“Too bad. I like sermons on that subject. You tell him that if he wants to keep me in good humour to preach a good rip-roaring sermon on hell once every six months—and the more brimstone the better. I like ’em smoking. And think of all the pleasure he’d give the old maids, too. They’d all keep looking at old Norman Douglas and thinking, ’That’s for you, you old reprobate. That’s what’s in store for you!’ I’ll give an extra ten dollars every time you get your father to preach on hell. Here’s Wilson and the jam. Like that, hey? It isn’t macanaccady. Taste!”
Faith obediently swallowed the big spoonful Norman held out to her. Luckily it was good.
“Best plum jam in the world,” said Norman, filling a large saucer and plumping it down before her. “Glad you like it. I’ll give you a couple of jars to take home with you. There’s nothing mean about me—never was. The devil can’t catch me at that corner, anyhow. It wasn’t my fault that Hester didn’t have a new hat for ten years. It was her own—she pinched on hats to save money to give yellow fellows over in China. I never gave a cent to missions in my life—never will. Never you try to bamboozle me into that! A hundred a year to the salary and church once a month—but no spoiling good heathens to make poor Christians! Why, girl, they wouldn’t be fit for heaven or hell—clean spoiled for either place—clean spoiled. Hey, Wilson, haven’t you got a smile on yet? Beats all how you women can sulk! I never sulked in my life—it’s just one big flash and crash with me and then—pouf—the squall’s over and the sun is out and you could eat out of my hand.”
Norman insisted on driving Faith home after supper and he filled the buggy up with apples, cabbages, potatoes and pumpkins and jars of jam.
“There’s a nice little tom-pussy out in the barn. I’ll give you that too, if you’d like it. Say the word,” he said.
“No, thank you,” said Faith decidedly. “I don’t like cats, and besides, I have a rooster.”
“Listen to her. You can’t cuddle a rooster as you can a kitten. Who ever heard of petting a rooster? Better take little Tom. I want to find a good home for him.”
“No. Aunt Martha has a cat and he would kill a strange kitten.”
Norman yielded the point rather reluctantly. He gave Faith an exciting drive home, behind his wild two-year old, and when he had let her out at the kitchen door of the manse and dumped his cargo on the back veranda he drove away shouting,
“It’s only once a month—only once a month, mind!”
Faith went up to bed, feeling a little dizzy and breathless, as if she had just escaped from the grasp of a genial whirlwind. She was happy and thankful. No fear now that they would have to leave the Glen and the graveyard and Rainbow Valley. But she fell asleep troubled by a disagreeable subconsciousness that Dan Reese had called her pig-girl and that, having stumbled on such a congenial epithet, he would continue to call her so whenever opportunity offered.