New England's Mad and Mysterious Men

New England Candlelight Tales

Stories of the Mills.

The Romance of an Old Mill Man.

By Fanny M. Johnson

Buying the News
Buying the News.

North Walnut Street
North Walnut Street.

        For several years Uncle John Graham sat in the corner of the spool-room, by one of the windows that projected from the roof, mending loom harnesses. He was a Scotchman by birth, but had come to American when a young man, enlisted in the army in the first year of the war and had been wounded at Shiloh. He carried a bullet in his breast yet that the doctors had never been able to extract. The wound troubles him sometimes as he grew older, and disabled him from hard or heavy work. So the superintendent of the Dexter Mills, who knew his faithfulness, had given him this light employment.
        The niche of the spooling and warping room where he worked was the lightest and the least noisy spot in the noisy room. It was a large room, and in this further corner the roar of the spooling frames and the noise of the warpers were blended in a hum that was not unpleasant. The light from the window as it fell on Uncle John’s head, showed a bald spot on the crown that was marking a wider and wider circle every year. He was a cleanly, oldish man, and his thing figure, bowed now from carrying so long that concealed bullet, and in his gentle, kindly face there was nothing to suggest that he had once been a soldier.
        There was a bit of sentiment about Uncle John’s past. It was said that his sweetheart had come before him to America, and just when he had saved the money to come over and marry her, he received word that she was dead. It was said, too, that in his room at the house where he lived with his widowed sister, was a little alcove filled with the mementos of his lost sweetheart, where he worshipped as at a shrine.

Hampden Street
Hampden Street.

The Taft Greenhouses
The Taft Greenhouses.

A Group in Prospect Park
A Group in Prospect Park.

A Well-Filled Doorstep
A Well-Filled Doorstep.

© Laurel O’Donnell 1996 - 2006, all rights reserved
This document may be downloaded for personal non-commercial use only
and may not be reproduced or distributed without permission in any format.
This is an edited adaptation from the original publication.