'The whol' blame' town's kin, s'e; 'I never see such a place. Everybody's kin, only just me. Air you, he ask' me wistful, 'cousin' of 'em all, too? "'Mis' Sprague that's dead was connected up with me by marriage an' Mis' Sykes is my mother's secunt cousin, I owned up. "'That's it again, s'e, sighin'. 'I'm the odd number, dum it, he says sorrowful.

But in little ways, an' because it was secunt nature, just helpin', helpin', helpin' ... Mis' Holcomb-that-was-Mame-Bliss, Liddy Ember, Abagail Arnold an' her husband, that was alive then, hurryin' to open the home bakery to catch the funeral trade on the funeral's way back, Amanda an' Timothy Toplady rattlin' by in the wagon an' 'most likely scrappin' over the new springs ... an' all of 'em salt good at heart.

But mebbe there's some won't believe that, one secunt." Mis' Winslow straightened up from the table and held out a hand with fingers frosting-tipped. "Well," she said, with a great period, "if we have broke our word to the Christmas paper, I'd rather stand up here with my word broke this way than with it kept so good it hurt me. Is it half-past seven yet?"

"That was talk they knew. They was after him in a secunt an' tears forgot, them poor little things, laughin' an' hold o' hands, an' dancin' in a chain, an' standin' in a ring. An' when he hed 'em like that, an' still, Abel begun runnin' 'round to drop the handkerchief; an' then he turns to me.

An' we 'most shut the door on Silas Sykes, comin' tearin' up on account o' Timothy leavin' him urgent word to come, without explainin' why. An' when Silas see the inside o' the church, all lit up an' chicken supper for the children an' the other two elders there with the milk, he just rubs his hands an' beams like he see his secunt term.

An' I thought mebbe you'd go down to the village an' pick up some stuff they'll need bedding an' things. An' get the women here with some supper. Come on now, he calls out to 'em; 'everybody in a procession an' sing! "He led 'em off with "'King William was King James's son, an' he sings back to me, for the secunt line, "'Go now, go quick, I bet they're starved!

"An' there, right by that stone just outside the entry o' the church, set Mis' Timothy Toplady, milkin' her Jersey cow. "We could just see her, dim, by the light o' the transom. She was on the secunt pail, an' that was two-thirds full. She hed her back toward us, an' she didn't hear us.