New Chronicles of Rebecca
Seventh Chronicle : The Little Prophet
"I guess York County will never get red of that Simpson crew!" exclaimed Miranda
Sawyer to Jane. "I thought when the family moved to Acreville we'd seen the last of em,
but we ain't! The big, cross-eyed, stutterin' boy has got a place at the mills in Maplewood;
that's near enough to come over to Riverboro once in a while of a Sunday mornin' and set
in the meetin' house starin' at Rebecca same as he used to do, only it's reskier now both of
em are older. Then Mrs. Fogg must go and bring back the biggest girl to help her take
care of her baby,--as if there wa'n't plenty of help nearer home! Now I hear say that the
youngest twin has come to stop the summer with the Cames up to Edgewood Lower
"I thought two twins were always the same age," said Rebecca, reflectively, as she came
into the kitchen with the milk pail.
"So they be," snapped Miranda, flushing and correcting herself. "But that pasty-faced
Simpson twin looks younger and is smaller than the other one. He's meek as Moses and
the other one is as bold as a brass kettle; I don't see how they come to be twins; they ain't
a mite alike."
"Elijah was always called the fighting twin' at school," said Rebecca, "and Elisha's other
name was Nimbi-Pamby; but I think he's a nice little boy, and I'm glad he has come back.
He won't like living with Mr. Came, but he'll be almost next door to the minister's, and
Mrs. Baxter is sure to let him play in her garden."
"I wonder why the boy's stayin' with Cassius Came," said Jane. "To be sure they haven't
got any of their own, but the child's too young to be much use."
"I know why," remarked Rebecca promptly, "for I heard all about it over to Watson's
when I was getting the milk. Mr. Came traded something with Mr. Simpson two years
ago and got the best of the bargain, and Uncle Jerry says he's the only man that ever did,
and he ought to have a monument put up to him. So Mr. Came owes Mr. Simpson money
and won't pay it, and Mr. Simpson said he'd send over a child and board part of it out, and
take the rest in stock--a pig or a calf or something."
"That's all stuff and nonsense," exclaimed Miranda; "nothin' in the world but store-talk.
You git a clump o' men-folks settin' round Watson's stove, or out on the bench at the
door, an' they'll make up stories as fast as their tongues can wag. The man don't live that's
smart enough to cheat Abner Simpson in a trade, and who ever heard of anybody's owin'
him money? Tain't supposable that a woman like Mrs. Came would allow her husband to
be in debt to a man like Abner Simpson. It's a sight likelier that she heard that Mrs.
Simpson was ailin' and sent for the boy so as to help the family along. She always had
Mrs. Simpson to wash for her once a month, if you remember Jane?"