Windy McPherson's Son
Sam went along the board sidewalk homeward bound, hurried by the driving March wind
that had sent the lantern swinging in Freedom's hand. At the front of a white frame
residence a grey-haired old man stood leaning on the gate and looking at the sky.
"We shall have a rain," he said in a quavering voice, as though giving a decision in the
matter, and then turned and without waiting for an answer went along a narrow path into
The incident brought a smile to Sam's lips followed by a kind of weariness of mind. Since
the beginning of his work with Freedom he had, day after day, come upon Henry Kimball
standing by his gate and looking at the sky. The man was one of Sam's old newspaper
customers who stood as a kind of figure in the town. It was said of him that in his youth
he had been a gambler on the Mississippi River and that he had taken part in more than
one wild adventure in the old days. After the Civil War he had come to end his days in
Caxton, living alone and occupying himself by keeping year after year a carefully
tabulated record of weather variations. Once or twice a month during the warm season he
stumbled into Wildman's and, sitting by the stove, talked boastfully of the accuracy of his
records and the doings of a mangy dog that trotted at his heels. In his present mood the
endless sameness and uneventfulness of the man's life seemed to Sam amusing and in
some way sad.
"To depend upon going to the gate and looking at the sky to give point to a day--to look
forward to and depend upon that--what deadliness!" he thought, and, thrusting his hand
into his pocket, felt with pleasure the letter from the Chicago company that was to open
so much of the big outside world to him.
In spite of the shock of unexpected sadness that had come with what he felt was almost a
definite parting with Freedom, and the sadness brought on by his mother's approaching
death, Sam felt a strong thrill of confidence in his own future that made his homeward
walk almost cheerful. The thrill got from reading the letter handed him by Freedom was
renewed by the sight of old Henry Kimball at the gate, looking at the sky.
"I shall never be like that, sitting in a corner of the world watching a mangy dog chase a
ball and peering day after day at a thermometer," he thought.
The three years in Freedom Smith's service had taught Sam not to doubt his ability to
cope with such business problems as might come in his way. He knew that he had
become what he wanted to be, a good business man, one of the men who direct and
control the affairs in which they are concerned because of a quality in them called
Business Sense. He recalled with pleasure the fact that the men of Caxton had stopped
calling him a bright boy and now spoke of him as a good business man.