Here to return to
LIFE ON A GREEN MOUNTAIN TOP
Tinkering the Road
WHATEVER road you travel in the remote New England town of Norton you are in the woods. Occasionally you come on a little farm in a stony clearing, but the diminutive fields are soon passed and then the interminable forest closes in again. A narrow-gauge railroad touches the eastern borders of the town, yet it does not affect the town life perceptibly, for it winds through a deep valley a thousand feet below the level of the scattered homes, and the highway that climbs up from the valley is a zigzag of the steepest sort which the mountain folk themselves avoid when they can. This road gullies badly in rains, and now and then portions of the bank on one side or the other slide down in the wheel-tracks, bringing with them a clump of trees and bushes that have to be cut away before the road is passable. If you go westerly over the range on whose top lies the town, you find another railroad and the large manufacturing village of Milldale, but it is a long distance thither, and the descent from the uplands is almost as violently steep as that on the east. To the north and south the routes are gentler, but these only conduct you to other little woodland towns situated, like Norton, on the broad mountain summit; and you toil over a never-ending upheaval of hills by roads often precipitous and stony, and interrupted by countless thank-you-marms.
Norton township contains no village. It has not even a store. The post-office is in a farm-house, and there are three mails a week. The butcher, the baker, and the grocer make no rounds and most of the trading is done at Milldale; yet the hard journey to the valley is undertaken so seldom that whoever drives down is pretty sure to be intrusted with many errands by the neighbors. The town hall at Norton is in the heart of the woods, hemmed in on every side, and there is no other building in sight. A mile farther on is the church, on the borders of a very considerable open that forms the domain of a lone farm-house just over a ridge out of sight.
The town has two widely separated schoolhouses — the “White” and the “Holler.” The former is on a hilltop where four roads meet. For ten or fifteen years the building has been painted brown, but previously it had always been white, and the name has remained, though the color has changed. It is snuggled in the edge of a bushy wood, facing some ragged pastures and cultivated fields. Close by is a neglected cemetery, full of tottering and fallen stones, which nature is fast enveloping in weeds and bushes, and down the hill are two houses. From the height where the school building is perched can be seen several other cleared patches amid the forest and a number of homes “Martin’s, Jake’s, Dan’s, Elihu’s,” etc. The mountain people do not use surnames, nor on ordinary occasions do they have use for Mr., Mrs., or Miss. When a recent teacher from a distance took charge of the “Holler” schoolhouse, and, unwitting of the ways of the hill folks, addressed certain of the girls who were as large, if not as old, as she, with the prefix of Miss, they were offended. It seemed to them she was putting on airs.
The Holler schoolhouse is buried much more completely in the woods than the White schoolhouse. The wild berry vines and the bushes have overgrown all the space about except a narrow strip in front next the road.
At the Schoolhouse Door
Immediately beyond the highway is a swift, noisy little river, and beyond that the forest again. The children are very fond of the stream, and, during the barefoot days of warm weather they are always wading and paddling about in it. The bottom is full of slippery stones, and not infrequently a child will souse in all over and have to go home to dry off.
The teacher sweeps out after school, and she comes early enough in the morning to start the fire, though it has sometimes happened, when she was later than usual, that the boys have crawled in through window and started it. The windows are supposed to be fastened, but as the fastening consists of nails the teacher sticks in above the sash, an entrance is easily forced.
The teacher boards a mile up the river, and the road she traverses is for the whole distance through the damp, cool woods with the crystal trout stream singing along beside it. She has to carry her dinner, as do all her scholars, for none of them live near enough to go home at noon.
Norton’s wealth, such as it is, depends almost entirely on forest craft; and the chief factor in determining the worth of a farm is the character of its woodland. Spruce is the most valuable timber, with fir, or “balsam” as it is called, pine, and hemlock following after. Beech and maple are plenty, but the price hardwood brings scarcely repays the expense of getting it out. As for cord wood, large towns are too far distant to allow its profitable marketing. Of the crops that can be grown, potatoes seem best adapted to the mountain soil, but the ground is rough and inclined to bogginess. Worst of all, it is full of stones, and though vast quantities are carted off and dumped out of the way or made into stone walls, the plough every year brings up more. Where a ledge is encountered, or a boulder too large to move, cairns of loose stones are likely to be piled around it, and among the débris grow clumps of bushes and perhaps a wild apple tree or two.
Few of the upland inhabitants seemed to be admirers of their environment. In the words of one of them, who declared he expressed the general opinion, “It’s a poor place, poor homes, poor everything, and the people here now are only waiting for a decent chance to sell out and get away.”
buyers are scarce, and it has to be a farm of exceptional merits that will
bring more than a thousand dollars with the house and barn thrown in. One of
the latest sales was of a place of two hundred and fifty acres. Some good
woodland was included, but the buildings were practically worthless. It was
sold for taxes, which at the rate of two and one-fourth percent had accumulated
until the whole amounted to sixty dollars. When these had been deducted from
the sum realized, and a three hundred dollar mortgage had been liquidated, only
forty dollars remained.
A Trout Stream
In accord with the mountains’ most flourishing industry, sawmills occur at intervals on every vigorous stream weatherworn, unpainted structures with a great penstock bringing water from the darn above, and round about them a chaos of logs, piles of boards, slabs, sawdust, and rubbish. Sometimes this litter of lumber does not keep to the mill site, but is strewn along the road for half a mile.
While I was in Norton a portable sawmill was set up far back from the highway in the woods, and one dull morning I paid it a visit. The mist enveloped the uplands and made the forest vistas soft and mysterious. It was the first of June, and in the wet ravine were lady’s-slippers coming into bloom, and there were enough Jack-in-the-pulpits along the forest path I followed to supply all the vernal congregations for miles around. Where the woods had been cut off were sometimes jungles of high-bush blackberries, or thickets of wild cherry snowed over with blossoms; but the ordinary undergrowth was apt to be largely composed of hobble-bush, whose straggling branches, with their tendency to form loops by taking root, give the bush its name and make it a great nuisance to the lumbermen. It was still full of white flower clusters, though these were past their prime.
In a mountain hollow, which a long-undisturbed spruce wood kept in high-columned twilight, I found the sawmill. It was a rude framework, with a broad roof over the portion that contained the engine. Work had just begun, and as yet only a small space right about the mill had been cleared, but the whole tract would be laid low and sawed during the summer. After the lumbermen had finished, the land would be valueless, unless some farmer would give a few dollars for it with the idea of burning the brush, and converting the denuded forest into pasturage. With the fine growth of spruce still standing it was worth sixty or seventy dollars an acre, which was probably as much as any tract in town would bring, and certainly exceeded by far the worth of any cultivated farm land.
When I left the sawmill in the woods I took another route than that by which I carne, and presently walked out into a rough pasture. There I met a barefoot little girl going homeward, with her hands full of painted trillium — “pappooses,” she called them. We went on together, and after I had to some extent succeeded in overcoming her shyness, she told me the names of the flowers we saw along the way, among the rest — “swamp cheese,” foam flower, white and blue violets, and “shads,” more familiar to me as “shad-blows.” The first of the list was the azalea, as yet only in bud.
I asked the little girl if she liked living in Norton, and she replied she did; but she knew very little about other places. Once her father had taken her and her brother to the circus in Milldale, and it was plain from what she said that both the circus and the town itself had seemed quite wonderful. The numerous houses, the many streets, and the crowds of people, however, were bewildering; and she was glad when they got home after a long night drive up the mountain and through the dark woods.
“Would you like a cud of gum?” inquired the girl at length, fumbling in her pocket and producing several brown lumps. “I got it off a spruce tree near where I picked the pappooses.”
“Does every one call the gum they chew a cud?” I questioned.
“No, some say a chaw, and some say a quid, but the children at school mostly says a cud.”
“What is that bird we hear singing now — or whistling — one low note and several high notes?” I asked.
“A fiddler bird, the teacher calls it,” was the response. “Teacher says it says, ‘Here I come fiddling, fiddling’; and the children at school they say it says, ‘Rejoice and be glad,’ and teacher says the robins say, ‘Ephraim Gillet, the sky is skillet, scour it bright, scour it clean.’”
The fiddler bird, or white-throated sparrow, to which we had been listening, visits most parts of New England only in its spring and autumn migrations, but it is a summer bird in the mountains, and I often heard its ringing whistle. Some fancy it cries, “I, I, peabody, peabody,” whence comes still another of its names — peabody bird. None of our songsters has a call more powerful and individual.
My companion informed me she had looked out the back door early that morning, and a deer was feeding in plain view on the edge of the woods. This seemed a very natural incident when I saw the situation of the house. It was a little brown dwelling, amid some meagre, forest-girded fields, and was out of sight of all travel, at the end of a grassy byway. The seclusion was complete. There were only three in the family, and I found the other two members the father and a small boy loading a wagon with evergreen boughs that had been piled about the base of the house during the winter to keep out the cold.
I spoke with them, and after a short chat the man suggested we should go indoors. Accordingly we adjourned to the kitchen, where he spent an hour entertaining me. The room was in much disorder. There was litter and grime everywhere, and the remains of the breakfast and the unwashed dishes were still on the table, although it was nearly noon. The ceiling was stained with leakage, and two or three great patches of plastering had fallen, while the floor was uneven, and so worn that the knots and nails stood up in warty eminences all over it. Through an open door at the rear of the kitchen I could see out into a shed a gloomy apartment, hung about with garments and rags, pieces of harness, tools, and accumulations of household wreckage. Under foot was a scattering of stove wood, mostly tough and knotty sticks, that looked as if they had escaped the fire because they resisted splitting so strenuously. Horace Stogy that was my host’s name was not a very forehanded farmer, and if he had sufficient stove wood for immediate needs he took no anxious thought for the morrow.
Mr. Stogy proved to be a musical enthusiast, and soon produced a beloved “fiddle” to show me. It was a really fine instrument, and he played it with delicacy and feeling. He also possessed a piano — the only one in town. It stood next the kitchen sink, with its legs protected from damage by newspapers tied around them. Some of the strings were broken, Mr. Stogy said, and he did not use it much anyway. His wife, when she was alive, was quite a hand to play on it, but he was no pianist himself, and only “played chords,” an accomplishment which I found was common among the mountain folks in such houses as had an organ in the sitting room. It consisted in fingering a tune by ear and striking keys which were in harmony with the air, though entirely independent of the printed notes.
During the winter Mr. Stogy was in considerable demand to furnish music at the dances. For his services he received three or four dollars each time. The participants in the dances were apt to be of the ruder sort, and there was some drinking and roistering, and the parties did not break up until the gray light of morning began to steal across the snowy uplands. Serious-minded church members kept aloof from this form of merrymaking; “but I can tell you,” was one person’s comment, “if they was to go they’d hurt the dances a good deal more than the dances would hurt them.”
Nearly all the homes I saw in Norton were in many ways akin to Mr. Stogy’s. There was very little care about appearances. Few of them were painted, and dilapidation was not by any means uncharacteristic of the majority. The surroundings were unsightly, and rubbish gathered where it would. Barns and sheds were rarely substantial. Usually they were loosely constructed, and had a tendency to totter into early ruin. Some of the houses had the stagings on the roofs that had been there ever since they were last shingled, years before. This looked shiftless, though I must confess the stagings might be convenient when the time came to shingle again.
The only new house I observed was one started a year or two previously that had come to a stop half done; but whether its owner desisted because he had exhausted his energy or his credit, I did not learn. The ground around was upheaved just as it had been left when the cellar was dug. The roof was on and the sheathing, but the building was not clapboarded, and no lathing or plastering had been done inside. Yet the family had moved in and had taken as a boarder the teacher of the “White” schoolhouse that is painted brown. A well-worn path led from the dwelling down to a stream in the hollow, a few rods distant, where there was a dipping-place, and thence was brought the household supply of water. At most homes spring-water flowed in pipes directly into the house, or at least to a tub in the yard, though other instances were not lacking where families carried the water by hand from some natural source, very likely quite a walk distant.
Grandpa gives the Boys some Good Advice
The interior aspect of the Norton houses I thought better than the exterior, and the sitting room in particular usually had touches of attraction and of homely comfort. An odd feature of the older houses was a cat-hole puncturing the wall low down at one side of the kitchen door. A shingle suspended on a single nail closed the hole to the weather, and swung back of itself into place after a cat had pushed it aside and crept through. One house I visited had a second cat-hole which gave access to the sitting room from the kitchen; but this was uncommon, and as a rule the cats only had free run of the latter apartment.
Here and there on the Norton hilltops could be found grass-grown mounds and excavations, accompanied perhaps by the wreck of an old stone chimney, showing where once had been a home; yet enough houses have been built to replace those that have gone. The town has not decreased in population, as have most rural towns in New England. It was settled late barely a hundred years ago — and it has never passed the pioneer stage. It is still a backwoods town, and continues, as in the past, largely dependent on its forest industries. When the woodlands are exhausted, as it seems probable they will be soon, grazing and dairying may in some form be found profitable; but it is not unlikely that a considerable fraction of the inhabitants will seek some more favored section. In that event the forest will take to itself many of the now open fields and pastures, effacing, so far as it can, the memory of man with his devastating axe, and attempting to restore the uplands to their former sylvan solitude.
Another possibility is that Norton will fare as has the mountain town neighboring it to the south, where the old inhabitants have to a great extent sold their places to foreigners from Milldale and gone away. The “Polacks,” Jews, French, “Eyetalians,” etc., who have moved in, attracted by the fact that they “can buy a farm for little or nothing,” are not a very desirable class. They “live like pigs,” and are often the worse for liquor; but they spend so little for their living expenses that they are, comparatively speaking, prosperous. Some of the run-down Yankees who remain are more disreputable than the foreigners — drinking, swearing, worthless decadents, strangely shiftless and irresponsible. I was told of one nondescript family of this class that had recently sold a sleigh. Before the buyer carne for it they had a chance to sell again and did so. In each case they got their pay, and when man number two discovered the situation, he demanded his money within twenty-four hours, or he would have them arrested. That night the household packed up their goods and wended their way to another state.
One finds among the mountain dwellers not a few peculiar developments of individuality to which the seclusion of the thinly settled upland adds its own flavor. For instance, there was Dr. Podden. He lived in a little house he had built for himself off on a rough wood road, and he escaped taxes by refusing to pay them unless the town opened up a highway to his place. He was a forest hermit of whom the world saw little. Gathering gum was his chief employment, but he made some sort of a salve which he sold among the neighbors, and this gave him the title of doctor. He was tall and dark, with a grizzly beard, and was reputed to be “part Injun.”
The Rain-water Barrel
Another man out of the common was Blind Cripton. He boarded in a family with whom he had been for many years, but he was not a dependant and made his living by peddling. He could go about the home town and several mountain towns adjoining, by himself, and he always knew when he came to a house. As he plodded along he tapped the ground before him with a long cane, and he had a curious habit of touching the knob of the cane to the end of his nose at frequent intervals, as if this, in some occult fashion, helped him to find his way. His hearing was remarkably acute, and it was never safe to whisper in his presence expecting he would not catch what was said. He could even tell to what family a child belonged by the sound of its voice.
His wares were small articles like thread, needles, pins, stockings, cough cures, candies, etc. He was a man of serious thought and liked to talk about medicine and history and religion; but his views on the last topic were not very welcome in most homes, for he was an aggressive and extreme non-believer. In his wanderings Blind Cripton of course lodged and took his meals at the farm-houses. He had a keen antipathy to ‘pork and would have naught to do with anything that contained what he called “squeal-grease,” and though very partial to dandelion greens, yet if they had been cooked with pork he would not partake. In fact, he always carried along a supply of crackers in his bag, and nibbled those if he was not suited with the food at the places where he stopped.
A more pleasing type than either of these two men was Mrs. Flanagan, one of the town’s poor. She was not wholly dependent and she still lived in her own house a tiny gray dwelling down a steep hill from the road, on the far side of a mowing field. As you saw it from the highway it seemed lost among the vast billowing hills of green forest that rose around. You noticed, too, that the little group of buildings looked strangely barren — almost as if they were deserted. Fifteen years ago Mrs. Flanagan’s husband went out to an apple tree behind the house and hung himself. From that time on she and her daughter Martha carried on the farm. Then the daughter’s health began to fail. A cancer was eating her life away, and toward the last she became a helpless invalid. Finally she died, and the mother struggled on alone, often in dire want, until the town officers, realizing that in her feeble age she was not fitted to support herself, took her and her farm in charge, and drove away her few cows. They would have put her in some family to board, but to such an arrangement she would not agree; and in a desultory way the officials care for her in the little gray house. They furnish her cord-wood and she saws it. When the supply fails, as has happened once or twice, she goes to the woods and hacks off dead branches and drags them home. The selectmen were intending to shingle the dwelling presently, and the shingles were ready in the shed. Meanwhile the roof leaked badly, and in heavy rains the water came down as through a sieve. The lone inmate had even been compelled to get up on stormy nights and move her bed to escape the dripping from above.
She was a timid woman, and she suffered a good deal from fright during the long nights after Martha died. This fear has gradually subsided, but she always locks up early and rarely burns a light. Her only constant companions now are her three cats, and the favorite of these is a yellow cat that she thinks resembles a woodchuck, and so is not a little worried lest some one should make a mistake and shoot it.
The neighbors frequently visit her, for she is a gentle old soul and they are fond of her. They bring her good things to eat that her own cooking and lean larder will not be likely to supply, and they bring her flowers. She does not much care for the latter. Her mind is of too practical a turn to take much pleasure in what is merely pretty and in no way useful. It is a far greater satisfaction to get reading matter. She is especially interested in the local newspapers, and likes to read all there is in them except the murders.
Before I left Norton, I, too, visited Mrs. Flanagan and sat for a half-hour in her tiny kitchen. She apologized because it was “so dirty,” though in reality it was very neat and clean. Yet it was not as it had been when Martha was alive. Then they kept everything scoured “as white as snow.” It was a curious apartment — no plastering, no wall-paper, but sides and ceiling all roughly sheathed with unpainted smoke-darkened boards. There was a small stove, a table, a few chairs, and on a shelf a great wooden clock. Mrs. Flanagan herself sat in a rocking-chair tucked back in a corner. She was frail and white-haired, and wore heavy-bowed, old-fashioned spectacles.
From where she sat the road up the hill was in plain sight. She never walked that far, but she rarely failed to see every one who passed or who turned into the lot on their way to make her a call. The approach to the house was very “sideling,” and such of her visitors as come in a team usually tie the horse to the bushes on the borders of the road. She lives alone and probably she will die alone, and when the neighbors intending to call get within sight of the house they always watch to see if the smoke is rising from the chimney. Some of them would turn back if it were not, fearful that the little gray dwelling in the hollow had at last lost its tenant.
One phase of life on this New England mountain top was wholly new to me and unexpected — illicit distilling was carried on in Norton. Two or three families in different sections of the town were mentioned as engaged in the business, and it was said they smuggled off their liquor at night concealed in loads of wood or hay to a town in the lowlands. I asked one of the town residents what he knew personally of this distilling, and he said: “Well, I’ve seen little streaks of smoke trickling up through the trees from Scates’s woods, and I’ve been down through there and found coals and ashes and lead pipe. Old man Scates nearly died last year from drinking cider brandy he’d distilled through lead piping.”
My informant was of the opinion that brandy was to some extent illicitly manufactured in all cider regions. If the country was not wooded and lonely enough to afford good hiding for the plant, the liquor was produced in a still set up in the house cellar; and the distillers responded to awkward inquiries by saying that they boiled the swill down there.
I was in Norton over Sunday. It was a doubtful, threatening day, a fit successor to a long spell of showery, befogged days preceding. Shortly after breakfast I heard some one at the kitchen door talking with my landlady. The conversation had begun with her remarking, “Well, Jim, what’s the news this morning?” to which he had responded, “Nothing much worth lyin’ about.”
I looked out the window and saw a lank, long-haired youth standing at the threshold. He was evidently afflicted with a bad cold and my landlady made some sympathetic reference to the fact. “Yes, Mrs. Smithers,” he said as he blew his nose violently, “and it takes all my time to keep my ventilator open. I wish you would pray the Lord for good weather.”
“Hmph!” responded Mrs. Smithers, this weather ain’t any o’ the Lord’s doin’s. I’m goin’ to get a ladder and go up in the sky and whack the devil in the head — then we’ll have a change, I guess.”
“Well, I must be trottin’ along,” said the man. “Most folks lay off on Sunday, but you know I’m away from home workin’ all the week jus’ now, and Sunday’s the only chance I get to tend to my garden.”
“And do you expect things’ll grow that you start on Sunday?”
“Why, cert! Don’t make no diff’rence about the day. You’d ought to see my ineyuns that I planted Sunday, two weeks ago finest-lookin’ ineyuns I ever set eyes on.”
“But what does your wife say?”
“She don’t say nothin’, ‘cause she knows it’s necessary so’t she and the children’ll have somethin’ to live on. I tell you gettin’ married knocked a lot o’ money out’n me. Before I was married I didn’t have to work but half the time, and had money in my pocket, and could dress right up to the handle. Now I have to work all the time, and can’t keep out o’ debt — and jus’ look at my clo’es!”
With that he shambled away, blowing his nose as he went.
TAKING CARE OF THE BABY
Later in the morning the warm sunshine glinted through the clouds, and I decided to attend church. The way thither was along a shadowed valley road delightful with damp, woodsy odors and the mellow rustle of a near-by stream hurrying over the stones that strewed its channel. I found Deacon Tanner standing on the meeting-house steps a labor-worn, elderly man, who greeted me with hearty cordiality. He was the chief pillar of the church, and contributed one dollar weekly to its support.
I looked at my watch. Eleven o’clock just service time. But the Deacon said, “There’s no one here yet,” and we chatted at the door for a half-hour before he suggested that we go inside. He told me the story of the church. It had been erected largely through his efforts. Thirty years ago the town was churchless. “I was always a Baptist,” he said, “and there was one other Baptist family in the town at that time, and several Universalists, and, what was worse, a number of Spiritualists. When we began to think of having a church, we held Sabbath services in the town hall. That stirred up the Spiritualists, and sometimes they’d get into the town hall ahead of us, and they’d have a meeting and we wouldn’t.”
But it seemed that the Baptists had the most staying power, and in the end, with outside assistance, they put up a fifteen hundred dollar building, and started off with a goodly attendance and a very fair list of members. “I suppose that you would be satisfied with just sprinkling,” remarked the Deacon in conclusion, eying me in the hope he was mistaken, but that wouldn’t suit me at all.”
The baptisms take place in a pool below a bridge a half-mile distant. Whenever any baptizing is to be done the banks in the vicinity are lined by a crowd largely made up of those outside the fold, to whom the ceremony presents a strange and entertaining spectacle. Some of the ungodly have been known to improve the occasion by going up stream and “kicking up a rile,” but there is no serious disturbance. The congregation at Norton church on the day I attended numbered eleven. We had all walked, and, judging from the weedy earth in the line of horse-sheds, few ever came in teams. A preacher was lacking. The last minister, by holding a service here in the morning and at a village three or four miles away in the afternoon, had earned seven dollars a week. All went well until he became too insistent in his efforts to heal the various antipathies that existed among the members of his flock. He took sides, and tried to bring about harmony by force. He even proclaimed that he would expel a certain member from the church unless he did as he ought; and a large congregation gathered for several Sundays to witness the threatened expulsion. But, instead, the minister left.
It was customary now for those who came to join in a Christian Endeavor service and then in a Sunday‑school. They formed a kind of family party as I saw them. There was the Deacon, his wife, a son, two daughters, one of them married and accompanied by her husband and little girl, and a young man and his sister, also related to the Deacon, but not so closely as the others. The teacher of the “White” school‑house and I represented the outsiders.
The Lonely Little Church
The church interior was very simple — a low platform and desk pulpit, a cabinet organ, two rows of settees, a big stove, and, on the rear wall, a clock that punctuated the quiet with ponderous ticking. One or two patches of ceiling had fallen, and the plastering was everywhere cracked into an irregular mosaic and looked as if a slight shock would bring it all rattling down. The Endeavor meeting was of the usual pattern, with singing for its most prominent feature; but there was no lack of remarks, Bible readings, and prayers, and every one took a part in these, with the exception of the outsiders and the Deacon’s little granddaughter. The organ was played by the school-teacher, and all sang with fervor, though each quite independent of the rest as to time and harmony.
With the beginning of Sunday-school the Deacon went to the platform, and put some questions in connection with a gaudy-colored picture on a wall roll. “What is this, thar?” he would inquire, and point with his eye-glasses, reaching up on tiptoe, for the picture hung high. The wall roll illustrated each lesson for an interval of three months. They found it helpful, and voted to buy another for the next quarter, at an expense of seventy-five cents, after being assured by the treasurer that while not enough money was then in the treasury, there probably would be by the time they had to pay for the roll. For detailed consideration of the day’s lesson we divided into two classes. The Deacon’s son had charge of one, and the unmarried daughter of the other. The latter’s charge consisted of the granddaughter, who preserved a discreet silence on most of the questions propounded, so that the teacher had to answer them herself. In the larger class we went faithfully through the mechanics of the lesson as printed in the lesson quarterlies, and then, duty done, the Sunday-school united in a closing song. Now that the religious exercises of the day were concluded, the congregation left the meeting-house, and loitered homeward, conversing, on wholly secular subjects, as if the church services had not been.
I had found it all very interesting, and could not but respect those who had built the little church, and were keeping it alive. With the Deacon, to be sure, his particular form of religion was his hobby and chief pleasure, but at the same time there was something fine in his persistent labor and sacrifice for it; and, lacking his support, it seems quite probable that this Green Mountain top would again become churchless.
A Home-made Lumber Wagon