Friday, February 5, 2010

THE ROAD TO CONTENT CORNERS, part 3 of 5, by C. Courtenay Savage (1922)

There is no sensation on earth quite akin to throwing off the garments of civilization and drifting unhampered through water. It is freedom, cleanliness! Hewett lay on his back, floating, his eyes to the heavens. Presently, he raced half a dozen of the fellows the length of the swimming-hole and won. When he clambered up the bank toward his clothes, he was singing an unknown melody of content that originated in his heart.

When they were dressed, he offered a ride home to any who lived down toward the village. They climbed in happily and begged him to "let her out."

As he drove over the bridge from which was visible the point of land caused by the meeting of the two small streams, he glanced quickly in its direction. He meant to look over that land very carefully, to be sure it was as good a site as he had imagined. There was no time now, however, for he had telephoned early that morning to Betty and told her of his intended trip. She had made him promise to be their guest. He knew that all morning Mrs. Sawtell had been busy in the kitchen, just as his own mother would have been. Twelve was the universal noon meal hour for Content Corners and he wanted to be on time. He was hungry for what would come out of the kitchen--and other things.

Betty was in the rather spacious garden of the well-kept cottage, a pretty picture in her soft white dress. She greeted him cordially, with a wistful shyness that made him suddenly guilty that he should have stayed away so long and his letters been so few. Mrs. Sawtell offered him the frank affection that Betty had been too shy to give him. She had always like Boyce. She had no misgiving in her heart that some day he and Betty would marry.

After dinner they all went to the village green, where there was to be singing and speeches. The speaker of the day was the local political leader, a rather forceful talker. Boyce listened half-heartedly. Within him, a battle was raging. This was such a big chance to make money but was it square? A shout from the ball game seemed to echo to him--Play fair!

"They were men of honor," the works of the speaker penetrated his thoughts. "They were unselfish men, working for the good of the land they loved and for their fellow men. There was not one man who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, who did not make a sacrifice for his fellow men. Their very lives were in "danger."

"Working for their fellow men," the phrase stuck in Boyce's mind. Well, after all, he would be doing a lot of good to the people of the town. However, he could not free himself of the forceful thought that while he was going to benefit them all, he would, at the same time, be taking advantage of them. He wished he had never come to Content Corners! The call for a discriminating decision was not easy to meet.