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The Minister’s Housekeeper
by [?]

“But you know how ’tis in parishes: there allers is women that thinks the minister’s affairs belongs to them, and they ought to have the rulin’ and guidin’ of ’em; and, if a minister’s wife dies, there’s folks that allers has their eyes open on providences,–lookin’ out who’s to be the next one.

“Now, there was Mis’ Amaziah Pipperidge, a widder with snappin’ black eyes, and a hook nose,–kind o’ like a hawk; and she was one o’ them up-and-down commandin’ sort o’ women, that feel that they have a call to be seein’ to every thing that goes on in the parish, and ‘specially to the minister.

“Folks did say that Mis’ Pipperidge sort o’ sot her eye on the parson for herself: wal, now that ‘are might a been, or it might not. Some folks thought it was a very suitable connection. You see she hed a good property of her own, right nigh to the minister’s lot, and was allers kind o’ active and busy; so takin’ one thing with another, I shouldn’t wonder if Mis’ Pipperidge should a thought that Providence p’inted that way. At any rate, she went up to Deakin Blod-gett’s wife, and they two sort o’ put their heads together a mournin’ and condolin’ about the way things was likely to go on at the minister’s now Mis’ Carryl was dead. Ye see, the parson’s wife, she was one of them women who hed their eyes everywhere and on every thing. She was a little thin woman, but tough as Inger rubber, and smart as a steel trap; and there warn’t a hen laid an egg, or cackled, but Mis’ Carryl was right there to see about it; and she hed the garden made in the spring, and the medders mowed in summer, and the cider made, and the corn husked, and the apples got in the fall; and the doctor, he hedn’t nothin’ to do but jest sit stock still a meditatin’ on Jerusalem and Jericho and them things that ministers think about. But Lordy massy! he didn’t know nothin’ about where any thing he eat or drunk or wore come from or went to: his wife jest led him ’round in temporal things and took care on him like a baby.

“Wal, to be sure, Mis’ Carryl looked up to him in spirituals, and thought all the world on him; for there warn’t a smarter minister no where ’round. Why, when he preached on decrees and election, they used to come clear over from South Parish, and West Sherburne, and Old Town to hear him; and there was sich a row o’ waggins tied along by the meetin’-house that the stables was all full, and all the hitchin’-posts was full clean up to the tavern, so that folks said the doctor made the town look like a gineral trainin’-day a Sunday.

“He was gret on texts, the doctor was. When he hed a p’int to prove, he’d jest go thro’ the Bible, and drive all the texts ahead o’ him like a flock o’ sheep; and then, if there was a text that seemed agin him, why, he’d come out with his Greek and Hebrew, and kind o’ chase it ’round a spell, jest as ye see a fellar chase a contrary bell-wether, and make him jump the fence arter the rest. I tell you, there wa’n’t no text in the Bible that could stand agin the doctor when his blood was up. The year arter the doctor was app’inted to preach the ‘lection sermon in Boston, he made such a figger that the Brattle-street Church sent a committee right down to see if they couldn’t get him to Boston; and then the Sherburne folks, they up and raised his salary; ye see, there ain’t nothin’ wakes folks up like somebody else’s wantin’ what you’ve got. Wal, that fall they made him a Doctor o’ Divinity at Cambridge College, and so they sot more by him than ever. Wal, you see, the doctor, of course he felt kind o’ lonesome and afflicted when Mis’ Carryl was gone; but railly and truly, Huldy was so up to every thing about house, that the doctor didn’t miss nothin’ in a temporal way. His shirt-bosoms was pleated finer than they ever was, and them ruffles ’round his wrists was kep’ like the driven snow; and there warn’t a brack in his silk stockin’s, and his shoe buckles was kep’ polished up, and his coats brushed; and then there warn’t no bread and biscuit like Huldy’s; and her butter was like solid lumps o’ gold; and there wern’t no pies to equal hers; and so the doctor never felt the loss o’ Miss Carryl at table. Then there was Huldy allers opposite to him, with her blue eyes and her cheeks like two fresh peaches. She was kind o’ pleasant to look at; and the more the doctor looked at her the better he liked her; and so things seemed to be goin’ on quite quiet and comfortable ef it hadn’t been that Mis’ Pipperidge and Mis’ Deakin Blodgett and Mis’ Sawin got their heads together a talkin’ about things.