Page:Post - Uncle Abner (Appleton, 1918).djvu/116

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The House of the Dead Man

As we rode I presently noticed that Abner was looking down at the horsetrack. And then I saw what I had not noticed before, that there were three horsetracks in the road—two going our way and one returning—but only one of the tracks was fresh. Finally Abner pulled up his big chestnut. We were passing the old burned house. The crumbled foundations and the blasted trees stood at the end of a lane. There had once been a gate before the house at the end of this lane, but it was now nailed up. The horse going before us had entered this lane for a few steps, then turned back into the road.

Abner did not speak. He looked at the track for a moment and then rode on. Presently we came to the bars leading from the road into the pasture. The horse had stopped here and its rider had got out of the saddle and let down the bars. One could see where the horse had gone through and the footprints of the rider were visible in the soft clay. The old horsetrack also went in and came out at these bars.

Abner examined the man's footprints with what I thought was an excess of interest. Travelers were always going through one's land; and, provided they closed the bars behind them, what did it matter? Abner seemed concerned about this traveler however. When we had entered the field he sat for some time in the saddle; and then, instead of going to the hills where the springs were, he rode up the valley toward a piece of woods. There was a little