Uncle William: the man who was shif'less eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about Uncle William.

“Why, yes, Andy, I’ll let you know if you want me to.  I’ll be reel pleased to let you know,” said Uncle William.


It was Indian summer.  Uncle William was mending his chimney.  He had built a platform to work on.  Another man would have clung to the sloping roof while he laid the bricks and spread the mortar.  But Uncle William had constructed an elaborate platform with plenty of room for bricks and the pail of mortar, and space in which to stretch his great legs.  It was a comfortable place to sit and look out over Arichat harbor.  Andy, who had watched the preparations with scornful eye, had suggested an arm-chair and cushion.

“I like to be comf’tabul,” assented Uncle William.  “I know I do.  I don’t like to work none too well, anyhow.  Might as well be comf’tabul if you can.”

The platform was comfortable.  Even Andy admitted that, when Uncle William persuaded him to climb up one day, on the pretext of advising whether the row of bricks below the roof line would hold.  It was a clear, warm day, with little clouds floating lightly, as in summer.  Andy had climbed the ladder grumbling.

“Nice place to see,” suggested Uncle William.

Andy peered down the chimney hole.  “You will have to take off the top row all around,” he said resentfully.

“Ye think so, do ye?  I kind o’ thought so myself.  They seemed sort o’ tottery.  But I thought mebbe they’d hold.  Sit down, Andy, sit down.”  He pushed the pail of mortar a little to one side to make room.

Andy edged away.  “Can’t stop,” he said.  He was searching with his foot for the ladder.

“What you going to do?” demanded Uncle William.

Andy glanced at the sky.  “I’m going to take in the Andrew Halloran.”  He was already on his way down the ladder.

Uncle William pursued him, peering over.  “You’ll have to have me to help ye, Andy.  Can’t you jest wait till to-morrow—­till I get my chimbley done?”

“You’ve been a month now,” said Andy.  He was glowering at the bay and the little boat bobbing below.

“I know it, Andy, I know it.”  Uncle William was descending the ladder with slow care.  “But I don’t want my mortar to freeze, and I’m kind o’ ‘fraid of its comin’ off cold again to-night.  I was jest goin’ to begin to hurry up.  I was goin’ to begin to-day.”

“I can get along without you,” said Andrew, doggedly.

“Why, no, you can’t, Andy.  How you goin’ to haul her up?” Uncle William spoke reproachfully.

Andy moved away.  “I can do it, I guess.”  He was mumbling it to his teeth.  “I don’t need anybody’s help.”

With a sigh and a look of affection at the platform and the pail and the blue sky above, Uncle William followed him down the rocky path.

They worked busily all the morning, towing in the Andrew Halloran, cleaning her up and stowing away tackle, making her ready for the winter.

Project Gutenberg
Uncle William: the man who was shif'less from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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