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“To the State, except the settled part; and since the squatters, as you call them, are mostly the leading citizens, they fix up maiters pretty much as they please.” . “Then every one who comes in and buys afterwards buys from the State, and gets a State title ? "
“And about roads, railways, and the like : the companies buy from the State, too, I suppose ?"
"Well, not exactly,” said the President, upon whose ground the discussion was now touching: “I reckon these lines wouldn't have been built if we had had to pay for the land."
“What! did the State give it you ?”
“The State gave us the land for the line, and alternate sections of a strip, six miles wide, right along on each side the line."
“Do you mean that you own the land for six miles on each side of all your lines ?”
“We did own half of it—every alternate section you see, chequerwise, with the State: first our section, then a State section, and so on. But we've sold pretty well all of ours, except a few hundred thousand acres.”
“Yes, now I see all about it. This explains a good deal, and accounts for the way in which your railways have gone a-bead. It makes all the difference whether you have to buy the land, or get it to sell.”
“There ain't so much difference so far as chances of success go: when you've got to buy your land, you buy your traffic with it. All your customers are there, living along your lines, and ready to go up and down, and send goods the moment you've got your rails down. But we had to make our traffic for ourselves, and bring our own customers out here."
“Then, in fact, it doesn't much matter which direction your lines run in. So long as the companies can get land grants, such as you speak of, they may go anywhere ?"
“Yes ; only they've got to take care that they pick the sort of country emi
grants will care to settle on; and they must make out a decent case to go to the State legislature with, or they wouldn't get their Act.”
"And when they've got it, and have made their line, they and the State go into competition as sellers of land ?”
“Well, the competition don't amount to much. The State mostly lets the land lie for folk to come after it; but the railway companies have regular land departments, which manage their grants, and settle emigrants on them as fast as they can. The purchase-money is at first very low from four or five dollars an acre ours went at—and only a quarter or a third of that down at once. The rest is payable by instalments, and the settler doesn't get his deed till they are paid. But it's all made easy for them, because we want their custom. Any man who don't go to pieces with drink can pay for his land out of crops, in three or four years, and live well too. I've known many do it under two years."
“I suppose most of the stations and villages are upon the companies' lands ?"
“Well, I reckon they do mostly come out so; but nobody can say where the best locations are going to be beforehand. One place goes a-head, and another, just as good every way as far as you can see, won't piove."
“Haven't you had useful knowledge enough for an hour or so ? Here, just look out here, and you'll see a piece of real genuine prairie."
“ Where? Which ?" said the struggler, eagerly, and we all turned to the windows with considerable curiosity.
“There, between those two long patches of corn. We're just coming abreast of it. And there again, about a quarter of a mile further off, all the side of that slope. That's the real, original, untouched, Natty Bumpo business, and no mistake.”
All three of us stared at the plots indicated by the potentate with all our eyes, as we ran past.
“It's yellower than I expected," said the struggler.
“You didn't expect to see it green,
did you, after such a baking as we've lived here nearly all his life, and was had for the last month? Besides, there practising here when he was elected are a lot of yellow flowers in blossom at President. He was one of the counsel this time of the year."
for our line. Some of the college-bred “ Too much like a piece of waste land lawyers used to laugh at him, but not anywhere," said the optimist, with one of them ever came near him with an something like a sigh.
Illinois prey.” "You're disappointed ?” asked the “So I should think. Now, I don't potentate.
suppose you'll believe it," added the “Yes, I own I had a sentiment about optimist, after a short pause, “but it's a prairie. Your Cooper's books took a true, that I felt about Abraham Lincoln wonderful hold on me when I was a as I never did about any other of the boy. I hear they laugh at them now, foremost men of our time. I would but depend upon it there has been no have gone round the world to have one like him for the vague border-land seen him eye to eye, and shaken hands which lies between savage and civilized with him, and that's more than I can life. I haven't read “The Prairie' and say of any other. And I know that the 'Last of the Mohicans,' for a quarter many other Englishmen felt as I did.” of a century, and wouldn't read them I added my testimony to much the again now for fear of losing the racy like effect, and our hosts were evidently taste. But I expected a new sensation, pleased. and I haven't got it. Not a bit Natty “Yes,” the optimist went on, “three Bumpoish, those strips of rough land !" nations in our time have had their trial
“Wait till you get out into Iowa ; times, and something of the same kind · when you can see nothing else, they of work to do-Italy, Germany, and these won't look so tame."
States—and each has found a great man "I hope not. I see we're coming to for their work : Cavour, Bismarck, and something like a hill at last. Why, it Lincoln, two noblemen and a peasant's must be something like three hours since son. I have nothing to say against the we stopped for water. How long can Italian or the German; but take the your game little engine run without a men's work, and I say that Lincoln's was, drink ?"
beyond all question, the hardest. No "Well, I reckon she's getting a little such job was everlaid on a mau's shoulders thirsty. Those hills are above Galena, as came to him in March 1860. And where we shall stop next."
take the men's record, and for sagacity “Galena, another odd name. Let's and courage, as well as for simple truthsee, Galena, Galena, haven't I heard of fulness, and faith in his cause and his it somehow ?”
God, the plain rail-splitter stands well “Guess you might. It's President at the head of the list. Happy the Grant's town.”
nation that could sift out such a leader "Ay, of course, I thought I knew in its sorest need ; and though I'm half the name. He was in some business sorry to admit it, potentate, to such a there when your war broke out, I bigoted Yankee, and such a hater of my think."
country as you, I must add, happy the “Yes, in the leather trade; and not a leader who feels such a nation undergood trade either. Our State found the neath him. I don't believe any other great statesman, and the head soldier for race but ours would have pulled through our war, and we're mighty proud of it, your rebellion." I tell you."
“Well, I ain't sorry you talk of our "And well you may be. But let me race,' anyhow," said the potentate; "and see; Lincoln wasn't an Illinois man, I only wish some of your big bugs and was he ?"
your confounded newspapers would have “Not born; but it was his State. He talked like that before Gettysburg."
(To be continued.)
as clean thrown away on him as if
she'd been chucked in the dust-bin.” AT THE “BLADEBONE.”
“Dear, dear !”—Dennis moved his
head slowly against the back of his easy “I TELL you what, Dennis,”—Mrs. Fagg chair, and tears stood in his eyes —"such was on her knees on the hearth-rug, a sweet young lady too !" making her husband's toast, talking to Mrs. Fagg got on her feet, and prohim meanwhile over her right shoulder ceeded to butter her husband's toast, and as he sat stretched out helplessly in a then to feed him with it, and to give huge arm-chair, -"You say I do foolish him his tea as if he had been a baby. things odd times, and you're right; but I She was distressed at her own want did one wise thing when I got Miss Nuna of tact. over to Gray's Farm."
“I say, old man, never mind;" she “Why!" Dennis spoke with painful wiped his mouth, set the pillow straight slowness; he had lost full command in his high-backed chair, and then gave over his words ; “I thought you said him a hearty kiss ; "you mustn't take she were back again."
on about Miss Nuna ; she'll do fast “So she is, old man." Mrs. Fagg enough. You wanted your tea, dear, turned the toast carefully on the fork. didn't you, just now? Yes, yes; she's “She only stayed two days; but the coming in to sit a bit with you, sho change was everything, bless you, she's said, and you mustn't be down-hearted grown quite sprack ; she's as active with her, old man; she's as fond of Mr. again as she was, and she don't fret Whitmore as I am of you ; she is, you nothing near so much, neither.”
know, eh ?" Here Mrs. Fagg had to retreat from the She looked at poor Dennis's dull face even red glow, which scorched her face. to be sure he understood, and he nodded
“Do you think, Kitty,"-—his dull with a feeble smile. eyes followed his wife with a painful Mrs. Fagg carried away the tealook of uncertainty—“as she cares yet things. for Mr. Will ? "
“There's the making of a stoutMrs. Fagg had begun on a fresh slice hearted woman in Miss Nuna yet; she's of bread, but it fell off the fork as her but a child now,” she said, and then she husband spoke. Her face was very red gave a little sigh. “Here have I been as she picked it up again-but that railing against that husband of hers, might have been caused by the fire, or and maybe if she'd married so as to stooping.
have no troubles, and hadn't been “I'm surprised at you, Dennis, that I brought to think for herself, she'd have am. Why, Miss Nuna never did care gone on a baby all her life through ; for him ; and she'd had plenty time to and a grey-haired baby," said Mrs. find out whether there was anything in Fagg, reflectively, “is like Punch at a him to suit her, before she set eyes on funeral.” She came back, swept up Mr. Whitmore.” She picked up the the crumbs, set a chair for the visitor, bread and fixed it carefully on the fork. and then got out a duster to hem. “Not that I like Mr. Whitmore; I Nuna was not long in coming; and the don't--there, I don't want to speak poor infirin man was brightened by her harsh of any body, but Miss Nuna's sweet smile, and kindly ways with him.
Her presence brought back former ideas to Dennis, and with them the mastery which he had formerly exercised in public over his wife.
“Make some fresh tea, Kitty," he said, reprovingly, "for Miss” he looked at Nuna; "she don't ought to be kep' waiting.”
"Oh, no, thank you, don't trouble,” said Nuna. She had grown to look on Mrs. Fagg with reverence, and it was dismaying to hear her rebuked.
Mrs. Fagg smiled, and proceeded to obey her husband.
"Take a cup, Miss Nuna,” she whispered, when she brought in the neat little tray with one of her best china cups and saucers ; "he mustn't be fretted, poor dear, and a chat does him good.”
Nuna sat wondering; it seemed to her that every fresh trouble laid on the landlady added to her affection for the helpless man she served.
"How she must love him," she sighed; " and yet Dennis never seemed a loving husband. He always appeared to snub his wife. Is it her own love that makes Mrs. Fagg happy, or does it really win his ? "
It was strange to Nuna to feel drawn as she now did to Mrs. Fagg. As a child, she had shrunk from her sharp sayings.
She had just received a letter from Roger Westropp; it had been sent on to her from St. John Street. Roger was ill again, and he hoped Mrs. Whitmore would excuse his wishing to see her: Nuna was puzzled, she thought she would take Mrs. Fagg into counsel about leaving her stepmother.
She sat with Dennis till it grew dark. She had spent the morning with Mrs. Beaufort, and the afternoon in taking a walk with her father, and in listening to his charitable plans for the coming winter; but she had not spoken of Roger's letter : it seemed to her best not to say she had seen him in London.
“It's getting dark, ma'am," said Mrs. Fagg. "Shall Ben follow you up to the Rectory gate: There's a nest of tramps camping down Carvingswood Lane.”
“Will you come with me yourself, please," said Nuna shyly. "I don't mind tramps; but I want to talk to you."
It was a great relief to get this said. By a sort of instinct she knew Mrs. Fagg would be willing to help her.
She began as soon as they were out of the Bladebone—“I want to go to London ; a sick person I know there wants to see me; and, besides, I might get news of Mr. Whitmore.” She stopped, but Mrs. Fagg kept silence too.
It was much easier to Nuna to say what she wanted to say in the dark tree-shaded road.
“It seems to me”-she pressed her hands nervously together _" that something inust have happened to him. I don't think I ought to have taken this long silence so quietly. I have not heard for a whole month. Mrs. Fagg" — her voice shook, and she could not steady it-"if Dennis had gone away, and not written to you for a whole month, what should you have done ?”.
“There would not be a mossel of use in my tryin' to say, ma'am.” Mrs. Fagg spoke briskly. "I couldn't take on me to know what I'd ha' done in such a case. Dennis always was a bad fist at writin', and maybe what I'd ha' done wouldn't be the fit thing for a lady like you to do, ma'am,” Mrs. Fagg stopped ab-' ruptly, as if she kept the rest of her thoughts to herself.
They had reached the Rectory gates.
Nuna put her hand on Mrs. Fagg's arm. “Come in a minute,” she said, and Mrs. Fagg followed up the shaded gravelled walk. She forgot Dennis and everything in the interest she felt.
“You have something in your mind, you would like to tell me,"-Nuna put her arm round the surprised woman and kissed her; “try and advise me as if I were your sister or your child. Remember, I can't ask my poor dear father's advice. I can't distress him with my anxiety and sorrow. I have not a friend I should like to go to."
“Did Mr. Whitmore go by himself ?”
said the landla:ly-her heart was very hard against Paul at that moment. “What call had he,” she thought, “to put this poor child to such a pass ?”
“He went with a party of friends.” Nuna was again glad of the darkness.
“What you're thinking of, Miss_” Mrs. Fagg might have been speaking to Dennis, she had the same fondling ten. derness of voice_“Is that Mr. Whitmore's fallen ill ? very like to happen; and if so, of course you'd wish to be beside him.” She heard a little choked sob, but she went on. “I dare say you know where the friends lives who went away with Mr. Whitmore, Miss, and perhaps some of 'em has left folks at home who could set your mind at rest."
Before the words were spoken a hope had come to Nuna-a sudden new idea. Roger Westropp might possibly give her the clue to his daughter's route. He had told her, when she saw him, that he knew more about the doings at the house in Park Lane than Patty guessed he did.
“And Patty may have written to him.”
There was not a certainty in this hope, but it seemed to give a clue she might follow.
“Thank you, very very much," she said warmly. “You have given me the help I wanted. I will go to London and try and see a person who may give me news. I can't see any risk in leaving Mrs. Beaufort now, she is so much better.”
“ Bother Mrs. Beaufort! I beg your pardon, ma'am ; I didn't mean it, but she'll do fast enough.”
Mrs. Fagg blushed at her own free dom. “Only it's a point I feels strongly upon; I mean, what a wife's bound to do for a husband ; that's where I fall out with Miss Menella. Le: a man be good or bad, kind or unkind, fretful or sweet, it don't matter; it's a woman's dooty to make him happy if she can. All we married ones he got to do is to make one man happy; and if a woman does her dooty, Miss Vuna, we know, don't us, there's One as 'ull make her way casy, some day.”
ROGER'S LEGACY. “If a woman does her dooty, there's One as 'ull make her way easy-some day.”
The words kept on sounding in Nuna's ears as she travelled back to London.
She felt sure there was more meaning in them than showed at first sight. She had often heard of women, and read of them-good, high-minded people, who went on always in the path of duty, and yet their lives were a constant succession of trial and trouble even to the end.
Her sister Mary's life, for instance. Before she had tasted the pleasures of her age, she had been forced into the cares of a full-grown woman; and the one little flower of her life—an attachment, which Nuna had gathered a fuller history of in this visit to Ashton than she had ever been permitted to hear in her own girlhood -- had been first peremptorily checked by the advice of her grandfather, and then crushed by the early death of Mary's young lover ; then had come her constant anxiety for her father's health, and for Nuna; then the unselfish severance from the young sister-the only brightness in her monotonous life,—and then, the sufferings of the months that went before her death.
“And yet Mary always looked cheerful and happy."
A truth was coming to Nuna-a truth which no words can teach from without; but a truth which, once grasped and realized, grows like the bean-stalk of the nursery tale, and, like it, forms a ladder to lift us, if we will, so far above these petty earthly trials and frets, that they seem, looked down on,—that which they really are,-only spots and freckles, which cannot penetrate, unless we will, . below the surface of existence.
Nuna began to feel that Mary's happiness sprang from a deeper root than a mere sense of fulfilled duty. Love was working in Nuna; her very love for Paul taught her how bi:ter may be changed to sweet if it he borne for love to Him who gave life for Love.