“Well, I don’t know,” said Uncle Ike reflectively. “Perhaps she has heard your father was worth a million dollars.”
“No, I don’t believe that,” said Quincy. “Miss Mason is too true and honest a girl to marry a man simply for his money.”
“Well, I think you are right there,” remarked Uncle Ike.
“New Year’s night,” said Quincy, “at the concert in the Town Hall, Strout, the singing teacher, got down on me because Miss Putnam and I received so much applause for singing a duet together. Then I broke his heart by whistling a tune for the girls and boys, and then again he doesn’t like me because I am from the city! he hired a fellow to whip me, but the fellow didn’t know how to box and I knocked him out very quickly. Now that Strout can’t hurt me any other way he has gone to work making up lies, and the village is full of gossip about Miss Mason and me. Deacon Mason was going to talk to me about it, but I told him yesterday morning that I was going to get another boarding place, and I should have done so yesterday but for a very unfortunate accident.”
“Accident?” said Uncle Ike; “why, you seem to be all right.”
“I wish I had been the victim,” said Quincy, “instead of Miss Mason. I took her out riding yesterday and the buggy got tipped over right in front of Deacon Mason’s house, and Miss Mason had her left arm broken above the elbow. I have done all I could to atone for my carelessness, but I am afraid ’Zeke Pettengill will never forgive me. I wish, Mr. Pettengill, you would make him understand my position in the matter. I would like to be good friends with him, for I have nothing against him. He is the most gentlemanly young man that I have seen in the town. I value his good opinion and I want him to understand that I haven’t intentionally done anything to wrong or injure him.”
Uncle Ike covered his eyes with his hands and mused for a few minutes; then he finally said, “Mr. Sawyer, I have got an idea. That fellow, Strout, thinks he runs this town, and it would tickle him to death if he thought he made things uncomfortable for you. Then, again, I happen to know that he is sweet on Huldy Mason himself, and he would do all he could to widen the breach between ’Zeke and her. You see, he isn’t but forty himself, and he wouldn’t mind the difference in ages at all. Now, my plan is this.” Uncle Ike looked out the window and said, “Here comes Cobb’s twins with the team. Now we will take, my things up to the house, then you take the team and go up to Deacon Mason’s and get your trunk and bring it down to Pettengill’s house. You will be my guest for to-night, anyway, and if I don’t make things right with ’Zeke so you can stay there, I’ll fix it anyway so you can stay till you get a place to suit you. Now don’t say no, Mr. Sawyer. Your father and I are old friends and he will sort o’ hold me responsible for your good treatment. I won’t take no for an answer. If you have no objections, Mr. Sawyer, I wish you would keep your eye on those books when they are put into the team, for those Cobb boys handle everything as though it was a rock or a tree stump.” And Uncle Ike, taking his kerosene lamp in one hand and his looking glass in the other, cried, “Come in,” as one of the Cobb boys knocked on the door.