His Native Heath by
Joseph C. Lincoln
I never could quite understand why the folks at Wellmouth made me
selectman. I s'pose likely 'twas on account of Jonadab and me and
Peter Brown making such a go of the Old Home House and turning
Wellmouth Port from a sand fleas' paradise into a hospital where city
folks could have their bank accounts amputated and not suffer more'n
was necessary. Anyway, I was elected unanimous at town meeting, and
Peter was mighty anxious for me to take the job.
"Barzilla," says Peter, "I jedge that a selectman is a sort of
dwarf alderman. Now, I've had friends who've been aldermen, and they
say it's a sure thing, like shaking with your own dice. If you're
straight, there's the honor and the advertisement; if you're crooked,
there's the graft. Either way the house wins. Go in, and glory be
So I finally agreed to serve, and the very first meeting I went to,
the question of Asaph Blueworthy and the poorhouse comes up. Zoeth
Tiddit—he was town clerk—he puts it this way:
"Gentlemen," he says, "we have here the usual application from
Asaph Blueworthy for aid from the town. I don't know's there's much
use for me to read it—it's tolerable familiar. 'Suffering from
lumbago and rheumatiz'—um, yes. 'Out of work'—um, just so.
'Respectfully begs that the board will'—etcetery and so forth. Well,
gentlemen, what's your pleasure?"
Darius Gott, he speaks first, and dry and drawling as ever. "Out
of work, hey?" says Darius. "Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask if
anybody here remembers the time when Ase was IN work?"
Nobody did, and Cap'n Benijah Poundberry—he was chairman at that
time—he fetches the table a welt with his starboard fist and comes
"Feller members," says he, "I don't know how the rest of you feel,
but it's my opinion that this board has done too much for that lazy
loafer already. Long's his sister, Thankful, lived, we couldn't say
nothing, of course. If she wanted to slave and work so's her brother
could live in idleness and sloth, why, that was her business. There
ain't any law against a body's making a fool of herself, more's the
pity. But she's been dead a year, and he's done nothing since but
live on those that'll trust him, and ask help from the town. He ain't
sick—except sick of work. Now, it's my idea that, long's he's bound
to be a pauper, he might's well be treated as a pauper. Let's send
him to the poorhouse."
"But," says I, "he owns his place down there by the shore, don't
All hands laughed—that is, all but Cap'n Benijah. "Own nothing,"
says the cap'n. "The whole rat trap, from the keel to maintruck,
ain't worth more'n three hundred dollars, and I loaned Thankful four
hundred on it years ago, and the mortgage fell due last September.
Not a cent of principal, interest, nor rent have I got since.
Whether he goes to the poorhouse or not, he goes out of that house of
mine to-morrer. A man can smite me on one cheek and maybe I'll turn
t'other, but when, after I HAVE turned it, he finds fault 'cause my
face hurts his hand, then I rise up and quit; you hear ME!"
Nobody could help hearing him, unless they was deefer than the
feller that fell out of the balloon and couldn't hear himself strike,
so all hands agreed that sending Asaph Blueworthy to the poorhouse
would be a good thing. 'Twould be a lesson to Ase, and would give the
poorhouse one more excuse for being on earth. Wellmouth's a fairly
prosperous town, and the paupers had died, one after the other, and no
new ones had come, until all there was left in the poorhouse was old
Betsy Mullen, who was down with creeping palsy, and Deborah Badger,
who'd been keeper ever since her husband died.
The poorhouse property was valuable, too, specially for a summer
cottage, being out on the end of Robbin's Point, away from the town,
and having a fine view right across the bay. Zoeth Tiddit was a
committee of one with power from the town to sell the place, but he
hadn't found a customer yet. And if he did sell it, what to do with
Debby was more or less of a question. She'd kept poorhouse for years,
and had no other home nor no relations to go to. Everybody liked her,
too—that is, everybody but Cap'n Benijah. He was down on her 'cause
she was a Spiritualist and believed in fortune tellers and such. The
cap'n, bein' a deacon of the Come- Outer persuasion, was naturally
down on folks who wasn't broad- minded enough to see that his
partic'lar crack in the roof was the only way to crawl through to
Well, we voted to send Asaph to the poorhouse, and then I was
appointed a delegate to see him and tell him he'd got to go. I
wasn't enthusiastic over the job, but everybody said I was exactly
the feller for the place.
"To tell you the truth," drawls Darius, "you, being a stranger, are
the only one that Ase couldn't talk over. He's got a tongue that's
buttered on both sides and runs on ball bearings. If I should see
him he'd work on my sympathies till I'd lend him the last two-cent
piece in my baby's bank."
So, as there wa'n't no way out of it, I drove down to Asaph's that
afternoon. He lived off on a side road by the shore, in a little,
run-down shanty that was as no account as he was. When I moored my
horse to the "heavenly-wood" tree by what was left of the fence, I
would have bet my sou'wester that I caught a glimpse of Brother
Blueworthy, peeking round the corner of the house. But when I turned
that corner there was nobody in sight, although the bu'sted
wash-bench, with a cranberry crate propping up its lame end, was
shaking a little, as if some one had set on it recent.
I knocked on the door, but nobody answered. After knocking three
or four times, I tried kicking, and the second kick raised, from
somewheres inside, a groan that was as lonesome a sound as ever I
heard. No human noise in my experience come within a mile of it for
dead, downright misery—unless, maybe, it's Cap'n Jonadab trying to
sing in meeting Sundays.
"Who's that?" wails Ase from 'tother side of the door. "Did
"Knock!" says I. "I all but kicked your everlasting derelict out
of water. It's me, Wingate—one of the selectmen. Tumble up, there!
I want to talk to you."
Blueworthy didn't exactly tumble, so's to speak, but the door
opened, and he comes shuffling and groaning into sight. His face was
twisted up and he had one hand spread-fingered on the small of his
"Dear, dear!" says he. "I'm dreadful sorry to have kept you
waiting, Mr. Wingate. I've been wrastling with this turrible
lumbago, and I'm 'fraid it's affecting my hearing. I'll tell you—"
"Yes—well, you needn't mind," I says; "'cordin' to common tell,
you was born with that same kind of lumbago, and it's been getting no
better fast ever since. Jest drag your sufferings out onto this bench
and come to anchor. I've got considerable to say, and I'm in a
Well, he grunted, and groaned, and scuffled along. When he'd got
planted on the bench he didn't let up any—kept on with the misery.
"Look here," says I, losing patience, "when you get through with
the Job business I'll heave ahead and talk. Don't let me interrupt
the lamentations on no account. Finished? All right. Now, you
listen to me."
And then I told him just how matters stood. His house was to be
seized on the mortgage, and he was to move to the poorhouse next day.
You never see a man more surprised or worse cut up. Him to the
poorhouse? HIM—one of the oldest families on the Cape? You'd think
he was the Grand Panjandrum. Well, the dignity didn't work, so he
commenced on the lumbago; and that didn't work, neither. But do you
think he give up the ship? Not much; he commenced to explain why he
hadn't been able to earn a living and the reasons why he'd ought to
have another chance. Talk! Well, if I hadn't been warned he'd have
landed ME, all right. I never heard a better sermon nor one with more
long words in it.
I actually pitied him. It seemed a shame that a feller who could
argue like that should have to go to the poorhouse; he'd ought to run
a summer hotel—when the boarders kicked 'cause there was yeller-eyed
beans in the coffee he would be the one to explain that they was lucky
to get beans like that without paying extra for 'em. Thinks I, "I'm an
idiot, but I'll make him one more offer."
So I says: "See here, Mr. Blueworthy, I could use another man in
the stable at the Old Home House. If you want the job you can have
it. ONLY, you'll have to work, and work hard."
Well, sir, would you believe it?—his face fell like a cook-book
cake. That kind of chance wa'n't what he was looking for. He
shuffled and hitched around, and finally he says: "I'll—Ill
consider your offer," he says.
That was too many for me. "Well, I'll be yardarmed!" says I, and
went off and left him "considering." I don't know what his
considerations amounted to. All I know is that next day they took
him to the poorhouse.
And from now on this yarn has got to be more or less hearsay. I'll
have to put this and that together, like the woman that made the
mince meat. Some of the facts I got from a cousin of Deborah
Badger's, some of them I wormed out of Asaph himself one time when
he'd had a jug come down from the city and was feeling toler'ble
philanthropic and conversationy. But I guess they're straight
Seems that, while I was down notifying Blueworthy, Cap'n Poundberry
had gone over to the poorhouse to tell the Widow Badger about her new
boarder. The widow was glad to hear the news.
"He'll be somebody to talk to, at any rate," says she. "Poor old
Betsy Mullen ain't exactly what you'd call company for a sociable
body. But I'll mind what you say, Cap'n Benijah. It takes more than
a slick tongue to come it over me. I'll make that lazy man work or
know the reason why."
So when Asaph arrived—per truck wagon—at three o'clock the next
afternoon, Mrs. Badger was ready for him. She didn't wait to shake
hands or say: "Glad to see you." No, sir! The minute he landed she
sent him out by the barn with orders to chop a couple of cords of oak
slabs that was piled there. He groaned and commenced to develop
lumbago symptoms, but she cured 'em in a hurry by remarking that her
doctor's book said vig'rous exercise was the best physic, for that
kind of disease, and so he must chop hard. She waited till she heard
the ax "chunk" once or twice, and then she went into the house,
figgering that she'd gained the first lap, anyhow.
But in an hour or so it come over her all of a sudden that 'twas
awful quiet out by the woodpile. She hurried to the back door, and
there was Ase, setting on the ground in the shade, his eyes shut and
his back against the chopping block, and one poor lonesome slab in
front of him with a couple of splinters knocked off it. That was his
Maybe you think the widow wa'n't mad. She tip-toed out to the
wood-pile, grabbed her new boarder by the coat collar and shook him
till his head played "Johnny Comes Marching Home" against the
"You lazy thing, you!" says she, with her eyes snapping. "Wake up
and tell me what you mean by sleeping when I told you to work."
"Sleep?" stutters Asaph, kind of reaching out with his mind for a
life-preserver. "I—I wa'n't asleep."
Well, I don't think he had really meant to sleep. I guess he just
set down to think of a good brand new excuse for not working, and
kind of drowsed off.
"You wa'n't hey?" says Deborah. "Then 'twas the best imitation
ever _I_ see. What WAS you doing, if 'tain't too personal a
"I—I guess I must have fainted. I'm subject to such spells. You
see, ma'am, I ain't been well for—"
"Yes, I know. I understand all about that. Now, you march your
boots into that house, where I can keep an eye on you, and help me
get supper. To-morrer morning you'll get up at five o'clock and chop
wood till breakfast time. If I think you've chopped enough, maybe
you'll get the breakfast. If I don't think so you'll keep on
chopping. Now, march!"
Blueworthy, he marched, but 'twa'n't as joyful a parade as an Odd
Fellers' picnic. He could see he'd made a miscue—a clean miss, and
the white ball in the pocket. He knew, too, that a lot depended on
his making a good impression the first thing, and instead of that he'd
gone and "foozled his approach," as that city feller said last summer
when he ran the catboat plump into the end of the pier. Deborah, she
went out into the kitchen, but she ordered Ase to stay in the dining
room and set the table; told him to get the dishes out of the closet.
All the time he was doing it he kept thinking about the mistake
he'd made, and wondering if there wa'n't some way to square up and
get solid with the widow. Asaph was a good deal of a philosopher,
and his motto was—so he told me afterward, that time I spoke of when
he'd been investigating the jug—his motto was: "Every hard shell has
a soft spot somewheres, and after you find it, it's easy." If he
could only find out something that Deborah Badger was particular
interested in, then he believed he could make a ten- strike. And, all
at once, down in the corner of the closet, he see a big pile of papers
and magazines. The one on top was the Banner of Light, and underneath
that was the Mysterious Magazine.
Then he remembered, all of a sudden, the town talk about Debby's
believing in mediums and spooks and fortune tellers and such. And he
commenced to set up and take notice.
At the supper table he was as mum as a rundown clock; just set in
his chair and looked at Mrs. Badger. She got nervous and fidgety
after a spell, and fin'lly bu'sts out with: "What are you staring at
me like that for?"
Ase kind of jumped and looked surprised. "Staring?" says he. "Was
"I should think you was! Is my hair coming down, or what is it?"
He didn't answer for a minute, but he looked over her head and then
away acrost the room, as if he was watching something that moved.
"Your husband was a short, kind of fleshy man, as I remember, wa'n't
he?" says he, absent-minded like.
"Course he was. But what in the world—"
"'Twa'n't him, then. I thought not."
"HIM? My husband? What DO you mean?"
And then Asaph begun to put on the fine touches. He leaned acrost
the table and says he, in a sort of mysterious whisper: "Mrs.
Badger," says he, "do you ever see things? Not common things, but
"Mercy me!" says the widow. "No. Do YOU?"
"Sometimes seems's if I did. Jest now, as I set here looking at
you, it seemed as if I saw a man come up and put his hand on your
Well, you can imagine Debby. She jumped out of her chair and
whirled around like a kitten in a fit. "Good land!" she hollers.
"Where? What? Who was it?"
"I don't know who 'twas. His face was covered up; but it kind of
come to me—a communication, as you might say—that some day that man
was going to marry you."
"Land of love! Marry ME? You're crazy! I'm scart to death."
Ase shook his head, more mysterious than ever. "I don't know,"
says he. "Maybe I am crazy. But I see that same man this afternoon,
when I was in that trance, and—"
"Trance! Do you mean to tell me you was in a TRANCE out there by
the wood-pile? Are you a MEDIUM?"
Well, Ase, he wouldn't admit that he was a medium exactly, but he
give her to understand that there wa'n't many mediums in this country
that could do business 'longside of him when he was really working.
'Course he made believe he didn't want to talk about such things,
and, likewise of course, that made Debby all the more anxious TO talk
about 'em. She found out that her new boarder was subject to trances
and had second-sight and could draw horoscopes, and I don't know what
all. Particular she wanted to know more about that "man" that was
going to marry her, but Asaph wouldn't say much about him.
"All I can say is," says Ase, "that he didn't appear to me like a
common man. He was sort of familiar looking, and yet there was
something distinguished about him, something uncommon, as you might
say. But this much comes to me strong: He's a man any woman would
be proud to get, and some time he's coming to offer you a good home.
You won't have to keep poorhouse all your days."
So the widow went up to her room with what you might call a case of
delightful horrors. She was too scart to sleep and frightened to
stay awake. She kept two lamps burning all night.
As for Asaph, he waited till 'twas still, and then he crept
downstairs to the closet, got an armful of Banners of Light and
Mysterious Magazines, and went back to his room to study up. Next
morning there was nothing said about wood chopping—Ase was busy
making preparations to draw Debby's horoscope.
You can see how things went after that. Blueworthy was star
boarder at that poorhouse. Mrs Badger was too much interested in
spooks and fortunes to think of asking him to work, and if she did
hint at such a thing, he'd have another "trance" and see that "man,"
and 'twas all off. And we poor fools of selectmen was congratulating
ourselves that Ase Blueworthy was doing something toward earning his
keep at last. And then—'long in July 'twas— Betsy Mullen died.
One evening, just after the Fourth, Deborah and Asaph was in the
dining room, figgering out fortunes with a pack of cards, when there
comes a knock at the door. The widow answered it, and there was an
old chap, dressed in a blue suit, and a stunning pretty girl in what
these summer women make believe is a sea-going rig. And both of 'em
was sopping wet through, and as miserable as two hens in a rain
It turned out that the man's name was Lamont, with a colonel's
pennant and a million-dollar mark on the foretop of it, and the girl
was his daughter Mabel. They'd been paying six dollars a day each for
sea air and clam soup over to the Wattagonsett House, in Harniss, and
either the soup or the air had affected the colonel's head till he
imagined he could sail a boat all by his ownty-donty. Well, he'd
sailed one acrost the bay and got becalmed, and then the tide took him
in amongst the shoals at the mouth of Wellmouth Crick, and there,
owing to a mixup of tide, shoals, dark, and an overdose of
foolishness, the boat had upset and foundered and the Lamonts had
waded half a mile or so to shore. Once on dry land, they'd headed up
the bluff for the only port in sight, which was the
poorhouse—although they didn't know it.
The widow and Asaph made 'em as comfortable as they could; rigged
'em up in dry clothes which had belonged to departed paupers, and got
'em something to eat. The Lamonts was what they called "enchanted"
with the whole establishment.
"This," says the colonel, with his mouth full of brown bread, "is
delightful, really delightful. The New England hospitality that we
read about. So free from ostentation and conventionality."
When you stop to think of it, you'd scurcely expect to run acrost
much ostentation at the poorhouse, but, of course, the colonel didn't
know, and he praised everything so like Sam Hill, that the widow was
ashamed to break the news to him. And Ase kept quiet, too, you can be
sure of that. As for Mabel, she was one of them gushy, goo-gooey kind
of girls, and she was as struck with the shebang as her dad. She said
the house itself was a "perfect dear."
And after supper they paired off and got to talking, the colonel
with Mrs. Badger, and Asaph with Mabel. Now, I can just imagine how
Ase talked to that poor, unsuspecting young female. He sartin did
love an audience, and here was one that didn't know him nor his
history, nor nothing. He played the sad and mysterious. You could
see that he was a blighted bud, all right. He was a man with a
hidden sorrer, and the way he'd sigh and change the subject when it
come to embarrassing questions was enough to bring tears to a graven
image, let alone a romantic girl just out of boarding school.
Then, after a spell of this, Mabel wanted to be shown the house, so
as to see the "sweet, old-fashioned rooms." And she wanted papa to
see 'em, too, so Ase led the way, like the talking man in the dime
museum. And the way them Lamonts agonized over every rag mat, and
corded bedstead was something past belief. When they was saying
good-night—they HAD to stay all night because their own clothes
wa'n't dry and those they had on were more picturesque than
stylish—Mabel turns to her father and says she:
"Papa, dear," she says, "I believe that at last we've found the
very thing we've been looking for."
And the colonel said yes, he guessed they had. Next morning they
was up early and out enjoying the view; it IS about the best view
alongshore, and they had a fit over it. When breakfast was done the
Lamonts takes Asaph one side and the colonel says:
"Mr. Blueworthy," he says, "my daughter and I am very much pleased
with the Cape and the Cape people. Some time ago we made up our
minds that if we could find the right spot we would build a summer
home here. Preferably we wish to purchase a typical, old-time,
Colonial homestead and remodel it, retaining, of course, all the
original old-fashioned flavor. Cost is not so much the consideration
as location and the house itself. We are—ahem!— well, frankly, your
place here suits us exactly."
"We adore it," says Mabel, emphatic.
"Mr. Blueworthy," goes on the colonel, "will you sell us your home?
I am prepared to pay a liberal price."
Poor Asaph was kind of throwed on his beam ends, so's to speak. He
hemmed and hawed, and finally had to blurt out that he didn't own the
place. The Lamonts was astonished. The colonel wanted to know if it
belonged to Mrs. Badger.
"Why, no," says Ase. "The fact is—that is to say—you see—"
And just then the widow opened the kitchen window and called to
"Colonel Lamont," says she, "there's a sailboat beating up the
harbor, and I think the folks on it are looking for you."
The colonel excused himself, and run off down the hill toward the
back side of the point, and Asaph was left alone with the girl. He
see, I s'pose, that here was his chance to make the best yarn out of
what was bound to come out anyhow in a few minutes. So he fetched a
sigh that sounded as if 'twas racking loose the foundations and
He asked Mabel if she was prepared to hear something that would
shock her turrible, something that would undermine her confidence in
human natur'. She was a good deal upset, and no wonder, but she
braced up and let on that she guessed she could stand it. So then he
told her that her dad and her had been deceived, that that house
wa'n't his nor Mrs. Badger's; 'twas the Wellmouth poor farm, and he
was a pauper.
She was shocked, all right enough, but afore she had a chance to
ask a question, he begun to tell her the story of his life. 'Twas a
fine chance for him to spread himself, and I cal'late he done it to
the skipper's taste. He told her how him and his sister had lived in
their little home, their own little nest, over there by the shore, for
years and years. He led her out to where she could see the roof of
his old shanty over the sand hills, and he wiped his eyes and raved
over it. You'd think that tumble-down shack was a hunk out of
paradise; Adam and Eve's place in the Garden was a short lobster
'longside of it. Then, he said, he was took down with an incurable
disease. He tried and tried to get along, but 'twas no go. He
mortgaged the shanty to a grasping money lender— meanin'
Poundberry—and that money was spent. Then his sister passed away and
his heart broke; so they took him to the poorhouse.
"Miss Lamont," says he, "good-by. Sometimes in the midst of your
fashionable career, in your gayety and so forth, pause," he says,
"and give a thought to the broken-hearted pauper who has told you his
Well, now, you take a green girl, right fresh from novels and music
lessons, and spring that on her—what can you expect? Mabel, she
cried and took on dreadful.
"Oh, Mr. Blueworthy!" says she, grabbing his hand. "I'm SO glad
you told me. I'm SO glad! Cheer up," she says. "I respect you more
than ever, and my father and I will—"
Just then the colonel comes puffing up the hill. He looked as if
he'd heard news.
"My child," he says in a kind of horrified whisper, "can you
realize that we have actually passed the night in the—in the
Mabel held up her hand. "Hush, papa," she says. "Hush. I know
all about it. Come away, quick; I've got something very important to
say to you."
And she took her dad's arm and went off down the hill, mopping her
pretty eyes with her handkerchief and smiling back, every once in a
while, through her tears, at Asaph.
Now, it happened that there was a selectmen's meeting that
afternoon at four o'clock. I was on hand, and so was Zoeth Tiddit
and most of the others. Cap'n Poundberry and Darius Gott were late.
Zoeth was as happy as a clam at high water; he'd sold the poorhouse
property that very day to a Colonel Lamont, from Harniss, who wanted
it for a summer place.
"And I got the price we set on it, too," says Zoeth. "But that
wa'n't the funniest part of it. Seems's old man Lamont and his
daughter was very much upset because Debby Badger and Ase Blueworthy
would be turned out of house and home 'count of the place being sold.
The colonel was hot foot for giving 'em a check for five hundred
dollars to square things; said his daughter'd made him promise he
would. Says I: 'You can give it to Debby, if you want to, but don't
lay a copper on that Blueworthy fraud.' Then I told him the truth
about Ase. He couldn't hardly believe it, but I finally convinced
him, and he made out the check to Debby. I took it down to her myself
just after dinner. Ase was there, and his eyes pretty nigh popped out
of his head.
"'Look here,' I says to him; 'if you'd been worth a continental you
might have had some of this. As it is, you'll be farmed out
somewheres—that's what'll happen to YOU.'"
And as Zoeth was telling this, in comes Cap'n Benijah. He was
"I cal'late the Lamonts must be buying all the property
alongshore," he says when he heard the news. "I sold that old shack
that I took from Blueworthy to that Lamont girl to-day for three
hundred and fifty dollars. She wouldn't say what she wanted of it,
neither, and I didn't care much; _I_ was glad to get rid of it."
"_I_ can tell you what she wanted of it," says somebody behind us.
We turned round and 'twas Gott; he'd come in. "I just met Squire
Foster," he says, "and the squire tells me that that Lamont girl come
into his office with the bill of sale for the property you sold her
and made him deed it right over to Ase Blueworthy, as a present from
"WHAT?" says all hands, Poundberry loudest of all.
"That's right," said Darius. "She told the squire a long
rigamarole about what a martyr Ase was, and how her dad was going to
do some thing for him, but that she was going to give him his home
back again with her own money, money her father had given her to buy a
ring with, she said, though that ain't reasonable, of course—nobody'd
pay that much for a ring. The squire tried to tell her what a no-good
Ase was, but she froze him quicker'n— Where you going, Cap'n Benije?"
"I'm going down to that poorhouse," hollers Poundberry. "I'll find
out the rights and wrongs of this thing mighty quick."
We all said we'd go with him, and we went, six in one carryall. As
we hove in sight of the poorhouse a buggy drove away from it, going
in t'other direction.
"That looks like the Baptist minister's buggy," says Darius. "What
on earth's he been down here for?"
Nobody could guess. As we run alongside the poorhouse door, Ase
Blueworthy stepped out, leading Debby Badger. She was as red as an
"By time, Ase Blueworthy!" hollers Cap'n Benijah, starting to get
out of the carryall, "what do you mean by— Debby, what are you
holding that rascal's hand for?"
But Ase cut him short. "Cap'n Poundberry," says he, dignified as a
boy with a stiff neck, "I might pass over your remarks to me, but
when you address my wife—"
"Your WIFE?" hollers everybody—everybody but the cap'n; he only
sort of gurgled.
"My wife," says Asaph. "When you men—church members, too, some of
you—sold the house over her head, I'm proud to say that I, having a
home once more, was able to step for'ard and ask her to share it with
me. We was married a few minutes ago," he says.
"And, oh, Cap'n Poundberry!" cried Debby, looking as if this was
the most wonderful part of it—"oh, Cap'n Poundberry!" she says,
"we've known for a long time that some man—an uncommon kind of
man—was coming to offer me a home some day, but even Asaph didn't
know 'twas himself; did you, Asaph?"
We selectmen talked the thing over going home, but Cap'n Benijah
didn't speak till we was turning in at his gate. Then he fetched his
knee a thump with his fist, and says he, in the most disgusted tone
ever I heard:
"A house and lot for nothing," he says, "a wife to do the work for
him, and five hundred dollars to spend! Sometimes the way this
world's run gives me moral indigestion."
Which was tolerable radical for a Come-Outer to say, seems to me.