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"That day when mamma said,-mamma said, you were working too hard?”


"I think it is very likely."

"I thought we were done dressing flax?" remarked Asa

“We!—well, I suppose you have, for this season." "Well, ain't you done dressing flax?"

"No sir."

"I thought you said the flax was all done, Winthrop ?" said his mother.

"My father's is all done, ma'am."

"And yet you have been dressing flax to-day?" said Asahel; while his mother looked.

Mamma," ," said Winthrop, "I wish Asahel was a little older.He would be a help."

"Who have you been working for?" said the child. "For myself."

"Where have you been, Winthrop ?" said his mother in a lower tone of inquiry.

"I have been over the mountain, mamma,—to Mr. Upshur's." Dressing flax?"

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"Yes ma'am."

"And you have come over the mountain to-night?"

"Yes, mother."

She stooped in silence to the fire to take up her tea-pot; but Asahel exclaimed,

"It ain't right, mamma, is it, for Winthrop to be dressing flax for anybody else?"

"What's the wrong?" said his brother.

"Is it, manma?"

But mamma was silent.

"What's the wrong?" repeated Winthrop.

"Because you ought to be doing your own business."

"Never did, if I didn't to-day," Winthrop remarked as he came to the table.

"For shame Asahel!" put in little Winifred with her childish voice;— "you don't know. Governor always is right."

It was a very cold February, and it was a very bleak walk over the mountain; but Winthrop took it many a time. His mother now and then said when she saw him come in or go out, "Don't overtry yourself, my son!" but he answered her always with his usual composure, or with one of those deep breaking-up looks which acknowledged only her care-not the need for it.

As Karen said, "he had a pretty strength to begin with;" and it was so well begun that all the exposure and hardship served rather to its development and maturing.

The snow melted from off the hills, and the winter blasts came more fitfully, and were changed for soft south airs between times. There was an end to dressing flax. The spring work was opening; and Winthrop had enough to do without working on his own score. Then Mr. Landholm came home; and the energies of both the one and the other were fully taxed, at the plough and the harrow, in the barnyard and in the forest, where in all the want of Rufus made a great gap. Mrs. Landholm had more reason now to distress herself, and distressed herself accordingly, but it was of no use. Winthrop wrought early and late, and threw himself into the gap with a desperate ardour that meanthis mother knew what.

They all wrought cheerfully and with good heart, for they were together again; and the missing one was only thought of as a stimulus to exertion, or its reward. Letters came from Rufus, which were read and read, and though not much talked about, secretly served the whole family for dessert at their dinner and for sweetmeats to their tea. Letters which shewed that the father's end was gaining, that the son's purpose was accomplishing; Rufus would be a man! They were not very frequent, for they avoided the post-office to save expense, and came by a chance hand now and then;-"Favoured by Mr. Upshur,"or," By Uncle Absalom." They were written on great uncouth sheets of letter-paper, yellow and coarse; but the handwriting grew bold and firm, and the words and the thoughts were changing faster yet, from the rude and narrow mind of the boy, to the polish and the spread of knowledge. Perhaps the letters might be boyish yet, in another contrast; but the home circle could not see it; and if they could, certainly the change already made was so swift as shewed a great readiness for more. Mr. Landholm said little about these letters; read them sometimes to Mr. Upshur, read them many times to himself; and for his family, his face at those times was comment enough.

"Well!" he said one day, as he folded up one of the uncouth great sheets and laid it on the table," the man that could write that, was never made to hoe corn-that's certain."

Winthrop heard it.

At midsummer Rufus came home for a little. He brought He had got into the good graces of an uncle, a brother of his father's, who lived at Little River, a town in the interior,


forty miles off. This gentleman, himself a farmer extremely well to do in the world, and with a small family, had invited Rufus to come to his house and carry on his studies there. The invitation was pressed, and accepted, as it would be the means of a great saving of outlay; and Rufus came home in the interval to see them all, and refit himself for the winter campaign.

No doubt he was changed and improved, like his letters; and fond eyes said that fond hopes had not been mistaken. If they looked on him once with pride, they did now with a sort of insensible wonder. His whole air was that of a different nature, not at all from affectation, but by the necessity of the case; and as noble and graceful as nature intended him to be, they delightedly confessed that he was. Perhaps by the same necessity, his view of things was altered a little, as their view of him; a little unconscious change, it might be; that nobody quarrelled with except the children; but certain it is that Winifred did not draw up to him, and Asahel stood in great doubt.

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Mamma," said he one day, "I wish Rufus would pull off his fine clothes and help Winthrop."

"Fine clothes, my dear!" said his mother; "I don't think your brother's clothes are very fine; I wish they were finer. you call patches fine?"

"But anyhow they are better than Winthrop's?" "Certainly when Winthrop is at his work.”


"Well, the other day he said they were too good for him to help Winthrop load the cart; and I think he should pull them off! "

"Did Winthrop ask him?"

"No; but he knew he was going to do it."

"Rufus must take care of his clothes, or he wouldn't be fit to

go to Little River, you know."

"Then he ought to take them off," said Asahel.

"He did cut wood with Winthrop all yesterday."

Asahel sat still in the corner, looking uncomfortable. "Where are they now, mamma?"

"Here they are," said Mrs. Landholm, as Rufus and Winthrop opened the door.

The former met both pair of eyes directed to him, and instantly asked,

"What are you talking of?"

"Asahel don't understand why you are not more of a farmer, when you are in a farmhouse."

"Asahel had better mind his own business," was the some

what sharp retort; and Rufus pulled a lock of the little boy s hair in a manner to convey a very decided notion of his judgment. Asahel, resenting this handling, or touched by it, slipped off his chair and took himself out of the room.

"He thinks you ought to take off your fine clothes and help Winthrop more than you do," said his mother, going on with a shirt she was ironing.

"Fine clothes!" said the other with a very expressive breath, -"I shall feel fine when I get that on, mother. Is that mine?" "Yes."

"Couldn't Karen do that?"

"No," said Mrs. Landholm, as she put down her iron and took The tone said, "Yes-but not well enough."

a hot one.

He stood watching her neat work.

"I am ashamed of myself, mother, when I look at you." "Why?"

"Because I don't deserve to have you do this for me."

She looked up and gave him one of her grave clear glances, and said,

"Will you deserve it, Will?"

He stood with full eyes and hushed tongue by her table, for the space of five minutes. Then spoke with a change of tone.

"Well, I'm going down to help Winthrop catch some fish for supper; and you sha'n't cook 'em, mamma, nor Karen neither. Karen's cooking is not perfection. By the by, there's one thing more I do want, and confoundedly too, a pair of boots;-I really don't know how to do without them."

" Boots?"-said his mother, in an accent that sounded a little dismayful.

"Yes. I can get capital ones at Asphodel-really stylish ones for five dollars;-boots that would last me handsome a great while; and that's a third less than I should have to give anywhere else, for such boots. You see I shall want them at Little River-I shall be thrown more in the way of seeing people-there's a great deal of society there. I don't see that I can get along without them."

His mother was going on with her ironing.

"I don't know," she said, as her iron made passes up "I don't know whether you can have them or not." "I know," said Winthrop.

getting them at Asphodel."

and down,

"But I don't see the sense of

"Because I tell you they are two dollars and a half cheaper."

"And how much more will it cost you to go round by the way of Asphodel than to go straight to Little River?'

"I don't know," said the other, half careless, half displeased;— "I really haven't calculated."

"Well, if you can get them for five dollars," said Winthrop, "you shall have them. I can lend you so much as that."

"How did you come by it?" said his brother looking at him curiously.

"I didn't come by it at all."

"Where did it come from?" "Made it."


"What do you want to know for? I beat it out of some raw flax."

"And carried it over the mountain, through the snow, winter nights," added his mother.

"You didn't know you were doing it for me," Rufus said laughing as he took the money his brother handed him. But it was a laugh assumed to hide some feeling. "Well, it shall get back to you again somehow, Winthrop. Come-are we ready for this piscatory excursion?"

"For what?" said his mother.

"A Latin word, my dear mother, which I lately picked up somewhere."

"Why not use English?" said his mother.

A general little laugh, to which many an unexpressed thought and feeling went, broke up the conference; and the two fishers set forth on their errand; Rufus carrying the basket and fishingpoles, and Winthrop's shoulder bearing the oars. As they went

down in front of the house, little Winifred ran out.

"Governor, mayn't I go?"

"No!" said Rufus.

"We are going to Point Bluff, Winnie," said Winthrop stopping to kiss her," and I am afraid you would roll off on one side while I was pulling up a fish on the other."

She stood still, and looked after her two brothers as they went down to the water.

The house stood in a tiny little valley, a little basin in the rocks, girdled about on all sides with low craggy heights covered with evergreens. On all sides but one. To the south the view opened full upon the river, a sharp angle of which lay there in a nook like a mountain lake; its further course hid behind a headland of the western shore; and only the bend and a little bit before the

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