Amanda sat at her usual window, sewing on her rug. The sunlight came in, and her shadow, set in a bright square, wavered on the floor; the clock out in the kitchen ticked. Amanda looked up when Mrs. Field entered. “Oh, it’s you?” said she. “I wondered who was comin’. Set down, won’t you?”
Mrs. Field went over to Amanda and held out the photograph. “I want to see if you can tell me who this is.”
Amanda took the photograph and held it toward the light. She compressed her lips and wrinkled her forehead. “Why, it’s you, of course—ain’t it?”
Mrs. Field made no reply; she stood looking at her.
“Why, ain’t it you?” Amanda asked, looking from the picture to her in a bewildered way.
“No; it’s Esther.”
“Yes, it’s Esther.”
“Well, I declare! When was it took?”
“About ten years ago, when she was in Elliot.”
“Well, all I’ve got to say is, if anybody had asked me, I’d have said it was took for you yesterday. Why, Mis’ Field, what’s the matter?”
“There ain’t anything the matter.”
“Why, you look dreadfully.”
Mrs. Field’s face was pale, and there was a curious look about her whole figure. It seemed as if shrinking from something, twisting itself rigidly, as a fossil tree might shrink in a wind that could move it.
“I feel well ’nough,” said she. “I guess it’s the light.”
“Well, mebbe ’tis,” replied Amanda, still looking anxiously at her. “Of course you know if you feel well, but you do look dreadful white to me. Don’t you want some water, or a swaller of cold tea?”
“No, I don’t want a single thing; I’m well enough.” Mrs. Field’s tone was almost surly. She held out her hand for the photograph. “I must be goin’,” she continued; “I ain’t got my dustin’ done. I jest come across this, an’ I thought I’d show it to you, an’ see what you said.”
“Well, I shouldn’t have dreamed but what it was yours; but then you an’ your sister did look jest alike. I never could tell you apart when you first came here.”
“Folks always said we looked alike. We always used to be took for each other when we was girls, an’ I think we looked full as much alike after our hair begun to turn. Mine was a little lighter than hers, an’ that made some difference betwixt us before. It didn’t show when we was both gray.”
“I shouldn’t have thought ’twould. Well, I must say, I shouldn’t dream but what that picture was meant for you.”
Mrs. Field took her way out of the room.
“How’s Lois this mornin’?” Amanda called after her.
“About the same, I guess.”
“I saw her goin’ out of the yard this mornin’, an’ I thought she walked dreadful weak.”
“I guess she don’t walk any too strong.”
When Mrs. Field was in her own room she stowed away the photograph in the shell box; then she got a little broom and brushed the shell-work carefully; she thought it looked dusty in spite of her rubbing.