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"My, ain't that cute!-but how ever do you get him to put 'em there?”

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Oh, that ain't hard. 'Jephson,' says I, the day I finished it, when he set down to take 'em off, 'the barn's the place for your boots.' 'Jee-ruslem!' says he, 'what do you mean?' 'I mean,' says I, 'that I ain't goin' to have no more dirty boots layin' round this kitchen. You can take 'em off to the barn, or else,' says I, 'you've got to take the trouble to put 'em in this boot cupboard. Now, which are you goin' to do?' I asks."

"But don't he forget?"

"No; he pretended he did, two nights hand-runnin', but he won't try that again. The first time I didn't take no notice, for I suspected he was playin' off to see what I'd do, but the next night I jest set 'em outside before I went to bed. Well, along about midnight the rain begun to pour, and when I heard it I thought of them boots set well under the drip, and I begun to snicker; and the harder the rain come down the harder I shook, till Jephson woke up and I could sort of feel the hair beginnin' to rise on his head; and that sent me off into a whoop so's I couldn't stop. At that Jephson lept out of bed with a sort of groan like a scared rabbit, and the first thing I knew he was standin' over me with a candle, and then I could do nothin' but roll and screech, he did look so ridiculous. 'Heaven help us, Maria!' he says, 'what ails you?' 'Your-boots,' says I, with another screech, and at that he begun to tremble, and I could see from the way he eyed the foot of the bed that he thought I thought I had 'em on. 'What aboutmy boots?' says he at last, holdin' on tight to the foot-board as if he was preparin' for the worst. They ain't-in the cupboard,' I says; 'I'm afeard they'll get wet!'

'Tush!' says he, soothin' like, the roof's tight-go to sleep, Maria.' 'They haven't got no roof,' I shrieks, holdin' my sides. Then off I went again at the thought of how funny they'd look full all the way up the legs and leanin' over like tipsy leather buckets."

"I'll bet he swore in the mornin'," laughed Mrs. Wedge.

"Lor' no! Jephson's a church member, and I ain't heard a strong word out of him for two years back, come next month, when we put up the base-burner in the set

tin'-room. That time says I to him, 'Jephson, if I ever hear such language from you again I'll not give you so much as a look, but the next time the minister comes and the whole family of us is waitin' for him to put up the petition, I'll ask him plump and plain to plead special for a church member and the father of a family that's addicted to swearin'. Of course,' I says, 'he won't know who's meant, nor them two innocent children neither.""

"My sakes!-what did he say to that?" "He jest shook his head mournful and looked at me; then says he, 'Woo-man, woo-man!""

Mrs. Wedge broke into a shrill laugh. "It beats all," she cackled, "the difference in men! If I said a thing like that to Jerry he'd jest raise the roof with his language." She tossed her head, like a mettlesome steed proud of its rider. "Of course," she added condolingly, "it must be fine to have your man mind what you say."

"Mind what I say, indeed!" flashed Mrs. Jephson. "I can tell you Jephson jest twists me round his little finger. But then there's some men that can take a hint that certain things ain't respectful to women, and Jephson's one of them, I'm glad to say."

Mrs. Wedge colored, glanced swiftly toward the cupboard, then smiled amiably. "Oh, well," she returned," men's as different as women, and that's all there is about it. There'd be no use in me worryin' the life out of Jerry about things that come natural to him. 'For better or for worse,' says I when I married him, and as long as he ain't no worse, I don't see as I've any call to try to better him. I've often thought that, with Jerry, it's like puttin' up fruit: mebbe his feelin's wouldn't be as clear and sweet down below if 'twasn't for the scum that comes to the top. Well, I must be goin', Mrs. Jephson, and you'll be sure to speak to that young man for me? You could have knocked Jerry over with a milk-weed pod when he heard about him drivin' the stage; says he wouldn't have been more surprised to see a frog that was blinkin' on a lily-pad in the sun get down and begin to turn a barrel churn. My! I hope that thousand dollars won't come till he makes my cupboard."


"WELL, he's gone!" sighed Jephson. He shaded his eyes to catch a final view of the receding wagon as it neared the turn of the road, then suddenly gesticulated wildly, with a sweeping wave of his arm. "Look, Maria," he shouted, "he's took off his hat!"

In an instant Mrs. Jephson was beside him, frantically flapping her apron over her head as a parting salute to Alison, who had pulled up his horses before finally disappearing around the curve.

"He's gone!" she echoed, furtively wiping one cheek with the corner of her apron,"and if he was my own son I couldn't feel no worse." She turned with a sigh, and followed her husband in silence up the path to the house, and though it was nearly mid-day and the spring work in full swing, she made no protest when he sat down on the veranda steps and leaned idly against the post.

"I'd jest like to let Mrs. Drinkwater know," she resumed, sitting down beside him, "that I never had a more honorabler boarder in the house than Mr. Alison; but I don't suppose after what I said to her last fall, she'll come back this summer to give me the chance."

"I never seen a man so particler about keepin' square," Jephson assented. "Why, the ground was hard froze before he left off wearin' them white flannel suits, jest because he wouldn't keep back the board money and buy himself something warm. 'No, Jephson, I won't,' he says to me. 'I'll wear silk socks and a straw hat all winter, even if they ain't quite in fashion, unless I earn money enough to buy cheaper raiment."

"And then," mused Mrs. Jephson, "after me expectin' to see him lay round in hammocks, he flings off his coat and rolls up his sleeves and builds that there cupboard."

"It was a corker the way he piled in," ruminated Jephson; "it certainly was a corker! You'd most think he'd got wound up to go, like a machine, and jest couldn't stop, only for the high sperrits of him. There was one day I went into the woodshed when he was whistlin' and singin' knee-deep in shavin's, and he jest flung up his arms and shouted, ‘Jephson, the joy of

doin'!-there ain't nothin' like it!' 'The which?' I says, took aback, and eyein' him close. 'The joy of doin',' says he 'of feelin' that you're makin' use of man's privilege to work.' 'Um,' I says, 'never heard of it! I have heard,' says I, 'of the joy of not doin', and I know considerable about the pain of undoin', but Jeeruslem! I can't see no privilege in bein' poor enough to have to grub for a livin'. But I'm blamed if he didn't make out he'd sooner earn two dollars a day than have twenty give to him."

"Here comes Jerry Wedge," interrupted his wife.

The stage stopped at the gate, and a short, thick-set man with a broad smile on his weather-beaten face ambled up the path toward them.

"I jest dropped off to hear about your corner-cupboard man," he announced. "I met him down the road a bit with a spankin' team and a bran-new wagon. 'So-long, Jerry,' he sings out. 'I'm off-be kind to the gray mare!' Now where's he off to?"

"Set right down and we'll tell you about it," invited Jephson.

"I've got a powerful lot of work waitin' for me," demurred Jerry.

"Set right down then," seconded Mrs. Jephson. "I'm beginnin' to believe there's something in what Jephson says: that rest before labor is the only sure way of gettin' it."

"I guess that's the way the corner-cupboard man worked it out," chuckled Jerry, as he settled himself with a sigh of content. "By Jinks! he did rest before labor, for sure; but then he made things hum when he got to work. I think I'd set right here for ten years if I could earn a team and wagon like that in a winter."

"And now," said Mrs. Jephson, with maternal pride, "he's drivin' along the high road to fortune and perhaps to fame, as he says. Well, I'm goin' to have a look at the dinner while Jephson tells you about it."

"For a man that'd sooner earn two dollars than have twenty give to him, he's got a wonderful head for business," began Jephson. "You mind, Jerry, when he put up one of them cupboards in your wife's kitchen?"

"I mind it twenty times a day," returned Jerry, with emphasis. "Before that

"He had to stand on t'other one to lam the gray mare."-Page 735

Eliza had sense enough to leave things where a man would fall over them when they were wanted; but now"-he shook his head gloomily.

"I know," nodded Jephson, with a sympathetic smile; "but there's no use sayin' a word. Well, after that it was no time till people come round to get him to make more, and pretty soon he got the makin' of 'em down to a fine point so that he could almost cut one out with his eyes shut; then next thing he figured out how to handle twice as many and double his profits. It come to him all of a sudden one day when I was settin' on a trestle in the woodshed. 'Jephson,' says he, sort of solemn and low, 'it's lightin'!' And with that he clapped his hand to his head and turned a trifle pale; his eyes got kind of glassy and he stared at the shavin's on the floor. 'Where?' I asks, jumpin' up in a hurry and stampin' on them promiscuous, for I thought he'd tramped on a match. 'Hush-set down-don't move!' says he, in a kind of whisper; then he shuts his eyes, and his mouth tightens as if he was grippin' himself inside, and jest when I was ready to yell he opens them wide and says as cheerful as a cricket, 'It's lit-I've caught it this time!' 'What's lit-where have you got it?' I asks, gapin' round. 'It's like a hummin' bird,' he goes on; 'it's been dartin' about for weeks in my mind, and now it's lit-it's a idea,' he says. 'Jee-ruslem!' VOL. XXXVI.-83

says I, 'do you know what I begun to think it was?' 'What?' says he. A bee,' I says. 'Bee or bird,' he laughs, hoistin' himself up on the work-bench, 'I want to talk to you about it.' 'Go ahead,' I tells him, shiftin' back comfortable. 'Well,' he goes on, 'it's nothin' more or less than a plan to add to the comfort and convenience of female humanity throughout the civilized world.' 'Ye-es,' I puts in; 'and what about male humanity?' 'It's this way, Jephson,' he answers, sort of hesitatin' and thoughtful: 'on the surface it may add to the inconvenience of male humanity, but it's bound to add to his comfort by makin' his wife happier.' 'Ye-es,' says I, beginnin' to see the drift. 'Besides,' he goes on, 'don't women take up burdens cheerful that would make you or me think of cross-beams and ropes in barns?' 'You bet,' says I. 'Then it comes to this,' says he; 'who's most deservin' of consideration-men or women?' 'Look here, Mr. Alison,' says I, 'a man that's got five corner cupboards in his house and hangs up even his trousers in one of 'em at night, and takes his hat out of another in the mornin', and that without sayin' nothing aloud, don't take no interest in the comfort and convenience of mankind in general. Go ahead with the idea,' says I; and if it's to use up all the corners in creation for cupboards, I'll give you my blessing.' 'The fact is,' says he,


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'it's jest come to me how I can use up most of 'em.' 'If you can do it,' says I, 'you'll be a billionnaire.' That,' says he, with a wave of his hand, is an evil I'll try to avoid.""

"By Jinks!" burst in Jerry, "he didn't mean it?"

"I couldn't say," replied Jephson dubiously; "but it's my belief that we'll live to see him richer than the Mingleys. 'You'll notice, Jephson,' he goes on, that there ain't many houses round here but what are supplied with one corner cupboard, and some of 'em two.""

"You bet there ain't!" interpolated Jerry. "Eliza's beginnin' to set her lines for another."

"And we learn from that,' says he, 'that what women sees other women have, that they want; and what they want they get.""

"No thanks to their husbands!" cried Mrs. Jephson, as she appeared at the corner of the veranda.

"Then,' says he, 'from my experience in putting up cupboards, I've come to the conclusion that though different women have different temperatures, their natures is so much alike that every one of 'em will take to a corner cupboard at the first gooff the way a baby takes to a doll.""

"Jephson," his wife accused him, "you're makin' that up."

"I ain't; and he says, says he, 'There's still hope for the human race in the future,

for every woman'll be able to keep her man tidy, provided""-he paused impressively, exchanging a glance of enjoyment with Jerry-provided she's supplied with one or more of The Jephson Adjustable Corner Cupboards!'"

Wha-at?" shrieked Mrs. Jephson.

"Jest what I said," chuckled Jephson; "but there ain't no mistake-he's christened them after us he told me this mornin'. He's invented a way of havin' them made, Jerry, so's the parts fit together like the leaves of a extension table, and any handy woman, or even a unhandy man, as he says, can slam up a cupboard in any corner of the house; then they can take it down and slam it up in another whenever they like."

"Thunder!" ejaculated Jerry.

"And he's took out a patent, and got two hundred made at the Longbury sash factory, and he's goin' to load up that wagon and sell them all along the road from Longbury to that town-I forget the name of it-where there's a factory that turns out foldin'-chairs and tables, and ironin'-boards, and such things by the million. It's a hundred miles from here, and he reckons that if he can sell two cupboards to a mile, the way is open to goin' into the business wholesale."

"Then he'd get about a thousand made?" asked Jerry.

"Liker a hundred thousand," responded

Jephson. "This Mr. Bambridge that owns the big factory told him that if he could prove his cupboard was a good seller, he'd either buy out his interest or go shares. 'Sell two hundred in this State in a year,' says he to Mr. Alison, and we'll come to terms.' And that young man has started out to sell 'em in a month."

"And he'll do it," commented Mrs. Jephson, with conviction. "Come in and have a bite of dinner, Jerry."

"N-no-no thank you," returned Jerry abstractedly, as he rose. He started down the path, then turned and dug a hole in the gravel with the toe of his boot, and began hesitatingly: "Never could make out why he took such a shine to my gray mare. Wonder if he'd trade his team and wagon for her when he sells that lot of cupboards?'

"You can't never count on what a feller like that won't do," replied Jephson, with a grin.


THERE was a whir of wheels and a rapid beat of hoofs on the driveway; a fleeting glimpse through the avenue of pines of a dapper team of bay horses, the flashing red of a brightly decorated democrat wagon, with a young man on the driver's seat who matched the spick-and-span completeness of the outfit. Mrs. Bambridge peered curiously through the latticed screen of her veranda as the wagon passed to the rear of the house, but the motion was too rapid for her to make out the gilt lettering on the box, so she settled herself back in her chair and awaited Jane's report. Things so

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