weeds. The weeds melted away before their triumphant march, as the rebels disappeared before the Ohio Forty-second Regiment, sixteen years afterwards.

We said that James assisted Mr. Treat to build a shed, in addition to the several barns. The shed was the last building on which he worked for Mr. Treat, and it was about ten miles from home, near Cleveland. It was an addition to quite a large pot-ashery, the largest in all that region. A pot-ashery was an establishment containing vats for leeching ashes, and large kettles for boiling the lye, reducing it to potash, which, in its crude state, was called “black-salts.” The manufacturer of the article was called a “black-salter.” The farmers in the region, when they cleared land, drew the logs and branches of trees together into huge piles, and burned them, for the ashes they could collect therefrom, and which they sold to the black- salters.

The black-salter for whom Mr. Treat built the shed took a great fancy to James. It was rather singular that he did; for he was a rough, uncultivated man himself. Yet the politeness, tact, and brightness of James captivated the old man. Before the shed was completed, he resolved that he would have that uncommon boy in his employ, if possible. One day he took James aside, and said to him:

“How’d yer like to come and work for me?”

James was just fifteen years old at that time. The question was unexpected to James, and he hesitated.

“I want jist sich a hand as yer are in my business,” the salter, whose name was Barton, continued. “I reckon yer can figger ’nough for me.”

“I don’t know about it,” finally James replied “it is something I have not thought about. When do you want me?”

“Jist as soon as yer can; yer can’t come ter quick.”

“I couldn’t agree to come until I have seen my mother about it, any way,” continued James. “Perhaps she will object.”

“That’s the sorter boy I s’posed yer was, to mind yer mother. I like yer all the better for that.”

“How long will you want me?” inquired James.

“Jist as long as yer’ll stay; as long as yer live, maybe.”

“How much will you pay me?”

“I’ll give yer fourteen dollars a month, and that’s two dollars extra pay.” By this Barton meant that he would pay him two dollars a month more than he was wont to pay. The offer was proof that he was amazingly pleased with James.

“I will consult my mother about it as soon as I go home, and let you know,” said James. He would not go home until the shed was completed. He boarded with Barton. But the shed was almost finished: two days more would complete it.

“How shall I know yer’ll come?” said Barton, when the shed was done, and James was about returning home.

“If mother is willing I should engage, I will come next Monday. If you don’t see me next Monday, you may know that I shall not come.”

“That’s bisniss,” Barton replied. “Tell yer mother I kin do the right thing by yer.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.