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XIX. Poor Adam!
When Una got home Faith was lying face downwards on her bed, utterly refusing
to be comforted. Aunt Martha had killed Adam. He was reposing on a platter in
the pantry that very minute, trussed and dressed, encircled by his liver and heart
and gizzard. Aunt Martha heeded Faith's passion of grief and anger not a whit.
"We had to have something for the strange minister's dinner," she said. "You're
too big a girl to make such a fuss over an old rooster. You knew he'd have to be
killed sometime."
"I'll tell father when he comes home what you've done," sobbed Faith.
"Don't you go bothering your poor father. He has troubles enough. And I'M
housekeeper here."
"Adam was MINE--Mrs. Johnson gave him to me. You had no business to touch
him," stormed Faith.
"Don't you get sassy now. The rooster's killed and there's an end of it. I ain't
going to set no strange minister down to a dinner of cold b'iled mutton. I was
brought up to know better than that, if I have come down in the world."
Faith would not go down to supper that night and she would not go to church the
next morning. But at dinner time she went to the table, her eyes swollen with
crying, her face sullen.
The Rev. James Perry was a sleek, rubicund man, with a bristling white
moustache, bushy white eyebrows, and a shining bald head. He was certainly
not handsome and he was a very tiresome, pompous sort of person. But if he
had looked like the Archangel Michael and talked with the tongues of men and
angels Faith would still have utterly detested him. He carved Adam up
dexterously, showing off his plump white hands and very handsome diamond
ring. Also, he made jovial remarks all through the performance. Jerry and Carl
giggled, and even Una smiled wanly, because she thought politeness demanded
it. But Faith only scowled darkly. The Rev. James thought her manners
shockingly bad. Once, when he was delivering himself of an unctuous remark to
Jerry, Faith broke in rudely with a flat contradiction. The Rev. James drew his
bushy eyebrows together at her.
"Little girls should not interrupt," he said, "and they should not contradict people
who know far more than they do."
This put Faith in a worse temper than ever. To be called "little girl" as if she were
no bigger than chubby Rilla Blythe over at Ingleside! It was insufferable. And how
that abominable Mr. Perry did eat! He even picked poor Adam's bones. Neither
Faith nor Una would touch a mouthful, and looked upon the boys as little better
than cannibals. Faith felt that if that awful repast did not soon come to an end she
would wind it up by throwing something at Mr. Perry's gleaming head.
Fortunately, Mr. Perry found Aunt Martha's leathery apple pie too much even for
his powers of mastication and the meal came to an end, after a long grace in
which Mr. Perry offered up devout thanks for the food which a kind and
beneficent Providence had provided for sustenance and temperate pleasure.