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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about The Uphill Climb.

CHAPTER XIII

A Plan Gone Wrong

It was Mose crashing headlong into the old messbox where he kept rattly basins, empty lard pails, and such, that roused Ford.  He got up and went into the kitchen, and when he saw what was, the matter, extricated Mose by the simple method of grabbing his shoulders and pulling hard; then he set the cook upon his feet, and got full in his face the unmistakable fumes of whisky.

“What?  You got another jug?” he asked, with some disgust, steadying Mose against the wall.

“Ah—­I ain’t got any jug uh nothin’,” Mose protested, rather thickly.  “And I never took them bottles outa the stack; that musta been Dick done that.  Get after him about it; he’s the one told me where yuh hid ’em—­but I never touched ’em, honest I never.  If they’re gone, you get after Dick.  Don’t yuh go ‘n’ lay it on me, now!” He was whimpering with maudlin pathos before he finished.  Ford scowled at him thoughtfully.

“Dick told you about the bottles in the haystack, did he?” he asked.  “Which stack was it?  And how many bottles?”

Mose gave him a bleary stare.  “Aw, you know.  You hid ’em there yourself!  Dick said so.  I ain’t goin’ to say which stack, or how many bottles—­or—­any other—­darn thing about it.”  He punctuated his phrases by prodding a finger against Ford’s chest, and he wagged his head with all the self-consciousness of spurious virtue.  “Promised Dick I wouldn’t, and I won’t.  Not a—­darn—­word about it.  Wanted some—­for m’ mince-meat, but I never took any outa the haystack.”  Whereupon he began to show a pronounced limpness in his good leg, and a tendency to slide down upon the floor.

Ford piloted him to a chair, eased him into it, and stood over him in frowning meditation.  Mose was drunk; absolutely, undeniably drunk.  It could not have been the jug, for the jug was full.  Till then the oddity of a full jug of whisky in Mose’s kitchen after at least twenty-four hours must have elapsed since its arrival, had not occurred to him.  He had been too preoccupied with his own fight to think much about Mose.

“Shay, I never took them bottles outa the stack,” Mose looked up to protest solemnly.  “Dick never told me about ’em, neither.  Dick tol’ me—­” tapping Ford’s arm with his finger for every word, “—­’at there was aigs down there, for m’ mince-meat.”  He stopped suddenly and goggled up at Ford.  “Shay, yuh don’t put aigs in—­mince-meat,” he informed him earnestly.  “Not a darn aig!  That’s what Dick tol’ me—­aigs for m’ mince-meat.  Oh, I knowed right off what he meant, all right,” he explained proudly.  “He didn’t wanta come right out ‘n’ shay what it was—­an’ I—­got—­the—­aigs!”

“Yes—­how many—­eggs?” Ford held himself rigidly quiet.

“Two quart—­aigs!” Mose laughed at the joke.  “I wisht,” he added pensively, “the hens’d all lay them kinda aigs.  I’d buy up all the shickens in—­the whole worl’.”  He gazed raptly upon the vision the words conjured.  “Gee!  Quart aigs—­’n’ all the shickens in the worl’ layin’ reg’lar!”

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