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.

When I woke in the morning, I could hear the crackling of fire, and felt very warm and cosy wrapped in the big shawl.  I got a cheery greeting from Uncle Eb, who was feeding the fire with a big heap of sticks that he had piled together.  Old Fred was licking my hands with his rough tongue, and I suppose that is what waked me.  Tea was steeping in the little pot that hung over the fire, and our breakfast of boiled eggs and bread and butter lay on a paper beside it.  I remember well the scene of our little camp that morning.  We had come to a strange country, and there was no road in sight.  A wooded hill lay back of us, and, just before, ran a noisy little brook, winding between smooth banks, through a long pasture into a dense wood.  Behind a wall on the opposite shore a great field of rustling corn filled a broad valley and stood higher than a man’s head.

While I went to wash my face in the clear water Uncle Eb was husking some ears of corn that he took out of his pocket, and had them roasting over the fire in a moment.  We ate heartily, giving Fred two big slices of bread and butter, packing up with enough remaining for another day.  Breakfast over we doused the fire and Uncle Eb put on his basket He made after a squirrel, presently, with old Fred, and brought him down out of a tree by hurling stones at him and then the faithful follower of our camp got a bit of meat for his breakfast.  We climbed the wall, as he ate, and buried ourselves in the deep corn.  The fragrant, silky tassels brushed my face and the corn hissed at our intrusion, crossing its green sabers in our path.  Far in the field my companion heaped a little of the soft earth for a pillow, spread the oil cloth between rows and, as we lay down, drew the big shawl over us.  Uncle Eb was tired after the toil of that night and went asleep almost as soon as he was down.  Before I dropped off Fred came and licked my face and stepped over me, his tail wagging for leave, and curled upon the shawl at my feet.  I could see no sky in that gloomy green aisle of corn.  This going to bed in the morning seemed a foolish business to me that day and I lay a long time looking up at the rustling canopy overhead.  I remember listening to the waves that came whispering out of the further field, nearer and nearer, until they swept over us with a roaring swash of leaves, like that of water flooding among rocks, as I have heard it often.  A twinge of homesick ness came to me and the snoring of Uncle Eb gave me no comfort.  I remember covering my head and crying softly as I thought of those who had gone away and whom I was to meet in a far country, called Heaven, whither we were going.  I forgot my sorrow, finally, in sleep.  When I awoke it had grown dusk under the corn.  I felt for Uncle Eb and he was gone.  Then I called to him.

‘Hush, boy! lie low,’ he whispered, bending over me, a sharp look in his eye.’  ‘Fraid they’re after us.’

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