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tered up she used to go red all over, looking up at the ceiling, as she were something like a piny, which did n't trying her best to forget I was there. seem to have just the same effect. That was a way she had when I was
That supper was a very dreary sort courting, and we went along to huskof supper, with the baby crying, and ings together, with the moon shining Nancy getting up between the mouth- round. fuls to walk up and down the room Well, I kept on smoking, and she with him ; he was a heavy little chap kept on looking at the ceiling, and nofor a ten-month-old, and I think she body said a word for a while, till by must have been tuckered out with and by the fire burnt down, and she him all day. I did n't think about it got up and put on a fresh log. then; a man does n't notice such “ You 're dreadful wasteful with the things when he's angry, -it is n't in wood, Nancy," says I, bound to say him. I can't say but she would if I'd something cross, and that was all I been in her place. I just eat up the could think of. fritters and the maple molasses, “Take care of your own fire, then," seems to me I told her she ought not says she, throwing the log down and to use the best chiny cup, but I'm not standing up as straight as she could just sure, - and then I took my pipe, stand. “I think it's a pity if you and sat down in the corner.
have n't anything better to do, the I watched her putting the children last night before going in, than to pick to bed ; they made her a great deal everything I do to pieces this way, and of bother, squirming off of her lap and I tired enough to drop, carrying that running round barefoot. Sometimes great crying child in my arms all day. I used to hold them and talk to them You ought to be ashamed of yourself, and help her a bit, when I felt good- Aaron Hollis!" natured, but I just sat and smoked, and Now if she had cried a little, very let them alone. I was all worked up like I should have given up, and that about that lamp-wick, and I thoughtwould have been the end of it, for I you see, if she had n't had any feelings never could bear to see a woman cry; for me there was no need of my having it goes against the grain. But your any for her, – if she had cut the wick, mother was n't one of the crying sort, I'd have taken the babies ; she had n't and she did n't feel like it that night. cut the wick, and I would n't take the She just stood up there by the firebabies; she might see it if she want- place, as proud as Queen Victory, ed to, and think what she pleased. I I don't blame her, Johnny, -O no, I had been badly treated, and I meant don't blame her ; she had the right of to show it.
it there, I ought to have been ashamed It is strange, Johnny, it really does of myself; but a man never likes to seem to me very strange, how easy it hear that from other folks, and I put is in this world to be always taking my pipe down on the chimney-shelf so care of our rights. I've thought a hard I heard it snap like ice, and I great deal about it since I've been stood up too, and said - but no matter growing old, and there seems to me what I said, I guess. A man's quara good many things we'd better look rels with his wife always make me after fust.
think of what the Scripture says about But you see I had n't found that out other folks not intermeddling. They're in '41, and so I sat in the corner, and felt things, in my opinion, that don't convery much abused. I can't say but cern anybody else as a general thing, what Nancy had pretty much the same and I could n't tell what I said without idea ; for when the young ones were all telling what she said, and I'd rather in bed at last, she took her knitting not do that. Your mother was as good and sat down the other side of the fire, and patient-tempered a woman as ever sort of turning her head round and lived, Johnny, and she did n't mean it,
VOL. XX. — NO. 121.
and it was I that set her on. Besides, for your mother was a spirited sort my words were worst of the two
of woman when her temper was up; Well, well, I 'll hurry along just here, so there we were, more like enemies for it's not a time I like to think about; sworn against each other than man but we had it back and forth there for and wife who had loved each other true half an hour, till we had angered each for fifteen years, - a whole winter, and other up so I could n't stand it, and danger, and death perhaps, coming beI lifted up my hand, - I would have tween us, too. struck her if she had n't been a woman. It may seem very queer to you,
“Well,” says I, “ Nancy Hollis, I'm Johnny, - it did to me when I was sorry for the day I married you, and your age, and did n't know any more that's the truth, if ever I spoke a true than you do, - how folks can work word in my life!”
themselves up into great quarrels out I would n't have told you that now of such little things; but they do, and if you could understand the rest with into worse, if it's a man who likes his out. I'd give the world, Johnny-Id own way, and a woman that knows give the world and all those coupon how to talk. It's my opinion, two bonds Jedediah invested for me if I thirds of all the divorce cases in the could anyway forget it; but I said it, law-books just grow up out of things and I can't.
no bigger than that lamp-wick. Well, I've seen your mother look B ut how people that ever loved each 'most all sorts of ways in the course other could come to hard words like of her life, but I never saw her before, that, you don't see? Well, ha, ha! and I never saw her since, look as she Johnny, that amuses me, that really looked that minute. All the blaze went does amuse me, for I never saw a out in her cheeks, as if somebody had young man nor a young woman either, thrown cold water on it, and she stood - and young men and young women there stock still, so white I thought she in general are very much like freshwould drop.
hatched chickens, to my mind, and "Aaron -” she began, and stopped know just about as much of the world, to catch her breath, “Aaron -" but Johnny, - well, I never saw one yet she could n't get any farther ; she just who did n't say that very thing. And caught hold of a little shawl she had on what's more, I never saw one who with both her hands, as if she thought could get it into his head that old folks she could hold herself up by it, and knew better. walked right out of the room. I knew But I say I had loved your mother she had gone to bed, for I heard her true, Johnny, and she had loved me go up and shut the door. I stood true, for more than fifteen years; and there a few minutes with my hands in I loved her more the fifteenth year than my pockets, whistling Yankee Doodle. I did the first, and we could n't have Your mother used to say men were got along without each other, any more queer folks, Johnny; they always whis- than you could get along if somebody tled up the gayest when they felt the cut your heart right out. We had wust. Then I went to the closet and laughed together and cried together ; got another pipe, and I did n't go up we had been sick, and we 'd been well stairs till it was smoked out.
together; we'd had our hard times When I was a young man, Johnny, and our pleasant times right along, side I used to be that sort of fellow that by side ; we'd christened the babies, could n't bear to give up beat. I'd and we'd buried 'em, holding on to acted like a brute, and I knew it, but each other's hand; we had grown along I was too spunky to say so. So I says year after year, through ups and downs to myself, “If she won't make up first, and downs and ups, just like one perI won't, and that's the end on it.” son, and there was n't any more dividing Very likely she said the same thing, of us. But for all that we'd been put
out, and we 'd had our two ways, and miles round with my muscle, and she we had spoken our sharp words like with those blue veins on her forehead. any other two folks, and this was n't Howsomever that may be, I was n't our first quarrel by any means.
used to letting her do it by herself, and I tell you, Johnny, young folks they so I lay with my eyes shut, and prestart in life with very pretty ideas,- very tended that I was asleep; for I did n't pretty. But take it as a general thing, feel like giving in, and speaking up they don't know any more what they're gentle, not about that nor anything else. talking about than they do about each I could see her though, between my other, and they don't know any more eyelashes, and I lay there, every time I about each other than they do about woke up, and watched her walking back the man in the moon. They begin and forth, back and forth, up and down, very nice, with their new carpets and with the heavy little fellow in her arms, teaspoons, and a little mending to do, all night long. and coming home early evenings to Sometimes, Johnny, when I'm gone talk; but by and by the shine wears to bed now of a winter night, I think I off. Then come the babies, and worry see her in her white nightgown with her and wear and temper. About that red-plaid shawl pinned over her shoultime they begin to be a little acquaint- ders and over the baby, walking up ed, and to find out that there are two and down, and up and down. I shut wills and two sets of habits to be fitted my eyes, but there she is, and I open somehow. It takes them anywhere them again, but I see her all the same. along from one year to three to get I was off very early in the morning; jostled down together. As for smooth. I don't think it could have been much ing off, there 's more or less of that to after three o'clock when I woke up. be done always.
Nancy had my breakfast all laid out Well, I did n't sleep very well that overnight, except the coffee, and we night, dropping into naps and waking had fixed it that I was to make up the up. The baby was worrying over his fire, and get off without waking her, if teeth every half-hour, and Nancy get the baby was very bad. At least, that ting up to walk him off to sleep in her was the way I wanted it; but she stuck arms, - it was the only way you would to it she should be up, — that was bebe hushed up, and you 'd lie and yell fore there 'd been any words between till somebody did it.
Now, it was n't many times since The room was very gray and still, we 'd been married that I had let her I remember just how it looked, with do that thing all night long. I used to Nancy's clothes on a chair, and the have a way of getting up to take my baby's shoes lying round. She had got turn, and sending her off to sleep. It him off to sleep in his cradle, and had is n't a man's business, some folks say. dropped into a nap, poor thing! with I don't know anything about that; her face as white as the sheet, from maybe, if I 'd been broiling my brain in watching book learning all day till come night, I stopped when I was dressed, halfand I was hard put to it to get my sleep way out of the room, and looked round anyhow, like the parson there, it would- at it, - it was so white, Johnny! It n't; but all I know is, what if I had would be a long time before I should been breaking my back in the potato- see it again, - five months were a long patch since morning ? so she'd broken time; then there was the risk, coming her's over the oven ; and what if I did down in the freshets, and the words I need nine hours' sound sleep? I could 'd said last night. I thought, you see, chop and saw without it next day, just if I should kiss it once, - I need n't as well as she could do the ironing, to wake her up, — maybe I should go off say nothing of my being a great stout feeling better. So I stood there lookfellow,- there was n't a chap for ten ing: she was lying so still, I could n't
see any more stir to her than if she should bother me ripping, and I with had her breath held in. I wish I had nobody to take a stitch for me all windone it, Johnny, - I can't get over ter. The boys went off in good spirits, wishing I'd done it, yet. But I was singing till they were out of sight of just too proud, and I turned round and town, and waving their caps at their went out, and shut the door.
wives and babies standing in the winWe were going to meet down at the dow along on the way. I did n't sing. post-office, the whole gang of us, and I I thought the wind blew too hard, had quite a spell to walk. I was going seems to me that was the reason, in on Bob Stokes's team. I remember I'm sure there must have been a reahow fast I walked with my hands in son, for I had a voice of my own in my pockets, looking along up at the those days, and had led the choir perstars, — the sun was putting them out petual for five years. pretty fast, – and trying not to think of We were n't going in very deep ; Nancy. But I did n't think of anything Dove and Beadle's lots lay about thirty else.
miles from the nearest house ; and a It was so early, that there was n't straggling, lonely sort of place that was many folks about to see us off; but too, five miles out of the village, with Bob Stokes's wife, - she lived nigh the nobody but a dog and a deaf old wooffice, just across the road, - she was man in it. Sometimes, as I was telling there to say good by, kissing of him, you, we had been in a hundred miles and crying on his shoulder. I don't from any human creature but ourselves. know what difference that should make It took us two days to get there with Bob Stokes, but I snapped him though, with the oxen; and the teams up well, when he came along, and said were loaded down well, with so many good morning.
axes and the pork-barrels ; — I don't There were twenty-one of us just, on know anything like pork for hefting that gang, in on contract for Dove and down more than you expect it to, reaBeadle. Dove and Beadle did about the sonable. It was one of your ugly gray heaviest thing on woodland of anybody, days, growing dark at four o'clock, with about that time. Good, steady men snow in the air, when we hauled up in we were, most of us, - none of your the lonely place. The trees were blundering Irish, that would n't know blazed pretty thick, I remember, espea maple from a hickory, with their gin- cially the pines ; Dove and Beadle albottles in their pockets,-but our solid, ways had that done up prompt in OcDown-East Yankee heads, owning their tober. It's pretty work going in blazfarms all along the river, with school ing while the sun is warm, and the ing enough to know what they were woods like a great bonfire with the about 'lection day. You did n't catch maples. I used to like it, but your any of us voting your new-fangled mother would n't hear of it when she tickets when we had meant to go up could help herself, it kept me away so on Whig, for want of knowing the dif- long. ference, nor visa vussy. To say noth- It's queer, Johnny, how we do reing of Bob Stokes, and Holt, and me, member things that ain't of no acand another fellow,-I forget his name, count; but I remember, as plainly as if - being members in good and reg'lar it were yesterday morning, just how standing, and paying in our five dollars everything looked that night, when the to the parson every quarter, charitable. teams came up, one by one, and we
Yes, though I say it that should n't went to work spry to get to rights besay it, we were as fine a looking gang fore the sun went down. as any in the county, starting off that There were three shanties, — they morning in our red uniform, — Nan- don't often have more than two or cy took a sight of pains with my three in one place, - they were empshirt, sewing it up stout, for fear it ty, and the snow had drifted in ; Bob Stokes's oxen were fagged out, with did n't expect to, for we 'd laid in more their heads hanging down, and the than usual. horses were whinnying for their supper. We had two pretty rough weeks' work Holt had one of his great brush-fires to begin with, for the worst storms of going, - there was nobody like Holt the season set in, and kept in, and I for making fires, — and the boys were never saw their like, before or since. hurrying round in their red shirts, It seemed as if there 'd never be an shouting at the oxen, and singing a and to them. Storm after storm, blow little, some of them low, under their after blow, freeze after freeze ; half a breath, to keep their spirits up. There day's sunshine, and then at it again ! was snow as far as you could see, - We were well tired of it before they down the cart-path, and all around, and stopped ; it made the boys homesick. away into the woods; and there was However, we kept at work pretty snow in the sky now, setting in for a brisk, — lumbermen are n't the fellows regular nor'easter. The trees stood up to be put out for a snow-storm, - cutstraight all around without any leaves, ting and hauling and sawing, out in the and under the bushes it was as black sleet and wind. Bob Stokes froze his as pitch.
left foot that second week, and I was “Five months,” said I to myself, — frost-bitten pretty badly myself. Cullen “five months !”
- he was the boss - he was well out “What in time's the matter with of sorts, I tell you, before the sun came you, Hollis?” says Bob Stokes, with a out, and cross enough to bite a tengreat slap on my arm ; "you 're giving penny nail in two. that 'ere ox molasses on his hay !” But when the sun is out, it is n't so
Sure enough I was, and he said I act- bad a kind of life, after all. At work all ed like a dazed creatur, and very likely day, with a good hot dinner in the midI did. But I could n't have told Bob the dle; then back to the shanties at dark, reason. You see, I knew Nancy was to as rousing a fire and tiptop swagan just drawing up her little rocking-chair as anybody could ask for. Holt was - the one with the green cushion - cook that season, and Holt could n't close by the fire, sitting there with the be beaten on his swagan. children to wait for the tea to boil. Now you don't mean to say you don't And I knew - I could n't help know- know what swagan is? Well, well ! ing, if I'd tried hard for it — how she To think of it! All I have to say is, was crying away softly in the dark, you don't know what is good then. so that none of them could see her, to Beans and pork and bread and molasthink of the words we'd said, and I ses, – that 's swagan, — all stirred up gone in without ever making of them in a great kettle, and boiled together; up. I was sorry for them then. O and I don't know anything — not even Johnny, I was sorry, and she was thir- your mother's fritters --I'd give more ty miles away. I'd got to be sorry five for a taste of now. We just about months, thirty miles away, and could n't lived on that; there 's nothing you can let her know.
cut and haul all day on like swagan. The boys said I was poor company Besides that, we used to have doughthat first week, and I should n't won- nuts, you don't know what doughnuts der if I was. I could n't seem to get are here in Massachusetts ; as big as over it any way, to think I could n't let a dinner-plate, those doughnuts were, her know.
and — well, a little hard, perhaps. They If I could have sent her a scrap of a used to have it about in Bangor that letter, or a message, or something, I we used them for clock pendulums, should have felt better. But there but I don't know about that. was n't any chance of that this long I used to think a great deal about time, unless we got out of pork or fod- Nancy nights, when we were sitting der, and had to send down, which we up by the fire, — we had our fire right