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The Right of Way
by [?]

MR. EDWARD BOLTON had purchased himself a farm, and taken possession thereof. Once, while examining the premises, before deciding to buy, he had observed a light wagon moving along on the extreme south edge of the tract of land included in the farm, but it had occasioned no remark. It was late in the afternoon when he arrived with his family at their new home. On the morning that followed, while Mr. Bolton stood conversing with a farm-hand who had been on the place under the former owner, he observed the same vehicle passing across the portion of his land referred to.

“Whose wagon is that, Ben?” he asked, in the tone of a man who felt that another had trespassed upon his rights.

“It is Mr. Halpin’s,” was replied.

“Halpin, who owns the next farm?”

“Yes, sir.”

“He takes a liberty with my premises that I would not like to take with his,” said Mr. Bolton, who was annoyed by the circumstance. “And there he is himself, as I live! riding along over my ground as coolly as if it belonged to him. Verily, some men have the impudence of old Nick himself!”

“They always go by that road,” replied Ben; “at least, it has been so ever since I have worked on the farm. I think I once heard Mr. Jenkins, from whom you bought, tell somebody that Mr. Halpin’s farm had the right of way across this one.

“The right of way across my farm!” exclaimed Mr. Bolton, with strongly-marked surprise. “We’ll see about that! Come! go with me. I want to take a look at that part of my forty acres.”

And Mr. Bolton strode off, accompanied by Ben, to take more particular note of the extreme south edge of his beautiful tract of land. The shape of this tract was somewhat in the form of a triangle, with the apex at the southern boundary, near the verge of which ran a stream of water. Beyond this stream was a narrow strip of ground, some thirty feet wide, bounded by the fence enclosing the land belonging to another owner; (sic) it length was not more than two hundred feet. It was along this strip of ground that Mr. Bolton had observed the wagon of Mr. Halpin pass. The gate opening upon his premises was at one end, and now, for the first time, he discovered that there was a gate at the other end, opening from his farm to that of Mr. Halpin, while the ground was cut up with numerous wheel-tracks.

“Upon my word, this is all very fine!” said Mr. Bolton. “The right of way across my farm! we’ll see about that! Ben, do you get four good rails and put them firmly into the gate-posts on Mr. Halpin’s side. Throw the gate over into his field.”

Ben looked confounded at this order.

“Do you understand me?” said Mr. Bolton.

“Yes, sir; but”–

“But what?”

“There’s no other way for Mr. Halpin’s folks to get to the public road.”

“That’s none of my business; they’ve no right to make a public highway of these premises. You heard what I said?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then let it be done.”

“Obey orders, if you break owners,” muttered Ben, as Mr. Bolton turned and marched away with long and hasty strides. “But if there isn’t a nice tea-party somewhere about these diggins before to-morrow morning, my name isn’t Ben Johnson.”

Before reaching his house, Mr. Bolton’s excitement had cooled a trifle, and it came into his mind that possibly he might have acted a little hastily; but the order had been given to cut off the right of way, and he was not the man to “make back-tracks” in any thing.

“Do you see that, Edward?” said Mrs. Bolton, as her husband entered the house, pointing to a table on which stood a pitcher of sweet cream and two pounds of fresh butter. “Mrs. Halpin sent these over, with her compliments, this morning; isn’t it kind in her?”