Josiah and me got to talkin' it over. He said it wuzn't right to think more of one child than you did of another.
And I says, "That is so, Josiah."
And he says, "Then, why did you say yesterday, that you loved sweet Cicely better than any of the rest of your thought-children? You said you loved 'em all, and was kinder sorry for the hull on 'em, but you loved her the best: what made you say it?"
Says I, "I said it, to tell the truth."
"Wall, what did you do it for?" he kep' on, determined to get a reason.
"I did it," says I, a comin' out still plainer,—"I did it to keep from lyin'."
"Wall, when you say it hain't right to feel so, what makes you?"
"I don't know, Josiah," says I, lookin' at him, and beyend him, way into the depths of emotions and feelin's we can't understand nor help,—
"I don't know why, but I know I do."
And he drawed on his boots, and went out to the barn.CONTENTS CHAPTER I CHAPTER II CHAPTER III CHAPTER IV CHAPTER V CHAPTER VI CHAPTER VII CHAPTER VIII CHAPTER IX CHAPTER X CHAPTER XI CHAPTER XII CHAPTER XIII CHAPTER XIV SWEET CICELY CHAPTER I.
It was somewhere about the middle of winter, along in the forenoon, that Josiah Allen was telegrafted to, unexpected. His niece Cicely and her little boy was goin' to pass through Jonesville the next day on her way to visit her aunt Mary (aunt on her mother's side), and she would stop off, and make us a short visit if convenient.
We wuz both tickled, highly tickled; and Josiah, before he had read the telegraf ten minutes, was out killin' a hen. The plumpest one in the flock was the order I give; and I wus a beginnin' to make a fuss, and cook up for her.
We loved her jest about as well as we did Tirzah Ann. Sweet Cicely was what we used to call her when she was a girl. Sweet Cicely is a plant that has a pretty white posy. And our niece Cicely was prettier and purer and sweeter than any posy that ever grew: so we thought then, and so we think still.
[Illustration: JOSIAH TELLING THE NEWS TO SAMANTHA.]
Her mother was my companion's sister,—one of a pair of twins, Mary and Maria, that thought the world of each other, as twins will. Their mother died when they wus both of 'em babies; and they wus adopted by a rich aunt, who brought 'em up elegant, and likely too: that I will say for her, if she wus a 'Piscopal, and I a Methodist. I am both liberal and truthful —very.
Maria wus Cicely's ma, and she wus left a widow when she wus a young woman; and Cicely wus her only child. And the two wus bound up in each other as I never see a mother and daughter in my life before or sense.
The third year after Josiah and me wus married, Maria wusn't well, and the doctor ordered her out into the country for her health; and she and little Cicely spent the hull of that summer with us. Cicely wus about ten; and how we did love that girl! Her mother couldn't bear to have her out of her sight; and I declare, we all of us wus jest about as bad. And from that time they used to spend most all of their summers in Jonesville....