Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 28, 1898)
"Come in to dinner."
Frank arose laboriously. He. looked at me
with a trace of embarrassments
"Ben to dinner?''
"No," I answered.
"Come on in then. You won't get nineh
to eat, but what there is you're welcome to."
He shoved open the old warped door that
hung loosely upon its leather hinges, and
went before me into the house. I looked
around me curiously! r The floor was noth
ing but the bare earth. In one corner a grea.
hole had been scraped, and there lay the
wooly dog glaring at me malignantly. The
walls were covered with yellowing newspapers,
the ceiling with coarse, cracked building pa
per. At the one open window sat a crooked
old woman with a brown fa cv like a shrivelled
potato. She was putting away at a grimy,
crooked-stemmed pipe, win eh she laid upon
the window Mil as I entered, and stared sus
piciously at me, with her long brown fingers
pulling at the one yellow tooth in her sh-iv-elled
''Set down,' said my host, pushing a cLair
to the bare table.
The kitchen door opened and a pale, light
haired young woman, walking w ill i a crutch
entered the room, carrying in oneliand three
plates with a handful of knives and forks
upon them. As she saw me she let the plates
fall, making a great clatter.
"Wilina!" screamed the old Avoman.
"Oussod awkwardness" growled Frank.
The woman leaned her crutch against the
wall, stooped down and picked up the dishes
and then retreated to the kitchen. Soon she
returned with the dishes and placed them on
the table. Then she brought a plate heaped
high with fragrant Johnny-cake, and a bowl
of gravy. Last she brought a dish with some
warm od-ovor prairie chicken which slieplaood
by the plate of her lord.
Frank looked at the table with evident dis
content. "Haintyou got motihing else? "We've
got 'company. ' '
"IDere vasn't any more" said the woman in
a flow, 111111111)10 voice.
"Them Swodes, they can't cook -notihin'!"
smuiled liheold woman.
"Help yourself, mister," said Frank, pusli
ingtihe Johnny-cake nearer me. He broke
The very latest things is shoes a
open a pieiv and eyed it critically.
"What kind of meal is that cake made of,
anyhow?" he demanded. "Taint half ground."
"De barrel vas empty, so I had to make it
vid de coffee mill."
The old woman glared at her furiously and
Frank swore a little in a low voice. 1 glanced
at the young woman and saw a big tear run
ning down her pale cheek.
The meal went .1 in silence. Frank ate
likea famished 11 -oules. He kept the prairie
chicken by his own plate and ate it all him
sjlf, muttering that his health required some
meat. Fvery body was through, even Frank,
who was sucking the bits of chicken gravy
from his fingers, when the dog sprang up and
began to bark furiously. 1 heard the sound
of horses galloping through the weeds. Frank
leaned back in his chair and looked out. of
the window. "Why didn't you tie them
horses?'' he asked sharply.
"I fell ven I vater dem, and de horses, dey
run avay." she answered beginning to cry.
""Well, them horses hev got to be tied."
She hobbled away as fast as she could.
Frank wont to the door and looked after her.
The old woman came closer to me. "That's
always the way with her. Them Swedes
don't amount to a hill of beans."
"Indeed?" I said.
"Is that bo?" 1 said correcting my impres
sion. "Yes; she aim worth anything. It does
provoke me so. It's a shame, 1 say. Now
Frank is a good boy and deserves a good wife.
And then that he should throw himself away
on a Swede.. '
"What made him marry her?" 1 asked
ovorcome by curiosity.
"Well her father was kind of rldh. But
then lie was fool enough to sign somebodys
bond and lost his farm. And last spring wlien
the bosses run away she was throwod out and
crippled for lifu. It would have ben si good
thing if she had ben killed; she wouldn't liave
ben a dead weight on poor Frank. Yes sir.
it would have ben good 3f she'd ben killed,
and I don't make do 'bones about telling lier
I could endure that old woman no longer,
so I left the room. I said good day to Frank
I loot Form Store 1213 0 street.
Powered by Open ONI