“Somethings got to be done to you to make you fit to tetch,” he said to it.
Out of an adjoining store came a young woman in a queer bonnet, with a tambourine in her hand. “Huh!” said Scattergood, and stopped her. “Salvation Army, hain’t you?”
“Hold it out,” he said, motioning to the tambourine.
She obeyed, and he dropped into it the package of bills, and, looking into her startled, almost frightened eyes, he said: “It come from fools to sharpers.... I calculate nothin’ but a leetle salvation’ll kill the cussedness in it.... Make it do all the salvagin’ it kin....”
Whereupon he passed on, leaving a bewildered woman to stare after him.
Next morning, Scattergood, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Ovid Nixon, alighted from the train in Coldriver. Deacon Pettybone happened to be standing on the depot platform.
“Make you acquainted with Mis’ Nixon,” said Scattergood, with gravity. “She’s what Ovid come down with.... Can’t blame a young feller for forgittin’ work a day or two when he’s got him sich a wife.... Deacon, this here girl’s performed a service for Coldriver. Increased our population by two—her and Ovid. And, Deacon, Ovid hain’t the fust man that ever was made so’s he was wuth countin’ in the census by marryin’ him a wife....”
“Dummed if she hain’t got red hair,” was the deacon’s astonished contribution. It was as near to congratulations as the deacon ever came.
THE SON THAT WAS DEAD
“The ox is dressed and hung,” said Pliny Pickett, with the air of a man announcing that the country has been saved from destruction.
“Uh!... How much ’d he dress?” asked Scattergood Baines, moving in his especially reinforced armchair until it creaked its protest.
“Eight hunderd and forty-three—accordin’ to Newt Patterson’s scales.”
“Which hain’t never been knowed to err on the side of overweight,” said Scattergood, dryly.
“The boys has got the oven fixed for roastin’ him, and the band gits in on the mornin’ train, failin’ accidents, and the dec’rations is up in the taown hall—’n’ now we kin git ready for a week of stiddy rain.”
“They’s wuss things than rain,” said Scattergood, “though at the minnit I don’t call to mind what they be.”
“Deacon Pettybone’s north mowin’ is turned into a baseball grounds, and everybody in town is buyin’ buntin’ to wrap their harnesses, and Kittleman’s fetched in more ’n five bushels of peanuts, and every young un in taown’ll be sick with the stummick ache.”
“Feelin’ extry cheerful this mornin’, hain’t ye? Kind of more hopeful-like than I call to mind seein’ you fer some time.”
“Never knowed no big celebration to come off like it was planned, or ‘thout somebody gittin’ a leg busted, or the big speaker fergittin’ what day it was, or suthin’. Seems like the hull weight of this here falls right on to me.”