I took his old hand in mine and raised it reverently to my lips.
’Hear’n ’em tell ‘bout goin’ t’ the village, an’ I says t’ myself, “Uncle Eb,” says I, “we’ll hev t’ be goin’. ‘Tain’ no place fer you in the village."’
‘Holden,’ said David Brower, ’don’t ye never talk like that ag’in. Yer just the same as married t’ this family, an’ ye can’t ever git away from us.’
And he never did until his help was needed in other and fairer fields, I am sure, than those of Faraway — God knows where.
Tip Taylor was, in the main, a serious-minded man. A cross eye enhanced the natural solemnity of his countenance. He was little given to talk or laughter unless he were on a hunt, and then he only whispered his joy. He had seen a good bit of the world through the peek sight of his rifle, and there was something always in the feel of a gun that lifted him to higher moods. And yet one could reach a tender spot in him without the aid of a gun. That winter vacation I set myself to study things for declamation — specimens of the eloquence of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay and James Otis and Patrick Henry. I practiced them in the barn, often, in sight and hearing of the assembled herd and some of those fiery passages were rather too loud and threatening for the peace and comfort of my audience. The oxen seemed always to be expecting the sting of the bull whip; they stared at me timidly, tilting their ears every moment, as if to empty them of a heavy load; while the horses snorted with apprehension. This haranguing of the herd had been going on a week or more when Uncle Eb and I, returning from a distant part of the farm, heard a great uproar in the stable. Looking in at a window we saw Tip Taylor, his back toward us, extemporising a speech. He was pressing his argument with gestures and the tone of thunder. We listened a moment, while a worried look came over the face of Uncle Eb. Tip’s words were meaningless save for the secret aspiration they served to advertise. My old companion thought Tip had gone crary, and immediately swung the door and stepped in. The orator fell suddenly from his lofry altitude and became a very sober looking hired man.
‘What’s the matter?’ Uncle Eb enquired.
‘Practicin’,’ said Tip soberly, as he turned slowly, his face damp and red with exertion.
‘Fer what?’ Uncle Eb enquired.
’Fer the ‘sylum, I guess,’ he answered, with a faint smile.
‘Ye don’ need no more practice,’ Uncle Eb answered. ‘Looks t’ me as though ye was purty well prepared.’
To me there was a touch of pathos in this show of the deeper things in Tip’s nature that had been kindled to eruption by my spouting. He would not come in to dinner that day, probably from an unfounded fear that we would make fun of his flight — a thing we should have been far from doing once we understood him.