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.

He went limp as a rag then.  I could feel his heart leap and struggle feebly.

‘There’s a man dyin’ here,’ said David Brower, in a low tone.  ’Ye needn’t rub no more.

‘He’s dead,’ Elizabeth whispered, holding his hand tenderly, and looking into his half-closed eyes.  Then for a moment she covered her own with her handkerchief, while David, in a low, calm tone, that showed the depth of his feeling, told us what to do.

Uncle Eb and I watched that night, while Tip Taylor drove away to town.  The body lay in the parlour and we sat by the stove in the room adjoining.  In a half-whisper we talked of the sad event of the day.

‘Never oughter gone out a day like this,’ said Uncle Eb.  ‘Don’ take much t’ freeze an ol’ man.’

‘Got to thinking of what happened yesterday and forgot the cold,’ I said.

‘Bad day t’ be absent-minded,’ whispered Uncle Eb, as he rose and tiptoed to the window and peered through the frosty panes.  ‘May o’ got faint er sumthin’.  Ol’ hoss brought ‘im right here — been here s’ often with ‘in’.’

He took the lantern and went out a moment.  The door creaked upon its frosty hinges when he opened it.

‘Thirty below zero,’ he whispered as he came in.  ’Win’s gone down a leetle bit, mebbe.’

Uncanny noises broke in upon the stillness of the old house.  Its timbers, racked in the mighty grip of the cold, creaked and settled.  Sometimes there came a sharp, breaking sound, like the crack of bones.

‘If any man oughter go t’ Heaven, he had,’ said Uncle Eb, as he drew on his boots.

‘Think he’s in Heaven?’ I asked.

‘Hain’t a doubt uv it,’ said he, as he chewed a moment, preparing for expectoration.

‘What kind of a place do you think it is?’ I asked.

‘Fer one thing,’ he said, deliberately, ’nobody’ll die there, ’less he’d ought to; don’t believe there’s goin’ t’ be any need o’ swearin’ er quarrellin’.  To my way o’ thinkin’ it’ll be a good deal like Dave Brower’s farm — nice, smooth land and no stun on it, an’ hills an’ valleys an’ white clover aplenty, an’ wheat an’ corn higher’n a man’s head.  No bull thistles, no hard winters, no narrer contracted fools; no long faces, an’ plenty o’ work.  Folks sayin’ “How d’y do” ‘stid o’ “goodbye”, all the while — comin’ ‘stid o’ gain’.  There’s goin’ t’ be some kind o’ fun there.  I ain’ no idee what ‘tis.  Folks like it an’ I kind o’ believe ‘at when God’s gin a thing t’ everybody he thinks purty middlin’ well uv it.’

‘Anyhow, it seems a hard thing to die,’ I remarked.

‘Seems so,’ he said thoughtfully.  ‘Jes’ like ever’thing else — them ’at knows much about it don’ have a great deal t’ say.  Looks t’ me like this:  I cal’ate a man hes on the everidge ten things his heart is sot on — what is the word I want — ?’

‘Treasures?’ I suggested.

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