I Had My Newspaper, But
Seeing Him In That Overflowing Mood I Responded Readily
Enough, For I Was Curious To Know Why He Appeared So Happy And
Who And What He Was.
Not a tradesman nor a bagman, and not a
farmer, though he looked like an open-air man; nor could I
form a guess from his speech and manner as to his native
A robust man of thirty-eight or forty, with blue eyes
and a Saxon face, he looked a thorough Englishman, and yet he
struck me as most un-English in his lively, almost eager
manner, his freedom with a stranger, and something, too, in
his speech. From time to time his face lighted up, when,
looking to the window, his eyes rested on some pretty scene - a
glimpse of stately old elm trees in a field where cattle were
grazing, of the vivid green valley of a chalk stream, the
paler hills beyond, the grey church tower or spire of some
tree-hidden village. When he discovered that these hills and
streams and rustic villages had as great a charm for me as for
himself, that I knew and loved the two or three places he
named in a questioning way, he opened his heart and the secret
of his present happiness.
He was a native of the district, born at a farmhouse of which
his father in succession to his grandfather had been the
tenant. It was a small farm of only eighty-five acres, and as
his father could make no more than a bare livelihood out of
it, he eventually gave it up when my informant was but three
years old, and selling all he had, emigrated to Australia.
Nine years later he died, leaving a numerous family poorly
provided for; the home was broken up and boys and girls had to
go out and face the world.
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