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It was on the night of my thirteenth birthday, I know, that the old farm-house was burned over our heads. By that reckoning I must have been six or seven when I went to live with Farmer Beech, because at the time he testified I had been with him half my life.
Abner Beech had often been supervisor for his town, and could have gone to the Assembly, it was said, had he chosen. He was a stalwart, thick-shouldered, big man, with shaggy dark eyebrows shading stern hazel eyes, and with a long, straight nose, and a broad, firmly shut mouth. His expansive upper lip was blue from many years of shaving; all the rest was bushing beard, mounting high upon the cheeks and rolling downward in iron-gray billows over his breast. That shaven upper lip, which still may be found among the farmers of the old blood in our district was, I dare say, a survival from the time of the Puritan protest against the mustaches of the Cavaliers.
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