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The Minister’s Wooing
by [?]

“Wal, the upshot on’t was, they fussed and fuzzled and wuzzled till they’d drinked up all the tea in the teapot; and then they went down and called on the Parson, and wuzzled him all up talkin’ about this, that, and t’other that wanted lookin’ to, and that it was no way to leave everything to a young chit like Huldy, and that he ought to be lookin’ about for an experienced woman.

“The Parson, he thanked ’em kindly, and said he believed their motives was good, but he didn’t go no further.

“He didn’t ask Mis’ Pipperidge to come and stay there and help him, nor nothin’ o’ that kind; but he said he’d attend to matters himself. The fact was, the Parson had got such a likin’ for havin’ Huldy ’round that he couldn’t think o’ such a thing as swappin’ her off for the Widder Pipperidge.

“‘But,’ he thought to himself, ‘Huldy is a good girl; but I oughtn’t to be a-leavin’ everything to her–it’s too hard on her. I ought to be instructin’ and guidin’ and helpin’ of her; ’cause ’tain’t everybody could be expected to know and do what Mis’ Carryl did’; and so at it he went; and Lordy massy! didn’t Huldy hev a time on’t when the minister began to come out of his study and wanted to ten’ ’round an’ see to things? Huldy, you see, thought all the world of the minister, and she was ‘most afraid to laugh; but she told me she couldn’t, for the life of her, help it when his back was turned, for he wuzzled things up in the most singular way. But Huldy, she’d just say, ‘Yes, sir,’ and get him off into his study, and go on her own way.

“‘Huldy,’ says the minister one day, ‘you ain’t experienced outdoors; and when you want to know anything you must come to me.’

“‘Yes, sir,’ said Huldy.

“‘Now, Huldy,’ says the Parson, ‘you must be sure to save the turkey eggs, so that we can have a lot of turkeys for Thanksgiving.’

“‘Yes, sir,’ says Huldy; and she opened the pantry door and showed him a nice dishful she’d been a-savin’ up. Wal, the very next day the parson’s hen-turkey was found killed up to old Jim Scrogg’s barn. Folks say Scroggs killed it, though Scroggs, he stood to it he didn’t; at any rate, the Scroggses they made a meal on’t, and Huldy, she felt bad about it ’cause she’d set her heart on raisin’ the turkeys; and says she, ‘Oh, dear! I don’t know what I shall do. I was just ready to set her.’

“‘Do, Huldy?’ says the Parson; ‘why, there’s the other turkey, out there by the door, and a fine bird, too, he is.’

“Sure enough, there was the old tom-turkey a-struttin’ and a-sidlin’ and a-quitterin’, and a-floutin’ his tail feathers in the sun, like a lively young widower all ready to begin life over again.

“‘But,’ says Huldy, ‘you know he can’t set on eggs.’

“‘He can’t? I’d like to know why” says the Parson. ‘He shall set on eggs, and hatch ’em, too.’

‘”Oh, Doctor!’ says Huldy, all in a tremble; ’cause, you know, she didn’t want to contradict the minister, and she was afraid she should laugh–‘ I never heard that a tom-turkey would set on eggs.’

“‘Why, they ought to,’ said the Parson getting quite ‘arnest. ‘What else be they good for? You just bring out the eggs, now, and put ’em in the nest, and I’ll make him set on ’em.’

“So Huldy, she thought there weren’t no way to convince him but to let him try; so she took the eggs out and fixed ’em all nice in the nest; and then she come back and found old Tom a-skirmishin’ with the Parson pretty lively, I tell ye. Ye see, old Tom, he didn’t take the idea at all; and he flopped and gobbled, and fit the Parson; and the Parson’s wig got ’round so that his cue stuck straight out over his ear, but he’d got his blood up. Ye see, the old Doctor was used to carryin’ his p’ints o’ doctrine; and he hadn’t fit the Arminians and Socinians to be beat by a tom-turkey; and finally he made a dive and ketched him by the neck in spite o’ his floppin’, and stroked him down, and put Huldy’s apron ’round him.