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CHAPTER XIII.

Mess.-He hath indeed, better bettered expectation, than you must expect me to tell you how. Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.

MR. LANDHOLM came back in excellent spirits from Shagarack. The boys were well entered, Will Junior and Winthrop Sophomore, and with very good credit to themselves. This had been their hope and intention, with the view of escaping the cost of one and two years of a college life. President Tuttle had received them very kindly, and everything was promising; the boys in good heart, and their father a proud man.

"Aint it queer, now," he said that evening of his return, as he sat warming his hands before the blaze, "aint it queer that those two fellows should go in like that-one Junior and t'other Sophomore, and when they've had no chance at all beforehand, Will has been a little better, to be sure; but you may say. how on earth Winthrop ever prepared himself I can't imagine. Why the fellow read off Greek there, and I didn't know he had ever seen a word of it."

"He used to learn up in his room o' nights, father," said Asahel.

"He used to carry his books to the field and study while the oxen were resting," said Winifred.

"He did!-Well, he'll get along. I aint afeard of him. He won't be the last man in the College, I guess."

"I guess not, father," said Asahel.

And now the months sped along with slow step, bringing toilwork for every day. It was cheerfully taken, and patiently wrought through; both at Shagarack and in the little valley at home; but those were doing for themselves, and these were truly

doing love's work, for them. All was for them. The crops were grown and the sheep sheared, that Rufus and Winthrop might, not eat and be clothed,-that was a trifle,-but have the full good of a College education. The burden and the joy of the toilers was the same. There were delightful speculations round the fireside about the professions the young men would choose; what profound lawyers, what brilliant ministers, should come. forth from the learned groves of Shagarack; perhaps, the father hinted, statesmen. There were letters from both the boys, to be read and re-read, and loved and prided in, as once those of Rufus. And clothes came home to mend, and new and nice knitted socks went now and then to replace the worn ones; but that commerce was not frequent nor large; where there was so little to make, it was of necessity that there should not be too much to mend; and alas! if shirt-bosoms gave out, the boys buttoned their coats over them and studied the harder. There were wants they did not tell; those that were guessed at, they knew, cost many a strain at home; and were not all met then. But they had not gone to Shagarack to be 'smart,'-except mentally. That they were.

They were favourites, notwithstanding. Their superiors delighted in their intellectual prominence; their fellows forgave it. Quietly and irresistibly they had won to the head of their respective portions of the establishment, and stayed there; but the brilliancy and fire of Rufus and the manliness and temper of his brother gained them the general good-will, and general consent to the place from which it was impossible to dislodge them. Admiration first followed the elder brother, and liking the younger; till it was found that Winthrop was as unconquerable as he was unassuming; as sure to be ready as to be right; and a very thorough and large respect presently fell into the train of his deservings. The faculty confided in him; his mates looked up to him. There was happily no danger of any affront to Winthrop which might have called Rufus's fire disagreeably into play. And for himself, he was too universally popular. If he was always in the foreground, everybody knew it was because he could not be anywhere else. If Winthrop was often brought into the foreground, on great occasions, every soul of them knew it was because no other would have dignified it so well. And besides, neither Winthrop nor Rufus forgot or seemed to forget the grand business for which he was there. With all their diversity of manner and disposition, each was intent on the same thing, to do what he had come there to do. Lasting emi

nence, not momentary pre-eminence, was what they sought; and that was an ambition which most of their compeers had no care to dispute with them.

"Poor fellows!" said a gay young money-purser; "they are working hard, I suppose, to get themselves a place in the eye of the world."

"Yes sir," said the President, who overheard this speech ;"and they will by and by be where you can't see them."

They came home for a few weeks in the summer, to the unspeakable rejoicing of the whole family; but it was a break of light in a cloudy day; the clouds closed again. Only now and then a stray sunbeam of a letter found its way through.

One year had gone since the boys went to College, and it was late in the fall again. Mr. Underhill, who had been on a journey back into the country, came over one morning to Mr. Landholm's.

"Good morning!" said the farmer. back from your journey into the interior."

"Well, you've got

"Yes," said Mr. Underhill,-" I've got back."

"How did you find things looking, out there?"

"Middling;-their winter crops are higher up than yours and mine be."

"Ay. I suppose they've a little the start of us with the sun. Vid you come through Shagarack?"

"Yes I stopped there a night."

"Did you see my boys?"

"Yes-I see 'em."

"Well-what did they say?" said the father, with his eye

alive.

"Well-not much," said Mr. Underhill.

"They were well, I suppose?"

"First-rate-only Winthrop looked to me as if he was workin' pretty hard. He's poorer, by some pounds, I guess, than he was when he was to hum last August."

"Didn't he look as usual?" said the father with a smothered anxiety.

"There wa'n't no other change in him, that I could see, of no kind. I didn't know as Rufus was going to know who I was, at first."

"He hasn't seen much of you for some time."

"I

"No; and folks lose their memory," said Mr. Underhill. saw the what do you call him ?-the boss of the concernpresident!-President Tuttle. I saw him and had quite a talk with him."

"The president! How came you to see him?"

“Well, 'taint much to see a man, I s'pose,—is it? I took a notion I'd see him. I wanted to ask him how Will and Winthrop was a getting along. I told him I was a friend o' yourn." "Well did you ask him?

"Yes I did.

"What did he say ?" said Mr. Landholm, half laughing. "I asked him how they were getting along."

Ay, and what did he answer to that?

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"He wanted to know if Mr. Landholm had any more sons ? " "Was that all?" said the farmer, laughing quite.

"That was the hull he said, with a kind of kink of his eye that wa'n't too big a sum for me to cast up. He didn't give me no more satisfaction than that."

"And what did you tell him—to his question?"

"I?—I told him that two such plants took a mighty sight of room to grow, and that the hull county was clean used up. "You did!" said Mr. Landholm laughing heartily. "Pretty well!-pretty good!-Have some tobacco, neighbour?

"How is it?" said Mr. Underhill taking a bunch gravely. "First-rate,-I think. Try."

Which Mr. Underhill did, with slow and careful consideration. Mr. Landholm watched him complacently.

"I've seen worse," he remarked dryly at length. did you get it, squire?

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"Where

"Nowhere short of the great city, neighbour. It came from Mannahatta."

"Did, hey? Well, I reckon it might. Will you trade?" "With what?" said Mr. Landholm.

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"Well let's hear," said the farmer.

"Don't you think the post ought to be paid?" said Mr. Underhill, diving into some far-down pockets.

"Why, are you the post?

Don't you think that two sealed letters, now, would be worth a leetle box o' that 'ere?

"Have you brought letters from the boys?"

"Well I don't know who writ 'em," said Mr. Underhill;— "they guv 'em to me."

Mr. Landholm took the letters, and with a very willing face went for a 'little box,' which he filled with the Mannahatta tobacco.

"Old Cowslip don't keep anything like this," Mr. Underhill said as he received it and stowed it coolly away in his pocket. "I mean to shew it to him."

"Will you stay to dinner, neighbour?"

"No thank 'ee-I've got to get over the river; and my little woman'll have something cooked for me; and if I wa'n't there to eat it I shouldn't hear the last of my wastefulness."

ing.

"Ay? is that the way she does?" said Mr. Landholm laugh

"Something like it. A tight grip, I tell ye!"

And with these words Mr. Underhill took himself out of the house.

"Where's your mother, Asahel? call her and tell her what's here," said Mr. Landholm, as he broke one of the seals.

"MY DEAR PARENTS,

"SHAGARACK, Dec. 3, 1810.

"I take the opportunity of friend Underhill's going home to send you a word-I can't write much more than a word, I'm so busy. I never drove my plough at home half so industriously as now I am trying to break up and sow the barren fields of mind. But oh, this is sweeter labour than that. How shall I ever repay you, my dear father and dear mother, for the efforts you are making-and enduring-to give me this blessing. I feel them to my very heart-I know them much better than from your words. And perhaps this poor return of words is all I shall ever be able to make you,—when it seems to me sometimes as if I could spill my very heart to thank you. But if success can thank you, you shall be thanked. I feel that within me which says I shall have it. Tell mother the box came safe, and was gladly received. The socks &c. are as nice as possible, and very comfortable this weather; and the mittens, tell Winnie, are like no other mittens that ever were knit; but I wish I could have hold of the dear little hands that knit them for a minute instead-she knows what would come next.

"You bid me say if I want anything-sometimes I think I want nothing but to hear from you a little oftener-or to see you! that would be too pleasant. But I am doing very well, though I do want to know that ma is not working so hard. I shall relieve pa from any further charge of me after this. I consulted the President; and he has given me a form in the grammar school to take care of-I believe pa knows there is a grammar school connected with the Institution. This will pay my bills, and to

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