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every one of her tears were pouring over him like burning lead.
“Don’t, Matt, don’t-oh, don’t!” he implored her.
She struggled to her feet, and he rose and followed her helplessly
while she spread out the pieces of glass on the kitchen dresser. It
seemed to him as if the shattered fragments of their evening lay
“Here, give them to me,” he said in a voice of sudden authority.
She drew aside, instinctively obeying his tone. “Oh, Ethan, what
are you going to do?” Without replying he gathered the pieces of
glass into his broad palm and walked out of the kitchen to the
passage. There he lit a candle-end, opened the china-closet, and,
reaching his long arm up to the highest shelf, laid the pieces
together with such accuracy of touch that a close inspection
convinced him of the impossibility of detecting from below that the
dish was broken. If he glued it together the next morning months
might elapse before his wife noticed what had happened, and
meanwhile he might after all be able to match the dish at Shadd’s
Falls or Bettsbridge. Having satisfied himself that there was no risk
of immediate discovery he went back to the kitchen with a lighter
step, and found Mattie disconsolately removing the last scraps of
pickle from the floor.
“It’s all right, Matt. Come back and finish supper,” he commanded
Completely reassured, she shone on him through tear-hung lashes,
and his soul swelled with pride as he saw how his tone subdued
her. She did not even ask what he had done. Except when he was
steering a big log down the mountain to his mill he had never
known such a thrilling sense of mastery.