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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesShavings - Chapter 19
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Shavings - Chapter 19 Post by :ndennis Category :Long Stories Author :Joseph Crosby Lincoln Date :May 2012 Read :2852

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Shavings - Chapter 19

CHAPTER XIX

The clock in the steeple of the Methodist church boomed eleven times and still the lights shone from the sitting-room windows of the little Winslow house and from those of Jed's living quarters behind his windmill shop. At that time of year and at that time of night there were few windows alight in Orham, and Mr. Gabe Bearse, had he been astir at such an hour, might have wondered why the Armstrongs and "Shavings" were "settin' up." Fortunately for every one except him, Gabe was in bed and asleep, otherwise he might have peeped under Jed's kitchen window shade--he had been accused of doing such things--and had he done so he would have seen Jed and Charlie Phillips in deep and earnest conversation. Neither would have wished to be seen just then; their interview was far too intimate and serious for that.

They had been talking since eight. Charles and his sister had had a long conversation following Captain Hunniwell's visit and then, after a pretense at supper--a pretense made largely on Babbie's account--the young man had come straight to the shop and to Jed. He had found the latter in a state of extreme dejection. He was sitting before the little writing table in his living-room, his elbows on the desk and his head in his hands. The drawer of the table was open and Jed was, apparently, gazing intently at something within. When Phillips entered the room he started, hastily slammed the drawer shut, and raised a pale and distressed face to his visitor.

"Eh?" he exclaimed. "Oh, it's you, Charlie, ain't it? I--I--er-- good mornin'. It's--it's a nice day."

Charles smiled slightly and shook his head.

"You're a little mixed on the time, aren't you, Jed?" he observed. "It WAS a nice day, but it is a nice evening now."

"Eh? Is it? Land sakes, I presume likely 'tis. Must be after supper time, I shouldn't wonder."

"Supper time! Why, it's after eight o'clock. Didn't you know it?"

"No-o. No, I guess not. I--I kind of lost run of the time, seems so."

"Haven't you had any supper?"

"No-o. I didn't seem to care about supper, somehow."

"But haven't you eaten anything?"

"No. I did make myself a cup of tea, but twan't what you'd call a success. . . . I forgot to put the tea in it. . . . But it don't make any difference; I ain't hungry--or thirsty, either."

Phillips leaned forward and laid a hand on the older man's shoulder.

"Jed," he said gently, "I know why you're not hungry. Oh, Jed, what in the world made you do it?"

Jed started back so violently that his chair almost upset. He raised a hand with the gesture of one warding off a blow.

"Do?" he gasped. "Do what?"

"Why, what you did about that money that Captain Hunniwell lost. What made you do it, Jed?"

Jed's eyes closed momentarily. Then he opened them and, without looking at his visitor, rose slowly to his feet.

"So Sam told you," he said, with a sigh. "I--I didn't hardly think he'd do that. . . . Course 'twas all right for him to tell," he added hastily. "I didn't ask him not to, but--but, he and I havin' been--er--chums, as you might say, for so long, I--I sort of thought. . . . Well, it don't make any difference, I guess. Did he tell your--your sister? Did he tell her how I--how I stole the money?"

Charles shook his head.

"No," he said quietly. "No, he didn't tell either of us that. He told us that you had tried to make him believe you took the money, but that he knew you were not telling the truth. He knew you didn't take it."

"Eh? Now . . . now, Charlie, that ain't so." Jed was even more disturbed and distressed than before. "I--I told Sam I took it and--and kept it. I TOLD him I did. What more does he want? What's he goin' around tellin' folks I didn't for? What--"

"Hush, Jed! He knows you didn't take it. He knew it all the time you were telling him you did. In fact he came into your shop this afternoon to tell you that the Sage man over at Wapatomac had found the four hundred dollars on the table in his sitting-room just where the captain left it. Sage had just 'phoned him that very thing. He would have told you that, but you didn't give him the chance. Jed, I--"

But Jed interrupted. His expression as he listened had been changing like the sky on a windy day in April.

"Here, here!" he cried wildly. "What--what kind of talk's that? Do--do you mean to tell me that Sam Hunniwell never lost that money at all? That all he did was leave it over at Wapatomac?"

"Yes, that's just what I mean."

"Then--then all the time when I was--was givin' him the--the other money and tellin' him how I found it and--and all--he knew--"

"Certainly he knew. I've just told you that he knew."

Jed sat heavily down in the chair once more. He passed his hand slowly across his chin.

"He knew!" he repeated. "He knew! . . ." Then, with a sudden gasp as the full significance of the thought came to him, he cried: "Why, if--if the money wasn't ever lost you couldn't--you--"

Charles shook his head: "No, Jed," he said, "I couldn't have taken it. And I didn't take it."

Jed gasped again. He stretched out a hand imploringly. "Oh, Lord," he exclaimed, "I never meant to say that. I--I--"

"It's all right, Jed. I don't blame you for thinking I might have taken it. Knowing what you did about--well, about my past record, it is not very astonishing that you should think almost anything."

Jed's agonized contrition was acute.

"Don't talk so, Charlie!" he pleaded. "Don't! I--I'd ought to be ashamed of myself. I am--mercy knows I am! But . . . Eh? Why, how did you know I knew about--that?"

"Ruth told me just now. After Captain Hunniwell had gone, she told me the whole thing. About how Babbie let the cat out of the bag and how she told you for fear you might suspect something even worse than the truth; although," he added, "that was quite bad enough. Yes, she told me everything. You've been a brick all through, Jed. And now--"

"Wait, Charlie, wait. I--I don't know what to say to you. I don't know what you must think of me for ever--ever once suspectin' you. If you hadn't said to me only such a little spell ago that you needed money so bad and would do most anything to get five hundred dollars--if you hadn't said that, I don't think the notion would ever have crossed my mind."

Phillips whistled. "Well, by George!" he exclaimed. "I had forgotten that. No wonder you thought I had gone crooked again. Humph! . . . Well, I'll tell you why I wanted that money. You see, I've been trying to pay back to the man in Middleford the money of his which--which I took before. It is two thousand dollars and," with a shrug, "that looks a good deal bigger sum to me now than it used to, you can bet on that. I had a few hundred in a New York savings bank before I--well, before they shut me up. No one knew about it, not even Sis. I didn't tell her because-- well, I wish I could say it was because I was intending to use it to pay back what I had taken, but that wasn't the real reason why I kept still about it. To tell you the truth, Jed, I didn't feel-- no, I don't feel yet any too forgiving or kindly toward that chap who had me put in prison. I'm not shirking blame; I was a fool and a scamp and all that; but he is--he's a hard man, Jed."

Jed nodded. "Seems to me Ru--your sister said he was a consider'ble of a professer," he observed.

"Professor? Why no, he was a bond broker."

"I mean that he professed religion a good deal. Called himself a Christian and such kind of names."

Phillips smiled bitterly. "If he is a Christian I prefer to be a heathen," he observed.

"Um-hm. Well, maybe he ain't one. You could teach a parrot to holler 'Praise the Lord,' I cal'late, and the more crackers he got by it the louder he'd holler. So you never said anything about the four hundred you had put by, Charlie."

"No. I felt that I had been treated badly and--why, Jed, the man used to urge me to dress better than I could afford, to belong to the most expensive club and all that sort of thing. He knew I was in with a set sporting ten times the money I could muster, and spending it, too, but he seemed to like to have me associate with them. Said it was good for the business."

"Sartin! More crackers for Polly. Go on."

"I intended that he should never have that money, but after I came here, after I had been here for a time, I changed my mind. I saw things in a different light. I wrote him a letter, told him I meant to pay back every cent of the two thousand I had taken and enclosed my check for the seven hundred and fifty I had put by. Since then I have paid him two hundred and fifty more, goodness knows how. I have squeezed every penny from my salary that I could spare. I have paid him half of the two thousand and, if everything had gone on well, some day or other I would have paid the other half."

Jed laid a hand on his companion's knee. "Good boy, Charlie," he said. "And how did the--er--professin' poll parrot act about your payin' it back?"

Charles smiled faintly. "Just before I talked with you that day, Jed," he said, "I received a letter from him stating that he did not feel I was paying as rapidly as I could and that, if he did not receive another five hundred shortly he should feel it his duty to communicate with my present employers. Do you wonder I said I would do almost anything to get the money?"

Jed's hand patted the knee sympathetically.

"Sho, sho, sho!" he exclaimed. "Have you heard from him since?"

"No, I wrote him that I was paying as fast as I could and that if he communicated with my employers that would end any chances of his ever getting more. He hasn't written since; afraid of stopping the golden egg supply, I presume. . . . But there," he added, "that's enough of that. Jed, how could you do it--just for me? Of course I had come to realize that your heart was as big as a bushel basket, and that you and I were friends. But when a fellow gives up four hundred dollars of his own money, and, not only does that, but deliberately confesses himself a thief--when he does that to save some one else who, as he knew, had really been a thief and who he was pretty sure must have stolen again--why, Jed, it is unbelievable. Why did you do it? What can I say to you?"

Jed held up a protesting hand.

"Don't say anything," he stammered. "Don't! It's--it's all foolishness, anyhow."

"Foolishness! It's--oh, I don't know what it is! And to sacrifice your reputation and your character and your friendship with Captain Hunniwell, all for me! I can't understand it."

"Now--now--now, Charlie, don't try to. If I can't understand myself more'n half the time, what's the use of your strainin' your brains? I--I just took a notion, that's all. I--"

"But, Jed, why did you do it--for me? I have heard of men doing such things for--for women, sacrificing themselves to save a woman they were in love with. You read of that in books and--yes, I think I can understand that. But for you to do it--for ME!"

Jed waved both hands this time. "Sshh! sshh!" he cried, in frantic protest. His face was a brilliant crimson and his embarrassment and confusion were so acute as to be laughable, although Phillips was far from laughing. "Sshh, sshh, Charlie," pleaded Jed. "You-- you don't know what you're talkin' about. You're makin' an awful fuss about nothin'. Sshh! Yes, you are, too. I didn't have any notion of tellin' Sam I stole that four hundred when I first gave it to him. I was goin' to tell him I found it, that's all. That would keep him bottled up, I figgered, and satisfied and then--then you and I'd have a talk and I'd tell you what I'd done and--well, some day maybe you could pay me back the money; don't you see? I do hope," he added anxiously, "you won't hold it against me, for thinkin' maybe you had taken it. Course I'd ought to have known better. I would have known better if I'd been anybody but Shavin's Winslow. HE ain't responsible."

"Hush, Jed, hush! But why did you say you had--kept it?"

"Eh? Oh, that was Sam's doin's. He commenced to ask questions, and, the first thing I knew, he had me on the spider fryin' over a hot fire. The more I sizzled and sputtered and tried to get out of that spider, the more he poked up the fire. I declare, I never knew lyin' was such a job! When I see how easy and natural it comes to some folks I feel kind of ashamed to think what a poor show I made at it. Well, Sam kept pokin' the fire and heatin' me up till I got desperate and swore I stole the money instead of findin' it. And that was hoppin' out of the fryin' pan INTO the fire," he drawled reflectively.

Charles smiled. "Captain Sam said you told him you took the money to buy a suit of clothes with," he suggested.

"Eh? Did I? Sho! That was a real bright idea of mine, wasn't it? A suit of clothes. Humph! Wonder I didn't say I bought shoe laces or collar buttons or somethin'. . . . Sho! . . . Dear, dear! Well, they say George Washin'ton couldn't tell a lie and I've proved I can't either; only I've tried to tell one and I don't recollect that he ever did that. . . . Humph! . . . A suit of clothes. . . . Four hundred dollars. . . . Solomon in all his glory would have looked like a calico shirt and a pair of overalls alongside of me, eh? . . . Humph!"

Phillips shook his head. "Nevertheless, Jed," he declared, "I can't understand why you did it and I never--never shall forget it. Neither will Ruth. She will tell you so to-morrow."

Jed was frightened. "No, no, no, she mustn't," he cried, quickly. "I--I don't want her to talk about it. I--I don't want anybody to talk about it. Please tell her not to, Charlie! Please! It's-- it's all such foolishness anyhow. Let's forget it."

"It isn't the sort of thing one forgets easily. But we won't talk of it any more just now, if that pleases you better. I have some other things to talk about and I must talk about them with some one. I MUST--I've got to."

Jed looked at him. The words reminded him forcibly of Ruth's on that day when she had come to the windmill shop to tell him her brother's story and to discuss the question of his coming to Orham. She, too, had said that she must talk with some one--she MUST.

"Have--you talked 'em over with--with your sister?" he asked.

"Yes. But she and I don't agree completely in the matter. You see, Ruth thinks the world of me, she always did, a great deal more than I deserve, ever have deserved or ever will. And in this matter she thinks first of all of me--what will become of me provided--well, provided things don't go as I should like to have them. That isn't the way I want to face the question. I want to know what is best for every one, for her, for me and--and for some one else--most of all for some one else, I guess," he added.

Jed nodded slowly. "For Maud," he said.

Charles looked at him. "How on earth--?" he demanded. "What in blazes are you--a clairvoyant?"

"No-o. No. But it don't need a spirit medium to see through a window pane, Charlie; that is, the average window pane," he added, with a glance at his own, which were in need of washing just then. "You want to know," he continued, "what you'd ought to do now that will be the right thing, or the nighest to the right thing, for your sister and Babbie and yourself--and Maud."

"Yes, I do. It isn't any new question for me. I've been putting it up to myself for a long time, for months; by, George, it seems years."

"I know. I know. Well, Charlie, I've been puttin' it up to myself, too. Have you got any answer?"

"No, none that exactly suits me. Have you?"

"I don't know's I have--exactly."

"Exactly? Well, have you any, exact or otherwise?"

"Um. . . . Well, I've got one, but . . . but perhaps it ain't an answer. Perhaps it wouldn't do at all. Perhaps . . . perhaps . . ."

"Never mind the perhapses. What is it?"

"Um. . . . Suppose we let it wait a little spell and talk the situation over just a little mite. You've been talkin' with your sister, you say, and she don't entirely agree with you."

"No. I say things can't go on as they've been going. They can't."

"Um-hm. Meanin'--what things?"

"Everything. Jed, do you remember that day when you and I had the talk about poetry and all that? When you quoted that poem about a chap's fearing his fate too much? Well, I've been fearing my fate ever since I began to realize what a mess I was getting into here in Orham. When I first came I saw, of course, that I was skating on thin ice, and it was likely to break under me at any time. I knew perfectly well that some day the Middleford business was bound to come out and that my accepting the bank offer without telling Captain Hunniwell or any one was a mighty risky, not to say mean, business. But Ruth was so very anxious that I should accept and kept begging me not to tell, at least until they had had a chance to learn that I was worth something, that I gave in and . . . I say, Jed," he put in, breaking his own sentence in the middle, "don't think I'm trying to shove the blame over on to Sis. It's not that."

Jed nodded. "Sho, sho, Charlie," he said, "course 'tain't. I understand."

"No, I'll take the blame. I was old enough to have a mind of my own. Well, as I was saying, I realized it all, but I didn't care so much. If the smash did come, I figured, it might not come until I had established myself at the bank, until they might have found me valuable enough to keep on in spite of it. And I worked mighty hard to make them like me. Then--then--well, then Maud and I became friends and--and--oh, confound it, you see what I mean! You must see."

The Winslow knee was clasped between the Winslow hands and the Winslow foot was swinging. Jed nodded again.

"I see, Charlie," he said.

"And--and here I am. The smash has come, in a way, already. Babbitt, so Ruth tells me, knows the whole story and was threatening to tell, but she says Grover assures her that he won't tell, that he, the major, has a club over the old fellow which will prevent his telling. Do you think that's true?"

"I shouldn't be surprised. Major Grover sartinly did seem to put the fear of the Lord into Phin this afternoon. . . . And that's no one-horse miracle," he drawled, "when you consider that all the ministers in Orham haven't been able to do it for forty odd years. . . . Um. . . . Yes, I kind of cal'late Phin'll keep his hatches shut. He may bust his b'iler and blow up with spite, but he won't talk about you, Charlie, I honestly believe. And we can all thank the major for that."

"I shall thank him, for one!"

"Mercy on us! No, no. He doesn't know your story at all. He just thinks Babbitt was circulatin' lies about Ruth--about your sister. You mustn't mention the Middleford--er--mess to Major Grover."

"Humph! Well, unless I'm greatly mistaken, Ruth--"

"Eh? Ruth--what?"

"Oh, nothing. Never mind that now. And allowing that Babbitt will, as you say, keep his mouth shut, admitting that the situation is just what it was before Captain Hunniwell lost the money or Babbitt came into the affair at all, still I've made up my mind that things can't go on as they are. Jed, I--it's a mighty hard thing to say to another man, but--the world--my world--just begins and ends with--with her."

His fists clenched and his jaw set as he said it. Jed bowed his head.

"With Maud, you mean," he said.

"Yes. I--I don't care for anything else or anybody else. . . . Oh, of course I don't mean just that, you know. I do care for Sis and Babbie. But--they're different."

"I understand, Charlie."

"No, you don't. How can you? Nobody can understand, least of all a set old crank like you, Jed, and a confirmed bachelor besides. Beg pardon for contradicting you, but you don't understand, you can't."

Jed gazed soberly at the floor.

"Maybe I can understand a little, Charlie," he drawled gently.

"Well, all right. Let it go at that. The fact is that I'm at a crisis."

"Just a half minute, now. Have you said anything to Maud about-- about how you feel?"

"Of course I haven't," indignantly. "How could I, without telling her everything?"

"That's right, that's right. Course you couldn't, and be fair and honorable. . . . Hum. . . . Then you don't know whether or not she--er--feels the same way about--about you?"

Charles hesitated. "No-o," he hesitated. "No, I don't know, of course. But I--I feel--I--"

"You feel that that part of the situation ain't what you'd call hopeless, eh? . . . Um. . . . Well, judgin' from what I've heard, I shouldn't call it that, either. Would it surprise you to know, Charlie, that her dad and I had a little talk on this very subject not so very long ago?"

Evidently it did surprise him. Charles gasped and turned red.

"Captain Hunniwell!" he exclaimed. "Did Captain Hunniwell talk with you about--about Maud and--and me?"

"Yes."

"Well, by George! Then he suspected--he guessed that-- That's strange."

Jed relinquished the grip of one hand upon his knee long enough to stroke his chin.

"Um . . . yes," he drawled drily. "It's worse than strange, it's-- er--paralyzin'. More clairvoyants in Orham than you thought there was; eh, Charlie?"

"But why should he talk with you on that subject; about anything so--er--personal and confidential as that? With YOU, you know!"

Jed's slow smile drifted into sight and vanished again. He permitted himself the luxury of a retort.

"Well," he observed musingly, "as to that I can't say for certain. Maybe he did it for the same reason you're doin' it now, Charlie."

The young man evidently had not thought of it in just that light. He looked surprised and still more puzzled.

"Why, yes," he admitted. "So I am, of course. And I do talk to you about things I never would think of mentioning to other people. And Ruth says she does. That's queer, too. But we are--er-- neighbors of yours and--and tenants, you know. We've known you ever since we came to Orham."

"Ye-es. And Sam's known me ever since I came. Anyhow he talked with me about you and Maud. I don't think I shall be sayin' more'n I ought to if I tell you that he likes you, Charlie."

"Does he?" eagerly. "By George, I'm glad of that! But, oh, well," with a sigh, "he doesn't know. If he did know my record he might not like me so well. And as for my marrying his daughter--good NIGHT!" with hopeless emphasis.

"No, not good night by any means. Maybe it's only good mornin'. Go on and tell me what you mean by bein' at a crisis, as you said a minute ago."

"I mean just that. The time has come when I must speak to Maud. I must find out if--find out how she feels about me. And I can't speak to her, honorably, without telling her everything. And suppose she should care enough for me to--to--suppose she should care in spite of everything, there's her father. She is his only daughter; he worships the ground she steps on. Suppose I tell him I've been," bitterly, "a crook and a jailbird; what will HE think of me--as a son-in-law? And now suppose he was fool enough to consent--which isn't supposable--how could I stay here, working for him, sponging a living from him, with this thing hanging over us all? No, I can't--I can't. Whatever else happens I can't do that. And I can't go on as I am--or I won't. Now what am I going to do?"

He had risen and was pacing the floor. Jed asked a question.

"What does your sister want you to do?" he asked.

"Ruth? Oh, as I told you, she thinks of no one but me. How dreadful it would be for me to tell of my Middleford record! How awful if I lost my position in the bank! Suppose they discharged me and the town learned why! I've tried to make her see that, compared to the question of Maud, nothing else matters at all, but I'm afraid she doesn't see it as I do. She only sees--me."

"Her brother. Um . . . yes, I know."

"Yes. Well, we talked and talked, but we got nowhere. So at last I said I was coming out to thank you for what you did to save me, Jed. I could hardly believe it then; I can scarcely believe it now. It was too much for any man to do for another. And she said to talk the whole puzzle out with you. She seems to have all the confidence on earth in your judgment, Jed. She is as willing to leave a decision to you, apparently, as you profess to be to leave one to your wooden prophet up on the shelf there; what's-his-name-- er--Isaiah."

Jed looked greatly pleased, but he shook his head. "I'm afraid her confidence ain't founded on a rock, like the feller's house in the Bible," he drawled. "My decisions are liable to stick half way betwixt and between, same as--er--Jeremiah's do. But," he added, gravely, "I have been thinkin' pretty seriously about you and your particular puzzle, Charlie, and--and I ain't sure that I don't see one way out of the fog. It may be a hard way, and it may turn out wrong, and it may not be anything you'll agree to. But--"

"What is it? If it's anything even half way satisfactory I'll believe you're the wisest man on earth, Jed Winslow."

"Well, if I thought you was liable to believe that I'd tell you to send your believer to the blacksmith's 'cause there was somethin' wrong with it. No, I ain't wise, far from it. But, Charlie, I think you're dead right about what you say concernin' Maud and her father and you. You CAN'T tell her without tellin' him. For your own sake you mustn't tell him without tellin' her. And you shouldn't, as a straight up and down, honorable man keep on workin' for Sam when you ask him, under these circumstances, to give you his daughter. You can't afford to have her say 'yes' because she pities you, nor to have him give in to her because she begs him to. No, you want to be independent, to go to both of 'em and say: 'Here's my story and here am I. You know now what I did and you know, too, what I've been and how I've behaved since I've been with you.' You want to say to Maud: 'Do you care enough for me to marry me in spite of what I've done and where I've been?' And to Sam: 'Providin' your daughter does care for me, I mean to marry her some day or other. And you can't be on his pay roll when you say that, as I see it."

Phillips stopped in his stride.

"You've put it just as it is," he declared emphatically. "There's the situation--what then? For I tell you now, Jed Winslow, I won't give her up until she tells me to."

"Course not, Charlie, course not. But there's one thing more--or two things, rather. There's your sister and Babbie. Suppose you do haul up stakes and quit workin' for Sam at the bank; can they get along without your support? Without the money you earn?"

The young man nodded thoughtfully. "Yes," he replied, "I see no reason why they can't. They did before I came, you know. Ruth has a little money of her own, enough to keep her and Barbara in the way they live here in Orham. She couldn't support me as a loafer, of course, and you can bet I should never let her try, but she could get on quite well without me. . . . Besides, I am not so sure that . . ."

"Eh? What was you goin' to say, Charlie?"

"Oh, nothing, nothing. I have had a feeling, a slight suspicion, recently, that-- But never mind that; I have no right to even hint at such a thing. What are you trying to get at, Jed?"

"Get at?"

"Yes. Why did you ask that question about Ruth and Barbara? You don't mean that you see a way out for me, do you?"

"W-e-e-ll, I . . . er . . . I don't cal'late I'd want to go so far as to say that, hardly. No-o, I don't know's it's a way out-- quite. But, as I've told you I've been thinkin' about you and Maud a pretty good deal lately and . . . er . . . hum . . ."

"For heaven's sake, hurry up! Don't go to sleep now, man, of all times. Tell me, what do you mean? What can I do?"

Jed's foot dropped to the floor. He sat erect and regarded his companion intently over his spectacles. His face was very grave.

"There's one thing you can do, Charlie," he said.

"What is it? Tell me, quick."

"Just a minute. Doin' it won't mean necessarily that you're out of your worries and troubles. It won't mean that you mustn't make a clean breast of everything to Maud and to Sam. That you must do and I know, from what you've said to me, that you feel you must. And it won't mean that your doin' this thing will necessarily make either Maud or Sam say yes to the question you want to ask 'em. That question they'll answer themselves, of course. But, as I see it, if you do this thing you'll be free and independent, a man doin' a man's job and ready to speak to Sam Hunniwell or anybody else LIKE a man. And that's somethin'."

"Something! By George, it's everything! What is this man's job? Tell me, quick."

And Jed told him.

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Shavings - Chapter 18 Shavings - Chapter 18

Shavings - Chapter 18
CHAPTER XVIIIJed came forward, the roll of bills in his hand. He seemed quite oblivious of the Babbitt stare, or, for that matter, of the complete silence which had so suddenly fallen upon the group in the shop. He came forward, smoothing the crumpled notes with fingers which shook a little. He stopped in front of Captain Hunniwell. The captain was gazing at him and at the money. Jed did not meet his friend's eye; he continued to smooth the banknotes. Captain Sam spoke first. "What's that?" he demanded. "What money's that?" Jed's fingers moved
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