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And because paw has to sell pork and flour, we haven't any call to go there and watch him do it." The two men glanced at each other. This reserve and fastidiousness were something rare in a pioneer community. Harkutt's manners certainly did not indicate that he was troubled by this sensitiveness; it must have been some individual temperament of his daughters.

Before his guests had time to fully weigh this delicate hint, another gust of wind shook the tenement, and even forced the unbolted upper part of the door to yield far enough to admit an eager current of humid air that seemed to justify the wisdom of Harkutt's suggestion. Billings slowly and with a sigh assumed a sitting posture in the chair.

It would kill me to go back and spend another night as the last, if I don't kill myself on the way to do it." Harkutt's face darkened grimly. It was indeed as Billings had said. The pitiable weakness of the man's manner not only made his desperation inadequate and ineffective, but even lent it all the cheapness of acting.

An undignified silence on the part of the adults followed, the usual sequel to those passages; Sidon generally declining to expose itself to the youthful Harkutt's terrible accuracy of statement.

Harkutt's mind synonymous with ceasing from troubling, "and after supper, while I'm in the parlor with your father and sisters, you kin sit up here by the fire with your book." "But," persisted the boy in a flash of inspiration, "is popper goin' to join in business with those surveyors, a surveyin'?" "No, child, what an idea! Run away there, and mind! don't bother your father."

Harkutt's generous idiosyncrasy to look upon all humanity as suffering and toiling; to be petted, humored, condoled with, and fed. It had, in the course of years, imparted a singularly caressing sadness to her voice, and given her the habit of ending her sentences with a melancholy cooing and an unintelligible murmur of agreement.

He rose and walked slowly into the sitting-room, followed by his daughter and a murmur of commiseration from his wife. But Mrs. Harkutt's ministration for the present did not pass beyond her domain, the kitchen. "I reckon ye ain't expectin' anybody tonight, Phemie?" said Mr. Harkutt, sinking into a chair, and placing his slippered feet against the wall.

Yet no conception of this possibility entered 'Lige Curtis's alcoholized consciousness, part of whose morbid phantasy it was to distort or exaggerate all natural phenomena. He had a vague idea that he could not go back to Harkutt's; already his visit seemed to have happened long, long ago, and could not be repeated.

In his strange mental condition even the change from Harkutt's feeble candle to the outer darkness for a moment blinded Elijah Curtis, yet it was part of that mental condition that he kept moving steadily forward as in a trance or dream, though at first purposelessly. Then it occurred to him that he was really looking for his horse, and that the animal was not there.

That duty, however, did not involve any pecuniary transactions the taking of money or making of change but a simple record on a slate behind the counter of articles selected by those customers whose urgent needs could not wait Mr. Harkutt's return. Perhaps on account of this degrading limitation, perhaps for other reasons, the boy did not fancy the task imposed upon him.