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Mis’ Elderkin’s Pitcher
by [?]

“Wal, you see, from the time that Bill Elderkin come and took the academy, I could see plain enough that it was time for me to hang up my fiddle. Bill he used to set in the singers’ seats, too, and he would have it that he sung tenor. He no more sung tenor than a skunk-blackbird; but he made b’lieve he did, jest to git next to Miry in the singers’ seats. They used to set there in the seats a writin’ backward and forward to each other till they tore out all the leaves of the hymn-books, and the singin’-books besides. Wal, I never thought that the house o’ the Lord was jest the place to be courtin’ in, and I used to get consid’able shocked at the way things went on atween ’em. Why, they’d be a writin’ all sermon-time; and I’ve seen him a lookin’ at her all through the long prayer in a way that wa’n’t right, considerin’ they was both professors of religion. But then the fact was, old Black Hoss John was to blame for it, ’cause he never let ’em have no chance to hum. Ye see, old Black Hoss he was sot agin Elderkin ’cause he was poor. You see, his mother, the old Widdah Elderkin, she was jest about the poorest, peakedest old body over to Sherburne, and went out to days’ works; and Bill Elderkin he was all for books and larnin’, and old Black Hoss John he thought it was just shiftlessness: but Miry she thought he was a genius; and she got it sot in her mind that he was goin’ to be President o’ the United States, or some sich.

“Wal, old Black Hoss he wa’n’t none too polite to Miry’s beaux in gineral, but when Elderkin used to come to see her he was snarlier than a saw: he hadn’t a good word for him noways; and he’d rake up the fire right before his face and eyes, and rattle about fastenin’ up the windows, and tramp up to bed, and call down the chamber-stairs to Miry to go to bed, and was sort o’ aggravatin’ every way.

“Wal, ef folks wants to get a gal set on havin’ a man, that ‘ere’s the way to go to work. Miry had a consid’able stiff will of her own; and, ef she didn’t care about Tom Beacon before, she hated him now; and, if she liked Bill Elderkin before, she was clean gone over to him now. And so she took to goin’ to the Wednesday-evenin’ lecture, and the Friday-even-in’ prayer-meetin’, and the singin’-school, jest as regular as a clock, and so did he; and arterwards they allers walked home the longest way. Fathers may jest as well let their gals be courted in the house, peaceable, ’cause, if they can’t be courted there, they’ll find places where they can be: it’s jest human natur’.

“Wal, come fall, Elderkin he went to college up to Brunswick; and then I used to see the letters as regular up to the store every week, comin’ in from Brunswick, and old Black Hoss John he see ’em too, and got a way of droppin’ on ’em in his coat-pocket when he come up to the store, and folks used to say that the letters that went into his coat-pocket didn’t get to Miry. Anyhow, Miry she says to me one day says she, ‘Sam, you’re up round the post-office a good deal,’ says she. ‘I wish, if you see any letters for me, you’d jest bring ’em along.’ I see right into it, and I told her to be sure I would; and so I used to have the carryin’ of great thick letters every week. Wal, I was waitin’ on Hepsy along about them times, and so Miry and I kind o’ sympathized. Hepsy was a pretty gal, and I thought it was all best as ’twas; any way, I knew I couldn’t get Miry, and I could get Hepsy, and that made all the difference in the world.