THE KINZER FARM, THE NEW SUIT, AND THE WEDDING.
Between the village and the inlet, and half a mile from the great “bay,” lay the Kinzer farm. Beyond the bay was a sandbar, and beyond that the Atlantic Ocean; for all this was on the southerly shore of Long Island.
The Kinzer farm had lain right there—acre for acre, no more, no less—on the day when Hendrik Hudson long ago sailed the good ship “Half Moon” into New-York Bay. But it was not then known to any one as the Kinzer farm. Neither was there then, as now, any bright and growing village crowding up on one side of it, with a railway-station and a post-office. Nor was there, at that time, any great and busy city of New York, only a few hours’ ride away, over on the island of Manhattan. The Kinzers themselves were not there then. But the bay and the inlet, with the fish and the crabs, and the ebbing and flowing tides, were there, very much the same, before Hendrik Hudson and his brave Dutchmen knew any thing whatever about that corner of the world.
The Kinzer farm had always been a reasonably “fat” one, both as to size and quality; and the good people who lived on it had generally been of a somewhat similar description. It was, therefore, every way correct and becoming for Dabney Kinzer’s widowed mother and his sisters to be the plump and hearty beings they were, and all the more discouraging to poor Dabney that no amount of regular and faithful eating seemed to make him resemble them at all in that respect.
Mrs. Kinzer excused his thinness, to her neighbors, to be sure, on the ground that he was “such a growing boy;” but, for all that, he caught himself wondering, now and then, if he would never be done with that part of his trials. For rapid growth has its trials.
“The fact is,” he said to himself one day, as he leaned over the north fence, “I’m more like Ham Morris’s farm than I am like ours. His farm is bigger than ours, all round; but it’s too big for its fences, just as I’m too big for my clothes. Ham’s house is three times as large as ours, but it looks as if it had grown too fast. It hasn’t any paint to speak of, nor any blinds. It looks as if somebody’d just built it there, and then forgot it, and gone oft and left it out of doors.”
Dabney’s four sisters had all come into the world before him; but he was as tall as any of them, and was frequently taken by strangers for a good two years older than he was. It was sometimes very hard for him, a boy of fifteen, to live up to what was expected of those extra two years.
Mrs. Kinzer still kept him in roundabouts; but they did not seem to hinder his growth at all, if that was her object in so doing.
There was no such thing, however, as keeping the four girls in roundabouts of any kind; and, what between them and their mother, the pleasant and tidy little Kinzer homestead, with its snug parlor and its cosey bits of rooms and chambers, seemed to nestle away, under the shadowy elms and sycamores, smaller and smaller with every year that came.