“Well, I hope not,” sez I, “and I hope to gracious it will be finished some time, for I’m most freezin’ and Josiah is takin’ cold, as I can see.”
“No I hain’t nuther,” sez Josiah, his voice soundin’ real wheezy and husky out from under his heavy wool comforter.
Sez I, “You be cold, Josiah Allen, your nose is blue this minute.”
“Well, what if it is! I always liked that color anyway, I’d ruther have it blue that red as madder,” sez he glancin’ at my most prominent feature.
Sez I, “It is the bitter cold that has turned our noses, Josiah Allen, and when is it goin’ to end?”
“It is going to end to-morrow mornin’, at seven A.M. we start the fire, and then,” sez he proudly, “I will set down in perfect summer heat, calm and happy, and you, too.” For I spoze my oncomplainin’ misery appealed to his latent manhood; and it had been latent in him for some time. But he wuz driv most beyend his strength, and the cold wuz almost Klondikey, I could make allowance for him. Well, the next day passed, and the next and the next, and finally, jest four weeks and four days after he had guaranteed to have it finished, Jabez hautily announced, and Josiah proudly proclaimed, a fire could be started. Karen wanted to be with us in the first trial of the heat, so she appeared on the seen, so triumphant and overjoyed it fairly made her worn haggard face look considerable brighter.
Rosy had come to spend the day and stay all night, invited by Karen to witness her son’s triumph. But I onbeknown to anybody, feelin’ I needed a strong arm and cool brain to depend on, had beset Royal Nelson to come and stand by me that day and night, I didn’t say Rosy wuz to be there for fear he wouldn’t come, for I could see by his white cheeks and sad, yet cool lookin’ eyes, that he’d about gin her up. He said to once that he would come, and his sad eyes kinder laughed as he added, “I will stand by you in your affliction.”
Well, Jabez, with his face gay and joyous and his tongue waggin’, weighted down with big, boastful words, headed the procession down suller; Josiah and Ury filled up the furnace and built the fire, Jabez seemin’ly willin’ they should do the work, he’s so lazy. Rosy, Karen and I remained upstairs, Philury and I tryin’ to mop and sweep up some of the dirt, and before long I hearn a buggy drive up, and see it wuz Royal Nelson, and in a few minutes he come in lookin’ solid and reliable as ever.
Well, the upper tank had been filled, and at the welcome news the fire wuz beginnin’ to burn bright we all went upstairs watchin’ to see the grateful heat come up, and some of our hands wuz on the pipes every minute, when a low hollow rumblin’ wuz hearn down in the suller, growin’ louder and louder every minute till it got to be perfectly terrific, and Jabez run down there, his coat tails almost layin’ level in his haste, and Josiah most fallin’ over him, and Royal follerin’ on more tranquil lookin’ but excited all through I could see.