Aunt Rachel was right in one thing, as Jack realized. He could not find horses to hold every day, and even if he had succeeded in that, few would have paid him so munificently as the stranger of the day before. In fact, matters came to a crisis, and something must be sold to raise funds for immediate necessities. Now, the only article of luxury—if it could be called so—in the possession of the family was a sofa, in very good preservation, indeed nearly new, for it had been bought only two years before when business was good. A neighbor was willing to pay fifteen dollars for this, and Mrs. Harding, with her husband’s consent, agreed to part with it.
“If ever we are able we will buy another,” said Timothy.
“And, at any rate, we can do without it,” said his wife.
“Rachel will miss it.”
“She said the other day that it was not comfortable, and ought never to have been bought; that it was a shameful waste of money.”
“In that case she won’t be disturbed by our selling it.”
“No, I should think not; but it’s hard to tell how Rachel will take anything.”
This remark was amply verified.
The sofa was removed while the spinster was out, and without any hint to her of what was going to happen. When she returned, she looked around for it with surprise.
“Where’s the sofy?” she asked.
“We’ve sold it to Mrs. Stoddard,” said Mrs. Harding, cheerfully.
“Sold it!” echoed Rachel, dolefully.
“Yes; we felt that we didn’t need it, and we did need money. She offered me fifteen dollars for it, and I accepted.”
Rachel sat down in a rocking-chair, and began straightway to show signs of great depression of spirits.
“Life’s full of disappointments!” she groaned. “Our paths is continually beset by ’em. There’s that sofa. It’s so pleasant to have one in the house when a body’s sick. But, there, it’s gone, and if I happen to get down, as most likely I shall, for I’ve got a bad feeling in my stummick this very minute, I shall have to go upstairs, and most likely catch my death of cold, and that will be the end of me.”
“Not so bad as that, I hope,” said Mrs. Harding, cheerfully. “You know when you was sick last, you didn’t want to use the sofa; you said it didn’t lay comfortable. Besides, I hope before you are sick we may be able to buy it back again.”
Aunt Rachel shook her head despondingly.
“There ain’t any use in hoping that,” she said. “Timothy’s got so much behindhand that he won’t be able to get up again; I know he won’t!”
“But, if he only manages to find steady work soon, he will.”
“No, he won’t,” said Rachel, positively. “I’m sure he won’t. There won’t be any work before spring, and most likely not then.”
“You are too desponding, Aunt Rachel.”
“Enough to make me so. If you had only taken my advice, we shouldn’t have come to this.”