I found Miss Plank wuz a good-appearin’ woman, and a Christian, I believe, with good principles, and a hair mole on her face, though she kep ’em curbed down, and cut off (the hairs).
[Illustration: A good-appearin’ woman.]
Her husband had been a man of wealth, as you could see plain by the house that he left her a-livin’ in. But some of her property she had lost through poor investments—and don’t it beat all how wimmen do git cheated, and every single man she deals with a-tellin’ her to confide in him freely, for he hain’t but one idee, and that is to look out for her interests, to the utter neglect of his own, and a-warnin’ her aginst every other man on earth but himself.
But, to resoom. She had lost some of her property, and bein’ without children, and kind o’ lonesome, and a born housekeeper and cook, her idee of takin’ in a few respectable and agreeable boarders wuz a good one.
She wuz a good calculator, and the best maker of pancakes I ever see, fur or near. She oversees her own kitchen, and puts on her own hand and cooks, jest when she is a mind too. She hain’t afraid of the face of man or woman, though she told me, and I believe it, that “her cook wuz that cross and fiery of temper, that she would skair any common person almost into coniption fits.”
“But,” sez she, “the first teacup that she throwed at me, because I wanted to make some pancakes, wuz the last.”
I don’t know what she done to her, but presoom that she held her with her eye. It is a firm and glitterin’ one as I ever see.
Anyway, she put a damper onto that cook, and turns it jest when she is a mind to—to the benefit of her boarders; for better vittles wuz never cooked than Miss Plank furnishes her boarders at moderate rates and the comforts of a home, as advertisements say.
Her house wuz kep clean and sweet too, which wuz indeed a boon.
She talked a sight about her husband, which I don’t know as she could help—anyway, I guess she didn’t try to.
She told me the first oppurtunity what a good Christian he wuz, how devoted to her, and how much property he laid up, and that he wuz “in salt.”
I thought for quite a spell she meant brine, and dassent hardly enquire into the particulars, not knowin’ what she had done by the departed, widders are so queer.
But after she had mentioned to me more’n a dozen times her love for the departed, and his industrious and prosperous ways, and tellin’ me every single time, “he wuz in salt,” I found out that she meant that he wuz in the salt trade—bought and sold, I spozed.
I felt better.
But oh, how she did love to talk about that man; truly she used his sirname to connect us to the vast past, and to the mysterious future. We trod that Plank every day and all day, if we would listen to her.
And sometimes when I would try to get her offen that Plank for a minute, and would bring up the World’s Fair to her, and how big the housen wuz, I would find my efforts futile; for all she would say about ’em wuz to tell what Mr. Plank would have done if he had been a-livin’, and if he had been onhampered, and out of salt, how much better he would have done than the directors did, and what bigger housen he would have built.