“The’s a good many diff’rent sorts an’ kinds o’ sorro’,” he said, after a moment, “that’s in some ways kind o’ kin to each other, but I guess losin’ a child ‘s a specie by itself. Of course I passed the achin’, smartin’ point years ago, but it’s somethin’ you can’t fergit—that is, you can’t help feelin’ about it, because it ain’t only what the child was to you, but what you keep thinkin’ he’d ‘a’ ben growin’ more an’ more to be to you. When I lost my little boy I didn’t only lose him as he was, but I ben losin’ him over an’ agin all these years. What he’d ‘a’ ben when he was so old; an’ what when he’d got to be a big boy; an’ what he’d ‘a’ ben when he went mebbe to collidge; an’ what he’d ‘a’ ben afterward, an’ up to now. Of course the times when a man stuffs his face down into the pillers nights, passes, after a while; but while the’s some sorro’s that the happenin’ o’ things helps ye to fergit, I guess the’s some that the happenin’ o’ things keeps ye rememberin’, an’ losin’ a child ’s one on ’em.”
It was the latter part of John’s fifth winter in Homeville. The business of the office had largely increased. The new manufactories which had been established did their banking with Mr. Harum, and the older concerns, including nearly all the merchants in the village, had transferred their accounts from Syrchester banks to David’s. The callow Hopkins had fledged and developed into a competent all-’round man, able to do anything in the office, and there was a new “skeezicks” discharging Peleg’s former functions. Considerable impetus had been given to the business of the town by the new road whose rails had been laid the previous summer. There had been a strong and acrimonious controversy over the route which the road should take into and through the village. There was the party of the “nabobs” (as they were characterized by Mr. Harum) and their following, and the party of the “village people,” and the former had carried their point; but now the road was an accomplished fact, and most of the bitterness which had been engendered had died away. Yet the struggle was still matter for talk.
“Did I ever tell you,” said David, as he and his cashier were sitting in the rear room of the bank, “how Lawyer Staples come to switch round in that there railroad jangle last spring?”
“I remember,” said John, “that you told me he had deserted his party, and you laughed a little at the time, but you did not tell me how it came about.”
“I kind o’ thought I told ye,” said David.
“No,” said John, “I am quite sure you did not.”