Yet when he came to the wider yard before the stone house something of his complaisance left him. "He and Eunice Maitland had never hitched." She was always perfectly courteous, and never failed to attend the sewing-meetings of the church when they were held at his house, and she had even been heard to say that she had "a great respect for Mrs. Pettijohn."
The quiet waters in the neighboring lakes tempted Eli Pettijohn on a spring day in 1855 to invest $2.50 in "Fishing Tackel". That the officers did not live upon the same fare as the soldiers is indicated by the entries under the title "Officers Mess". On July 31, 1855, there was purchased ten cents worth of cloves, ten cents worth of pepper, and ninety-five cents worth of cheese.
Here's that little mis'able Jimmy Pettijohn " "Little, Susanna?" "Yes, little. Always was an' always will be. His outside has growed big enough in all conscience, but his inside has stayed the size of a pin-point, same as it was born.
I shouldn't think, if I hadn't knowed better, 'at you'd seen a mouthful o' victuals sence you scooted out o' Marsden a dozen years ago! An' as for manners why, our pigs is better behaved. Water? Drink your fill, an' then, Nate Pettijohn, you walk right straight out to that wash-dish in the lean-to an' scrub yourself well. Of all the dirty creatur's Why, what?"
And I hope it isn't really lost. Are you certain that the poor wretch is he you said?" "As sure as I draw my breath," averred Susanna, solemnly. "Then Squire Pettijohn must never know," said Eunice, with equal solemnity.
It was Squire Pettijohn, forgetful of his dire threat against any son of man who dared to "tramp" God's earth, unwarranted. Squire Pettijohn, with head bowed, heart humbled, who had always branded another man's son as "thief," only to find that self-confessed offender the child of his own home. Nobody sought to hinder him.
These were but the beginnings of the garbled reports which a gossip-loving lad had originated; yet all pointed to one and the same thing, Marsden would now become famous. So that more than ever Squire Pettijohn felt it good to be a great man in the right place. In all the newspaper notices which would follow, his name, also, would appear, and notoriety was what he coveted.
Squire Pettijohn improved this opportunity and made his way into the hall before she remembered that she had not intended to admit him. In any case, she instantly reflected he shouldn't see her mistress, whom he had had the impertinence to speak of as "Eunice." But her reflection came too late.
Nathan, newly clothed and decent of apparel, but, as to unkempt hair and besmirched skin, still unmistakably the tramp, let his wild, frightened eyes roam ceaselessly from one guest to another till, finally, they fixed their gaze upon one face and rested there. The face was that of Squire Pettijohn, hitherto complacent, self-satisfied village magnate.
What do you think's sent Jimmy Pettijohn a-visitin' us? Not none of Moses' troubles, but to hear about the 'gold mine' was found in the big woods this mornin'! Did you ever hear the beat?" "A gold mine? Surely, he knows how absurd such an idea would be," answered Aunt Eunice, quietly bowing and turning away.