Walter Harland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 175 pages of information about Walter Harland.
southward, while on every hand were visible indications of the approach of winter.  I had done my best during the busy season to render myself useful, and by this time had become quite an important member of the household, so much so that I one day heard uncle Nathan wonder “how he ever got along without me.”  He had often hired boys before, but a hired boy who merely works for wages is often very different from one whose services are prompted by affection and gratitude.  Aunt Lucinda still seemed rather to distrust me and, although she said nothing, I was too sharp-sighted to be ignorant of the scrutinizing watch she maintained over my conduct.  I did not, as many boys of my age would have done, allow myself to cherish any resentment toward my aunt, on the contrary I did every thing in my power to gain her goodwill; I never allowed the water-pails to become empty; I split the kindlings for the morning fire; and, by the time I had been a few weeks in the family, my busy aunt found herself freed from many household tasks to which she had been accustomed for years, and, more than this, I invariably treated her with the utmost kindness and respect.  It happened one evening that my aunt was suffering from one of the severe headaches to which she was often subject.  After supper she was almost incapable of any exertion whatever.  When it was nearly dark she suddenly remembered that the large weekly wash had not been brought in from the clothes’ yard, and there was every appearance of approaching rain.  “I don’t know,” said she in a desponding voice; “what will become of the clothes, but if they are all spoiled I can’t bring them in, for my head aches as though it would split.”  It was with fear and trembling that I came forward, and offered to get the clothes-basket and bring in the clothes.  She looked at me with astonishment, saying, “a pretty sight the clothes will be by the time you bring them in, and then the lines will be broken into fifty pieces; no, no, let them hang and take their chance in the rain; I can’t any more than have to wash them all over again.”  “Please let me go, aunty,” said I, “I will handle the clothes very carefully, and I certainly will not break the lines.”  Touched in spite of herself by my desire to assist her she gave me the basket, saying, “now do pray be careful and not destroy every thing you put your hands on,” and again seated herself with a troubled countenance to await my return.  She was often inclined to think that nothing could be done properly about the house which was not performed by her own hands.  Her face did brighten a little when I appeared after a short time at the kitchen door, bearing the well-filled basket with its snow-white contents in a most wonderful state of preservation.  It was not her habit to praise any one to their face, but, when I had left the room, she turned to Uncle Nathan and said “I do believe after all there is some good in that boy.  I am afraid I have been a little too hard with him, but I’ve made up my mind if he behaves as well as he’s done so far, that he shall have a friend in his Aunt Lucinda; he’s the first boy that’s ever been about the house that I could endure at all, and I do believe he means well, and does his best to please us, and that’s more than can be said of most boys.”

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Walter Harland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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