A Black-Salter

Colloquy—Weeding Peppermint—“Leading the Gang”—Explanation —The Shed Built—The Black-Salter’s Proposal—Going Home— Colloquy with his Mother—Becomes a Black-Salter—What his Work was—His Fidelity—Discovering the Cheat—Rough Men— The Profane Man Rebuked—Bad Books in the House—“Pirate’s Own Book,” “Marryatt’s Novels,” etc.—Worse than Damon’s— Bad Effects of the Books—Seeds of Evil Sown—Wants to be a Sailor —Barton’s Confidence—James Uneasy—What Came of a Beau— “Hired Servant”—How it Aroused James—Leave the Saltery

The following colloquy will explain a matter that must not be omitted.

“I have come again for James,” said Mr. Smith, entering Mrs. Garfield’s cottage. “Can’t get along without him when we weed the peppermint.”

“Well, James will be glad to help you if he can, but he is pretty busy now on the farm,” answered Mrs. Garfield.

“Perhaps he can squeeze out two or three days now, and that will help me through,” continued Mr. Smith. “I shall have twenty boys in the gang.”

“I should think that was enough without James,” remarked Mrs. Garfield.

“It’s altogether too many if I don’t have him,” replied Mr. Smith. “You see, the boys do as well again when James leads them. Somehow he has wonderful influence over them.”

“I didn’t know that,” remarked Mrs. Garfield.

“Well, it’s true; and if you should see him leading off, and interesting them by stories, anecdotes, and fun, you’d be surprised. He is a fast worker, and all the boys put in and work as hard as they can to keep up, that they may hear his stories. The boys think the world of him.”

“I’m glad to hear such good things of him,” remarked

Mrs. Garfield. “I’m willing that he should help you if he can.”

“I shouldn’t mind paying him something extra if he will come,” Mr. Smith continued. “I can afford to do that. Each boy does more work, and where there’s twenty of them, it’s considerable in my pocket.”

“Well, you can find James, —he is somewhere on the farm; and I’m willing he should go if you can fix it with him,” said Mrs. Garfield.

Mr. Smith went in search of James, and found him hard at work in the field. Making known his errand, James could not see how it was possible for him to go, at least for a week. But Mr. Smith soon removed his objections, and arranged for him to come the next day.

This Mr. Smith was a farmer, and his land, on the Chagrin Flats, was adapted to the cultivation of peppermint, which he raised for the market in large quantities. It was necessary to keep it thoroughly weeded, and for this purpose he employed a gang of boys at different times in the season. James had served him more than once in that work, and the shrewd farmer had noticed that the gang would try to keep up with James, so as to hear his stories and interesting conversation. James was a capital story-teller, and all that he ever read or studied was in his head. His remarkable memory served him a good purpose in company, whether in the field of peppermint or elsewhere. He could recall almost any anecdote that he ever heard, and could relate whatever he had learned about his own or other countries from Morse’s Geography. Add to this his jovial nature, his conversational powers, and his singular tact, and we can readily understand how he could “lead the gang.”

So James became general of the peppermint brigade for a few days, to accommodate Mr. Smith and again his precocity and large acquisitions of knowledge enabled him to lead them to victory over the

  By PanEris using Melati.

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