Eben Holden, a tale of the north country eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 353 pages of information about Eben Holden, a tale of the north country.

‘You there?’ he whispered presently.

‘I am here,’ I said.

‘Odd!’ he muttered.  ’I know how it will be — I know how it has been before.  Generally come to some high place and a great fear seizes me.  I slip, I fall — fall — fall, and then I wake.

After a little silence I heard him snoring heavily.  He was still leaning back in his chair.  I walked on tiptoe to the door where the boy stood looking out.

‘Crazy?’ I whispered.

‘Dunno,’ said he, smiling.

I went to my room above and wrote my first tale, which was nothing more or less than some brief account of what I had heard and seen down at the little shop that evening.  I mailed it next day to the Knickerbocker, with stamps for return if unavailable.

Chapter 34

New York was a crowded city, even then, but I never felt so lonely anywhere outside a camp in the big woods, The last day of the first week came, but no letter from Hope.  To make an end of suspense I went that Saturday morning to the home of the Fullers.  The equation of my value had dwindled sadly that week.  Now a small fraction would have stood for it — nay, even the square of it.

Hope and Mrs Fuller had gone to Saratoga, the butler told me.  I came away with some sense of injury.  I must try to be done with Hope.  There was no help for it.  I must go to work at something and cease to worry and lie awake of nights.  But I had nothing to do but read and walk and wait.  No word had come to me from the ‘Tribune’ — evidently it was not languishing for my aid.  That day my tale was returned to me with thanks with nothing but thanks printed in black type on a slip of paper — cold, formal, prompt, ready-made thanks.  And I, myself, was in about the same fix — rejected with thanks — politely, firmly, thankfully rejected.  For a moment I felt like a man falling.  I began to see there was no very clamourous demand for me in ‘the great emporium’, as Mr Greeley called it.  I began to see, or thought I did, why Hope had shied at my offer and was now shunning me.  I went to the Tribune office.  Mr Greeley had gone to Washington; Mr Ottarson was too busy to see me.  I concluded that I would be willing to take a place on one of the lesser journals.  I spent the day going from one office to another, but was rejected everywhere with thanks.  I came home and sat down to take account of stock.  First, I counted my money, of which there were about fifty dollars left.  As to my talents, there were none left.  Like the pies at the Hillsborough tavern, if a man came late to dinner — they were all out.  I had some fine clothes, but no more use for them than a goose for a peacock’s feathers.  I decided to take anything honourable as an occupation, even though it were not in one of the learned professions.  I began to answer advertisements and apply at business offices for something to give me a living, but with no success.  I began to feel the selfishness of men.  God pity the warm and tender heart of youth when it begins to harden and grow chill, as mine did then; to put away its cheery confidence forever; to make a new estimate of itself and others.  Look out for that time, O ye good people! that have sons and daughters.

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Eben Holden, a tale of the north country from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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