Chronicles of Avonlea
IX. Pa Sloane's Purchase
"I guess the molasses is getting low, ain't it?" said Pa Sloane insinuatingly. "S'pose I'd
better drive up to Carmody this afternoon and get some more."
"There's a good half-gallon of molasses in the jug yet," said ma Sloane ruthlessly.
"That so? Well, I noticed the kerosene demijohn wasn't very hefty the last time I filled
the can. Reckon it needs replenishing."
"We have kerosene enough to do for a fortnight yet." Ma continued to eat her dinner
with an impassive face, but a twinkle made itself apparent in her eye. Lest Pa should
see it, and feel encouraged thereby, she looked immovably at her plate.
Pa Sloane sighed. His invention was giving out.
"Didn't I hear you say day before yesterday that you were out of nutmegs?" he queried,
after a few moments' severe reflection.
"I got a supply of them from the egg-pedlar yesterday," responded Ma, by a great effort
preventing the twinkle from spreading over her entire face. She wondered if this third
failure would squelch Pa. But Pa was not to be squelched.
"Well, anyway," he said, brightening up under the influence of a sudden saving
inspiration. "I'll have to go up to get the sorrel mare shod. So, if you've any little errands
you want done at the store, Ma, just make a memo of them while I hitch up."
The matter of shoeing the sorrel mare was beyond Ma's province, although she had her
own suspicions about the sorrel mare's need of shoes.
"Why can't you give up beating about the bush, Pa?" she demanded, with
contemptuous pity. "You might as well own up what's taking you to Carmody. I can see
through your design. You want to get away to the Garland auction. That is what is
troubling you, Pa Sloane."
"I dunno but what I might step over, seeing it's so handy. But the sorrel mare really does
need shoeing, Ma," protested Pa.
"There's always something needing to be done if it's convenient," retorted Ma. "Your
mania for auctions will be the ruin of you yet, Pa. A man of fifty-five ought to have grown
out of such a hankering. But the older you get the worse you get. Anyway, if I wanted to
go to auctions, I'd select them as was something like, and not waste my time on little
one- horse affairs like this of Garland's."