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The Arena
Volume 4, No. 20, July, 1891

written by "Flower, B. O. (Benjamin Orange), 1858-1918"
...-break.” A few broken and discouraged fruit trees standing here and there among the weeds formed the garden. In short, he was spoken of by his neighbors as “a hard-working cuss, and tollably well fixed.” No grace had come or ever could come into his life. Back of him were generations of men like himself, whose main’ business had been to work hard, live miserably, and beget children to take their places after they died. He was a product. His courtship had been delayed so long on account of poverty that it brought little of humanizing emotion into his228 life. He never mentioned it now, or if he did, it was only to sneer obscenely at it. He had long since ceased to kiss his wife or even speak kindly to her. There was no longer any sanctity to life or love. He chewed tobacco and toiled on from year to year without any very clearly defined idea of the future. He was tall, dark, and strong, in a flat-chested, slouching sort of way, and had grown neglectful of even decency in his dress. He wore the American farmer’s customary outfit of rough brown pants, hickory shirt, and greasy white hat. It differed from his neighbors, mainly in being a little dirtier and more ragged. His grimy hands were broad and strong as the clutch of a bear, and he “was a turrible feller to turn off work,” as Council said. “I druther have Sim Burns work for me one day than some men three. He’s a linger.” He worked with unusual speed this morning, and ended by milking all the cows himself as a sort of savage penance for his misdeeds the previous evening, muttering in self-defence:— “Seems ‘s if ever’ cussid thing piles on to me at once. That corn, the road-tax, and hayin’ comin’ on, and now she gits her back up—” When he went back to the well he sloshed himself thoroughly in the horse-trough and went to the house. He found breakfast ready but his wife w...

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