ISBN: 0548020868 / ISBN-13: 9780548020869
Eben Holden a Tale of the North Country
PREFACE EARLY in the last century the hardy woodchoppers began to come west, out of Vermont. They founded their homes in the Adirondack wildernesses ... Show synopsis PREFACE EARLY in the last century the hardy woodchoppers began to come west, out of Vermont. They founded their homes in the Adirondack wildernesses and cleared their rough acres with the axe and the charcoal pit. After years of toil in a rigorous climate they left their sons little besides a stumpy farm and a coon-skin overcoat. Far from the centers of life their amusements, their humors, their religion, their folk lore, their views of things had in them the flavor of the timber lands, the simplicity of childhood. Every son was nurtured in the love of honor and of industry, and the hope of sometime being president. It is to be feared this latter thing and the love of right living, for its own sake, were more in their thoughts than the irn mortal crown that had been the inspiration of their fathers. Leaving the farm for the more promising life of the big city they were as v Preface vii For my knowledge of Mr. Greeley I am chiefly indebted to David P. Rhoades, his publisher, to Philip Fitzpatrick, his pressman, to the files of the Tribune and to many books. NEW YORK CITY, April 7, 1900.OF all the people that ever went west that ex pedition was the most remarkable. A small boy in a big basket on the back of a jolly old man, who carried a cane in one hand, a rifle in the other a black dog serving as scout, skirmi her and rear guard-that was the size of it. They. were the survivors of a ruined home in the north of Vermont, and were traveling far into the valley of the St. Lawrence, but with no particular destination. Midsummer had passed them in their journey their clothes were covered with dust their faces browning in the hot sun. It was a very small boy that sat inside the basket andclung to the rim, his tow head shaking as the old man walked. He saw wonderful things, day after day, looking down at the green fields or peering into the gloomy reaches of the wood and he talked about them. Eben Holden strong man and had never been able to carry the wide swath of the other help in the fields, but we all loved him for his kindness and his knack of story-telling. He was a bachelor who came over the mountain from Pleasant Valley, a little bundle of clothes on his shoulder, and bringing a name that enriched the nomenclature of our neighborhood. I t was Eben Holden. He had a cheerful temper and an imagina-... tion that was a very vilderness of oddities. Bears and panthers growled and were very terrible in that strange country. He had invented an animal more treacherous than any in the woods, and he called it a swift. Sunlthin like a panther, he described the look of it-a fearsome creature that lay in the edge of the woods at sundown and made a noise like a woman crying, to lure the unwary. It vould light ones eye with fear to hear Uncle Eb lift his voice in the cry of the swift. Many a time in the twilight when the bay of a hound or some far cry came faintly through the wooded hills, I have seen him lift his hand and bid us hark. And when we had listened a moment, our eyes wide with wonder, he would turn and say in a low, half whispered tone S a swift.