Adventures in Contentment eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 172 pages of information about Adventures in Contentment.

The afternoon of my purchase was one of the great afternoons of my life.  When Horace put me down at my gate, I did not go at once to the house; I did not wish, then, to talk with Harriet.  The things I had with myself were too important.  I skulked toward my barn, compelling myself to walk slowly until I reached the corner, where I broke into an eager run as though the old Nick himself were after me.  Behind the barn I dropped down on the grass, panting with laughter, and not without some of the shame a man feels at being a boy.  Close along the side of the barn, as I sat there in the cool of the shade, I could see a tangled mat of smartweed and catnip, and the boards of the barn, brown and weather-beaten, and the gables above with mud swallows’ nests, now deserted; and it struck me suddenly, as I observed these homely pleasant things: 

“All this is mine.”

I sprang up and drew a long breath.

“Mine,” I said.

It came to me then like an inspiration that I might now go out and take formal possession of my farm.  I might experience the emotion of a landowner.  I might swell with dignity and importance—­for once, at least.

So I started at the fence corner back of the barn and walked straight up through the pasture, keeping close to my boundaries, that I might not miss a single rod of my acres.  And oh, it was a prime afternoon!  The Lord made it!  Sunshine—­and autumn haze—­and red trees—­and yellow fields—­and blue distances above the far-away town.  And the air had a tang which got into a man’s blood and set him chanting all the poetry he ever knew.

“I climb that was a clod,
  I run whose steps were slow,
I reap the very wheat of God
  That once had none to sow!”

So I walked up the margin of my field looking broadly about me:  and presently, I began to examine my fences—­my fences—­with a critical eye.  I considered the quality of the soil, though in truth I was not much of a judge of such matters.  I gloated over my plowed land, lying there open and passive in the sunshine.  I said of this tree:  “It is mine,” and of its companion beyond the fence:  “It is my neighbour’s.”  Deeply and sharply within myself I drew the line between meum and tuum:  for only thus, by comparing ourselves with our neighbours, can we come to the true realisation of property.  Occasionally I stopped to pick up a stone and cast it over the fence, thinking with some truculence that my neighbour would probably throw it back again.  Never mind, I had it out of my field.  Once, with eager surplusage of energy, I pulled down a dead and partly rotten oak stub, long an eye-sore, with an important feeling of proprietorship.  I could do anything I liked.  The farm was mine.

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Adventures in Contentment from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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