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by [?]

She felt badly about it. He was ten years old now and a third again as large as Adna, who was going on fourteen. “It’s a shame, a shame,” she kept saying under her breath, “and Adna with so much brains!”

She kept on feeling badly about all sorts of things. In the first place it was the man’s work to butcher; the sight of the pig scraped pink and naked made her sick. He was too fat and soft and pitiful-looking. It was simply a shame the way things had to happen. By the time she had finished it up, she almost wished her brother would stay at home.

Early Sunday morn
ing Mrs. Whipple dropped everything to get Him all cleaned up. In an hour He was dirty again, with crawling under fences after a possum, and straddling along the rafters of the barn looking for eggs in the hayloft. “My Lord, look at you now after all my trying! And here’s Adna and Emly staying so quiet. I get tired trying to keep you decent. Get off that shirt and put on another, people will say I don’t half dress you!” And she boxed Him on the ears, hard. He blinked and blinked and rubbed His head, and His face hurt Mrs. Whipple’s feelings. Her knees began to tremble, she had to sit down while she buttoned His shirt. “I’m just all gone before the day starts. “

The brother came with his plump healthy wife and two great roaring hungry boys. They had a grand dinner, with the pig roasted to a crackling in the middle of the table, full of dressing, a pickled peach in his mouth and plenty of gravy for the sweet potatoes.

“This looks like prosperity all right,” said the brother; “you’re going to have to roll me home like I was a barrel when I’m done. “

Everybody laughed out loud; it was fine to hear them laughing all at once around the table. Mrs. Whipple felt warm and good about it. “Oh, we’ve got six more of these; I say it’s as little as we can do when you come to see us so seldom. “

He wouldn’t come into the dining room, and Mrs. Whipple passed it off very well. “He’s timider than my other two,” she said, “He’ll just have to get used to you. There isn’t everybody He’ll make up with, you know how it is with some children, even cousins. ” Nobody said anything out of the way.

“Just like my Alty here,” said the brother’s wife. “I sometimes got to lick him to make him shake hands with his own grandmammy. “

So that was over, and Mrs. Whipple loaded up a big plate for Him first, before everybody. “I always say He ain’t to be slighted, no matter who else goes without,” she said, and carried it to Him herself.

“He can chin Himself on the top of the door,” said Emly, helping along.

“That’s fine. He’s getting along fine,” said the brother.

They went away after supper. Mrs. Whipple rounded up the dishes, and sent the children to bed and sat down and unlaced her shoes. “You see?” she said to Mr. Whipple. “That’s the way my whole family is. Nice and considerate about everything. No out-of-the-way remarks—they havegot refinement. I get awfully sick of people’s remarks. Wasn’t that pig good?”

Mr. Whipple said, “Yes, we’re out three hundred pounds of pork, that’s all. It’s easy to be polite when you come to eat. Who knows what they had in their minds all along?”

“Yes, that’s like you,” said Mrs. Whipple. “I don’t expect anything else from you. You’ll be telling me next that my own brother will be saying around that we made Him eat in the kitchen! Oh, my God!” She rocked her head in her hands, a hard pain started in the very middle of her forehead. “Now it’s all spoiled, and everything was so nice and easy. All right, you don’t like them and you never did—all right, they’ll not come here again soon, never you mind! But they can’tsay He wasn’t dressed every lick as good as Adna—oh, honest, sometimes I wish I was dead!”