The Baldmi Library
I LlUnr.c In
Rf mB 1das
UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
The Royal Road to Riches. Royal 16mo, Fifteen
Illustrations, price Is. 6d.
The Bear's Den. Royal 16mo, Six full-page Illus-
trations, price Is. 6d.
A Year at Riverside Farm. Royal 16mo, Six full-
page Illustrations, price Is. 6d.
Summer Days at Kirkwood. Royal 16mo, Four
page Illustrations, price Is. 6d.
"DIS YER 'S DE OLE TIMBER ROAD."
UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
EMILY HUNTINGTON MILLER,
AUTHOR OF SUMMER DAYS AT KIRKWOOD," "THE ROYAL ROAD TO RICHES,'
T. WOOLMER, 2 CASTLE STREET, CITY ROAD,
AND 66 PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
MORRISON AND GIBB, EDTNBURGH,
PRINTERS TO HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE.
I. A FAMILY CONSULTATION, 9
II. AN UNEXPECTED DILEMMA,. 15
III. A NEEDED COADJUTOR, 20
IV. CAMPING, 26
V. A NEW NEIGHBOUR, 40
VI. A WELCOME LETTER HOME,. 51
VII. A FOOLISH SUPERSTITION, 56
VIII. A WEALTHY SPECULATOR, 69
IX. LITTLE PEEP OF DAY, 85
X. FINDING A WAY WHEN LOST IN THE WOODS, 100
XI. THE BEST LEGACY, 113
UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
A FAMILY CONSULTATION.
A COLD November storm, beating at doors
and windows, and strewing the woods
and orchards with the last yellow leaves that
had clung to the boughs. It was dismal
enough in the country, but worse in the city,
where one could only see the muddy rivers in
the streets, the little dirty pools in the hollows
of the side-walks, and the crowds of uncom-
fortable people hurrying along under umbrellas
"What dirty weather !" said Aunt Rachel.
"It really seems as if all the pleasant times
IO UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
were over, and there never could be blue sky
and sunshine again;" and Aunt Rachel's blue
eyes followed, with a look of complete dis-
approval, a draggled woman who was trailing
past with a big basket on her arm.
"You should not look out of the window,
then," said the doctor mildly; "seeing the dirt
and discomfort give you a sense of personal
responsibility about them; but if you only
listen to the storm, it really helps you to a
feeling of the comfort of home."
The doctor lifted his eyes from his book as
he spoke, to glance at the canary moping in
his cage among the blossoming plants in the
bay-window, and the cheerful fire blazing
and snapping in the open grate, and then
settled down in his easy-chair with a smile of
satisfaction. Aunt Rachel went on with her
knitting, and from somewhere in the regions
above came faint sounds of sawing and ham-
mering, and now and then bursts of laughter
from clear, boyish voices.
"Doctor this time the knitting was laid
A FAMILY CONSULTATION. 11
down, and the soft hands locked vigorously
"Well, Rachel, what is it?" asked the
doctor, hardly raising his eyes.
"Those boys,-it does seem to me that if
you ever mean to do anything with them, it's
high time you were thinking about it."
"I do think about it," said the doctor,
closing his book with a sigh. "I wish I
could see my way clear to do something for
"Well," said Aunt Rachel briskly, "the
way is just as clear as it ever will be, I
suppose. Here you are with nothing on earth
but this home-"
"It's your home, Rachel," interrupted the
"Nothing on earth but this home," repeated
Aunt Rachel, more emphatically than before,
" and just salary enough from your university
lectures to make, by scrimping and stretching,
both ends meet. And you have got three
motherless boys on your hands to provide for
12 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
and set in the way of making a living. The
question is, How are you going to do it ?"
"I don't know, Rachel," said the doctor,
sighing a little, and running his hand through
his thin hair.
Well, but I say you ought to know, or to
find out. Here's Raymond, fifteen already,
and Archie, thirteen-"
"Yes, I know, and neither of them wants
to study for a profession. It would make
matters so much easier if they did," added the
"I don't see that," said Aunt Rachel. "It
seems to me you'd get along quite as well
now if you understood something besides
Greek and Latin."
"I dare say, Rachel. We don't seem to
be a money getting family. You should
have been a boy, Rachel; you would have
managed a great deal better than poor Dick
There was silence for a moment, and then
the doctor went on:
A FAMILY Y CONSULTATION. 13
"I used to hope that something might be
done for the boys with that property Dick
left them, but I don't know-"
"Dick's legacy said Aunt Rachel,
smiling in spite of the tear that trickled down
on to her work. "He might as well have
left them an estate in the moon. A wild
farm somewhere in the woods of Michigan
I wouldn't take the whole State as a gift if
I was compelled to live in it; and how can
you sell land in the middle of a howling
"I'm not sure about the wilderness. It's
a good many years since Dick went to
Michigan, and they say those new countries
are being developed wonderfully. Really,
Rachel, I sometimes feel as if I should enjoy
some such new, fresh life myself."
Aunt Rachel dropped her knitting, and
stared at her brother in astonishment, and the
poor man laughed, and actually blushed under
"I hope you won't go to putting any such
14 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
nonsense into the boys' heads," she said
severely. "It would be all my life's worth
to live with them if they once got set on
that. Dick's legacy I never could see what
people wanted of farms, unless to sell them.
You haven't told the boys about it ?" she
added, with a sudden suspicion.
"Well, yes," admitted the doctor, "I did
mention the matter to Raymond the other
day in the workshop; and I think-yes, I am
sure-Archie and Will were there too."
"And how did they take it?" asked
Aunt Rachel, with a deeper colour in her fair
Oh, of course they were pleased," said the
doctor, chuckling to himself at the remem-
brance of the way Raymond had grasped
Archie in his delight, and rolled him over
and over among the shavings and sawdust.
"Boys always like anything that smacks of
adventure, and the very idea of owning a
farm somewhere in the woods was exciting to
AN UNEXPECTED DILEMMA.
THERE was a lull in the sounds from the
attic workshop, a rush of feet on the
stairs, and in another moment three bright,
boyish faces looked in at the library door.
"Are you busy, papa?" asked Archie.
"May we come in awhile ? We want to
talk about Uncle Dick's legacy."
"Come in, come in," said the doctor,
freshening up instantly at the sight of his
boys. "Aunt Rachel and I were talking
about it this moment."
I want to tell you, to begin with, that I
disapprove the whole thing, from beginning
to end," said Aunt Rachel.
"Disapprove what, auntie,-our having the
16 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
farm?" asked Raymond, pulling a long
shaving from Archie's hair. We must have
it, because Uncle Dick gave it to us, and
we ought not to shirk the responsibilities of
Raymond's merry eyes were dancing, but
not a suspicion of a smile lighted Aunt
Archie sat down upon a low chair, with his
hands clasped around his knees, and looked
into the fire; while Raymond leaned against
the wall, and wound the white shaving around
his fingers. Will perched himself on the arm
of the easy-chair, and drew his father's arm
about his shoulders, saying,
"We've made up a plan, papa, a capital
Let's hear it, then," said papa; "there's
no harm in talking things over here among
ourselves. In the first place, we all admit
that it is very desirable to put this farm of
ours into a shape that it may do us good.
Now, if we could get some honest person, who
AN UNEXPECTED DILEMMA. 17
understands such matters, to go up and find
out about it, we might, perhaps, be able in
time to sell it-"
"Sell it! oh, papa !" interrupted three voices
in tones of dismay.
You can't sell it," put in Aunt Rachel
triumphantly, not until Will is of age; so
that ends the whole matter for eleven years,
"I believe you are right," said the doctor,
looking a trifle crestfallen. The fact is, I
never had much experience with property."
"But, papa," said Archie slowly, we might
-couldn't we-don't you think it would be
nice for us to go and live on it ?"
Yes, papa," said Raymond, that's our
plan, and we've talked it all over."
"You needn't learn to be a farmer, papa,"
said Will, smoothing the delicate white hand
he held in his; we boys could do all the
We could go out early in the spring,"
said Raymond, take along our guns and
18 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
fishing-tackle and a few necessary traps, and
knock up some sort of a house that would
answer while we were getting our first year's
crops. After the crops were sold, of course
we should have plenty of money, and could
build a nice house, and send for you and Aunt
This easy process of improving wild land
was too much for the doctor, and he laughed
heartily, until Aunt Rachel was fairly com-
pelled to join him.
"I don't see why you laugh, papa," said
Raymond, in an injured tone; "we are in
real earnest about it."
"Of course you are, and it all sounds
beautifully," said papa, trying to be grave.
"I am not much of a farmer myself, but I
have an impression that a great deal of new
land is covered with immense forests, which
have to be cut down and dug up, in the first
place. At any rate, I'm quite sure it has to
be ploughed. But perhaps you expect to find
horses and oxen running around loose ?"
AN UNEXPECTED DILEMMA. 19
Papa," said Will earnestly, "they do
run around that way. I've seen 'em in
"Not in Michigan," said Archie, interrupt-
ing. Of course we don't expect that, papa.
I don't really know what we do expect; but
don't you think, some way, we could manage
just to go and see about it ?"
Here comes Steve," said Aunt Rachel,
looking from the window, and Chloe is up
in the garret. One of you boys run down to
the basement door and let him in."
Let's all go," said Will eagerly, and all
ran; but Raymond looked back through the
half-shut door to say,
We didn't think of Steve, papa. Steve is
the very one to do it."
To do what ?" said Aunt Rachel wonder-
ingly; but the doctor brightened up at once,
I believe he's right. Steve is the very
one to help us out."
A NEEDED COADJUTOR.
S TANDING on the mat outside the base-
ment door, Steve smiled until his broad
black face was all aglow at the merry sounds
of boyish laughter that greeted him, while
three pairs of hands strove together to turn
the lock and open the door.
Hallo, Steve !" "How are you, Steve?"
" Come in, Steve 1" was the noisy welcome.
Ise mighty right, boys," chuckled Steve;
" but jes' you wait tell I leave dese yer boots
an' my ole coat under de stoop. What ye
reckon ole mamma say to me ef I go for to
tote mud on her clean flo' ? "
In another moment Steve stood on the
shining yellow floor of the kitchen, and shook
4 NEEDED COADJUTOR. 21
hands heartily with the boys. He was a tall,
stalwart negro, as black as ebony, with fine
features, and an intelligent expression, in spite
of a deep soar across one cheek.
"How are you getting on, Steve ?" asked
Raymond. Have you set up for yourself ?"
Not yit," said Steve, his face clouding a
little. Things is gittin' consid'able mixed
over to the station. Shouldn't wonder ef I
should clar out one o' dese days."
Away up in the garret a mellow voice
began to sing,
0 my good Lord, he call my soul,
To hear the trumpet sound in the morning. "
The singer came nearer, making the stairs
creak and groan with her weight, and pre-
sently entered the kitchen, with her big bare
arms loaded with skeins of blue yarn. Her
round face fairly beamed under her blue and
white turban at the sight of her boy, and she
hastened to give him a chair, saying,
"Set down, Stephen, and rest yer legs;
22 UNCLE DIC1'S LEGACY
no use in wearing' yerse'f out for manners."
Then, seating herself in the only other chair
the room contained, she proceeded to wind a
skein of yarn off from her lap.
Might ask us to sit down," said Archie.
" Seems to me you're not over polite to your
"When I 'vites company, I knows to be
civil to 'em," said Chloe significantly; but
Raymond only laughed, and stretched himself
on the wood-box, saying,
"You needn't think we're going away; we
want to see Steve just as much as you do."
Who tole yer to go 'way, chile 7" said
Chloe, going back to her easy good-nature at
the expression of interest in her son. I
reckoned Stephen was in trouble, somehow, or
he wouldn't bothered to come an' see his ole
Sho', mammy, how ye reckon I kin fine
time to clar out, wid fo'teen trains a day
running into de station, an' only fifteen
minutes for refreshments. I tell ye, it's Steve
A NEEDED COADJUTOR. 23
here, an' Steve there, pooty lively, an' every-
body grumblin' an' growlin', and hollerin' to
onst, an' that aint de wust on it, neither."
What is it, Stephen? said Chloe, seeing
how his face darkened. Tell yer ole mammy
ef yer in trouble."
"'Taint de work, mammy; I kin stan' dat,"
said Steve; but I won't be kicked, and
cussed, an' knocked about by every mis'able,
low down, no 'count trash dat jest puts upon
me 'cause I'm a nigger. I tell ye, mammy,
I aint goin' to stan' it;" and Steve drew up
his powerful frame and clenched his fists in
I wouldn't stand it," said Archie, looking
quite as belligerent as Stephen; but Raymond
"What you going to do, Steve? Get father to
send you up to Michigan, to see about our farm."
Jest wish somebody'd send me some-
whars, 'fore I slap ole Harker. I'll do it
some day, sure's yer born;" and Steve laughed
an ugly little laugh.
24 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
Chloe got up very deliberately, went into
the pantry, and brought out a shining milk-
pan full of great puffy doughnuts, and passed
them round, saying,
"Jest fill yer moufs.and swaller yer spite.
There's nuffin like good vittles to pacify
I'll take two," said Raymond. I'm
I tell ye now, Stephen," said Chloe, pick-
ing up her yarn, thar's a heap of things in
de world goes contrary; but mo' times de bes'
way is to dodge 'em."
"Did you know we had a farm, Chloe ?"
asked Will, when he had disposed of his
"Yes, chile, Ise knowed it dese five year.
Ise one of de witnesses to po' Mars' Dick's
will-me an' Stephen;" and Chloe's round
face was fairly solemn with importance.
Ise tramped ober yer farm heaps of times
with Mars' Dick, huntin' an' trappin'," said
Stephen. "Mighty pooty land it is, too."
A NEEDED COAD7UTOR. 25
Hunting what ?" asked Raymond, sitting
up straight in his excitement.
Oh, b'ars, an' deers, an' sich. Thar's
mighty good huntin' up that a-way. Ef
Mas' Dick hadn't gone an' got hisself shot in
de war, him all' me mought be up thar now."
And, Stephen, if papa will send you, will
you go up there and see about the farm, and
take us boys ? asked Archie eagerly.
"Wouldn't ax no better fun," said Steve.
" An' I kin tell ye dat farm's wuth looking'
Oh !" said Chloe, getting up with a
rheumatic groan, who ever heard sech non-
sense! Couldn't ye jes' take me an' Miss
Rachel too ? I hain't been on a tower sence
yer po' ma wus merried."
You'll see if it's nonsense," said Raymond.
"I'm going this minute to talk to papa
SN the sunniest of May mornings a little
lumber schooner was tacking about near
the western shore of Lake Huron, evidently
designing to make a landing at some of the
small islands along the coast. Her crew of
three men were busy at ropes and tackling,
while two boys, with a boat swung over her
side, were watching the right moment to let
it drop into the water.
"Let her go 1" called the captain, and
down went the little boat, followed by a
hearty cheer from the boys as she struck the
water, and lay rocking and swaying on the
"Now, then, look alive, you two chaps,"
said the captain; and Steve went down the
side of the schooner like a regular old salt,
and kept the boat steadily in place, while the
boys followed him.
A few strokes of the oars brought them
out of the swell of the schooner, and they
watched her as she swung round and bore
Good luck to you !" shouted the captain.
" If you get sick of your job, put up a rag on
the point yonder, and we'll take you off on
the back trip."
"All right," said the boys, and waved them
a merry good-bye.
Mind your rudder, now, Raymon'," said
Steve. We're gwyne roun' dis yer islan' an'
straight fer de p'int yender; steer for de big
tree furdest down."
So Raymond steered for the distant point,
and Steve, with his powerful strokes, sent the
boat cutting smoothly through the water.
Raymond and Archie were full of excitement,
but Stephen was grave and silent.
28 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
Give us a song, Steve," called Archie, "a
regular plantation song; seems to me I never
was so happy in my life." And Archie put
his hands to his mouth and sent a tremendous
whoop echoing over the water,-one of those
unearthly sounds which boys the world over
seem to delight in.
I don't feel like yellin'," said Steve, as
the sound died away. "I've been asking' de
good Lord to take keer of we ever sence
we started out. Did 'pear like 't wa'n't a
sight of trouble for him to do it so far,
but ever sence that schooner set us adrift,
I jest depend on him to take us in
"He'll take care of us," said Raymond,
with a grave earnestness that was like his
father. "Papa never would have let us come,
only for that. And, Steve, I want to tell you
that we promised papa to be under your
orders while we were gone, just as much as
if we were in the army, and you were our
Steve's honest face shone with pleasure at
the confidence reposed in him.
"I tell ye now, boys," he said, dey's a
heap o' things I dunno nuffin 'bout; but Ise
fotched up trampin', an' I 'stands it all de
way frew." And, taking a fresh grip at his
oars, Steve struck into one of his old ringing
Oh, Ise got news from de blessed country,
Ho, brudder I hear de trumpet call I
Go along o' me to de blessed country,
Room enough for all.
My good Lord he call me,
My good Lord he call me,
My good Lord he call my soul
For to hear de trumpet soun' in de morning .
No more trouble in de blessed country,
Ho, brudder I won't you go along o' me ?
My king, Jesus, in de blessed country,
Shore enough I see.
My good Lord he call me,
My good Lord he call me,
My good Lord he call my soul
For to hear de trumpet soun' in de morning. "
"Put her more to de right, Raymond," said
Steve, ending his song suddenly, to take an
observation over his shoulder, so's to come
30 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
in t' other side de point." And Raymond
shifted the rudder, while Archie whistled in
time with the oar-strokes,
"' My good Lord he call me."
About half an hour brought them alongside
of the point, where they found a little
sheltered cove, shut in by a smooth beach,
upon which it was easy to run the boat so as
to spring out upon dry sand.
"What a place for a swim said Archie,
looking off into the smooth water. "Is this
near the farm, Steve ?"
'Bout twenty mile off, I guess, ef we
could fly," said Steve, putting the boat rope
over his shoulder, and dragging it like a
feather along the sand toward a tangle of wild
rice and flags, from which the ducks flew up
at their approach.1
"Hole on a bit, cap'n," said Steve, dropping
the rope and reaching for his gun; "you an'
me is trabelin' same way;" and he crept
1 See frontispiece.
warily around the edge of the rice, followed
by the eager boys. The ducks had taken
alarm, but dropped down again to the water
only a few rods away, and Steve soon secured
a brace of splendid mallards, while Raymond
had nothing to show for his shots, though he
was sure he must have killed several.
"Like enough," said Steve; "ducks is
cur'us animals; 'pears like they isn't sensible
of it when they is killed, but keep swimming'
round, or else dive to the bottom. Dese yer
fellers '11 come mighty handy fer dinner;" and
he slung the ducks over his shoulder and went
back to the boat, which he pushed into the
rice, making the rope fast to the end of a
sunken log. Then he took out the oars, and,
after a moment's deliberation, climbed a tree
and laid them high and dry among the
branches. "There, now," said he, "I neber
seen no one in dese yer diggins, but it's jest
as well to be safe 'bout things."
The boys had each a knapsack strapped
upon his back, and a light rifle; while Steve
32 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
had in addition a couple of rubber blankets, a
short-handled axe, and a few camping utensils
of small weight.
"It's just nothing at all," said Archie,
stepping briskly off when Steve had adjusted
his load for him. "I could travel all day,
and never feel it."
"So could I," said Raymond; but Steve
laughed to himself, and said,
"Reckon I'll have to take bofe yer rifles
Along the shore the land was for the most
part marshy, but farther back it rose into a
dry timbered ridge. Steve went on cautiously,
looking about him for landmarks, and at last
struck upon an old track, nearly overgrown
with bushes, but still easily to be traced by
the stumps and fallen trees.
"Dis yer's de ole timber road from de
loggin' camp up yender. Sights o' big trees
gone over dis road."
The woods were almost entirely free from
undergrowth, and it was pleasant walking,
except for the fallen trees that continually
turned them from a direct course, and made it
sometimes difficult to keep the course of the
road. Wild-flowers bloomed in the greatest
profusion, and were both a wonder and a
delight to the boys, who had spent nearly the
whole of their lives within city bounds. But
long before noon Archie had stopped running
after wild-flowers, and even tramped grimly
through whole beds of fairy-like anemones and
violets. He made no complaint of weariness;
but when Steve threw down his pack in a
beautiful little opening, and called for a halt,
Archie soon dropped upon the short mossy
"Don't you do dat ar, honey," said Steve,
unrolling one of the rubber blankets and
spreading it upon the ground; de groun'
hereabout 's chock full of ager."
Archie rolled on to the blanket and smiled
lazily, while Steve unstrapped his knapsack
"I'm not so very tired," said Raymond; and
34 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
he busied himself with collecting materials for
a fire, which was soon burning famously, and
turning the chips into a bed of glowing coals
for broiling the ducks. Steve prepared dinner
with the skill of an experienced woodsman;
and the three made a meal an epicure might
envy, from the broiled duck and a corn dodger
spread upon a piece of tin and propped up
before the fire to bake. Then they took a
long rest, lying on the blankets around the
fire, and Steve told thrilling stories of his
army life with "pore Mars' Dick."
"Now, then," said Steve, repacking his load,
"ef we can push on 'bout five mile, I reckon
we'll come to some ole camp. Shore to be
plenty logs lyin' roun' ole camps, to build up
a big fire. Mars' Dick an' me camped more'n
a month up beyond a piece, an' many times I
seen a b'ar come outen de woods to look at
"Were you afraid of him? I mean, are
bears dangerous ?" asked Archie quickly.
"Well," said Steve cautiously, "a b'ar
mougit be dangerous; but most times he's
jest a lazy, shif'less critter, eatin' an' stuffin'
whatever comes fust. No use looking' for a
shot at one now, dough, honey; lumbermen
dared all de big game off, skeered it 'way, fer
Archie had been very brave before leaving
home, and killed dozens of bears in imagina-
tion; but after half a day's tramping in those
desolate woods, it was a small relief to know
that game of that description was skeered
'way, fer shore." The work of the lumber-
men became more apparent as they went on,
the trees being sometimes entirely cut away
for large spaces, and an hour before sunset
they came to the remains of an old camp.
In spite of the long time since it was occupied,
the walls of a log-cabin were partly standing,
the logs with their chinking of mud and turf
being overgrown and matted together by
bushes; the roof had entirely fallen in, but a
shelter was easily arranged in one corner,
where a break in the wall gave opportunity
36 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
to build a mighty pile of logs in front. They
made their supper from the stores in their
knapsacks,-a little dry-looking package being
shaved up, and brewed in water over the fire,
until it became a savoury soup.
"I don't blame the bears for coming if they
smell that," said Raymond, dipping his spoon
with the others into the stew-pan that served
them all together.
Just think," said Archie, blowing his soup,
in the most independent way, "if only Aunt
Rachel could see us three eating out of a
"I wish she could," said Raymond, "and
father too. I tell you, father would just like
the fun as well as we do."
"I don't believe he would eat soup in a
stew-pan," said Archie.
S"What's the odds ?" said Steve. Ise seed
fellers in de army dat was fetched up on silver
forks an' chany platters, jest eatin' hoecakes
mixed up in a ole hat, an' happy as de queen
o' Sheby. We's nuffin but dust an' ashes,
honey, de very bes' of us, an' dirt comes kind
o' natural, when we's put right to it."
"What did the lumbermen live on ?"
asked Raymond, not quite relishing the dis-
"Pork, an' 'lasses, an' co'n meal," answered
Steve; "nuffin else, 'dout 'twas strong coffee
"Now light the camp fire," said Archie, "I
want to see it blaze;" and soon from their
sheltered corner they were watching the slow
flame creeping under and through the great
logs, until they shot strong and steady to the
very top, making a broadening circle of light
all about them.
"It seems almost too bad to burn up so
much wood," said Raymond, who had always
seen fuel carefully used.
"Wood's no 'count out here," said Steve.
"Dey's enoughh big trees gone down over dis
yer road to build a city. De boss he jest
skinned it. You see he bought it fer de
timber, an' dere wus folks as mistrusted he
38 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
hadn't no right title to de land, and dat was
what made him hurry de job so. Turned out
he had a title, a mighty mean one, too,-got
it out of some poor feller,-tax title, Mars'
Dick called it."
"I know," said Raymond; "father told me
that when taxes are not paid on land the
Government sells it, and any one can buy it
for just the amount of the taxes. Then if he
goes on paying the taxes, after awhile he gets
a title to it,-a tax title they call it."
"What if our land has been sold!" ex-
claimed Archie, starting up.
"Papa says very likely it has," said Ray-
mond quietly. "But he thinks-he's not
sure-but he thinks that Uncle Dick told
him he made provision for the taxes for
several years, so it may be all right."
Just then a dark figure suddenly stepped
from the woods into the firelight, and stood as
if doubtful whether to come nearer. Steve
sprang up instantly, and called out like a
sentinel on duty,
"Halt, there What you want? "
"Halt yerself," answered the stranger,
coming rapidly up, and showing a good-
natured face. "It's a sup o' whisky I'm
wanting. He added, drawing back as he saw
Steve's face, "An' is it nagers ye are althe-
A NEW NEIGHBOUR.
STEVE looked down at the little Irishman
with the air of a great, good-natured
mastiff regarding a little barking cur; while
the visitor, reassured by a glance at the boys,
coolly seated himself by the fire, saying,
"Pass along the whishky, till I warm me
heart a bit, an' ye may pick me bones an'
"We haven't any whisky," said Raymond;
"and I don't believe your bones would pay
"Thrue for ye, me bye," said the man, with
a grin; "but it's mesilf could ate ye wid a
relish; ye smell oncommon nice;" and he
glanced at the stew-pan with a hungry look,
that moved Raymond to say,
A NEW NEIGHBOUR. 41
"We've had supper, but Steve will make
you some soup if you'll get some more
"Niver mind the weather said the man;
"sure an' I'll take me soup dare, if it's all
the same to you. Wather disagrees wid me
"Here it is, then," said Archie, handing
him one of the little packages, wrapped in tin-
foil. "I'm afraid you'll find it's dry."
Steve laughed till the woods rang at the
man's puzzled expression as he turned the
package over and over.
"Dry as the bones of St. Patrick," said he
at length; and, laying it down as carefully as
if he thought it might explode, he went down
to the little run for water.
"Put in plinty of seasoning, me jewel,"
said he, watching Steve narrowly as he
shaved up the mysterious stuff; "ye might
put twinty of thim little quids in me stummic,
and niver know where they wint."
But his wonder knew no bounds when the
42 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
watery contents of the stew-pan began to
bubble and thicken and send out savoury
"But it's a witch ye are," he said, "that
can make brath out o' stunes."
"Try it," said Raymond; and the man at
once seized the pan, pulled a flat bottle from
the bosom of his hunting shirt, and poured
in a spoonful or two.
"To kape off the ager, and take the faver
out o' the weather he explained.
"You've spoiled it now, with that dirty
stuff," said Archie in disgust.
"Don't ye belave it, me bye; it's illegant,
entirely;" and he finished his arrangements
by breaking in a large square of corn bread,
which he took from the same convenient
pocket that held the bottle.
Steve had seen the whisky bottle with a
lowering face, and now he said,
"Look a' here, Mr. Pat, how much you got
in dat bottle ?"
Me name is Dinnis, me black jewel," said
A NEW NEIGHBOUR. 43
the man, not in the least disturbed, "and
there isn't the full of your mouth in the
bottle, bad luck to it! But I'll share me last
sup wid ye, an welcomee;" and he promptly
handed the bottle to Steve, who took it with
a look of disgust, shook it to be sure the man
told the truth, and then gave it back, greatly
"I don't want yer p'ison stuff," he said;
"an' wouldn't taste it nohow."
No more would I, if I was a nager," said
the man coolly. "It takes a gintleman to
Shame! cried Raymond indignantly; but
Steve quietly stepped up to the man, and said,
Look a' here, Paddy; yer in our camp, an'
ye came 'dout anybody 'vitin' of yer; an' ef
ye mean to stay, you'd best keep a civil tongue
in yer head, or I'll pitch yer so fer in de
bresh ye'll never fin' yerself. I kin do it
easy 'nuff;" and Steve straightened his
brawny arms, and looked as if he would
rather relish the job.
44 UACLE DICK'S LEGACY.
"Fa'th, an' I belave yer right," said Dennis,
finishing his supper. Ye've treated me like
a born gintleman, anyhow."
Steve said no more; but Raymond and
Archie laughed heartily at the energy with
which he washed the stew-pan and scoured it
with ashes. Then he gathered up the things
that were scattered around, and stowed them
carefully under the brush that formed his own
Don' ye leave nuffin lyin' roun' loose,"
he said to the boys in a low tone; "no use
temptin' sech poor trash."
But this was not to end their annoyances,
for Dennis took out a stumpy black pipe and
proceeded to fill and light it.
"Horrid I" said Archie; "this is a little
Belikes yer not fond of tobaccy, nayther,"
said Dennis, and quickly changed his position,
so that the wind carried off the most of the
"I wonder where he came from," said
A NEW NEIGHBOUR. 45
Raymond. "It looks as if there must be
people living somewhere near here."
"Come from settlement up de riber, I
reckon," said Steve; "mizzable, loafin' trash."
Dennis came back with an evident desire
to be sociable.
"You must have come a long way," said
Raymond, by way of an opening.
Ye may say that," said Dennis; it's a
long way, consid'rin' it's so short."
"Do you live at a settlement?" asked
"Fa'th, it's me own settlement; yer enter-
tainin' a gintleman wid a foine estate, me
A farm ?" said Archie in astonishment.
Jist so, me bye; an illegant plantation,
barrin' the stoomps and the bushes, that make
it a bit hard to cooltivate; but they'll be
rottin' away in time, I'm thinking. "
Have you got a house ?" asked Raymond.
Jist a snoog bit of a cabin, nice and con-
vaynient. Och if me poor Biddy could see it."
46 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
"Then your wife isn't with you ?" said
She's dead, the jewel-rist her sowl!-and
the natest housekeeper in ahl the land, she
was. We lived in the Illiny bottoms. D'ye
mind the Illiny bottoms ?"
Raymond shook his head and bit his
"Well, it's a chatin' old thafe of a river,
bad luck to it. Whin Biddy an' me seen the
smooth, pooty lay of the land, ahl black wid
richness, and that saft ye could rin yer arrum
doon to the elbow, says I, Biddy, me jewel,
here's the farrum for me.' An' we took up a
sthrip of a garden, and pit in the pitaties, an'
Biddy had a coop of chakens, and the finest
pig that iver squaled for his dinner, and his
riverence the Pope was no grander nor I was,
shmokin' me pipe in the garden, wid the pig
looking' over the top of the pen, conshiderin'
the pitaties that would a been ready to dig
come Fourth o' July, anyhow. Well, we wint
to bed one night wid an awful black sky a
A NEW NEIGHBOUR. 47
brewin'; an' says I, Biddy, d'ye think it'll
rain, I d'n know?'
An' Biddy says she, Dinnis, I'm thinking'
it'll rain, an' hadn't ye better pit out the toobs
an' the pa'ls, an' catch a little ?'
"An' I pit out the toobs an' the pa'ls, an'
we ca'ylgt it before morning be sure! I was
dramin' the Prisident was axin' me would I
accipt of a barry full o' good, an' there was
Biddy a shakin' me by the hair o' me head,
an' says she, Dinnis,' says she, 'the weather
is over the flure, an' the pig squalin' murderr'
An' before I could sittle me sinses the water
histed the bid, an' the pig wint scrachin' by
the windy. Biddy she ca'ght at the blissid
Virgin, a hanging' forninst the bid, and the
weather scroonched up the cabin like ye'd
scroonch an aig in yer fisht, an' lift us sailing'
away wid the either bid betwixt us an' dith.
An' it's the thruth I'm tellin' ye, we sailed
more nor tin mile on that either bid, till we
was that coold, an' hoongry, an' wit to the
harrt, I was minded many times to joomp in
48 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
an' thry me look wid the fishes. Jist coomin'
dark we floated nigh to a tree, an' says I,
'Dinnis, me bye, now's yer chance;' an'
whin we come forninst it, I made a grab at
the branches, and joomped for the top. I
made me footin' ahl right, but Biddy, poor
sowl, she kept on down the strame, an' I
niver seen her to this day."
Dennis sighed profoundly, and looked into
the fire; and Raymond asked, as soon as he
could speak for laughter,
And how did you finally get away ?"
Eshcaped in a boat," said Dennis; "a
coople of friendly furriners, out fishing' for
ails, took me off with 'em; but ye can see the
crooks in me laigs to this present day, rooshtin
so long in the scroob oak."
"Did you find anything of your house ?"
House is it ?" said Dennis; "the very
dirrt wus clane gone-shwipt away tin foot
dape, an' I rode over the shpot in a stameboat,
thinking' of me foine little cabin, an' the pig,
A NEW NEIGHBOUR. 49
an' the chakens, an' the chist that came over
from Ballymacraven, an' the either bid, an' the
toobs, an' the pa'ls, an' the pitaties that wud
a been riddy to dig the nixt Fourth o' July
coming' anny way."
And Biddy ?" suggested Archie, as Dennis
closed his list of losses.
Yis, an' Biddy, rist her sowl!" and Dennis
pulled out the black pipe and prepared to
console himself with another smoke, unrolling
his dirty blanket and stretching himself on
the other side of the fire. The boys lay
laughing and shaking on their brush beds,
while Steve, by a few adroit questions,
managed to find out to a certainty what he
had all along suspected,-that the man was a
squatter, and had built a shanty on Uncle
How much you pay fer taxes las' year ?"
Not a cint! said Dennis triumphantly;
" fa'th, an' the Prisident is mighty glad to
git the land sittled up wid stiddy voting'
50 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACIP.
citizens, an' he gives the byes a homesthead
for the takin'-spishaly thim as has been in
How long were you in the army ? asked
"An' wasn't it meself was cunnel of the
twinty-first voluntares, an' lid the charge in
Tinnessay, an' has tin bullets in me back this
Steve rose up with a snort of indignation,
and left Dennis to his dreams.
"Boys," said he in a low tone, "it's yer
own farm he's livin' on; but he says he
doesn't have to pay taxes, so he's only a
squatter, the cheatin' mule!"
Steve had bestowed upon the poor Irish-
man the name which expressed to his mind
the very height and depth of contempt, and
now he lay down in front of the boys to sleep,
as a sentinel might sleep, with his senses alert
for the least alarm.
A WELCOME LETTER HOME.
THE last letter from the boys had reached
home. It was written just before they
left the little lumber schooner, and mailed by
the captain as soon as she touched at a port.
"All right so far," said the doctor cheer-
fully, handing the open letter to Aunt Rachel,
who read it eagerly, and then smiled a little
dolefully, as she said,
"It seems to me it's rather soon to take
courage. I wonder if Daniel's friends, when
they saw him safely inside the den, said, 'All
right so far,' as they went home to dinner? "
"You surely. don't think it is so bad as
that, Rachel ?" said the doctor. "Of course
I shouldn't send those boys into any danger.
52 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
They-may have some rough times, and meet
with some adventures, but there's no more
real danger in what they've undertaken than
in going to Boston."
"I only hope you are right," said Aunt
Rachel; "but it does look to me like tempt-
"Providence means God, as you and I
believe, Rachel. I think of my Father as
keeping my boys under the shadow of his
wing, and not doing them evil because they
are out from under my wing. You look
horrified, Rachel; but that is about what
people really mean by 'tempting Providence,'
as if God were watching for a chance to do
It's a remarkable letter," said Rachel,
her face flushing a little as she turned the
page; "but Raymond is a remarkable boy."
"I never thought so," said the doctor, with
a provoking smile.
No, you never did him justice; you
never could see anything beyond your musty
A WELCOME LETTER HOME. 53
old Greek; but I've seen it ever since he was
born;" and Aunt Rachel's eyes were full of
tears as she read her favourite's letter.
The doctor took from his breast pocket
an oval case, from which three boyish faces
looked out at him. His hand was steady, his
eye was calm and clear as he looked at it,
but he said in a low tone as he returned it to
its place: "He that toucheth you toucheth
the apple of my eye."
Will was in the kitchen as usual, taking to
himself all the petting which old Chloe had
been accustomed to bestow upon the three,
and Aunt Rachel went down to carry the
news to them both.
"We have a letter from the boys," said
she; and Will dropped the corn he was
parching into the fire, while Chloe left off
polishing her window, wiped her hands on
her check apron, and hastened to give Miss
Rachel a chair.
"Bress de Lord, honey! an' how is dem
bressed chillen ?"
54 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
"I'll read you the letter," said Miss Rachel;
and Chloe listened with pride and delight to
Raymond's letter with Archie's postscript, and
Steve's dutiful message to his ole mammy."
Clar' fer it," said Chloe, wiping her eyes;
"dat boy is right down edifyin'. Now y'ought
to read dat ar letter to de preacher, Miss
"Oh, auntie," said Will, leaning on her lap
and looking wistfully in her face, "don't you
wish you were there too ?"
"Why, no," said Aunt Rachel, smoothing
Will's bright hair; "the last place I should
like to find myself just now would be on the
deck of a lumber schooner, if that is what
you mean by 'there.'"
"They're in the woods by this time," said
Will, "hunting, and camping, and telling
stories around the fire, and I'm just staying
here and going to school-"
"And comforting papa," said Aunt Rachel,
"and keeping us all from going distracted, as
we surely should with all our boys away."
A WELCOME LETTER HOME. 55
"Bress yer heart, honey," said Chloe,
"don' yer go fer to fret 'count of de Lord's
blessins and marcies. Ise done baked ye a
turnover jes' bustin' wid raisins, an' I'll fotch
it up soon's ever I polish off dis yer winder.
Did ye took notice, Miss Rachel, how them
laylocks is blowin' out, an' Cunnel Foster's
garden's all of a shine with toolips ?"
"It's lovely weather," said Miss Rachel,
"lovely for this dreary climate; but it always
sets me longing for the magnolias, and the
roses, and the yellow jessamines-"
I'm glad you want something, aunty,"
said Will, slipping his arm round her as she
stood in the door; I thought everybody was
satisfied but me."
"Not satisfied, Will," said Aunt Rachel
softly, "but contented. Content may come
to us anywhere; we need not ask to be satis-
fied away from home."
A FOOLISH SUPERSTITION.
1THEN the boys wakened, stiff, cold, and
decidedly uncomfortable, they found
Steve raking together the embers of the fire,
and making preparations for breakfast, but
the Irishman was nowhere to be seen.
"Where's Dennis ?" asked Raymond, crawl-
ing from his nest.
"Gone," said Steve; "good riddance to
"Did he steal anything ?" asked Archie,
looking quickly around him, yet feeling half
ashamed of the question.
"Not as I kin find," said Steve, with a
suspicious scowl; "things wasn't whar he
could grab 'em handy."
A FOOLISH SUPERSTITION 57
"I don't believe he'd steal," said Archie
heartily; "he is just a lazy fellow, who
likes strolling about better than working.
I wouldn't grudge him a breakfast, in return
for another story as funny as he told last
"Don't see no fun in sech a pack o' lies,"
said Steve, stirring vigorously at his hoecake;
"but," he added disdainfully, "mebby he
don't know no better; he's jes a por' heathen
Steve smoothed off his hoecake and set it
up to bake, rinsed out the useful saucepan in
which he had mixed it, and started for fresh
water, singing loudly-
March along to glory !
Marchin' trew de golden gates,
Whar de blessed city waits;
Dar my Lord he promise me
Shore his smiling' face I'll see;
O march along to glory !
"March along to glory!
Neber min' de stormy day,
Neber min' de fearsome way;
Dar de shinin' neber end,
58 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
"Turn dat ar hoecake, Raymon'; you uns
is as bad as de guvner yer pa telled about,
lettin' a poor woman's cake burn up under his
nose while he was studying' 'bout de end of de
"That was King Alfred the Great, and he
lost his supper by the job, as we are likely to
lose our breakfast."
"'Taint burnt to hurt," said Steve, looking
at it critically; "hoecakes is like folks.
'Taint allus them that's whitest outside that's
sweetest inside;" and he picked up the
broken thread of his tune, and sang, March
along to glory," as he settled the saucepan
on the coals.
After breakfast the march was resumed,
and when the sun scattered the gray fog, and
warmed the air a little, the boys found it
less wearisome than on the previous day.
They had quite an exciting rabbit chase, and
finally succeeded in securing one for dinner,
which they ate in another old logging camp.
Everywhere, as they went on, the signs of
A FOOLISH SUPERSTITION. 59
civilisation increased, and after they were
encamped for the night they heard a gun in
the woods, not very far off.
May be Dennis is coming round again,"
Might be," said Steve; "but thar's plenty
more sech trash, I reckon, and de furder they
keeps de better dey'll be welcome."
A great gray owl, disturbed by the glare
of the fire, flew uneasily from a tree near by,
and sat taking observations on a tall whitened
"Wouldn't he be splendid for the top of
papa's library ?" said Raymond. "I believe
I can get him;" and, taking their guns, the
boys crept cautiously toward the bird.
"Don't go out o' sight ob de fire, and
don' go fer to shoot yerselves," said Steve
"All right," said Raymond; "we'll be
The bird waited until they were nearly in
range, and then slowly flitted away, sending
60 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
out his dismal hoot from the edge of the
woods. This was repeated several times, the
boys every moment growing more excited
over their chase.
"Look at the fire, Archie," called Raymond,
dodging through the bushes.
"All right; it's in plain sight;" and on
they went, until the owl suddenly wheeled
in a circle, and flew deep into the woods.
"Too bad!" said Archie; "I did want
that fellow desperately. It'll be a shame to
go back without a thing to show for our
tramp-not even an adventure."
At that very instant something moved in
a clump of bushes so near Archie as to cause
that young hero to give a decided jump, of
surprise probably. It was some large, 'dark
animal that seemed to be crouching down.
"What was that?" he asked, his heart
beating like a trip-hammer.
"How should I know?" said Raymond,
clutching his rifle, and peering through the
darkness for the gleam of eyes, that he might
A FOOLISH SUPERSTITION. 61
at least tell which way the creature was
likely to jump.
"It's big enough for a bear," whispered
Archie. "Don't you think-hadn't we better
go back ? Steve will be frightened."
"It'll spring at us the moment we turn
our backs," said Raymond. "I've a good
mind to fire."
"Oh, don't," begged Archie; wild animals
are so dangerous when they are wounded;
"I tell you I won't do it," said Raymond,
starting a little as the animal moved again,
with a strange, groaning sound. "I believe
it's wounded; don't you remember the shot
we heard awhile ago ? "
Another groan; and at the same moment
the boys were inexpressibly relieved to see
Steve coming toward them. Emboldened by
the sight, Raymond suddenly thrust his rifle
into the bushes, when, with a loud snort
of astonishment, out sprang an enormous
hog, and rushed away through the bushes,
62 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY .
knocking Steve down in its terrified
"Dat gemman's in an awful hurry," said
Steve, picking himself up; "reckon he's
gwyne fer de doctor."
Raymond and Archie, fairly screaming with
laughter at the unexpected ending of their
adventure, followed Steve to the camp, where
they sat by the fire joking each other good-
naturedly about the bear.
"I'd heap sooner seed a b'ar," said Steve
discontentedly; "shows dis yer lan' is settlin'
"Then our farm will be all the more
valuable," said Raymond. Who knows but
we shall turn out rich after all ? Just think,
Archie, if we could buy back Grandfather
Peyton's old estate. I heard Aunt Rachel
tell Chloe one day that she'd be willing to
wear sackcloth and eat crusts all her days,
if she could only hope to go back when she
was an old woman, and die in the room where
her mother died."
A FOOLISH SUPERSTITION. 63
"Poor auntie," said Archie, hastily brush-
ing his eyes; "she tries not to let any of
us know, but I'm sure she'll never be quite
happy unless she has the old home back.
I'll buy it when I'm a man;" and Archie's
brown eyes flashed with a brave purpose.
"Don't ye be deludin' yerself wid no sech
crazy notion, honey," said Steve solemnly;
" ef you uns gits any money, jes' you hole
on to it; 'pears like ye'd better trow it in de
bottom ob de sea dan 'vest in yer Gran'ther
Peyton's ole plantation."
I'd like to know why ?" said Raymond.
It ought to be ours-"
"Neber will be, Raymon'; de bery las'
Peyton gone trew dem doors."
How do you know ?" said Archie, half-
laughing, but secretly vexed at Steve's
positive assertions. "I mean to go there
Raymond felt sure from Steve's manner
that there was some mystery about the
matter, and determined to find it oat.
64 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
It's fer no use to tell you," said Steve
at last. "Peyton's is an awful onbelievin'
race. Yer Gran'ther Peyton, now I've heerd
my ole mammy say, neber believed in nuffin
he couldn't tech wid his hand. Dar's things,
dough, nobody can't tech, an' dey's de truest
tings in dis yer world."
But about Grandfather Peyton ?" said
"Yes, I was gwyne to tell ye. It all
happened 'fore I was born; but my ole
mammy telled me. She was a gal then, jest
big enough to be allus hangin' 'round and
hearing' things. Gran'mammy was a-settin'
by de fire one night, an' all of a suddent she
riz up and went out do'. Mammy kinder
kep' watch, and seen her go down to de
smoke-house, an' she was jest 'bout to foller,
when gran'mammy come running' back and
pushed a-past her into de cabin, and jes' sat
shakin' by de fire. Mammy was kinder
started, but she was full o' girl's nonsense,
and she jest laughed.
A FOOLISH SUPERSTITION. 65
"' Eh, mammy,' says she, 'is you skeered ?'
"'Chile,' says gran'mammy, 'I seed de
landowner. He riz right up behind de
smoke-house, an' went down to de riber.'
"'How did he look?' says mammy,
creepin' up close.
"'Big an' awful, chile,' says gran'mammy.
'Git along to bed wid ye, an' hole yer tongue.'"
"Well, was that all ?" asked Archie.
"Might a' been; but, as I was tellin' yer,
yer Gran'ther Peyton was so disbelievin', an'
he overheard de talk 'mongst de niggas, an'
made ole Jup'ter tell him all 'bout it.
"'Trumpery!' says he, fotchin' his big
cane down wid a thump; 'don't tell me 'bout
yer landowners. I'm de landowner here
"Ole Jup'ter 'seeched of him not to say
so; but he ran on awful, an' said he'd shoot
de landowner ef he 'peared to him. Berry
nex' month he was out huntin' wid some
gemmen, and, coming' back trew de fields
'bout half dark, dey heard a crunchin' an' a
66 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
tramplin' in de cawn, an' seen somefin big,
an' black, an' onsartain goin' trew it. Cunnel
Frink's Jerry he wus 'long, an' his hoss begin
to tremble, so he called right out,
"'It's de landowner, fer shore !'
"Yer Gran'ther Peyton laughed, and drew
up his rifle; says he,
"'I'll show him who's owner here.'
"An' 'fore Jerry could speak he fired.
When de smoke dared der wasn't nuffin to be
seed, an' Cunnel Frink's Jerry he 'clarred to
my gran'mammy dat dere wasn't a track, no
sign of nuffin in dat cawn field."
"Didn't hit him ?" said Archie.
"Dere wasn't nuffin to hit, honey, nuffin
mawtal; but yer gran'ther shot away de
Peyton 'state for eber. De prop'ty jes' melted
off after dat; folks said yer gran'ther mog-
giged it to pay ole debts. But, honey, when
de landowner is 'sulted, don' make no matter
what comes of de money; shore to go one
way or udder, dare out o' de family, an' neber
A FOOLISH SUPERSTITION. 67
"What a pity !" said Raymond soberly, for
he would not hurt Steve by doubting his
absurd superstition; "we might have been
rich just as well as not."
"Riches ain't de bes' ting," said Steve.
"Money comes mighty handy most times, but
dose as kin git 'long 'dout it is de masters
"Did you ever hear such nonsense?" said
Archie, as he snuggled close to Raymond
under his blanket; "seems as if Steve had
too much sense to believe it."
"All the negroes believe in the landowner,"
said Raymond. "I've heard Chloe speak of
it, but never could find out just what she
really thought it was."
"May be that was the old fellow that you
stirred out of the bushes to-night," suggested
"May be," said Raymond. "I hope he
hasn't a tax title to our farm, at any rate."
The boys were soon asleep; and Steve, still
brooding over the fire, looked back at them
68 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY
with pride and admiration, and commended
them and their fortunes as fervently to the
care of a faithful God as if he had not kept
in his heart the old half-heathen superstitions
of his race.
A WEALTHY SPECULATOR.
TEVE had been growing uneasy during
the last few miles of the journey. All
familiar landmarks had disappeared, and about
noon the great forest dwindled to scattering
trees, and they came out upon a rise of
ground thickly covered with stumps, to see
before them a turbulent little stream, a saw-
mill, and a score of rough-looking houses
scattered about the clearing.
He seated himself upon a stump, leaned his
elbows upon his knees, and took a deliberate
survey of the prospect.
"'Clar' ef I ain't done beat," he said; "dis
yer settlement growed up like Jonah's go'd."
Where is the farm ?" asked Raymond.
70 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
"Right yer," said Steve, waving his hands;
"de 'vision line runs along dis yer creek, an'
goes back a good bit trew de woods. Dar's a
man somewhere up to Big Bottoms knows all
"Isaiah Douds," said Raymond, consulting
his memoranda; "papa found the name
on a little slip of paper folded up with the
"Let's go down to some of the houses,"
said Archie; "that one with a whitewashed
fence looks the cleanest."
So they followed the crooked little cow-
path that wound among the stumps, and
presently came into quite a respectable road.
Their coming was announced by a barking of
dogs from every enclosure, that speedily
brought all the inmates of the houses to doors
and windows to stare at the strange sight.
They pushed quickly on to the gate of the
cottage where they had decided to make
inquiries; but as they fumbled at the latch,
A WEALTHY SPECULATOR. 71
What are we going in for? what do we
want to know ?"
"I'm sure I can't tell," said Archie,
"unless we ask for a drink."
Raymond laughed a little; but at that
instant a pleasant-looking lady came to the
low door, with two chubby little children
clinging to her dress.
"Good morning," she said cordially; "will
you come in ?"
"Thank you," said Raymond; "we would
like to rest a few minutes;" and they followed
her into a room, clean and orderly, but bare
of everything except the necessaries of life.
The table was of pine boards, and the chairs
of hickory saplings, ingeniously twisted to-
gether. The lady brought a pitcher of milk,
and filled for each of them a generous earthen
bowl; and it seemed to the boys they had
never tasted anything so delicious.
"You look rather young for a long journey,"
she said to Archie, in a kindly tone, that went
to his heart at once.
72 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
"This is only the third day," he said; "we
came through the woods by the old logging
Won by her motherly smile, Archie went
on to tell her about their journey, and she
listened with interest to the story.
Well, you are brave boys," she said at its
conclusion; "and I dare say you have a good
guide and protector in your friend Steve;"
and she gave Steve a nod of pleasant recog-
nition that made him open his eyes in astonish-
"I think you might remember me, Steve,"
she added, laughing; "you have been at my
father's house many a time with Mr. Peyton;
and at least you should not forget the little
girl who sewed up your poor cut face with her
needle, and fainted away at the last stitch."
Steve sprang from his chair with a force
that upset the ill-balanced thing, and, seizing
the lady's hand, began to pour forth his
"Miss Helen, fer shore! Bless yer sweet
A WEALTHY SPECULATOR. 73
heart! I never looked to see yer growed up
here. Cap'n was allus talking' 'bout gwyne off
to fotch ye up in some civ'lised country."
He has gone, Steve, to the best country
there is," said the lady, gravely but sweetly;
"gone where he could not take me with him.
I've been married this fifteen years; my hus-
band is a home missionary, and four years
ago we moved down here. There's a great
work to be done here," she added, half to her-
self, looking out over the settlement.
"Are there many people living here?"
Not many settlers ; but in the winter all
these pine forests are full of loggers' camps;
and a Sunday or a holiday brings scores of
rough fellows down upon us, to drink, and
carouse, and do mischief to themselves, or to
take up with anything better, if it is only at
hand to attract them. That is our work, to
find something better."
Are you not afraid of the men-such rough,
drunken fellows as Steve says they are ? "
74 UNCLE DICIKS LEGACY.
"Not at all," said the lady, smiling; the
worst would not harm a hair of our heads."
It must be very hard," suggested Archie,
looking at the delicate woman-as delicate
and lady-like as Aunt Rachel herself.
Harder than you can guess, sometimes,"
said the lady, in the long, hard winters, when
navigation closes on the lakes, and the deep
snow buries us away from the world outside.
We raise very little here yet, but must de-
pend upon the provisions brought from a long
distance. The first year we spent here we
found ourselves, by the last of January, with
no provisions of any kind, except molasses
and a little unground corn."
"What could you do with that ?" asked
"We lived on it very comfortably for three
weeks," said the lady, laughing; "though I
don't think any of us have been so fond of
corn since. We served it in a variety of
ways. toasted, and ground in a coffee-mill,
it made very tolerable puddings; pounded
A WEALTHY SPECULATOR. 75
raw, it was excellent as hominy or samp;
and boiled in lye, it made nice hulled corn."
All this time the lady was busy with pre-
parations for the dinner, which sent out
tempting odours from the clean bright stove;
and the boys were glad to accept the hearty
invitation to remain and share it with the
My husband is away at Big Bottoms,"
said the lady; "but Mr. Douds can tell you
everything about the land in this neighbour-
hood. He lives with us, and is out now with
the girls on one of his botanizing excursions."
He is the very man we were to go to;
but I thought he lived at Big Bottoms," said
Raymond in surprise.
He came here with us," said the lady,
" and has been our faithful friend and helper.
You remember, Steve, how he used to live by
himself in his queer little hut, like any old
"Yes, Miss Helen; I mind I've heard him
tell Mars' Dick he couldn't believe de Bible
76 UNCLE DICICS LEGACY.
nohow, kase de Lord mus' hab too much sense
to tink dis pore mis'able world' was with
savin'. But 'pears to me, Miss Helen, dat's
jes' de reason he'd lay hisself out for de world ,
kase we was gwyne to de debble fer shore, an'
couldn't do widout de Lord, nohow."
He's a very different man now," said the
lady gravely; "just as queer and odd as ever.
But when my husband came to Big Bottoms,
and stood by the people there and here, in
spite of all sorts of privations and discourage-
ments, he began to see that if a man really
was willing to make sacrifices and meet hard-
ships for the sake of his poor, ignorant
brothers, it must be that the Lord cared still
more for them. And he works with us heartily,
in his own growling way, to be sure, but people
here are all used to him."
"Are they far away ?" asked Raymond, as
the lady went to the door of the house and
blew a long loud note on a tin horn.
Just over the hill at the little pond, I sup-
pose; would you like to go and find them ?"
A WEALTHY SPECULATOR. 77
The boys were glad to go; and Steve, in
the meantime, strolled down toward the mill.
It was the first time in the brief history of
the settlement that a black face had been
seen there; and as Steve went on, curious
eyes watched him from every door and window,
while a knot of small boys gradually collected
in his rear, following cautiously at a safe
distance, for they felt quite sure this must
be the veritable "black man," who, they had
been told, came down the chimney to carry
off naughty children. Whenever he stopped,
or showed signs of turning, they scattered away
in every direction; but Steve was wholly un-
conscious of the attention he attracted, and
walked on, absorbed in recalling the old
memories of his hunting days, and trying to
remember just where, by the side of this
little headlong stream, they had made their
summer camp. Outside 'a rough shanty,
which was labelled SALooN in crooked
black letters, some men were smoking and
78 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
"How are you, Sambo ?" called one of
them, as Steve came up.
Fa'th, thin, an' is it yersilf, me jew'l!"
said another voice, and our old friend Dennis
stepped forward, with a hearty shake of the
hand, which Steve accepted with dignified
"Catch me shakin' hands with a nigger !"
said a dirty little man contemptuously.
"An' he's no nager at ahl, but a coloured
gintleman," said Dennis, "trahv'lin' as steward
wid two foine lads; an' didn't they trate me
as if I was the Prisident himself, when I fell
in wid 'em in the woods ? "
The men seemed inclined to be quarrelsome;
but Dennis good-naturedly drew Steve away
before his inborn contempt for what he con-
sidered "pore white trash compelled him to
resent their treatment.
Dennis told him all about the mill and the
settlement; the land, as he declared, for quite
a distance belonged to Isaiah Douds, who had
leased the water-power for several years to a
A WEALTHY SPECULATOR. 79
company owning immense tracts of pine forest
"And whare's your farm ?" asked Steve.
Jist a bit back in the wuds forninst ye,"
said Dennis carelessly. "I haven't sittled me
mind jist; but it's the ch'ice of the land I
kin have fer the takin'. Yander's me cabin,
an' a snoog little place it is, barrin' the roof
lakes a thrifle ; an' I've took in me friend,
Mike M'Carthy and his family, jist for com-
Dennis seemed pleased to hear that the boys
were in such good hands.
"Fa'th, thin, an' it's a rale saint Mis' Lester
is," said he heartily; an' I'm thinking' St.
Patrick himself would niver know Mister
Lester for a hiritic."
'Sayah Douds must be getting' heaps o'
money, I reckon ?" said Steve, suspicious that
in some way advantage had been taken of the
"The prophet!" said Dennis, with a
chuckle; fa'th an' he's a regular ole innercent
So UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
to look at, but I tell ye he'd get the better
of the divil himself in a bargain,-not be
manes of chatin', nather, it's the wits o' him,
jist. The byes do say he's got a power o'
money, but nobody knows his business from
any tillin' of hisn."
A shrill halloo from Dennis's cabin sum-
moned him to dinner, and he took leave of
his companion, with an apology for not in-
viting him in.
"Me board is sprid with plenty," said he;
"but Mrs. M'Carthy is a bit spleeny and par-
ticular in her notions. She's that high brid
she'd not wilcome the Prisident himsilf if he
dropped in unbeknownst upon her."
In the- meantime, the boys, crossing the
ridge of woodland, came suddenly upon quite
a wide marshy pond, to one shore of which
two girls were poling in a great clumsy boat,
while a strange-looking man stood by, giving
directions and waiting to fasten the end of
"That must be Mr. Douds," said Archie.
A WEALTHY SPECULATOR. 81
"No wonder Steve said he looked like a
' crazy ijoit.'"
He was a little man, buried to his knees
in a pair of immense boots, while his thin
yellow face was doubly shielded by large
goggles and a cap with a visor like a shed-
roof. He was talking so eagerly that he did
not notice that he was sinking in the soft
mud, until one of the girls called out merrily,
"Take care, uncle, you're settling a claim!"
when he gave a sudden plunge toward firmer
ground, pulling out his feet with great diffi-
culty, and nearly losing his big boots in the
struggle. As he regained his footing he saw
the boys for the first time, and, without
showing the least surprise, he bade them a
pleasant Good-morning," and advanced to
offer his horny claw of a hand.
"We came to call you to dinner," said
Raymond, a little puzzled to know how to
introduce himself; but Mr. Douds pushed up
the visor of his cap, looking keenly at both
the boys, and said,
82 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
"Are either of you named after your Uncle
Dick ? "
"No, sir," said Raymond, wondering; "this
is Archie, and I am Raymond."
"I am glad to see you," said Mr. Douds
gravely. "So you have been at the house,
and met Mrs. Lester."
The two little girls came forward, and were
introduced as Belle and Hattie. They seemed
shy and embarrassed, yet no one said a word
as if it was at all remarkable for a couple of
boys to appear suddenly in the settlement.
"Is your father with you ?" asked Mr.
Douds, as they came near the house.
Steve came with us," said Archie. At
that all three faces lighted up with pleasure.
"I've heard of Steve ever since I was a
baby," said Belle, with a skip of excitement,
"and he seems to me just like Robinson
Crusoe; such wonderful things as mamma has
told us about him."
"Do you know about the time the bear
tore his face open, and grandpa was sick, and
A WEALTHY SPECULATOR. 83
mamma sewed," said Hattie eagerly, "a great,
dreadful cut, and mamma no bigger than
Belle ? Wasn't she brave, though ?" and
Hattie's black eyes were full of admiration at
She saved his life," said Belle thought-
fully; "but then he saved grandpa once by
carrying him ten miles on his shoulders when
he was taken sick in a logging camp. That
was brave too."
Papa said we were as safe with Steve as
we should be with him," said Archie; "and
then Steve is so strong, and used to all sorts
of adventures; and papa well, papa's a
gentleman." Archie hesitated, not knowing
exactly how to put into words his decided
conviction that his father would be out of
place in a backwoods settlement.
Belle's bright face showed a dash of vexa-
tion; there was the least perceptible curl on
the lip of the old philosopher, and Raymond
felt like shaking Archie for his stupidity.
"Papa doesn't care so much for anything
84 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
but books; he never has any time, you know,
and then he isn't well and strong," put in
"There's a great deal worth knowing out-
side of books," said Mr. Douds quietly; but
at that moment Steve met them, and the
attention of the whole party was drawn to
No friend or brother could have received
a more cordial welcome. Steve looked with
pride upon "Miss Helen's girls," while his
eyes filled with tears at the memories of his
beloved Mars' Dick which were called up by
the sight of the old prophet," as Mr. Douds
was styled in the settlement.
LITTLE PEEP OF DAY.
SAIAH DOUDS, without his helmet and
green goggles, was really a kindly-looking
man, with a shrewd, quizzical expression
about his eyes, that made you feel sure that
he could not be easily imposed upon. He
presided at the dinner-table in a gay flowered
dressing-gown of an immense pattern, the
sleeves of which were made of a different
stuff from the body, while his head was
covered by a close-fitting skull-cap of red
cotton. He looked so like a picture Archie
had seen of the wise men of Gotham who
went to sea in a bowl, that once or twice he
found himself neglecting his dinner to look
at him, and was quite confused when Mr.
86 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
Douds suddenly turned his keen eyes upon
him, and asked,
Well, young man, how do you like me ?"
Archie blushed, but answered frankly,
"I like you very well, but I think you
have a funny dressing-gown and cap. I did
not mean to stare, though."
"Stare all you like-they are funny," said
the old man, evidently pleased with Archie's
reply. "It's rather a pity to waste them on
an old fellow like me, though, when they'd
fit out an Indian chief with robes of state."
"Old Dinah stole the sleeves," said Hattie,
"one day when she came here to sell baskets.
Mamma was making the gown, and Dinah
begged and begged for some of the calico;
but there was only just enough, so mamma
had to say no. But after she had gone we
hunted everywhere for the piece for the
sleeves, and never could find it, and the next
week Dinah came to the store with a little
shawl around her shoulders of the very same
.LITTLE PEEP OF DA Y. 87
"Couldn't you make her give it up ?"
"Not without trouble," said Mrs. Lester.
"I put my hand on the calico, and said, very
sadly, 'Bad Dinah, steal; Great Spirit angry.'
But the old woman said, 'No, no; good white
squaw give old Dinah shawl; Great Spirit
glad; love Dinah; love white squaw.'"
So you see," said Mr. Douds, "they had
to make some yellow sleeves for my red
gown, and they do just as well. I can't see
why a red gown must have red sleeves-can
"I wish so much I could see a regular
Indian camp," said Archie; "I never saw so
much as one Indian."
"They're a miserable, lazy, thieving set,"
said Mr. Douds; "preaching runs off from
their greasy skins like water from a duck's
back. I never saw one yet-"
"Don't forget little Peep of Day," said
Mrs. Lester, interrupting him.
"I haven't forgotten him," said the old
88 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
man, with a good deal of excitement; "and
that makes me hate the sneaking rascals all
the more. Peep of Day died while he was
little and good; if he'd grown up, there's no
telling what the rattlesnake blood would have
done for him-poor little martyr "
The boys were curious to learn something
more of the story hinted at, but Mrs. Lester
quickly changed the subject, and Mr. Douds
settled into an absent mood for the rest of the
After dinner Belle told them about Peep of
Day, as they sat under a big tree on the very
brink of the foaming little stream, dropping
chips and leaves into the rapid water:-
"It all happened before we came here,
when uncle lived by himself in a queer little
hut up in the woods. One night he heard
a sort of low groaning from a shed behind
the hut, and he took his gun and went out,
thinking it was some wild animal. What
should he find but a little Indian boy, about
ten years old, lying on the ground wrapped in
LITTLE PEEP OF DA Y. 89
a dirty blanket. The little fellow was very
sick with some dreadful disease that the
Indians have, and half-frozen besides. Uncle
took him in, and nursed him, and fed him,
and never left him, until after awhile he
began to get better. My grandfather went
up to the Indian camp, and found they had
all gone off for the winter, and left this poor
little fellow to die. You see they believe
that some bad spirit takes possession of sick
people, and if they can't frighten it out with
their pow-wow, they just go off and leave the
"Of course uncle had to keep the boy all
the winter; and he was such a bright little
fellow, he grew very fond of him, and began
to teach him to read. He taught uncle a
good many things too; Indian boys are very
"His name meant Peep of Day, and so
uncle always called him; and mamma made
him some clothes out of grandpa's, so that he
looked quite respectable. One day in the
90 UNCLE, DICK'S LEGACY.
spring he came to uncle in great excitement,
and told him that his people had come back
to the old camp. Sure enough they were all
back, but they wouldn't let poor little Peep
of Day come near them, for fear he should
bewitch them, or something. Uncle was glad
enough to keep him; and a few days after
that he went away to Big Bottoms and left
him to take care of the house. It's almost
too bad to tell," said Belle, clenching her
little fists with indignation; "but while uncle
was gone, two great, horrid, drunken Indians
came and tried to make Peep of Day tell
them where uncle kept his powder. When
he wouldn't show them they began to threaten
him; but the brave little fellow held out,
until one of the Indians got angry and struck
him down with his tomahawk. Uncle found
him when he came back. He wasn't quite
dead; but the Indians were gone, and there
was no law then, and only a few settlers, and
nobody could punish them."
Belle's eyes were full of tears; but when
LITTLE PEEP OF DA Y. 91
she saw Hattie crying as if she never had
heard the story before, she said lightly,
"Well, there, Hattie, we've cried over poor
little Peep more than twenty times, and if
he'd lived he'd have been a great dirty Indian
by this time."
"Maybe he'd have been nice," said Hattie,
drying her eyes; "but I never can like
Indians so very much. Papa preaches to
them, and he says there's a great deal of
good in them, if bad white men would let
"We can go over to Big John's camp if we
like," said Belle; it isn't very far, and I
want to see if he's made Hattie's canoe yet."
The boys were pleased with the idea, and
they all went back to the house to consult
Mrs. Lester, who readily consented, and filled
a pretty red basket with biscuits and rasp-
"I've got a plaything for Hatsee," said
Belle, bringing out two empty spools strung
upon a faded red ribbon; "did you know our
92 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
Hattie had a little Indian namesake? Polly
John named her last pappoose* after her,
but they call it Hat-see, which is much better
than if they pronounced it right."
"I'll send Polly John a few dried rasp-
berries and a lump of maple sugar," said Mrs.
I wouldn't, mamma," said Belle; "they
were too lazy to pick them when the woods
were full, or they might have plenty."
But she took the berries and sugar, de-
claring her determination to make Polly John
pay for them in baskets.
Be sure you start home in good season,
and don't try to cross the pond," was Mrs.
Lester's last injunction.
"Oh, mamma, it is such fun!" implored
Hattie; "and I don't believe the water is
over my head anywhere !"
I would rather not. have you measure it,"
said her mother; and Hattie urged no further,
but followed the rest around the edge of the
LITTLE PEEP OF DA Y. 93
pond, until they came to a rough bridge, and
crossed on to a dry ridge beyond. Along
this ran a very good wood road, and they
found it easy and pleasant walking for some
distance. Raymond was entertaining the girls
with an account of one of their home adven-
tures, when he found, to his surprise, that
they knew nothing about street cars.
"Of course not," said Hattie, laughing at
Raymond's embarrassment; "don't you know
we never saw any kind of cars, or even an
omnibus, and never in all our lives were in
any place larger than Big Bottoms ?"
"And never went to school a day," added
Belle, in a grave, quiet way that was like her
mother. Mamma says people never re-
member how much the home missionaries
give up for their children as well as them-
selves, and that's the hardest part of the
giving up for mamma; she doesn't care half
so much for herself."
"Mamma teaches us," said Hattie, "just as
grandpa taught her almost everything; and
94 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
next year we're going away to stay with
Grandma Lester and go to school. I don't see
what mamma will do," sighed Hattie dolefully.
"We'd better not talk about it," said Belle de-
cidedly; here is the trail to Big John's camp;"
and they left the wood road for an uncertain
little track that looked as if it might be very
difficult to find without plenty of daylight.
In fact, Raymond wondered at the certainty
with which Belle led the way when his eyes
saw nothing that looked like a trail; but she
proved a safe guide, and brought them safely
to Big John's camp. Before they came in
sight, three or four dogs ran yelping to meet
them, and Big John, who was stretched under
a tree, raised his ugly head and stared silently
at his visitors, and then withdrew into the
privacy of his dirty blanket. Polly John was
pounding away at the skin of some small
animal, which she had stretched on a board,
and half a dozen children tumbled about in
the dirt, or stood with their little impish eyes
fixed on the faces of the visitors.
LITTLE PEEP OF DA Y. 95
"How do, Polly? said Belle; and Polly
smiled a gracious welcome, bringing out a
buffalo mat, and spreading it for the strangers.
"Fleas!" whispered Hattie, walking past
the boys as they were about to seat them-
selves, and they quickly took the hint, and
began examining a pile of really pretty bas-
kets. An old squaw, with a short black pipe
in her mouth, was cleaning fish, and the
whole camp smelled of fish and offal.
"Buy ?" said the old squaw, coming up to
Raymond; "nice, good, mooch basket."
Raymond shook his head, and the old
woman went into the wigwam, and brought
out a pair of soft moccasins, embroidered with
gay beads and porcupine quills.
"Just the thing for Chloe," said Archie;
"I wonder what we ought to pay for them ? "
"Ask Belle," said Raymond; and Belle
being appealed to, offered the regular market
price, and stood by it resolutely until the old
squaw consented to take it, and handed over
the moccasins with much grumbling. Archie
96 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY.
also bought a queer little pin-cushion for
Aunt Rachel, and bargained with Big John for
a regular Indian bow, with arrows, for Will.
John promised to bring them to the house the
next day, and receive his money, and Hattie
"Don't you act in the way you have done
about my canoe. I paid you for it in nice
melons out of my own garden, and you
haven't made it yet. I don't believe you ever
mean to make it."
Big John opened his eyes half way, and
said, with a grin,
"So much more Hat-see teaze, so much
more Big John never will make."
Raymond felt very much like giving the
great lazy fellow a regular thrashing, but con-
cluded it would hardly be prudent to under-
take it; so he walked away to see Hatsee's
namesake, who was contentedly sucking a
rind of fat bacon, and could not be induced
to take any notice of her little god-mother.
They did not stay long in the camp, and
LITTLE PEEP OF DA Y. 97
Belle, seeing how hard Polly was working,
was just about giving her the treat of berries
and sugar, when her quick ear caught a new
sound, a faint "eugh! eugh!" from a big
kettle by the wigwam. Marching boldly up
to it, she saw a wonderful sight,-six little
kittens rolling and tumbling over their mother.
Oh, Hattie," she screamed, "come quick !
Kittens-a whole nest full of them !"
Hattie ran, and the boys followed, to see
the kittens in their queer nest.
"Oh, the darlings!" said Hattie; "what do
you s'pose they want with them all ?"
"To make soup of, I suppose," said practical
Belle, while Hattie looked as horrified as if
her sister had coolly spoken of using babies in
the same fashion.
In less than three minutes Belle made a
bargain with Polly John, exchanging her berries
and sugar and one biscuit for a little gray
kitten, the only one they would part with,
having an eye, no doubt, to the fur as well
as to what it covered; and then they started
98 UNCLE DICK'S LEGACY
home with the new treasure carefully tied up
in Archie's handkerchief.
It was still early in the afternoon, but the
ridge of land shut off the light a little, and
Raymond found it still more puzzling to ac-
count for the way in which Belle followed the
trail. When at last they came to a hollow
lined with dead leaves, and holding a little
water, Hattie stopped, and said,
"Now, let us wash off the smell of that
dirty camp, and eat our lunch."
They washed in the little pool, and sat
down upon the fallen trees to eat and chat,
and grew quite merry over their talk, so that
they hardly thought how time was passing.
The kitten was left in her prison, with Ray-
mond's hat turned over her for greater safety,
until the lunch basket was empty.
"Now," said Belle, shaking out the last
crumb, "my dear little catsey shall ride like
a lady the rest of the way." But when the
hat was lifted, there was a torn handkerchief,
with a knot in it, but no kitten. The little