GOOD-BY TO HILLTON.
Joel took the preliminary examination for Harwell University in June, and left class day morning for home. He had the satisfaction of seeing his name in the list of honor men for the year, having attained A or B in all studies for the three terms. The parting with Outfield West was shorn of much of its melancholy by reason of the latter’s promise to visit Joel in August. The suggestion had been made by Outfield, and Joel had at once warmly pressed him to come.
“Only, you know, Out,” Joel had said, “we don’t live in much style. And I have to work a good deal, so there won’t be much time for fun.”
“What do you have to do?” asked West.
“Well, milk, and go to mill, and perhaps there will be threshing to do before I leave. And then there’s lots of other little things around the farm that I generally do when I’m home.”
“That’s all right,” answered West cheerfully. “I’ll help. I milked a cow once. Only—Say, what do you hit a cow with when you milk her?”
“I don’t hit her at all,” laughed Joel. “Do you?”
“I did. I hit her with a plank and she up and kicked me eight times before I could move off. Perhaps I riled her. I thought you should always hit them before you begin.”
Joel had not seen his parents since he had left home in the preceding fall, and naturally a warm welcome awaited him. Mr. March, to Joel’s relief, did not appear to regret the loss of the Goodwin scholarship nearly as much as Joel himself had done, and seemed rather proud than otherwise of the lad’s first year at the Academy.
In August Outfield West descended at the little station accompanied by two trunks, a golf-bag, a photograph camera, and a dress-suit case; and Farmer March regarded the pile of luggage apprehensively, and undoubtedly thought many unflattering thoughts of West. But as no one could withstand that youth for long, at the end of three days both Joel’s father and mother had accepted him unreservedly into their hearts. As for Joel’s brother Ezra, and his twelve-year-old sister, they had never hesitated for a single instant.
Mr. March absolutely forbade Joel from doing any of the chores after West arrived at the farm, and sent the boys off on a week’s hunting and fishing excursion with Black Betty and the democrat wagon. West took his camera along, but was prevailed on to leave his golf clubs at the farm; and the two had eight days of ideal fun in the Maine woods, and returned home with marvelous stories of adventure and a goodly store of game and fish.
West was somewhat disappointed in the golfing facilities afforded by the country about Marchdale, but politely refrained from allowing the fact to be known by Joel. Outside of the “pasture” and the “hill-field” the ground was too rocky and broken to make driving a pleasure, and after losing half a dozen balls Outfield restricted himself to the pasture, where he created intense interest on the part of the cows. He found that he got along much more peaceably with them when he appeared without his red coat.