Page:A New England Tale.djvu/56

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

family here. You do not appear to have any farm."

"No Sir," replied the man, laughing, "it would puzzle me, with my legs, to take care of a farm; but then I always say, that as long as a man has his wits, he has something to work with. This is a pretty cold sappy soil up here, but we make out to raise all our sauce, and enough besides to fat a couple of pigs on; then, Sir, as you see, my woman and I keep a stock of cake and beer, and tansy bitters—a nice trade for a cold stomach; there is considerable travel on the road, and people get considerable dry by the time they get up here, and we find it a good business; and then I turn wooden bowls and dishes, and go out peddling once or twice a year; and there is not an old wife, or a young one either for the matter of that, but I can coax them to buy a dish or two; I take my pay in provisions or clothing; all the cash I get, is by the beer and cake: and now, Sir, though I say it, that may be should not say it, there is not a more independent man in the town of Becket than I am, though there is them that's more forehanded; but I pay my minister's tax, and my school tax, as reg'lar as any of them."

Mr. Lloyd admired the ingenuity and contentment of this man, his enjoyment of the privilege, the "glorious privilege," of every New-England man, of "being independent." But his pleasure was somewhat abated by an appearance of a want of neatness and order, which would have contributed so much to the comfort of the family, and