Next morning the stranger was found at the woodpile, busily engaged in cutting wood for the cook stove. Billy found him thus working as he returned from feeding the stock. It was a sultry morning in June and the perspiration was streaming freely down the young man’s face. It was evident that this was harder work than he had been used to.
“You had better go slow for a while, Edwards, until you get toughened to it,” remarked Sparrow.
Just then was heard the sound of the bell calling them to breakfast. Strange as it may seem, no more words about work passed between the two men.
Immediately after breakfast the newcomer found a hoe and spent the day in hoeing potatoes and corn in the garden. Cutting wood, bringing water to the house, feeding the poultry, assisting in feeding the horses, mules, and cows, until, before the end of a week, both Billy and Nancy wondered how they possibly got along before he came. An extensive bed of watercress had been discovered on the edge of a stream that ran through the farm and each morning the table was supplied, and a fine bouquet of wild roses and other woodland flowers was found in front of Nancy’s plate, while their odor filled the breakfast room.
Another change had come in to this kind and simple-hearted family. Tom—little Tom, now seven years old and the sunbeam of the farm-house—had begged to have his cot put into the room occupied by the stranger. Up to this time Nancy had been compelled to wash and dress the lad; but now he arose when Edwards arose, washed and dressed himself, and went downstairs, remaining by the side of his new friend until called to breakfast, when he would bring in a dozen or more fresh eggs.
So the summer weeks passed by; no word had been spoken about wages. The young man was now known by the familiar name of Carl. He was recognized as the general utility man of the farm. Giles and Ephraim, the two helpers, hired by the year, went twice a month on Saturday evening to Centerville, where Mr. Quintin paid them their wages. But Carl had so far received nothing, and his clothes became very much worn and their renewal was becoming quite an apparent necessity. One Saturday afternoon Billy invited Carl to go with him to Centerville, and there he was fitted out with a good supply of everything he needed in the way of clothes. So great was the change on his return that at first the keen-eyed little Tom was not able to recognize him, but a moment later exclaimed: “Ah, Carl, I always knew you were a gentleman.”