Adventures in Friendship eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 104 pages of information about Adventures in Friendship.

“After all,” I said to myself, “this is a large world, with room in it for many curious people.”

I waited in excitement.  When he came near me I straightened up just as though I had seen him for the first time.  When he lifted his hat to me I lifted my hat as grandiloquently as he.

“How are you, neighbour?” I asked.

He paused for a single instant and gave me a smile; then he replaced his hat as though he had far more important business to attend to, and went on up the road.

My next glimpse of him was a complete surprise to me.  I saw him on the street in town.  Harriet pointed him out, else I should never have recognized him:  a quiet, shy, modest man, as different as one could imagine from the singer I had seen so often passing my farm.  He wore neat, worn clothes; and his horse stood tied in front of the store.  He had brought his honey to town to sell.  He was a bee-man.

I stopped and asked him about his honey, and whether the fall flowers had been plenty; I ran my eye over his horse, and said that it seemed to be a good animal.  But I could get very little from him, and that little in a rather low voice.  I came away with my interest whetted to a still keener edge.  How a man has come to be what he is—­is there any discovery better worth making?

[Illustration:  “HE USUALLY CAME IN THE EVENING”]

After that day in town I watched for the bee-man, and I saw him often on his way to town, silent, somewhat bent forward in his seat, driving his horse with circumspection, a Dr. Jekyll of propriety; and a few hours later he would come homeward a wholly different person, straight of back, joyous of mien, singing his songs in his high clear voice, a very Hyde of recklessness.  Even the old horse seemed changed:  he held his head higher and stepped with a quicker pace.  When the bee-man went toward town he never paused, nor once looked around to see me in my field; but when he came back he watched for me, and when I responded to his bow he would sometimes stop and reply to my greeting.

One day he came from town on foot and when he saw me, even though I was some distance away, he approached the fence and took off his hat, and held out his hand.  I walked over toward him.  I saw his full face for the first time:  a rather handsome face.  The hair was thin and curly, the forehead generous and smooth; but the chin was small.  His face was slightly flushed and his eyes—­his eyes burned!  I shook his hand.

“I had hoped,” I said, “that you would stop sometime as you went by.”

“Well, I’ve wanted to stop—­but I’m a busy man.  I have important matters in hand almost all the time.”

“You usually drive.”

“Yes, ordinarily I drive.  I do not use a team, but I have in view a fine span of roadsters.  One of these days you will see me going by your farm in style.  My wife and I both enjoy driving.”

I wish I could here convey the tone of buoyancy with which he said these words.  There was a largeness and confidence in them that carried me away.  He told me that he was now “working with the experts”—­those were his words—­and that he would soon begin building a house that would astonish the country.  Upon this he turned abruptly away, but came back and with fine courtesy shook my hand.

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Project Gutenberg
Adventures in Friendship from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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