When Cephas Barnard and his wife and daughter turned into the main road and came in sight of the new house, not one of them appeared to even glance at it, yet they all saw at once that there were no workmen about, and they also saw Barnabas himself ploughing with a white horse far back in a field at the left of it.
[Illustration: “They came in sight of the house”]
They all kept on silently. Charlotte paled a little when she caught sight of Barney, but her face was quite steady. “Hold your dress up a little higher; the grass is terrible wet,” her mother whispered once, and that was all that any of them said until they reached home.
Charlotte went at once up-stairs to her own chamber, took off her purple gown, and hung it up in her closet, and got out a common one. The purple gown was part of her wedding wardrobe, and she had worn it in advance with some misgivings. “I dunno but you might jest as well wear it a few Sundays,” her mother had said; “you’re goin’ to have your silk dress to come out bride in. I dunno as there’s any sense in your goin’ lookin’ like a scarecrow all the spring because you’re goin’ to get married.”
So Charlotte had put on the new purple dress the day before; now it looked, as it hung in the closet, like an effigy of her happier self.
When Charlotte went down-stairs she found her mother showing much more spirit than usual in an altercation with her father. Sarah Barnard stood before her husband, her placid face all knitted with perplexed remonstrance. “Why, I can’t, Cephas,” she said. “Pies can’t be made that way.”
“I know they can,” said Cephas.
“They can’t, Cephas. There ain’t no use tryin’. It would jest be a waste of the flour.”
“Why can’t they, I’d like to know?”
“Folks don’t ever make pies without lard, Cephas.”
“Why don’t they?”
“Why, they wouldn’t be nothin’ more than— You couldn’t eat them nohow if they was made so, Cephas. I dunno how the sorrel pies would work. I never heard of anybody makin’ sorrel pies. Mebbe the Injuns did; but I dunno as they ever made pies, anyway. Mebbe the sorrel, if it had some molasses on it for juice, wouldn’t taste very bad; I dunno; but anyway, if the sorrel did work, the other wouldn’t. I can’t make pies fit to eat without any lard or any butter or anything any way in the world, Cephas.”
“I know you can make ’em without,” said Cephas, and his black eyes looked like flint. Mrs. Barnard appealed to her daughter.
“Charlotte,” said she, “you tell your father that pies can’t be made fit to eat without I put somethin’ in ’em for short’nin’.”
“No, they can’t, father,” said Charlotte.
“He wants me to make sorrel pies, Charlotte,” Mrs. Barnard went on, in an injured and appealing tone which she seldom used against Cephas. “He’s been out in the field, an’ picked all that sorrel,” and she pointed to a pan heaped up with little green leaves on the table, “an’ I tell him I dunno how that will work, but he wants me to make the pie-crust without a mite of short’nin’, an’ I can’t do that nohow, can I?”