Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Farmer Eli’s Vacation
by [?]

“I wouldn’t say much to father,” whispered Hattie to her mother, as they parted for the night. “He feels it more ‘n we do.”

“Well, I s’pose he is some tired,” said Mrs. Pike, acquiescing, after a brief look of surprise. “It’s a good deal of a jaunt, but I dunno but I feel paid a’ready. Should you take out your hair-pins, Hattie?”

She slept soundly and vocally, but her husband did not close his eyes. He looked, though he could see nothing, through the opening in the tent, in the direction where lay the sea, solemnly clamorous, eternally responsive to some infinite whisper from without his world. The tension of the hour was almost more than he could bear; he longed for morning, in sharp suspense, with a faint hope that the light might bring relief. Just as the stars faded, and one luminous line pencilled the east, he rose, smoothed his hair, and stepped softly out upon the beach. There he saw two shadowy figures, Sereno and Hattie. She hurried forward to meet him.

“You goin’ to see the sunrise, too, father?” she asked. “I made Sereno come. He’s awful mad at bein’ waked up.”

Eli grasped her arm.

“Hattie,” he said, in a whisper, “don’t you tell. I jest come out to see how ’twas here, before I go. I’m goin’ home,–I’m goin’ now.”

“Why, father!” said Hattie; but she peered more closely into his face, and her tone changed. “All right,” she added, cheerfully. “Sereno’ll go and harness up.”

“No; I’m goin’ to walk.”

“But, father–“

“I don’t mean to breakup your stayin’ here, nor your mother’s. You tell her how ’twas. I’m goin’ to walk.”

Hattie turned and whispered to her husband for a moment. Then she took her father’s hand.

“I’ll slip into the tent and put you up somethin’ for your breakfast and luncheon,” she said. “Sereno’s gone to harness; for, pa, you must take one horse, and you can send Luke back with it Friday, so’s we can get the things home. What do we want of two horses down here, at two and ninepence a day? I guess I know!”

So Eli yielded; but before his wife appeared, he had turned his back on the sea, where the rose of dawn was fast unfolding. As he jogged homeward, the dusty roadsides bloomed with flowers of paradise, and the insects’ dry chirp thrilled like the song of angels. He drove into the yard just at the turning of the day, when the fragrant smoke of many a crackling fire curls cheerily upward, in promise of the evening meal.

“What’s busted?” asked Luke, swinging himself down from his load of fodder-corn, and beginning to unharness Doll.

“Oh, nothin’,” said Eli, leaping, from the wagon as if twenty years had been taken from his bones. “I guess I’m too old for such jaunts. I hope you didn’t forgit them cats.”