Bess was now laughing so that she could not speak, and the puppy was barking as hard as he could bark. Nan managed to ask:
“Who are you, sir, and where did you come from?”
“Si Snubbras is my name,” declared the “heavenly visitor.” “And I reckon I’m nearer home than you be, Miss, for I live right east of the railroad-cut, here. I was jest goin’ across to Peleg Morton’s haouse with this yere milk, when I—I sorter dropped in,” and Farmer Snubbins went off into a fit of laughter at his own joke.
AN ANGEL WITH CHIN WHISKERS
Mr. Si Snubbins was a character, and he plainly was very much pleased with himself. His little, sharp eyes apprehended the situation quickly.
“I vow to Maria!” repeated the farmer. “Ye air all snowed up here, ain’t ye? A hull trainful o’ folks. Wall!”
“And oh, Mr. Snubbins!” said Nan Sherwood, “you have milk in those cans, haven’t you?”
“Sure have, Miss.”
“Oh, Mr. Carter!” called Nan, running back into the forward car; “here’s a man with fresh milk. You don’t have to take Mr. Bulson’s.”
“What’s that?” demanded the baggage-man, Jim, in surprise. “Where’d he get it? From that cow-tree your friend was telling us about?”
“What’s this about fresh milk?” asked Mr. Carter. “Be still, Bulson. You roar to fit your name. We can’t hear the little lady.”
“Who’s that?” snarled the excited Bulson, glaring at Nan. “How came that girl on this train? Isn’t that the Sherwood girl?”
But nobody paid the fat man much attention just then. The crew crowded after Nan and Mr. Carter toward the open door of the car.
“Hul-lo” exclaimed Mr. Carter, when he saw the farmer and realized how he had “dropped in.” “That milk for sale?”
“Why, mister,” drawled Snubbins, “I’m under contrac’ ter Peleg Morton ter deliver two cans of milk to him ev’ry day. I wasn’t goin’ to have him claim I hadn’t tried ter fulfil my part of the contrac’, so I started ’cross-lots with the cans.”
“How’s he going to get the milk to the creamery?” demanded Mr. Carter, shrewdly.
Si’s eyes twinkled. “That’s his part of the contrac’; ’tain’t mine,” he said. “But if ye ax me, I tell ye honest, Mr. Conductor, I don’t see how Peleg’s goin’ ter do it. This is a sight the heaviest snow we’ve had for ten year.”
“What’ll you sell that milk for?” interrupted the anxious conductor. “Fresh milk will be a whole lot better for these kiddies we’ve got in the smoker than condensed milk. Just the same,” he added, “I shall hold on to Bulson’s shipment.”
“What’ll I take for this milk, mister?” repeated Snubbins, cautiously. “Wall, I dunno. I’spect the price has gone up some, because o’ the roads being blocked.”
“That will do—that will do,” Mr. Carter hastened to say. “I’ll take the milk, give you a receipt, and you can fight it out with the claim agent. I believe,” added Mr. Carter, his lips twisting into a grim smile, “that you are the farmer whose cow was killed by this very train last fall, eh?”