The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. IV: American
The Ministers Wooing
By Harriet Beecher Stowe (18111896)
WAL, the upshot ont was, they fussed and fuzzled and wuzzled till theyd drinked up all the tea in the teapot; and then they went down and called on the parson, and wuzzled him all up talkin about this, that, and tother that wanted lookin to, and that it was no way to leave everything to a young chit like Huldy, and that he ought to be lookin about for an experienced woman.
He didnt ask Mis Pipperidge to come and stay there and help him, nor nothin o that kind; but he said hed attend to matters himself. The fact was, the parson had got such a likin for havin Huldy round that he couldnt think o such a thing as swappin her off for the Widder Pipperidge.
But, he thought to himself, Huldy is a good girl; but I oughtnt to be a-leavin everything to herits too hard on her. I ought to be instructin and guidin and helpin of her; cause taint everybody could be expected to know and do what Mis Carryl did; and so at it he went; and Lordy massy! didnt Huldy hev a time ont when the minister began to come out of his study and wanted to ten round an see to things? Huldy, you see, thought all the world of the minister, and she was most afraid to laugh; but she told me she couldnt, for the life of her, help it when his back was turned, for he wuzzled things up in the most singular way. But Huldy, shed jest say, Yes, sir, and get him off into his study, and go on her own way.
Yes, sir, says Huldy; and she opened the pantry door and showed him a nice dishful shed been a-savin up. Wal, the very next day the parsons hen-turkey was found killed up to old Jim Scroggss barn. Folks say Scroggs killed it, though Scroggs, he stood to it he didnt; at any rate, the Scroggses they made a meal ont, and Huldy, she felt bad about it cause shed set her heart on raisin the turkeys; and says she, Oh, dear! I dont know what I shall do. I was just ready to set her.
So Huldy, she thought there werent no way to convince him but to let him try: so she took the eggs out and fixed em all nice in the nest; and then she come back and found old Tom a-skirmishin with the parson pretty lively, I tell ye. Ye see, old Tom, he didnt take the idea at all; and he flopped and gobbled, and fit the parson: and the parsons wig got round so that his cue stuck straight out over his ear, but hed got his blood up. Ye see, the old doctor was used to carryin his pints o doctrine; and he hadnt fit the Arminians and Socinians to be beat by a tom-turkey; and finally he made a dive and ketched him by the neck in spite o his floppin, and stroked him down, and put Huldys apron round him.
Wal, next week, Huldy, she jist borrowed the ministers horse and side-saddle and rode over to South Parish to her Aunt BascomesWidder Bascomes, you know, that lives there by the trout-brookand got a lot o turkey eggs o her, and come back and set a hen on em, and said nothin; and in good time there was as nice a lot o turkey-chicks as ever ye see.
Wal, old Aikin, the carpenter, he didnt come till most the middle of the afternoon; and then he sort o idled, so that he didnt get up the well-curb till sundown; and then he went off, and said hed come and do the pig-pen next day.
Wal, Huldy she worked and worked, and finally she fished piggy out in the bucket, but he was as dead as a door-nail; and she got him out o the way quietly, and didnt say much; and the parson he took to a great Hebrew book in his study.
Arter that the parson set sich store by Huldy that he come to her and asked her about everything, and it was amazin how everything she put her hand to prospered. Huldy planted marigolds and larkspurs, pinks and carnations, all up and down the path to the front door; and trained up mornin-glories and scarlet runners round the windows. And she was always gettin a root here, and a sprig there, and a seed from somebody else; for Huldy was one o them that has the gift, so that ef you jist give em the leastest of anything they make a great bush out of it right away; so that in six months Huldy had roses and geraniums and lilies sich as it would take a gardener to raise.
Huldy was so sort o chipper and fair-spoken that she got the hired men all under her thumb: they come to her and took her orders jist as meek as so many calves, and she traded at the store, and kep the accounts, and she had her eyes everywhere, and tied up all the ends so tight that there want no gettin round her. She wouldnt let nobody put no thin off on Parson Carryl cause he was a minister. Huldy was allers up to anybody that wanted to make a hard bargain, and afore he knew jist what he was about shed got the best end of it, and everybody said that Huldy was the most capable girl they ever traded with.
Wal, come to the meetin of the Association, Mis Deakin Blodgett and Mis Pipperidge come callin up to the parsons all in a stew and offerin their services to get the house ready, but the doctor he jist thanked em quite quiet, and turned em over to Huldy; and Huldy she told em that shed got everything ready, and showed em her pantries, and her cakes, and her pies, and her puddins, and took em all over the house; and they went peekin and pokin, openin cupboard doors, and lookin into drawers; and they couldnt find so much as a thread out o the way, from garret to cellar, and so they went off quite discontented. Arter that the women set a new trouble a-brewin. They begun to talk that it was a year now since Mis Carryl died; and it railly wasnt proper such a young gal to be stayin there, who everybody could see was a-settin her cap for the minister.
Mis Pipperidge said, that so long as she looked on Huldy as the hired gal she hadnt thought much about it; but Huldy was railly takin on airs as an equal, and appearin as mistress o the house in a way that would make talk if it went on. And Mis Pipperidge she driv round up to Deakin Abner Snows, and down to Mis Lijah Perrys, and asked them if they wasnt afraid that the way the parson and Huldy was a-goin on might make talk. And they said they hadnt thought ont before, but now, come to think ont, they was sure it would; and they all went and talked with somebody else and asked them if they didnt think it would make talk. So come Sunday, between meetins there warnt nothin else talked about; and Huldy saw folks a-noddin and a-winkin, and a-lookin arter her, and she begun to feel drefful sort o disagreeable. Finally Mis Sawin, she says to her, My dear, didnt you never think folk would talk about you and the minister?
Wal, dear, says she, I think its a shame; but they say youre tryin to catch him, and that its so bold and improper for you to be courtin of him right in his own houseyou know folks will talkI thought Id tell you, cause I think so much of you, says she.
Huldy was a gal of spirit, and she despised the talk, but it made her drefful uncomfortable; and when she got home at night she sat down in the mornin-glory porch, quite quiet, and didnt sing a word.
He had a pleasant sort o way with him, the minister had, and Huldy had got to likin to be with him; and it all come over her that perhaps she ought to go away; and her throat kind o filled up so she couldnt hardly speak; and, says she, I cant sing to-night.
No, dear, says the minister, but ill-natured folks will talk; but there is one way we can stop it, Huldyif youll marry me. Youll make me very happy, and Ill do all I can to make you happy. Will you?
Wal, Huldy never told me just what she said to the minister; gals never does give you the particulars of them are things jist as youd like emonly I know the upshot and the hull ont was, that Huldy she did a considerable lot o clear starchin and ironin the next two days, and the Friday o next week the minister and she rode over together to Dr. Lothrops, in Oldtown, and the doctor he jist made em man and wife.