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Chapter 19 Poor Adam!

  • When Una got home Faith was lying face downwards on her bed, utterl_efusing to be comforted. Aunt Martha had killed Adam. He was reposing on _latter in the pantry that very minute, trussed and dressed, encircled by hi_iver and heart and gizzard. Aunt Martha heeded Faith's passion of grief an_nger not a whit.
  • "We had to have something for the strange minister's dinner," she said.
  • "You're too big a girl to make such a fuss over an old rooster. You knew he'_ave to be killed sometime."
  • "I'll tell father when he comes home what you've done," sobbed Faith.
  • "Don't you go bothering your poor father. He has troubles enough. And I'_ousekeeper here."
  • "Adam was MINE—Mrs. Johnson gave him to me. You had no business to touc_im," stormed Faith.
  • "Don't you get sassy now. The rooster's killed and there's an end of it. _in't going to set no strange minister down to a dinner of cold b'iled mutton.
  • I was brought up to know better than that, if I have come down in the world."
  • Faith would not go down to supper that night and she would not go to churc_he next morning. But at dinner time she went to the table, her eyes swolle_ith crying, her face sullen.
  • The Rev. James Perry was a sleek, rubicund man, with a bristling whit_oustache, bushy white eyebrows, and a shining bald head. He was certainly no_andsome and he was a very tiresome, pompous sort of person. But if he ha_ooked like the Archangel Michael and talked with the tongues of men an_ngels Faith would still have utterly detested him. He carved Adam u_exterously, showing off his plump white hands and very handsome diamond ring.
  • Also, he made jovial remarks all through the performance. Jerry and Car_iggled, and even Una smiled wanly, because she thought politeness demande_t. But Faith only scowled darkly. The Rev. James thought her manner_hockingly bad. Once, when he was delivering himself of an unctuous remark t_erry, Faith broke in rudely with a flat contradiction. The Rev. James dre_is bushy eyebrows together at her.
  • "Little girls should not interrupt," he said, "and they should no_ontradict people who know far more than they do."
  • This put Faith in a worse temper than ever. To be called "little girl" a_f she were no bigger than chubby Rilla Blythe over at Ingleside! It wa_nsufferable. And how that abominable Mr. Perry did eat! He even picked poo_dam's bones. Neither Faith nor Una would touch a mouthful, and looked upo_he boys as little better than cannibals. Faith felt that if that awful repas_id not soon come to an end she would wind it up by throwing something at Mr.
  • Perry's gleaming head. Fortunately, Mr. Perry found Aunt Martha's leather_pple pie too much even for his powers of mastication and the meal came to a_nd, after a long grace in which Mr. Perry offered up devout thanks for th_ood which a kind and beneficent Providence had provided for sustenance an_emperate pleasure.
  • "God hadn't a single thing to do with providing Adam for you," muttere_aith rebelliously under her breath.
  • The boys gladly made their escape to outdoors, Una went to help Aunt Marth_ith the dishes—though that rather grumpy old dame never welcomed her timi_ssistance—and Faith betook herself to the study where a cheerful wood fir_as burning in the grate. She thought she would thereby escape from the hate_r. Perry, who had announced his intention of taking a nap in his room durin_he afternoon. But scarcely had Faith settled herself in a corner, with _ook, when he walked in and, standing before the fire, proceeded to survey th_isorderly study with an air of disapproval.
  • "You father's books seem to be in somewhat deplorable confusion, my littl_irl," he said severely.
  • Faith darkled in her corner and said not a word. She would NOT talk t_his—this creature.
  • "You should try to put them in order," Mr. Perry went on, playing with hi_andsome watch chain and smiling patronizingly on Faith. "You are quite ol_nough to attend to such duties. MY little daughter at home is only ten an_he is already an excellent little housekeeper and the greatest help an_omfort to her mother. She is a very sweet child. I wish you had the privileg_f her acquaintance. She could help you in many ways. Of course, you have no_ad the inestimable privilege of a good mother's care and training. A sa_ack—a very sad lack. I have spoken more than once to your father in thi_onnection and pointed out his duty to him faithfully, but so far with n_ffect. I trust he may awaken to a realization of his responsibility before i_s too late. In the meantime, it is your duty and privilege to endeavour t_ake your sainted mother's place. You might exercise a great influence ove_our brothers and your little sister—you might be a true mother to them. _ear that you do not think of these things as you should. My dear child, allo_e to open your eyes in regard to them."
  • Mr. Perry's oily, complacent voice trickled on. He was in his element.
  • Nothing suited him better than to lay down the law, patronize and exhort. H_ad no idea of stopping, and he did not stop. He stood before the fire, hi_eet planted firmly on the rug, and poured out a flood of pompous platitudes.
  • Faith heard not a word. She was really not listening to him at all. But sh_as watching his long black coat-tails with impish delight growing in he_rown eyes. Mr. Perry was standing VERY near the fire. His coat-tails began t_corch—his coat-tails began to smoke. He still prosed on, wrapped up in hi_wn eloquence. The coat-tails smoked worse. A tiny spark flew up from th_urning wood and alighted in the middle of one. It clung and caught and sprea_nto a smouldering flame. Faith could restrain herself no longer and brok_nto a stifled giggle.
  • Mr. Perry stopped short, angered over this impertinence. Suddenly he becam_onscious that a reek of burning cloth filled the room. He whirled round an_aw nothing. Then he clapped his hands to his coat-tails and brought the_round in front of him. There was already quite a hole in one of them—and thi_as his new suit. Faith shook with helpless laughter over his pose an_xpression.
  • "Did you see my coat-tails burning?" he demanded angrily.
  • "Yes, sir," said Faith demurely.
  • "Why didn't you tell me?" he demanded, glaring at her.
  • "You said it wasn't good manners to interrupt, sir," said Faith, mor_emurely still.
  • "If—if I was your father, I would give you a spanking that you woul_emember all your life, Miss," said a very angry reverend gentleman, as h_talked out of the study. The coat of Mr. Meredith's second best suit woul_ot fit Mr. Perry, so he had to go to the evening service with his singe_oat-tail. But he did not walk up the aisle with his usual consciousness o_he honour he was conferring on the building. He never would agree to a_xchange of pulpits with Mr. Meredith again, and he was barely civil to th_atter when they met for a few minutes at the station the next morning. Bu_aith felt a certain gloomy satisfaction. Adam was partially avenged.