My father's house was indeed a pleasant home; and father was the

supreme guide of his own household. He was gentle, but he could he

firm and resolute when the case demanded. Mother was the sunshine of

our little garden of love; her talents and energy gave her influence;

and united to a man like father, she was all that is loveable in the

character of woman.


But th
dear old home, where I grew from infancy to boyhood, and from

boyhood to youth, I shall never forget. It was a large house on the

slope of a hill, just high enough to overlook several miles of our

level country, and smooth enough with its soft grassy carpet for us to

roll down from the summit to the foot of the hill. At the back of the

house was another hill, where we used to roll under the shade of the

old elm, and where Miles and I would sit whole afternoons and fly the

kite, each taking turns in bolding the string. This was a happy place

for us, and especially in the spring time, when the happy looking

cows grazed along the pathway which winds around the elm to the stream

where Kate and I used to sail my little boat. All summer long this

place was vocal with the songs of birds, which built their nests in

safety among the tall trees of the grove in the rear of the farm. We

had also the music of the running brook, and the pleasant hum of my

father's cotton mill, which brought us in our daily bread. Haying time

was always a happy season for us boys. Father's two horses, "_Dick_"

and "_Bonny_" would take off the farm as large a load of hay as any in

the village.

Years past on, and we were a happy band of brothers and sisters. After

Kate, came the twins, Margaret and Herbert, and last of all came the

youngest darling, blue eyed Dora. We had a happy childhood. Our

station in the world was high enough to enable us to have all the

harmless pleasures and studies that were useful and actually necessary

to boys and girls of our station. Father always thought that it was

better in early youth not to force the boys to too hard study, and

mother loved best to see Kate and Margaret using the fingers in

fabricating garments, than in playing the harp. We were free, happy,

roving children on father's farm, unchained by the forms of

fashionable life. We had no costly dresses to spoil, and were

permitted to play in the green fields without a servant's eye, and to

bathe in the clear shallow stream without fear of drowning. As I have

said before, these were happy days; and when I think of them gone, I

often express my regret that we did not improve them more for the

cultivation of the mind and the affections. In the next story you will

see that there were some passing clouds in our early summer days.