xt7wpz51gs32 https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7wpz51gs32/data/mets.xml Furman, Lucy S. 1913  books b92-126-29177789 English Macmillan, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Kentucky Fiction. Mothering on Perilous  / by Lucy Furman ; with illustrations by Mary Lane McMillan and F.R. Gruger. text Mothering on Perilous  / by Lucy Furman ; with illustrations by Mary Lane McMillan and F.R. Gruger. 1913 2002 true xt7wpz51gs32 section xt7wpz51gs32 




























MOTHERING ON PERILOUS

 



























        9
     THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  NEW YORK   BOSTON  CHICAGO  DALLAS
        ATLANTA  SAN FRANCISCO
     MACMILLAN  CO., LIMITED
     LONDON . BOMBAY . CALCUTTA
             MELBOURNE
THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.
              TORONTO

 











MOTHERING ON PERILOUS







                BY

          LUCY FURMAN



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARY LANE McMILLAN
         AND F. R. GRUGER









            Xrwu jnrk
   THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
              1913



AU righss rcscrvd

 

































           COPYRIGHT, igio and igiz,
           BY THE CENTURY CO.

               COPYRIGHT, I913,
      BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1913.

 






















Ma my 3nyi of Otx erars Ago

 
This page in the original text is blank.



 





















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"When was a lonely heart

  more truly comforted"

 
This page in the original text is blank.



 





















                 CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                    PAGE
     I ARRIVAL ON PERILOUS ...................  3
     II GETTING ACQUAINTED ....................  9

     III ACQUIRING A FAMILY .................... 17

     IV  WAR, NOT PEACE ........................ 37

     V  GETTING BETTER ACQUAINTED ............ 47

     VI A TRADE AND OTHER MATTERS ........... 55

   VII HEROES AND HERO WORSHIP ............. 65

   VIII DRESS, CHIVALRY AND THE TROJAN WAR.     71

   IX  MORE TRADING, AND SOmE FAMILY HISTORY   84

   X  ABOUT MOTHERS ........................ 92

   XI OVER ON TRIGGER ..........   ............ 100
   XII THE FIGHTINGEST Boy ................... 117

   XIII AROUND THE FIRE .........   ............. Z25

   XIV  THE VISIT HOME, AND THE FUNERAL OCCA-

         SION ................................. 141

   XV  TROUBLE ON TRIGGER AND ELSEWHERE.... 157

   XVI FILIAL PIETY AND CROUP .................1 69

 XVII BLESSINGS AND HATINGS .................1 76

 XVIII CHRISTMAS ANTICIPATIONS ................ I83

 XIX  CHRISTMAS AND DANGER ................. 192
                      ix

 










CONTENTS



WAR AND WORSE ON TRIGGER...........

SUSPENSE..............................

THE "EECH," AND TRAGEDY............

DESPAIR, AND BUDDING ROMANCEN......

THE BABE............................

CHANGE AND GROWTH     .................

"MARVLES" AND MARVELS ..............

TRANSFORMATION .......................

"KEEPS "..............................

LIBERTY AND NEW LIFE.................



x



CHAPTER
   XX

   XXI

 XXII

 XXIII

 XXIV

 XXV

 XXVI

 XXVII

XXVIII

XXIX



AGE
202

212

222

236

249

260

270

283

293

30I



 















                ILLUSTRATIONS

"When was a lonely heart more truly comforted"
                                            Frontispiece
"My two assistants abandoned work to stare open-
    mouthed at him.".  .........................  I2
"'Here is Keats back again,-he has got to stay with
    you women and get l'arning if it kills him dead! "....  20
"Genealogical' and 'irreconcilable' were child's play
    to him, 'incomprehensibility,' a bagatelle ".  30
"I sat wondering what if anything would be the proper
    literary milk for my babes."     .. 39
"The table was overturned, chairs were flying, bedlam
    had broken loose" .................... ......... 4I
"'By dogs, now, did you ever see anybody look as good
    as me".....                                    49
"'Just fee] my muscle,' he said, 'Oh, I'm so nervy! ' " . . 63
"'Fight, dogs, you haint no kin, 'F yoU kill one an-
    other, taint no sin!' "............................ 79
"'That's where I keep lookout of moonlight nights when
    war is on ...............103...................... i3
"As I looked, I said to myself over and over, 'Is it possi-
    ble this is a slayer of men, an eluder and defier of
    the law' .................................... io8
"'That 'ere little Iry is a-giving Jason the best whipping
    down in the stable lot ever you seed.' ".     23
"Not until she got out of the tall weeds, and into the
   branch, was the joyful discovery made that nine
                          xi

 






ILLUSTRATIONS



    little new pigs followed her closely and shame-
    facedly" ..................................... 148
"'I got a dead tree up the hollow I practice on all the
    time' .171........................ I7 I
"The first real snow yesterday, and the boys wild in
    consequence .................................. 173
"'Blant he rushed on 'em like a robbed she-bear, rout-
    ing 'em in no time' "..                         205
"'I allow they shot me up a little too, by these here
    rags on my head.' "...                          2I5
"Blant caught the dying Rich in his arms" .  ..  233
"'Dag gone me, he's got use enough for little Dilsey,
    by Ned!'".................................... 245
"I kotch him at it one time".                       273
"'Take it, Joe, I refuse to touch it, I have shot my last
    shoot!' "..                                     280
"He sat in church the very picture of elegance, the real
    direction of his thoughts indicated by an occa-
    sional ardent glance across the aisle".. .   288
"'Well, dad burn your looks, where'd you git all them
    marvles you been selling' "..                  298
"Nucky's voice rang out sharp and clear. . 'Make for
    them spruce pines! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!' ".  304



xii

 


















MOTHERING ON PERILOUS

 
This page in the original text is blank.


 









MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



                     I

        ARRIVAL ON PERILOUS

                           JOSLIN, Ky.
                    Last Thursday in July.
  Here I am at the end of the railroad, waiting
to begin my two-days' wagon-trip across the
mountains. But the school wagon has not
arrived,-my landlady says it is delayed by a
"tide" in the creeks. By way of cheering me,
she has just given a graphic account of the
twenty-year-old feud for which this small town
is notorious, and has even offered to take me
around and show me, on walls, floors and court-
house steps, the blood-spots where seven or
eight of the feudists have perished. I declined
to go,-it is sad enough to know such things
exist, without seeing them face to face. Be-
                    3

 


MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



sides, I have enough that is depressing in my
own thoughts.
  When I locked the doors of the old home day
before yesterday, I felt as a ghost may when it
wanders forth from the tomb. For a year I had
not been off the place; it seemed I should never
have the courage to go again. For I am one
whom death has robbed of everything,-not
only of my present but of my future. In the
past seven years all has gone; and with Mother's
passing a year ago, my very reason for existence
went.
  And yet none knows better than I that this
sitting down with sorrow is both dangerous and
wrong; if there is any Lethe for such pain as
mine, any way of filling in the lonely, dreaded
years ahead of me, I must find it. It would
be better if I had some spur of necessity to
urge me on. As it is, I am all apathy. If
there is anything that could interest me, it
is some form of social service. A remarkable



4

 






ARRIVAL ON PERILOUS



settlement work being done in the mountains
of my own state recently came to my atten-
tion; and I wrote the head-workers and ar-
ranged for the visit on which I am now em-
barked. I scarcely dare to hope, however,
that I shall find a field of usefulness,-nothing
interests me any more, and also, I have no
gifts, and have never been trained for anything.
My dearest ambition was to make a home, and
have a houseful of children; and this, alas, was
not to be!

                                   Night.
  Howard Cleves, a big boy from the settlement
school, has just arrived with the wagon-he
says he had to "lay by" twenty-four hours on
account of the "tide"-and we are to start at
five in the morning.

     SETTLEMENT SCHOOL ON PERILOUS.
                          Sunday, In Bed.
  I have passed through two days of torture in



5

 





MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



that wagon. When we were not following the
rocky beds of creeks, or sinking to the hubs in
mudholes, we were winding around precipitous
mountainsides where a misstep of the mules
would have sent us hundreds of feet down.
Nowhere was there an actual road,-as Howard
expressed it, "This country is intended for
nag-travel, not for wagons."  The mules
climbed over logs and bowlders, and up and
down great shelves of rock, the jolting, crash-
ing, banging were indescribable, my poor bones
were racked until I actually wept from the pain
and would have turned back long before noon
of the first day if I could; the thirteen hours-
during which we made twenty-six miles-
seemed thirteen eons, and I fell into the feather-
bed at the stopover place that first night hat,
dress, shoes and all. Yesterday, having bought
two pillows to sit on, I found the jolting more
endurable, and was able to see some of the
beauty through which we were passing. There



6

 




ARRIVAL ON PERILOUS



is no level land, nothing but creeks and moun-
tains, the latter steep, though not very high,
and covered mostly with virgin forest, though
here and there a cornfield runs half-way up,
and a lonely log house nestles at the base. There
were looms and spinning-wheels in the porches
of these homes, and always numbers of children
ran out to see us pass. Just at noon we turned
into Perilous Creek, the one the school is on.
Here the bed was unusually wide and smooth,
and I was enjoying the respite from racking and
jolting, when Howard said with an anxious
brow, "All these nice smooth places is liable to
be quicksands,-last time I come over, it took
four ox-teams to pull my span and wagon out.
That's how it gets its name,-Perilous."
  We escaped the quicks, thank heaven, and
just at dark the welcome lights of the school
shone out in the narrow valley. I was relieved
to find I should be expected to remain in bed
to-day.



7

 





MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



  Racked muscles, black-and-blue spots, and
dislocated bones are not exactly pleasant; but
physical pain is an actual relief after endless
ache of heart and suffering of spirit.
  A pretty, brown-eyed boy just brought in a
pitcher of water, asked me if I came from the
"level country" and how many times I had
"rid" on the railroad train; and gave me the
information that he was Philip Sidney Floyd,
that his "paw" got his name out of a book, that
his "maw" was dead, that he was "very nigh
thirteen," and had worked for "the women" all
summer.



8



 















II



         GETTING ACQUAINTED

                            Monday Night.
  Early this morning I was taken around by
Philip and a smaller boy named Geordie to see
the buildings,-handsome ones of logs, set in a
narrow strip of bottom land along Perilous
Creek. The "big house" especially, a great
log structure of two-dozen rooms, where the
settlement work goes on, and the teachers and
girls live, is the most satisfying building I ever
saw. There are also a good workshop, a pretty
loom-house, and a small hospital, and the last
shingles are being nailed on the large new school-
house. When I asked the boys why any school-
term should begin the first of August, they ex-
                     9

 









I o    MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



plained that the children must go home and
help their parents hoe corn during May, June
and July.
  All day the children who are to live in the
school, and many more who hope to, were
arriving, afoot or on nags, the boys, however
small, in long trousers and black felt hats like
their fathers, the girls a little more cheerfully
dressed than their mothers, whose black sun-
bonnets and somber homespun dresses were
depressing. Many of the parents stayed to
dinner. There is a fine, old-fashioned dignity
in their manners, and great gentleness in their
voices. I have always heard that, shut away
here in these mountains, some of the purest and
best Anglo-Saxon blood in the nation is to be
found; now I am sure of it. It was pathetic to
see the eagerness of these men and women that
their children should get learning, and to hear
many of them tell how they themselves had had
no chance whatever at an education, being

 





GETTING ACQUAINTED



raised probably sixty or eighty miles from a
school-house.
  Late in the afternoon, as Philip, Geordie and
I were fastening up straying rose-vines on the
pine-tree pillars of the "big house " porch, a
one-legged and very feeble man, accompanied
by a boy, dismounted at the gate and came up
the walk on a crutch. During the time he sat
on the porch, my two assistants abandoned
their work to stare open-mouthed at him.
When he was called in to see the heads, Geordie
inquired of his boy,
  "How'd your paw git all lamed up that-
away"
  The new arrival pulled his black hat down,
frowned, and measured Geordie with gray,
combative eyes, before replying, coldly,
  "Warring with the Cheevers."
  "'Gee-oh, air you one of the Marrses from
Trigger Branch of Powderhorn"
  " Yes. I' ,



I r



 
















       i :4   : 'k   0  f

j  i    l  yeI. 1j \00i;:

   00 IW: -''f7:



" My two assistants abandoned
   work to stare open-mouthed
   at him. "



I2



kt



, ! ,15,1
   I c1     r
   i
   i






     : : A



      W



 t:
   c

   -, ,I
   ,- - f



h

 







CETTTIN ACQUAINTED



  "What's yo name"


  "how old air you"
  "(Going-on-twelc."
  "What kin is Blant Marrs to you"
  "My brothe.'0
  "You don t  y so. Gee, I visht I could sec
him. Heaven you hoi any in the wvar "
   "ome." Here Nucky wvas called in, to the
evident disappoint      of his interloutor.
Later, I saw him at the suppertable, gazing
disapprovingly about Wimn
  After supper I had a few minutes ta  with
the busy head-workers, and placed myself at
their dispos, with the explanation tht I
really knew eye lifttl about aything, except
music and ga    i    They said t     things
are just what they have- been wantiggthat
a friend has recently sent the schol a plao
(h   did it ever cross these monains) and
that some Oe to supervise garden opratio



3

 





MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



is especially needed.  "Besides, what you
don't know you can learn," they said, "we are
always having to do impossible and unexpected
things here,-our motto is 'Learn by doing."'
I am very dubious; but I promised to try it a
month.
  They told me that between six and seven
hundred children had been turned away
to-day for lack of room,-only sixty can
live in the school, though two hundred more
attend the day-school, which begins to-
morrow.
                             Friday Night.
  What a week! Foraging expeditions and
music-lessons to big girls in the mornings, and
in the afternoons, gardening, with a dozen small
boys to keep busy. This is an industrial school,
-in addition to the usual common-school sub-
jects, woodwork, carpentry, blacksmithing, gar-
dening, cooking, sewing, weaving and home-
nursing are all taught, and the children in



14

 




GETTING ACQUAINTED



residence also perform all the work on the place,
indoors and out. But alas, my agricultural
force is diminishing,-the small boys are leav-
ing in batches. This is the first year any
number have been taken to live in the school,
and they are unable to endure the homesickness.
Nucky Marrs left after one night's stay; three
others followed Tuesday afternoon, and five on
Wednesday; more were taken in, but left at
once. Keats Salyer, a beautiful boy who has
wept every minute of his stay, ran away a third
time this morning. Yesterday Joab Atkins
left when the housekeeper told him to help .the
girls pick chickens. Eight new boys came in
to-day, but the veterans, Philip and Geordie,
say these are aiming to leave to-morrow.
  Friday is mill day in the mountains, and this
morning, having had the boys shell corn, I took
it to mill to be ground into meal, in a large
"poke" (sack) slung across my saddle. When
I had gone a mile up Perilous, the thing wriggled



IS

 




i6       MOTHERING ON PERILOUS

from under me and fell ofV in the road. Of
course I was powerless to lift it, though equally
of course I got off the school nag and tried.
There was nothing to do but sit on the roots of
a great beech until somebody came along. Two
men soon rode up, and smiling, dismounted and
politely set the poke and me on Mandy again,
and I reached the mill in safety. When I got
back, my black china-silk was ruined from
sitting on the meal.



 









III



         ACQUIRING A FAMILY

                                  Sunday.
  Sure enough, the eight new boys were gone
before sun-up yesterday, only Philip and
Geordie remain, and gardening is at a standstill.
All day yesterday and to-day I have thought of
the runaways, and wondered if there is any
way of making them stay and take advantage of
their opportunities. Our young manual-training
teacher, and only man, lives at the cottage with
the dozen small boys; but, being a man, proW
ably he cannot give them a home feeling, and
get them rooted. Only a woman could do that.
If I had the courage and cheerfulness, I would
go over there and live with those little boys and
try to make them feel at home. But it is useless
                     I7

 




MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



to think of such a thing,-my sadness would
repel them,-they would run away faster than
ever.
                            Monday Night.
  The heads said to me this morning, "We
shall give up trying to keep little boys in the
school,-it is useless, though we need them
almost as much as they need us. If there were
just some one who loves children to stay there
and take a real interest in them, they might be
satisfied to remain."
  "I love children," I said, "but I would not
think of inflicting myself upon them,-I am
not cheerful enough."
  "Cheerful!" they exclaimed, "why, every-
body is cheerful here,-no time for anything
else! Suppose you try it!"
  "I really couldn't think of it," I replied; but,
fifteen minutes later, under the spell of their
optimism, I was moving over from the big
house to the small boys' cottage, from which



i8

 



ACQUIRING A FAMILY



the manual-training teacher was departing to
join the big boys over the workshop.
- This small cottage is the building in which
the work began here five years ago. It is
separated from the rest of the school-grounds
by a small branch; in its back yard is the wash-
house, and beyond this the stable lot slopes
down to Perilous Creek. There are four com-
fortable rooms, neatly papered with magazine
pages,-a sitting-room, two bedrooms for the
boys, and one for me. The woodwork in mine
being battered, I sent Philip down to the nearby
village for paint. He returned with a rich, rosy
red, and began laying it on my mantelpiece
with gusto, while Geordie Yonts put shelves in
a goods-box for my bureau. Never have I seen
a small chunk of a boy with such a large, in-
gratiating smile as Geordie's.
  In the midst I heard a call from the road, and
saw at the gate a nag bearing a woman and two
small boys. "Here is Keats back again,-he



I9



 


















































"'Here is Keats back again,-he has got to stay with you
      women and get larning if it kills him dead!
                          20



          hill/,4

          4

KIA

 




ACQUIRING A FAMILY



has got to stay with you women and get l'arning
if it kills him dead! " declared his Spartan
mother; "and I brung Hen this time, to keep
him company,-he haint so tender-hearted."
She sternly pushed the weeping Keats off the
nag, and he flung himself down in the doorway,
howling dismally. But little Hen, who cannot
be more than nine, walked composedly into the
house, looking about him with interest. He
stopped before the almost-completed mantel-
piece. " Gee, woman," he said, "that 'ere's the
dad-burn prettiest fireboard ever I seed!" "If
you like it, you shall have the same in your
room, and all the rooms," I said. "Suppose
you and Keats go down right now and buy me
a gallon more of this paint. And I think we
need some candy, too,-say a quarter's worth
of peppermint sticks."
  The tears miraculously left Keats's face, they
hurried off, and later we had a feast of candy
flavored with paint.



2 1

 





MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



                                 Tuesday.
  A terrible night with fleas, and up at five
(awful hour!) to teach the boys to make their
beds and clean their rooms. Hen's first question
was, "Woman, what's your name" "Loring,"
I replied.  "Haint you got nary nother"
"Yes, Cecilia," "Gee-oh, that's some shakes
of a name. How old air you, Cecilia" "I am
old enough to have a Miss before my name
always," I said, severely; "you must call me
Miss Loring, just as people call your mother
Mrs. Salyer."
  "They don't," he replied, "they call her
Nervesty."
  "All these-here fotch-on women gits called
Miss, son," admonished Geordie; "you haint
used to their quare ways yet."
  Later, there was another halloo from the
road, and as Joab Atkins slid off the end of a
mule, his father remarked to me, with extreme
gentleness, that he allowed Joab would be



2 2

 




ACQUIRING A FAMILY



willing to pick a chicken now. Mr. Atkins is a
handsome man, with perfect manners. When
he said he had a younger son over on Rakeshin
he would like to bring us, little Iry, ten years
old, a "pure scholar, that knows the speller
from kiver to kiver," I told him to bring Iry at
once.
  Just before supper I was pleased to see an-
other runaway returned,-Nucky Marrs, of
Trigger Branch. But before his father was out
of sight up the road, he calmly announced to
me that he didn't aim to stay, and that neither
his paw nor anybody else was able to make him.
I believed him,-one glance at his vivid face
and combative eyes convinced me.
  "Very well," I said, "if you cannot be happy,
of course you must go. But it will hurt my
feelings a good deal,-however, don't think of
them."
  " What difference is it to you " he demanded.
  "Only this,-I have lost everybody I love in



23

 




MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



the world, and have come to the cottage to live
with you boys because I am so terribly lonely.
If you can't like me well enough to stay, life
will seem a failure."
  He pondered a long while, frowning a little,
with large gray eyes fixed on my face. Then he
said at last, "I don't know as I'll go right off."
  "Oh, thank you," I replied, gratefully.
  From seven to eight we have study-hour at
the cottage. To-night Geordie watched the
clock-hands for twenty minutes before they
reached eight, then slammed his geography
shut, and commanded,
  "Tell about the Marrs-Cheever war!"
  All the boys woke up at once, and Nucky
began, slowly: "The Marrses has lived on
Trigger ever sence allus-ago. My great-great-
great-grandpaw fit under Washington and got
a big land-grant out here and come out from
Old Virginny. And the Cheevers they has
anus lived down the branch from us. 1Iore'n



24

 






ACQUIRING A FAMILY



thirty year' gone, Israel Cheever he had a new
survey made, and laid claim to a piece of our
bottom where the lands jines; and him and his
brothers tore down the dividing fence and sot
it back up on our land; and the next week, my
grandpaw and his boys sot it down where it
belonged, and while they was at it, the Cheevers
come up and they all fit a big battle. And ever
sence, first one side and then t'other has been
setting back the fence, and gen'ally a few gets
kilt and a lot wounded. Six year gone, paw got
his three brothers kilt and a leg shot off and a
couple of bullets in his lung, in a battle, and
haint been able to do a lick of work sence.
Blant, my big brother, wa'n't but fifteen then,
and he's had to make the living ever sence, with
me to help him. And for five year' before he
got good-grown, the Cheevers they helt our
land, and Blant he laid low and put in all his
spare time at gun practice. Then last fall, on
the day Blant was twenty, he rounded up Rich



25

 





MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



Tarrant and some more of his friends, and
Uncle Billy's boys and me, and we tore up the
fence, and sot it down on the old line where it
ought to be; and the Cheevers, Israel and his
ten boys, got wind of it, and come up, and there
was the terriblest battle you ever seed."
  "I heared about it," interrupted Geordie,
"I heared Blant was the quickest on the trigger
of any boy ever lived, and laid out the Cheevers
scandlous."
  "He kilt two of 'em dead that day, and
wounded five or six more pretty bad," resumed
Nucky, "and the fighting it went on, off and on,
all winter. Every now and then, of a moon-
light night, the Cheever boys would start to
tear down the fence and set it back up; but we
kep' a constant lookout, and was allus ready
for 'em. Finally they got discouraged trying
to fight Blant in the open, and tuck to ambush-
ing. Three of 'em laywayed Blant under a cliff
one day in April, and Elhannon got kilt, and



26

 






ACQUIRING A FAMILY



Todd and Dalt so bad wounded they left
the country and went West. They are the
youngest and feistiest of the lot,-t'other boys
is mostly married and settled, and not anxious
to risk their lives again' Blant's gun no more-
and sence they went off, we have had a spell of
peace."
  " What do you do in the war"
  " Oh, I keep a lookout, and spy around, and
stand guard over the fence with my gun."
  "Gee, I wisht I had a war in my family!"
sighed Philip, fervently.
                                Thursday.
  Two more nights of suffering,-Philip said
to me this morning, "I heared you up a-fleaing
four or five times in the night." When I found
that several panels of the back fence had been
washed away by the "tide " of week-before-last,
and that neighborhood hogs were coming in and
out at will, and making their beds under my
very room, I did not wonder.



27

 






MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



  This morning at the breakfast table, Philip's
face was so dingy that I inquired, "Have you
washed your face"
  "Yes," was his reply.
  Something moved me to inquire further,
"When "
  " Day before yesterday," he replied, with
perfect nonchalance.
  This is dangerous,-already I can see that
Philip is to be, like his illustrious namesake
"the glass of fashion and the mold of form,"
and that the younger boys, will be only too
ready to omit disagreeable rites if he does.
  Poor Keats, who in the matter of beauty
certainly lives up to his name, really seems in-
consolable. While he cleans the chicken-yard
in the mornings, my heart is wrung by hearing
him chant the most dismal of songs,
  Oh bury me not, on the broad pa-ra-a-ree,
  Where the wild ky-oats will holler over me!

and in the hour after supper, when the others



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ACQUIRING A FAMILY



play out of doors, he sits with me, telling about
Nervesty and the four little children at home,
and the spell of typhoid all the family had last
year, when his father and little sister Dicey
died, and how "Me 'n' Nervesty and Hen"
have run the farm since then, tending fifteen
acres of corn, besides clearing new-ground, and
other labors. Poor little man, it is the knowl-
edge that he is really needed at home, as much
as homesickness, that preys on his mind,-his
mother is making a noble sacrifice to let him
stay in the school. It seems to comfort him
somewhat to weep on a sympathetic bosom.
Peppermint candy, too, is not without its
efficacy.
  To-day came Taulbee Bolling, a dignified
boy of thirteen, with a critical eye, and later,
Mr. Atkins again, with the "pure scholar" in
tow. Iry is a thin, puny-looking mite of ten,
much too small for his trousers. He said
"Yes sir" and "No sir" most politely when



29



 






MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



speaking to me, and carried an old blue-back
speller under one arm. So great was my
curiosity that I opened the book at once. The
result was amazing,-"genealogical" and "ir-



"'Genealogical' and 'irreconcilable' were child's play to
       him, 'incomprehensibility,' a bagatelle."

reconcilable" were child's-play to him, "incom-
prehensibility," a bagatelle. It was interesting
to see his scared little face brighten as he
climbed up and down the hard words and
beheld my growing astonishment.



30



--'WI

 





ACQUIRING A FAMILY



  This afternoon while I had the boys mending
the back fence, Geordie, who had been left to
scrub my floor with carbolic acid solution,
came back to the stable-lot bringing a new boy,
whom with a flourish of his brush he intro-
duced as follows:
  "Here's the boy that fit the marshal that
kilt his paw. And one time he seed the world
and rid on a railroad train. Killis Blair's the
name he goes by." Killis is a handsome
blonde boy of twelve, not unaware of his double
importance.
  To-night after study-hour there was another
catechism by Geordie. "Tell about ridin' on
the railroad train!" he ordered.
  Killis began: "The month before paw got
kilt last spring, the officers was a-watching him
so clost he was afeared to sell any liquor round
about home, so me and him we tuck a barrel
acrost the mountains to Virginia, where there's
mines, and it would fetch a good price. We



31

 




MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



loaded fodder on top. The going was awful
sorry, and the steers was three days at it.
When I got there, I seed men walking round
with their hats afire, and went down to the
railroad-train and rid on the engine."
  "What did it look like" demanded Philip,
breathlessly.
  "Sort of like a saw-mill sot up on wheels."
  "I'd sooner die as not to see one!" sighed
Philip.
  "I aim to see one when I'm a perfessor,"
remarked Taulbee.
  "I bet I see a hundred when I go to be a
soldier," said Nucky.
  "I'd ruther see a railroad-train as to eat!"
declared Geordie, and this appeared to be the
prevailing sentiment, except with Keats, who
said dismally that he didn't crave to see any-
thing that would take him fifty mile' from
Nervesty and home. After reflection, Hen
agreed with him.



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ACQUIRING A FAMILY



   "Listen at them two homesicks!" remarked
Philip, cuttingly.
  Geordie folded his fat hands. "Now you
might tell about your paw gettin' kilt," he said.
  Killis said that the officers had been spying
around on his " paw " a long time for " stilling "
liquor, but that he was too smart for them, and
moved the still about, and made liquor by
night, and also frightened them by sending
word to the marshal he would never be taken
alive. That one night they had just "drug"
the still up to a new place in the hollow, and
he and his father and uncles were sitting around
the fire, when there was a yell, and the marshal
and a deputy burst in, shooting as they came.
That his uncles returned the fire, but before his
father could do so, he fell, with a dreadful
wound through the stomach. That he himself,
when he saw his father fall, snatched a hunting-
knife and cut the marshal in the forearm with
it as he was running out.



33

 




MOTHERING ON PERILOUS



  The last item he told without bragging, and
quite as a matter of course. The other boys
gave him looks of approval and envy, all save
Nucky. "By Heck, I wouldn't have stopped
with his arm," he declared.
  " I haint," replied Killis, quietly.
  Evidently I have two heroes on my hands!
                           Saturday Night.
  Moses and Zachariah, two more runaways,
were returned this morning, and this afternoon
arrived my twelfth boy,-the last, since they
cannot sleep more than three in a bed! Jason is
a beautiful child of seven, very funny in his
little long trousers. I wanted him at sight, but
hesitated on account of his youth. When I
heard from his father, however, that he had no
mother now, I took him at once. Before leaving,
Mr. Wyatt said that Jason was right pyeert
about learning, and, he added candidly, about
meanness too, and he hoped I would not spar'
the rod. The rod indeed,- I threw a protecting



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ACQUIRING A FAMILY