“That’s what I want to tell you,” she interposed, hurriedly, and as the youth lifted his arms on high in a gesture of ultimate despair, and then threw himself miserably into a chair, she obtained the floor. “The second-hand store doesn’t deliver things,” she said. “I bought them at an auction, and it’s going out of business, and they have to be taken away before half past four this afternoon. Genesis can’t bring them in the wheelbarrow, because, he says, the wheel is broken, and he says he can’t possibly carry two tubs and a wash-boiler himself; and he can’t make two trips because it’s a mile and a half, and I don’t like to ask him, anyway; and it would take too long, because he has to get back and finish cutting the grass before your papa gets home this evening. Papa said he had to! Now, I don’t like to ask you, but it really isn’t much. You and Genesis can just slip up there and—”
“Slip!” moaned William. “‘Just slip up there’! Ye gods!”
“Genesis is waiting on the back porch,” she said. “Really it isn’t worth your making all this fuss about.”
“Oh no!” he returned, with plaintive satire. “It’s nothing! Nothing at all!”
“Why, I shouldn’t mind it,” she said; briskly, “if I had the time. In fact, I’ll have to, if you won’t.”
“Ye gods!” He clasped his head in his hands, crushed, for he knew that the curse was upon him and he must go. “Ye gods!”
And then, as he stamped to the door, his tragic eye fell upon Jane, and he emitted a final cry of pain:
“Can’t you ever wash your face?” he shouted.
GENESIS AND CLEMATIS
Genesis and his dog were waiting just outside the kitchen door, and of all the world these two creatures were probably the last in whose company William Sylvanus Baxter desired to make a public appearance. Genesis was an out-of-doors man and seldom made much of a toilet; his overalls in particular betraying at important points a lack of the anxiety he should have felt, since only Genesis himself, instead of a supplementary fabric, was directly underneath them. And the aged, grayish, sleeveless and neckless garment which sheltered him from waist to collar-bone could not have been mistaken for a jersey, even though what there was of it was dimly of a jerseyesque character. Upon the feet of Genesis were things which careful study would have revealed to be patent-leather dancing-pumps, long dead and several times buried; and upon his head, pressing down his markedly criminal ears, was a once-derby hat of a brown not far from Genesis’s own color, though decidedly without his gloss. A large ring of strange metals with the stone missing, adorned a finger of his right hand, and from a corner of his mouth projected an unlighted and spreading cigar stub which had the appearance of belonging to its present owner merely by right of salvage.