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Page 69


My Dear Son:—It's a good while since I write a letter, and I
almost forget how; but you stay down there to Portland so
long, I kind of want to say something to you. I have been
churning this morning, and my hand shakes so I can't hardly
hold my pen still. And then I am afraid the news I've got to
tell will be such a blow to you, it makes me feel sort of
narvous. Last Sunday the schoolmaster and Jemime Parsons
had their names stuck up together in the meeting-house
porch. Now I hope you won't take on, my dear Jack, for if I
was you, I should be glad to get rid of her so. I guess she's
rather slack, if the truth was known; for I went in there one
day, and she'd jest done washing the floor; and I declare, it
looked as gray as if she'd got the water out of a mud puddle.
And then she went to making pies without washing her
hands or shifting her apron. They made me stop to supper,
but I never touched Jemime's pies. There's Dolly Spaulding,
I'm sure she's likelier looking than Jemime Parsons, if 'twant
for that habit she's got of looking two ways at once. If she's
making a soup, one eye is always in the pot, if t'other does look
up the chimney. She's as good a cook as ever was born, and
neat as wax-work. Sally Kean was to our house spinning
linen t'other day, because I burnt my hand so bad trying out
lard I couldn't hold the thread, and she said Dolly had more


Page 70
sheets and pillow-cases than you could count for one while,
and she is always making blankets and coverlids. She has
sold footings enough to buy her half a dozen silver spoons
and a case of knives. When I was young such a gal would
had a husband long ago. The men didn't use to ask if a gal
looked one way, or two ways with her eyes, but whether she
was neat and smart; only if she had thin lips and peaked
nose, they were sometimes a little shy of her.

O, Jack, I'm afraid these Legislaters will be the ruination
of you! 'Twill make you jest like your Uncle Joshua. You
know he had rather stand and dispute about politiks any
time, than work on his farm, and talking will never build a
stone wall or pay our taxes.

I don't care so much about the shushon as your poor cousin
Nabby does about the cotton cloth. But your father has got
the rumatiz dreadfully this winter; and it's rather hard for
him to have to cut all the wood and make the fires this cold
weather. I can't see what good 'twill do for you to stay in
Portland any longer, and I think you had better come home
and see a little to the work on the farm.

Your loving mother,