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“Oh, Mrs. Whipple, you hadn’t ought to let Him do that. He’ll lose His balance sometime. He can’t rightly know what He’s doing. “

Mrs. Whipple almost screamed out at the neighbor. “He doesknow what He’s doing! He’s as able as any other child! Come down out of there, you!” When He finally reached the ground she could hardly keep her hands off Him for acting like that before people, a grin all over His face and her worried sick about Him all the time.

“It’s the neighbors,” said Mrs. Whipple to her husband. “Oh, I do mortally wish they would keep out of our business. I can’t afford to let Him do anything for fear they’ll come nosing around about it. Look at the bees, now. Adna can’t handle them, they sting him up so; I haven’t got time to do everything, and now I don’t dare let Him. But if He gets a sting He don’t really mind. “

“It’s just because He ain’t got sense enough to be scared of anything,” said Mr. Whipple.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” said Mrs. Whipple, “talking that way about your own child. Who’s to take up for Him if we don’t, I’d like to know? He sees a lot that goes on, He listens to things all the time. And anything I tell Him to do He does it. Don’t never let anybody hear you say such things. They’d think you favored the other children over Him. “

“Well, now I don’t, and you know it, and what’s the use of getting all worked up about it? You always think the worst of everything. Just let Him alone, He’ll get along somehow. He gets plenty to eat and wear, don’t He?” Mr. Whipple suddenly felt tired out. “Anyhow, it can’t be helped now. “

Mrs. Whipple felt tired too, she complained in a tired voice. “What’s done can’t never be undone, I know that as good as anybody; but He’s my child, and I’m not going to have people say anything. I get sick of people coming around saying things all the time. “

In the early fall Mrs. Whipple got a letter from her brother saying he and his wife and two children were coming over for a little visit next Sunday week. “Put the big pot in the little one,” he wrote at the end. Mrs. Whipple read this part out loud twice, she was so pleased. Her brother was a great one for saying funny things. “We’ll just show him that’s no joke,” she said, “we’ll just butcher one of the suckling pigs. “

“It’s a waste and I don’t hold with waste the way we are now,” said Mr. Whipple. “That pig’ll be worth money by Christmas. “

“It’s a shame and a pity we can’t have a decent meal’s vittles once in a while when my own family comes to see us,” said Mrs. Whipple. “I’d hate for his wife to go back and say there wasn’t a thing in the house to eat. My God, it’s better than buying up a great chance of meat in town. There’s where you’d spend the money!”

“All right, do it yourself then,” said Mr. Whipple. “Christamighty, no wonder we can’t get ahead!”

The question was how to get the little pig away from his ma, a great fighter, worse than a Jersey cow. Adna wouldn’t try it: “That sow’d rip my insides out all over the pen. ” “All right, old fraidy,” said Mrs. Whipple, “He’snot scared. Watch Himdo it. ” And she laughed as though it was all a good joke and gave Him a little push towards the pen. He sneaked up and snatched the pig right away from the teat and galloped back and was over the fence with the sow raging at His heels. The little black squirming thing was screeching like a baby m a tantrum, stiffening its back and stretching its mouth to the ears. Mrs. Whipple took the pig with her face stiff and sliced its throat with one stroke. When He saw the blood He gave a great jolting breath and ran away. “But He’ll forget and eat plenty, just the same,” thought Mrs. Whipple. Whenever she was thinking, her lips moved making words. “He’d eat it all if I didn’t stop Him. He’d eat up every mouthful from the other two if I’d let Him. “