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Rufus walked, and the others sat still and looked at the fire, till the opening of the door let in Mr. Landholm and a cold blast of air; which roused the whole party. Winthrop put more wood on the fire; Mr. Landholm sat down in the corner and made himself comfortable; and Mrs. Landholm fetched an enormous tin pan of potatoes and began paring them. Rufus presently stopped behind her chair, and said softly, "What's that for mother?"

"For your breakfast to-morrow, sir." "Where is Karen?"

"In bed."

แ Why don't you let her do them, mother? "She has not time, my son.'

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Rufus stood still and looked with a discontented face at the thin blue-veined fingers in which the coarse dirty roots were turning over and over.

"I've got a letter from my friend Haye to-day," Mr. Landholm said.

"What Haye is that?" said his wife.

"What Haye?-there's only one that I know of; my old friend Haye-you've heard me speak of him a hundred times. I used to know him long ago in Mannahatta when I lived at Pillicoddy; and we have been in the Legislature together, time and again.

"I remember now," said Mrs. Landholm paring her potatoes. "What does be want?"

"What do you guess he wants?"

"Something from the farm, I suppose."


"Not a bit of it."

"Mr. Haye of Asphodel?" said Rufus.

"Asphodel? no, of Mannahatta ;-he used to be at Asphodel" "What does he want, sir?"

"I am going to tell your mother by and by.

"Well tell it," said Mrs. Landholm.

It's her con

"How would you like to have some company in the house this summer?"

Mrs. Landholm laid the potatoe and her knife and her hands down in the pan, and looking up asked, "What sort of company?"

"You know he has no wife this many years?"


"Well-he's a couple of little girls that he wants to put

somewhere in the country this summer, for their health, I understand."

Mrs. Landholm took up her knife again and pared potatoes diligently.

"Does he want to send them here?"

"He intimates as much; and I have no doubt he would be very glad. It wouldn't be a losing concern to us, neither. He would be willing to pay well, and he can afford it."

"What has he done with his own place, at Asphodel?" said Winthrop.

"Sold it, he tells me. Didn't agree with his daughter, the air there, or something, and he says he couldn't be at the bother of two establishments without a housekeeper in nary one of 'em. And I think he's right. I don't see how he could."

Winthrop watched the quick mechanical way in which his mother's knife followed the paring round and round the potatoes, and he longed to say something. "But it is not my affair," he thought; "it is for Rufus. It is not my business to speak." Nobody else spoke for a minute.

"What makes him want to send his children here?" said Mrs. Landholm without looking up from her work.

"Partly because he knows me, I suppose; and maybe he has heard of you. Partly because he knows this is just the finest country in the world, and the finest air, and he wants them to run over the hills and pick wild strawberries and drink country milk, and all that sort of thing. It's just the place for them, as I told him once, I remember."

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"Yes. He was saying something about not knowing what to do with his girls last winter, and I remember I said to him that he had better send them to me; but I had no more idea of his taking it up, at the time, than I have now of going to Egypt." Mrs. Landholm did not speak.

"You have somewhere you can put them, I suppose?” "There's nobody in the big bedroom."

"Well, do you think you can get along with it? or will it give you too much trouble?"

"I am afraid they would never be satisfied, Mr. Landholm, with the way we live."

"Pho! I'll engage they will.

Satisfied! they never saw

such butter and such bread in their lives, I'll be bound, as you can give them. If they aren't satisfied it'll do 'em good."

"But bread and butter isn't all, Mr. Landholm; what will they do with our dinners, without fresh meat?"

"What will they do with them? Eat 'em, fast enough, only you have enough. I'll be bound their appetites will take care of the rest, after they have been running over the mountains all the morning. You've some chickens, hav'n't you?-and I could get a lamb now and then from neighbour Upshur; and here's Winthrop can get you birds and fish any day in the year."

"Winthrop will hardly have time."

"Yes he will; and if he don't we can call in Anderese. He's a pretty good hunter."

"I'm not a bad one," said Rufus.

"And you have Karen to help you. I think it will be a very fine thing, and be a good start maybe towards Rufus's going to College."

Another pause, during which nothing moved but the knife and Mrs. Landholm's fingers.

"Well-what do you say?" said her husband.

"If you think it will do-I am willing to try," she answered.

"I know it will do; and I'll go and write directly to Haye -I suppose he'd like to know; and to-morrow my hands will have something to hold besides pens."


There was profound silence again for a little after he went

"How old are these children?" Mrs. Landholm said. Neither answered promptly.

"I saw one of them when I was at Asphodel," said Winthrop; "and she was a pretty well grown girl; she must have been thirteen or fourteen."

"And that was a year and a half ago! Is her sister younger or older?"

"It isn't her sister," said Rufus; "it's her cousin, I believe; Mr. Haye is her guardian. She's older."

"How much?"

"A year or two-I don't know exactly."

Mrs. Landholm rose and took up her pan of potatoes with an air that seemed to say Miss Haye and her cousin were both in it, and carried it out into the kitchen.

Some little time had passed, and Winthrop went there to look for her. She had put her pan down on the hearth, and herself by it, and there she was sitting with her arms round her knees. Winthrop softly came and placed himself beside her.


She laid her hand upon his knee, without speaking to him or looking at him.

"Mother-I'll be your provider."

"I would a great deal rather be yours, Governor," she said, turning to him a somewhat wistful face.

"There isn't anything in the world I would rather," said he, kissing her cheek.

She gave him a look that was reward enough.

"I wonder how soon they will come," she said.

"That is what I was just asking; and pa said he supposed as soon as the weather was settled."

"That won't be yet awhile. You must see and have a good garden, Governor. Perhaps it will be all for the best."

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It was the first of June; a fair lovely summer morning, June-like.

"I suppose Mr. Haye will come with them," said Mr. Landholm, as he pushed back his chair from the breakfast-table ;— "have you anywhere you can put him? "

"There's the little bedroom, he can have," said Mrs. Landholm. "Asahel can go in the boys' room."

"Very good. Winthrop, you had better take the boat down in good time this afternoon so as to be sure and be there I can't be spared a moment from the bend meadow. The grass there is just ready to be laid. It's a very heavy swath. I guess there's all of three tons to the acre."

"Take the boat down where?" said Asahel.

"To Cowslip's mill," said his brother. "What time will the stage be along, sir?"

"Not much before six, I expect. You'll have the tide witb you to go down."

"It's well to look at the fair side of a subject," said Win throp, as his father left the room.

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May I go with you, Governor?" said Asahel.

"No sir."


"Because I shall have the tide hard against me coming back." "But I am not much, and your arms are strong," urged Asahel.

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