That is Bible about “The Worm,” and must be believed.
What used to mad me the worst wuz when he would git to comparin’ Elnathan with one of ’em on my side who wuz shiftless. Good land! ’Zekiel Smith hain’t the only man on earth who is ornary and no account. Every pardner has ’em, more or less, on his side and on hern; let not one pardner boast themselves over the other one; both have their drawbacks.
But Elnathan had done well; I admitted it only when I wuz too much put upon.
He had gone fur West, got rich, invested his capital first rate, some on it in a big Eastern city, and had got to be a millionare.
He wuz a widower with one child, The Little Maid, as he called her; he jest idolized her, and thought she wuz perfect.
And I spoze she wuz oncommon, not from what her Pa said—no, I didn’t take all his talk about her for Gospel; I know too much.
But Barzelia Ann Allen (a old maid up to date) had seen her, had been out to California on a excursion train, and had staid some time with ’em.
And she said that she wuz the smartest child this side of Heaven. With eyes of violet blue, big luminous eyes, that draw the hearts and souls of folks right out of their bodies when they looked into ’em, so full of radiant joy and heavenly sweetness wuz they.
And hair of waving gold, and lips and cheeks as pink as the hearts of the roses that climbed all Winter round her winder—and the sweetest, daintiest ways—and so good to everybody, them that wuz poor and sufferin’ most of all.
Barzeel wuz always most too enthusiastick to suit me, but I got the idee from what she said that she wuz a oncommon lovely child.
Good land! Elnathan couldn’t talk about anything else—like little babblin’ brooks runnin’ towards the sea, all his talk, every anecdote he told, and every idee he sot forth, jest led up to and ended with that child. Jest like creeks.
He worshipped her.
And he himself told me so many stories about her bein’ so good to the poor, and sacrificin’ her little comforts for ’em—at her age, too—that I thought to myself, I wonder why you don’t take some of them object lessons to heart—why you don’t set down at her feet, and learn of her—and I wonder too where she took her sweet charity from, but spoze it wuz from her mother. Her mother had been a beautiful woman, so I had been told. She wuz a Devereaux—nobody that I ever knew, or Josiah. Celeste Devereaux.
The little girl wuz named for her mother. But they always called her The Little Maid.
Wall, to resoom, and to hitch my horse in front of the wagon agin. (Allegory.)
Elnathan had left The Little Maid and her nurse in that Eastern city where he owned so much property, and had come on to pay a flyin’ visit to Jonesville, not forgittin’ Loontown, you may be sure, where a deceased Aunt had jest died and left her property to him.