Josiah looked real indifferent. He hain’t like me in lots of things; he is more for dabblin’ on the surface than divin’ down under the water for first causes, and he spoke up the minute I had finished my last words, and sez he—
“Krit and Thomas Jefferson are a-comin’ here to dinner; they are goin’ up to Zoar on business, and are a-goin’ to stop as they come back. And I should think it wuz about time you got sunthin’ started.”
And I sez, “The boys a-comin’ here to dinner! Why’e—why didn’t you tell me so?”
And I got right up and went to makin’ a lemon puddin’.
I knew Thomas J. wuz a-layin’ out to go up to Zoar some day that week to see about a young chap to stay in his office while he wuz at the World’s Fair, and it seemed that Krit had gone along for company and for the ride.
Them two young fellers love to be together. They are both as smart as whips—the very keenest, snappiest kind of whips.
Wall, I laid out to git a good dinner, that wuz my calm intention; and I sent out Josiah Allen to ketch two plump pullets, I a-layin’ out to stuff ’em with the particular kind of dressin’ that Thomas J. is partial to. It is a good dressin’.
And then I wuz a-layin’ out to have some nice mashed-up potatoes, some early sweet peas, some lemon puddin’, besides some coffee, jest as Thomas J. likes it—rich, golden coffee, with plenty of cream in it; and then besides I wuz goin’ to have one or two vegetables that Josiah liked, and some jellys, etc., that Krit wuz particular fond of. Oh, I wuz goin’ to have a good dinner, there hain’t a doubt of that! Oh, and I wuz goin’ to have some delicious soup too, to start off the dinner with! I got the receipt of Job Pressley’s wife and improved on it, (though I wouldn’t want her to know I said it, she is jealous dispositioned.) But I did.
Wall, if you’ll believe it, jest as I wuz a-finishin’ my dressin’, addin’ the last ingregient to it, and my mind wuz all on a strain to have it jest right—
All of a sudden Josiah Allen rushed in all out of breath, and hollered to me for a rope.
“A rope?” sez I, bein’ took aback.
“Yes, a long, stout rope,” sez he, a-standin’ still and a-breathin’ hard. Why, he looked that wild and agitated and wrought up, that the idee passed through my mind:
Is that man a-contemplatin’ suicide? Does he want to hang himself?
But, as I sez, the idee only jest passed through my fore-top; it didn’t find any encouragement to stay—it went through on the trot, as you may say.
No, my noble-minded pardner never would commit suicide, I knew. But his looks wuz fearful, and I sez, almost tremblin’—
“What do you want the rope for? I don’t know of any rope, only the bed-cord up in the old chamber.”
At these words, that agitated, skairt man rushed right upstairs, I a-follerin’ him, summer-savory still in my hands, and fear and tremblin’ in my mean.