Sez she, “Have you tried readin’ poetry?”
“Yes,” sez I, “I have read Pollock’s Course of Time most through to him, and the biggest heft of ‘Paradise Lost,’ and I read the last named with deep feelin’, I can tell you.”
“Didn’t it do any good?”
“Not a mite,” sez I. “He would choke me off in the soarinest passages to boast about some crazy side-show at his Exposition.”
Tirzah Ann sithed and sez, “I don’t know what can be done.”
Thomas J. is more practical and sez, “Can’t you git his mind on some work? Hain’t there sunthin’ that ort to be done round the farm? Or in the house?”
“Id’no,” sez I. “He can’t plow or reap in February or pick gooseberries or wash sheep. But I know what ort to be done in the house, I tried my best to git him at it in the fall, I do want a furnace and hot water pipes put in to heat the house. We most freeze these cold days, and it is too much for your pa when Ury is away to tend to the fires.”
“That’s just the thing!” sez Thomas J., “get him interested in that and he will forgit all about the Allen Exposition by the time it is done.”
But I sez in a discouraged way, “If I couldn’t git him at it in the fall Id’no how I’m goin’ to now.”
“But it is worth tryin’,” sez Thomas J., “for his scheme must be broke up, and if you git your furnace in now it will be all ready for another fall.”
“Well,” sez I, “I can try.” And so I begun that very night on a new tact, or ruther the old tact in a new way, I told him how sot Thomas J. wuz on our havin’ a furnace and hot water pipes put in.
Josiah thinks his eyes of his only son, and I see it kinder moved him, but he wouldn’t give his consent, and sez:
“What do you want hot water pipes and a furnace for in the summer?”
Sez I pintin’ to the snowy fields, “Do you call this summer, Josiah? And Thomas J. sez it will be so nice to have it all ready in the fall. And I do wish, Josiah, you would hear to me.”
“Well, well, I am hearin’ you, hain’t I, and been hearin’ for a year back, I hain’t deef as an adder!” And he jammed his hat down over his ears and went to the barn. But there wuz a sort of a waverin’ expression to his linement that made me have hopes.
Well, when I had, with the children’s help and an enormous expenditure of good vittles and eloquence, brought him round to the idee, I found I had another trial worse than the first to contend with. Instead of hirin’ a first rate workman who knew his bizness, he wuz bound, on account of cheapness, to hire a conceited creeter who thought he could do anything better than anyone else could.
He knew how to milk, Jabez Wind did, and how to clean stables, and plough and hoe corn. But he felt he could do plumbin’ better than them who had handled plumbs for years. And when I see Josiah wuz sot on hirin’ him to do the job I felt dretful, for he wuz no more fit for it than our brindle cow to do fine sewin’, or our old steer to give music lessons on the banjo. He wuz a creeter I never liked, always tryin’ to invent sunthin’ and always failin. But Josiah insisted on havin’ him because he wuz so much cheaper.