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Ida Hauchawout
by [?]

I

SHE is identified in my mind, and always will be somehow, with the country in which I first saw her, a land, as it were, of milk and honey. When I think of her and the dreary, commonplace, brown farm-house, in a doorway of which I first saw her framed, and later of the wee, but cleanly, cabin in which I saw her lying at rest, I think of smooth green hills that rise in noble billows, of valleys so wide and deep that they could hold a thousand cottage farms, of trees that were globe-like from being left unharried by the winds, of cattle red and black and white and black, great herds dotting the hills, and of barns so huge that they looked more like great hangars for flying-machines than storehouses for hay and grain. Yes, everywhere was plenty, rich fields of wheat and corn and rye and oats, with here and there specializing farmers who grew only tomatoes or corn or peas or ran dairies, men who somehow seemed to grow richer than the others.

And then I think of “Fred” Hauchawout, her father, a man who evidently so styled himself, for the name was painted in big black letters over the huge door of his great red barn. This Hauchawout was a rude, crude, bear-like soul, stocky, high-booted, sandy-haired, gray-eyed and red-skinned, as well as inhospitable. He was clad always, on Sunday and every other day, so I heard, in worn brown overalls and jumper. In short, he was one of those dreadful, tramping, laboring grubs who gather and gather and gather, sparing no least grain for pleasure by the way; and having so done, dying and leaving it all to children who have been alienated in youth and care no least whit whether their forebear is alive or dead, nor for anything save the goods which belike he has been able to amass. But in this latter sense Hauchawout was no huge success, either. He was too limited in his ideas to do more than hide or reinvest in land or cattle or bank his moderate earnings at a low rate of interest. He was quoted locally as living up to his assertion that “no enimel gets fet py me,” and he was known far and wide for having the thinnest and boniest and hardestworked horses and cows in the neighborhood, from which he extracted the last ounce of labor and the last gill of milk.