Swiss suddenly arose, sniffed and went to the kitchen door. The door was opened softly and some one entered the room. Mandy did not turn her head. Perhaps she guessed who it was. Then some one placed a chair close to Mandy and took a seat beside her.
“Say, M-m-m-m-m-a-andy,” said Hiram, “will you please read this to me? It’s an important document, and I want to be sure I’ve got it jest right.” As he said this he passed Mandy a folded paper.
She opened it and the following words met her eye: “This is to certify that I, Hiram Maxwell, of Mason’s Corner, in the town of Eastborough, county of Normouth, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, hereby declare my intention to ask Miss Amanda Skinner of the village, town, county, and state aforesaid, to become my lawful wedded wife.”
“Oh, you big silly!” cried Mandy, dropping the paper, for she didn’t think it necessary to read any further.
“Is it all right?” cried Hiram, “it cost a quarter to git it drawn up. Then I swore to it before old Squire Rundlett over to Montrose, and it ought ter hold water. You’d better keep it, Mandy, then I can’t fling it up at yer that I never axed yer to marry me.”
“Who told you that?” asked the girl indignantly.
“Ma Hawkins. Well, she didn’t exactly say it to me, but she spoke it out so loud to Betsy Green that I heered it clear out in the wood-shed and I’ll tell yer what, Mandy, it kinder made me mad.”
“Well, it’s all right now,” said Mandy soothingly.
“Is it?” asked Hiram, his face beaming with delight.
The next instant there was a succession of peculiar sounds heard in the room. As Swiss came back from the kitchen door but one chair was needed for the happy couple, and an onlooker would have thought that chair was occupied by one person with a very large head, having light curly hair on one side and straight dark hair on the other, no face being visible.
It was upon this picture that Mrs. Crowley looked as she opened the door leading into the kitchen and started to come into the room with a large pan full of cream.
Astonished, she stepped backward, forgetting the two steps that she had just ascended. Flat upon her back she fell, the pan of cream drenching her from head to foot.
“It’s drownded I am! It’s drownded I am!” she cried at the top of her voice.
“What’s the matter? How did it happen?” said Mandy, as she rushed into the room, followed by Swiss.
“Shure it’s thinkin’ I was,” moaned Mrs. Crowley, “when the milk fell on me.”
“Thinkin’ of what?” cried Mandy sharply. “You couldn’t have been thinkin’ of your business.”
“Shure I was thinkin’ of the day when Pat Crowley and I both sat in the same chair, forty years ago,” said Mrs. Crowley, rising to her feet and wiping the cream from her eyes, and nose, and ears.
During this time Swiss was busily engaged having a rich feast upon the cream left in the pan. Hiram appeared at the kitchen door to learn the cause of Mandy’s absence.