wa'n't as big as the worms I was ketchin' 'em with, so I pitched

'em back in the water an' quit."

During the progress of these remarks Mr. Wiley opened the door

under the sink, and from beneath a huge iron pot drew a round

tray loaded with a glass pitcher and half a dozen tumblers, which

he placed carefully on the kitchen table.

"This is the last day's option I've got on this lemonade-set," he

said, "an' if I'm goin'to Biddeford to-morrer I've got to make up

my mind here an' now."

With this observation he took off his shoes, climbed in his

stocking feet to the vantage ground of a kitchen chair, and

lifted a stone china pitcher from a corner of the highest

cupboard shelf where it had been hidden.

"This lemonade's gittin' kind o' dusty," he complained, "I

cal'lated to hev a kind of a spree on it when I got through

choosin' Rose's weddin' present, but I guess the pig'll hev to

help me out."

The old man filled one of the glasses from the pitcher, pulled up

the kitchen shades to the top,put both hands in his pockets, and

walked solemnly round the table, gazing at his offering from

every possible point of view.

There had been three lemonade sets in the window of a Biddeford

crockery store when Mr. Wiley chanced to pass by, and he had

brought home the blue and green one on approval.

To the casual eye it would have appeared as quite uniquely

hideous until the red and yellow or the purple and orange ones

had been seen; after that, no human being could have made a

decision, where each was so unparalleled in its ugliness, and Old

Kennebec's confusion of mind would have been perfectly understood

by the connoisseur.

"How do you like it with the lemonade in, mother?" he inquired

eagerly. "The thing that plagues me most is that the red an'

yaller one I hed home last week lights up better'n this, an' I

believe I'll settle on that; for as I was thinkin' last night in

bed, lemonade is mostly an evenin' drink an' Rose won't be usin'

the set much by daylight. Root beer looks the han'somest in this

purple set, but Rose loves lemonade better'n beer, so I guess

I'll pack up this one an' change it to-morrer. Mebbe when I get

it out o' sight an' give the lemonade to the pig I'll be easier

in my mind."

In the opinion of the community at large Stephen's forehandedness

in the matter of preparations for his marriage was imprudence,

and his desire for neatness and beauty flagrant extravagance.

The house itself was a foolish idea, it was thought, but there

were extenuating circumstances, for the maiden aunt really needed

a home, and Rufus was likely to marry before long and take his

wife to the River Farm. It was to be hoped in his case that he

would avoid the snares of beauty and choose a good stout girl who

would bring the dairy back to what it was in Mrs. Waterman's

time.

All winter long Stephen labored on the inside of the cottage,

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