what is it?
what are those men digging over there in that field?
the lower part of the old man's face dropped, as if some heavy weight had pulled it down. He shut his mouth tight and continued to examine the ears and neck of his favorite mare.
the old man lifted a saddle upon the mare's back.
Look here, Father, I want to know what those men are diggingin that field, and I’m going to know
“ I wish you’d go into the house, mother, and attend to your own affair,” the old man said, running his words together so fast that they were hard understand.
But the woman understood. “I’m not going into the house till you tell me what those men are doing in that field”, she said.
Then she stood waiting. She was small woman, wearing a brown cotton dress.Her forehead was a little rough between the smooth curves of her gray hair; there were thin downward lines about her nose and mouth; but her eyes, fixed upon the old man, seemed filled with determination.
The two people were in the barn, standing before the wide open doors. The gentle spring air, full of the smell of growing grass and unseen blossoms, blew on their faces. There were farm tools andpiles of wood in front of the barn; at the edges of the barnyard, close to the fence and the house, the grass was a bright green, and there were some small wild flowers.
The old man looked unhappily at his wife as he tightened the straps on the saddle. She looked at him, immovable as one of the rocks along the river bank. He got on the horse and started forth from the barn.
Father! She shouted.The old man stopped the horse. What is it?
“I want to know what those men are digging over there in that field”.
“If you have to know- they’re diggings a cellar”
“A cellar for what?”
“ a barn”.
“A barn? That’s where you were going to build our new house”.
The old man said nothing more. He hurried the horse across the barnyard and rode away.
The woman stood a moment looking after him; thenshe went out of the barn across a corner of the yard to the house. The barn and other buildings around the barnyard made the house look small.
A pretty girl’s face, pink and delicate as a flower, was looking out of one of the windows of the house. She was watching three men who were digging over in a field a near the reoad. She turned quietly when the woman entered.
“What are they digging for,Mother?” she asked.
“Did he tell you?”
“they’re digging a cellar for a new barn”.
“that’s what he said”.
A boy stood before the kitchen mirror combing his hair. He combed slowly and carefully, trying to arrange his brown hair so it would not fall down over his forehead. He seemed to pay no attention to the conversation.
“Sammy , did you know Father was going to build a new barn?” asked thegirl.
The boy continued to comb his hair.
He turned and faced the others. “Yes, I suppose I did”, he answered, with a little hesitation.
“how long have you known it?” asked his mother.
“about three months, more or less”.
“Why didn’t you tell us about it?”
“Oh, I didn’t know you were interested”.
“I don’t see why father wants another barn”, said the girl in her sweet, slow voice. Sheturned again to the wondow and stared at the digging men in the field. Her light hair, a little wavy, was pulled tight around the sides of her head and fastened at the back in a small knot. She was quite large, but her soft curves made her look somewhat different from ordinary farm girls.
HER mother looked steadily at the boy. “is he going to buy more cows?”She asked
The boy did not reply; hewas tying his shoes.
“Sammy, I want to know if he’s going to buy more cows.”
“ I suppose he is”.
“four, I think”.
His mother said nothing more. She went into the pantry, and there was a sound of dishes being moved around. The boy got his cap from a nail behind the door, took his books from a shelf, and started for school. He was rather thin and very awkward. He went toward the...