“I often thought of home, and, indeed, wished bad enough to be there. But when I thought of the school-house, and of Kitchen, my master, and of the race with my father, and of the big hickory stick he carried, and of the fierceness of the storm of wrath I had left him in, I was afraid to venture back. I knew my father’s nature so well, that I was certain his anger would hang on to him like a turtle does to a fisherman’s toe. The promised whipping came slap down upon every thought of home.”
Travelling back with the wagon, after two days’ journey, he met his brother again, who had then decided to return himself to the parental cabin in Tennessee. He pleaded hard with David to accompany him reminding him of the love of his mother and his sisters. The boy, though all unused to weeping, was moved to tears. But the thought of the hickory stick, and of his father’s brawny arm, decided the question. With his friend Myers he pressed on, farther and farther from home, to Gerardstown.
David at Gerardstown.—Trip to Baltimore.—Anecdotes.—He ships for London.—Disappointment.—Defrauded of his Wages.—Escapes.—New Adventures.—Crossing the River.—Returns Home.—His Reception.—A Farm Laborer.—Generosity to his Father.—Love Adventure.—The Wreck of his Hopes.—His School Education.—Second Love Adventure.—Bitter Disappointment.—Life in the Backwoods.—Third Love Adventure.
The wagoner whom David had accompanied to Gerardstown was disappointed in his endeavors to find a load to take back to Tennessee. He therefore took a load to Alexandria, on the Potomac. David decided to remain at Gerardstown until Myers should return. He therefore engaged to work for a man by the name of John Gray, for twenty-five cents a day. It was light farm-work in which he was employed, and he was so faithful in the performance of his duties that he pleased the farmer, who was an old man, very much.
Myers continued for the winter in teaming backward and forward between Gerardstown and Baltimore, while David found a comfortable home of easy industry with the farmer. He was very careful in the expenditure of his money, and in the spring found that he had saved enough from his small wages to purchase him a suit of coarse but substantial clothes. He then, wishing to see a little more of the world, decided to make a trip with the wagoner to Baltimore.
David had then seven dollars in his pocket, the careful savings of the labors of half a year. He deposited the treasure with the wagoner for safe keeping. They started on their journey, with a wagon heavily laden with barrels of flour. As they were approaching a small settlement called Ellicott’s Mills, David, a little ashamed to approach the houses in the ragged and mud-bespattered clothes which he wore on the way, crept into the wagon to put on his better garments.