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|Anne's House of Dreams||Lucy Maud Montgomery|
|Page 4 of 4||
"I am sure I hope so," said Miss Cornelia, none too hopefully. "But speaking of the devil, I am positive that Billy Booth is possessed by him now. Have you heard of Billy's latest performance?"
"No, what was that?"
"He's gone and burned up his wife's new, brown broadcloth suit, that she paid twenty-five dollars for in Charlottetown, because he declares the men looked too admiring at her when she wore it to church the first time. Wasn't that like a man?"
"Mistress Booth IS mighty pretty, and brown's her color," said Captain Jim reflectively.
"Is that any good reason why he should poke her new suit into the kitchen stove? Billy Booth is a jealous fool, and he makes his wife's life miserable. She's cried all the week about her suit. Oh, Anne, I wish I could write like you, believe ME. Wouldn't I score some of the men round here!"
"Those Booths are all a mite queer," said Captain Jim. "Billy seemed the sanest of the lot till he got married and then this queer jealous streak cropped out in him. His brother Daniel, now, was always odd."
"Took tantrums every few days or so and wouldn't get out of bed," said Miss Cornelia with a relish. "His wife would have to do all the barn work till he got over his spell. When he died people wrote her letters of condolence; if I'd written anything it would have been one of congratulation. Their father, old Abram Booth, was a disgusting old sot. He was drunk at his wife's funeral, and kept reeling round and hiccuping `I didn't dri--i--i--nk much but I feel a--a-- awfully que--e--e--r.' I gave him a good jab in the back with my umbrella when he came near me, and it sobered him up until they got the casket out of the house. Young Johnny Booth was to have been married yesterday, but he couldn't be because he's gone and got the mumps. Wasn't that like a man?"
"How could he help getting the mumps, poor fellow?"
"I'd poor fellow him, believe ME, if I was Kate Sterns. I don't know how he could help getting the mumps, but I DO know the wedding supper was all prepared and everything will be spoiled before he's well again. Such a waste! He should have had the mumps when he was a boy."
"Come, come, Cornelia, don't you think you're a mite unreasonable?"
Miss Cornelia disdained to reply and turned instead to Susan Baker, a grim-faced, kind-hearted elderly spinster of the Glen, who had been installed as maid-of-all-work at the little house for some weeks. Susan had been up to the Glen to make a sick call, and had just returned.
"How is poor old Aunt Mandy tonight?" asked Miss Cornelia.
"Very poorly--very poorly, Cornelia. I am afraid she will soon be in heaven, poor thing!"
"Oh, surely, it's not so bad as that!" exclaimed Miss Cornelia, sympathetically .
Captain Jim and Gilbert looked at each other. Then they suddenly rose and went out.
"There are times," said Captain Jim, between spasms, "when it would be a sin NOT to laugh. Them two excellent women!"
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|Anne's House of Dreams
Lucy Maud Montgomery
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