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CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN (continued)
“I declare to gracious ther’ ain’t but nine!” she says. “Why, what in the worldplague take the things, I’ll count ‘m again.” So I slipped back the one I had, and when she got done counting, she says: “Hang the troublesome rubbage, ther’s ten, now!” and she looked hurry and bothered both. But Tom says: “Why, Aunty, I don’t think there’s ten.” “You numskull, didn’t you see me count ‘m?” “I know, but-”
“Well, I’ll count ‘m again.” So I smouched one, and they come out nine same as the other time. Well, she was in a tearing way-just trembling all over, she was so mad. But she counted and counted, till she got that addled she’d start to count-in the basket for a spoon, sometimes; and so, three times they come out right and three times they come out wrong. Then she grabbed up the basket and slammed it across the house and knocked the cat galley-west; and she said cle’r out and let her have some peace, and if we come bothering around her again betwixt that and dinner, she’d skin us.
So we had the odd spoon; and dropped it in her apron pocket whilst she was a giving us our sailing-orders, and Jim got it all right, along with her shingle-nail, before noon. We was very well satisfied with this business, and Tom allowed it was worth twice the trouble it took, because he said now she couldn’t ever count them spoons twice alike again to save her life; and wouldn’t believe she’d counted them right, if she did; and said that after she’d about counted her head off, for the next three days, he judged she’d give it up and offer to kill anybody that wanted her to ever count them any more.
So we put the sheet back on the line, that night, and stole one out of her closet; and kept on putting it back and stealing it again, for a couple of days till she didn’t know how many sheets she had, any more, and said she didn’t care, and warn’t agoing to bullyrag the rest of her soul out about it, and wouldn’t count them again not to save her life, she druther die first.
So we was all right now, as to the shirt and the sheet and the spoon and the candles, by the help of the calf and the rats and the mixed-up counting; and as to the candlestick, it warn’t no consequence, it would blow over by-and-by.
But that pie was a job; we had no end of trouble with that pie. We fixed it up away down in the woods, and cooked it there; and we got it done at last, and very satisfactory, too; but not all in one day; and we had to use up three washpans full of flour, before we got through, and we got burnt pretty much all over, in places, and eyes put out with the smoke; because, you see, we didn’t want nothing but a crust, and we couldn’t prop it up right, and she would always cave in. But of course we thought of the right way at last; which was to cook the ladder, too, in the pie. So then we laid in with Jim, the second night, and tore up the sheet all in little strings, and twisted them together, and long before daylight we had a lovely rope, that you could a hung a person with. We let on it took nine months to make it.
And in the forenoon we took it down to the woods, but it wouldn’t go in the pie. Being made of a whole sheet, that way, there was rope enough for forty pies, if we’d a wanted them, and plenty left over for soup, or sausage, or anything you choose. We could a had a whole dinner.
But we didn’t need it. All we needed was just enough for the pie, and so we throwed the rest away. We didn’t cook none of the pies in the washpan, afraid the solder would melt; but Uncle Silas he had a noble brass warming-pan which he thought considerable of, because it belonged to one of his ancesters with a long wooden handle that come over from England with William the Conqueror in the Mayflower or one of them early ships and was hid away up garret with a lot of other old pots and things that was valuable, not on account of being any account because they warn’t, but on account of them being relicts, you know, and we snaked her out, private, and took her down there, but she failed on the first pies, because we didn’t know how, but she come up smiling on the last one. We took and lined her with dough, and set her in the coals, and loaded her up with ragrope, and put on a dough roof, and shut down the lid, and put hot embers on top, and stood off five foot, with the long handle, cool and comfortable, and in fifteen minutes she turned out a pie that was a satisfaction to look at. But the person that et it would want to fetch a couple of kags of toothpicks along, for if the rope-ladder wouldn’t cramp him down to business, I don’t know nothing what I’m talking about, and lay him enough stomach-ache to last him till next time, too.
Nat didn’t look, when we put the witch-pie in Jim’s pan; and we put the three tin plates in the bottom of the pan under the vittles; and so Jim got everything all right, and so soon as he was by himself he busted into the pie and hid the ropeladder inside of his straw tick, and scratched some marks on a tin plate and throwed it out of the window-hole.