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STORY OF ANOTHER PIONEER

BY C. B. STEBBINS
June 7, 1882.


Time: Half a century ago, more or less. Scene: Within five miles of the highest habitable spot among the Green Mountains. Season: Mid-winter; and some of my hearers know that there is no fooling by a winter in Vermont. There was a small boy who had heard of the West; and he wondered where and what it was. He often heard his father speak of a brother of whom he had heard nothing for twenty years. The last he heard of him, he had "gone off west; " and the reasonable presumption was that he was dead. One day, when the snow lay three to four feet deep in the fields, he returned from school, did his chores, and was seated by the first cast-iron stove ever brought into the village, when sleigh-bells were heard; and they stopped at our door. A knock. "Come in. " That was the usual response to a knock in those days. Door bells and carpets, there were none in that part of the country. Our visitors are an elderly gentleman and lady and two young men. With the usual "good evening" they took seats, and evident embarrassment pervaded the entire company. A deep silence reigned. The weather, even, had lost its power as a topic for remark. Our wonder who they were was at its maximum. At length, however, the gentleman inquired: "Are you Mr. Stebbins ?" "That is my name. " Another pause. "Had you a brother from whom you have heard nothing for many years ?" "I had; but I have heard nothing from him since we were young men. ' "And do you suppose he is not now living?" "Not unless you are the man. "

Michigan


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