By William James Lampton ( -1917)
[From Harper’s Bazaar, April, 1911; copyright, 1911, by Harper & Brothers; republished by permission.]
Of course the Widow Stimson never tried to win Deacon Hawkins, nor any other man, for that matter. A widow doesn’t have to try to win a man; she wins without trying. Still, the Widow Stimson sometimes wondered why the deacon was so blind as not to see how her fine farm adjoining his equally fine place on the outskirts of the town might not be brought under one management with mutual benefit to both parties at interest. Which one that management might become was a matter of future detail. The widow knew how to run a farm successfully, and a large farm is not much more difficult to run than one of half the size. She had also had one husband, and knew something more than running a farm successfully. Of all of which the deacon was perfectly well aware, and still he had not been moved by the merging spirit of the age to propose consolidation.
This interesting situation was up for discussion at the Wednesday afternoon meeting of the Sisters’ Sewing Society.
“For my part,” Sister Susan Spicer, wife of the Methodist minister, remarked as she took another tuck in a fourteen-year-old girl’s skirt for a ten-year-old—“for my part, I can’t see why Deacon Hawkins and Kate Stimson don’t see the error of their ways and depart from them.”
“I rather guess she has,” smiled Sister Poteet, the grocer’s better half, who had taken an afternoon off from the store in order to be present.
“Or is willing to,” added Sister Maria Cartridge, a spinster still possessing faith, hope, and charity, notwithstanding she had been on the waiting list a long time.
“Really, now,” exclaimed little Sister Green, the doctor’s wife, “do you think it is the deacon who needs urging?”
“It looks that way to me,” Sister Poteet did not hesitate to affirm.
“Well, I heard Sister Clark say that she had heard him call her ‘Kitty’ one night when they were eating ice-cream at the Mite Society,” Sister Candish, the druggist’s wife, added to the fund of reliable information on hand.
“‘Kitty,’ indeed!” protested Sister Spicer. “The idea of anybody calling Kate Stimson ‘Kitty’! The deacon will talk that way to ’most any woman, but if she let him say it to her more than once, she must be getting mighty anxious, I think.”
“Oh,” Sister Candish hastened to explain, “Sister Clark didn’t say she had heard him say it twice.’”
“Well, I don’t think she heard him say it once,” Sister Spicer asserted with confidence.
“I don’t know about that,” Sister Poteet argued. “From all I can see and hear I think Kate Stimson wouldn’t object to ’most anything the deacon would say to her, knowing as she does that he ain’t going to say anything he shouldn’t say.”