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- Bound to Rise - 2/40 -
"Pears like it. She looks like Farmer Henderson's that died a while ago. I couldn't save her."
"Save my cow, if you can. I don't know what I should do without her."
"I'll do my best, but you mustn't blame me if I can't bring her round. You see there's this about dumb critters that makes 'em harder to cure than human bein's. They can't tell their symptoms, nor how they feel; and that's why it's harder to be a cow doctor than a doctor for humans. You've got to go by the looks, and looks is deceivin'. If I could only ask the critter how she feels, and where she feels worst, I might have some guide to go by. Not but I've had my luck. There's more'n one of 'em I've saved, if I do say it myself."
"I know you can save her if anyone can, Elihu," said Mr. Walton, who appreciated the danger of the cow, and was anxious to have the doctor begin.
"Yes, I guess I know about as much about them critters as anybody," said the garrulous old man, who had a proper appreciation of his dignity and attainments as a cow doctor. "I've had as good success as anyone I know on. If I can't cure her, you may call her a gone case. Have you got any hot water in the house?"
"I'll go in and see."
"I'll go, father," said Harry.
"Well, come right back. We have no time to lose."
Harry appreciated the need of haste as well as his father, and speedily reappeared with a pail of hot water.
"That's right, Harry," said his father. "Now you'd better go into the house and do your chores, so as not to be late for school."
Harry would have liked to remain and watch the steps which were being taken for the recovery of the cow; but he knew he had barely time to do the "chores" referred to before school, and he was far from wishing to be late there. He had an ardent thirst for learning, and, young as he was, ranked first in the district school which he attended. I am not about to present my young hero as a marvel of learning, for he was not so. He had improved what opportunities he had enjoyed, but these were very limited. Since he was nine years of age, his schooling had been for the most part limited to eleven weeks in the year. There was a summer as well as a winter school; but in the summer he only attended irregularly, being needed to work at home. His father could not afford to hire help, and there were many ways in which Harry, though young, could help him. So it happened that Harry, though a tolerably good scholar, was deficient in many respects, on account of the limited nature of his opportunities.
He set to work at once at the chores. First he went to the woodpile and sawed and split a quantity of wood, enough to keep the kitchen stove supplied till he came home again from school in the afternoon. This duty was regularly required of him. His father never touched the saw or the ax, but placed upon Harry the general charge of the fuel department.
After sawing and splitting what he thought to be sufficient, he carried it into the house by armfuls, and piled it up near the kitchen stove. He next drew several buckets of water from the well, for it was washing day, brought up some vegetables from the cellar to boil for dinner, and then got ready for school.
Efforts for the recovery of the cow went on. Elihu Perkins exhausted all his science in her behalf. I do not propose to detail his treatment, because I am not sure whether it was the best, and possibly some of my readers might adopt it under similar circumstances, and then blame me for its unfortunate issue. It is enough to say that the cow grew rapidly worse in spite of the hot-water treatment, and about eleven o'clock breathed her last. The sad intelligence was announced by Elihu, who first perceived it.
"The critter's gone," he said. "'Tain't no use doin' anything more."
"The cow's dead!" repeated Mr. Walton, sorrowfully. He had known for an hour that this would be the probable termination of the disease. Still while there was life there was hope. Now both went out together.
"Yes, the critter's dead!" said Elihu, philosophically, for he lost nothing by her. "It was so to be, and there wa'n't no help for it. That's what I thought from the fust, but I was willin' to try."
"Wasn't there anything that could have saved her?"
Elihu shook his head decidedly.
"If she could a-been saved, I could 'ave done it," he, said." What I don't know about cow diseases ain't wuth knowin'."
Everyone is more or less conceited. Elihu's conceit was as to his scientific knowledge on the subject of cows and horses and their diseases. He spoke so confidently that Mr. Walton did not venture to dispute him.
"I s'pose you're right, Elihu," he said; "but it's hard on me."
"Yes, neighbor, it's hard on you, that's a fact. What was she wuth?"
"I wouldn't have taken forty dollars for her yesterday."
"Forty dollars is a good sum."
"It is to me. I haven't got five dollars in the world outside of my farm."
"I wish I could help you, neighbor Walton, but I'm a poor man myself."
"I know you are, Elihu. Somehow it doesn't seem fair that my only cow should be taken, when Squire Green has got ten, and they're all alive and well. If all his cows should die, he could buy as many more and not feel the loss."
"Squire Green's a close man."
"He's mean enough, if he is rich."
"Sometimes the richest are the meanest."
"In his case it is true."
"He could give you a cow just as well as not. If I was as rich as he, I'd do it."
"I believe you would, Elihu; but there's some difference between you and him."
"Maybe the squire would lend you money to buy a cow. He always keeps money to lend on high interest."
Mr. Walton reflected a moment, then said slowly, "I must have a cow, and I don't know of any other way, but I hate to go to him."
"He's the only man that's likely to have money to lend in town."
"Well, I'll go."
"Good luck to you, neighbor Walton."
"I need it enough," said Hiram Walton, soberly. "If it comes, it'll be the first time for a good many years."
"Well, I'll be goin', as I can't do no more good."
Hiram Walton went into the house, and a look at his face told his wife the news he brought before his lips uttered it.
"Is she dead, Hiram?"
"Yes, the cow's dead. Forty dollars clean gone," he said, rather bitterly.
"Don't be discouraged, Hiram. It's bad luck, but worse things might happen."
"Such as what?"
"Why, the house might burn down, or--or some of us might fall sick and die. It's better that it should be the cow."
"You're right there; but though it's pleasant to have so many children round, we shan't like to see them starving."
"They are not starving yet, and please God they won't yet awhile. Some help will come to us."
Mrs. Walton sometimes felt despondent herself, but when she saw her husband affected, like a good wife she assumed cheerfulness, in order to raise his spirits. So now, things looked a little more hopeful to him, after he had talked to his wife. He soon took his hat, and approached the door.
"Where are you going, Hiram?" she asked.
"Going to see if Squire Green will lend me money; enough to buy another cow."
"That's right, Hiram. Don't sit down discouraged, but see what you can do to repair the loss."
"I wish there was anybody else to go to. Squire Green is a very mean man, and he will try to take advantage of any need."
"It is better to have a poor resource than none at all."
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