“He who breaks pays,” said Hiram with a laugh. “But why don’t you shake hands with a fellow?”
“I will if I like and I won’t if I like,” replied Mandy, extending her hand, which was covered with soapsuds.
“Wipe your hand,” said Hiram, “and I’ll give you this ten cents to pay for the plate.”
As he said this he extended the money towards her. Mandy did not attempt to take it, but giving her wet hand a flip threw the soapsuds full in Hiram’s face. He rushed forward and caught her about the waist; as he did so he dropped the money, which rolled under the kitchen table.
Mandy turned around quickly and facing Hiram, caught him by both ears, which she pulled vigorously. He released his hold upon her and jumped back to escape further punishment.
“Now, Mr. Hiram Maxwell,” said she, facing him, “what do you mean by such actions? I’ve a good mind to put you outdoors and never set eyes on you again. What would Mr. Pettengill have thought if he’d a come in a minute ago?”
“I guess he’d a thought that I was gittin’ on better’n I really am,” replied Hiram, with a crestfallen look. “Now, Mandy, don’t get mad, I didn’t mean nothin’, I was only foolin’ and you began it fust, by throwin’ that dirty water in my face, and no feller that had any spunk could stand that.” As he said this, a broad smile covered his face. “Say, Mandy,” he continued, “here comes Obadiah Strout, we’d better make up before he gits in or it’ll be all over town that you and me have been fightin’. Got any chores this mornin’, Mandy, that I can do for you?”
At this moment the kitchen door was again opened and Professor Strout entered.
“Where’s Pettengill?” he asked of Mandy, not noticing Hiram.
“I guess he’s out in the wood-shed, if he hasn’t gone somewheres else,” replied Mandy, resuming her work at the sink.
Strout turned towards Hiram and said, as if he had been unaware previously of his presence, “Oh! you there, Hiram? Just go find Pettengill for me like a good feller and tell him Professor Strout wishes to see him up to the house.”
“At the same time, Hiram,” said Mandy, “go find me that dozen eggs that I told you I wanted for that puddin’.”
Hiram winked at Mandy, unseen by the Professor and started for the chicken coop.
“Guess I’ll have a chair,” remarked the Professor.
“All right, if you don’t take it with you when you go,” replied Mandy, still busily washing dishes.
“Fine weather,” said Strout.
“Sorter between,” laconically replied Mandy.
“Did you enjoy the concert?” asked Strout.
“Some parts of it,” said Mandy. “I thought Mr. Sawyer and Miss Putnam were just splendid. His whistling was just grand.”
“He’ll whistle another kind of a tune in a few days,” remarked Strout.
“What? Are you going to give another concert?” asked Mandy, looking at him for the first time.