says he's 'bout tired o' travelin' over the country lookin' for critters
to kill, but if he finds anything he'll be up along in the course of a
week. He ain't a real smart butcher, Cyse Higgins ain't.--Land, Rose,
don't button that dickey clean through my epperdummis! I have to sport
starched collars in this life on account o' you and your gran'mother
bein' so chock full o' style; but I hope to the Lord I shan't have to
wear 'em in another world!"
"You won't," his wife responded with the snap of a dish towel, "or if
you do, they'll wilt with the heat."
Rose smiled, but the soft hand with which she tied the neck-cloth about
the old man's withered neck pacified his spirit, and he smiled knowingly
back at her as she took her seat at the breakfast table spread near the
open kitchen door. She was a dazzling Rose, and, it is to be feared, a
wasted one, for there was no one present to observe her clean pink
calico and the still more subtle note struck in the green ribbon which
was tied round her throat,--the ribbon that formed a sort of calyx, out
of which sprang the flower of her face, as fresh and radiant as if it
had bloomed that morning.
"Give me my coffee turrible quick," said Mr. Wiley; "I must be down the
bridge 'fore they start dog-warpin' the side jam."
"I notice you're always due at the bridge on churnin' days," remarked
his spouse, testily.
"'Taint me as app'ints drivin' dates at Edgewood," replied the old man.
"The boys'll hev a turrible job this year. The logs air ricked up jest
like Rose's jackstraws; I never see'em so turrible ricked up in all my
exper'ence; an' Lije Dennett don' know no more 'bout pickin' a jam than
Cooper's cow. Turrible sot in his ways, too; can't take a mite of
advice. I was tellin' him how to go to work on that bung that's formed
between the gre't gray rock an' the shore,--the awfullest place to bung
that there is between this an' Biddeford,--and says he: 'Look here,
I've be'n boss on this river for twelve year, an' I'll be doggoned if
I'm goin' to be taught my business by any man!' 'This ain't no river,'
says I, 'as you'd know,' says I, 'if you'd ever lived on the Kennebec.'
'Pity you hedn't stayed on it,' says he. 'I wish to the land I hed,' says
I. An' then I come away, for my tongue's so turrible spry an' sarcustic
that I knew if I stopped any longer I should stir up strife. There's
some folks that'll set on addled aigs year in an' year out, as if there
wan't good fresh ones bein' laid every day; an' Lije Dennett's one of
'em, when it comes to river drivin'."
"There's lots o' folks as have made a good livin' by mindin' their own
business," observed the still sententious Mrs. Wiley, as she speared a
soda-biscuit with her fork.
"Mindin' your own business is a turrible selfish trade," responded her
husband loftily. "If your neighbor is more ignorant than what you
are,--partic'larly if he's as ignorant as Cooper's cow,--you'd ought,Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>