“Hm . . . well . . . once upon a time there was a great white bull . . .”
Then Mr. Jeminy rehearsed again the story of long, long ago, while the bright eyes closed, and the tired head drooped lower and lower; while the autumn moon rose up above the hills, and the haywagon rumbled along the road, to the sound of laughter and cries.
But Thomas Frye and Anna Barly were no longer seated in the hay, watching the harvest in. Unobserved by the others, they had stolen away before the wagon reached Milford. Now they were lying in a field, looking up at the stars, quieter than the crickets, which were singing all about them.
MRS. GRUMBLE GOES TO THE FAIR
September’s round moon waned; Indian summer was over. One morning in October Miss Beal, the dressmaker, had taken her sewing to Mr. Jeminy’s, in order to spend the day with Mrs. Grumble. There, as she sat rocking up and down in the kitchen, the fall wind brought to her nose the odor of grapes ripening in the sun. The corn stood gathered in the fields, and in the yellow barley stubble the grasshopper, old and brown, leaped full of love upon his neighbor. Mrs. Grumble, beside a pile of Mr. Jeminy’s winter clothes, sorted, mended, and darned, while the sun fell through the window, bright and hot across her shoulders. She kept one eye on the oven where her biscuits were baking, counted stitches, and listened to Miss Beal, who tilted solemnly forward in her chair when she had anything to say, and moved solemnly back again when it was over.
“Mrs. Stove,” declared Miss Beal, leaning forward and looking up at Mrs. Grumble, “won’t have a new dress this year. Well, she’s right, material is dreadful to get. As I said to her: Mrs. Stove, your old dress will do; just let me fix it up a little. No, she says, she’ll wear it as it is.”
“Look at me,” said Mrs. Grumble. “Here’s an old rag. But I get along.”
“Indeed you do,” said Miss Beal. “Still,” she added, speaking for herself, “one has to live.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” said Mrs. Grumble airily.
“Goodness,” exclaimed the dressmaker. “Gracious, Mrs. Grumble.”
“I declare,” avowed Mrs. Grumble, “what with things costing what they do, and every one so mean, I’d die as glad as not, out of spite.”
“I wouldn’t want to die,” said Miss Beal slowly. “It’s too awful. I want to stay alive, looking around.”
“You’re just as curious,” said Mrs. Grumble. “Well, there, I’m not. Men are a bad lot. You can’t trust a one of them. Not for long.”
“Yes,” sighed Miss Beal, “there’s a good deal I want to see. I’d like to see Niagara Falls, Mrs. Grumble.”
“Lor’,” said Mrs. Grumble, “a lot of water.”
“All coming down,” said the dressmaker, “crashing and falling.”
“I’d rather see a circus,” declared Mrs. Grumble.