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, as a Kennebec man an' a Christian, to set him on the right
track, though it's always a turrible risky thing to do."Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>