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Meade County news. [volume] (Meade, Kan.) 1900-1918, October 31, 1912, Image 2

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JosepkC Lincoln
Author of
Cy "Wh.itt a.k e's Place
Cap'n Eri, Etc.
Ellsworth "YounT '
Copyrifi-t.J99,bi 2-AppletoS-. Company
Mrs. Koalah Coffin, mipposert widow, ts
arranging (o move from Trumot to Ron
ton, fullowing the death of her brother,
for whom Mie had kept hoime. Kynn
Pepper, widower, offers marriage, and In
Indignantly refused.
CHAPTER I Continued.
There was a sound of scrambling.
More soot floated in the air. Then
around the corner of the high-boy ap
peared Mr. Pepper, crawling on his
hands and knees. His hair was
Btreaked with black; his shirt front
and collar and shirt sleeves were spot
ted and smeared with black; and from
his blackened cheeks his red whiskers
flamed like the last glowing embers In
a fire-Bcarred ruin.
"I was Just tryln' to help Kezlah
take down her stovepipe," lie ex
plained. "You see, she didn't have no
man to"
"Yes, I see. Well, I Judge you got It
down. Now you go out to the sink
and wash your face. Heavens and
earth! Look at them clothes!"
"I do hope you didn't hurt yourself,
Ablshal," said the sympathetic Kezlah.
Then, as remembrance of what had
led to the upset came to her, she add
ed: "Though I will say 'twas your
own fault and nobody else's."
Lavlula whirled on her.
"Dear me! Ain't we Innocent!
We've got plenty of money, we have.
Widowers with property ain't no at
traction to us. Everybody knows that
oh, yes! And they never talk of
such a thing oh, no! Folks don't sny
that that Well," with a snarl In
the direction of the kitchen, "are you
anywheres nigh clean yet? Get your
coat and hat on and come home with
She Jerked her brother Into the blue
coat, jammed the tall .hat down upon
his head, and, seizing him by the arm,
stalked to the door.
"Good day, marm," Bhe said. "I do
hope the next widower you get to take
down your stovepipe yes. Indeed!
ha! ha! I hope you'll have better luck
with him. ' Though I don't know who
'twould be; there ain't no more Idiots
iji towp that I know or. Good day, and
thank yof kindly for your attentions
to cur family." '
Kezlah turned from the door she
had closed behind her visitor.
"Well!" she ejaculated. "Well!"
; Steps, measured, dignified steps,
eouiflled on the walk. From without
came a "Hum ha!" a portentous com
bination of cough and grunt. Grace
dodged back from the window and
hastily began donning her hat and
"It's Cap'n Elkannh," she whispered.
"I must go. This seems to be your
busy morning. Aunt Kezlah. I" here
she choked again "really, I didn't
know you were bo popular." '
, Kezlah opened the door. Captain
Elkatyih Daniels, prosperous, pompous
and unbending, crossed the threshold.
Richest man in the village,' retired
shipowner, pillar of the Regular church
and leading member of Its parish com
mittee. Captain Elkanah looked the
part. He removed his hat, cleared his
throat behind his black stock, and
spoke with impressive deliberation.
"Kezlah," he said, "Kezlah, I came
to Bee you on a somewhat Important
matter. I have a proposal I wish to
make you."
He must have been surprised at the
effect of his words. Kezlah's face was
a picture, a crimson picture of para
lyzed amazement. As for Miss Van
Home, that young lady gave vent to
what her friend described afterwards
as a "squeal," and bolted out of the
door and into the grateful seclusion of
the fog.
In Which Kezlah Unearths a Prowler.
The fog was cruel to the gossips of
Trumet that day. Mrs. DIdama Rog
ers, who lived all alone, except for
the society of three cats, a canary,
and a white poodle named "Bunch,"
In the little house next to Captain El
kanah's establishment, never1 entirely
recovered from the chagrin and dis
appointment caused by that provoking
The fog prevented Mrs. Rogers' not
ing the entrance of Mr. Pepper at the
Coffin front gate. Also his exit, under
sisterly arrest. It shut from her view
the majestic approach of Captain El
kanah Daniels and Grace's flight, her
face dimpled with smiles and breaking
Into laughter at frequent Intervals.
For a young lady, supposed to be a de
vout Come-Outer, to hurry along the
main road, a handkerchief at her
mouth and her eyes sparkling with
fun, was a circumstance calculated to
furnish material for enjoyable scandal.
And DIdama missed It.
Other happenings she missed, also.
Not knowing of Captain Daniels' call
upon Kezlah, she was deprived of the
pleasure of wonder at the length of
Ms stay. She did not see him, In com
pany with-Mrs. Coffin, go down the
road in the opposite direction from
bat taken by Grace. Nor their return
and parting at the gate, two hours
tater. It. was three o'clock In the after
noon before a visitor came again to
the Coffin front gate, entered the yard
tnd rapped at the side door. , .
Klah npaoed the door.
"Halloa!" she exclaimed. "Back,
are you? I begun to think you'd been
scared away for good."
Grace laughed as she entered.
"Well, auntie," she said, "I don't
wonder you thought I was scared.
Truly, I didn't think it was proper for
me to stay. First Kyan and then
Cap'n Elkanah, and both of them ex
pressing their wishes to see you alone
so er pointedly. I thought It was
time for me to go. Surely, you give
me credit for a little delicacy."
"Grace Van Home! there's born
fools enough in this town without your
tryin' to be one. Grace, I ain't goin'
to leave Trumet, not for the punsent,
anyhow. I've got a way of earnln' my
livin' right hero,. I'm goln' to keep
house for the new minister."
The girl turned, her hat in her hand.
"Oh!" she cried In utter astonish
ment. Kezlah nodded. "Yes," she affirmed
"That was what Elkanah's proposal
amounted to. Ha, ha! Deary me!
When he said 'proposal,' I own up for
a minute I didn't know what was com
In'. After Kyan I was prepared for
'most anything. But he told me that
Lurany Phelps, who the parish com
mittee had counted on to keep house
for Mr. Ellery, had sent word her sis
ter was sick and couldn't be left, and
that somebody must be hired right off
'cause the minister's expected by day
after tomorrow's coach. And the cap'n
was made a delegate to come and see
me about it. Come he did, and we set
tled it. I went down to the parson
age with him before dinner and looked
the place over. There's an awful lot
of sweepln' and dustln' to be done
afore it's fit. for a body to live in."
Grace extended her hand.
"Well, Aunt Kezlah," she said, "I'm
ever and ever so glad for you. I know
you didn't want to leave Trumet and
I'm sure everyone will be delighted
when they learn that you're going to
"Humph! that includes Lavlny Pep
per, of course. I cal'late Lavlny's de
light won't keep her up nights. But I
guess I crin stand it If she can. Now,
Grace, what is it? You ain't real
.pleased? Why not?" , ;
The girl healtiTted.
"Auntie," she said, "I'm selfish, I
guess. I'm glad for your sake; you
mustn't think I'm not. But I almost
wish you were going to do somethlne
else. You are going to live In the
Regular parsonage and keep house for,
of all parsons, a Regular minister.
Why, so far as my seeing you is con
cerned, you might as well be in China.
You know Uncle Eben."
"Yes," she said, "I know him. Eben
Hammond thinks that parsonage Is
the presence chamber of the Evil One,
I presume likely. But, Grace, you
mustn't blame me, and if you don't
call I'll know, why and I shan't blame
you. We'll see each other once In a
while; I'll take care of that."
The packing took about an
hour. When it was finished, the car
pet rolled up, and the last piece of
linen placed in the old trunk, Kezlah
turned to her guest.
"Now, Gfacle," she said, "I feel as
though I ought1 to go to the parsonage.
I can't do much more'n look at the
cobwebs tonight, but tomorrow those
"Cheerful', a Tomb, Ain't It?" Wat
Mrs. Coffin' Comment.
spiders had better put on their ascen
sion robes. The end 'of the world's
comln' for them, even though It missed
Are for the Mlllerltes when they had
their doln'a a few years ago. You
can stay here and wait, If 'twon't be
too lonesome. We'll have supper when
I get back."
She threw a shawl over her shoul
ders, draped a white knitted "cloud"
over her head, and took from a nail
a key, attached by a strong cord to
a block of wood eight Inches long.
"Elkanah left the, key with me," she
observed. "No danger of losln' it. Is
there. Might as well lose a lumber
They left the bouse and cams out
Into the wet mist. Then, turning to
the right, Jn the direction which Tru
met, with unconscious Irony, calls
"downtown," they climbed the long
slope where the main road mounts th
in Pi
outlying ridge of Cannon Hill, passed
Captain Mayo's big house the finest
in Trumet, with the exception of the
Daniels mansion and descended into
the hollow beyond. Here, at the cor
ner where the "Lighthouse Lane" be
gins Its winding way over the rolling
knolls and dunes to the light and the
fish shanties on the "ocean side," stood
the plain, straight-up-and-down meet
ing house of the Regular society. Di
rectly opposite was the little parson
age, also very straight up and down.
Both were painted white with green
blinds. This statement is superfluous
to those who remember Cape architec
ture at this period; practically every
building from Sandwich to Province
town was white and green.
They entered the yard, through the
gap in the white fence, and went
around the house, past the dripping
evergreens and the bare, wet lilac
bushes, to the side door, the lock of
which Kezlah's key fitted. There was
a lock on the front door, of course,
but no one thought of meddling with
that. That door had been opened but
once during the late pastor's thirty
year tenantry. On the occasion of his
funeral the mourners came and went.
Mrs. Coffin thrust the key into the
keyhole of the side door and essayed
to turn it.
"Humph!" she muttered, twisting to
no purpose; "I don't see why This
must be the right key, because
Well, I declare, if It ain't unlocked
already! That's some of Cap'n El
kanah's doin's. For a critter as fussy
and particular about some things, he's
careless enough about others. Mercy
we ain't had any tramps around here
lately. Come in." ,
She led the way Into the dining
room of the parsonage. Two of the
blinds shading the windows of that
apartment had been opened when she
and Captain Daniels made their visit,
and the dim gray light made the room
more lonesome and forsaken. In appear
ance than a deeper gloom could pos
sibly have done. The black walnut
extension table in the center, closed to
Its smallest dimensions because Par
Bon Langley had eaten alone for bo
many years; the black walnut chairs
set back against the wall at regular
Intervals; the rug carpet and braided
mats homemade donations from the
ladles of the parish on the green
painted floor; the dolorous pictures on
the walls; "Death of Washington,"
"Stoning of Stephen," and a still more
deadly "fruit piece" committed in oils
years ago by a now deceased boat
painter. The blinds and a window be
ing opened, more light entered the
room. Grace glanced about It curi
ouhIv. '
"So this is going to be your new
home now. Aunt Kezlah," she ob
served. "How queer that seems."
"Um h'm. Does seem queer, don't
it? Must seem queer to you to be so
near the headquarters of everything
your uncle thinks is wicked. Smell of
brimstone any, does It?" she .asked
with a smile.
She threw open another door. A
room gloomy with black walnut and
fragrant with camphor was dimly vis
ible. 'Cheerful's a tomb, ain't It?" was
Mrs. Coffin's comment. "Well, we'll get
some light and air In here pretty
soon. Here s the front nail and there s
the front stairs. The parlor's off to
the left. We won't bother with that
yet a while. This little place in here
Is what Mr. Langley used to call his
'Btudy.' Halloa! how this door sticks!"
The door did stick, and no amount
of tugging . could get it open, though
Grace added her efforts to those of Ke
zlah. ' 'Taln't locked," commented Mrs.
Coffin, "'cause' there ain't anyj lock on
It. I guess it's lust swelled and stuck
from the damp. Though It's odd, I
don't remember Oh, well! never
mind. Let's sweeten up this settln'
room a little. Open a window or two
want to do anything before it gets
dark. I'm goln' into the kitchen to get
a broom."
She hurried out, returning In a mo
ment or two with a broom and a most
disgusted expression.
"How's a body goin 'to sweep with
that?" she demanded, exhibiting the
frayed Utensil, the business end of
which was worn to a stub. "More like
a shovel, enough sight WeJ.1, there's
pretty nigh dust enough for a shovel,
so maybe thls'll take off the top lay
ers. S pose 1 11 ever get this bouse fit
for Mr. Ellery to live In before he
comes? I wonder if he's a particular
Grace, who was struggling with a re
fractory window, paused for breath.
"I'm sure I don't know," she re
plied. "I've never seen him."
"Nor I either. Sol was so bad the
Sunday he preached that I couldn't go
to meetln'. They say his sermon was
fine; all about those who go down to
the sea In ships. That's what got the
parish committee, I guess; they're all
old salts. I wonder if he's as fine-look-in'
as they say?"
Miss Van Home tossed her head.
She was resting, prior to making an
other assault on the window.
"I don't care. I know he'll be a con
ceited little snippet and I shall hate
the sight of him. There! there!
Auntie, you muBn't mind me. I told
you I was a selfish pig. But don't you
ask me to like this precious minister
of yours, because I shan't do it. He
has no business to come and separate
me from the best friend I've got. I'd
tell him so if he was here What
wa that?"
Both women looked at each other
with startled faces. They listened in
tently. "Why, wa'n't that funny!" whis
pered Kezlah. "I thought I heard"
"You did hear. So did L What do
you suppose "
"S-s-s-h-h! It sounded from 'the
front room somewhere. And yet there
can't be anybody in there, because
My soul! there 'tis again. I'm goln'
to find out."
She grasped the stubby broom by
. the handle and moved deteraalnedty to
ward the front hall. Grace seized he
by the arm. '
"Don't you do it, auntie!" she whl
pered frantically. "Don't you do It!
It may be a tramp."
"I don't care. Whoever or what
ever it is, It has no business in. this
house, and I'll make that plain in a
hurry. Just like as not it's a cat got
in when Elkanah was here this fore
noon. Don't be scared, Grace. Come
right along."
The girl came along, but not with
enthusiasm. They tiptoed through the
dark, narrow hall, and peered into the
parlor. This apartment was djm and
still and gloomy, as all proper parlors
should be, but there was no sign of
Mrs. Coffin was glancing back down
the hall with a strange expression on
her face. Her grip upon the broom
handle tightened.
"What is it?" pleaded the girl in an
agonized whisper.
"Grace," was the low reply, "I've
just remembered somethin'. That
study door isn't stuck from the damp,
because well, because I remember
now that It was open this mornin'."
Before her companion could fully
grasp the Import of this paralyzing
fact, Keziah strode down the hall and
seized the knob of the study door.
"Whoever you are in there," she
commanded sternly, "open this door
and come out this minute. Do you
hear? I'm orderin' you to come out."
There was an Instant of silence;
then a voice from within made answer,
a man's voice, and its tone Indicated
"Madam," it said. "I I am I will
be out in another minute. If you will
Just be patient "
"Come out then!" snapped Kezlah.
"Come out! Patience! ' Of all the
cheek! Why don't you come out
"Well, to be frank, since you Insist,"
From the Dimness of the Tightly Shut
tered Study Stepped the Owner of
the Voice.
snapped the voice, "I'm not fully
This was a staggerer. For once Ke
zlah did not have a reply ready. She
looked at Grace and the latter at her.
Then, without words, they retreated to
the sitting room.
"I hope you won't be alarmed," con
tinued the voice, broken by panting
pauses, as If the speaker was strug
gling Into a garment. "I know this
must seem strange. You see, I came
on the coach as far as Bayport and
then we lost a wheel in a rut. There
was a oh, dear! where is that this
is supremely Idiotic! I was saying
there happened to be a man coming
this way with a buggy and he offered
to help me along. He was on his way
to Wellmouth. So I left my trunk to
come later and took my valise. It
rained on the way and I was wet
through. I stopped at Captain Daniels'
house and the girl said he had gone
with his daughter to the next town,
but that they were to stop here at the
parsonage on their way. So there!
that's right, at last! so I came, hop
ing to find them. The door was open
and I came in. The captain and his
daughter were not here, but, as I was
pretty wet, I thoughht I would seize
the opportunity to change my clothes.
I had some dry er things in my va
lise and I well, then you came, you
see, and I assure you I well, it was
the most embarrassing I'm coming
The door opened. The two In the
sitting room huddled close together,
Keziah holding the broom like a battle-ax,
ready for whatsoever might de
velop. From the dimness of the tight
ly shuttered study stepped the owner
of the voice, a stranger, a young man,
his hair rumpled, his tie disarranged,
and the buttons of his waistcoat filling
the wrong buttonholes. Despite this
evidence of the hasty toilet in semi
darkness, he was not unprepossessing.
Incidentally, he was blushing furiously.
"I didn't speak," he said, "because
you took me by surprise and I wasn't,
as I explained er presentable. Be
sides, I was afraid of frightening you.
I assure you I hurried as fast as I
could, quietly, and when you began to
talk" his expression changed and
there was a twitch at . the corner of
his mouth "I tried to hurry still fast
er, hoping you might not hear me and
I could make my appearance or my
escape sooner. As for entering the
house well, I considered It, in a way,
my house; at least, I knew I should
live in it for a time, and "
"Live in it?" repeated Keziah. "Live
in it? Why! mercy on us! you don't
mean to say you're "
She stopped to look at Grace. That
young lady wag looking at her with an
expression which, as it expressed so
very much, is beyond ordinary powers
of description.
"My name is Ellery," said th
stranger. "I am the minister the new
minister of the Regular society."
Then even Keziah blushed.
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Mamma gave up right there.
Mooted Question.
"How's Willie getting on at that
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The mayor of a small town was try
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The mayor turned to their little girl
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He My future was in your hands,
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She I'd suggest that you go some
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Eggs Clotworthy Ate.
Harry Clotworthy, who is an expert
on military affairs, entered the
dlningroom of the National Press
club one morning and carried with
him a ravenous appetite.' Having
eaten one breakfast, which consisted
largely of eggs, he ordered an
other breakfast, which consisted
even more largely of eggs. Aft"" his
repast he went to the writing-room
to get off some letters. Half an hour
later the steward of the club found
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entrance of the writing-room and
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"I got a good excuse," exclaimed
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Usual One.
"What is the latest thing which
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"I guess It is her husband." ,
Many a man's bad luck Is due to
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' IPftlUBTA?
Tor 4Z
ckache Rheumatism
Kidneys and Bladder
M Oouyti lynr. IMa
ataiOooa. Um Lj
la Urn. Sola by

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