Mr. Dubois meditated.
“I do not know of one, sir”, he said. “They all drink, swear, gamble, and profane holy things, and seem to have no respect for either God or man”.
“It is too true”, remarked Mrs. Dubois.
“Now, father”, said Adele, assuming an air of wisdom, that sat rather comically on her youthful brow, “I think Micah Mummychog would be just the person to help this gentleman”.
“Micah Mummychog!” exclaimed Mr. Norton, throwing himself back in his chair and shaking out of his lungs a huge, involuntary haw, haw, “where does the person you speak of hail from to own such a name as that, my dear child?”
“I rather think he came from Yankee land,—from your part of the country, sir”, said Adele, mischievously.
“Ah, well”, said Mr. Norton, with another peal of laughter, “we do have some curious names in our parts”.
“Micah Mummychog!” exclaimed Mr. Dubois, “what are you thinking of, Adele? Why, the fellow drinks and swears as hard as the rest of them”.
“Not quite”, persisted the child, “and besides, he has some good about him, I know”.
“What have you seen good about him, pray?” said her father.
“Why, you remember that when I discovered the little girl floating down the river, Micah took his boat and went out to bring her ashore. He took the body, dripping, in his arms, carried it to his house, and laid it down as tenderly as if it had been his own sister. He asked me to please go and get Mrs. McNab to come and prepare it for burial. The little thing, he said, was entirely dead and gone. I started to go, as he wished, but happened to think I would just step back and look at the sweet face once more. When I opened the door, Micah was bending over it, with his eyes full of tears. When I asked, what is the matter, Micah? he said he was thinking of a little sister of his that was drowned just so in the Kennebec River, many years ago”.
“That showed some feeling, certainly”, said Mrs. Dubois.
“Then, too, I know”, continued Adele, “that the people here like him. If any one can get them together, Micah can”.
“Well!” said Mr. Dubois looking at his child with a fond pride, yet as if doubting whether she were not already half spoiled, “it seems you are the wiseacre of the family. I know Micah has always been a favorite of yours. Perhaps the gentleman will give your views some consideration”.
“Father”, replied Adele, “I have only said what I think about it”.
“I’ll try what I can do with Micah Mummychog”, said Mr. Norton decidedly, and the conversation ended.
About ten years before the period when this narrative begins, Micah Mummychog had come to this country from the Kennebec River, in the State of Maine.
He soon purchased a dozen acres of land, partially cleared them, and built a large-sized, comfortable log house. It was situated not far from the Dubois house, at a short distance from the bank of the river, and on the edge of a grove of forest trees.