This etext was created by Charles Aldarondo (Aldarondo@yahoo)
LESSONS IN LIFE, FOR ALL WHO WILL READ THEM.
"WE are never too old to learn;" is a truism that cannot be repeated too often, if, in the repetition, we do not lose the force of the sentiment. In fact, at every stage of existence we are learners; and, if we (sic) con the lessons well that are written in the great Book of Human Life, wide open before us, we will be wiser and happier. To make the study easier for some, the Stories in this little volume have been written. They present a few marked phases in life, and the lessons taught are worthy of thoughtful consideration.
"STORIES FOR PARENTS" will speedily follow this volume, and make the eighth in our "LIBRARY FOR THE HOUSEHOLD."
THE RIGHT OF WAY.
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?"
"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"-
"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?"
"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
"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?"
Mrs. Bolton's countenance was glowing with pleasure.
"I always heard that she was a neighbourly, good woman," added Mrs. Bolton.
"I don't think much of her husband," returned Mr. Bolton, coldly, as he passed from the room after pausing there for only a moment. He could not look at the lumps of golden butter and the pitcher of cream without feeling rebuked, and so he got away as quickly as possible.
"Have you done as I directed?" said Mr. Bolton, with knit brows, on meeting Ben, some time afterwards, returning from the part of the farm where he had left him.
"Yes, sir," was the answer of Ben.
"What did you do with the gate?"
"I threw it into the field, as you told me."
"You didn't break it?"
"There'll be trouble, Mr. Bolton," said Ben.
"How do you know?"
"Mr. Halpin's a very determined man."
"So am I," replied Mr. Bolton.
"Mr. Dix says the right of way belongs to Mr. Halpin, and no mistake."
"When did he say so?"
"Just now. He came down from his house, when he saw me at work, and asked what I was doing; and when I told him, he said you were wrong, and would only get yourself into trouble; that Mr. Halpin's farm had the right of way through yours."
"Tell Mr. Dix, when you see him again, not to meddle in my affairs," replied Mr. Bolton. "I am entirely competent to manage them myself; I want no assistance."