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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 515 pages of information about Oak Openings.

“I’m afeard a body don’t think as much as he ought to do, when liquor is in him,” said Whiskey Centre, just as the canoe doubled the last point, and the hut came into view; “else I never could have left two women by them-selves in so lonesome a place.  God be praised! there is the chiente at any rate; and there’s a smoke comin’ out of it, if my eyes don’t deceive me!  Look, Bourdon, for I can scarcely see at all.”

“There is the house; and, as you say, there is certainly a smoke rising from it”

“There’s comfort in that!” exclaimed the truant husband and brother, with a sigh that seemed to relieve a very loaded breast.  “Yes, there’s comfort in that!  If there’s a fire, there must be them that lighted it; and a fire at this season, too, says that there’s somethin’ to eat, I should be sorry, Bourdon, to think I’d left the women folks without food; though, to own the truth, I don’t remember whether I did or not”

“The man who drinks, Gershom, has commonly but a very poor memory.”

“That’s true—­yes, I’ll own that; and I wish it warn’t as true as it is; but reason and strong drink do not travel far in company—­”

Gershom suddenly ceased speaking; dropping his paddle like one beset by a powerless weakness.  The bee-hunter saw that he was overcome by some unexpected occurrence, and that the man’s feelings were keenly connected with the cause, whatever that might be.  Looking eagerly around in quest of the explanation, le Bourdon saw a female standing on a point of land that commanded a view of the river and its banks for a considerable distance, unequivocally watching the approach of the canoe.

“There she is,” said Gershom, in a subdued tone—­“that’s Dolly; and there she has been, I’ll engage, half the time of my absence, waitin’ to get the first glimpse of my miserable body, as it came back to her.  Sich is woman, Bourdon; and God forgive me, if I have ever forgotten their natur’, when I was bound to remember it.  But we all have our weak moments, at times, and I trust mine will not be accounted ag’in’ me more than them of other men.”

“This is a beautiful sight, Gershom, and it almost makes me your friend!  The man for whom a woman can feel so much concern—­that a woman—­nay, women; for you tell me your sister is one of the family--but the man whom decent women can follow to a place like this, must have some good p’ints about him.  That woman is a-weepin’; and it must be for joy at your return.”

“’Twould be jist like Dolly to do so—­she’s done it before, and would be likely to do so ag’in,” answered Gershom, nearly choked by the effort he made to speak without betraying his own emotion.  “Put the canoe into the p’int, and let me land there.  I must go up and say a kind word to poor Dolly; while you can paddle on, and let Blossom know I’m near at hand.”

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