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Mis’ Elderkin’s Pitcher
by [?]

“Ye see, boys,” said Sam Lawson, as we were gathering young wintergreen on a sunny hillside in June,–“ye see, folks don’t allers know what their marcies is when they sees ’em. Folks is kind o’ blinded; and, when a providence comes along, they don’t seem to know how to take it, and they growl and grumble about what turns out the best things that ever happened to ’em in their lives. It’s like Mis’ Elderkin’s pitcher.”

“What about Mis’ Elderkin’s pitcher?” said both of us in one breath.

“Didn’t I never tell ye, now?” said Sam: “why, I wanter know?”

No, we were sure he never had told us; and Sam, as usual, began clearing the ground by a thorough introduction, with statistical expositions.

“Wal, ye see, Mis’ Elderkin she lives now over to Sherburne in about the handsomest house in Sherburne,–a high white house, with green blinds and white pillars in front,–and she rides out in her own kerridge; and Mr. Elderkin, he ‘s a deakin in the church, and a colonel in the malitia, and a s’lectman, and pretty much atop every thing there is goin’ in Sherburne, and it all come of that ‘are pitcher.”

“What pitcher?” we shouted in chorus.

“Lordy massy! that ‘are ‘s jest what I’m a goin’ to tell you about; but, ye see, a feller’s jest got to make a beginnin’ to all things.

“Mis’ Elderkin she thinks she’s a gret lady nowadays, I s’pose; but I ‘member when she was Miry Brown over here ‘n Oldtown, and I used to be waitin’ on her to singing-school.

“Miry and I was putty good friends along in them days,–we was putty consid’able kind o’ intimate. Fact is, boys, there was times in them days when I thought whether or no I wouldn’t take Miry myself,” said Sam, his face growing luminous with the pleasing idea of his former masculine attractions and privileges. “Yis,” he continued, “there was a time when folks said I could a hed Miry ef I’d asked her; and I putty much think so myself, but I didn’t say nothin’: marriage is allers kind o’ventursome; an’ Miry had such up-and-down kind o’ ways, I was sort o’ fraid on’t.

“But Lordy massy! boys, you mustn’t never tell Hepsy I said so, ’cause she’d be mad enough to bite a shingle-nail in two. Not that she sets so very gret by me neither; but then women’s backs is allers up ef they think anybody else could a hed you, whether they want you themselves or not.

“Ye see, Miry she was old Black Hoss John Brown’s da’ter, and lived up there in that ‘are big brown house by the meetin’-house, that hes the red hollyhock in the front yard. Miry was about the handsomest gal that went into the singers’ seat a Sunday.

“I tell you she wa’n’t none o’ your milk-and-sugar gals neither,–she was ‘mazin’ strong built. She was the strongest gal in her arms that I ever see. Why, I ‘ve seen Miry take up a barrel o’ flour, and lift it right into the kitchen; and it would jest make the pink come into her cheeks like two roses, but she never seemed to mind it a grain. She had a good strong back of her own, and she was straight as a poplar, with snappin’ black eyes, and I tell you there was a snap to her tongue too. Nobody never got ahead o’ Miry; she’d give every fellow as good as he sent, but for all that she was a gret favorite.

“Miry was one o’ your briery, scratchy gals, that seems to catch fellers in thorns. She allers fit and flouted her beaux, and the more she fit and flouted ’em the more they ‘d be arter her. There wa’n’t a gal in all Oldtown that led such a string o’ fellers arter her; ’cause, you see, she’d now and then throw ’em a good word over her shoulder, and then they ‘d all fight who should get it, and she’d jest laugh to see ’em do it.