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A Hero of Ticonderoga by Rowland E. Robinson

To take up a right of land hereabouts


By

noon the clearing was occupied by none but its usual tenants, and, henceforth, though they suffered frequent apprehension of further trouble, they were not molested by any New York claimants.

CHAPTER VIII--A NOVEL BEAR TRAP

"You don't know of anybody hereabouts that wants to hire a good hand, I s'pose?" asked a stranger one August afternoon, as, without unslinging his pack, he set his gun against the log wall beside the door, and leaned upon his axe at the threshold.

By degrees Seth Beeman had enlarged his clearing so far that he already needed stronger hands than Nathan's to help him in the care of the land already in tilth and in the further extension of his betterments, but he scanned the man closely before he answered. Though unprepossessing, low-browed, and surly looking, he was evidently a stout fellow, and accustomed to work. At length a reply was made by asking such questions as were a matter of course in those days, and are not yet quite obsolete in Yankeeland.

The stranger readily said his name was Silas Toombs, that he was from Jersey way, and wished, when he had earned enough, to take up a right of land hereabouts, in a region he had often heard extolled by his father, who had served here in Captain Bergen's company of Rogers's Rangers. Seth had previously ascertained that no grown-up son of

any of his neighbors could be spared to help him, so he finally hired this man, who proved to be efficient and faithful, although not a genial companion, such as an old-time farmer wished to find in his hired help. Ruth treated him with the kindness so natural to her, though she could scarcely conceal her aversion. This, if he understood, he did not seem to notice any more than he did the undisguised dislike of Nathan.

The remainder of the summer and half of the fall passed uneventfully, till one day, when Ruth had been called to the bedside of Mrs. Newton, who was ill of the fever so prevalent in new clearings, Nathan and his sister were left in charge of the house, while their father and hired man worked in a distant field.

The children spent half the pleasant forenoon in alternate rounds of housework and out-door play, now sweeping the floor with hemlock brooms, now running out into the hazy October sunshine to play "Indians" with Nathan's bow and arrows and Martha's rag doll. This was stolen and carried into captivity, from which it was rescued by its heroic little mother. Then they threw off their assumed characters and ran into the house to replenish the smouldering fire, and to find that the sunshine, falling upon the floor through the window, was creeping towards the "noon mark," making it time to begin dinner.

Nathan raised the heavy trap-door to the cellar and descended the ladder, with butcher knife and pewter plate, to get the pork, but had barely got the cover off the barrel when he was recalled to the upper world by a loud cry from his sister:


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