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The Messengers - Richard Harding Davis

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When Ainsley first moved to Lone Lake Farm all of his friends asked
him the same question.  They wanted to know, if the farmer who sold
it to him had abandoned it as worthless, how one of the idle rich,
who could not distinguish a plough from a harrow, hoped to make it
pay?  His answer was that he had not purchased the farm as a means
of getting richer by honest toil, but as a retreat from the world
and as a test of true friendship.  He argued that the people he
knew accepted his hospitality at Sherry's because, in any event,
they themselves would be dining within a taxicab fare of the same
place.  But if to see him they travelled all the way to Lone Lake
Farm, he might feel assured that they were friends indeed.

Lone Lake Farm was spread over many acres of rocky ravine and
forest, at a point where Connecticut approaches New York, and
between it and the nearest railroad station stretched six miles of
an execrable wood road.  In this wilderness, directly upon the
lonely lake, and at a spot equally distant from each of his
boundary lines, Ainsley built himself a red brick house.  Here, in
solitude, he exiled himself; ostensibly to become a gentleman
farmer; in reality to wait until Polly Kirkland had made up her
mind to marry him.

Lone Lake, which gave the farm its name, was a pond hardly larger
than a city block.  It was fed by hidden springs, and fringed about
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