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a web of many textures

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What is your mean temperature here, mem?” said
the meteorologist, as he sat in Mrs. Partington's little
shaded back parlor, on a warm day, with the cool air
drawing through the windows, and rustling the cut
paper around the old looking-glass frame that had hung
for so long a time on the wall. — “Mean temperature!”
exclaimed she, with a sharp emphasis on the mean;
“mean temperature! we have got no mean temperature
here, sir; nor mean people, neither, unless you
may call Mr. Grab, the sheriff, one, who pretended he
had an attachment for a man, and then went and took
all his propriety on a mean process for debt. This was
mean enough, goodness knows.” — “I mean the temperature
of the weather, I assure you,” said the listener,
dreading the indignation that gathered in her tone like
distant thunder on the other side of a river; “I mean
what is your medium heat?” — “Well,” said she, “as
for mediums, I don't know much about 'em, though
there was a great heat about one that came here, that
told people who their grandfathers was; but it cooled
off, arter a while. They could n't make me believe that.
But, goodness me, look at that boy!” She pointed to
Ike as she spoke, who had donned the hat of the visitor,


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and was making a feint to attack the stove-pipe with his
cane, having on his arm a large wash-boiler cover for a
shield, and a pair of fierce moustaches painted in soot
upon his upper lip. As they looked, a fierce lunge
conquered the adversary, and the young hero stood
triumphant, brandishing the cane in his hand, and shouting,
“Down with the border ruffian!” She checked him
gently, and, as her visitor regained his hat and stick,
which last had been broken, she turned to him, with
much satisfaction in her manner, and asked if he did n't
think the boy had talents by which he might “require
a reputation;” and the visitor said he certainly thought
so. Ike knew what he meant, and kept a safe distance
from the cane.