

"What did ye tell 'im.?" 

"I tole 'im I'd talk with father to-morrow." 

"What good '11 thet do to talk with yer father to- 
morrow? He wants to marry ye to-night." 

"Oh, I can't do thet. It's too sudden." 

"Hain't ye ben a-waitin' twenty year fer a chance? 
Shouldn't think twenty year very sudden. Wall, ye 
know what I tole ye five year ago, thet if ye ever let 
slip 'nother chance I'd bounce ye out of the house, an' 
I'll do it, too, an' yer ole fool of a father can't help it, 
either." 

A good deal more of this sort of language followed, 



COURTING 69 

as Mrs. Pringle was a free speaker. Nancj knew 
that her step-mother ruled that house with an iron 
hand, which was never gloved, and that all that her 
father dared was to say, "Yes, mother, jest so !" 

Nancy had no aversion to Jonas Bond, and no 
doubt had she been approached in the usual manner 
of courtship, would, after a proper time for consid- 
eration, gladly have said yes. 

There is something about the usual courtship and a 
formal wedding that appeals to every woman's senti- 
mental nature. The wedding gown, the cake, the 
ring, and all the associated paraphernalia are the de- 
sire of every daughter of Eve. 

Nancy well knew that her step-mother would keep 
her word and turn her out of doors. She said she 
would go upstairs and think a little while. She went 
to her room, knelt down and prayed for help. "Oh, 
my God, what ort I to do .'"' It was a serious struggle. 
She reasoned that there was nothing to prevent her 
marrying Jonas Bond, except that she did not love 
him. He did not love her. He only wanted someone 
to take care of his baby, her child, the child of the lit- 
tle woman he loved so weU. If she loved it, and she 
knew that she would, perhaps she would soon love him, 
and he might love her. 

At last the matter was arranged and she and her 
few belongings were put in the wagon. They were 
to drive four miles to Parson Whittaker's, and from 
there four miles home. 

"Good-bye," she said, as they drove out of the yard, 
feeling that she was taking a leap in the dark. 



70 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Hold on, hold on, Jonas," cried Jonathan Pringle. 
"What'U ye do ef the parson ain't to hum?" 

"I'll fetch 'er back all right," responded Jonas, as 
he cracked his whip over the old mare's back. 

Perhaps it is better to let Aunt Nancy tell the rest 
of the story. 

"It tuk more'n half an hour to git to Parson Whit- 
taker's, it bein' nigh onto four mile, an' Jonas never 
spoke a word, 'cept 'g'lang' to the ole hoss. Parson 
Whittaker was to hum, an' when Jonas tole 'im thet 
we'd come to git marri'd, he said he hoped we hedn't 
run away, an' thet when sich young folks come to git 
marri'd they orter bring a written consent from their 
parents; but he'd let thet go this time as he knowed 
us both. Jonas didn't like 'is jokin', as he wa'n't 
no joker. We went into the house an' the parson 
marri'd us. Jonas gin 'im a dollar, an' then turnin' 
to me said, 'Git into the wagon. You're my wife, 
Nancy, an' we'll go hum.' 'Twas nigh onto nine 
o'clock thet night when Jonas an' me got hum, an' I 
was Mis' Jonas Bond, an' them twenty cows hedn't 
ben milked. Jonas said to me, 'Nancy, I'll put out 
the hoss, an' you go in the house. In the butt'ry off 
the kitchen you'll find the milk pails, an' we'll milk 
them cows in a jiffy.' Ye see, we'd hed our supper 
to my ole hum afore we started. Wall, I fergot to 
tell ye thet Jonas hed tuk the baby over to Mis' Wil- 
liamses, an' she said she'd take care on it till Jonas 
got back, as he tole 'er 'twouldn't be twenty-four hour 
afore thet baby 'ud hev a mother, an' 'twan't, an' a 
good one, if it's me as does say it. Wall, 'tain't nee- 



COURTING 71 

essary f er me to tell ye how we got along thet night, 
with settin' the milk an' kinder straightenin' things 
out. In the mornin' arter breaffas', Jonas hitched up 
the ole hoss an' we druv over to Mis' Williamses. We 
went into the house, an' Jonas said, 'Good-mornin', 
Mis' Williams. Lemme inter juce ye to Mis' Jonas 
Bond. We've come arter our baby.' Mis' Williams 
was one of them wimmin thet carries suthin' on the 
end of 'er tongue to throw out, w'ether it's jest the 
proper thing er not, an' she said, 'What, thet ole maid. 
Mis' Bond.'" " Aunt Nancy dropped a stitch at the 
recollection of this sarcasm, and continued: 

"Wall, thet's nigh onto forty year ago, an' I hain't 
forgin 'er, though she's ben dead more'n thirty year, 
an' I never will. 'Tis true thet I'd never ben marri'd 
afore, an' was in my thirty-eighth year, but she 
needn't a ben so mean's to throw it in my face. Wall, 
we tuk the baby an' went hum, an' Nathaniel never 
knew thet I wan't his mother, an' I never knew thet he 
wan't my child, f er he alius seemed so to me, seein' 
as how I never hed no baby of my real own. Nathan- 
iel, poor little critter, was alius weak an' sickly. Ye 
see, he tuk arter 'is mother, Almiry Jane. The Wat- 
kinses w'an't none on 'em strong. The hull fam'ly's 
dead an' gone. It almos' broke my heart to let 'im 
go, an' I prayed God to lemme keep 'im, but I s'pose 
Almiry Jane was a-prayin' the Lord to let her hev 
'im, an' bein' nearer the throne she hed the mos' in- 
fluence an' got 'im. He w'an't only four year ole, 
poor little critter. How I'd a liked to kep' 'im! 
Jonas wa'n't so broke up as I 'spected. He didn't 



72 RICHARD BAXTER 

know nothin' 'bout a mother's love. But I mus' hurry 
on. The neighbors hed a good 'eal to say 'bout Jonas 
Bond's ole maid, but them gossips is dead long ago, 
an' though Jonas an' me hed our little tiffs, same's 
I s'pose all marri'd folks does, he often said he wa'n't 
sorry he marri'd thet ole maid." 

When Jonas buried his Almira Jane he buried his 
heart with her. 

Up to the time of the grand episode of his life, he 
was in truth a hard-shell bachelor ; not unkind, simply 
expressionless. 

It is often said that when one does not have the 
measles in childhood, and has them in maturity, it goes 
harder with him. So it is with love. When a man 
passes the mating period in life without having ex- 
perienced the divine passion, if, later, Cupid succeeds 
in penetrating his armor, it is a more serious matter 
than with a youth. Thus it was in this case. He 
loved Almira Jane with all the life there was in him; 
and that was no mean quantity, for his was a strong 
nature. 

Nancy was a natural woman. She had always 
wanted somebody to love, and soon grew to love Jonas 
Bond. He was kind to her, always treated her with 
much consideration ; but she was unable to kindle that 
dormant spark of love that shone so brightly during 
his life with Almira Jane. 

She lavished on the boy while he lived all the love 
that could have been possible had he been her 
own. 

Years went on and they became old. She hoped 



COURTING 73 

and strove, all in vain. He never once had said that 
he loved her. 

She continued to knit. In almost every room in 
the house where she had frequent occasion to go, might 
be found a stocking, with the needles in, on which 
more or less had been knit, lying where it could be 
caught up in passing. She squared the heels and 
rounded the toes of many a dozen socks. One might 
go into a room after dark, where she was sitting with- 
out a light, and know that Aunt Nancy was there by 
the click, click, click of her knitting needles. 

But the time came when she had to lay down her 
knitting, for her husband was sick, sick unto death, 
and needed all her care, which was tenderly bestowed. 
She anxiously watched with the hope that at last he 
would utter the words of love so long hungered for. 
Every time that he spoke her poor starved soul leaped 
with expectation, only to be again disappointed. 
Finally the supreme moment seemed near at hand. 
He called: 

"Nancy, Nancy." 

She sprang to the side of the bed. 

"Nancy." Again the dying man murmured in 
softer tones, "Nancy." 

"Yes, yes, I am here, dear Jonas," and she bent her 
head close to his lips, expecting the benediction so 
many years waited for. 

"Nancy." 

"Yes, dear Jonas." 

"Nancy, when corn gits to a dollar, you sell." 

His head fell back on the pillow, and he was dead. 



[74 RICHARD BAXTER 

Nancy fell upon her knees beside the bed and wept 
bitterly. Her sobs and tears were not so much be- 
cause of his death, as from her disappointment at not 
receiving an acknowledgment of that which every 
woman's heart so ardently craves. 

"Wall," she said to herself, "Almiry Jane hes 
waited a long time fer 'im, an' I s'pose thet thej^'re 
happy now." 

Jonas Bond did love his wife. He could not have 
lived with her all those years without loving her, for 
she was a lovable woman. True, she lacked the re- 
finement of a lady, and knew nothing of the fine arts, 
but in her coarse setting was a tender heart, a true 
woman's nature, ever mindful of her husband's least 
wish, expressed or discerned. He loved her and ap- 
preciated her, but he could not have told her so to 
save his life or hers. You do not know why; neither 
do I. There are things that cannot be either under- 
stood or explained. 

Jonas Bond married because he needed someone to 
take care of Almira Jane's baby, but it was a long 
time after that hurried marriage ceremony at Parson 
Whittaker's before Nancy became his wife. He lived 
on a memory, nursed it, and tended it with all the 
care that one would bestow on a delicate plant. He 
strove to be loyal to it, and when his heart, in spite 
of himself, began to warm toward Nancy, he felt that 
he was verging near to unfaithfulness to Almira Jane, 
and thought to compromise by never opening his heart 
to his wife. How much happier both would have been 
had he avowed his love for her, one can only imagine. 



COURTING 75 

At least such a course would have demonstrated 
whether one could love a memory and a reality and be 
equally true to each. 

The assumption that love is a flower that only 
blooms in the spring, is a great mistake. Does not 
everyone know that the pale tints of the spring are 
not to be compared with the rich, ruddy glow of the 
autumn flowers? "Oh, how shocking! Isn't it ter- 
rible!" is the common expression, when death steps 
in to separate a young couple who have just started 
on wedded life. They are like two young trees that 
have been set side by side. One can be pulled up, 
scarcely disturbing the ground about the other, and in 
a short time the grass grows over the spot, and the 
turf is again sohd. So it is with the young widowed. 
Were it not for the dainty little weed or the narrow 
mourning-band of the groom, which soon disappears, 
no one would ever have known of the mating. But let 
those trees stand side by side for ten, twenty, thirty, 
forty, or as is often the case, fifty years, all the time 
throwing out those little fibres and rootlets, ever inter- 
twining, so you could not with Roentgen rays tell to 
which trunk the roots belonged. Now, when death 
pulls up one of these trees, it is truly "shocking, 
terrible." 

"What God has joined together let no man put 
asunder." 

There was nothing out of the common about Jonas 
Bond's funeral, except that those present who did not 
know Nancy Bond and her peculiarities, were aston- 
ished when into the "best room," where lay the remains 



76 RICHARD BAXTER 

of her late husband, came the widow, knitting-work in 
hand, and remarking more to herself than to anyone, 
"I mought as well knit a few bouts while the mourners 
is gatherin'." 



CHAPTER XIV 

An Angey Father 

AFTER the murderous scene in the woods, 
when Solomon Gibson attempted the life of 
Sam Drisco, the old man went home at once, 
and was soon followed by Mrs. Gibson and Sally. As 
mother and daughter entered the house they were met 
by as angry a man as ever escaped apoplexy. His 
rage knew no bounds. Woman though Sally was, 
had it not been for the interference of her mother, her 
father would have struck her down. 

"Stop, Solomon Gibson, stop!" she cried. "You 
shall not strike my child." 

He lowered his threatening arm and began a tirade 
of abuse that continued until both vocabulary and 
strength were exhausted. "Mind you," he said, "you 
huzzy, you shall never marry that miserable Sam 
Drisco, an' you shall marry John Mannin'." 

Sally, who had been standing gazing at him more 
in astonishment than fear, said quietly: 

"Father, I know that it is my duty to obey you, but 
though I may never marry Sam Drisco, I shall not 
marry John Manning." 

"Git out of my sight, ye huzzy! Ye shall marry 
John Mannin', ef I hev to take ye to the meetin'-house 
bound hand an' foot." This was the last time that 

77 



,78 RICHARD BAXTER 

her father ever spoke to her directly on the subject; 
but he did not intend to be thwarted in his plans. 

The would-be husband came from time to time, but 
Sally never met him, except in the presence of someone 
else. For this Manning did not much care, not being 
an ardent lover. In fact, he was no lover at all. 
The holy flame had never been kindled in his 
breast. 

The arrangements for the marriage were all made 
and the day set. It was the custom in that commu- 
nity for marriages to take place in the meeting-house, 
and they were public. By intermarriages, most of 
the neighbors were cousins in some degree, and where 
not related, intimate friends, so that a wedding or 
funeral in the neighborhood was always considered a 
family affair, which all attended, without special in- 
vitation. The festivities were often omitted or de- 
layed to a convenient season. 

This arrangement was satisfactory to Mr. Gibson, 
as he feared that at the last moment Sally might re- 
fuse to submit, but hoped that her deep religious feel- 
ings would restrain her from making a scene in the 
meeting-house. As for John Manning, he did not 
desire any festivities, as he had no intimate friends 
whom he wished to participate. 

Sally was informed by her mother that her father 
had fixed the day, and she simply said, "I will be 
ready." She requested that her dress should be plain 
white muslin, which was made and trimmed in accord- 
ance with her wishes ; though in its plainness it was 
more like a shroud than a wedding gown. 



AN ANGRY FATHER 79 

It was a bright Sunday morning, just such a day 
as two happy hearts would wish for their wedding. 
Sally felt that the bright sun was mocking her, as 
she went sadly to her room to dress. 

Mr. Gibson went out to hitch up his team, and then 
came back to get himself ready, by donning his Sun- 
day clothes. The meeting-house was two miles dis- 
tant. At ten o'clock he began to be uneasy, fearing 
that they would be late, and waited impatiently for 
SaUy to come down. Out of patience, he went to the 
staircase and called angrily, but there was no re- 
sponse. Again and again he called, and then went 
hastily up to her room to exert his parental authority 
for the last time. 

The door stood wide open, but Sally was not there. 
Returning, he told his wife, and they both searched 
the house ; but Sally could not be found. Failing to 
find her in the house, Mr. Gibson looked through the 
barn and all the farm buildings, with no better suc- 
cess. Then, it was the most natural thing in the 
world for him to think that SaUy had gone with Sam 
Drisco. He went out into the road to look for wagon 
tracks, but there were none in either direction. It had 
rained in the night and the road was a little muddy. 
He thought of the woods, but not a footprint was to 
be seen. There seemed nowhere else, as no one 
thought of the river, whose placid surface looked too- 
innocent to conceal anything. 

The Gibson farmhouse stood but a short distance 
from the river, which ran behind it. On the bank was 
a large oak tree, and as the current had changed it 



80 RICHARD BAXTER 

had washed the earth away from the roots, so that 
many of them, in the springtime, were covered by the 
water. Later in the day someone walking on the 
river-bank saw the skirts of a white dress floating on 
the water, and gave an alarm. Sally Gibson lay in 
the deep pool beneath the oak. With her right hand 
she held herself under water, by grasping the root of 
the tree at the bottom of the river. In her left was a 
little dried bunch of flowers. 

Sally's body was not taken from the water until 
nearly dark. No one could be persuaded to unclasp 
that hand from the root, at the bottom of the river. 
There was something so uncanny about her deter- 
mined effort to die that many felt that to release the 
hand that clasped death so tightly would be an inter- 
ference with fate, with God's will, perhaps. People 
in those days were very superstitious. 

A pit-saw was brought and the root severed. There 
were then no telegraphs, telephones, or wireless mes- 
sages, but in some surprising way the neighborhood, 
far and wide, had heard of the sad catastrophe and 
hundreds had gathered under the old oak tree. The 
body was taken from the water, carried to the house 
and laid upon a couch in the living-room. 

Old man Gibson sat in a corner, his elbows on his 
knees, his face in his hands. The mother paced up 
and down the room with rapid strides, stopping every 
now and then to bend over the body of her child. She 
shed no tears, but moaned; and such a sound could 
only come from the depths of a human heart where 
unspeakable agony reigned. She went over to the 



AN ANGRY FATHER 81 

comer where the old man sat, and stopping before 
him, said: 

"Solomon Gibson, look at your work. I hope that 
you are satisfied now." 

He raised his head. "Oh, don't, mother, don't 
speak so to me." 

She looked at SaUy and then, turning quickly to 
him, said: 

"No, Solomon, I will not speak so to you, and never 
again will I speak to you, so long as God lets me 
live." And she never did. 

The funeral was to take place the following Tues- 
day, the regulation limit of time from death, estab- 
lished by many years' custom. Most of the farmers 
of that day buried their dead on the homestead. 
Years before, Solomon Gibson had selected a plot of 
ground on the summit, about an eighth of a mile west 
of the house, for a family burying-ground, and had 
enclosed it with a substantial stone wall. A gate 
opened into the highway. To this virgin soil the 
dead virgin was to be committed. 

On Monday morning the village cabinetmaker was 
ordered to make the coffin. Meanwhile the body of 
Sally lay on a stretcher in the parlor, tenderly placed 
there by kind neighbors. The fingers of her left hand 
still held the dried bunch of flowers. Her mother 
would not permit their removal. Her right hand 
clasped the short piece of the root of the tree, for so 
rigid were the fingers that they could not be detached 
without violence. At evening the watchers came and 
sat in an adjoining room, it being the custom that the 



82 RICHARD BAXTER 

dead should not be left alone during the night. The 
sad vigil was kept by two of her dear friends. 

It is but just to Mr. Gibson to say that he was 
broken-hearted by the loss of his daughter, though 
the varied elements of humanity that raged in his 
bosom were beyond analysis. He looked upon Sam 
Drisco as the murderer of his child, and could not 
have been more certain of it had he seen him commit 
the deed. It was done, and, as he felt, by Drisco. 
It mattered not how. 

On Monday, Sam Drisco came to the house. Old 
man Gibson met him at the door. They did not ex- 
change compliments. Sam said at once, his utter- 
ance being so far beyond his control that his articu- 
lation Avas scarcely intelligible: 

"Mr. Gibson, may I see — ^her — ^her — ^body.'"' 

"No !" thundered Mr. Gibson, "an' if I ever ketch 
ye on my premises ag'in, ye murderer, I'll shoot ye," 
shutting the door abruptly. 

Sam went sadly away and walked slowly down the 
road, turned into the path to the woods, and sat on 
the log where he and Sally had had their last parting. 

On Tuesday morning, when the watchers went into 
the parlor to replace the cloths on the face of the dead 
girl, they noticed that instead of the dried wild-flowers 
she clasped in her hand a bunch of fresh violets; 
whence or how they came, no one knew. Later, when 
Mrs. Gibson came to take the last look at her dear 
child, she missed a little curl of Sally's hair. She said 
nothing, and even felt a satisfaction that Sally's lover 
should have this token. 



AN ANGRY FATHER 83 

The hour of the funeral came, and with it the peo- 
ple from far and near. There was no such thing as 
private grief. Everybody attended a funeral, from 
many different motives. Some came to express their 
sad sympathy, others to pay their respects to the dead 
and to the living, others for the gratification of a mor- 
bid curiosity. On this occasion all came, except the 
two supposed to be most interested, John Manning 
and Sam Drisco; though it was said that someone 
saw Sam watching the procession, from behind a tree 
in the woods, as it passed from the house to the little 
graveyard on the hill. We here leave Sally Gibson, 
and she passes out of our story ; but she never passed 
from the memory or lost the love of Sam Drisco, as 
evidenced by the fact that for more than forty years, 
to the end of his life, there was always to be found on 
her grave each springtime large bunches of traihng' 
arbutus. 



CHAPTER XV 
The Auction 

JOHN MANNING was a man who had not the 
least respect in the world for Mrs. Grundy. He 
did pretty much as he liked, keeping always well 
within the law, and never taking into consideration 
whether the gossips of the neighborhood might or 
might not approve. 

As has been said, he did not attend the funeral of 
Sally Gibson. He was disappointed and chagrined at 
the outcome of his matrimonial venture. To him 
there was no more in the loss of Sally Gibson than 
there might have been in the failure of making a 
prospective purchase of oxen or horses. Probably 
there was not a person in the neighborhood who was 
so httle touched by her death as he. 

His dominant feelings that morning were anger, 
bitter resentment and a desire for revenge on Sam 
Drisco. "I'll get even," he muttered to himself, "with 
that meddling fool. I'll teach him a lesson in mind- 
ing his own business that he'll remember quite as long 
as he will Sally Gibson." 

He went to his bedroom, and after carefully bar- 
ring the door, pulled the bed away from the side of 
the room, turned back the old rag carpet, and lifted 
a small trap-door in the floor. Beneath the floor the 
old deacon, his father, had walled up with stone a 

84 



THE AUCTION 85 

space about two feet square and a foot in depth, which 
he used for a hiding-place for his valuables and 
money, when he had occasion to keep any in the house. 
This was covered with heavy oak plank. He took 
from this safe an old tin trunk which was fastened 
with a padlock. Taking a key from his watch-chain, 
he unlocked the box and took out a package of papers. 
Holding them in his left hand and pulling the ends 
over so as to uncover the inscriptions, he soon found 
what he wanted. "Ah," he said, "here it is. 'Eben 
Drisco and wife to Daniel Manning.' We'll see, Sam 
Drisco, whether you'll mind your own business." He 
put this paper in his breast-pocket, and then replac- 
ing everything, sat down at the table near the window 
to look over the mortgage, which was security for a 
note of two thousand dollars given by Eben Drisco to 
Daniel Manning. The inspection of the mortgage 
and of the accompanying note was satisfactory. "It's 
all right," he said. "I'll have him off that farm in 
just forty days." 

He then went to the door, called his hired man, and 
told him to hitch his horse to the buggy. After 
changing his clothes, he drove out of the yard, and 
turned to the left, which was not toward Farmer 
Gibson's, where lay the dead bride awaiting the last 
rites. 

"Wall, I swow," said the hired man to himself, "ef 
thet John Mannin' ain't the curiosest critter thet ever 
I seed. He ain't a-goin' to his gal's funeral." 

No, with that mortgage in his pocket and ven- 
geance in his heart, he was hurrying away to the 



86 RICHARD BAXTER 

county town to place it in the hands of his lawyer, to 
be foreclosed "just as quick as you can do it." 

The interest was two years past due. 

Sam Drisco had. had hard luck. His old mother, 
of whom he never thought without a "God bless her" 
rising to his lips, had been for years a chronic invalid, 
and it had often been said by the neighbors that Dr. 
Sharp was swapping his pills for the Drisco farm. 
Mrs. Drisco's sickness had been a grievous burden, 
not only on account of the loss of her services in the 
house, but because of the doctor's bills, and the time 
that it took Sam from his work. It seemed that 
everything that he took hold of turned out badly. 
The year before he had a large field of corn, by the 
sale of which he had expected to pay the interest on 
the mortgage which hung over his life like a black 
cloud that for years had not let a ray of sunlight 
through. To add to all these troubles described 
above, there came up at this time a terrible storm. 
Torrents of rain fell, and the mountain streams over- 
flowed their banks. The fierce flood swept away 
his cornfield, soil and all, and in its place was 
left the debris of the forest which had stood 
above it. 

When the interest became due he could not meet it. 
John Manning said that he must have security or he 
would foreclose the overdue mortgage, though the 
fact was that he had already begun foreclosure pro- 
ceedings. Sam said to him: 

"I have nothing but the stock, the farm tools, and 
the furniture in the house," 



THE AUCTION 87 

"Well," replied John, "I'll take a chattel mortgage 
on them." 

This Sam cheerfully gave, having no desire to 
evade his honest debts. He did not notice the short 
time the mortgage had to run. If he had, it would 
have made no difference, for there was no alternative. 

Notwithstanding the giving of the security for the 
interest, Manning foreclosed the mortgage on the 
farm. At the expiration of the time allowed by law, 
the farm was sold at auction by the sheriff, and of 
course was bought in by John Manning, for the mort- 
gage and the back interest left no equity for anyone 
to purchase. 

Notice had been served on Sam Drisco "to quit, sur- 
render and peacefully deliver up the property herein 
described." 

The chattel mortgage was foreclosed, the property 
advertised, and the day set for a public vendue, to 
take place at the Drisco farm. 

This chattel mortgage had been merciless in its 
drawing, for it not only enumerated the horse, five 
cows, the yoke of oxen, pigs and hens, the carts, the 
plows, the harnesses, the wagons, the sleds, and all the 
household furniture, even to the beds and bedding, 
but ended with the sweeping clause, "also included 
herein every movable article of personal propertyanow 
within said cottage, occupied by the said Sam Drisco." 

As if Sam's cup was not quite full, the old horse 
kicked him the morning of the auction, breaking one 
of his legs, and at nine o'clock, the advertised time of 
the sale. Dr. Sharp was setting the broken leg. 



88 RICHARD BAXTER 

All of the men and boys of the neighborhood were 
there. John Manning looked over the assembled 
crowd with great satisfaction, thinking that he would 
certainly realize enough from the sale to pay up the 
interest. But few of the people who came that morn- 
ing came to buy. Most of them were there from cu- 
riosity, to see "how Sam took it." Any of them 
would have liked a bargain, but John Manning was 
so much disliked in the neighborhood, and his course 
toward the Driscos had been so cruel, caused as all 
knew by the Sally Gibson incident, that there was an 
almost unanimous feeling of protest, which they would 
register by refraining from bidding. 

Before the time arrived for beginning the sale, a 
young farmer, who had a reputation for striking out 
from the shoulder, defending on all occasions what he 
considered the right, and always helping the under 
dog, passed quietly through the crowd, saying in a 
low tone, "I don't think there's any man here who 
wants to bid on this property." To be sure this only 
appeared to be, as Joe explained it, "my humble opin- 
ion," but the hint was too significant not to be under- 
stood. 

The auctioneer stood up in a wagon in the centre 
of the yard, and read the advertisement of the sale; 
then said: 

"Now, gentlemen, let us begin our day's work. 
There are a good many articles here to be sold, and 
everything must go. If you will only bid lively, I'll 
knock the bargains down as fast as they can be trotted 
out. Also, gentlemen, I take pleasure in announcing 



THE AUCTION 89 

that John Manning, Esq., the mortgagee of this 
property, has set up a barrel of cider, a-plenty of 
crackers and cheese and cold meat, to partake of which 
you are cordially invited, at the intermission of the 
sale. Now, gentlemen, the first article that we will 
offer you, will be this old horse, old enough and ex- 
perienced enough to be safe for any woman or child 
to drive ; pulls straight in the furrow and never balks. 
Now, gentlemen, what am I offered for this horse.'' 
She's well worth a hundred doUars. Will you bid 
fifty? Do I hear fifty.'' Does anyone say forty.'' 
Don't be backward, gentlemen, don't be modest. A 
wink's as good as a nod. Will you give me thirty.? 
Who says thirty? Who says twenty-five? Well, 
gentlemen, if you don't hke my valuation, make your 
own. How much wiU you bid? How much will you 
bid?" Again and again he looked over the crowd, so- 
liciting a bid. 

One old feUow who had lost his horse the week be- 
fore, opened his mouth and said "Fi " but before 

he could finish the word, Joe Lynch pinched his arm, 
quietly saying, "I guess you don't want that horse, 
Mr. Spriggins." 

The auctioneer was from a neighboring town, and 
having no knowledge of the situation, was greatly as- 
tonished; but supposing that no one wanted a horse, 
said: 

"Well, gentlemen, as there does not seem to be any- 
one who wishes to bid, we will withdraw the horse and 
offer her again later. Now, let us try a cow." And 
he went through the same process, with the same re- 



90 RICHARD BAXTER 

suit. His suspicion was at last aroused, for cows were 
quite scarce, were, in fact, almost legal tender in that 
community, and he knew that in this assemblage there 
must be at least twenty men who would, under 
ordinary circumstances, have bid on that cow. 
After a whispered conversation with Manning, he 
said: 

"Gentlemen, as you do not seem to want either 
horses or cows, it is useless to go on further in this 
line. I would ask you if there is anything among the 
articles enumerated in the advertisement on which you 
would like to bid. If there is, we shall put it up." 

He waited a few moments for a response. None 
came. 

"Well, gentlemen, as you do not desire to bid on 
any of the articles singly, the entire schedule enumer- 
ated in this chattel mortgage will be sold in one lot. 
The amount secured by the mortgage is $250, and the 
expense will probably amount to twenty-five dollars 
more. Now, gentlemen, what am I bid for the entire 
property.? It is certainly worth five hundred dollars. 
How much am I bid, bid, bid, bid? How much am I 
offered.'' What will you give.'' Name your own price. 
Will not someone make me an offer.'"' At last, seeing 
that he could get no bid from the crowd, he turned to 
Manning, and again said : 

"How much am I bid.'' Will you make a bid, Mr. 
Manning.'"' 

He replied: "I do not want the property, but as 
the law requires Its sale at auction to the highest bid- 
der, I wiU bid one hundred dollars." 



THE AUCTION 91 

"Gentlemen, I am bid one hundred dollars," said 
the sheriff. "One hundred dollars, one hundred dol- 
lars," as he looked from right to left, scanning each 
uplifted face before him. "One hundred dollars. 
This is an outrageous sacrifice. One hundred dollars. 
Who will raise it.'' Gentlemen, if you will not bid, it 
is no use to dwell. Gentlemen, is one hundred dollars 
the best bid that I hear.'' If so, I shall knock it down. 
One hundred dollars, once ; one hundred dollars, twice ; 
one hundred dollars for the third and last time ; and 
sold to John Manning, Esq." The auctioneer then 
said: 

"Gentlemen, I beg leave to thank you for your at- 
tendance here to-day, and regret that we could not 
have had closer business relations. Mr. Manning re- 
quests that you all go back to the barn and partake 
of the hospitable refreshments, which he has so gen- 
erously provided." 

As he stepped down from the wagon, he started 
toward the barn, saying, "This way, gentlemen," but 
not a man followed. Was it because there appeared 
to be a heavy shower coming up, or was their action 
a protest? 

Many who knew the Driscos had been In the house 
and condoled with Sam and his mother on the multi- 
plicity of their misfortunes that had overtaken them. 
All wondered what Sam and his mother would do, as 
they were aware that John Manning had in his pocket 
the dispossess warrant, and that this young man and 
his aged mother were penniless, homeless, actually 
shelterless; but not one extended a helping hand. 



92 RICHARD BAXTER 

These people were not really heartless, only thought- 
less. Each one supposed that of course there was 
some way, that some provision must have been made 
by somebody, and more than one of these men was 
asked by his wife when he. reached home, "What's 
a-goin' to become of the Driscos?"; for the Driscos 
were favorites, having been kind and generous neigh- 
bors, who had always extended a helping hand to the 
unfortunate. They certainly had a large credit bal- 
ance to their account, but no draft upon it would be 
honored without presentation, and it would never be 
presented by them. 

"What's a-goin' to become of Sam, with his broken 
leg, an' his feeble ole mother?" 

"Dunno," was the reply in each case. "Dunno; 
s'pose they'll hev to go to the poorhouse." 

After the crowd had dispersed, John Manning drew 
from his pocket the dispossess warrant, handed it to 
the sheriff, and said : 

"I want you to get those people out." 

"What do you mean?" asked the sheriff. "You 
don't propose to turn them into the highway, do you?" 

"I certainly do. The property is mine, and they 
must get out, and get out quick, too. I'll not wait a 
minute." 

"Why, look at that storm coming, Mr. Manning. 
Do you mean to say that you are going to put them 
out into the highway now, without any shelter? Do 
you know that that man has a broken leg, and the old 
woman is sick and feeble? Why, you are liable to be 
indicted for murder." 



THE AUCTION 9B 

Manning responded: 

"I've nothing to do with the storm. I didn't break 
his leg, nor I didn't make the old woman sick, 
but they're on my property and they must get 
off." 

Our sheriff-auctioneer had the reputation of being 
easy-going and not over sentimental in his legal trans- 
actions. He had secured his election by his good- 
fellowship. He would not hesitate to do anything 
which the duties of his office demanded, provided al- 
ways that there was a good bond behind him; but to 
the utter surprise of John Manning, he stopped in his 
walk, faced about and, looking him squarely in the 
eye, said : 

"Mr. Manning, as a boy, as a constable, and now 
that I am sheriff, I never did in all my life so mean a 
thing as you propose, and so help me God, I never 
will." 

"Now, Mr. Sheriff, you needn't get up on your 
high horse, for it isn't any use. I know your duties, 
and you'll serve this dispossess warrant or I'll see that 
you are dispossessed of your office." 

"Office or no office," rephed the sheriff, "I can't for- 
get that I have an old mother at home, and were she 
in Mrs. Drisco's place, and a man came to do the cow- 
ardly thing that you want me to do, I'd shoot him, 
if I had to hang for it. I've hanged folks, but I 
never hanged a man so mean as I should feel myself to 
be if I did this dirty business for you." 

"Well, Mr. Sheriff, you are putting on a good deal 
of style for a man who hasn't any more property than 



94 RICHARD BAXTER 

you have. You forget the handsome fee that I prom- 
ised you, and I am willing to double it." 

"Fees be d d !" blurted out the sheriiF. "You 

haven't money enough if you put it all into one big 
fee to induce me to set those Driscos out into the high- 
way in this storm that's coming on. You are welcome 
to all the fees that you owe me. Your dirty money 
would be worse than the wages of the devil." 

Just then the storm broke in all the fury of a sum- 
mer thunder-shower and the downfall of water was of 
itself a deluge. The sheriff stepped up to the post 
where his horse was tied, and Manning said: 

"You had better drive into the barn." 

"I'd sooner seek the shelter of hell than. any cover 
that belongs to you," and the sheriff drove out into 
the storm. 

John Manning took shelter under the shed, disap- 
pointed, enraged. He felt that he had been deprived 
of a pleasure for which he had paid a high price. 

The people had all gone away, with the exception 
of Jim Hudson, who went into the house. Jim lived 
about half a mile down the road from the Driscos. 
He was a poor man who worked out by the day, had a 
wife and six children, who had come into the world one 
by one, year by year, as if they were the calendar by 
which he kept account of the years of his wedded life. 

It seemed as if he had been allowed by Providence 
to earn by his work among the farmers just enough to 
keep his family fed and ragged; for it would have 
been a gross misnomer to have termed their habili- 
ments clothing. He had worked a good deal for Sam 



THE AUCTION 95 

Drisco, and many a time, as he was going from his 
day's work, Mrs. Drisco had given him a basket of 
potatoes, a piece of pork, a loaf of bread, a little meat, 
tea or sugar. As he stood there looking at their mis- 
ery, it seemed to him that he could see all those gifts 
which she had so kindly and so opportunely bestowed 
upon him, laid in line one by one, down the path to the 
road, and down the road, reaching clear to his house, 
and he was trying to solve in his mind some way by 
which he could repay those people who had been so 
good to him. 

Just that moment the door from the woodshed 
opened, and in stepped Manning. Without waiting 
for any courtesies, he harshly said, "Sam Drisco and 
Mrs. Drisco," turning from Sam, who lay groaning 
on the couch, to Mrs. Drisco, who. sat knitting in a 
high-back, wooden-seat rocker, "I suppose you know 
that I bought this property to-day, and it is mine. 
Everything there is under this roof. Every movable 
thing that's in the house, in the bam, in the yard, or 
anywhere else on the premises. You are intruders 
here, and I want you to get out." 

At this moment Jim Budson said: 

"Mr. Mannin', if I recoUec' right, the cat wa'n't 
included in the schedule that the sheriff read afore he 
begun the sale." 

To say that Manning was angry at this remark 
does not begin to describe the state of his mind. He 
was mad, mad clear through. He stepped up as if he 
would strike Jim Budson, who did not move, but look- 
ing him squarely in the eyes, said : 



96 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Guess I wouldn't do thet, Mr. Mannin'. Take a 
leetle time to think, an' you'll remember thet I've gin 
you a goldarned lickin' more'n once, when we was 
boys, an' I'm able, an' putty nigh willin' to undertake 
it now, an' I think I would ef 'twa'n't f er the fact that 
a gentleman of your standin' wouldn't be likely to 
want to be mixed up in an ole-fashioned hard scrabble 
in the presence of a lady. But ef yer anxious to work 
off a leetle bit of yer surplus spite I'll try to 'commo- 
date, ef ye'U step out doors." 

"You miserable pauper," replied Manning, "you're 
a curse to the neighborhood. You rob the hen roosts 
and the pig pens, and steal everything that you can 
lay your hands on, to keep your brats and that miser- 
able bitch, their mother, from starving." 

This was too much. It was more than the manly 
spirit of Jim Budson could brook. He made one 
jump, grabbed Manning by the throat with one hand, 
and with the other gave him a twist which threw him 
on his back on the floor. This quicker than could be 
told, and quicker than Manning could use his great 
strength in defense. Then placing his knee on Man- 
ning's breast, he angrily said: 

"Now, you liar, take back every word thet you said, 
and say that you're sorry thet you insulted my wife, 
or I'll choke the life out of you." 

Mrs. Drisco screamed with terror, and cried: 

"Oh, Jim, for God's sake, don't murder him!" 

Sam turned on his couch so that he could see all, but 
did not speak. 

Jim slightly relaxed his grasp on the throat of 



THE AUCTION 9T 

Manning, who made an ineffectual struggle to unload 
him, and then said faintly: 

"I didn't mean it." 

"Did ye ever know er hear of my stealin' any- 
thing?" 

"No, I never did," muttered the prostrate man. 

"What did ye mean by callin' my wife a bitch.''" 
And he gave the poor man's throat another clutch. 

"I didn't mean it," again gasped the man on the 
floor. 

Jim Budson then arose. "Git up an' git out, an' 
don't ye ever cross my path ag'in. Ef ye do, ye'U 
not git off as easy as ye hev this time. I wouldn't 
like to kill ye, but I might pinch a leetle too hard on 
yer gullet, an' the cor'ner 'ud decide who done it." 

John Manning picked up his cap and went out, 
closing the door with a bang, but returning in a mo- 
ment, said: 

"Remember, you Driscos, that everything in this 
house belongs to me, and don't you touch so much as 
a potato. If you do, I'll have you arrested for 
stealing." 



CHAPTER XVI 

Love Asseets Itself 

IT was not long after the coming of Mary Miles 
to Mendon before she and Richard Baxter became 
acquainted, and it seemed not only to them, but to 
an observing public, that they met at every corner of 
their lives. This was quite natural, as they were 
about the same age, associates in church and society, 
co-workers in the Bible class and Sunday-school, and 
both members of the choir of the Rev. Snodgrass' 
church. In addition there was a great similarity in 
their literary tastes, and Mary supposed that they 
held like views on religious matters. There being so 
much common ground on which they could meet and 
agree, it was no wonder that they became very dear 
friends. 

There sprang up between them what they thought 
to be a purely Platonic friendship. 

Another ever-present bond of sympathy was their 
poverty. He, a briefless lawyer; she, a poor school- 
mistress. What an incongruity would love be be- 
tween two such people! They had too much good 
sense to think of it; at least they thought they pos- 
sessed that kind of sense. 

Meanwhile their intimacy became greater, their 
meetings more frequent. If they were to attend any 
function, public or private, they generally went to- 



LOVE ASSERTS ITSELF 99 

gether, and he always accompanied her home. The 
other young men of Mendon made way for, as they 
recognized in the situation, the successful lover. 

Mary taught the village school, and it was a com- 
mon occurrence for Richard either to come to the 
school at dismissal time, or to overtake her on her 
way home. 

One day as she came into the house, after having 
stopped a long while at the gate talking with Richard, 
her mother said to her: 

"Mary, are you and Richard Baxter engaged?" 

"Engaged! What do you mean, mother.'"' 

"Why, engaged to be married, of course. What 
else could I mean.'"' 

"Richard Baxter and I engaged to be married!" 
repeated Mary, her face flushing with a rush of blood, 
which immediately receded and left it pale. Her left 
hand involuntarily clutched her heart and she fell in 
a faint. 

A lightning flash is quick, but not so quick as the 
varied emotions that struggled for control between 
mind and matter in this emergency. Up to the mo- 
ment when her mother, by an abrupt question, broke 
the spell, she had in her association with Richard been 
sailing on Lake Placid, without even a ripple of 
thought to disturb its surface. Her mother's inquiry 
had been like the sudden coming of a whirlwind, which 
tossed her frail bark on the waves. She succumbed, 
and, as it were, passed down into the dark, deep 
waters. When she rose to the surface, she was an- 
other being, and to her new consciousness Richard was 



100 RICHARD BAXTER 

a lover, and she realized an intensity of love for him 
beyond power of description. 

Why attempt an impossibility? Those who have 
experienced the divine passion need no portrayal, and 
those who have never loved could not understand. The 
intercourse between Richard and Mary had been as 
frank and free as between brother and sister living in 
family intimacy from childhood. Oh, why should 
love assert itself to destroy their happiness ! 



CHAPTER XVII 

Death by the Roadside 

AS John Manning closed the door of the Drisco 
cottage on the afternoon of the auction, the 
old mother said: 

"Well, I suppose he expects us to go hungry, and 
I'd sooner starve than eat his food, even should he give 
it to us." 

"Mother, you are right," groaned Sam, as an un- 
endurable pain passed through his broken leg. 

Jim Budson suddenly left, without saying a 
word. 

Sam, in anxious tones, spoke: "Mother, do you 
know that it is only the poorhouse that will open its 
doors to us.''" 

"Yes, my son, it is only the poorhouse that will 
take us in. God help us to bear the disgrace." 

"Mother, there is no disgrace. Have I ever done 
anything to disgrace you? Could I have avoided our 
misfortunes.'' We are poor enough, God knows, but 
it is not our fault." 

Mrs. Drisco rocked herself in silence for a long 
time ; then speaking as if it were a sudden conclusion : 

"Sam, I have never told you, but I believe that the 
mortgage which is on our farm was paid by your 
father to Daniel Manning." 

"But, mother, the mortgage. John Manning has 

101 



103 RICHARD BAXTER 

the mortgage and the note. I have seen them both 
many times, when I have been to pay the interest." 

"I can't help that. I believe that the mortgage 
was paid, for your father often said to me, when I 
would worry about our old age, 'Don't fret, mother, 
we'll soon have this farm free and clear, and as long as 
I am able to work we'll have plenty to eat, without 
eating any of the farm. And besides, Sam is getting 
to be a big boy and will soon be able to help us if we 
need it, and thank God he is willing. Sam is as good 
a boy as ever lived, and not a lazy bone in him.' 
Right after dinner, one day in March, your father 
hitched up a colt that had been driven only a few 
times. How well I remember! I'll never forget it. 
I begged him to take the old mare, as I had a feeling 
that something would happen, but he only laughed at 
me and said, 'Pshaw ! mother, you must have had bad 
dreams last night. I'm strong enough to handle two 
such colts. Now, don't worry, because I'll bring good 
news for you when I come back. We'll have a cele- 
bration.' He didn't say anything about paying off 
the mortgage, but I knew what he meant, for he had 
told me the day before that he was going to town to 
meet Daniel Manning at Squire Baxter's ofBce, I 
waited supper until after dark. Oh, how it thundered 
and lightened !" Mrs. Drisco shuddered at the recol- 
lection. 

"At last I heard the wagon come into the yard. I 
hurried to put a candle in the window, went out the 
door, and saw standing, there the colt, with the for- 
ward wheels of the wagon. I was all alone. You had 



DEATH BY THE ROADSIDE 103 

gone over to your Uncle Jack's. I pinned an old 
shawl over my head, put a candle in the lantern, and 
ran down the road toward Mendon. It's more than 
half a mile down to Minx's. When I got there Mr. 
Minx told his hired man to hitch right in and come 
after us, and we went on down the road. We had 
gone but a little ways, when we found your father 
lying almost dead, in the road. His neck was broken. 
I got right down in the mud where he lay, and cried 
out, 'Oh, speak to me, dear Eben, speak, oh! speak,' 
and he said, 'Paid Manning,' and died, without an- 
other word. Mr. Minx and his hired man lifted him 
on to the straw in the bottom of the wagon. It thun- 
dered, lightened and rained. Human nature could 
stand no more, and I fell. I fainted away. They 
laid me beside my dear, dead husband and brought us 
home. When I came to my senses the next day, I was 
lying on my bed, and heard Mrs. Minx say, 'Laws 
sake, she's a-comin' to !' The house was full of neigh- 
bors, who were very kind to me." 

Mrs. Drisco related all this to her son, just as if 
she had never told it before, though she had told him 
many, many times; and it seemed such a consolation 
for her to recall all the horrid details of his father's 
death, that he never interrupted her, but heard it all 
patiently. 

This reference to the story of the death of Eben 
Drisco by his widow makes it necessary for us to go 
back to the time of its occurrence. 

Deacon Manning attended the funeral and made 
anxious inquiry of the coroner as to whethei* Drisco 



104! RICHARD BAXTER 

had any papers in his pockets. He seemed much re- 
lieved when told that there were none. 

The widow; was for many months out of her mind, 
and frequently said pleadingly: 

"Father, don't take the colt. Now, please don't 
take that colt." 

On the first day of January following the accident, 
Deacon Manning called and asked for the interest on 
the mortgage. This was something that Sam knew 
nothing about, and his mother was not in a condition 
to understand. The deacon told Sam that it was all 
right, showed him the deed and the note and the en- 
dorsements of interest regularly, the last of which 
was dated on the first of January before. 

"Why," said Sam, "I supposed that mortgage was 
paid." 

"I alius gin yer father a receipt ev'ry time he paid 
me money, an' ye'U find 'em prob'ly 'mongst his 
papers." 

Sam went to his father's old desk and found the 
filed receipts, the last of which was, as the deacon had 
told him, dated the first of the previous January. 
Sam saw no other way than to pay the interest, which 
he did as soon as he could raise it ; and the money had 
been paid every New Year's since, until the last two. 

Deacon Manning died the year following the death 
of Eben Drisco, and left a hard-hearted successor in 
his son John. 

After Mrs. Drisco had closed her story, with flint 
and steiel she lighted a candle, drew from the comer 
the Bible stand, opened the old family Bible and be- 



DEATH BY THE ROADSmE, 105 

gan reading aloud the twenty-third Psalm, "The Lord 
is my Shepherd." 

Sam was restlessly tossing on the lounge, evidently 
suffering much, and he impatiently exclaimed : 

"Oh, stop, mother, or you will make an infidel of 
me. My cup does run over, but it is not with God's 
blessings." 



CHAPTER XVIII 
"RiCHAKD, My Richaed!" 

THE realization by Mary Miles of her love for 
Richard seemed to have changed her into an- 
other being. She, whose temperament, daily 
life, entire existence, had up to this moment been a 
model of equipoise, was unbalanced. Her physical 
and mental condition could only be compared to the 
machinery of the astronomical world that had been 
suddenly thrown out of gear, with the planets of the 
firmament rushing pell-mell through space. 

Her mother, who in early life must have had her 
love episode, failed to understand the sudden shock, 
but considerately said nothing. 

After Mary recovered from her faint, she went to 
her room, and did not join her mother, as was usual, 
in evening prayers. She sat in the dark for hours, 
a victim of uncontrollable, often maddening thoughts. 
In every group was Richard, ever Richard. Up to 
this time she had regarded him as a very dear brother. 
Many a time, in their strolls through the wood, of 
which they were fond, they had walked hand in hand, 
but the clasp was only material, not spiritual. There 
had never been any going-out of heart to greet heart ; 
but now, realizing her love, she desired to rush to meet 
him, to throw her arms about his neck, to smother him 
with kisses and cry : 

106 



"RICHARD, MY RICHARD!" 107 

"Richard, my Richard! Dear Richard, God only 
knows how I love you !" 

She seized the pillow from her hed, clasped it to 
her bosom, and Mary Miles, the innocent maiden who 
had never felt the inspiration of a lover's kiss, hugged 
and kissed and hugged the inanimate object, held it at 
arm's length, and then, as if looking into her lover's 
eyes, ejaculated: 

"Oh, Richard, dear, dear Richard, do you love me? 
Tell me, do you love me?" Alone with her God, na- 
ture had burst aU bonds of maidenly reserve and love 
was reigning triumphant. She knelt down to say her 
prayers. 

"Our Father, Richard's Father, my Father, our 
Father Who art in Heaven." 

She had no sound sleep that night, but tossed fever- 
ishly, always dreaming; some, happy dreams, more 
that were not. 

The next morning she recalled to the last detail all 
her insanity of the night before. Was it insanity? 
Each must judge from his individual viewpoint. She 
looked in the mirror and asked: 

"Who are you? Who am I? You have the fea- 
tures of Mary Miles, but I who stand to make that 
reflection am not Mary Miles, surely not the Mary 
Miles of yesterday. She was happy, I am miserable. 
She was hopeful, I am despondent. She had a very 
dear friend, and I, alas, have lost my friend. Have 
I exchanged him for a lover? How I wish I knew! 
Why should not the chrysalis of friendship in his 
case, as it has in mine, develop into the butterfly of 



108 RICHARD BAXTER 

love? Are the conditions the same? How can I meet 
him and appear my old self, with this consciousness 
of change? And if we do not meet as before, how 
shall I greet him? Why should I not speak my love? 
Yet, suppose that he does not love me?" Then she ex- 
claimed, as many another girl had before, with as 
doubtful sincerity: 
"I wish I were dead!" 



CHAPTER XIX 
" OvEE THE Hills to the PoonHorsE " 

AFTER Jim Budson suddenly left the Drisco 
dwelling, he started for home with the inten- 
tion of bringing some food, but before reach- 
ing there it occurred to him that his family had no 
food to spare, so he turned and went across lots, over 
on the South road, to Farmer Nixon's, where he told 
the sad story of the Driscos. He came back with a 
plentiful supply of food, not forgetting the tea and 
sugar so essential to the comfort of Mrs. Drisco, who, 
as she saw him enter, turned to Sam and repeated 
from the Psalm, "The Lord is my Shepherd." Jim 
hurried away, saying: 

"PU come back early in the mornin', as ye may need 
some muscle." 

The night was without incident. The next morn- 
ing Mrs. Drisco, though weak eind feeble, was early 
astir. After making Sam as comfortable as possible, 
she prepared the remnant of their provisions for 
breakfast. 

The food that Jim had brought them was the first 
bread of charity they had ever eaten. 

Mrs. Drisco remembered her girlhood days and the 
happy home where plenty always abounded, her re- 
fusal to marry the well-to-do Sol Gibson, his curse 
when she chose the poor man she loved; she also re- 

109 



110 RICHARD BAXTER 

called her happy married life, comfortable, though not 
luxurious. And now, looking over her situation, she 
and her son paupers, did she think that she made a 
mistake when she refused to be the wife of Sol Gibson? 
Not for one moment had she a regret. Though she 
realized that God had always been good, she could not 
forget her lost husband, whose strong arm she so 
sadly needed in this hour of distress. "God," said 

she, "has always been " looked at Sam, stopped 

short and burst into tears. 

John Manning had been seized by a devU. He 
knew that he was wrong and that his treatment of the 
Driscos was contemptible, but the more he thought of 
the devilishness of his acts, the more furious he be- 
came. He arose from his bed in the night to go and 
turn them out with his own hands ; then it occurred to 
him that he would be likely to have a damage suit to 
settle, and he reluctantly returned to his bed. 

In the morning he was early at the cottage with a 
pliable tool in the shape of a deputy sheriff, who, 
whatever might be his scruples, dared not disobey 
Manning. 

Jim Budson was also there. Mrs. Drisco sat in her 
rocking-chair with her Bible in her lap. 

Manning entered the cottage without knocking, and 
said: 

"Take the old woman out first. She can walk if 
she has a mind to, but if she won't walk, carry her out 
and dump her beside the road." 

As she showed no disposition to walk, the deputy 
sheriff and a man who had come with him lifted on 




SAM AND HIS MOTHER ARE DISPOSSESSED. 



"TO THE POORHOUSE" 111 

each side of the chair and carried her out of the yard 
and set the chair down. 

"Bring back that chair," shouted John Manning. 

"Come an' git the chair, ef ye want it," responded 
Jim Budson. 

Manning came to the roadside in a threatening 
manner, but it was not the first time that he had al- 
lowed his discretion to control his. valor. 

While this discussion was going on, the two men 
had brought Sam out and placed him on the ground. 
Jim hurried to the bam and brought out two bundles 
of straw, which Manning told him to carry back. 

"You kin carry it back when I git through with it, 
ef ye want to. I sha'n't." He spread the straw on 
the ground, making as comfortable a bed as possible. 
Manning had sent word to the poormaster the night 
before that the Driscos would be turned out in the 
morning, and that he must come and care for them. 

It was about eight o'clock when Poormaster Carter 
reached the Drisco farm. He was astonished to find 
Mrs. Drisco sitting by the roadside, with the old fam- 
ily Bible in her lap, and Sam lying on straw on the 
ground. He was indignant that respectable people 
should be so treated, and had not John Manning taken 
good care to get away, it is quite hkely that he would 
have been the subject of a word-portrait that would 
not have flattered his vanity. 

With the help of Jim Budson Mrs. Drisco was lifted 
into the chaise. They had to wait the arrival of the 
ambulance that was to take Sam. It was a farm 
wagon, without springs, the body resting on the axle- 



112 RICHARD BAXTER 

trees, drawn by a yoke of oxen. There was an abun- 
dance of straw in the bottom of the wagon, on which 
were a feather bed and some blankets, so that the jolt- 
ing and shaking should not cause unnecessary suffer- 
ing. They placed him carefully in the wagon and 
the slow and weary journey to the poorhouse began. 

It was a terrible trial for Sam, and he often wished 
himself dead. Had it not been for the duty that he 
owed and the love he bore his dear old mother, he 
would have shuffled off this mortal coil and faced the 
eternity of which he had as little fear as knowledge. 
But such would have been a cowardly act, and Sam 
Drisco was not a coward. 

The poormaster drove off with Mrs. Drisco, leaving 
Sam to the slow progress of the ox team. 

The road to the poor farm ran directly by Sol Gib- 
son's, and when he saw the poormaster that morning 
driving down the road, he hailed him with: 

"Hey, Carter, I seen yer cattle go down by here an 
hour ago, but they was so fur ahead afore I got out 
to the road thet I couldn't make the man hear, so 1 
didn't find out where he was a-goin'. An' now you're 
a-goin' the same way with the chaise. What's up 
this momin'?" 

"Well, Mr. Gibson, you're a big taxpayer an' sar- 
tinly hev a right to know all thet's goin' on at the 
poorhouse. I hed notice las' night from John Man- 
nin' thet he should dispossess Sam Drisco an' his 
mother this mornin', an' I mus' come an' take 'em to 
the farm. I sent my man with the ox wagon f er Sam, 
who has a broken leg." 



"TO THE POORHOUSE" 113 

"Oh, thet's it, is it? The Driscos is a-gittin' their 
desarts at last. The poorhouse is a dern sight too 
good fer sich cattle. Ef I hed my way, they'd rot by 
the roadside." 

The poormaster drove on, and, as we have seen, 
took Mrs. Drisco in his chaise and started on his 
return. 

Solomon Gibson was waiting by the roadside to in- 
tercept them. As they drove toward him he signalled 
the poormaster to stop, and stepping to the side of 
the chaise, in a mock polite manner, took off his hat, 
and in sarcastic tones said: 

"Good-mornin', Mis' Drisco ; fine momin'. Ridin' 
out fer yer health.'' Glad to see ye lookin' so fine. 
Fine mornin', eh? Hope ye'll like yer new res'dence. 
Ruther a come-down to go to the poorhouse. Ain't 
so proud's ye was twenty-five year ago." At last he 
stopped, and Mrs. Drisco answered : 

"Yes, Solomon Gibson, I am moving, and here (lift- 
ing her Bible from her lap) is all I have to take with 
me, thanks to John Manning." 

"Wall, Mis' Drisco, ye've heerd the ole sayin', folks 
makes their bed an' has to lay in it." 

"You're right, Solomon Gibson. I made my bed, 
and I've lain in it a great many years ; and I tell you, 
Solomon Gibson, I've never, with all my misfortunes 
piled high on me, seen the minute that I was sorry 
that I didn't marry you ; and if I'd ever had a glim- 
mer of regret, your cruel words to-day would have dis- 
pelled it. It's true that I've had much suffering, but 
no doubt I deserved it. God's will be done." Then 



114 RICHARD BAXTER 

she turned the old Bible around in her lap, and it 
seemed to open automatically at the twenty-third 
Psalm, and she began to read: 

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want," etc. 

This was more than Solomon Gibson could stand, 
and he shouted to the poormaster : 

"Drive on, drive on! I wish you much joy with 
yer baggage!" 



CHAPTER XX 

The Love Wail 

WHILE Mary Miles was trying to decide 
upon a plan of action when she should next 
meet Richard, her mother received a letter 
from an only sister, announcing her serious illness, 
and asking that Mary should come at once. 

To Mary this was a deliverance, as it would pre- 
vent meeting Richard until she had adapted herself 
to her new mental condition, feeKng, as she did, that 
she could not meet him now without betraying her 
love. She longed to speak, and if with him, could not 
avoid it. Then came the awful possibility, "Suppose 
he does not love me? I cannot run the risk. I must 
not, dare not, see him. Oh, if I could only tell my 
love! Why should I not speak? I will see him be- 
fore I go and tell my love. I cannot live this lie of 
concealment. But if he does not love me, my confes- 
sion would kill me." After this hysterical outburst, 
she became calm and had a talk with her mother about 
the letter, saying that she would go. at once. 

Mrs. Miles thought that Mary's relations with 
Richard had more to do with the hasty decision than 
her aunt's condition, but considerately said nothing, 
thinking that a separation would be for the best. 

It was arranged that Mary should start early the 
next morning, and a seat in the stage was engaged. 

115 



116 RICHARD BAXTER 

She told her mother that if anyone called, to tell them, 
which was very true, that she had a very severe head- 
ache, but to say nothing of her journey. Then going 
to her room, she knelt down by the window, in the 
dark, and listened for the tread she knew so well. 

At la^st she heard the footsteps down the road. 
Nearer, nearer they came, each step keeping time with 
her heart-beats. Then the httle gate creaked on its 
hinges in consonance with a pain that shot through 
her heart. When his feet craunched on the gravel 
walk it seemed as if they were grinding her heart to 
powder. A knock at the door. It was a knock at 
the door of her heart. Oh, why should she not open 
and bid him enter! She heard her mother open the 
door, and the well-known voice sounded changed. 
There was a softness, a mildness, a love-tone that she 
had never recognized before. It said : 

"Is Mary at home this evening.'"' 

She heard her mother answer "Yes, but she has 
gone to bed, sick with a severe headache." 

"I am very, very sorry. Tell her, please." 

"Will you step in?" 

"No, thank you; there's a shower coming, and I 
wiU hurry home. Good-night." 

Mrs. Miles said "Good-night" and closed the door. 

Richard had nearly reached the gate, when Mary 
leaned her face against the open blind-slats and cried 
out in tones of anguish: 

"Richard, dear Richard, speak to me !" 

At that instant a terrible clap of thunder drowned 
all other sounds and it was to Richard Baxter as if the 



THE LOVE WAIL IIT 

love-wail had never been uttered. He hastened down 
the road to get shelter from the rapidly breaking 
storm. 

Mary remained on her knees for a long time, not in 
a swoon, nor in a faint; yet half -unconscious. When 
she came to a reahzation, she prayed; and such a 
prayer! She put the agony of her heart into her 
words, and then, becoming calmer, besought God to 
guide her aright. If Richard Baxter could have re- 
ceived a tithe of the blessings she asked in his behalf, 
happy indeed would he have been. Then she wrote 
him a hasty and rather formal note, announcing her 
departure, and its cause, and giving him good wishes 
and good-bye. She signed it, "Ever your friend, 
Mary Miles." The strain of the last twenty-four 
hours had exhausted her, but she could not sleep. 



CHAPTER XXI 

The Pooehouse 

HOTEL MENDON, as the poorhouse was 
named by some wag who had a lively idea 
of contrasts, was not kept on the principles 
that govern most hotels, namely, to make it as popular 
as possible, so as to increase its patronage ; but on an 
exactly opposite plan, as every effort was to make it 
unpopular and to drive away patrons. The public rec- 
ognized the fact that the poor must be taken care of. 
Common humanity demanded that they be fed and 
clothed, although their covering could hardly be called 
clothing. The theory seemed to be, that though the 
law would not permit the killing of paupers outright, 
yet there was nothing in the statutes that prevented 
their being starved to death. 

The one who could keep paupers at the least cost 
was the man most popular for the place with the tax- 
payers. The town owned the farm and assumed all 
cost of maintenance, except that of food. At the 
spring town-meeting the paupers were bid off at auc- 
tion, and the man who would take the farm and feed 
them at the least price was the successful bidder. 

At the time of which we write, the price for main- 
tenance was forty-nine cents each, per week. Chil- 
dren from five to twelve, one-half price ; under five, no 
charge. 

118 



THE POORHOUSE ill9 

A pauper had not quite as good a standing in the 
community as a thief, for it was considered more of a 
disgrace to have been an inmate of a poorhouse than 
of a jail. The stigma was as unaccountable as it was 
unjust. In those days, no one willingly became a 
town charge. Paupers were only tolerated. 

Now, poverty is not looked upon as the disgrace it 
was then, and poorhouses are havens of rest for the 
weary, or the lazy who have lost all self-respect. A 
majority of the inmates of our charitable institutions 
of to-day never lived half as well before they became 
wards of the public, housed as they are in magnificent 
architectural structures, surrounded by parks and 
flower-gardens, and fed on the fat of the land. It is 
well to be charitable, but a course that demoralizes and 
encourages vice and crime is not charity. 

The guests at Hotel Mendon were a "motley crew" 
of all ages and both sexes. 

There was Noah Dalrymple, of whom it was face- 
tiously said that he came out of the ark. There was 
certainly no one in town old enough to dispute it. He 
claimed to be one hundred and seven years old ; he cer- 
tainly looked it. The most wonderful thing about 
him was his teeth. They were double all around, 
perfectly sound, and as white and clean as a hound's. 
He had a most wonderful memory, which, aided by a 
lively imagination and encouraged by sympathetic 
listeners, often carried him back to the landing of 
the Pilgrims. When he lapsed into his most brilliant 
reveries he would tell the particulars of his passage 
over in the Mayflower. 



1120 RICHARD BAXTER 

Next to him in age was Aunt Sally. No one knew 
her surname. She was a helpless imbecile, who simply 
existed. She was cared for, or supposed to be, by her 
companions, who often forgot her, and, as might be 
expected, she suffered from hunger and neglect. 
Why did God permit the continuance of her suffer- 
ings.? 

There was one old man entirely blind. He was the 
most cheerful and hopeful person in the house ; always 
good-tempered, never low-spirited. The young chil- 
dren all loved Uncle Abe, for for them he had always 
a kind word, a ride to Banbury Cross on his foot, and 
a pretty story. Salute him with "Uncle Abe, how are 
you to-day.!"' and his stereotyped reply was, "Fine, 
superfine." 

"Is God good to you to-day. Uncle Abe?" 

"God is always good to me." 

"How about the loss of your eyesight ; do you call 
that being good to you.?" 

"God knows what's best for old Uncle Abe. It ain't 
for me to find fault." 

There were also several other notable characters 
here. Heading the list was a quiet, mild-mannered 
little man, who assumed to be Napoleon. It is odd 
how many of the insane dub themselves Bonapartes. 
Other warriors and statesmen were also represented 
among the men, and among the crazy women there 
were queens and empresses. The violent insane were 
kept in separate sheds, herded like beasts, but not 
as well cared for as the stock on the farm ; sometimes 
chained to the floor, wallowing in filth, or confined in 



THE POORHOUSE 121 

cribs ; oftener naked than half -naked, and always half- 
starved. There were old men with the "rhumatiz," so 
bent and doubled that they could hardly hobble about ; 
born idiots and other kinds of fools, viragoes and 
common scolds; some kind, sweet-tempered, sweet- 
faced, motherly old women, who did much to leaven 
that measure of human meal ; and young women with 
nursing babies of doubtful- parentage. 

To this mixed mass of humanity were brought Sam 
Drisco and his old mother. 

At first they were not well received by their to-be 
associates. It was known that they lately owned a 
farm, of which they had been dispossessed, and, until 
the storm broke, were considered "well-to-do." They 
were looked upon as a species of aristocracy, and were 
no more welcome than are the Twuveau ricJie who have 
jumped suddenly into the society of the wealthy of 
longer standing. Position, be it high or low, to re- 
ceive proper respect, must not be too suddenly at- 
tained. Be the rank what it may, it must be reached 
through regular gradations if it would be respected 
by those in occupancy. 

The feeling against the Driscos was only a natural 
prejudice inspired by the circumstances, though that 
soon wore off, as they made no claims of superiority, 
implied or expressed. Sam was kind and affable, and 
old Mrs. Drisco, with her family Bible always at hand, 
loveliness itself, a constant exemplar of the "Lord's 
will be done." The twenty-third Psalm, as she ex- 
pounded it, had a tranquillizing influence, and when 
Mother Drisco, as she soon was familiarly called by 



122 RICHARD BAXTER 

the family at the poorhouse, adjusted her spectacles 
and began to read aloud from the Bible, this act, with- 
out dissent, took precedence over all other occupations. 
She had tact, and was careful not to force her re- 
ligion on unwilling ears. She believed in God and in 
His beneficence, and that God did everything that 
was done, and that everything that was done was 
right. She never argued, not even in her own mind. 
If an attempt were made to combat her views, she 
would answer that it was not given to a poor mortal 
like her to question God's motives ; though she did not 
understand, it was her duty to accept and believe. 
Her influence in that poorhouse family was good, and 
all were happier for her coming among them. 

It was a pleasant sight of an afternoon to see the 
assemblage gathered in the living-room. There were 
the old men, too decrepit to get out of doors, and the 
old women, some with their knitting or sewing, more 
of them with their hands listlessly folded in their laps, 
all attentively listening to Mrs. Drisco as she read 
from the Scriptures, lying on the little Bible stand 
and placed near a window; for there was not much 
daylight in that room, its walls being darkened by 
many years' smoke from the huge fireplace. 

Three times each day the horn was blown at the 
poorhouse door, to give notice that the occupants were 
to be fed. The room in which this function was per- 
formed was long, narrow, and dark. In the early 
part of the nineteenth century glass was much more 
costly than lumber, and in most all houses the windows, 
were "stingy small." At the further end of the room 



THE POORHOUSE US 

stood a large chimney, with an open fireplace, with its 
long swing cranes, pot-hooks, and trammels, and scat- 
tered about the hearth a liberal supply of pots, kettles, 
baking-tins and spiders, in which all the food for the 
family was cooked. 

Down the centre of the room was a table made of 
pine boards, resting upon some supporting horses, ac- 
commodating twenty-four people, which was the aver- 
age number of table-guests at Hotel Mendon. A 
bench on either side served for seats, with a few chairs 
for cripples who could not climb over the benches. 
There was no cloth on the table. It was sufficiently 
covered with dirt to prevent injury from the careless 
use of the "implements." 

At each place was a pewter plate, a knife and fork, 
a gourd shell, from which to drink their beverage, 
usually a hunk of rye and Indian bread or a cut of 
Johnny-cake. There was no change in the breakfast. 
It was always the same — fried pork, boiled potatoes, 
and coffee. On Sunday morning, in season, each had 
a fried egg. The coffee was neither Old Java nor 
Rio nor San Domingo. It grew on the farm and con- 
sisted of a mixture of barley and wheat, browned and 
ground, boiled in a huge pot, with two quarts of skim- 
milk, a pint of molasses, and water to fill. For din- 
ner they had either boiled corned beef and pork, cab- 
bage and potatoes or salt codfish, and about twice a 
week, what in these days we would call an Irish stew. 
This was really the most appetizing dish that was set 
before them. For supper they seldom had more than 
bread and tea, the latter being a decoction of herbs. 



124 RICHARD BAXTER 

It is possible that it may have been a cup that cheered, 
but it never inebriated. The food all being the prod- 
uct of the farm, was satisfactory in quality, but it 
lacked in quantity. There was no sickness from over- 
eating. 

The description of the man and woman who ran this 
establishment at forty-nine cents per head can safely 
be left to the imagination of the reader, who must 
draw the picture according to his own conception. 

It can truthfully be said of anyone who lived and 
died in a poorhouse of seventy-five years ago that the 
pains and penalties of purgatory should be remitted, 
since he had passed through that stage on earth. 



CHAPTER XXII 

School Fellows 

RICHARD BAXTER and Sam Drisco were 
school fellows at the district school, and after- 
ward at the academy, for the Hmited time that 
Sam could be spared from the farm, and the tuition 
from Farmer Drisco's scanty purse. They were 
drawn together as boys often are, and a friendship 
was formed which lasted through life. As they grew 
older they met less often, and while Richard was at 
college there was a long break in their intimacy, only 
interrupted by an occasional letter. Letter-writing 
in those days was the exception, not the habit. After 
Abraham Baxter's death and Richard's return to 
Mendon, they again clasped hands and renewed their 
mutual confidences. 

Sam went to Richard for counsel and advice, but 
more frequently for sympathy. They often talked 
over Sam's financial condition, and what was to be ex- 
pected from John Manning when the day came, as 
soon it must, that Sam could not meet the interest of 
the mortgage on the farm. 

He had told Richard his mother's story, and of her 
belief that the mortgage had been paid, but there was 
no legal evidence to sustain the theory. The princi- 
pals in the transaction were all dead, Abraham Baxter, 
who probably was the lawyer employed, Daniel Man- 
ning, who received the money, if it were paid, and. 

125 



126 RICHARD BAXTER 

Eben Drisco, who paid the money. The county rec- 
ords afforded no evidence that the mortgage had been 
satisfied. There was nothing on which a case could be 
founded, except the belief of one old woman. The 
claim had no legal standing, and had long since ceased 
to be considered by our young lawyer and his client- 
friend. 

Before its decision by the death of one of the par- 
ties thereto, there was a case which they frequently 
discussed at their meetings. It was that of Drisco vs. 
Gibson, in which the plaintiff, Samuel Drisco, free- 
man, was about to bring a suit against one Sally Gib- 
son, spinster, both of the town of Mendon aforesaid, 
etc. As the action was to be brought in the court of 
Cupid, and as the plaintiff's attorney, one Richard 
Baxter, had never been admitted to practice in that 
court, he was of doubtful value as counsel. He had 
advised, however, that an action should be brought 
at once and an attachment secured, before the defend- 
ant should put the property sought, to wit, one heart, 
out of her possession. Another reason the learned 
Baxter, plaintiff's attorney, had given for immediate 
action was that other parties might bring suit. But 
the plaintiff had lacked confidence in the outcome and 
had let several terms of court {i.e., opportunities) go 
by without pressing his claim. 

If Richard Baxter had had the experience in love 
affairs that usually falls to the lot of most young men, 
he would have better understood the hesitancy of his 
client. 



CHAPTER XXm 

Aunt Nancy's Home 

AUNT NANCY BOND Hved in a smaU farm- 
house just off the highway, about a quarter 
of a mile from the Mannings, being their 
nearest neighbor. The older generation of the Man- 
nings had always been very neighborly in sickness and 
in health. She used frequently to run over to 
Mrs. Manning's with her knitting. The two wom- 
en depended upon each other for news; a sort of 
exchange of gossip, which was very pleasant for 
both. 

In front of her house, between it and the road, was 
her flower-garden, in which she took great pride. Her 
front door opened on to a path that ran down the 
centre of the garden. Over the door was a trellis 
supporting some climbing roses. Beside the windows 
were running honeysuckles, Virginia creepers, morn- 
ing glories and four-o'clocks. On the sides of the 
path, at each end and in the centre, were great clumps 
of the fragrant southern wood, and scattered through 
this garden, which was of the same width as the front 
of the.house, was a profusion of all the common flow- 
ers, such as marigolds, bouncing-betsies, bachelor's- 
buttons, sweet-williams, sweet pinks, lady's-delights, 
purple irises, hollyhocks, tiger-Hlies, and, as they 
would say on auction bUls, "other articles too numer- 

187 



128 RICHARD BAXTER 

ous to mention," and no weeds. This flower-garden 
of Aunt Nancy's was the pride of her heart, and she 
took great pleasure in showing it to visitors. 

The well, with the curb that protected it, stood just 
beside the driveway, midway between the highway and 
the barn. On the well-curb, hanging to a nail, was a 
gourd shell, from which to drink. A tall, crotched 
tree-trunk supported the well-sweep, with its balance- 
stones at one end and the pole dangling from the 
other, which hung directly over the well. To it was 
attached the old oaken bucket. 

On the fence that separated the driveway from the 
flower-garden was nailed a board, on which was traced 
with red chalk, the following notice: 

No shuteing loud hear. 

Aunt Nancy loved the birds, and her robins were 
as tame as ever wild birds get to be. The same ones 
came to her quiet home year after year. There was 
one pair of very large robins that had reared their 
brood for two seasons. The third year the cock robin 
came alone; also for two years thereafter, and th.en 
was seen no more. The old "widderer," as Aunt 
Nancy called him, never mated again. 

Back of the barn was a berry patch, to which aU 
the children who chose to come were welcome. Their 
happy faces and merry laughter brought joy and 
warmth to the old heart of Aunt Nancy, by which 
name she was always called by her many visitors. She 
was generally at the door, knitting in hand, to wel- 
come them, and often when they returned from the 



AUNT NANCY*S HOME 1^9 

berfy patch they would find her waiting for them with 
a pitcher of milk and a pan of cookies. 

Mary Miles had several times accompanied her 
school-children on these berry-picking trips Saturday 
afternoons, and her acquaintance with Aunt Nancy 
had ripened into a warm friendship, which at a future 
period was to prove of very great value. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

The Philosopher 

SAM DRISCO was a philosopher, and endeav- 
ored to take every incident in his life philosoph- 
ically. One of the first copies that was set for 
him when learning to write was a line from Pope's 
Essay on Man, "Whatever is, is right." This he 
wrote so many times that it was stereotyped on his 
brain and became a prominent maxim of his daily life. 
Later on he met, in reading, the couplet : 

"Two things will not trouble a sensible man, — 
The thing he can't help, and the thing that he can." 

These useful precepts helped him over many rough 
places. Incidents and accidents were neutralized by 
repeating them. All of his misfortunes, the failure 
of his crops, the death of his stock, and many other 
trials of his life were much lightened by these bits of 
wisdom. 

They had served well, up to the loss of Sally Gib- 
son. Then all of his philosophy vanished into thin 
air. It had no substance, and Sam Drisco was noth- 
ing but common clay. He found himself on a level 
with other humanity that moaned in its agony and 
thought it found relief in cursing God. The constant 
claim of his mother, that "God doeth all things well," 

130 



THE PHILOSOPHER 131 

irritated and antagonized him, and he frequently said 
to her, as he did the day they were turned out of their 
home, that if she persisted in reading the Bible to him 
she certainly would make of him an infidel. He could 
see no goodness in a God who permitted his sufferings. 
The poor man had closed the only source of con- 
solation. 



CHAPTER XXV 
" Thar's Only One Deun Fool in Sight " 

ON the morning that Mary Miles started to 
visit her aunt, the horn sounded long before 
daylight and the stage stopped before her 
mother's cottage in its round through the village, 
picking up those passengers who had booked their 
names for seats the evening before. 

Mary had been early enough to secure a back seat. 
The little hair-covered trunk was put in the boot and 
she climbed into her place. There were several other 
passengers, but she could not see how many, on ac- 
count of the darkness. The stage was built to carry 
nine inside. Getting in, she heard a sharp female 
voice say : 

"Here, Jerushy, you set up here nex' ter me, fer I 
dunno what kin' of a critter's a-gittin' in, an' I'd 
ruther hev you nex' ter me. I'd kinder ben in hopes 
thet thet air seat warn't tuk." 

Mary soon ascertained that Jerusha was a young 
girl, slight in figure, and that the seat was not 
crowded. She thought herself fortunate to have a 
comer rather than to sit between two people, as she 
didn't know what "kin' of critters" they might be. 

The stage rattled down the hill and again the driver 
woke the echoes and the sleeping villagers by a loud 
blast of his horn. They took another passenger in- 

133 



ONE FOOL IN SIGHT 133 

side and one on the box with the driver, then drove 
around to the post-office for the mail, and soon the 
wheels were running smoothly over the pike, and Mary 
snuggled herself away into the corner for a little 
dream; but she was soon disturbed by Jerusha, who 
said, "Say, ma, don't ye think it's 'bout time we hed 
suthin' to eat?" 

The mild-mannered mother replied, "It's nuthin' 
but eat, eat with ye all the time. Ye alius eat more'n 
the hired man, an' ef the crops fail, we'll all hev to 
go to the poorhouse, jest to sat'sfy thet belly of 
your'n. Ye can't hev no vittles till arter daylight, so 
thar, ye mought's weU hoi' yer jaw." 

Jerusha subsided and Mary resumed her dreams, 
from which she did not wish to be disturbed. She 
was soon aroused, however, by the sharp voice of her 
fellow-passenger, this time directed at her. Ordinar- 
ily she was sweet-tempered, placid and considerate, 
but the shaking up of her system in her mental com- 
muning with Richard Baxter the evening before, her 
sleeplessness during the night, and her early rising 
were too much for the maintenance of her character of 
"sweet Mary Miles." 

To the first salutation of Jerusha's mother of 
"What mought yer name be.'"' she paid no attention. 
After a moment or two, again the inquiry, "Say, miss, 
what mought yer name he?" brought from her in an 
unmistakably bitter let-me-alone tone, "It might be 
Smith, but it isn't, and it isn't Jones, either." This 
suspended the conversation for a while. 

The next incident recalling her to things mundane 



134 RICHARD BAXTER 

was the stopping of the stage at the toll-house. The 
bar was down across the pike and locked, that none 
might pass without paying toll. It was still dark and 
the gate-keeper had not left his bed, the warmth of 
which he seemed loath to change for the cool outside 
air. It was not until the stage-driver had pounded 
the door with a stone that he appeared. He was bare- 
headed and barefooted, having on neither coat nor 
vest. His trousers were held up by one "gaUus" 
drawn over the left shoulder. In his left hand he held 
an old round tin lantern, through the perforated sides 
of which shone such rays as a tallow dip could furnish. 
Then ensued a wordy altercation, in which much pro- 
fanity was used, and threats on the part of the stage- 
driver, that if he was stopped in this way again he'd 
"break the demed old bar, fer I'm a-drivin' the 
United States mail, an' thar ain't nothin' thet's any 
right to stop it." After collecting toll from the 
stage-driver and each passenger, during which there 
was quite a "jaw" with Jerusha's mother as to paying 
toll for Jerusha, as "she warn't only thirteen year 
ole," and a parting threat on her side to "hev the law 
on him," the stage-driver climbed on to his seat, and 
taking the reins that the passenger on the box had 
been holding, cracked up the leaders and they were 
once more on their journey. 

Mary Miles again settled back into her corner and 
resumed her reveries. After thinking the matter 
over, she felt a little ashamed for having so spitefully 
resented the woman's impertinence, and resolved that 
if asked again she would treat her more civilly. She 



ONE FOOL IN SIGHT 135 

was in deep thought of "Richard, my Richard," when 
the old woman again asked : 

"What mought I call yer name ?" 

Mary sweetly answered : "Richard Miles — I mean 
Mary Baxter — no — Mary Miles." 

She was greatly annoyed on hearing the suppressed 
titter of her fellow-passengers. 

The old woman said : " Jerushy, what's yer name ?" 

"Jerushy Mirandy Bump," promptly rephed the 
young hopeful. 

"Thar," said Mrs. Bump, "I larnt her thet when 
she was two year ole an' she hain't ever forgot it." 

That Mary felt annihilated there can be no ques- 
tion, and she hoped that her persecutor would now he 
merciful. But she reckoned wrongly, for it was more 
than fifty miles to Concord, and the performance had 
but just begun. 

At about sunrise the stage stopped for breakfast 
and a change of horses. Mrs. Bump was now ready 
to feed her Jerusha, and provided some cold sausage, 
or, as she called them, "sassengers," and some 
corn cake, which they both ate with an apparent 
relish. 

Mary, having had a cup of tea and a snack before 
starting, did not desire breakfast, but was glad of the 
opportunity to get out of the stage for several rea- 
sons, principal of which was that by so doing she 
could rid herself of that odious woman's society for 
twenty minutes ; and for this she walked up and down 
the tavern piazza. 

The stage was brought around from the barn with 



136 RICHARD BAXTER 

four fresh horses. "All aboard," and again they 
were on their way. 

When Mary got into the stage, Mrs. Bump saluted 
her with: 

"Ain't ye hungry, Miss — er — ^Baxter? I'd a-gin 
ye some of my stuffin' ef ye hadn't ben in sich a hurry 
to git down." 

"No, thank you, I did not want anything to 
eat." 

"Be ye a-goin' to Concord.'"' 

"Yes." 

"Ye live thar, do ye?" 

"No." 

"Ye live in Mendon, don't ye?" 

"Yes." 

"Thought so. Most of them Mendon folks is 
putty much stuck up. Be ye any relation to the Bax- 
ters over to Humbolt.!"' 

"No." 

"P'r'aps yer some kin to ole Squire Abraham Bax- 
ter, thet died not long ago. He lived in Mendon. 
Be ye.?" 

"No." 

"I don't 'low thet ye said w'ether ye was Miss er 
Missis.?" 

"Miss." 

"Ye ain't marri'd then, be ye?" 

"No." 

"How ole mought ye be?" 

"Twenty-two." 

"Got a beau, hain't ye?" 



ONE FOOL IN SIGHT 137 

Mary could stand it no longer. She covered her 
face with her hands and burst into tears. 

"Oh, I see how 'tis. He's gin ye the mitten, hain't 
he? Lord sakes! thet ain't nothin'. Don't feel so 
bad 'bout it, dearie. Thar's jest as good fish in the 
sea as ever was caught. W'y, w'en I was eighteen 
year ole I hed a beau, an' we was a-goin' one night to 
a corn-huskin', an' I axed our hired man, Jethro 
Green, ef he couldn't find me a red ear, which he done, 
an' I tuk it an' jest slipped it into my stockin'. Putty 
soon arter the huskin' begun a feller got a red ear, 
an' he sez 'Who'll match this?' an' I reached down 
under the corn husks an' pulled out my red ear, an' 
held it up. He dim' up over the corn pile to kiss me, 
an' 'cause I didn't fight 'im ofi', w'en we was a-goin' 
hum Joe begun a jawin' 'bout it, an' said as how I 
was too willin', an' he didn't like it, an' I said, 'Joe 
WUkins, ef ye don't like it, ye kiqJump it.' An' he 
said, 'I'll see ye hum, an' then I'm done with ye.' We 
was 'bout three-quarters of a mile from hum, an' I 
said, 'Joe Wilkins, ye needn't go no furder. Thar 
ain't no panthers, ner wolves atween here an' hum, an' 
I don't see but one derned fool in the road, an' I ain't 
afeard of him, fer he ain't a-goin' my way. Good- 
night, Mr. Wilkins ; I hopes ye'U be able to fin' some 
gal thet dunno the diff'r'nce atween a red ear an' a 
yaller one.' Thar was 'nuther corn-huskin' a few 
days arter, over to Bill Snookses. Joe Wilkins was 
thar, an' he didn't fetch no gal, an' he tried to shin' 
up to me, but 'twan't no use, fer I'd got 'nuther beau." 

The relation of how Mrs. Bump got the "mitten," 



138 RICHARD BAXTER 

in theatrical parlance, "brought down the house"; 
that is, the stage full of passengers laughed heartily, 
in which Mary could not help joining. She said to 
Mrs. Bump: 

"Won't you please let me be, for I have a head- 
ache." 

"Headache .?" repeated the old woman, "thet's too 
bad. Here, smell of this 'ere," and before Mary Miles 
could put up a hand to prevent, Mrs. Bump had a 
bottle of hartshorn under her nose, and she had in- 
haled enough to almost bring the dead to life. 

"Ye see, 'twas this way: I kinder liked Joe Wil- 
kins. He was a putty good feller, but he was kinder 
saft, sometimes ; but he had a mighty good farm over 
thar to Felterville, an' I'd kinder liked to hitched up 
to 'im, but 'twan't a-goin' to be." Here Mrs. Bump 
stopped to "heave a sigh," and Jerusha broke in with : 

"Ma, ma, say ma, when air ye goin' to lemme hev 
a beau.P" 

"Shet up," the old woman snapped out, and re- 
sumed : "Ye see, I'd talked Joe Wilkins all over with 
dad an' ma, an' dad he 'lowed thet all things consid- 
ered, I couldn't do no better. But 'twan't to be, 'twas 
ag'in fate. Ye see, ev'rything run long jest as slick 
as hog's butter, but 'twan't to be. It's no use to kick 
ag'in fate. Joe went long callatin' to be marri'd in 
the spring, but I knowed 'twan't to be, 'cause 'twas 
ag'in scripter, fer don't ye know the Bible says thet 
true love never runs smooth.?" Again the old lady 
sighed, and repeated, " 'Twan't to be, an' as ole Par- 
son Johnson used to say, what alius was, will be." 



ONE FOOL IN SIGHT 139 

Then Mrs. Bump folded her hands across her lap, and 
in silence looked, as she would have expressed it, "sol- 
emncoUy" at the green fields. 

For a while there was quiet on the back seat of the 
stage. The men talked about the weather and the 
crops, and whiled away the time in telling stories, in 
which Mrs. Bump occasionally joined, as she was a 
woman of "experiences" and liked to tell them. 

At about noon, with much blowing of horn and 
cracking of whip, the stage rattled to the front of the 
Red Lion, where it was to change horses and allow the 
passengers to get dinner. As Mary was getting out 
of the stage, Mrs. Bump saluted her with : 

"Say, you, Miss Baxter, don't ye want some of my 
vittles.? I've got a-plenty." 

"No, thank you, I must have some tea." 
She went into the tavern and had dinner and a half- 
hour's relief from persecution. 

The men were walking about and talking, their 
principal subject of conversation being Mrs. Bump 
and her victim. The passenger who had been riding 
outside said he would oiFer to exchange seats with the 
young lady. He walked over to where Mary was 
standing and said: 

"Miss, I've heard what an uncomfortable time you 
are having inside the stage, and if it please you, I 
will change seats with you." 

It was a splendid day, and if for no other reason 
she would have been glad to change; but she would 
rather have suffered exposure to a terrible storm than 
to have longer endured the company of Mrs. Bump. 



140 RICHARD BAXTER 

She gladly accepted the oifer and warmly thanked her 
deliverer. 

Mrs. Bump was heard to say : 

"Lors sake, ef thet gal ain't a-climbin' up on top! 
Gals nowadays don't seem to keer how much of a show 
they makes of themselves." 

The stage had hardly started before Mrs. Bump 
turned to the newcomer and said: 

"What mought yer name be .'"' 

"Now, look here, old woman," he replied, "you 
needn't try to pump me, for I ain't as big a fool as I 
look." 

"Humph," quickly replied Mrs. Bump, "I didn't 
know thet." 

The laughter from all the passengers that followed 
this repartee was hearty and boisterous, and much an* 
noyed our would-be philanthropist, and he wished he 
had stayed outside. 

Mrs. Bump was quiet for nearly an hour, when, 
after looking sharply at a passenger who was sitting 
on the front seat and facing her, she started, as it 
were, to address him, but seeing something in his ap- 
pearance that was not inviting, she desisted. This 
man was dressed in black broadcloth, wore spectacles, 
had a smooth-shaven face, and in every respect the 
appearance of a minister. Beside him sat a young 
dandy. Again Mrs. Bump essayed to open conver- 
sation with him: 

"What mought yer name be. Mister.'"' 

The young dandy answered, "What did you say, 



ONE FOOL IN SIGHT 141 

Mrs. Bump replied, "I didn't speak to you, boy. I 
spoke to the minister. What mought yer name be. 
Parson?" 

"None of your d n business," closed the con- 
versation and squelched Mrs. Bump. 

The explanation is, that our clerical friend was as 
deaf as a post, and neither heard nor answered ; but a 
wag, an amateur ventriloquist, seeing a chance for a 
little fun, tried his talents with grand success. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

" HossES Is Very Mitch Like Wimmin " 

JOHN MANNING began to tire of farm life. 
The difficulty that he had in getting any "help" 
in the house was a constant source of annoyance. 
He had to depend upon the ignorant Canadian 
women, who were the only help that could be hired. 
His butter was hardly fit for soap-grease, his cheese 
no better, and but one article that came within the 
women's control brought full price ; that was the eggs. 
The hens had not become demoralized, and their merry 
"cut, cut, ka, da, cut" was the most cheerful sound 
on the farm. 

He sold his cows, and the Manning dairy, of which 
his old mother was so justly proud all her life, was a 
thing of the past. Surprising as it may be, John 
Manning had sentiment enough to say that he was 
thankful that the abandonment of the dairy did not 
occur until after his mother died, as it would have 
broken her heart. He bought a new buggy of the 
latest style, a fine double harness, blankets, robes, etc. 
He had a handsome pair of colts, of his own breeding, 
pure Morgan. He increased the frequency of his 
drives to town, which formerly were confined to mar- 
ket days, or when a load of produce was to be deliv- 
ered; but now, leaving the "trucking" to his hired 
man, he went to town in his buggy, drawing the lines 

142 



"BOSSES LIKE WIMMIN" 143 

over the backs of as good a pair of steppers as there 
was in the county, 

John Manning, as one of his horsey friends put it, 
had begun "to feel his oats." With better "horse 
furniture" came a taste for better clothes to replace 
the farmer's blue frock. With his spick and span 
new turn-out and fine clothes, he looked like a gentle- 
man, and, as Si Slocum said, "put on more airs than 
the biU called for." In earHer days he had always 
driven his horse or team, as the case might be, under 
the tavern shed, and hitched them himself ; but now he 
drove up in front of the tavern with a grand flourish, 
and called the hostler, much to the edification of the 
"committee," as the regular tavern loafers were called. 
Some of the "committee" were always on duty, and 
one or all were ready to respond to the shghtest hint 
that their society at the bar would be agreeable to 
someone who was about to take a drink. 

In front of the tavern, a two-story building about 
fifty feet in length, was a piazza about six feet in 
width, extending the entire length. At the back of 
the piazza, against the building, was a seat, the occu- 
pancy of which reflected on the good name of the vil- 
lage of Mendon, as on pleasant days it was generally 
well filled; and often, when matters of interest, Hke 
the best time of Flora Temple, who was then beating 
the record, were under discussion, the overflow were 
seated on the edge of the piazza, with their feet rest- 
ing on the ground. 

Si Slocum was the oracle, and whatever Si said 
"went." 



144 RICHARD BAXTER 

Josiah Slocum, familiarly known to the country all 
about as Si, was really an authority on horse matters. 
It was duly accorded that what he didn't know about 
a horse wasn't worth knowing. 

Where he came from no one seemed to know, he 
having tramped into the village about a dozen years 
before, becoming hostler at the tavern. He did not 
present any credentials, and as the tavern-keeper 
needed a handy man about the barn, and needed him 
right badly, no questions were asked. That opportu- 
nity being lost to ascertain Si's antecedents, the sub- 
ject was not opened again by the tavern-keeper; and 
to the barroom loafers who exhibited any curiosity he 
gave short answers, and in a tone that did not encour- 
age a continuance of the investigation. 

It was not at all surprising that the good people of 
Mendon had looked upon him, on his first appearance 
among them, with suspicion. He had a hunted look, 
more that of a chicken thief than of a highwayman. 
Perhaps their opinion of him was well expressed by a 
remark, "Seen that new specimen at the tavern barn? 
Bet he's stole more'n one sheep." 

This appearance of having "got away from 'em" 
wore oiF, as he made acquaintances and began to feel 
at home. He used to mysteriously disappear for two 
or three weeks, once in about six months, and when he 
returned would bring with him one or two old plugs, 
as a class of horses was familiarly known. These he 
rejuvenated, and generally fixed up and traded or sold 
to some innocent, who didn't know an old horse from 
a young one. 



"BOSSES LIKE WIMMIN » 145 

He was very skillful in this process, and would 
change the appearance of a horse in the course of two 
or three weeks, so that "his mother wouldn't know 
him," not to mention the great mass of people who 
only noted the general appearance of a horse. White 
stars on a horse's forehead, or white feet, were readily 
changed to the color of the body. If desirable to re- 
duce his age, his teeth were shortened and a hot iron 
would make the necessary indentations. He had a 
wonderful faculty for convincing a lame horse that he 
wasn't lame at all, for a short period, although the old 
lameness would be sure to come back as soon as Si had 
gotten rid of the horse. 

He always kept himself out of the clutches of any 
legal action for redress by carefully avoiding to name 
the age of the horse, or to warrant him to be "sound 
and kind." Instead of answering questions he would 
ask them. The usual conversation was about like this : 

"Si, how old is that horse.?" 

"Wall," he would answer, "I dunno much 'bout it. 
But the boss doctors all tell ye thet it's easy 'nuff to 
see how ole a boss is by the peculiar marks of his teeth. 
Now, less look into this ole boss's mouth. Ye see, 
ev'ry boss's teeth has hollers in 'em, an' when them 
hollers git wore off, it shows thet the boss is a-gittin' 
'long putty well in years, an' a boss without any hol- 
lers in his teeth is likely to be a dozen years ole, er 
more. Now, ye see, sometimes anybody thet's dishon- 
est an' wants to cheat ye in a hoss trade, takes them 
air teeth what's wore off, an' scuUops 'em out, an' 
makes 'em look's ef they's colt's teeth. Now, does 



146 RICHARD BAXTER 

this 'ere hoss's teeth look's ef they'd ben scalloped 
out? You kin see jest as well as I kin. I guess, Mis- 
ter, 't you're a putty good jedge of hoss flesh, an' it 
'ud take a putty dern smart feller to beat ye on a hoss 
trade. I don't feel equal to it myself, an' I'm kinder 
'fear'd to trade with ye anyhow." 

He did not consider it good policy to run down the 
horse for which he was trading. 

"Now, Mr. Slocum, what I want to know is whether 
that horse is sound.'"' 

"Sound.'' Wall, thet's a conundrum. A hoss may 
be sound to-day an' not sound to-morrow; er he may 
be off his feed er suthin' yistiddy, an' all right to-day, 
to-morrow an' alius. A hoss is more like a woman 
than any four-legged critter that runs. You're a 
fam'ly man an' has a woman on yer hands, an' ye 
knows they's queer critters. So's bosses. Ye gits up 
in the mornin', builds a good fire on the hearth, hangs 
on the tea-kittle, takes yer pails an' starts fer the barn 
to do yer milkin'. Arter 'bout an hour ye comes in, 
'spectin' the fried pork, eggs, an' b'iled pertaters '11 
be spread on yer bountiful board, an' thar's nothin' 
but an empty table, an' ye sings out, 'Mandy, whar 
in the devil's the breakf as' ?' An' a low voice ans'ers 
ye from the bedroom, 'Oh, Zekel, I've got sich a head- 
ache, I can't git up.' Now, ye wouldn't go to yer 
respected father-in-law an' say, 'Mister, thet air gal 
I got o' ye ain't sound, an' I want ye to take her 
back.' Wall, ye see, bosses is very much like wimmin, 
unsartin critters. Now, when ye cum away from hum, 
ev'rything was all right. When ye go hum, the ole 



"BOSSES LIKE WIMMIN" 147 

mare, I mean the ole woman, may be knocked out, 
clean out. Who knows? Still, she was sound when 
ye come away. No, hosses an' wimmin is both unsar- 
tin critters, an' I'd as soon warrant one's t'other." 

Old Judge Myers wanted a horse and went to Si 
Slocum for advice and assistance. He flattered the 
old Judge, who consented to let him get a horse, as Si 
thought he knew where there was one that would suit 
to a dot. He found one, a fine animal, in every way 
just suited to the Judge's wants, which he sold at a 
really low price. The Judge was perfectly satisfied 
and Si took advantage of this fact, used him as a ref- 
erence, and by this means scalded several people badly. 
They complained to the Judge and he said that all 
he knew about Slocum was that he bought a horse of 
him and that everything was just as he represented it. 
But finding that he was being used as a cat's-paw to 
pull Si's chestnuts out of the fire, he addressed him 
the following note, which he readily understood: 

"Mr. Slocum: 

"Sir — It will not be for your interest to send people 
to me for any further recommendation. 

"Jacob Myees." 

This rebuff took Si down a few pegs, as he had ex- 
pected to use the Judge's influence to assist him in 
selling a horse to a friend of the Judge in the next 
town. But Si thought he was equal to the emergency, 
called upon the Judge, and they had quite a parley. 
The Judge told Si that he had simply given him a 



148 RICHARD BAXTER 

good trade in order that he might use his influence 
to cheat people, and that he would not be used in that 
way any longer. Si begged him to "let up" and 
give him a letter of introduction to his friend, prom- 
ising that he should have a good trade. An idea 
struck the Judge, and he finally consented, sat down 
to his desk and wrote the following: 

"J. W. Wainwright, Esq., 

"Lindentown. 
"My Dear Sir: — This letter will be handed to you 
by Mr. Josiah Slocum, who desires to sell you a horse. 
Mr. Slocum is a very reliable man, and you can place 
confidence in any representation that he makes to you ; 
that is to say, you can put as much confidence in him 
as you ought to in any man who has a horse to sell. 
"Yours truly, 

"Jacob Myers." 

"There," said he, as he finished the letter. "I hope 
that will please you," and chuckled as he read aloud 
the first clause in the letter, omitting the last. 

Si Slocum being an illiterate man, read writing with 
difficulty ; therefore really never saw the point of the 
joke. 

He delivered his letter, but did not make his sale. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

The Satisfaction Found 

ONE afternoon Richard Baxter, tired of por- 
ing over Pickering's Reports, laid down the 
volume, pulled a drawer from the safe con- 
taining some of his father's papers, and began in- 
specting them. To get at them more readily, he took 
the drawer out entirely, placing it on the table. As 
he did so, a paper dropped from between the back 
lining into which it must have fallen from the drawer 
above. The paper was a sheet of foolscap, folded 
twice to the usual form of legal documents. On the 
back was written, in Abraham Baxter's square hand: 

"Satisfaction 
of 
Mortgage 
Daniel Manning 
to 
Eben Drisco. 
March 17, 1828." 
"Mem. Tell E, D. that this satisfaction must be 
recorded. — ^A. B." 

The satisfaction was in the regular legal form, ac- 
knowledging payment of $2,000 and the interest, be- 
ing in full satisfaction of and discharging a certain 

149 



150 RICHARD BAXTER 

mortgage, signed by Daniel Manning and witnessed 
by Abraham Baxter. 

Here, then, was the solution of the mystery. Mrs. 
Drisco was right. The mortgage had been paid as 
she thought. The satisfaction had probably been 
left with the old lawyer, had slipped through the 
crack at the back of the drawer, and fallen between 
the lining. The sudden death of Drisco prevented 
his calling for it ; that explained the disappearance of 
the satisfaction. The mortgage, it seemed, was not 
surrendered. It would have been of no value had the 
satisfaction been recorded. This also accounted for 
Daniel Manning's anxiety as to whether any papers 
were found on Drisco's body. The satisfaction not 
making its appearance, and the death soon after of 
Abraham Baxter, made the road clear for Deacon 
Manning to rob the widow and orphan. 

Richard's knowledge of John Manning led him to 
suspect that he knew of the fraud, and therefore it 
would be necessary to proceed cautiously, for Man- 
ning undoubtedly would contest to the bitter end. 

He slept but little that night, feeling that he was 
no longer a briefless lawyer, but instead had on his 
hands a case that bade fair to be one of the most im- 
portant that had ever been tried in that county. 

He had no evidence to sustain the genuineness of 
the satisfaction, all the parties to the transaction being 
dead. How bitterly he realized the truth of the old 
saying that dead men tell no tales. He knew that he 
had to encounter a wily, unscrupulous foe, who had 
four important points to defend. First, the restitu- 



THE SATISFACTION FOUND 151 

tion of the mortgaged property ; second, the refund- 
ing of the interest that had for so many years been 
collected; third, damages for dispossessing and driv- 
ing to the poorhouse Sam Drisco and his mother ; and 
fourth, his character in the community in which he 
lived. 

His first thought was that he would have the satis- 
faction recorded at once at the office of the County 
Clerk, which, had it been done when made, would have 
spared the Driscos so many years of suffering. Then 
he decided that it would not be advisable to do this 
until a plan of action had been settled, for if he did 
so, it would give John Manning a better opportunity 
to prepare his defense. 

In the morning he consulted the County Clerk, a 
friend in whom he had perfect confidence, who advised 
that a copy of the satisfaction be made and attested, 
and the original placed in the office vault, as the copy 
would answer every purpose until the trial. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
Thkee Appeals to God 

THE morning after the finding of the satis- 
faction of the Manning-Drisco mortgage, 
Richard Baxter, with the attested copy in his 
pocket, started for the poor farm to inform Sam 
Drisco and his mother of the turn in their fortunes. 
It was a delightful fall morning, the air cool and 
crisp, with an oxygen cocktail in every breath. Na- 
ture was at her loveliest, just decking herself in those 
gorgeous hues which are at the hei^Tit of fashion at 
that season of the year. 

A devout person would have seen God in everything. 
But Richard was never devout when alonCj and had 
the appearance of a "believer" only when in company. 
He gladly threw off the robes of hypocrisy which were 
so much of a burden and a mortification to him, when- 
ever he could do so without endangering his standing 
with the people among whom he dwelt. The "evi- 
dences" did not attract his attention. He was com- 
muning with himself, and was, as it were, at the crisis 
of his life. A mistake would be fatal. If he could 
win the important case of Drisco vs. Manning, his po- 
sition as a lawyer would be established. He need no 
longer spend his time drawing conveyances and writ- 
ing contracts, but could leave clerk's work to clerks, 
and Richard Baxter would be in fact Attorney and 

162 



THREE APPEALS TO GOD 153 

Counsellor-at-Law. He strode rapidly along. The 
purple asters at the roadside were at his mercy, for 
he thoughtlessly struck off their heads with his light 
walking-stick. He was not thinking of asters. Their 
beauty did not attract his attention. He was recall- 
ing to mind some points in Pickering's Reports that 
were especially applicable to Drisco vs. Manning, and 
he said to himself: 

"Father was right. Pickering's Reports are like 
the Scriptures, for in them He hidden treasures." 

Then his mind became reminiscent, and his thoughts 
ran back a dozen years or so to the time of the death 
of Eben Drisco. He soUloquized: 

"Eben Drisco was a good man, a model man, a pro- 
fessed and presiunably a good Christian. A kind 
husband, a good father, and his family had much need 
of him." Then turning and facing a huge boulder 
that had at some time, long ago, rolled down the 
mountain and rested by the roadside: 

"They say that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, 
and omniscient. If that is so, God must be in this 
rock. Now, tell me, O Rock of Ages, granite God, 
why this good man, who was so much needed here, was 
removed, and why so many miserable wretches who 
cumber the earth are suffered to live." Then passing 
on down the road, he next stopped at the foot of a 
giant oak, and apostrophized: 

"If God is everywhere, in everything. He must be 
with you. Tell me, monarch of the forest, why should 
that poor, worthy widow and her orphan son be made 
to suffer unjustly so many years, and to be deprived 



154 RICHARD BAXTER 

of the enjoyment of their own, while the wicked flour- 
ish like a green bay tree?" 

He passed on, and a bend in his path brought him 
to the bank of the river, that flowed on down through 
the farm of Solomon Gibson. Stopping, he took off 
his hat and again spoke : 

"O majestic river, beginning with the dewdrop in 
the mountains far away in the north, gathering vol- 
ume and strength every inch that you flow to the sea, 
until you float great ships on your bosom, if God is 
omnipresent He must be in you. Tell me, beautiful 
river, why the weary seek rest in your depths. Why 
should that lovely maiden have been obliged to fly to 
you for shelter, to protect her from a worse fate.? 
Why, oh, why.'' Will these mysteries never be ex- 
plained.'"' 

There was no sacrilege intended by Richard Baxter 
in the asking of these questions. They were honest 
inquiries inspired by the doubting mind that was born 
in him, and from which he would gladly have 
freed himself, but could not. "Lord, help my un- 
belief." 

He resumed his walk and soon reached the poor 
farm. 

Sam Drisco was in the field, digging potatoes. He 
could hobble on one crutch, handling quite efi^ectively 
his potato digger, and turn the "murphys" out of the 
hills faster than a boy with a basket could pick them 
up. He had no lazy bones in him, and although it 
was painful for him to get about, he preferred doing 
it, even without pay, than lazily to drone out the day. 




TELL ME, O ROCK OF AGES, GRANITE GOD. 



THREE APPEALS TO GOD 155 

He was surprised by a "Hello, Sam," from Richard, 
to which familiar greeting he quickly responded : 

"Hello, Dick. It's good for sore eyes to see you. 
What in time brought you out here?" 

"Why, you idiot, my legs, of course. How stupid 
you are getting! You haven't as many eyes as a 
potato. Living up here among the aristocracy seems 
to have befuddled you. I know what is the matter. 
It's high living, too much to eat." He continued : 

"I'm a tax-payer — pay a dollar a year poll-tax — 
and I've appointed Richard Baxter, Esq., Attorney 
and Counsellor-at-Law, a committee to inspect the 
poorhouse, and see that the people's money is not be- 
ing carelessly wasted ; and particularly that the guests 
at this hotel don't have too much salt on their 
potatoes." 

This badinage on the part of Richard astonished 
Sam, as he had not seen him for a long time when he 
was not in the dumps, and he wondered what could 
have happened thus to raise his friend's spirits. 
"Well," said Sam, "tell us all about it. I'm glad to 
congratulate you." 

"Congratulate me! You are the one to be con- 
gratulated. I have some good news." 

"For me .'' Well, break it gently. I'm not used to 
that kind. I could bear additional bad news, if 
'tweren't the death of my mother, God bless her." 

"AU right, Sam, come across the road, and we'll 
sit down on that log over yonder, for I've a good deal 
to say, and we want no eavesdroppers." 

Sam went across the road slowly, and after shaking 



il66 RICHARD BAXTER 

hands cordially, they sat down together on the log. 
Richard drew from his pocket the copy of the satis- 
faction, and as he handed it to Sam, remarked : 

"Read that. It is an attested copy. The original 
is safe in the vault at the County Clerk's office. After 
you read it, I'll tell you all about it." 

It is difficult to describe Sam Drisco's emotions. 
The first thing that he said was : 

"Thank God, my poor mother will have her old 
home to die in, for she has often said since we came 
here that she could endure living at the poorhouse, but 
the prospect of dying there and of being buried as a 
pauper made her miserable." 

Richard related all the details of the finding of the 
satisfaction; and expressed the opinion that when it 
was executed it was probably left with Esquire Baxter 
for safe keeping. This view seemed to be corrobo- 
rated by the memorandum to remind Drisco to have it 
recorded. The accident to Eben Drisco, by which he 
lost his life on the way home that day, prevented any 
knowledge coming from him as to the transaction, be- 
yond his last anxious words to his wife that he had 
paid Daniel Manning. 

One thing they could not understand: Why were 
not the note and mortgage surrendered at the time of 
the payment of the money and the execution of the 
satisfaction.'' Daniel Manning, in all probability, had 
them in his pocket at the time, and perhaps, no de- 
mand being made, had kept them. The satisfaction 
not coming to light led him into a crime, which the 
death soon after of Abraham Baxter made it easy to 



THREE APPEALS TO GOD 157 

commit, and, as it turned out, difficult of detection. 
It was natural that the question as to whether or not 
John Manning had knowledge of the fraud should be 
discussed between them. Sam was positive that he 
knew all about it, in which opinion Richard concurred. 
But whether he did or did not know that he was 
stealing from Sam Drisco was comparatively of little 
concern. Richard had discovered a most important 
document, John Manning appeared about to be van- 
quished, and the fortunes of the Driscos seemed again 
more hopeful. 



CHAPTER XXIX 
Did He Love Hee? 

NOTHING has been said about the love af- 
fairs of Richard Baxter, for the reason that 
there was nothing to say. That the sexual 
affections were dormant would hardly express it cor- 
rectly. We might more properly say that they were 
inert, undeveloped, like the strength of a giant whose 
muscles had never been tested. Some day, no doubt, 
this power would be shown. The strongest sentiment 
in Richard, he himself would have said, was his affec- 
tion for Mary Miles ; but it never occurred to him to 
look upon her other than as upon a sister. His love 
for her was an undiscovered mine, and there were no 
surface indications. He had not suspected the pos- 
session of the undeveloped passion. 

He called the evening before Mary went away to 
tell her of the finding of the satisfaction, intending 
to talk it over and ask her advice ; and went away but 
little disappointed, as he expected to see her on the 
morrow, which would do nearly as well. There were 
many morrows passed before they met again, and 
meanwhile a great many happenings of important mo- 
ment in both their lives occurred. He called again 
the next day, received her brief note and a simple 
statement of the facts from Mrs. Miles. 

That Richard was lonesome after Mary left can 

15B 



DID HE LOVE HER? 159 

readily be understood, as she was his nearest friend 
and only intimate associate. Her absence made a 
void that could not be filled. He felt the loss of her 
society more than, under the same circumstances, 
would most of the young men of the village, who usu- 
ally spent their evenings going from store to store, 
where they sat on the counters, exchanged gossip and 
told stories. Twaddle did not suit Richard, and he 
never indulged in it. If there was any subject worthy 
of discussion, he was always ready to take part, and 
could talk well ; but he could not make talk. 

Most of the evenings that he had been in the habit 
of spending with Mary, he now occupied in reading. 
This gave him more time for Pickering's Reports; 
but they had become a bore. 

That was not a day of magazines or periodical liter- 
ature. Daily newspapers were only published in large 
cities, and it was seldom that a copy reached Mendon. 
There was a home Weekly, and no one could criticize 
if, in referring to it, it were spelled Weakly. There 
being no circulating library in Mendon, there was 
really a dearth of reading-matter. 

The debating society held occasional meetings. 
Richard was a member, but not being controversial by 
nature, seldom took active part, though he often 
coached the contestants on both sides of a question, 
being well able to do this, from the fact that he was 
by far the best-read man in Mendon. 

The singing-school was another diversion, but 
Mary's absence had robbed it of all interest to him. 
Another reason, though it never occurred to him, \^'hy 



160 RICHARD BAXTER 

he took little interest in the singing-school was a prej- 
udice against the Professor, who had been quite at- 
tentive to Mary. 

The dances occasionally held at the tavern had like- 
wise no attraction for him. 

But at the spelling bee he really enjoyed himself. 
Being the most proficient speller in town, he headed 
the list of contestants selected by the leaders who had 
the first choice, and Mary, when present, was always 
chosen to head the opposite sidd 



CHAPTER XXX 

" I'll Clip the Wattles of That Turkey Cock " 

JOHN MANNING was a good judge of horse- 
flesh. He had a natural love for horses, having 
been brought up among them (Deacon Manning 
was quite a breeder when John was young), was fa- 
miliar with all of their good and bad points, and 
could detect an unsoundness or a blemish at a glance. 
His opinion with regard to a horse was valued by his 
neighbors. He had once or twice intimated that a 
horse that Si Slocum was endeavoring to sell might 
not be perfectly sound. Though not a horse-dealer 
to any great extent, he was recognized as a horse- 
man and a member of the unorganized guild, one un- 
written law of which was, that each should mind his 
own business. 

The fact that the hinted opinion of John Manning 
had prevented two of Si Slocum's prospective trades, 
had led the oracle to have an opinion of his own in 
regard to him, and that was that he was a "derned 
slouch" ; and he went so far as to say that he would 
get even with that Prince of Manning's Corners, and 
added with a big oath: 

"I'll clip that turkey cock's wattles afore a great 
while, ye see if I don't." 

Si was already graduated from the tavern barn, 

161 



162 RICHARD BAXTER 

and had long since ceased to be a hostler. He had 
accumulated a little money, and this capital enabled 
him to trade horses to advantage, as he always kept a 
bulge on his wallet. As evidence of his prosperity, 
he wore a light drab, double-breasted overcoat, with 
welted seams, and abundantly ornamented with big 
horn buttons; and a tall drab hat. From a 
horseman's point of view he was really quite stun- 
ning. 

As has been said, Si had a great faculty for fixing 
up a horse. He had an equal faculty for fixing one 
down. On his return from one of his mysterious 
journeys, he brought with him a pretty little mare, 
which was hustled into his private stable and put 
under lock and key, before being seen by more than 
two or three. He took entire care of the horse him- 
self, not permitting his helper to go near the animal. 
This conduct on his part aroused suspicion at once, 
for anything that wasn't as open as the day in that 
community, where every man minded everybody's 
business but his own, must necessarily need watching, 
and Bill Johnson, the hostler and occasional helper to 
Si Slocum, appointed himself a watcher. Si put up 
with this for a few days, and then made up his mind 
that it was safer to take Bill into his confidence. This 
he did, and Bill entered heartily into the scheme to 
"clip the wattles of that turkey cock." 

About six weeks after Si had brought in the little 
mare, whose existence had been forgotten by the two 
or three who saw her, he one day drove out of the bam 
with the worst-looking specimen of horseflesh ever 



I'LL CLIP THAT TURKEY COCK 163 

seen in that community, hitched to an old buggy. 
Horse, harness, and buggy were all in keeping. It 
was a frouzelly looking, unkempt, uncurried, un- 
carded little mare, with her mane and tail full of bur- 
docks. 

She had a decided limp in her off foreleg, evidence 
of a big spavin in her nigh hindleg. Her legs were 
puffy, and all in all she was a pretty poor specimen 
of horseflesh. 

Si had been watching from the barn for John Man- 
ning to drive up, as it was about the time of day that 
he usually came, and as soon as Manning arrived in 
front of the tavern. Si drove around with his wonder- 
ful equipage, which at once attracted the attention of 
the "committee," and someone sang out: 

"Hello, Si has drawn the booby prize." 

As he came along by the side of Manning's fine 
turnout he was saluted with : 

"HeUo, Si, what you got there.-'" 

"Got a fast boss," replied Si. 

"Fast hoss?" sneered Manning. 

"Yes, Mr. Mannin', a fast hoss, an' the subscriber 
means jest what he says." 

There was considerable badgering on both sides, 
and jeers from the crowd. John Manning said: 

"I'U bet you. Si Slocum, that that horse of yours 
can't be gotten over the road a mile in eighteen min- 
utes, unless loaded in a wagon." 

"Wall," said Si, "I'll bet you a hundred dollars 
thet she kin beat thet thar team o' your'n in a two-mile 
spurt. Now, put up er shet up." 



164 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Well, if that's your little game, I'm your man. 
Name your terms." 

"Wall," said Si, "I'll bet you a hundred doUars, 
an' the tavern-keeper shall hoi' the stakes, thet I kin 
drive this ole mare, ahind which I'm a-settin', from 
Mannin's Corners to this 'ere tavern quicker'n you kin 
your spankin' bays." 

"I'll take that bet," said Manning, drawing out his 
wallet and counting out one hundred dollars, which 
he gave to the landlord. Then turning to Si he said : 

"Cover that or close your clam shell." 

Si drew from his pocket a big, bulgy wallet, from 
which he counted out one hundred dollars, all in small 
bills, and handed them to the stakeholder ; then fold- 
ing up his wallet, which appeared as if an elephant 
had stepped on it, put it in his pocket, and with a 
good deal of bluster said : 

"I'll bet you 'nuther hundred dollars thet ye can't 
git here into two minutes as quick's I kin." 

John Manning, who had noticed the condition of 
the wallet, jumped to the conclusion that it was empty, 
and that Si was bluffing, said he would take the bet; 
though he did not consider that he was running any 
risk, even if Si did have the money. He handed an- 
other hundred dollars to the tavern-keeper. Si pulled 
out his wallet and took from the inside tuck a hun- 
dred-dollar bill, which he gave to the stakeholder. 

"Now," said Si, "I'll make ye 'nuther prop'sition." 

Although John Manning did not like to be bluffed, 
he concluded that it was not best to risk any more 
money, beginning to feel a little suspicious. 



I'LL CLIP THAT TURKEY COCK 165 

They had no difficulty in agreeeing upon four 
judges. A line was stretched from a window in the 
third story of the tavern across the driveway, to the 
pole upon which, in a frame at the top, swung the 
old tavern sign. They agreed to be at Manning's 
Corners at eight o'clock the next morning; two of 
the judges were to be there to start them. 

At the appointed hour John Manning with his 
team, Si Slocum with the little mare hitched to a sulky, 
and two of the judges, in a light wagon, were at Man- 
ning's Corners ready for the race. It was agreed 
that they should start from a "standstill." 

At the word "go" they started. For the first quar- 
ter of a mile Manning's team was well in the lead. 
He jeeringly called to Si to "come on." Soon the 
little mare warmed up to her business and left John 
Manning far in the rear, so far, in fact, that he soon 
realized that he was beaten, and had it not been for his 
hope of winning the second bet he would have turned 
and driven home. 

The whole town was assembled in the square. Even 
the sober-minded people were there. Old Parson 
Snodgrass just happened to cross the road as Si Slo- 
cum drove under the line, and a mighty cheer went 
up, in which the Parson joined, waving his hat; then 
remembering who he was, hurried away to his home, 
not daring to trust himself longer with the excited 
crowd, who had cheered themselves hoarse during the 
time that elapsed before Manning rounded the corner. 
As he drove under the line he asked the judges: 

"Good for second bet, ain't I?" 



166 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Sorry to say, Mr. Manning, that you have lost 
both." 

The explanation of the matter was, that Si Slocum, 
having determined to "do" John Manning, had bor- 
rowed of a friend in a neighboring town the famous 
mare "Dolly," who had a record of 2:40, fast trot- 
ting in those days. 

The judges directed the tavern-keeper to give the 
stakes to Si Slocum, who invited the whole town to 
drink. Rum ran like water. It didn't seem as if 
there was a teetotaler in the town, and the tavern- 
keeper said he hadn't sold so much "sence las' gin'ral 
trainin'." 



CHAPTER XXXI 

TEItTMPH OF WkONG 

THE never-ceasing thought of Richard Bax- 
ter and Sam Drisco was how to get restitution 
and damages for the outrageous wrong com- 
mitted in the turning out of doors and driving to the 
poorhouse of Sam and his mother. 

Mrs. Drisco was not told of the finding of the satis- 
faction, as she was inchned to be garrulous, and they 
were not ready to take the public into their confidence. 

It was hardly probable that any compromise could 
be effected. The satisfaction was prima-facie evi- 
dence of a strong character, but they must, if pos- 
sible, corroborate it. The principals were dead, and 
the chance of finding a witness was slight. 

Most likely the defense would be that the satisfac- 
tion was a forgery, which would place Richard in a 
precarious position; but he saw before him a wrong 
to right, a duty to perform, and would not shrink 
from it, whatever the risk to himself. It was of the 
utmost importance that he should begin right and 
make no mistakes. It would have been of great ad- 
vantage could he have counselled with someone. This 
he was unable to do, as every lawyer in the county 
was against him, because of what they called unpro- 
fessional conduct. Surely, Richard received little en- 
couragement in his effort to be an honest la,wyer, 

167 



168 RICHARD BAXTER 

Finding it impossible to get corroborative testi- 
mony as to the genuineness of the satisfaction, he de- 
cided to take his chances without it. 

The usual legal preliminaries were begun. The 
announcement of the case of Samuel Drisco versus 
John Manning created, as might have been expected, 
a great sensation, and many times before the day of 
trial the case had been tried in the court of public 
opinion, and a verdict rendered each day. The sym- 
pathies of the people were with Sam Drisco, and in 
their verdict they gave him restitution and substantial 
damages; but the cool judgment of the lawyers was 
that without corroborative testimony the satisfaction 
would be thrown out of court. 

The day of the trial came and there was no delay 
In securing a jury. Richard Baxter appeared for the 
plaintiiF and John Canfield, who ranked as leader of 
the Bar in Mendon, for the defense. 

The trial was short. The only witness for the 
plaintiff was Richard himself, and he could only tes- 
tify to the finding of the satisfaction. All the evi- 
dence, except as to its genuineness, was admitted by 
the defense. 

As Mrs. Drisco was not able to appear In court, her 
affidavit was submitted detailing Eben Drisco's dying 
words, with which the reader is familiar. 

John Canfield for the defense offered no evidence, 
but contented himself with a claim that the satisfac- 
tion was a forgery, a deep plot to defraud his client, 
and in his argument charged the plaintiff's attorney 
with the conception and execution of the fr§,ud, and 



TRroMPH OF WRONG 169 

asked his honor, the judge, to instruct the jury that 
there was no cause of action. The judge did so, and 
the jury, without leaving their seats, rendered that 
verdict. 

Immediately the sheriff stepped up to Richard Bax- 
ter, presented a warrant, and arrested him for for- 
gery. He was stupefied with surprise. The con- 
sciousness of his innocence rendered his astonishment 
the greater. He, Richard Baxter, guilty of forgery ! 
Who could think so? He soon realized that he had 
to*meet the stern realities of the law, as he was under 
arrest. As he turned he saw standing before him 
John Manning, with a devilish grin of satisfaction on 
his face. 

"Shouldn't have thought this of you, Dick," he re- 
marked,/with an ill-concealed tone of pleasure. 

Canfield had drawn near, that he might enjoy the 
defeat of Richard, whom he had always disliked with 
the feeling that vice ever has toward virtue. He said 
nothing, however, for which Richard was thankful. 

The district attorney presented the indictment 
found by the grand jury, and moved that the pris- 
oner should be immediately arraigned. The judge 
so ordered. The clerk read the indictment. The 
grand jury had found a true bill against Richard 
Baxter for forgery in the first degree, charging the 
forging and issuance of a certain satisfaction for the 
purpose of defrauding one John Manning. 

Richard pleaded not guilty. The district attor- 
ney moved that he be committed to jail to await trial 
at the next term of the criminal court. 



170 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Your Honor," said Richard, addressing the Judge, 
"am I not entitled to bail?" 

"Certainly," responded the judge, and turning to 
the district attorney, asked: "What amount do you 
suggest?" 

Manning whispered quickly to Canfield, and he to 
the district attorney, who replied : 

"Your Honor, in view of the enormity of the pris- 
oner's offense against the law and there being no 
doubt of his guilt, I would move that the bail be fixed 
at ten thousand dollars." 

The amount astonished the judge, and in response 
to the claim that it was excessive, he said, "I think it 
is. The bail is fixed at one thousand dollars." 

Richard did not suppose for a moment that he 
would have any difficulty in securing bail, and was 
deeply chagrined by the refusal of a half-dozen 
people, not one of whom did he suppose would 
decline. 

"Well, to jail it is, then," he despondently said to 
the deputy sheriff. As they went down the court- 
house steps toward the jail, they saw Si Slocum hur- 
rying across the square. 

"Hold on there, Mr. Sheriff, don't be in sich a 
derned hurry. I want thet pris'ner. I'll go bail 
fer 'im." 

They returned to the courtroom, and Si Slocum 
said to the judge that he wished to become bondsman 
for the appearance of Richard Baxter. 

"Do you know the amount of the bond?" sneered 
the district attorney. 



TRIUMPH OF WRONG ITl 

"Wall," repHed Si, "I heerd 'twas a thousan' dol- 
lars." 

"Your Honor," said the district attorney, "it is 
useless to waste the time of the court on this worthless 
horse- jockey. He is not worth a thousand cents." 

"Would it not be weU," said the judge, "to let the 
man speak for himself.?" And turning to Si, he said: 

"What is your name?" 

"Si Slocum, Yer Honor." 

"Mr. Slocum, do you wish to become surety for the 
appearance of Richard Baxter to stand trial on the 
charge of forgery at the next term of the criminal 
court?" 

"I do, Yer Honor." 

"Have you property to the amount of one thou- 
sand dollars, necessary to qualify you to act as bonds- 
man?" 

"I hev, Yer Honor." 

"Of what does it consist, and where is it located?" 

"It is in cash, Yer Honor, an' here 'tis," taking his 
wallet out of his pocket and counting out ten one- 
hundred-dollar bills. 

The judge said to the clerk of the court: "Take 
charge of this money and prepare the bond for exe- 
cution." 

"I object," said the district attorney. 

"On what ground?" asked the judge. 

"I do not think he is a fit man." 

"There, that will do. You have carried your ob- 
jections quite far enough. Your conduct begins to 
look like persecution." 



CHAPTER XXXII 

Town Meeting 

IT was election day and local politics ran high. 
The town hall was filled at an early hour. There 
was as usual a lively contest for the office of 
moderator, for in addition to the honor pertaining to 
the position, the incumbent dined at the expense of 
the town. It took several votes to settle the question 
as to who should preside over the day's deliberations. 
This was decided by a close vote, and the order of 
business began. 

There were quite a nmnber of questions regarding 
repairing roads and bridges and other matters of sim- 
ilar import during which the voting by ballot for 
town offices was going on, it being ordered that the 
polls should remain open two hours. 

The officers to be elected for the ensuing year were 
three selectmen, a town clerk, three assessors, two con- 
stables, and a justice of the peace. The domi- 
nant party had become hopelessly divided and 
could not agree upon a candidate for the latter 
office. 

There were animated discussions by little groups, 
and the calls of the moderator to "be in order" were 
not heeded. While some were not conscious of loud 
talk you could have heard them reason for a mile. 
One group was so especially turbulent that the mod- 

172 



TOWN MEETING 173 

erator called out, "Captain Shedd, come to order. 
What's the matter with you?" The reply came 
quickly, "Ebenezer Richardson wants me to vote just 

as I'm a mind to, and I'm d d if I will." 

In this disagreement on the election of a justice of 
the peace, the "boys" thought they saw an opportu- 
nity to have a little fun. They went over to the 
printing office and had some ballots struck off, which 
read: 

"For 

Justice of the Peace, 

Josiah Slocum," 

and distributed them freely. Everybody took it as a 
good joke, and many, without considering the result, 
voted for Si, who had been an innocent victim, having 
taken no part in the game. 

The tavern stood right across the square and many 
times and often there was occasion to "go over and 
see a man." The present generation did not orig- 
inate the practice or the phrase. All did not go for 
a drink, as many went for pie and cheese, which was 
always in great demand for luncheon. Not a few 
brought their doughnuts and cheese from home. The 
board of selectmen took their dinners at the tavern 
on election day and charged the item openly in the ex- 
pense account as "Paid Lory Watson for dinners for 
the selectment and moderator, one dollar." This was 
their only perquisite. 

Town-meeting day was the day of all the year. 
Everyone came to town to visit, and the villagers were 



1174. RICHARD BAXTER 

expected to keep open house for their uncles, their 
aunts, their cousins, relatives, and- friends gen- 
erally. 

The noon recess was from twelve to one, and on the 
return to the town hall, there was among many a feel- 
ing of "how come you so?" 

One old fellow from Johnson's Corners had been 
complaining about a woman who scolded everybody 
that came near her, and who, when they didn't come 
near enough, would go out into the road after them. 
He had called the attention of the moderator to the 
fact several times and no action had been taken. 
Finally he got desperate, for the last thing that his 
wife said to him when he left home in the morning 
was, "If you don't get Sal Johnson to shut up, you 
needn't come home." The moderator told him that he 
must make a motion, and he would put it to a vote. 
After dinner and several drinks of New England rum, 
his courage reached the oratorical point and he made 
the following motion : "Mr. Moderator, I move thet 
Sal Johnson is an open-mouthed old scold an' thet the 
s'lectmen be a committee to look into it." 

"Second the motion," came from all parts of the 
hall. 

The moderator said, "You have heard the motion of 
Mr. Bixby. All who are in favor will say aye, con- 
trary, no." 

It was unanimously carried. 

There had been quite a vigorous discussion between 
young Mr. Filkins, who had just graduated from col- 
lege, and old Mr. Bamett, in which Mr. Filkins had 



TOWN MEETING 175 

accused Mr. Barnett of making a certain statement, 
which the latter denied. Mr. Filkins replied: 

"What you said was tantamount." 

Mr. Barnett, not understanding what his opponent 
had said, asked a bystander, "What did he say.^"' 

The reply was, "He called you a catamount." 

"Mr. Moderator," yelled Mr. Barnett. "Mr. Mod- 
erator, I didn't come to this 'ere town meetin' to be 
consulted by any little squirt, jest 'cause he come from 
college. Mr. Moderator, I fit in the Revolutionary, 
I did, an' I've ben to town meetin' more nor fifty year, 
an' this is the fust time I've ben consulted an' called 
names, an' ef this is the way to treat an ole pensioner, 
I'll go hum," and away he went. 

It was but a little while before that young Filkins 
was in an argument with old Mr. Dunlop, who was 
very lame and with difiiculty hobbled about. He had 
stated his proposition, and Filkins, replying, had said 
that Mr. Dunlop was lame in his statement. 

"Mister Moderator, Mister Moderator," screamed 
the angry old man. "Yes, I am lame, an' I ain't to 
blame fer it, an' I don't like to be twitted on it. I 
ain't to blame, Mister Moderator, fer bein' lame. I 
couldn't help bein' kicked by a mule, an' now it's 
putty dern tough to be kicked by a young jackass 
right here in town meetin'." 

This brought down the house. Young Filkins sub- 
sided, and old Mr. Dunlop seemed mollified by the ap- 
plause that he received. 

The counting of the ballots cast for town offices 
progressed without incident, until the box for justice 



176 RICHARD BAXTER 

of the peace was opened, and the counting begun. 
Then, many who had voted thoughtlessly for Si Slo- 
cum for the honorable and important office of justice 
of the peace began to consider their action, felt a little 
alarm, and hoped that he had been defeated, as either 
of the other candidates was, in their estimation, far 
better fitted for the office. The disgrace to the town 
of having elected a disreputable horse jockey as jus- 
tice of the peace would make them the laughing stock 
of the whole county and perhaps the whole State. But 
it was too late to prevent it. The ballots were cast 
and the result was the election of Si Slocum by a plu- 
rality of three. 

Those who styled themselves the best people were 
horrified, but the "boys" were jubilant, for they were 
quite sure, to use a modern phrase, that they would 
have a "wide-open town." 

In the village that night they had a great celebra- 
tion, almost equal to that of the Fourth of July. 
They borrowed the blacksmith's anvil and fired thir- 
teen guns, as they termed the explosions of powder. 
They "chipped in" and bought some spirits of tur- 
pentine and candle wicking enough to make a dozen 
fire-balls, and made all the arrangements for a grand 
pow-wow. Rum flowed freely across the tavern bar, 
and it looked as if there wouldn't be a sober man of 
the "committee" by eight o'clock. The Continental 
Band, bass drum, kettle drum and fife, were on hand. 
The men comprising this band were each over eighty 
years old. Evidently there is something about the 
soul-stirring drum and the ear-piercing fife that is 



TOWN MEETING 177 

conducive to longevity. The arrangements were all 
complete and the ceremonies were to begin with a sere- 
nade beneath the window of Si Slocum's room at the 
tavern, where it was thought he had hidden himself to 
prepare a speech. The whole thing was intended to 
be a surprise to him, but it was the crowd who were 
surprised, for Si could not be found; but the play 
went on without him. 

The hostler at the tavern barn said that Squire Slo- 
cum hitched up his trotter at about six o'clock, saying 
that he guessed he'd take a spin up the pike. He did 
not return until long after the rioters had gone home 
and the town was quiet. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 
A Diamond in the Rough 

THE act of Si Slocum in becoming his bonds- 
man was as great a surprise to Richard Bax- 
ter as it was to everybody else. After the 
execution of the bond and his release, they walked over 
to the office and Richard asked for an explanation. 
"Why, Mr. Slocum, did you become my bonds- 
man?" 

"Ye see, Mr. Richard, I was alius misfortunate. 
Was born in the poorhouse. I never hed no father, 
as I know on. My mother 'ud never tell me nothin' 
'bout 'im, an' I don't know as she knowed what be- 
come of 'im. I stayed in the poorhouse till I was 
twelve year ole; then they bound me out to Farmer 
Jinkins, an' ef thar ever was a meaner man than ole 
Jinkins, it was Mis' Jinkins, his wife. Thar warn't 
no children, but he alius called 'er mother. Why, 
Mr. Richard, she was thet mean thet a respectable 
skunk wouldn't hev owned her fer a mother. Mr. 
Richard, I'd a starved to death ef I hedn't a hed milk 
to live on." 

"So they gave you plenty of milk to drink, did 
they?" 

"Give me milk to drink? Not much ! Never hed a 
drink o' milk all the time I lived with ole Jinkins. 
No, sir, I lamt a trick thet made me fat. It took 

178 



A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH 179 

some time to git expert, an' Mis Jinkins use to say, 
'Si, w'at's thet on yer frock? Ye ben a-drinkin' milk 
out o' the pail?' 'No, marm,' I use to say. 'I don't 
like milk, 'speci'Uy w'en it's warm.' Ye see, Mr. 
Richard, 'twas this way. Ye take holt o' the cow's 
teats so, an' I got so I could bend the teats jest right, 
an' squirt two streams inter my, mouth to onct, an' it 
didn't take long to git a pint er a quart, ef I wanted 
so much, an' I alius tuk the strippins 'cause thet's 
putty much all cream. 

"I stayed at ole Jinkins' nigh onto three year, an' 
I got to be a big boy, an' strong fer my age, an' done 
more work than the hired man. 

"Ole Jinkins never let me go to school, 'though 
'twas writ in the 'greement with the overseer of the 
poor thet I should alius go to the winter school. But 
ole Jinkins didn't keer fourpence ha'penny fer 'is 
'greement. One day I said very 'spectfully, 'Mister 
Jinkins, ain't ye goin' to lemme go to school this win- 
ter?' He said, 'I'll I'am ye all ye want to I'arn,' an' 
he grabbed me by the neck of my frock an' shook me, 
an' he said, 'Don't ye know yer bound out?' an' he let 
go an' tried to kick me. I got my mad up fin'ly, an' 
threw 'im down putty middlin' solid on the hard 
ground. Then I jumped over the fence into the road. 
The ole man was a-pickin' hisself up, an' I said, 
*Good-bye, Mister Jinkins. Give my love to Mis' 
Jinkins. I'm bound out, do ye hear? I'm bound 
out, I be.' An' thet was the las' time I ever seen Mis- 
ter Jinkins. He stud thar ahind the fence, a-shakin' 
a fist at me. 



180 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Wall, I run round from pillar to post, as I've 
hearn tell on, fer nigh on to three year, got lots o' 
hard work, gin'Uy 'nuff to eat, but no schoolin' ner 
no money nuther; thet's to say 'mountin' to nuthin'. 
They alius managed somehow to cheat me out o' my 
wages, er bring me in debt. I tell ye, Squire Baxter, 
these 'ere farmers is a tough lot, an' closer than the 
bark on a tree. 

"I heerd a good deal 'bout goin' to sea, an' I 
thought the water couldn't be wuss fer me than the 
land was, so I tramped down to Boston an' tuk a job 
on a big ship thet was a-goin' to sail thet arternoon 
fer Calcutty. I axed the feller 'How long shall we be 
gone.^" an' he said, 'Oh, I reckon a couple o' weeks.' 
Wall, 'twas nigh onto two year afore I seen Boston 
ag'in, an' I got 'nuff o' goin' to sea. The cappen 
was wuss nor ole Jinkins. Ye couldn't jaw back ner 
say nuthin' till arter ye was soun' asleep in yer ham- 
mock, down in the fo'castle. Ef ye did, ye'd be hit 
over the head with a marlin spike, er strung up to the 
stays an' gin forty lashes with the rope's end. Don't 
want no more o' thet kind o' boardin' school in mine, 
ef ye please." 

"Well, I don't blame you. Si," interrupted Rich- 
ard; "sea captains are cruel tyrants." 

"I alius look on my voyage to Calcutty," continued 
Si, "same's two years in the workhouse. The cappen 
was wuss nor a hog, an' hedn't it ben fer the mate, 
who was a good feller, thar'd ben a mutiny, an' the 
black flag 'ud 'a gone to the masthead, fer thar was 
more'n one sailor aboard thet ship who'd ben a pirate. 



A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH 181 

I never was gladder in all my life than when we hauled 
up side o' Long Wharf. 

"Wen the ship was discharged I hed more money 
than I'd ever hed in all my life. I fell into the han's 
of the sailor boardin' -house keepers. These crimpers 
are the wust men thet ever lived, reg'lar land pirates, 
an' afore ten days my money was all gone. I was 
shanghaied, an' w'en I come out o' my drunk I f oun' 
myself two days out to sea, on one o' Enoch Train's 
Liverpool liners. 

"I got back to Boston in 'bout three months, an' 
w'en I was paid oflF I thought I'd profit by the lesson 
I'd I'arnt an' keep away from them rum holes; but I 
didn't, an' 'twarn't three days, one Saturday night, 
afore I fell into the han's o' the same gang thet robbed 
me afore. But this time I wasn't stupid drunk, but 
fightin' drunk, an' in the fight I struck the man who'd 
robbed me, a blow thet killed 'im ; so I thought at the 
time, but, thank God, he didn't die. I got away from 
the drunken crowd as quick's possible. Though I was 
crazy drunk w'en the fracas begun, I was as sober a 
man as ever lived in a minute. 

"I heerd the cry of 'Watch, watch!' an' run down 
Ann street as fast as my legs could carry me. It 
seemed to me thet thar was a thousan' men arter me. 
I turned suddenly into a dark alley, an' stumbled over 
a derrick thet stood leanin' ag'in the wall. I fell, an' 
as I picked myself up, I thought thet if I could climb 
up the derrick I'd stan' a good chance to beat 'em. 
My sailor experience was wuth havin'. I clim' up 
one side of the derrick an' hed straddled the cross- 



182 RICHARD BAXTER 

piece at the top, w'en the watch, followed by the 
crowd, reached the aUey. 'He turned in here, Bill. 
Two of ye run round to t'other end an' head 'im off.' 
The watch sprang their rattles f er help, an' passed 
d'rectly under me, an' up the alley in the dark. They 
come back much slower than they went in, an' I heerd 
'em say, 'He's a slick un. He's got away sure. He's 
mos' likely made down to one o' the wharves an' '11 
hide 'board some vessel. I know whar to look fer sich 
fellers.' They hurried down Ann street, an' turned 
toward the wharves. 

"It soon got quiet, but I didn't dast to come down. 
Must 'ave stayed up on thet cross-bar more nor two 
hour, not able to make up my min' what to do. As I 
was 'bout to come down, I heerd somebody comin'. It 
turned out to be a man staggerin' drunk. He turned 
into the alley, an' sunk down on the ground. I lis- 
tened a few minutes, then slid down one side o' the 
derrick, an' run out o' the alley. 

"I didn't git more'n ten fathoms afore I bed an 
idee, an' I run back into the alley an' stooped down to 
feel o' the critter. He was dead-drunk sure 'nuff. I 
took off all 'is clothes, an' then pulled off my togs an' 
got him into 'em, an' put on hissen. I foun' four an' 
sixpence in my pockets, an' thet was all the swag the 
robbers bed lef me out o' three months' wages. I tuk 
my belt an' sheath knife, thinkin' it mought be handy 
in helpin' a murderer to git away. I started down 
Ann street, not feelin' very comfort'ble in my new 
togs. I felt suthin' in the pockets, an' at the fust 
light looked over what I'd got, an' foun' I bed a 




HE TURNED IN HERE, BILL. 



A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH 183 

leather purse an' in it was some gold, an' thar was a 
gold watch in the waistcoat pocket. 

"Fer 'bout two minits I was as happy 's ef I'd foun' 
a gold mine. Then I hed a set-to with Si Slocum. 
'Yer a thief, are ye. Si Slocum? Ye hed to swap 
clothes 'cause yer neck 'ud be stretched ef they ketched 
ye. Now, Si Slocum, ye killed a man 'cause ye had 
to. Ye swapped clothes 'cause ye hed to to save yer 
neck, but the time hain't come w'en ye hed to steal, an' 
ye ain't a-goin' to.' 'Yes, thet's all very well, but ef 
I don't take this swag, someone else will afore mornin', 
sure.' 'Wall, p'raps they will an' p'raps they won't, 
but more'n likely yer right, an' some thief '11 come 
'long an' rob the poor drunken cuss, but you ain't 
a-goin' to do it, Si Slocum.' Wall, Mr. Richard, 
arter this argument I went back to the alley, an' put 
the watch an' the purse into the man's pockets." 

"Thank God!" ejaculated Richard. "I'm glad you 
didn't rob the man." 

"An' I've ben glad ever sence. I've ben orful hard 
up, many a time, but I never longed fer thet money. 

"I saw a barber's pole in a cellarway an' went down. 

" 'Bress de Lawd ! Bress de Lawd ! ! Bress de 
Lawd!!!' said a coal-black nigger. 

" 'W'at's the matter with you.'" 

" 'W'y, honey, I'se ben prayin' foh ye to come foh 
more'n two hours, foh I needs de money. Hain't ben 
a man in heah all de day long.' 

" 'WaU, I'm here now. Cut my hair an' shave me, 
quick.' 

"He begun a-clippin' with 'is shears. Stoppin' all 



184i RICHARD BAXTER 

at onct, he looked at a wooden clock thet stud on a 
shelf. 'Twas ten minutes of twelve. 

" 'Can't do it in dat time,' said he, an' turned the 
han's back to half -pas' 'leven. 

"'Wat's thet fer?' I axed 'im. 'WeH, boss, I'll 
'splain. I'se a perfessed, I is, an' I can't work on de 
Lawd's day.' 

"I knew thet my only chance fer escape was to git 
out o' Boston quick's I could. I went up Ann street, 
through Dock Square, up Washington street, an' over 
the neck to Roxbury, out on to the Dedham road. I 
knowed by the f eelin' thet my clothes was finer nor I'd 
ben used to, an' w'en it got light I seed thet I was 
togged like a gentleman, an' anybody 'ud see in a 
minute thet the rig wam't mine. 

"I seed a little ways oiF a farm house, an' a big 
barn. I was mos' starved, an' tired. W'y, Mr. Rich- 
ard, ef I'd a ben puUin' on the mainsail fer a week I 
couldn't a ben more tired. Thar was more'n twenty 
cows in the linter. I foun' a milkin'-stool an' sot 
down aside a leetle heifer, got breakfas' a,s I use to at 
ole Jinkins'. 'Twas sunrise by this time an' I heerd 
voices, which made it necessary fer me to hide quick's 
I could. What scart me more'n anything else was a 
dog barkin', an' I heerd a man say, 'Wat's the mat- 
ter. Skip.'' Ben some chicken thieves round here, eh.'" 

"On one side of the barn floor was a fixed ladder 
runnin' up on to the scaffold, w'ich was full o' hay. 
Standin' on the floor an' leanin' 'gainst the ladder 
was some rakes an' forks. On 'em was some bags 
a-hangin' to dry. I was keerful not to tip over these 



A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH 185 

things, but dim' up the ladder quick, into the hay- 
mow, an' crawled over the hay, clear to the end o' the 
barn' an' hid under the hay. The dog gin short 
barks, as ef f ollerin' my tracks. I could hear the man 
a-talkin' to the dog. *0h, he got into thet winder, 
did he? Thar, go fin' 'im.' I thought thet he h'isted 
the dog into the winder, as I heerd barkin' in the barn 
below. 'Ah, he milked this heifer. Thar's the stool 
whar he left it. Go fer 'im. Skip. Oh, yer fooled 
thar. He didn't go up the ladder, fer thar's the bags 
jest whar I hung 'em las' night. Come outside. Skip, 
an' see ef we kin track 'im.' 

"I slep' in the hay tiU long arter noon, an' was 
'woke up by the cacklin' of a hen thet hed jes' laid an 
egg in a stolen nest. I felt hungry an' hunted the 
nest an' foun' a half-dozen eggs, an' sucked 'em. 

"Soon's 'twas dark I started on the road. I was 
'fraid my clothes 'ud gin me away, so I didn't dast 
to travel in the daytime. I passed a farm house an' 
saw a man undress an' go to bed. He laid 'is clothes 
on a cheer right side the open winder. Here's 'nuther 
chance to change my clothes, I thought. I waited fer 
an hour fer ev'rything to git still, then I sneaked up 
to the winder, an' without makin' any noise, pulled the 
clothes out. It tuk but a minute to slip mine off an' 
put hissen on. I laid mine on the cheer, an' arter git-; 
tin' some vittles out of a pantry winder, I went on. 

"Toward mornin' I crep' inter 'nuther barn an' 
stayed all day. At night I started ag'in, an' toward 
mornin' I overtuk a circus on the way to Taunton. 
I j'ined thet comp'ny an' stayed with 'em nigh three 



186 RICHARD BAXTER 

year. I was helper to the hoss doctor, an' thet's how, 
Mr. Richard, I got my hoss I'arnin'. We travelled all 
over the country, down south in the winter an' up 
north in the summer. It's the wuss life ever a man 
lived an' I don't b'lieve thet I was real sober three 
times in the hull three years, thet is, I mean, got the 
rum all out of me. Thar was a big fight with the 
perlice down in New Orleans an' I hed to skip. 

"Wall, Squire, I'm a-spinnin' this into a yarn, but 
I'll hurry up an' tell ye how I happened to hev an on- 
settled account with the ole Squire, yer father. 'Twas 
this way. I staggered into Mendon one night. I'd 
never ben here afore. I was on a long drunk. In 
wand'rin' 'bout I happened to set down on the ole 
Squire's front doorsteps, an' fell asleep, er stupid 
drunk, I guess, an' the Squire come hum an' foun' me 
thar. He tuk me, drunk an' sick, into the house, an' 
it was three weeks afore I was well 'nufF to git about, 
an' the only question he ever axed me was, 'Wat's yer 
name?' He never axed me whar I come from, ner no 
other questions thet I wouldn't liked to hev answered. 
When I was well 'nuff to work, he got the tavern- 
keeper to give me a job round the barn. 

" 'Bout six weeks arter I went to work, 'long come a 
deputy sheriff from Cass County an' tuk me fer hoss 
stealin', an' ole Squire Abraham went bail fer me, an' 
he went over to Cass County an' testified thar thet I 
was in his house sick at the time the hoss was stole. 

"An' asides. Squire Richard, you hes alius treated 
me like as I was a human critter, an' never throwed 
any airs at me. An' Squire Richard, thet's why I 



A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH 187 

went into court to-day an' put up a thousan' dollars, 
all the money I've got, to keep you from layin' in jail 
till yer trial comes on." 

Richard took Si by the hand, and started to thank 
him, beginning, "Mr. Slocum," when Si interrupted 
him with : 

"None o' your misterin' me. I'm Si Slocum." 

"Well, then. Si, I am deeply grateful to you, and 
thankful to find that I have one friend in this town. 
But how do you know that I'll not give you the slip 
and run away ; and then you would lose your money." 

"Thar's two reasons why I don't think you'll skip 
over into Canady. Fust is, I don't think ye ever writ 
thet sat'sfaction piece, an' second, ye ain't the run- 
away kin', ain't built thet way; an' asides. Squire 
Richard, ef ye air guilty, thet's jes' what I wants ye 
to do, an' thet won't no more'n pay my debt to yer 
father." 

"No, I am not guilty ; I will not run away." And 
again taking Si by the hand, "You are a good fellow. 
What a pity that some of those folks who profess so 
much are not like you." 

The following from the Boston Courier of the time, 
as connected with Si Slocum's narrative, are of 
interest : 



188 



RICHARD BAXTER 



nntry?" 
'"Yes." 



hgt. 
'of calls ^ 



im 



ItQves 



•^ Court ot 

tl' ol Wll- 

of New 

f.WnsU- 

r«Uce lairs 

ed: as chief. 

taw teibovlng 

He applies^ *dr 

ompel tbs ctvU 

York to cer- 

oU, as chlet 

oay hira his 

>~Appeal3 

Devery. 

Ins this 

^on of 

lonaT- 

■ded 



DRUNKEN BRAWL AND MURDER. 



Another of those disgraceful scenes that have 
become so frequent of late took place last 
night in a groggery under the sailors' boarding 
house of one John Mondy, who also is pro- 
prietor of the rum hole where the tragedy 
took place. It seems that about 9 o'clock a 
party of drunken sailors led by one Si Slocum 
came into the bar room where there were some 
fifteen or twenty other sailors and longshore- 
men all of whom were pretty full. Si Slocuiti 
invited everybod/ to take a drink but Mondy 
refused to set out the liquor until the money, 
was put up. Slocum told Mondy to take if 
out of his money which Mondy had robbed 
him of. There was much angry discussion 
which culminated in a fight .between Slocum 
and Mondy, Slocum gave Mondy ablow under 
the ear and he fell dead. In the excitement 
Slocum ran out and down Ann street; soon 
followed however by the crowd leading two 
of the watch, who always have a habit of get- 
ting there a little too late. Slocum had a good 
start but could be seen by his followers as he 
passed under the street lights. All at once he 
disappeared up one of the dark alleys so fre- 
quent on Ann Street. Diligent but unsuccess- 
ful search was made for him. It is quite possible 
that he secreted himself on some vessel and 
more likely than not is now well out at sea. 
Another murder and another escape is added 
to the long list charged to the inefficiency of 
our watch. 

LATER. 

Fortunately, we were about to write unfor- 
tunately, Slocum's blow was not fatal. Had it 
been the city would have been well rid of one 
of its worst characters. 



nni 



nm 



Was Or{^ 
or 

HARR! 
s^-Ivanla-* 
tho clecti 
Phlladelr, 
Senate at 
ton of P.h 
House. Tho 
attendant • 
crowd lA 
having d' 
alf mat* 
lied In 
Ijotb t 
list o'^ 
hold 
Gov! 

■/'' 
for 1 



orn(j 
Mat 
kat.i 
an<!> 
A 
or;-" 



CLIPPING FROM BOSTON COURIER 



A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH 189 



loTCn 

.:r tfttcs. 

lA tipuse on 

jseil ftnil will 

iasD:u9. 

•rty street spratn- 
'«iu1_fs_ unable to 

a rctun>ed flrom 
place, at Oii F. 

" Mis - CiiHtaji 

TsJie Is Improv- 

V one hour, 

* "Wednesday 

■^nferred. 

'srfns liavs 

Vny after 

\ter, Mrs. 



Lesterslilre 
W fipencer, 

Mte, who were 
day at Cam- 

Unton, Friday, 
tnlatlons from 

y will be "at 

Vents, Mr and 
utb Exchanse 

^ observed 
week. 
Mrs. M. 



-•taking a couti.._.,ui> > 

start to finish. Prices, M, 20 ana SO c«ntB. 

Matinee. 10 and 20 cents. Seats. How on 

salsw. 



fii to 



A MYSTERY. a 

1 _ ' 

As two of the watch, Bill Sykesand Joe 
Manley, the same men from whom the sailor 
got away, were coming up Ann Street this 
morning Bill said "Let's go over to Back Alley 
and see if we can find how that sailor got 
away from us last night." As they turned into 

|the alley they saw as. they supposed the sailor 
lying on the ground. "There he is now." They 
turned the man who was lying face down and 
found to their great surpnse that it was not 
the sailor but Col. Atherton of Beacon Street, 
in a state of stupor. As they raised him he 
recovered somewhat and exclaimed "where 
am I?" and then looking at the clothes that he 
had on, "'Who in the devil am I ? these duds 
don't belong to me They have changed every- 
thing but my boots. Lucky they left them or 

jlcoulditot identify myself." It was evident 
that the sailor had changed clothing with the 
Colonel. In the trousers' pocket was found the 
Colonel's purse containing more than one hun- 
dred dollars in gold, and in the jacket his gold 
chronometer watch. This showed that the 
sailor only wanted the Colonel's clothing to 
aid in his escape and would not rob his victim. ' 
The Colonel's explanation was as follows. "I. 
had some friends who were to sail on the Rob 
Roy lying at T wharf, for Liverpool this morn- 
ing, and they went aboard last night, as the 
ship was to pull out at about midnight, and 
sail with the tide this morning. 

I went aboard last night to give them a good 
send off and must have got pretty full as the 
last I remember was leaving the ship and 
coming up T wharf to Sea street." 



COUNT Y CLERK'S OFFIOE 

"'t* following deeds haye been »"->or*- 
County Cler''' 



ca 





Wr 

c< 

c 



Ts 



a: 

tb 



CLIPPING FROM BOSTON COURIER 



CHAPTER XXXIV 
" Go Slow, Ole Pal " 

THE election of Si Slocum to the office of 
justice of the peace took place the day after 
Richard Baxter's arrest for forgery. His 
qualifying as bondsman for Richard in his hour of 
need, and the relation of his life-story to him, in- 
spired not only a feeling of obligation, but of respect. 
He thought that he saw in Slocum's character some 
traits of an entirely different nature than had yet been 
developed, and he said to Si: 

"Now is your opportunity. Why not cut loose 
from your present associates, take a new departure, 
and make a man of yourself. 'Tis true you lack edu- 
cation, but that can be largely overcome by a strenu- 
ous effort on your part. As justice of the peace, you 
will need an office. You are welcome to come here 
with me, and I will gladly do all I can to assist you." 
SI sat and thought for a few moments in silence; 
then grasping Richard by the hand, said: 

"Thank ye. Them's the fust encouragin' words 
ever spoke to me. My life hes ben a fight all alone 
by myself, with ev'rybody ag'in me. Now I've got 
one friend, I'll start new, an' so help me God I'll make 
a man of myself ! Jest as much of a man as He'll let 
me," he added. That was the reason why Si Slocum 
hitched up his trotter and took a spin up the pike, in- 

19S 



"GO SLOW, OLE PAL" 191 

stead of joining in the festivities arranged to celebrate 
his election. 

A neat little sign, bearing the legend : 



"Josiah Slocum, 
Justice of the Peace," 



made its appearance at the foot of the stairs leading 
to Richard Baxter's office, the next morning. 

Early in the day the constable brought in one of 
the "committee," charged with being drunk and dis- 
orderly, and beating his wife. He pleaded not guilty, 
and with a leer and a wink at the justice, said: "Go 
slow, ole pal." 

The squire heard the evidence, and then remarked: 

"Ef it hed only ben a plain drunk, Joe, Fd a let ye 
off, bein' as how it's the fust offense, so fer as the rec- 
ords of this court shows ; but wif e-beatin' don't git no 
encouragement in this shop, so I fine ye ten dollars er 
ten days in jail." 

If Joe Bunker had seen the ghost of his great- 
grandfather, he couldn't have been more astonished. 
He was really dumbfounded, but said nothing. 

"Pay up?" interrogated the justice. 

"Hain't got no money," said Joe. 

The squire then made out the commitment and 
handed it to the constable, who had not recovered from 
his surprise. He took his prisoner to jail and locked 
him up. Thus ended the first session of Squire Slo- 
cum's court. 



,193 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Court's adjourned," announced Si, although there 
was no one but himself in the room. 

He put on his hat and went down to Joe Bunker's 
house to see how matters were, and found Joe's wife, 
with five small children, without an ounce of any kind 
of food. As he turned up the road toward town, he 
might have been heard to say : 

"Thank God, I'm a bachelor, an' hain't got sich re- 
spons'bil'ties on my shoulders." 

He went into the Emporium and said: 

"Mr. Palmer, Joe Bunker's in jail, an' his fam'ly 
hain't got no vittles. Send 'em 'round suthin' to eat." 

"Yes, yes," said Mr. Palmer. "But ye see, Joe's 
credit ain't very good." 

"Wall, all right, I'll pay it." 

"Yes, yes, but I dunno's your credit's any better." 

"P'raps not," answered Si. "Thar's two dollars 
fer ye. An' by the way, I think I've a complaint 
ag'in ye fer lettin' yer cows run in the highway, ag'in 
the statutes made an' pervided, an' yer hereby sum- 
moned to appear afore Squire Si Slocum, justice of 
the peace, at his office, to-morrow mornin' at nine 
o'clock. Hereof fail not, under due penalty of the 
law, so made an' pervided." 

Deacon Palmer laughed contemptuously as Si went 
out. "Thet's what comes o' puttin' a beggar on hoss- 
back," he muttered. 

The deacon paid no attention the next morning to 
Squire Slocum's verbal summons. The squire waited 
half an hour and then sent the constable with a war- 
rant, who returned, saying that Deacon Palmer said 



"GO SLOW, OLE PAL" ,193 

tliat he was busy and would come over in a day or 
two. This was too much for the dignity of the court, 
and Squire Slocum arose in his wrath. He had had 
in several places a little police-court experience, al- 
though it was not on the bench, had learned a little 
something about the dignity of the court, and that it 
need not permit itself to be trifled with. 

"Mister Constable," he said, "you bring the body 
of Deacon Palmer, dead er alive, afore this court at 
once, er I'll hev ye afore the grand jury fer the dis- 
ruption of the statutes." 

This settled the question for the constable, and he 
again started for Deacon Palmer's, as he did not dare 
to face so serious a charge as "disruption of the stat- 
utes." It wasn't more than ten minutes before he 
returned, and this time he brought the deacon, who 
at once sat down. 

"The pris'ner will stan' up." 

The deacon hesitated a moment, then stood up, and 
began to say something about not understanding such 
ridiculous proceedings, when he was interrupted) ibjf 
the squire, who said: ,»n-ii/ojhB 

"The constable will take off the pris'ner's.iHiti'ir 

The squire announced to the deacon, who/beganjto 
think matters were getting serious, that he wa&^-Biiied 
one dollar fer lettin' yer critters run in the higlnS^^ay 
ag'in the statute so made an' pervided. One dollar 
fer contempt of court in not appearin' accordin' to 
summons. One doUar fer contempt of court fer not 
comin' when sent fer; an' two dollars more fer con- 
tempt of court ag'in, in as how the constable bed to 



194 BICHARD BAXTEB 

go an' fetch ye, which sum total makes jest about fiv 
dollars, 'cordin' to Daboll." 

"Sha'n't pay a cent!" thundered the outraged 
deacon. 

The news of what was going on in the justice's 
ofEce had spread through the village, the office was 
crowded full, and the audience were volubly express- 
ing surprise. 

"Hats off," said the squire, "an' be seated." This 
last was an impossibility, as there were only a half- 
dozen chairs for more than thirty people. As soon as 
order was restored. Squire Slocum very blandly asked : 

"Does the court understan' thet the pris'ner refuses 
to pay his fines.'"' 

The deacon answered, "I'll be dod-rotted afore I'll 
pay." 

"Very well," replied the squire. "Thar'U be 
'nuther dollar fer commitment to jail. You are here- 
by an' hereon committed to jail in default of payment 
of six dollars, whar ye shall remain till the fine be 
paid. Constable, take yer pris'ner to jail. Court's 
adjourned." 

By this time the deacon began to realize that he 
was really in the clutches of the law, paid his fine, was 
released, and went away muttering vengeance. 

One of the spectators who had been "down to Bos- 
ton" and had seen the play of "Julius CjEsar," re- 
marked : "I wonder what kin' of meat they're a-f eedin 
to our Caesar, thet he's a-gittin' so fat.'"' 



CHAPTER XXXV 

FooKHOUSE Religion 

WHILE Mrs. Drisco was at the poorhouse, 
Parson Whiting came once a month to per- 
form, yes, that's just the word, to perform 
rehgious services, it being on his part simply a per- 
formance, for which the town authorities paid him 
one dollar. 

Mrs. Drisco was a member of his church and in by- 
gone days had been an active worker in the parish. 
That was in the days of prosperity, when the Driscos 
were esteemed to be well-to-do people. 

While the Driscos were prosperous, Parson Whiting 
was a frequent caller, and many a cup of Old Hyson 
tea and dish of crullers had Mrs. Drisco set before 
him, much to his enjoyment. Many a leg of lamb, 
loin of veal, and spare rib had found their way to the 
parsonage from the Drisco farm. As their fortunes 
waned, the visits of the parson fell off, and before the 
climax of their troubles, ceased entirely. Mrs. Drisco 
charitably excused this by saying, "The minister is 
getting old and his parish is increasing." Her self- 
esteem came to the aid of her charity, and she did not 
seriously sorrow ; Sam, who had no respect for Parson 
Whiting, was glad to have his visits cease. 

His deep regard and love for his mother often 
caused him to refrain from expressing his opinion, es- 

195 



196 RICHARD BAXTER 

pecially on religious matters, when it did not agree 
with hers, and always when there was a possibility of 
wounding her feeKngs. This restraint on his part 
often unintentionally deceived and led her to think 
that they agreed, when the opposite was the fact. 
Hence, Mrs. Drisco's ideas regarding Sam's religious 
beliefs were quite erroneous. 

As a matter of duty to his mother, he attended 
morning and evening prayer and reading of the 
Scriptures. Much to his satisfaction, she did the 
reading and praying. Some time after his father's 
death she said: 

"Sam, don't you think it would be more seemly if 
you were to invoke God's blessing at meals, as you are 
the head of the family.'' I wish you would do so, my 
son." 

"All right, mother, if it will please you." And 
from that time he had said the blessing. 

Once in haying season, with much hay down, when 
they could hardly spare the time for dinner, as the 
clouds were threatening thunder-showers, they ate 
quickly, and he hurriedly returned thanks, ending 
with "all of which we ask — for Christ's sake Orlando 
get the oxen," as he and the hired man hastened from 
the table. 

The first Sunday that Parson Whiting came to the 
poorhouse after the Driscos were domiciled there, 
was never forgotten by Mrs. Drisco ; for notwithstand- 
ing her prayers to forgive him, the remembrance al- 
ways aroused what she called an unchristian and un- 
forgiving spirit. The inmates of the poorhouse were 



POORHOUSE RELIGION 197 

gathered In the large room, awaiting the arrival of 
the minister, whose turn it was to officiate on that day. 
Mrs. Drisco was seated near the door and distinctly 
heard the welcome greeting of Mrs. Carter and the 
response of Parson Whiting. Mrs. Carter said to 
him: 

"Mis' Drisco's right by the door, ef ye want to 
speak to 'er." 

He replied, "All paupers are the same to me. I 
cannot make any distinction," and passed, without no- 
ticing her, to the table by the window and began the 
service. 

As soon as she could control her emotions she arose 
quietly, went to her own room, opened her Bible at 
the habitual twenty-third Psalm, and began to read: 

"The Lord is my Shepherd." 

In spite of all her efforts, "Old Hyson, crullers, all 
paupers are alike to me," would crowd every other 
thought from her mind, and once she burst forth, "I 
hate the old hypocrite." With all her efforts to be a 
Christian, she could not again enter that man's pres- 
ence. In this instance old Adam triumphed, and the 
human controlled the spiritual. 

She did not tell Sam of this incident, as she felt 
quite sure that she would get no comfort from him. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

" The Prisoner, Your Honor, Is Dead " 

ON the morning of his trial. Squire Slocum 
went with Richard Baxter to the courthouse 
and surrendered him to the sheriff, and Rich- 
ard was once more a prisoner. The district attorney 
said to the sheriff that he had better put the prisoner 
in jail, as he was not ready to call the case. The 
sheriff, the same who had declined to dispossess Sam 
Drisco at the demand of John Manning, replied, "I 
know my business, and you are not my bondsman"; 
and turning to Richard, said, "I can trust you and 
have no desire to mortify you by needlessly putting 
you in jail." 

Richard replied, "You may rest assured I will make 
you no trouble by trying to escape." 

The case was called. 

Richard was escorted by the sheriff to the prisoner's 
box. He was conscious of his innocence and knew 
there could be no true testimony against him. Hav- 
ing no money, he was forced to act as his own counsel. 
The result again verified the old adage that he who is 
his own lawyer has a fool for a client. 

The district attorney opened the case with much 
flourish and bravado, saying in part: 

"Gentlemen of the jury, the prisoner at the bar, 
Richard Baxter, attorney-at-law, and a disgrace to 

198 



THE PRISONER, IS DEAD 199 

the legal profession, is guilty of deliberate, long- 
planned, and most skilfully executed forgery. The 
annals of this court fail to furnish so criminal a case. 

"We will show you, gentlemen of the jury, that the 
prisoner at the bar had the abiHty to commit the for- 
gery. 

"We will show you, gentlemen of the jury, that 
there was abundance of motive to urge the commission 
of this, in his case especially, reprehensible crime. 

"These motives were to furnish the means of liv- 
ing, which he had not the ability to gain from the 
profession which he has so outrageously disgraced, 
and to help a life-long, intimate friend to recover his 
farm, which he had lost by the foreclosure of a mort- 
gage. 

"We win prove to you, gentlemen of the jury, by 
witnesses who are familiar with the signatures of Dan- 
iel Manning and Abraham Baxter, that those ap- 
pended to this satisfaction are forgeries. 

"This, gentlemen of the jury, we admit is to a cer- 
tain extent circumstantial evidence, but we will place 
on the witness-stand one who actually saw the defend- 
ant commit the crime. It was an attempt to rob a 
highly respected citizen of this town, a gentleman 
noted for integrity, liberality, generosity, and good 
citizenship, not only of his money, but of that which 
is far dearer to John Manning, Esq., his character, 
his good name. 

"With these facts, gentlemen of the jury, placed 
before you, there can be but one verdict." 

This outrageous arraignment by the district attor- 



200 RICHARD BAXTER 

ney not only astonished Richard Baxter, it staggered 
and bewildered him. In this dazed condition, not 
really comprehending his situation, he listened as one 
who had no personal interest in the testimony. 

"First," said the district attorney, "we will show 
the ability of the prisoner to commit forgery. Clerk, 
call James Foster." 

"James Foster! James Foster!" A slim young 
man stepped out from the audience. 

"Take the stand. Hold up your right hand. You 
solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and 
nothing but the truth in the evidence you will give 
in the case of the Commonwealth against Richard 
Baxter?" 

The district attorney put the usual questions as to 
name, age, residence, etc. He then asked: 

"Do you know the prisoner.''" 

"Yes, sir." 

"How long have you known him?" 

"Nearly twenty years." 

"Did you go to school with him?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"I desire to put in evidence this paper, which I will 
ask the clerk to mark for identification, exhibit A." 
To the witness, "Did you ever see that paper before?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"What is it?" 

"It's a copy of the names of the signers of the Dec- 
laration of Independence." 

"Is it your property?" 

"Yes, sir." 




fa 
u 

Q 

m 

Q 
g 

O 

I? 

o 

H 
<! 

U 

» 
P 



THE PRISONER, IS DEAD 201 

"Will you tell the jury all about it?" 

"Dick Baxter made it when we went to school to- 
gether and gave it to me." 

Then the district attorney handed it to the foreman 
of the jury, remarking: 

"There, gentlemen of the jury, is a specimen of the 
ability of the prisoner to forge other people's names. 
Look at that bold signature of John Hancock. Don't 
you think that the old Governor would have thought 
that he wrote it himself.!" That's aU, Mr. Foster, un- 
less (turning to the dock) the prisoner's counsel de- 
sires to cross-examine the witness," to which there was 
no response. 

He then called the barber to show Richard's inabil- 
ity to pay his, rent; Sam Drisco, to show that he and 
Richard had always been close friends, and to prove 
that there had been a conspiracy between him and the 
prisoner to defraud John Manning ; but in this last he 
utterly failed. 

The next witness was James Cook, a former stu- 
dent in Richard Baxter's office. 

The district attorney handed him the satisfaction. 
"Did you ever see that paper before seeing it in court 
to-day?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Win you go on in your own way and tell all 
about it?" 

"One day Mr. Baxter had been busy writing all day. 
He said to himself, 'There, I don't believe the devil 
could detect that.' I said, 'What did you say, sir?' 
and he answered, 'I didn't say anything.' Just that 



RICHARD BAXTER 

minute somebody called, and he went out with him, 
after putting the paper in the desk, under some other 
papers. I'd been suspicious for some time that he 
was up to something wrong, so I took the paper out 
and read it, and it was this satisfaction." 

"Are you certain that this is the same paper? Tell 
how you identify it.?" 

"I marked the letter C on that corner." 

"Why did you mark it.?" 

"Because I thought that there was something wrong 
that might come out some day." 

Two more witnesses were called by the prosecution, 
both of whom testified that they were familiar with the 
signatures of Daniel Manning and Abraham Baxter, 
and that they did not think those on the satisfaction 
genuine. 

"The prosecution rests," announced the district 
attorney. 

The judge arose and said: 

"Does the defendant desire to present any testi- 
mony? If not, the case is closed." 

"Your Honor," said the district attorney, "the 
prosecution has no desire uselessly to consume the 
time of this honorable court ; therefore is ready to sub- 
mit the case to the jury without argument." 

"Does the defense desire to submit argument?" 
asked the judge. 

No reply came. The judge waited but a moment, 
and then proceeded to charge the jury. 

"Gentlemen of the jury, there are no points of law 
to which I desire to call your attention. The law 



THE PRISONER, IS DEAD 203 

makes you the judge of the evidence. The fact that 
no defense has been offered is a virtual plea of guilty, 
a confession, one might say. As I have said, the law 
makes you the judge of the evidence ; therefore, if you 
believe the evidence, and I do not see how you can 
doubt it, you will bring in a verdict of guilty. The 
case is in your hands, gentlemen of the jury, and you 
can, if you are agreed, and I have no doubt that you 
are, render a verdict without leaving your seats." 

The foreman consulted with the jury for a moment, 
and announced: 

"We have agreed upon a verdict." 

"What is the verdict?" asked the judge, and the 
foreman replied: 

"Guilty, Your Honor." 

"Clerk, poll the jury." 

This was done, and showed that the jury were unan- 
imous in the verdict. 

Richard Baxter had sat for the last two hours with 
his head leaning upright against the corner of the box, 
his eyes wide open,and his face bloodlessly pale. At the 
declaration of the verdict the judge arose and said: 

"The prisoner wiU stand and receive sentence." 

There was no move on the part of Baxter, and the 
judge impatiently called to the sheriff: 

"Mr. Sheriff, make the prisoner stand up to receive 
sentence." 

The sheriff went to the corner of the box where 
Richard sat, obscured by the shadows of the late after- 
noon, took hold of his hand, and quickly turning, said : 

"The prisoner, Your Honor, is dead." 



CHAPTER XXXVII 
" He Doeth All Things Well " 

AS soon as Sam Drlsco was able to work, he 
looked about for a job, and had no difficulty 
in finding one at good wages. He was dis- 
tressed beyond power of telling by the misfortune of 
his friend, Richard Baxter, and said that he would 
rather have died than to have had it happen. Added 
to his misery was the fact that he was unable to assist 
him. 

When Sam went to work he made arrangements for 
a temporary home for his mother, which she refused, 
saying that she was quite comfortable at the poor- 
house. As to the disgrace, it would not be increased 
by a longer stay, and she felt it a duty to remain at 
least for the present, for the good of the inmates. 
Mrs. Drisco was indeed a power for good, which was 
recognized by all. The poormaster said that rather 
than have her leave he would "board her fer nuthin'." 
Sam arranged to pay her board and went to work 
with one trouble less on his mind, hoping that the time 
would come when he could give his mother a home. 
His hopes, however, were not very high since the loss 
of his suit against John Manning. His mother fre- 
quently said to him : 

"God has not forsaken us. He never forsakes His 
children, and we are God's children. It's only a tem- 

201 



"ALL THINGS WELL" 205 

porary cloud that is passing. The sky may not clear 
while I live, but all will be right hereafter, if not now. 
Don't, dear Sam, ever doubt God's goodness. What- 
ever He does is right. He doeth all things well. It 
is not for us poor mortals to criticize God's doing." 
The sublime faith of this pious old woman influ- 
enced for good all who knew her. 



CHAPTER XXXVin 

The Red Life-Blood Spueted Out 

AT the announcement of Richard Baxter's 
death, the courtroom was immediately in an 
uproar. James Cook, the witness who swore 
that he saw Richard writing the satisfaction, turned 
deathly pale and said to John Canfield, beside whom 
he sat : "My God, what have you made me do, curse 
you !" and fell on the floor in a fit. 

Everybody crowded around the prisoner. 

"Well," said one, "Dick Baxter, poor devil, is well 
out of it, for he would have gotten ten years at least ; 
but I don't believe that he is any more guilty than 
I am." 

"Then you do not believe the evidence," replied his 
friend. 

"No, I do not. It's all a conspiracy between — ^well, 
I'm not going to get myself involved in a libel suit by 
mentioning names, but I think that you can guess. I 
will say, however, that it is my opinion that if these 
men had their deserts they would be serving time in 
the State's prison at Concord." 

"Order! order!" cried the judge, pounding on the 
desk with his cane. "Sheriff, you must keep order. 
Sit down, everybody. Is there a doctor in the court- 
room.'"' 

Dr. Small had already pushed through the crowd 
2oa 



THE RED BLOOD 207 

to Richard Baxter, opened his vest, placed an ear to 
his heart, and announced: 

"The man is not dead, but he soon will be, unless 
you stand back and give him air." 

The sheriff forced back the crowd. The doctor 
pushed up the sleeve on Richard's left arm, sprung his 
lancet into the flesh, and the red life-blood spurted 
out. The judge directed the crier to adjourn court, 
which he did in the usual manner of "Hear ye, hear 
ye," etc. 

With the assistance of his deputies, the sheriff car- 
ried Richard to the jail, and placed him in a bed in 
one of the family rooms, not in a cell. BeUeving in 
his innocence, he desired to keep him from feeling the 
horror of his position as much as possible. 

That Richard was critically ill there could be no 
question. The doctor predicted brain fever, which 
fuUy developed the next day. The sheriff's wife was 
away from home, and the sheriff sent for Mrs. Miles, 
who came at once and took full charge, as she was 
abundantly capable of doing. 

Mrs. Miles was very fond of Richard. He was her 
beau ideal of a true man; but the love of Mary for 
him greatly distressed her. She would have hailed 
with delight Richard Baxter as a son-in-law had she 
not realized the incongruity of such a match. He 
was only a briefless lawyer with no future prospects, 
before this miserable business. Though she believed 
him innocent, she had seen so much of the injustice of 
the world that she had no hopes for his relief. She 
was anxious to know to what extent Richard and Mary 



208 RICHARD BAXTER 

were entangled, knowing Mary well enough to be 
quite sure that this unfortunate affair would make her 
chng closer to him. The only hope was that Richard 
did not love her daughter. 

In his ravings, at the height of his fever, he seldom 
spoke of Mary, except as his dear sister, and never in 
a manner that would have attracted attention or made 
gossip, had the whole town heard it. This was espe- 
cially gratifying to Mrs. Miles. In his convalescence 
he frequently asked about Mary, how she was getting 
along, when she would come back, and other very nat- 
ural questions. 

Mrs. Miles told him that she had written Mary, 
giving to her all the particulars of the case, his sick- 
ness, etc., and he was highly gratified when she told 
him that Mary said she knew that it was simply im- 
possible for him to have committed the crime. 



CHAPTER XXXrX 

An Appeal fob. Justice 

WHEN Richard Baxter had sufficiently re- 
covered his health he was brought into court 
and sentenced to ten years hard labor in 
the State prison. The judge was abusive, saying 
that the prisoner had disgraced everyone connected 
with the legal profession. 

The sheriff, who had never thought Richard guilty, 
was an old friend of the warden of the State prison, 
and when he delivered him had a long private confer- 
ence, during which he told the story of Richard's life, 
and especially all the details of the trial. He begged 
the warden to delay putting the prisoner in stripes as 
long as he possibly could, assuring him that he be- 
lieved that some day Richard Baxter would be fully 
vindicated, and that he hoped to have the pleasure of 
bringing to the prison some of the rascals who had 
been instrumental in putting him there. He also re- 
quested the warden to give Richard employment be- 
fitting his station. 

The warden asked the sheriff, "To what extent can 
I place confidence in this man ?" 

The sheriff replied, "You can trust Richard 
Baxter with your fortune, your honor, and your 
Hfe." 

"Well, if that's the kind of man he is, I have a 



210 RICHARD BAXTER 

place for him, and it will be a long time before I can 
find a prison suit that will fit him." 

The sheriff returned home well pleased that he had 
been able to do so much for Richard. 

We have naught to do with his prison life. Suffice 
it to say that he was placed at pleasant employment 
in the prison office, never locked in a cell, and was a 
prisoner of honor, who could at any time have escaped. 
Being bound by his honor, it never occurred to him to 
run away. After he had been at the prison about a 
month and fully recovered his health, with the ap- 
proval and at the suggestion of the warden he wrote 
the following letter to His Excellency the Governor : 

"To His Excellency, 
"Henry Harvey, 

"Governor State of New Hampshire. 

"Sir:- — You cannot have forgotten your old class- 
mate and life-long friend, the late Abraham Baxter, 
Esq., of Mendon. I am his son. I speak of the 
above simply to tell you who I am, and that the crim- 
inal who addresses you, if I am a criminal, is not so by 
heredity. I do not ask any favor on account of being 
the son of my father. I have carefully prepared, and 
take the liberty to transmit herewith, a detailed state- 
ment of my case, duly attested, to which I beg your 
careful attention. 

"If, after examination, you deem that I am en- 
titled to executive clemency, will you grant it in the 
form of an order for a new trial ? 

"7 do not wish a pardon for a crime that I never 



AN APPEAL FOR JUSTICE 211 

committed, but ask a vindication, if I can prove my- 
self worthy. 

"Respectfully, 

"RiCHAED BaXTEK." 

To which the warden appended a very strong en- 
dorsement. 



CHAPTER XL 

The Cachet 

SOON after Mrs. Miles came to Mendon, she pur- 
chased the cottage mentioned earlier in these 
pages, on which she had from time to time made 
payments, leaving a balance of two hundred dollars, 
secured by mortgage. 

John Manning had again come into the matrimo- 
nial market and was looking for an investment. He 
no longer sought a good butter-maker, but, esteeming 
himself a gentleman, was looking for a lady. He had 
never made the acquaintance of Mary Miles, though 
he had often seen her and was attracted by her attrac- 
tiveness, as were all who saw her. He accidentally 
heard of this little mortgage of the Widow Miles, and 
thought that possibly it might in some way be useful 
to him. He persuaded the mortgagee, for a small 
premium, to sell him the mortgage, although he had 
promised Mrs. Miles not to part with it, without giv- 
ing her notice. 

Quite a number of years prior to the opening of 
our story the late Daniel Manning purchased, at a low 
price, several thousand acres of wild land in Pennsyl- 
vania. This, John Manning had never seen and knew 
nothing of its worth. He had heard that it was near 
where coal had been discovered. For two or three 
years he had been thinking of going to examine it. 

212 



THE CACHET 213 

This, however, involved a horseback ride of several 
weeks' duration. He did not wish to go alone, and 
could get no companion, unless at his expense, so he 
decided to make the journey alone. Arrangements 
had to be made for an extended absence. He had a 
very good man who would care for the outside work of 
the farm, but it was difficult to provide for the house- 
keeping. The house must be kept open, as the farm 
help lived there. The only women available were the 
ignorant Canucks, and they were incompetent to take 
charge. A brilliant idea occurred to him. He ex- 
pressed it in these words : 

"Widow Miles is the man for me." 

He went to town that afternoon and called at Mrs. 
Miles' cottage. He had never met her before, but 
recognized a lady at once, and was unusually cour- 
teous. Notwithstanding her humble surroundings, he 
somehow felt in her presence that his arrogant man- 
ners would be entirely out of place. There was that 
in the mother which had attracted him in the daugh- 
ter. Stating the object of his visit, he ended with 
offering double the amount that he had thought of 
paying. She told him frankly that she was not very 
favorably inclined toward acceptance, but would take 
it into consideration and give him her decision 
after hearing from her daughter, whom she 
desired to consult, and to whom she would at once 
write. 

John Manning congratulated himself on having 
made a good move. If successful, it would result in 
getting Mary Miles into his house, and his egotism 



214 RICHARD BAXTER 

assured him that if once there she would stay. But it 
was a case of man proposes and woman disposes. 

When Mary received her mother's letter, she was 
indignant, yes, furious, angered by the recollection of 
John Manning's insolent stares and his persecution 
of Richard, her Richard. If the telegraph had then 
been invented, even electricity would have been too 
slow to transmit her indignant "no." She could not 
answer at once, as her aunt required her attention ; be- 
sides, there was no mail until the morrow. After con- 
sideration she changed her mind, thinking that per- 
haps she might find in the Manning house evidence 
that would prove Richard's innocence. "John Man- 
ning, ah, yes, John Manning! 'Whom the gods 
would destroy they first make' — fools of. Yes, John 
Manning, I'll go to your house, but not until after 
you have left it." She wrote her mother, simply ad- 
vising the acceptance of the offer. 

When John Manning again called, Mrs. Miles 
agreed to his proposition, if he would employ Alexis 
as a hired man, not wishing to go to the farm with 
strangers. He said: 

"I hope to have the pleasure of seeing your daugh- 
ter at the house before I leave." 

This she wrote to Mary, and in reply, received the 
following: 

"Dear Mother: — ^Write me when John Manning 

has started, and I will come two days after I receive 

your letter. 

"Affectionately, 

"Maet." 



THE CACHET 215 

The morning after Mrs. Miles was settled as house- 
keeper for John Manning, he mounted his horse and 
started on his long journey; of which fact she imme- 
diately wrote Mary. Great was her surprise in the 
evening to hear the sound of horses' feet in the yard, 
and John Manning calling for a man to care for his 
horse. He came in at once, excused his return by 
saying that he had neglected to take some important 
papers, and that he would make another start in the 
morning. He asked Mrs. Miles if her daughter had 
gone to bed so early, and was very much surprised to 
learn that she was not expected for several days. He 
had been only as far as Mendon, and hearing there 
that Mary had returned, concluded to spend the day 
at Mendon and at nightfall to return home. He went 
to bed very much disappointed and took an early start 
next morning, as he could not wait longer. 

Mary arrived as planned, and found her mother 
installed as the mistress of the Manning farmhouse. 
She was very much gratified at having escaped the 
meeting with John Manning, whom she despised and 
had the same desire to avoid that she had any loath- 
some object. Had it not been for the sake of Richard 
Baxter, her Richard, she never would have entered 
the Manning house. She hoped to find in that old 
house evidence that would free and restore to his place 
in society and clear up the character of Richard Bax- 
ter, her Richard, always her Richard. She did not 
stop to analyze her title. Was her sentiment infatua- 
tion? No, it was life. 

She had not forgotten the old maxim that no crim- 



216 RICHARD BAXTER 

inal ever entirely destroyed the evidence against him, 
and at once began her search. In those days every 
house had its secret hiding-place for valuable papers 
and property. Some secret drawer in a bookcase, or 
false bottom to a chest, obscure panel in the wall, or 
some other "cachet" known only to the heads of the 
family. She searched the house from the bottom of 
the cellar to the top of the garret, but without suc- 
cess; she told her mother for what she was looking, 
but received no encouragement. Mrs. Miles was a 
conscientious woman and did not think it right, and 
she told Mary that whatever was done must be without 
her assistance or even knowledge, for if she were to 
help in such search it would be a breach of trust; she 
did not feel quite sure that it was right to permit 
Mary to stay at the Manning farm, under the cir- 
cumstances. However, before she had settled with 
her conscience as to what course to pursue, Mary had 
reached a point where conscience was troubling her. 
Mrs. Miles was afflicted with what most men hold as 
a very bad habit, that of house-cleaning. She was 
not to blame in this instance, for the old house had 
not been cleaned during the long sickness of Mrs. 
Manning, and it was far beyond being dirty; it was 
filthy. She went at the job systematically, beginning 
at the garret and working down. At last reaching 
John Manning's room, she hesitated about meddling 
with that, but after looking it over carefully con- 
cluded that everything could be returned to place, so 
that if he did not miss the dirt he would not know that 
anything had been disturbed. With the help of 



THE CACHET 217 

Alexis she carried out every movable piece of furni- 
ture, took down the bedstead, and removed the rag 
carpet. The room was cleaned and the floor mopped. 

Mrs. Miles did not notice a trap-door in the floor, 
but the sharp eyes of Mary saw it and she was quite 
sure that here was the secret hiding-place, but said 
nothing. A sick, headache compelled her mother to 
go to bed, leaving Mary to put things to rights. This 
gave her the desired opportunity to investigate the 
trap in the floor. Stopping a moment to think, her 
conscience began to work. It seemed to say : 

"Mary Miles, Mary MUes, you are deceiving your 
mother. You know that you are doing wrong." 

"Couldn't help it if I would. It is for Richard, my 
Richard." 

Then closing the door, she put up the bar, and feel- 
ing safe from interruption, knelt down by the trap in 
the floor and tried to raise it, but could not. It 
seemed swollen from the mopping. Sadly disap- 
pointed, she sat down on the floor and had a real good 
cry, which relieved her. Ashamed of her weakness, 
she arose and searched the room for some tool with 
which to force the swollen door, and found on the 
mantel a bed wrench. With this she again tried, but 
failed. Was it a question of strength? Should she 
call Alexis.'' He would do anything that she asked. 
No, the task must be accomplished alone. She wanted 
no partner, either in the kno\^ledge that might be ob- 
tained, or in the wrong-doing. 

After further examination she concluded that there 
was something beyond the swelling of the boards that 



218 



RICHARD BAXTER 




THE CACHET 219 

prevented the opening of the trap-door, and began a 
careful search for some hidden spring. Standing on 
the hearth, leaning against the mantel, she felt under 
her foot a loose brick. This she lifted from its place 
and found beneath an iron rod, with a loop handle. 
She pulled on the handle ; the rod did not move easily, 
but using the bed wrench for a lever, she pulled it 
back about two inches. Lifting the floor, she found 
beneath, the heavy plank which has been described in 
a previous chapter. This she removed. In the vault 
below was the tin trunk in which John Manning kept 
his deeds, mortgages, and other valuable papers. This 
was securely locked, and she did not dare to break it 
open. Burglary was a new business for her. There 
were also some tea and tablespoons, marked D. M., an 
old silver watch and a silver tankard, some quaint old 
jewelry and a locket in which was a braid of black 
and brown hair. These things did not interest her, 
but what did were some old account-books. She sat 
down on the floor and began their inspection, looking 
through several, but finding nothing of interest. In 
the last one there was, about midway of the book, that 
which paid her for all her trouble. It was the account 
between Daniel Manning and Eben Drisco. Return- 
ing everything but this account-book, she replaced the 
heavy oak plank and the trap in the floor, pushed the 
bolt, then put back the brick in the hearth. She said 
to herself: 

"Richard Baxter was right, honest, and true. I 
knew it. I did not need this evidence. Daniel Man- 
ning was a thief, and his son John is a rascal. But 



220 RICHARD BAXTER 

what am I to do with this book? Why am I not a 
thief? Is it right to do wrong that good may come 
of it? But, oh, it is for Richard Baxter's sake — my 
Richard! Thief or no thief, I must keep it." She 
took it to her room and hid it. 



CHAPTER XLI 
Eben Dkisco's Ghost 

MARY MILES had been at Manning's Cor- 
ners but a day or two when she went over to 
see Aunt Nancy Bond. Aunt Nancy lived 
alone and was always glad to have her friends run in. 
Their visits were infrequent, as neighbors were few 
and far between. Aunt Nancy came to the door, 
knitting in hand, and was much pleased to see Mary. 
Mary had a purpose in making the call, for she had 
heard Aunt Nancy say that she had known the Man- 
nings all her life, and had been very intimate at 
Manning's Corners, until the death of Mrs. Manning. 
Aunt Nancy liked to talk almost as well as she liked 
to knit. Mary was naturally a good listener, and 
now especially so, as she was listening for a very 
important purpose. She ran over every day, and in- 
gratiated herself more fuUy by asking Aunt Nancy 
to teach her to knit. Day after day Aunt Nancy 
knit stockings with her fingers and spun yarns with 
her lips, on the (to Mary) very interesting topic, the 
daily life of the Mannings. In her garrulity she un- 
intentionally told many family secrets, but as soon as 
she realized it, would say, "Now, dearie, ye won't tell 
thet, wiU ye? I shouldn't orter hev mentioned it." 
One day she said: 

"Mis' Mannin' an' me was proper intimate. She 



222 RICHARD BAXTER 

was over here er me over thar mos' ev'ry day, so thet 
'twas naterel thet when thar was trouble thet we should 
be together whar the trouble was. 

"The deacon was tuk sick, an' moped roun' the 
house a few days, an' then tuk to 'is bed, an' he never 
riz ag'in. Mis' Mannin' she'd watch with 'im one 
night, an' the nex' I'd take a turn. Sometimes some 
of the neighbors from the Great Road 'ud come over 
an' spell us. The ole deacon he hung along all win- 
ter. He didn't seem to want to let go o' airthly 
things, though he was a perfessed, an' a deacon asides. 
He seemed kinder 'fraid like to cross the river, as Par- 
son Snodgrass calls it. I knowed thar was suthin' on 
'is min' thet troubled 'im 'bout the Driscos. I heerd 
'im say many a time when he was asleep er dreamin', 
'Eben Drisco, ye needn't ha'nt me so. I tell ye I'll 
make it all right, all right.' 

"Wall, dearie, the night the ole deacon died, he'd 
ben orful wild all day, ter'ble restless, an' alius callin' 
on Eben Drisco to let 'im die in peace. Mis' Mannin' 
an' me hed ben at 'is bedside the hull time fer two 
days an' nights, an' she'd gone to lay down in the 
bedroom, to git a leetle rest, poor soul, fer she warn't 
very strong. I tuk my knittin' an' sot down by the 
side of the bed. I reckon 'twan't more'n two minnits 
afore I dropped off, fer I was clean tired out, an' 
nater would hev its way. When I woke I heerd talkin'. 
'Twas the deacon, an' his voice was strong an' clear. 

"I kep' parfectly quiet, with my eyes shet. The 
deacon said, 'John, is anybody in the room?' An' 
John he answered: 'Nobody but Aunt Nancy, an' 



EBEN DRISCO'S GHOST 223 

she's asleep.' 'Are ye sure, John?' axed the deacon. 
John answered, 'Yes, father, she's soun' asleep. She's 
stopped knittin'.' 'Now, John, I've suthin' to tell ye» 
an' ye mus' do jest as I tell ye. Will ye promise, 
John.'" He answered right prompt and quick, 'Yes, 
father, I'U do jest as ye say.' 'Wall, John, listen, 
fer I can't talk long. I've gin ev'rything to you, 
John, an' thar's a good bit on it, too, but ye mus' 
promise to take good care of yer ole mother. Will ye 
do it?' 'Yes, father, I'll take good care o' mother.' 
'An' don't ye be in a hurry to git raarri'd an' fetch 
some giddy young gal here to boss yer ole mother 
'round.' 'No, I won't, father.' 'Now, John, thar's 
suthin' else thet troubles me more'n all the rest, an' I 
dassent go to meet it. It's Eben Drisco's ghost. 
He's a-stan'in' thar at the foot o' the bed now. Don't 
ye see 'im? Don't ye hear 'im? He's a-sayin', "Res- 
titution, Deacon Mannin'. Restitution to the las' 
sixpence." ' 

"The deacon's head fell back on the piller mos' 
clean gone. I thought thet he was dead, but John 
gin him a few spoonfuls o' rum out of a glass on the 
stand, an' the deacon come to, an' begun to talk again. 

" 'Listen to me, John, fer this is the las' chance, an' 
ef I go without makin' restitution, I'll go straight to 
hell, an' be ferever damned. Hear me, John. In 1818 I 
lent Eben Drisco two thousan' dollars, an' tuk a note 
an' mortgage on his farm. He lost the money, er his 
partner stole it. He alius paid the interes' putty 
good, an' in the fore part o' March, 1828, he tole me 
one day thet on the 17th he'd be ready to take up the 



224- RICHARD BAXTER 

note an' pay ofF the mortgage, an' I agreed to meet 
'im at Squire Baxter's office at three o'clock in the 
arternoon, an' bring the note an' the mortgage with 
me. All thet mornin' thar was somebody roun' the 
house, so thet I couldn't git at the vault under the 
bed without bein' seen, so I went to town without the 
note an' mortgage. Eben Drisco was a-waitin' fer 
me, an' I tole 'im I hedn't got the papers, an' he 
axed Squire Baxter, "What am I a-goin' to do? I 
went over yistiddy an' got the money from the savin's 
bank at Wellin'ton, an' I didn't sleep las' night fer 
the worry an' watchin' it, an' I don't want it 'nuther 
night." Squire Baxter said thet Drisco could pay the 
money to me an' take a sat'sfaction piece, an' as long 
as Drisco hed thet the note an' mortgage wasn't wuth 
nuthin' an' I could give 'im the note an' mortgage 
arterwards. Thet was how 'twas settled. He paid 
me two thousan' dollars, an' the interes' an' I gin 'im 
the sat'sfaction, an' Squire Baxter was witness. 

" 'Thet night on 'is way hum Eben Drisco was 
killed, an' I never heerd of the sat'sfaction. I went 
the nex' day over an' put the money in the Wellin'ton 
Savings Bank, an' thar 'tis now. Ben a-layin' thar 
more nor ten year. I never dast to tech it. 'Bout a 
week arter Eben Drisco's death Squire Baxter hed a 
shock an' he died. Not hearin' anything of the sat- 
'sfaction, the devil tempted me an' I hain't ben happy 
sence. When the fust o' Januwary come 'round I no- 
tified the Driscos thet the interest on the mortgage 
was due, an' Sam tole me he s'posed the mortgage was 
paid. He said his father tole his mother so the las' 



EBEN DRISCO'S GHOST 

words he said, when he lay a-dyin' by the roadside. 
I showed him the mortgage an' the note, an' tole him 
'twan't so. He said he couldn't pay it then, but paid 
it afore the fust o' June, an' he's paid it ever sence. 

" 'The money an' the interest is all in the bank at 
WeUin'ton, an' now, John, I want you to make resti- 
tution. Win ye do it.? Ye mus' do it. The money 
'U be a curse to ye, John. Besides, ye got 'nulF. 
Ye don't need it. John, put the Bible on the bed 
'side o' me ; an' now, John, lay yer hand on It. Now, 
sw'ar ye'll make restitution to them Driscos.' 'I 
sw'ar,' said John, an' I thought I heerd suthin' at the 
foot of the bed say in a hoarse voice, 'I sw'ar.' 

"Deacon Mannin' bed fell back on the piller, this 
time dead fer sartin. I hain't said nothin' 'bout this 
only once. I didn't dast to say nothin'. I was 'feard 
of John Mannin'. I knowed how ugly he was. Ye 
see, I've knowed him ever sence he was born. Two 
er three years went 'long an' I seed thar warn't goin' 
to be no restitution fer them poor Driscos, an' they 
was a-gettin' drefful poor, an' Mis' Drisco as good a 
woman as ever lived, an' Sam a good boy, an' my con- 
science troubled me, an' I thought I mus' say suthin' 
to somebody. 

"So one day Parson Whitin' came to see me, an' I 
tole him I bed a secret thet I couldn't carry no longer, 
an' tole him all 'bout it, jest as I've tole you. He 
never said nothin' all the time I was a-tellin' him, an' 
when I got through, he swung his chair 'round, an' 
lookin' me square in the eyes, jest as ef he thought 
he'd scare me, he said : 



226 RICHARD BAXTER 

" 'Sister Bond, ye must a ben a-dreamin'. Hev ye 
ever tole yer dream to anyone afore this ?' I said no. 
He said, 'Sister Bond, don't ye ever tell it ag'in. Sich 
dreams makes trouble sometimes. Don't ye know thet 
Dan' el Mannin' was the corner-stun of the society an' 
his son John one of our pillers, an' gives more to 
s'port the meetin' than anybody else? Sich talk, Sis- 
ter Bond, is wuss nor heresy. An' ag'in, s'pose ye 
warn't a-dreamin'. What does a poor ole critter like 
you know 'bout the doin's of the Lord, an' s'pose the 
good God sees fit to punish them air Driscos fer some 
sin of their n, er suthin' thet their fathers done, what 
business hev you to interfere?' 

"He got down on his knees, an' he said: 'Let us 
pray.' He needn't a said us, fer I didn't pray. I 
sot right thar in my chair, an' I never knit so fast in 
all my life. He tole the Lord a good deal thet warn't 
so. Near's I kin recollec' he said: 'Oh, Lord, look 
down on this sinful ole critter, who the devil hes sot up 
to slander good people dead an' alive.' He went on a 
lot more, an' I jest got up, an' kinder tip-toed out 
into the kitchen to git supper. Ye see. Parson 
Whitin' was so deaf he didn't hear me go. I dunno 
how long he prayed. He sneaked out of the front 
door, an' I didn't see no more on 'im. 

"I jest felt thet I didn't want to be a Christian no 
more, leastways thet kind of a Christian." 



CHAPTER XLII 
Oni.y Six Fbibnss 

GOVERNOR HARVEY granted Richard Bax- 
ter's application for a new trial and his stay 
at the prison was short, but long enough to 
gain the friendship and confidence of the warden. 

Si Slocum again became Richard's bondsman, in 
the same manner as before, and he went back to 
Mendon. 

He found on his return that he had but six friends 
who stood the test of his misfortunes. They were 
Mary Miles, Sam Drisco (broken-hearted Sam, for he 
seemed to feel that he was responsible for Richard's 
misfortunes). Next came Si Slocum, justice of the 
peace and horse jockey; Jason Wetherbee, the clerk 
of the court and county clerk; Adam GetcheU, the 
sheriff, and last but not least in true friendship was 
Caesar Alexander, with as many other names as the 
time and patience of the listener would allow. These 
friends were all deeply interested in establishing the 
innocence of Richard Baxter, and all earnestly search- 
ing for evidence. 

One day when Richard and Si Slocum were discuss- 
ing the great question, Caesar was quietly listening. 
All at once he burst out with : 

"W'y, boss, dis niggah knows all 'bout dat. Ole 
Caesar sot right dar w'en Massa Drisco he pay dat 



228 RICHARD BAXTER 

money to Massa Manning, an' Massa Manning he 
done go an' gib Massa Drisco dat satisfaction." 
Cassar went on and told all the details of the transac- 
tion, establishing the date by the fact that he cut his 
foot that morning with an axe. He also remembered 
that it was St. Patrick's Day, because he met Pat 
Maloney drunk at the foot of the stairs. 

Squire Slocum and Richard questioned old Cassar 
for an hour, and wrote down his testimony, which 
fully established the payment of the money by Eben 
Drisco to Deacon Daniel Manning. Then Richard 
put it in the form of an affidavit, to which Caesar ap- 
pended his mark, and made oath. 

It was decided by Richard and his friends that they 
would take no more risk of conviction by default. 
Aaron Richards, of Concord, a criminal lawyer of 
great ability, was retained, and here again Si Slocum 
showed his friendship and his money. 

Lawyer Richards came up to Mendon to have a con- 
sultation with the junta, as Si Slocum called Richard's 
six friends. At this conference the whole ground was 
gone over with great care. Mary Miles told of hav- 
ing in her possession the old account-book of Daniel 
Manning, and how much her conscience troubled her 
and asked what she ought to do about it. 

"We must produce it, of course. Everything is 
fair in love and law," said Lawyer Richards, slightly 
changing an old saying, and asked, "How did you 
get that book, Miss Miles.?" 

"Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies," she 
pertly replied. 



ONLY SIX FRIENDS 229 

"It is very valuable to us, and they cannot probably 
deny its authenticity; neither can they compel us to 
tell where we got it." 

It was also decided that the testimony of Aunt 
Nancy must be procured if possible. From Mary 
Miles' description of Aunt Nancy, Lawyer Richards 
said it would never do to put her on the witness-stand, 
as she would most likely go all to pieces on cross- 
examination. 

"You must persuade her to make an affidavit, Miss 
Miles. Clerk Wetherbee can go out and take it, and 
I'll run my chance of getting it before the jury, al- 
though it is quite possible that the judge will rule it 
out. I would if I were on the bench." 

CsBsar told his story, much to the amusement and 
satisfaction of Lawyer Richards, who said, "You're a 
good one." 

"Yis sah, yis sah, dis niggah knows dat. Ya, ha, 
ha! Ya, ha, ha!" 

Mary did not find it an easy task to persuade Aunt 
Nancy to make an affidavit. She "didn't know 
nuthin' 'bout affydavits, an' was s'picious on 'em." 
It took several interviews to get her consent, and it 
was not until Mary had told all about her love for 
Richard Baxter that she yielded. 

Aunt Nancy, Hke all the world, dearly loved a lover. 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

Paeson Snobgkass Races 

WE have had no desire to neglect our friend 
Si Slocum, justice of the peace; but while 
he has for the time being been crowded out 
of our story, he has been taking his share in passing 
events, as will be seen. 

His election to the honorable, and in that com- 
munity, somewhat distinguished position, was aston- 
ishing; but his manner of administering the duties of 
his office was dumbfounding the "good people" who 
had never heretofore even recognized his existence. 
They began saying as they met, "Good-morning, Mr. 
Slocum." 

Old Parson Snodgrass at first nodded to him, and 
aftier a few days, extended his hand for a friendly 
shake. 

"Humph" said Si Slocum to himself. "Thet's only 
a preliminary move toward gittin' a hand in my 
pocket fer a contribution towards the s'port of the 
meetin'-house." 

The intimacy between the parson and the squire 
grew apace, for there was a bond of sympathy be- 
tween them. They both loved the horse, and knew all 
the fine points of a good animal. The old min- 
ister had been an itinerant in his younger days, and, if 
the truth were told, the principal part of his salary 

230 



PARSON SNODGRASS RACES 231 

came from his horse trades. As has been said, he 
dearly loved a good horse, and more than once Si 
Slocum had seen him watching with much interest as 
he sped by up the pike. The only rides that the old 
parson had nowadays were with some farmer at a 
plowing gait. 

As the parson and the squire became better ac- 
quainted. Si said to himself one day, "Wonder ef the 
ole man 'ud risk his character in a ride with me? 
Good mind to ax him. I swum, ef he's around to- 
morrow I will ax him." The next day he did ask the 
parson to take a little ride, "jest to obsarve the move- 
ment of the leetle critter thet I'm a-breakin' to 
harness." 

The parson could not go that morning, but said 
that he would go the next. 

That night there came to the tavern, driving a 
pretty good-looking horse, one of those, as Si ex- 
pressed it, "previous fellers." He strutted around 
and talked loud, had a chip on his shoulder, so to 
speak, and bragged that he had the fastest animal in 
the "keounty, and I've got money to sustain my 
opinion." 

Si knew that he was driving at him, but kept quiet 
for a while ; then approaching the stranger, said : 

"Mister, I've got twenty-five dollars thet I'll lay on 
a leetle mare thet I hev in the barn, fer a mile spurt, 
ag'in your boss. Time, to-morrow mornin' at nine 
o'clock. Place, up the pike." 

"Well," replied the stranger, "I'll see you in the 
morning." 



RICHARD BAXTER 

"Beg pardon, Mister, but we don't do biz thet way. 
'Round here it's put up er shet up, an' that gentle- 
man," pointing to the landlord, "is our banker, an' 
here's my twenty-five dollars," handing the money to 
the landlord. 

Without more ado the stranger drew his wallet and 
covered the stakes. 

It was cool, and a strong wind was blowing as they 
drove out of the yard the next morning. When the 
squire reached the parsonage, he held up, waiting for 
the parson, who was coming out of the gate. 

The parson was an old man, at least eighty years. 
He looked as if he might be a hundred. He had on a 
long, straight-bodied, clerical-cut coat, much affected 
by ministers in those days. On his Roman nose was 
a pair of horn spectacles, .which gave his smooth- 
shaven face an owlish look. His white hair, which 
was thick and bushy, was very long, reaching quite 
down his back. On his head he wore a drab wool hat. 

Seeing the other horse coming around the corner, 
he suspected that there might be a "brush on foot" 
and hesitated about getting in, remarking, "Don't 
know. Squire, about the propriety." 

"It's all right. Parson, jump in." 

The parson got in, muttering to himself, "Just this 
once." 

The two teams trotted along side by side until they 
reached the pike well out of sight of the village, when 
the horses, as if by instinct, began to put in their 
paces and stretched out for a good spurt. The par- 
son braced his feet against the dasher, and reaching 




PARSON SNODGRASS RACES. 



PARSON SNODGRASS RACES 

over behind Si, held on to the seat firmly with his right 
hand, and with his left clutched his hat. The stran- 
ger came alongside and appeared to be gaining a lit- 
tle. The parson became excited, and getting uneasy, 
said, "Say, Squire, can't you let her out a little.'"' 

"Git, Nelhe," said the squire. Nellie made a jump, 
and off went the parson's hat, his long white hair 
streaming out like the tail of a comet. "Never mind 
the hat," he quickly said, and another "Git, Nellie," 
from the squire left the stranger two lengths in the 
rear, as they passed the guide-board. 

"Hurrah! Hurrah!" shouted the parson, as he 
slapped the squire on the back. 

As the stranger drove up he said, "The money's 
yours. Squire Slocum. You've won it fairly." 

Then the parson realized that he had been part of 
a horse race, and turning to Si said, "I think I'll walk 
back. Squire," to which Si responded, "All right. I'll 
come to meetin' Sunday," and smiled one of his genial 
smiles, which attracted the attention of a man who 
was hoeing corn on the other side of a five-acre lot. 

Squire Slocum went to church on Sunday, and Par- 
son Snodgrass found a five-dollar bill in the contri- 
bution. 



CHAPTER XLIV 

"God Help You! God Bless You ! " 

ON the evening before the new trial, the 
weather was very cold and it rained heavily. 
Richard Baxter sat alone in his office, which 
was lighted only by a tallow dip. The storm seemed 
mournful and discouraging. He had, as he sat there, 
been carefully going over the details of his defense, 
to make sure that there was not a broken or a weak 
link in the chain. He well knew that beyond the de- 
sire of the district attorney to win the case and send 
him back to prison, he was actuated by a personal 
hatred, the malignity of which was unaccountable. 
As he sat here thinking he said to himself: 

"What have I ever done that Ben Thurston should 
hate me.'' We were boys at school together, and jolly 
good companions. We were classmates in college; 
our rivalry was always friendly and that friendship 
continued until he went into partnership with John 
Canfield. Is it possible that Canfield could have in- 
fluenced him against me? And if he has, why should 
he have done it.'' I cannot understand it. Well, of 
one thing I am certain, they are both my enemies and 
will injure me if they can." 

While Richard was ignorant of the cause of Ben 
Thurston's hatred, there was one person who couH, 
had she chosen, have given a full explanation. 



«GOD BLESS YOU" 235 

Soon after Mary Miles came to Mendon, Ben 
Thurston made her acquaintance and that acquain- 
tance, on his part, rapidly ripened into love, which 
was not reciprocated. He was an ardent, impetuous 
lover and abruptly declared his love at an inoppor- 
tune time, meeting with a deserved rebuff from Mary. 
The time and circumstances attending the declaration 
were such as to make her feel that the episode was an 
insult, and she refused him in terms that not only 
mortified but angered him, and he retorted in words 
that she could not forgive nor forget. This incident 
closed not only their friendship but their acquaintance. 

Richard knew nothing of this. 

As he was putting his papers in order, being about 
to leave the office for the night, he heard the hoof- 
beats of a galloping horse, followed by "Whoa!" 
Immediately there were rapid footsteps on the stair- 
case and the door to his office was suddenly opened by 
a man, soaked from head to foot with rain, and be- 
spattered with mud. 

"Are you Richard Baxter?" he asked. 

"I am." 

"The bridge at Sunny Creek was washed away to- 
day, the stage drove off the bank and upset, and Mr. 
Aaron Richards was almost drowned. They pulled 
him out, with one leg broken and his head jammed. 
As soon as his leg was set he sent me to tell you that 
he couldn't come to-morrow." The man left almost 
as suddenly as he came, remarking that he must go 
to the tavern to dry his clothes and get something 
warm. 



236 RICHARD BAXTER 

Richard blew out the candle and sat down. Its 
feeble rays were a mockery. He could not see even a 
glimmer of light in his future. His hopes of an ac- 
quittal had been raised high by the encouragement 
he had received from his attorney. What should he 
do.'' What could he do? He knew that he was now 
at the mercy of his enemies, with no help in sight. 

After a while he arose suddenly and without waiting 
to lock his ofBce, went down the stairs, out into the 
road, having formed no intention of what to do or 
where to go; but wandering in the storm, which was 
now more furious than ever, before he realized it he 
was rapping at the door of Mrs. Miles' cottage, cry- 
ing, "Mary, Mary, I want to see you! I must see 
you!" 

Mary, from the window above, asked, "Is that you, 
Richard.'' What is the matter.'' I've gone to bed." 

"I must see you, Mary. I have bad news." 

"Wait, and I'll come down." 

Hurriedly dressing, she came down and opened the 
door. Richard staggered in and dropped heavily 
into a chair. 

"Tell me, Richard," anxiously asked Mary, "what 
is the matter. Are you hurt.'"' 

"No, I am not hurt, but I wish I were, to the death. 
All is lost." He then rapidly repeated the story that 
had been brought by the horseman. 

She sat down, buried her face in her hands and 
moaned, "All is lost, all is lost." Then suddenly 
springing to her feet, she exclaimed, "All is not lost. 
God is with you and you shall have your rights, Rich- 



"GOD BLESS YOU" 237 

ard. You depended upon your attorney. He had 
no interest in this case beyond that of a lawyer for his 
client. You are client and must be your own attor- 
ney. You have all the details and plans of the de- 
fense as decided upon by you and Mr. Richards. Go 
to the court to-morrow morning and defend yourself. 
You can do it. You must." 

Richard attempted to speak, but she stopped him 
with an imperious gesture, and said : 

"Go, Richard, go, and may God never spare me to 
look upon your face again unless you secure your 
acquittal. God help you! God bless you! Go!" 

He arose and left the cottage without saying a 
word. 

She closed the door, quickly put the bar in place, 
and falling upon her knees, with her face against the 
door and both hands grasping the bar, prayed the 
prayer of her life. 



CHAPTER XLV 

The New Teiai, 

THE next morning the courthouse was packed 
to its fullest capacity. John Canfield was 
to assist the district attorney, who knew that 
he was unable to cope with Aaron Richards, the ablest 
criminal lawyer in the State. 

It was expected to be difficult to secure an unpreju- 
diced jury, as the case had been the subject general 
since the petition for a new trial had been granted. 
After the disposition of a few motions made by attor- 
neys who were present for that purpose, the case of 
the Commonwealth against Richard Baxter was called. 
The accident to Aaron Richards was known to all. 
The judge made a few sympathetic remarks, and 
asked : 

"Who appears for the defense in place of Lawyer 
Richards?" 

Richard Baxter arose. Someone in speaking of the 
occurrence afterwards said: "Tall as Dick Baxter 
is, he appeared a foot taller than ever, and there was 
a look in his eyes that seemed to say, 'I defy you all.' " 
He bowed respectfully to the judge and said: 

"May it please Your Honor, I will appear for the 
defense." 

"I object!" shouted the district attorney. 

"On what ground.''" asked the judge. 

2S8 



THE NEW TRIAL 239 

"On the ground that he is a convicted felon and 
disbarred by the Constitution and laws of this State 
from practicing in any court thereof. I trust, Your 
Honor, that you are too familiar with the law to make 
it necessary for me to quote decisions on this point." 
With a triumphant glare toward Baxter, he sat down. 

The judge thought for a moment and then said: 
"I regret that I am compelled to sustain this objec- 
tion. The prisoner must select other counsel." 

Richard had remained standing, and without a 
change of attitude or feature. "Your Honor," he 
said, "I do not desire other counsel. I am well within 
my rights, as protected by the Constitution and the 
laws of the State of New Hampshire. Every accused 
has the right to appear in his own behalf." 

"You are right," replied the judge after a mo- 
ment's consideration; "you may appear in your own 
behalf." 

"I note an exception," said the district attorney. 

The judge said, "Now, attention will be given to 
the formation of the jury." 

"I arise. Your Honor," said the district attorney, 
"to call the attention of the court to the fact that the 
prisoner is not in the dock." 

"I know of no statute," remarked the court, "which 
provides for putting the prisoner in any special place 
in the courtroom. It is customary, I am well aware, 
to lock the prisoner in the dock. That is a precau- 
tionary measure by which the sheriff protects himself 
against the prisoner's escape; but as the sheriff is re- 
sponsible for the custody of the prisoner, he has the 



MO RICHARD BAXTER 

right to place him where he chooses, and I can see no 
objection, under the circumstances, to his taking his 
seat at the counsel-table." 

With bad grace the district attorney sat down, but 
being prompted by a whisper from Canfield, who sat 
by his side, he again arose, and addressing the court, 
said: 

"I regret, Your Honor, to appear captious, but 
there is another intruder within the bar. I refer to 
Si Slocum, the horse jockey." 

"Squire Slocum," responded the judge, "by virtue 
of the office he holds, is entitled to the courtesy of a 
seat within the bar. Now, Mr. District Attorney, we 
will proceed to draw the jury." 

During the drawing of the jury, Si Slocum was 
quite active in suggesting to Richard challenges, and 
must have been of great service from the fact of his 
personal knowledge of the opinions and prejudices of 
almost everybody in that locality. 

At last the jury was complete and the trial about 
to begin. A motion was made by the district attorney 
to postpone the trial on account of the absence of an 
important witness, John Manning ; but this was over- 
ruled on the agreement of the defense to admit his 
testimony as taken at the previous trial. 

"I desire, Your Honor," said Baxter, "before the 
opening of this case, to make a statement to be fol- 
lowed by a motion which is out of the usual order. 
We have present in court, in obedience to a subpoena, 
Jonathan Talcott, Esq., treasurer of the Savings 
Bank at Wellington. He has with him the receiving 



THE NEW TRIAL Ul 

and paying books of the bank, both of which were in 
use at the time of the claimed payment of the mort- 
gage which Eben Drisco gave to Daniel Manning. 
These books to which I refer are now in daily use at 
the bank, and no business can legally be done in their 
absence. Therefore, Your Honor, I would most re- 
spectfully ask that Mr. Talcott's evidence be now 
taken in such manner as Your Honor may direct." 

Up jumped the district attorney with, "I object, 
Your Honor." 

"On what ground?" 

"Your Honor, this is a violation of law, the law of 
custom, so long established that it cannot be set aside. 
There is no precedent for such a course." 

"The district attorney will hardly take the ground," 
said the judge, "that the court cannot entertain any 
motion that it chooses. The trial of the case of the 
Commonwealth versus Richard Baxter is temporarily 
suspended, and Jonathan Talcott will be sworn." 

Talcott produced exhibits A and B, the receiving 
and disbursing books of the Wellington Savings Bank, 
which showed that on the 16th of March, 1828, Eben 
Drisco drew from the bank two thousand dollars in 
gold, and that on the 18th day of March, 1828, 
Daniel Manning deposited two thousand dollars in 
gold. 

"That's all. Your Honor." 

The jury examined the books. The judge said 
that at the proper time the admission of the evidence 
would be considered. 

In the opening of the case the district attorney was 



RICHARD BAXTER 

simply ugly. One would have thought that not only 
was Richard Baxter the worst criminal who ever went 
unhanged, but that he had done the district attorney 
mortal injury. So vindictive was he that it aroused 
the sympathy of the jury for the prisoner. There 
was no new evidence offered on behalf of the prosecu- 
tion. 

Richard Baxter, in his opening for the defense, cre- 
ated a great sensation by the announcement of what 
he would prove. 

"Gentlemen of the jury, we will show how this sat- 
isfaction was found, by the evidence of the prisoner 
himself, and we will ask the prosecution why they have 
not called the perjurer who swore at the former trial 
that he saw the prisoner forge that document. We 
will place a witness on the stand who saw that satis- 
faction written by Abraham Baxter, the prisoner's 
father, and who also saw Deacon Daniel Manning sign 
and deliver the same to Eben Drisco. We will bring 
testimony to show why the mortgage and the note 
were not delivered to Eben Drisco, when he paid the 
amount due on the mortgage. We will produce and 
offer in evidence the account-book of Daniel Manning, 
in which are entered, in his own handwriting, the ac- 
count of the loan, every payment of interest, and the 
payment on March 7, 1828, of the principal and bal- 
ance of the interest. We will give you the last words 
of Eben Drisco to his wife, as he lay dying on the 
highway, on that same night, March 17, 1828, which 
were, 'Paid Manning.' We will relate a deathbed 
scene, wherein Daniel Manning confessed that he had 



THE NEW TRIAL 

defrauded the Driscos, admitted that he had received 
the payment of the mortgage, and made his son, John 
Manning, swear that he would make restitution to the 
Driscos. I predict, gentlemen of the jury, that when 
you have listened to this evidence you will acquit the 
prisoner, without leaving your seats." 

The crowd in the courtroom listened breathlessly 
to the opening of the defense, and a murmur of as- 
tonishment burst forth. The district attorney and 
John Canfield looked dumbfounded. 

"As the first witness for the defense I desire to be 
sworn and give my testimony in relation to the finding 
of the satisfaction." 

"I object," said Canfield. "I object. Your Honor, 
to the admission of the testimony of a convicted felon." 

The court overruled the objection, saying, "The 
jury will judge of the value of the evidence." 

Richard gave his testimony as to the finding of the 
satisfaction, which is well known to the reader. The 
cross-examination was by the district attorney, whose 
questions were framed for the evident purpose of in- 
sulting the prisoner, rather than with any expectation 
of weakening his testimony. This Richard endured 
until the murmurs in the courtroom and subdued cries 
of "shame" aroused his manhood. He arose quickly, 
bowed respectfully to the judge and quietly said: 

"Your Honor, there is a point beyond which en- 
durance ceases to be a virtue. That point has been 
reached." Then turning suddenly, he outstretched 
his right arm, pointed his index-finger at District- 
Attorney Thurston, and said in a defiant tone: "I 



344 RICHARD BAXTER 

will not submit longer to these insults. I warn you 
here and now, Mr. District Attorney, that if you 
continue them, I will hold you personally — ^and bodily 
— responsible." 

The words had scarcely been uttered when someone 
in the courtroom shouted: "Three cheers for Dick 
Baxter!" which were given with a will, the spectators 
rising. The district attorney paled and sat down. 
The sheriff shouted for order, and the disturbance 
ceased as quickly as it had arisen. The judge was 
furious and announced: 

"If there is another outrage on the dignity of the 
court, the room will be cleared of everyone not di- 
rectly connected with the case." 

Richard's threat of personal violence against the 
district attorney had its effect upon the coward, who 
had been shielding himself behind his official position ; 
and he did not again insult Richard during the re- 
mainder of the trial. 

The next witness was Csesar, who created much 
amusement in court. His testimony we give in full. 



CHAPTER XLVI 

CiESAB, Augustus Testifies 

« "W "^ T HAT is your name?" 

\/\ / "Cassar Augustus Alexander George 
T T Washington Benton." 

"All right. For short we will call you Caesar, 
as that is the name by which you are generally 
known." 

"Yah, boss, dat's all right." 

"Where were you born?" 

"Dunno. Can't say. Ain't quite sartin' 'bout 
dat, boss." 

"Well, it doesn't matter. How long have you lived 
in Mendon?" 

"Dat's nudder conundrum. Not sartin 'bout dat, 
boss. Long time. Dis niggah's wool was brack when 
he run into Mendon. I'se ole niggah, an' I t'ink 
de good Lawd mus' have done gone an' forgot ole 
Caesar." 

"Did you know Mr. Abraham Baxter?" 

"Yes, sah. Knowed him well. He was de bes' 
frien' dis niggah eber had." 

"When did you first become acquainted with Mr. 
Baxter?" 

" 'Twas one awful dark night, an' I had los' de 
norf star, an' I wandered into dis 'ere town, an' was 
tryin' to fin' Mistah Baxtah, kase he was one ob de 

216 



246 RICHARD BAXTER 

names an' dis de place dat de Abolitionist, Parson, 
May, gib me, an' Mistah Baxtah kep' de depot." 

"What depot?" 

"De depot ob de railroad." 

"Railroad? There is no railroad here. Explain." 

"De undergroun' railroad. Dat's de road I come 
on." 

"We understand. Did you work for Mr. Baxter?" 

"Yes, sah." 

"How long?" 

"I'se worked foh him till he died." 

"What did you do?" 

"W'y, boss, I can't jes' numerate. I milk, cut 
wood, an' do jes' what any lazy niggah would do." 

"Did you know Mr. Daniel Manning?" 

"Yes, sah." 

"Did you know Mr. Eben Drisco?" 

"Yes, sah. I seed 'em bof many times." 

"Where did you see those gentlemen?" 

"W'y, I seed 'em all ober." 

"Did you ever see them together in Mr. Baxter's 
office.?" 

"Yes, sah." 

"How many times did you see them together in Mr. 
Baxter's olBce?" 

"Nebber seed 'em bof dar at de same time, togedder, 
but only one time." 

"Can you tell me the year and month and day?" 

"No, Massa Richard, couldn't do dat, kase I ain't 
no almanac. I'se only a pore niggah. Don't know 
much nohow." 



C^SAR AUGUSTUS TESTIFIES 247 

"Can't you fix the date?" 

"No, boss, hain't got nuffin to fix it wif." 

"What happened to you about that time?" 

"I cut my foot wif de axe." 

"That same day?" 

"Yah, boss, dat same day." 

"Did you ever cut your foot with an axe but once ?" 

"No, sah. How big fool you t'ink dis niggah? 
Dis niggah no sich fool as dat. Only dis one time." 

"Well, tell us what you saw and heard in Mr. Bax- 
ter's oflSce." 

"Massa Baxtah, he say, 'Caesar, hab you ben 
a-foolin' wif dat clock?' 'No, sah, I hain't done gone 
touch dat clock.' 'Well,' Massa Baxtah say, 'dem 
gemmen's late.' Den fus' come Massa Manning, den 
come Massa Drisco. Massa Baxtah he go an' fetch 
some papahs from dat ole desk o' hissen, an' laid 'em 
on de table. Den he figger an' he figger long time, 
an' den Massa Baxtah he say, 'Dat's de sum,' an' 
Massa Manning he puts on his specs an' he figger an' 
he figger, an' he say, 'Dat, I s'pose, am c'rect'; an' 
den Massa Drisco he puts on his specs an' he figger 
an' he figger, an' den he say, 'Dat's all right'; 
an' den he pulls out his bladdah an' pour on 
de table sich a pile o' money as makes mah eyes 
shine, an' say to mahself, 'I wish dis niggah had 
dat gold.' Den Massa Drisco he say to Massa 
Manning, 'Count dat,' an' Massa Manning he 
counted an' say, 'Two t'ousan' dollahs,' an' Massa 
Drisco he pull de eel skin out ob his pocket an' turn 
some money on de table, den he say, 'Massa Manning, 



248 RICHARD BAXTER 

dar's de int'res' an' now I wants dat satisfaction.' He 
spoke rough. He nebber talk quiet like, an' when I 
hears satisfaction, I 'spected a fight, kase I'd seen 
gemmen down souf say dat dey want satisfaction, an' 
den go shootin'. 

"Massa Baxtah he say, 'Here's de satisfaction,' an' 
den Massa Manning he take de quill an' write his 
name, den Massa Baxtah he say, 'Mistah Manning, 
hoi' yer han',' an' den Massa Baxtah sw'ar'd Massa 
Manning, an' den Massa Baxtah he write on de papah, 
an' den Massa Baxtah he take a little peppah box an' 
shake it on de papah. Dar warn't nuiHn in dat ; den 
he say, 'Cassar, take de shubbel an' gib me some ashes.' 
I hoi' de shubbel out to him an' he say, 'You fool nig- 
gah, I doan want hot ashes,' I den gib him some col' 
ashes, an' he shakes some on de papah. Den Massa 
Baxtah he holds de papah, den he writes on one end, 
an' he gibs de papah to Massa Drisco, den Massa 
Manning he pulls his bladdah an' puts all de money 
in de bladdah, 'cept half a doUah dat he gibs Massa 
Baxtah, an' Massa Baxtah he pulls his eel skin an' 
puts de half doUah in, an' den puts dat air eel skin 
in his pocket, an' den Massa Manning he goes away, 
an' Massa Drisco gib Massa Baxtah dat air papah. 
Massa Drisco say, 'Squire Baxtah, put dat in your 
safe fob me, an' I'll come when I wants it.' Den 
Massa Baxtah takes de papah, den he goes to de 
closet, an' takes de big key an' unlocks de big brack 
safe, de same one dat is up in young Massa Baxtah's 
office, an' he puts de papah in dat safe, an' locks de 
doah, an' den Massa Drisco he goes 'way." 



C-^SAR AUGUSTUS TESTIFIES 249 

"That is all," said Richard, and turning to John 
Canfield and the district attorney, said: "You can 
have the witness, but I reserve the right to recall 
should I desire." 



CHAPTER XLVn 

" Nebbah Heah Dat 'Bout Dis Niggah " 

JOHN CANFIELD was a lawyer who was brutal 
in his cross-examinations and depended much 
upon his ability to frighten witnesses. He was 
a man about fifty years old, very pompous in his man- 
ner, especially when under the influence of liquor, 
which he used freely. He had an extra load on this 
day, and was even more abusive than usual. 

"Caesar-forty-names, how old are you?" 

"Dunno, Massa Canfield." 

"Are you ten years old?" 

"Specs I be, Massa Canfield." 

"Are you a hundred years old?" 

"Dunno, Massa Canfield. Specs I putty neah dat." 

"Do you know anything?" 

"Reckon I does." 

"Well, what do you know?" 

"I know Massa Canfield cross w'en he's ben 
a-drinkin', an' I nebber seed him w'en he wasn't cross." 

"You are a saucy nigger." 

"Yes, Massa Canfield. Dat's 'bout right. Ole 
Caesar is sassy niggah. Ya, ha, ha !" filling the court- 
room with laughter, which infected the audience, 
all joining except the judge and Lawyer Can- 
field. 

"You ought to be sent back to slavery, and I'd see 



"NEBBAH HEAH DAT" 251 

to it that your old master had you, if you were worth 
the cost." 

"Dat's 'bout right, Massa Canfield. Ole Caesar 
ain't worf much. Dis ole niggah's got moah eat dan 
work in him." 

The courtroom was crowded, and everybody laughed 
uproariously. Even the judge, as he rapped for 
order, had difficulty in maintaining his dignity. 

John Canfield exhibited more anger than embarrass- 
ment. "Aren't you known all over town as that lying 
nigger Caesar.'"' 

"Dunno, Massa Canfield. Nebbah heah dat 'bout 
dis niggah afoah." 

"Where were you born?" 

"Dunno, Massa Canfield. Reckon 'twas Virginny, 
er specs it mought be Kaintuck. I was dar at de time, 
but jes' disremembah." 

"I wish there was something that you did know." 

"Dar is, Massa Canfield." 

"WeU,whatisit?" 

"I knows dat you owes me a half dollah fob sawin' 
wood, more'n foah yeah." 

Everybody laughed. 

"Was there anybody in Squire Baxter's office at the 
time you speak of, besides Mr. Manning, Mr. Drisco, 
and the squire?" 

"Yes, sah." 

"Who was there?" 

"Dis niggah, an' one udder pusson ob coloh." 

"Who was it?" 

"Massa Manning's brack dog." 



252 RICHARD BAXTER 

"How many chairs were there in Squire Baxter's 
office?" 

Counting on his fingers, Caesar answered, "Five." 

"Well, I'm glad if there's something that you know. 
How do you remember that there were five chairs ?" 

"Kase, Massa Baxtah he sot in de armchair, an' 
Massa Manning he sot in de chair tipped up ag'in 
de wall atween de windahs, Massa Drisco he sot in de 
chair by de desk, an' Caesar he sot in de chair by de 
chimbley." 

"And I suppose the dog sat in the other chair?" 

"Yes, sah." 

"The dog sat in the other chair?" 

"Yes, sah." 

"Are you sure of that?" 

"Yes, sah." 

"What makes you so sure of that?" 

"Kase, w'en de cat run 'cross de floah, de dog jump, 
kick ober de chair, an' raise de debbil all ober de floah." 

"Were you ever in jail for stealing chickens?" 

"Dis niggah doan 'membah no circumstance ob dat 
kin'." 

"Well, you are a runaway slave, aren't you?" 

"Doan 'mit dat." 

"Are you or are you not, a runaway slave? An- 
swer yes or no." 

Hereupon Richard interposed, "I object, Your 
Honor." 

"On what ground?" 

"On the ground that the answer might incriminate 
or humiliate the witness." 



"NEBBAH HEAH DAT" g5S 

Objection sustained. 

"That's all I want of this worthless nigger," said 
Lawyer Canfield, sitting down. 

Richard then asked, "WiU the prosecution admit 
that the date of the alleged transaction has been 
proven.''" 

"We admit nothing," responded Lawyer Can- 
field. 

Richard then recalled Caesar Augustus, Etc., Ben- 
ton, saying, "Your Honor, I am about to introduce 
some corroborative testimony that I would gladly have 
omitted. Csesar, do you remember anything that 
took place that day, in which Lawyer Canfield was 
connected.''" 

"Yes, sah." 

"What was it?" 

"Well, sah, Massa Manning an' Massa Drisco dey 
go 'way, Massa Baxtah he tell dis ole niggah he bes' 
go hum, an' not ketch 'em col' in dat foot w'at I cut 
wid de axe. I comes down de sta'rs an' I seed right 
afoah de doah Pat Maloney drunk full, an' I say, 
'Pat, w'ere you ben.-" an' he say, 'It be Saint Patrick's 
Day an' eberybody gets drunk dis day.' " 

"Then what?" 

"W'y, den, dis niggah goes down Lundy Lane. 
W'en he gets right afoah de house, w'ere Massa Can- 
field lib, de doah open. Mis' Canfield she jump out 
wid de baby in de arms squallin' like mad, an' Massa 
Canfield he puts his big boot right agin' her back, an' 
she fall down on de groun' an' Massa Canfield he shets 
de doah. Dis niggah he picks up Mis' Canfield, an' 



354 RICHARD BAXTER 

she say, Massa Canfield drunk. She'd go hum to her 
father." 

John Canfield did not further cross-examine Caesar. 

To fix the date of the occurrences testified to by 
Csesar, Richard put in evidence the account-book of 
Dr. Billings, in which was the following item : 

"March 17, 1828. 
"Nigger Caasar. Bandaging foot cut with axe, 
twenty-five cents." 

The eff'ort on the part of John Canfield to break 
down the testimony of old Caesar was a perfect failure. 

At the adjournment of court for dinner, Cassar was 
the hero of the hour, and received a great ovation. 
He was called upon to dance, but declined, saying, 
"No, no. Dis ole niggah nebber do de double shuffle 
no moah. Dis niggah am too ole f oah dat, but dis ole 
niggah will sing, if de gemmen will pass de hat." 
And he sang with much pathos "Ole Uncle Ned." 

The hat was passed. Adding the contribution to 
his witness fees made a good day's pay for old Csesar. 



\5N'CliK NEB. 



Wrttten and Composed 



by S.C. FOSTER Ksq; 




Derems an old Nigga, dey called him uncle Ned^ Ha% dead lon^ m.- gOf loag a- 




CHAPTER XLVIII 

Teiumph of Right 

AT the opening of the afternoon session of the 
court, Richard offered the afBdavit of Nancy 
Bond, stating as a reason for so doing instead 
of producing the witness in person, that she was an 
old woman and very feeble. Objection was made to 
its reception by the district attorney, and a long argu- 
ment between counsel ensued. The judge directed 
the reading of the affidavit for information. Then 
Richard read it, paragraph by paragraph, arguing 
their admissibility, so that the jury almost learned 
the contents by heart. The judge denied the admis- 
sion of the affidavit ; but it had been gotten before the 
jury too thoroughly to be ruled out of their minds by 
the judge. 

The same course was pursued with the affidavit of 
Mrs. Drisco, with like result. 

Next was offered the account-book of Daniel Man- 
ning. The district attorney objected to its admission 
until the defense should prove that it wais the account- 
book of Daniel Manning, and show how it came in 
their possession. Richard replied that he would sub- 
mit the account-book to the jury and leave it to them 
to decide whether it was genuine. How it came into 
possession of the defense was none of the business of 
the court or of the prosecution. The judge admitted 



256 RICHARD BAXTER 

the book and left the jury to decide as to its genu- 
ineness. 

"We have also, Your Honor and gentlemen of the 
jury," said Richard, "one other affidavit that we wish 
to submit. I will read it for the information of the 
court. It is made by a witness in the former trial, 
who has left the United States and taken up his resi- 
dence in Canada, considering himself safer there": 

"MoNTEEAi, April 15, 1839. 
"I, James Cook, being duly sworn, do depose and 
swear that on or about the 10th of September, 1838, 1 
was reading law in the office of John Canfield, attor- 
ney and counsellor-at-law, in the town of Mendon, 
county of Mendon, State of New Hampshire, United 
States of America. That on the day above mentioned 
I was called into the back room of said office by John 
Canfield, and was there introduced to Mr. John Man- 
ning, whom I had previously known by sight. He 
said to me, 'I suppose, young man, you would not ob- 
ject to earning a bit of money,' and I replied, 'That's 
what I want.' He then said to Canfield, 'Explain it 
to him.' Then Canfield told me that they wanted a 
little evidence against Richard Baxter, and as I used 
to be in his office, I was the proper person to give it. 
He further said, 'What we want of you is this, to 
swear that you saw Richard Baxter write a certain 
satisfaction-piece. I will tell you all about it.' Be- 
fore I had time to answer, John Manning said to me, 
'If you will do this, I'll give you twenty-five dollars.' 
I said that was a pretty small sum for a State-prison 
offense. 'You had better make it fifty,' said Canfield. 



TRIUMPH OF RIGHT 25T 

'Then it will be all right, won't it?' I said yes, and! 
Manning gave fifty dollars to Canfield, which money 
was paid to me after the trial. Canfield gave me the 
instructions as to what he wanted me to swear to, anc| 
I gave the evidence at the trial of Richard Baxter for 
forgery, just as I had been instructed. 

"And I furthermore depose and swear that the evi- 
dence given by me at the trial of Richard Baxter for 
forgery was in every particular false and untrue." 

"Subscribed and sworn to before me, 

"Jean Marco, 
"Consul of the United States at Montreal." 

There was a heated argument on the admissibility 
of the affidavit. It was rejected by the court, but it 
had its effect on the jury. 

"We rest. Your Honor," said Richard. 

The district attorney had nothing to offer in re- 
buttal. Richard said that he did not wish to sum up, 
as he thought the jury abundantly capable of doing 
that. 

John Canfield, in behalf of the prosecution, talked 
in the bitterest strain for two hours, abusing the pris- 
oner and the witnesses. 

The judge charged the jury. They rendered a 
verdict of not guilty, without leaving their seats, and 
the people who crowded the courtroom cheered. Those 
who after the other trial were anxious to ride Richard 
Baxter out of town on a rail were now just as ready 
to carry him on their shoulders in a triumphal march 
through town ; which shows how fickle is the populace 
and how little to be trasted. 



I 



CHAPTER XLIX 

"The Devil's to Pay" 

MMEDIATELY on the acquittal of Richard 
Baxter, John Canfield wrote the following letter 
to John Manning : 



"Mendon, May 1, 1839. 
"John Manning, Esq., 
"Stevens House, 
"Broadway, 

New York City. 
"Deae John: — The devil's to pay. The fat's in 
the fire, and the jig is up, for the present at least. 
You must not return to Mendon until there is a 
change in the weather, i.e., public sentiment; for in 
the present temper of the people you might be 
lynched. Even your old friend. Parson Snodgrass, 
IS reputed to have said to-day that 'John Man- 
ning is as big a rascal as ever escaped the State 
prison.' 

"Dick Baxter had his new trial to-day and was ac- 
quitted without the jury leaving the box. 

"The defense proved that your father received the 
payment of the mortgage from Drisco, that the sat- 
isfaction was genuine, and that you knew it from a 
statement made by your father to you on his death- 
bed. Don't you think that when you employ a law- 

iiiss 



"THE DEVIL'S TO PAY" 259 

■yer you had better place enough confidence in him to 
tell him the truth? 

■ "So that is the situation, and my advice is that you 
send to me a power of attorney to make whatever 
terms I can with the Driscos, for as sure as there is a 
God in Heaven, if the case goes to a jury, you will 
get mulcted in an enormous amount, for they have an 
old account-book of your father's that tells the whole 
story. 

"Hastily yours, 

"John Canfield. 

To which in due time came the following reply : 

"Stevens House, 
"New Yoke, May 15, 1839. 
"John Canfield, Esq., 

"Attorney and Counsellor-at-Law, 
"Mendon, N. H. 

"Dear John: — ^You must have been on a terrible 
drunk when you wrote that letter. I don't believe 
things are half as bad as you write them to be, and if 
you want my business you have got to brace up and 
not lose your nerve. 

"That cursed Miles girl must have found the old 
account-book somewhere in the house. I don't remem- 
ber ever to have seen it. 

"Now, I want you to go to the county clerk's office 
and get a copy of a mortgage I hold on the Widow 
Miles' property, and foreclose as quickly as the law 



260 RICHARD BAXTER 

will let you. That's all I can do to punish that slj 
minx of a Miles girl. 

"I'm 'doing' the city and having lots of fun. The 
girls are gay, and everything is gay, so, 'go it while 
you're young.' 

"John." 

"Mendon, N. H., May 22, 1839. 
"John Manning, Esq., 
"Stevens House, 
"Broadway, 

New York City. 

"Deak John : — It's all right to 'go it while you're 
young,' and all that sort of thing, but I tell you, John 
Manning, that it is time to stop your nonsense and 
attend to your business. 

"There's a warrant in the hands of Sheriff Getchell 
for your arrest, you having been indicted by the 
grand jury yesterday. I know this from the district 
attorney, who is my friend, and is willing for a con- 
sideration to be yours. It is quite probable that this 
warrant will go to New York, and extradition be de- 
manded. I know also that the papers are being pre- 
pared for a civil action against you by Sam Drisco 
and others by his mother. Aaron Richards is re- 
tained with Baxter, and you know what that means. 

"If you don't settle this business you won't have 
enough money left to pay stage fare to Concord. 
Again I tell you, attend to this, or you'll be forever 
sorry. 

"If you dare to risk it, come at once, but secretly, 



"THE DEVIL'S TO PAY" 261 

and if not, send me an unrestricted power of attorney, 
without delay. No more nonsense. Let your girls 
slide. Don't put this oiF for a day. If you come, 
come to my house in the night. I can hide you while 
we settle on some plan. 

"Hastily, 

"John Canfield." 

John Manning at last began to realize the serious- 
ness of the situation, and leaving his dissipations made 
his way toward Mendon. 

Like many another who had been reared in the aus- 
terity of a religious country life, he had easily yielded 
to the temptation of a great city, and plunged with- 
out reserve into the vortex of city vice. He had 
learned to sing: 

" Women and wine, 
Toast divine. 
Drown aU sorts of sorrow," etc. 

His hitherto moral and religious life was no stronger 
barrier against the temptations of immorality than is 
a splendid physique against an attack of typhus or 
malaria. 

He arrived in Mendon in the night, and was con- 
cealed for two days by his attorney. It was rumored 
that he had been seen in an adjacent village, and an 
effort was being made to trace him. This so alarmed 
Canfield that it was decided that Manning should 
leave at once for Canada, where he would be safe. 



CHAPTER L 

Scepticism 

RICHARD BAXTER was a thoughtful man. 
He was always thinking. His brain was 
never idle, at least not in his waking hours. 
His mind was well disciplined, and he could generally 
confine his thoughts to the subject that he wished to 
consider. When he had not legal points to solve he 
reviewed in his mind what he had read that day in 
Pickering's Reports, for he was faithfully executing 
his father's last request ; he was doing it from a sense 
of duty, not from a conviction that he would receive 
a compensating benefit. Like most young men, he 
thought that his father was a little old-fogyish in 
desiring him to read that ancient history, when there 
was so much more interesting legal matter of later 
date. By this reading, suggested by Abraham Bax- 
ter, Richard was getting a discipline that in later life 
he fully appreciated, and for which he was duly 
grateful. 

We have noted the thoughts that generally occu- 
pied his mind during the day. These might properly 
be termed "office thoughts." But in the still hours of 
the night one subject continually haunted him. It 
was God. There was an uncontrollable conflict for- 
ever raging. It was a conflict for belief between what 
had been so faithfully instilled in his mind by his early 

282 



SCEPTICISM 263 

Christian teaching, and the scepticism which of late 
years had had triumphant possession. 



CHAPTER LI 

" The Lokd Is My Shepherd " 

THE acquittal of Richard Baxter having es- 
tablished the satisfaction as a genuine docu- 
ment, it was duly recorded, and Sam Drisco 
took possession of his farm, after which, by due proc- 
ess of law, all the foreclosure proceedings were an- 
nulled. This was by default, as neither John Man- 
ning nor anyone in his behalf appeared to oppose. In 
the absence of Manning, all papers were served on 
his attorney, and he had enough sense to prevent of- 
fering a useless defense. 

It must be remembered that the Drisco farm had 
been running down for many years. Sam and his 
mother had been hardly able to keep soul and body to- 
gether, as a result of which the farm had suffered. 
And it had suffered still more during the two years 
that John Manning had possession, as he had reaped 
but never sown, having even gone so far in his process 
of skinning the farm that he had actually carted off 
the manure that was made there. 

It was clear that restitution would have to be made 
of the interest that had been illegally collected for 
more than ten years, as well as a liberal sum paid for 
damages. Not a dollar of this sum had been received 
by Sam, but his now undisputed title to the farm, to- 
gether with his expectations, gave him all the credit 

264 



THE LORD MY SHEPHERD 263 

that was needed, and he therefore felt justified in mak- 
ing repairs and improvements to the old house, that 
his mother might have a comfortable home in which 
to end her days. 

His love for his mother was the strongest element 
in Sam's nature. To his natural affection for her 
was added all the love that would have been Sally Gib- 
son's, had she lived to become his wife. 

Anyone who knew the strong nature of Sam Drisco, 
and his affection for her whom he had lost, would not 
expect for a moment that her place in his heart or his 
arms would ever again be filled. His was a nature 
that could love but once. The heat of his passion had 
so entirely destroyed its tenement that it was never 
again inhabitable. 

It took a long time to renovate the old house. The 
cleaning and whitewashing was a slow job. At last it 
was complete and its mistress was to return to her 
own. But Mrs. Drisco was not anxious to leave the 
poorhouse. Her repugnance had entirely disap- 
peared, and had it not been for her mother-love for 
Sam, she would have preferred to end her days among 
those poor victims of misfortune, to whom she had 
become so dear. 

Her health had meanwhile greatly improved. She 
and Sam had a dispute as to whether she should do her 
own work or hire a girl. Sam did not waste much 
time in argument, but settled the question by securing 
the services of a stout Canadian girl, whom Mrs. 
Drisco found installed when she came home. 

Sam and his mother started again in life, as happy 



266 RICHARD BAXTER 

as they could be. She had hardly taken her things 
off before she opened the old Bible on the little stand, 
and began reading from the twenty-third Psalm, 
"The Lord is my Shepherd — sit down Sam — ^I shall 
not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pas- 
tures — ^why don't you sit down, Sam, dear.? — He lead- 
eth me beside the stiU waters — Sam, if you weren't 
any bigger than you once were, I'd box your ears. I 
don't know but I'll do it as it is. — He restoreth my 
soul." "Yes, mother, dear, I'm quiet, ain't I.-"' "He 
leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His 
name's sake. — Now, Sam, you must allow that God is 
good to us. — ^Yea, though I walk through the vaUey 
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." "Mother, 
I must take care of the horse, or I'U have a broken 
wagon." "For thou art with me" — "Can't stop any 
longer, mother, dear." Sam left to care for his horse, 
and the old woman read on, finishing the Fsalm with- 
out further interruption. 

The only thing that now grieved Mrs. Drisco was 
what she termed "Sam's irreligious tendencies." He 
certainly had strayed from the fold, and she almost 
looked upon him as a lost sheep. The burden of her 
constant prayer to God was a beseechment for the 
saving of his soul. 

It was not very surprising that Sam's misfortunes 
during the last two years had somewhat unsettled his 
faith in the goodness of God. Like many another 
good man, for Sam Drisco was a good man, he could 
not understand the justice of his being obliged to 
carry such a load of misfortunes. How much hap- 



THE LORD MY SHEPHERD 267 

pier we all should be if that little word of three letters, 
WHY, had been left out of our language ! Sam had 
been carefully trained in his youth by his mother, who, 
as we have seen, lacked neither in faith nor in works, 
and he was a religious man rather from habit than 
conviction. He had never professed religion, nor 
really given the subject very serious attention. He 
was naturally a man of the strictest morality, and if 
he had been asked if he concurred in the prevalent 
religious dogmas, would have answered, "Why, yes, 
of course." This was his condition until the time 
when his misfortunes came thick and fast, when he 
soon found that he lacked the "abiding faith" of his 
good old mother. She did not believe; she knew. 
Richard had, so to speak, drifted into his condition 
of religious belief, or it were better said, unbelief ; but 
Sam Drisco had by his misfortunes been forced into 
the condition, which so grieved his mother. 



CHAPTER LII 

Childhood Memoeies 

RICHARD BAXTER had much leisure time 
which he faithfully employed in reading 
Pickering's Reports. As his misfortunes in- 
creased he seemed to live more in the past and felt 
more anxious to comply with his father's request than 
he at first had been. "Everything has an end except 
eternity," said he to himself, "and to-morrow, if I live, 
I wiU finish Pickering's Reports and get at this secret 
which my father has sealed up at the end of the last 
volume. The reiading has been to me terribly tire- 
some; still I should have been far more ennuied if I 
had not had this compulsory work to do. 'Tis true, 
also, that I have acquired much knowledge which I 
never would had it not been for this freak of my good 
old father." 

The next morning he went cheerfully at his task, 
inspired by the nearness of the end, though without 
any especial curiosity, feeling fuUy satisfied that his 
father's intention was only to induce him to that extra 
amount of study which would be of great benefit. At 
about eleven o'clock he read the last page and finis, 
laid down the book and sat thinking, remembering. 
Back went his memory to his earliest recollections. 
He was a child again, cuddled in his mother's lap. 
Hpw vividly came to him the little prayer ; 

SOS 



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES 269 

" Now I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep ; 
If I should die before I wake, 
I pray the Lord my soul to take." 

This not only came to his mind, but it came out of his 
mouth, as gently as if his sainted mother were guiding 
its utterance. 

And now, older, he kneels at his mother's knee. 
This time it was the Lord's prayer. How reverently 
he spoke it ! There was devotion in every syllable : 
" Our Father Who are in Heaven, 

Hallowed be Thy name. 

Thy kingdom come, 

Thy will be done. 

On earth as it is in Heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread, 

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who 
trespass against us, 

Lead us not into temptation. 

But deliver us from evil. 

For Thine is the kingdom. 

And the power. 

And the glory. 

Forever and ever. Amen." 
It all came back to him, and he repeated it in para- 
graphs, just as he had learned it at his mother's knee. 

Next in the recollections of his religious education 
came the picture primer. The first scene, the Garden 
of Eden, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, with 
Adam and Eve. The serpent coiled around the trunk 



270 



RICHARD BAXTER 




In Adam's Fall 
We finned all. 

Thy Life to mend. 
This Book attend. 

The Cat doth play. 
And after flay, 

A Dog: will bite 
A Thief at Night; 

An Eagle' flight 
Is out of fight. 

^^^ The idle Fool 
^M '* whipt at SchooL 



NEW ENGLAND PRIMER 



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES 



271 




\s runs the Glaft, 
Mau'sllfc doth pais, 

Vf V Book and Heart 
Shall- never part. 

fob feels the rod. 
Vet bleffes God. 

K tngsfiiould begood 
No men of blood. 

The IJon bold 
The Laoibdoth hold 

TheMoon givejl ight 
lu time oi iUgUCt 



NEW ENGLAND PRIMER 



272 



RICHARD BAXTER 




Nightingales fing 
In time of Spring, 

Young Obadias, 
David, Jofias, 
All were pious. 

Peter denies 

His Lord, and cries. 

Queen Efther fues 
And laves the Jews. 

Rachel doth mourns 
For her firft*boru. 



I Samuel anoints 
WhoraGo/Zappoiutl 



NEW ENGLAND PRIMER 



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES 273 




Time cuts down all. 
Both great andfmall. 

Uriah's beauteousWife 
madeDavidibek hisfifd 

Whiles in the Sea, 
QOD\ Voice obey, 

Xerxes thegreatdid die 
And ib muA you and I« i 

Youth forward flips. 
Death fooncft aig&t 

Zaccheus he 

Did climb the Treft 

His Lord to ike^, 
B 



NEW ENGLAND PRIMER 



2T4 RICHARD BAXTER 

of the tree. Eve had picked the apple and was hold- 
ing it out to Adam, whose hand was outstretched to 
take it. 

Also the picture of Shadrach, Meshac and Abed- 
nego in the fiery furnace, apparently walking about 
in the flames, unharmed. Then, that of Jonah stand- 
ing on the beach, and an immense whale that had just 
ejected him. Next in the list of object-lessons was 
Daniel in the Lion's Den, petting the wild beasts, who 
did him no harm. One never-to-be-forgotten illus- 
tration was that of the devil. He had horns on his 
head and cloven hoofs, a long tail which terminated 
in the shape of an arrow head. In his hand a three- 
tined fork with which to pitch the wicked sinners into 
the burning lake of brimstone. 

These pictures had made an inefl'aceable impression 
on his youthful mind, as they must have on all other 
children who saw them. The old New England 
primer was about the only literature of that period 
for children. 

This morning Richard was in one of his cogitative 
moods. The reminiscences of his childhood and the 
recollections of his early religious teaching seemed to 
him like dreams. They certainly were visions of the 
past that had made an indelible impress on his mind, 
which never could be obliterated. As the twig is bent 
the tree is inclined. He looked out of his window and 
saw a dead hen lying on the opposite side of the road. 
Deuteronomy, fourteenth chapter, twenty-first verse, 
flashed into his mind, and he repeated to himself, 
"Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself; 



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES 276 

thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy 
gates, that he may eat it ; or thou mayest sell it unto 
an alien." His sense of right revolted, and he added, 
"This mandate was issued to the children of Israel by 
Moses, the servant of God. Was this in accordance 
with the doctrine of Jesus Christ, Who said, 'Do unto 
others as you would that they should do to you' ?" 

Another matter of doctrine which disturbed him was 
that of infant damnation, he being very fond of chil- 
dren, and they fond of him. Nearly all the children 
in the village knew him, and he had always a pleasant 
greeting for them. Mothers punished their little ones 
by keeping them from going out to say good-morning 
to Squire Baxter, or rewarded them by permitting 
them to go to greet him. Often when seeing these 
little innocents he would say to himself: 

"How can people believe that a good God or a just 
God would permit such a thing as infant damnation, 
for did not Christ say, 'Suffer little children to come 
unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven'? 
What an inconsistency !" 

Lack of occupation for his intellect had rendered 
Richard morbid. He was ready to doubt everything. 
He said to himself: 

"What a beautiful sentiment that Golden Rule con- 
tains! How lovely everything on earth would be if 
the rule were obeyed !" He then ran over in his mind 
all the professors of religion that he had ever known, 
to see if he could find one who had lived up to the 
Golden Rule. He could not recall any, not a single 
one, whom he thought had even tried. "I know that 



276 RICHARD BAXTER 

I am a hypocrite, and what are they? Are they not 
worse hypocrites than I, and do they know it?" He 
sat silent for a while thinking, and then said to him- 
self: 

"I have never met a professed Christian who had 
not more humanity than Christianity." 

He replaced the last volume of Pickering's Reports 
in the bookcase and forgetting his dinner and all else, 
permitted his legs to carry him to the deep pine for- 
est, a refuge to which he often fled. 



CHAPTER LIII 

The Seceet Revealed 

RICHARD BAXTER did not return to his 
office that afternoon. The next morning he 
remembered that he had finished the reading 
of Pickering's Reports and that his father's letter 
awaited him. He took from the shelf the last volume, 
sat down in his usual place at the bookcase, and turn- 
ing to the blank leaves at the back, separated them 
with his penknife, which loosened a sheet of the same 
size as the leaves. On this sheet or page was written, 
in his father's well-remembered hand, the following: 

" Deau Richaed : 

"My Dear Son: — You have faithfully complied 
with the request of your father, and are now about to 
receive your deserved reward, which is concealed in the 
back of the bookcase, before which I have sat so many 
years, and at which I hope you will be seated when 
you read this. 

"This bookcase and desk stands flat against the 
wall. Turn it to a right angle, so that the light from 
the window will fall on the back, on which is pasted a 
covering of heavy brown paper. This is marked with 
fifteen squares, of equal size, numbered 1-2-3-4-5-6-7- 
8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15. Take your knife and cut 
through the line around square number 8, and remove 

277 



278 RICHARD BAXTER 

the paper. On the panel beneath the paper are 
punched with a pegging-awl one hundred holes. 
With an awl press into each hole until you meet with 
an obstruction, then push hard and a spring will re- 
lease the panel. What is there concealed are the sav- 
ings of a lifetime. They are yours. Make good use 
of them. 

"Dear Richard, may you get as much good in their 
use as I have had satisfaction in their accumulation 
for you. 

"May the good God bless and keep you. 
"Your Father, 

"Abraham Baxtee." 

Richard was bewildered and felt a hesitancy in 
opening up the long-concealed secret. He then tried 
to move the desk-bookcase, but could not. There was 
but one man to whom he could trust this great secret ; 
that was Si Slocum, who was then across the road, sit- 
ting on the fence, talking with two or three idlers. 
Richard called and Si came over. 

"Here, Si, I want you to help turn this bookcase. 
It is so heavy that I cannot move it alone." 

"Turn thet bookcase ! It must be thet you want to 
call up the ghost of the squire. Why, thet case 
prob'ly hain't ben moved in forty year. 'Twould be 
wicked to move it." 

"Never mind. Si, I have my father's orders." 
Richard then told Si of his father's letter, to which he 
answered, "WaU, thet's 'nuther boss. Of course I'll 
help you." 



THE SECRET REVEALED 279 

The two had no difficulty in turning the bookcase, 
and Si said: "Now, as ye hev some private biz to 
'tend to, I'U go." 

"No, no," quickly replied Richard. "I've no busi- 
ness private from you, my good friend." 

He then ran down the stairs to the cobbler's next 
door, and borrowed a pegging-awl. 

In his absence Si examined the diagram on the back 
of the bookcase, and hailed Richard with, "What hev 
we here, a Chinese puzzle.?" 

Richard cut around the square numbered 8, took off 
the paper, and found, as described in his father's let- 
ter, the perforated panel, which looked as if a charge 
of medium shot had been fired into it. He began his 
search with the awl, and tried, as he thought, more 
than forty holes before he found the right one. A 
hard push relieved a spring. The panel fell to the 
floor, disclosing a shelf on which stood, entirely filling 
the place as if it had been made for this exact purpose, 
five tin cannisters, five inches high and about one and 
one-half inches in diameter. They were bright and 
shone as if they had just come from the tin shop. 
Richard took out one of the cannisters, removed the 
cover, and saw on top a twenty-dollar gold piece. He 
emptied the can on the table. Just at that moment 
the old grandfather clock in the office began to strike 
ten. 

Richard looked quickly out of the window, over 
toward the courthouse, and saw on the piazza a group 
of men. He gathered the gold pieces into each hand, 
and thrusting them into his right and left trousers' 



gSa RICHARD BAXTER 

pockets, sprang for the door, and hurried down the 
stairs, bareheaded, calling back, "Stay there. Si." 
Jumping the courtyard fence, he ran as fast as his 
legs could carry him toward the group on the court- 
house piazza. He heard : 

"One hundred dollars, one hundred dollars. Is 
that all, gentlemen.'' One hundred dollars, first. One 
hundred dollars, second. Fair warning. One hun- 
dred dollars, third and last " 

"Hold on, hold on, I want to bid," shouted he, as 
he rushed up the steps. The referee paused, and 
Richard asked, "What is the amount required.''" 

The referee, who was Richard's old enemy, District- 
Attorney Thurston, answered very curtly: 

"The amount of the mortgage is two hundred dol- 
lars, interest and costs are thirty-eight dollars and 
twenty-five cents, and the terms are cash down. Do 
you wish to bid.''" 

Richard did not resent the insinuation made in the 
emphatic "cash down" and the question "Do you wish 
to bid?" and replied: 

"I bid two hundred and thirty-eight dollars and 
twenty-five cents." 

As that amount covered the mortgage and costs 
which John Manning held against Mrs. Miles, there 
was no reason for raising the bid, but the formula of 
asking for a raise was gone through by the referee, 
and getting no response, he struck it off, and de- 
manded, "What name.P" 

"Sarah Miles," responded Richard Baxter. 

"Well, Mister Sarah Miles, if you will step into the 



THE SECRET REVEALED 281 

courthouse and pay the cash, I will deliver the deed, 
which is all ready, except for the filling in the name 
and signature." 

The transaction was quickly completed and Rich- 
ard took the deed to the office of the county clerk to be 
recorded. He then returned to his office, not having 
been absent more than fifteen minutes, during which 
time he had consummated an act which gave him more 
pleasure than anything he had ever done in his whole 
Hfe. As he entered the office, Si Slocum greeted him 
with: 

"Seems to me ye mus' be crazy to run off an' leave 
uncounted gold with folks ye don't know putty well." 

"I know you pretty well, Si Slocum, and I'm not 
at all alarmed. Now we'll take account of stock." 

They emptied the other cannisters and found that 
the entire amount was two thousand dollars. 

Richard sat down, rested his elbows on the desk, 
and leaned his forehead upon his hands. He was 
dazed, and he thought of his father with a reverence 
which he had never before felt. He had known of the 
self-denial of his father's life, but he had always sup- 
posed that it was necessitated and not voluntary. His 
reveries were interrupted by Si, who said : 

"Dick, I alius knew thet yer father hed good stuff. 
See what he done fer me." 

A long talk followed as to what had best be done 
with the money. Si had seen what had become of two 
hundred and thirty-eight dollars and twenty-five cents, 
but of this investment he heartily approved, for he 
felt quite sure that some day Richard and Mary would 



282 RICHARD BAXTER 

marry, and this would turn out to be a loan, without 
interest, as usually reckoned. Knowing his friend's 
generous nature and impulsive character, he feared 
that more of the money might go as quickly, but not 
in so meritorious a manner. They decided that Si 
should drive Richard over to Wellington in the morn- 
ing and place the money in the Savings Bank. He 
willingly promised Si that he would not draw any of 
the money without first having a talk with him 
about it. 



CHAPTER LIV 
" I'll Never Be Laid Out in Them Sheets " 

DURING Mrs. Drisco's sojourn at the poor- 
house, several of her old neighbors called, 
some to express real sympathy, but most, as 
they said to their friends, "to see how she bore the 
come-down." 

The Driscos were deservedly popular, and as a mat- 
ter of course aroused envy. Sam had always been 
neighborly and obHging, ready to lend any of his 
farm tools and to go and get them. Mrs. Drisco had 
been a bright and shining light in the church, for 
many years president of the Dorcas Society, which of- 
tener met at her house than anywhere else. For there 
its members found Old Hyson and crullers in abun- 
dance, which they greedily consumed, and went home 
wondering how Mrs. Drisco could be so free with her 
Old Hyson when they couldn't afford anything better 
than Souchong, even when the parson called. One 
woman said she had heard that Mrs. Drisco had a 
brother who was "cappen of a Chiny ship" and that 
he brought her the Old Hyson. The fact was that 
Mrs. Drisco had no brother in the China trade. Her 
Old Hyson was her one pet extravagance, which she 
only paraded on what might be termed "state occa- 
sions." The daily table beverage of the family was 



RICHARD BAXTER 

herb tea and barley coffee, home productions, both. 
Her crullers came of skill in cooking. 

When Sam entered again upon his own and brought 
his dear old mother home, he said : 

"Mother, I have bought you a pound of Old Hyson, 
but please don't give it to those old frauds who for- 
sook us in the days of our misery. Boneset is far too 
good for them and not half as bitter as I would like 
to give them." 

It was not long before the. neighbors began to call. 
One would have thought by the manner of their greet- 
ing that Mrs. Drisco had only been down to Boston to 
spend the winter with some rich relatives. The dis- 
grace of the poorhouse was ignored, but never for a 
moment forgotten either by Mrs. Drisco or her guests. 
The experience at the poorhouse had given her an in- 
sight into character of which she had never dreamed-. 
She treated all of her guests with politeness. There 
•was a born gentility in her that prevented rudeness to 
any, but she held her cordiality well in check and was 
not imposed upon by the gushing flattery of her visi- 
tors. There were a few old friends stanch and true 
whom she welcomed as of old, but the majority of her 
callers had to put up with common politeness, and 
they came but once. 

Parson Whiting had the effrontery to call, but 
there was no Old Hyson and crullers set out for him. 
In response to a remark that he "hoped to see Mrs. 
Drisco and her son in their old pew at the meeting- 
house," she replied that when she felt well enough to 
go to meeting they would ride to Mendon and worship 



"I'LL NEVER BE LAID OUT" 285 

with Parson Snodgrass. On receipt of this informa- 
tion the paxson left abruptly and never called 
again. 

His departure was a great relief to Mrs. Drisco, 
for notwithstanding the kindly, sympathetic tone in 
which all his remarks were couched, she could only 
hear, "AU paupers are alike to me." She had feared 
that Parson Whiting would call, dreaded the inter- 
view, and was glad when it was over. As soon as her 
son came in she said : 

"Sam, who do you think has been here this after- 
noon.''" 

"Oh, I can't guess. Some of your old tea-toper 
friends, I've no doubt." 

"Well, it was Parson Whiting." 

"What, that old hypocrite! Has he had the gall 
to enter this hoiise? Well, as I don't see any of your 
best china or smell any Old Hyson, I'm inclined to 
think that for once you did not give the old scoundrel 
a very warm welcome." 

"Why, Sam, how can you speak so of a minister of 
the gospel?" 

"Minister of the gospel be " Sam almost swore, 

but finished with "blowed." 

"What have you against Parson Whiting.!"' 

"What have I against that old reprobate.'' I only 
spoke just as you feel, mother. Mrs. Carter told me 
what he said at the poorhouse about all paupers being 
alike to him. I never said anything about it, but I 
should have said something if I had found him here 
drinking tea." 



286 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Well, Sam dear, don't get excited. He's gone, 
and I don't think that he will ever come again." 

Among the old friends who came early to see Mrs. 
Drisco was Mrs. Simpkins, to whom Mrs. Drisco ex- 
tended a warm welcome. "I am very glad to see you, 
Helen." 

"I knew you'd be, Susan." 

"Take ofF your things and sit right down here in 
the kitchen while I light a fire in the parlor." 

"Oh, don't take so much trouble, I sha'n't stay 
long." 

"Yes, you'll spend the afternoon and take tea; 
then Sam will hitch up and take you home." 

Mrs. Simpkins said she didn't see how she could, 
for she was "so busy to hum," but she had on her 
"best bib and tucker" and also her knitting in her ret- 
icule. Her hesitation was a bit of comedy that it was 
the custom to act, as she had all the while intended 
to spend the afternoon and stay to tea. 

These two old women, as different as well could be 
in form, feature, and character, the one with the nat- 
ural breeding of a lady, the other an illiterate, com- 
monplace person, were very dear friends, who had 
known each other from childhood. 

"No trouble to light the fire, for It Is all laid in the 
fireplace, and all that I have to do is to take in a 
shovel of hot coals and put them on top of the pine 
knots and it will be blazing in a minute." 

It was but a few moments before the two old friends 
were sitting, each in a Boston rocker, before a blazing 
fire of dry hickory, whose bright rays lighted the little 



"I'LL NEVER BE LAID OUT" 28T 

low-ceiled dark parlor and gave the dingy old fur- 
niture a cheerful look. 

There is a fascination in a blazing fire. It Is a 
stimulant to the memory, a help to the Imagination, 
hopeful and optimistic. 

Mrs. Simpkins had had an experience. In the death 
of her friend Mrs. Crocker, within the last few days, 
which she felt that she must tell to somebody, as evi- 
denced by this remark to her husband: "Zekel, I 
mus' go an' talk to somebody 'bout Mis' Crocker, er I 
shall bust. Guess I'll go over an' see Susan Drisco." 
This was really the cause of her neighborly visit this 
afternoon. 

Hardly had the two old friends got the rocking- 
chairs in motion before the fire, when Mrs. Simpkins 
said, "Ye heerd thet Mis' Crocker died, hain't ye.^"' 

"Yes, I heard of Mrs. Crocker's death, but have 
had no particulars. As you were an old friend of 
hers, I suppose you were there when she died. Please 
tell me all about It." 

"Ye see, Susan, thet Mis' Crocker bed ben pow'rful 
sick fer a long time, nigh onto six month. Lemme 
see, she hadn't ben to meetin' fer more'n eight month, 
I guess. Lemme see, Mis' Crocker died las' Friday 
night. Wall, 'twas Thursday arternoon when Mister 
Crocker he druv Into the yard, an' he says to Zekel, 
'Whar's Mis' Simpkins.'" Zekel he says, 'She's in the 
house makin' sassengers.' Ye see we killed the day 
afore, an' was all pow'rful busy, tryin' the lard an' 
makin' sassage an' sich work as alius comes at klllin' 
time. I alius tole Zekel how much handier it 'ud be 



288 RICHARD BAXTER 

ef he'd only sorter divide up the work like, an' kill the 
hams an' the salted pieces sep'rate from the rest of the 
hog. 

"Wall, Zekel he come to the door an' he says to me, 
'Helen, here's Mister Crocker out here wants to see 
ye,' so I wiped my han's on my apern an' went to the 
door, an' Mister Crocker he says (ye know Mister 
Crocker is alius perlite), he says, 'Mis' Simpkins, I 
bids ye good-day,' an' I says, 'Good-day, Mister 
Crocker; how's Mis' Crocker?' an' he says, 'Mis' 
Crocker's tuk drefful bad an' she can't las' long, an' 
she sent me over to fetch ye, as she wants to see ye 
afore she goes,' an' I says to Mister Crocker, 'I'm 
orful sorry she tuk so bad, an' I'll come over an' see 
*er to-morrow.' 'Thet won't do,' he says, 'fer she 
ain't a-goin' to las' till to-morrow. Can't ye go right 
back with me ?' 'Lors sake alive, is she so bad's thet? 
Wall, then, I'll hev to go back with ye.' Then I says 
to Zekel, 'You come in an' put things to rights, an' I'll 
jes' tidy up a bit an' go with .Mister Crocker.' Ye 
see I hed to wash up an' change my ole duds, fer I 
was all grease. 

"Wall, Susan, I hurried as fas' as I could, an' in 
less than twenty minnits we wus a-drivin' out of the 
yard an' on the road a-goin' towards Mis' Crocker's, 
faster nor I likes to ride. 

"When we got down to Mis' Crocker's, I went right 
in, an' Mis' Crocker was thar in bed all alone, an' 
afore I hed time to speak she says, 'Mis' Simpkins, 
it's pow'rful good in ye to come right in the middle o' 
hog-killin', but ye see. Mis' Simpkins, I've got a job 



"I'LL NEVER BE LAID OUT" 289 

on hand tooj thet won't wait. Can't put 't off much- 
longer.' 

"The doctor come soon arter, an' he tole Mis' 
Crocker thet she couldn't live till mornin'. She says, 
'I know thet, Doctor, an' I'm ready to go. My chil- 
dern need me, wharever they air, more'n the ole man 
does, an' I'd ruther be with 'em anyhow.' The doctor 
said 'Gtood-bye,' an' Mis' Crocker says, 'Ye needn't 
come no more, fer Mister Crocker can't afford to 
pay ye.' 

"I axed Mis' Crocker what I could do for her. She 
said she wanted me to go upsta'rs, an' in the bottom 
drawer of the bureau, in the spare room, I'd find her 
shroud thet she was to be buried in, an' two new sheets 
thet she was to be laid out on. 

" 'Twas 'bout dark, an' I 'spected Zekel ev'ry min- 
nit, fer I tole 'im to drive down 'bout dark. Mister 
Crocker he was out a-milkin' an' doin' his chores. I 
tole Mis' Crocker I didn't like to leave 'er alone, an' 
she said, 'Ye needn't mind me. I ain't alone. God's 
here with me, an' He'll stay by me till I go with Him.' 
I says, 'Mis' Crocker, ain't ye 'feard to die.'" 
' 'Feard,' says she, ' 'feard o' what.'' Hain't I alius 
lived up to the Scripters.'' What's I got to fear.?' 

"I lit the candle an' went upsta'rs, whar she tole me 
to go, in the spare room, an' I foun' the things, an' I 
felt kinder cur'ous like 'bout the shroud, so I opened 
it to see how she'd trimmed it. An' Susan, do you 
b'lieve me when I tell it, thar was three rows o' flutin' 
'round the neck, an' two down the front, an' three 
rows round each wrist, an' 'twas buttoned clean down 



890 RICHARD BAXTER 

the front with real pearl buttons. Wall, I was 
s'prised, fer Mis' Crocker wasn't giv to dress. I tuk 
the things down sta'rs, an' Mis' Crocker she said, 'Mis' 
Simpkins, see ef ye don't think this 'ere shroud's 
putty.' So I opened it jes' the same's ef I hadn't 
seen it afore in the spare room. It seemed to me 
kinder orful to talk so light 'bout sich solemn matters. 
Then she tole me to unfold the sheets. The mice hed 
gnawed 'em an' they was full o' holes. She said, 'I'll 
never be laid out in them sheets. I sha'n't die to- 
night, fer I'll never be laid out in sich sheets. I'll 
hev Mister Crocker go to Mendon in the momin' an' 
git some white cotton, an' I'll hev some sheets 
made.' 

"She called Mister Crocker, who was in the kitchen 
with Zekel. 'You kin go hum. Mis' Simpkins. Mis- 
ter Crocker kin do all I want done. Wish ye'd come 
down to-morrow night an' lay me out.' I said I'd 
stay, but she wouldn't hev me. Zekel an' me druv 
hum, a-talkin' all the way 'bout how queer Mis' 
Crocker was. 

"An' do you b'lieve it, Susan, Mister Crocker druv 
up to Mendon the nex' mornin' an' got at Rice's store 
ten yards o' white sheetin' a yard wide, an' tuk Sally 
Beers hum with 'im, an' she sewed up the sheets an' 
hemmed 'em jest as Mis' Crocker tole her, while she 
lay thar on the bed a-dyin'. 

"Mis' Crocker axed Sally Beers if she'd got them 
sheets done, three er four times, an' the las' time she 
said, 'Ye'U hev to hurry up, fer I can't hoi' on much 
longer.' Sally tuk the las' stitch, an' said to Mis' 



"I'LL NEVER BE LAID OUT" 291 

Crocker, 'Them sheets is done,' an' Mis' Crocker said 
'Done,' an' she died right off. 

"Now, Susan, did ye ever hear anything queer's 
thet in all yer life?" 

"I never did," replied Mrs. Drisco. 



CHAPTER LV 

Retkibution 

THROUGH the influence of the district attor- 
ney, who was John Manning's friend, the in- 
dictment for obtaining money fraudulently 
was nolle pressed. 

Through John Canfield, he settled with Sam Drisco, 
returning at compound interest the amount fraudu- 
lently collected, and also the payment of two thousand 
dollars damages. 

The two thousand dollars Sam wished to give to 
Richard Baxter to compensate him as far as that was 
possible for the trouble that had been brought on him 
by his connection with the matter. But Richard would 
not take it, and the two old friends came very near 
having a serious quarrel. It was finally settled by his 
acceptance of one thousand dollars, accompanied by 
the remark, "Dick, my boy, if the time ever comes that 
you need money, and I have it, you won't have to wait 
long." But the time never came, for Richard devel- 
oped prosperity. 

The atmosphere of Mendon was not congenial to 
John Manning, and he did not return there to live. 
He progressed into a regular debauchee and spent his 
money in riotous living. Fortunately for some 
woman, he never married. 



RETRIBUTION 293 

Mrs. Drisco lived to a good old age, and left Sam 
true to his affection for Sally Gibson. The only 
thing that ever seemed to give him real happiness was 
the coming of the arbutus, and the opportunity it af- 
forded him every springtime to cover her grave with 
these delicate flowers. 

More than fifty years subsequent to the occurrence 
of the events herein related, while some friends were 
preparing the body of an old man for the observance 
of the last sad rites usual in every Christian commu- 
nity, they discovered an oilskin envelope, suspended 
from his neck by a silver chain, and so arranged as to 
support the envelope directly against his heart. In 
this envelope they found some powder, apparently 
from crushed leaves, and some fibres that looked as if 
they once had been the skeleton and stems of flowers 
and leaves. There was also a curl of golden-brown 
hair. None knew but all respected the secret, and 
reverently replaced the envelope where it was found. 
It was the body of Sam Drisco. The curl was from 
Sally Gibson's golden-brown locks, and the powder 
was the dust left from the little nosegay of trailing 
arbutus that Sam picked for SaUy so long, long ago. 



CHAPTER LVI 

The Death of Aunt Nanct 

POOR old Aunt Nancy. She was fast reaching 
the end of her knitting. This lovely old woman 
was getting very feeble. Lovely! Yes, she 
was lovely, not to look at, but to love. As you saw 
her at the door knittiag, for she was always knitting, 
she was indeed a grim and unattractive personality, 
but if you were one of her many young friends and 
she smiled on you, it warmed you clean through. 

There was not a young person in the neighborhood 
but would tell you, for he knew by experience, that 
there never was anybody who could make such de- 
licious cookies, jumbles, and crullers as dear old Aunt 
Nancy. As she grew feeble, her friends insisted that 
she must have someone to stay with her. But Aunt 
Nancy would have none of it. 

"Don't you know, dearie, thet I ain't as young as I 
once was, an' I can't hev anyone to wait on." 

"No, no. Aunt Nancy, you don't understand. Have 
a hired girl." 

"A hired gal! Thar, thar! Don't talk to me 
'bout a hired gal. Thar, you've made me drop a 
stitch. Don't say nuthin' to me 'bout the lazy huz- 
zies. Things is dif'rent from what they was when I 
was young an' worked out." 

Mary Miles came every day, and would have stayed 

284 



THE DEATH OF AUNT NANCY 295 

with her if Aunt Nancy had permitted. She was 
really the only one that the old woman was willing 
should do anything for her. Jim Budson's oldest 
boy used to run over three times every day to see what 
she wanted, and attend to any little chores, and his 
father generally came once a day. Aunt Nancy's 
door was never barred. She always said that she was 
"too poor to be afeard." 

One morning when the boy came he found her sit- 
ting in the rocking-chair, knitting in hand, just yrhere 
he had left her the evening before. The candle that 
he had lighted for her had burned to the socket and 
gone out. He said, "Good-morning, Aunt Nancy, 
you're up early." No reply came, and he spoke 
again, but there was no reply. Then he realized that 
for the first time in his life he was in the presence of 
death. Aunt Nancy had dropped her last stitch. 
He ran home as frightened as a child would naturally 
be under the circumstances. 

Jim Budson and his wife came back with him at 
once. As they opened the door they saw Aunt Nancy 
sitting in her usual rocking-chair, knitting in hand, 
the tortoise-shell kitten purring in her lap. The con- 
trast between the bright yellow and Aunt Nancy's 
best bombazine was vivid. They could not realize 
that she was dead. The kitten, seeing them, arose to 
her feet, humped up her back, then stretching herself 
lengthwise, jumped down, knocking off the ball of 
yarn, which rolled across the floor. This challenge to 
play was accepted by the kitten. Truly, a picture of 
life and death. 



296 RICHARD BAXTER 

Yes, poor old Aunt Nancy was dead. But no one 
would have thought it, so placid her countenance, so 
peaceful her look. There she sat, knitting in hand. 
One could easily fancy that he heard the click, click 
of the needles. There had been no contest with the 
grim monster. He had evidently been expected, and 
no doubt welcomed. 

Pinned to the bosom of her dress was a small slip of 
paper, on which was written, "Don't tech me. Git 
Mary Miles." They left her sitting in her old rock- 
ing-chair beside the chimney, where she had drawn it. 
Mrs. Budson carefully covered Aunt Nancy's face 
with her best green barege veil, and Jim hurried over 
to Farmer Nixon's for a horse, and drove to Mendon 
as fast as he could, to bring Mary Miles. Mary was 
not surprised to hear of Aunt Nancy's death, as she 
had daily been expecting it. She went back with Jim 
Budson and took charge of everything. 

It would seem as if Aunt Nancy had made an ap- 
pointment with Death, and the appointment had been 
punctually kept. They had talked many times of 
this moment, and Mary had promised that she would 
carry out Aunt Nancy's wishes. These desires on the 
part of Aunt Nancy were so unusual and eccentric 
that Mary had asked her to write them down. They 
were found in the Bible-stand drawer, and were as 
follows : 

"I shall know w'en I'm a-goin' ter die an' will be all 
reddy an' wil hev on the close thet I wanter be berrid 
in. Mary Miles nos w'at ter do." 

In her talk with Mary she had said that as she had 



THE DEATH OF AUNT NANCY 297 

no relatives, she'd he chief mourner at her own funeral. 
She did not want any coffin brought in until after the 
funeral exercises, but was to sit there with knitting in 
hand, just as if she were alive, and after the services 
was to be placed in her coffin and buried beside her 
husband. 

In the Bible-stand drawer was also found Aunt 
Nancy's will. It was a unique document. 

"Ter evryboddy as has eny biznes: 

"I give ter Mary Miles all my things an' evrything 
Iv got. Ther farm an' evrything. 

"Nancy Bond." 
"I see her sine it ter day. 

"Jim Btjdson." 
"I seen her sine it ter day. 

"Maey Budson." 
-"Mendon, November 16, 1838." 

Thus armed with authority that no one was dis- 
posed to dispute, Mary went on with the funeral prep- 
arations. The rocking-chair was carefully drawn 
into the parlor, which probably had not been opened 
since the funeral of Jonas Bond, and placed in the 
comer of the room, facing the front door, as Aunt 
Nancy had specifically directed. 

She wanted to be buried the next day after she died, 
as "Thar's no mournin' to be made, they needn't wait 
fer thet, an' asides corpses don't look well arter 



898 RICHARD BAXTER 

they've laid 'round two er three days." Parson Whit- 
ing was not to attend the funeral. She said : 

"Ef he comes, I'll git up an' walk out an' they 
sha'n't hev no fun'ral." 

Everything was done just as Aunt Nancy wished. 
There she sat, dressed just as she had dressed herself, 
in her best. Her fine lace cap, with two rows of in-, 
sertion and two rows of ruffles, both "real thread," and 
wide white cap strings. Two grey curls hung in 
front of each ear, her spectacles in place, and knitting 
in hand. No one would have for a moment suspected 
that she was the "late lamented." 

The attendance at the funeral was greater than the 
little house would hold, as the news of the peculiarities 
of the ceremony had spread with gossip rapidity. 
Parson Snodgrass read the passage of Scripture that 
Aunt Nancy had selected, made a prayer, and then a 
few remarks about the "virtues of our deceased sister," 
closing with a benediction. They placed Aunt Nancy 
in her coffin, with her knitting work in hand, and then 
laid her at rest. 

Aunt Nancy's disposition of her property had all 
been discussed and arranged some time before her 
death and she had said: 

"Now, Mary, arter I'm gone, an' I'm a-goin' right 
soon, you kin do with what's your'n jest as you like; 
but ef I was agoin' to say anything, which I ain't, I'd 
say thet I hope you'll do suthin' f er them air Budsons, 
poor critters." 

Mary felt well inclined toward doing something for 
"the poor critters," and she, on very liberal terms, in- 



THE DEATH OF AUNT NANCY 299 

stalled Jim Budson and eight children (it will be re- 
membered that two years have elapsed since six were 
reported) in Nancy Bond's old farm-house, where they 
lived and prospered for many years. 

Jim Budson was one of those men who only needed 
an opportunity. He could never make one. 



CHAPTER LVII 

"Who Kissed Henrietta?" 

EVERY country town has its great man, that 
is to say, some man who, in his own estimation, 
if not that of his neighbor's, holds that posi- 
tion. In Mendon he was Deacon Palmer, the sole 
proprietor of the Emporium. He is the person whom 
we introduced earlier in our story, through the me- 
dium of Squire Slocum's court. Deacon Palmer was 
the wealthiest man in that locality, the leading citi- 
zen, being foremost in religious, political, and social 
affairs. Of his antecedents he never spoke. There 
were not many who remembered the ingress of the 
ragged, barefooted lad who first made his appearance 
as chore boy at Deacon Coggswell's grocery. Whence 
the lad came none knew, but all guessed that he must 
have been a waif from some poorhouse, without a 
certificate of birth. He remembered neither father 
nor mother, but only of having been passed from 
one old crone to another, in the poorhouse, under 
whose care he had simply grown, never having had 
any bringing up. Deacon Coggswell took to the boy, 
who was bright, intelligent, industrious and faithful. 
He won the confidence of the old deacon, the motherly 
affection of the deacon's wife, and as a young man, 
the love of the deacon's daughter, whom he married 
when twenty-one, at that time receiving from Dea- 

300 



"WHO KISSED HENRIETTA?" 301 

con Coggswell a half partnership in the store, from 
which had grown the great Emporium of Mendon. 

The only issue of Deacon Palmer's marriage was 
a daughter, whom he loved with all the affection of 
a fond parent, and upon whom he lavished everything 
that money could command. 

Deacon Palmer received his office and title at an 
unusually early age. Of this he felt very proud, as 
did his wife, and she never addressed him without 
prefixing the title, so that it was not at all strange 
from so constantly hearing it that the first word that 
little Henrietta picked up when she began to talk was 
"deekin." This was thought by her fond parents 
to be very cunning and they encouraged it. When 
the time came that they would like to have her use 
"the word papa, it was too late, and when she passed 
from "deekin" on to plainer speech, she called her 
father "deacon," and ever after spoke to or of him 
as Deacon or Deacon Palmer. As Henrietta grew in 
years, she grew in his affection. When old enough 
he sent her to Boston to Madame Ristori's, the most 
famous boarding school of that period. Her curri- 
culum embraced all the accomplishments, including 
Monsieur Papanti's dancing school and the best mas- 
ters in music and painting. Her school life unfitted 
her for life at Mendon, where she came twice a year, 
to turn up her nose in disgust at aU her home sur- 
roundings, and was so airy that there were but few 
people in Mendon recognized by her. 

A malicious Mendon young man, whom she had 
snubbed while visiting Boston, told the people at home 



303 RICHARD BAXTER 

that Henrietta Palmer was the original of the song 
entitled "Who Kissed Henrietta?" the first two lines 
of which were: 

"Who stole the pie, and kissed the maid, 
While crackers on the sideboard laid?" 

which mortified her very much, but she had no redress. 

This perfect specimen of a spoiled child had a nat- 
ural goodness which went far toward redeeming her. 
She was well formed, petite in figure, with a really 
pretty face. 

She graduated with high honors, as did all of 
Madame Ristori's pupils, who were the daughters of 
rich men. At graduation, she came home, bringing 
several trunks of clothing, illy adapted to country 
life, that at meeting on Sunday distracted attention 
from Reverend Snodgrass' sermon. 

Deacon Palmer bought for her a piano, the first 
and for a long time the only one in the county of 
Mendon. Henrietta was fond of music, but not fond 
enough to be relieved thereby of the inevitable ermui 
of her new life. 

The recreation most enjoyed by her was riding her 
pet saddle horse. Her lessons at the riding school 
in Boston had given her a good mount, and few ex- 
celled her as an equestrienne. 

Henrietta Palmer was of a lively temperament, and 
with her fun and frolic took precedence. Like most 
girls, she was fond of flirtation, having as little pity 
for her victim as has the boy who stones the frogs. 



"WHO KISSED HENRIETTA?" SOS 

To be sure young men or frogs are not always hit, 
but when they are, it hurts. The little flirtations 
with the young gallants that she used to meet on 
Tremont street maU were greatly missed by her. 
There was no stock of eligibles in Mendon from 
which to fill this void. All the young men of the class 
with whom she would have flirted had opportunity 
afforded, were either married or gone to Boston to 
seek their fortunes. Henrietta had not been at home 
long before her coquetting desire asserted itself, and 
she looked about the town for someone upon whom 
to play her art. She was attracted to Dick Baxter, 
but found no enjoyment in playing round an iceberg. 
As for Ben Thurston, he presumed so much at their 
first meeting that he disgusted her. The next, so 
far as appearances went, for an eligible candidate, 
was Si Slocum. This wiU surprise our readers, if 
they do not take into consideration the fact that our 
old friend was, at the time of which we write, a very 
different person than when we first met him. He 
was a good-looking man, and naturally, quite attrac- 
tive to the other sex. With his education came good 
manners and a taste for good clothes, and there was 
not a better dressed man in Mendon. For the want 
of any other with whom to flirt she determined to 
have a little fun with Si Slocum ; but Si did not take 
any notice of her alluring glances, not supposing for 
a moment that that fine young lady, with her Boston 
education and manners could be intending to make 
eyes at him ; so where any ordinary young man, who 
had a particle of vanity, would have "caught on," 



804. RICHARD BAXTER 

Si Slocum was not tempted. Henrietta had made up 
her mind, and she was not to be baffled. She had fre- 
quently met Si riding when out for her daily exer- 
cise in the saddle, and had determined upon a nice 
little trick, by the playing of which he could not well 
avoid her. One day as Si was riding in the country, 
at rather a slow gait, she came rapidly out of a wood 
road, her horse apparently running away. Passing 
Si she screamed, dropped the lines, and clutched the 
horse's mane with one hand and the saddle with the 
other. Si took in the situation at a glance, passed 
her rapidly and jumped off his horse, that had been 
taught at the command of "whoa" to stand. As Hen- 
rietta's horse came up. Si caught the bridle bit with 
his left hand, throwing the horse back on to his 
haunches, and Henrietta fell from the saddle, appar- 
ently in a swoon, grasped round the waist by Si's 
right arm, and somehow, accidentally of course, her 
left arm fell around his neck. Si was in a quandary 
as to what to do. He could not hold the girl and 
her horse, so let Henrietta slide on to the grassy road- 
side, quickly threw the rein over a root of the stump 
fence, and turned to the assistance of Henrietta, 
whom he found in a heap, with her clothing disar- 
ranged. Si was a modest man. Had he been called 
upon to testify in court, he would reluctantly have ad- 
mitted on cross-examination that Miss Palmer wore 
on that eventful day red stockings. Not daring to 
touch her clothing, he gently raised her from the 
ground to a perpendicular position, and her riding 
habit fell to its proper place. He then set her down 



"WHO KISSED HENRIETTA?" 

gently, leaning against a stump. This limp figure 
who Si thought had fainted, had rosy cheeks, which 
incongruity he did not notice, as his limited experi- 
ence had not taught him that fainting girls' cheeks 
are not rosy. Up to this time he had not spoken, but 
now said, "Miss Palmer, Miss Palmer," a little louder, 
"how can I help you.?" 

There was no response. 

Within a few feet was a gushing spring, beside 
which was a gourd shell. He stepped to the spring 
quickly, filled the gourd and returned. When about 
to sprinkle her face Henrietta sat up and laughing 
merrily, said: 

"Don't put any water on me, Mr. Slocum. You'll 
spoil my ruffles." 

Si instantly threw the contents of the gourd in her 
face, and without a word, mounted his horse and gal- 
loped away, feeling that he had been insulted, made 
a fool of, but did not think that he was quite right 
in letting his anger get the better of him. 

As Slocum rode away, Henrietta jumped to her 
feet, and stamped violently, as angry as any little 
vixen could be. In a moment her temper changed and 
she laughed a merry laugh, and said to herself: "He 
served me right. Si Slocum is no prig. There's good 
stuff in him. I'll get even for this, or my name is not 
Henrietta Palmer." 

It was two or three weeks before they met again, 
as Si had purposely avoided her, by going through 
the Clay tract for his usual rides. But Henrietta had 
not given up her game. 



306 RICHARD BAXTER 

One day while riding slowly through the woods Si 
heard a horse coming up behind him. Turning his 
head, he saw Miss Palmer, and spurred his horse, but 
she had the faster animal, and was soon by his side. 

"Good morning, Mr. Slocum. Don't run away. I 
won't eat you; besides, I have something very impor- 
tant to say," as they both slackened the speed of their 
horses. "I want to apologize, Mr. Slocum, for the 
trick I played the other day. I don't think you 
ought to be angry, as I had the worst of it." 

"Miss Palmer," replied Si, "I certaply was very 
angry at the time, but I soon recovered, and am heart- 
ily ashamed of my rudeness; it is I who ought to 
apologize." She quickly replied : 

"If that's the way you feel, we'll call it square, and 
let's be friends," reaching out a hand, which he took 
in one of his, while he raised his hat with the other. 
They rode on through the woods, discussing the 
weather and the beautiful scenery, he listening, she 
doing most of the talking. After this meeting,, their 
rides together were quite frequent, and they became 
very friendly. As the summer went on, their associ- 
ation grew into intimacy, and from that intimacy 
developed, unawares to either, a mutual aifection. 

One day on returning from a long ride, Henrietta 
analyzed her feelings, resulting in the discovery that 
she really loved Si Slocum, and that he loved her she 
was quite certain, but she did not believe that he would 
ever say so, except in answer. It was her intention 
from the first that he should love her, but had not 
meant to be caught in the meshes herself. 



"WHO KISSED HENRIETTA?" 307 

"Well," she soliloquized, "I am very certain that 
after all that Si has said about fortune hunters, he 
will never ask me to marry him. It is queer, con- 
sidering his origin, what a high sense of honor he has. 
Si Slocmn is a rough diamond, but I can polish' him. 
Well, if he won't propose to me, I will to him." The 
next day while riding, she asked : 

"Si, why don't you get married.'"' 

"Married!" he replied. "Whom should I marry?" 

"Why me, of course. You are not fool enough to 
think I'd let you marry anyone else." 

"I can't marry you, Henrietta." 

"Why not?" 

"For several reasons. In the first place, you are 
rich, and I will never be accused of fortune hunting, 
and then, your father would never consent ; but that 
is not of so much consequence." 

"No, I don't think Deacon Palmer, with his high 
notions, would ever consent to my marrying you, but 
I am of age and will marry whom I choose, and as to 
my fortune, you ought to consider that an advantage." 

"No," he replied, "I can't be accused of fortune 
hunting." 

"Si, would you marry me if I were a poor girl?" 

"I would if you would have me." 

"Well, then. Si, I wUl have you, rich or poor." 

On the day of this conversation. Deacon Palmer 
heard that Si Slocum and Henrietta had been seen 
riding together several times. He hurried home, very 
angry, and said to Henrietta : 

"Have you been riding with Si Slocum?" 



308 RICHARD BAXTER 

"Yes, Deacon Palmer." 

"How many times?" 

"Oh, a good many times. Almost every fair day 
aU summer." 

"What do you mean by this ?" 

"Why, Deacon Palmer, I mean to marry Si 
Slocum, if he'll have me, but that side of the question 
is not settled." 

"Marry Si Slocum! A daughter of mine marry 
that low-born vagabond of a horse jockey." He was 
sitting at the time near the open piano, on the keys 
of which he brought down his fist with such force 
that it knocked an octave permanently out of busi- 
ness. 

Henrietta was as composed as her father was angry. 

"Deacon Palmer, you have never told me about the 
great man that I suppose my grandfather must have 
been. I have never seen hanging on these walls any 
genealogical tree. Still, with your high notions, I 
am not surprised that you should take exception to 
my marriage with Si Slocum, but marry him I will, 
if he'll have me." 

"Have you.? Do you suppose that beggar will 
hesitate for a moment to take you and your money.'' 
But, mind you, young lady, never a dollar of my 
money shall he have, nor you either, if you marry 
him." And growing still more furious, "Promise me 
now that you will never have anything more to do 
with Si Slocum, or out of this house you go this very 
day. On this I am determined." 

"I am Deacon Palmer's daughter, and to the Palm- 



"WHO KISSED HENRIETTA?" 309 

er Hetermination is added some Coggswell blood, and 
I am quite as determined as you, so, good morning, 
Deacon Palmer, and good-bye." 

Henrietta went immediately to her room, properly 
dressed herself, and went out of the house. Going 
directly to Mrs. Miles' cottage she told her story and 
sent a note, asking Si Slocum to come to her imme- 
diately. He came, and they were closeted together 
in Mrs. Miles' little parlor for an hour. Henrietta 
began by saying: 

"You said. Si, that if I were a poor girl and would 
have you, you would marry me. Both conditions are 
fulfilled. I am a poor girl and will marry you. Dea- 
con Palmer has turned me out of doors and disin- 
herited me. Now, what shall we do.?" Si replied: 

"Get married, I suppose, as soon as the law will 
let us." 

The law required that an intention of marriage 
should be posted by the town clerk in the meeting 
house for three weeks, and no marriage within the 
State would be legal without compliance. She could 
stay with Mrs. Miles for the necessary three weeks, 
but that would make three weeks of gossip, so they 
concluded that they had better go over the line into 
Vermont and be married at once. This they did, and 
on returning to Mendon, for want of a better place, 
took board at the tavern. Their honeymoon and 
several months passed happily, without incident 
worthy of mention. It will be remembered that up 
to the day of their marriage, they had never met, 
except in the saddle, consequently their courtship had 



810 RICHARD BAXTER 

consisted of cavalry maneuvers only; but later they 
were glad to adopt infant-ry tactics. 

Henrietta had met her father many times on the 
street, and always saluted him with a courteous "good 
morning, Deacon Palmer," of which he took no 
notice. It was understood in the village that Deacon 
Palmer had made a new will, and after providing for 
his wife and a few small legacies, had given the bulk 
of his property to the founding of an orphan asylum 
at Concord. About six months after Henrietta's mar- 
riage Deacon Palmer was taken seriously ill, and was 
not expected to recover. Henrietta said one morning : 

"Si, I am going over to see Deacon Palmer." 

"All right, my dear. You know what is best. I 
certainly have no objection." 

She was met at the door by Mrs. Palmer, who, 
though having been forbidden ever to speak to her 
again, gave her a motherly welcome. She went at 
once to her father's bedside, took his hand, and for 
the first time in her life, addressed him as father, 
adding : "I am very sorry you are sick." 

"Henrietta, I am glad to see you. I am happy 
that you have given in, for I could not, and now I 
can die in peace." 

Realizing his critical condition, he immediately 
sent for Richard Baxter and made a new will, giving 
all his property to her, after a liberal provision for 
the mother. .No tioubt the visit of Henrietta saved 
Deacon Palmer's life, for he rapidly recovered. He 
became reconciled to Si Slocum and they were soon 
not only good friends, but very fond of each other. 



CHAPTER LVIII 

A Self-Made Man 

SI SLOCUM is a character who Is entitled to a 
larger space in our story than we have given 
him. A boy of unknown parentage, turned 
loose in the world to shift for himself, under the most 
unfavorable influences for the development of respec- 
tability or even decency, who achieves in life as good 
a standing as did Si Slocum, is entitled to great credit. 
He was a self-made man, and when we consider the 
material with which he had to work he certainly had 
no reason to be ashamed of his job. 

When Si Slocum, through an election joke, became 
Squire Slocum, he became in many respects a new 
man. He was at that time ilKterate, could with diffi- 
culty read, and his writing accomplishment was con- 
fined to the execution of a very crude signature. 
Under the influence and guidance of Richard Baxter, 
he applied himself diligently to the rudiments of a 
common-school education. His heart was in his work 
and he made rapid progress. He was spurred on by 
a healthy ambition, and used often to say to himself, 
"I'll be a man yet." 

Among other changes he rearranged his horse prin- 
ciples. Heretofore, everything was fish that came to 
liis net. After he became Squire Slocum he told the 
people that he proposed to be known as Square Slo- 
an 



312 RICHARD BAXTER 

cum, and that anyone who wanted to buy a horse at a 
fair price could be accommodated, but anyone who 
wanted to swap horses had better cut their eye-teeth 
before they came to him, as he would beat them if he 
could, and if they beat him he wouldn't whine. After 
this forewarning, he had no pity for the horse jockey 
who tried to get the best of him in a swap. 

Squire Slocum became not only a prominent man 
in Mendon, but one of its most respected citizens, and 
the day came when Parson Snodgrass did not hesitate 
to ride behind one of the Squire's fast trotters or his 
spanking team right out in the open. He was re- 
elected justice of the peace year by year, with practi- 
cally no opposition, until he outgrew the office, and 
would have no more of it. He acquired, principally 
by absorption, as good an education as the majority 
of his fellow-citizens; served two terms in the State 
Legislature and two terms in the Congress. 

He never lost his love for a good horse. 



CHAPTER LIX 

Diary Extracts 

EXTRACTS from the diary of Mary Miles : 
"Richard, my Richard, came up to see me 
last night, and we had a long talk on religious 
matters. There are several points on which we do 
not exactly agree. I am afraid that he is not quite 
sound in the faith." 

"I am afraid that Richard has not that all-abiding 
faith in God and His goodness that I have." 

"Richard came again last evening. Oh, how I love 
that man! Does he love me? I do not know, but I 
am quite certain that he does not love anyone eke." 

"Mother asks me, 'What is the matter with you, 
Mary.f" You act as if you were thinking of some- 
thing else all the time.' No, it is not something else 
that I am thinking of, nor somebody else." 

"I think that there are some matters in which 
women should have the same rights as men. If a 
woman love a man, why should she not say so.f*" 

"When Richard said last night, 'I'll come over in 
the morning,' how I wish I might have put my arms 

313 



314 RICHARD BAXTER 

around his neck, and with a kiss, quoted from that 
lovely old song, ah, Richard, my dear, 

" 'Come in the evening or come in the morning, 

Come when you're looked for, or come without 

warning. 
Kisses and welcome you'll find here before you, 
And the oftener you come, the more I'll adore you.' 

But no, that would not have been proper. Oh, of how 
much happiness the proprieties do rob us !" 

"I dreamed last night of Richard, my Richard. I 
dream of him almost every night. I dreamed that 
Richard, my Richard, came and said, 'Mary, let us 
take a walk,' and I replied, 'Yes, Richard, I will walk 
anywhere with you.' Then he said, 'Let's go to Par- 
adise,' and he took me by the hand and walked 
through Paradise. How I wish that I could describe 
its beauties! What is Paradise? It is an ecstasy 
of soul that one can feel but cannot describe." 

"I've been reading over some of my diary, and it is 
'Richard, my Richard,' on almost every page. I sup- 
pose if others were to read it they would say, 'How 
silly !' and I have no doubt that I should say the same 
of someone else's diary. I cannot help it. I don't 
want to. Oh, Richard, my Richard!" 



Extracts from the diary of Richard Baxter: 

"Si Slocum asked me a question to-day. He said, 
'Dick, why don't you get married.?' 'Married,' I said. 



DIARY EXTRACTS 315 

'and to whom, Squire?' 'Why, Mary Miles, to be 
sure.' 'To tell the truth. Squire, I never thought of 
it, and I do not know that she would have me.' 
'Humph,' said the squire, 'would a duck swim?' " 

"Mary and I discussed religion last night. I 
would give anything and everything if I only had the 
belief and the faith in God that she has. It is sub- 
lime." 

"There is one thing they cannot accuse me of, infi- 
del or no infidel, that is of ever saying anything to 
weaken anyone's belief in God." 

"Old Parson Snodgrass to-day preached a long ser- 
mon on infant damnation. Good, kind-hearted old 
man. I do not think that he believes all the cruel 
things that he preaches. How I would like to have a 
good free talk with him, but that would not do, for I 
would then betray my own unbelief." 

"On religious subjects, if a man thinks he doubts, 
and if he doubts, he is damned." 

"I want a God. This, I think, is every man's na- 
ture. But I want a God whom I can love and respect 
according to my standard of right. I want a just 
God, whom I can respect for His never-failing equity. 
I want a merciful God, whom I can revere for His 
never-varying beneficence. Justice and mercy are 
the only attributes that I desire in my God." 



316 RICHARD BAXTER 

"I have never forgotten the scene at the death-bed 
of Patrick Moriarty. That grand faith that enabled 
him to take the sleep of death as calmly as if it were 
but the natural nightly slumber. To me it has always 
been the subject of wonder and admiration." 

"Do people really believe what they think they do? 
I wish that I knew." 

"Rob a Christian of his religious belief! Or even 
a heathen, for that matter ! Never !" 



CHAPTER LX 
" Pbat, Bichaed, Peat ! " 

GEORGE HOWARD, who was associated witK 
Richard Baxter in Sunday-school work, had 
been sick for a long time with that awful dis- 
ease, consumption. One night word came to Richard 
that his friend was dying and wished to see him. He 
went reluctantly, but quickly overcame his repug- 
nance by a realization of his duty. 

George Howard was indeed dying, and spoke with 
difficulty. "It is good of you, Richard, to come to 
your old friend in this last emergency. I am dying, 
and in a few moments shall be in the arms of Jesus, 
whom we both love so well. I am not afraid to meet 
God. It was not fear that led me to send for you, but 
a wish to have a true Christian by my side in this 
awful hour, to hold my hand at the last moment, to 
pass me over, as it were, to God, our Heavenly Father, 
who is so dear to both of us. Pray, Richard." 

How could he pray? To whom could he pray? 
He felt that his mantle of hypocrisy was too short. 
He could not pray, neither could he refuse the last re- 
quest of his dying friend. There beside the bed stood 
the wife, the little child, the old father and mother, a 
brother and sister, aU waiting, as it were, for him to 
escort the departing spirit to the gates of Heaven, 
where stood Christ ready to receive him. Richard 

sir 



318 RICHARD BAXTER 

quickly reviewed in his mind the consequence of his 
refusal, which would disclose his unbelief, and what a 
shock that would be, not only to his dying friend, but 
to the bystanders, to the community in which he lived 
his miserable, hypocritical life. 

In his anguish his soul cried out, "Oh, God, help 
me!" And he fell on his knees. Thinking that he 
could do no less than to repeat the Lord's Prayer, he 
began : "Our Father who art in Heaven," then as if 
inspired, "Great, good, and everlasting God, Supreme 
Existence, listen to an insignificant atom that pre- 
sumes to appeal to Omnipotence for mercy. We rec- 
ognize, O God, our need of Thee at all times, but now, 
O God, while the soul of our dear brother is parting 
from its tenement of clay, we cannot do without Thy 
help. Great Creator of all. Author of all being. Su- 
preme Ruler of the; universe, grant us Thy blessing. 
Oh, Lord, receive this soul now on its flight from time 
to eternity, and sanctify to us our loss, and make us 
to realize Thy greatness. Thy goodness. Thy allness, 
and to realize our own littleness, and while we continue 
on earth, may we ever be Thy humble, dutiful chil- 
dren, and when we pass on to join our departing 
brother, may we be worthy of a place at Thy feet, and 
humbly serve Thee to all eternity. Amen." 

As Richard arose from his knees, the. spirit of 
George Howard took its flight to the bourne from 
which no traveller has ever returned. As it ever after 
seemed to Richard, the departing soul of his friend 
took with It all of his doubts and unbeliefs, and from 
that TOomeaatj he was indeed a Christian. So deeply 



"PRAY, RICHARD, PRAY!" 319 

did his conversion impress him, that he recognized it 
as a call from God to devote his life especially to His 
service. 

After a few years he gave up the efforts to succeed 
as an honest lawyer, and became an eminent minister 
of the gospel. 



CHAPTER LXI 

Paeson Snodgrass Turned Out 

PARSON SNODGRASS was very old, was get- 
ting feeble, and unable to attend to many of 
the duties of his ofBce. There were more slip- 
pers worked for him by the young women than he 
could wear, more calls to be made than he could make. 

Many of his people had long talked of his resigning 
or dying. As he seemed not inclined to do either, 
some other course must be taken.. Somebody must 
talk to the old parson. It was a case of who should 
"bell the cat." 

Parson Snodgrass was a shrewd old man, had been 
watching with great interest all that had been going 
on in his parish, and knew all about their intention to 
get rid of him. He knew, too, who his friends were. 
Finally a committee of two, who thought that they 
had the courage of their convictions, called on him 
and stated the case. He listened without comment 
until they had finished, and then calmly asked: 

"What do you want.?" 

They hesitatingly looked from one to the other. 
Deacon Palmer at last gained sufficient audacity to 
say: 

"Well, Parson, don't you think that you had better 
resign and let some young man take your place.?" 

"What is to become of me and my wife.?" 

330 



PARSON SNODGRASS TURNED OUT 321 

"Well, don't know." 

"Well, I know. We should have to beg or starve. 
We couldn't go to the Mendon poorhouse, as I don't 
own any real estate, and as minister I've been exempt 
from taxation; consequently, have no rights in the 
poorhouse. What have you to say to that. Deacon 
Palmer.?" 

"Well, that may be the situation, but I don't see 
how we are to blame. We've always paid your sal- 
ary, an' 'tain't our fault if you hain't saved nothin' 
fer a rainy day." 

"Saved!" exclaimed the parson bitterly. "Saved! 
One hundred and fifty dollars a year, and saved out 
of that.? I shall not resign until I die," he firmly 
added. 

"Well," said Deacon Palmer, "of course we can't 
make you resign, but you won't get no more pay, an' 
you'U have to move your stuff out of this house. We 
kinder thought you might be a leetle obstreperous, so 
we're a-goin' to proceed legally, an' accordin' to law, 
an' we've got the papers from Squire Canfield." 

Then they handed the following notice to Parson 
Snodgrass : 

"To Reverend Jonathan Snodgrass: 

"Take notice and fail not. 
"We, Joseph Palmer and Jacob Riker, deacons of 
the First Society of Mendon, and duly authorized so 
to do, by a vote of said Society, hereby forbid you to 
longer occupy the pulpit of the meeting-house of said 
Society or to preach any more in said meeting-house. 



RICHARD BAXTER 

and to vacate at once the parsonage now occupied by 
you. Hereof fail not, or suffer the penalty of the 
law in such case made and provided. 

" Joseph PAiiMEU, Deacon. 

" Jacob Riker, Deacon." 

Parson Snodgrass took the paper, and very calmly 
said: 

"Deacons, do you not know that next Sunday will 
be the fiftieth anniversary of the day that I became 
minister to this Society? I have looked forward to 
preaching a sermon on that day, and would ask the 
favor that you permit me to occupy my pulpit on that 
morning, and I shall thereafter obey your command 
and not preach again." 

To this the deacons assented, and at Parson Snod- 
grass' suggestion wrote at the bottom of their ukase 
the following : 

"Next Sunday being the fiftieth anniversary of 
Parson Snodgrass' preaching, the above order is so 
far amended as to allow him to preach on the morning 
of that day." 

The parson bowed them out, closed the door, and 
stood for a moment shaking his fist at the innocent 
door. "I'll be even with you yet, though I ought to 
be thankful for the good turn you have unwittingly 
done me." 

He never bestowed so much care on any sermon be- 
fore, except the one he had preached when ordained 
to the ministry, almost sixty years before. It was a 
long sermon. It ran up to eighteenthly. 



PARSON SNODGRASS TURNED OUT 323 

The fiftieth anniversary came, and a more beautiful 
day could not have been. It was known by all Men- 
don that Parson Snodgrass had been turned out and 
was to preach for the last time on that day. The lit- 
tle meeting-house was packed full, for everybody 
thought that the old parson "might say some- 
thing." 

The early part of the sermon was a history of his 
connection with the Society, chronologically arranged. 
In feeling terms he spoke of many who had passed 
over the border, lovingly of a few who still remained. 
Many of his hearers he had baptized, joined most iil 
marriage. Parson Snodgrass had been settled at 
Mendon fifty years, and there were not more than 
three or four of the original church-members left. He 
knew the family history of every member of his con- 
gregation, and he felt justified in not sparing them. 
He threw open their private closets, and not only ex- 
posed the skeletons therein, but dragged them out, 
and figuratively scattered them all over the floor. 
Among other things he said : 

"There's Deacon Palmer. Seems to have forgotten 
that the Bible says that false weights are an abomina- 
tian. His yard-sticks are not over thirty-five inches 
long. The measures for his molasses, oil, and spirits 
have the bottoms bulged in and the sides battered so 
that they are short about one pint in the gallon. His 
balance-weights are from one to two ounces light in 
the pound. The bottoms of his wooden measures are 
set up in the rim so that they are a cheat and a fraud. 
He has one set of measures for buying and another 



RICHARD BAXTER 

for selling. There's sand in his sugar, stones in his 
coffee, and water in his rum. 

'Then, there's Deacon Riker, the miller. He takes 
unlawful toll. 'Tis often said that the miller's hogs 
are always fat, and well they may be. 

"There are others in the congregation to 
whom I might pay my respects, but time will not 
permit. 

"I have been ordered by a committee of the Society 
not again to occupy this pulpit, from which I have 
preached God's word for fifty years. I shall obey. 
Before closing the service, I desire to read a paper 
which I think will be of interest to you : 

'Mendon, May 12, 1788, 
and the twelfth year of the Independence of the 

United States. 
'To Whom it May Concern : 

'Be it known that according to a vote of the parish 
of Mendon, made this day at a meeting held for such 
purpose, that Abijah Snow and Adam Brown, deacons 
of the said parish, are hereby duly authorized to make 
such arrangements with Reverend Jonathan Snodgrass 
for preaching as they in their wisdom and by the 
grace of God may believe to be for the interest of our 
parish. 

'Witness our hand and seal this 12th day of May, 
A.D. 1788. 

'James Ckandali-, Moderator. 

'Attest: Jonas Bkown, Clerk.' 



PARSON SNODGRASS TURNED OUT 325 

'Be it Known, 

'To Whom it May Concern: 

'That we, with good authority from the First Pres- 
byterian Society of Mendon, make the following con- 
tract with Reverend Jonathan Snodgrass, to wit: 

'That he, the Reverend Snodgrass, for and in con- 
sideration of the covenants and agreements herein con- 
tained, agrees to be the minister of the parish afore- 
said for as long as he may live, unless he should vol- 
untarily resign, in which case he forfeits all claims on 
the Society. The pay for such service as minister is 
to be as follows : 

'For the first ten years he is to have fifty dollars 
per year. For the second ten years he is to have one 
hundred dollars per year. Also the use of the par- 
sonage, and twenty acres of land on which the same 
is located. The Society is to keep the personage in 
as good repair as it now is. He, Jonathan Snodgrass, 
shall have for his own the cow and the shote now at 
the parsonage, also the hens. 

'Also be it further provided, agreed and under^ 
stood that the Society may by a majority vote of the 
members, dismiss the Reverend Jonathan Snodgrass 
from being their minister, but if he does not agree to 
such dismissal, the compensation above provided shall 
be continued as long as he may live. 

'Abijah Snow, Deacon. 
'Adam Beown, Deacon. 

'Attest: Jonas Beown, Clerk.' 

"The command by Deacons Palmer and Riker, that 



326 RICHARD BAXTER 

I shall not longer be your minister will be obeyed by 
me, but as my contract with the Society provides for 
my support, I shall stay among you as long as I am 
permitted to live, and it is hardly necessary to say 
that it will afford me great pleasure to see my friends 
at the parsonage. Each one can judge for himself 
whether he is invited." The parson spread his arms, 
upturned his face, the congregation arose, and he pro- 
nounced the benediction. 

Parson Snodgrass was about the only person who 
left the meeting-house. He came down from the pul- 
pit and passed out of the little door that opened into 
the yard of the parsonage. 

All were surprised, as the parson had not taken 
anyone into his confidence, and there was not a mem- 
ber of the Society left who had ever heard of the life 
contract. They gathered into little groups and talked 
the situation over, but no move toward any official 
action was taken. The surprise at learning of the 
life contract was so great that for the moment the ser- 
mon was forgotten, except by those who had been per- 
sonally attacked. They, of course, felt very sore. It 
was, however, only a publication of what everybody 
knew. 

After a few days' consideration, it was unanimously 
conceded that they must have a minister, that they 
could not afford to pay two salaries, therefore they 
must eat "humble pie," and ask old Parson Snodgrass 
to resume pastoral relations. Deacons Palmer and 
Riker called on him, and very humbly requested per- 



PARSON SNODGRASS TURNED OUT 327 

mission to withdraw the dismissal, which, only the 
week before, they had so arrogantly thrust in his face. 
Much to their surprise, the old parson said: 

"No, I guess that things are in as good shape as 
they can be." 



CHAPTER LXII 

The Goose 

WE have to introduce to our readers one more 
character, who just looks in as we are about 
to end our story. The meeting-house was 
closed for two Sundays. Then arrangements were 
made with the Rev. Willis Parker, a young clergy- 
man, fresh from the Divinity School, who came to 
Mendon on trial. 

He procured board at the cottage of Mrs. Miles, 
and at first sight became infatuated with Mary, and 
the more he knew her the greater was his admiration. 
She accompanied him to and from meeting on Sunday 
and to the weekly meeting on Tuesday evening. So 
strongly was he drawn toward her that it was with 
great difficulty that he restrained himself from open 
expression. He did manage to control his tongue, 
but his eyes were not under subjection. He might as 
weU have tried to prevent the steel from following the 
magnet. 

Mary saw this flood-tide of love coming in, and 
would gladly have checked it had she known how to 
do so. Her efforts were as futile as were those of the 
old woman in the story, who tried to sweep back the 
ocean tide with her broom. In her anxiety she cried, 
"Richard, my Richard, why do you not come to my 
help.'"' There seemed but one thing to do, and that 



THE GOOSE 329 

was to avoid Willis Parker as much as she could. 
She was not a flirt, but a true woman, according to the 
best specimen that God had ever made, and the only 
sensations that WiUis Parker's feelings toward her 
aroused were pain and pity. In her own estimation 
she was Richard Baxter's, joined to him by God. To 
be sure there had been no marriage ceremony nor had 
he even avowed his love, but her consciousness gave 
assurance that he belonged to her. Oh, why would he 
not speak ! 

Meanwhile, what were Richard's sentiments? He 
felt that she belonged to him, and at some convenient 
season they would be united by legal form. He had 
never given the subject serious thought. In his mind 
it did not demand it. It was all right, of course it 
was. Richard had noticed, and so had everyone else, 
the infatuation of Willis Parker for Mary, and while 
he would not acknowledge jealousy, it set him to 
thinking. He soliloquized: 

"Why should we not get married.'' We are cer- 
tainly old enough and I am able to support a wife. I 
suppose that she would want time to get ready. 
What queer notions women have about getting mar- 
ried." 

While almost everybody else liked the young minis- 
ter, Richard took a very strong dislike to him, ab- 
sented himself from meeting, and quite unconsciously 
showed his dislike in many ways. If he had been 
asked why he did not like him, he might have answered, 
and thought that he did so truthfuUy, 



RICHARD BAXTER 

"I do not love thee, Doctor Fell, 
The reason why I cannot tell, 
But this, forsooth, I know full well, 
I do not love thee, Doctor FeU." 

But everybody else knew why he disliked the young 
minister. 

Mary was very unhappy, for she daily saw the 
river of Willis Parker's love rising, feared an overflow 
of its banks, and dreaded to give him the pain that she 
must, if he should speak. Her intense love for Rich- 
ard enlightened her as to the shock that she must give 
Willis Parker if he ever told his love. 

One evening Richard came to see her, and was much 
gratified to learn that the young minister had gone to 
make a sick call. As the evening was very pleasant, 
he suggested that they should take a stroll in the 
woods. Mary was very glad to go. They had been 
walking hand in hand, and silent, until they entered 
the pine forest, when Richard abruptly said: 

"Mary, when shall we get married.""' 

She quickly and a little sharply replied : 

"We get married? You never before have said 
anything about our getting married." 

"Haven't 1? I supposed you knew that we were to 
marry." 

"Why, Richard, you never even said that you loved 
me." 

"Love you, Mary Miles! Why, I have always 
loved you. That is a self-evident proposition that 
requires no demonstration." 



THE GOOSE 331 

"No demonstration, no working out of the problem, 
no expression ! 'You have no right to rob a woman of 
her wooing.' Would you that we should walk side by 
side and not reach out one to the other the companion 
hand, not to clasp in fond embrace and feel the heart 
to heart throb responsive, not to seal our love with 
ecstatic kisses? If you expect this, Richard Baxter, 
you are a goose." 

"Groose, am I? Well, I'U show you that I am more 
of a bear than a goose," as he swung around, clasped 
her unresisting in his arms, hugged and kissed her 
until she exclaimed, "Oh Richard, Richard, I'll take 
it all back. You are not a goose, you are nothing 
but a gander." 

"Well, then, if we have settled our ornithological 
relation, let us sit down on this log. Mary, dear 
Mary, I have always loved you, and thousands of 
times I have tried to tell you, but there has been an 
uncontrollable something that has stopped me, a feel- 
ing perhaps that you didn't love me. I asked you so 
abruptly when we should be married, that I might 
shock out the truth. Isn't it queer, Mary, that we 
have lived so intimately and never found each other 
out until now. Why, Mary, ever since the day I first 
met you, you have been my good angel, my ideal, my 
inspiration. And now, my dear, perhaps you are 
ready to answer the question I asked you when we 
entered the forest." 

"Yes, Richard, my Richard, I am ready. It shall 
be whenever you wish."