Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Inspiring Novel > A Boy's Trip Across the Plains > CHAPTER I.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 In the village of W——, in western Missouri, lived Mrs. Loring and her son Guy, a little boy about ten years old. They were very poor, for though Mr. Loring, during his life time was considered rich, and his wife and child had always lived comfortably, after his death, which occurred when Guy was about eight years old, they found that there were so many people to whom Mr. Loring owed money, that when the debts were paid there was but little left for the widow and her only child. That would not have been so bad had they had friends able or willing to assist them, but Mrs. Loring found that most of her friends had gone with her wealth, which, I am sorry to say, is apt to be the case the world over.  
As I have said, when Mrs. Loring became a widow she was both poor and friendless, she was also very delicate. She had never worked in her life, and although she attempted to do so, in order to support herself and little Guy, she found it almost impossible to earn enough to supply them with food. She opened a little school, but could get only a few scholars, and they paid her so little that she was obliged also to take in sewing. This the parents of her pupils and they took away their children, saying "she could not do two things at once."
This happened early in winter when they needed money far more than at any other season. But though Mrs. Loring sewed a great deal during that long, winter, she was paid so little that both young Guy and herself often felt the of cold and hunger. Perhaps they need not have done so, if Mrs. Loring had told the village people plainly that she was suffering, for I am sure they would have given her food. But she was far too proud to beg or to allow her son to do so. She had no objection that he should work, for is honorable—but in the winter there was little a boy of ten could do, and although Guy was very it was not often he could obtain employment. So they every day grew poorer, for although they had no money their clothing and furniture did not know it, and wore out much quicker than that of rich people seems to do.
Yet through all the trials of the long winter Mrs. Loring did not despair; she had faith to believe that God was bringing her sorrows upon her for the best, and would remove them in his own good time. This, she would often say to Guy when she saw him look sad, and he would glance up brightly with the reply, "I am sure it is for the best, mother. You have always been so good I am sure God will not let you suffer long. I think we shall do very well when the Spring comes. We shall not need a fire then, or suffer for the want of warm clothing and I shall be able to go out in the fields to work, and shall earn so much money that you will not have to sew so much, and get that pain in your chest."
But when the Spring came Guy did not find it so easy to get work as he had fancied it would be, for there were a great many strong, rough boys that would do twice as much work in the day as one who had never been used to work, and the farmers would employ them, of course. So poor Guy grew almost disheartened, and his mother with privation and anxiety, fell very sick.
Although afraid she would die she would not allow Guy to call any of the village people in, for she felt that they had treated her very unkindly and could not bear that they should see how very poor she was. She however told Guy he could go for a doctor, and he did so, calling in one that he had heard often visited the poor and charged them nothing.
This good man whose name was Langley, went to Mrs. Loring's, and soon saw both how and how ill the poor woman was. He was very kind and gave her medicines and such food as she could take, although it hurt her pride most bitterly to accept them. He also gave Guy, some work to do, and he was beginning to hope that his mother was getting well, and that better days were coming, when going home one evening from his work he found his mother crying most bitterly. He was in great at this, and begged her to tell him what had happened. At first she refused to do so, but at last said:—
"Perhaps, Guy, it is best for me to tell you all, for if trouble must come, it is best to be prepared for it. Sit here on the bed beside me, and I will try to tell you:"
She then told him that Doctor Langley had been there that afternoon, and had told her very gently, but firmly, that she was in a consumption and would die. "Unless," she added, "I could leave this part of the country. With an entire change of food and air, he told me that I might live many years. But you know, my dear boy, it is impossible for me to have that, so I must make up my mind to die. That would not be so hard to do if it were not for leaving you alone in this uncharitable world."
Poor Mrs. Loring who had been vainly striving to suppress her emotions, burst into tears, and Guy who was dreadfully shocked and alarmed, cried with her. It seemed so dreadful to him that his mother should die when a change of air and freedom from anxiety might save her. He thought of it very sadly for many days, but could see no way of saving his mother. He watched her very closely, and although she seemed to gain a little strength as the days grew warmer, and even sat up, and tried to sew, he was not deceived into thinking she would get well, for the doctor had told him she never would, though for the summer she might appear quite strong.
He was walking slowly and sadly through the street one day, thinking of this, when he heard two gentlemen who were walking before him, speak of California.
"Is it true," said one, "that Harwood is going there?"
"Yes," said the other, "he thinks he can better his condition by doing so."
"Do you know what steamer he will leave on?" asked the first speaker.
"He is not going by steamer," replied the second, "as is quite delicate, he has to go across the plains."
"Ah! indeed. When do they start?"
"As soon as possible. Mrs. Harwood told me to-day, that the chief thing they were waiting for, was a servant. Aggie needs so much of her care that she must have a nurse for the baby, and she says it seems impossible to induce a suitable person to go. Of course she doesn't want a coarse, uneducated servant, but some one she can trust, and who will also be a companion for herself during the long journey."
The gentlemen passed on, and Guy heard no more, but he stood quite still in the street, and with a heart, thought, "Oh! if my mother could go across the plains, it would cure her. Oh! if Mrs. Harwood would but take her as a nurse. I know she is weak, but she could take care of a little baby on the plains much better than she can bend over that hard sewing here, and besides I could help her. Oh! if Mrs. Harwood would only take her. I'll find out where she lives, and ask her to do so."
He had gained the desired information and was on his way to Mrs. Harwood's house before he remembered that his mother might not consent to go if Mrs. Harwood was willing to take her. He knew she was very proud, and had been a rich lady herself once, and would probably shrink in horror from becoming a servant. His own pride for a moment revolted against it, but his good sense came to his aid, and told him it was better to be a servant than die. He went on a little farther, and then questioned himself whether it would not be better to go first and tell his mother about it, and ask her consent to speak to Mrs. Harwood. But it was a long way back, and as he greatly feared his mother would not allow him to come, and would probably be much hurt at his suggesting such a thing, he to act for once without her knowledge, and without further reflection walked boldly up to Mrs. Harwood's door. It was open, and when he knocked some one called to him to come in.
He did so, although for a moment he felt inclined to run away. There was a lady in the room, and four children—two large boys, a delicate looking girl about five years old, and a baby boy who was sitting on the floor playing with a kitten, but who stopped and stared at Guy as he entered.
The other children did the same, and Guy was beginning to feel very timid and uncomfortable, when the lady asked who he wished to see.
He told her Mrs. Harwood, and the boy said, "That's ma's name, isn't it, ma? What do you want of ma? say!"
Guy said nothing to the rude boy, but told Mrs. Harwood what he had heard on the street.
"It is true," she said , "I do want a nurse. Has some one sent you here to apply for the place?"
"No, ma'am," he replied, "no one sent me, but—but—I came—of myself—because—I thought—my—mother—might—perhaps suit you."
"Why, that is a strange thing for a little boy to do!" exclaimed Mrs. Harwood.
"Hullo, Gus," cried the boy that had before spoken, "here's a friend of mine; guess he's the original Young America, 'stead of me!"
"George, be silent," said his mother, very sternly. "Now, child," she continued, turning again to Guy, "you may tell me how you ever thought of doing so strange a thing as applying for a place for your mother, unless she told you to do so. Is she unkind to you? Do you want her to leave you?"
"Oh, no, she is very, very kind," said Guy, earnestly, "and I wouldn't be parted from her for the world." He then forgot all his fears, and eagerly told the lady how sick his mother had been, and how sure he was that the trip across the plains would cure her, and, above all, told how good and kind she was; "she nursed me," he concluded, very earnestly, "and you see what a big boy I am!"
Mrs. Harwood smiled so kindly that he was almost certain she would take his mother; but his heart fell, when she said: "I am very sorry that your mother is sick, but I don't think I can take her with me; and besides, Mr. Harwood would not like to have another boy to take care of."
"But I will take care of myself," cried Guy, "and help a great deal about the . Oh, ma'am, if you would only take me, I would light the fires when you stopped to camp, and get water, and do a great many things, and my mother would do a great deal too."
Mrs. Harwood shook her head, and poor Guy felt so downcast that he was greatly inclined to cry. The boys laughed, but the little girl looked very sorry, and said to him:
"Don't look so sad; perhaps mamma will yet take your mother, and I will take you. I want you to go. You look good and kind, and wouldn't let George tease me."
"That I wouldn't," said Guy, looking pityingly upon the little creature, and wondering how any one could think of being unkind to her.
"What is your name?" asked the little one.
"Guy," he replied, and the boys burst into a laugh.
"Oh, let us take him with us, ma," cried George, "it would be such capital fun to have a 'guy' with us all the time, to make us laugh. Oh, ma, do let him go."
"Yes, mamma, do let him go," said little Aggie, taking her brother's petition quite in earnest. "I am sure he could tell me lots of pretty stories, and you wouldn't have to tell me 'Bluebeard' and 'Cinderella,' until you were tired of telling, and I of hearing them."
Now Mrs. Harwood was very fond of her children, and always liked to indulge them, if she possibly could, especially her little, delicate Agnes. She thought to herself, as she saw them together, that he might, in reality, be very useful during the trip, especially as Agnes had taken so great a fancy to him; so she decided, instead of sending him away, as she had first intended, to keep him a short time, and if he proved as good a boy as he appeared, to go with him to his mother and see what she could do for her. Accordingly, she told Guy to stay with the children for an hour, while she thought of the matter. He did so, and as she watched him closely, she saw, with surprise, that he amused Agnes by his lively stories, the baby by his antics, and was successful not only in preventing Gus and George from quarreling, but in keeping friendly with them himself.
"This boy is very and intelligent," she said to herself, "and as he loves her so well, it is likely his mother has the same good qualities. I will go around to see her, and if she is well enough to travel, and is the sort of person I imagine,I will certainly try to take her with me."
She sent Guy home with a promise to that effect, and in great delight he rushed into the house, and told his mother what he had done. At first she was quite angry, and Guy felt very wretchedly over his conduct; but when he told her how kind the lady was, and how light her duties would probably be, she felt almost as anxious as Guy himself, that Mrs. Harwood should find her strong and agreeable enough to take the place.
Mr. and Mrs. Harwood came the next day, and were much pleased with Mrs. Loring, and perhaps more so with Guy, though they did not say so. The doctor came in while they were there, and was delighted with the project, assuring Mrs. Loring that the trip would greatly benefit her, and telling Mr. and Mrs. Harwood what a good woman she was, and how willing she was to do any thing honorable for the support of herself and her little boy. So they decided to take her.
"We will give you ten dollars a month," said they, "so you will not be quite penniless when you get to California."
Mrs. Loring thanked them most , and Guy felt as if all the riches of the world had been showered down upon them.
"You look like an energetic little fellow," said Mr. Harwood to Guy, as they were going away, "and I hope you will continue to be one, else I shall leave you on the plains. Remember, I'll have no in my train."
Guy promised most earnestly to be as alert and industrious as could be desired, and full of good intentions and hopes, went back to his mother to talk of what might happen during their TRIP ACROSS THE PLAINS.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved