The full-blooded cow.
We never had any one drop in about six o’clock p.m. whom we were more glad to see than Fielding, the Orange County farmer. In the first place, he always had a good appetite, and it did not make much difference what we had to eat. He would not nibble about the end of a piece of bread, undecided as to whether he had better take it, nor sit sipping his tea as though the doctor had ordered him to take only ten drops at a time, mixed with a little sugar and hot water. Perpetual contact with fresh air and the fields and the mountains gave him a healthy body, while the religion that he learned in the little church down by the mill-dam kept him in healthy spirits. Fielding keeps a great drove of cattle and has an overflowing dairy. As we handed him the cheese he said, “I really believe this is of my own making.” “Fielding,” I inquired, “how does your dairy thrive, and have you any new stock on your farm? Come give us a little touch of the country.” He gave me a mischievous look and said, “I will not tell you a word until you let me know all about that full-blooded cow, of which I have heard something. You need not try to hide that story any longer.” So we yielded to his coaxing. It was about like this:
The man had not been able to pay his debts. The mortgage on the farm had been foreclosed. Day of sale had come. The sheriff stood on a box reading the terms of vendue. All payments to be made in six months. The auctioneer took his place. The old man and his wife and the children all cried as the piano, and the chairs, and the pictures, and the carpets, and the bedsteads went at half their worth. When the piano went, it seemed to the old people as if the sheriff were selling all the fingers that had ever played on it; and when the carpets were struck off, I think father and mother thought of the little feet that had tramped it; and when the bedstead was sold, it brought to mind the bright, curly heads that had slept on it long before the dark days had come, and father had put his name on the back of a note, signing his own death warrant. The next thing to being buried alive is to have the sheriff sell you out when you have been honest and have tried always to do right. There are so many envious ones to chuckle at your fall, and come in to buy your carriage, blessing the Lord that the time has come for you to walk and for them to ride.