Two days after my arrival, Charley Gray came. Our meeting could not be otherwise than happy. He was, I believe, the most changed of the two; and I thought at the time I had never before seen so perfect a type of manly beauty. “What a pity,” thought I, “that one so highly gifted, and noble looking, and whose manner was at times so attractive and winning, should allow himself at other times to be so morose and disagreeable from a foolish and unreasonable temper.” He had now completed his studies, and had come home for a short time before entering upon the practice of his profession. When I left the city, Mr. Baynard advised me to spend at the least two or three months at home, for so long and industriously had I applied myself to business, that he thought a season of rest and recreation would be very beneficial to me; and all our old friends at Elmwood seemed anxious to add to the enjoyment of Charley Gray and myself during our stay. My mother was one who seldom left her home, and she surprised me one day by saying, “If Charley and I would take a journey to Uncle Nathan’s, she and Flora would accompany us,” and that very evening I wrote to my uncle and aunt informing them of our proposed visit, and asking them if they would be willing to entertain so large a party; and an answer soon arrived informing me that nothing would afford them more pleasure than our visit, and “they were very sure they could find room for us all.” I had only paid one hasty visit to Fulton since I left it, and I anticipated much pleasure from again meeting my uncle and aunt with many old friends of my school-days at Fulton.
I did not intend writing a long story, and will not trouble my readers with the particulars of our journey, nor of the hearty welcome we received when we arrived at the old farm house of Uncle Nathan. Let it suffice that nothing was wanting to render our stay agreeable. My uncle and aunt looked scarcely a day older than when I left them eight years since. Upon my remarking how lightly time had set on them, my uncle replied with his old manner of fun and drollery, “Don’t you know, Walter, that old bachelors and old maids never grow old, they get kind o’ dried in just such a way and keep so for any length of time,” and I could not help thinking there was some truth in his remark. I enquired with much curiosity for Cousin Silas and his family. “O!” replied Aunt Lucinda, “upon the whole they have done better than one could have expected when they first came here. Silas will never do much anyway, they still live on the Taylor place, and Nathan manages one way and another to get some work out of him. Nathan intends at some time to deed the place to the family in such a way that Silas can’t squander it away; but he has never told them so yet. Somehow or other, after mother’s death, I felt drawn toward the family, and did all I could to help them along. I kept the little girls with me by turns, and encouraged them to attend school, and took pains to learn them habits of order