THE NEXT neighbors. 7
She just stopped to put the cover on the bake-'Kettle, so that
the johnny-cake might be doin' before she came and looked
out. " 'Pears to me it's that same person as came here last
week to borrow the ax and flat-irons. I can make him out
quite plain now, I ought to have gone over, aud seen if they
wanted any thing, I hain't been neighborly, that's a fact. But
they're such dreadful proud people, I hated to go near 'em."
" Now, Melissy, like as not, they're no more stuck up than
other folks, jist because they keep a man to help 'em."
" Law, it's so queer, he does house-work, and all kinds. He
told me he was going to try to do the ironin' himself, for he
said his lady didn't know no more about it than a bab\', I
kinder thought he wauled me to offer lo hire out to 'em lo do
it; but I never hired out, even when I was a girl, and I'm
certain L shan't do it now."
" I saw Mr. Lancaster, that's the gentleman, yesterday, and
had quite a talk with him. I felt right sorry for him, he was
so downcast, though he didn't say so. He was askin' me
something about sowing wheat this fall. He knows as much
about farmin' as his wife does about ironin'. What, in the
name of sense, brought sech people out here, is more'n I can
The nearer approach of the individual they were watching
put a stop to their remarks. Peter Potter, could not but smile,
as he observed the mincing steps and nice precision of the
man, who came up to them, looking so fine in his long-tafled
coat of blue broadcloth, with black breeches and buckled shoes,
that Mrs. Potter felt at once that he must look with contempt
upon the check Irowsers and red flannel shirt of her Peter,
But the minciug steps of their visitor had become such second
nature to hiai, that he practiced them at all times, and it was
evident that he \vas now too greatly flurried to think of him¬
self. He was a little feflow, not over five feet two, and of an
undeflnable age, he might be forty, fifty, or sixty, but his iron-
gray hair, his thin, small face, and wiry figure, told no satis¬
factory story on this subject.
" My master and mistress be both iu trouble," he exclaimed,
in ansv^er to the squatter's " how-d'ye-do." " If you'd both of
you come over, especially the woman, you'd do us a great
favor," and he ended his appeal with a groan.