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of me; don't be making it worse. And don't be writing to me or asking me to write; sure, all's known at the post office, and it would put a talk out on me. And go now, Johnny dear, for I wouldn't

for the world you would be seen with me this day of all days.

Ach, what a fool I am to be crying. Go now, and God go with you! No, 'deed, I won't forget you, Johnny."

That year, as it chanced, came in fine, and Robert Corscadden got his harvest in without loss a girl of fifteen, and a little boy of twelve, not much taller than the sheaves he lifted, were the labourers who helped him. But however hard they laboured, there were still haycocks standing out in the fields when the corn was ripe for cutting. It vexed the soul of Robert to see the work thus through other, and not done in orderly sequence as he liked to have it. But still the work was done. Money came, too, from the boy in Scotland, and letters to his mother. Robert did not complain, felt no right to complain; but he brooded.

So it went on for a year, and a second year. There was no word of Johnny's returning. Robert's strength, spent daily in doing the work of two hired labourers, failed noticeably; the little boy, tasked beyond his years, was stunted in growth. Then a letter came to Robert with a proposal.

A son of the big house, near by Robert's farm, was going out to ranche in Texas. He wanted to take a trustworthy hand with him. Would Robert allow Johnny to go?

Robert read the letter when


he came home for his noon-day dinner; and he handed it to Annie without a word. She also read it; her face was full of doubt, touched with fear restraining a desire.


"Johnny will be mad for going, Robert," she said. Robert, will you let him go?" There was a halfchecked eagerness in her tone.

"Let him!" he repeated. "How would I stop him? and, God's truth, Annie, he would be mad not to go."

"Ah, but, Robert," she cried nervously, "sure you know the sort of Johnny. If you were against it he might think bad of staying, but not a one of him would go. An', Robert, I never thought he would come back. nor you neither, for all we never let on to one another. Still an' all, I know rightly

"Ah, whisht, woman," said Robert, almost roughly. "Do you think I would stand in my own son's road?”

"An' you'll write to him?" the woman cried.

"To be sure I will." "An' what will you write?" "I'll tell him if he's for going we'll scrape together all we can and fit him out the best way lies in us. It's little

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"Ah, Robert," she cried, laying her hand on his arm, "you were always too good." Then she hesitated a minute. "Is it for sending him money you would be?"

"What else would I do?" he asked, again with a roughness. "Surely, now, you might ask him to come home, Robert. You wouldn't want him to go away across the sea and not say 'Goodbye' to us."

"If he comes, let him come and welcome,' Robert answered. "He's as free to come as he was to go.'

Annie put her hand on his arm again. "Ah now, Robert, don't you know he takes after you? He's proud - the way you are yourself. Not a foot he'd come if he's not asked." "Write you and ask him then," Robert said.

"He wouldn't come for my asking. Sure, Robert, I know 'twas he was in the wrong. But he's young, and 'tis easier for them that have sense to give in nor for the young. Write to him, Robert-do, now -and bid him come and see us before he goes, if he's for going." That was how Johnny came home.

He had grown in the two years' absence, physically and mentally—an able-bodied, wellset-up, straightforward-looking young fellow. But something of boyish awkwardness was to be seen as he approached the house where his arrival was heralded by the children. His

mother ran out to meet him.

"An' is that yourself,

Johnny?" she cried, hugging him. Then, holding him at arm's length, "Dear oh, I would hardly know you, you're grown that grand and stout. Run over, Charlie" (she turned to a child), "and tell your father that Johnny's come. He's over in the barn thrashing, Johnny


always the old way, for ever working. Here's old John (as the old grandfather came hobbling to the door of the cottage adjoining). "John, here's Johnny back to us.' And so the welcome ran on volubly, till in a minute Robert appeared, wiping his forehead.

He came up to his son with a face full of kind welcome.

"Well, Johnny, and how's every inch of you? A good shake of the hand now. Man, but I'm glad to see you. Come in now to the house. If this isn't the grand chance you're getting! I tell you now, we may all be thankful to Master Harry."

At last the son found words. "Indeed, then, Robert, I know well, only the respect the family had for yourself, I would never get the offer."


'Ah, nonsense, man," said his father. "He knows the sort of you well. And, not to be saying it before you, he might go far before he would get better. Sit down now and take a cup of tay-we're still the one way, always the tay."

And so with kindly greetings all stiffness wore off, and Johnny began to talk freely, and to expand over the prospects that were before himhow he might easily buy a beast or two, and they could run

with the other stock, breed, and so on, till in a few years he sketched himself owner of a fine herd. "And mind you, now," he went on, his eyes kindling, "I was thinking it would be good for more than me. If the country answers, it wouldn't be hard to get money saved for a ticket for Annie-there's terrible wages going there for servants. An' if she and me was there, it wouldn't be long before we would have a place for wee Robert too

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A sword went through Robert Corscadden. Was the one loss, then, to be only the beginning? Were the young to drain the young after them till the parent stock would be left sapless. His face changed; but the son, eager on his idea, saw nothing of it. The mother's eyes, too, grew tense for a moment, but she dare not let silence fall on her also.

"Indeed, then, Johnny," she broke in, "we never doubted but you would be for helping us, here or there. But, sure, we have enough to think of for the one time. Tell us, now, is it true you'll have horses to ride all day?"

With a woman's wit she drew the talk her own way; and soon Johnny was busy telling of his time in Scotland, filling in the meagre outline of a peasant's letters. Robert joined in the talk, but with an effort, and soon he rose.

"I must go back to the threshing," he said. "We'll have the night to talk-and a good few of nights, too, before you're for the journey. Sit

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A queer look

came over

Robert's face. that was full of many thoughts, but chiefly full of a tolerant love for the boy who went to Scotland to be told the disabilities which his father had smarted under for a generation.

"Ay, indeed," he said. "He would think us very ignorant over in these parts. Many's the time I said to myself I would get enough gathered to buy one, but someway the lump of it was hard to come by, and I put in the winter at the old job. Come on, then, and see have you the way of it yet, for a turn anyway.'


And in a minute father and were facing each other, as so often before, across the outspread sheaves, and the flails, rising and whirling in their intricate circles, fell alternately in a ceaseless rhythm.

At last, in a pause of the

work, Johnny picked up a sheaf and handled it.

"That's good oats," he said. "I seen none better in Scotland."

Robert's face lit.

"Ay," he answered, "I still pride myself on the oats. Poor land and all, there's none can beat me in the market." Johnny meditated for instant.



from the standpoint of young experience.

"Many's the time I would be wondering that you never tried America yourself."

Robert paused in his threshing, and passed his sleeve over his forehead mechanically before he answered.

"Do you know, then, Johnny, someway I never thought of it. The time I was young there wasn't many going but them that had no place here. An' there was always work to do

"They say the land yonder in the West is just wonderful." Robert's face lost its bright- here; an', since ever I married,


"Ay," he replied, "there would be little bother raising a crop there, I'm thinking. An' every man with a steam plough they tell me. It must surely be a great country." Then he lifted his flail again, and fell to work in silence. But Johnny was still full of cogitations. He spoke to his father now

the place was my own, you may say, an' I had no notion of leaving it. A man doesn't shift easy when he sees a family getting up round him."

Johnny moved uneasily on his feet, then lifted his flail.

"Ay," he said, "marriage makes a quare differ to a man.' Then he fell to work on the sheaves.

The next day Johnny went off on an errand into the little country town. When he was gone, Annie confided to Robert her perplexities.

"There's something on his mind that he's keeping back," she said, "and I don't know under goodness what it is. Why would he not let me come with him, and him needing to buy clothes?"

"No matter what it is," said Robert, "leave him to himself. If I was hard with him before, I'll not cross him now for the world."

Late that February after


noon Johnny came back laden with small presents, and as he was unfolding them on the kitchen table, one of the small children made a pounce.

"Show us what's in the big brown paper, Johnny!" she cried, and without waiting for leave, opened it, disclosing a bottle of whisky. Annie started.

"Och, Johnny, what's the sense of bringing the like of that into this house? Sure, you know your father can't abide the sight of it. Put it away now, before he comes in, there's a good boy."

But Robert was in the door

before she had finished speak- lurked an expression of smiling surprise.


"Never you mind her, Johnny," he said, "I'm not that bigoted. Many's the one you'll be wanting to offer a glass to, and you going away: and a glass hurts no man that's able to watch himself."

But Johnny reddened.

"I was thinking, maybe you would step out a piece with me this night yourself," he said abruptly.

Annie started, for a meaning was conveyed in his words. Choosing to ignore it, she laughed shrilly; but there was a note of opposition in her tone.

"Dear, oh! but that would be newance, for your father to be going out drinking of an evening," she cried. "And where would you be for going to?"

"Up to James M'Cormick's," answered Johnny, with a setting of shoulders and head, as if he looked for a contest of wills.

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"To M'Cormick's, his mother retorted. "I was doubting that. 'Deed and you have little call to be taking whisky to M'Cormick's, 'twould be water to the sea."

"'Tis the custom," Johnny answered sullenly.

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"Be easy now, Annie," he said. "I'm thinking I could give a guess guess what Johnny means. He's maybe looking for more than a chat by the fire up at M'Cormick's."

"Faith and troth, then, it would be a bad place to go to look for any other thing," Annie scolded. "I wonder at him and at yourself that would go near that ugly old vagabone, and him for ever drunk, and not twopence to his name. Och, you needn't be looking at me that way, Johnny. don't I know well you were always foolish about yon wee black brat of a girl."


"Her an' me's promised, anyway," her son broke in angrily. "An' if Robert won't stand by me to go and ask her from her own ones, I be to find some other man that will.”

He lifted his cap as he spoke, to make towards the door; but Robert interposed.

"Sit down, Johnny, and never mind your mother; she must be talking. Who but me should go with you, and you looking a wife?"

"I wonder at you, Robert," cried Annie. "Sure, what call has he with a wife, and him going to America? How will he pay the passage? Answer

"Never fear but he'll be able

Custom, indeed!" she retorted. "Many's the one me that." comes in here of an evening, and I don't see them bringing whisky with them. A nice thing that would be for your father to take to."

But Robert interrupted. He had listened with a grave face, about which, nevertheless, there

to answer you, then," said Robert. "I would trust Johnny to have his road made out. Still and all, Johnny, 'twill be needful for me to know before I can speak for you."

"I was thinking to go out

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