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with one strong blow struck the knife from the Bishop's hand and sent it rattling to the rocks below. How I fought them when they overpowered me, these poor hands will show. Yet I would do as much again and more had I my good blade with me for the one look of gratitude which the fearless eyes of Hilda, the Saxon girl, gave me. Twice this day have I seen her at her window across the courtyard and once I heard an echo of my name
Again I hear the faint chanting of the priests as they come nearer and nearer to my door
Here the manuscript becomes illegible, but I quote from Taine's History of England:
“After the death of Hawsa, Eric, who had taken unto himself a wife by the name of Hilda, assumed the throne and was known as the first king of England. Their rule was a long and prosperous one, and Hilda gave birth to a child by the name of Alfred.”
Why the Professor did not return to the Western University with his daughter in the fall, and why he now occupies a prominent place at my hearth stone is, as Kipling would say, another story.
R. R., 'or.
It was not yet five, but the twilight of a cloudy March day had begun to settle down about Freeman's hill and the little white farmhouse beside the Bolton road. All day the clouds had been thickening and as the afternoon waned, the occasional gusts of wind dashed scattered flakes of snow against the little windows, as though to grant them one glance at the brightness within before consigning them to their eternal resting-place. No experienced eye was needed to predict, as the country folk thereabout would say, “a consid’able spell o'weather."
Inside the little sitting room a bright open fire bade defiance to the gathering shadows, and, interrupted by its crackling, the conversation of the two persons sitting busily engaged before it.
One would have said that the modern furnishings seemed a bit unnatural in such a place, nor would the impression have been lessened by a glance at the widow Freeman herself as she gave the finishing touches to a newly trimmed hat upon which she had been working,-a somewhat slender though graceful figure, with a sweet, pale face, and that in her voice and manner which proclaimed her at once not country bred. Seated on a hassock at her feet, absorbed in her first lesson in the art of millinery, was her daughter Alice, a rosy-cheeked girl of fifteen.
The sharp jangle of bells on a passing sleigh came to them; the girl arose and turned to the window. For some moments she stood looking down the hillside at the rapidly disappearing team. "Well," asked her mother, looking up, "who is it?"
“Squire Haskell, just getting home from Bolton,” returned the daughter in a low tone. "He went down this morning, taking Letty's things to the seminary, you know"; then with an only half-successful attempt at a smile she added, “Guess Letty will find plenty of arranging to do when she gets to her room. He must have just flung the things in to get back so quickly.”
The widow noticed the note of disappointment and there was just the least quiver in her own voice as she said, “I'm so sorry, Alice. Perhaps next year, when our little store begins to pay, we shall be better able and-and-.” But here she was interrupted by a pair of soft arms being thrown about her neck and Alice's voice saying, "There, mamma, I don't care, really and truly I don't, and you mustn't feel unhappy,-you mustn't,-must she, Lonnie?” The question was shot sidewise at an individual who had entered the room unobserved and who stood, cap in hand, uneasily shifting his feet and evidently very much embarrassed by the affecting scene upon which he had accidentally stumbled, -Alonzo Julius Alexander,-in short, servant, hired man, farm manager, and member of the family, all in one, but known to the outside world simply as "Lonnie, that fool boy t'the widder Freeman's took in."
On being thus pointedly addressed he hitched up his overalls, passed his hand nervously over his brick red hair, and looking very serious, answered, "I-I-'spose not, Miss Alice. 1-1dunno, I just come in ter see if ye might want sumthin' t' the village. I'm goin' down purty quick, so's ter git back early. Looks ef it might snow some 'fore long."
After receiving his orders he harnessed the horse and started on his mile drive to the little village of Fayville. The wind had increased in violence and the fine snow, which had come with darkness, cut across his face. The old horse jogged slowly down the hill to the corner, turned of his own accord into the more beaten track of the village road, and Lonnie seemed not to know. Bending a little forward, the reins dangling listlessly, he sat and stared steadily at the blurred flame. of his lantern. Lonnie was thinking. He had seen the tears in the Widow Freeman's eyes. He had never seen a woman cry before, and the scene he had unwillingly witnessed had affected him deeply. He did not quite understand these two people with their gentle ways and strange Western accent, but they had been good to him and he looked up to them in their infinite superiority and worshipped them. No one had ever been kind to him before that he could remember, except Squire Haskell once, when he had given him money to go to the big circus that came to Bolton. His life at Deacon White's, where the town authorities had bound him out, after his mother died, had not been pleasant. The Deacon did not think it would pay to send him to school, and he had wanted to go so much. Then his sickness came and the Deacon had told him that he must go to the poor farm, for he "couldn't keep anybody around t couldn't work." Then he had run away and the widow Freeman had taken him in. Since then he had lived as one in a dream. They had spoken to him kindly and Miss Alice had taught him to read a little, and said that he did well. What a change had come over him! The wretched chore boy at Deacon White's seemed a being of another world. And now these two were in trouble. He had heard something of the conversation after the Squire had passed. Miss Alice could not go to Bolton Academy. They must have money.
He hitched the horse in one of the "meeting house" sheds, tucked the blanket in carefully, and walked over to the post-office in Sim Goodnow's store, with that expression of deep perplexity still on his face. He was early for the mail and sat down in a corner of the store to wait. He never dared to make use of one of the chairs nearer the stove; those were reserved, by an unwritten law, for the big men of the village.
As he entered, Deacon White was talking in his high-pitched, wheezy voice concerning the possible results of town meeting which was to come the next week. “I dunno what they'll do 'bout road commissioner,” he was saying ; "a number's spoke to me ter run. I 'spose the Squire'll be put up agin. He's all right in his way, nice man'n all that, but I don't think,” Here he was interrupted by the entrance of a tall man wrapped to the ears in a great “buffalo coat,” who noisily stamped the snow from his boots, and with a nod or "Good evenin'" to most of those present, seated himself in the only remaining chair, which was evidently empty by anticipation of his coming,—Squire Haskell, the richest, roughest, but withal the most popular man in town.
The subject of road commissioner seemed suddenly to have been forgotten and conversation turned on various subjects, when suddenly the voice of Sim Goodnow broke in: "Jest a minute, boys, 'fore I open the window; I want ter put up the notice I jest got from Senator Wellman. P'raps ye'd like ter look it over." He pinned the paper to a post in the centre of the store and returned to his letter sorting. Talking ceased and every one crowded up to read the announcement that Senator Wellman, inasmuch as the state legislature had accepted his bill, allowing a small bounty on pure maple sugar, wished to offer an additional sum of fifty dollars to the producers in his native town, Fayville, for the first twenty-five pounds of new sugar made in said town to be delivered at the store of Mr. S. Goodnow and to be examined by him as to its purity, weight, etc.
"Read it out, Squire,” said some one, and the Squire read it aloud. For a moment there was dead silence, then old Uncle Ike Randall spoke: "Jes' like 'im, exac'ly. I knew his father an' his gran'father afore 'im and they was all free-handed, jes' like that. 'N he's got the money ter do it, too.” The company resumed their seats with various expressions of admiration for the Senator, whose name was synonymous with all that is great and noble in every household of Fayville. But another thought had simultaneously come to every mind in the room. Each man, with true Yankee shrewdness, was mentally calculating his own chances of possessing that fifty dollars. Squire Haskell sat back with a satisfied air, thinking of his own Easterly sloping sugar lot and the new-fashioned but as yet untried evaporator, the possibilities of which the agent had set forth so enthusiastically. Deacon White sat, his eyes half closed, the picture of contentment, as the tall, spreading maples of his east lot rose before his vision and the cords of two years old beech snugly packed in his sugar house beside the newly laid arch. "Waal, it don't feel exac'ly 'sif sap ’ud run terrible heavy tonight,” said Uncle Ike, by way of introducing the subject so near the hearts of all.
“Yer right,” assented the Deacon, trying hard not to look