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Captain Pott's Minister   By:

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[Illustration: "Then, let me hear you say you love me!" Page 335. ]


Illustrated By JOHN GOSS


Copyright, 1922, By Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. All Rights Reserved Captain Pott's Minister

Printed in U. S. A. Norwood Press BERWICK & SMITH CO. Norwood, Mass.

To Betty


FACING PAGE "Then, let me hear you say you love me!" (page 335) Frontispiece "Now, see here, Beth, there ain't no use of your pretending to me." 146 "There ain't money enough in the world to make me do that." 242 Miss Pipkin had been disturbed by the noise. 262



The sound of voices suddenly arrested Captain Pott's fork in mid air, and the morsel of untasted salt mackerel dangled uncertainly from the points of the dingy tines as he swung about to face the open door. Fork and mackerel fell to the floor as the seaman abruptly rose and stalked outside. The stern features of the rugged old face sagged with astonishment as he blinked at the small army of men swarming over his littered yard.

"'Mornin', Cap'n," cheerily called Hank Simpson, the village storekeeper, as he approached the irate man on the stoop.

Captain Pott was so completely jarred out of his usual complacency that for once he had nothing to say. He forgot even to swear. As the significance of the movements of the intruders suddenly dawned upon him he mutely glared at Hank from beneath blackened and swollen eyelids.

"The women folks said that you'd be wantin' to make your place look peart, bein' as the new minister is goin' to stay here with you," explained Hank, who was apparently the leader of the group. "When we men folks heard that they was goin' to clean up on the inside we thought it wouldn't be no more than neighborly for us to pitch in and give you a hand with the outside."

It was evident that the Captain did not relish the explanation, for he bristled with dangerous hostility as he took a step forward. But before he could refer Hank Simpson and his entire male army to a certain warm climate where he thought they might go with mutual advantage to himself and them, the morning breeze carried within earshot another note, higher in the scale, but unmistakable in significance. Silently the old man stood and dumbly watched a procession of petticoats march up to his gate and turn into the cinder path.

The female army took possession of the house even as the men had taken possession of the yard, and he who had commanded mutinous crews on the briny deep fled and took refuge in the shade of a spreading elm near the well. Mrs. Eadie Beaver, the Captain's next door neighbor, approached him, requested that he pitch in and help, and then as quickly beat a retreat before the fierce glare. Hank Simpson once asked where they might burn the accumulated trash. The answer was unsatisfactory though forceful. Hank declared, "Them instructions is wuth a heap, Cap'n, but unless you've got a trap door to them parts hereabout, I reckon we'll have to do the crematin' some other way."

All the shutters on the old house were thrown wide open, and sunshine and air were allowed to penetrate corners where dust and cobwebs had held undisputed sway for years. Through the open windows came the sound of tack hammer and puller, the moving of tables, sideboards, and chairs, and of every other article of furniture that was not actually built into the walls. From his place beneath the elm the Captain heard all these sounds, and watched his old pieces being piled in a confused mass about the front yard. He was smoking incessantly, and swearing no less frequently... Continue reading book >>

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