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a web of many textures

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Where is your little boy tending?” asked the good
man, as he was inquiring of Mrs. Partington with
regard to the proclivities of Ike, who had a hard name
in the neighborhood. He meant the direction for good
or ill that the boy was taking. “Well,” said the old
lady, “he is n't tending anywhere yet. I thought some
of putting him into a wholesome store; but some says
the ringtail is the most beneficious, though he is n't old
enough yet to go into a store.” — “I meant morally
tending,” said her visitor, solemnly, straightening himself
up like an axe-handle. — “Yes,” said she, a little
confusedly, as though she did n't fully understand, but
did n't wish to insult him by saying she did n't; “yes,
I should hope he 'd tend morally, though there 's a
great difference in shopkeepers, and the moral tenderness
in some seems a good deal less than in others, and
in others a good deal more. A shopkeeper is one that
you should put confidence into; but I 've always
noticed sometimes that the smilingest of them is the
deceivingest. One told me, the other day, that a calico
would wash like a piece of white; and it did just like
it, for all the color washed out of it.” — “Good-morning,
ma'am,” said her visitor, and stalked out, with a
long string attached to his heel by a piece of gum that
had somehow got upon the floor beneath his feet.