that it was a new spectacle that suddenly broke upon Jamess delighted vision. He had not seen gold coin before, nor had he dreamed that such an article could come out of the Michigan woods. It is not strange, therefore, that the backwoods boy was considerably elated over the sight. What a mint was to him later, that seventy-five dollars in gold was to him then.
Why dont you say something, mother? exclaimed James, no doubt expecting that his mother would be as gushing as himself over the gold. The fact was, she could not have said anything if she had tried. What mother could in the circumstances? That great boy, as old as his father was when she became his bride, coming home with such proof of his filial love! Thinking of his mother more than he did of himself! Happy only in helping her! Who wonders that she sat mute as a marble statue? There was no language for such an occasion. All the Noah Websters in the world could not provide words for such a moment. A mothers heart, at such a time, defies expression. At least, it was so with mother Garfields heart. It could have taken that strapping son to itself, and folded him like a baby again, and covered him over with kisses, which would have been only a figure of speech, but language was out of the question. James saw the point as soon as her tears dropped upon the gold coin. He could not exactly understand it, though, for he felt like hurrahing instead of crying, and he knew that his mother was glad that she could have a frame-house, for he had often heard her express a wish of that kind. So he could not quite understand it. Readers! it was because he was like all the rest of the boys and girlsthey do not understand the mystery of a mothers love.
The excitement of the hour passed, however, and the equilibrium of feeling and daily duties was restored.
Im off again, mother, as soon as I get you into the new house, said Thomas. Theres plenty of work in Michigan, and I must be doing it.
Well, you must manage it to suit yourself. I suppose that Mr. Treat can be had any time to put the house up. Mr. Treat was the carpenter.
I will find out. I can work with him, and well make a quick job of it.
Ill work, too, said James. I can carry boards, drive nails, and do other things.
You can draw the sand, too, Jimmy, replied Thomas.
Sand! What do you do with sand? exclaimed James, forgetting that mortar was necessary. It was excusable, however, since he was familiar only with mud, that made the log-house tight.
To make mortar with, of course; we must have mortar for plastering, Thomas answered. I can get lime, bricks, nails, and windows at Cleveland.
And youll take me along with you, I spose, suggested James.
Yes; I can chuck you in most anywhere. Perhaps I shall need your help.
James had not been to Cleveland at that time. It was but a small place, of about a thousand inhabitants, though growing rapidly.
How long will you be gone to Cleveland? inquired James.
One day only; cant spare any more time. A long day, perhaps.
When shall you go?
Just as soon as I have engaged Mr. Treat.
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