IT was the last of autumn and first day of winter coming together. All day long the
ploughmen on their prairie farms had moved to and fro in their wide level fields
through the falling snow, which melted as it fell, wetting them to the skin—all day,
notwithstanding the frequent squalls of snow, the dripping, desolate clouds, and the
muck of the furrows, black and tenacious as tar.
Under their dripping harness the horses swung to and fro silently with that
marvellous uncomplaining patience which marks the horse. All day the wild geese,
honking wildly, as they sprawled sidewise down the wind, seemed to be fleeing
from an enemy behind, and with neck outthrust and wings extended, sailed down
the wind, soon lost to sight.
Yet the ploughman behind his plough, though the snow lay on his ragged great-coat,
and the cold clinging mud rose on his heavy boots, fettering him like gyves,
whistled in the very beard of the gale. As day passed, the snow, ceasing to melt, lay
along the ploughed land, and lodged in the depth of the stubble, till on each slow
round the last furrow stood out black and shining as jet between the ploughed land
and the gray stubble.
When night began to fall, and the geese, flying low, began to alight invisibly in the
near corn field, Stephen Council was still at work "finishing a land." He rode on his
sulky-plough when going with the wind, but walked when facing it. Sitting bent and
cold but cheery under his slouch hat, he talked encouragingly to his weary four-in-hand.
"Come round there, boys!—Round agin! We got t' finish this land. Come in there,
Dan! Stiddy, Kate!—stiddy! None o' y'r tantrums, Kittie. It's purty tuff, but got a be
did. Tchk! tchk! Step along, Pete! Don't let Kate git y'r single-tree on the wheel. Once more!"
They seemed to know what he meant, and that this was the last
round, for they worked with greater vigor than before.
"Once more, boys, an' sez I, oats an' a nice warm stall, an'
sleep f'r all."
By the time the last furrow was turned on the land it was too
dark to see the house, and the snow was changing to rain again. The tired and hungry man could see the light from the kitchen shining
through the leafless hedge, and he lifted a great shout, "Supper f'r a half a dozen!"
It was nearly eight o'clock by the time he had finished his chores
and started for supper. He was picking his way carefully through
the mud, when the tall form of a man loomed up before him with
a premonitory cough.
"Waddy ye want ?" was the rather startled question of the
"Well, ye see," began the stranger, in a deprecating tone, "we'd
like t' git in f'r the night. We've tried every house f'r the last two
miles, but they hadn't any room f'r us. My wife's jest about sick,
'n' the children are cold and hungry—"
"Oh, y' want 'o stay all night, eh, ?"
"Yes, sir; it 'ud be a great accom—"
"Waal, I don't make it a practice t' turn anybuddy way hungry, not on sech
nights as this. Drive right in. We ain't got much, but sech as it is—"
But the stranger had disappeared. And soon his steaming, weary
team, with drooping heads and swinging single-trees, moved past
the well to the block beside the path. Council stood at the side of
the "schooner" and helped the children out—two little half-sleeping
children—and then a small woman with a babe in her arms.
"There ye go!" he shouted jovially, to the children. "Now we're
all right! Run right along to the house there, an' tell Mam' Council
you wants sumpthin' t' eat. Right this way, Mis'—keep right off
t' the right there. I'll go an' git a lantern. Come," he said to the
dazed and silent group at his side.
"Mother'" he shouted, as he neared the fragrant and warmly
lighted kitchen, "here are some wayfarers an' folks who need sumpthin' t' eat an' a place t' snooze." He ended, pushing them all in.
Mrs. Council, a large, jolly, rather coarse-looking woman, took the children in her
arms. "Come right in, you little rabbits. 'Most asleep, hey? Now here's a drink o' milk
f'r each o' ye. I'll have s'm' tea in a minute. Take off y'r things and set up t' the fire."
While she set the children to drinking milk, Council got out his lantern and went out
to the barn to help the stranger about his team, where his loud, hearty voice could be
heard as it came and went between the hay-mow and the stalls.
The woman came to light as a small, timid, and discouraged-looking woman, but
still pretty, in a thin and sorrowful way.
"Land sakes! An' you've travelled all the way from Clear Lake' t'day in this mud!
Waal! Waal! No wonder you're all tired out. Don't wait f'r the men, Mis'—" She
hesitated, waiting for the name.
"Mis' Haskins, set right up to the table an' take a good swig o' that tea, whilst I make y'
s'm' toast. It's green tea, an' it's good. I tell Council as I git older I don't seem to
enjoy Young Hyson n'r Gunpowder. I want the reel green tea, jest as it comes off'n
the vines. Seems t' have more heart in it some way. Don't s'pose it has. Council says
it's all in m' eye."
Going on in this easy way, she soon had the children filled with bread and milk and
the woman thoroughly at home, eating some toast and sweet melon pickles, and
sipping the tea.
"See the little rats!" she laughed at the children. "They're full as they can stick now,
and they want to go to bed. Now, don't git up, Mis' Haskins; set right where you are
an' let me look after 'em. I know all about young ones, though I am all alone now.
Jane went an' married last fall. But, as I tell Council, it's lucky we keep our health.
Set right there, Mis' Haskins; I won't have you stir a finger."
It was an unmeasured pleasure to sit there in the warm, homely kitchen, the jovial
chatter of the housewife driving out and holding at bay the growl of the impotent,
The little woman's eyes filled with tears which fell down upon
the sleeping baby in her arms. The world was not so desolate and
cold and hopeless, after all.
"Now I hope Council won't stop out there and talk politics all
night. He's the greatest man to talk politics an' read the Tribune. How old is it?"
She broke off and peered down at the face of the babe.
"Two months 'n' five days," said the mother, with a mother's
"Ye don't say! I want 'o know! The dear little pudzy-wudzy,"
she went on, stirring it up in the neighborhood of the ribs with her
"Pooty tough on 'oo to go gallivant'n' 'cross lots this way."
"Yes, that's so; a man can't lift a mountain," said Council, entering the door.
"Sarah, this is Mr. Haskins, from Kansas. He's been eat up 'n' drove out by grasshoppers."
"Glad t' see yeh! Pa, empty that wash-basin, 'n' give him a chance t' wash."
Haskins was a tall man, with a thin, gloomy face. His hair was a
reddish brown, like his coat, and seemed equally faded by the wind
and sun. And his sallow face, though hard and set, was pathetic
somehow. You would have felt that he had suffered much by the
line of his mouth showing under his thin, yellow mustache.
"Hain't Ike got home yet, Sairy?"
"Hain't seen 'im."
"W-a-a-l, set right up, Mr. Haskins; wade right into what we've
got; 'taint much, but we manage to live on it—least I do; she gits fat on it,"
laughed Council, pointing his thumb at his wife.
After supper, while the women put the children to bed, Haskins
and Council talked on, seated near the huge cooking stove, the
steam rising from their wet clothing. In the Western fashion Council
told as much of his own life as he drew from his guest. He asked
but few questions, but by-and-by the story of Haskins' struggles
and defeat came out. The story was a terrible one, but he told it
quietly, seated with his elbows on his knees, gazing most of the
time at the hearth.
"I didn't like the looks of the country, anyhow," Haskins said, partly rising and
glancing at his wife. "I was ust t' northern Ingyannie, where we have lots o' timber
'n' lots of rain, 'n' I didn't like the looks o' that dry prairie. What galled me the worst
was goin' s' far away acrosst so much fine land layin' all through here vacant.
"And the 'hoppers eat ye four years, hand runnin', did they?"
"Eat! They wiped us out. They chawed everything that was green. They jest set
around waitin' f'r us to die t' eat us, too. My God! I ust t' dream of 'em sittin' 'round
on the bedpost, six feet long, workin' their jaws. They eet the fork-handles. They got
worse 'n' worse till they jest rolled on one another, piled up like snow in winter. Well, it ain't no use; if I was t' talk all winter I couldn't tell nawthin'. But all the
while I couldn't help thinkin' of all that land back here that nobuddy was usin', that
I ought 'o had 'stead o' bein' out there in that cussed country."
"Waal, why didn't ye stop an' settle here ?" asked Ike, who had come in and was
eating his supper.
"Fer the simple reason that you fellers wantid ten 'r fifteen dollars an acre fer the
bare land, and I hadn't no money fer that kind o' thing."
"Yes, I do my own work," Mrs. Council was heard to say in the pause which
followed. "I'm a gettin' purty heavy t' be on m'laigs all day, but we can't afford t'
hire, so I keep rackin' around somehow, like a foundered horse. S'lame—I tell
Council he can't tell how lame I am, f'r I'm jest as lame in one laig as t' other." And
the good soul laughed at the joke on herself as she took a handful of flour and
dusted the biscuit board to keep the dough from sticking.
"Well, I hain't never been very strong," said Mrs. Haskins. "Our folks was
Canadians an' small-boned, and then since my last child I hain't got up again fairly.
I don't like t' complain—Tim has about all he can bear now—but they was days this
week when I jest wanted to lay right down an' die."
"Waal, now, I'll tell ye," said Council, from his side of the stove silencing
everybody with his good-natured roar, "I'd go down and see Butler, anyway, if I was you. I guess he'd let you have his place purty cheap; the
farm's all run down. He's been anxious t' let t' somebuddy next year. It 'ud be a good
chance fer you. Anyhow, you go to bed, and sleep like a babe. I've got some
ploughing t' do anyhow, an' we'll see if somethin' can't be done about your case.
Ike, you go out an' see if the horses is all right, an' I'll show the folks t' bed."
When the tired husband and wife were lying under the generous quilts of the spare
bed, Haskins listened a moment to the wind in the eaves, and then said, with a slow
and solemn tone,
"There are people in this world who are good enough t' be angels, an' only haff t' die
to be angels."
Jim Butler was one of those men called in the West "land poor." Early in the history
of Rock River he had come into the town and started in the grocery business in a
small way, occupying a small building in a mean part of the town. At this period of
his life he earned all he got, and was up early and late sorting beans, working over
butter, and carting his goods to and from the station. But a change came over him
at the end of the second year, when he sold a lot of land for four times what he paid
for it. From that time forward he believed in land speculation as the surest way of
getting rich. Every cent he could save or spare from his trade he put into land at
forced sale, or mortgages on land, which were "just as good as the wheat," he was
accustomed to say.
Farm after farm fell into his hands, until he was recognized as one of the leading
landowners of the county. His mortgages were scattered all over Cedar County, and
as they slowly but surely fell in he sought usually to retain the former owner as
He was not ready to foreclose; indeed, he had the name of being one of the "easiest"
men in the town. He let the debtor off again and again, extending the time whenever
"I don't want y'r land," he said. "All I'm after is the int'rest on
my money—that's all. Now, if y' want 'o stay on the farm, why, I'll give y' a good chance. I can't have the land layint vacant." And in many
cases the owner remained as tenant.
In the meantime he had sold his store; he couldn't spend time in it—he was
mainly occupied now with sitting around town on rainy days smoking and
"gassin' with the boys," or in riding to and from his farms. In fishing-time he
fished a good deal. Doc Grimes, Ben Ashley, and Cal Cheatham were his
cronies on these fishing excursions or hunting trips in the time of chickens or
partridges. In winter they went to Northern Wisconsin to shoot deer.
In spite of all these signs of easy life Butler persisted in saying he "hadn't
enough money to pay taxes on his land," and was careful to convey the
impression that he was poor in spite of his twenty farms. At one time he was
said to be worth fifty thousand dollars, but land had been a little slow of sale of
late, so that he was not worth so much. A fine farm, known as the Higley place, had fallen into his hands in the usual
way the previous year, and he had not been able to find a tenant for it. Poor
Higley, after working himself nearly to death on it in the attempt to lift the
mortgage, had gone off to Dakota, leaving the farm and his curse to Butler.
This was the farm which Council advised Haskins to apply for; and the next day
Council hitched up his team and drove down-town to see Butler.
"You jest let me do the talkin'," he said. "We'll find him wearin' out his pants on
some salt barrel somew'ers; and if he thought you wanted a place, he'd sock it to
you hot and heavy. You jest keep quiet; I'll fix 'im."
Butler was seated in Ben Ashley's store telling "fish yarns," when Council
sauntered in casually.
"Hello, But; lyin' agin, hey?"
"Hello, Steve! How goes it?"
"Oh, so-so. Too dang much rain these days. I thought it was goin' t' freeze up
f'r good last night. Tight squeak if I get m' ploughin' done. How's farmin' with
you these days?"
"Bad. Ploughin' ain't half done."
"It 'ud be a religious idee f'r you t' go out an' take a hand y'rself."
"I don't haff to," said Butler, with a wink.
"Got anybody on the Higley place?"
"No. Know of anybody?"
"Waal, no; not eggsackly. I've got a relation back t' Michigan who's ben hot an'
cold on the idea o' comin' West f'r some time. Might come if he could get a good
lay-out. What do you talk on the farm?"
"Well, I d' know. I'll rent it on shares or I'll rent it money rent."
"Waal, how much money, say?"
"Well, say ten per cent, on the price—$250."
"Waal, that ain't bad. Wait on 'im till 'e thrashes?"
Haskins listened eagerly to this important question, but Council was coolly
eating a dried apple which he had speared out of a barrel with his knife. Butler
studied him carefully.
"Well, knocks me out of twenty-five dollars interest."
"My relation'll need all he's got t' git his crops in," said Council, in the same,
"Well, all right; say wait," concluded Butler.
"All right; this is the man. Haskins, this is Mr. Butler—no relation to Ben—the
hardest-working man in Cedar County."
On the way home Haskins said: "I ain't much better off. I'd like that farm; it's
a good farm, but it's all run down, an' so 'm I. I could make a good farm of it if
I had half a show. But I can't stock it n'r seed it."
"Waal, now, don't you worry," roared Council in his ear. "We'll pull y' through
somehow till next harvest. He's agreed t' hire it ploughed, an' you can earn a
hundred dollars ploughin' an' y' c'n git the seed o' me, an' pay me back when y'
Haskins was silent with emotion, but at last he said, "I ain't got nothin' t' live
"Now, don't you worry 'bout that. You jest make your headquarters at ol' Steve
Council's. Mother'll take a pile o' comfort in havin' y'r wife an' children 'round. Y' see, Jane's married off lately, an' Ike's away a good 'eal, so we'll be darn glad
t' have y' stop with us this winter. Nex' spring we'll see if y' can't git a start agin."
And he chirruped to the team, which sprang forward with the rumbling, clattering
"Say, looky here, Council, you can't do this. I never saw—" shouted Haskins in his
Council moved about uneasily in his seat and stopped his stammering gratitude by
saying: "Hold on, now; don't make such a fuss over a little thing. When I see a man
down, an' things all on top of 'm, I jest like t' kick 'em off an' help 'm up. That's the
kind of religion I got, an' it's about the only kind."
They rode the rest of the way home in silence. And when the red light of the lamp
shone out into the darkness of the cold and windy night, and he thought of this
refuge for his children and wife, Haskins could have put his arm around the neck
of his burly companion and squeezed him like a lover. But he contented himself
with saying, "Steve Council, you'll git y'r pay f'r this some day."
"Don't want any pay. My religion ain't run on such business principles."
The wind was growing colder, and the ground was covered with a white frost, as
they turned into the gate of the Council farm, and the children came rushing out,
shouting, "Papa's come!" They hardly looked like the same children who had sat at
the table the night before. Their torpidity, under the influence of sunshine and
Mother Council, had given way to a sort of spasmodic cheerfulness, as insects in
winter revive when laid on the hearth.
Haskins worked like a fiend, and his wife, like the heroic woman that she was, bore
also uncomplainingly the most terrible burdens. They rose early and toiled without
intermission till the darkness fell on the plain, then tumbled into bed, every bone
and muscle aching with fatigue, to rise with the sun next morning to the same round
of the same ferocity of labor.
The eldest boy, now nine years old, drove a team all through the spring, ploughing and seeding, milked
the cows, and did chores innumerable, in most ways taking the place of a man; an infinitely pathetic but common figure—this boy—on the American farm, where
there is no law against child labor. To see him in his coarse clothing, his huge boots,
and his ragged cap, as he staggered with a pail of water from the well, or trudged
in the cold and cheerless dawn out into the frosty field behind his team, gave the
city-bred visitor a sharp pang of sympathetic pain. Yet Haskins loved his boy, and
would have saved him from this if he could, but he could not.
By June the first year the result of such Herculean toil began to show on the farm.
The yard was cleaned up and sown to grass, the garden ploughed and planted, and
the house mended. Council had given them four of his cows.
"Take 'em an' run 'em on shares. I don't want 'o milk s' many. Ike's away s' much
now, Sat'd'ys an' Sund'ys, I can't stand the bother anyhow."
Other men, seeing the confidence of Council in the newcomer, had sold him tools
on time; and as he was really an able farmer, he soon had round him many
evidences of his care and thrift. At the advice of Council he had taken the farm for
three years, with the privilege of re-renting or buying at the end of the term.
"It's a good bargain, an' y' want 'o nail it," said Council. "If you have any kind ov
a crop, you c'n pay y'r debts, an' keep seed an' bread."
The new hope which now sprang up in the heart of Haskins and his wife grew
almost as a pain by the time the wide field of wheat began to wave and rustle and
swirl in the winds of July. Day after day he would snatch a few moments after
supper to go and look at it.
"'Have ye seen the wheat t'-day, Nettie?" he asked one night as he rose from supper.
"No, Tim, I ain't had time."
"Well, take time now. Le's go look at it."
She threw an old hat on her head—Tommy's hat—and
looking almost pretty in her thin, sad way, went out with her husband to the hedge.
"Ain't it grand, Nettie? Just look at it."
It was grand. Level, russet here and there, heavy-headed, wide as a lake, and full of
multitudinous whispers and gleams of health, it stretched away before the gazers
like the fabled field of the cloth of gold.
"Oh, I think—I hope we'll have a good crop, Tim; and oh, how good the people
have been to us!"
"Yes; I don't know where we'd be t'-day if it hadn't been f'r Council and his wife."
"They're the best people in the world," said the little woman, with a great sob of
"We'll be in the field on Monday sure," said Haskins, gripping the rail on the fences
as if already at the work of the harvest.
The harvest came bounteous, glorious, but the winds came and blew it into tangles,
and the rain matted it here and there close to the ground, increasing the work of
gathering it threefold.
Oh, how they toiled in those glorious days! Clothing dripping with sweat, arms
aching, filled with briers, fingers raw and bleeding, backs broken with the weight
of heavy bundles, Haskins and his man toiled on. Tommy drove the harvester, while
his father and a hired man bound on the machine. In this way they cut ten acres
every day, and almost every night after supper, when the hand went to bed, Haskins
returned to the field shocking the bound grain in the light of the moon. Many a
night he worked till he staggered with utter fatigue; worked till his anxious wife came out to call him in to rest and lunch.
At the same time she cooked for the men, took care of the children, washed and
ironed, milked the cows at night, made the butter, and sometimes fed the horses and
watered them while her husband kept at the shocking. No slave in the Roman galleys could have toiled so frightfully and lived, for this
man thought himself a free man, and that he was working for his wife and babes.
When he sank into his bed with a deep groan of relief, too tired to change his grimy,
dripping clothing, he felt that he was getting nearer and nearer to a home of his own, and pushing the wolf of want a little farther
from his door.
There is no despair so deep as the despair of a homeless man or woman. To roam
the roads of the country or the streets of the city, to feel there is no rood of ground
on which the feet can rest, to halt weary and hungry outside lighted windows and
hear laughter and song within—these are the hungers and rebellions that drive men
to crime and women to shame.
It was the memory of this homelessness, and the fear of its coming again, that
spurred Timothy Haskins and Nettie, his wife, to such ferocious labor during that
"'M, yes; 'm, yes; first-rate," said Butler, as his eye took in the
neat garden, the pig-pen, and the well-filled barnyard. "You're
gitt'n' quite a stock around yeh. Done well, eh?"
Haskins was showing Butler around the place. He had not seen
it for a year, having spent the year in Washington and Boston
with Ashley, his brother-in-law, who had been elected to Congress.
"Yes, I've laid out a good deal of money durin' the last three
years. I've paid out three hundred dollars f'r fencin'."
"Um h'm! I see, I see," said Butler, while Haskins went on:
"The kitchen there cost two hundred; the barn ain't cost much in money, but I've put
a lot o' time on it. I've dug a new well, and I—"
"Yes, yes, I see. You've done well. Stock worth a thousand dollars," said Butler,
picking his teeth with a straw.
"About that," said Haskins, modestly. "We begin to feel's if we was gitt'n' a home
f'r ourselves; but we've worked hard. I tell you we begin to feel it, Mr. Butler, and
we're goin' t' begin to ease up purty soon. We've been kind o' plannin' a trip back t'
her folks after the fall ploughin's done."
"Eggs-actly!" said Butler, who was evidently thinking of something else. "I suppose
you've kind o' calc'lated on stayin' here three years more?"
"Well, yes. Fact is, I think I c'n buy the farm this fall, if you'll give me a reasonable
"Um—m! What do you call a reasonable show?"
"Well, say a quarter down and three years' time."
Butler looked at the huge stacks of wheat, which filled the yard, over which the
chickens were fluttering and crawling, catching grasshoppers, and out of which the
crickets were singing innumerably. He smiled in a peculiar way as he said, "Oh, I
won't be hard on yeh. But what did you expect to pay f'r the place?"
"Why, about what you offered it for before, two thousand five hundred, or possibly
three thousand dollars," he added quickly, as he saw the owner shake his head.
"This farm is worth five thousand and five hundred dollars," said Butler, in a
careless and decided voice.
"What!" almost shrieked the astounded Haskins. "What's that? Five thousand?
Why, that's double what you offered it for three years ago."
"Of course; and it's worth it. It was all run down then—now it's in good shape.
You've laid out fifteen hundred dollars in improvements, according to your own
"But you had nothin' t' do about that. It's my work an' my money."
"You bet it was; but it's my land."
"But what's to pay me for all?"
"Ain't you had the use of 'em?" replied Butler, smiling calmly into his face.
Haskins was like a man struck on the head with a sandbag; he couldn't think; he
stammered as he tried to say: "But—I never 'd git the use. You'd rob me! More'n
that: you agreed—you promised that I could buy or rent at the end of three years
"That's all right. But I didn't say I'd let you carry off the improvements, nor that I'd
go on renting the farm at two-fifty. The land is doubled in value, it don't matter
how; it don't enter into the question; an' now you can pay me five hundred dollars
a year rent, or take it on your own terms at fifty-five hundred, or—git out."
He was turning away when Haskins, the sweat pouring from his face, fronted him,
"But you've done nothing to make it so. You hadn't added a cent. I put it all there
myself, expectin' to buy. I worked an' sweat to improve it. I was workin' for myself
"Well, why didn't you buy when I offered to sell? What y' kickin' about?"
"I'm kickin' about payin' you twice f'r my own things—my own fences, my own
kitchen, my own garden."
Butler laughed. "You're too green t' eat, young feller. Your improvements! The law
will sing another tune."
"But I trusted your word."
"Never trust anybody, my friend. Besides, I didn't promise not to do this thing.
Why, man, don't look at me like that. Don't take me for a thief. It's the law. The
reg'lar thing. Everybody does it."
"I don't care if they do. It's stealin' jest the same. You take three thousand dollars of
my money. The work o' my hands and my wife's." He broke down at this point. He
was not a strong man mentally. He could face hardship, ceaseless toil, but he could
not face the cold and sneering face of Butler.
"But I don't take it," said Butler, coolly "All you've got to do is to go on jest as
you've been a-doin', or give me a thousand dollars down, and a mortgage at ten per
cent on the rest."
Haskins sat down blindly on a bundle of oats near by, and with staring eyes and
drooping head went over the situation. He was under the lion's paw. He felt a
horrible numbness in his heart and limbs. He was hid in a mist, and there was no
Butler walked about, looking at the huge stacks of grain, and pulling now and again
a few handfuls out, shelling the heads in his hands and blowing the chaff away. He
hummed a little tune as he did so. He had an accommodating air of waiting.
Haskins was in the midst of the terrible toil of the last year. He was walking again
in the rain and the mud behind his plough, he felt the dust and dirt of the threshing.
The ferocious husking-time, with its cutting wind and biting, clinging snows, lay
hard upon him. Then he thought of his wife, how she had cheerfully cooked and baked,
without holiday and without rest.
"Well, what do you think of it?" inquired the cool, mocking, insinuating voice of
"I think you're a thief and a liar!" shouted Haskins, leaping up. "A black-hearted
houn'!" Butler's smile maddened him; with a sudden leap he caught a fork in his
hands, and whirled it in the air. "You'll never rob another man, damn ye!" he grated
through his teeth, a look of pitiless ferocity in his accusing eyes.
Butler shrank and quivered, expecting the blow; stood, held hypnotized by the eyes
of the man he had a moment before despised—a man transformed into an avenging
demon. But in the deadly hush between the lift of the weapon and its fall there came
a gush of faint, childish laughter and then across the range of his vision, far away
and dim, he saw the sun-bright head of his baby girl, as, with the pretty, tottering
run of a two-year-old, she moved across the grass of the dooryard. His hands
relaxed: the fork fell to the ground; his head lowered.
"Make out y'r deed an' mor'gage, an' git off'n my land, an' don't ye never cross my
line agin; if y' do, I'll kill ye."
Butler backed away from the man in wild haste, and climbing into his buggy with
trembling limbs drove off down the road, leaving Haskins seated dumbly on the
sunny pile of sheaves, his head sunk into his hands.