“This is never it, is it, drawing up to the door now?” cried Lionel, with gravity.
Something undoubtedly was curveting and prancing before the door; something with a white flowing tail. Mrs. Peckaby caught one glimpse, and bounded from her seat, her chest panting, her nostrils working. The signs betrayed how implicit was the woman’s belief; how entirely it had taken hold of her.
Alas! for Mrs. Peckaby. Alas! for her disappointment. It was nothing but that deceiving animal again, Farmer Blow’s white pony. Apparently the pony had been so comfortable in the forge, that he did not care to leave it. He was dodging about and backing, wholly refusing to go forward, and setting at defiance a boy who was striving to lead him onwards. Mrs. Peckaby sat down and burst into tears.
STIFLED WITH DISHONOUR.
“Now, then,” began Peckaby, as Lionel departed, “what’s the reason my tea ain’t ready for me.”
“Be you a man to ask?” demanded she. “Could I redd up and put on kettles, and, see to ord’nary work, with my inside turning?”
Peckaby paused for a minute. “I’ve a good mind to wallop you!”
“Try it,” she aggravatingly answered. “You have not kep’ your hands off me yet to be let begin now. Anybody but a brute ’ud comfort a poor woman in her distress. You’ll be sorry for it when I’m gone off to New Jerusalem.”
“Now, look here, Suke,” said he, attempting to reason with her. “It’s quite time as you left off this folly; we’ve had enough on’t. What do you suppose you’d do at Salt Lake? What sort of a life ’ud you lead?”
“A joyful life!” she responded, turning her glance sky-ward. “Brother Jarrum thinks as the head saint, the prophet hisself, has a favour to me! Wives is as happy there as the day’s long.”
Peckaby grinned; the reply amused him much. “You poor ignorant creatur,” cried he, “you have got your head up in a mad-house; and that’s about it. You know Mary Green?”
“Well?” answered she, looking surprised at this divertissement.
“And you know Nancy from Verner’s Pride as is gone off,” he continued, “and you know half a dozen more nice young girls about here, which you can just set on and think of. How ’ud you like to see me marry the whole of ’em, and bring ’em home here? Would the house hold the tantrums you’d go into, d’ye think?”
“You hold your senseless tongue, Peckaby! A man ’ud better try and bring home more nor one wife here! The law ’ud be on to him.”
“In course it would,” returned Peckaby! “And the law knowed what it was about when it made itself into the law. A place with more nor one wife in it ’ud be compairable to nothing but that blazing place you’ve heerd on as is under our feet, or the Salt Lake City.”
“For shame, you wicked man!”