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A New Year’s Time At Willards’s
by [?]

Well, blame-don! Ef I ever see
Sich impidence! I couldn’t say
Not nary word! But Mother she
Sot out a cheer fer Tomps, an’ they
Shuk hands an’ turnt their back on me.
Then I riz– mad as mad could be–!
But Marg’et says–, “Now, Pap! You set
Right where you’re settin’–! Don’t you fret!
An’ Tomps– you warm yer feet!” says she,
“An throw yer mitts an’ comfert on
The bed there! Where is S’repty gone!
The cabbage is a-scortchin’! Ma,
Stop cryin’ there an’ stir the slaw!”
Well–! What was Mother cryin’ fer–?
I half riz up– but Marg’et’s chin
Hit squared– an’ I set down ag’in–
I allus was afeard o’ her,
I was, by jucks! So there I set,
Betwixt a sinkin’-chill an’ sweat,
An’ scuffled with my wrath, an’ shet
My teeth to mighty tight, you bet!
An’ yit, fer all that I could do,
I eeched to jes git up an’ whet
The carvin’-knife a rasp er two
On Tomps’s ribs– an’ so would you–!
Fer he had riz an’ faced around,
An’ stood there, smilin’, as they brung
The turkey in, all stuffed an’ browned–
Too sweet fer nose, er tooth, er tongue!
With sniffs o’ sage, an’ p’r’aps a dash
Of old burnt brandy, steamin’-hot
Mixed kindo’ in with apple-mash
An’ mince-meat, an’ the Lord knows what!
Nobody was a-talkin’ then,
To ‘filiate any awk’ardness–
No noise o’ any kind but jes
The rattle o’ the dishes when
They’d fetch ’em in an’ set ’em down,
An’ fix an’ change ’em round an’ round,
Like women does– till Mother says–,
“Vittels is ready; Abner, call
Down S’repty– she’s up-stairs, I guess–.”
And Marg’et she says, “Ef you bawl
Like that, she’ll not come down at all!
Besides, we needn’t wait till she
Gits down! Here Temps, set down by me,
An’ Pap: say grace…!” Well, there I was–!
What could I do! I drapped my head
Behind my fists an’ groaned; an’ said–:
“Indulgent Parent! In Thy cause
We bow the head an’ bend the knee
An’ break the bread, an’ pour the wine,
Feelin’–” (The stair-door suddently
Went bang! An’ S’repty flounced by me–)
“Feelin’,” I says, “this feast is Thine–
This New Year’s feast–” an’ rap-rap-rap!
Went Marg’ets case-knife on her plate–
An’ next, I heerd a sasser drap–,
Then I looked up, an’ strange to state,
There S’repty set in Tomps lap–
An’ huggin’ him, as shore as fate!
An’ Mother kissin’ him k-slap!
An’ Marg’et– she chips in to drap
The ruther peert remark to me–:
“That ‘grace’ o’ yourn,” she says, “won’t ‘gee’–
This hain’t no ‘New Year’s feast,'” says she–,
“This is a’ Infair-Dinner, Pap!”

An’ so it was–! Be’n married fer
Purt’ nigh a week–! ‘Twas Marg’et planned
The whole thing fer ’em, through an’ through.
I’m rickonciled; an’ understand,
I take things jes as they occur–,
Ef Marg’et liked Tomps, Tomps ‘ud do–!
But I-says-I, a-holt his hand–,
“I’m glad you didn’t marry Her–
‘Cause Marg’et’s my guardeen– yes-sir–!
An’ S’repty’s good enough fer you!”