Higher Up

Change for Thomas—James’s Interest—Twenty-one—Emigration to Michigan—James must Run Farm in place of Thomas—A Lonely Cabin—The Scenery about James’s Home—Speculation and Thomas in Michigan—James Runs the Farm—Poverty and Happiness —Hardships—Ignorance is Bliss—Work is not Hardship for James—Exchanging Work—Pioneers Need Wisdom—Change of Fourteen Years—Efficiency of James on the Farm—The Farm his Teacher—George Stephenson—Manhood Developing—Thoughts of an Education—Man Devising, God Directing his Steps

“Hallo, Jim! now you’ll have to be a farmer in earnest, for I am going to Michigan,” said Thomas, as he returned from Cleveland. “Got a place out there.”

“Where?” inquired James, not understanding where it was that his brother was going.

“To Michigan,” repeated Thomas. “It is more of a wilderness than Orange is.”

“I know that,” answered James. “What you goin’to do out there?”

“Clearin,” replied Thomas; “twelve dollars a month.”

“You don’t get so much as that, do you?” said James, to whom that amount of monthly wages seemed enormous.

“Yes, twelve dollars a month. It’s hard work, early and late. Mother shall have a frame-house now.”

“Good!” was James’s answer of evident satisfaction.

At this time James was twelve years old and Thomas was twenty-one—a period that had been much discussed in the family, in anticipation of its arrival. There was a definite understanding between Thomas and his mother that the former should leave home at twenty-one and James should run the farm. It was important that Thomas should be earning something abroad now that he had attained to his majority, and James was old enough to attend to affairs at home. Thomas went to Cleveland for the purpose of obtaining work, without any definite idea of what that work would be. Emigration to Michigan was increasing, and there was considerable excitement over the resources of that State, so that labour was in considerable demand for that section. The first opportunity that opened to Thomas he accepted without hesitation, and it was, as already announced, clearing land for a farmer in Michigan, at twelve dollars a month.

Thomas passed into the house with James, to make known the result of his errand to Cleveland.

“I hope it will prove all for the best,” remarked Mrs. Garfield, after hearing the report. “It’s farther away than I expected.”

“Yes, it is some distance; but that is of little consequence, after all. It’s good pay.”

“How far is it?” asked James, who was intensely intersted in the contemplated change.

“I don’t know exactly,” answered his mother; “it’s farther than I wish it was.”

“Will you live in a log-house, Tom?” James continued.

“Yes; a cabin not half so large and good as this.”

“How long shall you be gone?”

“Six months certain; perhaps longer.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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