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couple at dinner, a boy and girl who looked as if they were out playing at housekeeping just for a day. He was a small, dwarfed, squatty little man, largely hid in a big pair of boots into which he had been dropped, trouser-legs and all; with short stubbed hands, a face with the early down of a prospective beard, but already furrowed with weather and work marks which made him look prematurely old. The girl wife was fair, shy, and even younger than the boy husband, as prim and compact in her attire as he was frowsy. She was dressed in a bright madder-red dress with sleeves of whitish stuff, the whole made up in a cross between a "Mother-Hubbard "

a Swiss peasant waist.

gown and

I was courteously given a very warm drink of water in a very new tin dipper, and told that it was nine miles to a hotel and not much between here and there in the way of houses. As the young man returned the dipper, there was a whispered aside, followed by a prompt, "You'd better dismount and take a bite with us. There's a jag of grass in the corner of the garden which the horse can do with; we have no grain." By this time the little wife was by his side urging the hospitable invitation, adding the customary femi


nine apology, "We haven't much to-day, but such as we have you are very welcome to." pair of woodpeckers like yourselves shouldn't need much," I said, "living up here close to the sky among these grand oak trees."

Of course we stayed. Jess seemed satisfied with the hay, and, after revelling in a big washbasin full of water to freshen hands and face, I sat down with these wood-birds to the simplest little table with the fewest settings of newest things, the blue-edged dishes and the cast-iron knife and fork attractive as any china and silver. The little woman began blowing up the embers, and got down the teapot to make tea for the guest, a process which I interfered with as unnecessary. When we three were at the table,a little table with a very clean table-cloth, —I noticed the bill of fare: a very few cold saleratus biscuits, something which might have been butter, but which having been kept in a house where there was no cellar and no well, was in a semi-fluid state, and a good generous dishful of string-beans, well cooked and properly seasoned. The biscuits soon gave out, and there were none to replace them, as the young hermits had been waiting several days for a chance to get a sack of

flour from town. and I made a superb dinner of them. And how prettily and promptly the story of it all came out while we ate beans together: their twelve weeks of married life, his heroic purchase of eighty acres of the heavy timbered land on the side hill at three dollars an acre, for which he could pay forty dollars down, all the rest to be earned on the place.

But there were plenty of beans,

It was all to be cleared, but he had always been used to work; he was not afraid of that; and the little wife said, "He has nearly an acre cleared already, though he's been working out at haying whenever he's had a chance." They had a span of two-year-old colts; they had ten chickens; no cow yet; they had a cat, a dog, and, to complete the inventory, the little wife said, "Papa gave me two little pigs when we came here, but they have run off into the woods somewhere, and we haven't seen them for a month; I don't believe we will ever see them;" but he, with superior masculine faith, said, "We'll find them in the fall all right, and so fat you won't know them."

"This isn't our house," said the little woman; "Fred's got the logs all cut, and as soon as the

busy time is over we'll have a raising and have our own house. This is an awful lonesome house; an old bachelor built it. He put the door to the east, although the road ran on the other side. But I would have put it fronting the road. I'd rather see folks than the sun, wouldn't you?" She didn't get very lonesome except when Fred was away working; then a day looked like a week. Her folks lived nine miles away; they generally walked over there every Sunday, and her father drove her back part way. Fred wanted to break one of the colts for her to ride, but she thought he was too young yet. There was no well on the hill; they would have to dig deep to get water, much of the way through the rock. The nearest house was half a mile away. She carried her water from there. There was a spring down in the woods only about half as far away, but she preferred to go to the house, because then she could talk with somebody. Then I realized how wasteful I had been of the water with which I had bathed my hands and face; and the pain deepened as I discovered by the droop in one eye and the halt in one limb that somewhere and somehow the machinery of her life had been jolted and a cog

had been broken, some pulley had been thrown off its bearings, and that evermore her pail of water must be carried with a limp. I felt as David did when his devoted followers brought him a drink from the old home spring at the risk of their lives. Suddenly water, the most prodigal of nature's gifts, assumed sacramental value.

The log house had two rooms. In the next room was the bed with its gorgeous patch-quilt, a rag rug on the floor, a Boston rocker, and, unexpected luxury and token of culture, a cabinet organ. Into this room I was invited after dinner. No, she did not play; it was Fred's, a present from his grandmother; she raised him mostly, and because he loved music and had been good to her, she made him a present of this. And although he had never had a lesson in his life, he could play quite well, and sing, too. Fred was a man of few words. She did the talking; but without any of the professional apologies he did what he could at the organ, and played and sang "Jesus, Lover of my Soul." This, he said, was the only piece he could play with both hands, but there were several other pieces he could pick out with one hand, and

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