Uncle William: the man who was shif'less eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Uncle William.

Andy looked up mildly.  “I reckon Harr’et’s waitin’ for me.”  He got slowly to his feet.  “You’ve got another done, I s’pose?” He glanced enviously at the easel.

The artist laughed out.  “Want to see it?” He withdrew his hand.

Andy shambled across.  He looked down at it casually.  A sheepish grin crept into this face, and spread.  “You’ve made me look kind o’ queer, hain’t you?” He gazed, fascinated, at his tragic face.

Uncle William came over and bent to the canvas.  He drew out his spectacles and peered at it, almost rubbing the paint with his great nose.  “It’s Andy!” he said with shrewd delight.  “It’s Andy!  And it’s the spittin’ image of him!” He pushed up the glasses, beaming upon Andrew.

Andrew returned the look somberly.  “It’s a good likeness, you think, do you?”

“Fust-rate, Andy, fust-rate; couldn’t be better.”  Uncle William laid an affectionate hand on his shoulder.  “It looks jest as mean as you do—­and jest as good, too, Andy.”

Andy cast a glance at the young man.  “How long was ye makin’ it?”

“Half an hour, perhaps; while we’ve been sitting here.”

Andy sighed heavily.  “Wuth more’n I be, too, I reckon?”

The artist stared at him.

“I mean—­” Andy was almost apologetic.  “I know they come high—­picters.  I don’t suppose I could afford to buy it of ye—­”

The artist’s face lighted.  “Do you want it?”

“Harr’et might,”—­cautiously,—­“if ’t wa’n’t too high.  She’s got an easel for it.  She al’ays cal’ated to have me done, and she’d got as fur as the easel.”  His eye returned almost wistfully to the canvas.  “Willum says it’s a good likeness.”  He spoke with a kind of dubious pride.

“It is good.”  The young man’s eye rested on it affectionately.  “It’s a ripping good sketch—­and you may have it and welcome.”

Andy drew back a step.  “You mean—­”

“I’ll give it to you, yes.”  The artist was holding it out laughingly.  “And some day you’ll sit for me again.  That’ll be pay enough.”

Andy rubbed his hands carefully on the sides of his trousers.  He reached them out for the canvas.  “It’s kind o’ wet,” he said.  “I’ll have to hold it keerful.”  He took it in both hands, beaming upon it with a kind of somber joy.  Carrying it at arm’s-length, he bore it away over the rocks.  The artist watched the stern, angular figure loom against the sky and dip down over the cliff out of sight.

“I shall do a sketch of him some day that will make us famous,” he said quietly.

“It’s time for dinner,” responded Uncle William.

XXIV

Uncle William set the table, with one eye on the harbor.  As he pottered about with the bread and cheese and salmon, a smile widened his round face.

The artist looked up from the brushes he was cleaning at the door.  “You look as happy as if you’d had a fortune left you,” he said.

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