AUNT BETSY GOES ON A JOURNEY.
Just through the woods, where Uncle Ephraim was wont to exercise old Whitey, was a narrow strip of land, extending from the highway to the pond, and fertile in nothing except the huckleberry bushes, where the large, dark fruit grew so abundantly, and the rocky ledges over which a few sheep roamed, seeking for the short grass and stunted herbs, which gave them a meager sustenance. As a whole it was comparatively valueless, but to Aunt Betsy Barlow it was of great importance, as it was her own—her property—her share—set off from the old estate—the land on which she paid taxes willingly—the real estate the deed of which was lying undisturbed in her hair trunk, where it had lain for years. Several dispositions the good old lady had mentally made of this property, sometimes dividing it equally between Helen and Katy, sometimes willing it all to the former, and again, when she thought of Mark Ray, leaving the interest of it to some missionary society in which she was greatly interested.
How then was the poor woman amazed and confounded when suddenly there appeared a claimant to her property; not the whole, but a part, and that part taking in the big sweet apple tree and the very best of the berry bushes, leaving her nothing but rocks and bogs, a pucker cherry tree, a patch of tansy, and one small tree, whose gnarly apples were not fit, she said, to feed the pigs.
Of course she was indignant, and all the more so because the claimant was prepared to prove that the line fence was not where it should be, but ran into his own dominions for the width of two or three rods, a fact he had just discovered by looking over a bundle of deeds, in which the boundaries of his own farm were clearly defined.
In her distress Aunt Betsy’s first thoughts were turned to Wilford as the man who could redress her wrongs if any one, and a long letter was written to him in which her grievances were told in detail and his advice solicited. Commencing with “My dear Wilford,” closing with “Your respected ant,” sealed with a wafer, stamped with her thimble, and directed bottom side up, it nevertheless found its way to No. —— Broadway, and