“No. He’s going to exchange with Mr. Perry from Charlottetown. Father went to town this morning and Mr. Perry is coming out to-night.”
“I thought there was something in the wind, though old Martha wouldn’t give me any satisfaction. But I felt sure she wouldn’t have been killing that rooster for nothing.”
“What rooster? What do you mean?” cried Faith, turning pale.
“I don’t know what rooster. I didn’t see it. When she took the butter Mrs. Elliott sent up she said she’d been out to the barn killing a rooster for dinner tomorrow.”
Faith sprang down from the pine.
“It’s Adam—we have no other rooster—she has killed Adam.”
“Now, don’t fly off the handle. Martha said the butcher at the Glen had no meat this week and she had to have something and the hens were all laying and too poor.”
“If she has killed Adam—” Faith began to run up the hill.
Mary shrugged her shoulders.
“She’ll go crazy now. She was so fond of that Adam. He ought to have been in the pot long ago—he’ll be as tough as sole leather. But I wouldn’t like to be in Martha’s shoes. Faith’s just white with rage; Una, you’d better go after her and try to peacify her.”
Mary had gone a few steps with the Blythe girls when Una suddenly turned and ran after her.
“Here’s some gum for you, Mary,” she said, with a little repentant catch in her voice, thrusting all her four knots into Mary’s hands, “and I’m glad you have such a pretty muff.”
“Why, thanks,” said Mary, rather taken by surprise. To the Blythe girls, after Una had gone, she said, “Ain’t she a queer little mite? But I’ve always said she had a good heart.”
When Una got home Faith was lying face downwards on her bed, utterly refusing to be comforted. Aunt Martha had killed Adam. He was reposing on a platter in the pantry that very minute, trussed and dressed, encircled by his liver and heart and gizzard. Aunt Martha heeded Faith’s passion of grief and anger not a whit.
“We had to have something for the strange minister’s dinner,” she said. “You’re too big a girl to make such a fuss over an old rooster. You knew he’d have to be killed sometime.”
“I’ll tell father when he comes home what you’ve done,” sobbed Faith.
“Don’t you go bothering your poor father. He has troubles enough. And I’m housekeeper here.”
“Adam was mine—Mrs. Johnson gave him to me. You had no business to touch him,” stormed Faith.
“Don’t you get sassy now. The rooster’s killed and there’s an end of it. I ain’t going to set no strange minister down to a dinner of cold b’iled mutton. I was brought up to know better than that, if I have come down in the world.”
Faith would not go down to supper that night and she would not go to church the next morning. But at dinner time she went to the table, her eyes swollen with crying, her face sullen.