Homespun Tales HTML version
3. Divers Doctrines
It was a radiant July morning in Albion village, and when Sue first beheld it from the
bedroom window at the Shaker Settlement, she had wished ardently that it might never,
never grow dark, and that Jack and Fardie might be having the very same sunshine in
Farnham. It was not noon yet, but experience had in some way tempered the
completeness of her joy, for the marks of tears were on her pretty little face. She had
neither been scolded nor punished, but she had been dragged away from a delicious play
without any adequate reason. She had disappeared after breakfast, while Susanna was
helping Sister Tabitha with the beds and the dishes, but as she was the most docile of
children, her mother never thought of anxiety. At nine o'clock Eldress Abby took
Susanna to the laundry house, and there under a spreading maple were Sue and the two
youngest little Shakeresses, children of seven and eight respectively. Sue was directing
the plays: chattering, planning, ordering, and suggesting expedients to her slower-minded
and less experienced companions. They had dragged a large box from one of the sheds
and set it up under the tree. The interior had been quickly converted into a commodious
residence, one not in the least of a Shaker type. Small bluing-boxes served for bedstead
and dining-table, bits of broken china for the dishes, while tiny flat stones were the seats,
and four clothes-pins, tastefully clad in handkerchiefs, surrounded the table.
"Do they kneel in prayer before they eat, as all Believers do?" asked Shaker Mary.
"I don't believe Adam and Eve was Believers, 'cause who would have taught them to be?"
replied Sue; "still we might let them pray, anyway, though clothespins don't kneel
"I've got another one all dressed," said little Shaker Jane.
"We can't have any more; Adam and Eve did n't have only two children in my Sunday-
School lesson, Cain and Abel," objected Sue.
"Can't this one be a company?" pleaded Mary, anxious not to waste the clothespin.
"But where could comp'ny come from?" queried Sue. "There was n't any more people
anywheres but just Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. Put the clothespin in your apron-
pocket, Jane, and bimeby we'll let Eve have a little new baby, and I'll get Mardie to name
it right out of the Bible. Now let's begin. Adam is awfully tired this morning; he says,
'Eve, I've been workin' all night and I can't eat my breakfuss.' Now, Mary, you be Cain,
he's a little boy, and you must say, 'Fardie, play a little with me, please!' and Fardie will
say, 'Child'en should n't talk at the--'"
What subjects of conversation would have been aired at the Adamic family board before
breakfast was finished will never be known, for Eldress Abby, with a firm but not unkind