the kitchen table with the bowl in her lap, waitin' for it! Got so
int'rested in your list'nin' I never thought o' the time."
The connubial discussion that followed this breach of discipline began
on the arrival of the saleratus, and lasted through supper; and Rose
went to bed almost immediately afterward for very dullness and apathy.
Her life stretched out before her in the most aimless and monotonous
fashion. She saw nothing but heartache in the future; and that she
richly deserved it made it none the easier to bear.
Feeling feverish and sleepless, she slipped on her gray Shaker cloak and
stole quietly downstairs for a breath of air. Her grandfather and
grandmother were talking on the piazza, and good humor seemed to have
"I was over to the tavern to-night," she heard him say, as she sat down
at a little distance. "I was over to the tavern to-night, an' a feller
from Gorham got to talkin' an' braggin' 'bout what a stock o' goods they
kep' in the store over there. 'An',' says I, 'I bate ye dollars to
doughnuts that there hain't a darn thing ye can ask for at Bill Pike's
store at Pleasant River that he can't go down cellar, or up attic, or
out in the barn chamber an' git for ye.' Well, sir, he took me up, an' I
borrered the money of Joe Dennett, who held the stakes, an' we went
right over to Bill Pike's with all the boys follerin' on behind. An' the
Gorham man never let on what he was goin' to ask for till the hull crowd
of us got inside the store. Then says he, as p'lite as a basket o'
chips, 'Mr. Pike, I'd like to buy a pulpit if you can oblige me with
"Bill scratched his head an' I held my breath. Then says he, 'Pears to
me I'd ought to hev a pulpit or two, if I can jest remember where I keep
'em. I don't never cal'late to be out o' pulpits, but I'm so plagued
for room I can't keep 'em in here with the groc'ries. Jim (that's his
new store boy), you jest take a lantern an' run out in the far corner o'
the shed, at the end o' the hickory woodpile, an' see how many pulpits
we've got in stock!' Well, Jim run out, an' when he come back he says,
'We've got two, Mr. Pike. Shall I bring one of 'em in?'
"At that the boys all bust out laughin' an' hollerin' an' tauntin' the
Gorham man, an' he paid up with a good will, I tell ye!"
"I don't approve of bettin'," said Mrs. Wiley grimly, "but I'll try to
sanctify the money by usin' it for a new wash-boiler."
"The fact is," explained old Kennebec, somewhat confused, "that the boys
made me spend every cent of it then an' there."
Rose heard her grandmother's caustic reply, and then paid no further
attention until her keen ear caught the sound of Stephen's name. It was
a part of her unhappiness that since her broken engagement no one would
ever allude to him, and she longed to hear him mentioned, so that
perchance she could get some inkling of his movements.
[Illustration: "AS LONG AS STEPHEN WATERMAN'S ALIVE, ROSE WILEY CAN HAVEDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>