I Saw Three Ships and Other Winter Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about I Saw Three Ships and Other Winter Tales.

“Mornin’, Old Zeb; how be ’ee, this dellicate day?”

“Brave, thankee, Uncle.”

“An’ how’s Coden Rachel?”

“She’s charmin’, thankee.”

“Comely weather, comely weather; the gulls be comin’ back down the coombe, I see.”

“I be jealous about its lastin’; for ‘tis over-rathe for the time o’ year.  Terrible topsy-turvy the seasons begin to run, in my old age.  Here’s May in Janewarry; an’ ‘gainst May, comes th’ east wind breakin’ the ships o’ Tarshish.”

“Now, what an instructive chap you be to convarse with, I do declare!  Darned if I didn’ stand here two minnits, gazin’ up at the seat o’ your small-clothes, tryin’ to think ’pon what I wanted to say; for I’d a notion that I wanted to speak, cruel bad, but cudn’ lay hand on’t.  So at last I takes heart an’ says ‘Mornin’, I says, beginnin’ i’ that very common way an’ hopin’ ‘twould come.  An’ round you whips wi’ ‘ships o’ Tarshish’ pon your tongue; an’ henceforth ‘tis all Q’s an’ A’s, like a cattykism.”

“Well, now you say so, I did notice, when I turned round, that you was lookin’ no better than a fool, so to speak.  But what’s the notion?”

“‘Tis a question I’ve a-been daggin’ to ax’ee ever since it woke me up in the night to spekilate thereon.  For I felt it very curious there shud he three Zebedee Minardses i’ this parish a-drawin’ separate breath at the same time.”

“Iss, ’tis an out-o’-the-way fact.”

“A stirrin’ age, when such things befall!  If you’d a-told me, a week agone, that I should live to see the like, I’d ha’ called ’ee a liar; an’ yet here I be a-talkin’ away, an’ there you be a-listening an’ here be the old world a-spinnin’ us round as in bygone times—­”

“Iss, iss—­but what’s the question?”

“—­All the same when that furriner chap looks up in Tresidder’s kitchen an’ says ‘My name is Zebedee Minards,’ you might ha’ blown me down wi’ a puff; an’ says I to mysel’, wakin’ up last night an’ thinkin’—­’I’ll ax a question of Old Zeb when I sees en, blest if I don’t.’”

“Then why in thunder don’t ‘ee make haste an’ do it?”

Uncle Issy, after revolving the question for another fifteen seconds, produced it in this attractive form—­

“Old Zeb, bein’ called Zeb, why did ’ee call Young Zeb, Zeb?”

Old Zeb ceased to knock the clods about, descended the path, and leaning on his visgy began to contemplate the opposite slope of the coombe, as if the answer were written, in letters hard to decipher, along the hill-side.

“Well, now,” he began, after opening his mouth twice and shutting it without sound, “folks may say what they like o’ your wits, Uncle, an’ talk o’ your looks bein’ against ’ee, as they do; but you’ve a-put a twister, this time, an’ no mistake.”

“I reckoned it a banger,” said the old man, complacently.

“Iss.  But I had my reasons all the same.”

“To be sure you had.  But rabbet me it I can guess what they were.”

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I Saw Three Ships and Other Winter Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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